Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It’s my day off and I don’t want to get up and do anything so...

So I thought I’d rank all of the Doctors from Doctor Who in order of how much I liked them and why.

0.) Jodie Whittaker.  I’m leaving her aside in the 0 position because, well, I’ve never seen her play the Doctor.  I don’t know how good, or bad she may be at it, and I don’t know where she will fit into my lineup. I don’t really care about any of the outrage or politics or percieved politics surrounding her casting as the Doctor.  I’ll wait until I see her in action before I form an opinion on her.

13.). Matt Smith, the Eleventh Doctor.  Yes, that’s right, New Who fans.  I absolutely hate Matt Smith as the Doctor.  He is my least favorite of all the actors who have played the character.  I consider him a blight upon the show, and he annoys me more than Adrick does.  Yes.  I just said that.  I would rather watch any number of episodes centering around Adrick than I would a single episode featuring Matt Smith.  I don’t like how goofy, childish, and oblivious he plays the character.  He’s not the Doctor.  He’s a child trapped in the Doctor’s body.  And his performance is not helped at all by the writing for his character, which was absolutely horrible.  I can’t even think of a single episode during his entire run that I actually enjoyed.  I chuckled a bit when Rory said, “Shut up, Hitler,” Before locking him in a closet.  Honestly, throughout Matt Smith’s run, Rory really is more the hero of the series than the Doctor is.  I somewhat liked the 50th anniversary special, but not because of the writing or the Matt Smith.  I liked it because David Tennant, my favorite of the new Doctors came back, and because John Hurt is just amazing in everything he does.  Plus getting to see Tom Baker back was great too.  But, you know what, I felt that the Peter Davidson written and directed spoof the Five-ish Doctors that was released at the same time on You Tube was a far better, and far more entertaining, tribute to 50 years of Doctor Who than the actual 50th anniversary episode, so there you go.

12.) William Hartnell, the First Doctor.  The problem with William Hartnell is that he was the first.  He was there before the show really figured out what it wanted to be.  He had some really great stories, and introduced two of the Doctors longest running enemies, but he’s kind of a douche.

11.) Christopher Eccleston, the Ninth Doctor.  I think his problem was that he just wasn’t around long enough for me to get to like him.  Again, like with William Hartnell the new series started with him, and at the time, it seemed like it just hadn’t really found it’s stride in the new format and era yet.  He’s not bad in the role, but I never really saw him as THE Doctor.

10.) Peter Capaldi, the Twelth Doctor.  Here’s the thing about Peter Capaldi.  I really like him as the Doctor.  I really like how he plays it.  The problem is that he was let down by the writing in a huge way.  He took on the role right as Steven Moffat hit full speed in his nose dive in the quality of the series.  During Capaldi’s run Doctor Who became a parody of itself.  I haven’t even watched two of his three seasons because I was so insulted by the ending of his first season’s finale where they took the freaking COPRSE of a much beloved character from the original series, whose actor had passed on recently, AND TURNED IT INTO A ZOMBIE CYBERMAN!!!  Way to show your disrespect for a fan favorite character, and for a man who spent more than a decade as a supporting character in the old series, there Moffat, now find the nearest convenient fire and go die in it, you hack!  It is because of this that I have refused to watch another new episode of Doctor Who until Moffat is gone!  That was unforgiveable and inexcusable and I refuse to support the show again until the man that thought that that was an acceptable send off for a recently deceased actor tied to the series has been shown the door.  The episodes of Capaldi’s that I did watch were just terrible.  They were just plain awful.  There is not a single one that was in any way good.  I mean, Kill the Moon?  Really?  Can anyone honestly look at that episode and tell me that Moffat is a good show runner?

9.) Paul McGann, the Eigth Doctor.  I like Paul McGann.  I really do.  He’s a great actor when he’s doing something he’s clearly invested in.  Unfortunately he’s clearly NOT invested in being the Doctor.  But wait, you say, he was only in that one movie, how can you form such an opinion from just that?  Well, head on over to Bigfinish.com.  They take actors who have previously played the Doctor and make up new stories for them in audio format.  Paul McGann is heading into his Seventh season over there titled “The Time War” for all you New Who fans that really want more of the Time War.  Some of his seasons are really great.  I reccommend Dark Eyes, The Time War, and season four of The Eigth Doctor Adventures.  The problem is that McGann clearly doesn’t want to be there.  He’s so boring and lacking in energy.  You can tell he’s just doing it to pay the bills and isn’t really invested in the character.  He comes off as really bland, and somewhat lacking in personality.  The stories may be good, but the actor playing the Doctor doesn’t seem to care.

8.) Peter Davidson, the Fifth Doctor.  Peter Davidson is kind of on the low end of the middle for me.  He’s got some really good stories, like Earth Shock, Spare Parts (Big Finish) and The Caves of Androzani, but during his tenure, the BBC instituted some budget changes that really killed his run.  They didn’t have the money they needed to do the stories they wanted and had to cut a lot of corners.  And Davidson himself is a little boring in the role too.  To be fair, it would have been nearly impossible to follow up Tom Baker, but he did well enough.  He wasn’t a bad Doctor, but he wasn’t exactly great either.  And most of his companions really annoyed me.  Uhg, Tegen, Turlough, Adrick, no thanks.

7.) David Tennent, the Tenth Doctor.  Of the Doctors in the new series, David Tennent is my favorite. I thought he was a little too hyper at first, always running and talking a million miles an hour, but he grew on me as hsi run went on.  He’s the only one of the New Who Doctors that ever really FELT like the Doctor to me.  Peter Capaldi COULD have, had the writing been better, but David Tennent succeeded where he failed.

6.) Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor.  What’s this?  Tom Baker isn’t number one?  Nope.  He was a great Doctor.  He really was.  And he’s probably the most iconic Doctor of them all.  I like his personality, the energy he brings to the role, and his ability to break the fourth wall without it feeling like he’s pandering to the audience.  He always seems so upbeat and jovial, even under the worst of circumstances.  But the truth is, there are other Doctors I like more than him.  He may have had some GREAT stories, Genesis of the Daleks is probably my favorite of his, and he was the Doctor longer than any other actor, but he’s not my favorite.

5.) Sylvester McCoy, the Seventh Doctor.  Despite having a bit of a rocky start, Sylvester McCoy turned into an amazing Doctor before the show was cancelled.  I really like how cold, and calulating he is.  He’s a big schemer, and he has usually won before the story even starts, because he was so smart he was able to foresee his path to victory before the game even began.   Definitely check out Remembrance of the Daleks, a call back to the very first episode of Doctor Who, that ran for the 25th anniversary of the series.  I also really liked his companion Ace.  She took out a whole squad of Cybermen with a slingshot and a bunch of golden coins, and beat a Dalek to death with a baseball bat.

4.)John Hurt, The War Doctor.  John Hurt only showed up in two episodes of the new series, but he did get out one twelve episode season of The War Doctor at Big Finish before his death, which was excellent.  I really like his personality as the Doctor.  He’s very sarcastic, and tortured, and kind to those that deserve it.  His one season of the War Doctor is probably one of the best that Big Finish has ever released.  I really enjoyed it, and John Hurt is really great in the role.  You can tell that he’s a fan, and having the time of his life.

3.) Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor.  Well, number three ended up in the number three spot.  When Jon Pertwee took over, the show was completely reinvented.  The Doctor was banished to Earth by the Timelords, so there was no more travel through time and space.  Instead, he joined with Unit to protect Earth from the Master and many other alien threats.  His era has a really cool, old-timey spy drama feel to it, with a sci-fi twist.  And one of the all-time best companions was introduced near the end of his run, Sarah Jane.  He was like Sherlock Holmes to the Master’s Moriarty.  And I really like dhtat.  Plus I really enjoyed the way he played the Doctor.  Smooth, confident, and able to whoop some ass whenever the occasion demanded.

2.) Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor.  And two lines up with second, nice.  Patrick Troughton was one of the best.  He’s an amazing actor who put his all into the role.  the budget may have been low, and the effects and costumes silly, but that man could act circles around it like you wouldn’t believe.  He plays the Doctor as a bit of a jokey trickster that can be serious when he needs to be.  Unfortunately huge numbers of his stories have been lost, and only about half of them remain intact.  Which is a shame, because he really is great as teh Doctor, and he has my all time favorite compainion Jamie.  The two of them are like the ultimate and original space bros.  I also liked Zoe a lot too.  His final story, The Wargames, is one of the longest ever Doctor Who serials at ten episodes, and it is GREAT.

1.) Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor.  Okay, so, Colin Baker is usually on lists of people’s most hated things about Doctor Who, and I completely understand.  The show was complete crap during his run, and it was entirely not his fault.  The BBC was being run by a man that hated Sci-fi and was actively trying to kill the show off.  He succeeded.  HOWEVER, I really like his personality as the Doctor.  He’s arrogant, sarcastic, kind of a dick to everyone, but he does it in a really likeable way.  He kind of reminds me of the way that Robert Downy Jr. plays Tony Stark.  He also has a great sense of humor, and good comedic timing.  During his run on the tv series, his stories can be sorted into one of three categories.  Crap.  Less crap.  And watchable.  BUT, when  you get to his audio shows with Big Finish, I have not listened to a single one of them that I didn’t love.  The Apochalypse Element is amazing, the Last of the Cybermen is awesome, the Light at the End is great (that was the big finish 50th anniversary special and featured Doctors 4-8). The Trial of the Valeyard was extremely entertaining, mixing a lot of comedy with some very serious, and dark story elements that work surprisingly well together.  And they even made an actual regeneration story for him in  The Last Adventure.  If you didn’t like him much on TV, you may like him in the Big Finish stuff.  He is my favorite Doctor.

And there you have my Doctors ranked, and I killed twenty minutes waiting for the shower to be free.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

NaNo Day whatever it is + other stuff

So Brandon Sanderson’s Oathbringer came out this week, and well, there went any plans to spend my free time writing until I finish it.  I did hit the 50,000 goal, and I do plan to spend some time finishing up the first draft in week four after I’m done reading, but man, I can’t put this book down.

Anyway, to the real reason for this blog post:

I deliver mail to a man who came up to me yesterday and gave me a change of address form.  He is being deported, which somewhat shocked me.  It shocked him somewhat more than it shocked me, unfortunately.  His parents were Vietnamese refugees fleeing the war in Vietnam.  They fled to a US Army base, and were rushed onto a plane, which landed in California.  He was born on the plane, in the air.  When the plane landed, he was given a California birth certificate, and his parents were told to be proud of their son, because he was an American citizen.  He grew up in the USA.  He’s spent his entire life in the USA being told that he was an American citizen.  He has a freaking California birth certificate, a social security number, and all the other bells and whistles.  The only language that he speaks is English.  He served in the Army during the first Iraq war, and was awarded a bronze star for dragging three downed men to safety under fire.  He owns his own business, which employs twenty-seven other people, who are now going to lose their jobs.  He’s very active in his community, coaching children’s sports, and was the one who set up their neighborhood watch program.  He votes in every single election no matter how big or small, because he feels that it is the most important thing an American citizen can do.  Six months ago he recieved a notice that his citizenship had been downgraded from citizen to refugee.  Last month he was informed that he had exceeded the legal term in which a refugee could claim solace within the United States.  This week he will be sent to Vietnam.  A country he has never seen, that speaks a language he does not know.  He has no relatives still living in Vietnam.  They all either died in the war, or later in the USA.  All of this because of an executive order that President Trump signed in March.  This order changes the way that refugees are handled by the USA, and the immigration status given to them.  It, basically, stripped him, and thousands of others, of their US citizenship.  This man has spent nearly 50 years as a US citizen, a prime example of the American Dream, and Donald Trump undid it with a single signature, and a complete misunderstanding of the implications of literally EVERYTHING he has ever signed.  This man is a freaking US Army hero for god’s sake, and he’s being deported because his refugee status is being revoked?  Refugee status he never had before march, because before march he was considered to be a fully legal, born and bred, US citizen?  Does that make you angry?  It sure makes me angry.

Look guys, we live in a democray.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like it’s working most of the time.  But a lot of the time that happens because people like you and me don’t use our rights as citizens and our voices.  If things like this piss you off, TELL YOUR CONGRESSMAN!!!  TELL YOUR SENATORS!!!  VOTE FOR THOSE WHO WILL UPHOLD THE THINGS THAT YOU WANT, RATHER THAN JUST VOTING ALONG PARTY LINES SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT!!!  If none of the candidates represent your ideals and way of thinking, RUN FOR OFFICE YOURSELF!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

NaNo Day 12

50,000 BWAAHAAHAA. I kind of skipped chuch and just powered through the last 8k words I needed to finish.  There's still two relatively big climactic action scenes to write, and the resolution, but I'm going to take a day or two off to recover.  I wrote 50,000 words in 12 days.  My brain kind of hurts.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

NaNo Day 11

3644 words done today.  Not as much as I was hoping to get done today, but people decided to invite themselves over to my place tonight, because reasons.  I mean, is it so much to ask to text first before you crash at someone's place and watch netflix all night because you're too cheap to shell out the $9 a month yourself?  Anyway, my total for the month is 42,218, so I'm down to 4 digits on my words remaining to 50k.  Woohoo.  And the manuscript itself is up to 68,049 words.  I don't think I'm going to reach 50k tomorrow like I was hoping, but it won't be too much longer.  BWAAHAAHAA.

Friday, November 10, 2017

NaNo day 10

Uhg.  I feel like I'm kind of running out of steam today.  1881 words done.  Writing 40k words in 10 days is really kind of mentally and creatively draining.  On the bright side, I did finish up all of the stuff leading up to a big battle scene.  The battle scene itself should be relatively easy to write, as I've already got a pretty good template to use from the previous version of this book.  It being Veteran's Day tomorrow, I'm off for a long weekend, so I should have plenty of time to write and get through it. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NaNo Day 9

Only 1850 words today.  Not great, but any writing is better than no writing.  Had a follow-up appointment for my surgery last month, and physical therapy for my back, which took up a good chunk of my free time today after work.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

NaNo Day 8

3028 words today.  Not bad, considering I took an unintentional nap after work.  Sit down.  Lay back in my recliner.  Wake up two hours later.  Haha.  Anyway, My NaNo total so far is 34,843.  Getting close.  Just a little over 15k left to go for the 50k goal.  And the manuscript itself is at 60,894 words.  So, things are going well.  I hope to hit 50k over the weekend.  It being Veteran's Day on Saturday, i have a long weekend to write through.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

NaNo Day 7

6329 words down today for a total of 31,814 for the first week of NaNo.  Over 60% of the way there in one week.  BWAAHAAHAA.  Back to work tomorrow, though, so I'll probably slow down a bit until the weekend.  Hopefully I can hit the 50k by the end of next week.  And finish the entire first draft sometime before the end of the month.

Monday, November 6, 2017

NaNo Day 6

Did 6390 words today, which brings my total up to 25,485.  I'm over halfway there, and it's only day 6.  Woohoo.  The total manuscript is currently at 51537 words, since I did have around 26k already written before the start of November.  It's looking like this book is going to end up right on target between 80k and 90k words.  I've got just a couple more chapters before I start gearing up for the climax, a huge battle scene, followed by some funky time travel mischief.  Which is kind of the opposite order from the original version of this story, but I figured it worked better with the new version to swap them, since I have cut out nearly half the cast.  There's nothing I need those cast members to be doing while the ones I kept are off saving the universe.  Anyway, it looks like I'm definitely going to finish NaNo this year.   So yay for that.  Tomorrow is my normal day off, so I'll try to knock out another big chunk then too.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

NaNo Day 5

2276 words today.  Better than yesterday, but again, didn’t have much time today between church and  a family dinner at my parents’ house.  I know it’s probably bad, but I spent the whole 3 hours of church completely zoned out thinking through what I was going to write when I got home.  I didn’t hear a single spiritual word the whole time.  Shame on me XD.  Tomorrow I’m off work for a followup appointment for my surgery last month, so I should have plenty of time to crank out a bunch of writing tomorrow.  I’m getting into an easier section of the story to write, so I should be able to get a least a few thousand words.

I usually find the quieter, more character driven moments the easiest to write.  It’s the larger action-y parts that take a lot of time and meticulous effort, because there are a lot of extra details that you normally wouldn’t care about that have to go into them.  But two characters talking with each other about what drives them, I can do that all day long.  Heck, half of what I’ve already written for this book is characters taling with each other about what drives them.  I usually end up just stretching those types of conversations out to ridiculous length, and then i go through later and trim it down, leaving in just the best, most relevant bits.  It’s usually nice to be able to pick and choose.  I like this line from him, I like that response from her, let’s put ‘em together and delete the rest and there we go.  You can’t really do taht with action scenes.  You have to already have a pretty good idea what is going to happen in an action scene, and exactly how all of the elements come together.  I can spend a whole hour just getting a single paragraph done because I’m having trouble getting across exactly what character A is doing to character B.  I usually already have it pretty well mapped out in my head before I write it, so I usually get them done really fast, but every now and then I hit a snag where something doesn’t feel right, or something doesn’t really gel with the rest of it, and I have to sit there and work through it and it takes a lot of time.  You don’t really get that with character building conversations.

And I’m rambling.  It’s past midnight.  I think I’ll go to bed before I say something stupid.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

NaNo Day 4

1674 words today, got people over to marathon Stranger Things 2 though, so bit busy with other stuff today.  Still hit the daily goal though, so all is well.

Friday, November 3, 2017

NaNo Day 3

Didn't get as much writing done today as the last two days.  It was a pretty harsh day at work, and I got home pretty exhausted.  1909 words today.  Still above the NaNo daily goal of 1667 words per day though, and at 15,145 total words, I'm at 300% of the day 3 suggested word total, so I'm doing fine.  Still looking good to finish up before the end of the month. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

NaNo Day 2

Did even better today than I did yesterday.  6792 words.  Which brings my total up to 13,366.  I’ve passed the 25% mark in just two days.  Nice.  The whole manuscript so far is just short of 40k words. I did use some more text from the other version today, because I felt that one of the action scenes I went through today was relatively well done in the original version.  I did make quite a few tweaks to it, but I still didn’t cheat and count it as part of my word count for the day.  I feel that the action scenes I did today are a lot more impactful in this version of the story, because the characters are a lot more developed in this version.  Which is definitely a good thing.  I don’t know if I’m going to be able to top today’s word count tomorrow, but we’ll see.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

NaNo Day 1

So, November is National Novel Writing Month, a self-competition where you’re challenged to write 50,000 words of a novel in a single month.  I usually try to participate in this every year, but the last few work has gotten in the way.  This year, however, I’ve got a great story that I’m really ready to write, my work load has slacked off a bit, giving me some actual free time to write in, and things are looking good for me to get the whole 50k this year.

So, the book I’m writing this year is a complete rewrite of Spires of Infinity.  Spires had a lot of problems.  I mean a LOT of problems.  As I said in a previous blog post, I took a look back at it, and now that I’m distanced from it by a few years, I could see all of the things that were wrong, and exactly what I needed to do to fix it.  I basically kept the first one page chapter, and dumped all the rest.  I’m basically rewriting the entire thing from scratch, because very little of the old text is really usuable in the new version of the story.  Many characters and storylines have been cut completely, giving me a lot more room to better develop the personalities, backstories, and motivations of the characters I’m keeping.  A lot of the basic plot structure is the same, but this will be a very, very different book in the end.

So, I already had 26,154 words of this rewrite written before NaNo started.  Today I ended up with 32,598, for a first day total of 6444 words written.  The daily goal for NaNo is 1667 words per day to reach the 50k by the end of the month, so I am off to a great start.  I am focused more on writing than I am on formatting, spell-checking, and posting what I’ve written on my website at the moment, but I do expect to start posting some chapters of the first draft of this rewrite sometime this month if anyone cares to read my terrible first draft.  My first drafts usually lack a lot of descriptive elements, are usually chalk full of continuity errors, and lacking a bit in character personality and distinction.  Those are things I usually add in later during the editing process.  I usually use my first draft to get the basic framework of the story put together so I have something to tinker and work with throughout the rest of my editing process.  So, in short, if I do post chapters and you do read them, they’re probably not going to be very good or very well written, because I haven’t polished them up yet.

Anyway, I’ve got big plans for day two.  A nice big cluster of action scenes.  Those usually go by pretty fast and easy for me, so I should hopefully be able to at least match today’s word count.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Doctor Who Genderswap controversy

So, I was pretty excited a few months ago for Doctor Who news.  Not because of the announcement of a new Doctor, but because of the announcement of the departure of Steven Moffat as show runner. In my opinion the man was an absolute poison to the series.  He completely destroyed it, turning it into a silly, nonesensensical mess with very little in the way of plot or enjoyment.  He doesn't seem to know how to tell a coherrent story, how to write decent characters with clear motivations, or to follow through with any of his promises.  He also lacks a clear understanding of the concept of a climax.  I have not seen the BBC try so hard to kill Doctor Who since the Colin Baker era.  Keeping this guy around for so long was incredibly damaging to the credibility of the series, such as it is, as a hard sci-fi adventure.  Moffat doesn't write stories or characters.  He writes scenes that he thinks are cool, and then strings them together, typically in a way that makes as little sense as possible.  He ignores previous character traits and motivations to fit characters into his loose collection of scenes.  And he absolutely disrespects Doctor Who's history.  I checked out at the end of Capaldi's first season.  I just couldn't deal with Moffat's writing ADHD anymore.  And I just could not watch a show that did not respect where it came from.  He took the corpse of the Brigadier, a much beloved character from the old series, and turned it into a cyberman.  That was the point where I said, "NO MORE!!!"

Anyway, enough about that.  So I was very excited that we were getting a new show runner.  Now that Moffat is on his way out, the future of Doctor Who is looking much brighter.  And then came the announcement of who would play the new regeneration of the Doctor.  A woman.  I actually thought it was a pretty cool idea, and was interested to see how it would play out.  I seem to be in the minority on that one.  Personally, I don't really care who plays the doctor, so long as the writing is decent.  Every single Doctor has great episodes that are very well written.  Every single Doctor has terrible episodes that are painful to watch, though some have more than others.  Yes, I will admit that even Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi had decent episodes that I enjoyed.  Unfortunately, again, because of the writing and the leadership of Steven Moffat, those episodes are extraordinarily few and very far between.  What makes a good Doctor Who story, for me, is not the actor playing the part, it's the story itself.  Is it a good story?  Does it come to a satisfying conclusion?  Does it really use the concept of the series to its fullest?  Does it offer great character moments?  These are the questions I ask, not is the Doctor played by whichever of these dozen plus actors?  I mean, who can forget the moment when Tom Baker decided not to destroy the Daleks before they were created?  The time when  Patrick Troughton humored Jaimie and Zoe in their escape attempt from Galifrey, knowing it was doomed to failure?  The time when Peter Davidson sacrificed himself so that Peri would live?  These were unforgettable moments that were less about the actor playing the part, and more about the character himself, making hard decisions based on who he was as a person.  Personally, I think having the Doctor regenerate into a female body will provide for a deeper exploration of what it really means to BE the Doctor, which seems like a pretty fascinating direction that the series could go into.

Now, I understand that there are a lot of politics at play here.  A lot of people see this casting choice as a very political decision by the new show runner, trying to force ideas of feminism etc etc etc into a show that, frankly, really shouldn't be about that sort of thing.  A lot of people are mad and afraid about that, thinking that it will turn the show into a platform for gender politics rather than the sci-fi adventure that it's supposed to be.  I've talked with a lot of fans of the series over the last few months about the change.  And weirdly enough, amongst the people I've discussed it with, the people most opposed to the Doctor being a woman are women.  That seems really weird to me.  I mean, of all the people I thought would be excited over it, female fans were at the top of the list.  Most of the men I've talked with seem pretty okay with it.  Not all of them, of course.  There are still a lot of men out there that are very opposed to the idea of the Doctor being a woman.  But just from the people I've talked to about it, women seem more opposed to the idea of the Doctor being a woman than men do.  It may be different in other circles, but in mine, that's the way things seem to be rolling.

I don't know how all of this will turn out.  The new Doctor may be fantastic.  She may be terribly miscast.  Only time will tell.  The new show runner may try to use the series to bludgeon us over teh head with gender politics.  Or he might just try for some really fun and well written stories.  All I can say about it is that no matter what, Steven Moffat, the cancer that was slowly destroying a series I have loved since my childhood, is gone, and that is cause for celebration.  I am excited for a new show runner.  I'm excited for a new incarnation of the Doctor.  I don't really care about what gender the Doctor happens to be, so long as the Doctor is still the Doctor, and the writing is good.  I would ask everyone who is feeling some, or maybe a lot, of apprehension over the decision to cast a woman as teh Doctor, to give it a chance before you start screaming obscenities.  Wait and see if it works, before tearing it apart.  It couldn't possibly be worse than what the series devolved into under Moffat. Just give it a chance before checking out.  Who knows, you just might love it.  Or it could be every bit as bad as you're dreading it will be.  But you'll never know if you don't watch.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

I think I might be alive... but I could be wrong...

So, I mean, it probably goes without saying, but, you know, having your toncils out at 38, yeah, that kinda sucks.  Just a tad.  Just before the surgery this nurse says to me, "I gave birth in my bathtub with no drugs or doctors, and I remember thinking after having my toncils out at 40, that I think I'd rather do that again instead.  It hurt less."  I was like, "gee, the rest of my week is really looking up now.  Thanks for that."  I have to go back to work in a week, I hope I feel better then than I do now.  On the bright side, I lost like 15 lbs because I couldn't swallow anything for a week and a half.  I put on pants for the first time in 2 weeks and they don't fit anymore.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Surgery, woooooo!!! Sarcasm, woooooo!!!

So I've been having really nasty sinu problems for quite a while now, and my doctor finally said, okay, nothing we've done has worked, let's do some sinus surgery and see if that will take care of it.  He then called me the next day and was like, well, as long as we have you knocked out on the operating table, we might as well take out your toncils while we're at it.  Hoo-freakin-ray.  And then he called me the day after that and said, well, you know, you also have that deviated septum and all, and since we're going to be up your nose anyway, we might as well fix that too.  So yesterday I had all three surgeries, and boy am I miserable.  If an axe murderer broke into my apartment right now and offered to cut my head off for me, I'd probably thank him for it.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

What I've been doing lately

So, work.  That's a thing.  They cut my route down to a reasonable size, and just 3 months later, it's huge again.  *sigh*

Anyway, while working on a second draft of Memories of What Never Was, I took a look back on Spires of Infinity, and, well, I can see exactly what's wrong with it now.  It's the same problem I've been complaining at Hollywood for the last few years about.  They keep trying to make extended cinematic universes without setting anything up first.  DC's cinematic Universe is probably the most famous what not to do story lately, but you've also had Sony's Spider-Man cinematic universe flop, Universal's Dark Universe also flop, Sony back again with their Ghostbusters cinematic universe flopping haaaaaaard.  All of these things have one big problem in common.  They're trying to build the universe, before telling a story.  And that's the real problem with Spires of Infinity.  I was trying to tell the bigger story that's happening outside of that book, rather than focusing on what that book was actually about.   I tossed in all sorts of references to other stories I have swirling around in my head, and characters that didn't really belong in Spires just to connect it to other stories I was planning to write.  And I never really put all that much effort into making solid characters and a good story for them to be participating in.  It was all just sort of set up for other stories I wanted to tell.

So, while I'm editing Memories, I'm also sort of rewriting Spires on the side.  There are several big problems with the original version of Spires that need to be fixed.  First is that half the cast really has no business being part of the story.  They, and their storylines, are gone.  Second, most of the things that tie this story in with other stories I may write in the future have been removed.  I left one of them in, because I can't figure a way to make the story work without it, but the rest of them are now gone.  Third, I'm changing the core cast of characters to be more well rounded characters with solid pasts, personalities, and reasons for being who they are, and for doing what they're doing.  Fourth, I'm getting rid of the talking cat, because, well, it's one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but the more I think about it, the less it really fits into the story.  I mean, there are a few pretty good jokes I made with it, but, it just doesn't really fit the story.  With all the things I'm removing from the story, and all the other things I'm fleshing out, I hope to hit about 90,000 words with it, which is about the average length of a sci-fi book these days, rather than the 140,000 words that the original was, which is more in line with an epic fantasy book.

The original idea I had was to take a bunch of short stories I had previously written and mash them together into one big story, but that idea doesn't really work with the core story of Spires, either, so that aspect is gone now as well.

As NaNo is a little over a month away, I was thinking of powering through a big chunk of the new version of Spires of Infinity then, and may start posting some chapters from the first draft of the rewrite soon.

I also took some time off to write a Novella called Identity, which is about a routine time travel trip gone horribly wrong, and deals with questions of what makes us who we are?  Is it the time and place we live in?  Our bodies?  Our minds?  Our souls?  Are we still the same person if we find ourselves trapped in another place, another time, and another body?   I've been shopping it around to a few literary magazines, but had no offers on it yet.  I may post that on my site soon as well.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Adventures in the English Language.

I was talking with a guy at work, and I forget what the conversation was about, but he quoted Romeo and Juliet, the Juliet line "Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo."  Of course, he quoted this line under a mistaken assumption of what the word "Wherefore" actually means.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that about 99% of the English speakers in the world today do not actually know what this word means, or how it completely and utterly changes both the context of the line from Romeo and Juliet, but also Juliet's character herself, entirely.

Most people believe that the word "wherefore" means "where".  It does not, in fact, mean "where".  It is actually a contraction of the phrase "What is it for"  which, in Elizabethan English was what you would say when you wanted to ask "why?"  At the time, the word "why" had not yet been invented.  You asked either "what is it for" or "wherefore".

Juliet is not asking WHERE Romeo is.  What she is ACTUALLY asking is "Why do you have to be Romeo?"  Or, more simply, "Why does this man that I love have to be the heir to the enemy of my family?"  (reading the rest of this line "Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet." makes the meaning pretty apparent, but most people don't realize that line continues)

The importance of the correct meaning of the word "wherefore" to the character of Juliet is pretty huge.  Most people think she's being a silly girl in love, because they don't understand what she's saying in this line.  They think that she's just daydreaming about the hot guy she met, and not paying attention to anything else going on around her, because she's so infatuated with him.  But she's actually a lot deeper a character than that.  She knows exactly what sort of situation she's in, and she's lamenting to herself about it.

Another common misconception with this play is the meaning of the phrase "Star Crossed Lovers".  Many people think that it means that they were meant to be together.  In fact, it means the exact opposite of that.  Again, in Elizabethan English, "Star Crossed Lovers" Actually means lovers that are crossing the stars, or crossing the heavens, or, in plainer English, two people god doesn't want to hook up with each other.  Having the added connotation that their love is a sin, and will be punished as one.  And, of course, if you know how the play ends, yeah, that happens.

Also, in Shakespeare in general, if anyone says the phrase, "I am here."  They are not actually saying "here I am".  In Elizabethan English, "I am here" is short for "I am here with you" or "I stand with you" or in modern English "I agree".  It may sound generally like the same English Language that we speak today, but even Elizabethan English just 400 years ago, was basically an entirely different language than the one we speak today.  It's a language that we can generally understand, or puzzle out the meaning of most of the time, but it is not the same language.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Life, the universe, and everything...

So, for about the last year or so, my mail route at work has been overburdened, meaning that the route has grown so large that it should have been cut down to a more reasonable size about a year ago.  However, I have been in an epic and continuous battle since that time just to get management to acknowledge the fact.  They have repeatedly refused to update my documented and official number of deliveries (which determines what size the route is rated, and, in turn, how much I get paid for it.  I'm salaried based on the size of my route, not paid hourly) and as such I've been hugely overworked and underpaid for almost a year now.  And, my route is growing.  It is getting bigger every week, making even more work for me that I'm not being paid for.  You may have noticed that I haven't exactly done a huge amount of writing during that time.  Well, the reason is that I'm working 12 hours a day, and getting paid for 9 of them, then coming home and just crashing in exhaustion.  I've been just burnt out, and supremely frustrated with knowing my route it bigger than they say it is, not being paid what I should be for it, and being completely unable to get management to do anything about it.  In the last year, I have probably been shorted about $10k in pay, in addition to being just completely worn out all of the time.  Luckily, I finally managed to complain my way up the chain of union reps until I finally got  one powerful enough to basically crush my postmaster under his heel to notice my plight.  If they have not straightened my route out within the next two weeks, and cut it down to a reasonable size, my union is prepared to utterly destroy my postmaster's career over it, which they are more than capable of doing.  I may, or may not, receive back pay on it, but it's looking more and more like not.

Meanwhile, I'm not as young as I used to be, and the strain of working so long and hard for so many months is really taking its toll on me.  I'm having back problems.  I've had a sinus infection for about 10 months that my doctor just can't seem to help me kill off.  I've had two separate colds and strep throat in the last two months, and I'm generally just miserable and exhausted all of the time, and I have almost no time in my life lately for anything but work, sleep, and frequent doctor visits because all I do is work and sleep, and that's not healthy.

Anyway, as for my work on my latest project "Memories of What Never Was" I've been juggling around a few ideas for some edits I want to make.  The biggest of which is that I feel Kriss needs more motivation as a character to do, generally, anything.  And she needs something more to her that gives her an edge no one else has in killing the Seven.  So I've been working through a few different ways of doing that in my head as I've been horribly worked to death, and I've finally settled on the idea I think is the best of the bunch I've been able to come up with.  Hopefully, in 2 weeks, when the deadline my union gave my postmaster to get his butt in gear and fix my route comes along, I'll finally not be so dead tired exhausted all the time, and can start getting some much needed editing done to the story, and see how my new idea for Kriss' character works out in the story.  I think it's going to be awesome, and give her quite a bit more depth and motivation.  I just need to have some actual free time when I'm not so tired I can't think straight to get it done.