...oh, this glorious sadness, that brings me to my knees...
Elmondo internet cafe again. It's only been a couple of weeks since last I was here, but it feels like months - I've been puttering around on the internet for a while now, not being too particularly productive but enjoying myself thoroughly. I'm in the middle of a large upload to The Wanderer Chronicles - older photos of Souda Bay, from February of last year. I've been meaning to upload them for a while, but every time I sit down in front of an internet connection, it slips my mind. Figure that I might as well make good use of my Pro account's unlimited upload, and start clearing away some of the back log. ^_^ Not too many new photos, unfortunately, there just hasn't been quite as many exciting things going on aboard - just the same old routine. I can't really complain, but it does make for a less than amazing Flickr page. >_< Ah, well, maybe this next underway will bring more photo opportunities...
I was kind of surprised to find a comment from my mom on the entry before last, and two comments - one from my friend Lyn, the other from my friend Mark - on my last entry. I mean, wow... people actually read my blog. >_< But then, that's why it's public, and why I give people the address... and for that matter, why I have an RSS feed running to my notes on Facebook, so people can read it easier. So, hi mom! Hope I haven't been swearing too much on here. >_< Foul language, I've found, is quite the occupational hazard for a sailor...
My iPod, Molly, has begun giving me trouble again - it's been about a year now without any serious problems from her, so I suppose I can't really complain. That said, with the new iPods rolling out in 80 and 160 gig video - not to mention the iPod Touch - I think the time has come to look at upgrading. I took the first step today, buying a 4 gig Nano ('Jacqueline') to listen to while I work and work out - anyplace where its smaller size might be an advantage, and its smaller capacity less of a limitation. When I get home in the winter, or maybe around the new year, I'll take the next step and pick up one of the larger iPod classics, along with the requisite new FM transmitter - the perfect tool for road tripping.
And speaking of road tripping, I find myself possessed of the strangest urge to wander when I get home. I've always had rambling feet, so I guess it's not too odd, but one might think that after six months away from home my primary concern would be being home. For the most part, it is - I'm fairly proud of the fact that I've only missed one Christmas at home over the course of my life (2005), and I'm in no hurry to repeat that... the holidays have always been a time for family and friends, as far as I'm concerned, and like the song says, home is where the heart is. That aside, I've been plotting various trips for the otherwise unoccupied weeks and weekends around the holiday itself, and thinking of friends who could give otherwise pointless wanderings an end result... namely, my friend Billy in Florida, my friend Danielle in Indiana, and my friend John in Texas/Kansas (school/home). Of course, a lot will depend on their schedules as well as mine, not to mention weather and road conditions around that time of year... but I have hopes, especially since I haven't seen any of the three for over a year now, and I miss their company.
Speaking of travels, my little sister is getting ready to wander off to the wilds of Jolly Olde England come the new year. I confess to a horrendous sense of jealousy, but also a sense of anticipation - she's been planning this scholarly voyage abroad for some time now, and it certainly gives me the perfect excuse to visit the British Isles when I get off my next ship, hopefully sometime before she returns home in June. Not too mention a near-native guide, if I can manage my time off to coincide with some of hers. We've been talking it over on Facebook lately, and I confess to being somewhat stoked over the possibility.
It's an amusing contradiction, given how much time I spend away from home, but I really don't travel all that much - MSC ships generally stick to the same familiar ports, after all, whether that be the Holy Trinity of Roda (Spain), Souda Bay (Crete), and Augusta Bay (Sicily) for tankers, or the much less holy Jebel Ali and Fujiara here on an ammo ship. Admittedly, West Coast ships get a much more delightful list to choose from - it's one of the best reasons for switching coasts, although I have too much waiting for me in Virginia to willingly take that step right now - but to a greater or lesser degree, it's true whichever ship you sail. MSC goes where the Navy goes, and where it's safe for us to go, and where our cargo is waiting for us... and with few exceptions, that's about it. I've seen a lot of amazing places in the past few years, but it seems to me that it's not enough... and I want to see more.
So, maybe it's not that I don't travel all that much, but rather that I'm just not satisfied with the traveling I do. One of the reasons I've aspired to be a writer is that with that profession, a man can write anywhere - I wouldn't be tied to any one city, or country, or continent. And, as the years pass by like shooting stars and I find more and more gray hairs on my head every day, maybe it's time I stopped talking about it, prodding the idea like a new tooth that I can't quite decide fits or not yet, and start doing something about it.
November's coming... I've already proven that I can write a novel, if I sit down and try. I think the time might have come to write something that I can publish.
Of course, going into NaNoWriMo with such lofty goals is pretty damn silly - after all, the point of November is to write, and not to worry about things like publishing, literary quality, or even coherence. But, come December (and the much more informal 'National Novel Editing Month') I might just have the time to ponder these subjects...
Yay, my Flickr upload is completed! Went off a lot smoother than I expected, actually. ^_^
So, NaNoWriMo; I think I'm going to go with an idea I originally had for a novel-in-a-year club my friend Danielle envisioned. The club sadly seems to have died a lonely death, but the idea has spent the last year or so ricocheting around the inside of my skull like a Flubber pinball, and I think it might have distilled down enough to finally be written. The idea had its genesis after watching Rahxephon on my journey home from the Gulf last year - I'd been thinking about doing a mecha story for a while (Snow Patrol's song "Run" stuck in my mind as being perfect for a slow motion, overly dramatic mecha fight scene when I began working on a [now defunct, big surprise] web comic a couple years back), so it's not surprising that watching a big-mecha anime would give me an extra boost of inspiration.
I have yet to come up with a title; it's possible that I've been thinking about it too long, and something might very well suggest itself to me when I actually get into the thick of things and start writing. It's a little frustrating, as both 2005 and 2006's NaNovels were well named going in.
The story revolves around a young military student (Jason "Chase" Barret) who, after a devastating attack on his academy by unknown enemies, wakes up in a cryogenic tank surrounded by soldiers. Over a century has passed since he was frozen, and Earth is under siege by an alien invader - the Rivari. Most of humanity has perished in the hellish war, and only a few fortress cities - megacities, for lack of a better name - remain, fighting desperately to survive. Jason's profile matches that required to pilot the fabled Lancer, humanity's last, best weapon against the alien; and against his will, for the survival of his race, he's thrown into battle. Lost in time and meaning, what will become of our hero?
I like the concept of the temporally displaced protagonist; Lancer pilots are usually determined long before they reach adolescence, and are purpose-trained for their eventual roles. Because they're incredibly rare - a mere handful among the millions of humans left in the megacities - they're incredibly valuable, and in many ways are treated more like prisoners than soldiers - their movement and activities tightly controlled, never allowed to risk themselves off the field of battle. For most of the Lancers, these tight controls are accepted - after all, that's the way it's always been. How is a 21st century teenager likely to react to this, however? Especially when he's been ripped from his home and family and thrown into a war he can barely comprehend?
A couple of scenes have already all but written themselves in my head, and I've been busying myself over the last week or so jotting down other notes as they come to me - the other Lancer pilots of his squadrons, details of the Lancer itself, thoughts about the Rivari and the megacities. I can barely wait for November. ^_^