The Brass Ring

(A short-short by me that won the August 2011 short story contest, held by the Aspiring Writers group on LinkedIn. The theme was “Adventure”, genre was “Young Adult”, and focus was “Amusement Park”, with strict word count of 715 words)

Cecile hid her tear-swelled eyes behind her long black hair.

“Have a great time!” bubbled the park employee as she took the ticket. Cecile muttered a “thanks” and struggled through the turnstile. Dusk’s light peeked behind her, framing her slender silhouette.

At the midway, Cecile closed her eyes and immersed herself in the surroundings. The amusement park had always been her escape. The dazzling lights, smell of cotton candy, and roar of machinery — they filled her senses and muted her sorrows.
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The Language of Music

(Rhogar’s my D&D 4E Dragonborn Bard. This is a short write up on how he performs his unique brand of Comprehend Language ritual.)

Rhogar reached out and traced the unknown language on the sarcophagus with his scaly claw. He retrieved his ritual book and flipped to the back pages of the volume where they were filled with sets of five horizontal lines. Without hesitation, he bit into his index digit. He winced a little at the slight pain. A small bead of blood oozed from the wound. Then, he started tracing the unknown symbols at various positions on the horizontal lines with his blood. He let his mind navigate the musical stave. To the untrained eyes, the symbols were static. To Rhogar, they drifted and shifted along the musical lanes. Inside his head, the unknown symbols echoed and resonated a cacophony. He couldn’t help but hum along with the music formed in his head.

When he’s done tracing all the symbols, he licked his finger and the wound closed. He then took out his lute and started playing the tune he heard. First, it was rough and primitive, like a novice learning to play his first song. As minutes go by, it grew in complexity. Rhogar’s fingers danced up and down the lute, traversing the string highways. Finally, with one final pluck of a particular high note, the symbols on the pages glowed a crimson red momentarily and washed the room with sonic energy.

Rhogar put the lute back on his back. He took a deep breath, gleaming he said, “I’ve got it!”

Professor Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

Dr. Randy Pausch, a huge proponent for game entertainment for education, gave his “Last Lecture” recently. He’s been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer and only have three to six months of good health left. I have never heard of him before personally (there’s much in this world I don’t know). But after watching his special on Good Morning America, which highlighted some of his speech and some additional comments, there’s no doubt in my mind that our industry will lose a great deal when he’s gone. I am inspired and admire his courage in such situation. After seeing this, I guarantee you, your big problems won’t seem that big anymore.

You can view the whole lecture on Google. A transcript and other information are available on his university website. You can also read more about him on his Wikipedia entry.

Battle of the Blogs – Part 2

When I started using b2evolution, I received quite a few warnings from different people that it’s a giant spam magnet. I gave it a few months and my trackback and comment spam volume is simply enormous, despsite b2’s centralized anti-spam list. I have finally broken down and ported everything over to WordPress. Installation was a snap and only took me a few hours to port my skin over. So far, I am very happy with it 🙂 No wonder it’s so popular!