Sunday, May 29, 2016

This is a trick

OK blog. You don't like me, and I'm indifferent about you, but we're going to get through this week if you like it or not.

So this week was one full of uplift, upheaval, realignment of goals, and a shot in the arm for creativity. I'd rather not weigh in on the heavier aspects of it, because, well, this isn't a private blog for me to boo-hoo and say casually offensive things about what makes me angry. This is for the hypothetical future fan to stumble upon, and have enough time to kill and read back entries, and think, "Oh, cool, so this is where that part came from."

Or, I don't know, something like that. That's what I do when I look at people's websites. I creep. But that's the type of guy I am, a creeping voyeur who thankfully has an internet connection and doesn't have to stare into people's windows. I'm simply fascinated how varied people live, and have a generally curious nature. At least I have the good sense to people watch in a way where they don't know I'm staring at them. You know, like a polite creep.

There, I avoided telling you something personal with something else personal. I hope you're satiated hypothetical reader.

Anywho, this week was full of getting writing done, both for school and for rewrites. I'm trying to pick up the pace and make up for lost time a few months back. I've been watching Batman: The Animated Series and Superman Adventures concurrently on Amazon Prime. I've watched Seasons 1, 2 and half of 3 of Batman so far, and the first for Superman. I'm normally not much of a Superman fan, and find it difficult to find him interesting, but the Animated Series version works for me so far. It was a pretty solid first season, not amazing, but good. I do enjoy a little more depowered Supes, since I feel everyone just goes right to invincible and can punch a planet type power level, and that stuff doesn't excite me. I did quite enjoy the Lobo episodes. I recall enjoying them when they aired as well. But Lobo is the main fraggin' man, so there is that.

And let me confirm your suspicions, I did get the idea of substituting fuck for frag partly because of Lobo. Also from the old term for deathmatch kills and fragmentation grenades. Skag is '70s slang for heroin, which I've never done, but I think it makes a great defecation word too. Now that I think about it, I think I heard skag used in some show I watched recently. Can't recall which one, but it'll come to me.

I also just started playing Rock Band 4 again, now that the songs from 1-3 are available. I have so many songs already, and there's even more that I still want to download. Rock Band really is one of my favorite game franchises. I've had so many magical moments playing that game with friends, and moments in the middle of parties getting everyone singing along and having a grand ole time. And even playing solo, it's just a fun damn game. It combines two of my loves of music and videogames, and it's one of the few games where I haven't gotten worse at it with age.

So after all of that, here's your dog picture and chunk of story. Chapter 11 is very close to being done as well and may get sandwiched into this post. Later skaters.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"You're shooting stars with the barrels in your eyes."

Hey to my tiny but powerful reader base. I'm back. I didn't forget you. How could I forget you? You're so quirky and have excellent posture.

So yeah, I took last week off from my rigorous schedule of blogging once a week for my birthday.

I also have been spending a lot of time engaging with humanity in the wild and at work, as well as at school. I started my new semester taking my Noir fiction class. Finished up discussions on The Maltese Falcon and am on to The Big Sleep. I realized I made a fatal error in not rereading The Big Sleep, since it's been almost exactly a year since I read it, and the details are hazier than I expected. Hopefully no one notices me mostly commenting about the movie.

Aside from school work, and work work, I've been playing Fallout 4 in the wake of the Far Harbor DLC being released. I've been farting around bringing all my settlements up to snuff and rearranging my house furniture with all the new things added for settlement building. I spent all last night doing this:
From Drab
To Fab
Thanks to a post on /r/fallout, and me not reading patch notes, I found out how to rotate items on multiple axis's, so once again I spent a full work day straightening up my personal settlement. Welcome Home.

I've of course been playing the DLC but I've been having issues with live broadcasting on twitch lately so I don't have anything to show for it. I've mostly been doing side quests and I haven't advanced the main plot for Far Harbor yet. I've been running around the island being chased by mutated angler fish. But I finally decked out my guns with top quality mods, and I'm getting into more of my Charisma perks, so needing guns will hopefully be a thing of the past. Pacifying a Deathclaw and sicking it on someone is fun.

I've also been on a huge Deftones listening kick. If you're a fan and haven't picked up their latest album, Gore, I would do so. I'd say quality-wise it falls in between Diamond Eyes and Koi No Yokan, and has just as many awesome old school metal sounding riffs (especially Doomed User) as shoegazing walls of sound (like Phantom Bride). I've been a fan of them since '98 after I stumbled upon Around the Fur, and they're a band that's grown in maturity alongside of me just growing. As much as I love the nostalgia drummed up by listening to Adrenaline-White Pony, I feel their last 3 albums since losing Chi have just gotten more focused and adventurous with their sound. Having been listening to their albums in chronological order, the teenage bombast of Adrenaline has its fingers all over the rest of their catalog, but the last 21 years have morphed their sound into something all together different. What started out on Fireal and Fist closing the album with powerful soaring guitars with weird sounds and effects has become their signature sound.

And in the last 2 weeks where you haven't heard from me, I also finished chapter 8 rewrites with chapter 9 almost complete (had I not been playing Fallout till 5 in the morning, I would have).  So I'm gonna close out on the requisite dog picture and chapter posting. See you next week, gang.
Someone get this freakin' thing off me!
EDIT: I also managed to finish chapter 9 today, so I added that below. It's two for you, because one won't do.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Caution: Street Walking Cheetahs.

The week was long and full of trials, its ending welcomed like a returning lover. But its end only began a brief respite in the face of ever rising odds stacked against me like so many decks dealt from the bottom. I kept telling myself my troubles were light, and that for each day passed through was another victory for life. But life was a tricky mistress, and she didn't like to return after she flitted off on a whim.

"Why are you talking like that?"

This week was a testament to what I'll do to release tension, and how I have no clue how to relax anymore. With dual-day jobs in full effect, I'm cherishing the moments I can take to myself whenever I can. Especially since work has always been my greatest generator of misery, and as such creative fire. I'm sure I've done more side project planning and drafting while on the job than my actual job over the last 16 years. It's like Bukowski working at the post office and writing reams of pissed off poetry and a book. As much as I hate working for other people, I do fear I'd lose all my inspiration if I ever had to give it up. Granted I'd probably become a shut-in if I didn't have to leave my house for work, but that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Getting a jumpstart on summer session for school, I'm taking a Noir Fiction class, I read The Maltese Falcon for the first time. I also have The Big Sleep (which I've previously read), The Killer Inside Me (reading next), Strangers on a Train and Double Indemnity (only seen the movies), and I've been falling back into my habits of film noir love. I was a little underwhelmed by The Maltese Falcon, since I had such high expectations of it. The structure and parts of the story were excellent, and the tropes it codified are some of my favorites in fiction, but Hammett's writing was pulpy in the, "I'm getting paid per word for a serialized story," unlike Chandler's more poetic prose. It was too descriptive while it was going for atmospheric. Also, the entire thing could have been a short story over a novella with all the conversations of everyone going, "We know you know something, spill it." "Well I know you know something, so you spill it and maybe I'll spill it." And repeat for 217 pages. Hammett seems like he was a cool guy with a lot of issues, but unfortunately one of his issues was writing dull prose for his cool ideas. I dunno, maybe I should read Red Harvest too, since that's hailed as his masterpiece. Maybe if I didn't read Chandler before Hammett I would have had lower expectations, but Raymond Chandler's prose is exactly what I think of when it comes to Noir.

And all this steeping into Crime Fiction got me thinking randomly about Vegas. I used to live there, and I have friends who used to and currently do live there, not to mention it's just a four-hour drive away from LA, so it's pretty much treated as our weekend retreat so we don't puke in our own city (that's what the rest of the week is for). And of course with Vegas comes gambling. I'm not much of a gambler, but I do like a drink at the end of the day. And with no last call Vegas for me was hanging out with people gambling while I got free drinks playing video poker. Or sitting alone in my crappy apartment playing MMORPG's. I really don't have many fond memories of the place, and they usually manifest themselves into story ideas, so this week I started some character sketches for my team of over the top Gambling Outlaws that band together by circumstance to take back a big score from someone cheating the odds.

I'm probably going to write it for NaNoWriMo this year, since what I've jotted down for the first scene is kinda in the vein of Some Call Me... which was fun as hell to write. I'm planning on doing it as a series of 10-12 or so vignettes tied together to tell the story in a broken manner. Figure with each scene about 3-5k words that should work as a NaNo entry. In reality it's probably going to be a lot more scenes that are shorter, but we'll see how it goes. I've been wanting to do more Villain Protagonist type works since By Starlight. Writing from a bad guy's perspective is much more fun, since you're able to go places only an anti-hero can. No need for any moral boo-hooing before the action, just quiet regret that they're used to choking down and getting over it after the fact. I'm definitely going for a Sin City type of vibe, but that's just my love of Frank Miller, and my unashamed nature to steal from anyone that comes across my path. Rogue life for life.

In gaming news, I played through Quantum Break this week, and it was well worth the wait. When I first saw the gameplay demo, I thought it looked like a sweet looking game with cool mechanics, and I was right. I don't think I fully utilized all the mechanics I could have, but I had a blast playing the game. If you're that interested in watching someone bumble through the length of the game (including the live action TV show episodes in between game acts), I streamed it all on my channel.

It was nice having time to relax for a tic and kill some time with a game, but I was also busy on the rewrites front. GASP, yes I also finished chapter 7 this week. I told you I was busy. I technically finished it this morning, but you wouldn't have known unless I told you anyway. So after this fair-lengthed post, you get more updates into my writing process with the second draft of a novel I'm trying to release at the end of the year before it goes to an editor. I think I should have had a better back up plan. Release 3 books one year and then nothing the next? That's a fail. At least I've gotten a lot of new content for a non-Lilim Chronicles release. We'll see. As of now, I'm just trying to keep all the chainsaws I'm juggling in the air without losing an arm.
"Did someone say they want to lose an arm?"

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Lullabies to paralyze

I finished my first semester of real University two days ago. Yay for that. Unfortunately I only have two weeks off, and the Summer session starts on my birthday. Though I am pretty stoked for the next session, I'm taking a Noir fiction class and have been getting a head start on the reading list. First up is The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I've actually never read the book or seen the film, but I've been privy to all of the tropes that it helped codify. So much so that when I read the first chapter, I was amazed how closely I ripped off the intro when I wrote my comedic noir play, A Night on the Rocks, during my senior year of high school. I'm still meaning to rewrite that and try to get it performed. One day. Still have the OG script gathering dust. Ripped off Simpson's jokes and accidental ripped off pulp fiction cliches as well.

So I finished my three shorts I wrote for my workshop. Now it's time to start shopping them out to the world at large. I submitted one for a contest, didn't win, but the road to hell is paved with good rejection letters. Aside from that, it's back to working on To Slice The Sky, halfway through chapter 7, but I'm kinda at a point where I need to redo the scene where Decker does his first big slice, since I apparently already wrote it in By Starlight. I practically copied all of the action when writing the novella, and I knew it, and now I have to pay the price for it. Let that be a lesson to any aspiring writers stumbling across this blog, don't steal from yourself. It only makes more work later.

I got back to playing Resident Evil again. Since time is scarcer for me these days (picked up a second day job because life is expensive and I hate my first day job) progress is slow, but I'm halfway through episode 2 of Revelations 2. I've been finally taking advantage of my Steam account and have been grabbing at games the PC games I grew up playing. Currently I've started up a new Fallout playthrough, but only meandered about for a bit. I need to get a Bluetooth mouse, playing with a trackpad blows and it sure as hell isn't optimized for a touch screen.

I also caught Iggy Pop's last North American show for the Post Pop Depression show. He was backed by most of Queens of the Stone Age and the drummer from Arctic Monkeys. It was by far one of the most satisfying shows I've ever seen. It amazes me how agile and well-muscled Iggy still is at his age, and he definitely has a flair for the theatrical. It makes you remember that he used to do Glam Punk. Also, seeing Sister Midnight played live was pure wish fulfillment. And I wish words could sum up how amazing Josh Homme's solos were but there were many times that I had my eyes closed, just trying to absorb what I was hearing. The man knows his way around five strings.

That about sums up what I've been up to. Amazing how a whole week can be summed up in four paragraphs. Here's my dog!