Who doesn’t love a baby elephant?

Elephants are great. They are wrinkly and sparsely, and therefore like us. They have wide, deep eyes that seem to leak out with very true emotions. Their babies are floppy, and playful, and rambunctious and a bit too clumsy, therefore reminding me of myself. If I had the opportunity, I would love to go to Africa and watch them in the wild, those big massive things on their spindly little legs.

Unfortunately, in recent times, elephant populations of southern Africa may have gotten too big for their britches.  The government of South Africa is now sanctioning culling of the herds in certain situations, and animal rights activists are in an uproar.  Part of this is due to the worldwide status of elephants as threatened species, despite the large numbers in South African countries.  Another part is due to their similarity to us, along with apes and dolphins.

While I completely understand the first point, there is some question as to how to remedy the situation.  Transportation to other countries would be difficult at best.  And the number of elephants is reaching a point where human populations and needs are threatened as well.  What do we do in this case?  Turn South Africa into a giant game park and move all the people elsewhere?  As for the second point, it’s true that even I feel a special affinity towards elephants.   But they aren’t people.  And if I have to choose between them and some other highly intelligent animal, I’m going to pick the one that doesn’t literally eat a ton of food every day.

Finally, there is some question as to whether or not culling will even work.  Critics state that nearby populations will simply produce more and fill the area left vacant by the other animals.  This may be true, and if so, there need to be serious looks taken into other containment methods.  If not, there’s only a few other possible results – herds of starving elephants, negative human-elephant interactions resulting in death and injury on both sides, and elephants becoming huge pests ot agriculture.  And none of these are situations i would like to contemplate.

A Story

So Mike gave me a story idea, and then I was thinking about interactivity and such, and treasure hunts. So I’m going to ‘have a go’ at linking them all together. I’ll bold the story parts below so you know what is story and what is instructions to the next part of the story.

I was born in the space between a white picket fence and a giant weedy tangle of evergreen bushes. After being run off by some angry suburbanites, my mother had really no where to go. Wherever she went, she was treated as a leper, as a thief, as something unclean. She was alone, and near to giving birth to me and my 3 siblings.

I don’t remember opening my eyes at first. I don’t remember the brightness of that first day. I don’t even remember the sense of loss I must have felt at being separated from my sister, my brothers, my mother. Perhaps the shock is lost somewhere in my memory, occasionally brought forward as nostalgia or melancholy, brought on by a familiar sound or smell.

My early life was hard – scavenging, moving all the time, living off the leavings of others. It wasn’t that bad though. I didn’t have time to be envious, to watch the twinkle and gleam of inside lives. I had my family. We kept each other warm, looked out for each other. But it was always a little different after the first time I heard my mom get really angry.

It was an odd sort of situation. My brothers, Cerne and Cassis, were trash diving at a local park for some useful odds and ends and maybe some food. The whole family was there. My mother and sister Cassy were washing up a bit after their own ‘dives’, and I was playing lookout. The park was mostly deserted at this time of day – late afternoon – except for a few bums lounging.

A woman trotted towards us with her dog. Seeing us, the dog went crazy – barking, tugging at the leash, and generally furious. I called to my brothers, and they quickly turned to face the danger. But still the woman approached. She tried to contain her dog, but he was a big dog. Despite our family outnumbering him, we were all small. And afraid.

But we were quick. Cassy darted around the dog and away, and Cassis quickly followed. Cerne jumped up on top of a garbage can and made to go up into the trees, but the branches were too small. One splintered beneath him, knocking him back onto the ground. The dog moved in to wring him by the neck, but my mother stopped him. She deliberately put herself in front of my brother and snarled.

I’ve never heard such an ugly sound. I couldn’t believe it, coming from my own mother. The hairs stood up all along my body. Even the big dog was a little afraid. He stepped back, and looked around for his master. She tried to quiet him, but I knew that his courage was coming back. While his attention was distracted, it was now or never.

The story continues with perspectives from a variety of sources on the events.

To complete this story as if the narrator runs away and escapes, click here.

To complete this story as if the narrator stays to help his family, click here.

To complete this story on your own or give opinion on the process thus far, please  comment below.

Surviving until the weekend.

It’s Friday, work is boring, and we could all use a little releif.  So, I’m giving you my top ten list for surviving the next 7.5 hours.

10.  The Zombie countdown.  Find out the best ways to tackle the Horde.

9. Armor games.  Fun, light, easy to play while you work.

8. Remember the G.I. Joe cartoons?  Remember the public service announcements that came after them, with the Joes helping kids be less dumb?  There are spoofs.  Here‘s a (possibly) complete list.  All I have to say is MIMIMIMIMI.

7. Free Rice.  Because it’s helpful.  And Educaty.  And, you could argue, increases your jobbing skills.

6. Anybody up for the evaluation of platforms for hypertext fiction?  I guess this one is only cool to a writer who is not used to thinking outside the box – it makes me think about multiple paths.  And who didn’t love choose your own adventure books?  So what if I had to go back after and read every possible ending?

5.  Again with the writing – this is really a list of markets for writers, mostly online publications.  But if you want a good read or a particular kind of read, almost every single one of the publications listed has some free online stories.

4. I’m a nerd.  And I like the Narnia books.  Well, some of them, anyway.  So there’s this.

3. Since all Fridays need to come with some levity and seriousness (and reality), here’s this.  It’s all real.  Real funny.  Looking.

2. Scrabulous.  Need I say more?

1. Ok, I’m out of ideas.  So maybe, in that little comments section so many of you use, you could share yours.