Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nanowrimo.

Short version?  Not doing it.  Not that I won't be writing, but I won't be focusing my efforts on a totally new story that I'll start just for the month of November.

Instead, I'll keep doing what I've been doing, which is not pile up a load of fluffy bullshit for the purposes of meeting an arbitrarily defined wordcount goal.

Nope.  No Nanowrimo this year.  It'll just be me, writing the stories I want to write as I want to write them.  The real goal is a first draft of a manuscript done by January 1.

I have three different novels going at the moment, though my focus is currently on the one I'm calling "Apex", though I'm also debating different titles.

I will almost certainly change the title before I submit to publishers.

Stylistically, it's similar to World War Z, in that it's a collection of interviews from the perspective of different characters.  I'm writing it this way because the impact of the events of the story on the characters is actually of more importance than the events themselves.

It's great to know exactly how one character dealt with a problem, but it's more effective as a storytelling mechanism to understand how it affected that character.

In the case of "Crazies", I'm writing it more as a journal from the point of view of one man trying to survive a quiet apocalyptic event.  I say quiet because it's essentially just the rapid dying-off of about 99% of the human population.  His journal starts in the middle of the die-off, but quickly moves towards his actions in surviving and attempting to rebuild afterwards.

"Hyperion Dawn" is being written as an epic narrative, though I confess I'm finding myself lost in the details and am having difficulties moving the overall story forward.  Despite having written close to 25,000 words in that one, I may have to start over with a more structured outline of the separate stories and weave them together.

This has been a completely random post for no reason other than to lay out my own thoughts about my writing as it stands.

Special thanks to my cousin for tolerating my e-mailed barrages of segments of my writing.  If she's awake, there's a chance she's got yet another e-mail with yet another piece of the story.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Common-law Marriage

Let's sling some bull.

I work in an industry where my customers' marital status is an important piece of information.

Now. Some years ago, nevermind when, the idea of "common-law marriage" came about. Through legislation and court cases, the concept evolved to what it is now.

There seems to be a huge misconception about what it is and how it happens.

My favorite response when I ask for a customer's marital status is "we're common-law married."

Why?

Because I get to shatter some fantasies with a blunt object of truth. 

People believe that common-law marriage requires only that you've lived with your "spouse" for a set amount of time. The average time span I hear is six months to one year, though I've had people insist they were married after four weeks.

This.
Is.
FALSE.

While it may sound a romantic notion for those people who can't afford the wedding they want or are otherwise blocked from actually getting legally married, it's not at all enough.

For a common-law marriage to be in place, you must present yourself as a married couple to the government in an official status.  That is to say, you have to file taxes as married, apply for government assistance as married, or in some way advise the government that you are married.

This makes my cynicism go into active mode when I have to explain to people that they are not married in the eyes of the law.

For fuck's sake, if you think it's as easy as living together for six months, doesn't that completely negate the entire point of the marriage itself? An actual marriage ceremony requires a commitment to your spouse with witnesses to validate that commitment.

Any pair of assholes can shack up.

So, please, stop telling people you're common-law married. Because more likely than not, you're just an idiot.

Hype out. *drops mic*

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

College-bound

Some years back (never mind how many) I made the decision to withdraw from college and join the work force.

Last week, I returned to my old school and found two things to be in my favor. First, being thirty is not all that uncommon these days.  There are clubs and groups for us old geezers. Support. We can shake canes and bitch about these youngsters with their smartphones and campus-wide WiFi and eTextbooks.

Second, I learned that all my credits are still valid. This means that I can conceivably complete my bachelor's degree by the end of 2015.

Which would be frickin' awesome.

I've scaled back at work. I'll be part-time after next week, which will allow me to focus more on school during the week.

All in all, I think I've made good choices. Over a year smoke free, all my debts wiped out (except for the student loans I just loaded up on like a junkie), and back in school.

I'm doing okay.

Next step, degree, then a new job with chemicals and lab coats and goggles.

Gotta have goggles. For the mad scientist look.

After the job, it's.... what? Grown-up life, I guess.

Kids, if you ever look at an adult remember this. They're winging it, just like you. They've just had more practice in bullshitting. So you can't tell.

Seriously.

We adults have no fucking clue.

But I'm seriously thrilled to be figuring it out once again.

....

I seriously gotta find some goggles.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Validation Whoring

Facebook.

That place you go because you want to keep in touch with family.

Even a few friends.

But then, occasionally, one of them likes or shares a post that starts with that delightful phrase, "Can we get some likes for..." and you know it's going downhill from there.

It's bullshit.

Of course I like that those kids with prosthetic legs are running a foot race.  That's awesome and I applaud their effort.

But I'm not clicking like because you blatantly asked me to do just that. You haven't said anything of value. You've said "acknowledge that I, the administration of this particular Facebook page in the endless morass of banality, have posted a picture of something impressive."

Now, if you had said something like "Hey, these kids are awesome, here's a link to donate a few bucks to improve the program and get more kids prosthetics", I'd like it, share it, and probably donate something to the cause.

But the absurdity of "Is this good enough to get a hundred thousand likes?" is just insane. It's reminiscent of Reddit's "Any love for ______?" that I also can't stand. Of course a website with millions of users will have a group that appreciate your rainbow-dyed hairstyle. You're a dumbass for actually thinking there's a chance that you are truly so unique.

And since nobody can truly believe that they and they alone are the sole proprietors of "Enjoyment of Rainbow Hair", that leads us to the conclusion that they're seriously just begging strangers for validation.

So while I may use Facebook to keep in touch with my family, I also spend more time than I'd like to admit blocking stupid crap.

Also, I'm pretty sure Jesus doesn't give a damn if I've liked a Facebook page mentioning that he exists. I'm pretty sure any diety worth believing in would be more concerned about whether or not I'm being an asshole.

Monday, July 21, 2014

... And the times, they are a-changin'

I know this blog hasn't really been about World of Warcraft in a very long time.  I think my real enjoyment of WoW vanished right around the time I moved to Texas.  I mean, that was two years ago.  In that time, I think I've played maybe a month or two, at most?

Most of the blogs I used to follow have also gone silent.  Some of the ones I'd see an update from on the daily have been dormant for over a year now.

What happened to WoW?

I'll tell ya.

It got simultaneously too easy (1-90 is insanely simple now), too complex (but you still have to level four million other things to be "viable"), and entirely too big (to actually accomplish everything is borderline psychotic).

Let's break it down a bit.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Florida Shark Punching

Misleading title aside, I spent the weekend in Florida for my brother's bachelor party.

Now now, before anyone goes off thinking we spent the weekend doing shots off of hookers or something, let me tell you.

My brother wanted to go fishing for his bachelor party.

Fishing.

Not strip clubs, recreating The Hangover, or any of the usual hazing stuff you hear about. Nope. It was beers and fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

We hit the boat on Saturday morning at six. This is scientifically referred to as "the asscrack of dawn". I quickly accepted that i was going to be soaked by the spray of the ocean.

I should clarify. The boat was small, the waves were big, and the captain saw dollars over safety.

Awesome?

Abso-freakin'-lutely.

Anywho. Five minutes out of the harbor, we're bouncing out of the water and catching air under the hull of this fishing boat.

Most of the guys were either in the cabin being bashed against the walls and windows or they were on the deck watching our wake and rediscovering their respective religions.

I decided to pretend I was a viking.

Why?

Because if you pretend you're a viking and face the oncoming seas head-on, you can see the big waves coming and ride them out with a little bending of the knees.

In that respect, my calves feel ironclad this afternoon.

Eight of us went out yesterday.

Seven of us hurled our guts out over the rails. I managed to hold out to the sixth hour, but at the cost of pretty much falling asleep in the middle of the deck right after.

Seriously, take my advice... when you eat breakfast before fishing, choose something bread-like or cake-like or not-a-breakfast-burrito-made-the-night-before.

Okay. Fishing. Right.

Bait fishing first. We dropped three- and four-hook lines off the back of the boat, hit the bottom, reeled them in, and were dumping six-inch fish in the bucket as fast as we could get the rods to the deckhands.

That was 45 minutes into what was to be a ten hour tour (a teeeeen hour toooouuuuur).  After that, it was vomiting time all the way out. Once we got into the fish, we started the real fun.

We were bringing up mostly vermillion snapper, and the currents we were dealing with (remember, the boat's way too small and the waves were way too big) had us cycling around the deck, hoping for a bite before we had to reel in and reset on the other side.

We honestly didn't catch too many fish. But I had a couple that stuck out in my mind. The first was an amberjack that gave me the best workout of my life. Even now, the day after, my arms are still burning. But I got him up.

He was about twenty or twenty-five pounds, but I had to throw him back. Amberjacks aren't in season, apparently.

Still. It was a good fight, worthy of a pretend-viking.

The next fish is my story, though. The one everybody who fishes tells their family.  I dropped my line and was waiting, when I got a pretty solid bite. I mean "You better be awake up there, because I'm taking your arm as a trophy" type fish bite.

It was a snapper. A big 'un. We were fighting hard. I was letting him run out, then pulling him back. We did this for several minutes before there was a sudden jerk on the line. I mean HARD. I planted my feet and wedged my knees under the ledge at the rail.

I felt the adrenaline start burning. Muscles like acid, friends. Muscles. Like. Acid.

I fought and pulled and finally, the line went slack. The sudden release made me think I'd just lost my fish.

I reeled in the line, and as it neared the surface, Billy the Deckhand said "You just fought a shark!"

My snapper broke the water and I saw the clean 9-inch wide bite taken out of his back.

I got him on deck, dropped the rod, and blew chunks over the back.

The adrenaline apparently can do that.

So, now I get to say I fought with a shark over a fish (I had it first!).

All in all, the weekend was pretty kick ass. Seasickness aside, I think we all had a blast.

I know I did.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

On Identifiers

Howdy.  It's been a while, I know. I haven't died, I've just been busy.

Anywho...

So, earlier today I came across a comment on a picture that got me thinking. It was in reference to the LGBT community defines itself and its members by their sexuality. The comment suggested that they should not use sexuality as their identifier if they wish to be given credibility in their fight.

Quick side note: I am in full support of equal rights.

Back to the main topic. The idea that the "gay community should not not use their sexuality as their identity" is laughable. Allow me to explain.

Rights are denied them based on this single identifier. Therefore, in the fight to have those rights, they must, by necessity, embrace this identifier.  If that single factor of their identity is the only reason given by those in power to deny them the same rights others enjoy, then it stands to reason that the very same factor must be the most important factor.

Allow me to explain by using a different example entirely.

Let us pretend that an individual has religion A, skin color B, hobbies C through J, and Occupation K.

If those in power stated that everyone with Hobby E is to be denied rights afforded everyone else, the other letters are irrelevant to the identity of this person as it pertains to that issue.  This is not to say that their identity is solely defined by the letter E in general, but specifically in this issue.

In this way, if people feel sexuality should not be such an important identifier, they shouldn't be trying to use that sexuality as a justification for willful and prolonged inequality.

In closing, whenever you find yourself thinking that an individual is using their sexuality as the primary identifier for themselves, try to remember that it wasn't their decision, but the decision of those on the other side of their fight.