All posts by Winston

Forest Meadow

The forest and meadow might seem like an unusual place for adventure and danger. The words bring to mind the images of bucolic places ranging from the glens in Sleeping Beauty to the alpine meadows in The Sound of Music. But remember the forest and meadow (an interface wne between two vastly different kinds of terrain) is one of the most common areas in the natural world, and much possibility arises. Read the Full Article

Farm

The family farm is one of the classic American settings in fiction depicted with sentimental aura of naivete, an iconic example of wholesome family values. This upright persona of clean living is precisely the reason the setting of the farm is excellent for twisting into the fabric of a good adventure. Whether it involves a busload of teenagers being stalked by a psychopathic killer or a facade masking the secret base of a super genius bent on world domination, the benign and deceivingly boring country farm can hold many surprises. Even in a more family-oriented adventure, it is a good stalking ground for a talking animal and its crime- fighting buddies. Read the Full Article

Convention Center

Of the many modern structures in existence, few are as specialized yet utilitarian as the convention center. Even the earliest designs were enormous structures, sometimes created for one-use purposes such as a world’s fair. Designed to host commercial activity, the convention center often serves the same function as the trade fairs of ancient times, when merchant caravans would assemble in large fields outside a nearby city to trade among themselves and the inhabitants of surrounding areas. In size, the modern convention center (from the 1940s and onward) can range from a small facility of thousands of square meters to enormous “cities within cities” of multi-level structures miles across. Such behemoths have their own power plants, attached hotels, gigantic docking areas, and operations centers. Often, convention centers are divided into halls, each capable of hosting a trade show or convention simultaneously. Read the Full Article

Convenience Store

Convenience stores are small shops, usually positioned along busy roads or intersections. Most convenience stores also sell fuel for vehicles, and the convenience store sales supplement the primary income provided by gasoline. Convenience stores sell various goods and services, often unessential: newspapers and magazines; lottery tickets; drinks, such as soda, water, juices, and beer; light groceries, such as cereal, canned goods, eggs, and milk; money orders; toiletries and pharmaceuticals (painkillers, cold medicine, and so on); and car materials, such as maps and oil. They also offer junk food (chips, candy, and the like) and sometimes real food (hotdogs, wrapped sandwiches, or even a small deli or hot bar). One hallmark of modern convenience stores is the “slushie” machine – a rotating tumbler that freezes flavored water into a snow-like drink. Read the Full Article

Cemetery

In Western cultures, the dead are most often buried, but there are alternatives. Some undergo cremation, while others are enshrouded and placed in crypts. A relative few are left exposed to the elements, in obeisance to traditions spanning thousands of years, and fewer still are those who undergo preservation (or mummification in the Egyptian style) in order to be put on display, sometimes in the name of science, sometimes not. A very few are cryogenically frozen and sealed in large cylinders, awaiting the day that science might find a cure for their various conditions and revive them. Read the Full Article

Casino

Once considered the height of sin and shunned by so-called proper society, casinos are now seen as a lawful if not quite yet respectable source of revenue for many civic entities. They can be fow1d in many U.S. states, especially on Native American reservations, where the added income is (theoretically, at any rate) channeled into education and other social programs. Despite protests co the contrary by local law enforcement officials, organized crime has a connection (however distant) to every casino operated outside of the reservations (and probably has a hand in those, too). Some casinos are dark, dingy, rather depressing places full of cigarette smoke, noisy gaming machines, and desperate-looking, glassy-eyed patrons chat mechanically place bets as if they’ve never known another life. Ocher casinos are clean, relatively smoke-free, and achieve at least the illusion of energy and opportunity with bright lights and flashing and pinging machines. Read the Full Article

Bar and Club

Bars have been around almost as long as civilization itself, and they have taken many forms. One variant, the nightclub, is a comparatively recent innovation. Bars and pubs offer alcoholic beverages and a place to socialize, but often not much else. Nightclubs, on the other hand, typically offer somewhat sturdier fare, as well as dancing and live music or comedy acts. Even so, there are exceptions; some bars do offer live entertainment, and some nightclubs do not. Read the Full Article