Skyward (Short-short, fantasty-steampunk)

Skyward (Short-short, fantasty-steampunk)

Everything exists as the plausibility of existence. The conceptions that have yet to alter reality are there just the same. Hara’s pen jumped out of his hand as the balloon began free fall, leaving his last thoughts stranded in his head.

***

At the very least, two hundred thousand-odd traveling balloons took off from Perlaia station, nestled in at the base of the Argous Mountains. From a distance it looked like some extraordinary celebration of colorful balloons released all at once, like the pivotal moment of a new year’s countdown. From afar you wouldn’t sense the urgency, you wouldn’t see the frantic, goggle-eyed balloon-pilots trying to stay adrift as they throw themselves against creaky cranks and monitor the steaming and whirring gizmos. And drifting onward, amongst the cloud-like flock of rag-covered floating balloons, like a leaf flowing down a lazy stream, the greenish balloon of Hara housed the writer as he frantically wrote down his thoughts in the final volume of his self-proclaimed Theory of Many Things.

***

The wasteland was covered in a massive meshed quilt of shadows, the beams of sunshine opening and closing like a kaleidoscope of silhouettes. It had been just shy of a day since the balloons departed from the mountain station. A migration of hopes, of necessity, for the pilots thought their plan remarkable, but knew they were hunted just the same.

On the lower deck of one of the many barges balancing between a rectangle of balloons, glasses clink amidst the sound of chatter and the machination of brewing drinks in the swaying barroom. Makeshift tables are all surrounded by two or a few cloaked and ironclad balloonists, lost in their own thoughts and conversations and exhausted from the weeks of rapid preparation.

It’s here that the first of The Starved made their presence known. In a fraction of a second, it rose from a table and threw down its robe to show a ghastly, thin to the bone, ghostly image of a man, covered in all sorts of leather sheathes for knives and throwing spears. At the first one’s motion, a dozen more did the same. The few bar patrons that were lost in a daze of relief from their exhaustion, just a moment ago, froze like ice, their hearts sinking deep into their spirits.
With a slithery and hissing shout, The Starved moved with otherworldly rapidity to the above decks, arms ready to wreak havoc to the now-vulnerable raggedy flock of balloons.

***

Hara was writing as frantically as ever, fueled by some intense weight to untangle the mysteries that seemed to be borne out of the recesses of his own mind. There were shouts outside and the sound of air escaping and tethers snapping.

Everything exists as the plausibility of existence. The conceptions that have yet to alter reality are there just the same. Hara’s pen jumped out of his hand as the balloon began free fall, leaving his last thoughts stranded in his head.

Lunch with Plato

(Sample topical blog post: discussing the Platonic “Form”)

Lunch with Plato

A sandwich is perhaps one of the most loosely defined yet ubiquitous meals that a hungry philosopher might wrangle with. In a pinch, a sandwich is bread, cheese and tomato or crackers held together by a spread.

This abstract blueprint of a sandwich is a Form. A perfection that exists, guides us, defines reality, but is not physically achieved. Sandwiches we slap together and eat or meticulously prep and pile are imperfect manifestations of the Form. We eat the sandwich, but we don’t eat or change the Form. We merely understand it as part of the fabric of our reality.

For the infinite number of things that can change the physical, material substance of what makes a sandwich, the abstract remains the same. As with hunger, as with the cow or goat that makes the cheese or as the wheat that makes the bread, the abstract is a perfection through which we can understand the material substances, but the Form itself is, to Plato, the highest and most basic and unchangeable and pure aspect of our reality.

Can the Forms feed us? When we’ve philosophized ourselves into the deepest, most gnawing of hungers, can they make us sandwiches? Inasmuch as without they, the Forms, there is no reality, yes, they are as necessary an ingredient to the foundation of our reality as the hummus is to falafel and pita sandwich.

By one of the most obscure philosopher-chefs in Northern California

Path of Exile: Alternative income sources for a non pay-to-win free-to-play game

Scent de Cannibal
“A musky, cannibal cologne that repels even the most zealous of trolls.”

Tabula Rasa ® Hand Towel
“Did a 6-link just drop and you have a nerdgasm to clean up? Not a problem for the Tabula Rasa ® hand towel.”

Brutus Brand ® Lubricant
“Nerd-friendly lubricant, for when you’re just too busy for your super model girlfriend.”

Cannibal Candy
“Satiate your bloodlust with these gummy-exile candies.”

Nemesis League Adult Diapers
“When shit hits the fan, don’t let your shit hit the floor.”

Kripparian’s Bedtime Cassette Tape for the Tired Nerd
“A 3-hour VHS tape of Kripparian farming content that he is way too high level for that will put anyone to sleep in no time.”

http://www.pathofexile.com

Squawk Boat (Nonfiction article)

Squawk Boat

Through the floating jungle of bundled vine-like wires, shaky platforms and anchored homes rests our destination. After some warnings of what might happen if we lose our balance, we trot steadily onward. The waters have been full of anything from sharks to drunks, if you believe the stories. Some whisper a prayer to themselves when making the last easy leap on to the host’s home.

Where are we? Squawk Boat. A house boat nestled in the docks of Sausalito, California. You’ll have seen them plenty of times if you’ve driven north from San Francisco over Golden Gate Bridge or south into the city. Squawk Boat is home to a local technology professional with a vision of creating an artists’ community hub to celebrate prosperity, art and independence. Artist showcases, exhibits, parties and residencies are already happening and in the works.

During my visit, the boat is full of wine and sparkling ginger drinks and people resting against a trapeze in the middle of the room or on couches, all watching others drip old nail polish off of a mannequin’s hand that is dangling in midair. Together the party makes something, everyone contributing their color and texture to the strange and beautiful hand in the air.

Below the living room deck, a photographer has set up a station for costumed photos for anyone that will partake. Above the living room loft, there’s a deck to lounge on as you listen to sea planes come in for a landing or peacefully watch the other house boats and hills nearby. A dynamic built-in light show is on the living room ceiling, courtesy of an electrical engineer friend of the host’s.

Just any given night at Squawk Boat. It’s part dream and part reality, with events happening every week and still more envisaged for the future.

By Joseph Piontkowski

http://www.squawkboat.com

 

Prisoners (Sample)

Sample of Prisoners in New Abyss (a work in progress short fiction)

Formatted as a script for interactive media

NARRATION

As you awake, your vision sluggishly comes into focus and your body starts to work again. You feel hazy. You know who you are, but the previous day and how you got here is a blur. The chill of the tiled floor causes you to become alert and you see someone across the way.

OPTION

Are you male or female? (This determines whether you play from the perspective of Andre [A] or Lucia [L], although the responses can simply be interchanged. Rephrasings can be added to reflect personality, although, in my opinion, if they do not actually affect the outcome it is not the best design. Creating an if/then tree of dialogue outcomes is awesome for the player/user, but is not the goal of this sample.)

A/L

Who are you? What is this?

A/L

I’d ask you the same thing. You first.

A

My name is Andre. I don’t know how I got here.

L

That makes two of us. I mean, my name is Lucia, not Andre, but I don’t know how I got here either.

A/L

How did we get here?

NARRATION

You close your eyes and try to remember how this came to be, but your mind is blank. It’s clear that you’ve been brought here by someone else, but that’s all you really know. It’s a cage and no accident

A/L

I don’t know. I can’t remember a thing, from yesterday at least. I left to go home and at a point I… just woke up here. It’s weird, I feel fine. Are you hurt?

A/L

Left where? No, I feel fine. Yeah I… I don’t remember either.

A/L

This is somebody’s prison. That much I can tell. I don’t like this.

A/L

Relax. Calm down. I hear footsteps.

OPTION

Wait and talk to the captor OR try to disable or kill them to escape. (Options like this can unfold into alternate options or reroute into the same outcome, the former is better design, the latter is easier to produce).

Poem 4

A voice like fleeing petals rushing to the ground

To rest, to forget everything

Piled neatly and deserted

A few words could change everything

But nothing’s been said, not yet

They all fly away, haphazard

Just from the wind. That’s all?

Leaving it all unfinished like some cruel imagination

(Throne Rush) Triumph Speech

 

Dear friends, family, acquaintances and enemies, it is with great excitement that I can inform you that my town Bigbootyton has reached 500 honor points and acquired its second builder.

 

Through many months of hardship, our first builder has achieved incredible things for Bigbootyton. We’ve survived countless advances from our enemies and brought misery upon our foes, all with the foundation of one measly builder and still no heroes.

 

With such a triumph now in recent past, what lies ahead for Bigbootyton? Surely many more struggles against warring foes and testing our mettle against their walls and fortresses, but now at literally twice the rate of industry. Can we dream of a day in which Bigbootyton can let down its guard, open it’s doors, and unman its towers? Perhaps not. But we will strive ever onward!

 

All praise Bigbootyton!