Wednesday, November 23, 2011

World Of Depleted Novella

A lot is happening at World of Depleted including the release of "Depleted" Day 419" in ePub form - go check out the great story and the new updated WoD site - there are many things there to explore - enjoy!

When You fall off the face of the Earth

OK, so I kinda disappeared for a long bit - been incredibly busy, will have to catch up - this is a hard time of the year, but, I am starting to climb back up, so should be posting a bit more frequently and a little more focused : )

Happy Holiday everyone

Sunday, September 04, 2011

My Gen Con Article was published

WOW - my article was published - http://www.microfilmmaker.com/tipstrick/Issue70/GenCon_1.html

Of course everytime I read it, I find ten more things I want to change, and I look like a dork in my pics, one of these days, I will look damn fine in a picture ; )

I do like the ones of me in front of the dice ;P

wheeeee, not only was the con fun, but I got to talk about it and ramble and babble and ok, now I want to go back - is it 2012 yet ;)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How one finds a "rabbit hole" - aka The Skirts film

Alright - so here is my firsthand account (well a bit vague as I did a lot of clicking and wandering around) of how I found a new story/transmedia property or whatever ya wanna call it. I am very interested in the concept of UX (user experience) and user narrative, so I thought I'd try to document how just this simple little journey worked. I am amazed as I started writing this entry how far that little rabbit hole or entry point led me.

1. So, I am going through my twitter stream and I come across this tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/Megaton_us/status/108664814808731648 from Megaton_US.

1a. Megaton hosts a very cool all things Post-apocalyptic site - http://www.megaton.us/ which I started following because
1b. I participate in World of Depleted - http://worldofdepleted.com/ a very cool post-apocalyptic film, story, shared storyworld.
1c. Megaton was woven into the WoD storyworld as well as being a supported/Dark Dreamer and more, and thus I found out about the Megaton site and began following it and Megaton's Twitter account

2. So I value Megaton's tweets because of the WoD connection so, I decide to check out the link in the tweet. That brings me to

3. The Skirts Kickstarter page - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jacklawrence/the-skirts-a-post-apocalyptic-short-film

3b. I poke around a bit and become intrigued. I decide I will back it (but not tonight, too much on my plate), yet, I do

3c. Retweet Megaton's tweet about the campaign

4. Then I decide I like the project and post it to My World of Depleted Tumblr log and my writing Tumblr log

5. I also decide to follow TheSkirts on Twitter - http://twitter.com/theskirts

6. As I am going through their older tweet stream - I come across this tweet - http://twitter.com/#!/TheSkirts/status/108613458098012160

which sends me to

7. Their Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/theskirts

7b - very specifically - https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.212906358766029.51387.196411983748800&l=58162459f1

The one poster/picture looks cool so I click it - (I am posting it below, I hope The Skirts do not mind) - well as I start to read it I find myself going WTF is NerveFLu - that sounds wacko - and then I see at the bottom of the flyer

8 A website - http://www.nerveflu.info/

8b - I am looking around it, kinda suspicious, then I recall why - the name of the city at the top of the page - I had just read about that city name - in the Kickstarter campaign

8c - going oh cool I started clicking around the NerveFlu site

and still have more to explore, as I said, I have limited time right now, but will come back and play a bit more.

I did do a little more clicking here and there, but that is a general account of my zig zag path down The Skirt's rabbit hole.

I do hope this project gets made, if for no other reason than to see the story that is behind my curious hike through this multi-piece story.

And if any peoples associated with The Skirts every stumbles on this, will there be other rabbit holes and pieces to find (are they already out there and I just have not found them yet...)

Thanks for the fun and journey.

oh on a postscript - my little one saw the QR Code on the Flyer picture as I was inserting it in this blog and went ooo a QR Code, we must scan it and so we used our iTouch to scan it, which lead us to the nerveflu site as well



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WordPress and Building web sites

Well, among everything else, I am needing to build or work on multiple web sites. A good chunk of them are using WordPress as the content management system (CMS). As a result, my limited knowledge of WP programming is growing by leaps, bounds and massive amount of growling at the screen in frustration, followed by pounding the screen a few times, shaking the computer, searching the web for knowledge, redoing something multiple times and finally shouting Eureka! :)

One site I am building is for a training center. We will offer workshops, educational information and a treasure chest of resources people can use. so, cataloguing is a main focus there.

two other projects are shared storyworlds, so that requires not just cataloguing information, but also providing a crisp feel for the SSW as well as needing to build a community for SSW participants.

Another site is my personal story site, which is just a collection of my stories and a few other items of interest. I really needed a nested hierarchy for that as I have story themes (like Nikki & Nora), then multiple stories in each theme and multiple separate chapters in each story.

And the last site, for now, that I am creating is migrating the www.transmediaresources.com site from Google sites to WP. There again I need nested categories big time, but also static pages.

As I read back over what I have typed, I suddenly got very very tired ;)

I plan on documenting what I am doing so it keeps a list of what I tried and not tried, more for me to find a I move from one project to another, but if it helps anyone else :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Movellas and my stories

Hmm - I think I want to look into this - anyone already using it? I need to contact world of Depleted and ask if they are going to convert the stories into ebook format and if we can offer them in some format on some platform and all that. time to start making that story make magic for me ;)


http://mashable.com/2011/08/11/movellas/

Online Privacy and spooky future tech

So - reading over this article - http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/77516

The fact you can do this seems only for the movies, but it does exist and it is getting easier and easier to do it. More and more, it could be your friend or ex using this on you, not some secret or rich group.... of course there are good ways to use AR and this, but....

And, for the generation growing up in this, what will they be like and expect?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creating a user narrative

Some thoughts about fans and user narratives and the like

In trying to find a single idea from the collection of scattered ideas always swimming in my head, I wanted to think about/write about a topic that spoke to how a fan, like me, can become more involved in a Shared storyworld.

now, by "fan like me", I mean someone who is not employed as a writer, artist, filmmaker, or any other entertainment and related job. I am an "average" joe who makes a 9-5 living and as a "hobby" is interested in becoming more involved in a shared storyworld (SSW) (just go back and look at what I have written so far and I know the English teacher/editor/polished writer is cringing).

But, that is what I am and the level of skills/ability I bring to any SSW or project; I have lots o' heart and desire, not so much technical skill. I know this is one of the top gripes people have with fanfiction. It's a bunch of poorly written story. Maybe, but think of how moving the original storyworld/story must have been to have someone who does not have much skill to still try and weave a story and add to the overall collective. It takes time and motivation to put something "out there".

However, as I read and watch the polished stuff, I become intimidated and stay sitting on the sideline like a fan at a sporting event. Which is perhaps ok for some entertainment projects; this is why professionals in the entertainment business exist. But, isn't one of the concepts of SSW and other participatory-shaped projects all about getting the "average-joe" and "fan like me" (F-L-M) involved and not regulated to the sidelines?

so, how does one do that?

Well, I don't know, which i why I wanted to write this, because I am hoping it will pull others to say, oh yeah this is how, or so and so talked about this or here is a plan or list. Because that's what a F-L-M needs, a list or a prompt or a way to get involved without being intimidated.

And these ways need to be leveled.

Say what?

Well, I teach (not English ;), and in my classroom I have all levels of learners. I have to create an activity that has multiple levels of engagement and ability. Maybe have a "whiteboard" area of your SSW and those that can not really write well, can till be part of the writing team by adding ideas to the whiteboard or rearranging ideas.

Or a wiki where others can contribute. I could never solve those damn puzzles in the ARG before everyone else, but I could go and create a wiki page about the event and organize it an track it - which made me feel as important as those solving the damn puzzle ;) Actually I still like creating wikis and other similar materials.

I liked the Black helix for this reason - they put the wiki right up front as well as other places for people to become involved.

Then I came across this article http://www.filmmakermagazine.com/news/2011/04/culture-hacker-let%e2%80%99s-take-the-audience-outside/ and I went ooooo the UX and especially I liked what Mr. Weiler said about the emergence of user experience in storytelling and creating a user narrative. I am very interested in these user narratives and i wonder for all those out there in the business of building a SSW - are you creating a user narrative with specific ways to build and help the flow of your UX? How exactly do you build a user narrative (I am sure there are specific examples out there, anyone know where to find them?)

I am not going to retell what Mr Weiler says, I instead push you to read what he discussed. But, I, as an average joe, would like to know more about what i can do to jump into a SSW.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Learn

Why learning is awesome

http://www.good.is/post/this-inspiring-video-will-remind-you-why-you-love-learning/

Forever and Privacy

A very interesting article about data, privacy and where the world may be headed

http://falkvinge.net/2011/08/09/everything-you-say-can-and-will-be-used-against-you-by-anybody-now-or-decades-into-the-future/

Gen Con was da bomb

I enjoyed Gen Con more than words can help me express :)

I'll have some thoughts and this and that, but working on an overview article, so plan on writing that first, then sharing that here and whatever else pops up.

slowly realizing the summer is about done and the school year is right around the corner.

Have some awesome projects coming - http://docwho2100.com/qt/areyouready.html and a few others

so much is going on and so fast :) was reading an article how the Census data shows the US changed much faster an more dramatically than people had thought. That means that shifts can and will occur at speeds that will demand more critical thinking, communication skills and even a touch of survival instinct.

To use a well-spoke quote, "What interesting times we live in"

Friday, July 22, 2011

Curation And The Human Web

Short interesting article that is important for eduators, users and all

http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2010/11/curation_and_th.php
Curation And The Human Web...
Posted by Tom Foremski - November 16, 2010

from source - "There is no doubt in my mind that the topic of curation and the Internet, is an important one and that it will be a dominant topic in 2011. Curation is important because we are reaching the limits of what can be achieved through algorithms and machines in organizing and navigating the Internet."

Cloudiness - some thoughts

so much going on - Bridging program I direct about to start at the high school, getting ready for my college classes, heading to Gen Con in a couple weeks, working on World of Depleted stories, wiki and more, excited about the Far West Kickstarter project, Held first meeting for starting up a shared storyworld, getting back to my writing group and more

But, as I flit and flutter from one point to another, I came across this article

http://cultureby.com/2007/01/cloudiness_of_s.html - Cloudiness: of selves, groups, networks and ideas by Grant. It is from Jan, 2011 and I meant to read it and talk about it way back then, but better late than never.

Anyone interested in how the Internet, community, communication and culture are changing should at least can this article.

He mentions the way we are turning into clouds of connections with all of the assorted methods we communicate these days. And the difference between self pre and post computer/digital communication.

The author offers some good examples of what cloudiness is and how this form of interaction works. Some might say this is an example of a digital native vs older generations.

He even has a “transmedia” example as cloudiness by nature is transmedian in nature

I really suggest you take a gander – I leave you with the last two thoughts from his article.

“Summing up. The self and the group, when electronically mediated, reaches out in all directions, embracing more topics and contacts that it might reach out and embrace still more topics and contacts. Selfhood is expanding outwards, and this be much more exciting and fun, if we did not finding ourselves expanding into a certain conceptual, categorical cloudiness and the task of thinking down to test our assumptions and up to query our purposes.

Or perhaps this is wrong. There may be a model out there that could give cloudiness a "house that Jack build" clarity. Perhaps all these things do go together and we just need to build the model that shows us how. When it works best, culture doesn’t just make the world intelligible. It gives the world a "just so" quality (and when it works really well it makes everything seems so just.) Maybe there’s a way to make this happen. Maybe you, dear reader, can explain this to me.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Depleted: Day 419 film - you know you want to

I know I mentioned the rental film a couple blog posts ago and have the player and trailer link at the bottom of the blog. But the first 50 rentals also receive a copy of the song - “I Want to Destroy Something Beautiful,” by Josh Woodward. http://worldofdepleted.com/archives/1674

I really like the song, it fits the mood of the world

MEGATON.us Apocalypse Book club

I'm in, anyone else up for some summer reading and discussion? via @Megaton_us Book Clubs & Coupons & Zombies, Oh My!: OK, technically, there are no zombies http://apclypt.ca/bxyBp

There is a discount for the book and a group that will be ready for some reading!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Watch the film World of Depleted: Day 419

So the day is here (yes the puns have begun) World of Depleted have released (well pre-release rental option) the feature film Day 419 - from the official site - http://worldofdepleted.com/contributor/world/canon/viking-productions


Day 419



Description: Written and directed by World of Depleted co-founder, Jeremy Hanke, Day 419 follows the journey of forger Jenna Whitmore as she must discover the secrets her mentor Gavin has left for her, learn from her Dark Dreams, and get out of Maysbridge, KY alive!

Length: 22 minutes
Starring: Kat Carney, Eric Henninger, David Haney, Tim Smith
Written by: Jeremy Hanke
Directed by: Jeremy Hanke
Stage: Completed

Anticipated Release: July 17 2011 (Pre-Release Rental), July 22 – August 18, Episodic Serial Release (Four Parts)

At the bottom of my blog is an embedded preview - they are using distrify to distribute - so I am learning a new media tool as well as watching a very cool movie!!!! - take a look at the preview below and if you like - you can purchase a 30 day, 3 time view of the film - enjoy!!!! and let me know what you think of the movie - I would love to discuss what is revealed - I'll wait a bit and then write up a separate blog with more of my review and ideas!!!!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Far West

So, I just backed http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/Adamant/far-west-western-wuxia-mashup-adventure-game

It looks really cool and sounds like a good game - it has the west angle and also the Wuxia theme.

Anyone else planning on backing or interested in playing?






Thursday, July 07, 2011

A must read about fanfiction

I strongly recommend people read this article http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2081784-1,00.html and please, let me know what you think.

Updating Stories

As I work to catch up - I have added the links to my World of Depleted Stories to my story web site (go to http://home.comcast.net/~jstratton1/storywebsite/worldofdepleted/index.htm )

I still need to update the character bios (I like to add the bios as it makes it more like an RPG format and also if anyone ever wants to write these characters, it gives a bit of jump points).

Also - here are the two official canon badges - thank you Craig, Jeremy and everyone else at Viking for helping me!!!!!

Getting Business Done
















That's None of Your Business

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Special World of Depleted: Day 419 Swag












Alright - I am way behind - but got to see a sneak preview of Day 419 (see http://worldofdepleted.com/archives/1626

As a thank you from that showing (and oooooo the film is awesome! So much revealed and lots of questions that demand answers...) we were given a swag pack of some awesome stuff. There was a special epilogue for the film with more story! and four songs from The Fall: world of Depleted Soundtrack

The songs are from:

Zero-Project - http://zero-project.gr/

Stacey Lux - http://worldofdepleted.com/archives/1614

Deathboy - http://www.deathboy.co.uk/

and there were two pieces of album art (included below)

The one is the Dark Dreamers symbol - the second is a bit of a mystery (see http://worldofdepleted.com/archives/1638

This is something very positive about the WoD franchise - they make events special and end up delivering more than the standard entertainment. They also include their fans (LIKE ME!) in special events and with all sorts of goodies and fun!

PLus, they keep the mystery up and don't horde things, rather sharing pieces to keep the story flowing (although that is a grrrrrr too as I am like, Oi! now I must wait for this wonderful little 10 Months of Hell story - which I hope is a graphic novel but will settle for any more Jenna story!

So - if looking for something cool, fun, creative, mysterious and rewarding, come play in the Wod World!



















Dark Dreamers image by Craig McDaniel

On Vacation

So - I am spending wayyyyy too much time away from technology during my vacation ;) while I am joking, I have not done much, so I am behind on all my lists, emails, stories and everything else - and probably will be until the end of July - so be patient and then I'll turn this dried up stream into a trickle and then hopefully a pretty good flowing creek :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wordpress

So - working on switching over work website to wordpress and finding more and more sites using it as a CMS type of backdrop for their website

So - time to really dig into wordpress - and also looking into Facebook API developing - this summer will be learning to proram and code and develop - oh my ;)

So - anyone have favorite WordPress or Facebook API tutorials, support forums or other resources???

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My story

Just had my second story in World of Depleted posted up - http://worldofdepleted.com/contributor/news/canonnovellanonebiz - there is sooooo much more that can be explored - come play! Please :)

47 interesting facts

Sorry I have been away - but going to try to get back into the swing of things - yay summer

So - found this on tumblr - what do you think - is this you?

47 Mind-Blowing Psychology-Proven Facts You Should Know About Yourself
http://www.businessinsider.com/100-things-you-should-know-about-people-2010-11#1--you-have-inattention-blindness-1#ixzz1PNhoMTJs

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

VH-1 Pop Up Videos and the documentary "Collapse"

So - World of Depleted and Environmental research - watched "Collapse" - very interesting one man show - I think the 1st 30 minutes are prety tight - the rest - a little more preachy.

I LOVED VH-1 POP-UPS (and they are a way to add more story/content) so reading this http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2011/05/vh1-revives-pop-up-video-behind-the-music-renews-mob-wives-love-hip-hop.html made me happy

And along with those two themes - good article on on-fictional use of transmedia delivery - http://documentarytech.com/?p=8161

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tumbr

Well started a Tumblelog for assorted projects - more just to learn how to work Tumblr - I am trying to learn the best way to use each social media/crossmedia/transmedia/etc tool/resource - tumblr I think would be good for video and pictures - but well see - here are the tumblelogs

My general one - geologylady.tumblr.com

My World of Depleted - www.tumblr.com/tumblelog/worldofdepleted-jojo

Transmedia Resources - transmediaresources.tumblr.com/

For Quixotic Taboos and Copper Rock Project/Storyworld - quixotictaboos.tumblr.com/

Monday, May 09, 2011

Gary Hayes and visualizing ideas

I really do like the visuals Gary Hayes creates - here are a couple that show diversity in transmedia and similar projects







Friday, April 29, 2011

Visual and interactive future

Reading through this article - www.niemanlab.org/2011/04/ap-interactive-visualizes-a-future-of-stories-that-reach-beyond-text/

It is a good summary and example of how the world is moving to a more visual/pictoral means of communication.

The world started with oral means as a major method of telling stories and sharing content. Then the written word began to replace that. Now a more pictoral form is taking shape.

Something interesting I note, and I am sure linguistic people have detailed this even more, true visual/pictoral communication may be the most global form of communication as oral and written require knowing the language, yet most of us can decipher what a photo of a fish is....

Also of note - America's education system has been cutting art and media programs for years, and now, perhaps, art and media education will be needed once again.... I love the way the world cycles ;)

And as a side note - this goes to supporting the trend of moving to cross-media/transmedia forms of content consumption - You know, I really like that phrase - content consumption :P

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

comments on a transmedia and high ed post

Read this article http://meetcontent.com/blog/2011/04/transmedia-storytelling-in-higher-ed/ and had to comment

My comment

Wonderful post - I teach high school and college and weave transmedia elements into many of my classes. I have found there are many things to consider when moving to this approach. It takes time and planning to move a story (or in education a lesson) across multiple points (whether you want to say platforms, mediums or storylines). Then there is the need to assess in some manner how effective the delivery was to students and if the student was educated (and as we must keep in mind, educated in the goal/objectives that the lesson/story was designed to meet - many transmedia properties by their very nature wander and diverge). Also, many transmedia properties/events/stories/etc. have an element of active participation - which is actually just a more student-centered classroom - yet, many have a hard time designing a learning environment.

I also have some reservations as voiced by another person regarding fictional mixing with reality - are students ready and prepared to separate fact from fiction? There are so many hoaxes and false information now that education has to combat - have we taught the students the needed skills to thrive and learn in a transmedia environment? It is one thing to enter a transmedia universe for pleasure - another for academic/business.... will students be able to make the distinction?

Oh so much to talk about!!!!! :)

Hypernarrative - an old article rediscovered

As I plug away on my collection of transmedia resources - I found this - as I read the assorted recent articles on transmedia and related, it makes me wonder - hypernarrative - an ancestor of #transmedia perhaps? :) ( http://www.well.com/user/jmalloy/neapaper.html

I especially like this concept from the article, "Indeed part of the hypertext experience may be described as foraging for episodes."

check out the wiki entry for hypernarrative for more on the article - http://transmediaresources.wikia.com/wiki/Hypernarrative
Check out some of the referenced projets in the article

http://www.well.com/user/jmalloy/partyone.html

http://www.eastgate.com/malloy/


http://www.eastgate.com/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Elisabeth Sladen - you will be missed

I didn't know it then, but I had a major crush on Sarah Jane Smith (played by Elisabeth Sladen) - after Ace (and again a major crush), SJS was my fave. When she came back and then had her own series, I was in heaven.

Ppbckwrt sent this link to me - it really does fit and I am with K-9

http://blastr.com/2011/04/image-of-the-day-dork-tow.php

Monday, April 18, 2011

transmedia intertextuality - marsha kinder's definition

As I wind my way through updating the transmedia resources wiki - I find resources now and then that just catch my eye and I want to somehow push them out in front a little more - here is one such resource and it is from waaaaaaaaaay back in 1991 ;)

The author uses the term transmedia intertextuality to define and discuss how narrative for children's projects moves across multiple sources and has levels of interaction - great thoughts and one of the very early works in the resurgence of the transmedia concept!

Marsha was transmedia savvy wayyyy back then


source "Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games: From Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" by Marsha Kinder, 1991 (published in paperback in 1993)

From her book - "What I found [from recording Saturday morning children's TV] was a fairly consistent form of transmedia intertextuality, which positions young spectators (1) to recognize, distinguish, and combine different popular genres and their respective iconography that cut across movies, television, comic books, commercials, video games, and toys; (2) to observe the formal differences between television and its prior discourse of cinema, which it absorbs, parodies, and ultimately replaces as the dominant mode of image production; (3) to respond to and distinguish between the two basic modes of subject positioning associated respectively with television and cinema, being hailed in direct address by fictional characters or by offscreen voices, and being sutured into imaginary identification with fictional character and fictional space, frequently through the structure of the gaze and through the classical editing conventions of shot/reverse shot; and (4) to perceive both the dangers of obsolescence (as a potential threat to individuals, programs, genres, and media) and the values of compatibility with a larger system of intertextuality, within which formerly conflicting categories can be absorbed and restrictive boundaries erased."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Innovative video

So reading techdirt - they had a link to this video - I really like the video, the music and group - I think it would be cool to do something like this - is also could see something like this being a cool project to work on, to use as a crowdfunding incentive and to connect to fans and other artists....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whv1tLqKZig&feature=player_embedded

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Windmills of our Transmedia Minds

Not sure I mentioned this before - but going through some of my transmedia links/references as I update the transmedia resources database site (www.transmediaresources.com) and the wiki (http://transmediaresources.wikia.com/wiki/Transmedia_Resources_Wiki)

I found the link to this cool app by Gary Hayes called windmills of our transmedia minds - the music is addicting (well to me) and the ideas are very cool, as well as the concept. How many of these have you included in a project of yours?

http://www.personalizemedia.com/randomizers/windmills-of-our-transmedia-minds-app/


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Shared Storyworlds (thanks Scott Walker)

Ok - I need to say more on this topic and website - but I am running like mad GO RUN DO NOT WALK to this web site especially if you like the idea of a place where people come together and share a world and share their thoughts and stories about this world


http://sharedstoryworlds.com/


I snagged this from their about section
--------------------

Shared Story Worlds explores new models, frameworks, and best practices for creating, curating, sustaining, and maintaining collaborative entertainment properties which invite audiences to participate in the co-creation of the world and ideally rewards them for doing so (please read What is a Shared Story World? for a more detailed definition).


Shared Story Worlds examines this participatory entertainment space in several ways:

• Publishing articles about the unique aspects of shared story worlds (legal, narrative, creative, community)

• Publishing interviews with the creatives behind shared story worlds

• Maintaining a list of shared story worlds
--------------------------------------



Please do go check the site out and spread the word - below is a panel description I am working on to submit to a little fanfiction oriented conference coming up - it summarizes some of the thoughts I have on this topic.


Title: Writing in a post-apocalyptic black sandbox and the idea of a storyworld built on the Creative Commons concept – a newer sort of publishing/writing?


There are more and more instances of fans involved in the creation of story - crowdsourcing and crowdfunding is exploding as is a participatory culture)


I've been following The World of Depleted (WoD) (www.worldofdepleted) for some time now, a world where technology is destroyed, only 11% of the population still lives and life is very different. I started following the neat idea waiting for the films to come, then got sucked into the first Canon written piece (Gavin Hesterdale's Journal) and the ARG and interactive elements of that world that are part of the fan participation. As my imagination gathered steam, I wrote a fanfiction piece based on the world. I was encouraged to submit it for official canon consideration and was blown away when it wa accepted as one of the first canon submissions.


What really draws me, is the design of the World of Depleted. It is based on a Creative Commons and fan participation model. WoD ENCOURAGES fanfiction and gives an outlet for fanfiction to be worked into other elements of the storyworld. Is this a possible future business model for writing? Do fanfiction writers have potential to contribute to a storyworld in a more intimate way?


This workshop will cover: the model of WoD, writing for a post-apocalyptic storyworld, how fanfiction and fan participation is part of this model and then hopefully people can jabber about the topics.


PS – I am interested in completing many of the WoD challenges – if any others are interested in building a team…. Give a holler!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Fanfiction vs Published writing - Characters, stories and copyright

So, I have a story I am working on for World of Depleted and because I want to submit it as possible official canon, I am learning some of the nitty gritty differences between fanfiction and "official" writing, a big one being, you can get away with a lot of stuff in fanfiction.

The question (among many) I am chasing tonight is - I have a character and I want them after doing something to quote the Homer Simpson line about being "I am so smart, SMRT" - yes there is a reason for using the Homer line, if there was not, I'd just take it out and not worry, but pop references is something I can see this character doing a lot, and it ties the story more to "this world" you know that thing where you try to make your character seem real by surrounding them with the same things your reader would be surrounded by...

Well my question is - can you do this with out contacting the holder of the property and can I basically use that (and in the future) similar references in my story.

I think the answer is a reference to a general character, place or story is ok (although if in a defamation/negative way you may get sued or in trouble for that). But song lyrics definite no no and quoting sayings and catchphrases still not sure.

This is leading me to one of the things that the traditional publishing system is very good for - the copyright, leagalese, fact checking part....

Ok here are some references

http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/lessons/2004-04-01-2.shtml
- makes me think I am ok

http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/2011/03/character-copyright.html - verifies the above

http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3699267
- reading the comments - very helpful

http://www.scriptmag.com/2010/09/10/primetime-can-i-legally-write-a-story-based-on-another-writers-character/


http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
(from http://copyright.cornell.edu/)

http://www.wipo.int/portal/index.html.en - international IP info

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tiki Toki

So need to update more frequently - A LOT going on - will share more soon but for now

been playing with www.tiki-toki.com to create timelines and really liking it!!!!

Here is what I am making - http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/153/Gavin-Hesterdales-Journal-Entries/

Yes it is tied into World of Depleted :P more good news on that front soon too.

Ok off to bed, but, I recommend giving Tiki toki a looksee at least

Monday, March 07, 2011

Forsaken Film debuts and I am way behind

I am so very behind - and trying this week to catch up.

one place I am behind is in my World of Depleted to do list - so this is a quik mention:

Forsaken, the first canon property based on the World of Depleted has been officially launched. From the WoD site - "Forsaken, the new film from Ben Nash & James de Paula Hanika (of Four58 Productions) set in the World of Depleted, debuted today in the World of Depleted: Contributors section. The film, set 352 days after the Fall in England, follows a man who’s lost everything on a road trip to try and regain part of what he’s lost."

Definitely go check this film out - worldofdepleted.com/contributor/

Sunday, March 06, 2011

phew too busy

Just been busy - need to catch up - lots going on - so much to do and no time to do it... eventually i will get caught up - please be patient

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts on Gavin Hesterdale's feb 15 journal entry

Gavin's Feb. 15 journal entry - http://worldofdepleted.com/Gavin/?p=404
Wow – many little things in the latest entry – I just have to jot them down

First – I got a reference in the journal – stepping outside the game and being a geek – all I can say is – [insert geek cry of most awesome coolness here] WHoooo hehe – it is the little things in life that make it fun and also give vindication to Mr. Warhol's 15 minute theory ;)

Ok – back to the entry –

1. – Deep thoughts – I have been trying to plug at that – and it is mentioned in the entry – the name Pythagoras is listed as the shadowy figure behind the site… hmmmmm, another number/math/pattern related name – need to look that up

As to the site – the most I come up with the text in the completed QR code

M.A.
Vindobona
180


Is either something is happening on march 17th (Marcu Aurelis died in Vindobona on March 17th, 180 AD) or something is going on in Vienna (which use to be called Vindobona) – I am thinking more the MA tie as the shirt's saying is about history – there was a battle fought by M.A. at Vindobona in – and I find out the movie Gladiator recreated that battle (I have not seen the movie) – perhaps there is a reference to that battle….

Here is a little research on MA –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius - "Marcus Aurelius Antoninus[notes 1] (26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus' death in 169. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers..
Marcus Aurelius' work Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. It serves as an example of how Aurelius approached the Platonic ideal of a philosopher-king and how he symbolized much of what was best about Roman civilization.[3]"

Vindobona - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vindobona and http://www.livius.org/vi-vr/vindobona/vindobona.html

I think I will try contacting Gavin with the thoughts and see if it spurs anything

2. OK – you know, I really should be more suspicious – I and another watching the secret Jenna video noted the screen reading Glass Samurai and we wondered what that meant – welllllll it is a hacker – hmmmmm – so went back to see what tidbits we have and discussed on that – WOW – if Fred reads this, you were right about the code words being suspicious hehe also – another reference to that computer code/worm – I am a little leery about that… (especially considering this article that came out today - http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/02/15/anonymous-hackers-offer-stuxnet-worm-online/

See – watch the video again – with this new knowledge – I always assumed the video was from Norman or gavin – but no – I think we are watching the Glass Samurai's perspective (he/she is the one who made the video) – which makes the code bits even more important… ANNNNDDD I can not believe I missed that interpretation the first time around – poof – well that is why I am doing the Wiki entries for the Journal – so I can review and try to connect all of the massive link out there.



3. The last bit of the journal is a wonderful account of a dinner shared by three men broken in different ways (and a very spooky account of an inventor making a very nasty sounding rocket rifle weapon)


As a side note – if March 17 is indeed a flash point – then Gavin may be right this is the last holiday, which I am finding I am sad The Fall is coming – I look forward to Gavin's entries and the journey he is on and I have this bad suspicion that once The Fall comes, Gavin's entries will change or stop…….

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Viral power - unanticipated

Well - i got this email this morning and it is related to my last blog post so - who knew ;)

-------------
"Cowgirl Up Fanfic Bible.doc" is being tweeted more than anything else on SlideShare right now. So we've put it on the homepage of SlideShare.net (in the "Hot on Twitter" section).

Well done!

- SlideShare Team

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cowgirl Up Character bible from ms. Myatt

More on this later - but Nancylee Myatt has shared a document with backgrounds, ideas and writing tips for fanfic writers - this is so awesome

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Quora and Dialogue Circles

How are the two related you might ask? Well I posted a comment, or so i thought, on a question to try and clarify. It was marked as not helpful and the reason was it would be better as a comment not an answer. Now I thought I had entered it as a comment and in fact you click on see comments to see where my reply is located - which brings to the table the fact Quora has some funky rules and etiquette and no nice way to figure them out - sigh - a resource that can be good, but spanks down anyone trying to use it...

But, as I was looking over the other questions - I stumbled onto an answer for a different question and they mentioned this concept of Dialogue Circles, i followed the link www.dialogue-circles.com/ and i am finding the idea intriguing - must do more research - anyone out there used this method or participated in a Dialogue Circle?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Gettin Started in Transmedia storytelling - awesome resource

Robert Pratten has been writing/creating/living transmedia stories and project for quite awhile - he has put together a lot of what he has noticed and learned in a great resource -

http://transmediastoryteller.com/getting-started-in-transmedia-storytelling

take some time to work through this resource and use it a a springboard for discussion and your own projects.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Review ofPandemic 1.0 and WoD possibility

Well, for a few days I let myself follow a story/ARG/experience a little more intensely than I normally do (my apologies to all my twitter and facebook and other social media people as I flooded my accounts with really odd stuff)

Pandemic 1.0 (or #pandemic11 on twitter) was a transmedia storyworld/experience created by Lance Weiler and others. It is loosely based/takes place in his HiM (Hope is Missing) storyworld from a few years ago (ck http://hopeismissing.blogspot.com/ and http://lanceweiler.com/work/case-study/ for more info on that)

Lance brought a short movie to Sundance as well as a surrounding game/story/ARG (http://www.argn.com/2011/01/sundance_film_festival_is_ground_zero_for_lance_weilers_pandemic_10/ ). He released water bottles, gold objects, phones, actual prop locations, a mission control for people to visit, and more physically at Sundance. He also coordinated a social media story using twitter, facebook, the official web site(www.hopeismissing.com ), Youtube and maybe more.

People at Sundance were encouraged to play and interact with people online.

What resulted was a wild ride, interesting experiment and a story that developed in very odd ways.

I know a lot will be written about this over the next months and such as sooooo much happened (good and bad)

Overall the story is interesting, but not easy to follow (this came out a lot in the social media aspect as wild theories abounded, which is fun, but it was hard to know what was in game and what was not as people were encouraged to play along and I admit, i was followed by at last one "non-official" story pathway/character). There is the promise that this was just the beginning, so who knows.

What I really like, is how much possible avenue there was for participation and how there was potential for not quite needing to have the whole story and yet you could have, potentially, still enjoyed pieces - hence a true transmedia narrative.

If I have time, I could write pages of my experience and what i noted and other bits, and i hope (ooo I made a pun ;) to be able to do that.

For now, I take the immediate that this experience has really piqued my interest and i'd like to run smaller scale versions at small cons and other events as I think this mix of traditional story/traditional gaming/ARG/LARP and digital gaming can work and be a major awesome experience.

I’d love to run/participate in an event along these lines for another storyworld I am very interested in – World of Depleted. I think a mix of this story involvement would fit and I’ve even written a general plot and idea for a few ways you could incorporate this type of interaction and story into the WoD universe.

so here are a few links if interested - and feel free to give a holler - I am always up for chatting (@geologylady on twitter and part of the Pandemic11 Facebook and I watch the World of Depleted Facebookpage too)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Forsaken: part of the World of Depleted

The cool thing about a big sandbox is there is lots of space to play and create - here is a quick overview of the film matthewsblogmk2.blogspot.com/2011/01/forsaken.html and a link to the film's web site - www.four58.co.uk/

Here is a short article about the film's special effects - www.effectsportal.net/index.php/forsaken-short-film-effects/


maybe I can even embed the trailer below - hope this works

UPDATE - here is some info about the release date and more from the WoD site - worldofdepleted.com/archives/1153





Sunday, January 23, 2011

the journey through Gavin's journal - 3 stories

Well - the journey we have been taking with Gavin through his Journal may be shifting gears ever so slightly - in the Feb 01 (2009) entry - Gavin mentions being unable to pass along certain sites and codes but perhaps other Dark Dreamers can - so this blog entry is a little (note little and not very thorough) attempt to pass along some of the information I've been finding.

I've found a few of the pieces Gavin has mentioned, but I know not all - so I am sharing some of what I have found in the hopes that others can pitch in and help find even more information - I know more exists and I want to find it and the story!!!!!!!

There is a lot in Gavin's journals and it is spreading - I'll share a couple and maybe others can add.


Many of Gavin's first entries focused on setting the reason for the journal and following Gavin as he begins to prepare for what he believes is coming. From hunting boar, to how to cook in the field to survival tips. Then the dark turn of Gavin's dreams began to produce entries filled with research of places, icons, and dark groups. As Gavin (and then Norman) continue to try and learn more about these groups and the concepts they support, the entries include updates that sound like war prep, with codes and meetings and trying to infiltrate. Also, personal glimpses of Gavin mix more as we learn about his family and friends.

The last few entries have focused more on trying to find these groups that Gavin believes may be responsible for the cataclysmic fall he has seen and the horrors that result.

This is by no means a full recount of what has been found - I'll save that for perhaps an eventual wiki page (which if people wanna help - the more the merrier - http://worldofdepleted.wikia.com


#1 Qr Code, Deep Thoughts and more

In the Sept. 8 (2008) entry - Gavin shares a dream and a QR code that is half completed. Because of the dream, he thinks it might be important, maybe even contain a date (keep that thought in mind for a bit later). Later it is mentioned that Gavin and Norman are working to find what this code might represent

Mentions of Norman and Gavin working to find how this group might be passing info takes you to the discovery an online tshirt shop may be a front (Dec 10 entry)

Gavin lead me to the site - Deep Thoughts located at http://666-3777.spreadshirt.com/ if you found a link to it another way - please share - the web URL # seems suspicious but I do not know what the link might be. The Jan 16 (2009) Entry discusses Deep Thoughts

The DT site itself is a wonderful mix of designs and sayings and odd prices - what all of the designs/sayings might mean, I am not sure - something to play with and see if there is more or not. I must say I like some of the shirt designs :)

but not too long ago one shirt appeared with a QR code on the back - and an interesting saying on the front. If you following the QR code (as I mentioned in another post on my blog) - you are brought to a toolfarm site with a picture - the missing half of Gavin's QR Code

Putting them together gives you the following

M.A.
Vindobona
180

and this is where I am stymied for now on this story - those three must be a code - using Gavin's journal references, I am tempted to look for a date. Googling those three as they are written leads to mentions such as this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius - as he died in Vindobona - which was on March 17, 180 - is that the date or a reference to finding it????

So any thoughts? and if so - how might they tie into the story - are they a code for the Knights of Xeno (KoX) site - see below



#2 Knights of Xeno

This one I am really stuck on and hoping others are working on it. Gavin mentions the Knights of Xeno and William McKnight in many of his entries about his dreams (search knights of xeno at Gavin's journal)

Gavin first came across the Iron Clockwork Eagle symbol with no idea of the link - I found the link by trying different names associated with WoD and different URL combos (search for Knights of Xeno) that lead me to http://www.knightsofxeno.info/

Well in the Feb 01 (2009) entry Gavin makes the link between the symbol and the group and maybe the Deep thoughts site (hence wanting to track the meaning of the completed QR code) - he references the KoX website and that it may be a front stoop - I had kinda thought that too and have been trying a few URL combos, but not had luck - this is where any ideas might be helpful

#3 - surveillance video, Jenna connection and more

The last item I am mentioning here is a link between a video and Gavin's journal and what might be hidden here

The Dec 17 (2008) journal entry references a conversation NOrman and Gavin had being cut short - in this entry Gavin mentions a secret agency is is fearful watching him (who might that be?) and that there was a hack and data is missing (what data might this be?) - the referenced conversation and such can be followed here in this video - http://www.worldofdepleted.com/secret/jennashirt/ - (I lucked into this video - if others have already found it - how did you find it? Sometimes the pathway we take to the story is as important as the story in helping connect all the dots and find more pathways to travel)

But back to video - there are many pieces here to tease
  1. NOrman's time stamp is four hours later than Gavin's
  2. the date is 12-16 fitting with the journal
  3. there are some mentions of programs and code names at the beginning which may or may not mean something
  4. Jenna Whitmore is placed in London 2 nights before the Norman/Gavin chat, and then 12 hours later Jenna is contacting someone in Prague {as referenced in the journal entry}
  5. at the end there is reference to a virus being created by an Israeli and it being ready by the 1st, then it ends with a reference to the QR code and if they have that long, which makes me think again the QR code might lead to a date, but what that date might do???

If anyone has any thoughts.... PS I love the song playing in the video!

So - there are a few pieces of story I am chasing - if anyone else has any ideas - please share (I am "game" for any discussion ;)

keep dreaming and discussing :o)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why ARGs, games and World of Depleted are Awesome

Ok so researching games, Twilight 2013 (related to www.worldofdepleted.com) and such and came across this blog http://meltei.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/twilight-2013-week-seven/ - and what she writes, kinda really, in a nutshell, explains why I think transmedia, game mechanics and the like are good and important

from the blog (not my words) "Over these weeks of Twilight 2013, I have learned a lot about the real world. Not all radios talk to each other. Some cars drink gasoline, some drink diesel. There are bullets with balls, bullets with holes and bullets capable of penetrating armour. During each game session, Ángel’s player draws pictures of guns and bullets on all pieces of paper he can reach and tries to educate me. Internet is also a great teacher."

Back to me


I have researched so much for the different games I find - a new one is opening - http://pandemiconedotzero.com/ and it seems to swirl so nice into the other topics I have been looking into for World of Depleted. But the end game is - you learn and play and grow...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transmedia Resources Updates

I have a few pet projects and one is collecting articles related to transmedia and aligned subjects - I post what I find at http://www.transmediaresources.com/ - and I have probably about 500+ articles sitting in my gmail folder that need to be added, plus there are even more to be searched out.

That said - if anyone is interested in a menial task of helping to review and add resources (it takes me so long because I read the resource before adding and whooo that means lots of reading, thinking and time : )

Well anyhoos - slowly adding more - below is my last little update blurb at the site

--------------
Happy New Year everyone! - It seems the creative juices and discussions continue to flow (a couple of interesting recent articles I like http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-makes-good-transmedia-format.html and http://athinklab.com/2010/12/16/a-tale-of-two-trends-augmented-reality-and-transmedia-storytelling/)

As mentioned in both articles, transmedia has continued to build and grow and excite, which means there are a large number of resources. No one can collect all of them (I heave a big sigh as I had this dream to build a transmedia library) if anyone has any ideas on better organization systems for this site - please let me know.

Also, I am alway worried about archival issues - especially as the Internet ebbs and flows and sites disappear - yet there is always a conflict between copyright and just wanting to make sure the ideas and content survive - if you find bad or old links - please let me know, thanks!

I am going to copy three paragraphs from http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-makes-good-transmedia-format.html - I recommend reading the whole article (even better, leave comments and start a conversation).

By Simon Staffans - "There are still probably as many definitions of transmedia as there are people talking about transmedia. These are not necessarily differing all that much from each other, but rather in a nuance here or a nuance there. It’s all good though; we should all fear the day when we have the definite definition of what transmedia is. That’s the day when it’s time to start doing something else.

It’s not just talk either. A growing number of people are starting to venture into the field of transmedia to tell their stories. These range from major multi-million dollar ventures to small dramas or documentaries with next to no financial power behind them. Some will fail, even amongst the colossal ones, but some will succeed magnificently, even amongst the small ones – such is the way of the storytelling business.

As more and more projects are being developed, there seems to be a need to look beyond the ”what is transmedia?” or ”why transmedia?” to the much harder ”should I and this project go into transmedia?”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Impact of technology on social and mental

I ran across this article and anyone interested in digital and the future and possible social/mental/cultural impact from technology, I recommend you read it

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2011/janfeb/features/digital.html
- (from the taglione for the article) "Separation Anxiety -Now that there's no escaping the digital world, research is getting more serious about what happens to personalities that are incessantly on."


I really like a lot of points brought out in this article and plan on looking into it - especially since I teach technology and I love technology - it does make me wonder a bit though.

I have been reading/following/writing fanfiction for a very cool "universe" called the World of Depleted (http://worldofdepleted.com)- this article along with that scenario really has me thinking - Is a new form of mental disease/affliction developing? I know there are cases of tech/gaming addiction (watch Frontline: Digital Nation for some great info - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/virtual-worlds/internet-addiction/game-addiction-counseling.html

But - is there more coming? How might we prepare?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

todays date in binary 11111

Just in case you were wondering... ;)

From http://knol.google.com/k/counting-in-binary-for-beginners#

Take the decimal number 11,111 - Here's what the "1" in each column means in decimal, where each column represents various sets of "ten's"

Decimal "10,000's"
(104)
"1000's"
(10x10x10, or 103)
"100's"
(10x10, or 102)
"10's" "1's"

1 1 1 1 1


So one group of 10,000,
plus one group of 1,000,
plus one group of 100,
plus one group of 10,
plus 1,
Or more commonly, 11,111.

Let's look at the same number - 11111 - in binary, where each column represents sets of "two's"

Binary "16's"
(24)
"8's"
(2x2x2, or 23)
"4's"
(2x2, or 22)
"2's" "1's"

1 1 1 1 1

So one group of 16,
plus one group of 8,
plus one group of 4,
plus one group of 2,
plus 1,
Comes out, in numbers most of us would understand, as (16+8+4+2+1) = 31.

So 11111 in binary = 31 in decimal

thanks http://knol.google.com/k/counting-in-binary-for-beginners#

Monday, January 10, 2011

Roman battles, stoicism and gladiators

well - it seems there are uncomfortable connections beginning to percolate - the latest QR code (see a couple blog posts earlier) have a possible connection to the Battle of Vindobona - I have not read anything yet about that but my mind cringes as I make the connection between Romans who were noted for crucifixion and some of Gavin's other dreams - I do not know if that is a connection or if there are others. It seems the plague figured greatly in this time period and M.A. may even have died from the plague....

I have to read some of the 1000s of sites pulled up when searching for the three items revealed in the QR contact - of course now it is worrisome, why would someone be sending a message about something that could relate to a battle, death, and so many other possibilities

of course the three items listed could mean something else and this is a red herring,.... one would be so lucky....

as a side note - it seems M.A. died on March 17th, 180 - is this a way to denote the date, an action, or place (I believe Vindobona is now Vienna Austria).....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

World of Depleted Fanfiction - More of the story

So, here is another installment in the story I started in another post

It's still a rough draft and very much a work in progress, it just helps to throw things out into the digital Grid sometimes : )

------------

Title: Should've Stayed Outta Their Business (takes place about a month or two after Getting Business Done - see here for that story and for info on the characters)
Author: docwho2100

Story: World of Depleted (with original characters)
Pairing: F/F and who knows what else
Rating - R

DISCLAIMER - World of Depleted is property of Viking Productions Inc. No infringement intended.

“Based on the World Created by Jeremy Hanke & Chris Tanchyk”

'This Work set in the World of Depleted – worldofdepleted.com

Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States License’

--------------

AN - I like visuals and to log my research so here are a few references

Minako's weapon - http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=ASP52612

Some proverbs - http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Japanese_proverbs

Brown Thrashers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Thrasher

The foyer bench - http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xtITf62LL._home-office-furniture_.jpg

The house - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Colonial_Revival_architecture

The Bible verse - http://bible.cc/jeremiah/21-6.htm


----------


Should've Stayed Outta Their Business – part 1



"Come on, tell me."

"Jo, I do not want to play this game today."

"Come on, I know you wanna. Coooommmee on, come on, come on, I know Minako you just wanna, so, tell me, come on," Jo let go of the handle to the cart she was pulling and skipped ahead to poke her finger on her traveling companion's arm.

"Jo," Minako exclaimed and smacked at Jo's hand.

"Then just tell me one thing you really miss."

Minako stopped, the handle of her cart dropping to the black asphalt street. "Why do you insist on asking me this? Why does it matter, it is all gone."

"Exactly, that is why we need to remember."

"Josephine you are making no sense, has the sun finally baked your brain?"

"Come on grumbly, you are making me trudge along this road, you can at least do something for me. Are you going to make me use my impressive 1.6 centimeter height advantage to bully you?"

"I do plenty for you," Minako sighed as she adjusted the scarf she was wearing, finding the air was too cold for her liking, she had hoped to be farther west before the weather turned.

"Then it is simple, answer one thing."

Minako sighed, knowing if she gave in now, she'd always give in and Jo would never stop pestering. Rubbing at her forehead she threw her hands up in the air. "Fine, if it will shut you up and get you moving again, hot showers, long, luxurious hot showers."

"See cranky dragon, that was not that hard," Jo teased.

"It was sheer torturous hell."

Jo made a scoffing noise, as she returned to her cart. She froze as a shriek rang out. The blonde immediately drawing the gun she had taken to wearing in a hip holster, noting Minako had pulled out the expandable baton she carried, the doctor flicking her wrist to extend and engage the weapon.

A scream sounded again, closer, both women staying put as it seemed the person, or persons was heading their way.

A shrill squawking noise preceded the appearance down the road of a woman. Both watched the woman whose arms waved in a frenzied manner above her head, her gait half between a run and a lope, as she zigzagged side to side.

"Is she drunk?" Jo questioned, tense as she waited to see what was making the woman run. "An animal attack?"

Minako squinted against the sunlight reflected from the road, observing the woman. She began to move toward the woman.

"Hey, is that wise?" Jo questioned as she watched the crazed woman, wincing as the screeching wail tapered off into an agonized moan, the woman dropping to her knees, clawing at her throat. "Damn it doctor, you are going to get us killed with your always having to save the world," Jo muttered as she followed behind Minako, the gun trained on the crazy woman, although her eyes continued to scan the sides of the road for possible attack. They had fallen for traps before, and she knew they would again, Minako would never give up being a doctor, Jo had accepted that and now worked her damnnest to keep the crazy woman alive. Not as if there was much else left for her to do in this shit world.

"Jo my bag," Minako called back as the doctor watched the woman crumple to her side. Drawing near, the doctor began to assess the woman, taking in the torn and soiled cotton blouse and skirt, noting blood stains mixing with the peacock blue pattern of the blouse. She could see red rash splotches on the woman's arms and chest, the blouse shredded enough that Minako could see much of the woman's upper chest. She frowned as she noted sores on the woman's lips and face, the woman's throat looking bruised and scratched, an ugly neon blue and plum purple mottled color.

"God, shimen soka. Please not another case of the plague. Stay calm Minako," she began whispering to herself as her clinical mind continued to feed her a truth she did not want to hear. "As grandfather reminded, ame futte ji katamaru. I must keep working, ishi no ue ni san nen," she turned to see Jo approaching. "Jo, drop the bag and stay by the carts," she paused, seeing Jo stop, but not moving away. "Drop it. now!" she breathed a sigh of relief as she saw Jo drop the bag and scuffle back. Minako darted forward, grabbing the bag. She could see Jo start to take a step forward. She sighed, damn stubborn blonde.

"Plague."

The word hit Jo like a searing bullet. She instinctively took a large step back. They'd dealt with plague and intense disease before. Somehow Minako always managed to come out of those encounters ok, yet to Jo it felt like playing Russian Roulette. Her green eyes widened as she recalled a conversation they'd had with a town doctor a few stops before. He'd talked about a new strain, one that seemed impervious to everything and seemed to affect those that had seemed untouchable.

"House, my babies," the crackly voice broke through Jo's self dread, capturing both Minako and Jo's attention.

"There's more?" Jo whispered.

Minako, hurried back to the woman, crouching down beside her, mentally uttering a small prayer her grandfather had taught her before reaching a hand out to the woman. "Your house?"

The woman swung her arm, slapping Minako across the cheek, the doctor falling back on her butt. Pushing up, the sick woman lurched along the road, a stumbling, lumbering run. She stayed on the paved way for only a few seconds before swerving off to crash through the strand of trees.

"Feck," Jo called out, stunned as she watched her friend push up and take off after the sick woman. The former IT professor rolled her eyes at the hasty action Minako had taken. Making a decision, Jo grabbed their carts and pulled them to the side, off the road, trying to hide them from the main view of the road. She then sprinted in the direction the other two had run.

Already starting to breathe hard, Jo skidded to a stop as the trees and tangling underbrush gave way to a clearing, a two-story, Dutch Colonial Revival style house in the middle of the clearing. Gulping in air, she began walking toward the house, trying to determine where Minako and the psycho chick had gone. A mangled scream came from the house. "Door number one Monty." Jo said, taking in a resigned breath before heading up the steps to the wooden porch.

She noticed a rocking chair on the porch, a birdhouse wind chime, two of the five chimes missing, hanging to one side of the porch. She moved to stand in front of the door, looking at the doorknob for many moments as she wiped her palms on her jeans. She'd mapped the ornate design etched in the silver knob three times before she reached out, half expecting it to burn her. She turned the knob, the action slow, prolonged. Not sure why, Jo pushed the door open, remaining frozen in front of the doorway.

It seemed normal; she could see a small foyer that was rimmed by a wooden archway, leading into a larger open room. Her eyes tracked to the right, a sofa or some piece of furniture, half visible, what looked like a possible mantle to a fireplace behind it. She had just started to look to the left side when her vision was obscured.

"Josephine, stay out, do not come inside."

The sharp command broke Jo's reverie and she jerked back, astonished as Minako loomed in front of her, already shutting the door.

"Minako," Jo questioned, jumping back as the thick oak door slammed in her face.

"There's at least three children, one is dead, I need to check the rest of the house. This is bad Josephine, please, stay outside, let me assess the situation. I..." there was a hitched pause, "will need your help. Just, give me patience, for now. I know that is a word you abhor, but, just, trust me."

Jo's lips puckered outward as she clenched her jaw tight, her hands closed in fists, planted solidly on her hips. She felt like a child scolded by a parent, yet, she knew the doctor was correct.

"Damn her for always being bloody right," Jo turned then, kicking at the decaying straw welcome mat. She halted in front of the porch steps, kicking at one of the forest green banister columns, cursing as her foot stung from connecting with the solid wood.

"I'm going to get the carts Your Highness," she yelled and stomped down the stairs.

Minako leaned against the door, listening as the cursing faded as the Brit moved off. She pinched at the bridge of her nose, hating to have done that, but the danger was too great. The whole house was infected and as she was not completely sure what she was dealing with, or even how the disease might be transferred, she didn't want to risk Jo.

A crash from the upstairs drew Minako's attention. The woman she had followed had disappeared upstairs when they'd entered the house. Instead of following, Minako had been drawn to the frail bodies in the living room, two on the sofa and one slumped in an over-sized armchair.

She'd just determined the young boy in the chair was dead, the other two on the couch near death when the door had opened, drawing her attention as she diverted her examination to keep Jo from entering. Now that the tech professor was gone, she returned to her surveying. She took her coat off, laying it on the foyer bench, rolling up her sleeves as she headed upstairs, preparing herself for whatever she might find; she could smell the death and decay in the air.

--------------------------------------------

"Bloody hell, if this cart tips once more," Jo shouted as she gave the cart handle a tug, popping the back wheel free and sending it over the root that had snagged the wheel, halting the forward progress. With a grunt, she pulled the cart the rest of the way into the clearing, parking it next to the other cart.

The carts had been a gift from the residents of Hetzel; a small community they had visited recently; Minako leaving her gifts of books and medicine. In return, they'd built the carts for the two women, much to Minako's delight and Josephine's bane as it meant they could now carry more stuff. They had been robbed twice since getting the carts, luckily each time most of their odd collection of books and electronic bits left alone as the carts had a false bottom where they carried the more valuable and potentially trouble-causing items. The incidents had left them shaken and contemplating the thought of hiring someone to travel with them for protection. A discussion they were having more frequently, especially as many of the people they encountered were not so receptive to the ideas Minako wanted to share.

Jo's eyes narrowed as she thought about some of the people they had met; she'd learned quickly not to mention her former profession or her skills. While some loved the technology, others loathed it. Another lesson she had learned the hard and painful way.

"Honey, I'm home," she called out, flinching as her loud yell had startled a flock of Brown Thrashers, the birds exploding out of the nearby trees and thicket, trailing across the sky. Jo almost covered her head, something her sister would do anytime a bird flew overhead as the younger Baynham had been on the receiving end many times of a deposit of bird poop, always smacking the person who would try to tell her it meant good luck.

"Josephine."

Jo looked up, spotting the figure in the doorway.

"If you could give me a couple of the soup pouches. Also, if you could find firewood, they have a fireplace here. They must have well water as there is flowing water from the sinks. See if there is an outside spigot for you to access."

"And don't forget to add make a camp on the cold ground here as you get a cushy bed because we are staying a few days, right?"

"I don't think they will last more than two."

Minako's reply deflated the sarcastic retort Jo had been ready to fling. She looked down at the withered grass, rubbing at her forehead. "I'll get what you need."

The doctor nodded, before retreating back inside.

Her shoulders rolled forward in defeat, Jo moved to grab a small axe from one of the carts, she gave one more look back before heading to find wood.

-----------------------------------

Jo finished tending the fire, setting it up so it'd burn for a bit and provide warmth. She cast a glance at the house, a flickering light and set of shadows evident through one set of the mullioned windows. She'd not heard anything more from the house since she'd left the wood and food on the porch.

She hoped Minako would grab some rest. She'd seen the doctor work herself to true exhaustion, the woman passing out many times in the middle of some activity. It was one of the doctor's qualities Jo both admired and hated. She could never understand doing something to the point of physically exhausting your own body. There was dedication, and then there was stupidity.

The blonde stood, wiping her hands on the legs of her jeans as she moved to the house. She knocked on the door, moving back a few steps. She waved as she saw one of the front curtains flutter to the side, an action she'd expected.

"What do you want Jo?" he doctor's weary, muffled voice filtered through the door, just audible.

"Just thought I'd check on you."

"Thank you for the sentiment."

"Have you taken a break, or eaten anything, maybe slept a little?"

There was no reply to Jo's questions, which told the blonde the answer was no. "You need to take care of yourself."

"It seems I have heard this before."

"And you damn doctor will be in position to hear it again I am sure," Jo slapped her hand against her leg in frustration.

"What?"

Jo decided to change the subject as she backed up a little on the porch, dragging the rocking chair beside the door as she asked, "How are they Doc?"

There was silence, Jo could hear a shuffling sound and something she thought might be the crackling of the wood in the fireplace. "Listen, sit for a few minutes and talk to me Minako, please? It'll make me feel better and then I'll go back to my lumpy bedroll and stare up at the stars until I fall asleep."

It was almost a minute before Jo heard a scraping sound, a bump against the door and then a rustling sound. "A few minutes and then I need to check on them."

Jo closed her eyes, celebrating the victory. "Thanks Doc, so?"

"The Jeffersons stopped here a few days ago from what I can tell. Most of them are hallucinating so the stories are often vividly inaccurate."

"Are you saying you've heard a few doozies?" Jo smiled as she heard a chuckle from the doctor. If she could keep Minako's spirits up, at least she could feel like she was doing something.

"There were seven of them; they drew sick about four days ago. At least I think it's been that long," Minako looked across the foyer toward the fireplace. Earlier in the day she'd found an inscription carved into the wood. The discovery had been prompted by the appearance of Mrs Jefferson, the woman stumbling into the room while Minako was tending to the children.

At first Minako thought she was coming after her as the woman had a large butcher knife. Instead, the mother had stumbled to the mantle, carving a line in the woodwork before passing out. After placing the woman back in a bed, Minako examined the mantle, discovering a quote; a short passage from the Bible; a verse from Jeremiah about plague. There were four tic marks carved at the end of the quote. Minko guessing maybe the tic marks represented days, it could fit with the development of the symptoms and stages of their sickness.

"Three are still alive, the mother and two children. One of the children died a couple of hours ago, the others were dead when I arrived."

Jo rolled her lips together, pressing into a thin line as she closed her eyes, saddened at the loss of life and also at how detached Minako sounded as she spoke.

"I've been making notes. This is different from anything I've seen before. It's fast. It's not the plague, but something like it."

"Great," the sarcasm thick in Jo's reply.

"If you do not wish to know, then why are you here talking to me?"

Jo was quiet, her first impulse to snap back at the condescending tone Minako used, yet, she managed to bite back her retort. There was a deeper reason why she was here and not tinkering with one of the small projects that she'd normally fill her time during the evenings when they camped.

"You know," Minako pushed on filling the silence, her weariness making her cranky, "you were always happy to sit in your office alone or your apartment or where ever tapping on your computer. I would think you'd be just peachy having time to yourself, rather than hovering like a faithful puppy. "

"But I wasn't alone."

Minako gave a scoffing laugh in response. "You are treating me as an idiot?"

Jo finally gave into the pushing and pushed back. "If the shoe fits... I always laughed at those who thought technology was isolating and turning everyone into solitary robots sitting in front of a screen alone when they could be out socializing. The whole lot were wrong, I was never alone," Jo stood, her action causing the rocking chair to violently tip over. She ignored the chair as she began pacing in front of the door. "I was texting, or chatting, or messaging, skyping, tweeting, I was always talking to people. All those daft media and brainiac academics had it wrong, I met more people, not less. And I was..." Jo broke off, stumbling a bit as she'd tripped over the disintegrating welcome mat.

"Never alone," Minako supplied, her tone quiet, understanding.

"It was how I met people, interacted, knew how to communicate. But now..." Jo was standing in front of the door, her hands slack at her sides, head hanging down as she felt weary and desolate.

"You fear being alone."

"I was not a social bug like my sisters and brothers, but, I still hung out. I just watched; liked to hover in the background, feel the crowds around me. I was always connected. Technology gave me a way to talk and a freedom, a way to never have to be left out. And now, now it's all gone and I hate it," Jo swallowed hard and turned, tripping again on the mat. With a growl, she picked it up and flung it as far as she could over the porch railing, giving a curse as a few of the sharp straw fragments sliced her hand.

"Fecking cheap mat," she muttered as she placed her injured fingers in her mouth, trying to stop the tears.

"Josephine, if I promise to go and take a small nap, will you go and lay down as well?"

Snuffling, Jo looked at the door, her fingers still shoved in her mouth.

"However first, there are a number of books here. I could read to from one of them if you like?"

"You would?"

"Yes, I know how much you like having me read."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be, just, try not to think about being alone, alright?"

Jo nodded. She crossed the porch to the fallen chair, righting it and pulling it close to the door. "I'm ready."

--------------------

Yesterday had been bad.

Jo had spent the day wandering around the area to collect firewood as well as trying to find something to supplement the small stash of food supplies they had. She'd worked on making some more copies of the maps Minako had started, the documents marking the different spots they had traveled and what they had left behind. Jo liked to tease it was their equivalent of the Princeton Review of the after the Fall medical college system.

She'd also become worried as she'd heard Minako coughing, the doctor becoming more and more distant. Especially as the last child had died, leaving only the mother.

Today was not shaping up to be too great either.

Jo was currently trudging up the porch stairs to pick up her latest assignment. She picked up the cards Minako had left on the porch, giving a humorless laugh as they were still a little damp; Jo sure Minako had wiped them trying to keep things as sanitized as possible. The cards were an example of the many ingenious inventions the doctor had developed. Minako had realized when sending others out to look for plants, it was hard to carry around an entire book, plus only one could person could use a book at a time. So they had meticulously cut up the photos and descriptions, pasting them on cardboard, making little herb cards. They'd found some clear tape and done the "Poor Man's" lamination to try and help preserve them.

"Damn fecking woman, can't be bothered to think about herself, leaves that fun chore to me," Jo muttered as she stomped down the stairs and headed into the trees, not really looking for the herbs pictured on the cards as she continued on her rant. She had been camping out in front of the house for the last two days and was growing very cranky and fussy as day three was looking to be a repeat of the last two.

"Why can't you just care about something besides your daft crusade," she stomped extra hard, a crack echoing through the forest. Jo's eyes widened as she looked down, her foot having gone through the ground. Even as a sharp pain was beginning to lance its way through her ankle, another sharp crack rang out, a series of pops radiating outward from her location.

"Oh shit," Jo managed to get out, already trying to backpedal even as the ground caved in, causing Jo to fall through the hole that had opened up, a solid thunk sounding out, followed by the sound of dirt cascading down for a bit before giving way to silence.

------

Minako stood in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at her reflection. She started to swallow, then winced and stopped, her throat sore. She jutted her chin out a bit, noticing a slight purple tinge to an area on her neck, her eyes tracing along the hem of her blouse. She did not need to move the material as she knew there were red splotches developing; she'd found them this morning when she was washing up.

She'd pushed the first traces of the cough off yesterday, attributing it to her not having eaten or drunk much the last couple of days. However, it had grown worse, as had the pain in her throat. She'd distracted herself by writing up everything she had observed and done. One of her favorite medical professor's mantras had been the need to document details and to record everything without bias; that was how great medical discoveries had been made, by combing through volumes of details and piecing them together. Minako hoped perhaps her details could help someone find a way to stop this disease.

The doctor moved through the house, looking over the dusty and abandoned contents, her mind racing with fear as she tried to avoid the conclusions she had drawn; tried to fight the feelings that were creeping into her mind and soul, polluting her ability to function. Drawing out the deeply buried secrets she had managed to deny for so long.

No one had ever known the real motivation behind her becoming a doctor, no one but her grandfather. Everyone else had thought it was a compassionate reason, or a career move, or a fitting place for her advanced intelligence, or to honor her father's wishes. There had been so many she had heard, and she had let everyone assume those were what drove her; what fueled her intense dedication and determination.

Those reasons sounded so much better than the truth; she was afraid of death.

It had been during her internship that her grandfather had found her one evening in their gardens in Japan. He had taken her on a walk through a part of the garden few were allowed, his inner sanctum. She had listened as he told her stories of his ancestors; had patiently broken through her wall. He had known she became a doctor to hide from what she feared most as it gave her a sense of control over death. It was her desperate attempt to run from cessation, to snatch as many souls as she could from the arms of oblivion; each saved life giving her a chance to gloat and feel as if she had taken one more step away from the dark abyss.

As she wandered through her memories, she drifted through the house, finally ending up back in front of the fireplace. She reread the carved inscription, her eyes lingering on the last few words of the biblical verse.

"I am not a mikka bouzu Grandfather; I swore to you I would never give up. I have always continued. I just..." Minako looked at the mantle, a deep bubble welling up inside her chest. She let go a strangled sob as she dropped her face into her hands, the fear and realization paralyzing her and consuming her; she was going to die.

End part 1 - TBC