Category Archives: Paffooney

Miss Terry G.

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Miss Terry Consuelo Guerra

As a school teacher, you will simply have to accept that, no matter what you do or say, some students are going to love you, and some students are going to totally hate you.  You can’t control that.  The only thing you can control is how you feel about them.

She came into my classroom that first day in August, and I knew from the very first glance that she was one of a kind.  She was very angular of feature, standing, walking, and sitting in a very stiff and upright posture.  She did not bend easily, in body or soul.

She insisted on having a front seat so she could learn, and I had to move one of the other girls who really didn’t care where she sat so that Miss Terry could have a front seat.  She was a note-taker who constantly noted practically everything.  I think she even noted down some of my jokes in the precise order that they were told.  Disorder had no place in her world, and she did not tolerate disorder even from a teacher.

And Miss Terry Consuelo Guerra (not exactly her real name) never smiled and never laughed.  So you can guess what my primary objective was whenever I had her intense little face in front of me.  She hated it whenever I made her smirk or lose control of a slight giggle.  And the few times I ever got a real, unguarded smile out of her, she was absolutely beautiful.

The little raven girl would often snipe at me when she answered in class.  She often told me that my discipline was too lax, that the lessons weren’t ordered in a way that was efficient, and that I really wasn’t as funny as I thought.  And I didn’t let that get to me.  I know from faculty lounge conversations that she often got on the nerves of almost all of her other teachers.  But I unconditionally loved her.  And I know I got to her more than merely once or twice.  If we were keeping score, I was winning.  But we were not keeping score, and I let her think she was completely in control of her own education.

Her senior year in high school, she and another girl whom I loved and was also graduating came back to visit my seventh-grade classroom.

“You know, Mr. Beyer, looking back on junior high, of all the teachers I had, your class is really the only one I remember.  I liked your class.”

Naomi, the girl who came with her, was also a little shocked by Terry’s pronouncement.  But she quickly added, “You were the best teacher we ever had.”

“Well, I don’t know…  Yes, I guess you are right,” the raven girl said.

“Thank you, that means a lot coming from you,” I said.  “By the way, who are you again?”

Her eyes got wider.  “You don’t remember me?”

I laughed.  “I tried hard to forget you.  But it didn’t work.  You are Homero’s little sister.  You were one of the best students I ever had, Terry.”

The smile I got from that lame joke was the best one.

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Filed under education, humor, kids, Paffooney, strange and wonderful ideas about life, teaching

Sci-Fi Characters

I have slowed down on revamping Aeroquest.  You may have noticed, I did not spit out the next Canto yesterday.  But I am still noodling around with the characters and the story.  I took as my model the short chapters and many characters of Frank Herbert’s Dune series.  And since it was intended as a comedy novel along the lines of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it has a lot of ridiculous things in it that subvert the plot and the many subplots.

The story is salvageable.  But I will have to do some very big changes.  I need to streamline the plot.  I need to cut out unnecessary characters.  And I need to give more extensive development and stage time to the characters I keep.

So here is an insight into critical characters and who they are.

The Aero Brothers are the two main characters who give the book its name.  They were not created by me, but, rather, by one of the high school boys who played the science fiction RPG Traveller with me back in 1985.  He created both characters loosely based on Han Solo from Star Wars.  Ham was a hotshot space pilot.  Ged was a rogue hunter who developed the psionic power of changing his shape.  He was so powerful that he could use this mind power to change not only his size and shape but also his species.  The boy who created these characters was a natural born leader even though he was small for his age and often taken for granted by his fellow players in the game.  So these characters both reflect his real-life personality.

Trav Dalgoda, known as “Goofy” for his weird obsessions (like the eyepatch he doesn’t actually need), is a clown character who is constantly driven by his worst impulses to move the plot forward.  He doesn’t mean to betray anybody on purpose, but he is obsessed with treasure hunting and watching things blow up.  He can’t help causing massive destruction on planetary scales.  Tron Blastarr, the scar-faced space pirate, is a bad guy turned hero who is often on the wrong end of Goofy’s plot-moving missteps.  He ends up deciding that instead of merely being a pirate leader, he needs to lead a rebellion and form a new interstellar government.

These four are the most important characters in the entire story.  I cannot rewrite it without any of them.  All four of them are based on real people who played the science fiction role-playing game with me in the 80’s.  I will tell you more about Aeroquest characters in future posts.

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Filed under aliens, characters, humor, novel, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney, science fiction

Characters in Colored Pencil

As a novelist, certain characters, as I understand them, have to be portrayed in a certain specific way.  It may be because the character is based on a real person, so those characteristics are tied to reality and changing them will impair the character’s realism.  It may also be because the character has a very special function in the story, possibly a metaphorical or thematic function so a change in those particulars can derail the entire story.  But portraying them in colored pencil is not nearly so arcane.  Colored pencil is my own preferred medium, the one I know best how to use as an artist.

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Snow Babies

These characters are not specifically people.  They are created in nature when a person dies in a blizzard by freezing to death.  They act like banshees in that they serve both as omens of impending death, and collectors of the spirit forms of the deceased.  Snow ghosts after a manner of speaking.

They are from my novel Snow Babies and give the book its name.  Of course, they are not the only snow babies that the title refers to.  But they are essential to the basic theme of the story.

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Brent Clarke

Brent is the leader of the Pirates.  He appears in the novels Superchicken, and The Baby Werewolf, though I have another couple of stories in my head where he plays an important role as well.

Brent is an amalgam of two real people.  One was a boy from my boyhood gang, and the other was a student I taught more than a decade after that.  He is a farm boy, naturally outgoing and athletic, but also a bit of a bully and a bigger bit of a jerk, especially around girls.

 

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Miss Francis “Franny” Morgan

Miss Morgan is a middle school teacher based on a real-life colleague who had a gift for reaching and teaching challenging kids, though she’s also got a bit of me in her since the major challenges she faces in the story are mostly things that happened to me, and I made her an English teacher like me instead of the Science teacher she really was.  She is the main character in the novel that bears her name, Magical Miss Morgan.  She is also a minor character in Superchicken, almost twenty years earlier in time.  I pictured her wearing a purple paisley dress to represent her magical abilities.  That magic is, of course, the ability to make stories come to life through imagination and creativity.

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Sean “Cudgel” Murphy

Cudgel is “Grampy” of the Murphy Clan, living in the home of his eldest son Warren.  He is basically a clown character, being an irascible, evil old man who loves his family, only ever drives his beloved Austin Hereford motor car (“the best goddam car in the whole goddam world from 1954”), and will fight for any reason or excuse at the drop of a hat.

He has already played a role in the novels The Bicycle-Wheel Genius and Snow Babies.  And I hope to use him in several more.  He is loosely based on several old men I have known throughout my life, but he functions mainly as a clown, a comic relief character that breaks up the tension in developing plots.

So there you have some characters that I have written about in my novels and illustrated in living colored pencil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under characters, colored pencil, humor, NOVEL WRITING, Paffooney

Extreme Strangeness That is Probably True

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  • The Russians decided the election in 2016 and put a criminal in the office of the President of the United States.  Enough concrete evidence and testimony of expert investigators now exists and is freely available enough to make a clear case for the truth of it.
  • They will probably get away with it.  Republicans control the government even though they get fewer votes than the other party.  This is because they cheat.  They use voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other dirty tricks to stay in power supported by a base that is controlled by fear, prejudice, and partisan tribalism.  They ignore the rule of law when it favors them getting what they want.  This country is no longer a democracy.
  • 9/11 is a terrible event, but it was not perpetrated by terrorists.  It was done by government organizations working together to hide the truth and cover the wealthy elite who made money and gained power from this horrible event.  The airlines that were hijacked made money for Wall Street investors who bet the stocks for those specific airlines would make a sudden fall in value.  The airplane (or possible missile) that hit the Pentagon hit the budget offices that were investigating the missing trillions of dollars, and the money was never found.
  • Aliens are real and routinely visiting our planet.  Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan all knew this for a fact, and the rest of the presidents since Truman may have known it as well… Though probably not Trump.  He would attempt to steal from the aliens or find some other way to make money from them.  The evidence is there in the form of testimony, artifacts, whistleblower testimony, photographs, and documentation that sometimes slips out of the government’s grasp.  The very real cover-up of the truth of it is also evidence of the reality of it.
  • The human mind is an incredible thing, with bizarre capabilities that we are only beginning to understand.  Synesthesia and savants with mysterious brain powers are also a documented reality.  Remote viewing and other mind powers have not only been studied by the government but used by them.

Bizarre things are often more true than the ordinary mundane things we all believe in every day.  You are welcome to argue with me.  I wish many of these things were not true.  But I know better.  And that sick feeling in your stomach is evidence that you know better too.

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Filed under aliens, angry rant, conspiracy theory, feeling sorry for myself, Paffooney, pessimism

Hidden Kingdom (through page 15)

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H21x

HK41

 

HK31

Hk51

HK61

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hk81

hk91

hk101

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hk121a

hk131

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Filed under comic strips, fairies, Hidden Kingdom, humor, Paffooney

What I Spent the Day On

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Perhaps it was a total waste of time.  But I committed willful acts of art today instead of doing anything useful.

Do you see the fairies in the picture?  They weren’t visible when I snapped the picture.  Ironically, that is both the literal truth and a  complete lie.

 

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Filed under artwork, fairies, humor, Paffooney

The Silly Stuffy at the Center of the Tootsie Pop of Life

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Sometimes a picture is all it takes to say it all.

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Filed under Paffooney, Uncategorized