Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fun Things to do If Caught in a Time Matrix are walking down the street, minding your own business, when suddenly you are caught in a time matrix and thrust back into 10th century England. That's right, you should be prepared for this sort of thing - you never know when that old time matrix will come a knockin'. Well, what do you do? Do you despair, cowering in some corner, lamenting your wretched circumstances? Do you curse the day you picked up a history text, knowing full well the karma of your constant academic study has created this vortex? NO, I say! I say it's time to take over England with a little thing called GUNPOWDER. This is, of course, assuming you somehow learn old English, avoid being killed, and get over being sick from the food. Oh , and you also manage to make connections with some military faction or man of high position which enables it's manufacture. But that aside, here's what you can do:

15 parts Saltpeter, 3 parts Sulfur, and 2 parts Charcoal in a mixture. Combine slowly and in small quantities. As everyone knows, there will inevitably be a hunchback assistance who peers too close with a candle. Simply move his hand away, shaking your head slowly. Try grimacing for maximum effect.

First, of course, you must find or make the ingredients:

- Charcoal. Just get some wood, set it on fire, and cover it with dirt. Let smolder. Incidentally this will also impress the in-laws at next year's barbecue.

- Sulfur. This was rare, but was around. Typically you could find it at hot springs, so maybe take a trip to Bath, England. Alchemists would often have it. You might try asking for "brimstone" - (I know, I know - find out the 10th century vernacular). The good thing is you will know it when you smell it!

- Saltpeter. Saltpeter is that crusty white material found on top of manure-soil or in caves. Sometimes you can find it in tombs and such. On a recent trip to Rome, I saw it all over the catacombs. Heck, the early Christians could have destroyed Rome if they knew what it could do (the iconoclasts would have loved it!). If you want, you can mix a bunch of hay with manure and wood ash, cover, urinate on it occasionally (yep) and let sit for a year. Then strain it with water and crystallize.

Now that you have the gunpowder, the ladies will flock, the hats will be tipped, mutton will fly, and....oh wait, you don't know how to make a gun. Well, get yourself a nice round jig, and start forging the iron around...oh never mind - at least you can tell yourself you accomplished something as the crazed mob chases your tall, well-groomed, non-flea ridden butt out of town.