Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Over! Just Kidding.

I won! - Back to work.
Well, I completed what was necessary in order to finish up on NaNoWriMo this month and I have to say I'm actually quite pleased with what I've got.  Unfortunately, that also means that I'm not finished.  Yes, the fifty-thousand word document supposed to be completed by its thirty day deadline, but fifty thousand words does not a novel necessarily make.  So, I'm still finishing it up and when that's complete, then comes proofreading, editing and revisions.  

I don't think I've gone back and edited a paper or document that I've worked on in fifteen years or so.  Even in college, I just wrote what falls out of my head, printed it, and slapped it in my professor's greedy little palms.  I guess maybe if they had blasted me for my shoddy craftsmanship, I might've been a little bit more likely to learn to go back and revise.  If people were to pile heaps of praises on your piles of garbage, you'd never demand more of yourself to produce more than garbage.  You'd never ascend to that next level of ability.  You just end up remaining content with, "Well, it's better that that guy's I guess, so I'm good."  That probably sounds egotistical and pompous, but that's not what I mean.  I just happen to have a small taste of natural affinity towards linguistic skills whereas maybe some others do not.  But, that's okay.  They excel at other things that I lack in, so it balances out.  That's what makes us a diverse society.  

It's like the all-star football player who's been told his whole life that he's the best.  So he starts thinking that he shouldn't try as hard.  He falls behind in his practice and no longer cares to read the play book.  Next thing he knows, he's being surpassed by the new, fresh players on the field and he's become a simply mediocre player.  Well, mediocrity sucks.  It's somewhere you sometimes end up, not something you strive for, America.  I don't want to be average and neither should you.  Find what you're good at and do it.  No, shut up.  Do it.  Maybe you don't get paid for it, maybe you can't make a career of it.  Perhaps it's just a hobby that will bring fulfillment to your life.  Nobody wants to get to the end of the road, look back at their travels, and have to try to desperately remember how the hell they got there.  You can sleep at the wheel on the way to work like I do, but don't sleep-drive through life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station

Where to begin with this book? That's kind of hard to answer since I don't clearly remember where the book began, seeing how its completely unrelated to the conclusion of the book. I enjoyed the book and the man clearly has the imagination of someone on some serious drugs. Its just... I'm not totally sure what just happened. Bug people and political science and crisis energy and killer insects and reanimated corpses? It was almost too much.

Additionally, next to nothing in any of the characters' story lines get resolved by the end. What kind of book does that? Only one living character has any sort of resolution at all and the remaining characters don't even hold over to the sequels. What gives, man? I actually liked a few of these characters and now they've just wandered off into the ether of your crazed psyche.

Maybe I'm being too hard on the book. The characters were enjoyable, the dialogue lively and entertaining, and the descriptions were vivid (to say the least). The writing was really, really good. It was just a mess of good writing, is all. I've been told that even the author acknowledged this and he turns it around for the better in the other books. I'll give it a shot one day. I'm sure my first book won't be as good as this one, so who am I to criticize? In the meantime, I'm going back to some classic sci-fi with some giant sandworms.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 3

He waited until he had heard the old man crinkle and crackle himself to the floor in order to retire for the evening while Charlie followed shortly thereafter. Their breathing slowed after just a few minutes and Ark took that to mean that this was the best time to sneak out and run like hell. He turned his head to look over his shoulder and saw that Micah and Charlie had indeed retired for the evening. He rolled to his stomach and quietly pushed himself up onto his feet. He tip-toed one foot at a time in the direction of the door like some ridiculous sleuth. Charlie stirred and rolled onto her back. She rubbed her eyes and let out an exaggerated yawn. He quickly came to a standstill.

What the hell am I doing? I swear I’m the worst vampire ever. Who else besides me forgets that I have these damnable powers? He stood up straight like a civilized individual and simply told them both to keep sleeping with his thoughts. That’s much easier, you idiot.

He walked around the remnants of the lobby chair that the priest had been sitting in and noticed a black object resting on the torn cushion. Ark strolled over and picked it up and saw that it was Micah’s precious Bible. He lifted his eyes toward the sleeping humans and they were still quite unconscious. The holy book found its way to Ark’s cargo pants-style pocket and he quickly hurried around the chair and out the door.

He stepped out into the black night of the ruined city. The nights were always quite miserable to try to traverse. Once the light of the hidden sun went beyond the skyline, the entire landscape became as if covered in the thickest of ink. The moon and stars did little from their secret vantage points to light the overcast skies. He meant what he had said before. Where the hell would he go, anyway? He had left everything behind. Nothing had any meaning anymore. The only two people who didn’t want him dead explicitly were in the building that he had just departed. So they claimed, anyway.

That’s what it came down to. Leave now and be hated by all or stay and keep someone, anyone, close for once. By their closeness to him however, they meant to use him. If he didn’t serve a purpose they’d probably shoot him without a second thought.

Deep thinking and making decisions were not Ark’s forte and he’d never claimed otherwise. When he did think, he usually did so to the strum of a cigar-box guitar. He hated himself for so quickly abandoning it after just recovering it. Maybe one day he’d be able to go back to retrieve it, but for now it was left in the hole-sweet-hole in the wall back on Grays Ferry Avenue. The place was probably staked out by vampire hunters at this point. It’s not like he just left it behind for no good reason, though. If he hadn’t, they would have shot…

Charlie. Charlie was the reason he left his home again and thus left his favorite thing in the world behind. Charlie was why he hadn’t taken more steps into the nothingness of the dark on Filbert Street. Charlie made him want to die – but in a good way. He felt that he should, but didn’t know why he should want to potentially sacrifice himself for the sake of this girl. He felt his left hand’s fingers twitch in a pseudo-air guitar as he tried to find his answer in absence of his music maker. He strummed with his right on his pant leg and felt an unfamiliar weight rest against his right knee. He had already forgotten that he pilfered the old man’s book. Reading was as good as any method to get him to try to think without the guitar, but there wouldn’t be any sunlight for a while still. Traditionally, lighting a fire in the middle of the darkness is frowned upon. Nocturnal predators flock to a light like a moth would to a flame. The rule applies to humans however, and a human Ark was not. He found a nearby barrel that had recently been used for this very purpose and struck up a light.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 2

He sat, awaiting the impending destruction of all the lives that didn’t deserve living anyway. He talked to himself and discussed things to help reinforce the fact that he should go along with this genocide. When they get to hell, I hope they all look at that little bitch and just slap her around for getting them all killed. I tried to be nice, what else am I supposed to do? I’m a vampire, they’re just lucky that they got these few extra hours to live since I’ve arrived anyway. He was right in that fact. Any other vampire wouldn’t be walking around taking in the sights. They wouldn’t be conversing with the townsfolk and allowing little screaming children to run off to alert the authorities. No, any and every other member of the Vampyr would have swiftly decimated every form of sentient life in the area without hesitation. They would’ve carved their name into the still living flesh of the human who had misheard their name. They would’ve decapitated the priest who reprimanded them about their ethics. A Vampyr would have ripped a little whimpering child in half. That’s what vampires did. It’s about high time I joined those fucking devil-spawns then. Come on, meatbags. Bring it on.

The tolling of the bells could be heard in the distance followed by a few short blasts of gunfire. They had gotten Maggie’s message and they couldn’t wait to march to their collective death, it seemed. True, for any other vampire, a decent-sized group of individuals could overpower a single bloodsucker, not withstanding a few casualties. Ark wasn’t just any vampire though. The human refugees of the university had never witnessed anything like him before. Nobody had. What monster could kill a human with a thought? What vampire could drink a human from a hundred feet away? They had no idea what sort of killing machine they were about to face. They thought it was just your everyday, run-of-the-mill killing machine. Little did they know, and little did he know, that Ark had the potential to be one of the most powerful beings on Earth. All the same, here they came. The lambs walked to the slaughter with their heads held high. The undying arms of the abyss waited for them just ahead.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Seventh Horn - Excerpt 1

“Ark, no! Please!”

He tried to run away from the words that were all too familiar. He didn't have far to go, though. Trouble was just ahead. It always had this funny way of finding Ark at the worst times. Not that there was ever really a good time to find oneself in trouble.

“'Zat him?”

A posse of men, ten in number or so, rounded the bend and were armed for battle. They appeared to be looking for someone of a certain description.

“Yeah. 'Bout six foot, blonde hair, loner. She said he had purple eyes, though.”

“'Ey you, Ark! Tell the devil that I'll see him soon when ya get there, a'ight?”

With that, the men in front of the mob fired upon him. Ark swiftly ducked into the alleyway. Fortunately for him, either the men forgot to aim when they unloaded at him, or they really never expected to hit him. Either way, he was lucky. He could sew up and heal pretty quickly these days (one ability he was actually grateful for), but a few rounds to the chest or face would probably do him in. He was only half Vampyr or something, after all.

“Wait, stop! You don't know...”

Ark peered around the corner. He was pretty damn sure that if they couldn't tell what color his eyes were before, they could certainly determine they were violet now. The two biggest guys up front dropped their weapons, let their eyes roll to the back of their heads as they gazed upward to the gray heavens. One dashed his face on the curb as he fell and the other went to his knees and rolled on his side. Ark tasted no decent visions in their memories. The taste was still fresh and robust however, and that was exactly what he wanted and needed. Fuck their memories.

“Ark! No! Stop!”

A flurry of bullets rang off of the dumpster and wall which Ark was currently hiding behind.

“Stop shooting, you assholes! He could kill you all where you stand. Stop!”

They stopped briefly. “You with him there, lil lady? That there vamp killed a poor little girl's family last night. She told us the story and we're out here to set things right. Blood for blood! Ya hear that, motherfucker!?” Another blast of lead ricocheted off the edge of the wall.

Ark heard him just fine. Maggie, the girl that he spared the night before, survived the gauntlet to the nearest town where she promptly told the story of a vampire who killed her parents. It must have seemed like a message from an evil and sadistic vampire, daring them to come and play. Couldn't be farther from the truth. Ark didn't want anything to do with anyone anymore.

“I'm sorry there, lil missy. But if ya ain't gonna let us take him down,” Ark heard a rifle being cocked, “we're just gonna hafta take you down with him.”

“Wait!” Ark put his hands up so they could be seen above the dumpster. What the hell am I doing? “If I agree to come back with you for your 'justice,' you have to promise to leave the woman alone. Alright?”

“Ark?” Charlie was obviously just as, if not more so, perplexed by his actions as he was.

“Deal! Get out here now or we'll shoot her down right here!”

“Alright! I'm coming out. Don't shoot!” Why am I doing this?

“Fuck you, stand up!”

Ark arose calmly and slowly trying to focus on his attackers, the self-proclaimed defenders of justice. He could almost hear their thoughts. They were all very angry. Angry enough to be willing to tie him up long enough to perform a public execution back home. That was better than letting them shoot her and then having to kill them all. If he killed them, who knew when and where the next posse might show up. He stepped out onto the street, still facing the men and stood in front of Charlie.

“Ark, listen to me. Do – Not – Kill – Anyone. Do you hear me?”

Ark turned his head just slightly enough to direct his words behind him, yet still keep a good eye on the gunslingers. “I hear you. You're going to come get me then, I presume? You need me and all you said.”

“I'm pretty sure I know where they're from. If I'm right, I can have you out by the end of the day and nobody else has to die. We might even be able to get us some help. Just promise me.”

“So - You need me?”

“Are you thinking with your dick again?”

“Uh, I don't think so. Maybe?”

“Yes, I need you. Whatever. Just promise me.”

“Fine, I promise - promise to not kill anyone I don't have to, anyway. And you'll owe me.”

“Close enough. Now get the fuck over there, you ass.”

He began walking slowly toward the crowd. “You know you like my ass.”

The third largest man of the original group turned his head to the side, as a dog might when confused by an odd noise. The man with the rifle beside him must have misunderstood the conversation and thought he had been addressing him. “The only time I'll like your ass, son - is when it has a few more bullet holes in it.”

Charlie simply stood where she was, rolled her eyes and shook her head as Ark let out a laugh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Clyde King

Although I am currently in the middle of writing The Seventh Horn for National Novel Writing Month, I felt like posting up a little something on here.  I don't want to completely forget about my casual posties while I'm endlessly slaving away on another project.  Here's the first paragraph of the story I will write at some point in time called Clyde King (for the time being).

"The trees whipped by at an unforgiving pace. The two men sat facing one another in the train’s cab silently and somberly. The sheriff reclined as he peered at the flying landscape, boot-tapping a rhythm to match the incessant click-clack of the rails below. As usual, the outlaw sat serenely, seeming to memorize the lines and scars of his hands."
That might be my next project.  If not it will be the one directly after XII. Should be fun.

Friday, October 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Mental Prepration

So, the beginning of this thing I signed up for is almost upon me.  I'm already feeling like I shot myself in the foot with this.  One thousand six hundred and sixty seven words on average per day is a lot of commitment for an entire month.  The most recent short story that I completed topped out at just over two thousand words.  This is quite a large leap from one to the next.  I hope that I have the material and the willpower to make it through this self-imposed ordeal alive.  

I suppose its beneficial to me that I am a goal-oriented type of person and that there is a definitive goal at the end that I would like to achieve (not to mention the perks of actually attaining said goal).  My plan was/is to write short stories and get them published as often as I could in hopes of getting a foot in somewhere.  I can continue with that plan and also have a completed and actually printed novel as incentive as well if that should happen.  I feel that the likelihood of this actually coming to fruition is about as possible as hitting it big in Hollywood - but maybe I don't have to make it to Hollywood.  Maybe appearing in a Broadway show or even being a local playhouse actor would be okay with me.  Forgive me the acting metaphors, please.  Writing is really something I do enjoy participating in so as cool as it would be to sign a movie deal derived from my New York Times bestselling novel, I would enjoy just having my stuff get out there in some fashion one day.

I would get the same enjoyment from writing a books as I did from designing buildings in architecture.  Your work becomes substance and it has the potential to affect someone or something.  It makes a mark.  That's really why I wanted to teach children as well.  Besides being something I seemed to be rather good at, I wanted to leave a lasting impression on children for the better.  I had one of those teachers who instilled the need to read at a young age and I think its only fair that all children get to experience that teacher at least once.  I hope that one day I'll run into Mr. Washburn and be able to tell him how his efforts so greatly impacted my life.

Anyway, back to preparing the meal for the novel-monster.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


When I first began writing, I looked for a venue where I could compare myself to other writers so I might be able to tell how poor my writing skills were.  That probably sounds a bit strange, but its the truth.  I'm that type of student who writes their paper a few hours before class and receives praises upon compliments of how well written my report was and how much of an enjoyment it was to read.  I'm that type of office employee who write laboriously long e-mails to clients or contractors, simply because I enjoyed doing it.  Although they all seemed to detest using the dictionary to decipher what it was I was saying, they also appreciated that nothing was misconstrued and the information was always plentiful in order to get the job done.  My significant other admits that I occasionally use words that are beyond typical vocabulary and she just glosses over the words that I used that were not readily understandable.  In the eight (or nine, depending on what you read) Multiple Intelligences tests, I obviously fall under the linguistic and logical classifications.  What I needed to know was the thing I thought merely something that I thought or was the thing I thought a reality and something to be sought after?  Enjoy that.

I started writing and posting some of my stories, poems and excerpts to a site called in order to try to find an answer.  My question came down to this - Am I good enough to pursue this skill of mine as a career choice or is it merely hobby-worthy?  The users of helped me to decide that for myself.

They were all very critical yet beneficial to my pieces.  Their reactions were actually better than I anticipated for two reasons.  The first being that I expected a bunch of elitist punks (you know, the kind you see commenting on CNN posts) ripping on my work and calling me a homosexual for liking words or something.  This was not the case.  The reviewers ranged from site moderators to n00bs and all were equally helpful in their own regard.  Grammar checks, continuity checks, questions about hidden meanings - it was all surprisingly helpful.  The second reason why it was better than anticipated?  The users not only universally critiqued my style and habits, but also honestly enjoyed what I had submitted.  One cannot underestimate the drive that can be found once you've received glowing praise from people worldwide of a similar mindset.

I would recommend to anyone who enjoys anything that pertains to the English language.  If you don't enjoy writing, you are always free to sign up and read the literal infinite amount of work posted to peruse and add to the splendid community of people trying to help aspiring authors.  If you do enjoy writing, but don't know where to go to begin trying for a little more beyond your personal journal, this website can work for you too.  You are allowed to set privacy settings to allow your friends, registered authors or the entire world to read your goods.  I suggest anyone and everyone to give it a shot.  There's something enjoyable to be had for anyone who likes this sort of thing.  If you don't - look into it anyway, you might surprise yourself with one of the many mystery, romance, horror, spy, erotic, adventure, choose-your-own-story works that are available for free.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Continued

So, I've decided which of my twelve to fifteen story premises to use for National Novel Writing Month.  I've chosen it for a few reasons.  

1) It's the one I'm most embarrassed to write seeing how it revolves around vampires.  I'm saddened by the fact that I don't want to write the story because its now cliche to enjoy vampire fiction.  Friggin' Twilight.  My vampires are post-apocalyptic monsters - so its all good.

2) The MC is fairly similar in demeanor to my own and its therefore relatively easy to write his dialogue in freeform method.

3) I have the basic plot already outlined with character names, info and background already written up.  All I have left to do is just sit down and allow the story details and dialogue to interact and I should then be able to blaze through the majority of the 50,000 words.  Hopefully, I come up with a decent title by the end, is all.

4) Once I get this first so-so and rushed story out of the way, I think I might be driven to continue writing other pieces at a proper pace.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Portable Technology Discovery

Just the other day I got fed up with being unable to talk to my girlfriend, got tired of not being able to text my sister, got sick of not being able to have the minutes to even listen to my voice mail, so I upgraded my phone and service to something worthwhile.  I picked up a Nokia E73 which, in essence, boils down to the equivalent of a Blackberry.  I had the choice between the E73 and the Motorola CHARM.  I went with the Nokia because a bit more useful for potentially professional reasons as well as being slightly more aesthetically pleasing.  The CHARM also focused more on touch technology, which I've seen too many people have issues with, so I went with usefulness over trendiness.  Its got nifty little things like assisted GPS that relies on triangulation instead of satellites.  It has a slimmed down version of office software to allow the creation of word documents, workbooks and presentations.  It has a 5 megapixel camera with video and panoramic options, MP3 player, FM radio, IMs, full QWERTY keyboard, access to social networking and all the rest of that other stuff that I'm sure comes standard in all of today's smartphones as well.  Maybe this type of stuff isn't all that impressive to someone who has had this technology for a while now, but to someone like me who has had a basic flip-phone for the past four years - this is amazing.

I've been using it for the past three or four days now and I'm finally starting to understand why people get so oblivious to the real world when they turn on their technology.  Besides food and sleep, this thing can provide you with everything you need.  Actually, you can look up the nearest Japanese steakhouse and order some sushi to go with it, so I guess all this thing is missing is the ability to provide sleep.  Sleep is overrated anyway.

The thing is addictive.  I used to have to (oh no!) sit down at my notebook in order to do my writing, email and facebooking.  I can take a fifteen at work and do all that in the employee breakroom now.  If I had less self control, I could technically do that from the sales floor or while driving like most other people.  It is tempting sometimes, I must say.  Why waste your time being bored in real life when you can entertain yourself?

Its kind of sad in a way.  Once you get something like this, it becomes a tie that you simply cannot sever afterward.  What would you do if you left your phone at home and found yourself lost in an unfamiliar town?  Find a pay phone?  Sure, there might be a few of those left at gas stations or something.  Who are you going to call?  Do you remember their phone number?  Not likely.  There's no contacts button on the payphone.  Call 411?  Sure, but who are you going to contact?  Most likely everyone is going to be as mobile as you are and there aren't any cell phone listed in 411.  So now you're reduced to wandering around trying to enlist the help of nearby people who might know where you are going.  Do you even know where you are going though?  Did you write down the directions or where they saved in your phone?

Items like this seem to only make the differences clear between those who are the Have's and the Have-Not's.  We are constantly being forced to evolve perhaps beyond where we want to go or perhaps even care to go.  Take for instance the recent death of antenna TV or the imminent death of free radio.  Its as if there is some desire to create yet another divide in social classes through the ability to acquire technology.

I don't know where that came from.  Maybe I'll think on it more and delve into it more later when I can afford the brain cells to burn on it.  For now, I guess I've been shoved into being one of those Have's.  However, I don't plan to be one of those people in the bar who need to have their phone in constant six inch proximity to their hands or those people who appear to be schizophrenic but are actually talking to their mother on bluetooth.  Please hit me repeatedly with your car if I exhibit these behaviors.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Let Personal Agony Begin!

During the interview for my job, one of the managers informed me about this website that I should check out if I was interested in writing.  Not thinking much of it at the time, I pocketed the scribbled paper and took the job graciously.  A few days later while trying to find something to occupy my time, I found the little paper tucked away with my new hire paperwork.  I look up the website and find something somewhat interesting online for a change.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge/contest that takes place during the month of November every year where the participants test themselves by attempting to write an entire novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) between the first and the last day of the month.  Go ahead and do your math.  It's okay, I'll wait :)  Yeah, sure that seems like a doable amount of words to write in a day, right?  Sure.  Can you guarantee you can write that every single day for a month?  Hell no.  So maybe adjust your figures a bit for a realistic amount of days in the month you will be able to write.  Math, math, math.  Got it? Kinda getting silly, huh?  Well that's kind of the point (or so they say).  They actually don't want you to write a masterpiece.  They just want you to write something - "If its a novel to you, then its a novel to us."  This is a great experiment for someone like me.  I am not yet enrolled in school, my significant other is 1200 miles away and I have no money.  What else do I have to do with my time, right?  So here's to me, my sanity and the premise I have waiting around but don't necessarily mind rushing through.  

Oh, almost forgot.  There's prizes for every winner (to be classified a 'winner', one must simply complete the 50,000 words).  Prizes include things such as a free paperback printing of your finished novel for your own use to market yourself to publishing companies.  Sounds a little bit more worth it to someone like me now.  If you want to check my progress (henceforth known as 'how much I'm falling behind') visit My NaNoWriMo Progress.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

If It Had a Back Cover, It Would Go Something Like...

After a great cataclysm, the vampyr are born. Humanity has no resistance and can either cower in the corners of their once great empires or fall to the unquenchable thirst. Centuries pass with no resolution in sight. Only one of the vampyr's own kind can hope to be the salvation of humanity's future. However, will it be salvation that he chooses or will the dark embrace prove too strong to resist?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

If It Had a Back Cover, It Would Go Something Like...

A journey of two men who will travel the paths of power and redemption.  One man with untold potential must face another who has been given the orders to subdue him.  A tale of hope, power, loss and betrayal can be found here in the sprawling landscapes of a budding empire.  Justice will be wrought in The Twelfth.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pessimism and Its Usefulness

I have this theory that I live by for my own life.  Its seemed to get me by just fine thus far.  When I've explained it to people, I always seem to get one of two responses/faces.  One that either says they're disgusted with my outlook on life and the other implies how they think its sad to be me.  I respectfully disagree.

I think that if you live in such a manner as to not expect anything, then you will never be upset when things don't go according to your plan.  If you always anticipate the worst, then you can't ever be blindsided by life's downturns.  You can however be delightfully surprised when things do go your way.  So everyday you may encounter one of two things: 1) You will get exactly what you anticipated or 2) You can be happily proven wrong.

Now, please explain to me how that can be misconstrued as a miserable existence.  Its not as if I'm Eeyore and go about my day moping to everyone how depressing life is for me.  I don't know.  I know people read this and look it over from time to time so please converse with me on this.  Based upon my outcome of points #1 and #2, is this really so awful a way to view everyday occurrences?

Friday, October 1, 2010


alabaster rose
thrives and grows elegantly
amidst the harsh thorns

Monday, September 20, 2010

Repo Men

Much to my chagrin, I sat down and watched Repo Men with the little lady other half last night.  I'm a lucky guy because she will watch anything, but on the other hand... she will watch anything.  I did not enjoy The Expendables, thankyouverymuch.  

Anyway, Repo Men stars Jude Law (who you have to admit looks a lot like a pissed off Dr. Perry Cox in this picture) and Forest Whitaker, so right off the bat I thought the movie might have potential.  That's not the case.  It's a mash up of the bad parts of Equilibrium, Minority Report and Vanilla Sky, to be honest.  Oh, and a buddy cop film thrown in, too.  (Not that you should care if I'm going to ruin the plot points for you, but spoilers are about to occur.)

Two guys, who happen to be some equivalent of emotionless ninja assassins, work for a company who are to go repossess the artificial organs that people have not been paying for with supreme knife-wielding skills.  They sneak into customers' homes, stun-gun them and cut out the organ, thereby killing them.  At some point one of these goes wrong and Jude's character ends up getting anew heart without his consent and is, for some inexplicable reason, expected to pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to live.  Yeah, I guess they did away with workman's comp and medical insurance in the future.  Anyway, he has a moral dilemma because the the customers/victims are now just like him so he won't kill them anymore which breaks the bank and puts him on the hitlist.  He runs and hides (naturally, because everybody runs, right Tom Cruise?)  Meets a chick that he falls in love with faster than a speeding bullet and then joins the hundreds of customers who are in hiding.  Yadda, yadda.  He gets jumped by his former partner, they have it out and he gets away.  They attack the system and after some gruesome events, they destroy the system, live out their lives on a beach and hip-hip-hooray.  Turns out he didn't get away and that his partner hit him in the head during the Agent Smith/Morpheus fight scene, turned him into a vegetable, then placed a halo-device on him and that's what you had been watching the last half of the movie.  Raise your hand if you came to the same conclusion that I did.  Minority Report/Vanilla Sky/Equilibrium, right?

Wrong. Those movies were entertaining and they were made ten years ago.  Its been done, done and done and for the most part I enjoyed the acting in them. The plots made sense in a sci-fi way and nothing felt overly forced.  I didn't understand why anything happened in this movie besides a reason to watch some action scenes and really gross surgery.  A couple obvious things punched me in the face while I watched this that made me want to turn it off.

First, what moron is going to a company asking for (sometimes multiple) replacement organs knowing full well that this company sends the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to violently rip your stuff out if you don't pay on time?  They make it seem that the company effectively hides this fact from potential clientele, but c'mon... this isn't on the news?  Additionally, there are hundreds of these people in the city and outside hiding in the ruins that have these organs.  Does this organ company not check credit scores before installing $600,000 hardware?  Doctors, random slobs, and junkies all seem to have these damned things.  Its not like they're mandatory installations at birth, they all opted into the program.  There's more of this type of nonsense, but I think you get the idea.

Maybe I just don't care for action movies anymore.  All I know is that the more I watch this drivel, the less inclined I am to do so in the future.  Every review should include something positive, though.  So I give the movie, I don't know, one star for having John Leguizamo and Forest Whitaker in it.  That's about all.

I Can't Go When You're Watching

I've come to realize that I have performance anxiety.  I can't write if I'm not alone.  I'm right now deliberately trying to overcome this as Amanda is sitting next to me on her own laptop.  I don't know what the issue is really.  I have all these stories that I want to work on and yet if the man-cub is awake or the little lady is nearby, I just refuse to be productive.  It happens with homework too.  Very peculiar.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The 2 Out of the 3 R's I Care About

A few days ago I figured I would start up on a new book.  I chose Stephen King's Insomnia because 1) He is unique and entertaining at times.  At least he was at some point.  2) I seem to be suffering from insomnia, so its somewhat ironic and amusing.  Thus far, not much has happened, but I'm terrified and probably for the wrong reason.  King is supposed to be this masterful horror writer and yet I'm really only concerned that this will eventually happen to me.  Not monsters and other dimensions, mind you.  I'm concerned about not sleeping ever.

Additionally, I've begun writing actual writing on the side when my mind lets me.  I think its great, but I'm also a self-defeatist slash perfectionist when it comes to my own work.  I also seem to come up with better ideas before I've concluded the story I'm on.  I wonder how professional writers deal with this.  Should I write down my ideas and just keep hacking away at the piece I'm on or do I flip-flop around?  I'd probably never get anywhere if I did that, I suppose. I've toned down my approach to only writing short stories because I would like to get my foot in the door somehow someday and I understand that throwing your novel around to people doesn't get you very far passed the ever-growing mountain of papers in the corner of some editor's office.

The first short story that I shared received pretty decent reviews, so that got me a bit more motivated.  One person even referred to it as, "a personal literary triumph."  I thought that was pretty cool, even if they were blowing it way out of proportion.  Everyone needs a little push now and then, right?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles

I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  I had recently re-read A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs and I was actually expecting something more along those lines.  You know, a "classic" sci-fi adventure that manages to fill up the pages by simply describing everything in sight.  In other words: it was very, very dry.  TMC didn't really follow this line of writing (even though I felt the environs were adequately described in great detail).  This book is more or less a gathering of tales of people who have arrived on Mars in a period of about thirty years.  Their experiences range from exploration and encountering locals to post-colony life on the planet surface.  Sounds exciting when I say it like that, I know.  With all the character POV's and the striking similarities to real life events and other works of fiction, it really kept me going strong til the end.  It runs just short of 200 pages which makes it a great run through if you need a break in between other genres or books.  I think its a decent example of well-written science fiction without getting ridiculous in Star-Warsiness.  Yeah, I make my own adjectives.  What of it?

Neil Gaiman's American Gods

I had really been looking forward to reading this book. From what friends and reviewers had said, this book was supposed to be a great romp through mythology as well as self-examination. However, after reading, I was sorely disappointed. The entire novel felt like filler around what was supposed to be a great idea. I'm not sure if Gaiman's writing style is bad per se, but the presentation just made the entire book feel unnecessary. I'm not unwilling to give people a second chance and I've heard good things about Neverwhere, so we'll see if that book will redeem him for me.

Ayn Rand's Anthem

Although interesting and well-written, I was disgusted to find that (at least in my edition) the book was padded with the entire original manuscript. While interesting to see her language changes and other edits that took place, my once 200-something page book was now merely 100 pages. It was just way too short and so many details overlooked. Its like Anthem was meant to merely be a pamphlet for her philosophy.  I realize it to be a novella and all, but the size was misleading.

The Wealth of Being Poor

I feel bad for people who have never been poor.  You really get to experience life in a different way when you're not eating three meals a day to conserve money or if you have to leave the heat off in the winter and just really bundle up under a few layers of clothes/blankets in order to go to sleep.  There's a certain appreciation for the little things in life and an inherent ability to be optimistic and patient.  People who have never had to struggle just take the lives they have for granted, thereby making much less fulfilling, I'd say.  You grow a certain sense of compassion for other people, which is something I find very missing from today's society. 

So maybe its not always fun.  Maybe sometimes its downright painful.  At least after an honest day's work you can feel you've accomplished something with your own two hands.  I don't think there's much else in the world quite as gratifying as that.


Okay, here's the thing.  This is page is meant to be an experiment on myself and a bet between myself and I.  I said to myself the other day, "If I wrote half as much as I read... I guess I would've written quite a bit."  Well, let's see.  This is technically the second one of these that I've tried; this one is just more user-friendly and downright pretty.

I plan to use this in such a way that I can more adequately express myself to myself, because quite frankly I have no idea what the hell I'm saying or thinking most of the time.  If, on this little sidequest, I happen to pick up a few voyeurism-enthusiasts I say the more the merrier.  You creepy people, you.  I hope that in doing this I manage to rekindle my desire to write (properly) as well as perhaps come across some other like-minded or interesting people and their thoughts as well.