Questioning Reality: Watt’s flat?

Questioning Reality is an occasional series and is a complete work of fiction.

The views contained herein are nothing whatsoever to do with the author, and instead are based on the views of the character ‘Thom’. Thom is a fifty-year-old gardener who likes talking to begonias. Although, she may be a twenty-eight-year-old secretary who sings spiders to sleep. Or perhaps he’s a 25 year old panel beater who likes the history of Queen Nefertiti.

Names, where necessary, have been changed, but also where necessary, they haven’t.

Historians used to think the world is flat. Not modern historians, I hasten to add, but history’s historians. I don’t think they had time in those days, although they may have used the occasional sundial. Even though the world curved around in front of them, and they were surrounded by hilly hills, they were still of the impression the world was flat. Nothing anybody said to them to convince them otherwise changed their opinion, and fruit and vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and apples hadn’t been invented yet.

They were probably around back then, in history, but went by a multitude of different names. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1600s when a historical figure by the name of John Ray (sometimes Wray) began a vast classification project of plants and animals that existence began to take on a more structured look. From these yellowed pages, onions eventually became a vegetable and tomatoes a fruit. Presumably, before this classification exercise, they were probably known as ‘weepy thing’ or ‘squishy thing’.

Tomatoes may or may not have been red at that time. As the previously mentioned classification project was starting to take place, Isaac Newton, another historical figure, was discovering colour. Back then, red was the most light colour, and blue most dark. Or least light. You see, Isaac was working on light at the time and discovered the spectrum.

Also at the same time, research was beginning into electricity. Electricity had been a myth for thousands of years before this, even back to the times of Ancient Greece and before. Folk were regularly receiving shocks from creatures such as electric fish, or static shocks from stroking cats, but they had no idea what the effect was and put it to the backs of their minds. William Gilbert, yet another of history’s figures, wrote about a magnet in the early 1600s, and came up with the word electricus at the same time due to receiving a static shock after rubbing a piece of amber. (The Greek word for amber back then was ‘elektron’). Electricity now had a name, several years before fruits, vegetables and spectra came into existence.

Many years after the introduction of electricity into mainstream reality, James Watt (yes, another historical chap) discovered horsepower, nowadays shortened to power. The Watt was named after him. Power, in fact, is the rate of work over time, and it certainly took a lot of time for power to come into existence. Incidentally, James Watt wasn’t really looking into electricity, but steam engines.

The historical fruit, tomatoes, are a source of electricity – especially damaged ones. Lycopene, which is the red colouring in tomatoes and other fruit and vegetables, helps with the generation of electrical charges. The charge is only small, however, only 0.3 watts per ten milligrams of tomato waste, but it’s a start.

From a flat world to a flat tomato the world has come a long way.

The connections between everything in existence are quite remarkable, when you stop and take a look.

Next time: We may look at the invention of time.

Questioning Reality: If we see colours differently, how do we know what green is?

Questioning Reality is an occasional series and is a complete work of fiction.

The views contained herein are nothing whatsoever to do with the author, and instead are based on the views of the character ‘Thom’. Thom is a twenty-year-old fashion designer who likes glittery material. Although, she may be a twenty-year-old fashion model who can’t stand fussy clothing. Or perhaps he’s a 30 year old engineer who likes dancing to Celine Dion.

Names, where necessary, have been changed, but also where necessary, they haven’t.

It’s strange, life.

You go to bed one night (or morning if you’re up all night, for instance a night owl!) and awake to a brand new day. A fresh start. A new beginning. Yet we tend to do exactly the same as the day before. Same work. Same(ish) food. Same mistakes. OK, they’re different, but overall they’re the same…. they aren’t massively different. Be creative, is what I say. Given time. And other things.

Take rubbing stuff, for instance. The medication that either warms up or cools down aches and pains. Say, for example, you had a pain in your neck… or shoulder… or hip… or back… or thigh… or knee… or elbow… or shin… or ankle…  (!) and you used rubbing stuff to ease the pain somewhat. Why does it have no effect on your fingers or hands? That’s very strange, that is.

Why is it when you are desperately trying to find something, you have a rough idea of where you last saw it but it isn’t there. You then go off, demolishing every drawer, cupboard and utensil you can find in said search, and then, in one final act of desperation, you go back to the first place you looked and guess what? There it is. By then, you’ve usually forgotten why you wanted the thing in the first place.

Is perception a fact, or a figment of one’s imagination? If something looks big because it’s close up, but isn’t, can we really, truly, believe what we are seeing? The Sun and the Moon look the same size in the sky, but they aren’t, but in the sky they are. Unless there’s an eclipse, and the Moon totally covers the Sun. Mind you, you can’t see the Moon in an eclipse anyway because it’s New, and then you can’t see anything else for a while for looking at the Sun.

That’s not true entirely. After looking at a bright light, wherever you look afterwards all you can see is a whopping black splotch. But is it black? When you close your eyes, it changes to green – or yellow – or red. Or does it? And as it really isn’t there at all, should it even have a colour? Although it’s probably a good thing that it is there, to serve as a warning to prevent you looking into a bright light in the future.

Still, for all of the strange things life throws at us, there’s always something possibly even more strange waiting to turn up just around the corner. That’s what makes life interesting. That and the every day things that we repeat every day.

Questioning Reality: Introduction

Questioning Reality is an occasional series and is a complete work of fiction.

The views contained herein are nothing whatsoever to do with the author, and instead are based on the views of the character ‘Thom’. Thom is a forty-year-old woman with an aversion to body hair. Although, he may be a nineteen-year-old army sergeant with immense experience of worldly affairs. Or perhaps he’s a 72 year old hermit who likes listening to Kate Bush.

Names, where necessary, have been changed, but also where necessary, they haven’t.

And as the author no longer keeps fully up-to-date with current affairs, the affairs mentioned herein may not be current. Or affairs for that matter.

Topics such as why is the sky always blue, which it isn’t, will be covered, as will the discovery of a blue-leaved plant and the search for a green-furred mammal. Important issues, such as the editing of television news prog

History will be visited to question today’s events as we will look to the future to predict just how current those events are likely to become. Quantum science will be looked into in minute detail, and major issues, such as just why is it that some people like the colour orange and not the fruit will be put under the microscope.

Why is some rain wetter than others?

How can it sometimes be warm when it snows?

How far can the truth be stretched?

And is reality really real? Is your reality mine? And mine yours? Can realities collide? What happens if they do? Do they co-exist? Overlap? Mirror? Explode? Is there anything beyond reality? Out there, for example, in space. If something isn’t known, is that reality because it isn’t known, or does it only become reality when it is?

See? Reality is already being questioned and we haven’t started yet.

Look out for the next part of Questioning Reality. Coming soon.

Vote of confidence

A Beyond the Sphere election special post.

Without images.

It’s General Election day in the United Kingdom today. They come around more frequently than Leap Years in modern times, and are just as much fun.

We’ve had hours of promises and counter-promises, proper gander and hip hop rap, heartfelt apologies for previously bringing in the wrong thing whilst in a previous government, and sincere promises that this time they’ll do better. We’ve been threatened that one thing will happen if we vote for such a party, and that will happen if we vote for a different one, we mustn’t vote for X because of Y, C can’t stand because of B, W was recorded saying this about Q, P became a block of ice, and blah blah blah…

I’m not politically minded. I can’t stand all the squabbling and bickering that goes on between politicians. I couldn’t bring myself to watch the ‘TV debates’ where nobody was interested in what any of the politicians had to say, but most folk were interested in what they had to say wrong.

I didn’t listen to the opinion polls, because I’m not interested in anybody else’s opinion. I did notice, however, how subtle messages the like of ‘you must vote this way’ came through in the oddest of ways; for example a TV programme review flipped itself round to one of the politician’s interests. I just stopped reading the review there.

But tonight I did my bit and went and cast my vote.

I walked down the dimly lit alley to the polling station. I pushed the door which needed to be pulled to open – they’d covered the ‘pull’ sign with the ‘polling station’ sign. I walked across a vast empty room, to a row of desks that were arranged in an L shape at the far side of the room. A man and a woman sat on the left, and two other women sat behind the tables directly ahead. The polling booth was over to the right.

“Hi” said the man, as I approached the table he was sitting at, not knowing whether I needed to go to him or not. I handed him my polling card as I said “Hello” in return. He asked me to confirm my full name, and then checked that I had gone to the correct polling station, which, luckily for all of us, I had done. It was the address on the polling card, so I couldn’t really have gotten it wrong.

The man gave a series of letters and numbers to the woman sitting next to him, and she announced that she’d written down a completely different set and questioned why she’d done that. She wrote down the correct series, and the man then handed me my polling slip.

“You MUST mark ONLY ONE X” the woman said, pointing to the polling booth at the other side of the room. “And then you MUST bring it back, and pop it INTO THAT BOX there” – this time she pointed at the ballot box beside the end of the table where the man sat.

I walked slowly across the room, noticing how eerily quiet and empty the place was. I marked my paper in the booth as instructed, and folded it as I walked back the ballot box to cast my vote. My slip was half-way into the slot when the man asked “Er… did you get that ballot slip from us?” I did that three way double-take look you do when you ask yourself if you were being asked the question. I looked around the room, and I was still the only person in there. “YES, he did.” said the woman. “Yes, I did” I also replied, not actually sure whether I should have been speaking at that moment but the correct words formed as I did so, so it must have been alright.

I then left the polling station, walked back along the dimly lit alley and then rejoined what felt like reality. This reality. Tomorrow’s may be completely different. Or it may be the same. Or it may appear to be the same, but really be completely different.

We just don’t know.

And by Jiminy will we be told about it for months to come.

Beyond the Sphere now returns to its regular irregular programme.

Characters

What makes a good character?

Someone mysterious? Boring? Risqué? Over-the-top? Untouchable? Surreal? Perfect? Ludicrous? Rude? Quiet? Professional? Heart-felt? Needy? Brash? Sexy? Offensive? Kind? Alien? Square? Thoughtless? Thoughtful? Dreamy? Inept? Quirky? Confident? Artistic? Argumentative? Stubborn? Creative? Constructive? Forward-thinking? Magical? Business-minded? Helpful? Shut-off? Energetic? Charismatic? Disabled? Old-fashioned? Forward-thinking? Imaginative? Colourful? Radiant? Beautiful? Ugly? Robotic? Moronic? Warm? Cold? Holier-than-thou? Devilish? Inappropriate? Risk-taker? Stick-in-the-mud? Comical? Interesting?

A mixture of all? Just one? Maybe a couple?

There are a lot of ‘interesting’ characters that call by this blog that could easily fit into the list above. Myself included… Tom Merriman’s a character, don’t forget. OK. Maybe ‘interesting’ was the wrong choice of word.

My characters are all adaptable. They try to fit into a number of different scenarios. Some they take to like a duck to water, and others they’re like a fish out of it.

But they are still characters. Surreal creations that exist in Universes far, far away. Surreal lives with surreal existences that desperately need for their surreal stories to be told.

But are they good characters?


I don’t know. They’re all a work in progress.