Saturday, July 16, 2011

Spearmen of the Lake

The Utah Lake is a beautiful place if viewed properly. Its wide arrangement of waterfowl and songbirds complement the mountain vistas and marshland...but the turbid waters of my homeland and also home to foul piscine indeed... the common carp. No shimmering colorful scales here. The scarred misshapen armor of the carp looks quite like a mutation in most cases. The huge lazy fish lumber around the lake, overeating, over-defecating, and just going around being plain ugly. But the good people of Utah Valley aren't about to let these fiends consume our lake's bounty:

As you can see, the work of purging these nasty beasts is no easy task, and this commercial netting project began only recently. In the past, people would often take to the lake with makeshift spears to hunt the carp and remove them from the lake. They would then collect them in a bucket and use them as garden fertilizer. I too took up a spear and went a few times. I don't particularly like hunting or fishing, but there's something primal in spearing a fish that resounds in maleness, isn't there? Slowly stalking the reeds, spotting the dense stupid face unaware...coiling...then strike! Know thy place, fish!

I'm just reporting a memory of my childhood on the lake is all, but I am very supportive of programs to clean the lake and preserve its diversity and health. With the Lunar Island I hope to contribute to revitalizing the lake in every way possible.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dogfight

The airplane ride...through the rotating gate, you run toward your favorite plane. Climb in the seat and the ride starts. It's just like an airfight's about to begin. I remember the dogfight ride at theme parks, and a lot of people claim it as one of their favorites, all for the same reason--because you get to control the rudder and direct your own movement.
The freedom of the airplane ride, however limited, combined with the excitement of imagining yourself really soaring through the clouds in a fight for your life...well that's what it's about.
But oh, how much sweeter it could be.
Lightning Wally, the pirate boss of the clouds has infiltrated our protected skies. Captain Kale needs your help! Captain Kale, with a big mascot head featuring a leather helmet and goggles narrates. But then, so much bettter--your fighter is equipped with a classic crank machine-gun and a laser tag duel from your airplanes ensues. Now you're not just pulling that rudder to move for moving's sake. You're running for your life, and trying to shoot down as many of your enemies as you can, carefully aiming your machine-gun's beam at their vital target sensors on other planes all around the rotating ring.
The ride complete, you scan your barcode bracelet, and in so doing, log your success for the stat readout at day's end, and receive the digital key of Captain Kale's badge of bravery for your courage in battle...after all, how else would the knight in charge of the dueling jousters of the interactive merry-go-round know that you have what it takes to join the brotherhood?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Frankenstein read by Caden Vaughn Clegg

Finally complete and up!
The only thing to compare with writing your own novel is reading or hearing one of your old favorites. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein has long been one of my favorite novels. The passion and tragedy have always been moving to me. Naturally when I learned about librivox, I went first to Frankenstein to hear the old favorite read for me in an audio book. I had planned to take the file with me on a motorcycle ride and actually did, but I was disappointed to discover that the chapters were read by different volunteers, and though some of them performed excellent readings, the loss in continuity was, I felt, confusing and an unfair rendering of this fine classic.
So I took it upon myself to correct this, and the result may be heard at:

The Man Scream

The Man Scream was pioneered in the late nineties by Man Screamists Andrew and Steven Walters. It is a simple yet powerful technique certain to bring delight for the entire party to any amusement park adventure. The man simply waits until a rollercoaster reaches its apex, then as the occupants begin to shriek in real or fabricated terror, he emits a loud bellowing and continuous cry in his deepest possible voice. At maximum volume the man scream can produce astounding affects, often silencing and/or bringing the remaining passengers aboard a coaster to a genial laughter, even at the most extreme of velocities.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I recently went to our state's (current) foremost theme park, Lagoon. On this trip, I went "Wicked" and the "Catapult" for the first time. The rides were short but a lot of fun.
The Catapult was expensive. The wait for Wicked was short for an amusement park, but still long next to the length of the actual ride...about ten minutes of waiting for about 30 seconds of motion. That's the element of theme parks I think is such an untapped resource~ waiting time. Every ride at an amusement park has a theme. It has its own logo, its own colors, perhaps a character icon, but that's it. What a waste! Why not take one more step and design a story? Make use of those long waits with screens placed throughout the snaking metal pathways under the pavilion. Disneyland comes close to this with things like Splash Mountain. You have audio and video clips within the ride that make an adventure of the roller coaster, limited though it is. Not much of a story can be told in 30 seconds, but 10 minutes?... You can get something. And then if the stories of different rides interlink with one another, you could really make something of that.
A lot of the fun in going to amusement parks comes from making fun of things while in line, but even the funniest people run out of steam or get annoying after about 3 minutes or so. Long uninterrupted waits can dampen the experience and sprucing them up with narrative would be just the thing to keep the excitement alive.

Next time I will discuss...
"The Man Scream"

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mini Bumper Galleons

I lived in Daejeon, South Korea in 2007, and will soon be returning for about a year, so naturally I've been ruminating on my experiences and thinking about things I'll miss, and things I'm looking forward to.  I would often go for bike rides along the Gapcheon river, but I remember one particular Saturday when I spotted a man and his son cheering in the distance. I rode closer and discovered that they were flying a remote control airplane. He landed the craft upon seeing my curiosity and showed me how it worked. I was amazed to find out that he had built it himself! He told me about an upcoming competition, and a few Saturday mornings later, I watched the expert remote pilots perform their aerial maneuvers and deftly land on tiny platform placed before the judging panel.

I've always admired these things. From my earliest youth, playing with boats in the bathtub and making paper airplanes with my brother brought the world to life and made me taste a drop of godhood. Remote control games will be an important part of the Lunar Island. One that I have long desired to create is this: Mini Bumper Galleons:
The idea is this. Each galleon, 2-3 feet long is equipped with a small motor, a pump, a bilge, trigger targets, and a waterproof speaker. So around the pool you guide your plodding craft. The sounds of a captain shouting orders and men scurrying to fulfill them issue from the speaker. You "load cannons" remotely as the pump draws water from the pool, then you get your opponent where you want them and unleash a broadside. When you hit the targets with a well aimed squirt, the bilge of your enemy's ship fills with water until its limits are reached. It then partially sinks, the motor shuts off and the speaker emits the sounds of disaster!

The stats of the battle are stored in the remote at the piloting station where the player transfers them to their bar code park entrance bracelet for the final report that will come at the end of the day. Fight for the win, or toy around and squirt that cute girl as she tries to pilot her boat. Make some more memories and take them back to the world with you.

Mini Bumper Galleons are waiting only to be made, and though an airplane dog-fighting game of the same type would be much more complex, dangerous, and expensive, I'm working on it.

The Island of Longinus

The editing of part II, The Island of Longinus is finally complete and my birds are flown into the world, a published work. Now the full story of Simon Randalhov is available in two parts on^^ I hope very much that you enjoy them.