Near as I can tell, I've always been that way.
Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon | TheMittani.com
In my last review, I talked about Atomic Robo, a fairly small-press, not-everyone’s-heard-about-it title. This time, let’s go the opposite route. Let’s talk about Marvel. Specifically, let’s talk about a story that really no one would have pegged as a winner, let alone the best title currently …
* – Should not actually be considered any kind of guarantee. At all.
Atomic Robo & the Fightin’ Scientists of Tesladyne | TheMittani.com
Let’s start with a quick questionnaire. Do you like: Buckaroo Banzai; Indiana Jones; Doc Savage; Hellboy (movie or comic); Science, especially when it is followed with an exclamation point or preceded by the words “violent,” “adventure,” or both; Nikola Tesla; Wisecracks; Beating up Nazis …
SO here’s a talk I had this morning:
Me: …the hell?
Me: You just exploded.
Website: Nuh uh.
Me: Yes. You did. You are still exploded, in fact.
Website: At least you noticed me.
Me: I’ve had a lot on my —
Website: I know. I know. Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Here… I’ll unexplode for you. Gratis.
Me: You don’t have to —
Website: It’s fine. It’s fine. Really. Just… it’s fine. You should finish up your job aps and the new coursework. I know it’s how you spend your mornings right now.
Website: *sigh* What?
Me: Well, the apps are in, the course is done — I’m writing this morning.
Website: Oh, on Adrift? I thought I saw something about that on your other site.
Me: My other…
Website: You know. The Twitter.
Me: The Twitter?
Website: Shut up.
Me: The Twitter? Who are you, Betty White?
Website: Maybe I am.
Me: What? What does that even mean?
Website: Nevermind. Shut up.
Me: Listen. *sigh* The reason I noticed you exploded is because I was going to write something with you.
Website: Pff. Sure.
Me: Really. Look, I got some pictures to go along with it.
Website: *glances sidelong* That’s a pretty random collection.
Me: It’s kind of a potpourri post.
Website: … thus marking the one and only time that “potpourri” will show up on your website.
Me: Well, two, now.
Website: Whatever. *rubs scalp with fingers* Grab-bag post, huh?
Me: If you like. I don’t have to if you —
Website: Just get over here and type.
Why Hello There
Yes, it’s been pretty quiet around here, but that’s only because it’s been really noisy everywhere else, and while I love me some oversharing, there’s a point at which the day to day slog of doing contract instructional design and job hunting gets a little banal, and that point is somewhere just before I ever start talking about it on the blog. I’ve been working out my schedule (which keeps changing), and the points during the day when I would normally write here have been swallowed by writing for other stuff.
That picture, by the way? That’s totally me — lots of tappity tappity tap, lots of phone calls, and a growing feeling that I’m having two conversations at once, all the time. I’m hoping that’ll pass.
Let’s see what else is going on…
The death of the paper book! Again!
There’s been a lot of very intelligent talking about books and writing and piracy lately, and while I’ve been keeping my eye on all of it, I haven’t jumped in because my feelings haven’t really changed, which means the music I’d be adding to those jam sessions isn’t substantively different than the stuff I’ve played before, and everyone’s already heard that.
I’ll tell you this for free: I agree with Konrath — the changes that are coming to publishing will, in the end, come from the rainmakers (the writers), not the people manufacturing buckets (huge props to Rob Donoghue for that analogy). I look around at our greatest living shamans today — the mightiest rainmakers — and I examine what they’re doing, and it looks a lot like someone marking a trail for others to follow. That Steven King dude? He’s training a LOT of readers to like ebooks. I’m just sayin’.
There’s a lot more to this conversation than just paper vs. plastic, but it is one of the sides to the dodecahedron, and I truly feel that electronic (self-?) publishing will be the thing that melts traditional publishing down to its composite goo, remoulds it, and forges it into something new in the next two decades.
I’m Done with Facebook
It’s not that I’m a particularly private person. It’s not that I think anything I post on facebook is that inherently valuable.
But it bothers the fuck out of me when someone takes any portion of me — any fraction of my anima — and sells it off like erection-inducing rhino horn powder to the nearest advertising megacorp. No. Not me. Not anymore.
It comes and goes, oscillating between “sea captain” and “gruff grandfather”. At some point in there, Kaylee decides that Daddy Don’t Get No More Lovin’ til the thing comes off, so off it comes. Wail, my brothers, but know that I will soon be with you again.
Hoping for a little tabletop Dragon Age this weekend, maybe even next weekend — two weeks in a row. That’ll be fun.
Still playing the FATE-based Diaspora, and it’s good. It’s probably the best FATE iteration I’ve played, but I suspect that’s only because I haven’t played Dresden Files yet. It’s good – don’t get me wrong, it’s damn good – but it’s good in the way that reading Ekaterina Sedia is good: you simply cannot shake the sense that the authors are not communicating with you in their mother tongue. The Diaspora guys speak FATE fluently, but one gets the sense that they’ll never be wholly comfortable within it.
On the computer front, Kate and I are still really enjoying, of all things, Wizard 101. Enough so that we’re playing when we don’t “have to” with Kaylee, and have a pair that we’ve taken well ahead of the trio we play with our youngest gaming partner. It’s good times, and frankly it’s a good game. I even like the dueling arena, which gets back to the game’s MtG/Pokemon deck-dueling roots in a way that I find very satisfying, even when I’m getting my ass kicked.
Also? Teaming up to play a game with my daughter? Awesome.
Back in Middle Earth
We’re not spending a ton of time in Lord of the Rings Online at the moment, due to our Wizard 101 binge…
… but I’m getting my fix all the same.
Kaylee and I are reading The Hobbit. By my best reckoning, this marks the realization of a personal dream probably 20 years in the making, and I am very very happy about it.
The dwarves are stuck in the barrels now, floating down to Laketown. Bilbo has a cold.
Kaylee keeps telling me that none of this would have happened if they’d stayed on the path, like Gandalf said.
Sooth, child. You speak sooth.
In the Meantime
I write. I’m coming to the tail-end of my contract work, and I’m taking the opportunity to let go of my job-search stress and use the time to find out what I can do when I’m not cramming my writing time in wherever it will fit, like mortar between boredom bricks. It’s a bit scary, and more than a little stressful, but the words keep moving from my fingers to the screen, and some of them really make me happy, and there are so many many worse things than that.
I’ll talk to you soon.
This jumped straight to the top of my “stuff I can justify buying for some good reason, while secretly preparing for the zombie outbreak” list.
My new Asus eeePC 1000he netbook makes me pretty happy. It took me a little more than a year to talk myself into it, and waiting that long meant that I got a 10-inch screen, much-improved keyboard, and a purported 8+ hours of battery life (YMMV) for about 75% of what I would have ended up paying for a lesser machine in 2008.
While cleaning the bloatware from the netbook (which I’ve named “The FMA” until I think of something better), I dug about for the tools I wanted to turn the thing into an open source/freeware writing machine. OpenOffice was a no-brainer for word processing and MS-Office-friendly output, but I MUST bring your attention to Write Monkey.
Write Monkey is a full-screen … I was going to say “word processor”, but it’s both more (a writer’s tool) and less (a text editor). The creator promises a distraction-free writing experience, and that’s what you get: just you and the words on a black screen. Word count display is optional, as is a “Write or Die” timer. It has a few nice options hidden in the background that I’m not going to spoil, and an all-keyboard-commands style of interface that I absolutely love; I wrote my first stories on ProWrite 2.0 for DOS 3.1, and this this feels like coming home. (It also has a solid “export to doc format” function that works quite well.)
My current favorite part? The Repository screen, where you can hide all the bits you haven’t found a place for in the story, yet. Brilliant.
What else did I put on there? A bunch of game-rules PDFs, VLC Portable, bookmarks to Slacker Radio and Graham Walmsley’s Very Fine Dice Roller, and I’m pretty much good to go for everything I’d want to do with the thing. (Full disclosure: I also put LotRO on it, just to see if it would run. It did, and the less said (or done) about that, the better.)
Anyone else have a software app they think the whole world should be using? Lemme know: I have tons of free space and a strong desire to tinker. (Note to self: figure out why you can’t boot to the eeebuntu thumbdrive. :P)
For those of you wondering how that Primetime Adventures session of ‘stories you play’ went, I talk about it over here: Primetime Adventures Pitch Session: Apocalypse Fairies!
I’ve been a bit periscope-down for the last week or so, but I thought I’d pop in for just a moment before my students show up and muse on a game I’m starting up this evening. I don’t normally talk about my gaming on this blog (saving that for Random Average), but in this case, I thought it was relevant.
The game is Primetime Adventures – a story-game that’s designed to simulate the ebbs and flows of (mostly) genre television melodrama, best exemplified by shows like Buffy, Alias, Six Feet Under, Chuck, Heroes, Lost, and things of that nature.
Tonight we will have the Pitch Session, in which participants will propose various show ideas which we will then shoot down or hammer on until we have a concept for a television show we rather like – at which point in time we proceed to make up the protagonists for the show and figure out the basic flow the story arcs and the character issues and all that good stuff that we’ll explore for the next five or six game sessions.
The television metaphor is a powerful one, and leads to some good concepts, many of which are inspired by the basic idea “this is something I think would make awesome television, but which no one IN television would ever have the balls to make.” Maybe it’s faerie-invaded Edwardian England, or ghost hunting noir, or undead-fighting kung-fu holy warriors, or everyman robot-overlord survival horror. Could be anything, really.
I don’t have any ideas.
Rather, I have about a hundred ideas, none of which are stepping forward and shouting “pick me, hone me, LOVE ME” the way I always expect they should do — the way that actual quality television or stories do.
In fact, what I’m feeling right now is pretty much what I feel every time I’m about to start a new writing project for which I only have a kinda-sorta idea. It’s a good place to be, and kind of a rotten place to be all at once. When all you have is a blank page and no constraints, you can get a little paralyzed.
I can hardly wait to get started. I’ll let you know what we come up with.