I hate packing.

 Suitcase

I don’t understand how I can spend a good hour carefully putting things into a suitcase, but three milliseconds after I zip it up I’ve forgotten entirely what I’ve packed.  Nor do I understand why I bother counting how many days a trip is going to last for when I just end up throwing every t-shirt I own into my bag.  And I really don’t understand why I get all nervous about forgetting something when I’ve forgotten something every single time I’ve traveled and I always simply buy a new whatever it was when I get there.  You’d think I’d realize by now that I’m almost better off forgetting everything and starting anew at my location.

I’m off until Sunday.  The story is all set to post and I might decide to write something to go off on Friday as well.  Also there will be two countdown timers for a day and a half.  Trust me.  It’s just easier that way.

Consider me unplugged.

My usual pre-deadline blather.

Can

Keep in mind that my deadline is now tomorrow night because I’ll be out of town starting Wednesday morning.  So all the nonsense gets pushed up by a day.

While I’m gone if you leave a comment and haven’t done so before your comment won’t show up for awhile.  I have to approve first timer’s comments and I won’t get a chance to do that until I get back.  I have to approve you because I already get a ton of spam comments here and making sure you’re for real the first time you comment seems the easiest way to keep spam at a minimum.   Today I had four spam comments.  Two were for “Uneven Parallel Bars,” one was for “The Best Reclining Chair,” and another was for an online pharmacy.

I can understand the pharmacy, and the myriad of sex related spam I get most other days, but uneven bars?  A reclining chair? Granted, I’m not entirely sure I’m reading them right.  A lot of them are just gibberish and I think they expect me to let the comment onto my site and then they expect you to click on the name they give, thinking it’s a real person, and wind up at their site.  I’m pretty sure that’s their game most of the time.  Some of them, though, almost get by me because they sort of sound like real people.

For that matter, is there even a difference to me between a person commenting on a story and a spam virus propagating itself by commenting on a story while sounding as much like a person as possible?

I should probably go to bed now.

It’s an engineering marvel, it is.

Submarine

Yet another reminder to go listen to the song “Skullcrusher Mountain” over at Jonathon Coulton’s site. It’s here. Third song down. Click the little play button. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back a few posts and catch up.

I should have a first draft done by tonight. This is probably the most fun I’ve had yet writing a story. There’s a world of difference between creating your own reality and borrowing someone else’s and playing with it, tweaking things here and there, to come up with a slightly new story. I can see why nobody in Hollywood ever bothers creating anything new. Plus it was rather entertaining coming up with names for a golden submarine (that always sounds vaguely pornographic whenever I type it). I’m not completely thrilled with my current choice, but the process on the whole had me chuckling at my desk.

Anyway, I’m going to go back to work.

Gobble gobble? Gobble…gobble. Gobble.

Turkey

Woo-hoo! I get the day off tomorrow! No posts until Sunday. By which point I’d like to have the first draft of the current story done. If you haven’t listened to Skulcrusher Mountain…then I hate you? Go here and do so, or go here and watch a fan-created World of Warcraft based video. Don’t cost nothin’.

And while you’re listening, just for kicks, try and come up with a short story to write based on the song. Or, you know, you don’t have to write it, just what story would you tell? There’s a lot of choices to be had. A lot of decisions to be made. A lot of probability curves to be collapsed. For now we’ll focus on the details. God is, apparently, in them. The devil is in them as well. Also, sometimes there’s a guy named Herb in them.

It was, after all, the details of this song that were the biggest drawing point for me. It’s hard not to want to write a story and play around with them. I’ve already mentioned a few, but by now you’ve listened to the song as well. How many stuck with you? For me there is, of course, the half-monkey half-pony. That’s a given. There’s the golden submarine. The Doomsday Squad is wonderfully intriguing. They’re not merely henchman, they seem on a different level. Not necessarily higher, just different. And then there’s Scarface. But we’ll come back to him.

On top of all the visual details I keep noting more and more the constant advance and retreat of the guy’s courtship/politeness/sanity. He moves from romantic gesture to “Oh yeah? Well to hell with you too!” at least four different times throughout the song. And, of course, the voices inside his head. Although to be fair they’re telling him not to kill her.

Ah, young love.

On the whole, this is a very weird experience.

Mad Scientist

Have you given it a listen? For those of you with no idea what I’m talking about, my next story will be based on a song by Jonathan Coulton called Skullcrusher Mountain. Go here. It’s the third song down in the “Most Popular” list.

For some idea of why I chose this look at yesterday’s post.

Now. Again. Have you given it a listen? Remember you get to share the inspiration material with me. That song is going to turn into Epp, or nights at the Jersey shore, or an eighty year old hit man. I mean, I’m not saying that I’m going to alter things drastically. My story will use the characters, setting, and basic plot that’s given in the song. What I’m saying is that you’re going to see something very “me” come out of something that isn’t me. You’ll understand in a week. Just stick around.

Okay, so at first listen what you probably noticed is that the song is strangely touching. This is fairly trademark of Mr. Coulton. Strangely touching. Touching strangely. The song’s got heart and I find myself identifying pretty easily with the unnamed evil genius who’s telling this tale. He’s human. In fact, he’s quite sympathetic. Endearing even. You get the sense that he’s not a bad guy, he’s just very very very out of touch. I even feel bad now for constantly referring to him as an evil genius. Not that that’s going to stop.

A favorite moment of insight for me comes with the half-monkey half-pony which our guy gives as a gift to his crush/captor. The hope in his voice is touching. Clearly he thinks this is really going to win the girl over. Then we get my favorite line. “But I get the feeling that you don’t like it. What’s with all the screaming?” Never fails to make me chuckle. This gift is attempting to bridge some very serious cultural divides. Our guy has no idea what’s gone wrong. It’s like if you were to bake a double fudge chocolate cake for someone as a housewarming gift, only it turns out they’re diabetic. You’d get a very opposite reaction from what you expected, most likely a little talk about how consuming said cake could cause your neighbor to start losing appendages, maybe some huffiness at your ignorance, maybe some polite deflecting on their part to try and minimize your cake faux pas. It would then take a very special brand of obliviousness on your end to ingest this information and take nothing away from it but the thought that maybe things went wrong because you used the wrong kind of icing. That’s exactly what this guy does. His gift is a failure of colossal proportions, his target of woo is now running around screaming, yet at no point does the gift itself come into question. He never doubts for a second that Love of Ponies + Love of Monkeys = Love of Reanimated Pony and Monkey Corpses. Instead he questions his recipe. “Maybe I used too many monkeys.”

What we have here via bumbling confusing is a very clear indication of vulnerable humanity…in a man casually trying to destroy the world.

Very writable.

Okay, this is getting to be a very long post so I’ll leave off here and pick up tomorrow. If you haven’t listened yet, go here and do so. And while you’re doing so, give some thought to what short story you’d tell based on this song.

Something A Little Different

I recently signed up for a Creative Commons license. There’s a button over in the sidebar now. Basically this is an organization that creates copyright licenses for mass consumption which aim for a middle ground between complete control and complete freedom. In other words, you allow free usage of your work based on a couple of requirements, and you can pick and choose between a couple of different versions to suit your needs. Whatever. Jonathan Coulton says it’s good, and he’s the guy this site is based on. Basically I just do whatever Jonathan Coulton tells me to do.

I’m a little hazy on some aspects of Creative Commons in all seriousness. Not that I don’t understand their goal, but in my mind copyright has always had the sort of flexibility that they’re striving for, so I’m not sure I entirely get it. At times I feel like I’m taking part in a great experiment in free culture while retaining my rights as an artist to receive proceeds for my work. At other times I feel like I just added a new button to my sidebar because Jonathan Coulton has an irrational fear of talking to lawyers.

That’s all irrelevant. Here’s the real point. To celebrate my new sidebar button (whatever its implications) I have decided to base next Thursday’s story on one of Coulton’s songs. See, I can do that because of his Creative Commons license. As long as I credit him, don’t sell his ideas for commercial profit, and I agree to share alike, this is all cool.

Here’s where it gets interesting. I have decided to do this for a few reasons (#2 I think is pretty neat).

#1. Ease. I’ve got Thanksgiving in here and a truncated week after that due to a wedding so I could use a light week. Since I’m using a song that (obviously) already exists I’ll have preexisting story and characters to draw from so that should make things easier.

#2. You, dear reader, will be able to see what’s there from the start. Get it? I couldn’t show you “guy at wedding” that became Matthew. I couldn’t play you the sound of billiard balls clicking together that became “Private Showing.” I couldn’t let you feel the sandy hair that became “Black Eyed Susan.” But I can point you to the song I’m going to be basing this story on. You’ll get to listen to it, create your own images, walk with me as I examine it, then see where I go with it when you read the story. This is huge. Huge! Like Vader is Luke’s father huge. Okay, maybe not quite that huge, but huge nonetheless. Huge I tell you! Huge! So go here. It’s the third song on the “Most Popular” list. It’s called “Skullcrusher Mountain.” It’s about an evil genius who finds himself falling in love with one of his hostages. Oh yeah. Here’s a video someone made using World of Warcraft. Here’s a video someone illustrated. Bring it. Which takes us to…

#3. Fun. There’s a henchman named Scarface, an evil genius, a golden submarine. I get to play. A lot. Good times.

#4. Maybe I can poach some of Coulton’s fans. Er…did I say “poach?” I mean establish of bridge of creativity by which our two mediums can share a oh to hell with it maybe I can poach some of Coulton’s fans.

That’s it. Let’s see how this goes. Also the site I get pictures from isn’t loading.

In this metephor I am the baby chicken.

Hatchling

 

I finally got around to posting an “About Me” page.  It’s up there at the top with all the other pages.   You know you’ve been dying to learn more .  Well it’s all there: my torrid love affair with Jean Harlow,  the wild times spent training monkeys and, of course, presented by popular demand, the Corduroy Years.  Or something.

Also there’s a picture of me, but as I mention I’m wearing a tie and I don’t do that very often.  You have to imagine me wearing something cooler. Maybe training a monkey.

Also also, I wound up using some old parts of other Bios I’ve written.  I think I can do better on the last part.  That seemed sort of dated to me.

I have no idea how the next few weeks are going to go.  There’s Turkey day and I have a wedding I’ll be leaving for the Wednesday after, so I actually won’t be around for my deadline.  The plan right now is to finish the story up early (Hahahahahaha!) and set it to post at the normal time.  We’ll see what’s what.

Flying Monkeys

Monkey

For those of you who have been with me for awhile you know that my Thursday night/Friday morning posts right after a deadline tend to be sleep deprived gibberish and nonsensical ramblings. So I’m not really going to bother trying to write something interesting. After all, it’s my night off.

So instead my post-story posts are now going to be pathetic pleas to you, my readers, to go out and get me more fans. One of the aspects of this whole year long project is to see what sort of audience I can generate with an online presence. I’m currently doing any number of things to attract more readers, but asking you to do a little word of mouth advertising is certainly part of it.

So go do that.

If you especially liked one of the stories and think a friend might like it, go ahead and forward it on. If you’ve been meaning to tell someone about the crazy author who’s making a public display out of his writing process but haven’t gotten around to it, go ahead and do that now. If you have a surplus of gold bars in your garage and you were toying with the idea of melting them down and casting a graven image of me to idolize, why not get started?

So go e-mail, start a fan club, tell a friend, cast me in gold, whatever. Fly, my minions, fly!

I’ll be right here when you get back.