Virtual Vacation: Ewok City

David Keener, from Ewok City

Right, so here’s another virtual vacation since I don’t have the latitude to go on a real one. This time, I’m reporting in from Ewok City. And, hey, I’ve got a vacation beard, too. Can’t get much more realistic than that.

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Virtual Vacation: International Space Station

Virtual Vacation: David Keener and the ISS

So, there’s this lockdown thing going on, as if that was news to anyone, and it looks like every single vacation plan I had for this year is gone. And probably next year’s vacations, too.

Now, I could complain about stuff like this, but, really, it is what it is. I’m reminded of people, like my grandfather, who survived harder times than these. He lived through the Spanish Flu of 1918, the Depression, and then served aboard destroyers guarding Atlantic convoys from U-boats in WWII.

But unlike in my grandfather’s time, we have high-tech options…for entertainment and for exercising our imaginations. So, if I can’t go on a real vacation, I’ll go on some virtual vacations.

All right, so here’s my first virtual vacation. Thanks to the magical “Virtual Background” feature of Zoom, the group communications application, here’s a picture of me aboard the International Space Station.

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Inspiration: Star Trek Night Hawks

Star Trek Night Hawks

Another version of Edward Hopper’s famous Night Hawks painting, but this time with a Star Trek slant. It seems like the least I could do after the last one, which was the Coronavirus version of Hopper’s famous painting. For some reason, I really like this one.

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Inspiration: Absent Night Hawks

Absent Night Hawks

Inspired by Edward Hopper’s famous painting, Nigh Hawks, here’s the coronavirus-inspired version of the same painting.

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Inspiration: Alien Migration

The Great Migration, by Piotrdura

I think this is a great illustration that captures the majesty and sheer awe of the migration of some large wildlife on a far-off alien planet.

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Conquering the Gauls

Conquering the Gauls

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

From Puck Curtis by way of Michael J. Walsh, via Facebook.

Two Roman commanders were tasked with conquering the Gauls.

One of them, Marcus Maximus, has vigorously trained his fighting men to within an inch of their lives. He thinks he is ready for any eventuality.

The other, more senior commander, goes by Brutus Quintus. He also has highly trained men under his command but he never goes anywhere without a unit of half-naked northern men painted blue. They are, in fact, a group of Pictish barbarians.

On the morning of the battle Marcus Maximus charges forward and destroys the Gauls almost immediately. It is total supremacy on the battlefield and Brutus Quintus just watches it all happen silently without committing a single soldier to the battle.

The following morning the army awakes and there, through some sorcery, is the Gaul army untouched and waiting again for battle. Again Marcus Maximus leads his troops into the fight and wipes out the Gauls only to awaken the next morning to find them magically waiting again.

Five days running Marcus defeats the Gauls and yet each morning his victory is undone by the magics of the Gauls.

Finally on the sixth day Brutus Quintus lines up his troops with his Pictish barbarians in the vanguard. They charge into the Gauls wiping them out. The next morning Marcus Maximus awakens ready to taunt Brutus for his failure but there on the field of battle is all the evidence of the defeated Gauls. Somehow, Brutus Quintus has defeated the Gauls and their magic.

Marcus Maximus looks to Brutus Quintus and asks him, “How did you undo these magics?”

Brutus Quintus calmly replies, “Simple, Marcus. You must understand that you need Picts or it didn’t happen.”

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Inspiration: Warships

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher welcomes the French tall ship replica the Hermione off the east coast of the US, in 2015.

Photograph: US Navy.Warships

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Inspiration: Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars, as captured by the Mars Curiosity rover on April 15, 2015.

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Inspiration: Werewolf, Stalking

Werewolf, Stalking

Love this picture of what seems like a werewolf stalking through the woods, which was forwarded to me by Marty Wilsey (though he’s not the artist). It’s brutally simple, probably just a charcoal drawing. But it’s certainly effective. I’d use it as a book cover in a heartbeat, if I had a story that matched the picture.

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Inspiration: Titanic Dogs

The Dogs of the Titanic

One of the few existing photos of some of the dogs that were taken aboard the ill-fated Titanic by first-class passengers. The only pets that survived were a couple of small ones that passengers brought onto the lifeboats.

This was also the subject of a presentation that I’ve done, Titanic: The Forgotten Passengers, which is available on this site.

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