UPDATE: The polls are closed and you guys chose to split the vouchers evenly. Well done (that was my hope but I refrained from voting to keep things honest). Thanks!
Welcome regular readers, sometimes readers and new readers. I’m really happy to say we’ve been given a chance by American Airlines to do something nice.
The story thus far: American Airlines screwed the moose with our flight. I wrote them a strongly worded letter that I posted here. A Facebook discussion gave me the idea to ask for a charity donation as compensation. Enter Debra of AA Customer Relations. They could not make a donation to charity directly (they already work with specific charities — for real, I looked it up) but she did get us three $250 AA vouchers that can be used by anyone. We’re donating them to a charity… and that’s where you come in.
You guys can vote on what charity these vouchers go to. I’ve listed three charities (details on why I chose each are below the poll), plus the option to split up the vouchers one per charity. Polls are now closed.
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – In 1996 I lost my father. He died from an infection during a bone marrow transplant to cure his leukemia. He is the reason this blog even exists. As a kid we spent every weekend watching movies. We read comics books. We played with He-Man action figures. I talked his ear off about time travel and hoverboards. I never would have developed the passion to create without him. He was my first best friend. No one else should have to lose a best friend.
Wounded Warrior Project – I never thought much about our service members. Then I heard about a group called Run for the Fallen who was running 4,000 across the country. Each mile was dedicated to a soldier killed in Iraq. It wasn’t about the politics, it was about the people. I signed up to produce a documentary about it. 600 hours of footage later, I learned these service members do something I could never do. They deserve all our support.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – I never had any pets growing up. I wanted a dog. Never got one. Then I started dating Beth. She had two gorgeous cats: Eddie and Sophie. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about them. Five years later, I couldn’t imagine life without them. I certainly couldn’t imagine why anyone would hurt such love-filled little guys. Seriously, fuck those people. Major props to the ASPCA for standing up to them.
I also encourage you to visit their sites and make a direct donation. You can’t go wrong with any of them. Thanks!
Ok, look, let me just make this clear: I expected Part 4 to be the final installment of a short story. Then I decided these characters and this format could be fun to revisit. From now on Courtship in the Time of WiFi will be a continuing soap opera that will pop up from time to time on ROSHOW.net. I’ll aim to release it in bursts of three or four installments at a time when it shows up. So keep your eyes peeled for the ongoing adventures in 21st century dating of Sandi, Alan, Emily and Brian. Till then, enjoy Part 4.
UPDATE #2: American Airlines has reached out to me. We’re working something out so there can be a charitable donation of some kind. Thanks for the support, everyone!
UPDATE #1: Over on Facebook someone informed me that my “request” would come out to $24,000. I hereby challenge American Airlines to donate that amount to a real charity voted on right here by you guys. Let’s see if they take the challenge (I doubt they will).
That tweet explains why you’re not seeing the next installment of Courtship in the Time of WiFi today. I just walked in the door not too long ago from an otherwise lovely trip South of the Border.
Being a man of my word, I delivered on that tweet with the strongly worded letter. And, of course, I’m going to share it here. I carbon-copied some top American Airline execs whose names and email addresses I redacted (despite their easy availability online). If you’ve ever been subject to airline nonsense, I encourage you share this on Twitter, Facebook, however you want. Or write your own letters then forward them to rolando [at] roshow [dot] net and I’ll link/post them here.
There’s not such thing as vacations here at the ROSHOW. Enjoy today’s post and be back here on Wednesday for a special post concluding Courtship in the Time of WiFi. Happy President’s Day!
A few years ago I co-wrote this short script with my friend Steve Loiaconi. I was going to direct it. Unfortunately, we got rained out and then the winter came and we lost the cast. A little sad but a good experience, nonetheless. We did shoot a few scenes. Here’s my favorite. You can download the full script here.
Courtship in the Time of WiFi concludes on Wednesday. But fret not loyal readers, there will still be an update on Monday — even with the holiday! And it also concerns awkward encounters by way of online dating. See you then and, in the meantime, enjoy the weekend!
I’m sure you regular visitors may notice this place is quite different right now. I’m moving on up from Blogger to WordPress, with the help of my old friend Desirai. All my old content is here, she’s just helped me pretty it up. Thanks for visiting!
Before you ask: no, this is NOT a real email exchange. It’s fiction. More precisely, it’s my first attempt at a 21st century epistolary short story. I believe it will work out to be four parts, but we’ll see. Be back here next Wednesday for part 2. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day!
I recently read a fascinating piece on the always fascinating website, ribbonfarm.com about boundary conditions in mathematical models and how it relates to the author’s thought process. Now for those of you not mathematically inclined, don’t be scared! It doesn’t involve numbers and equations; it’s all explained in layman’s terms. It resonated strongly with me and my own creative process, so I wrote a reply. I thought those of you who swing by and read my work may find it interesting, so I’m “reprinting” it here. Feel free to share your own creative and thought processes. This kind of stuff interests me a lot.
I enjoyed this but from an admittedly egotistical point of view: you’ve described my thought process, too. I’m a storyteller, mostly of fiction, but I loved math growing up and it certainly set the tone for how I approach things. In fact, this is exactly how I come up with a story.
First, I do the brain-dump. I write down every little bit of information I have in my notebook. I’ll even sketch something if it’s important and easier than writing it. Once I get that all down, I break it down into usable pieces and I rearrange them into something coherent. The building blocks actually correlate to the three types you suggest above.
[A few excerpts for those not reading the original article (but, seriously, read it!):
"Dynamics refers to how things change, and the laws govern those changes... Unlike dynamics, which dance around in exciting ways, constraints just sit there, usually messing up the dancing... When boundary conditions change, the effects can be extremely weird, and hard to sort out, if you aren’t looking at the right boundaries... But boundary conditions are where actual (as opposed to textbook) behaviors are born. And the more complex the boundary of a system, the less insight you can get out of a dynamics-and-constraints model that simplifies the boundary too much."]
1. Dynamics. These are the basic cause-and-effect rules of the world in which the story takes place. Usually, it’s character stuff: relationships (Bob and Jill are married, so they probably kiss when they get home), personality (Bob has a temper, so if you punch him, he’ll punch you back but it takes a lot to enrage Jill). If you’re writing sci-fi/fantasy it could encompass physics (Bob and Jill are superheroes so they hit harder).
2. Constraints. These are usually technical stuff you have to adhere to. It includes stuff like format (script, prose, serial, single story) and length. If you’re writing for someone else, they may have story points you can’t alter (like say you’re told Bob and Jill can’t break up).
3. Boundaries. This is where the drama comes from! You push things to the limit and see what happens. For instance: Jill punches Bob.
What could have made Jill act in such a violent way? Is Bob going to react as he normally would and punch his wife? If they’re two superheroes fighting in their apartment, is that going to cause serious property damage? And, since they have to stay together, how do you resolve this situation in a way that doesn’t lead to a them breaking up? If it’s got to be a 100 word prose story, what details do I choose to include and how do I structure it?
As usual, thanks for giving me something to think about!
We continued the discussion a little bit in the comments section. Hop on over there to read the rest, if you’re interested.