Monthly Archives: October 2013

The World Ended Ten Years Ago…

The world ended ten years ago, but we didn’t figure it out for a while.

It started with small pieces of the night sky blinking out during the night. We know now that it was their ships temporarily blocking the light. There were fluctuations in communications worldwide that were attributed to a spike in solar flares. Our final warning was the sudden shift in climate instead of the gradual rise due to greenhouse gasses.  We were too distracted by the resulting natural disasters to realize that the reports of a complete blackout of the night sky went unnoticed. They had taken years to adjust our planet to better fit their needs. Once it was to their liking they attacked and we lost.

Their time spent studying our world and methods were put to good use. Our satellites were useless, switched off or broadcasting static. They outclassed out technology in ways we could only dream. Somehow they neutralized our nuclear reactors. Power plants, submarines, missiles, and even medical equipment just stopped working.

Then they landed. Their drill shaped ship plowed into the ground, transforming into cities within the night. An entire year passed and nothing in monolithic fortresses moved, however the world kept changing. No one knew how to handle these things, they didn’t respond to any sort of communications, their cities had some sort force barrier to protect against assault, and there was no outward sign the city-ships were anything beyond space junk. We were monkeys in an art gallery.

The human race was so caught up trying to see inside these ships we didn’t see what was happening all around us. Massive climate change was taking place in those first days, the ice caps shrunk by half raising the sea level. If we had been paying closer attention we would have noticed the tropical regions had tripled in size.

It was October fifth on a Wednesday when the ships opened up. A year had passed since the ships had landed; the world was dealing with unexplained weather phenomena and the usual conflicts of people killing each other. The ships had turned to old news with only conspiracy nuts and bored government employees kept an eye on it. That didn’t last long.

For the first time the human race saw that the passengers of the ships; bipedal reptilians, something of a cross between a komodo dragon, crocodile, and a T-Rex. Their image was broadcast across the globe within the hour. They changed our world to better fit them and boy did it. We could only speculate as to what made them take to the stars but it was clear why they landed.

Earth was practically overstocked with plenty of tasty things for them to eat. We called them Dragons.

This is the world I live in, here there be dragons.

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Dead in Tombstone – Movie Review

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2268419/?ref_=nv_sr_2

A Western with a supernatural tilt.

I have a soft spot for Westerns. I love the damn things. I can’t help it, though I never was much of a fan of John Wayne. Mixing the ‘deal with the devil’ plot in with a classic betrayal story should have struck gold but it missed the mark. It’s somewhat fun to watch and Danny Trejo is the equivalent of Hispanic version of Jason Statham playing the same roll over and over but killing it each time. He’s a bad ass with two revolvers and a debt to the devil to pay.

The first two acts of the movie play out pretty well but in the third act is when things bog down. A long chase scene towards the end with plenty of WTF moments. My favorite is when an overturned wagon turns into a catapult and then the three men riding in said wagonapult hit the ground like they had a hard sneeze. The saloon scene is pretty mind-numbing and the hostage thing during last part is just annoying. I have to say the final showdown at High Midnight, not noon, is amusing.

Danny Trejo, Anthony Michael Hall, and Mickey Rourke headline the movie but Dina Meyer steals the show. She is awesome in this and she needs more action rolls. Not that Anthony Michael Hall doesn’t make an awesome bad guy. When I saw him listed in the cast I was worried but in reality the one that kills their screen time is Mickey Rourke. Aside from name recognition I’m not sure what he brings to the table. Whoever did his costume work should rethink their career choices. It almost sounded like they dubbed over him for most of the movie.

My Verdict: If you love Westerns, Redbox/Netflix it. Otherwise, skip it.

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House of Hades by Rick Riordan– Book Review

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12127810-the-house-of-hades?from_search=true

Book Four in the Heroes of Olympus Series.

I zipped through the first Percy Jackson series and the first three books in this series. When I was done I remember looking on in despair as I realized I would have to wait over a year to read the next one. THE WAIT IS OVER! I headed down to my local library and was lucky enough to have a copy on the shelf. I’ve had it for three days now and I’ve been reading it every chance I can get. My resounding response is… meh.

Leo, Hazel and Frank are my favorite part of the new series but I don’t really care for Jason or that other new character. Percy and Annabeth are fun to read but really it just didn’t hold my attention like the others did. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s been about a year since I’ve read the previous book in the series, I don’t know. The thing I did enjoy about the series was that the goddess Hecate makes an appearance. She was pretty cool.

Verdict: Library if you’re a fan of the series.

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The Colony (2013) Movie Review

The Colony (2013) Movie Review

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1160996/

From IMDB:
Forced underground by the next ice age, a struggling outpost of survivors must fight to preserve humanity against a threat even more savage than nature.

There will be spoilers.

It’s October and I live in the Northern US, what does that mean? Snow on Halloween. What better way to combine the cold with scary by watching a horror movie set in a frozen world? Apparently, a lot of things.

I didn’t know too much about this movie. It was marketed as zombies in Antarctica but it’s more than that. The ‘savage’ force mentioned in the blurb is a group of people turned feral. I wish I could tell you how but I got about 2/3 of the way through before I turned it off. The kids are asleep, it’s daddy time and I’m not wasting it by watching a crap movie.

It starts off with a scene of people running through a bunker trying to get away from something. The scene actually works, for a moment you aren’t sure if it’s going to turn out to lead to a back drop of ‘2 Days Ago’ or something else. Major downer, it’s something else. In THE FUTURE humanity ran out of fuel sources and started engineering the weather which is totally connected but uh-oh it backfires and as the narrator so eloquently puts it “one day it started snowing”.

We join our main character as he’s out in the snow fixing… something, when Bill Paxton pushes out some poor shmoo  outside at the end of a gun. There is just enough back and forth to see that Mr Paxton will be playing the role of ‘unhinged dude’ that has to show up in every survival movie ever. I tried not to groan when instead of just stopping the guy they decide to talk about it with Lawrence Fishburne.

And this is where the movie failed me. Mr Fishburne sees that his old buddy is going crazy and puts someone else in charge when they head off. Somewhere between the two scenes we hear that another colony sent an SOS then went dark. Following Star Trek logic the leader has to go out to see what’s up.

Guess what? That opening scene, yeah, it was this colony. Kevin Zegers (our hero), Lawrence Fishburne, and some kid go off to explore. Hm, Star Trek logic someone isn’t coming back. The logic behind our hero going makes sense, they might need a hand for mechanical stuff. The redshirt even makes sense, he isn’t vital to the colony and he was taught how to use a gun. But why the leader too? You’ve got some obvious trust issues with a guy who executes sick people, I think you’re needed at home more than just heading off in the middle of a crisis.

They get to the other colony and find a lone survivor who has locked himself in a room. He tells them they received a transmission somewhere there is sun and soil. When they sent a team out something found them and followed them back to the colony. The ‘something’ in question being feral cannibal people. Side note, I’ve spelled cannibal differently each time I type it. There isn’t much time to dwell on things as the not-zombies attack. The redshirt dies but our two heroes make it out. They blow up the tower leading to the surface and head home.

They have to camp out to keep from freezing to death and in the morning it turns out that the not-zombies are following them… despite having blown up the way to the surface. Okay, I’ll let that slide. Logically, there had to be more than one entrance.

Morpheus sacrifices himself to destroy a bridge and halt the oncoming horde and Is-that-Jared-Leto makes it back in time to see Paxton go full on crazy time. There is a moment here, where the person left in charge has Mr Crazypants at gunpoint and could easily end his decent into madness. What happens? Our hero stumbles into view and collapses. The interim-leader played by Charlotte Sullivan rushes over to see what’s wrong and gets a thump on the head for her troubles.

This is where I stopped watching. I had seen it all before and the fact that it was in snow wasn’t going to save it. I’m really tired of the crazy guy in these types of movies. The hint that someone recognized what was happening was just enough of a slap in the face for me to really hate the return to the same old trope. I don’t know how it ended. I paid $1.20 to rent it and I feel like I’ve been ripped off.

Verdict: Skip it.

It’s that time of the year for scary movies. Any suggestions or requests for horror movie reviews?

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Update

Sorry for the lack of posts. I’ve been working on a couple projects and haven’t had time for extra short stories or reviews. Life has also been kind of crazy as of late but that’s a story for a different blog.

In Project A the main character is about to repay a debt to an old friend. Project B finds the main character and her companion about to walk into a trap. All while I still catching up on my TV shows, video games, and other stuff that slips my mind right now… Oh, yeah. Parenthood.

I’m trying to weasel in watching Supernatural with my wife but it’s kind of hard with a very inquisitive toddler running about. On a side note ‘inquisitive’ should really have a ‘Z’ in it.

For no real reason, here is a picture:

A piece for the ages

Perhaps it is you who really wears the dino-hat.

Currently Reading:
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Last Book Completed:
The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Verdict: Bleh.

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My Windows Have Curtains

curtains

curtains (Photo credit: NoDivision)

My writing spot is positioned in the corner of the living room. There are two windows nearby, both with curtains drawn. I’m getting better at opening them during the day to let light in. My wife has made claims that I’m a caveman who hates the sun; which is mostly true. I grew up in the desert where the sun tried to kill you every day. Being in the North East where sunlight is at a premium and Vitamin D could traded for gas or bullets in the impending societal collapse, I have had to adjust.

The other reason I keep the curtains drawn is that I fear my neighbors wouldn’t understand what they see. When I write I can get rather animated. I’ll use my arms to hold imaginary things, I read aloud in multiple voices for my characters and when I get stuck I can pace around the room to act out the scene. This can either be a simple action like walking through a door or getting on the bus and turning to see someone unexpected. At other times I can be seen blocking out a fight scene in among the scattered toys.

These are tricks I’ve done as long as I can recall in building the scenes to my work. I didn’t have neighborhood friends when I was growing up, the location didn’t allow for it. The nearest kid my age was across a one-lane highway that 18-wheelers liked to thunder down; they used to rock the house so much that the movement would put me to sleep. What I lacked in friends I made up for in imagination… and a trampoline.

Countless fall and spring days were spent telling stories and having adventures on that wonderful deathtrap. Why only spring and fall? Three reasons:
1. Jumping during the winter was out of the question.
2. Shoes weren’t allowed.
3. I swear my feet smelled like hamburger if I jumped on it during the summer.

I found out in later years that my neighbors across the way and classmates who happened to drive by were rather amused to see me acting out whatever adventure I was on that day. Back then it was popping me into the plot of whatever show I watched that day (Mighty Morphing Power Rangers) to insert my OC. I still remember those stories. Looking back I’m a little proud of what I created. It wasn’t just some INSERT COLOR Ranger but an actual original character that just kind of interacted with them on occasion. My imagination has always been active and I’m proud to admit that even after ‘growing up’ it is still chugging along. It fuels my projects and stories turning a simple line of text into dialogue with an associated voice.

Why am I sharing this?
Simple. Without your imagination your writing stagnates. Sure, Google and coffee can help pound out a word count but a story that you love comes from that little voice your childhood lived by.

-Read your story aloud.
Not only will it help your flow but it will help give your characters a voice.

-Act out the scene.
Your movements can help your visualization.

-Look silly.
You’ve earned it and there’s always curtains.

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Coffee and the Creative Process

Dunkin Donuts logo

Dunkin Donuts logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the past three days I have been without coffee.

I’m a bit sluggish in my daily activities but Stress + Strong Coffee = Heartburn.

In those three days the average daily output is a little over 800 words. I’m not sure if they are the most inspired additions. Thanks to some great Soundtracks on Youtube I’m able to keep the gears going.

I do believe that coffee helps in the creative process and I know that I’m something of a caffeine addict so these last few days have been something of a shock. It leaves me wondering if my daily average word count would be a few hundred words higher with coffee. I’m beginning to weigh the pros and cons of heartburn vs productivity.

The situation isn’t helped by how amazing the coffee smells. I picked up a package of Dunkin Donuts Caramel Creme Cake flavored coffee. When I open the package I salivate slightly.

What’s the thought?
Coffee flavored inspiration vs free-form work.

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