Strength & Wisdom

Over the past 12 months I’ve been on a journey to redefine myself mentally, physically and emotionally. I have changed my diet, many of my habits and focused on being healthier and happier overall. I am at the point now where I feel confident in myself physically and mentally, and that I’d like to start sharing some of the insights I’ve gathered along the way. This site is my opportunity to do that, and as I have already been sharing many of my thoughts here, won’t be too much of a stretch. Moving forward, the format the site is likely to change a bit – as are the topics covered – but expect the same snarky attitude I’ve always had.

Strength
One of the biggest changes I’ve focused on over the last 6 months has been changing my physical appearance and abilities. During college I stopped caring about what I looked like. I put on weight, and while I was never weak, never put much thought into my strength. About 12 months ago I decided to change all that and adopted a paleo way of eating/lifestyle. The WOE didn’t immediately take, I cheated a lot and didn’t see much weight loss/change until I really focused down on it about seven months ago. That’s when I joined the Nerd Fitness “Rebellion” and kickstarted my fitness, nutrition and lifestyle learning.

This pushed me into high gear. I started working out multiple times a week, focusing on cleaning up my diet even more and on improving other bad habits I had picked up over the last decade or so. Many of you know I quit smoking a few years back, but I had many other bad habits that needed to be cut, or at least backed off on. Over the last seven months I’ve stopped ordering takeout as much, cut back on drinking, focused on getting adequate sleep, made sure I’m eating enough food every day and get enough physical exercise every week. Because of this I’ve lost 50 pounds (total over the last year), and started seeing some real improvements in my strength. I started off doing a body weight-based workout every day, then joined a gym in September and started lifting. In January I started Stronglifts 5×5, which is a progressive strength training program, and I’m lifting double the weight I used to. The overall idea is that you do five sets of five reps, in 5 basic, compound lifts, increasing the weight by 5 pounds every workout. It works… impressively. More on that at a later date though.

Honor
Strength (fitness, nutrition and health) is nothing without wisdom, however. These efforts have pushed me to focus on learning as much as I can about fitness, nutrition and overall growth as a human being. I could link you to the 43632426 sites that I now read on a near-daily basis, but that would probably be overwhelming. People like Tim Ferriss, Elliot Hulse and Mark Sisson are certainly more knowledgeable than I am in these areas, but life is a learning curve in itself, so why try to jump ahead? The idea here is to share my knowledge, which is still growing, with other people who might be starting out from the same point I was, at the same point I currently am, or still thinking about trying to change their lives. These efforts aren’t meant to encourage, or motivate, but simply be informative… because like many other people I started off with an understanding of fitness and health, but over the last several months it has changed and evolved. I learned that many of the things I “knew” previously were wrong, or misrepresented, and I have since learned to question everything, and keep looking for the answers. Aberro Specus is about “escaping the cave” and discovering things for yourself. Hopefully I can point you in a better direction.

Moving forward my posts will be on four categories, primarily: Fitness, Nutrition, Philosophy and Personal. There will be other topics, such as gaming and writing, but these will probably all fall into the Personal category – unless I post fiction… look out for that. These topics will be broad enough to appeal to most people, but more focused, much in the way that I have been trying to bring focus to my life. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire others to make positive changes in their lives… or at the very least share them with other people.

I look forward to sharing more with you later… Until then.


A treatise on game design – Part 2

See part 1 here.

The effort that goes into creating a game set aside, the sheer amount of theory testing that you have to do can deter many people from undertaking such a project by itself. Personally, I don’t even really have the time to do it, but it’s a pet project of mine so I try to fit it in. That has made finalizing many of the new ideas that I mentioned in part 1 more difficult than I’d like, but at the same time has set me up to produce a pretty solid game once I am able to finish the details.

To recap – I’ve redesigned magic use, set some customized skill selection and create unique Characteristics and Secondary Attributes for players to use to inspire more realism in the game. This sets me up for a survival horror, post-apocalyptic setting with ease.

In order continue driving that realism, there are a few other factors that I felt had to be set in motion, but more on the game end than the character/player side of things. Creating an environment that felt familiar-yet-alien, a scarcity that continued to demonstrate the essence of survival throughout the game and the right atmosphere in NPCs and world interactions that would make the players feel like they were struggling to survive, let alone thrive, in this setting.

Fallout InventoryFrom my experience there are few tabletop RPGs that do this successfully. I’d love to hear about any systems that do. However, there are plenty of video games that succeed in this area with flying colors – most notably Fallout, Wasteland and DayZ. These games capture the essence of survival without making it seem over worked or boring – although some might argue that the obsessive inventory micromanagement needed in the more recent Fallout titles detracts from the game.

To convey these ideas I decided to take another look at items and equipment. There are three primary factors that I think contribute to the right ideas that I’m going for with these areas of the game – scarcity, durability and wastefulness. Making the player feel the scarcity of food, ammunition, water and helpful items like armor would generate the survival feeling quite well. At the same time, adding a durability score for weapons and armor would help encourage players to think twice before charging into combat, with something other than hit points to consider losing. If one’s armor is at low durability, two hits might make it fall off and then you have a much larger problem. And finally, the idea of not wanting to waste items. If you have a few scraps of leather and rivets to repair an item, is it more important to fix a breastplate or create a new pair of gloves? Which will provide more value over time? These factors have to be introduced to the players in a way that doesn’t make the game seem overly complicated, but drives the… necessary hoarder mentality for a survival situation.

Perfecting these areas of the game is the next step (and where I am currently at), but I need to actually test them with players. I feel like once these aspects are perfected in a way that makes them a pertinent part of game play but doesn’t detract from the game as whole by being too much of a focus, I will be able to finalize the game rules and focus more on the setting again.

The easiest way to set durability is with a percentage system, much like anything else in BRP. Scarcity can be controlled in game by affecting characters hunger and hydration attributes over the course of a session with no food or water to be found. The real trick I feel will be imparting the importance of using resources wisely without simply using trial and error. This will be the next step, and hopefully I can perfect it soon and offer some more data and insights into this process.


A treatise on game design – Part 1

About two years ago I wrote about an RPG project I was working on at the time. While I still haven’t completed that project, I have put considerable more thought into it and I feel like it’s time to revisit the subject. My efforts in designing a game system from the ground up, and consequently a game world and story, have changed greatly, and now I’m working toward a slightly different goal.

The golden arches of a new age.Ultimately, developing an entirely new game system proved pointless in my efforts. I was trying to develop a system that would incorporate several new factors into it, but when all was said and done it was significantly easier to take another system – BRP, or Basic Role-Playing – and adapt it to my needs. My original idea was to create a system that used a broader range of options for combat, magic use and skills, and expand upon a percentage-based roll, much like BRP does. After working through several theories and trying to fine-tune a few ideas, I realized that it was much easier to just use BRP for the system, as all the other ideas I tried were more complicated – a direction I definitely didn’t want to go in. There is no reason for a game system to be more complicated than BRP, and the games that are are just too hard to get into because of it.

Following the decision to use BRP rather than develop my own system, however, I decided that I needed to create some customized rules to go along with it, mostly regarding the use of magic. BRP has a very basic magic system that works like any other skill within the game – roll a percentile dice and get below a skill number. Magic systems tend to become oversimplified if you follow this approach, with little room for specialization or growth.

In order to avoid this problem I decided to create a separate skill chart based on BRP‘s skill system, but focus on in depth customization. Players can select from different schools of magic and then select choose spells that then act as the skill.

Example: Player 1 selects the Pyromancy school of magic. He or she then has a certain number of skill points to assign here at character creation based on a formula – which is still being developed, sorry. Player 1 has 60 points to assign, which he or she decides to sink into two different spells – Fireball and Heat Manipulation. This allows Player 1 to create a sizeable ball of flame that can be launched at a target, such as a fire to light it or an enemy to damage it, while also manipulating already existing fire’s temperature – cooling a fire in order to keep it from spreading, perhaps, or increasing its heat in order to melt steel. Player 1 puts 40 points into Fireball, allowing him or her a moderate chance to create one of whatever size is preferred, and high accuracy when throwing of it. This leaves 20 points for Heat Manipulation, allowing for a low margin of success, but one that can be cultivated later.

This type of system allows for complete customization by the player while still keeping it simple and controllable by the game master.

However, there are so many other considerations that go into creating a game that is unique that I had to dabble a bit more with the BRP system and customize a few other factors. For one, certain skills didn’t work for the world I was creating, while a few new ones were necessary. The BRP rule set is designed for mostly real-world, modern settings. By adapting this, I can easily customize it for a post-apocalyptic horror game. I removed skills like Accounting, Anthropology, Drive, Pilot and Psychology and replace them with Barter, Ride (Horse), Magic, Scavenge and other skills more appropriately suited for survival in a harsh wilderness. This allows me to focus the ideas of the game more and set a better mood.

The final touch was in creating a system to control health. Not hit points, but rather disease, starvation, dehydration and other factors that would be more likely to affect the players. I decided to steal a page from Call of Cthulhu for this one. Much like Power affects Sanity, and the new rule set for CoC includes Luck – I could incorporate Hunger, Hydration and other attributes. This would allow me to create a pressing need for players to conserve water and food, and set a threshold for when their hunger began to negatively affect their ability to perform actions.

To be continued…


Youth and Video Games

While the matter of whether or not parents should allow their kids to play whatever video games they want is an entirely superficial one, and one that I have strong opinions on, the plethora of children playing multiplayer games online – like Call of Duty – is both frightening and pathetic. It’s not that I don’t think they shouldn’t be allowed to play games, though I don’t think a violent first-person shooter is the right game for someone under the age of 14 to be playing, but rather the intense dread I feel whenever I log into a multiplayer lobby and hear the shrill, pre-pubescent screech of one of these bratty little shits.

Let’s ignore, for a moment, the fact that they are almost always better at the games than me. That doesn’t bother me. I play Call of Duty for the 4-player Zombie mode, not traditional multiplayer. It’s the fact that these whiny brats jump into lobby’s (as they are known in the game), throw a plethora of four letter words around (where are their parents and why aren’t there bars of soap on hand?) and then proceed to do everything humanly possible to annoy the other players within the game. This includes, but is not limited to, kill stealing, hogging weapons and in general being a nuisance.

The worst part is that this behavior isn’t limited to the 14 and under club. College students and, presumably, grown adults share in these same activities. There’s a reason I rarely play these games any more, and it isn’t because I don’t enjoy them.

Case in point: I just logged out of a… 1-2 hour session of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 – Zombies. While it was, for the most part, enjoyable, there reached a point where one of the other players began whining about trying to accomplish something (note: something that benefited only him, not the other three of us), and how we weren’t helping. Albeit, teamwork is the name of the game, this never sits well with me. And then I start becoming an asshole.

Immature people exist. I can cope with that fact. Immature people play video games – hell I’m probably not the most mature person in the world. However, the fact that I’m forced to interact with immature people in order to play these games is why, for one, I don’t play some of them, like World of Warcraft, anymore. I’m going to choose to distance myself from these types of players because they make the game unenjoyable for me. Now I just wish there was a way to make sure I never encountered them again.

On a related note: Parents – please pay the fuck attention to what your children are saying and doing on their Xbox’s. Or they might end up growing up like me.


Once more unto the breach…

Making a habit out of this is harder than I ever give it credit. I want to write. I have the ambition to. I even have the motivation. But then other things distract me, like video games, or… working out. So I end up… not. It does give me good fodder for updates though.

So it’s been… nearly five months since my last post. Since then I’ve dropped “several” pounds (30 or so), played some video games, written some stuff and, in general, been a very busy boy. I proposed to my then girlfriend, now fiancee, and Christmas has occurred. A busy time for all, and no time for anything.

This, of course, doesn’t make me special, or stand out from any of the hundreds of thousands of other people who did probably much of the same over that time period. However, it does mark several momentous occasions in my life – notably the proposal. Of course, it would have been far more interesting if I had updated here around the time that had happened (Halloween, for reference), but again – busy.

So the question is… why am I updating now?
Good question.

The answer, I guess, is because I want to. I want to write more, I really do. I just always get sidetracked. I sit here waiting for a scheduled Google+ Hangout with a group of friends from an online forum and I was thinking “Hey, now’s a good time to knock out a blog post.” And I was right, it is. But what to say…

I recently beat Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, which was an excellent game. I’m looking forward to picking up the… third in the series? Lords of Shadow 2 when it comes out next month (Note: I probably won’t get it next month). Yes, “2” is the third in the series. A Nintendo 3DS game, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, is the direct sequel to the first title, and it was released for the Xbox Arcade in October. So I’ll play that next.

The game relaunches the Castlevania franchise with a new storyline and approach to the classic series. I appreciated what was changed with the game, what was kept, and how subtle nuances that made it feel like a Castlevania game were worked in. The biggest change… “feel-wise” for me was the music. The Castlevania games have always had amazing soundtracks, and this title was no exception, but none of the classic songs were there, like “Vampire Killer” or “Bloody Tears.” They were missed, but I enjoyed the game’s soundtrack nonetheless. Mechanically, it felt much like playing the Playstation 2 Castlevania titles, but more polished. Overall I’d give the game a solid 8/10.

Since then, I’ve started playing Dishonored, which is fantastic so far.

Other than that (and the proposal) life has been… normal. Work, food, gym. I just got over debilitating illness – my first in a year – and my stomach is still touchy about what I put in it, but all in all things are looking good. Band stuff has been steady, the Call of Cthulhu game I run has been good. All in all times are good. And I’m not even waiting for the other shoe to drop… what has become of me?

Look for another update this weekend, hopefully… and more time in the future. For now, I go to listen to music, prepare for the Hangout and dream of dark skies and madness.


Returning to Arkham…

Or at least Somerville.

NecronomiCon-Providence ended Sunday, late afternoon, as the stars came out of alignment, and we made our return to the northern Boston area. Now… yes I could have posted Sunday evening, or even Monday – but truth be told I was exhausted and worked Tuesday so I decided to push this off for a day or two.

So let’s start by talking about the convention. First off, it was amazing. A huge thank you and shoutout to Niels Hobbs, Anthony Teth, Carmen Marusich and the rest of the The Lovecraft Arts and Sciences Council. You gents and ladies did an amazing job bringing everything together, despite running around like chickens with your heads cut off throughout the entire weekend. 2015!

Highlights! Well gaming was certainly up there. For those that don’t know, I run a Call of Cthulhu game every other week, and have been running games in general for years. However, I rarely get to play in them and I have, in fact, never played Call of Cthulhu (before this weekend). So that was an amazing part of the weekend. Playing in Jeff Carey’s and Mark Morrison’s games was a unique experience, especially with Mark, who came up with a one-of-a-kind scene on the fly and ran it for the group of us playing with him Sunday morning. We even walked up to Prospect Park up on College Hill to play – a site were Lovecraft used to sit and write.

Beyond the gaming, there were a lot of other amazing things that happened over the course of the weekend. The Emerging Scholarship Symposium panels were unique and interesting (although a bit deep for 9 a.m. And of course, listening to S.T. Joshi speak was a fun experience, especially considering how powerful of a speaker he is.

I also got a chance to talk with some major players in the CoC tabletop universe, like Scott Glancy, Mark Morrison, Tom Lynch and a few others. Oh, and Sandy Peterson was there. Of course, those conversations took a turn toward writing for the most part, and I may have some more interesting news related to that in the future.

For anyone interested in catching up on more information on the convention, Mike Davis of The Lovecraft eZine has been posting videos on his YouTube page, and one attendee, “Steve Ahlquist,” has posted some videos on his own page as well.

Moving on from the convention though… we’re back in the thick of Lovecraft Country, and happy to be home with our cats. Stay tuned for more, soon.


To the land of Lovecraft

The stars align once every so often, and when that occurs hundreds, nay thousands, gather in a mecca of sorts – Providence, R.I. – to discuss and celebrate the life and writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Less poetically put, tomorrow marks the unofficial start of the NecronomiCon-Providence, which officially begins the following day on Friday. Crista and I will be traveling down by train to spend the weekend basking in the glory of my favorite American writer and the otherworldly horror of which he studied.

Tentatively, we will attend panels on Forbidden Knowledge in 19th & 20th Century Modernism; Religion, Philosophy and Cosmic Horror in HPL and other discussions of The Cthulhu Mythos and Lovecraft’s work, as well as gaming and attending other various events around the city.

Should you be in Providence for this forsaken weekend, check out the festivities, and if not… Wish you were here.

I will be posting upon our return, and perhaps during the events, if the mood strikes me.

Till then.


Monday Fitness Update

So once a week, now that I am actively working out and trying to lose weight and get in better shape, I weigh myself and take my general measurements. Neck, chest, bicep (right), forearm (right), waist, hips, thigh (right) and calf (right). This is to track progress and get a better sense of where I am at in general. A combination of weight, neck and waist measurements can give you an approximate body fat percentage, and it helps motivate me to keep going.

Monday morning, after my workout and shower, I take all of these measurements, log them, and then go about my day. I also keep track of how many calories I ate over the previous week (Sunday-Saturday) and how many I burned, to get an idea of if I’m eating enough, eating too much or not working out enough. So, without further ado – here is this mornings’ measurements.

Weight: 185 lbs
BMI: 25.1*
Body Fat %: 23.79

Neck: 16″
Chest: 42″
Bicep: 13.25″
Forearm: 12″
Waist: 39″ :(
Hips: 38″ :(
Thigh: 23.5″
Calf: 16.25″

*I’m 6′.

For reference, I ate far too little this week, at only 10,854 calories (I should be hitting at least 12,000), but my burn totals were pretty fantastic at 19,175. Now I just need to boost my intake without letting the burn suffer.

I lost 4 pounds this week, which is kind of insane. This could be due to a variety of factors, but I honestly expect it to go up slightly next week, probably to 186. However, if it drops again to 184 I’ll be happy. My main goal is to drop waist inches though – to at least 36″, preferably 34″. If I can hit this goal in another 4 weeks I will accomplish my first question/mission/challenge for Nerd Fitness and hit level 1!

Today… I still have a good bike ride to do (plus a Call of Cthulhu campaign to run), so I need to head out to eat dinner and get ready for those things. Expect to see a similar post to this every Monday, and some more interesting content coming soon.


Oh hey look at that…

So yeah, it’s been well over a year since last time I posted. Life has been hectic. Work, play, more work, less play, some lifestyle changes, etc. But I’m back! Here’s what has been going on.

I’m in a band now – Origin of Inertia. We do nerd metal, it’s a thing.

I started changing my diet and eating Paleo – which is basically the removal of heavily processed food, most simple carbs and grains and legumes from your diet.  Basically, I don’t eat bread, pasta, sugar, baked goods, potatoes (often), rice (often), cereal or beans (often). It’s interesting, and I definitely feel healthier and like I have more energy.  Plus it’s an awesome excuse to eat steak. Every. Night.

I also started working out – then stopped – then started again more recently with more motivational support. It has been great. I feel stronger and I have more energy (again).

I’m drinking less. What?

I’m running a biweekly Call of Cthulhu game, woo creativity!

So what does that mean for Aberro Specus? Well, with all the “lifestyle” changes I’ve been making the primary goal is, kinda obviously, to be happier. And non-work-related writing makes me happy, so my goal is to start posting here again, and stick with it (the hard part). I’m going to make it easy on myself with some sub-goals.

  • Post once a week.
  • Post quality content.
  • Talk about shit that is actually going on in my life as well as random musings.

That’s it. The Nerd Fitness community takes a gaming approach to fitness and setting goals, so I’m going to incorporate this into mine. So hopefully that will keep my posting. There are several new types of posts that will show up then, in order to keep myself organized and motivated:

  • Workout related stuff (sorry if you don’t care)/weekly journal of fitness and nutrition.
  • New life goals
  • Home improvement projects

That last one might have thrown you – but the idea is that I’m funneling money saved from drinking less and some other things into getting some new furniture, and more importantly, building new furniture – as well as some other things for the house. So stay tuned there.

That’s it for now – Stay tuned for the first weekly fit/nut update on Monday.


RPG Project

Post-Apocalyptic World

Something like this would be a Post-Apocalyptic survivor junky's wet dream...

I’ve got the general makings for a pseudo-Post-Apocalyptic RPG setting running around in my head and I haven’t decided what to do with it yet (including whether I should scrap it or not).

The basic idea is a serious world, as most PA tabletop RPGs are a bit tongue-in-cheek, and that’s about it. Other than that I’m still torn between quite a few options, some of which I am going to lay out here.

Setting – The setting of an RPG can sometimes be the most important thing. Most Post-Apocalyptic worlds or either Realistic, Horror, or Sci-Fi. But there are many other options as well – High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Western, Victorian-era, even Steampunk (haha no). So what time of world would I want to play in? Idealistically the game that comes out of this project would be adaptable to whatever setting the players want. If the rules allow for slight variation or customization, then you can transplant them from Horror straight into a Victorina-era Post-Apocalypse complete with vampires (or some such nonsense). So my thoughts are to design for a vaguely Realistic, maybe Low Fantasy-style world, but with complete adaptability.

Rules – Ah the rules. If the setting is the flesh of a game, the Rules are the bones of it. For creation testing, I will probably keep this in a D20 rule setting. Everyone I know that might be interested in playtesting knows it already, it’s easy to adapt, and most importantly I know it like the back of my hand… Wait, where’d that scar come from? Anyway. Ultimately I’d like to adapt whatever rule set that I use to come similar enough to feel comfortable to the players, but unique enough that… um… it’s unique.

Characters (Classes and Races) – Ah yes… to continue the terrible analogy, if setting is the flesh and rules are the bones, the characters are the blood of a game – the life force. Every game as characters, that’s the point. So what do I do with the character options? Well in part that depends on the setting. If this is a High, or even Low Fantasy setting, could players pick Elves and Dwarves for their classes? Ehhhh… yes. But what about Victorian, Horror, Western, etc.? What are the options there, just Human? Ideally, I would like to create a… rough outline of races based more on location. Think Midnight or Elder Scrolls: Oblivion/Skyrim for those more familiar with video games. The Northerners are a tall, stocky group with these natural skill sets… while Southerners are lithe and agile with these natural skills… That sort of thing. And if those goes well, addendum rules for Fantasy races are always an option. But at that point shouldn’t you just go play Eberron?

Finally, we come to the most important aspect… what makes a game Post-Apocalyptic? Well, that’s actually quite easy (to me).

Any PA-style game must have four basic elements to it, other than a ruined landscape (which, honestly, it doesn’t have to have).

  • A feeling of survival.
  • You must scavenge to survive.
  • Scavenging includes finding items to repair or replace current equipment… and health (you can’t just go to a shop and buy a new gun or some penicillin).
  • And a feeling of fear.

These may be the most important points for me in this game. If I capture those perfectly (or at least well) then I will be happy.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions or comments, feel free to leave them.

~Ian


A poll! A poll!

She turned me into a newt…

Wait… no. Not that again.

In all seriousness, I believe strongly in giving the people what they want. Or a good hard kick in the face. But that’s what I want to give them… sorry, I digress.

I figure that many of you have favorite posts here on the site, and that by getting a little feedback I can not only make the site more enjoyable for you… but also make it easier for me to find something to babble about. So… a poll. Please answer truthfully, or hordes of slathering beasts from the bowels of Warren Ellis will devour your skin.


Hello, again

*blink, blink* AH!!!! The sunlight… it burns the retinas.

But seriously, “what the hell!?” you might be thinking. I’d be thinking it too. Too be fair, I did complete Nano, so I did a lot of writing… I’m also working AS a writer. So I spend 90% of my day typing away… I generally don’t want to come home and do more of it.

The problem is that I have to in order to complete personal projects… right?

Right. So we come full circle, returning to, well, here. I’ve always been a prolific writer… just not steady prolific. I go frequent stints without outputting anything, then in a flurry of activity do too much, and burn out the creative synapses. I hear that it’s a common issue, actually… with many creative types. Only when you rely on that creativity for profit, it’s generally a bad idea, no? So to work around that we practice moderation.

Moderation in all things.

Some of you may know, and many may not know, that I’m a Buddhist. More in nature than in practice. I do believe in 98.7% of the tenets of Buddhism, from Enlightenment to moderation. I also don’t give a rat’s ass about the organized “sit here and recite koans till your mouth bleeds and your hands have become fused into a claw-like shape. Fuck that nonsense. There’s a certain level of… un-authenticity behind anyone who says that I can’t reach enlightenment without zazen practice 4 times a day. To you I say “And?”

Brad Warner, of punk rock fame and Zen obscurity… wait… strike that, reverse it… recently made a bit of a kerfuffle in this area. What is authenticity, and who decides what is authentic, and what is wrong? Without going into detail, because Master Warner (is that right… Priest? Awesome-dude-who-does-the-meditation-thing? Meh…) says it better than I would anyway, plus you should visit his site, I think he’s dead on here. I think that there’s a bit too much focus on who the person is, and not what they do. Who cares if I think The Beatles are overrated? Which I do (their early stuff anyway). Yes, it’s been some of the most influential music ever made… but that doesn’t mean it’s good.

My point is that there’s not enough moderation in thought and action going around these days… so I should make an extra effort to bring more into my own life.

So… the goal here is to steadily post again… also finish a few projects that I’ve been sitting on for far too long. From The Cult of Done manifesto… I should abandon those… but again, all things in moderation – I agree with some of the points of The Cult of Done, not all of it.

So look forward to seeing new and interesting things here in the near future… and scream at me if you don’t.

~Ian


NaNo – Day 1

TypewriterDay 1 of NaNoWriMo is officially over, and I have to say, went very well.

Most of the people I know met their word counts, and those that didn’t are planning on catching up at the first official Boston write-in tonight. My word count? Not as high as a few of the fellow Boston WriMo’s that I know, but 2002 isn’t too shabby I think. I’m happy at any rate.

Brandon informed me that I should have a quote of the day from each day of writing, so here was last nights. And I will preface it by saying yes, I am writing a horror novel.

I don’t bother telling her that my dream that night had centered around a man wearing her face as a mask slicing slivers of my skin off and feeding them to dogs with the heads of infants.

And that, ladies and gents, was my first day of NaNoWriMo. Expect more soon!


NaNoing Time!

TyperwriterIn just a few short days I will be undertaking, for the fourth time, NaNoWriMo. This time it’s different, this time it’s grander… this time… maybe I won’t fail. Haha.

I do have to apologize for the lack of updates lately. Things have been a bit hectic here. Job interviews and birthday celebrations and Halloween parties… etc, etc. And now I’m gearing up for NaNo. I can’t promise you regular updates through the month of November, but I can promise you this… you will get far too many posts about what I’m working on, excerpts, word counts… and the like. Far more than you’ll want to read.

But things will go back to normal in December… maybe. Chuck Wendig doesn’t call it “National Edit Your Shit Month” (NaEdYoShiMo) for nothing… Although if you need a break after the insanity of November, you could always wait for March and NaNoEdMo

So why do NaNoWriMo? I know I covered this before, but in an attempt to make my insanity understandable, as well as perhaps draw you, my faithful reader-s- into the insanity with me, I will address it one more time.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about winning. It isn’t about losing. It’s about writing. Whether or not you’re a seasoned writer, maybe even a published writer, or an amateur with maybe 500 words of fiction written down since your birth… NaNoWriMo can be for you. No one there really cares how many words you write, or how many times your main character magically comes back from the dead… or magically avoids an oncoming train… they care about writing. Getting words on paper. Making them mean something (at least to you)… and having fun doing it. The point of this exercise, if for nothing else, is to have fun.

NaNoBoston2011Now, there are people who would tell you that the point is to write a novel… yeah, sure… that can be a point. But some people really just can’t write 50,000 words in 30 days. Hell, some people don’t even consider 50,000 words a novel. But that’s up to you. Maybe you just want to add another 50,000 words to an already existing 60,000 word novel you’re working on. Maybe you want to write a series of short stories that happen to fit together in a cohesive manner. Maybe you just want a good excuse to take the time to write. Whatever helps you, let it help you. And most importantly, let it matter to you.

I think my final point, really, is that NaNoWriMo isn’t about meeting a word goal, it’s not about writing a novel (well, it is, but…), it’s about challenging yourself and having fun doing it. And it doesn’t hurt to meet other people who are insane about a similar interest at the same time – wrimo’s unite! haha.

So as November 1st rolls around, if you really aren’t the novel writing type… challenge yourself in another way. Start a blog on your favorite topic and try to write 50,000 words worth of posts by the end of the month. Start a new hobby that you’ve always wanted to try but have been scared of failing at… Hell, READ 50,000 novels in a month (okay… maybe not that many). But the point is, challenge yourself, and as always, have fun.


Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic Movies

Post-Apocalyptic TokyoSo, as I mentioned before, I kind of like the “Top 5″ post idea, and I figured I’d run with it for a little while, or at least until I run out of things to make lists of.

This week I decided to run with Post-Apocalyptic movies. I’ve written about this before, and as some of you may know, Post-Apocalyptic movies are some of my favorites. And not just in movies, but comics, video games, and books as well. So without further ado, my Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic movie recommendations…

5. 12 Monkeys – A science fiction, post-apocalyptic/time travel film by Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) based off of the French art-film La Jetée. This movie is just fun. Watch Bruce Willis go/be crazy. Watch Brad Pitt at his wackiest since Fight Club. It’s just a good, entertaining movie. With some rather peculiar social commentary slid in, but who cares about that, right? I recommend this movie almost solely based on the fact that it’s fun. I mean, the acting is phenomenal, the cinematography is phenomenal, and the story is damn good, but over-all I think the best reason to watch this one is for entertainment.

4. The Stand – The T.V. mini-series based on the novel by Stephen King, The Stand is really, really damn good. The acting isn’t… always there, but the story is just good. Take a world ravished by a horrible disease, then add a surprisingly non-stereotypical battle between good and evil, and you get this odd mix of “wow this is really good” and “okay, I actually didn’t expect that.” The Stand also slides in ahead of 12 Monkeys almost purely based on the fact that it’s long. Now, in many cases “long” is a negative way to describe a movie or show, but in this case it works out to be positive. The Stand has a very delicate, well balanced story to tell… and without the length of a mini-series I don’t think it could have been pulled off. If this was a two hour movie? Forget it, you’d end the movie going “meh.” But in this case you end it going “Cool.”

3. The Last Man On Earth – Ahhh… a Vincent Price classic. Almost a heavily remade movie. Many of you probably know it better as The Omega Man or I Am Legend. Not only is this the story of… literally the last man on earth (which is epic as far as post-apocalyptic stories go) but also a story about zombies, or vampires, or whatever you want to call them in this case. Based on the novel (actually, it’s almost a short story) by Richard Matheson – I Am Legend, this movie is not only classic as far as age, but classic as far as quality. There is something about horror movies made in the ’50s and ’60s that really makes Mad Maxme giggle. The best ones are usually a little cheesy, but so original and intelligent that it is impossible to find fault in them. Half the time the acting is atrocious… but I still love them. This get’s the solid number three spot because it’s just… amazing. Simply put.

2. Mad Max – Remember when Mel Gibson was cool? Or at least a good actor? I do… This movie is the pinnacle of post-apocalyptic movies for me. dystopic future, insane gangs of bikers and rabble… and one man trying to hold his life together in the midst of all this insanity… and how he reacts as it falls apart. I think the power behind this entire movie is how well it captures humanity. How we break when everything goes to hell, and how the mindless masses are driven to insanity by the freedom/prison of a world-wide incident. It’s beautiful, really, if you look at it from that point of view. I have to say, that no matter what, this will continue to sit as one of my favorite movies, not just post-apocalyptic ones, for a long time.

1. [Insert time of day/random word here] …Of The Dead – I love zombies. Most of you already know that, so I don’t go too deeply into it, but I felt I had to preface with that. I think more importantly here is that I love post-apocalyptic zombie tales. Put a group of people in a worst-case scenario game, and eventually someone will mention a zombie apocalypse. And George A. Romero is the master of that genre. No one else has ever been able to capture the essence of his films in the same way. Not only are they rife with the fear and dread of trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse, but the social commentary… and commentary on humanity in general, is utter amazing, and spot on. Not to mention how far ahead of their times these films are. And if you truly want my recommendation on these, watch them in order… but my favorite by far is Day of the Dead.

Diary of the Dead

Ah... filming zombies...

And there you have it, my top 5 post-apocalyptic movies. If you want more information on these films, or other post-apocalyptic films that I like… comment.


The Silent Comedy, a Review

The Silent ComedyOnce in a while, I bother watching film/television show/video game trailers online. Usually only if someone points it out to me, it’s something I’ve been anticipating… or just something that looks really cool. This week pulled two of those on me. First off, The Tony Stark ExtravaganzaAvengers trailer looks fantastic. Much snark, much explosion, much awesome. I’m looking forward to that one. Then yesterday I noticed a video game trailer someone posted online that had an interesting title – Dark Souls. Fairly generic, but you don’t see many games with generic titles like that, so it actually caught my interest. I watched the trailer, and while the game looks interesting (sort of a dark, medieval, horror fantasy style game) I was more caught up in the song that played through the trailer. Amusingly, the thing that sold me most in The Avengers trailer was also the song (Nine Inch Nails – We’re In This Together, fantastic song), which fit really, really well… so this was a running theme last week apparently.

So, Dark Souls trailer, song… yes. The band is The Silent Comedy. The song in the Dark Souls trailer can only be described as western rock… almost like a split between The Raconteurs, Murder By Death, and old blues. While not all of the band’s songs are quite this style (though most are similar), it’s definitely a fantastic sound (and doesn’t quite fit with the game trailer, which has an interesting dynamic). Fast-forward a day…

Listening to the album Sunset Stables I can definitely get a feel for the band. This is their first album, which is impressive. Very, very well produced and put together. It has a very nice sound, and flows very well. Reminiscent of The Raconteurs, as I mentioned earlier… with a bit of a Mumford & Sons sound in there as well. The similarities with the latter are in fact impressive, considering they formed around the same time I believe.

Spinning through the tracks on the first album, it’s a cohesive and fun sound. Enjoyable to listen to, not too ridiculous, not too boring. Something I can sit down and listen to “cover to cover” and not skip any songs. But again, nothing overly impressive. Nothing in particular that stands out and grabs me. Onward to the second album!

Common Faults is the band’s second album. This album has a bit more of that bluesy feel to it that I mentioned earlier. The song from the Dark Souls trailer is on this album – “Bartholomew” – and is definitely a favorite for this album. The album starts out extremely strong with “‘49” and continues to soak into your skin. Unlike their first album, which, while impressive for a first album, is simply good, this album is damn fantastic. Some of the tracks stand out more than others… but like the first album, it’s all very well put together, and the production quality of this album is absolutely fantastic.

So songs… songs are important. I should mention the really good ones. Bartholomew, as previously mentioned, is fantastic. “‘49,” “The Well,” “Moonshine,” “Exploitation,” …and “All Saints Day” are the other really good ones off of the second album (Yes, I realize that’s just about half the album…). If I was going to recommend one song for you to listen to, though, it would be the whole albumBartholomew. It’s my favorite anyway… It captures that old blues underdog power that many, many songs try for, and most fail at. It just drives forward, beating you down and lifting you back up. “Moonshine” has a similar feeling to it, but doesn’t quite have that unexpected boom that “Bartholomew” has. So yeah, that’s my recommendation there.

The Silent Comedy live

From The Silent Comedy's website.

Overall, the band has a fantastic sound that I think few bands even go for these days. And it’s original… as much as this genre of music can be. I mean, hell, in “Moonshine” you’re rocking out along with the song and suddenly there’s a jazz organ jamming away in the background… very unexpected. So if you’re getting really tired of “wubwubwubwub” or the same generic sounding rock/rap/pop/etc. music, this is one of the few newer albums I would highly recommend to you. The new Foo Fighters, Thrice, and Authority Zero would be a few others… but… we were talking about The Silent Comedy. So yes, if you want something that actually sounds “new,” then check them out. I highly recommend them.


An Interview with Chuck Wendig

Freelance Penmonkey logo care of Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.Update: The Critical Table isn’t dead, Courtney informed me today that he has been having trouble with his hosting, and lost a lot of data, but he’s redesigning the site and it should be up “in the next month or so.” Good to hear!

Seeing as The Critical Table appears to now be… defunct, I decided to repost this interview I did with Chuck Wendig over there on here. His answers are quite insightful and interesting.

The theme of the interview is gaming, and writing for a gaming company (in this case, White Wolf Publishing). Chuck Wendig has worked on a variety of their World of Darkness books, specifically as the main developer for Hunter: the Vigil. You can visit Wendig’s site at terribleminds, or pre-order his new book Double Dead which comes out November 15th. I appreciate Wendig taking time out of his busy schedule of writing, blogging, and slavery to his new overlord baby, to do this interview. Originally posted in August, 2011, at The Critical Table.

IEM: How did you get into writing for White-Wolf Publishing? I know you worked on the Hunter series, as well as others in the World of Darkness game, but did you start on Hunter, or did you start off on another project?
CW: A long time ago, in a double-wide trailer far away… I read on the Internet about a writer’s all-call they were putting out for Hunter: The Reckoning. They meaning, Ken Cliffe and Bruce Baugh. I answered with a pretentious 1000-word essay on the loci of fear. Somehow, my bullshit got in their eyes and convinced them to hire me.

IEM: How much work really goes into putting together a source book? As the Developer on the Hunter: The Vigil book, how much time did you spend going over all the material other people put into it, vs. working on the material you wrote for the book?
Chuck WendigCW: Quite a lot of work, though a lot more work for a core like H:tV. Bibles and outlines and hiring writers and tons of emails and first drafts and second drafts and art notes and so forth. The material I wrote for the book came after the other material hit my inbox — I filled in gaps at the end of the process. I don’t know how long, exactly — with some writers, minimal work, with others, a lot of work.

IEM: How much time do you spend re-writing material after it goes to the play testers? Is it kind of a back and forth “This doesn’t work? – Okay try it now” thing, or is it more of a “Here’s everything we found that we think needs improvement. – Okay it’s fixed, book is done” thing?
CW: In H:tV’s case, not a ton of rewriting was necessary. Lots of tweaking, but nothing severe. No hacked chapters or lost systems or anything. Mostly it’s just a case of red flags going up.

IEM: In “Old” World of Darkness each game was more or less standalone. Mage’s didn’t mix well with Vampires, etc. etc. Can you give us any insight into why that was changed in “New” World of Darkness? It seems like an effort was made to make it possible to play any type of character in any game – balancing out the abilities of all the different types, and making them work better together – as opposed to being enemies (I’m thinking of Vampires and Werewolves from oWoD specifically).
CW: I don’t know if the goal was really to balance them against one another, exactly. But I do think the goal was to make a more unified world, and certainly a more unified system.

IEM: Are you yourself a gamer, or do you just work on awesome games? And if you do play any, which tabletop games do you play? World of Darkness?
CW: I’ve been a gamer for a long time, though regrettably the last year or so has seen my gaming drop to essentially non-existent levels. I’ll play anything put in front of me, though I’ll usually only run WOD stuff.

IEM: As the developer for Hunter: The Vigil, were some of your ideas the driving force behind the game and it’s mechanics, or was your role more as a writer than mechanics designer?
CW: With Hunter I definitely helped lay the brickwork for the mechanics — mechanics are kind of added that way, one brick at a time, I think. Writers are instrumental in that, too, not just developers.

WoD Hunter: the Vigil

IEM: Do you play video games, and did you work on any of the Vampire PC games that were produced? And if so, in what capacity?
CW: I do play video games. I am right now getting so much pleasure from Borderlands it should be made illegal. That said, I did not work on any WW PC games. I did do some writing work for the WOD MMO, though I don’t know how much of that writing will survive the years-long process of bringing an MMO to the world.

IEM: Many Storytellers will take systems like World of Darkness and pull strongly from other influences (such as H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos) to alter the world and sometimes the mechanics of the system. Have you ever tried anything like that, and do you have any advice for people who want to experiment but may not want to design their own system from the ground up?
CW: I don’t generally do too much major world-shifting with the WOD — my advice to any who want to play with the system and the setting is to look into a book called WOD: Mirrors. I developed that and you just nailed the whole purpose behind that book.

IEM: On the other hand, do you think there is a point where a Storyteller changes a system so much that they should just design their own? Do you have any words of advice or caution for people interested in taking this plunge? (Not necessarily trying to publish it, but simply designing their own system at all)
CW: That’s up to each Storyteller — designing a system from the ground up is tough stuff, but also incredibly fun. Just make sure they have the time and the energy for it.

IEM: How difficult is it to contribute new ideas when writing supplements for these books, while balancing the fact that there is 20 or so years of work in the same “world,” as well as not trampling on the creative process for the Storytellers making up their own stories for their games?
CW: I don’t know that it’s so important to bring “new” to the table as it is to seek new arrangements of old ideas. Everything is a remix in its own weird way.

IEM: When watching movies (like say… Underworld) that get accused of “ripping off” World of Darkness, do you see similarities to the work you’ve done, and does it bother you?
CW: I didn’t do any work that would’ve made its way into Underworld, so, at present I don’t feel particularly ripped off. :)

WoD Logo

IEM: What ideas, either in film, fiction, music, or anything else really, influence/inspire you in your work with World of Darkness?
CW: The world around us is inspiration enough. From banking crises to serial murderers to WWII code-crackers, you have no end of horror and weirdness to choose from.


Top 5 Things I Learned From D&D (or Gaming in General)

Tabletop Gaming at PAXI felt like I wanted to write a gaming post this week, but couldn’t decide what to write about. After Mondays gaming session with Brandon, Crista, Dave, and a couple other friends, I’ve been thinking about how I learned to be a “Dungeon Master” – or for a more general gaming term – “Storyteller.”

A little background: I started gaming when I was in middle school, about 13 or 14 years ago. I know people who have been gaming much longer than that (since before I was born, in fact)… but to me that seems like a generous portion of my life. And like most teenage nerds, I started off with good ‘ole Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, or D&D 2.0. A very, very heavily modified version, which included many features from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series… and the fact that I was a “half dragon, half water-elemental” with an intelligent, talking bastard sword didn’t help either. It was an interesting game, I’ll leave it at that.

After that game finally went the way of the Dodo, I discovered World of Darkness, specifically Werewolf: The Apocalypse. While I really enjoyed the game world, Werewolf wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Yes, it’s fun and all, but I’m not big on the “yay, I can turn into a giant monster and rip things in half” aspect. So I looked into the other systems in the World of Darkness, and found Vampire.

Vampire: the Masquerade was definitely my cup of tea. A subtle blend of politics, power-struggle, and dark, brooding angst. Perfect for the socially awkward teenage nerd who likes metal and punk music… Moving on… So I started to devour Vampire, and ran a game for 4 years. The same game. It was epic, and I had players crying at certain plot twists. This is where I really learned how to run a game. Then I went off to college. End of gaming career for 3 years.

During my fourth year of college at Northeastern I moved into this mildly-crummy apartment with my then friend-who-is-no-longer-a-friend-and-shall-not-be-named, and Brandon, whom I had never met. Eventually, Brandon and I got to know each other and became good friends, and he invited me to play D&D with the group he gamed with. I had not played D&D since my early introduction to gaming, so I read up a bit and tried to get into the swing of things very quickly. 3.5 was the edition at the time, so it was a drastic change from what I had learned on, but much easier to comprehend, so I fell back into things very quickly.

Metal DiceTo wrap up this story, since then I haven’t really stopped gaming, except for a few months here and there when I’ve moved and whatnot. It’s become a staple of my life once again. Sadly, when I was living in Delaware the group I gamed with changed games more often than socks… so we never stuck with anything long enough to get a good story going. But now that I’m back in Boston, let the epic gaming commence!

So, now that I’ve ranted for a while about my gaming background… on to the actual point of this post! So, through all of this thinking I’ve realized that I’ve learned five, very important, lessons from gaming. Lessons that, in most cases, translate well into the rest of my life. These lessons are as follows:

5. “Lawful Good” people are dicks. It’s true. Every gamer, at some point in their gaming history, has been in a party with at least one Lawful Good character. And he (or she) is a Dick. With a capital D. Lawful Good characters are the most likely to start an in-party fight. They are the most likely to completely ruin a perfectly good strategy. And they are the most likely to impose their belief system on everyone else around them. Starting to sound like anyone you know in real life? Exactly…

4. Good plot twists generally involve people dying, or at least making everyone think someone died. Look at any Soap Opera. 99.9% of the time the plot revolves around everyone thinking someone is dead, or discovering that they aren’t dead, they’ve just been living in Aruba for 15 years. In any good story, someone dies. It’s bound to happen. It pretty much has to happen. Basically, kill off a major NPC, kill off a minor NPC, kill off your players. Hell, kill off GODS if you want. You’re the Storyteller, do what you want. When in doubt of a good twist in the story, kill something. It usually works. Though, on that note…

3. Combat sucks. Combat is both the most rule intensive and time consuming part of any game. Combat is also, usually, the most liked or disliked part of any game. I know gamers who refuse to play D&D because it’s “combat oriented” and I know gamers for whom D&D is the only game worth playing for that exact same reason. And guess what? Take a step outside and what’s the biggest problem you’re likely to encounter (next to maybe poverty)? Violence. War, gang violence, domestic violence, crimes of passion, etc. So guess what? Violence (combat) sucks. But I do think it’s healthier to deal with it with dice and numbers on paper than with a Glock or Stinger missile…

2. The Players Rule. You might be the all-mighty, all-powerful Storyteller… but without players, you have no story to tell. Or at least no one to tell it to. And important thing to remember in any game is that if your players are unhappy, and I don’t mean “hey, you killed my character” unhappy, I mean “this game is boring and your plot sucks” unhappy, then you won’t be happy. You have to cater your game to the players. Your players love combat? Don’t play a low-combat game. Your players love political intrigue? Play Vampire: The Requiem or some, similar, politics based game. Cater to your players. The same can be said in real life. If you want to actually have, you know, friends, you have to be open to what other people like/want to do. You can’t control every little aspect of your life, because if you do, don’t bother trying to form any lasting bonds or relationships…

And finally…

1. “Don’t be a Dick.” Wil Wheaton said it best. I don’t think I even need to explain how this applies in gaming and/or real life. Just don’t be a dick. DM/GM/Storytellers have the greatest reputation for making or breaking a game based on how much of a dick they are to the players. Give your players some leeway. Don’t force plot points if the players don’t want to go in that direction. Don’t railroad your players. And don’t change the rules at your whim because things aren’t going your way… or rather… are going too easy for the players. If you can’t make a game that challenges the players, maybe you’re the one that needs to fix something. Plain and simple – Don’t. Be. A. Dick. And I really don’t think I need to tie this one in to “real life.” Seems self-explanatory to me…

Thank you, and goodnight.


A-NaNoing We Will Go

TyperwriterSo in about 21 days all hell breaks loose. All across the country – nay, the world perhaps – mad people try their hand at writing a 50,000 word novel. Insanity, I know, but it’s a valiant effort. Here in Boston, there is a very strong community who attempts, and from what I have seen, usually succeeds at this task. I have heard amazing and fantastic things about this group of people from Brandon for a couple years now, but now that I have moved back to this fantastic city I will get to meet them firsthand. That’s right… I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo again this year… and with a little luck, and hopefully some help from new friends, actually succeeding at it.

So for those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo started in 1999 (in July, not November) in San Francisco with 21 people. The next year they moved NaNo to November, and it started growing to the 200,500 participants last year. Today, in fact, they are launching a new website for NaNoWriMo, so look for that soon!

The idea, really, for those of us who write outside of the month of November, is to really motivate ourselves. As a writer I rarely have a chance to say “I’m going to write for the hell of it.” Nine times out of 10 I’m writing for a paycheck, and therefore not only does that writing have to be good, but it also has to meet a certain standard; namely, that of the person I’m writing for. With NaNo, though, I’m writing purely for myself, and in general for NaNo – who cares about the quality? The point is to get 50,000 words written in just 30 days, and that is no easy task in and of itself!

Different people have different approaches to NaNo. There are some contestants who feel that in all fairness of the concept, they should start with a blank slate on November 1st, with nothing planned. I tried this my first year and wrote exactly 3 pages. That’s it. I had NOTHING. It was kind of sad, and almost pathetic.

Then there is another frame of mind, which creates not a one month event, but a three month event. Chuck Wendig (who wrote an interesting post on NaNoWriMo here) calls October NaStoPlaMo, or National Story Planning Month. And he calls December NaEdYoShiMo… National Edit Your Shit Month. His suggestion? Plan your novel through October, figure out your plot, characters, hell, etc. Then you hit November and you write like a madman (or woman) and knock out 50,000 words. Now, here’s the important part. Those 50,000 words. They don’t have to be perfect. You don’t write the next “Great American Novel” in one month. Hell, the story doesn’t even have to be good. Just written. Then you use December to edit. Turn that pile of crap into the next great American novel. Or if that’s not your thing… just turn it into something decent you’d let your friends read.

Chuck Wendig’s most important point about NaNo is something I am taking to heart this year, though.

“NaNoWriMo has a lot of rules: you’re supposed to “start fresh,” you’re not really meant to work on non-fiction, blah blah blah. This is all just made-up stuff. It’s not government mandated. This isn’t taxes, for fuck’s sake. Do what you like. Even better: do what the story needs. Hell with the rules. Fuck the police. Write. Write endlessly. Don’t be constrained by this program. It’s just a springboard: use it to launch your way to awesomeness. Anything you don’t like about it, toss it out the window. That certificate you get at the end doesn’t mean dog dick. The only thing that matters is you and your writing.”

Who cares if you start early? Who cares if you simply use the enjoyment of NaNo to work on the novel you started in August? This is about writing, not rules. So guess what? My NaNo novel? I already have a few thousand words written. Hopefully I’ll write an additional 50,000 in November, but if I don’t? If I only write 50,000 total? Tough shit. I’ll be satisfied, and that’s what matters.

NaNo2011

Not a big fan of this years badges...

So the point of NaNoWriMo? Write. The idea of NaNoWriMo? Write. Why should you do NaNoWriMo? To write. So if you want to write… want to write a lot… and want a motivational tool to get you going with it, join us for NaNoWriMo next month. And remember… don’t worry about the rules, just write.


Top 5 Things I Dislike

Indy SnakeRiffing off of Brandon’s post about how the word “hate” is oft misused (and in following suit, also admitting that I am guilty of this occasionally) this is my list of things I dislike.

This is also going to be short – as I must LOAD ALL THE THINGS onto the moving truck today. So without further ado…

5. Humidity – Seriously. I dislike it. Heat I don’t mind SO much, but humidity drives me nuts… can’t stand it. The humidity is too damn high! (Yes this post is going to be full of meme’s, deal with it…)

4. Allergies – I love cats. I am allergic to cats. I own cats. My allergies bother me. This is my own damn fault… but they are too damn cute, and too damn fluffy, to not love. So I deal… but I still dislike allergies, or at least the fact that they exist.

3. Extremists from any religion – Yes, I’m looking at you WBC. Go to he… wait, nevermind…

2. Bigotry/Self-imposed Ignorance – Anything beyond this statement is a waste of my time. Enough said.

and 1. Snakes. Okay, so not really. I actually like snakes. But it gives me the chance to say two things. A: “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!” AND B: “Snakes. Why’d it have to be snakes?”

Thank you, and goodnight.


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