Happy Easter, Have an Alien Spoof.

Happy Easter!

Here is a Easterization of Alien, it is pretty funny.

 

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Google Augmented Reality Glasses

Have you seen these? This is insane! These glasses are both awesome and terrifying at the same time.

Check them out for yourself.

I wonder if his loft has a map…

The streamlining of random questions/tasks one will have instant visual aid in answering/solving will be really, really neat. However this really kicks the end of privacy argument up a few notches.

Imagine it.

“Where is John?”

….locating John…..

John’s current location is his apartment bathroom.

“John, Taco Bell and Jameson shots don’t mix.”

Which John remembers to take off his glasses and feels like he can’t go to the bathroom without the world intruding.

To put my point in more context, I have a Blackberry that I rarely use except for texting. It is almost three years old and was built for the Edge network. Maybe it is my anti-social curmudgeonly outlook on life, but I don’t want to be that connected. Having information that readily available would be nice but at the same time it might be too much.

Then again the ease in which knowledge is placed at ones eyelids has the vast potential for awesome. Hands off, borderline instantaneous information could be so amazingly useful I can barely wrap my head around the applications.

Mark my words, the next step will be implants.

 

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Some People Don’t Get Game of Thrones

New York Times wrote another piece sweepingly snubbing Game of Thrones. Last time it was called “boy-fiction” and raised an uproar from the legion of fans – most of which were of the lady variety. This time it is more informed and articulate, but ultimately misses something important. I think this oversight is generally what lies beneath the sweaty keyboard pounding when fans take to defending their interests.

After I read the article I wrote a long blog that basically amounted to “YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I LIKE, YOU’RE A DOO-DOO HEAD!”, but when I hovered over the Publish button I recanted. I think there is something going on that is larger than what I think critics and the arbiters of taste realize; it is something as old and old itself. Perhaps I am late to the party on this, but I just realized it.

There is a shift going on in societies’ taste, genre is becoming accepted and mainstream. The old and stodgy snubbing of the fantastic is becoming dated, like a geriatric wildebeest falling behind the rest of the pack, waiting to be picked off by a hungry lion. If GoT did indeed only appeal to the small D & D audience and the fans of the books, I don’t think it would have been as successful as it is.

If we look at the top twenty highest grossing movies of all time, excluding “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ”, the other movies are steeped in fantasy and science fiction. If we go back in time and adjust for inflation we see less movies with strong fantastic elements dominating the top twenty. So what has changed? I can’t help but notice a trend between the super hero movies and the revamping of classic fairy tales.

I think as time progresses we will see fewer reviews of this nature; dismissing and brushing off shows/movies based on heritage of appeal and unconventional means of story telling. I understand that it is easier to dismiss something out of hand because of unfamiliarity, say that it should get with the program because this is how these things work, but everything changes and sometimes . I’m predicting in a couple of years people will look back on Game of Thrones and remark on how different and ground breaking it was, and the people raising that banner will be the same people who scoffed at it.

Despite having a lot names to follow and killing off the “main character”, there is still a sense of something. It feels big, nasty and oddly cold. This sense of wonder is what I think drives at the heart of the show, and ultimately drives the audience. We love a good underdog story, we love when good conquers all, but perhaps we want to see the more visceral side of humanity. Maybe we want to know how much hell a character went through so when they finally find heaven we can equally share in their moment. Whether or not GoT will deliver that feeling, book or show, is yet to be determined but for now the ride is entertaining. Until the conclusion of this epic story, I can’t forget that winter is coming.

 

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What I’ve Learned So Far

It has been an interesting year since I started this pipe dream. I’ve learned a lot about writing and some interesting tidbits about myself, some good and some disturbing. I compare my earlier stories against my latest and wow, what a difference. I can see a lot of growth and determination, but mostly I see process. It hasn’t always been pretty, I’ll raise my hand to that, but it has been educational. Something that I’ve learned is that every writer’s path is different, this is my own and it will fold into whatever shape it has to.

I have entered in a few contests and regrettably the judges and I decided to go in different directions. Not being deterred I recently started sending stories to magazines, soliciting my work in hopes of being able to rock out my ZOMGHOLYSHITLOOK! I CAN HAZ PUBLISHED!  post. That hasn’t happened yet, but I have had some encouraging moments.

I’ve had a few right out rejections. Despite knowing that it is part of the process and it is an inevitability, it still hurts. I have collected a few of these bad boys and undoubtedly I have many more to collect. I’m never sure how to react to them; throw my keyboard in disgust or just move on. I play it safe and move to the next story.

I have had two pending stories that were rejected as near misses. While these do hurt and humble, it is also encouraging. Despite my doubt and flaws I have improved enough to get that close to selling something. To be honest it feels good, but the magic table that published people sit at, swapping stories and giving each other high fives is still so far away I can’t smell what is for dinner.

So what have I learned so far about writing and selling stories?

  • It isn’t personal when your story doesn’t sell. Everybody gets rejected. Some stories would do better in different outlets than the one you are submitting to.
  • Writing is hard work. Like anything there are probably people who can hardly put the effort into a story and sell it like pickles to pregnant women, but that isn’t the majority. Everybody has a different path and most had to work at it. Write, then write more, then write again, then write after that. Don’t forget to write.
  • ws;sr – which is stolen from John Scalzi. It stands for writing sucks, stopped reading. This ties into everything above. In our short attention span – hey look at the bunny! society you have to be interesting. When you are trying to sell a story your first paragraph/page needs to grab the reader. Chances are that even if your story is amazing, if the beginning is slow the editor/reader will move on to the other billion stories for the day. When/if you get past that point, your writing needs to be good, which comes from practice and due diligence.
  • Write.

Learning them first hand and generally knowing they exist are separate. I knew these blips of profound truthiness before this past year, but having learned them first hand I have to be honest and say it is different.

Until my next post about inappropriate euphemisms about Grandma and Scandinavian delicacies, good night.

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Crazy Language

I thought this was amusing.

Click to embiggen.

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Rage Comic Friday

I think everybody is guilty on this one.

 

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How the F-?

I’ll keep doing this as long as the search terms people use to find my site are interesting. This might turn out to be my favorite blog game.

Lets get started!

cthulu

Cthulu is a giant winged god with an octopus head, a million times more evil than weird looking, H.P. Lovecraft is probably most known for. I think this cult icon is the real reason behind the tentacle fetishes in certain parts of the world. We would like to believe it is something as innocent as perversion, but I bet it is far more nefarious. Don’t believe me? Here is a picture of Cthulu posing all sexy like, note how the wave is splashing on him; covering his nethers because it is too much sexy for some people – that or his bits are so damned tentacled and unnerving the author decided to have mercy. Comes down to personal preference really. In all seriousness, go read The Call of Cthulu.

freud comic

Well this one actually makes sense. I posted a comic on this earlier before, it is called The New Adventures of Sigmund Freud. The general premise behind it is that Freud was frozen for years and thawed out to bring freedom to the world. I have no idea who made it. I tried googling it and didn’t find the author’s website. So go google it if you want to read more. The idea of a Freud running around like Captain America using psychoanalysis to free the shit out of some people is quite frankly hilarious.

*Observation* Apparently he got his nipple pierced.

man staring at nothing

STOP LOOKING THROUGH MY WINDOW!

spider on your ass

Again, this could be taken several ways. If you are in prison; you either have a seriously problem or you are looking to entice someone with your goods, of which I have no idea how to help. If you aren’t in prison and in fact a spider is on your ass, I have no idea how to help. Good luck living the rest of your life out as a statue. I don’t know what kind of species of spider is proving its dominance over you, but I imagine it is something like this.

cosby sweater

This just won’t die. I will not post or explain what this is, go google it if you really want to know. If you look it up, I bet you will never look at fruit loops the same.

mullet with power bars

This sounds like a great name for a band. Imagine hearing that in concert.

“After Sonic Death Monkey, Mullet With Power Bars is going to melt your face off!”

I’m probably late to the party. Some metal band is likely already named that. Actually if the Trailer Park Boys started a band, I’m 100% sure that is what they would call themselves. I imagine Mullet With Power Bars playing a sweet guitar solo during a video game boss fight in a barber shop where the barber must battle a power mullet straight out of 80s Mississippi. Again, I’m probably late to that and is on the DS…… I think Wario World has something like that actually.

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Not So Much Progress

Well, I did finish one story but not the meaty story, weekend-writing-goal-fail. I got wrapped up in the first story. It passed with fiancé with relatively little complaint or issue, which is a first. She did have a comment about it not feeling fresh, having done some reflecting I agree – she isn’t a science fiction fan either, color me impressed. I’ve spent some time thinking about how to more explicitly present some elements that I implicitly had woven in. Perhaps I thought I was being clever by being oblique or maybe it was a rookie mistake, I don’t know, I’m still learning. I feel by making the sublte elements more visible I can give the story some mojo, a little more oomph.

Reordering some of the events presented clarity to the evolution of the story. I think in a very short time the story has come a long way, almost unrecognizable from the first draft. I think this short story is stronger, unique, but not different enough to feel weird or terribly unfamiliar.

I’d like to think this story is salable but it ultimately isn’t up to me. Hopefully the untold of hours of slaving in the word mines will start to pay off soon. I still haven’t broken the 1 million word mark but I am pretty close. If you aren’t familiar with the 1 million word rule, it takes that many words to jump the novice fence and into the money making writer club. I don’t know how true that is, I suppose time will tell. I’d like to think every wade through the crap-filled novice river means I am that much closer to catching a keeper and feeding my family, aka student loans – they have hungry mouths.

After reading Writing to Sell by Scott Meredith, I learned some nifty tricks/ideas on how to write a marketable story. One chapter in particular that struck home was the insights into flashbacks. Essentially keep flashbacks short and sweet, or make a chapter. Don’t make this entire weird dialogue in the middle of a moving story where the reader finds themselves magically whisked away, it breaks that magical fantasy land and gets confusing.

Yeah, I’m guilty of that.

I did start editing the meaty story, but I didn’t finish. I ended up cutting the 15k words down to 7k. Cutting flashbacks and streamlining some events really made the difference. I suppose that is the magic of editing. Take 15k words of meh and turning it into 7k words of gold. Still plenty of work left to do, but generally that is where I left things before jumping back into the first story. I need to get that beast slain.

So my new goal is a recycled old goal; finish the second story by this weekend.

What about you penmonkeys, what are your goals?

 

 

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Just Add Moustache

Need to make a movie better? Just add Tom Selleck’s legendary moustache. It takes a bad movie and makes it good, takes a good movie and makes it great, takes a great movie and alters the scales of awesome.

 

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Progress

I set a goal for myself this weekend. Finish writing/editing two stories that have been getting the run around. Partly neglected because of schedule and partly neglected because I didn’t know where to go with them.

I am happy to say that I have finished writing and editing the first story. It bounced around in size for a little while I played with different directions; sometimes gaining weight up to 5k words and other times slimming down to 3k. I found a nice median slightly over 4k. Only took about eight hours in all total. That might sound not so impressive but for accomplishing editing that is an improvement for me.

For me writing is the easy part, I can just go to town and spit out a story without too much hardship. Few hiccups here and there, like these two stories, but overall I do not find writing to be the struggle. I find the struggle in editing. Arguably this is where the story is made and is my biggest weakness. With a book written and close to 30 stories of varying length complete, only three of the stories are edited and polished. I know, total slacker.

Next story on the hit list is sitting at 15k words. This will take a longer time to get through and nail down, but practice makes perfect and I’m trying to turn what I feel is my biggest weakness into a strength.

When I am done I am going to get my fiancé to use her big fancy English degree on my papers and hopefully make them salable. I’m coming for you Clarkesworld and Asimovs!

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