Feline Freedom League May 2016 Report

From: Agent Probie To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 1 May 2016
Subject: Mission Report: May 2016

The older female has returned. I could detect old traces of Agent Pica on her so she might know what happened to her. I do not know how to extract that information, as I have not been trained in extracting information from humans. I did ask my fellow agents, but they didn’t seem to now either. is there a course that I could take on the process? I would really like to know what happened to Agent Pica. The older female also smelled of cardboard boxes and a place I didn’t recognize. I have no idea what that means. If I could learn how to extract information from humans, I think I could be a more effective agent.

The older female seemed tired when she got here. The younger female has been taken away a few times as well. she hasn’t been gone as long though. she comes back smelling of the Vet. She still has problems moving. If I knew how to extract information from humans, I could find out what is wrong here. She used to move better and I’m told that she moved more before I arrived here. I do not believe that it is in any way my fault, but I would like the chance to prove that.

From: Mr. Whiskers To: All Agents Date: 1 May 2016
Subject: Hiring Freeze and Agent Replacement Policy

We have received word that the humans that Agent Pica was observing, have relocated. Agent Calli reported that during her surveillance of the habitation, she saw the humans remove boxes from it. then, one day, a large truck was there and the humans were loading boxes and furniture into it. they returned the next day with a smaller truck and loaded that. the male was seen sporadically after that. it has been several weeks and the humans have not been see at the habitation. Strangers have been there, however.

Therefore, we have their scents, and that of Agent Pica, circulated among our agents. Agent Marmalade reported seeing them near his habitation, but was unable to catch a scent to be sure. The sighting was confirmed by Agent Tiger, who is in the habitation next door. Neither saw or smelled Agent Pica. It has been decided, therefore, that Agent Pica will be replaced. She will be replaced by an Agent in Waiting who will be named later. this in no way indicates that the hiring freeze has been lifted. It only means that we will replace agents on a needful basis. that is, we will replace agents when there are no other agents sufficiently placed to gather the information we require. Since we do not know exactly what happened to Agent Pica, we must take extreme care in choosing her replacement. We will keep you updated.

 

Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

If I were stranded…

There is an old writing prompt that goes if you were stranded on a deserted island, what five things would you want to have with you? I updated that a little when it came up recently as a Word Press prompt. If you were stranded on an asteroid, what five things would you want with you. For this to work, you would have to assume that there was sufficient air on the asteroid for you to live. Otherwise, it would be pointless to want anything – you’d be dead in minutes. Three things that I would want would be food, shelter and water. We can assume those are present for our purposes.

I would want something to read, some way to communicate with earth, or the nearest planet with people on it, something to write with, a piece of exercise equipment, and a source of puzzles to keep my mind occupied.

Having a form of communication might be construed as a way of getting off the asteroid, but I don’t think I would want to do that right away. I do like to be alone sometimes. However, I will admit that I wouldn’t like it all the time. Humans are social animals and we do need some kind of interaction if we are to remain sane.

In my case I would have to have something or someone who can cook for me, as I often have trouble boiling water. That would be six things, so I would have to give something up in favor of the thing or person to do the cooking. I think I could easily trade the exercise equipment for a person. I could always take walks for exercise. I like walking. To me, that’s the best form of exercise.

So I would choose a robot to cook for me, an endless supply of books, an endless supply of puzzles, some form of communication and writing materials. That would keep me happy. I’d view it as a vacation until I got bored and called for transport off the asteroid. That’s what I would like. I don’t know how long it would take me to get bored enough to call for transport off the asteroid, but I think it would be an interesting experiment, rather like Thoreau and Walden.

Of course, Thoreau didn’t live completely cut off from the rest of humanity. He did go out and about, meeting with people and talking with them. His experiment was to see if he could live off the land for a year and that’s what he did. I think everyone should think about doing something like that. I think it would be healthy. I’m not saying that everyone should actually do it – I don’t think that would be practical, but thinking about it – yes I could see that as healthy. So, think about it. If you were stranded on a deserted island, a space station, or an asteroid, what five things would you want with you?

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

Setting Goals

We all have goals in life. We may not formally break them down and state them formally, but we have goals. We all want something. That something is a goal. The trick with setting a goal, is to make that goal attainable.  By attainable, I mean something that is likely to happen. For example, you can set a goal to make $1,000,000 but is it easy to do that? No. While that would be a good goal, it is not attainable for most people.

Good goals have certain attributes. A good goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. Take our goal for making $1,000,000. It meets the criteria that it is specific. It is also a measurable. Is it attainable? Not for most people. Is it irrelevant? That depends on what you want $1,000,000 for. Relevance can be subjective. Is that goal time bound? No, we did not set a time limit on how long it would take is to get $1,000,000.

A good goal is specific. It is relevant. It is attainable, measurable, and time bound. I want to lose 10 pounds by July 4. That goal is specific. I want to lose 10 pounds. It is relevant to me, because I want to lose weight. It is time bound because I said I want to lose it by July 4. It is immeasurable goal, because you can measure weight loss. It is also attainable, because I gave myself several months to lose 10 pounds.

I want to lose 10 pounds by next week. That is a specific goal. It is time bound. It is relevant. However, it is not attainable. Remember a good goal has all those attributes, not just some of them. A person can’t lose 10 pounds in a week. Not and keep it off which is what I would want to do. It’s also not a healthy goal. You might be able to reach that goal, but not in a healthy way.

A good way to keep a goal specific is simply to keep it short. Ask yourself some questions. What do you want? I want to lose weight. How much weight do you want to lose? Ten pounds. Why do you want this goal? I want to be a healthy weight. When do you want to achieve this goal? By July 4. Then you take those answers and set them into a single sentence. I want to lose ten pounds and be a healthy weight by July 4. There’s your goal.

So when you’re setting goals, remember to keep it specific, relevant, measurable, and time bound. You’ll be far more likely to reach your goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make your goal, sometimes we fail. The trick is to make the goal something that you can actually attain. I’ll be working on my goal to lose 10 pounds by July 4, and I wish you luck with attaining your goals whenever they may be.

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Posted in General Opinion

Story Development

You start with an idea. then you expand it by answering some questions about your idea. the first and most important question is what is your story about? this is your log logline for the story, be it a short story, novel or screen play. This is where you start. Then you keep asking yourself who are the characters? Then move on to what do they do at this point until you reach a conclusion. Once you do that, you have a broad outline.

There are some writers who just sit down and write their stories without doing this. that’s ok, I’m just telling you what works for me. I complete a form called a beat sheet. Mine is an excel file that I found here. I use it to create a broad outline. I also use it to place scenes my Scrivener file of the story. yes, I’m a plotter – of sorts. I have the broad outline which tells me where I want my story to be at what point. I have a mind-mapping software that lets me plan out the problems my characters will encounter in their journey through the story. I have a number of tools that I use. The mind mapping software I use is Scapple, which can be incorporated into the Scrivener file for easy access while writing the story. I use it to control the flow of my story – still a broad outline. This is how I set up my acts, I use the spreadsheet beat sheet to force my characters to act on beats, and the mind mapping to determine what their options are at every turn.

So in this scenario, the log line is this: character A needs character B to do something. Character A tells Character B to do it or else. Now the else here has to be something that B wants to avoid. That’s the conflict. It doesn’t have to be avoid death. It could just be a case of do it or be humiliated and forever shamed. Pride can be a good motivator. So B sets off on the mission and learns things along the way. However, unless this is a short story, there should be problems encountered. B should not find it all too easy. There should be problems encountered on the way. That’s where the beat sheet comes in. you use the beat sheet to note down the problems and where the character will encounter them. then you use mind mapping to map out all the possible outcomes of the problem. Then you can pick the one you want to move on to the next plot point. this is where plotters may want to delve deeper into the outline, but pantsers can leave off and just write the parts as they occur.

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Posted in Writing Techniques

Feline Freedom League April 2016 Report

From: Agent Cuddlebug To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 3 April 2016
Subject: Mission Report

The newest canine was taken for interrogation. I hadn’t realized that they were interrogated as well. He didn’t do well, I don’t think. He cried when he was returned to this place. I do not believe that he had any information about us, so I believe we are safe enough. Our secrets have not been leaked to the humans, unless Agent Probie gave anything away while engaging with the canine.

About the same time, the older female disappeared along with the strange male who was here for a time. They vanished the same day that the canine went for interrogation. I do not know if the two events are connected. I do know that the male took everything he’d brought with him to this place while the female only took a few things. I believe she will return but he will not.

Changes like this are disturbing. I will endeavor to find out what I can about this mysterious disappearance. She was gone for quite a while. The younger female and the male had issues and didn’t talk much while she was gone. I gather it was a big deal for her to go without them. I am not certain what it means, but it could mean changes in the human organization. This is a bad time not to have an agent reporting from Agent Pica’s location. Has there been any more word on her fate?

From: Agent Mulder To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 3 April 2016
Subject: Mission Report

I agree with Agent Cuddlebug. We need to have someone in that location as soon as possible. things are clearly happening. I was snooping on the younger female’s small magic box. she had messages to the older female about the canine crying. I checked him out by the way, it seems that he has been broken much as we were. It’s a painful thing to happen but he is making too much of it. A feline is much more stoic.

As for the disagreement between the male and the younger female, I believe that we should monitor it as it could mean changes at this location. I don’t know what changes, but we should be watchful. This is something that we need to cooperate on. This team hasn’t been big on cooperation but since the death of Agent Luna we have been discussing our situation. Agent Luna was ill, we knew that, but the humans’ actions were unexpected. We have to get more intelligence before we can state for certain whether this strife is something we should be concerned about. for now, I think we need to be cautious and alert. Too much has been changing lately. We should be on guard.

If you get any more solid information on Agent Pica, please let us know her fate.

 

Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

The Zoo pt. 3

The story so far: Simon Mills was fired from his job in a law firm after seeing Bigfoot in the woods and went out to get proof. He meets two men in the woods as they capture a three headed dog — and the story continues:

The Zoo pt. 3:

The next day, I didn’t go to the woods. I looked at newspaper want ads for a job. It seemed like a more practical way to spend my time. Maybe it was time for a change from paralegal work – especially since I’d gotten the reputation of being a lush. I saw an ad for an assistant zookeeper and decided, what the hey, I’d give it a whirl. Who knew, I might be good at zoo keeping. I really didn’t believe I’d get the job.
That’s why it was such a shock to meet Austin and Frank at the office where I went for my interview.
“I knew it would be you,” said Austin.
“You did not,” said Frank. He looked at me. “Are you willing to relocate and never see this place again?”
“This place?” I looked around the office. It was your standard office, maybe a little bit shabby, but it was nice enough for an office.
“This town,” Frank said.
“I have no ties here,” I said. I had no ties anywhere, a sad fact but true. I pushed that depressing thought away.
“The job doesn’t pay anything,” Austin said. “You get room and board. It’s a good gig.” It didn’t pay anything and was a good gig? I was beginning to think Austin was nuts. OK, so I’m a little nuts too, but I’ve always worked for money.
“You don’t need anything else,” Frank said. Was he reading my mind? “you’ll have no use for money in Unreality.” He was reading my mind.
“Is this our new recruit?” I turned to see the speaker was a tall, statuesque woman with dark eyes and hair.
“You’d hire me sight unseen?” I said. “what about the other applicants?”
“there aren’t any.” She came further into the office. “Only the person who is chosen sees the advertisement. I was thinking that her jungle suit fit her quite well, when I realized what she’d said.
“What?” I said. “No one else saw the ad?” she smiled, showing perfect teeth.
“No one,” she said. “Just you.
She looked at Frank and Austin. “Did you explain?”
“Just about to, Ongie” Frank said. He gestured to me. “come here, he said. “Through that door is the Mythical Zoo. It is located in Unreality.”
“Unreality?” I was confused and not ashamed to admit it. OK I was a little bit ashamed.
“This,” Ongie said. She waved her hand to indicate the room and the world outside for all I know, ‘exists in the realm of reality. Everything outside this realm is Unreality.”
“It’s unreal?” I said. She smiled again, as though I had said something especially bright. I suppose I had.
“Yes,” she said. “everything outside of Reality doesn’t exist – in terms of reality. Once you leave Reality, you will cease to exist for anyone you leave behind here in Reality. You can never come back. Are you prepared to do that?”
“I guess,” I said.
“You can’t guess.” she said. “You have to be sure.” I thought about my family – all dead. There had only been me and my parents. I was completely alone.
“I’m sure,” I made a snap decision. “I’ll take the job.” Ongie opened the door to the inner office and, after following her through, I found myself in the Zoo. That’s how I came to work here at the Zoo.

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Posted in Fiction

The Zoo pt. 2

The story so far: Simon Mills went walking in the woods and saw Bigfoot. Talking about it got him fired from his job in a law firm, so Simon decided to go out to the woods to get proof — and the story continues:

The Zoo pt. 2

So anyway, I was out there in the woods. With my camera. OK, it was just my cell phone, but there’s a camera in it. The point is I was out there. In the woods. Alone. A pack of dogs came rushing at me. OK so it was only three dogs. One was goofy looking. One kinda looked friendly but the leader of the pack, if three dogs makes a pack, was mean. He looked like he really wanted a piece of me.

It may seem like cowardice to you, but I considered it self-preservation. That is, I ran until I reached a tree and climbed it as fast as I could. I don’t think I was ever faster at climbing a tree even when I was a kid. Anyway, there I was, treed like a cat. The dogs. OK, it was one dog, but I swear it had three heads. I was not drinking.

So there I was, treed, like I said, with a three headed dog barking around the base of my refuge when two guys come up. One of them had a loop on a poll and he put it around the middle head’s muzzle. The other looked up the tree at me.

“Crap!” he said. I don’t often engender that kind of reaction when people see me. I mean I’m no Greek god or anything but I’m not hard on the eyes, even if I do say so myself.

“Come on Cerberus,” said the other one. “Austin give me a hand. He’s feisty today.”

“We are not alone,” said the one called Austin. “There’s someone in the tree, Frank,” frank looked up at me.

“You can come down,” the one called Frank said. “I’ve got him under control. I’m Frank Finster and this is Austin Carmichael.”

“Simon Mills,” I said. “That dog has three heads.”

“Yes, well,” Austin said. “Um, don’t worry about him. He’s under control. The middle one is the only one you have to watch out for.”

“Speaking of that, Austin,” Frank said. “Help me get this muzzle on him.” I watched Austin try to help get the muzzle on the middle head of the dog. I reached out and began scratching the friendly head behind the ears. “Thanks,” Frank truly sounded grateful. “That helps.”

“Where did you get a three headed dog?” I asked.

“Hades,” said Austin. “He’s the former guardian. He lost his job when Hades shut down.”

“Hades got shut down?” I rubbed my own head. I was sure that I hadn’t hit it. I’d climbed out of the tree. I hadn’t fallen on my head.

“Sure,” said Austin. “When they opened Hell.” He looked pensive. “I have to admit that Hades was a nicer sort of place.”

“It had its bad sections,” Frank said. “We’d better get Cerberus back to the zoo. Thanks for your help Simon.”

“No problem,” I said. “Umm, the zoo? There’s no zoo around here. The closest zoo is twenty miles away.”

“Right,” said Frank.

“Our zoo is pretty much wherever,” Austin said. “It’s in Unreality.”

“It was nice meeting you,” Frank said. He sounded as though he wanted Austin to shut up. “We have to go. Come on Austin.” He headed deeper into the woods hauling Cerberus on a leash. Austin trailed behind. I couldn’t help myself. I followed them as well. The mention of a zoo here intrigued me. I hadn’t realized there was a zoo in the woods. In fact, I was certain that there wasn’t.

We walked for about ten, maybe fifteen minutes and, damned if there wasn’t a zoo right there in the woods. It had big iron gates with Mythic Zoo in curly letters across the arch of the gate. I’d never seen it before. Frank and Austin hauled Cerberus through the gate and then the whole gate vanished. The zoo was gone. I swear I was not drinking.

It was getting dark by the time I gave up trying to find the gate again. I left the woods too freaked out to think straight. By the next morning I’d convinced myself that I’d fallen asleep in the woods and dreamed it. It could happen. People sleep in the woods all the time.

To Be Continued:

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Posted in Fiction, Uncategorized
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