Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reading is Fundamental

Lamar stepped into the room and walked up to the metal table.  It was stainless steel and recently polished.  The entire room smelled of bleach and iodine.

They always made sure the room was spotless.  They knew he was used to the smell.

It wouldn’t be a distraction.

All distractions had to be purged away.  The alternative was simply too complicated.

He picked up the book on the table.  It had no title.

None of them did.  Titles had certain perceptions connected to them.

It was best to avoid such things.

The world of the book would rise or fall on its own strength.  No title to cheat.

Lamar picked up the book and began to read.

~*~

The metal table melted away as Lamar’s mind ripped it apart on an atomic level.  It was not part of the story.  He would no longer need it.  The rest of the room followed suit.  Metal walls and floor transformed into a lush landscape in Georgia.

The characters popped into existence and began speaking to each other in language ripped right out of all of those terrible made for TV movies.

The author would need to work on that.

~*~

Edith Hess fired the revolver 4 times into the chest of Captain Jefferson Hodge.  Lamar stopped reading and walked over to the soon to be dead Captain.  The bullets were currently in the process of lodging into his body at high speeds.  Their lethality had not quite achieved their goal yet.

Lamar looked around the room and what was described.  He shook his head.

It felt off.  The sun was shining outside.

Murder was better at night.

He took out his red pen and crossed out some of the phrasing and replaced it with what he felt seemed more genuine.  The scene around him changed significantly but still didn’t feel quite right.

Indoors was all wrong.

More scribbles in the book.

The walls exploded away and Lamar and the two characters were standing outside on the edge of the garden.  Edith would shoot and then dispose of the gun in the nearby lake.

It worked better.  Lamar nodded and continued to read with his adjustments.

The Captain’s body hit the dirt of the ground with a satisfying thud.

~*~

Lamar read the last line and nodded.  The Georgia plantation faded away and the stainless steel table came back.  He wrote down his last notes and placed the red covered book back down on the table.

The book was solid.  Not good, but solid.  With Lamar’s help it would hit the top 20 easy.  It meant that Lamar would be getting a nice respectable bonus for his effort.  A few subtle changes to make the story live in its own world properly and the readers would eat it up.

Lamar missed the old days.  Reading used to be fun.  Now all of his reading was highly regulated to make sure that the Oz incident didn’t happen again.  However, he didn’t really have a choice.  Reading was the life blood of his people.  Better to be a corporate hack than the alternative.

Maybe tomorrow he could review a cookbook.  That would be nice.  He was starving.

*****
God, I really suck at this updating every day thing.  I don’t know what has been going on with me lately.  Alright, that isn’t entirely true.  I am just being pulled in a lot of different directions right now.  However, that is still a cop out and I hate that I am making it.

I need to suck it up and get busy writing again.  I’ve been slacking lately.  Sure, I have had various things going on but that is a bad excuse.  If writing is important to me (and it is) I need to take time to do it.

I’m sorry, gang.  I need to sort some stuff out.  I’m not going to promise that I am going to write every day because I clearly can’t meet that goal right now.

Here is a promise though.  I promise to refocus and write on the blog on a regular basis.  What does a regular basis mean?  I’m not sure right now.  All I know is that I’m going to try to update the blog as much as possible.

I’m just not sure what that means yet.

Sometimes you need to take a few steps back and look in the mirror to examine some stuff.

I am currently looking at the reflection and trying to decipher what it means.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ten Minute Poem

Ten minutes to form out
creeping from the abyss
of my mind

praying for a thing
of real value

dissapointed

Words to page
merit unknown

Noun
adjective
verb
other

All cling for life
hoping for miracles

dying alone often enough

This poem just another victim
of my misguided time

Never enough

The words vomit to the page

Smithing of words cobbled together
a mad conductor commanding the band

Poetry and art
chaos of thoughts
what is the point

Art is focus and form
dedication and craft
honed to a fine point

Yet

let loose

At times the wild calls out
howl must go the author

connecting to the next great expression

*****
Yes, I wrote this poem in exactly ten minutes.  My poetry is usually written rather quickly.  The style has both positives and negatives.  I generally feel that it is better to express and get something on the page then let the words die in my head.  However, sometimes this can create some really crappy poems.  Just is still out on this one.  Since this is a living breathing writing document I'm afraid you guys get the good with the bad.  Please consider it a little bit of the author you can take home and keep in your pocket or computer screen or whatever.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Rope

It cuts into my skin, leaving marks behind that will far outlive the situation.

I pray that I too will do the same.

I was lucky that I reacted quick enough.  If I didn't think to wrap the rope around my arm I would have joined Jack at the bottom of the gorge.  Poor selfish Jack.  His greed was his undoing.

His body will hopefully be found down river later.  For now I watch it hit the rocks and waves and start to float towards it's final resting place.

My savior is sturdy.  Luckily the natives replaced the ropes on the bridge recently.  If the original ropes were in place I would soon be joining poor Jack.

It didn't have to be this way.  We were supposed to be partners.

Greed got in the way.

The poor villagers would never suspect that two crazy white men would fight on top of their bridge.  Not exactly something to plan for while undergoing construction.

I try to gain some form of balance as the rope continues to cut into my arm.  I need to lose some weight.  If I live I really need to exercise more.  If I was more slender like Arnold the strain on the rope would not be as severe.  I expect my arm is never going to quite be the same.

No time for self pity.  Life demands action.

I hoist my other arm up to the rope and try to steady myself.  It is difficult but I manage the feat.

Now, all that is left is the climb.

My arm explodes in a wave of pain as I unwrap it from it's coiled savior and killer and soon joins its brother in an expedition to safety.  Each motion a thousand cuts in my arm and lungs.

I reach the top exhausted crying in pain.  I'm so glad that Melody isn't here to see me like this.

Oh god.

I just killed her brother.

This is going to be bad.

*****
Another crazy day, another short post.  Getting back into the swing of things with everything going on can be very tricky.  Wrote up a super quick little scene for you.  Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Little Earth

Little Earth of my desk
you stive for spans
knowing none

Stuck forever tilted
only spin coming
when I wish

You stay the same
forever locked
a time stamp

Countries stuck
on your surface
never changing

Little Earth of my desk
you wish for more
and always will

*****
Spent an extra 4 hours at work today.  What does that mean for you?  Super short poem.  Don't have a lot of creative juice right now but I do want to stick to my word and try my best to write something every day no matter how small.  Hope you enjoy it.  I'll try to write something more substantial tomorrow.  As always, no promises.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Protect and Spell


Blake really wished his reaction time was quicker.  Sadly it was not so the push of air hit him like a boxer hitting an unsuspecting elderly lady.  It lifted him off his feet and deposited him less than gently through the glass window of the Starbucks.

It was going to be that kind of afternoon.

“Get down!” he yelled at whoever would listen.

Saying the words from the floor while covered in glass did take away a bit of his gravitas.  However, it couldn’t really be helped.  Sometimes you had to look the fool in order to keep people safe.

The civilians ducked for cover.  So far nobody was trying to act like a hero.

It was a small miracle.  Things were bad enough as it was without even more magic being thrown around the scene.  Vigilantes were everywhere now.

Blake got to his feet and pinpointed his target.  The man was tall and lanky.  He had to be at least 6’4” if not taller and it looked like he missed quite a few meals lately.  He was wearing old clothes that were too small for him and the giant dragon tattoo on his face made him rather easy to identify.

His real name was George Clark.  However, he was better known by the name Victory Hex.  He was currently number seven on the FBI’s most wanted list.

Victory moved his hands and gestured towards Blake.  The slightest movement created variation in the magic being weaved.  Every since the incident the police had to adjust quickly.  They needed to learn as many variations as possible and be ready to counter them.  Blake knew what was coming.

His own hands moved as quickly as he could muster.  Sadly it wasn’t that quick.  He just wasn’t picking things up as quickly as some of his peers.  They never covered this magic crap during his training.  Sure, he knew there was going to be some on the job training but this was just ridiculous.

The giant ball of fire was launched into the Starbucks.  Before it connected with anything Blake’s spell went off.  The air in front of the fireball was sucked away and the fire without oxygen quickly went out.

Criminals liked the simplicity of fire.  Arson had increased 2000% percent since the incident.  The police quickly learned that a well timed air spell was incredibly handy in a pinch.  The vacuum was now the first spell officially taught to all officers.

Victory was quick.  After the fireball failed another spell was weaved and a fist of earth came out of the ground and punched Blake in the gut.

God damn magic.

It ruined everything.

Things used to be simple.  The worst a guy had to worry about was some perp with a gun.  Now, guns were mostly useless.  It was pretty hard to shoot a gun if you’re on fire or drowning in a floating bubble of water.  Of course that is assuming the perp doesn’t use your own gun against you.  The country was shocked when Jackson Young used air magic to make Officer James Wilson shoot himself in the head.  Now it was no longer an isolated incident of a powerful user.  Perps all over had learned the trick.  Guns were now just a liability.  Most officers just left them at home in drawers for sentimental reasons.

The stone punch should have done some extreme internal damage to his stomach.  However, after the vacuum the next spell taught to each cop was a basic armor spell.  It lessened any physical blow against you.  It was very useful in most insane situations.  There were far too many of those types of situations these days.

The armor wasn’t perfect of course.  The giant stone fist slamming into Blake’s stomach still hurt like a son of a bitch.  It was just like a vest.  Sure, it saved you from something more serious but it still wasn’t at all ideal by any means.  Not getting hit was always the first choice.

Blake moved his hands and formed another spell.  It wasn’t like movies.  No magic words.  No wands.  It wasn’t that flashy.  Just some simple movements of the hands and the spell was created and triggered.

Right after the incident was terrible.  So many people were accidentally casting spells simply by moving their hands and living their lives.  Spell safety was now a thing taught to everyone in the country.  It was all just so silly and inconvenient.

Victory braced himself for the spell and momentarily paused for a few seconds in confusion as it started to rain on him.  The clouds formed out of the nothing space and immediately started to piss down on Victory.  Getting your opponent wet didn’t seem like the killer strategy to win conflicts but it actually was surprisingly effective.  People didn’t use water spells very often and they made for good distractions.

The initial surprise would only give Blake a few seconds.  That was all he needed.

He jumped over the frame of the broken window and activated his wind burst spell.  A gust of wind pushing at around 100 miles per hour was suddenly on his back pushing him towards Victory like an arrow heading towards dead center.

Victory was not expecting a police officer to turn himself into the projectile.  Most casters tended to rely completely on their magic.  Blake wasn’t most casters.  His disdain for magic meant that he only used magic just enough to get to the point where he didn’t need to use it anymore.  His body made contact with Victory and soon after so did his fists.

Once he was in close enough range the rest was pretty simple.  Some well connected quick punches were potent enough to stagger Victory enough to allow Blake to capture him.  Handcuffs were a thing of the past.  Now every cop was taught a paralyzing spell.  If the person couldn’t move his hands he couldn’t cast spells or do anything else.  The problem was that it was very advanced magic and could only be used at extremely close range.  That means you had to take down the perp first before it was useful in the least.

Blake had heard that some cop in Baltimore had figured out how to increase the range up to about five feet in some circumstances.  It was still a work in progress though.  For now every cop worked with what he or she had and they kept experimenting and hoping to find the next new thing.

Blake walked around the Starbucks to make sure everyone was ok.  A few cuts and bruises but nothing major.  It could have been a million times worse.  Blake told the injured to head over to the hospital for some healing and then walked back over to Victory.  It wasn’t like he was going anywhere but it was still best not to take chances.  The amount of time that people stayed paralyzed varied greatly.

Blake touched Victory and did the long and complicated pattern needed for teleportation.  Both men vanished in a puff of smoke and arrived at the teleportation circle at the station.

The amount of paperwork that Blake was about to fill out was going to be absurd.

However, he didn’t mind.  The world was crazy now.  The incident changed everything overnight.  Procedure and policy changed almost daily now just to maintain some version of the status quo.

At least paperwork still made sense.

*****
I’m not dead.  Here I am doing an update.

However, I broke my own rule.

“Write something every day, even if you don’t feel like it.”

I’ve been in a writing funk this week.  However, that’s a poor excuse.  I should have done more writing anyway.  I apologize that I did not.  Things have been rather hectic lately and a lot of my creative energy has been sapped.  I’ve just been playing video games and watching stuff on Netflix instead of being productive.  I’m sorry.  I should be writing anyway.

Some people say “Don’t force creativity” or other silly things.

That is just an excuse.  If you want to write you need to write.  Pretty damn simple.

With that said I think I’m going to go back to trying to update every single day.  Some days might be really small updates but that is alright.  Little snippets of creativity are still better than none.

Hope you enjoyed the story and I hope you enjoy what is coming up tomorrow.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Business as Usual



“What about Jimmy Cola?” Hank asked.

“Not good.  Down 45%.  That damn story last week is killing us.” Bill responded.

“That bad?” Jerry pondered.

“Yeah, we’re in the shithouse.” Bill said while shaking his head.

“What is our synergy plan?” Arthur asked.

Arthur was the VP of the program.  Everything was resting on his shoulders.  Hank, Bill, and Jerry were the best.  Ratings and profits were down.  If anyone could get things crawling up again it was the three parasites sitting across the table from him.

“We need to enter total spin.  If the cola does bad stuff to your body we need to market that in some way to make people want it anyway.  Ultimately it should push up sales if we are clever enough.” Bill said while stroking his beard.  It was an annoying habit he had when he was thinking.

“Bad stuff is kind of an understatement, Bill.” Hank said.

“How bad are we talking?  What does it do?” Jerry asked.  He was never in the know.  He was only part of the power three because he was good with numbers.  He was otherwise a parasite with very weak fangs.  Bill and Hank had both slept with his wife Janice.  Arthur felt sorry for the guy.

“It doesn’t matter.  We just need to find a solution.” Bill said.

“What do you mean it doesn’t matter?  I mean if something is really that bad shouldn’t we look for another product instead to promote?”

Arthur, Hank, and Bill all burst out laughing.  After a few seconds they composed themselves.  Poor Jerry didn’t get the joke.

“Jimmy Cola is giving us a very respectable 20 percent.  Sure, it is hurting us now but they have been good to us.  We need to make this work.  If we do we can probably even modify the contract and go up to 25 or 30.  We have them right where we want them.  We just need to clean up this little mess.” Arthur said imparting his sage wisdom to his three parasites.

Bill and Hank nodded with great vigor.  Jerry looked uneasy.

“Alright, from a pure numbers point of view you are right of course.  Increasing to 25 or 30 would be an excellent way to make up for our losses since last week.  However, it sounds like we are talking about a new marketing campaign here.  That alone is going to cost us 6-8 points if we want to make it quality.” Jerry stated with a tone of finality.  They all knew better than to question his numbers.

“Glad you have your head back in the game” Bill said.

“I’m not the one normally known for that problem am I?” Jerry fired back.

It was a low blow and well played.  Bill had a serious drinking problem.  It had cost them three sponsors so far.  If he wasn’t so god damn bloodthirsty Arthur would have let him go years ago.

“Let’s focus on our PR problem shall we?” Hank said quickly trying to steer the conversation back into something that would be productive.

Bill and Jerry nodded at each other and then focused on the problem at hand.

“What are your thoughts, Hank?  How can we spin this?” Arthur asked.

Hank shook his head and tapped his fingers on the giant oak table.  Arthur was very proud of the table.  It cost him twenty thousand jobs and it was imported from South America.  The rumor was that three workers died bringing it to the plane.  It was a quality product worth the price.

“As I said, this is bad.  The scientific report is pretty damning.  There is very solid evidence that shows that the cola is directly responsible for the supposed side effects.  We could try to buy off some other scientists to refute the claims but it would be a damn hard sell.” Hank declared.

All of the men around the table nodded their heads.  Jerry broke the momentary silence.

“How bad are we talking exactly?  You guys still haven’t answered me.  I mean I know this is more Hank and Bill’s area of expertise but I might still be able to help.  What are the side effects?”

“It melts your small intestine from the inside.” Bill said with a shrug.

“Jesus!” Jerry declared.

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic.” Bill said.

“Don’t be so dramatic?  How the hell can we possibly spin this?” Jerry said with a shrill voice.

“I already told you.  We just need to figure out how to sell the benefit involved.” Bill said.

“Is there a benefit?” Arthur asked.

“Of course.  Weight loss.” Hank said with a smile.

“Explain” Arthur said.

“Look, it doesn’t kill you all at once.  It somehow messes with your body chemistry and the acid in your stomach somehow gets changed around.  This then leads to the modified acid somehow getting into your small intestine and then the acid just slowly melts it.  Along the way you get a series case of diarrhea that won’t go away.”

“That’s brilliant.  It’s a weight loss soda.  Same great taste but with none of the calories.” Bill said with another smile on his face.  He was obviously very proud of himself.

“What about the damage?” Jerry asked.  He looked kind of ill.

“Whatever.  Just buy new organs.  They’re cheap enough these days.  Sure, the useless class won’t be able to afford the new organs but who cares?  Jack up the price of the soda and market it towards those of us that can afford it and want to lose weight.  The dregs rarely watch our show anyway.  They are a blip on our data stream.” Bill said with obvious contempt in his voice.

Arthur and Hank looked to Jerry.

“He’s right.  They only make up 5 percent of our total buyers.  The number don’t’ lie.  As much as I hate to admit it the plan has a lot of merit.” Jerry stated.

“I’m going to be very busy, but I think we can do it.  How are we going to start off the spin?”

“What about Mike?  He drinks this shit on the show all the time.  How is he holding up?” Arthur asked.

“Oh, his intestines are ripped to shreds.  We just thought he was being a diva but apparently all his complaining lately has been legit.” Bill said with a laugh.

“Perfect.  Schedule the organ replacement for Friday.  We’ll do it live on air.  Once America sees their beloved Mike Hunter endorse the newest health craze we’ll be back on top in no time.  This is brilliant stuff gentlemen.  We’ll get that 30 point for sure.  Hell, I’m feeling bold.  Think I’m going to go for 40.  Seems fair considering we’re about to make Jimmy Cola the most popular soda in the world.”

Arthur got up and shook the hands of the three men.

They were parasites but they were his parasites.

Nobody did business better.

*****
We landed a complex robot on Mars today just to take lots of pictures for us and send them back to Earth.  That is incredible.  It isn't quite the Moon Landing but it is still an amazing feat of humanity.  Things have been bleak lately (with the shootings and everything else) but sometimes some amazing moments slip through the muck.  Today was one of those moments.  I hope all of you get the chance to really appreicate it.

Orcs Must Die 2

Do you like Tower Defense games?  Do you like them combined with quick paced action?

Go pick up Orcs Must Die 2.

Does it have much story?  No.

Is it groundbreaking?  No.

However, it is damn fun.  I've already put dozens of hours into it so far.  What makes it so good?

1) Simple concept.  Orcs and their allies are attacking.  Stop them using a variety of traps and your own physical and magical abilities.  Done.

2) Nice clean artstyle.  It is just realistic enough to make it feel grounded but also has kind of a cartoon vibe to it.  This combination works really well for the game.

3) Great customization.  As you kill stuff in the game you collect skulls.  Each skull can be spent on various upgrades to your weapons and traps.  Don't like how you spent your skulls?  Not a problem.  Just refund your skulls and spend them differently.  I can't stress how awesome this system is when you play.  It lets you level up without risk.  This lets you experiment as much as you want without having to worry about starting over.  It is truly fantastic.

4) Great traps with mostly realistic physics.  When you hit that orc with the giant pusher coming out of the wall he will fly into the lava or acid nearby in a mostly realistic arc.  All of the traps share this same quality and it makes them feel like they have real weight behind them.  There are also some cool pre-built traps in some of the levels and they follow these same rules.  Sure, things are a little exaggerated but only for the sake of fun/overall awesomness.

5) You can now play it co-op unlike the original game.  Want to kill Orcs?  You can now do it with a buddy in a giant festival of slaughter.

The game isn't perfect.  It can be a bit grindy.  One of the modes is called endless mode and it gives you a chance to test your might against a neverending swarm of orcs broken up by waves.  Eventually you will fall.  The only question is how many waves can you survive before you do?  This mode is the best way to collect skulls to level up your traps.  However, it can also get really grindy because without leveling up your traps a bit some of the levels are super hard.

The game on basic difficulty (War Mage) doesn't coddle you.  It will throw a huge amount of enemies at you and you just need to deal with them.

If you like tower defense games or the tower defense/action subgenre you need to go pick up this game.  If you don't like either or don't know if you like either you should pick up this game anyway to give the genre a try.  If you don't like this one you can probably safely cross the genre off your list since action tower defense doesn't get much more satisfying than this game.

How much will it cost you?  $15 off of Steam.  Trust me.  It's a bargain.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Leaving your skin

Many travels will find you
yet I'm not there

Adventure just around the corner
not quite within my view

You were a figment of my imagination
brought to life by little moments
between rolls of the dice

Nothing at first
a person after
now apart

Ink on your sheet will fade
past glory erased away

My memory of you will live on forever


*****
Another quick poem for you.  Had the finale of a tabletop game tonight and work was crazy before that so I am just now sitting down to write.  This poem obviously disusses the feeling of never roleplaying a character again.

For those of you that don't play roleplaying games or don't act in movies or plays this sensation is probably going to be unknown to you.  Trust me, it's weird and rather bittersweet.

After you play a character for months or years it becomes a little part of you.  Sure, it's still dorky grown up make believe, but you form an emotional attachment to the character all the same.  Think of your favorite character from a TV show that went off the air.  Remember what it felt like to know that you aren't going to see that character in any more stories?  Now, imagine you were also in the shoes of that character walking around.

A lot obviously depends quite a bit on how much you get into your character's headspace.  Since I come from a writing background I obviously get into my character's head a pretty decent amount.

Tonight was the last night that I played Nick, the fast talking good hearted thief turned supernatural investigator from the great city of New Orleans.

He will be missed.