Unbound Narrative

fiction and weird thoughts

So lets talk about Solar Roadways

I know this is a bit of a break from my normal posts, but it interests me so hey – here goes. 

 

There has been a lot of activity on social media about this recently so I decided to do a little research into the feasibility of the idea, here’s my five word summary:

It is an amazing idea.

 

There are a few questions that need to be answered (i.e. the safety of driving on glass) but in principal it sounds great. So lets talk about why it’s a good idea.

Electricity Production

One of the main issues with large-scale electricity production from photovoltaic cells is the land use (here is a government paper from the US discussing the problem http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56290.pdf), the same issue that other energy production methods have. If we turned the roads into giant solar panels we could solve this issue of land use, and some estimates I’ve heard say that it could create three times the current electricity usage of the United States (I am a little skeptical of this figure though, I’d like to see their sources). What isn’t in contest however is that the road would be self-funding, it would certainly produce enough energy to perform all of the tasks they’re looking for.

Reduce Carbon Footprint

This could massively reduce the carbon footprint of the western world, in more ways than the obvious. Yes it would reduce the western world’s reliance on fossil fuels for energy production, fantastic, but it could go further than that. One of the main problems with electric cars at the moment is the inconvenience of charging them*, but with the laying of the new roads, charge points could be built into the new layout (say every 20 miles on motorways?) making it much more practical to own an electric car. 

 

* although the Tesla company has been making great strides in the efficiency of electric engines, and some cities have charge points now.

Safety

Part of the plan is to build an LED lighting system into the roads along with detectors to warn of any road blockage or danger ahead (one example is wild animals crossing the road). Night driving would be much safer and cost efficient, lighting the road instead of street lights and relying on car lights in areas without lighting.

   Each cell also contains a heating element, so no more ice and snow accidents!

Cost Efficiency

Never mind it producing it’s own energy and fueling the western world, the road would be cheap and environmentally friendly. Instead of pouring hot and smelly bitumen onto the roads that lasts a relative five minutes, each hexagonal cell is made from recycled glass and can be replaced individually as a unit.

   Part of the system design is electricity and phone cables built in a protected channel beside the road, replacing overhead wires, preventing repair costs from storm damage.

 

In essence Solar Roadways are an amazing idea!

 

Here, look for yourself

Everything you want to know in 6 minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU

The Inventors Website

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home

and some articles looking at it negatively (do not fear change people, embrace it)

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/stocks/technology/why-the-solar-roadways-project-on-indiegogo-is-actually-really-silly

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/solar-panel-highway2.htm

Who the hell is Tom Bombadil?

Okay so anyone who has read the Lord of The Rings always asks two questions 1) Who the hell is Tom Bombadil, and 2) Why was he not in the movies?

The second one is the easiest to answer, so we’ll deal with that one first.

Tom Bombadil could never have been in the movies, his character was really a detraction and his only real contribution to the story was giving the hobbits a chance to get access to the swords kept by the barrow-wight, which admittedly changes quite a few important things in the story, but only subtly (for those who haven’t read the books, it was actually Meriadoc who killed the Witch-King at the battle of Minas-Tirith after the death of Théoden). The whole section leading up to the meeting with Tom in the Forest would have taken up half of the first movie, and with such a restricted medium (plus the fact that Tolkien is known for rambling, which does not make a good movie) it would have made the movie a cinematic flop with a few loyal fans and the others would have never been released, rather than the cinematic epic that it turned out to be.

Okay, so now the hard question

Who the hell is Tom Bombadil?

This is a hard matter to deal with as it never says out right exactly who he is

“Fair lady!” said Frodo again after a while. “Tell me, if my asking does not seems foolish, who is Tom Bombadil?”

“He is, “ said Goldberry.

There are, however, hints in the book as to his identity, if you have read all of the books, the Silmarillion included.

Here is my personal conclusion, Tom Bombadil (AKA Iarwain Ben-adar oldest and fatherless, AKA Forn, AKA Orald) is Eru AKA Ilúvatar Creator of all.

Bear with me, I will explain, but to do that I have to explain some other things first, and it might get a little complicated.

Eru existed first and he sang the Ainur into being, there were two ranks of the Ainur the more powerful and less powerful and they all sang into being the world. Of these Ainur there was one who was more powerful than the rest, Melkor, who tried to go against Eru and sing the world to his own liking, Eru and the other Ainur defeated him and he was cast out but managed to get to the newly forged world, and so became Morgoth, the great evil. Fourteen of the more powerful Ainur and many of the lesser decided to follow Melkor to the World and work against him, these became the Valar (greater Ainur) and the Maiar (lesser Ainur).

Now I know that was a bit intense and you can read it for yourself in the Valaquenta which forms part of the book “The Silmarillion” (It’s very hard going believe me). I did however recap it for a reason, to introduce you to the hierarchy of powers in the Lord of The RIngs Universe. Here it is put simply:

tom_bombadil_exploration

Bear with me, I am going somewhere with this.

In the end of the Silmarillion it introduces the Wizards as Maiar taken physical form, and we also see Galadriel in the Silmarillion introduced as a High Elf.

So now lets explore who was tempted by the ring:

Sauron was a Maiar in the service of Morgoth and was very powerful, but still a lesser Ainur. He created the One Ring, and had a hand in making all the others except the Elven Three. He himself needs the power of the ring to regain his strength, so he is affected by it.  Gandalf, as one of the lesser Maiar refused the ring, acknowledging that he could use the power in it but it would control and twist him. Even the High Elf Galadriel (who in some cases are a lot more powerful than the Maiar e.g. Glorfindel and Fëanor) sees a vision of herself as twisted and evil having used the One.

So so far we have clarified that the High elves and even the Maiar can’t use the one and remain unaffected by the power it contains and yet in Book 1 of the Fellowship, Tom Bombadil sees through Frodo’s invisibility and takes the One from him and puts it on, completely ignoring it’s power.

Logically this means that he is more powerful than even Sauron, put has no interest in moving against him, placing him at least in the ranks of the Valar.

All Fourteen Valar are accounted for on Valinor though.

Manwë Súlimo, King of the Valar

Ulmo, King of the Sea

Aulë, the Smith and the Lord of Earth and all that’s underneath

Oromë Aldaron, Lord of Forests, the Great Rider, and Hunter of Valinor

Námo (Mandos), Judge of the Dead

Irmo (Lórien), Lord and Master of Dreams, Visions, and Desires, and Creator of the Oloré Mallé, or Path of Dreams

▪ Tulkas Astaldo, Champion of Valinor, the last of the Valar to come to Arda

▪ Varda Elentári, Queen of the Stars, spouse of Manwë

▪ Yavanna Kementári (Palùrien), Giver of Fruits, spouse of Aulë

▪ Nienna, Lady of Mercy

▪ Estë the Gentle, Lady of Healing and Rest, spouse of Irmo

▪ Vairë the Weaver, spouse of Mandos

▪ Vána the Ever-young, spouse of Orome

▪ Nessa the Dancer, spouse of Tulkas

So who does that leave? Who is more powerful than the greatest of Maiar and all the High Elves, but isn’t a Valar, who are all on Valinor, and isn’t Morgoth who is trapped in the void.

Eru.

My conclusion isn’t unsupported either, there are other hints in the Fellowship. Remember when I said that Eru Sang the Ainur and the world into being and his song was stronger than Melkor.

Here is the passage from Book 1 of the Fellowship where he sings away the power of the Barrow-Wight.

“Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,

Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.

None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the Master:

His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.”

There is also a prophecy that Morgoth will break free in the last age of the world and Eru will fight with all of his children and mend the world, here is another passage from the same section.

Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,

Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.”

Gandalf also alludes to this when talking about Tom to the council at Rivendell:

“And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds
that he has set, though none can see them, waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not stepbeyond them”

Any questions? leave a comment and I will try my best to answer them, alternatively leave a comment on the Facebook “like” page for Kit Myers.

Think I’m wrong? Please enlighten me, leave a comment!

Thanks guys.

Kit

Writing exercise

How is this for a writing exercise idea, take ten minutes out of your day for a free writing exercise. Sit down and write a story with this piece of dialogue as a prompt “I don’t want to be friends anymore, I don’t like the person you’ve become.” Write for 10 minutes without stopping, don’t edit your work, don’t do anything to it, just be sure to include the piece of dialogue somewhere, I’d like to compare notes. If you would like to, please e-mail me at kit.myers6@gmail.com and I may post it on here

hmm

So recently I seem to have gotten involved in a lot of hobbies, it seems to be working though, as inspiration struck the other day. I have been suffering from chronic writers block on my current novel project, I use the card system to create all of my character’s personality traits and keep track of their changes throughout the story. My problem was that I just couldn’t see a way of making my protagonist undergo personal growth, when i had a thunderclap moment (when playing Magic The Gathering of all things, geeky i know, but hey). The reason I couldn’t get my story to work was that the protagonist was boring and one dimensional, i had restricted his personality too much for the story to work, so i took another look at my characters. When I had a really good look at my characters I realised that the secondary character that I had relegated to the sub-plot, was much more interesting, and as soon as i realised that, the pieces fell into place. I have now actually written the prologue and some of chapter one, now to deal with that pesky procrastination problem…

Innocence and Idiocy

Jane

Spring is coming and our team leader decided that we would go hiking this year as our team building exercise. George had it all planned out, we would be walking up Scafell Pike, which apparently is pronounced “scar-fell” rather than Scafell like scaffolding. Scafell pike is apparently the highest point in England, but I’m not worried, England isn’t exactly the Himalayas.

 

Andrew

Spring is coming and yet again I’ve had to go to a meeting because of the upcoming season of idiocy. Every year we get a load of city office workers going up the fells in jeans and trainers and I get called out of work to go and rescue them. One year a group of Japanese tourists went up Helvellyn in suits with briefcases!

 

Jane

I’m packing for my weekend away, we’ll be staying in a little town called Whitehaven. I bought a new pair of trainers yesterday, I want to be comfortable walking up the hill! I’m also gonna to pack my old comfy jeans, a new t-shirt and a hoody in case i get cold. Other than that I’m trying to be minimalist. I need my makeup and toiletries, a couple of outfits for going out, my pyjamas, some day clothes, hair dryer, straighteners, hair brush, underwear, socks and spare shoes, handbags to match all my shoes, jewellery, contact lenses, I’ll be wearing one outfit to travel in but I’ll need to pack another to travel back in.

 

Andrew

I’ve got to go to yet another meeting, apparently they’re expecting us to have a very busy weekend. It’s been really bright and sunny for the past two weeks, which means a lot of opportunistic tourists, and to make matters worse the British meteorological service have informed us that there is a big storm brewing over the Atlantic ocean that looks like it’s going to hit us at about midday Saturday, A.K.A numpty day. 

 

Jane

Okay, so, we’ve arrived in Whitehaven and George has arranged a quaint little hotel, called the chase, the rooms are a bit small but oh so full of charm. We’re preparing for a big night out tonight, I wish I’d brought more outfits, I really want my black dress with the silver designs on it.

   It’s a good job can get up with a hangover, because the boys have brought bottles of vodka to drink in their room and have invited me over!

 

(Next morning)

Oh. My. God. I am so hung-over! I can’t remember what I did last night but the boys were smiling at me and giving me funny looks at breakfast, I hope I didn’t do anything stupid.

   We had a big talk off George his morning, apparently he wants to be the only one with a phone so that “no-one can be antisocial and we can all get in the team mood”, I’ll see if I can sneak it on the trip.

 

*

 

We’ve arrived at the start, I picked up some wi-fi from a nearby pub so I could update. The hill looks a little bigger than I expected but it should be fine, George wouldn’t take us anywhere dangerous.

   George caught me with my phone so I’m going to have to leave it on the bus so I’ll update when we get back down.

 

Andrew

It has been a stupidly un-fun, yet funny day, I have been up five fells today and we nipped into the pub for a hot meal and to get out of the horrendous weather when the owner tells us that a group of fifteen went up Scafell in the morning in t-shirt, jeans and trainers, hadn’t left any contact details and the bus was still on the drive. It was thunder, lightening and torrential rain out there. The boss decided to send out a search party. I called it in, there were no active phones in the area but the helicopter pilots were willing to do a fly over despite the bad weather. We set off to be in a good position to locate them on the ground.

   We were twenty minutes from the summit before we got a call on the radio to say that the helicopter had found them but couldn’t land or winch because of the wind sheer. They were about a twenty minute run from where we were.

   When we arrived there was one injured man, apparently the leader/office boss who was in a bad way, dislocated shoulder, broken wrist, couple of broken ribs, severe shock and the early stages of hypothermia, the rest of them were showing signs of hypothermia too. The idiots had put cotton hoodys on to keep the rain off and there wasn’t a waterproof or pair of boots among them, they hadn’t even sent anyone for help when the leader got injured, just milled around in the rain, unable to make a decision. We strapped the injured man to a body board gave them our spare waterproofs and made them carry the man down, under supervision, to warm them up. I don’t think they’ll be hiking again in a hurry, especially not after the lecture they got from the gaffer!

 

Jane

 

Hiking is awful! And mountain rescue are mean and Cumbria is an awful place!

 

Aims

I’m going to blog at least once a week from now on, if you have any comments please feel free, but don’t be offended if i remove them if they’re offensive or overly negative, if you’re interested in workshopping or just want to chat, please email me at kit.myers6@gmail.com

Pendrygon

Some background

It’s the dark-ages, Rome has fallen and an uneasy peace lies between the Britons, Picts and Scots, until the Jutes invade and conquer the east. Even the Northumbrians have fallen, Rheged (modern day Cumbria) stands alone in the west and its king, Urien, forges an alliance with a Pict shaman, and King himself, Myrrlin of the Gododdin.

pronunciation

Myrrlin – Mere-lin
Taliesin – tal-e-ay-zin
Sidhe – Shee

 

“Wart!” came a call from the great hall.
Wart flinched, he hated that name, it had been given to him by his father after his roman mother had died. He had been called Artorius until then; he couldn’t wait until he could pick his own name at his coming of age. “Wart! Come here boy!” came the thunderous voice once more.
Wart hurried towards the hall, it would not be pleasant to bear the brunt of anger that could come from the owner of that voice. “I’m here father” Wart called out as he entered “I’m sorry I’m late, I was in the wings.”
“You should be less tardy young prince” said the man standing fully naked, apart from the blue woad spirals painted over his body and the golden torc around his neck, next to his father “ It shows disrespect to the kingdom and it’s king.”
“I am sorry Lord Myrrlin, I did not know that my father was given to allowing picts” Wart spat the word “to speak in his place.”
“Wart, do not speak to your betters in such a manner.” Urien, King of Rheged and Wart’s father said quietly, promising hurt to come if the behaviour continued, “you are here to listen to the seer’s predictions, they affect us all. Please, continue Lord Myrrlin.”
“As I stated earlier my liege, my apprentice Taliesin was given a vision by the great mother, he was told that the Jutes are invading from the east, coming with a force of twenty thousand.”
“And does the great mother also tell you that to defend against those kind of numbers we would have to completely empty Rheged,” Wart interrupted “and leave the kingdom completely open to attack? And is it perhaps a coincidence that our marching to the east would leave your people behind our lines?”
“My people have already gone to meet this force,” The shaman said quietly “three hundred and thirty three of our fit men have taken the death rite and painted the blue woad. They are accompanied by Taliesin’s brother Aneirin, so that he may tell the tale that the Gogoddin gave their lives in order to hold back this tide so that your father may mount a defence here in the west. I and my apprentice shall ride there tomorrow, accompanied by yourself and the castle guard, to see how the Gododdin fare.”
That silenced Wart. Three hundred was the last of the Gododdin’s men, they would die and the old shaman’s tribe would be no more. Wart looked to his father, the king nodded gravely “Go, see to my business on the battlefield my son, while I look to the defence of our land.”

*

The Castle Guard rode out at dawn the next morning in full armour and tack, apart from the two Picts, the old Myrrlin and the younger Taliesin, who rode naked and bareback, in their customary blue woad and golden Torc. The ride east was grim and silent, every man dreading what they might find on the Catterick battleground.
The ride was long, hard and as they neared the battleground, they could hear the crows, screaming. It was not long before the smell of rotting corpses was added to the cacophony. Wart vomited over the side over the side of his warhorse “If you think that it is bad now young one, wait until we get over the hill” the old shaman said gravely.
The battleground was littered with the dead, armoured Jute and naked Pict alike, it looked as though the Gododdin had held the Jutes for days and taken a fair number with them, but in the end it had been futile, as they must have known from the beginning. Taliesin screamed and leapt from his mount and charged down from the hill only to fall to his knees beside one of the bodies. “Something to learn young prince,” Myrrlin murmured “Shaman die just as well as ordinary men.”
Aneirin, Taliesin’s younger brother, stirred in the young man’s arms, and started to sing in a strange, and beautiful language, that evoked in Wart images of bravery and death. Myrrlin turned to Wart with a surprised look on his face “Would you like me to translate young prince? Some of this pertains to your future.”
Wart nodded, the old shaman tilted his head back and started to sing in the tongue of his fathers people, whom the Jutes called Welsh.

He fed black ravens on the rampart of a fortress
Though he was no Arthur
Among the powerful ones in battle
In the front rank, Gwawrddur was a palisade

“It seems that young Aneirin has been granted a vision of the future, and lets us know of your importance while telling us of the deeds of the men he fought with” Myrrlin said with wonder “Your mother named you Artorius did she not, and in your father’s tongue this name would be Arthur?”
“Yes.” Wart said suspiciously
“It seems that you have great things ahead of you young prince.”
It was a full day before Aneirin ceased to sing and drew his last breath. Taliesin stood and drew a deep breath, he turned to look at his master “I wish to send these men directly to the other side.”
“As you wish.” The old shaman responded, turning to Wart, he murmured a warning “You are about to see something that no man has seen in living memory, a binding. We are about to ask the fae to come forth and bear these men to paradise. Please, be careful young one and do not look directly at the fae and do not go near them, for they are perilous to mortals.”
The two shamans walked to the centre of the battlefield and knelt facing one another, heads touching. They started to sing in that strange language again, but instead this time the sound sent a chill down Wart’s spine. As they sang their woad spirals seemed to take on a glow in the dying light. At first Wart thought that he was imagining it but as their singing intensified the light increase and started taking on patterns of their own, fire like patterns around the old man and shapes that resembled snowflake around Taliesin. As the light patterns mixed a sudden flaring of white light burst free and Wart was forced to close his eyes, when he opened them again what he saw left him dumbfounded, all of the ground was covered in a coating of white fire. The field of bodies was deathly silent, no longer could Wart hear the cawing of carrion birds or the soft groaning of dying men. Out of the ethereal fire stepped two figures, unmistakable female, one wreathed in flame, the other cloaked in flowing, shimmering ice. The figures spoke in unison, or at least seemed to, it felt as though the words were flowing directly into Warts head:

YOU DARE CALL US, YOUNG SHAMAN?
WE ARE THE SIDHE,
EMBODYMENT OF THE SEASONS

Myrrlin did not look up but sang a response in his strange language.

SO, YOU WISH US TO BEAR AWAY THESE MEN
TO HONOUR THEIR DEEDS
WHAT DO YOU OFFER IN RETURN?

Again, Myrrlin sang a response

WE WILL NOT TAKE YOUR LIFE YOUNG MYRRLIN.

Taliesin slumped in defeat

DO NOT FRET CHILD, WE WILL BEAR YOUR DEAD
BUT WE SHALL TAKE OUR OWN REPARATIONS

The figures then appeared in front of Wart.

YOUNG ARTORIUS, YOU ARE NOW IN OUR SERVICE
YOU WILL DIE AT A TIME OF OUR CHOOSING
TO SAVE THIS WORLD FROM THE UNSEELIE

The flames then reached up and covered Wart and a searing pain seemed to burst from every part of his body. Wart writhed in agony, screaming in torment without end, it seemed as if his very soul was on fire. Just when he thought he might die from the pain, it stopped, and Wart began to retreat from consciousness.

SLEEP WELL YOUNG ONE
BUT REMEMBER
YOU ARE NOW PENDRYGON
KNIGHT OF THE SIDHE

When Wart woke, he was still on the battlefield, surrounded by the men of the Castle Guard who were staring in wonder. Not at the field, now empty of corpses, nor the flowers that had sprung up in the wrong season, but at the sword that stuck upright beside the prone Wart. The sword was a beautifully crafted, silver hand-and-a-half broadsword with an engraved Dragon, head at the point, tail at the hilt, with scales of alternating blue and red. Taliesin pushed his way to the front and whispered one word reverently:

“Excalibur”

My Fate Villanelle

I am the master of my fate
The others shake their heads, they do not see
I am the captain of my soul

I scream, I hate, I rage
I want to be free
I am the master of my fate

here I am in this cage
down on my knee
I am the captain of my soul

I know i may be third rate
I know what i aim to be
I am the master of my fate

My life packed in a crate
I let them know, by and by
I am the captain of my soul

I wonder where? to which state?
i promised not to cry
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

Waiting

It began as a mistake, she ran away and now I’m the one waiting to die.
A friend and I were walking home from a party, tottering slightly in our high heels and tight dresses. That’s when death stepped out of the shadows, the “friend” just threw her shoes at him and ran away. I tried to follow, but he dragged me to the floor. I called out, but she kept running.
I remember lying there thinking “god I hope I’m not pregnant”, I wasn’t angry as such just worried. Unlike most other people in my situation, it didn’t take long for it to come out, that bitch told everyone what happened. After the police had come around and taken my details and offered me fucking platitudes that I know aren’t true, words like “Cases like this are usually solved pretty quickly, don’t worry we’ll get him”
Bullshit, only one in eight single rapes are ever solved, but I just nodded and led them to the door, thanking them, leaving their lies uncontested. By the end if the night the bathroom was covered in my auburn hair. The next day consisted of a morning being poked and prodded by a police surgeon, and various tests being done, and an afternoon of buying baggy outfits.
It’s six years down the line and as I predicted the bastard was never caught and I was recently rushed to hospital after collapsing. I had been avoiding going to the doctors, I don’t like them, they remind me of that night. I had been coughing up phlegm for about a week and was getting steadily more short of breath. I remember waking up in a hospital bed, with an oxygen mask on my face and tubes sticking out of my scrawny arms.
When the nurse saw I was awake, she called the doctor in to talk to me. He was young, he looked like he was just out university “we have found the cause of your breathing problems, it’s a fungal infection called PCP. What’s worrying is that this is rarely seen in patients who have a fully functioning immune system. So we would like to test you for HIV and various other tests to see if we can get to the bottom of it if that’s ok with you?”
My world felt like it was crashing in, I was drawn back to that night and a familiar sense of panic set in. The nurse was explaining what would happen if I tested positive, I wasn’t listening. It could only have been that night, I hadn’t been with anyone since, but the mandatory test had come back negative, but how else could I have gotten infected. A few hours later the doctor came in to give me my results “your test have come back as having a low cd4 count” he said.
“What does that mean?”

“Your test was positive”

I felt numb “your immune system is low” he continued “and you have a high viral load, which means you’re close to the danger zone.”
“danger zone?” I asked
“AIDS” he said softly “We need to get you on anti-retroviral medication immediately, the good news is that you should have a while before you have to worry, provided we can get your cell count up.”
“How is this possible? I tested negative six years ago and I haven’t been with anyone since then!” I was yelling now.
“Sometimes we can get what is called a false negative,” he explained “it only happens three times out of a thousand. It’s normally caught with repeat tests, but you didn’t attend your appointments. As a result the virus has been running unchecked and that’s why you became ill.”
It’s six months later, I’ve had counselling, medication and my chest is better, but it doesn’t matter, I’m just waiting to die. Fuck, that. I’m running a bath, I don’t want a mess.

 
Woman saved by paramedics

A woman was saved by paramedics yesterday
from a suicide attempt . Apparently the 32 year
old had cut her wrists but was saved because
she had left her front door open and her mother
came to see if she was okay. Opening the door and
seeing her daughter she immediately phoned the
paramedics. The woman was rushed to hospital and is
apparently in a stable condition

 

Next time I’ll lock the door. I’m just waiting.