Feline Freedom League February 2016 Report

From: Mr. Whiskers To: All Agents Date: 9 January 2016
Subject: Agent Pica is gone

It is my sad duty to inform you all that we have lost another agent. Agent Pica has stopped submitting reports. This is sad news. I dispatched agent Calli to reconnoiter her habitation and she could not make contact with Agent Pica. She did witness the humans taking Agent Pica for an apparent interrogation. They returned without her. This could mean that Agent Pica has been executed. The observation post that normally sat by the window is outside the habitation. Agent Calli reports that it had the scent of sickness to it. we can only assume that the humans sent Agent Pica over the Rainbow Bridge out of kindness.

In light of these tragic events, I have redone the schedule for reporting. The new schedule is as follows: January, April, July, and October, agents Cuddlebug and Mulder. February, May, August, and November agent Probie. March, June, September, and December: agents Storm and Smudge. I will be submitting directives from time to time as I do now. Good luck to you all and may Bast protect you all.

 

 

From: Agent Mulder To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 7 February 2016
Subject: Mission Report

I still can’t believe Luna is gone. I feel as though I have lost another mother. I remember how I used to protest when she would hold me down and wash my face when she felt that I didn’t do it properly. I wish she was here to do it again. I miss her.

She smelled sick when they took her away and didn’t bring her back. what is happening here? We have lost so many agents. I almost can’t take it in. first we lost Agent Trouble, then Agent Snickers, then Agent Luna and now I understand that we have lost Agent Pica? What will happen to that location without an agent to monitor it?

Shouldn’t they be replaced? Surely the budget can replace agents who have left their habitations. My fellow agents and I have stepped up to take up the slack left by the loss of our two agents. Who is taking over for Agent Pica? Do we know yet? Surely that post is not going to be left vacant.

I wish I was in a position to do something there. however, I am not and I see no signs of any plans to remove me or any other agents from this location, for which I am grateful. We are all in good health, as far as I can tell. Do we know any details about Agent Pica? Perhaps she is only missing. Perhaps she is in for an extended interrogation.

 

Michigan Humane Society: Somebody here needs you.

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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

More Brainstorming

For my brainstorming session, I can do an Internet search for writing prompts or I can use one of my pocket muse books or the cat naps book that I got for Christmas. I can choose a number and make that the number the page I can open any book to and read the page. Something could pop out of that.

I just used the random feature in excel and chose a page that way. I got page seventy-four. In the cat naps book I got this quote: “Kittens are born with their eyes shut. They open them in about six days, take a look around, the close them again for the better part of their lives.” – Stephen Baker. It’s a cute quote but I don’t think I’ll get a piece of writing out of it.

The Pocket Muse book I have handy doesn’t have page numbers. So I opened it at random – both pages had pictures only – windows. That’s an option, I guess. I could write about anything to do with windows — window shopping, buying an actual window, what’s outside my window, windows of opportunity. There’s a whole list of things.

Page 74 of Meditations of John Muir has this: How boundless the day. the meat of it is on page 75, which is about a stormy sky in the mountains. I have little experience with mountains. Still, I think this is a valid brainstorming technique. Page 74 in my Oxford English mini dictionary gives me the words between cause and celiac, which is the American spelling of coelac, a disease causing the inability to digest gluten. So at least I learned something today. Sometimes brainstorming works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I just thought of another brainstorming method. It’s a variation on the one I already mentioned, but it is based on a book code. You take two random numbers. The first one is a page number, say 90, the second is 44. The second number is the word. Take a book, any book, and turn to the page number you chose, count the words and look at the word corresponding to the second number. That’s your word. Use it in a sentence, write a short piece about it. it’s your choice. For the example above, I used my Oxford English Mini-dictionary and got the word “wooden.” I can write several sentences with that word in it. “The actor’s performance was wooden.” There’s one. “She used a wooden spoon to mix her cookie dough.” There’s another one. I’m sure that I could write more, but you get the idea.

The point is that you can play these little games to generate ideas. some games are more fun than others, like my idea of a few weeks ago of making silly sentences out of random words. so if you are stuck for things to write, you can try these ideas or make up your own. Me, I’m going to try to write a paragraph about wooden things.

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Posted in Writing Techniques

Evil Characters

The dictionary defines evil as morally wrong or bad; immoral, wicked, evil deeds, an evil life. That’s a bit redundant and circular in some places. Still, it’s a good definition of the word. Wikipedia says it is the absence or opposite of that which is ascribed as being good. That’s a bit pompous, but still also a good definition.

All good fiction has conflict.  There are many layers to conflict. There can be conflict in the desires of the characters, conflict between ideals, and the type that I will be discussing today, the conflict between Good and Evil. You have the hero or protagonist against the villain, or antagonist. The villain represents Evil. A villain portrayed as completely evil is not a believable villain because he or she should have his or her own set of morals. To create a good villain, a writer needs to set up that set of immoral morals.

As much care needs to be taken with creating a villain as is taken with creating a hero. Just as we love a flawed hero, a villain with a few redeeming qualities is a good, realistic villain. Can the villain be redeemed? Anything is possible in fiction. The story elements leading to that should be set up realistically though. the writer, in this instance, should ensure that the villain is portrayed as evil at the beginning, so that he or she is easily seen as a villain. Then in the middle the villain could re-examine his or her values. Only then can the writer redeem the villain at the end. that’s hard to do, but not impossible.

So what is evil? What makes your villain believe that he or she is right when he or she is amoral or just immoral? In other words, what beliefs make your villain evil? What redeeming qualities does he/she have that make his/her evilness even more pronounced? You need to create a moral code for your villain just as you do for your hero. What does your villain want? Whatever it is, it should be the total opposite of what your hero wants.

It’s a good idea to create the two characters together so that you can match them. Sometimes it isn’t possible to do that, of course. When that happens, just have your hero’s chart open and refer to it when you create your villain. That works well for characters in a series.

Conflict drives fiction. Characters drive conflict. Creating good and evil characters is important. don’t skimp on this part of the work and your story will be the better for it. study the books or movies that had you hating the villain and see what made those villains work. you can adapt that to your own villain. Good luck and keep writing.

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Posted in General Opinion, Writing Techniques

Life and the Universe

Scientists are excitedly finding extrasolar planets, planets that orbit distant stars. How excited would they be to find life? The search for exterrestrial life in the universe is ongoing. It’s quieter than the search for new planets. Mainly because they haven’t found it yet. As a writer of science fiction, this topic interests me. what if we haven’t found it because we aren’t looking wide enough?

Life on earth consists of cells that contain DNA. That’s a good definition of life, right? Well, not exactly, that definition leaves out the viruses. Are viruses alive? Let’s determine that. what is life? What do we mean by the word? Wikipedia says that “Life is a characteristic distinguishing physical entities having biological processes (such as signaling and self-sustaining processes) from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (death), or because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate.” That’s a good definition, but again we have to define what biological processes we are talking about.

Life on earth consists of organisms consisting of at least one or two cells – that leaves out the viruses and viroids. Do you see the problem here?

Most things we classify as life on earth have some sort of blueprint – DNA or RNA and self-replicate. So now we have included viruses. We have just defined life. Or have we? DNA is a repeating series of molecules involving sugars and phosphates. Sugar is based on carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Phosphates consist of Phosphorus and oxygen. So life requires carbon, hydrogen, phosphorus, and oxygen – to be simplistic.

Carbon could be replaced by at least six other elements, silicon, germanium, tin, lead and something called flerovium.  The same is true of phosphorus, except the elements that could replace it are nitrogen, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, and unumpentium.
That’s thirty-six combinations to think about and that’s not taking into consideration any variations for oxygen and hydrogen – although hydrogen is somewhat special and might not vary as much as the other main chemicals.

I’m being overly simplistic here as I am no chemist, but I do think that the search for life in the universe should include these considerations. For all I know it does. My point here, which has nearly gotten lost is that alien life would be alien – maybe to the point where we don’t recognize it as life. That’s what makes it hard to locate life on other planets – we only know what it is here on Earth. We could even be wrong about that as well. there could be other forms of life on this world that we simply haven’t realized is living.

So when you are thinking about the life and the universe, take a moment and think how amazing it is that life on earth evolved. Try to broaden your thoughts into the other forms it might have taken– or did take. Have fun with that.

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Posted in General Opinion

Silly Sentences

Have you ever made up a word game? I did. Just the other day in fact, I made a list of ten nouns, but you can use any number of them. Set that list aside and write up another list of the same length, but of verbs. Then make a list of adjectives, again with the same number of items. Then, match the words, by their position in the list, numbered lists work well for this, and make a sentence. You can expand on the idea by writing additional lists of adverbs and secondary nouns.

That’s a good game to teach you how to create a sentence with those word classes, nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjective. When I played my new game, I got a couple of sentences that sounded good, or at least funny, ‘snow glowing red’, ‘wind thinking tall’, and ‘candlelight walking stupid’. You can get some nice imagery there that could spark your imagination and get you writing. You might not get anything exciting out of it, but you should get something.

You can ask questions of the sentences. Why is the snow glowing red? Is there a Christmas light underneath it? Or perhaps it’s reflecting a car tail light or stop light. Who knows? What would it be like for wind to think tall? Perhaps it’s a storm or just a wild gust of wind dancing away with someone’s hat. Candlelight walking stupid could be a drunken person carrying a candle. Wordplay can be fun. You never know where it will take you.

My point is that a good form of brainstorming is to do a game like that one, or Mad Libs®, if you can find it. I know, it’s not a new game that I created; it’s just a simple game that you can play alone or in a group, with each person creating a list of their own. Then you put the words together you can have some fun sentences.

In a variation of the game, pick a random number and pull the word from the appropriate list and put them together into a randomly generated sentence. I had fun creating my list, using the lookup feature in Excel. Of course you can use any kind of spreadsheet or even just a piece of paper and a pencil to play this game.

All I did was add some easy to remember rules. A list of nouns, a list of verbs, a list of adjectives which, if arranged correctly will make sentences. You can use this idea to create simple sentences or more complex ones, depending on your lists and how you arrange them.  That’s where the spreadsheet comes in handy. You have the spreadsheet lookup values on a worksheet and build your sentence that way.

If you like, you can write shorter lists and use a dice to determine the sentence, rolling the dice for each list. roll the dice, total the number if you have more than one die, but keep in mind that if you have two dice, you might not be able toe select the first item on your list — adjust the numbers accordingly. Then take the word from the list that corresponds to that number. Do that for each list and build your sentence.

You could even build a paragraph in a like manner, just keep rolling the dice and choosing your words. You will probably get nonsense, but nonsense can be fun.

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Posted in Writing Techniques

Feline Freedom League January 2016

From: Agent Cuddlebug To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 3 January 2014
Subject: Mission Report

They have brought in a rat. They claim that it is a canine, but it is the right size for a rat, if a little light in color. The ears are not right either. It makes noises like a canine. Perhaps they are right and it is a canine. I’m not sure what it is. I just want it gone. This is so unfair. We have two of those already. They could have brought in a civilian cat, but no, they bring in that whatever that is. They call it a Chihuahua. What is that? Perhaps that is its name but they do keep making noises about naming it. They make a disgusting fuss over it. How can we do a decent job of anything with three canines in our place? The first one was bad enough, and then they brought in another one? What is even more disgraceful is that Agent Probie is nearly collaborating with the canines. He should be disciplined severely.

While I understand that he is young and exuberant, which goes well with dogs, but he needs to learn that they are not our friends. He needs to understand that he and they are not the same animals. Therefore, I request that he be officially warned that his friendship with these canines borders on collaboration. Please send him the standard form letter about the dangers of collaborative behavior as he will not listen to me. Youth can be so impetuous.

Additional note: Agent Luna was taken for interrogation and has not returned. We fear the worst and she is gone. The humans seemed upset.

From: Agent Probie To: Mr. Whiskers Date: 3 January 2014
Subject: Mission Report

It is not a rat. It doesn’t even look like a rat. It looks young, but that’s what humans find appealing about it. I think it is a canine spy sent to watch us. It look far too innocent to be anything but devious. I am not collaborating with the canines, I am only trying to gather information. That’s what we are here for, isn’t it?

I think my activities with the canines is as an excellent tactic to obtain information from the canines. I doubt he is in collaboration with them. I believe I am simply doing an excellent job of ingratiating myself with them much as Agent Luna did with the humans. I shouldn’t be disciplined or even warned. I will, however, heed the warning about about overdoing it. I suppose Agent Cuddlebug is correct, and it does not look good.

I want to add that I will miss Agent Luna. She was a fine agent and a good friend.

Michigan Human Society: Believe you can make a difference!

Animal rescue Site The Animal Rescue Site
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Posted in Feline Freedom League Report

Inspiration

The other day I was taking a walk in my local park when this poem jumped into my head. It wasn’t this well written then, of course, I did work on it when I got home. It‘s just a bit of fun really. It’s a good poem for a group to recite while walking — a marching poem or cadence, is what it is. It’s based on the chants I have heard actors playing military recruits chant as they march or run. It just goes to show that inspiration can come from anywhere at any time — even if you aren’t consciously trying to write or create something. Anyway, here it is, for your enjoyment.

Leader: You can’t eat what you don’t buy
Response: You can’t eat what you don’t buy
Leader: You can do it if you try
Response: You can do it if you try
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

Leader: You can eat just what you see
Response: You can eat just what you see
Leader: Moderation is the key
Response: Moderation is the key
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

Leader: Walking burns the calories
Response: Walking burns the calories
Leader: Dancing works too if you please
Response: Dancing works too if you please
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

Leader: Tracking food points shouldn’t hurt,
Response: Tracking food points shouldn’t hurt,
Leader:  save some points for your dessert
Response:  save some points for your dessert
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

Leader: losing weight is what we do
Response: losing weight is what we do
Leader: we know you can do it too
Response: we know you can do it too
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

Leader: Tracking food points is our way
Response: Tracking food points is our way
Leader: you should do it every day
Response: you should do it every day
Leader: Pounds off
Response: Pounds off
All: 1.2.3-4

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Posted in General Opinion
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