The Year in Review

With 2010 coming to a close it’s time to look back at the last 365 days and reflect on all that I’ve accomplished.

1. I actually bought a bunch of bananas and ate them before they turned black and disgusting.

That’s about it.

I hate New Years.

SnOMG 2010

So it snowed here last night. A lot. Like a whole lot.

Here’s a picture of Columbus Avenue. I realize that not all of you are from this area, but oftentimes on avenues like this in New York you can see something known as “cars” driving around. Especially at 8 in the morning.

And speaking of cars. Who wants to play a quick game of “Spot the Car?”

Hint: it’s under the snow.

You know it’s bad when you see lunatics like this roaming around:

It snowed so much that it’s still snowing even after it’s stopped snowing. You think you’re in a peaceful snow-hushed landscape and then a gust comes down the street and you get pelted in the face with ice. Stupid wind.

Here’s a nice picturesque scene (ten seconds later this guy was pelted in the face with ice):

And, finally, I feel obligated to point out that my bodega is open. God bless those guys:

Happy Holidays

I went out this morning hoping to take some photos of the city at Christmas time but without snow and without wanting to walk down towards cursed Midtown I didn’t quite manage many holiday shots. Also I was up crazy early.

So instead I have moody, mid-winter pictures.

Which are also nice.

You can click on any for a larger view, as always.

And one shot with a little brightness.

If these look a bit familiar it’s because these are all from nearby my apartment and I’m sure I’ve shot some of these locations before. I sort of have a thing for taking similar shots at different times of the year. Like this.

So no holiday cheer for me this morning but a nice mellow batch of photos instead.

Hope everyone’s celebrations around the solstice are going well.

And now it’s time for egg nog…

Angry Birds Peace Treaty

Over the last weekend I somehow got roped into helping my mom set up her new iPad. I have no idea what transpires between thoughts in that woman’s head and the subsequent movement of her fingertips on a keyboard but it was one of the more astoundingly complicated processes I’ve gone through recently. And there’s only like ONE step in the process.

You plug it into your computer and then fill out the form that pops up via iTunes. Yes, we had to install iTunes first. And, yes, there were some agreements to accept and settings to tinker with. And, yes, those were hellish too. But there was a form in there consisting of four inputs: E-mail Address, Confirm E-mail Addresss, Password, Confirm Password. And it took about twenty minutes. The capslock constantly got switched on by accident, passwords got entered into email fields and for some reason my email got entered in at one point.

Utterly astounding.

However we did manage to get the thing set up and I downloaded the Angry Birds app for my mom to play. This was either a brilliant move on my part because my mom instantly took to the game and began to use her new present  constantly, or a terrible move on my part because my mom will never try anything else and is now thoroughly convinced that Apple has manufactured a $500 Angry Birds Device.

Anyway, I love that game and I wanted to make sure fans of it had seen this wonderful video:

Star Wars Everywhere

I’m not sure what’s going on recently but for some reason everywhere I turn I stumble onto something Star Wars. I think maybe that there’s a spike in Star Wars related links emailed around during the holidays. There’s always that one person you might want to send a geeky Star Wars gift to and then that sets you off on an internet search and then you’re emailing around, I don’t know, this t-shirt:

Or, maybe, this sleeping bag:

Or, maybe, this joke:

Q: How did Darth Vader know what Luke Skywalker got him for Christmas?

A: He felt his presents.

Even though those first two are available off the same site I actually wound up finding them for totally different reasons. Tauntaun is hard to spell. And I don’t even remember where I heard the joke first.

In the end it doesn’t matter. Those are all fine and good but when the words “Holiday” and “Star Wars” ring in my ears, there’s only one thing I want to see.

Yes. It’s time again to trot out The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Enjoy as you watch 30 minutes of wookies hooting at each other. Thank you, Mister Lucas, and God bless us everyone.

What is this strange feeling?

So last week I went into how I had scrapped an entire section of my first draft and that it was like a dirigible race. Which makes sense. The first thing I always think of when discussing writing is how to work in more blimp metaphors.

Back when I wrote that, way back on Thursday, it had seemed like I was very much in the midst of things. That my need to generate all new scenes and text would be continuing for a while longer.

Today, after getting my writing in, I took a quick peek forward to see when I might possibly slip back into my old draft. I was shocked to learn that I was maybe a scene or two away from rejoining my first draft.

That means I’m almost done with this crap and back to rewriting. And rewriting, compared to fleshing out brand new scenes, is SOOOO much easier and so much faster.

And that means I’m back to almost being done with this book.

How did that happen?

Granted, I’ve been, “almost done with this book,” for eons now, so I’m going to keep my damned fool mouth shut as far as hard dates go.

However I am tentatively looking forward to getting back to actual rewriting, touching up words and punching up dialog instead of crafting it fresh.

And that makes me happy.

Almost done with the dirigible race

Writing stories is, as I’ve mentioned a lot on here, a very weird proposition. It isn’t normal to assume that one can pause time, relocate people, drastically alter personalities and more or less play god whenever one wants. Even when I’m reading fiction I don’t usually think about how to change the plot of what I’m reading or want to see what a certain character might look like cast in a different role. It happens sometimes, mind you, usually while reading bad fiction, but for the most part when I’m in competent hands the story seems to be immortal, like something locked in place that couldn’t possibly have played out any differently.

I babble like this in order to explain the current kurfuffle going on in my book. I thought I was so close to wrapping this thing up when suddenly I got to the second to last section and decided, quite abruptly, that I wanted to screw around with it. Yes I just used the word kurfuffle. I wanted to screw around with my first draft and not in a simple, rewriting sort of way, but in a major overhaul sort of way.

A story is a journey, your characters are constantly moving forward, and even though there might not be an actual physical journey involved there is still movement through time and emotion until an end point is reached. And I had that all mapped out. Sort of like this helpful visual aid:

That’s the current section of my story. The road behind my characters are all the sections before it and the road after the bridge is the final section. And those pieces of unseen road, those other sections, all have landmarks and events and what have you of their own, butthe current section in my first draft happened to have a bridge to be crossed. Now in the normal course of rewrites I might get to this point and decide that the bridge is the wrong color or that it should be bigger or that it’s not a suspension bridge or whatever, but those are just minor fixes.

Instead what happened was I looked at the section and decided that I hated the bridge. All of it.

Which looked something like this:

Now the road after the bridge is just fine. It will need, naturally, it’s own minor tweaking, but I wasn’t in love with how I got there. So the whole thing went kablooie. The bridge (which is just a metaphor…not sure if I’ve gotten that across) wasn’t what was needed. It was boring and didn’t allow me to explore what needed exploring and it shunted some characters into weird roles that I thought were untrue.

But a dirigible? Now a dirigible race across that river, now there’s a good idea. Sort of like this:

The space still gets traversed but in a much more interesting way.

And so the entire section has been rewritten. It was a huge change and ate up far more time than I expected.

However, and here’s the good news, once I get that dirigible to the other side then I’m back on track with the original road. Which means the process speeds up again and we’ll be on the fast path to release. Which is something I am looking forward to greatly.

But  I wanted to explain the delay and assure you that this dirigible part is waaaaay better than the stupid bridge was.

Thank you.

Video Games Are Weird

While doing some Christmas browsing this week I wound up, as I usually do whenever I use the internet, wading hip-deep through some site’s archives plunging my hand into those murky waters to pull up fish both ludicrous and bizarre.

How’s that for metaphor?

I was poking around looking for video games so all of my fish were strange video games. How strange? I don’t know, that depends on if you’ve ever fantisized about running your own prison:

I’m vaguely torn here. Actually, no I’m not, because apparently it’s a horrible game, but if it were a well made game I might be torn. Over the course of my video game life I’ve done things like run zoos, movie studios and amusement parks. How much different would this be? House prisoners to earn cash from the state, right? Learn to manage security weighed again your prison population’s animalistic urge to riot if beaten too severely. Perhaps I earn upgrades like improved fire hoses and more thorough anal cavity searches?

Uhhh…yeah I’m no longer torn. Then again this is apparently the fourth game in this series. Well-played, reality. You win again.

Say, do you like eating?

Do you like eating a lot?

Oh yeah, this one has been a long time coming. Again, it’s apparently a horrible game so there isn’t a lot of wiggle room here and yet, again, I’m torn because I do sort of like watching that hot dog eating contest every year on the 4th of July. Surely the excitement of cramming beef into your craw could translate well into a video game? Hmm…on the other hand I’m usually bored before the hot dog eating contest is over and that only happens once a year. It’s okay though, apparently you earn power ups in this game that allow you to burp really loudly in your opponents face to distract him from his own eating. So I’m sure that innovative sort of game play could carry me through an entire campaign.

And now we come to the coup de grace. The piece de thing. The foreign sounding words whose meaning I only vaguely understand.

I’m actually sitting here giggling as I write this because this game is just too fucking absurd.

That’s just…I mean I can imagine the urge to appeal to a certain demographic with your video games. Selling to horny teenagers surely works for Hollywood, and a number of other games for that matter, so, yeah, sure. I get that. But this isn’t…I mean what the fuck is this? That cover art doesn’t exactly scream “Forbidden Erotic Delights!” It’s more like it’s screaming, “Physical Therapy Sometimes Involves Bare Skin!”

And the name isn’t helping. “Enjoy Your Massage?” Who’s giving the massage here? Part of me is dying to play this game because I’m half-convinced it’s a game where you have to lie there and enjoy a massage, racking up massive combo multipliers as you…lie there and enjoy a massage. This could be ground-breaking.

A brief look through the various reviews informed me that, sadly, you are the masseuse in this game and that you have to move your Wii-mote to do shit or something. It doesn’t matter, it’s a horrible game as well. But, again, that name just keeps leaping out at me and making me laugh hysterically. This is a crap game designed to be sold to people who want to use their Wii remote to caress digital women. “Enjoy Your Massage,” is not what you name a game like this. Try, I don’t know, “Bikini Massage Island,” or, “Hot Skin, Cool Hands.”

Fuck, even, “The Game Where You Use Your Wii-mote to Caress Digital Women,” would have been better than what they came up with.

A Shazam Interaction