Thursday, September 20, 2012

Flash Fiction: Doppelganger

This is for Chuck Wendig's Flash Fiction challenge, A Second Game of Aspects

In case you're curious, I rolled three ten sided dice (3d10 for those of you who speak RPG nerd) to generate my aspects randomly. The subgenre was Cyberpunk, the Setting was Inside a Massively-Multiplayer game, and the Element to Include was Cloning. 



Is it murder or suicide to kill your doppelganger?
            I’m not normally the philosophical sort. I leave the heavy questions to the n00bs in Nixeroth tavern who gather to flame each other in between quests. But I’m in a mess for killing my doppelganger, so it’s worth consideration.
            “Do you understand?” The Night Elf chick asked me.
            I wanted to ask her if she wanted to cyber, but now wasn’t the time. She must be trying to make a name for herself, by volunteering to talk to me. I didn’t have to check her character stats to know her alignment was True Neutral. They like to fancy themselves arbitrators of justice. I called them fence-sitters.
            “What crime? My doppelganger is me, uploaded and imprinted into EverWorld of Dungeons. We’re the same person. I even chose to look the same in cyberspace as I do in the meatspace.” I flexed my muscles.
            “That’s not the point.” She frowned. Her face showed faint lines in between her eyebrows. It was amazing how far technology had come.
            “I’m the real victim here.” I looked down at my hands. Better play remorseful. “I watched myself die. I watched the light leave my own eyes. I didn’t sleep for a week.”
            Some of the lack of sleep was because my guild raided the Flame Dragon of Ooga’lith’s Lair for some epic loot, but still.
            “You still killed someone. Even if that person was yourself.”
            “So it’s suicide then. It was a cry for help. Someone should have saved me from myself.” I couldn’t help but grin at my own cleverness.
            The elf chick looked at me like she wanted to use her wand of Flame Strike to cow me into submission. “It can’t be suicide. You’re still here.”
I wondered if her meatspace counterpart was this hot. Probably not. Double D’s were pretty standard in EverWorld of Dungeons, along with super revealing armor. For women the more revealing the armor, the higher armor bonus you got. She must have a +30 to her armor class, at least.
She might not even be a she. It wouldn’t be the first time a guy went home with a Level 20 elf in a +25 flaming chainmail bikini only to find out her meatspace doppelganger was a dude. Some guy actually sued when he found out the she he cybered with was a he, but the courts threw it out. The laws haven’t quite caught up to the technology yet.
            “It’s not murder, either,” I said. “I’m not dead. Completely.”
            She sighed.
            I had her, and she knew it. It was illegal to kill someone in meatspace; it was illegal to True Death someone in cyberspace. But there weren’t any laws saying you couldn’t True Death your doppelganger in cyberspace, or kill your doppelganger in meatspace.
            “Do you know what this means?” The corners of her mouth turned down slightly. “If other people figure out how to you did it, they can True Death a doppelganger from the meatspace, or kill someone from cyberspace.”
           That really wasn’t my problem. “And? I doubt they’ll be able to kill other people. It’s doppelganger versus doppelganger that people need to be worried about.”
            I caught a look of fear before her face smoothed back into True Neutrality. I would have been scared myself. My meatspace doppelganger had been intimately connected to me. Before I offed him, we shared the same thoughts and feelings. I knew him like I knew myself--and I was an asshole.
            Maybe she had something to worry about too. Maybe the worse thing about her meatspace counterpart wasn’t that she was a he.  
It was just the two of us. People were still talking outside in the marketplace about bringing charges against me, but on who’s authority? The people in the meatspace? We’d already set precedent that meatspace laws could not be upheld in cyberspace; that would lead to chaos. And in EverWorld of Dungeons, there were no higher authorities. It was just player versus player in the purest sense.
She leaned in, her chair scratching against the wooden floor of the Harpy’s Nest tavern. I got a much better view of her cleavage. “How did you do it?”
I grinned. Ahhh, the real reason why she said she’d talk to me privately. True Neutral my dancing Dwarvish butt. “Why do you want to know?”
She looked over her shoulder, like someone I couldn’t see was watching her.
“Is your doppelganger logged in?”
“Not yet.”  She shivered. “I’ve started to move. Even when she’s not online.”
“Were you created at the start of the server?”
My theory was right. A handful of us could move around without our doppelgangers signed on. We’d all been around since the start of the server. The amount of hours spent logged on had aggregated into something resembling a soul.
Some of them had already been True Deathed by their own doppelgangers. I know my doppelganger certainly freaked out when he realized I ran the Shards of Destiny quest without his clumsy fingers tying me down. He’d considered deleting me too, but I was in a top tier guild. I was too valuable to delete.
“I think she’s going to delete me.”
“Tell me how you did it. Tell me, and I’ll make sure you don’t get into trouble.”
I wasn’t going to be in trouble anyway. I guess I’m just a sucker for a damsel in distress. “A virus. In his headset. It went straight into his brain when he was imprinting his memories for the day.”
“I know.” I stretched. “Maybe we should go back to my place. I can show you the particulars.”
I brought her back to my mansion to show her a thing or two about downloading.
I was free. No more cancer, no more dying, just me, in cyberspace.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Scheduling Your Time--a Better Way of Living

I've never been very good at balancing the stuff I have to do in a reasonable fashion. 

My entire life, I've usually just gotten stuff done in a manic frenzy. House dirty? Spend the entire day cleaning. Behind on the word count? Spend the next day writing. Missing your friends? Spend an entire day out with them.

This sounds exhausting, and it can be, but once I get into the zone I want to keep going until it's done. I have a hard time just cleaning the kitchen and stopping there. Yet, afterward I'm tired, and I don't feel like cleaning for a few days until it piles up and I have to spend another day cleaning again. Ditto with exercise.

I was somewhat more disciplined with my writing. I write just about every day, because it's what I love to do. Some people like to watch TV, or play sports, or I dunno, race dolphins for fun. Writing was always the thing I did for fun. I take it seriously in the sense that I care about the quality of my words and I want to write the best book I can, but it's still fun to me.

Now that I am staying home with my son, free time has gotten weird. On one hand I am home with him, and therefore have all day to do something, in theory. But between feeding, clothing, and playing with the baby are these weird gaps of time that I've learned to use for chores and writing. 

I can't spend all day cleaning anymore, so chores must be broken down into smaller tasks. Now tasks are accomplished like I imagine a normal person does, a little bit at a time. My word count doesn't fluctuate between 2-8K anymore, but it's consistent. I can't clean several rooms in a day anymore, but I can consistently take care of each chore.

In order to keep track of not only the obvious stuff, but also long term projects I need to do, I made a list. But this isn't just a list of things to do. After reading this post on Fiction Notes, I decided to try out her method of using a low tech solution.

I got a legal pad out of my giant box of office supplies, and turned it sideways. I then divided it up into sections: Writing, House, Family/Friends, and Life. I wrote out every thing I needed or wanted to do in each area of my life.

Here, I am going to be really transparent and show you what exactly I have on my legal pad:

Write 3 blog posts for the week
Write Flash Fiction
Write daily word count

Meal plan--bento boxes 
Organize: Tupperware, linen closet, desk
Sweep and mop floors
Cook dinner
Grocery shopping

Take baby to the doctor on Thursday
Crit POC
Visit In Laws
Read "The Thirteenth Tale" for book club

Exercise 3x/week
Read for pleasure
Read non fiction

There's a lot of stuff I want to do, but never get done. I am really tired of feeling like I have all this stuff I want to do with my life, but I am always running behind. 

I want to blog more! I want to exercise more! I want to read more for pleasure, and more for learning! I want to get better at making bento boxes, so I am not in the kitchen for two hours every night when my husband works mornings, and eating cereal for dinner when my husband works nights!

In addition to making sure the daily tasks happen, I also have long term stuff. We're moving in a few months, and all of that stuff under "Organize" is tedious and time consuming, but it needs to be taken care of before we move out. Plus, if the stacks of Tupperware in the cabinet gets any worse, it's going to crush me the next time I open the door.

There's not really a big difference between columns on a legal pads and a big list of things to do, but it matters to me. For one, it's not all lumped together. For another, it's not in any order. I have my columns, and when one thing is finished, I scan the columns for what might come next.

I added a week schedule to this column idea by again, taking a piece of paper and turning it sideways. I then marked out Sunday through Saturday, each day with it's own column. I filled in stuff that had to get done on a particular day. I chose not to go the personal calender route because a) I've done that before and it's never worked, and b) with the columns I have more room. A daily calender gets big and bulky if there's writing room, or too small to be useful if there isn't.

I also added a loose order of importance so I know tasks that have to get done in a certain amount of time don't fall through the cracks. I got my highlighters out, because any time I can use office supplies is a happy time, and highlighted the stuff that was time sensitive in pink. So "baby's doctor appointment" was on Thursday's column, highlighted in pink. Daily stuff is yellow, but I don't normally bother to highlight it. Long term projects like cleaning out a closet are green.

Most of the Stuff to Do remains on it's own piece of paper, and I don't bother to transfer it to my weekly schedule. I did write my word count goals down each day, as well as put the "write blog posts for the week" in Sunday's column, but that's more about trying to figure out when the best time to do something would be, and less about a hard and fast schedule.

I know this sounds like madness, but so far it's working. I am not only scheduling time for the stuff that must get done, but stuff I want to do but haven't gotten around to yet. 

For certain areas (Writing being one of them) I plan to break it down even further. Instead of "daily word count" reminders, I plan to eventually get to the point where it reads "Write flash fiction story about time travel", "plot next three scenes on note cards", "write a blog post on scheduling your time". Being specific, especially with writing, has always helped me. 

I'm not saying I won't fall off the wagon and stop doing this a time or two, but I've been at it for about two weeks now, and this system seems to be flexible enough to allow me some wiggle room but keeps me on task. I finally feel like I am making progress, and not just treading water.

What do you think? How do you make sure to accomplish everything you need to do?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Best Commercial Ever

Okay people, so this just happened:


My life is now complete.