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Category Archives: Science fiction

Started a new blog this week, its about cartoons! The world is a pretty discouraging place at the moment. With all the pollution, politics and pressure, its nice to just chill out and watch more cartoons.

You Should Watch More Cartoons

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Tada! Welcome to the first post of my official cartoon blog. This will basically be a place for me to break down various episodes of my favorite cartoon shows with accompanying insights, commentaries, and jokes. I don’t have a specific order planned for any shows; expect analysis of any given episode of any given animated show at any time. Random Posts!

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Get it?

Why? Because cartoons inspire me, they are one of my favorite art forms and can be utilized to tell a variety of stories that would be other wise too difficult to produce via other media, or would be somehow lessened by a media other than animation. What do I mean by that?

(Get ready for nerd talk.)

Well, in animated programs, every frame has been constructed specifically, nothing has been left to chance. Furthermore, the acting is exclusively limited to voice, allowing the director more control over…

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Forever ago I came up with this sort of mission statement, and I feel like this blog is a good place to break it down. This isn’t about pragmatic goals, or even achievable ones. Its more of a list of why I write what I write.

Creating a mentality of equality: So this is pretty clear, but it goes a little deeper than you might think. Ideally, I would like to not only remove preconceived expectations of gender, race and species (regarding alien and synthetic life), but to remove emphasis on them entirely. Put simply, I want everyone, everywhere, to be people. Period. More on that specifically in a later post.

For excitement! A holdover from the inception of the Triworlds as a project some fifteen years ago, I vowed to make my series consistently active, engaging, and moving. Now, in many ways I’ve toned down from what my teenage self had envisioned (without slower moments, how do you know when to be excited? Also, readers CAN get motion sick) but feel that once the story gets going, there really is “never a dull moment.”

Humor: My origins lie much more in comedy writing than novels, and I tried to carry that over in my style. I’ll admit I am heavily influenced heavily by the works of Douglas Adams; growing up, I couldn’t understand why epic action novels and films didn’t incorporate more humorous elements. In recent years it seems that franchises have found their comedic voice. Films like Avengers, The Force Awakens, and the anticipated Deadpool film all seem to throw out jokes as fast as punches, which does a lot to keep your audience engaged and connected to what’s happening on the screen.

Creating a consistent universe of all possibilities: I hate it when things end. Books, films, games, I hate it when the last page turns, the final credits roll, when there is no more content to absorb. I know I am in the minority, but I also know I am not alone. But even the most loyal audience will eventually become fatigued, so instead of creating the longest story ever told, I decided to create the biggest world I could, with massive character arcs, foreshadowing upon foreshadowing, secrets nestled into innocuous scenes that have no relevance for six books yet to come, and revelatory “Aha!’ moments that continue to unfold and necessitate frequent rereads over the course of years to come. It took more than thirteen years to get to the point where I was ready to write the first Triworlds book. Time will tell how well I succeeded…

Creating a love song to my favorite things: Music, video games, action, sci-fi, fantasy, conspiracy, spirituality, justice, independence, equality, joy, love, freedom, humor… The Triworlds is a straight-up love note to my very favorite things in the world, and if my readers love the same things that I do, they will feel the same notes resonate inside themselves when they read it, if I did my job right. That’s the core of the experience to me, and where the inspiration came from to write the whole thing.

So, that’s why I write. Some of these goals come through heavily in the first book, some will become more clear as the books come out in the next several years. Either way, I hope you keep reading to find out!

Its about time I REALLY started using this blog. I know, I know, I’ve said that before (about every three months in fact) but this time, I mean it.

I think.

Moving forward, this blog will be the definitive place for all things Triworlds, and I will continue to put my personal opinions on pop culture phenomenon (blog posts about Stephen Universe and BloodBorne are both on the way, beleive me) but mainly, I want to focus on posting content as often as possible so that fans don’t just… kinda forget that I am doing my thing. I’ve got a lot to talk about in the coming months, from inaccurate reviews of books to the current state of comedy writing to even politics, in a way. So stay tuned; or don’t, because either way, there will be more posts here soon and they’ll be sure to annoy your feed as much as they annoy all of my friends and roommates. But hey, its the internet, the universal mascot for unsolicited opinions, and I have nothing but. So I’m back, hopefully for good, with my opinions and progress and all the rest.

See you tomorrow!

Just a quick update for anyone following this blog or who is interested in the Triworlds. I’ve been taking a break from writing, both because of some life stuff and also because my devices have been out of order for a while. Seriously windows 10… Most of the time its great, but sometimes, like when I want to transfer personal documents to Kindle or whatever… ugh…

Anyways. I’m not dead. Still here. I might make more blog posts soon, but I make no promises. Just wanted to pop my head up and let people know I haven’t quit writing for good or anything. Probably. But either way, next month I plan to make Triworlds Revolution: Homeworld Blues free for all kindle readers on the anniversary of its birthday in preparation for next year, which will be the year of TWR book 2. Probably. Wish me luck. This second book is a monster.

I just cannot get over how impressed I am with the newish show on Adult Swim’s Sunday night line up, Rick and Morty. If you haven’t tuned into the late-night ‘mature viewers only’ cartoon block, it has come a long way. Adult Swim began by redubbing and editing older programs (space ghost, Sealab 2020) before moving onto original animated programs (aqua teen, Venture Brothers) and then entering an ill-advised foray into non-animated programs (Tim and Eric, Delocated) and for a while it seemed like they were focused on purely syndicated programs, with their occasional original shows that seem to focus more on shock value than on substance (looking at you, Mr. Pickles.)

Enter Rick and Morty.

Co-created by Dan Harmon (of Community fame, among an impressive list of credentials) and Justin Roiland (who designed the show and voices the titular characters) it is a breath of fresh air in the realms of sci-fi, animation, and comedy, all rolled together in a snarky and mass-marketable package that appeals particularly to the jaded subculture of my generation who can smell pandering from a mile off and have grown weary of punch lines that are just veiled insults hurled at random celebrities on national television.

The show’s premise is rather simple; Rick is a brilliant and somewhat amoral scientist who takes his teenage grandson Morty with him on adventures through space and beyond. Rick’s daughter Beth is a horse surgeon married to a weak-willed advertising executive named Jerry, and the pair got together straight out of high school after becoming pregnant with Morty’s older sister, Summer. On paper, it sounds like the Simpsons-meets-Doctor Who; in execution, well, it still kinda resembles the Simpsons-meets-Doctor Who.

However, the true brilliance of the show is greater than the sum of its parts, and is represented threefold. First, since it is based in a theoretical multiverse, they’ve painted up a universe wherein anything could happen. Literally, any conceivable reality could crop up in any given episode, based purely on the premise of the universe the show is based in. Not only is that convenient as heck from a writing standpoint, it is also solid science that translates surprisingly well into televised format, and it is clear that the writers are not interested in pulling punches on the sci-fi front, choosing instead to treat their audience with respect and intelligence instead of dumbing-down their ideas for TV viewers. The second piece of brilliance that powers this show’s comedy engines is Rick himself, and to another degree, Morty. Much like the Doctor, Rick is a character that isn’t necessarily likable, but as Dan Harmon has said in interviews, as long as you have companions that question the decisions Rick makes, you can still identify with the show and not feel like it is grounded in a place that is too negative or amoral. The third (and most important) thing that this show does differently is that unlike the Simpsons or any of its spiritual successors, these characters are addressing real issues in ways that affect them long term and change the way they see each other, but somehow, those moments never feel heavy-handed or overly dramatic. The emotional content in some of these episodes is so real and starkly explored in such a succinct manner that multiple times I’ve felt compelled to applaud the closing credits of the episode. What’s even more impressive is that I’ve spent an equal amount of time laughing uproariously out of sheer delight at the sharp dialogue or actions that have just been portrayed on screen in a beautifully elegant method of dovetailing story-lines or thematic (or cosmetic) associations.

I could spend another five-hundred words talking about my passion for Rick and Morty, but I think that I am going to have to limit myself to once a week. As new episodes come out, I plan to have a breakdown of the best moments of each ep by humor, symbolism, and obscure references that less passionate viewers might have missed. Once this season is finished, I’ll probably go back and do the same thing for season one, and when that’s finished, I’ll probably start talking about my other favorite cartoon show of all time, The Venture Brothers.

So look out for that. Rick and Morty time, all day every day! Its Rick and Morty, Morty and Rick, having adventures, getting blogged about and kicking ass!

So one week ago, Burning man closed up for the year and burners everywhere went back to where they came from, presumably to begin preparing in earnest for next year. But some of them apparently have bigger fish to burn, because they’ve had time to threaten a lawsuit against sandwich company Quizno’s, who put out an advertisement that spends equal time mocking Burning Man, The Scorch Trials (a middle of the road film adaptation of the YA novel by the same name), and Quiznos itself. In case you want to watch it right now, this is what I’m talking about.

So okay, it may be a sandwich commercial, but its a pretty damn high concept one. And while it might poke fun at something that lots of people take pretty seriously, you’d think that one of the foremost creative and original communities in the world could see the humor and just shrug it off, especially since the commercial brings up a few salient points; calling out the festival for becoming something for ‘rich people to cross off their bucket lists’ was probably my favorite line in the ad. But apparently the people in charge of the festival feel like their intellectual property is being infringed upon, and in that regard, they are pressing for legal action.

Which is okay I guess, because they have a right to protect what they feel is a commodity-less lifestyle for part of the year, and by using the Burning Man name to promote their product, it does feel kinda like Quizno’s is violating one of the big Burner rules. But a lawsuit? Really? The most creative and artistic and empowered people in the country can’t think of anything better than a lawsuit? Something about it feels so sour and wrong, so much more so than a cute little ad that doesn’t even deface what the festival is about, and in fact embraces what it used to be over what it has actually become.

Which leads me to my final point. It seems like the Burners are mainly just upset about their culture being inserted into the mainstream and finding so many outsiders in their midst. This sentiment has been building in the last few years, and led many to declare that the fest is ‘over.’ But that just feels like more whining to me. I mean, isn’t this the point? The point of art? To capture people’s imaginations, to entrance and enthrall them, and then while you have their minds open discovering something they never knew existed, you can teach them. Show them a better way, a way that isn’t full of commodity and corporate mentalities and blandness? That is what you have the opportunity to do right now, Burning Man. And instead of embracing the mainstream culture and changing it, you just whined, sued, and tried to tell all the norms that they ‘just don’t get it.’

And honestly, that’s exactly what ‘The Man’ would do…

Lately, its been hard to push myself to keep working on writing projects. My second novel is stuck at about 50,000 words, I’ve got two screenplays and two speculative scripts that I am successfully ignoring, and a podcast that is in indefinite hiatus until schedules clean up. I remind myself- regularly- that if you don’t try, you can’t succeed, but even that line is sounding hollow and trite as I realize that even if I was to complete all of these projects, there is no guarantee that any of them would gain traction with an audience to any real degree.
Since finishing my first novel and publishing it on KDP, I have received lots of awesome praise and encouragement which has kept me going (at least on the Triworlds projects), but that doesn’t translate into manageable currency unfortunately, so I’ve had to get day jobs that significantly cut into my writing time, and leave me drained and uninspired during my precious free time. I find it to be more worth my time to squeeze out the extra hour of sleep when I can get it, instead of the extra thousand words, and it isn’t a great feeling to know that I am so far behind on all of my plans.
To that end, I’ve cut down on all my expenditures as much as possible, and rely on caffeine and the like in order to press myself to be productive. I write on buses, trains, on napkins while at work. I write in my dreams. Because I’ve got to double down on this thing, or else I’ll get stuck, caught in the same trap that many fall into, just doing what you can to pay the bills, biding time until something better comes along, something that will fix what makes them unhappy and doesn’t require real work. Except that doesn’t fit into my worldview; I know that no one is going to save me, that no one is going to tap me on the shoulder and say “Ah, we’ve been looking for someone with your talent, come follow me to where the winners are…”
I write because writing is my golden rope, my ladder to a better life. There aren’t a lot of options open for me at this stage, and in the end, writing is the only thing I’ve really ever wanted to do. So I guess the answer is to keep on trucking; no matter how hard it is, no matter how little money I have, no matter how much free time I dedicate to it, it is the only was that I can see out of working for other people for the rest of my life. My question is, what do other people do? Are they suffering as much as I am, going to crappy corporate jobs day in and day out, and still making no money? Or are they happy in what they do, and give no second thoughts to their fate? Or… Am I just whining about being broke, and about how I put myself there by choosing a long-shot passion career over a more lucrative but ultimately uninteresting life?
Decisions, decisions…

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This week Activision is launching a third expansion for Destiny that is supposed to be comparable to a whole new game’s worth of content, and as they are entering their second year, it comes not a moment too soon. With a new campaign, new subclasses, and new endgame activities, it seems like Activision has finally decided to let gamers play the full version of Destiny that’s been held back for a year now. It’s clear that this was their plan all along; to develop a game and then cut pieces out of it to sell back to the consumer individually over a long timeline.
While I don’t deny that this is a dastardly way to sell video games, I also can’t deny that it works to curb a few other problems plaguing the industry that have yet to be solved, such as game length. Average game length has been shortening over the last few generations of consoles as the market becomes saturated with games competing for our attention. Instead of exploring the full content of a game, a player would move onto the next as soon as the credits would roll, sometimes sooner. Developers realized that they could spend months working on a content-rich game, but a majority of gamers would pass over 90% of the content they spent their time creating. The trend became to create shorter games with less content, but the prices stayed the same. As much as I enjoy games like Bioshock and The Last of Us, it is difficult to justify spending $60 on 8-12 hours worth of gameplay, and so these games end up in used bins, with none of their sales profits benefiting the team that made it. With a game like Destiny, I’ve easily gotten 100+ hours of gameplay in the year that it has been released, and the collected expansions and core game have cost our household $100; a solid value, in my opinion, and the profits go to the developers (And yes, of course, Activision.)
Selling parts of games piecemeal also gives the opportunity to receive feedback from your community without a prolonged and expensive beta test. It just seems like a kind of punishment to have to pay yet again for helping to make the game better, especially when new players are going to be able to purchase a bundle of all content for $100 but my household is going to pay another $40 for something that should have shipped a year ago. So I’m not sure exactly where I fall on the whole thing. I understand why they do it, although I strongly believe that the budget for the game should have been reigned in (at least for marketing… Why did they need to pay for Peter Dinklage and Led Zeppelin?). If developers aren’t getting paid, games will stop getting made, but with the way that publishers like Activision are doing business, it will lead to the end of AAA games as we know it. They push huge budgets at projects, as if it will correlate directly with the success of the game, pandering to their audience with whatever they can reach and assimilate, from Nathan Fillion to classic rock. But gamers aren’t like other demographics like moviegoers or fiction readers. We get bored of concepts faster, and transparent ruses insult us. We crack puzzles, we work as a team. These publishers have gotten lucky so far, but one of these days they will overextend themselves on a project they deem perfect, but we won’t be there to foot the bill for the half finished product that is less than we deserve.
All it takes is for someone to beat you at your own game, and honestly, you’re just business people pretending to be gamers.

Man, I want a new star ocean game…

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So tomorrow marks roughly three months since I’ve posted to this blog. On a related note, my book is going to be available for free again! I don’t want to use this blog as a platform to exclusively talk about my book, but I don’t know if I am the type of person to allow my unfiltered thoughts onto the pages of the impressionable internet. Not that my inner thoughts and opinions are all that shocking, because they’re not; they’re just negative. I can (and do) complain about anything. It is a skill I acquired over a life spent picking things apart and looking for holes and flaws, and while in many ways it makes for better writing, I also feel like it annoys and even alienates people when I voice a particularly unpopular opinion, or when I call someone in a public setting out for being especially rude. A large part of me wants to hide that stuff; to carefully curate and control my internet image for the purposes of my writing career. Then again, a very strong part of me wants to embrace the internet as a tool for expressing my opinion loudly and without merit, and to talk about myself unabashedly guilt-free.

So, I might do that from now on, simply for lack of better posts. Get ready.

I’ll also try and throw in reviews and pragmatic writing advice and insights and relevant quotes as often as possible. You know… content! Anyways…

Check out my book! Its available for free on Kindle from 8/31-9/4!
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Just a heads up that tomorrow is the last day to grab a free copy of my book, Homeworld Blues! Reads like a dream on all devices, just a click away!

http://ift.tt/1BP2HoW

Well, maybe more than one click, but less than seven! I think!

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