0308: "Interesting Life"

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Darcey
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Postby Darcey » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:59 am UTC

And now that all of my regular forum-responding has been taken care of, I can write that girl's story, as Ren requested. (jrod has already written the man in the upper left.)

In high school, she was valedictorian: the perfect student, hard-working, devoted, with a consuming need for good grades that drove her half out of her mind worrying that she hadn't studied enough for the next day's vocabulary test. And although her life was far from easy in high school (her parents hadn't the money to pay for her to go to college; she would need a scholarship to be able to attend school. Her father is an immigrant and her mother is a daughter of immigrants; she was raised half speaking English, half Spanish. Her mother works as a cleaning lady, traveling to rich clients' houses, cleaning the grime out of the corners of their immense houses, doing the work which they are too dignified to complete themselves. Her father works at Dunkin Donuts and every day he feels the scorn of the people coming in to order coffee, their automatic belief that because he is an immigrant he is untrustworthy, incompetent, and will mess up their orders terribly. Together they earned scarcely enough to feed themselves and their three daughters, much less pay for even one of them to attend a prestigious university), it was a stable routine. She had a goal - to get the highest grades, to be the best, to be the one making the valedictorian speech at the end of the year. And all of her hard work and preparation paid off. The audience loved her speech. She stood at the podium and couldn't stop smiling as the applause filled the room, lifting her up on that powerful tide of sound like joyful teammates and fans carrying a triumphant player off of the field on their shoulders.

But once she got to college, she realized that she hadn't really planned for anything beyond high school. Getting the scholarship and getting into the university was the goal on which she had focused all her energy. She had given no thought to college itself and the life that came after it. And college was so much different than high school. Her college English teacher told her how silly the five-paragraph instant essay formula she had been taught was. He criticized her for being unoriginal in her essay construction. He asked her to try harder next time. The same was true in all of her classes - the carefully-taught high school formulae were rejected. And this was something completely new for her - developing her own way of doing things rather than following the textbook-prescribed method for success. She finally realized that there was no one "right way" to do things, but myriad different choices that she would have to decide between, each of which had the potential for success.

After a miserable first year of college fraught with confusion, identity crises, and hysterical fits of crying which drove her roommate crazy, she finally grabbed the reins of life and steered it in definite direction. At last, the crystallized intelligence and determination that had made her the perfect high school student had been reformed into an amorphous solid, unpredictable, free flowing, and able to adapt to real life problem solving and change. She decided to double-major in English and Computer Science, graduating four years later Summa Cum Laude.

After a few years drifting between different programming jobs at different companies, she settled down at this office building. She was never quite sure what made this one the right one. Maybe the niceness of many of her coworkers, maybe the spectacular view out of her fifth-story office, maybe the ice cream store two blocks away (the young man behind the counter was very cute, and knew she wanted a medium cookie dough sundae with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and /two/ cherries without her even having to ask). Or maybe it was just one of those unexplained feelings that people have, a vestigial instinct from hundreds of thousands of years ago where her life might have depended on trusting her feelings of where exactly was the right place to settle down. Whatever had made her decide this was it had made a wise decision. For the past four years, she had been working contentedly at this office building. Friends and boyfriends passed by, lingering for a time but eventually resuming their course down the river of the world that flowed past her. But her job was steady and constant, and she worked hard at it, and the calm rationality of solving a programming problem was often a wonderful relief, the eye in the hurricane of Real Life.

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Postby Arancaytar » Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:07 am UTC

... the eye in the hurricane of Real Life.


Please publish a book. Or several. I beg you.
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Postby madjo » Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:13 pm UTC

Wow Darcey and Jrod.
I can't even come close to this level of penmanship. Amazing background stories!
:)

You are carrying:
- a slightly paranoid Android
- two left feet (not my own)
- a still unfed and very hungry hippo
- broadsword of +5 ridiculousness stained with the blood of the undead souls
- a stetson Resistol, cuz stetson Resistols are cool.

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Postby Maseiken » Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:19 pm UTC

Darcey wrote:...the young man behind the counter...

He was never quite normal whilst in High School, although he was fastidiously polite and never raised his voice to anyone, he gave the impression of being aggresive due to his fiery intensity. Loving Drama and acting, he threw himself into the creative process time and time again, suggesting projects and perfomances to the school, only to be rejected in favor of mediocrity.

When the time came to decide where he was going, he realised that he would have to make a choice about his dramatic life; Whether he would sell out, do Ads and crappy soaps in the hopes of scaling the social ladder of television, or to remain true to his aspirations, prove his worth on the boards and stride proudly into films or T.V shows only if he felt they had artistic merit. He chose the latter, and in full knowledge of his probable defeat he quickly secured a job at the local ice-cream shop, and applied himself to his work with the same calm demanour belying his passionate enthusiasm that he had employed thusfar.

His Romantic life has been fairly non-existant ever since he graduated from Drama-school, when he was separated from the only woman he felt ever understood him. He still has her number, but the paper it's written on is yellowing next to his phone. Not a day goes by that he doesn't stare at it and ponder...

Now, he stands at a crossroads, after having struggled to get Auditions even for bit-parts in the local theatre. He has finally been invited to join a fairly high-profile theatre company. They're doing a production of Macbeth soon, and it's already been pegged to be a success due to their reputation. However, he is unsure as to what will happen to his position at the ice-cream shop, which he has grown quite attached to. Even now he is wearing his uniform after having just come back from work, staring at the two bits of paper next to his phone, one of them emblazoned with the frilly logo of the Richardson Dramatical soceity, the other, an unlabeled line of digits. There he sits, deep in thought, deciding.

EDIT: Grah! The curse of the commas! They follow me I tell you!
"GRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOWR!!!!"
(Translation: "Objection!")

Maseiken had the ball at the top of the key...

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Postby Sprocket » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:26 pm UTC

hendusoone wrote:
CatProximity wrote:
hendusoone wrote:
CatProximity wrote:I was wondering what would happen if I just stayed on the bus this morning. Sadly I knew it would just bring me to the watertown lot and the bus would shortly there after pass my stop again and I'd probably just get a little extra harry potter read.


But what if an incredibly interesting person got on the bus at the watertown lot? He (or she!) could have engaged you in conversation so deep that you stayed on past your stop again... then where would you be? Would you elect to spend more time with this individual? What sort of adventure would you be led on?

Will I write any sentence in this post that is not a question?!!
Did I mention we don't talk to strangers here in Boston. Unless they happen to be reading something we're interested in, or liked, or some such. No other time. Ever. If anything will drive Randall out, it's that lil factoid.

Well, I violate that rule as often as I can when randomly wandering Boston (in the safer areas, at least... wouldn't want to try in some parts). It keeps life interesting. Also, I neglected to mention this stranger is also a fan of Harry Potter.
Heh. In the end we will all be zebra muscles.
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Postby Herman » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:31 pm UTC

xkcd wrote:COMIC


I find your lack of original topics disturbing.

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Postby Sprocket » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:59 pm UTC

shrike wrote:
scwizard wrote:
shrike wrote:this comic disappoints me.

Why so?

it just seems a little bland and generic, according to xkcd standards.

it might as well say:
"you know those people who are threatened by everything?"
"yeah"
"fuck those people. let's do fun things."

as someone else mentioned, this kind of goes without saying in xkcd world. and i'm well aware of the fact that if everything that goes without saying was, in fact, not said, there'd probably be no comics. the reason it disappoints me is that (save for the alt-text) there is nothing else witty or clever about it.

Jesster wrote:A recurring theme in the xkcd-verse is the characters imploring each other to escape the mundane and expand their horizons.

This isn't just a humorous comic, it also encompasses things like science and romance. This is a romance one.


I kind of have to agree though, it's kind of "heard it..." he needs to take the same old idea and do something different with it. The Moltav cocktail one was GREAT, and it was the same theme, the theme expressed in the one about going to watch the sun set, or getting on the canoe. Those all expressed the same idea but in fun, interseting ways. This one's a little too blunt.
"She’s a free spirit, a wind-rider, she’s at one with nature, and walks with the kodama eidolons”
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Zohar wrote: Down with the hipster binary! It's a SPECTRUM!

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Postby harlequinade » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:13 pm UTC

But is it too blunt?

Look at all the people who have said "Yeah, but why bother."

Isn't this just the natural extension of Wachowski Brothers (brother and sister?) movies?

They start with The Matrix and say "Hey, you could rebel."
Then they go to V and say "Look - that rebellion thing, could you get a move on?"
I hear the next move is just Hugo Weaving sitting on a table saying "Look - take a lighter and set fire to that seat....No? What about heading to City Hall, there's maps provided" for three hours.

THIS cartoon is like that. It's "Go Outside and have an ADVENTURE. It might not be as elaborate as escaping out the window, but break the cycle - order coffee with whipped cream.....are you still sitting there?"

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Postby OfficiallyHaphazard » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:38 pm UTC

Nigel's thoughts started to wander, as he saw the taut cable stretched outside of his window. There was a time, back in England, where he would rock back and forth underneath the metal frame of the swing set which his father set up before his untimely death. That had been when he was 8, and suddenly the years sped through his memory. Moving to the U.S. Starting 11th grade in a different country. College at Boston University. He graduated in the top 20th percentile of his class, propelled there due to his diligent ways, and immediately started to seek a job. There were offers from a few promising startups in Massachusetts, although he decided in the end to take a less demanding job so that he could take care of his ailing mother.
He made few friends during those years at school and during those first few years at work, but those that Nigel did call his friends always knew that they could count on his quiet yet earnest support. His fourth year at his job, he met a cute yet shy girl through his close college friend Eric. Nigel and Rachel dated for two calm years, and then married in a small celebration.
The cable twanged outside of his window, snapping Nigel's attention back to the computer.
Before long however, his thoughts turned to his daughter Sophie, who was starting her first day of Kindergarten. She was a beauty of a child, and though people always became hung up on the fact that she was mildly autistic, whenever Nigel saw the flicker of amusement in her eyes, made his fatherly heart beam proud. Yes, he was happily married, and was quite sure he loved Rachel, yet nothing could make him happier that the quiet gazes of his Sophie. In his heart, he knew that he wished to give her the love that his father could never give him, and quickly resolved to spend as much time as possible with her every day, knowing that for her too, the years would speed by.

---
I know this post is not at all as good as those that have been posted before me, but upon reading the others, I knew I would have to try and contribute :)

p.s. first post :D
p.p.s. Great Job Darcey!

Edit: this is the 3rd floor, on the right guy :P
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Postby bbctol » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:41 pm UTC

Intro Thread, please, down in General. Nice story, though!

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Postby McHell » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:29 pm UTC

harlequinade wrote:Isn't this just the natural extension of Wachowski Brothers (brother and sister?) movies?


Yes, western culture is but footnotes to the Matrix. If brother and sister, then I'm betting it's not Larry who did the gender changing surgery.

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Postby Darcey » Tue Aug 28, 2007 7:00 pm UTC

Maseiken wrote:
Darcey wrote:...the young man behind the counter...


...the only woman he felt ever understood him...


I am going to write her story, if no one beats me to it first. And I love your writing. Everything just flows together so nicely, and I love the fact that alongside the explanations, you gave little snapshots of him, like the part where he's sitting, looking at his two options. That was really awesome. Also you used the word 'belying'.

OfficiallyHaphazard wrote:I know this post is not at all as good as those that have been posted before me...


Don't be silly. It was great. As I said for Maseikin's story, I love how everything flows smoothly through his life. And again, the description adds so much to the story. It's not just listing what's happened in his life; it's giving it colour and I love that. And I love your character descriptions.

EDIT: I totally think this should be a forum game - write a paragraph or five describing a character, in which you make quick allusion to another character without describing that character. The next person does the same with the alluded-to character.

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Postby UmbralRaptor » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:18 pm UTC

Going with traffic will get you somewhere. Going against will get you run over. Not all change is bad, but the vast majority is. Planning ahead and slowly building off of where you currently are will get you more adventures where you do more.

Japanese Proverb wrote:The nail that sticks up gets the hammer


Is it worth it?
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Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:24 pm UTC

Japanese Proverb wrote:The nail that sticks up gets the hammer


"If you get noticed, you get beaten down"

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Postby Belial » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:39 pm UTC

UmbralRaptor wrote:Going with traffic will get you somewhere. Going against will get you run over.


And walking perpendicular to it will get you to places no one else is going. Interesting places, presumably.
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them

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Postby Maseiken » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:21 am UTC

Darcey wrote:
Maseiken wrote:
Darcey wrote:...the young man behind the counter...


...the only woman he felt ever understood him...


I am going to write her story, if no one beats me to it first. And I love your writing. Everything just flows together so nicely, and I love the fact that alongside the explanations, you gave little snapshots of him, like the part where he's sitting, looking at his two options. That was really awesome. Also you used the word 'belying'.

Thanks... I thought it could have been better,
I almost didn't include the romantic interest, I thought it was a bit clunky... I prefer your stories really...
I was gonna writethe Valedictorian's fathers story, but I don't know If I have time before my driving lesson, I'll come back tonight...
"GRRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOWR!!!!"
(Translation: "Objection!")

Maseiken had the ball at the top of the key...

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Darcey
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Postby Darcey » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:37 am UTC

Maseiken wrote:
Darcey wrote:
Maseiken wrote:
Darcey wrote:...the young man behind the counter...


...the only woman he felt ever understood him...


I am going to write her story, if no one beats me to it first. And I love your writing. Everything just flows together so nicely, and I love the fact that alongside the explanations, you gave little snapshots of him, like the part where he's sitting, looking at his two options. That was really awesome. Also you used the word 'belying'.

Thanks... I thought it could have been better,
I almost didn't include the romantic interest, I thought it was a bit clunky... I prefer your stories really...
I was gonna writethe Valedictorian's fathers story, but I don't know If I have time before my driving lesson, I'll come back tonight...


I look back at everything I've written, especially the things on this topic, which I didn't proofread much before submitting and just wrote as it flowed out of me, and see things I could have done better and wished I did. Being a good writer does not give one sanctuary from all of that, unfortunately. =P

I have finally accustomed myself to the idea that I really /am/ a decent writer. And writing was the first thing I gained confidence about, since I've been doing it all my life and people have praised my works for ages. I'm still in doubt about everything else. XD

Anyway, your writing is fine. There is always room for improvement, but that doesn't make what you have now /bad/. In fact, it's necessary to realize one's faults. Otherwise you turn into a pretentious jerk whose writings tend to suck because they're unwilling to improve them. But there's a happy medium between self-deprecation and obnoxious arrogance.

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Postby Stief » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:40 am UTC

The interesting lives game for Darcey (especially) and all the other great writers out there (so...all of you...^_^)
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Postby ... » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:36 am UTC

This comic is awesome. I'd suggest that it's not really advocating anarchy, just adventure. You can always go back to your job later. You get bonus points if you get back before anyone notices your gone.


...I'm going to go down hills on roller-blades with the brakes removed now. See you.

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Postby Isaac Hill » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:04 am UTC

LordIllidan - Going to the mountains to stargaze during an eclipse (solar or lunar?) sounds like an adventure. However, you're making plans in advance to go to a specific place at a specific time to witness a specific event. That's quite different than spontaneously running outside right now with no plans.

TheKhakinator - Good point, it doesn't have to be unexpected, but it probably should be new. At some point, doing something cool repeatedly stops being an adventure and starts being a cool rut.

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Postby Bakemaster » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:23 am UTC

... wrote:...I'm going to go down hills on roller-blades with the brakes removed now. See you.

Skate brakes are kind of useless on hills anyway.
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Postby UmbralRaptor » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:06 am UTC

My favorite version of the phrase was on everything2: "May you live in interesting times, and come to the attention of important people."
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Postby muteKi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:26 am UTC

the_muteKi says: Go be a day trader.
Last edited by muteKi on Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:32 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mat Cauthon » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:31 am UTC

Darcey wrote:EDIT: I totally think this should be a forum game - write a paragraph or five describing a character, in which you make quick allusion to another character without describing that character. The next person does the same with the alluded-to character.


I love this idea. And hey, somebody made it! I'm in!

Also, the fact that you know where Bridgewater is has sealed the deal. You are not just totally awesome but MADE of awesome, and I will engineer some sort of excuse to ditch dull family events in exchange for awesome adventures.

... damnit I'm sounding creepy again, aren't I?
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Postby Darcey » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:07 am UTC

Mat Cauthon wrote:
Darcey wrote:EDIT: I totally think this should be a forum game - write a paragraph or five describing a character, in which you make quick allusion to another character without describing that character. The next person does the same with the alluded-to character.


I love this idea. And hey, somebody made it! I'm in!

Also, the fact that you know where Bridgewater is has sealed the deal. You are not just totally awesome but MADE of awesome, and I will engineer some sort of excuse to ditch dull family events in exchange for awesome adventures.

... damnit I'm sounding creepy again, aren't I?


Yay, people to meet! I love meeting people!

And you don't sound nearly as creepy as plenty of people whom I know and whom I've met anyway.

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Postby Invisible Queen » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:56 am UTC

"Getting somewhere" is an overrated concept loaded with outmoded Lutherian work ethics and egoistic competitiveness.

Try to stop and smell the flowers instead. :)
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Postby UmbralRaptor » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:56 am UTC

Invisible Queen wrote:"Getting somewhere" is an overrated concept loaded with outmoded Lutherian work ethics and egoistic competitiveness.

Try to stop and smell the flowers instead. :)

"Getting somewhere" could easily imply taking a quiet garden path, or going to a greenhouse. But that "stopping to smell the flowers" is a big part of why I've grown so little over the past six years.
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Postby niende » Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:57 am UTC

Does is count if you're planning to have an adventure?
I'm currently working at a drop dead dull job, but it's because I need the money for travelling.

Also, is adventure better alone or with someone? is one more adventurous?

oh and, Hi everybody, I'm new.
Don't worry, I've already posted in the welcome thread. and read the rules... :)

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Postby Domovoi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:28 am UTC

harlequinade wrote:But is it too blunt?

Look at all the people who have said "Yeah, but why bother."

Isn't this just the natural extension of Wachowski Brothers (brother and sister?) movies?

They start with The Matrix and say "Hey, you could rebel."
Then they go to V and say "Look - that rebellion thing, could you get a move on?"
I hear the next move is just Hugo Weaving sitting on a table saying "Look - take a lighter and set fire to that seat....No? What about heading to City Hall, there's maps provided" for three hours.

THIS cartoon is like that. It's "Go Outside and have an ADVENTURE. It might not be as elaborate as escaping out the window, but break the cycle - order coffee with whipped cream.....are you still sitting there?"


Again. There is no adventure. All this comic (and others like it) are making people do is go "Yeah man! Yeah! Screw this! I'm going to escape my life and have an adventure!"

And then they're back to the same old things. Maybe they'll order different coffee. I tried it yesterday, and realising that my life was so mundane that different coffee was supposed to be an adventure was the most depressing thing I've realised all week.
Last edited by Domovoi on Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Domovoi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:49 am UTC

niende wrote:Does is count if you're planning to have an adventure?


Plans, like ideas, are cheap. It's execution that counts. Everybody plans to have a great life, and most people leave it at that. Then they watch comics like these and restate their intentions to themselves, without following through.

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Postby Jesse » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:01 am UTC

Domovoi, some of us do have adventures.

Some of us waltz down the street and ask people to join them, some of us walk down to the beach at 3am to see if there's anyone else with the same idea. Some of us just go for it. These comics are a nice reminder that other people are the same.

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Postby Domovoi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:51 am UTC

Then I guess our definitions of 'adventure' differ.

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Postby Cassi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:32 pm UTC

Anything can be an adventure, if you let it. Not to be overly cheesey, but honestly. My friends laugh at me, because whenever I'm trying to get them to do something, I say, "Come on, it'll be an adventure!" But why not?

Also, all the writing in this thread is amazing, and you guys should realise it. It inspired me to pick up my notebook and pen again last night and start writing...while it wasn't much good, it's more than I've done in a long time. So thank you. :)

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Postby Domovoi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:55 pm UTC

Cassi wrote:Anything can be an adventure, if you let it. Not to be overly cheesey, but honestly.


I like your attitude, but really. Different coffee or a midnight walk on the beach are not an adventure, no matter how much I'll let it.

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Postby SecondTalon » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:07 pm UTC

Walking on the beach is a bad example. A large number of occurances could quickly make an adventure - bottle with message, getting mugged, taking a walk with someone special and special things happening, pirates, discovering a new prime swimming area, and so on.
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heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

Cassi
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Postby Cassi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:08 pm UTC

It's not just the act itself that's the adventure, it's the other things around it. Okay, different coffee, maybe not. A midnight walk on the beach, though, there are so many possibilities there! Maybe you'll run into someone, maybe you'll see creatures (one of my most random but favourite memories is from when we spent a couple days at the Outer Banks, NC and my older cousin and I went to the beach after dark -- there were all these crabs, that you'd never see if you just stuck to the normal times of going), maybe just the way the moon makes the ocean look will inspire you.

Of course, it's all in how you define adventure. I don't think it needs to be anything grand; to me, an adventure is anything with a certain feeling to it.

Domovoi
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Postby Domovoi » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:16 pm UTC

Yeah, see, those things just don't do it for me. I guess I must be clinically depressed or something, because I just can't find enjoyment in any of these trivial things that people keep bringing up as wonderful experiences.

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Postby ... » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:17 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:
... wrote:...I'm going to go down hills on roller-blades with the brakes removed now. See you.

Skate brakes are kind of useless on hills anyway.


Kind of useless, period. I do a weird skiiing type movement to slow down. Then, one day I realized those brake pads were removable.

Also, maybe not everything can be an adventure, like ordering different coffee isn't, but I just spent like 2 hours exploring the next suburb over, where I'd never been before on roller skates and saw a really cool full moon (or close enough to full that I don't care), three different bunnies, and the coolest piece of playground equipment I've ever seen. It was just three or four metal poles going straight up with a bunch of oddly shaped platforms suspended between them at weird angles, and it had a tipsy squiggly thing and a small climbing wall at another weird angle. I should maybe go back and get a picture. Man, I wish they'd had one of those where I grew up.

Not anything can be an adventure, but anyone can have one. Go somewhere you've never been. Go somewhere you have been, but a different way; bike or skate instead of driving. See how many interesting things you can notice you might otherwise have missed.
Last edited by ... on Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:32 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Invisible Queen » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:10 pm UTC

Another example of adventure is the war in Iraq.
"Everything a person can imagine is a concievable reality."

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Postby Bakemaster » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:13 pm UTC

Weird skiing type movement = slaloming. I love the different ways you can use friction while skating to speed up or slow down without ever lifting your feet from the ground.
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