Category Archives: Rant

Kid Movies

As a parent I have the pleasure of watching a lot of movies aimed at kids. Sometimes it’s the same movie repeatedly. I don’t mind, most of the time, and I understand. There are movies that to this day I can repeat verbatim because I watched them so much as a kid. The problem I’m finding is that my wife and I like to discuss the movies.  We try to rationalize the world they are set in and fill in the holes. It can be fun. There is one movie though that annoys the hell out of me.

Bolt.

For those who don’t know, it’s a movie about a dog who doesn’t know it’s an actor. It thinks that it really is a superpowered dog who has to protect his person. Things go wacky when Bolt escapes to find his person.

Sounds fun right?

Considering the people who made it know how movies work, it isn’t. Ignoring the multiple animal cruelty laws they would break every time the camera rolls and the fact that Bolt somehow survives being locked in a box filled with packing peanuts & shipped from Hollywood to NYC, it is completely it still has plenty of problems. The movie opens with an action scene that spans a city. It’s quickly revealed that it was a set and all the cars were props. Everything about it was setup, even the backdrop is fake. The punchline of the joke is that the shot is ruined by a boom-mic poking into the scene.

My daughter has rediscovered her love of this movie & it’s back in rotation. I’m tempted to steal a page from my parents book & just have it disappear.

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Simplifying Shadowrun

Shadowrun is an awesome setting. The amount of world-building that the source material contains is amazing. I love the cyberpunk fantasy and I’ve loved it since I discovered it years ago. The problem being that the rules have always held me back from learning it. Fifth Edition is the first ruleset that I’ve actually got my hands on. With access to a Virtual Tabletop I finally have the chance to play the game.

That being said, it’s freaking complicated. I’ve tried to read the book a number of times, but it’s put together horribly. After watching a few Youtube Tutorials and Play-Sessions I’m still lost.

This leads me to my current option: Simplify Shadowrun.

D&D 5e is a wonderfully streamline compared to the 3.5 I learned in the past. Compared to Shadowrun it’s a freaking bullet-train. There has been a bit of pushback from the community at the thought. I’ve been told that D&D can’t run the ‘complicated mechanics’ of Shadowrun.

Astral Projection, decking, rigging, and combat that is always deadly. Wow, yeah, there’s no way that a fantasy RPG can’t get those things to work.

Deckers (1980’s Hacker who plug their consciousness into a matrix) could be adapted from Wizards. Swap the flavor text for tech rather than magic, change a few things around, and that’s setup.

Astral Projection is laughable. Spirit form =/= air elemental, but it’s close enough to Druidic stuff to make a the conversion.

Rigging controls drones, vehicles, and turrets. Wow, if only the Range-Beastmaster class made that jump laughable.

http://themurdernerds.com/ Has made some steps into their own efforts. I’m planning on tossing that work in a sack & doing my best to push ahead. Here’s hoping I can get the formatting right to post.

 

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Personal Rant- Today

This is a post about my personal life. Nothing about creative writing, short stories, or anything along those lines. Hope things went well for you, dear reader. Sometimes one good day can make all the difference.

For over a year now I’ve been on medication for Bi-Polar. It’s not something I’m ashamed of, but it’s not exactly something that I tell everyone I meet. Most of my life I thought I had depression, but after talking with my GP he thought it was closer to Bi-Polar and started treating it. He put in a request to talk to people who actually specialize in mental stuff and last week i finally got in. They’re a bit busy >.<

After talking to this doc she thinks I don’t have Bi-Polar. From what I said and the things she has experienced, she thinks I’m closer to anxiety, depression, and OCD. The first two didn’t really shock me much, but the OCD thing wasn’t something I expected at all. The more we spoke what she said made sense. Today is the first day I’ve taken my new medication. Yesterday was my daughters birthday and I didn’t want to be… off.

I’m glad I waited. The doc said that it would take a while for things to kick in, but I am so tired. It’s funny because the anti-anxiety and OCD medication has a tendency to make people with bi-polar to go into a manic episode.

I’ve got a little conflict going on in my head now. Not due to the medication, just a couple of thoughts that are tussling in my gray matter. I’m worried that my creative processes will halt once the medication starts really working. What if my ‘obsessive thoughts’ drive my stories? I love writing, if I had to choose between being sane and writing, I honestly don’t know what how that’d play out. Sounds bad, right? It’s just, I love writing and I’ve finally gotten to a point in my life where I’m confident about it.

The other thought is that on this medication I might be able to get things done a lot faster. What if I’m able to knock out a story a lot faster without obsessive thoughts bogging down the process? That would be awesome. Get two or three books a year done and send them down the line. Even if I put them out on Kindle Direct it would still be something.

Three weeks until my next appointment. I guess I’ll see how that goes.

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Inspiration From Life

There are times when perfect lines for a story pop up in daily life. Rarely, do they fit what I’m working on, but I like to take note of them for later use. Today another one dropped in my lap.

The first line that I thought was worth keeping was when I was a teenager. I wasn’t sleeping well, and would often wake up multiple times a night. This was great for remembering dreams, but not so good for getting rest. The dream sticks with me to this day:
I was walking in a field on a bright autumn day. A few fluffy clouds dotted the sky. As I walked I looked up and spoke.
“God, what’s the meaning of life?”
To my surprise, God answered.
“Well, Scott, that’s simple. Bananas, socks, and underwear.”
I looked up at the clouds with my mouth agape. “Really?”
“Yes.”
“Wow.”

I woke up and for about thirty seconds I was secure in the fact that I knew the meaning of life. Not sure how I’m going to fit that into a story ever, but I like it. This was also around the time that I’d occasionally sleep walk and had myself convinced for a few hours that I could fly.

The second line happened a few years later while I was in college. I had taken a graded gym class to make myself get healthier. One day while we were running the track one of my classmates said:
“My kidneys can’t tell the different between cheap beer and whiskey.”

It sounded like a line out of a pulp detective novel. I’ve used it a couple of times in short stories. Someone once pointed out to me that it didn’t make sense, but I love it.

The third line, the one that happened today, is one of those that I’m not sure where it will go. I’ve been slowly reading John Dies at the End, so when this popped into my head my mind went somewhere weird. The line:
My hands smell like gasoline. I didn’t get gas today.

For those of you unfamiliar with John Dies at the End, it’s this trippy story where lost time and strange things are pretty normal. I’m about 270 pages into it and I’ve been working on reading it a little at a time. It’s on my Kindle and save that for waiting rooms.

That’s all for now. A few good lines. Not sure what I’ll use them for.

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The Walking Dead

Many times I’ve attempted to watch & read The Walking Dead. My first exposure to it was the comics, but I didn’t keep up with it. When I heard the show was coming out I watched most of the first season before I was distracted with other things. I didn’t think about it much, but a trip to the hospital on a day where the only thing worth watching in the waiting room was a marathon of seasons 1-3, I decided to give it another shot.

It didn’t last long.

I do not like The Walking Dead. Mostly the show, but also the comic.

My main issue comes in the form of the main character, Rick Grimes. In the show he is the catalyst to screw everything up for the group. He attracts the horde in the city, he leads them to the building, the car they use as a distraction leads the zombies to the campsite, and the survivors that could have helped in the attack were with him in the city when it happened.

It annoyed me how the relationship was handled between Shane and Lori. They went through a lot together, everyone thought Rick was dead, and yet they just hide it all and cause a bunch of trouble. Sure, Lori was written as a useless character, but Shane was the one who held everything together until Rick got there. If Shane respected Rick so much, which apparently he does because he just hands control of the group over to him even though Rick has no idea how to survive in the world, he would have taken Rick somewhere away from the others and told him what happened.
“Hey. I tried to get your out of the hospital, but I couldn’t. We all thought you were dead. I did my best to keep your family alive, and well, while doing that something happened between me and Lori.”

But where’s the drama if that’s addressed? There’s still plenty of drama. Shane’s confession could tear Lori and Rick apart, since they were already on the outs it isn’t a that hard to do, and the tension between the three of them would drive things. Rick confronts Lori, Lori confronts Shane, Carl hears it all and runs off. Shane and Rick go after him while Lori has one of her legendary useless stretches. Shane finds Carl and brings him back, not before taking out a couple of walkers, and Rick forgives him. Lori has to decide if she wants to patch it up with Rick, since things before were on the outs, or if she wants to pursue things with Shane without hiding it.

Character development! Relationships! Emotional investment! And that’s not even the mid-season finale of season one.

Season two… everyone knows it sucked. The show just dragged, the budget was slashed, and the entire run could have been cut to four episodes without losing much. Shane going crazy, the drawn-out search for Sofia, and bad writing all around made it a chore to watch.

Season three. First issue, Rick tosses out the dog food. Dude. It’s canned dog food. Put that in a pot with some water, butcher up the owl from upstairs and you’ve got some hearty soup. The main ingredient in most dog food is corn. You just ruined a meal that everyone could have eaten. Second issue, Andrea. After they killed Lori off, which they tried to make important by writing her decent for half an episode, they needed someone else to be dangerously stupid. I don’t blame the actress, I blame the writers and the directors. Actors and actresses can only do so much with what they are given. The Governor was pointlessly insane, but I felt that about the comic too.

I stopped watching at this point. They cleared out the prison, the Governor was setup as the bad guy, and I just didn’t care. It lost it’s appeal after slogging through season two and watching season one slowly circle the drain.

There, I’ve said it. I don’t like AMC The Walking Dead. I don’t intend on watching it. The game was cool, like a ‘choose your own adventure’ without any real point to the choices, but cool and I look forward to the third installment. I will check out the spin-off TV series in hopes that it doesn’t fall to the same junk the original did. It can’t be any worse than Z-Nation. What a piece of crap that is.

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Idea Rambling

For a couple of months I was on a dystopian kick, but that got depressing and the topic was kind of crowded. Zombies and nuclear war are the two gorillas in that fight. Neither really interest me. Hypothetically, I’d like to write my own zombie novel that would address things that I find annoying, but I just can’t get into it. It was cool a while ago, but like I said, it’s a crowded subject. Nuclear war doesn’t interest me as the options are stark, depressing reality or complete fantasy. Giant mutate monsters and survivors wearing leather, or fallout shelters where people fight to the death of the last can of beans. Wow, that sounds like a fun story to write.

Basically, the train of thought led me to realize that people would rebuild. The world wouldn’t pop back to normal, but there would people out there making their corner of the world something better. Rebuilding, constructing a new society, I like that idea. Instead of wallowing in the muck that is the collapse, the story would focus on the world as it’s put back together. Granted, they wouldn’t be back up to browsing Imgur for hours a day yet, but they’d have some things in order. Tight-knit farming communities, walled in towns, trading caravans, and stuff like that.

It really lends itself as a sandbox because so much can be done with it.

On another topic: I’ve started reading The Witcher Series by Andrzej Sapkowski. It’s ‘low fantasy’ with roots in Faerie Tales rather than another reboot of Tolkien. I enjoy fantasy and mixing in the faerie tale stuff really hooks my interest, I’m a sucker for that stuff. Witchers are basically monster hunters that travel the land taking care of problems. They’re mutated by magic and alchemy to be more than human and because of this people are unfriendly to them unless there’s a monster that needs taken care of. The Last Wish is a series of short stories that gives history to the main characters and sets the world for the novels.

I’d suggest checking it out if you like fantasy.

That being said, I would love it if anyone has some good non-European inspired fantasy books to suggest. There was one book I was looking into, I don’t remember the authors name or the books, but it started with extensive torture and didn’t really make me want to continue reading. Suggestions are welcome.

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Currently…

Right now I’ve got 3 projects that I’m working on. Two are YA/Teen and one is a fun personal project.

I’m not sure how often i’ll update with short stories. One of the projects will be an online thing for here and on Wattpad, but I’m updating them as I have content. It might be a bit slower, but it means that I’m not going to get stuck in a lurch once the updating starts.

I read somewhere that if you’re thinking about starting an online web-comic then you should have three months of comics in the wings. That way you’ve got a buffer, and your readers aren’t left waiting for an update.

That sounds like a solid plan. I’ve got one chapter written, I’ll do two more before I post it.

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