Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Franchise of Time

Three hour drive out to San Luis Obispo. Apologies for the lateness of the post.

Beat Skyward Sword this afternoon. As a longtime Legend of Zelda fan, I must admit that, while I enjoyed playing the game immensely, it fell comparatively low on my list of favorites among the five modern Zelda games (those being Ocarina, Majora, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward.)

My personal order goes as follows:
1. Wind Waker
2. Majora's Mask
3. Twilight Princess
4. Skyward Sword
5. Ocarina of Time

Innovative worldbuilding and non-linear or non-standard storytelling are very important to me, so obviously the more divergent iterations of the series would be my favorites. Twilight Princess has an elaborate and involved plot, with anti-heroes and complicated villains and almost three-dimensional supporting characters, which rewarded me greatly, as well as some guilty-pleasure mechanics (swordplay from horseback.) Ocarina, largely considered the opus, I respect immensely, but find more personal enjoyment in the progression of the series than in its classics, necessarily.

Skyward Sword, barring it's occasionally exhilarating and occasionally infuriating Wiimote controls, I found to be sorta lacking in story elements. I suppose I'd unfairly anticipated a true prequel to Ocarina, where much story time would be devoted to setting certain arcs and characters into motion, but instead, I felt as though the game was set in a strange window of time between eventual occurrences in the mythos. Too late to see the Triforce formed, too early to see the Deku Tree planted, if you catch my drift.

It's unfortunate how closely Nintendo guards their star franchise - the idea of a perpetually re-incarnating story has enormous narrative potential. They're unlikely to really shake the branches too much and risk financial loss with an unpopular or experimental version of the tale, so I'm not holding my breath, but still. I'd love to take a crack at a Zelda story but, outside the bonds of fanfic, I doubt that'd bear much fruit. Alas.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Comment Confusion*

Evidently, there have been some issues with commenting on my posts? I haven't noticed anything, since my blog don't exactly runneth over with comments, but I thought I'd run a little test.

What's your favorite episode of Firefly? Comment below!

I've fully prepared myself for the possibility no one will even bother but, if even a few of you 16.9 readers comment, I'll consider the experiment a success.

*Again with the DKC titles. I'm on a roll.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Casting News

Well, we have a Moira.

After a three-hour lunch at Jerry's Deli on Ventura (good food, steep prices), we've officially cast Joanna Canton as Moira Quicksilver in the Hull Damage book trailer, hopefully releasing sometime this April.

She's excited, we're excited, it's gonna be a good time. Plus, she's evidently tons of experience with actual firearms, which'll sufficiently embarrass me when I hand her our re-painted squirt guns.

Someday soon, there'll be another desert expedition. With more photos.

(Oh, there's also this. Case you're interested.)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Grey

In further celebration of Dan Glaser's birthday, we woke up at the sterling early hour of 11:30 am to attend a screening of Joe Carnahan's The Grey, made famous by the supposition that within, Liam Neeson boxes wolves.

I'll spoil your sport right now. He doesn't.

Yes, this is a film where wolves attack people and yes, I knew this going in, but Carnahan's other work has impressed me before and add Neeson to equation and I'm officially curious. I intended to bite my lip about the zoological inaccuracies and moons did I.

All in all, it's a good film. It's not a terrible film and it's not a great film. Like Tintin and Young Adult, I'm loathe to admit that the script itself is the weak link. It's Neeson's best performance to date (that I've seen), Carnahan's direction is solid and most of the supporting cast give convincing portrayals but, as I complain about everything these days, the structure really left something to be desired. An uninteresting prologue to establish the main character, an uneven juggling of wolves and the elements as joint antagonists and "survival story" trope characters.

That being said, the animal nut in me was continually cringing from the mishandling of the wolves. Rather than using the pack as an appropriate analogy for the group of stranded men, they're simply pseudo-supernatural monsters, attacking in pairs or alone and rarely behaving or acting like the animals they're meant to be. I won't rant overmuch, but what really stuck in my craw about the script was it's tendency to dispense wolf facts left and right and blatantly ignore how inaccurate their entire premise appeared to be. A simple handwave about "being close to the den" and suddenly the wolves are malicious killers, rather than territorial animals or opportunistic scavengers.

I think maybe a mean old Kodiak would have served their purposes better.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tagline Trouble*

I need a tagline for Hull Damage.

It was originally "Welcome to space. Here's your gun." The sentiment I like, it's simply too long.

What I've discovered is that I have basically three concepts to express to someone browsing for books; one, that it's science fiction. Two, it's about pirates and three, the snarky, somewhat tongue-in-cheek tone. All of that's somewhat difficult to compress into like, four syllables. At maximum.

I wouldn't normally use a tagline for a book, but with the sorta DUI marketing I'm gonna need to pull off, it's more or less essential. Promotional material kinda requires one.

I toyed with simple pirate phrases like "Yo Ho Ho" and "Yarr" and "Avast" but they sorta neglect the whole, you know, space aspect.

What's further unfortunate about this sorta creative block is that it's entirely idea-based. There's no way to solve the problem except having an epihany. All you can do is either ignore until inspiration strikes or bang your head relentlessly against it until something, probably your skull, gives. And I've never been the patient type.

So, if any of you 17.18 readers have any especially brilliant suggestions for the snappy tagline to an uncompromising spacepunk crime caper ebook, feel free to comment.

*Which would totally be the title of this post were it a level in Donkey Kong Country.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

In lieu of frighteningly vivid lazer tagg, both because it costs $15 a fucking person and because something like this would probably happen, Dan Glaser, Steven Molony and I attended a moving picture film at our local cinema out here in historic Rancho Cucamonga. We attended a 3D showing of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (mostly for The Hobbit trailer) and overall, enjoyed ourselves. More detailed thoughts on the script follow.

While I found the movie to be rollicking, swashbuckling adventure of a high caliber, I'm loathe to admit it had almost nothing to do with the script itself. The action scenes were creative, elaborate and pleasingly pulpy but, even with big-hitters Moffat, Wright and Cornish, I can't shake the feeling that's more to do with Spielberg and Jackson than any officially credited screenwriter. I'd be the first to admit that, in the case of most pictures, the action of the story is as much a part of a screenplay as the dialogue itself, but with two auteurs of that caliber behind the wheel, I feel like Tintin could be the exception.

I found the characterization somewhat lacking, the pacing too breakneck and the dialogue frankly unimpressive; how much of that is an attempt to capture the creator's original work, I don't know, but the film is definitely more engaging on a technical and performance level. (Which, by the way, are insane. Certainly it cost, what, 135 million to achieve, but the mo cap is truly something to see.) A beautiful, remarkable and extremely well-made film, if perhaps somewhat uneven. Definitely worth the watch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Rule of B

1. Whenever one creates a shabby copy, a joke facilime or an obvious parody of an established noun for the purposes of comedy, the first letter should be replaced with the letter "B" for maximum effect (up to a 73% increase over other consonants.)

  • The trope namer originates from an unimaginative PC in a years-old D&D game who, at the suggestion of the death of his dragonborn Rhogar, proposed his identical twin brother Brhogar.
  • The rule was first officially put into practice when my first Wookiee bruiser, Maroolchen, was thoughtfully splattered by a thermal detonator. When the game returned from hiatus, I found myself, in a deliberate lampshade, playing Baroolchen, his older brother. (Incidentally, Barool would end up becoming a much more pivotal and fleshed out character than his brother ever had been.)
  • Whenever referencing a hypothetical, compromise-laden version of our upcoming feature film, in which several main characters are portrayed by trained golden retrievers and all the bullets are replaced with vampires, we lovingly apply the term Bafety.
If you'd like more inside jokes explained for your convenience, please press 1.

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Data, Data, Data

    There's something uniquely fascinating about seeing people's unoccupied hotel rooms*. I felt like Sherlock, attempting to dissect details to paint a mental picture of the tenant from candy wrappers and tennis shoes. So far, I discerned a gun enthusiast with a sweet tooth (magazines and wrappers), an Asian mother and her young child (a toy car and food labeled with Asian characters) and a cyclist (shorts and bike). While the pay is less and the hours are longer, I enjoy the exercise of absentee-people watching.

    On top of which, whizzing through a high class hotel, hastily installing new televisions with programming from discreet black flash drives feels more like a heist than anything else I've ever done in my life.

    *We're installing televisions in a Hilton Inn in Rancho Cucamonga. So, I'm not like, breaking into hotel rooms to snoop. This time.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Your Weekly Report

    Today: I bested this motherfucker WITHOUT HELP FROM GUIDE NOR WALKTHROUGH.

    Tomorrow: Installing televisions. For money. I'm a TV mercenary.

    Friday: Dan's birthday party. Thoughts disintegrate. Lasers pierce the blackness. You feel it. You BECOME the game.

    And maybe a little writing as well. Expect an update on Cutthroat Ragtime soon, my 18.0006 lovely legionaries.

    Saturday, January 21, 2012

    It Smells Nice Too

    Deep characterization. Fully orchestrated score. A boss battle so intense I had to literally stand on my own fucking legs for it.

    No time to blog. GOTTA FIND KUKIEL.

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Aquafile (And Not The Gross Kind)

    I have a strange affinity for water.

    Liquids of any kind, really. My mother used the term "water babies" to describe myself and my sister and, as juvenile as that might be, I can't necessarily disagree. Drinking always brought me comfort and swimming is my only accepted form of exercise.

    There's something about the way it floods you, either in beverage or bathing; that it blankets all your pores and contours and the topsy-turvy of the physics involved that endlessly fascinates me.

    When stressed in high school, I took an absurd amount of relief out of twin cartons of chocolate milk at lunch. I'm extremely fortunate that the apartment complex I squat in comes equipped with a pool and a jacuzzi* to allow me a brief watery haven.

    What's paradoxically frustrating about this is that water levels, in video games, are almost always universally my least favorite. Probably because I've never really experienced virtual swimming that effectively captures my rapture about it.

    This has been pretentious ruminations acquired while tubbing.*

    *I find the term "hot tub" to have sorta icky implications. I feel like pasta. That being said, "jacuzzi" seems equally gross. I feel like "jacuzzi" and "gigolo" belong in the same category. I think I need a mustache to properly use those words.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012


    I understand this probably isn't as shared a memory as I imagine, but there's something about this music that invariably reminds me of apple sauce, the television in my parents' bedroom and kicking my light-up Darth Vader sneakers off after another day in the salt mines of 3rd grade.

    Enjoy. Let the soothing rhythm of jungle drums wash over you.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    In Defense of George Lucas and Thermal Exhaust Ports

    Reading this article inspired a special pang of sympathy for me. Say what you will about him, but he made Chewbacca, so he deserves my respect.

    On that note, there's, over the years, been a heap of criticism about one plot device in the original Star Wars; that being the Death Star's fateful thermal exhaust port. If you're among the tiny percentage of my readers who hasn't actually seen the original film, perhaps this is a good post to skip.

    The most common parody or spoof of the exhaust port in popular fiction is as a convenient "destroy button" the canny Rebels can exploit on the inefficient, arrogant Empire's gigantic war machine. That silly Emperor, too avaricious to rivet down that gaping hole in the side of his space station!

    What most of its critics don't realize is that the exhaust port represents perhaps the one piece of verisimilitude in a space opera full of hand-waving and plot excuses. Hyperdrive, lightsabers, the spaceships-as-airplanes motif, all of this is obviously far more fiction than science, but the idea that a space station the size of a goddamn moon would need to, you know, vent exhaust, is perfectly sound.

    It's not a design flaw, in all actuality. The Death Star, the size of a fucking moon, should, in theory, be riddled with exhaust ports, to service its billions of moving parts, not least of all the gargantuan superweapon that's powerful enough to destroy Alde-fucking-raan, and it's totally logical they might have a few issues with overheating. You shouldn't be able to stand on the surface of the Death Star and piss without it going down an exhaust port.

    The thing is two meters across, nondescript, positioned at the ass end of a dramatically long trench that bristles with turbolaser emplacements and is even ray fucking shielded, for Chrissakes, rendering it immune to blaster fire. Literally the only way to penetrate these defenses are via the method the Rebel Alliance used; piloting a snubfighter past hundreds of enemy fighters and thousands of gun turrets, before launching a proton torpedo directly into the single semi-vulnerable exposure.

    For scale, that would be like attempting to shoot an unguided cruise missile into the tailpipe of a moving SVU. From fucking space or underwater or some shit.

    In short, leave Lucas alone. He made the things I love and he tries hard.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Hard Hat Mofuckas

    For the prodigious rate of $22 an hour, I've been whoring myself out as an amateur, unlicensed electrician to an "under construction" Hampton Inn in Pismo Beach, California.

    (right to left: Timothy J. Meyer, Steven Molony, Dan Glaser, Mark Glaser)

    We called it Operation: Firecode. 'cause now we know about stuff like coaxial cable and fire codes and shit. I've subsequently decided to abandon my derelict screenwriting career and hang up my shingle as a hammer-swingin' construction jockey.

    Please refer to my new business card.

    The upshot being, real life monies! Headed my way soon!

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    Robot Shoutout

    I'd like to give a holler out to all my boys from www.googlecorrection.com, www.justforlaughsgags.tv and www.777seo.com for the unprecedented 118 hits that were definitely not from automated bots the previous night.

    Automatons in da house. Represent.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Vasquez as No'tiukki

    Here's where I went today.

    Here's what I did today.

    Intending on shooting a little teaser trailer this January for the book's launch in June. Me and the villains tromped out into a certain California State Park Trekkies ought to recognize and snapped the hasty, last minute screen test you see above.

    Spaceships are cool.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    The Thugging Poor

    DISCLAIMER:I have an unhealthy, Hugo Strange-esque obsession with Batman. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of someone hyper-analyzing the psychology of minor, unnamed comic book characters, you might wanna give this one a pass. Fair warning and all that.

    I can't imagine working class crime is much of a growth industry in Gotham. As if the presence of Batman wasn't enough, there's rival gangs, frequent cataclysms and, of course, murderous, psychopathic supervillains as one's primary source of employment. Despite all this, however, the market seems to be flooded with thousands upon thousands of repeat offenders, cheap thuggery with little or no hope of progressing up the chain of command or even making a decent living who continually return to the same rackets and the same syndicates time and time again.

    The Batman offers broken bones, compound fractures and inevitable detainment, once again, to Blackgate Penitentiary. Barring, say, The Riddler or some of the less brutal mobs, practically every crime boss, from the Roman to the Penguin to the Joker, all boast disgustingly high turn-over rates for their gorillas and bodyguards. Assuming the normal forces of law, order and due process don't put an end to your career, there's still the infinitely wealthy and seemingly omniscient masked vigilante with mastery of every known martial art and a bottomless bag of hyper-advanced weapons to contend with, not to mention the escaped homicidal psychopath who's equally, if not more likely, to kill you as write your checks.

    Still. I bet Gotham City goons don't eat Ramen for every meal.

    (Edit: Weird formatting issues. Apologies.)

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    The Vestmental Realization Of One's Imaginative Characterization For Under Twenty Dollars

    Tattered leather duster? $7.99
    Grocery store squirt gun? $6.99
    Threadbare brown slacks? $1.99

    Space pirate costume? Blooming priceless.

    (Steven's being elusive – maybe there'll be pictures later.)

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012


    I think cities can only be really appreciated from above. Especially after dark.

    Flying into Los Angeles past eleven the previous night, something about its scope struck a chord somewhere in me. During the day, the sun illuminates every corner and crevice and the unbridled baldness of every visual assaults you; it's too much for your system to handle. At night, however, only the light, the electricity, is visible.

    Illimitable tiny pinpricks, perforating a pitch black field, only suggest, rather than outright show, the sheer depth and spread of the city. Each light is a tiny testament to human industry; for all the thousand, thousand street lights, headlights and porchlights, there were people responsible, people who designed, constructed and sweat to make each possible and, from thirty thousand feet, they are infinite.

    I couldn't help imagine the sensation over Hong Kong or New York or Tokyo.

    Makes me feel lazy. Makes me want to stamp the world.

    Beyond that, returning to the city invigorates me. I feel like Jerusalem, smelling, tasting, absorbing the squalor, the stink, the clamor. After a month in the quiet, being tossed back into the frenzy, the limitless faces and places, stimulates me to no end. May I never live too far from the honking, sweating pandemonium.

    Also I bought a squirt gun for six dollars.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Lighting Out

    I know, I know.

    It's supposed to be an excerpt day, but I'm still between projects. Maybe we can talk Ragtime on Thursday.

    After an insufferably long holiday, I'm finally heading back west. I'd never intended to stay back here in Minnesota for a full month, but I unfortunately had very little say in the matter. I'm eager to return to business as usual.

    I swear to moons, if one more person says "Now that's a movie!" within earshot of me, I'll bisect out their organs, in reverse order of usefulness.

    When next you hear from me, I'll be returned to Hollywood.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Beneath the Hull

    1. $80
    2. “How tremendously ambitious of you."
    3. Always. Peanut Butter Crunch especially.
    People occasionally ask me what my novel's about and I never had an appropriate answer for them.
    • A rambly explanation about the podcast and its origins, followed by buckets of apology and self-depreciation about science fiction, has, thus far, only garnered me the glossing over of the eyes and the murmured “uh hmm”s that're all the rage when talking to your broke-ass unemployed nephew these days.
    • “Space pirates,” is my most recent answer, which tends to earn me the slow, uncomprehending nod.
    This Monday, I thought I might nip this particular problem right in the bud and finally explain to all 18.25 of you just what in the fuck I'm even talking about.

    The Premise: Space pirates. No, seriously. Pirates only in space.

    Hull Damage, and the podcast it sprang from, details the dastardly exploits of a crew of interstellar pirates as they raid, pillage and ransack the galaxy for all its booty. Blending the genres of contemporary crime fiction, old school swashbuckling adventure and classic “used future” sci-fi motifs, The Endless Night explores the rough-and-tumble side of traditional sf, places where the Entreprise never visited and the Falcon only peeked. I like to explain it to people as being about “those creepy assholes in the Mos Eisley cantina.”

    The official logline is (clears throat): “HULL DAMAGE is a spacepunk crime caper about a daredevil pirate captain and his crew of interstellar buccaneers who find themselves caught in the middle of bidding war between three of the galaxy's most powerful crime lords.” The first installment in what I plan as a trilogy, Hull Damage is a prequel to the original podcast series and illustrates the piratical hayday of the main characters, before time and the law finally start to catch up with them. Hull Damage introduces us to The Unconstant Lover and her buccaneer crew, a myriad cast of colorful characters whose interaction forms the backbone of the story.

    The Cast: Speaking of.

    One of the main motifs, not just in this series but in all my writing, is to examine heroes with non-existent or at least questionable morals. Criminals are the natural choice, but these are no cuddly smugglers or well-meaning rogues. The population of the Endless Night galaxy are, by and large, remorseless murderers and hardened criminals. Part of the enjoyment I derive out of the series, in my opinion, has been humanizing them, undercutting their ruthlessness with domestic issues and situations, like running errands, masturbation or leftovers.

    Without further ado, then:
    • Captain Nemo: The main character of the series (though I don't technically consider him the protagonist) Nehel Morel is the captain of The Unconstant Lover, his abused and beloved spaceship. Brash, reckless and gleefully maniacal, Nemo is an incorrigible daredevil and thrillseeker, whose continued attempts to bite off more than he can chew consistently get his crew into trouble. Luckily for them, and him, Nemo is always a preternaturally gifted pilot and blessed with uncanny good fortune, Nemo always manages to scrape his ship and its crew through the very worst jams, often only by the skin of his teeth. Mercurial, irresponsible and possessed by a wild imagination for mischief, Nemo is the crew's X factor, unpredictable as a hurricane and equally as destructive.
    • Moira Quicksilver: The Lover's first mate, Moira Quicksilver is the novel's de facto protagonist and Nemo's antithesis. Whereas her Captain is all heedless improvisation, Moira is all calculated calm. An expert markswoman, a rigorous martial arts practitioner and a former bounty hunter, Moira Quicksilver doesn't rely on luck or chance, rather on tireless self-conditioning and heightened situational awareness. Moira's evident disdain for her Captain's comparatively slipshod methods dictates much of their complicated fire/ice relationship. Dour, disparaging and cynical, Moira is the crew's VIP member, the lancer or troubleshooter who's more than a force to be reckoned with.
    • Odisseus: A hulking otterlike alien called an Ortok (see below), Odisseus is another of the novel's viewpoint characters and the Lover's mechanic. The best of the best when it comes to starship repair, Odisseus has a very close relationship not only with their rickety, malfunctioning freighter, but also with her Captain. Odisseus is Nemo's saltbrother, an unspoken bond formed in both of their youths. While Nemo's recklessness is counterpointed by Moira's cold derision, it's further counterpointed by Odisseus' almost maternal regard for his spaceship and his saltbrother. Unflinching, long-suffering and cantankerous, Odisseus is the crew's heart, its moral center, the glue that literally holds the ship together.
    • Two-Bit Switch: A carpsharp, pickpocket, professional jailbreaker and comprehensive jack-of-all-trades, Two-Bit Switch, the final viewpoint character, was originally brought on board to help spring a member of the crew from prison and has stuck around ever since. With a litany of underworld contacts and obscure skills, Two-Bit makes himself useful as a monkey wrench and occasional point man, something that develops more in the sequel. For the duration of Hull Damage, Two-Bit serves as the ship's quartermaster, wrangling all the hired muscle and keeping them in line. Opportunistic, conniving and juvenile, Two-Bit is the crew's chameleon, able to adapt and handle any problem or thorny situation with a smile.

    The Setting: The Endless Night takes place in a fictional galaxy, complete with faster-than-light travel, interstellar spacecraft and various different sentient alien species, all blended into one intergalactic culture. At the moment, the monolithic sector-spanning government, The Endless Imperium, is slowly crumbling, succumbing to internal and external threats from all sides, much like the ancient Roman Empire.

    Hull Damage and its subsequent novels are set beyond the reaches of the civilized galaxy, in the lawless, untamed region known simply as “Bad Space.” Here, there is no central authority and planets are often let to fend for themselves. Crime, especially interstellar crime, runs rampant, with smugglers, pirates and other malcontents unchecked or unchallenged by the forces of law or good government. Here, warlords and crime lords hold sway and, against this backdrop of violence and crime, the books are set.

    The Plot: This first installment in the series is centered around introductions; the setting, the characters, the conflicts. With their careers as successful pirates only just beginning, the crew of The Unconstant Lover find themselves on the shortlist for one of the galaxy's most prestigious crime lords, the mysterious Huong Xo, a fact their old employer nor Xo's main rival take terribly well. Hull Damage chronicles the pirates' attempts to navigate the perils, pitfalls and politics of the galaxy's underworld, attempting to stay one step ahead of the law, bounty hunters and the next gangland chopping block.* Between the barfights, gunfights and dogfights, there are chase scenes, blockade runs and crashing spaceships, broken up by the occasional hematophagus monster, ace bounty hunter/reality holovision star and sport played with a semi-sentient alien gallbladder.

    Sound cool? I hope so. June 2012 is the tentative publication date for Hull Damage. If it sounds like something you or a friend, family member or enemy might enjoy, check it out or tell them to check it out!

    Any questions? Feel free to ask. Anybody interested in reading a sample chapter? I could probably arrange that.

    *The Chopping Block is also a great pirate ship name. (writes down)

    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Burning Questions

    1. How much would you expect a new power adapter for a MacBook Pro to cost? $40? $60?
    2. Are you watching Sherlock? Go watch Sherlock.
    3. Breakfast cereal is almost always better when eaten dry. Discuss.

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Idle Hands

    Chapter: 3
    Page Count: 33
    Word Count: 19,739

    "As though in the revelation of a poisonous agwaifapede in their midst, the huddle of reporters literally draw back away from the speaker, unveiling an incompatible-looking Helker with more piercings than clothing."

    As I said yesterday, I finished the first three chapters of Galactic Menace and will subsequently be stashing them for the time being. I think I need a teensy break from interstellar piracy.

    I tend to go a little squirrely when idle. Since I pile projects to the ceiling, being between work often drives me a little loco. I'm attempting to assuage this by finding a new book to read. I'm halfway through the sample of Cherie Priest's Boneshaker which, despite a somewhat dull opening, may yet entice me.

    On a more pedestrian note, I met my old companion Madison Rubenstein today. We shared Chinese. It was splendiferous. Check out her blog maybe why don't you? (See, she's Jewish. Like Zoidberg. So.)

    Unrelatedly, The Idle Hands would be a great space pirate ship name. (writes down)

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    A Thoroughly Shameless Shilling

    (Brief preface: as of today, I have completed the first three chapters of Galactic Meance! I'll currently be taking a brief break to proof my friend's screenplay and will then tuck in to my 70,000 word fantasy novel Cutthroat Ragtime. Expect related updates soon.)

    For those of you who weren't aware, I was, several months ago, involved in a web series that, if you haven't heard about, you probably should take a few hours and go investigate. Particularly if you're a Batman fan. (See if you can find me!) Back? Excellent. Did you find me? No? Well, go look again.

    I'm good friends with the show's creators, as well as several principle actors, and I'd be remiss if I didn't inform you of a little fundraising drive they're getting up to at present. I don't know about you, but I'd very much like to see a Season 2, wouldn't you?

    Do what you can. Help out a friend. Plus, there's probably a prize in it for you, if you do!

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Cowboy vs. Samurai

    Chapter: 3
    Page Count: 31
    Word Count: 18,602

    "The shiny modernized logo spiking each of the hologram's corners brashly attributes the footage to the galaxy's least trusted name in news; GAC – Galactic Airwaves, Corp."

    I finished Champloo last night. 

    Comprehensively, as a whole, I do think it's better than Bebop. I think the best episodes of Bebop are probably better than the best episodes of Champloo, but I found I enjoyed the latter, on the average, more. Call me crazy, but that's the way I sees 'em.

    I also watched another strange film, entitled Bunraku (named a form of Japanese puppet theater.) A weird psuedo-martial arts film with lots of fightings, lots of tropes and an interesting production design, it blends Western and Samurai pretty effectively and has apparently been panned by critics. It's certainly not the greatest movie I've ever seen, but it deserves more love than it's gotten. Check it out on Netflix, if you have a few hours. I overall enjoyed myself.

    That's all I got today. Enjoy.

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    Young Adult

    I don't particularly value film critics and I especially don't value film criticism. Having actual skin the game, I feel they don't benefit me personally, so I don't hold any illusions they benefit any other filmmakers. I'm not, therefore, going to offer ratings, anything beyond "see it" or "don't see it" but I caught a showing of Reitman's newest this evening and had thoughts.

    Diablo Cody's third outing, (her second for me, since I haven't seen Jennifer's Body) and I was honestly underwhelmed. I'm probably more interested in character study than the next person, but I found myself bored a fair majority of the film – it had an extremely difficult time keeping my interest. To me, themes they were attempting to establish as central to the film's core didn't really appear until mid-way through the experience, when I'd more or less made my assumptions and judgments about the main players and their interactions. Rather than these ideas coming meaningfully to life, it felt as though a separate script was attempting to exert itself over the second half of the film. Beyond that, I couldn't shake the uncomfortable twinge of auto-biography, something confirmed by Cody herself. (I'm rarely a fan of such blatant parallelism.) I wouldn't call Young Adult a bad film; performances are solid (though I imagine a more nuanced actress like Louise-Parker could have handled the material better), direction was surprisingly straightforward and effective, but the screenplay, in the end, fell short. Worth watching.

    I will say, as a final caveat, that my writing standards are unfairly high. I attempt to push myself to write things outside of my comfort zone and into new genres, so if anyone disagrees with me about anything writing-related, they're probably not wrong; I'm just opinionated.

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    Meet Odi

    Chapter: 3
    Page Count: 29
    Word Count: 17,071

    "Even when thousands of zottibles away, the crew of The Unconstant Lover, substituting their customary corner booth with the wobbly table nearest the holovison set and four foamy Gitterswitch Gins with a single shared anchovy and quorki cheese Planet Pan, naturalistically fall into the same seating arrangement they'd silently allocated two years ago on their first visit to The Bloody Afterburn."

    Take a knee, kids. There's somebody I'd like you to meet.

    This is Odisseus. He's an Ortok (read: bipedal otterfolk alien featured in The Endless Night series.) He's also a baby.

    I'm weirdly sentimental about stuffed animals. There's something about their silent helplessness that makes me go all syrupy inside – the idea that they're perpetually voiceless infants, needing your constant protection and without any method of communication should you neglect or abuse them.  Odisseus, in this case, is my most recent acquisition, a gift from my mysterious book-recommending, Ortok-purchasing girlfriend and while he's an extremely welcome addition to my growing plush posse, a tremendous responsibility nonetheless.

    Coming home has only reminded me of the handful of stuffed animals I was unable to cart across the country with me on movie-making adventures. Someday, several more gorillas and a four foot stuffed tiger will light out for the Territories as well.

    Don't judge me.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Read No Evil

    I've decided to dial down the excerpt and writing updates to a Tues/Thurs/Sat schedule, so as not to inundate all 22.769 of you loyal readers out there with undue out-of-context clips and relatively meaningless figures. I will, however, leave this here.

    What I'm Reading: The Panama Laugh by Thomas S. Roche. The inaugural book on my as-of-yet-unnamed Christmas present Kindle, it was recommended by my girlfriend who evidently knows my tastes much better than I do. I'm unfortunately a sucker for snarky, irreverent first person narration, from morally ambiguous blunt instrument characters especially, so Laugh feels almost tailor-made. A flavorful apocalypse-in-progress-by-genetically-engineered-zombies yarn, Laugh is gory, mean-spirited and populated with tons of juicy details. A definite thumbs up and exactly the sorta thing that gets my writerly motor a-runnin'.

    What I'm Listening To: MC Frontalot. I've unfairly avoided nerdcore and its associated mileu (JoCo in particular) for various negative personal associations, so I'm clearly coming so late to this party that the original hosts have moved out and an irate Korean couple is now sub-letting the apartment in question. That being said, I'm skeptically enjoying him. Rap has always, in my opinion, been something of a wasted art form, where true, honest-to-moons wordplay could be achieved, but rather is spent belaboring female dogs and farming implements (get it?). Turns out, I simply wasn't aware focused, specific wordplay was happening right under my very nose, as exemplified from the small sampling of Frontalot I've thus far heard and, trust me, I intend to keep listening.

    What I'm Watching: Samurai Champloo. Like every other swingin' dick, I'm a diehard Bebop fan and I'd previously sampled a little Champloo and found it diverting enough, but ultimately unsatisfying. As it returned to Netflix streaming, I thought I'd give it another a toss. I'm seven episodes in and, call me a blasphemer, but I think it might be better than Bebop.

    I know.

    To provide context, I don't even have much of palate for feudal Japan as a backdrop. I'm not necessarily biased against it on general principles but, in my experience, the territory is a little overtrod for true originality. Same with Westerns. (Though, in both cases, Champloo's turned me around on that somewhat.) Champloo,  to be blunt, is just cleaner. The characters (with the notable exception of Fuu) are broader, simpler, have more interesting interactions with the setting. The mood is stricter, more logical and the world is more immersive. In contrast, Bebop, with its space opera/western/noir/jazz influence can often become too many genre-ingredients, too overwhelming, weird one-off episodes of clownish assassins notwithstanding. Bebop holds a special place in my heart, obviously, and always will, but in a head-to-head showdown, I honestly think Champloo is objectively the better program. So far. Maybe that'll change.

    That's my take, anyway.

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    Galactically Menacing

    Chapter: 3
    Page Count: 27
    Word Count: 16,204

    "He doesn't care how greasy, how slimy or how synthetic; to the thinking of a piscavore long estranged from his homeworld, anchovies, paws down, are the undisputed champion among pizza toppings and, also to his admittedly-biased thinking, nobody, in all of Bad Space, could boast better anchovies than Nanosecond Pizza."

    I'm a man motivated by moods. Food, music, projects especially – all subject to my mercurial tastes and whimsies. I know it's aggravated friends and relatives in the past, not to mention my muse.

    The plan was originally to dawdle somewhat. Having written Hull Damage with a few months to spare on 2011, I thought I'd fritter away the rest of the year with some well-earned rest. Write a few short stories, polish a screenplay or two, things of that nature. Overall, a more relaxed nature. Then, when the new year came around, I'd hit the ground running on my Cutthroat Ragtime, my fantasy/western revenge caper.

    Barring some unforeseen shift in my mood, of course.

    I'm currently 16,000 words, 27 pages and three chapters deep in Hull Damage's erstwhile sequel, Galactic Menace and have fully begun to lose steam on the characters and the setting. I feel comfortable that, as soon as I complete the third chapter, I'll be able to progress with my regularly scheduled programming.

    So, these oughta be the last few Endless Night-related excerpts and updates you can expect. After that, prepare yourselves for talk of highwaymen, hangings and good ol' fashioned revenge.

    The Year Blogging Died

    I swear, I'm like your alcoholic husband, apologizing profusely for all the vomit the following morning, only to booze up by 2:14 pm and toss my cookies on the credenza by 3:03 pm.

    This year's obligatory puke metaphor achieved, it's apparently 2012. My first instinct is to mumble incoherently about "nothing happening" and "arcane rituals" but this year saw both this and this happen, so I suppose I'm in less of position to complain than I'd thought.

    Then why do I feel like a Motion City Soundtrack song?

    2012 will see Hull Damage published, Cutthroat Ragtime written and, I vow on my lucky rocket ship underpants, more blogging.

    I don't actually have those. I should really get some.