Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/30/13

One of the best parts of writing, I swear, is researching.  I've always been a student at heart so having a chance to keep learning new and interesting things just makes my day.  This week that included making contact with an old high school buddy to consult on Bastion.  I also swear that learning two different Marines talk about the exact same situation and both report totally different statements as to what "a real Marine would do" also is fascinating.

On Mind the Thorns:

Sorry to say guys, no update.  One should be going live this weekend to bring things up to speed.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

A new character makes her way on to the stage:  Angelica Winters, a 17 year-old gamer girl with a survivalist dad who has survived the clouds of death in their basement bunker.  It was a fun chapter to write and is also a nice place to join the story.

On Fictional Omens

I've been playing a lot of The Secret World so this week I took a few minutes to comment on it and some of the neat things you can get away with when you write a modern day MMO.

At home:

It seems that the Aria Richards debacle is now working its way out of the tech blogs and into the mainstream blogosphere.  It's fascinating to see how people are responding and the level of disconnect between what could have happened,what did happen and what was deemed appropriate.  I will probably write up something on this for Tuesday's post.

Oh.. and SPRING BREAK!!!!!!! Now I just need to use these days to catch up on MtT and get some buffer built up for Bastion.

And.... your weekly video:

I was having some fun with iMovie and put this trailer together.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Do a Modern MMO

Here's the funny thing about being wiped out with a stomach bug: you can play video games but you can't write. Or rather I can't write. Perhaps it's because I'm a fickle artist, but there are specific circumstances I need to really get the prose flowing. So, unable to write and unable to indulge myself in Tomb Raider because I had to share the space with the family, I decided to try out the MMO The Secret World.

And I am so very impressed.

I have I admit I'm a little nervous about the classless an level-less system it uses. I like the whole idea of just picking skills I want to use and not being forced to get stuff I don't really get into because its part of a given class. There is somehow nice about knowing that a given level should be ready for a given content but I'll get I to it.

What I really like is the way the rest if the game world works with our own.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/23/13

I don't know how I do it but once again I got bit with a nice bit of writing bug and I'm really looking forward to posting my next chapter of Bastion: The Last Hope.  Sadly I also got a return trip from the stomach lower GI bug going around our house and had a wonderful time with two sick adults last night.  Seriously, this 4 people in one house is nuts.  By the time one of us gets over something we've passed it on to someone else and it literally is just moving around and around.  So.  Not.  Fun.

On Mind the Thorns:

The vote is in and Thomas is going to be "one of the guys".  I fear that I may miss the Monday deadline so please don't give up hope on me, Dear Reader.  It will come but this chapter has so much dramatic potential (shout out of thanks to the crew at Webfiction Guide for helping me brainstorm through this) that it will be worth the wait, I assure you.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Before I even talk about the update I have to give props to Fiona over on Webfiction Guide for the very kind 4.5/5 star review that Bastion received.

I'm also really proud of this week's update.  It's from the documentary "I Survived" which is produced five years after the events of the story so far.  It features two awesome coworkers as historians commenting on the "end of days".  It's fun.  Check it out.

On Fictional Omens

Okay, I phoned it in by reposting a previous entry about being a Cover Band or Fan Fiction writer.  It's a post I originally wrote last spring but I think the sentiments endure.

At home:

I'm a little taken aback by the events of PyCon this weekend.  If you're not familiar with it, the short short form is that a woman was offended by some off color jokes and so she tweeted a picture of them with her complaint.  This set off a storm of events that ended with one of the two men, as well as the woman, losing their jobs.  It's been eating at me for a few days now as I think about what passes for "conflict resolution" these days.  Rather than bringing us together, it seems that technology has driven us further apart.

And.... your weekly video:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Repost: On Being a Cover Band

There's been a bit of a curfluffle as there often is over on Good Reads, this time about 50 Shades of Grey. For those of you who don't follow literary circles (using the term loosely), the 50 Shades series is a trilogy of novels that follow a dominant man as he seduces an innocent, loving, young woman. The works are getting a great deal of attention in part due to the history of the work (it began as Twilight fan fiction) and because it's become the new guilty pleasure: A saucy kinky steamy romance complete with handcuffs and blindfolds.

And while a great deal can be said about the transitory nature of the book and how they've brought a good number of people out of their shells, or rather lead them to think thoughts that they thought only "those people" would think, I'd like to focus on the first of those two, the origin story of the novels.

But first, let's talk about Cover Bands and Harry Potter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Omens 3-15-13

St. Patrick's Day looms close, and again I find myself without any engagements for it.  I miss playing the pub scene and letting people here real Irish music rather than another re-tread of Danny Boy or The Unicorn song.

On Mind the Thorns:

This week's chapter ends with a tough spot for Regan.  Stacy has agreed to build an entourage of men for Regan to have around her at the grand Vampire Ball by rounding up Regan's lovers over the last few months.  At the same time Thomas has asked Regan to be his escort for the evening.  Currently leading the polls is for Regan to ask Thomas to join in with all the other men she's slept with and be part of the party.

Dear Reader, I've got to tell you, that is not something I'm confident Thomas will sign on for.  Just, ya know, sayin'.  But, it is Reader Directed so we know Regan will make the offer to him, provide the current trend continues.  If it does, I have to admit, I'm rather looking forward to writing that chapter as I already have some wicked fun twists planned.

Related, Mind the Thorns remains in the top 600 of all Vampire stories on Wattpad, and is consistently a front page story in the Romance subsection of Vampire on that site.  If you're a Wattpad reader, feel free to leave comments there as well as on the main page.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Continuing to cycle through the open story threads, we return to Dr. Spenser at Georgia State and we find out what has happened to his sister during the Biohazard Security event.  It's a fun challenge to keep all of these threads running seperately, while at the same time creating individual voices for each character.

I've also gotten some additional traffic through the Web Fiction Guide, so if you're a user there, feel free to drop a comment, review or rating.

On Fictional Omens

So this week I reposted a pair of blog posts I did about Merida, the heroine of Brave.  For the most part it was a discussion about the discussion of Merida's sexuality, specifically that I was shocked there ~was~ a discussion in the first place.  Then I was outraged.  It was brilliant blogging, folks, and you need to read it.

I also posted a link to another blogger who recounted an event she had with a caveman on the bus to work.  Seriously.  Caveman.  Also worth the read.

I started and stopped several blog posts about the contact that the new Randomhouse E-Book Only imprint Hydra was offering but it seems that most of that story has come and gone on its own.  If you're curious read up here.  I may weigh in on the larger picture next week.  Mostly I feel like it's odd that most of the conversation about what's right for small and budding authors is coming from established authors who don't seem to have as much skin in the proverbial game because they already have loyal followings of fans to support them and their craft.

At home:

The stomach bug that hit Kaylee moved on to Xander and now has done a full round robin of the house.  It made for a horrible Thursday but otherwise things are clipping along.

Speaking of.  Smash.  Watch it.  I'm serious.  Best show on TV.  It's like Glee for Grownups.  It also reminds me of the fact that we may be cutting the cord soon but we're both nervous about losing our favorite shows during that sweet spot that most people are watching them.  Of course we ALSO have all of this season's Once Upon a Time on the DVR waiting for us.

And.... your weekly video(s):

It's St. Patrick's Day Weekend.  You think you get away with just one?

Ireland Boys Hurrah


The Irish Rover

There were Roses

You and I in the One Bed Lie

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cross Post: What not to say on the subway/ bus.

This little gem came from a blog I follow and I really just have to share it here.  "Stories about my Underpants" is a light comedy blog where a woman recounts all the kinds of wackiness she encounters day to day.  She's got a gift for story telling and I can very much relate to her style of Stream-of-Conscious speaking.  But today's post got my dander up, not because of what she said, but because of the guy she encountered:

Today’s guest appearance by said guy all started with his observations of various individuals boarding the train.
Upon noticing that someone was wearing rain boots and carrying an umbrealla :
“Woah, someone didn’t get the sunshine memo.” 
Upon noticing that there was an attractive woman on the train (shockingly, not me):
“He-l-oooo…..” and then creepily looking too long at the poor woman.
Upon reading the various news items that flashed across the tv screen on the train:
“They’re letting some woman run Facebook? Now I’ve seen everything.”
And that’s when I made the mistake of chiming in.

You need to read the rest of the story By Clicking Here.

 BTW:  Yeah, I did find the whole "Go all Detroit" a little tacky but I'm willing to forgive it in context.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Repost: Does Merida being Gay Matter?

This post is a repost of my thoughts after the release of Brave last summer.  They struck enough of a chord that I am reposting this, along with my follow up, to go with the release of the movie on DVD.  Which I cannot watch as my BRDVD needs a firmware upgrade. Grr.

Some disclaimers:  First I'm going to spoil the end of the movie, just a little bit, but no more than I've been spoiled myself in reading reviews and commentary on the sexual preferences of Disney/Pixar's latest heroine. I also have to confess I've not seen the movie first hand.  My wife and son have (they both loved it) and I've read a pretty good number of reviews, and honestly what I have to say about this issue has very little to do with the movie's over all plot.

Which gets us to the question at hand:  Is Merida, Heroine of Brave, a lesbian?  And if she is, does that matter?

Frankly I think that's one of the dumbest questions raised about this movie.  It ignores what actually does matter:

That people are asking the question in the first place.

Bastion Poll: Who would you like to see?

Over on Bastion I posted the poll below.  I'm reposting it here.

Which minor character from Bastion: The Last Hope would you like to featured in their own chapter?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/8/13

So the blizzard that slammed Montana, Minnesota and Wisconsin decided to turn hard south and skip Michigan.  Thanks.  It's been a fun week of work, sorta writing (curse you ME3!) and the like.  Even so, I did manage to get a lot of stuff done, I think, and I only have a small pile of stuff to work through this weekend.

On Mind the Thorns:

The polls closed and Regan has opted to head out in her vampire finest to the party.  She's going to strut through the doors like a woman to be respected, rather than slipping in the back to quietly watch.  I'm also very happy that I slowed down my posting schedule because this week has been a very active week for musing and I feel like a lot of good things have fallen into place over that time.  Now will I manage to get the next chapter written for Sunday?

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week's update to Bastion is the first real flashback to before the meteors fell.  I'm planning more of these to help flesh out the back stories of the main characters.  I really went back and forth on including the subtitles because I do think there's something fun about having a hidden story in the French, but I'm not sure I'm ready to hand over an entire video to that.

On Fictional Omens

Marketing.  It's all about the Marketing.  Over on Stop the Good Reads Bullies as well as countless other Meta-review sites there always seems to be some kind of drama brewing about who's out to get who and threatening who.  After reading ChibiNeko's comments on the never ending font of drama, and efforts from the StGRB to get more of "their side" out, I decided I would weigh in a bit on why reviews matter so much to people trying to make it happen.

At home:

In gaming I'm still plunking away at ME3 but I'm annoyed at my own lack of abilities as well as how far behind the equipment curve I am.  Because the more times you play the more chances you get to unlock cool weapons (all randomly), I'm very far behind on the equipment curve for Multiplayer.  Plus what you get is random so there's no "I'm working towards X".  You just roll the dice and see what you get.  If you don't usually use a shot gun, or a sniper rifle you can easily find yourself progress.

Kaylee's sleeping through the night again (yay!) and her lower GI stuff seems to be sorting itself out (you know you're a parent if you've ever thought "Yay, Poop!").  And Xander, the 5 year old, is now sleeping on the top bunk.  He likes it.

And.... your weekly video:

I've been playing around with iMovie as part of my work on Bastion.  It is functional for the layman but for any real Power-Editing it totally doesn't have the tools to do much beyond lining up clips for play back.  Either way here's a montage of last week sledding:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Goodreads, STGRB, and Marketing

How is that so much drama can revolve around a single website such as Goodreads and from it mature adults who should know far better than they appear to can think it appropriate to so such horrible things to each other?

Review bullying, arguing, websites like Stop the Goodreads Bullies, and with it personal attacks, threats to reveal personal information online, accusations of illegal behaviors and inappropriate relationships: the list goes on and on and on.

It has reached levels that go beyond just words and is well in the realm of harassment and endangerment if you take them all at complete face value.  These are things if done in person would lead, quite likely, to blows or worse, yet they seem to come hard and fast on the internet.

And the obvious reason is: Why?

One word:  Marketing.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/1/13

You'd think I'd have done more work this week (I say that a lot) as I was home sick on Monday and we had a snow day on Wednesday.  Wednesday was pretty cool, spending the day playing with the kids, sending Xander off to go sledding with Mom (his preferred sledding parent), and continuing to recover from the flu that knocked me out Monday.

On Mind the Thorns:

The new chapter is up and Regan is trapped in a well.  The votes are still open about what she should do once she escapes and if you haven't voted you should hop over there and do so.  Also, no Collies were involved in the writing of this episode.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Finally we are looping back to revisit characters we had introduced earlier in the story.  That's right, folks, no new characters this week!  That is unless you count the passengers on the 717 that our Marines have joined up with.  Curses.....

On Fictional Omens

I've been playing a lot of ME 3 and took a few minutes to muse on the nature of romance in story telling within video games.  I've often defended video games as a story telling medium, and so I thought I'd look closer at the way these stories unfold when not in the middle of playing them.

At home:

Last night I finished the Geth/ Quarian story arc.  I felt very guilty because at the end of the arc there is really only one choice:  Save one race and sacrifice the other.  There is no "make them live in peace" option.  It was glorious, emotional and a little "wow".

And.... your weekly video:

It's March so it's time to break out all the cool Irish music and we begin with the best one no one knows about:  A Biologists view of Beer: