Warp Drive

Monday, July 22, 2019

Nintendo Rhapsody (World 5: Nintendo Strikes Back WIP + Cliffnotes)

With Barbara Dawson Educational Center now firmly in the past, I began attending California High School. The adjustment period was somewhat less unnerving than Hillview Middle School. I credit my early enrollment in summer school. I had a whole month to absorb the campus before the overwhelming invasion of students in September. During this relatively quiet time, I became acquainted with one of the more interesting teachers on campus. Her name was Tamara, but of course, everyone knew her as Ms. Davis. Gone were the days of being on a first name basis. Fellow class members remember her best for her love of pumpkin seeds. I remember, from the moment I first met her, her sense of humor. Ms. Davis was a lighthearted woman, sure, but she also had a rather strict side. It was not wise to upset her. The months flew by in the blink of an eye. Christmas arrived right on schedule. Santa Claus delivered a very exciting present to my brother and I that year. It was none other than the Nintendo 64 and it was not alone. It came with Cruis'n USA, Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy, Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, Wave Race 64, but most importantly, Super Mario 64. It was not long at all before a debate was had to decide whose room the system would reside in. A few days later, we all contracted chicken pox and the two week quarantine period began. Let the games begin.

In just a few short years, video games had certainly come a long way. I never could have dreamed of exploring the levels of Super Mario Bros. 1-3 and Super Mario World in such a way as Super Mario 64. It was a whole new dimension. An exciting new third dimension in which the action could be experienced from all angles. Princess Toadstool had invited Mario to her castle for a well deserved cake party. However, once Mario entered the castle, he learned of her abduction by Bowser. Given her track record with the dinosaur king, it may be safe to assume she prefers his company over Mario. I should be thankful, at the very least, there was only one castle this time. There would be none of those "our princess is in another castle" shenanigans. Mario's life was also made a bit easier by the use of all new power-ups, such as the vanish cap and wing cap. Of all our fresh new Nintendo 64 games, I played Super Mario 64 the most amid that festive chicken pox season. My brother was especially into Killer Instinct Gold, what with its rad characters, stages and combo moves. I had a personal vendetta with Bowser and I intended to finish him. Upon collecting eighty power stars, the unending stairway atop the castle revealed its true destination and I set forth to save the Mushroom Kingdom once more. Bowser had, as usual, miscalculated the hazards surrounding his battle zone. With a few well timed tosses, King Koopa was prehistory. In the end, for his troubles, Mario received a brief kiss on the nose from Princess Toadstool. I never pretended to understand how that stuff worked, but a kiss on the lips may have been somewhat more exhilarating. Thankfully, the cake was not a lie. Luigi as a playable character, however, was.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Conrad the Healer

INTRODUCTION

I reckon you've heard of the name Conrad Sheldon; else you wouldn't be here. Everyone in Hicksville knows his name. He was born with a rare learning disorder. All throughout his days, he was licked in every task by no fault of his own. He struggled as he might to spell, but he served his purpose well.

You see, Conrad Sheldon had a heart of pure gold. Most folks, well, they never back down from a fight. Conrad was different. Conrad would face a fight with a kind of innocence about him. Some of them folks wrote it off as mere ignorance. Conrad just sought to share in his love of life. He knew nothing of resentment. Hicksville is a better place having known him.

If you should permit me the time, I'll tell you more about Conrad Sheldon.

What was that? The next bus out of Hicksville aint for another three hours yet. Sure, we have plenty of time. Allow me to start from the beginning...

CHAPTER 1: FARTHER SON

Part 1: Reintroduction

Conrad Sheldon was born to Roy and Petunia Sheldon of Sunnybrook Lane. Roy, the only son of a Jewish household, and Petunia, a devout Catholic. They weren't always in agreement with one another, but they knew in their hearts that which was best for their children.

Their daughter, Vespa, was born a few years after Conrad, and by that point, Roy had taken a job as a high school math teacher. He grew ever more curious with computers. They were but a strange contraption to most folks at the time, but he desired to understand them more fully.

Roy eventually mastered a multitude of programming languages. A skill that would prove most useful to Conrad in his own quest to understand the world around him. With the help of his father, Conrad might even live out the fantasy of a king.