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Everything posted by Altimexis

  1. Thanks for starting a thread. Not many of my stories generate much discussion in the AD forums. I'm much more into writing character studies than blockbusters. This one's takes me back a ways. I wrote it just after moving from Detroit to NYC, which is how I got the idea for a story spanning both cities. I had fun writing Double Trouble, as things are never as they seem to be.
  2. Alan is definitely one of my favorite AD authors and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I had no problem with the ping-pong style; however, in Reader View on a smartphone, the individual sections don't stand out from each other and so it's easy to miss the change in viewpoint. A separator such as a series of dashes would have helped here but is not essential to the story. Although the kiss seems highly improbable, it was believable and it worked as a premise for the story. The mother barging in was shocking for a variety of reasons. It's one thing to have a rule against closed doors, but another to barge in on a teen who literally might be jerking off. Also, although no parent wants to think of their kids having sex, why was she so shocked after just discussing the possibility of her son developing a relationship with his gay friend? Maybe she is that naïve, but her reaction seemed out of character compared to her nature the previous night. I'm also surprised she allowed the two boys to share a bed while the father got his act together. Even if she was accepting, most parents I know of wouldn't allow their son and son's boyfriends to share a bed every night. Not to nitpick, though - it was a thoroughly enjoyable story.
  3. I always enjoy Alan's stories, and as a former avid hiker, I really loved this one. At one time it was a goal of mine to explore the full length of the Appalachian Trail, but I never made it back there once I discovered the American West. I grew up hiking in all the state parks in Indiana - those in the southern half of the state are hilly and rather picturesque - but once I discovered the national parks of the "Four Corners" area in particular, I never made it back to exploring the East. With 8 national parks within a 200-mile radius, I never ran out of places to explore. Throw in the Rockies, the Yellowstone caldera, the volcanoes of the Pacific Northwest and the Cascade Range, and it's a wonder I didn't end up living in the West. Then again, I did meet my wife in California, just after coming to accept that I was more gay than straight. Now, we live in New York City. Life is full of irony. I didn't even travel to New England until I was already middle age, and any further hiking will have to wait until I get a new pair of hips - which is something I'm not anxious to do. So for now, I'll have to settle for exploring the hills of New Hampshire through Alan's brilliant narration. Thanks to his writing, I could almost imagine being there.
  4. That’s one of Grant Bentley’s best stories. It’s Coincidence or Fate and can be found at Codey’s World.
  5. The Index Page is now live with a slide show teaser. The Introduction has been posted, with posting of the first chapter to begin on May First.
  6. Great selection! You have excellent taste.
  7. Well, there's a third possibility - that the boys were adopted. The thing that makes the most sense to me, though, is that since the story's about a journal of sorts, we're now reading it some twenty years after it was written.
  8. It was bad enough for J.J., aka Simon, aka Adam, growing up a smart kid with an abusive father in a rural backwater, but things became intolerable when his 5th grade teacher tricked him into taking the 8th grade achievement test. Going to high school with a bunch of troglodytes at the age of eleven was intolerable. An incident on his thirteenth birthday forced him to begin an epic journey in which he faced love and tragedy, and ended up traveling all over the world during a global pandemic. Returning to begin his real journey with the boy who'd been there all along, his inventions sparked a revolution that propelled him to the top echelon of corporate America, only to find himself ignored. Fortunately for J.J., failure was never an option.
  9. Cole, that's what I do! As you probably noticed, I sweat the details. I obsess over the sandwich my character orders at an obscure restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Someday, one of my readers is going to comment that they've been to the Kettle Kitchen in Gnome, Alaska (totally made up example) and that the Gnome Gnoulash was discontinued five years ago. Seriously, as much as I loved Chris James' writing, it drove me crazy when he lost entire years from his characters' lives. Some readers take everything in stride as it comes, regardless of whether or not it fits with the rest of the story. Like the main character in the story I'm about to start posting, I remember nearly everything and little inconsistencies are like that person who's leaning on their horn, making it hard to concentrate on anything else. (After all, that never happens here in NYC.) In my defense, I've read that writers who actually get paid for writing have to put up with fans writing them about every little inconsistency in anything they write. Not that any of us are in danger of having that kind of fan base.
  10. Just wanted to add that I had to grab some tissues too. What a wonderful short story.
  11. Good start on the story, but already I'm confused! Is this a story that takes place in the past - perhaps twenty years ago - or is Artie's dad really old? Artie's dad supposedly worked for NASA in the Apollo program, but the last moon landing was in December, 1972. Artie speaks of the moon landings as ancient history to him. I was sixteen in 1972 and I certainly can't imagine having a teenage son at my age. For the sake of argument, if Artie's dad was in his mid-twenties at the time of the last moon landing, he'd be in his mid-seventies now. Sure, it's possible. Artie's mom could have been in her early forties when he was born, and his dad could've been sixty. That's definitely within the realm of possibility, and I did get the impression the story was written in the present day. However, that meant that Artie's dad married someone twenty years his junior and became a new father at an age when most men are at most sending their kids off to college, or playing with their grandkids or great grandkids. I'm sure Cole will be filling in the details, but which is it? Is this a story that takes place in the 1990's or 2000's, or one about late-life fatherhood? That's a great photo - I take it that's Artie and his twin brother?
  12. I liked them all, but Recovery for sure. It has my vote.
  13. Agreed, a nice little story with familiar themes, updated for the 21st century. The description of working at a gas station in the mid-twentieth century was particularly nicely done. That actually was a bit before my time, but I’m old enough to remember full-service and 30 cent/gallon regular leaded gas. By the way, New Jersey doesn’t let you pump your own gas either.
  14. I was left scratching my head. Rutabaga was left scratching his head. How many others with itchy heads are out there? Okay, I’ll get down from my soapbox now.
  15. Cole, it’s your story and I’m not going to tell you what to do. However, it’s highly likely that there are readers who will never read chapter thirteen and won’t understand what happened, because thirteen was pivotal to the story. I know from past discussions that you don’t like to make changes once a story has been posted. However, this wasn’t your fault. If it were me, I’d add an asterisk to the chapter list and a note at the bottom to alert readers that there was a missing chapter. The effort to do that would be trivial. You can always remove the note in a couple of weeks. I think that it’s unacceptable for even one reader to miss a chapter through no fault of their own. Here’s a real-world analogy. Over the course of several years, I replaced several oxygen sensors in my car because a firmware bug triggered the check engine light. I spent hundreds of dollars before realizing there was no way sensors should wear out so quickly. Finally, I asked my mechanic if the problem could be a bug in the car’s computer it turned out that it was and Honda had fixed it, but it was deemed non-critical and affected only a handful of cars, so a recall was never issued. To add insult to injury, I had to pay hundreds of dollars to have the firmware updated. I was steamed. Honda lost at least one customer for life. I’m not suggesting you’re in danger of losing readers because they think your story didn’t make sense, but what’s wrong with letting the readers know there was a firmware bug that was fixed?
  16. That’s my point exactly. For every reader who checks this forum, there must be at least ten who don’t. That’s why there’s a need for a note similar to the one in my post. It’s great that the error has been fixed but there are undoubtedly still some readers who haven’t read this post and are still scratching their heads, having missed reading chapter 13. I can make the suggestion to Mike, but it would be better coming from the author, I think.
  17. I too was 'confuzzed' when I read chapter 13 as posted on Wednesday. Things were referenced that I couldn't recall happening. I had to go back and read the two previous chapters, just to figure out who Foster was, but why was he so important as to be invited for Thanksgiving? Then I started to read chapter 14 and my first though was, 'Haven't I read this before?' So I went back and reread chapter 13 and it was totally new, and it explained the things that hadn't made sense. It's obvious that chapter 14 was posted by mistake in place of chapter 13, and then later the correct chapter 13 was posted, with chapter 14 in its proper place. I'm not sure if it was Cole that submitted the wrong chapter, or Mike who posted the wrong one on Wednesday, or maybe it was John. It's not important. People make mistakes. However, only Donald Trump can get away with pretending the mistakes never occurred in the first place. Had I not gone back to reread it, I could have easily missed reading chapter 13 entirely. So I have a request - more like a plea. When a mistake is made in posting the wrong chapter, even if only for a few hours, the person responsible needs to post a correction on the story homepage (would it be too much to ask for an apology too?). For example, the following note, posted on the homepage and at the top of chapter 14 would have been immensely helpful: Never assume that a post wasn't up long enough for someone to have read it. I start checking for new posts at around 11 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday and Friday nights.
  18. I enjoy everything Alan writes, and this is very timely. I just hope everything works out.
  19. I just caught this misnomer. A U.S. cup is eight fluid ounces. A fluid ounce is the volume occupied by an amount of water weighing an ounce, much as the original definition of a gram was based on the mass of one ml of water. As such, the actual weight of a fluid ounce depends on the density of what is being measured, which for powders may be affected by settling. It’s much better to measure by weight in the first place. Although we have very precise definitions of all S.I. units, the original definition of the metre in 1789, at the time of the French Revolution, was one ten-millionth the distance from the North Pole to the equator as measured along a circumferential line passing through Paris, assuming earth’s flattening to be 1/334. It didn’t take long into the nineteenth century to realize that the definition was influenced by earth’s wobble. Later, it was found that many things influence the original definition of the meter, including the distance of the moon from earth, which is increasing by 3.8 cm per year, the changing speed of earth’s rotation, which is slowing by 1.7 ms per century, and of course continental drift - not that all of those were known until the late 20th century. The current definition of the meter is based on the speed of light, which we believe is constant, my story, CWM not withstanding. That is in and of itself dependent on a precise measurement of time. Of course the definition of the kilogram as the mass of a liter of water is influenced by its density, which changes with temperature and pressure. The S.I. unit definition of the kilogram is based on Plank’s constant, which the reader is welcome to look up if interested. I somehow doubt most recipes require such a degree of precision, however.
  20. Great-Uncle Alexander is another wonderful 4-hanky story from Alan Dwight.
  21. The New York Stories series continues to deal with the massive social and political upheaval facing all New Yorkers, Americans and citizens of the World. Shelter in Place is story of how five families have dealt with the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic and the lock-down order imposed on all of New York. Some of the primary characters will be directly affected when close personal relatives become symptomatic for the virus… and worse. The three-part story has just been submitted for editing and should be posted soon. In the meantime, two of my existing stories, Inside Information and Valenterrible Day, have been updated to make them consistent with events related to the pandemic. Please be on the lookout for my next major project, Excessive Force, which is my take on New York's response to the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer of 2020. It should appear before Labor Day. For what it's worth, I never intended my story series to become so political, but events in the world around us have made it difficult to avoid the controversy. I didn't intend to address particular politicians other than obliquely, but the pandemic has pretty much nailed down that the President, the Governor of NY and the Mayor of NYC in my stories are in fact the current occupants of those offices. I would like to remind the readers that these stories are fiction, and that the opinions expressed here are those of the characters in my stories and not necessarily my own or those of this site.
  22. Or you could read Robin Cook’s 1977 book, Coma, his first successful novel. That’s Robin Cook, the American physician turned novelist, not Robin Cook, the British politician. The story and subsequent movie, which starred a young Michael Douglas, involved a ruthless chief of surgery who deliberately put patients into a coma and sold their organs. He did it using carbon monoxide, unwittingly administered by the anesthesiologist during surgery, because it left the tissues looking a super-healthy red. The surgeon who did the actual surgery thus never suspected a thing.
  23. Baranaby is a story with an interesting plot twist. Initially I felt certain that Barnaby was an imaginary friend. I won’t spoil the fun by saying who he is, but the ending is certainly different. I’m sorry to bring it up, but carbon monoxide is a poison and not an asphyxiant. It doesn’t kill by displacing oxygen, but rather by binding to hemoglobin irreversibly. Carbon monoxy-hemoglobin is brilliant red in color - even redder than oxy-hemoglobin; hence a victim’s lips are redder than normal and not blue. Lipstick-red lips are a bad sign. The other thing is that victims won’t recover if you simply remove them from the carbon monoxide. You have to replace the poisoned hemoglobin and that can only be done by transfusion. If you ever find someone who’s suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, by all means, get them to fresh air first, but then call 911 or the equivalent.
  24. Hey, what happened to the story link on the AD home page? It disappeared with this week's update. I hope that wasn't intentional, as it's a wonderful story. It can't be reached from Alan's home page either, as that hasn't been updated in some time.
  25. This is to let everyone know that I'm working on a very topical New York Story, titled Shelter in Place. I hope to post it by the end of May, if not sooner. In the meantime I've revised a couple of my earlier stories to make them consistent with New York's lock-down under the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of authors would have left them as they were, but I like to see consistency across the stories in a series and have already revised the timeline in my latest stories to reflect the new global reality. The revisions in any case are minor, but check them out in Inside Information and Valenterrible Day.
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