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Off for the Winter...

December 27th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Winter break now obviously - can’t stay home the whole two weeks. :-/   I’m going to be off again - will probably be back Tuesday or Wednesday next week.   I have no clue where I’m going - just another random road trip.   Hopefully not as boring as the last.

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Fort Wars Ladder

December 24th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        It turns out Elpea’s old ladder for Fort Wars has ALWAYS worked.   We were working on an XML version for NOTHING. :( All we needed was to add &sFlags=0 to the address we were using. Argh!

        Now splitting it so that we have an expansion and non-expansion version… Would be perfect to release on Christmas XD

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House with Christmas Lights

December 22nd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Hello all - merry christmas!

Here’s just something you have to have seen at least once, if you haven’t already.   I found it about a year ago - still very cool.

House Lights Synced with Music

Someone synced a ton of christmas lights on there house with “Wizards in Winter” music in the background.   I believe his name was Carson Williams and he does it every year.   Course the music is on radio station, not speakers (or he’d be hated by his neighbors lol ).

Yes it’s real - not video-editted or anything.   Heck it was on the news - here’s a snopes article  (they look into “urban legends”) if you need all the proof.

If you haven’t seen this yet - shame on you! Enjoy!

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Web Design Resources

December 9th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in 42 | #

Learning to web design from the ground up...

  This site was my first real attempt ever at coding a website from scratch. I started this with absolutely no clue as to what I was doing, and to be honest, I still don't really know what I'm doing.
  For those wondering, I use nothing but a simple text editor to type all my code - type the code, yes. You really can't "program" your site if you're using a click-and-drag interface. At most, I'd use Notepad2, which is the same as Notepad on Windows except with highlighting. Anything extra is cumbersome.
  The following are tutorial and resource sites in the order I found them. This site wouldn't be here if I didn't manage to find these. If you're just starting web design, you might want to bookmark a few of these.  Once you're done with those and want to learn actual programming...[More]
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Jelly Pickle

December 8th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Something random I found.   Props if you can figure this out. :o

Jelly Pickle

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Three Drives

December 6th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Three Drives by Man With No Name
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Figured Out XML Parsing!

December 5th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Woot! Finally figured out how to parse XML with PHP.   Hopefully the Fort Wars ranking system (power rating/cuetech/whatever) will be up pretty soon! Big thanks to Elpea for helping me out here - and letting me bug him to death and figure this out. :p

        For starters, I’ve set up an easier to read version of Ensemble Studios played games feeds: Game List

        Dynamic too! Just change the number in the URL.

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Interview

December 3rd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
        Got an interview a while ago by Riot at AOE3Files. Was a lot longer than I thought it would be.   Basically they were interviewing me for designing for Age of Empires III.

Here it is for those interested: AOE3Files Interviews pftq

        Never had an interview before...
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Complaints on Fort Wars

November 26th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        I’ve read and received various complaints on the recently released Fort Wars map.   Some complaints are valid but many of them really hold no weight at all.   These are some that I have seen or received.

In this version, computer players don’t select their spawn and get units.

        First off, Fort Wars is a multiplayer map.     Fort Wars has never been meant for playing against computer players.   Even if they could spawn units, they would not be upgrading, buying, or using awards.   Play online please.   Is it not much more fun with human players in any case?

The store island needs more testing and does not work.   I move units to the tower and nothing happens.

        I was watching this guy play when he said it.   (We were allies).   He was trying to buy Super Speed (costs 40 coin) and he had less than 25 (he could only spawn pikes, grenadiers etc).   It works.   You just cannot afford it.   Please learn to play.

        In another case, some other person claimed he could not buy units that he could afford.   His base had masses of units and when asked what population he had, he replied “105/100“.   Hmm….

A lot of things that worked before  do not work.

        Nothing has changed from the previous versions except the additions of the new content from the expansion pack.   You cannot say that things that used to work do not work - it is the same code.

This version sucks.   Aztecs are too weak.

        The whole version sucks because one civilization is too weak.   I mean there’s only 11 other civilizations you can play…

Aztecs are OP (Overpowered).

        They are  a blind civilization  - a weakness suggested by some random player I now regret.   I’m not even going to explain why they aren’t OP.

Previous versions were better.   Now all the civilizations are too plain and  have no bonuses.

        The civilization bonuses from previous versions are exactly the same.   French is actually better now with all cavalry receiving HP bonuses instead of just one.   Sioux get speed upgrades for all units every 50 kills.   Perhaps you mean Iroquois and/or Aztec, but then that is not all civilizations now is it?

 

Maybe  I should add these to the FAQ, but seriously this is just common sense…

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New Avatar-Image

November 13th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

Just created this a few minutes ago.   Not sure just what it’s supposed to be.   I meant to make it for the guestbook background but it doesn’t really fit at the moment.   Still it looks pretty cool.

What you guys think?

Random Avatar-Image

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More Space For Site!

November 2nd, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        I just found out today that my host has upgraded the service from a previous 20 GB webspace with 300 GB bandwidth… to 200 GB webspace and 2 TB (2000 GB) bandwidth! :O Best part is I don’t have to upgrade my plan or anything - it’s already done.   I’m definitely not hitting that limit any time soon. :p I’m still only using one GB of webspace.

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AOE3: Tech IDs Collected

October 30th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Elpea has finished finding all the tech ids.   I’ve also found some pretty interesting new techs as well.   Maps are coming! :D

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AOE3: The Warchiefs

October 21st, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Okay I’ve just gotten the game today, and it looks somewhat promising.   A few noticable problems come up pretty quick though.   Quicksearch at the moment doesn’t work well - every game goes out of sync.   Another problem is somehow most custom maps have gone crazy so that’s going to take some looking into.   I’ll have to try playing again later.

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Internet Explorer 7

October 20th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #

        Got a message/button on my Yahoo Toolbar that now says “Get IE7 now!” So I went and got it.   The install took nearly half an hour to complete on my 3.2 GHz P4 and 2GB RAM PC :-/.   Well it must be worth it if it took that long to install.

        I opened it up, and it went pretty smooth.   The whole layout has changed and my Home page set to Yahoo and News. <_< Next thing I notice is that it still says “Get IE7 now!” Well I got it now go away! >_< Also it looks like the designers went for too high a resolution.   The text appears very faded and stretched on 1024×768 but looks nice and sharp on higher resolutions - BUT THEN IT’S TOO SMALL! :(

        Another thing is the Zoom.   It’s somewhat pointless in my opinion.   Ctrl+Scroll now changes the zoom instead of text size.   What it does is basically collapse the entire page and force it into a smaller/large box.   This ruins the page’s layout and doesn’t necessarily scale right at all.   It also doesn’t center on the page and you end up looking toward the corner of the browser.

        I think I’ve mentioned this above but the layout really changed.   The Home button is now a tiny little icon in the corner and the Favorites are under another button on the other corner.   The Home icon I can get used to I guess, but the Favorites is kind of slow and annoying - you can’t just click, point point and click.   It goes click, wait, click, wait, click.

        The old Menu Toolbar is gone (File - Edit - View - Favorites - Tools - Help).   However, it looks the Alt command got left in.   Just hit Alt on your keyboard and it should show up under the address bar - pretty ugly now but it works.   You can set it to stay permanent by going to View > Toolbars and selecting Menu Toolbar.

        Finally FTP no longer works for IE.   I guess they  forgot about it or something.   However, this isn’t too bad as you can simply open  up Windows Explorer (open up a folder on your computer) and type the ftp address directly into the addressbar there.  

        The good thing is though - it’ll be alot easier to design the site :P It supports alot more codes now and isn’t as buggy (at least website-wise).

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1. Signs - Wooden Signs

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   I gazed out the window into the stillness of the cool, summer night.  Not a single star stood in the sky, but there hung a beautiful aurora, with hues of green and purple, lighting the sky up and leaving a colorful glow on all the neighborhood.
~
   The last time I had seen such an aurora since when I was really little; in fact, I believe the last time I saw one was the night my parents disappeared.  I had been sitting at this exact same window that night.  There had been an aurora similar to this, just as magnificent and just as beautiful.  I was the only one awake.  Everyone else had been asleep.  I ached to wake somebody to show them the aurora, which there had never been one before in our town, but the aurora put me into a deep trance.  I felt as if I had not a worry in the world, as if I had reached a form of enlightenment, as if I were in a dream.
   I must have fallen asleep while watching it that night, for I recall my younger sister shaking me and waking me up.  Somehow I was on the floor and I felt rather awkward, but that didn’t matter at the time.  My sister whispered to me that she heard someone slam the front door.
   At first I thought it was a joke.  I asked if she told Mom and Dad about it.  She said she didn’t find them in their room, and came upstairs to my room to wake me.  I told her that it must have been our parents leaving the house then, but she replied that she thinks they had been kidnapped.  I laughed; usually it’s the kids who get kidnapped, not the parents.  We woke my little brother, who was about the same age as my sister, and went to search the house.  I realized then that she was right about Mom and Dad being gone, but I didn’t think they were kidnapped.
   “Maybe they went outside to watch the aurora,” I suggested.
   “What aurora?” my brother asked.
   I went up to my room and pointed out the window, but the aurora had disappeared.  The sky was hideously dark; the stars were still gone.  A few dogs barked in the distance.  From that night on, we never saw our parents again.  They were proclaimed missing, and my sister, my younger brother (who was asleep at the time), and I were sent to an orphanage until we reached legal age to own the house.
~
   I was twenty-one now.  My sister had gone to live on the other side of the town, partly because of her job as a veterinarian, but also due to her belief that the house was now haunted.  She wanted to stay as far away from it as possible.  I thought she was crazy; she had always been superstitious like that.
   My younger brother, on the other hand, wanted to see more of the world, and so he left the city.  It wasn’t very easy either.  The roads to the city had been under construction for as long as I could remember.  There was no airport here, but the town was near the ocean where one could travel by sea.  He used up about half the savings from our parents to travel on a ship.  To where, he would not tell us.
   For me, I stayed in the old house, and it was fine.  I had been living in it for a few months already; I haven’t noticed anything strange or out of the ordinary.  There were a few things that needed fixing or replacing in the ten or so years that had passed, but otherwise it was great.
   I continued watching the aurora, slowly drifting in the sky.  The night was incredibly silent.  I tapped the windowsill and pinched myself to ensure I was awake.
   Something caught my eye right that moment.  A bright white speck of light was drifting downward within the aurora.  Had I not been looking at that very spot right that moment, I doubt I would have seen it, hidden among the aurora.  I gripped the wood of the window so tight that a small splinter of wood went up my right thumb.  I watched as the tiny ball of light slowly sank behind the hills in the distance and vanished, as if it never existed.
   There was a sudden flash.  My vision went white for a second, but I must have imagined it.  The whole time, there was not a single sound to be heard.  The air was still without even the slightest breeze.  No dogs barked.  No cats meowed.  No cars screeched in the distance.  I don’t recall seeing anyone driving any cars, or anyone at all.
   Slowly but surely, the aurora started to dim.  The shine left the houses, leaving them gray and dull.  The sky went pitch black.  A few dogs barked from somewhere in the neighborhood.  Just like that, the aurora vanished.
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2. Ketchup

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   The next day, I forgot all about the aurora.  I drove down to the nearby store to buy more food.  I had run out of milk, juice, eggs, bread, meat, and ketchup five days ago, but all this time I had been procrastinating, thinking I could last just a little bit longer, until the ketchup ran out.  That I cannot live without.  Let the milk run out.  I don’t care.  Let the juice run out.  I don’t care.  Let there be drought and the water run out.  I do care, but not that much.  Let the ketchup run out.  No.  One must have a good diet of fruits and vegetables everyday in order to live a healthy life!
   There I was gathering things into my cart at the store.  I was a tad furious for having my breakfast ruined like so.  I passed by the dairy aisle and looked for a carton of eggs.  There were numerous three packs for the price of a dozen, but no dozens.  I asked a nearby employee what had happened.
   “Oh we don’t sell eggs at a dozen anymore,” he declared proudly.  “We do not see a reason to.  Do you realize how valuable one egg can actually be? It is only now that you shall all learn to take eggs more seriously.  Besides, all the stores are doing it.”
   I didn’t feel like arguing, so I just grabbed a few three-packs and went on.  My day had gone off to a rather horrible start.  It just might be that this would be one of the most memorable days in my memory for years to come.  First the ketchup, then breakfast can’t be had, then eggs are sold four times more expensive…
   I sank so deep into my thoughts, I didn’t see in front of me, the guy in a green suit walking toward me, wearing three caps on his head, each one pointing in a different direction, each one a different color of red, blue, and yellow.  I did not see him suddenly act sly and suspicious and sneak behind me.  It took me a several minutes to realize the man was behind me shouting random words for all he was worth.
   “HEY!”
   “BOO!”
   “HAH!”
   “JELLY PICKLE!”
   “Goddamn it, can’t you hear me . . . BLAH!”
   It was Sam Pete, a friend of mine I had known for only about a year and he was already starting to freak me out.  I figure in this world, there are a number of ways people can be weird.  Some people are mildly and acceptably weird – the kind of weird that makes everyone unique.  Some people are so weird, they aren’t even human anymore.  Others purposely do weird things to make the world more interesting, a good kind of weird.  Sam was none of these.
   I turned around and stared at him for a second.  “You sound like an idiot.  What do you want?”
   “I wouldn’t be sounding like one if you would turn around! What are you deaf?” he muttered.  “I had been yelling right into your ear for two minutes!”
   “You look like an idiot as well,” I grumbled.
   I wasn’t kidding either.  How often did you see a man in a bright green suit, wearing three caps of red, blue, and yellow? His shoes were pink with orange shoelaces.  Over one hand, he had on a purple glove; the other wore a disposable pale-yellow glove.  To top it off, he wore a pair of shiny white sunglasses . . . in the store.  Even for Sam Pete, this was pretty bizarre.
   “Really? That’s very good!” he exclaimed, as if he had been worrying whether or not he looked retarded enough.  “Listen, meet me at the library at one o’ clock.  This is very serious!”
   “What’s so important?”
   “I can’t tell you right now,” he murmured.  “Just make sure you come!”
   “Okay sure,” I replied, grabbing my cart to continue my search for ketchup.
   Sensing I wasn’t taking him seriously, Sam grabbed a nearby beer bottle and shattered it on the back of his head.  “Come tonight or someone is going to die! And you don’t want that on your conscience for the rest of your life!”
   He held the broken bottle threateningly across his bleeding forehead.  He was shaking rather too nervously.
   “Fine! I’ll come! Just fix yourself up a bit,” I said.  I wasn’t sure what to make of this, but I seriously did not want to be the reason for someone’s suicide.
   A feeble smile forced itself upon Sam’s face.  He grabbed my hand and stuffed something hard, cold, and round into it.
   “Keep this with you at all times,” he stammered, the smile still forcibly latched onto his face. “Trust me you’ll need it.”
   With that, he spun around and hurried away.  I glanced down to see what he had given me.  It was a slightly faded-green, egg-shaped object with the most peculiar, shiny teal latch stuck sloppily atop of it.  Sam had given me a home-made grenade.
   Not wanting to be caught in a store, hand outstretched with a possibly dangerous explosive device, right in the middle of a busy aisle, I quickly stuffed it into my coat pocket.  Several people gazed suspiciously at me.  An old woman took off as fast as she could toward the front of the store when I glanced at her.
   I should probably get moving, I thought to myself and hurried toward the front of the store as well, keeping my gaze down to avoid eye contact with anyone.  I must have looked like I was pursuing the old woman or something, for she let out a horrifying scream.  I stopped immediately to see what was going on, and the next thing I knew, someone threw a giant potato at me.  It knocked me square in the face, and before I could regain myself, one of the employees ran me over with a shopping cart.  Are they trying to get the grenade to explode?
   I was sure how I was going to get out of that situation.  They grabbed my hair, my ear, and someone pulled at my nose and yanked me down to the floor.  A man helped tear off my jacket and reached into the pocket I had stuffed Sam’s grenade in.
   “Oh my god! It’s a bomb!” he cried out, as if he wasn’t expecting anything dangerous, after I had been hit in the head by a potato, run over by a shopping cart, and yanked down by the nose.  He literally tossed it to one of the employees, who eyed it carefully for a moment.
   “False alarm people!” he exclaimed.  “It’s just a toy!”
   There were various sighs and curses (Were they hoping for a bomb?) throughout the store.  The employee helped me up and handed me the grenade back.  I finally noticed the exterior was one of the plastic toy grenades with the brand name still attached to it.
   “Don’t bring these next time,” the employee warned.
   I looked about for the man who had taken my coat, but he had gone.  All I had was the stupid, toy grenade Sam had given me and my groceries which lay scattered about the floor.  I stuffed the grenade into my pocket and headed for the cashier.  They offered to give me my groceries free of charge, which was not bad I suppose, had I not received a flattened nose, a stolen coat, and a fractured ribcage.
   When I got home later that afternoon, I was starving.  I immediately took out of my bag 2 cartons of milk, a loaf of bread, a pack of eggs, and a slice of ham.  I stared at it for a few moments.  Something didn’t look quite right.
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3. One O’ Clock – One Really O’ Clock

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   I went to the library at one that afternoon as I had promised Sam.  It wasn’t that I actually took him seriously.  I really didn’t.  More or less, I was just rather curious what he was up to, and I didn’t have anything else to do that day.
   The drive took a few hours longer than I would have liked.  As mentioned before, there were no freeways or highways in the town, due to what appeared to be a never-ending construction project.  Traffic lights in this part of town were incredibly slow.  I remember I used to time it with my watch when I was little, and my parents were taking me somewhere.  From the moment the light went red, to the second it flickered green, my watch had counted a total of eight minutes and thirty three seconds.  The car barely reached the other side before the light flickered yellow.  I don’t quite understand it myself; you often saw cars from all four sides, just sitting there for minutes on end, all on a red light.  It didn’t help that there were about nine traffic lights to drive through, in order to get to the library.
   When I got there, I noticed that the parking lot was rather empty.  There were one or two cars there, and the owners only parked there to have an easy walk to the Wal-Mart right next door.  It didn’t strike me strange right that moment.  I’m not sure why; it just never occurred to me something was odd.
   I only realized my mistake when I reached the entrance, and on the door would not slide open.  A post-it note was stuck on the wall next to it, reading “Closed today! Sunday!”
   Perhaps he meant for me to meet him outside the library, I thought hopefully.  The cost of gas was going up quite a bit, and I did not like to think that I drove all the way here for nothing.
   I stood there for a while, searching the lot for any sign of him.  It didn’t help that the town was under a fairly intense heatwave.  Strange I didn’t recall it being so hot the night before.  If it were anyone else besides Sam Pete, I wouldn’t hesitate calling their cellphone.  However, this was Sam. After a few minutes, I gave up and started my drive home.
   It wasn’t all that unusual for someone to not have a cellphone.  There were plenty of people who had their reasons as to why not to have a cellphone.  One story that goes around is that cellphones can cause cancer due to radio waves transmitted from it.  I don’t think that it is all false, but it isn’t as if you plan to superglue the phone to your face all day.  Another story that went around was quite a few ways weirder.  Recently, there had been a small group of people claiming the phones were capable of implanting small devices into your head as you used it more and more.  With these small devices, some secret organization who made them will at eventually take over the minds of people.  Amazingly enough, this group gained a large number of followers, nearly a quarter of the town.  These are some of the reasons that go around against having a cellphone.
   Then there’s Sam.  His story was as outlandish you could possibly get.  Sam had this thing against all things electronic.  For cameras, he honest-to-god believed the myth about having your soul sucked away when you get your picture taken.  For televisions, he insisted people were being taken from this world and trapped in the screen.  Finally, Sam claimed that cellphones were strange alien devices used to by extraterrestrial beings to spy and study our bad habits.  With enough knowledge, they would be able to start an anti-human philosophy, in order to live an enlightened life and avoid all our mistakes on Earth.  However, Sam argued that watching us live would only pollute and ruin the minds of these great beings.  With that, he insisted on protecting the aliens from our horrifying ways of life, by disposing of our cellphones.  Sam had no followers.
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4. Discovery Zone

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
Sam Pete
   My name is Sam.  Sam Pete.  Call me Mr. Pete and I’ll strangle you.  People try to act polite around me, but I know deep down in their little minds, I am nothing but rubbish to them.  And I agree!
   People these days are far too busy to care for one another.  A man in a wheelchair, hit by a bus, wouldn’t last long if there were not people paid to save him.  Kids would run right by without noticing.  Men and women would scurry right past like lab rats, hurrying to wherever they were off to.  The logic goes these days that there is simply no reason, to think highly of another, unless they will get you rich or take you to high places in the future.  There’s just no other reason to care.  Many times one may wonder whether these are real, intelligent life forms that are actually capable of thought, for they often show no signs of it.
   Hence why I would make not a difference to anyone.  Just like anyone else in anyone’s eyes, I am nobody.
   That is, I am nobody until now.  I have happened across an incredible discovery recently that will no doubt change the world.  It is this discovery, that will perhaps not only mark one of the greatest events in the history of mankind but also the most vital.  The existence of mankind depends on this discovery.  It is crucial that the people of this town know, that perhaps the entire world knows.
   I must however carry this out carefully.  For one, nobody would believe a nobody about nothing.  I also lack the ability to plan this carefully to begin with, so I really do need somebody to help me with this.  There is only one person I know of who might have half a chance of believing what I need to tell, and that one person doesn’t appear to be coming!
   I gazed through the dark parking lot impatiently.  It seemed incredible how the afternoon could have been so scorching, and now, in the midst of the night, it was so terribly chilling.  A couple of paper bags glided along the road, like tumbleweed in the desert.  There was only one lamp in the entire lot, and I dared not turn away from it to face the pitch-black behind me.
   A town clock rang in the distance.  I checked my watch.  It was 1 AM.  Where was he? I should have known he wouldn’t take me seriously.
   While in deep thought, I failed to notice the low, steady humming filling the lot.  Before long, I felt as if I were trapped in a giant dome with incredibly loud and distorted speakers.  My ears felt inverted and putting my hands over them only made it worse.  By now, the actual lot itself had begun to tremble.
   Something hard smacked the back of my head.  I felt lightheaded for a moment and turned around.  All that lay before me was outstretched darkness.  My eyes widened as I realized my mistake, and I spun quickly back around.  It was still dark.  I turned and turned again in place, but I could not find the lamp.  The world all around me had gone black.
   The humming intensified and became a sharp ringing in my head.  I ran forward, desperate to find some sort of landmark to figure out where I was.  I felt the ground beneath one foot rise.  The earth was breaking apart.
   Then it all stopped.  I couldn’t hear a thing, but I felt immense pressure at the front of my face.  The back of my face felt just fine.  My body was paralyzed however.  I couldn’t even lift a finger.  I felt nothing, heard nothing, and saw nothing.
   But my thoughts were louder than ever.
   Where am I? I heard myself think.
   Right here you moron!
   Where is here?
   On the floor like a pathetic worm!
   Why am I on the floor?
   Because you got knocked down!
   I don’t remember being knocked down…
   Well I do!
   How can you remember something I do not?
   Because I am better than you!
   But I am you!
   Says you!
   “Do you like cake or pie?” said a deep, stolid voice.
   I like pie.
   Cake you moron! Wait who’s that?
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5. The Not-Remembered, Forgotten People

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   I didn’t sleep easy that night.  The wind had risen miraculously; it felt as if the town was in the middle of a hurricane.  Every few moments, something thudded against the wall outside.  I think it was probably a branch of the old oak tree next to the house, but I wasn’t sure.  Every time, the wind picked up, the house was filled with a deafening roar.  The shingles on the roof rattled wildly, and the shutters slammed open and shut, although I do believe I had them padlocked.  If I hadn’t turned up the heat and turned on a little bit of music to listen to, I would be scared stiff.
   Suddenly a bright flash filled the room without a sound.  Was it lightning? I glanced outside the window, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  I flipped the lights on and off, but they produced a dim, incandescent light, rather than the glaring white flare I had seen.  I was very tired, and I probably imagined it.
   I decided to go downstairs for a glass of water.  Every step created a low creaking of the floorboards.  As I neared the kitchen, there was a low dripping noise.  I thought I saw a dark shadow sweep over me, but the entire house was dark so I don’t know what I was thinking.  I switched on the lights.  The faucet was dripping water, even though I don’t recall using it today.  I grabbed a cup from the dishwasher and reached over to turn it up all the way.  Something foul and rotten filled my nostrils.  I gazed down, but there was nothing except the drips of water that had fallen.  Maybe another rat found its death at the blade of the food dispenser; that tends to happen every now and then.
   With the cup of water in hand, I sat down at the diner.  Something was different about the water; I couldn’t figure out what.  I must be imagining things again; I always do when it’s so late.  Without further thought, I gulped down the water, and regret it I did.  The water was filled with dirt.
   I ran over to the kitchen sink and started rinsing my mouth straight from the tap.  Somehow I had forgotten where my water had originally come from, and I ended up spitting my mouth dry.
   What was dirt doing in the tap water? My first impression was that whoever managed the water system had screwed up again, but then again it was pretty stormy tonight.  Perhaps something had broken.  Was the repair still open this late?
   I glanced at the clock.  It was one o’ clock.  One o’ clock.  Did Sam mean one in the morning? That’d be crazy, but Sam was indeed crazy.
   The wind was a lot stronger than it seemed from inside the house.  Several times during the drive, the car skidded sideways and sometimes refused to move against the wind at all.  It might have been my imagination, but to me, it felt that the farther I drove, the stronger the winds got.
   I finally got close enough to see the library in the distance at around twenty-five minutes.  It definitely wasn’t empty.  Something shiny flickered from the lot.  As I approached nearer and nearer, it got larger and larger.  It made everything else around it appear miniaturized.  It looked pretty solid and round.  It was silver and unscathed.  It was huge and out of place.  It was Sam Pete’s car.
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6. Out of This World and into Another

October 16th, 2006 | Posted by pftq in Possibility | #
   Sam Pete would never leave his car out unattended in such an insecure place.  The hour was very late, and his car stuck out gleaming like a diamond in a pile of coal.  Our town may be small, but we had our own problems just as all other towns did.
   Wait.  It was the dead of night.  My car was shut off, and there were no lights for miles.  How was Sam’s car gleaming?
   I approached slowly, repeatedly glancing from side to side.  Yet, I could not figure out where the light was coming from.  I don’t recall Sam having turned his car into a giant light bulb, though it did look ridiculously like one.
   When I had come within a few feet of the car, I had to shield my eyes and turn away.  The car was that brightly lit.  I even felt a wave of heat radiating off of it.
   I’m not sure what came over me just then, but I had a strange urge to feel how hot the car actually was.  My right hand shot out and went smack into the slick, cold steel.  Cold steel.
   Nevertheless, I felt heat from pouring down upon me.  If not from the car, then from where? As I pulled my hand away, I noticed something strange.  My hand created a thick, solid shadow about the surface of the car.
   Just as I glanced up, the light and heat disappeared, but I saw it.  I glimpsed it.  A huge, white flame hung above me and the car for just a split second, before silently jetting off into the night sky.
11-26-06
   It all seemed like a dream to me.  There was absolutely no sound, almost a similar feel to a silent movie.  It was just too surreal; I must have been dreaming for sure.
   I reached into my pocket, found something round and rubbery, and threw it at Sam’s car to have it rebound straight back at me.  If this was no dream, I should probably feel something.
   As it flew, I caught a glimpse of what I had thrown, but it was too late.  The cap flew off as the green, egg-like object soared through the air.  It missed the exterior of the car completely and crashed through the side window.  For no apparent reason, I jumped up into the air as high as I could, not sure if out of surprise or an attempt to find cover.
   Yet, nothing happened.  I inched my way toward the car to see if the grenade was still there.  My common sense seemed to have eluded for the moment.  I wasn’t sure what I was thinking.
   An explosion sounded from within, followed by the shattering of the car windows, before the metal exterior of the car itself finally ripped apart and shot off in all directions.  I leapt up into the air again, again for no apparent reason.  A sheet of metal somehow struck me just perfectly at my feet to boost me several feet into the air, where force of the explosion caught and threw me up even higher.  I waved my arms frantically to find hold of something.
   Something hit me in the face.  I swear it was a potato, but it was too dark to be certain.  I reached out my right hand as far as I could to find it.  Instead, my hand collided promptly with a cold hard metal.  The rest of my body followed, crushing my outstretched arm and smashing my nose for the third time.
311 unique view(s)