Three tunes

Today, celebrate three songs that are significant to you. For your twist, write for fifteen minutes without stopping — and build a writing habit.

This may be difficult for me, as I’ve already written about the first of my three choices (see: Ticking Away). So there goes one, and I’ve hinted at another (in the same post).



Which means I’ll have to figure out a way for the third tune: Train kept a-Rollin to use up the majority of the time.

So let’s start with that one, I guess, feel free to have a listen:

Not only is it a classic old Yardbirds tune (and there are a bunch of other covers), but it has a number of delicious lead guitar breaks (I might have mentioned that I lean towards ‘hard’ rock and wailing guitars…?).

Anyway, for decades this was the track that made me worship Joe Perry, first got me hooked on Aerosmith, etc. etc. I pretty much wore the album (‘Get Your Wings’) out.

Some decades after the first release, it became known that Joe Perry didn’t play on that track! It was actually played by Steve Hunter & Dick Wagner, studio musicians, who played with Alice Cooper for years.

Those wailing lead breaks that fascinated me so much (at 1:20, 3:20, 3:55) for so many years, Joe didn’t play them! The two guys who did play them weren’t even credited in the original album credits!

I forgave Joe and Steve and the boys, since they closed concerts with the tune for so many years…and their careers went on for decades…but I remember how cheapened I felt when I learned that. The music industry really is freakin’ sleazy.



That other tune? I mentioned it in Ticking Away…it’s Hotel California.

Title track of the best album of the decade (well, at least in my humble). First time we get hear Joe Walsh play with the band, that excellent last couple of minutes of lead guitar break…

And for a good many years, I was the Night Man.

“Relax,” said the Night Man. “We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

(Joe Walsh and Don Felder start wailing)

RecDave Seal

A bull with a view

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Well, that certainly sounds science-fiction-y, doesn’t it? So my first instinct would be to choose the Ringworld, Larry Niven’s Grand Cosmic Artifact and just about the ultimate of all tourist destinations. But that would be cheating, since this is writing assignment. (Also, I do not want to meet any angry Protectors).

So: where I want to go on my summer vacation

The singleship drops out of hyperspace smoothly, as it does automatically whenever it encounters a stellar mass directly in its flight path. With a gentle lurch, the probe is away, its sensors already collecting data even before the AI begins to ring the alarm in the pilot’s cabin. With a yawn, I reach over and kill the buzzer, and the ship’s AI begins scrolling data down the far wall.

There is no impact warning, and a quick glance at our orbital math in the display shows the singleship is already thrusting to attain a stable orbit. So nothing to panic over, just a routine dropout.

I scratch and yawn and stumble to the kitchen unit, which already has my coffee waiting. One of the many benefits of traveling with an onboard AI; it generally anticipates my needs, and knows I’m not good for much of anything without my morning coffee.

Another ten steps, into the ship’s bridge, and I call up a live video feed. “Let’s see what’s outside, Kepler.”

Kepler is the astronomy subroutine of the AI’s greater whole, and since we’re dealing with a new stellar mass, he’s my go-to boy for in-system primary explorations. Plus, I like his accent.

The viewscreen drops to black, and then is rather suddenly filled with an enormous, luminous blue ball of light.

“The display is dimmed by several orders of magnitude, of course. What you’re looking at is a B-class giant with a luminosity of roughly 700 Sols,” Kepler lectured, in that slightly German-accented English. “Spectral readings indicate this is a known mass, visible from Earth.”

It would be, if it was that bright, I thought. “Catalog designation?”

“Beta Tau, also known as Gamma Aurigae, or Elnath or Al Nath, ALS 15829. In the constellation Taurus, a naked-eye object in Terra’s night sky.”

I rubbed my chin regretfully, clearly no discovery bonuses to be had for this trip then. “So we’ve dumped hyperspace for one of the five thousand?”

“Yes sir, it is a very well-known stellar object, but ours is the first exploratory vessel in this physical location. It is generally ranked the 27th brightest stellar object in Earth’s sky, just after Bellatrix. It has a binary companion, would you like the data?”

Drew it to a close at this point, lest we get past “travel brochure” and into a full short story or something. Swiped a lot of elements from Niven and Pohl and all of my favorite classic SF authors…but space opera seemed an appropriate approach, given the topic.

I have a special place in my heart for Elnath, of course, since I chose it as my GM handle, too.

RecDave Seal

20 minutes of free writing

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

9:50 PM

Mr. Toad shifted his weight unhappily.  A bit of undigested fly was making itself known, and Mr. Toad was having difficulties. His waistcoat seemed tighter and the day before, and beads of sweat were collecting around the band of  his bowler.

What a waste of a beautiful afternoon. Bright sun, cool breeze, shade from the trees at the edge of the lake. All in all, a quite enjoyable day, except for Mr. Toad’s somewhat rebellious lunch and the ominous gurgling making itself audible from the region of his cummerbund.

Oh bother.

“Mr. Toad! Mr. Toad?” The damned otter twins, Burt and Alex, smooth ripples spreading out in bow-waves behind as the two sharp, wet noses drove directly for Mr. Toad’s chosen lily pad.

“So much for my afternoon nap,” muttered Mr. Toad, quite unhappily.

“Mr. Toad, Mum said you was to watch over the Holt while she’s away visiting with Auntie El.”

Oh double bother. He had promised.

“Boys, you know I can watch your holt quite easily from this very spot, if you can manage to stay out of trouble for just a few hours,” grumped Mr. Toad.

“Who, us?” The two otters barked quiet laughter. “Why Mr. Toad, you know we never get up to any mischief.” The picture of innocence, the otters did their very best “perfect angels behaving themselves in church” poses.

Rolling his big  eyes, Mr. Toad harrumphed and kept his doubts entirely to himself.


RecDave Seal