Friday, February 28, 2014

The Best Way to Play Laser Tag

So on Saturday my day was pretty much packed. I had an art class at one thirty, which is pretty normal, but I have to take the train to get to it—actually, I have to walk two miles to the train station and then take the train to get to it. Then within the first five minutes of the class I managed to stab myself in the face with a pencil and it frickin’ hurt. See, I’d just sharpened the pencil and I was trying to get some stray pencil shavings off of the sharpener when the pencil, which was still in my hand, flew up and gouged me in the face. It actually drew blood.

Anyway, after I stopped bleeding I did some art and then I left the class early to go to a LASER TAG PARTY! Yaay!

I get to the place and it’s like the one time in my life when I’m not the last one to arrive at the party. Seriously, I have a problem with being late for things.

We waited for everyone to arrive and then we waited some more in the MASSIVE LINE—seriously, it was huge—and then we went in and shot each other with lasers and stuff. 

If you've never played laser tag, here's how it works: There are three teams, red, blue and green. Each person wears a vest that has lights of their team's color and a laser gun attached. There's a big indoor structure with lots of walls and passages, and you run around and shoot people from other teams. If you get shot, your vest turns white and you can't shoot anything for a few seconds. Each team has a base, and if you take out another team's base by shooting it four times, you get like two thousand points. The same person can't take out a base twice.

My friends and I were taking up both the blue and the green spaces and we were going to make an alliance, but apparently that went straight out the window as soon as we got inside.

I was on the blue team and I had NO idea what I was doing. I’m just running around shooting anything that isn’t blue. Actually, I shot some of the blue people as well, but luckily friendly fire doesn’t register on the vests so I couldn’t actually get them out.

My team won and I was happy. I wound up getting ranked number sixteen! (Out of something like thirty, so yay.) So we waited for like another forty minutes to get in again—actually, we got shut out twice because apparently my friends operate on an “If all of us can’t go in NONE of us are going in!” basis and I love them SO MUCH for it.

Then when we finally got in again, we were all supposed to be blue. But they ran out of blue vests so I wound up as green.

Here’s the best way to play laser tag: Against your friends, having heard their strategies, and with a rigged vest.

Seriously, there was something off with my vest. It only registered, like, one out of five times I got shot. I found the red base pretty fast—it was totally unguarded!—and took it out, then got someone else on my team to take it out again before moving on to the blue base (which belonged to my friends). I took that one out too. Then I found my own base, the green one, and stopped some of my friends from taking it out. I shot them all and then just kept shooting so that every time one of their vests reactivated I got it again immediately.

That’s when my friend Sally, who is an expert at laser tag, noticed that there was something up with my vest. I didn’t believe her, since people had been getting me out (infrequently), so I let her shoot me a few times until my vest turned white. It took several shots, though, so after the game was over I asked the Game Master about it.

Her response? “Oh yeah, some of the vests have power-ups, especially if you take out a base. Like they just don’t register as many hits.”

So yep. I had a rigged vest.

AND I got ranked NUMBER ONE! Woo! It was fabulous!

That was a fun day. The rest of the week, not so much. Lots of homework, and I'm doing cello for the school's production of Evita, so lots of rehearsal for that too. I don't actually know the story of Evita yet, but I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Short Story

Because my last blog post was lackluster, and I don't have anything witty prepared, here's one of my short stories. I read it aloud at the Conservatory Open House last week.

It's called The Hitchhiker's Tale.

It was just my luck that my car broke down on a deserted rural road in the middle of the night. Moreover, my cell phone was absolutely drained, preventing me from calling a cab. Fortunately it was a warm night, but that didn’t change the fact that I was squarely in between Danville, where my plane had landed, and Littlestown, where the mythology conference was. I was to present a paper on the symbolism behind Loki’s imprisonment the next morning, and I could not be late.
            That was what prompted me to stick my thumb out when the headlights snaked down the road ten minutes later. Inadvisable, I know, but I was desperate. It was almost thirty miles to Littlestown.
            The headlights turned out not to belong to a car, but a pickup truck. It pulled over and the driver, a ginger-haired boy in maybe his late teens or early twenties, leaned out of the window. “Hey, you want a ride?” he called amiably.
            “Thanks.” I got into the front seat, settling my briefcase under my knees. The car was, I had noticed, badly dented and scraped in several places.
            “Where are you headed?” asked the boy, pulling back onto the road and glancing at me curiously. I must have been quite an atypical hitchhiker: a thin man with academic glasses and a briefcase, wandering the empty roads at midnight.
            “Littlestown,” I told him. “I’m on my way to an academic conference on mythology. I specialize in the Prose Edda, you know.”
            “Oh yeah? I haven’t heard of that,” said the boy, a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth. “I don’t get out much, though.”
            “What about you?” I asked. “What brings you to this stretch of road so late at night?”
            “Me?” He shrugged. “I just like driving.”
            A thought struck me and I chuckled. “This is like something out of an urban legend. When I get to Littlestown and describe you, someone will tell me that you died ten years ago and still keep driving around picking up hitchhikers.”
            “Twenty-three, actually,” said the boy, turning the wheel slightly as the road curved.
            I frowned. “Twenty-three what?”
            “It was twenty-three years ago,” he explained, “not ten.” He glanced at me, deadpan.
            I laughed and after a moment his mouth quirked upwards and he laughed with me. “Nah, I kid,” he said, checking the rearview mirror. “So tell me—what do you do for fun?”

            The drive took less than half an hour, and the boy, who introduced himself as Asa Baker, let me out beside the hotel. I walked into the lobby and called in my reservation, planning to rescue my car the next day (or rather, that afternoon—it was one-forty-five a.m. when I got to the hotel).
            After I presented my paper, I got a ride from one of my colleagues, a woman who taught creative writing at Littlestown University and had presented a paper on story tropes. When I told her where my car was, she stared at me in confusion and said, “How on earth did you get all the way here in time for the conference?”
            I told her that a young man called Asa Baker had picked me up and brought me to the hotel, and she looked at me with half-lowered eyelids.
            “My students put you up to this, didn’t they,” she said. It wasn’t a question.
            “What do you mean?”
            “Asa Baker. He’s one of the more popular urban legends around here. He was a nineteen-year-old farm worker who died in a freak road accident twenty-something years ago. People say he drives around in his pickup truck and offers hitchhikers rides. My students are always joking about meeting him on a dark road in the middle of the night.”
            I stared at her. “You’re kidding.”
            “Nope.” She raised an eyebrow. “So how’d you really get here?”
            “But…” I shook my head. “My God, he wasn’t joking. He actually wasn’t joking.”
            “Who wasn’t joking?”
            “Asa Baker. It really was twenty-three years!”

Did you like it? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I have no energy for an actual dance music.

I meant blog post. My friend was saying something about dance music and I started typing the conversation. Creative Writing Conservatory can get surprisingly rowdy. Right now someone's trying to do a standing splits while everyone else is talking. And my dance music friend just stole the pencil from behind my ear and stuck it in my other friend's hair.

My pencil-hair friend just gave me the pencil back and now they're talking about whether people can actually slip on banana peels. (Dance-music friend says that according to Myth Busters they can't.) And now they're wondering where the popcorn went and poking splits friend.

The reason that we have no more popcorn is that it was right behind me and it was delicious.

I have no energy for an actual post, so have some pictures. Yes, some of these have been on the blog before.

Something I made when I was bored. 

A shark is eating my head. 

Cosplaying Cousin Itt.

Mad scientist hair.

And here's some I found on the internet. 

Yay internet.