Saturday, January 28, 2017

Year of the Cock

你好, 新年快乐!

Are there other people out there who wonder when they'll forget the lyrics to Ice, Ice, Baby? Besides Robert Van Winkle.

It's one of those songs where I'll never do it for karaoke, it never comes on randomly in people's cars or on the radio, it's just a dark stain of the hip-hop boom of 1990. When MC Hammer pants and Cross-Colors were the shiz, right before Ice Cube told us we could New Jack Swing from his nuts. But really, I think that Ice, Ice, Baby only exists as bad fever dreams in the minds of white kids that love '90s hip-hop, even if its video has 151 million+ plays. After all, the man himself symbolically wrecked the tape in the presence of Janeane Garofalo, Jon Stewart, Dennis Leary, and--for some reason--Chris Kattan. No offense, Chris. Just, let's be real. Your cultural relevance in 2007 was about as strong as Vanilla Ice's, and he released a Nu Metal album

Okay, mid blog-writing I ended up in a Wikipedia hole. Did you know that Vanilla Ice is a Juggalo and signed to Psychopathic Records? He's also invited to be a part of the Juggalo March on Washington come September. Miracles, yo. Water, fire, air and dirt.

Wouldn't it be hilarious if the Juggalos are the ones that truly end up healing America? But like, hilarious in the actual way where it would make you laugh so much it would drive you almost insane. It only could take a clown to make America smile again.
Aside from triggering people, I watched the animated Killing Joke last night. I'm going to be vague and assume you already know about Alan Moore's The Killing Joke in hopes that if you have no clue what I'm talking about, you'll want to experience it.

The film was great without all that pointless, winking, nodding, opening hour. Like, they even open the movie by going, "oh, bet you didn't expect it to open this way." *waggle eyebrows* *winkwinknudgenudge* *smackpunchkick* *dropanvil* DID YOU GET IT YET? THIS IS ALL NEW STUFF THAT HAS NO CONNECTION TO THE SOURCE MATERIAL! And then proceeds to have a completely separate and not even worked into the narrative hour of Batgirl/Batman erotic fan-fic. Like, it wasn't unwatchable, but it really had nothing better to do than oversexualize Barbra Gordon, and reframe the Joker's actions for a less ambiguity. Regardless of the weird overly sexual and violent criminal chase, Tara Strong is just as great as ever voicing Barbra, with emotion and that bit of cocksure swagger she has. She did amazing while working with unfortunate consequences of an ill planned stitch-job onto the beginning.

Which is really weird, because the second half, the actual comic portion of the film, was perfect. Oh sweet baby jane, it was like coming home again. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill's performances were amazing, much as they have been. But Hamill's Joker now carries a whisp of age, and palookanishness, borrowed from John DiMaggio's work in Under the Red Hood. Much like the DC Animated The Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke is lovingly recreated in fluid motion on the screen in an almost shot for shot translation from the recolored version. It captures the already cinematic essence of Brian Bolland's artwork, coupled with the framing of each shot. It was just as chilling and unnerving as the comic itself. The supplemental material unfortunately recontextualizes The Killing Joke into a definite statement, instead of an ambiguous one. It takes away the mystery by giving answers. Which is bullshit, because what makes the original piece so great is that, while it overtly shows one path to madness, we peak into plenty of other doors along the way. It leaves the notion of Batman as a tool of justice or a dispenser of vengeance hanging in the air, letting the reader take their own interpretation from it with what's in their hearts.

 If Bruce Timm and Brian Azzarello wanted to make that into a stand alone, I'd watch it. It was one of those things that was well done, but just kinda enforces a Running the Asylum type of feeling to Batman. At this point, the character has no true canon outside the characters and origins. Everything that happens in between is made up on the fly within a rough context of loose Batman tags. Dresses in black, rich kid whose parents were shot in Crime Alley and it made him want to fight crime, has an invincible butler named Alfred. You can fill in the logic in between depending on which comic Age you're in. But really, this was not the worst appearance of Batgirl/woman in cinematic history (thank's, Batman + Robin. Sorry, Alicia Silverstone) and anyone who says otherwise is trolling for internet points.
"It takes a real wildcard to come up with that."

I really don't know why I get so fired up about The Killing Joke. It's one of my favorite comics, and I've seen so many people pushing their team's agenda in arguments about it over the last few years. Internet comments sections are were dreams go to die.

So, aside from more Batman related actions, I'm reading back through To Slice The Sky now that it's complete. I'm really enjoying it. I know it's egotistical to praise your own work, but I just find it hard to believe that I wrote something so fun. To be fair, I pretty much wrote it to entertain myself. I'm halfway through reading, at chapter 19, and there's thankfully only one glaring plothole I wrote in at the end that I need to fix. Most of the stuff I want to fix is cosmetic to help with flow.

I've also been adding to my new story, tentatively titled Beta Test. Try saying that one aloud. No, really, go for it, I'll wait.

Done? Good job, gold star!

But, yeah, I know where I want to go with the story finally. Now, it's a matter of writing it. Though it feels like my memory has been slipping recently, even though no one around me seems to have noticed. I should probably get it down faster than I am.

I've also given myself a lot of extra work regarding releasing shorts and such. I'm looking into different Patreon strategies, granted that would require me to be consistent and think of realistic prizes. Now that I have access to better desktop publishing features, I'm spending this year trying to expand my brand and actually have people know who the hell I am and what I do.

All of this is guided by faithful readers like yourself, looking at the process before the product. I'm sure most of the clicks I get are from bots, but if there are for real people out there reading this, that I don't know personally, thank you. And for my friends that give me pity clicks, you're all winners in my book. No, really, you are. And no I won't pay you for likeness rights. I'm not even getting paid for your likeness.

So, after all that book and reading talk, here's what's going to earn all those hashtags when I share this post. When I was coming up with names for our heroes, I knew I was going to name a chapter this title. Part 3/4 of the thrilling climax of To Slice The Sky! On tonight's exciting episode: Tripping the Light Fantastic, Trip descends into the bowels of Roplaxive Pharmaceuticals Headquarters with naught but a bucket of tools and a trusty robot companion. Can he and Decker succeed in their plan of shutting down the Biodroid's hive mind? Continue on, dear reader, and find out!


"Won't you play with me...forever?"

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sad bastard music.

Look at me, leaving you hanging right at the end.

This week has been a struggle to get through, especially since it seems that everyone I come in contact with seems to find me distasteful just for being myself. Needless to say, it left me in a state where I very much didn't want to create content for something where all it contains is me. I'm sure everyone feels like they don't belong in the world, but I know not everyone takes it that hard.

So, yeah, I'm lonely, frustrated, and depressed. That's why I didn't post until Saturday after starting the year off OK and then some. I'll spare you from ranting about my first world problems of feeling unfulfilled in life while living in the largest major metropolitan county in the richest and most populated state in America, here's some good things that happened.

Soup inside
I made French Onion Soup for the first time, so that was cool. Granted, for my first time making it, I also didn't really make it, since I added in beef chunks and topped it with bacon. So good. It's definitely soup weather, since it's been raining non-stop. Not like California doesn't need it, but, I'm tired of being out in it.

I also made a Guinness beef pot pie, but I didn't take any pictures of it. It's a pie. Not much is photogenic about meat pie.

School's continuing to go well, now that the new semester has begun. My Short Stories class has been interesting so far. But, since it has over 60 students enrolled, it's not very engaging on a classwork level. I'm pretty much posting A level work to be ignored by goobs that get away with writing a paragraph generally with no depth or insight. And all the low hanging fruit pickers comment on those posts, lazy bastards. It's not like it's my grade that's going to suffer, but it's just another example of trying so hard, and getting so far, but in the end, it doesn't really matter.


Math has been insular, and mostly me just chugging through the daily work, trying to maintain as high a grade as possible. It's pretty much cheating, since I'm taking the lowest level of required Math, because of course my previous units didn't transfer. But being a basic college level math class, the other students attending it are pretty damn dumb. On the class forum, someone actually asked where the Roman numeral keys were on a keyboard. If you're also currently wondering that, there's no hope for you.

I'm already on week 3/8 for this session, and all I want is for it to be over. I want this year to be over to move on with the next one. Just hoping I can maintain my schedule of actually graduating by end of year.

My fiancée and I have officially begun wedding planning. My responsibility is looking for a DJ and catering, and all things entertainmentwise. So it's my job to make sure a party half in my honor is fun for everyone else who attends. What kind of twisted world do we live in where this has become an expected tradition? We haven't even gotten close to the nitty gritty of planning and already I'm longing for the days when marriage was little more than contract negotiations with a ceremony paid for by the father of the bride. I say nuts to this modern liberated woman business and saddle me up with 3 fatted calves and a parcel of land. If you've ever wondered why boorish and outdated modes of thought are still prevalent to this day, it's because the alternative takes too much work.

If you're confused how I can talk about being lonely when I'm also prepping to be married, let me quote OKGO's song, "The House Wins": You don't have to be alone to be lonely.

And in the best news, which will segue into our next part, I'm officially done with my draft of To Slice The Sky. Yay! 🎉🎊🎈

Now that I'm done with the novel for my second time, I'm currently giving it a read through and seeing what needs to be tightened up and fixed. The beginning needs a bit of work to catch up with the end, but it's all manageable. I was pretty surprised that it jumped in word count instead of shrinking with all the cutting I've done. There's entire chapters that were excised and changed, and whole swatches of useless first draft junk removed.

Today's chapter for TSTS picks up on Decker's side of the plan to deal with all of our problems with New America. While Trip is infiltrating Roplaxive's east coast servers, Decker is on the side of the country where the actual fighting of the clone rebellion is taking place. There, he's tasked with making sure that Gene Works Inc.'s rogue AI gets shut down before its infection spreads beyond the neuronet and into the real world. So here's part 2/4 of our climax. I posted it on New Years Eve on reddit to try and be all symbolic since the whole plan takes place on New Years Eve. However, because of that, or because this chapter sucks, or because the new title I gave it is dumb, it was wholly ignored. So... have fun!

Fat dog.
"I'm not fat. I'm just drawn that way."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Never stopping pill popping

Nobody likes a barking dog. I say that all the time to my dog, and yet he still barks. It's a good thing he's cute.
"Bark, bark."
It's a new week, and I've got a chapter to share, since all I'm doing otherwise is waiting for dinner to finish cooking while I'm watching Top Chef. How lucky for you.

Tomorrow starts my next semester in school, and I feel like I have to ramp myself back up into scholastic mode. I'm basically getting a math credit with the easiest class I possibly could, and taking a short story literature class. It would be more fun if it was a writing class, but apparently writing stories is only in workshop classes. So, I'm going to be spending more time reading for class than reading for enjoyment, which seems to be a thing that I only do on the bus or on my breaks at work anymore.

I'm about a third into Kim Stanley Robinson's second part of the Mars Trilogy, Green Mars, and it's been slow going. Those books are dense as hell, and an awful lot of reading scientific approximations of terraforming Mars, but they're fun and engaging adventures with a strong humanistic bend to it. I really should spend a day and just read, but there's so many other things to do and experience. And I easily get distracted by pretty pictures and petty arguments.

My week hasn't been very exciting. Finished Mass Effect 1 and am just past disc 1 on Mass Effect 2.

 I've also been playing DOOM 2016, and enjoying brutalizing the legions of hell with chainsaws and shotguns.

I've upgraded to videos over screen shots since for some reason my Xbox isn't cooperating with OneDrive on screens. At least I hope I have. We'll find out when this posts if the embedding works. I could just preview this entry, but I prefer the suspense, don't you? No? Well too bad!

I've also been back to playing Civ. I still haven't bought 6, since I don't feel like buying another game to lose myself in at the moment. I just got Final Fantasy XV, and while I'm beyond excited to finally play a new Final Fantasy title, I'm holding it off until I finish the last chapter in To Slice The Sky. Why am I replaying Mass Effect, stomping through DOOM, and pretending to be the British Empire if they started out in Alaska/West Canada (which is going rather poorly)? Because I like making excuses to stop myself from doing things I want to in the face of what I should do.

Also, I'm kinda scared to crack into XV, despite everywhere I've read saying it's a keen piece of work. I was mixed on FFXIII (the combat was great, but everything else sucked), and missed out on XIV: A Realm Reborn since I don't do MMORPG's anymore, so I'm anxious as well as guarded for diving back into the series. I haven't had any issues with the main entries into the series outside of XIII, and X-2 was... well, it was a game with a lot of ideas that were better utilized elsewhere, but those were enough to give me pause, but Square-Enix has been going out of their way to publish excellent games so I'm still quite excited to play XV. I don't imagine that it'll outmaneuver VI as my favorite in the series, but I'm looking forward to playing around with Chocobos and spamming Ultima.

But speaking of To Slice The Sky, today's post is part 1/4 for our final heist. Trip's solo adventure back in Ocean City to shut down Roplaxive-Pharrel's east coast servers. I don't have much to set this up with, and it was well received so far. Welcome to the beginning of the end.

Dog Pic 2: Electric Boogaloo
"We're going on an adventure!"

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Revolution Will Be Compromised

I joked about a new Monday time slot, but, hey, third time's the charm.

I've been spending my free time sleeping, watching Top Chef, or playing Mass Effect. I just finished up another chapter on New Years Eve, and have been taking the last couple days to chill on the writing front. We'll see if I spend my time wisely tomorrow.

I have plenty of chapter work left to give, and I plan on hitting out the last two chapters of the novel before the end of the month. So, here's a dip into more serious turf after all the breeziness of the last couple chapters. Not to say that this chapter doesn't have its lighter moments, but this is the first look of the actual rebel clones that have taken up the background of this story.

The fighting is much more prevalent on the west coast than in Ocean City, where it was more of an underground movement localized in a ghetto. But now we're in full blown fighting in the streets, hit and run guerrilla tactics and trying to capture how a movement sprung from whispers in the dark. This chapter is a pay off of chapter 3's news reports of clones setting themselves on fire in protest, and a little more light gets shed on the rebellion at large that our Clonetown group has been trekking across new America to join.

Today's chapter actually almost catches us up to where I am in the rewrite progress, which means that it's also quite close to the end. We've got 5 more chapters to go before this whole preview experiment comes to a close.

It's weird thinking about how long this novel's taken to even get to this point. This whole deal started as a blurb in my notebook back in 2010 after I had a dream. I was living in apartment 211 at the inspiration for Das Komplex and I woke up alone that morning. Trying to hold onto all that I could from the dream, I opened my notebook to the first blank spot I could find and jotted down the basic premise at the core of the story. Essentially a barista hacker saving his best friend from a super mega corp. Over the years more inspirations and pieces fell into place. The clone rebellion started as a conversation over breakfast about cloned actors reshooting classic films for holovision. That added the clone angle, which isn't really a cyberpunk trope, but it's in Neuromancer. The name+number convention that I use for Brawl17 was inspired by 3Jane. I felt the number before the name didn't flow as well as the number after.

But from that dream it turned into an outline, into a first draft, and now we're here. It took six years, and we're almost at the end. It could have taken much less time, but hey, it's about the journey, not the destination, right? Whatever, I've rambled enough. Here comes the chapter. DOG!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Trading Places

Not much to talk too much, just here to give you content.

Welcome to this foul year of our lord 2017. Now I'm glad I never said I was releasing my novel in 2016, but damn, I was supposed to have released something.

I got the best rejection letter back for my piece Suicide Queen. It was deemed more poem than short story, due to my delivery and the loose narrative. That's probably the best way I could have been let down, and the first time I've actually gotten feedback from a publication, so I think that means I'm advancing in my career.

No beating around the bush, let's get down to chaptering and science fiction fun! And I mean that. This chapter started out as sort of meandering and weighty and dark night of the soul. But this is a little closer to what I wanted it to be when I wrote it. Basically when we were editing the manuscript, I just wrote at the top of this chapter, "Complete rewrite". So all but a few lines are completely gone.

Happy new year, dog.