Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mything in Action

You can read the title of this post in lots of ways…

Missing in Action -- as anyone who had taken a look at my word count for the past few weeks -- no, make that months -- knows, that interpretation describes where I've been.

Or

Missing inaction -- which describes how I'm feeling about the amount of stuff that has been keeping my busy. Considering the alternative, it's not such a bad thing.

Or

Mything in Action -- and that's what I'm going to blog about today.

As a fantasy writer ( yes, okay, it's a phrase that has more than one meaning, and both can be applied to me) I get to invent histories and religions and myths as I please. It's loads of fun. It's also a wonderful excuse to wander off into the realm of research for an hour or two. Sometimes I do it deliberately and sometimes it's just happy happenstance as it was this time. My interest was piqued by something I saw on TV, it might have been the Discovery Channel, and then again in might not. It was a program about reading the Bible, the Book of Exodus to be precise, as if it described a military campaign. I was fascinated by the ideas put forward, and one in particular stood out for me as I have long thought it to be only partly true.

We tend to hold onto our beliefs even when we know that they are inaccurate. A case in point would be that microwave ovens heat food from the inside out. Anyone who ever used a microwave knows full well that it is nonsense and has empirical evidence to back up the fact every time they heat just about everything that gets put in the "zapper". If food heated from the inside out then it would be hotter in the middle, right? And it isn't. That's why it has to be stirred and/or left to stand. Even someone as intelligent as the spouse holds to this misbegotten idea. It drives me nuts!

My own piece of illogic concerns night vision. Until now, I have not really understood that if you look at a bright light when you are surrounded by darkness you are effectively blind for a good long time afterwards. I've experienced it. I just didn't register it. In this program the presenter expostulated that Moses led his people away from the pursuing Egyptians by following a column of smoke during the day which I could easily accept; a torch on a pole can be made to give off a good amount of smoke under the right conditions. By night they followed a column of fire. It was the bit about the column of fire that got my attention. After all, if the Children of Israel could see the column of fire, then so could the Egyptians. Or so I thought until now. This guy said that if Moses had torches placed behind their encampment at night, the Egyptians wouldn't be able to see if the Israelites were escaping, nor would they be able to see properly in the dark for up to thirty minutes afterwards. The result being that the Israelites got away. Excuse my mangled retelling of the tale, I'm trying to make a point, not get into a religious discussion.

So last night I was able to test the theory out in a more modern setting. I had to babysit a backup that kicks off at 1:00 a.m. and finishes at about 2:00 a.m. It's been hiccoughing lately and I wanted to find out exactly what it was choking on. So after I'd finished playing about with it, I returned to bed but I didn't try to go to sleep as I usually do. I kept trying to see the various things in the bedroom that I know are there. It took nearly forty minutes before I could really see everything! I'd have bet real money that I would be able to see everything just fine after five. What a great plot point! Or even TWO great plot points. The realization that a long held belief is untrue, and using the newly accepted fact to escape or create a trap or whatever. Lovely.

All this led to another (potentially) great scene today for Project Tevan. I was helping the spouse trench for some new drainage pipe we're laying in the yard this morning and I thought, as you do, Ooohhh! If this was filled with flammable liquid and set on fire at night it would be splendid cover for Varda to make her escape. Not quite sure what/who she's going to escape from, but I have an idea about that too. Now I just need to get her from her current predicament to the next one and then she can end up with a flaming trench and running for her life yet again. This may be written in the first person but I can tell you right now, I wouldn't trade places with her for ANYTHING!

3 comments:

Theadra Leilani said...

Glad everything is working out so well. Mythbusters did a thing on night vision and why a pirate really wore a patch. By patching one eye, it was always ready for going below in the dark holds. You should look for it online. It was a really informative.

Theadra Leilani said...

Helllooooo, Helllloooooo. Are you okay? Are you out there? Miss you, and hope everything is okay. =)

Nancy Beck said...

Hey, Liz, thanks for asking about me (and you too, Theadra - sorry I haven't gotten back to you).

2009 continued to be a crappy year, but things appear to be looking up. It looks as if my husband's disability money has come through, and I'm on the verge of finding another job (yay me!) closer to home (with decent pay, no less).

It's strange how it's all coming together right now, esp. as I've been asking the neurosurgeon for a letter as to my condition (and how I could have short-term memory loss for a while). I'll be handing that off to my boss this morning and to the HR lady, too.

Because, I've been on probation for the past couple of months, and it's been no picnic. At least with this letter, I'll make them think twice about terminating me. And I have my suspicions that something is afoot, since the HR lady called and talked to my boss late yesterday.

Methinks this letter may have come just in time.

Take care, Liz and Theadra. I may be posting more often, once this job thing is satisfied.

~Nancy