Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hiatus

This will be the official status of Gibberish after tomorrow.

I need a break. I have too many projects, with more coming up, and I can't see myself keeping up with--or needing the stress of worrying about--the comic. For something that started out as an experiment, Gibberish became something I never expected. It continued to surprise me. It allowed me to play around with color, different techniques; it even helped hone my writing--even if the comic didn't reflect that sharpening.

I hope to do a comic here or there, perhaps keep it afloat, but the Tuesday/Thursday schedule will no longer be in effect. The archive will remain on the interweb for your enjoyment, but new comics won't be happening on a regular basis.

My plan is to recharge, get a few more of these other projects buttoned up, and perhaps I can devote some more time to an actual comic, full pages, a real story, recurring characters. Perhaps not. Regardless, I hope to jump back into the comic scene soon enough, but I realize that it is rather unrealistic given everything I have going on next year.

Thank you, to my faithful few readers. I appreciate the comments and support, and I hope to still put together a collection of the last year and a half of comics.

The blog will continue to update on MWF, and TR will be replaced by my aforementioned idea of "Beautiful Writing." I'm not sure if/when it will be audible readings, but I will at least post the text.

Thanks again for the support, and I look forward to seeing you all with whatever I happen to do next.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Summation

Snow, and more snow. Nothing but snow. Nebraska is officially crazy.

Along with snow. Christmas: this involved new clothes, an awesome dinner with amazing friends, more snow, games, sleeping in late, shoveling snow, pushing cars, building Legos, and collapsing.

Since then, it's been much the same with a bit of World of Warcraft thrown in to boot.

However, now, I must do things like prepare to teach my upcoming classes, actual work, and possibly finishing that first draft of my novel.

For now, bye.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Another Missed Post

(It was Christmas. Can you blame me?)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rediscovering My PSP

I'd forgotten about this gem of a system. I've been to busy with my other consoles--or just other things in general. However, Loco Roco, a fine and silly game, brought me back into the fold, and now I'm thinking about video games much more than I have in years.

Currently, I'm playing a small, overlooked title called CRUSH. It is pretty much the coolest puzzle game you've never heard of. If you have a PSP and you like puzzle games and you overlooked/missed/forgot about this one, do yourself a favor and track a copy down. It has such a simple premise, but is one of the best designed and intriguing games I've ever played.

Basically you are an insomniac trying to discover why he can't sleep. To find the reason, he's enlisted a scientist and his machine to help out. You play through these puzzles, collecting your marbles, avoiding inner bugs and such, and solve puzzles by rotating the camera and "crush"ing your 3-D world into 2-D, letting you have access to places previously unreachable. Sound confusing? It's probably just my writing.

The game itself is nothing short of fantastic, and I'm already itching to get home and play a few more levels.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

It was the final showing in Lincoln, and I'm sad that I didn't see it sooner. I would've liked to see it on the big screen once again. It is one of the best/most distinct looking films I've seen in recent times. Wonderful stuff, funny, heart-wrenching, and loads of fun.

An early preview comment said it best: "It's Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl. How can this go wrong?"

True enough. It will be a fierce competition for Best Animated Feature this year, as I would be torn between this one and Up. Then again, Pixar has won enough Oscars already, and Wes is a guy that is very deserving and might otherwise never be acknowledged for his genius.

Anyway, if this film is still in your area, see it. Don't hesitate any longer.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

+-it.+

I am glad I am not a snowman. I like the sun.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Process: Remembering

You've neglected your story/novel/writing in general long enough. Then what?

I plant myself into a chair of some sort, open up the last bit of writing I've done, and start reading over snippets here and there. Well, it's not really reading, but scraping, seeing which bits come off with my eyes, the ones that stick to my fingers, help me remember what it was that I was doing with this whole project in the first place. I might make a few fixes here and there--nothing I would call revision--but enough to get me back into the groove of things, remind me what it was/is that my character wants in that moment, what's pissing them off, what's breaking their heart. Once that's done, I can often slip back into a rhythm, start chipping away at that negligence block and add to my story once again.

Usually, I don't work with an outline and I'm forced to simply follow my characters around and wait for something to happen. This makes for lots of cutting/rewriting later, but it's time well spent, as I get to see how they get from here to there, what they linger over, what catches their eye. Also, having something to cut is better than an empty page. Empty pages give you nothing. NOTHING. Hopefully though, something happens in this character stalking process, something unexpected or worth hanging around to witness. Once this occurs, I'm fired up and ready to roll. Other times, when nothing shows up, I've just written a bunch of boring nothing.

When this boring nothing occurs--and I'm sure it will--I take a break, play some video games, drink some Dr. Pepper or Chai, talk to my wife for a few minutes, hassle my cats, something to let my mind focus on other things. There are times I forget to go back to my writing and fall right back into negligence, but going back is always, always the best. The times I remember to go back, I sit, start scraping again, a little harder this time, and I see what comes off in my hands. Inevitably there will be a piece of a paragraph, a few words, a sentence that sparks an ides and helps me to see what this moment/scene needs--even if that means taking a cue from Monty Python and going to something completely different.

(A piece of advice that I've learned: WHEN IN DOUBT ABOUT WHERE YOUR STORY IS GOING, LOOK TO WHAT HAS COME BEFORE IT. THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS IN THE PAST.)

After that, it is simply a matter of keeping myself in my chair and letting my fingers do the work. For me, a set word count is a great way of not only keeping track of how much I write on a daily basis, but it gives a goal, a tangible number that I can attain. I shoot for 1,000 words a day. Sometimes, I overshoot--if you're really in the groove, why stop? Other times, I come up short--WAY short. Regardless, it gives me the grounding I need to "feel" like I've written and been productive for the day. A chunk of time would work too. Say, a half an hour every day that you DEVOTE--no email, internet, news reading, wall staring, nothing--to writing. This might even be better, as you won't feel let down by not meeting your word count. You burned the keyboard for your set time and wrote what you could.

The importance of this step in my writing process is simply for my brain and heart and fingers to remember what it is that they've been missing: their purpose, their joy, their horrendous witch of a lover that is writing. Once they have, it's much harder to fall back into neglecting such an exquisite beast.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Princess and the Frog

Like many others, I was quite excited to have Disney go back to a 2-D film. It's what they were founded upon. It's what Disney himself helped revolutionize. They never should've strayed away--especially with how gorgeous those last few films looked. The Princess and the Frog is no exception. The film is a sight to behold and more than worth the price of admission.

That being said, there is a lot more to like about the film than just its looks. Possibly with the help of John Lasseter, the film plays out with fewer problems than some of Disney's last few entries--Emperor's New Groove and Lilo and Stitch excluded. This one is in full magical swing with a wild cast of characters and colors galore. And the story is rather tight, too. From the first few moments with any given character, we know exactly what they want--something lacking from all too many films these days. What's better is that we actually care about them. Though a few of them walk the line of becoming annoyingly silly, the story always reins them back in and keeps them likeable--another problem with many films of today: unlikeable characters.

Another thing I noticed--and maybe I'm wrong--it seemed to have throwbacks to Disney Classics, directly referencing shots from other films or simply using similar art styles and set ups. More than once, I thought about The Sword in the Stone, Sleeping Beauty, and Jungle Book. Some of these might not have been intentional, but especially the reference to Sleeping Beauty was an exact replica of the final dance sequence in that beloved classic.

Really, I was pleasantly surprised. The only downside to the whole thing is that it might be a bit creepy for the young 'uns--despite the "G" rating. And with that, the fact that Disney takes something like making deals with demons a lighthearted affair. Maybe not as blatant or frightening as Anastasia (which was not Disney), but it's really hard to take "My friends on the other side" any different.

Fans of Disney won't be too disappointed with this one, nor will animation buffs in general. It is a fine flick, fun, gorgeous, and wonderful to see Disney back in its "true" colors.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Process: Neglection

As this is one of the biggest parts of my writing, I thought it would only be fitting to start out detailing my process with this.

More than anything, I find excuses not to write. I know that I'm not alone in this. There are always cat boxes to be cleaned, vacuums to run, Christamas lights to put up, video games to conquer, journals to scope out and submit to, blogs to type, wives to spend time with, comics to make, and on and on and on. However, sometimes, it feels like an art form, the way you skillfully dodge that time set aside to write or ignore that niggling voice that yells at you to sit down, shut your gob, and write. For me though, every day that passes, two things occur.

First: I start thinking more and more about whatever I'm working on, so much so that it often starts robbing me of sleep because I can't turn my brain off. Every now and again, this is a good thing. I think the story through, listen to my characters and figure out what in the world is going on in their world. Plot holes and revision ideas start to pop up. New scenes form. Characters grow more real and distinct than before.

The downside is that I'm not actually writing. Good as many of these discoveries and revelation moments are, no words fill the page. Even worse, I can often get distracted by other projects and new ideas, almost forgetting what I'm working on in the first place, making it that much harder to stick with my story--especially if the entire thing plays out in my head. Once it completes itself, either on paper or in my head, I loose that excitement of discovery, that excitement that drives me to write in the first place. Slight as it may be, any loss in momentum is very detrimental, a fact even more compounded by the other occurrence caused by my negligence.

Second, I feel a wall building, stone by stone, a wall that must be broken down before I can write again--and this disassembling can take more time than it should. Every day that I don't put a word to a page pushes me that much further from my story. The further I am from my story, the harder it is for me to hear my characters, to follow them around, and tell their story. If I build up to high of a wall, I forget what I was ever doing with these people to begin with and often, my story will die, dangling worse than some peoples' participles. From there, it's hard not to simply cut loose and start on something new.

As any writer will probably tell you, it's finding a balance in all that you do. Neglecting your work is fine--but only enough to look at it with fresh eyes. I suppose this is why many writers suggest that you work on something new before revising your most recently completed work. The problem for me is then finding the time for both revising and working on the new material (but that is another day's post). For now, I have to give myself both time to think about my work while simultaneously working on said work. I think this comes in the form of adapting to the unexpected (something I will get into another time as well).

I think, that the best course of action, is to embrace your negligence, to realize that YOU WILL divert from your writing plans, that YOU WILL miss days of writing. Once this is made apparent, it's easier not to be too hard on yourself for not writing because of an emergency or bad day or whatever. Just remember that by embracing your negligence you are bringing an enemy closer. You don't want it to become your friend, you just want to keep a better eye on it, keep it in check, notice when it's taking over the conversation. Because if you know what it is up to, you can better retaliate with specific writing schedules and the inevitable reschedules.

You've done your neglecting for today. Go show your story/novel/poem some love. It misses you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Days

They are good--even when you have to help your friends shovel their drives.

Word.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Adventure to Willa Cather's Childhood Home

This weekend, a friend of mine and I cruised on down to Red Cloud, Nebraska, a historic town for its affiliation with Willa Cather. Sadly, we did not make it there in time to go on an official tour. Instead, we wandered the streets with a tour map we pilfered from an unmanned Opera House lobby.

The air was cold and getting colder, this being dusk and all. The city streets we are but empty of cars and drivers, and we were the only ones on foot. I wore my plaid brown and green pants that everyone seems to think are pajamas, and a zip up hoody. My friend wore his checkered slip ons and is even taller than me (and I'm 6'3"). We figured we looked like a "Big-City" couple, enjoying the sites of this "quaint town" (which is a problem nowadays: two guys--or even girls--hanging out by themselves are often looked upon as a couple.) Regardless of what the locals thought of our sexual orientation, we stuck out like lone stalks of corn that had been missed by a thresher.

It didn't take long to hit all the "major" locations: her childhood home, the house My Antonia was based on, and a handful of other houses and buildings that were used in her fiction or housed inhabitants she based her characters off. We were in and out of the town in less than an hour.

Our only interaction with the locals was my friend being given a smile--then a cold shoulder--to his question, witnessing a group of very drunk people hanging out at the community center, and being gobbled at by a fat dude riding in a minivan. What, exactly, that was supposed to mean, we couldn't guess--but decided we really didn't want to know.

Really, the best part of the entire excursion was the 6 hour conversation during the to and from drive. Big things are on the horizon for the two of us, things that might fail miserably, things that might be life-changing, things that might simply give the two of us a direction and purpose for life. Regardless, we're going to be stepping out soon and trying something big, big, big. Of course, I will keep you updated. In the meantime, let your fantastical minds run wild with the possibilities.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Breaking the Ending

As November is over, so is no-shave November. I am keeping up the growth until the beard party we're having--then who knows. I will be sure to post a "final" product though, so you may all laugh at my scantily clad chin.

In reference to the title, I finally did it. I broke the ending to my novel, Jumping Off Bridges. And it is a very good thing.

I've always heard that good writers "kill their darlings." I have done this. Without mercy. At least in other places. However, I've hung and clung to the ending worse than a sleeping bat clings to its roost. Funny thing is, I never looked at the ending as a darling. It's not that I was incredibly smitten with what I had written, but it was the ending I had envisioned when I first put my fingers to the keyboard.

I've mentioned before that this novel started with the intent of being a short story, a short story that I only had an ending for. Like most organic things, the story became a novella and the novella became a novel--yet I still had my ending in mind. I wrote the whole thing to write that last scene. While it was never my favorite part of the novel--I think that comes somewheres in the middle--it was what I had always intended and, thus, tried to make everything fit around. As any writer knows--novice or expert--forcing your story to do what you want and not what it wants causes catastrophic problems. This is what I've been doing for the last few revisions, this stuffing into my preconceived mold, and it is no wonder that I keep feeling like something just isn't right. It doesn't feel right because it isn't right. This is not the ending the story demands, but the one I've imposed, and it doesn't make sense.

So I've let it go. I've realized my intentions were foolish--especially when my novel told me time and time again what should happen at the end. I ignored my own words. I ignored the whispers of my prose--a very, very dangerous thing to do. But they finally erupted last night, punching through my half-sleep musings and screaming for me to quit booping around and do what they'd been telling me all along.

What's better? It won't take long to fix this either. Not only will it make my novel a zillion times better--and finally complete--it involves the rewriting of three scenes. Three. That's it.

It just goes to show that the smallest of tweaks can fix the biggest of problems, and reiterates the sound advice that a writer should listen to her story. It does not care what you, the writer, wants. Stories live their own lives; it is our duty to simply record them. We are their Tivo. And like all recording devices, the work comes out the highest quality it can be when we take the time to listen.

If you have any thoughts on this from your own writing, or advice you've heard, I'd love to keep this conversation going. I hope to gear this blog more and more towards my writing process and breakthroughs and blocks I have. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

+Best Parts of the Cold Months+

It really is a toss up.

p.s. For a larger, complete, and without the writing version of today's Gibberish, click here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Egg Cooking Adventures

This past week, I've now tried two experiments, and they were both huge successes.

First, I started the week off by cooking up a batch of breakfast burritos, wrapping them in tin foil, and saving them to use for breakfast. All I have to do is pop them into the toaster oven, set the timer, and by the time I'm showered, dressed, and ready for work, I have tasty warm burritos waiting for me. I wasn't sure how they would turn out--and I really wish we had some salsa--but they were simple enough, just a little time consuming. The only thing that might "distinguish" these from other peeps burritos is that I made the eggs with some hot and spicy taco meat seasoning. Although I should have used more, I would suggest doing such a thing in the making of your own.

The other was last night. For some reason or another, I've been craving quiche. I don't exactly know why. Eggs aren't my favorite things in the world, yet I keep thinking that quiche sounded awesome.

Luckily, my wife had some leftover pie crust from Thanksgiving, so I simply took some of that, mashed it down into a tiny, personal-sized bowl, and mixed up some eggs, milk, flour, cheese, and spices. It turned out surprisingly well, though I kept having to squish it down: It kept rising like the leviathan from its murky depths. It was a rather exquisite leviathan though, and good eats to boot.

I may not be a master chef--or ever even amount to an apprentice--but I'm starting to feel rather comfortable in the kitchen, being able to throw random ingredients together and producing something not only edible but downright wonderful.

And now for something completely different:

I tried my hand at a 50 word or less story. This place decided they liked it. Check it out. It takes 30 seconds to read. If that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

+No Two Alike+

It's true. All snowflakes are Highlanders.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The New Christmas Carol

Finally had a chance to check out Robert Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol this weekend, and I was quite impressed. Though the trailers make it look to be a zany/silly take on the old tale, it is anything but. Sure, there are moments where Jim Carrey's craziness comes on a little strong and there are one too many flying/running scenes, but these are mostly kept to a minimum. Plus, Carrey does quite a good job with his multiple character roster--especially with the ghost of Christmas Past.

What struck me the most though is Zemeckis's attention to the horror of Dicken's story. The atmosphere in this film is wonderful, and I was truly creeped out by the build up and subsequent haunting by Jacob Marley. Plus, the opening scene was beautifully macabre.

Overall, it is a faithful adaptation with some interesting visuals. It might be a bit scary--if not boring--for smaller children, but it is worth a look for fans of Zemeckis and Carrey. And while most Dicken's enthusiasts should be alright with the film's integrity, the aforementioned running/flying/transition scenes can be rather annoying. Regardless, this makes for a fun start to the holiday season.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Beard Week 4

No-shave November still cruising. Looking a bit better, but still scraggly and not quite connecting. Oh well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

+Oedipal Thanksgiving+

Archive

Make sure your Thanksgiving is edible and not Oedipal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Synopsis Writing

I've been battling this particular monster lately, wondering what exactly one is supposed to do when writing a synopsis, as some people claim it should be one page for every 25, and others claim it to be eight-12 pages, still others say no more than five, and "experts" recommend one to three pages.

I started with the suggested chapter by chapter breakdown, writing about a paragraph for every chapter. It came to be eight and a half, single spaced pages. From there, I tried to craft my synopsis, writing what I could and ending up with the same amount of words--only they flowed a bit better. By page three of this single spaced "concise" version, I decided I was going about this all wrong. So I took a reverse approach.

Regardless of page length, everyone agrees that you boil your novel down. But since this was not working for me, I took one of my query letters with my one paragraph snippet and expanded up it. This proved to be much more beneficial. I already had the bare, bare bones of the story, what it was all about--minus the characterization, setting, and subplots--so why not add some meat. Sinew by sinew, I stitched in the muscle, gave it some strength, some figure. I was able to do more characterization. I could set the scene. I could insinuate the subplots.

For me, the hardest part is figuring out what to cut, but adding, that I can do no problem. And it made all the difference in the world, as I suddenly felt more freed. What was once impossible became a fun little adventure. I could give the generic paragraph some actual life, add more of my voice, and let it run.

I know this probably isn't the most helpful of things, but I'm--by no means--an expert. Perhaps, if this synopsis proves to be successful, I'll give a better description as to what I did and how. For the moment, the general advice is to summarize your story in one to two sentences, one paragraph at most, then add to it step by step. Pluck out the details you like best about your story and weave them in, those particular lines you love, the bits that sum up the relationships. This seems to be the one place we get to tell instead of show, and not get in trouble for it.

I don't know. Perhaps I'm rambling. But if this is of any help, or you have questions, feel free to contact me. I tend to have things fall more into place when I'm chatting about them.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

+Turkey Day+

Have you seen those slow-motion shots of them sharks popping out of the water? We should feast on seal while watching and join in their celebration of life. Or death. Or whatever.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Films I Watched in the Past Few Days

Gentlemen Broncos: This wasn't quite what I expected. From the trailers, I figured it would be a bit more plot-driven than Jared Hess' earlier films. However, it was not. Not to say that this is a terrible thing--considering there really is no one out there making films like his (and in this day and age, that is a rarity.) It's not a fast-paced film. The absurdity of the thing made it worthwhile. One bizarre situation after another that illicit giggles long after the film credits roll. This definitely isn't a film for everyone--not even of Napoleon Dynamite fans--but for those select few, it is a gem.

Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day: I enjoyed the first Boondock Saints. In fact, I remember thinking it was one of the better films I'd watched in recent times. This was ten years ago, and for its time it was a good flick. This one, sadly, is not a good film for its time. Had it been made eight of nine years ago, it would've been an acceptable sequel. As it stands, All Saint's Day is a 90s action film made in 2009, and that is simply not acceptable. After the Bourne trilogy and spectacle pieces like Wanted, guys simply running around shooting guns with a bit of slow-motion thrown in doesn't cut it anymore. Just goes to show that pissing off Hollywood is a bad thing (watch this film to know what I'm talking about.)

Away We Go: This is a good film for any late-twenties folk to see. Not only does the film hit everything production-wise, it's a good story, one that makes you laugh, possibly cry, have something torn from you, and realize the true weight of "starting a family." I honestly can say much more than that, as you simply need to watch the thing. Just trust me, it's good.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things to Notice

Yesterday's Gibberish: I'm going to be playing around with some different coloring styles. While I've liked what I've had going on for the past while now, half the reason I started this thing was to experiment with my art. So, I'm doing just that. I plan on some more limited palette ones such as yesterday's. From there, who knows? Possibly some solid colors with colored lines, sharp angles and whatnot. I just keep seeing all these great artists out in the world and feel inspired to try new things.

Changes: Once I figure out this whole podcasting/recording thing, I plan on replacing Gibberish with beautiful pieces of writing (of course Gibberish will still run on its site, so don't worry; it is not stopping). I'll basically be taking a snippet of something, a paragraph or two of what I consider to be gorgeous writing. I'll tell you right now, there will be a lot of David Almond and Ray Bradbury up there. I think all of us, as writers and readers, need to appreciate the sound of the written word--and not simply in poetry either. Prose should sing. Prose should move with the rhythms of love, anger, sadness, and hope. Words are instruments, and I for one love their sound.

My "beard": There will be new pictures on Friday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Alternative Publishing Methods

After a wonderful conversation with Drew, he alerted me to presence of Cory Doctorow. Dude has made his career of writing via the interweb, selling and promoting his books online. But here's the catch: He gives the majority of his writings away via a Creative Commons Copyright.

This, to me, is awesome. I think it's more of the puritan form of what writing was/is/should be. We, as writers, write because we enjoy it. We write for others to read. Really? How many of us are in this/want to get into this biz for the money?

And from the sounds of things Doctorow says that it has been worth his time, effort, and resources. Is this the new wave of publishing? Who knows. But I think it's something that needs to be considered.

At length.

Friday, November 13, 2009

No-Shave November: Week 2


As promised, here is my feeble growings for the past two weeks. Click on it to get the full beard experience.

See you Monday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

+The Twist+

Stories are not stories without--THE TWIST!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Terry Pratchett

I know I've mentioned him before and even probably wrote a mini-review for his recent book Nation--amazing, by the by--but I just wanted to take another minute to give him a good plug.

The more I've thought about him, and realized that I've read about a dozen of his books--probably my most read author then, or one of--he's been quite a formative author for this young writer. I remember reading Soul Music and really connecting with it. In fact, it affected me so much that I've been afraid to read it ever since, as I though it would suck. But the more I've read by him, the more and more I've been impressed with his writing.

Granted, we literary types aren't supposed to like genre fiction. We're supposed to turn up our noses and act like it's done nothing for the world--except maybe cheapen it. Yet how are we supposed to write of authors primarily known for their genre fiction: Ray Bradbury, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, and even Terry Pratchett here. Sure, these folks entertain and write within their genre, but they still have something to say. Pratchett's Nation is one of the best coming of age stories and an examination about faith/beliefs/traditions I've read in a long time. And Bradbury, well, I'm going to rant about him later.

I think these authors walk a fine line between fluff and "deep-thinking" pieces that literary novels are supposed to be.

What I really want to say about this whole thing is that we need to get that stick out of our butts that tells us only to read "literary" works. You'll miss out on some very high-quality fiction. And there are many worse places to start than Pratchett. Give him a go.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

+Shifting Worlds+


He forgot that she did not have magnetic feet like he did. This is why human/robot relationships can never be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Looking Out for the Beard

I forgot about the whole beard picture thing... Sorry.

Also, I may be getting sick. I'm telling myself that this is not true, but my sore throat seems to be extending down into my lungs, and I do not appreciate it. We'll see how it goes. Worse comes to worse, I'll just have to stay in bed all day reading and writing.

Oh yes, and last night I watched The Lookout. It starts off much better than it comes through in the end. Joseph Gordon Levitt is a good enough actor that I'm surprised he doesn't show up more often than he does. The movie itself was a good time, with some clever dialogue and some dynamic scenes. Unlike most caper/thriller/drama flicks, this one seemed to keep things rather tight, scenes only being in the film to either further the plot or change character dynamics or both. There were a few that did not do such things--mainly when the film breaks its own POV and goes to Luvlee. Anyway, it's not a perfect film by any means, or even an amazing one, but there are a few moments that make the whole thing worth your time. The opening in and of itself is a great hook, just gorgeous.

One of these days there will be a "beard" picture, and there will still be Gibberish this week. Cool? Cool.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No Shave November

I meant to say this earlier but--as with most things--forgot.

I'm participating in no shave November. Most of the males in my Sabbath school class are attempting this, and if you knew most of us--or even just me--you'd know how big of a joke this is. There are going to be some very, VERY amusing beards here in the next few weeks. I'll try and post a picture on Monday in order for you to see how ridiculous I look and this idea actually is. The highlight of all this is that we're going to have a beard party at the end of the month. Not exactly sure what that is going to be, but there will be deserts and prizes have been spoken of.

Wish me luck. I will probably be taking home the "worst beard" category.

Have a fantastic weekend.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

+What It Takes+

He would say "girlfriend" instead, but he does not have one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Story of Mine Will Be Available for You to Read

Yesterday, I had another story picked up, this time by Pear Noir!. It will appear in their forthcoming, Issue #3 that comes out in January. You should pre-order it now, because it will make them happy for purchasing it, and it will make me happy because I know that you will at least have pretended to read it. Truly, it looks like it will be a mighty fine mag, as they have a nice list of rather notable folks appearing in it. I feel quite honored to be a part of such a publication. Plus, it has the added bonus of renewing my hope that I'm not just wasting my time pursuing a career in writing.

Also, I started NaNoWriMo again this year. Not exactly sure if I'll be able to keep up and hit the 50,000, but it will be a much needed push to write more everyday, and hopefully wrap up a few projects I'm in the midst of. If all goes well, I will indeed have a first draft of my new novel finished by the end of the month.

Other than that, the only news I have is my (re)iteration of moving the comics of Gibberish exclusively to the site. I realize less people will probably come here to read my ramblings, but it will drive that site's hits up, and that is a good thing. In place of Gibberish, I'm thinking of devoting Tuesdays and Thursdays to quoting particularly nice writing from stories and novels and poems and random words thrown about. I am a sucker for beautiful words that sound even more beautiful when read aloud. If you would like to point me to some of these, or send me your favorite passages from novels, I will try to feature them.

For now though, Gibberish will continue on its regular schedule, and that means tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

+Mario's Shoes+

There is something seriously wrong with Yoshi.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Don't Know What's With Me Lately

Either the entertainment world is conspiring against me and stealing my buried emotions and turning them into films and books to get me, or I'm becoming more of a sap.

I finished My Name is Asher Lev by Chiam Potok last night, and it all but devastated me. I felt like someone took a trolling hook to my chest and ripped out everything I had inside. I couldn't even speak for the first half hour after reading it, and I spent a good extra hour lying awake and thinking about it. Put simply: If you are a Christian artist in any way shape or form, you NEED to read this book. Truly.

I doubt it will affect everyone the way it did me, but anyone trying to balance their walk with what they believe is their gift is going to be deeply and profoundly disturbed by this book. I woke up thinking about it. I will probably be thinking about it tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and so on. As much as I love words and writing and stories, I don't think I've ever had one burrow inside me as deeply as this one has. Cheers to you, Mr. Potok. You've done messed me up.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Officially Pissed

Who the balls decided to put BOTH Gentleman Broncos AND Boondock Saints II on limited release?

Seriously. With the exception of Where the Wild Things Are, GB is one of the only films I've really been looking forward to this year, and from what I can see on their "official" site, the closest it is coming to me is freaking Minneapolis. I might want to see that movie, but I'm definitely not willing to drive that far to do so.

Who figures up these release schedules and locations? Nine times out of ten, studios never seem to push the films they should, yet they dump hundreds of thousands of dollars into crap like 2012. Granted, those are the films people go to see--and that is an entirely different rant--but seriously, why can't a film be released at least in ONE major city in every state. I live in the capital of my state, and am only a hour drive from the biggest city in the state, yet I don't look to have a chance to see either GB or BS II. If that ain't a load of All Saint's Day's initials, I don't know what is.

All right. That is out of my system, even if my weekend is now shot to crap. I hope you have a good one, and I'll see you on Monday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mario SuperStrikers and What It Taught Me About Life

I started this blog a moment ago, then realized it was one big complaint/begging for your pity. That is lame. Instead of my selfish rant, you get my blurb for Mario SuperStrikers.

Granted, many of you have probably already played this until it is no longer any fun for you. However, I tried it for the first time last night. Normally, I do not like these kinds of games. Yet, as usual, the Mario team takes a familiar concept and extends it beyond the normal demographic. Sure, true soccer/football aficionados most likely think it is lame, but I would be that many a younger child has now developed an interest in the "real" game because of Mario's bastardized version.

I think this is something we should look to do in all things. Seriously. We need to make Mario-everything. Well, not actually having Mario in everything we do/make, but I think there needs to be an accessibility built in to everything we do. And in that, we need to ensure that the essence/basics of the thing is not changed by this accessibility. This is definitely not a new concept, but I think we can learn something here from Mario and his games: When we give our audiences an overall fun/entertaining experience, we present ANYthing, and audiences will love us.

Maybe it's just a strange tangent/rant, but it makes sense to me. I'm going to go Mario-ize my world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Music and Micro-Zombies

Do you have a band that you KNOW is not good, that is simply music constructed for the masses, yet you can't stop listening to it?

Chevelle is that band for me. Every bit of me screams at their untalented-ness, their generic riffs and sub-par drum beats, yet I can't stop listening to them--including their new album. Stupid, "Roswell's Secrets" gets stuck in my head. I guess that's what I get for listening to it in the first place, but there is just something about this band--manufactured as it is--that just makes me want to rock out. *sigh*

As for the Micro-Zombies, I had a story picked up the other day. It's a teeny little piece, but one I'm rather happy with. Check it out here, if for no other reason than it is getting close to Halloween and it's time for zombies and things.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Feel All Sorts of Fancy

After all too long of people thinking my phone is ten years old--the final nail in this coffin being someone recently commenting, "Oh, cute, it has an antenna"--I've stepped into the SmartPhone age. Though I won't use half of what this thing is capable of, it's nice to know that I CAN do things like GPS and video messages, if I want to.

In other news, my wife and I watched Duplicity last night. We'd meant to see it in the theatre, but missed our chance as it seemed to be in and out of them quite fast. And this is a sad fact. It means people missed out on a rather smart caper/mystery/grift/thriller flick. It found a wonderful balance of making you feel like you knew what was going on, while at the same time making you think you had NO IDEA what was going on. A fun film that I would recommend to fans of the aforementioned genres.

Other than that, I wish you all well, and have a wonderful weekend. Mine will be spent playing with my new phone. WOOT!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

+The Real Garage Band+

Archive

(Based on an idea from my good friend, Cale P.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Yes, critics and filmgoers alike are raving about this film. Plenty of reviews and blogs have already been written about the film--much more timely than myself, yet I still need to add my two cents.

I don't want to spend time on why it is awesome; I wanted to talk about its haunting nature.

Since seeing the film on Monday night, I haven't really stopped thinking about it. If I have, I soon go back to it, conjuring up images or certain fragments of dialogue. Plus, I feel like I dreamed about it on Monday night. Can't specifically give any details, but I swear there were Carols and KWs and Judiths rumpusing through my dreams. Another of my friends I saw the film with said the same thing. It's not often a film can tap so deeply into the subconscious. It's as if Spike Jonze channeled the very spirit of what it means to be a child--how utterly frightening and beautiful and fantastical and horrifying it can be.

I remember my own childhood being much the same, full of moments so steeped in wonder that my head reeled, then they'd shift into something terrifying, my overactive imagination kicking in and scaring the crap out of myself. This was probably a common occurrence for single children, those with much older siblings, and general outcasts within their schools. Hard as it might have been from time to time, I think it was all for the best--I wouldn't be the writer I am if it weren't for all those hours alone, spinning my stories in my own mind as I dove from snow bank to snow bank, dug a fort into the earth, and worried about all those ninjas ready to attack.

I will be seeing this film again. I can't not. When something shakes you to the core, you don't ignore it. You let it shake you again and again and again until you feel nothing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

+Ca-Moose+

Archive

Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga... MOOSE, MOOSE!!!

(Idea from my friend Marcia A.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Home Again

I'm back from the California coast, where I spent the majority of my time within a hotel. Nice as it was, I wish I could've gotten out to the beach more. The bit that I did was fun enough, but I would have liked to stay longer.

Sights seen while there: A skateboarder looking like Sugar Ray (the 90's rock guy) and trying to pick up chicks by doing large figure eights in the parking lot, a Lamborghini with its engine overheating and smoking, Balboa island, a beach side wedding, the most dedicated Del Taco employee ever (he was CHASING down a car to give them a forgotten article of food), the gloriousness of CA traffic, and lots of people that were wearing an outfit as costly as my entire wardrobe.

It's good to be home, though now I will have to play catch up--bleh. Wish me luck.

Friday, October 16, 2009

(First Missed Post)

After more than a year of faithful posting, my lame hotel and their lame charging for internet service caused me to missed my first post to date. Fight the tyranny of paying for what most everyone else gives for free.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

+Mouse Flashes+

Archive

If this mouse believes in reincarnation his next life will be, "Life Sucks 2: Life Sucks Harder." Then it would be "Life Sucks: With a Vengeance." And with the last, it will add patriotism, "Live Free or Life Sucks."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

I still hold it against Lincoln for not getting this film into theatres around here. Seriously, it wasn't even that tiny of a release...

Despite my not being able to see it in theatres, I was very pleased to finally have had the chance to check it out. With how much I enjoyed Brick, I had high hopes for The Brothers Bloom--especially since I really like the cast for the film. A day later, I can't decide how much I liked this one. I keep thinking about it, certain scenes and moments, so that in itself is better than most films. Plus, I already want to watch it again, just to see if I can "figure out" some of the subtle clues dropped along the way. And even if you don't like the film overall, the first half hour or so of the film is nothing short of brilliant AND hysterical. I haven't laughed that much at a film in awhile. Perhaps I'm just easily entertained, but part of me seems to resonate with Rian Johnson's humor. If you enjoyed Brick, I wouldn't miss this one. And if you like caper/grifter flicks, this one is playful enough to keep you on your toes--even for veterans of the genre. Basically, I can't think of a good reason not to watch this one, just be warned that it isn't as quite of a feel-good movie as you might expect.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

+Lying to Frankenstein is a Bad Idea+

This one time, I was dead. Then they arrested my wife.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What Technology Just Can't Do...


Yesterday, I worked on arts for a sizable chunk of time with a good friend of mine. As much as I love my tablet and using the digital medium to create my arts--since I can do things digitally that I'd have no idea how to replicate with paints and canvass--nothing, and I mean nothing, can replace the feel of paper under your hand, pens and pencils and markers at your disposal. Sure, you can pick all sorts of colors, even the exact shade that you had in mind, via your digital arting media, but there is something so wholesome about grabbing a new marker, a new pen, another sheet of paper. Plus, unlike digital arts, this is much easier to sell.

Do you like the above? (Click it for a larger image.) You may own it for $20.00--more if you want it framed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Things

I have renewed my uncle-dom--as of last night. My brother and his wife have a new baby boy with the initials J.R. I told my wife that I hoped no one would shoot him.

Another good thing is John Steinbeck. You may recall my ranting and raving about how perfect a book Of Mice and Men is. I finished The Moon is Down last night, which is a much lesser known Steinbeck. I figure if a guy can still write that good of a book, and it is one of the less famous books... what an ass. I don't know if I will ever achieve the status of even The Moon is Down, but at least I have another few books of his that I can read. Now that I've finished two of his, I can honestly say that he is probably within my top ten favorite writers. His writing has such a simple beauty to it, not as poetic as Bradbury, but equally gorgeous. I'd love to write like that, but alas, it's just not my style.

Last good thing: It is the weekend. I like weekends. Stuff will happen?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

+Meta-for You+

Start calling your significant other "Incisor." It is not a good idea.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Conundrum of Publishing

Let me preface this by saying that this is intended more for the novelist than the short storiest, as the market is an entirely different process.

I've been spending a LOT of time on Duotrope lately and even submitting a few things, and I've come to a conclusion: There are so many markets out there, what difference does it make if I'm rejected?

Really. I used to get all worried and tense and start freaking out whenever I built up enough courage to submit something. Now, I'll admit that a bit of the anxiety is still there, however I realize the ridiculousness of it all. I've heard it said, numerous times, that it is completely 100 percent subjective as to why you are or are not accepted. I didn't believe it until I was forced to do this very thing myself. I was forced to pick and choose based on what resonated with me, and nothing more. The writing across the board was fine--good even--but I didn't always get that zing one hopes for in reading new prose or poetry. And I guarantee it is the same way for EVERY PUBLICATION out there. We don't need to worry about their not accepting our work--there is a good chance someone else will. The better question is, "Do we even want to be a part of their magazine?"

As I said, there are a crapton of magazines, journals, and even locally produced zines, all searching for your work, your content, your words. But is it even worth your time to submit and build up a list of publications--even if the publication isn't very professional?

Because of the interweb and all its modern conveniences, everyone and their iPod can have a journal--even I started one of the things. So what makes it worthwhile to send out those words you've pored over and poured your heart into? Who's to say that it isn't just as worth your time--or more--to work on a novel and submit that instead? I honestly don't have an answer.

Sure, it is a great ego boost and shot of joy when you receive that acceptance letter, but I'm still wondering if it is worth all the time, stress, and anxiety over something that ultimately boils down to the editor asking himself, "Do I like this?"

Then what happens when the publication that accepts you goes under after the first two issues? Was it worth it to be a part of them, to garner that name for your CV, or would you be just as reputable, if not more so, for avoiding such flippant publications?

I'm just throwing things around out here. I think--as with everything--it comes down to personal choice. I guess we're always just wondering and worrying if that was the RIGHT choice.

To help solve this dilemma, I'm proposing a test/idea. I'm going to write a few micro-fictions, anywhere from 1 - 1,000 words. I'm not going to spend much time on them. Yes, I'll make sure they are free of typos and have the basics elements of story, but I'm not going to worry about whether or not it is "ready" for publication. I'm going to take these stories--that take, maybe, a day or two to write--and submit them. If they are accepted, wonderful. If not, I will give them another once-over, another revision, and send them out again. Process, repeat, repeat, repeat, until the story is accepted or I finally dub the story "finished."

Anyone else game?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

+Waiting, Still, More+

As a colleague of mine might say: "She's been attacked by the booly." (Booly, boo+lee: a state in which boobies and a belly become one.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mowing, Blokus, and Novel Update

Words of advice: though waiting ten weeks to mow your lawn might save you a few hours of overall time, it is not fun. And now my arms and legs are angry with me--possibly the mower too. And the lawn. It looks like we own a dog that pees in the same spots over and over.

In other news, I tried Blokus this weekend, and I heartily endorse it. Not only do the games take, maybe, twenty minutes tops, the dynamics of the thing can change in a heartbeat. A bit of strategy, a bit of luck, and a good chunk o' fun. Pick this up if you have the chance. I believe it is rather cheap.

As for the novels, I have yet to hear back from the agent for the one. We've hit the three week mark, which is when she contacted me last time, but I heard she has been rather busy these last few weeks. Keep your fingers crossed. The other is coming along quite nicely. In fact, I'm really enjoying writing this one and can already see it starting to take shape. Though I know the general direction of where this thing is headed, I'm excited to see the detours and the final destination.

In the meantime, Gibberish tomorrow.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Prefer to Write

Whenever I say anything, I always worry it is misconstrued, and I come across looking like a douchebag.

Take just a moment ago: I was at the gas station, filling up a coffee cup, my soda glass and Snickers resting in front of the "flavor" shots. Another customer was trying to look at flavor shots, not disturbing my stuff or even giving me the stink eye for having left it there. As the cup was almost full of coffee, I topped it off then went to move my things out of his way. He mumbled/said an "Excuse me," as if he was in the wrong.

I said, "Let me get out of your way." Then I realized how condecending that could have sounded to him, like I was saying, "Well, since I'm obviously in your way, let me not inconvenience you further."

I don't think I sounded like this. But I'm paranoid nevertheless. I tend to have things come out wrong. Frequently. Even my wife has been known to take offense at something I said that was NOT supposed to be hurtful.

I probably just need to chill out. I should just chill out. Yet I worry that even the remotest of strangers thinks I'm an okay person--not just another asshole.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Try not to be misunderstood.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

+Skeleton Noir+


No matter the situation, it's no skin off his back.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Things I'm Doing

New Novel: So far, I've been able to plug away at the 1,000 words a day goal I set. Feels good to get into something new, and to already feel the pieces falling/clicking into place in my head. Already had a few character surprises, as one of them is nothing like I initially envisioned. Whatever, though. It's all about going with the flow, right?

Bring the Ink, Issue 1: It's almost finished and ready to rock your October. Not sure when tomorrow it will drop, but it is scheduled to drop on the morrow.

Book Proposal: I'm pulling together a proposal for a VERY different project than what I normally write. It seems to be shaping up better than I'd hoped, but who knows. All the work might be for not. More on this as it develops.

Waiting: Still no word from the agent-hopeful. It's only been a little more than two weeks since I mailed the book out--plus I heard that she's been busy moving or something. Regardless, I still feel the pressure.

Arting for My Friend: Still plugging away on his graphic novel. Fun stuff, but quite a bit o' work.

Broken-Hearted Bear: With the help of a few other artists and writers, we're building an on-going webcomic for Bring the Ink. I hope it will start in November.

On the Back Burner: The first volume of Gibberish; the collected group of my and Logan's reviews for the defunct Filmmedium.com; two ideas for webcomics/graphic novels; and my want to just watch movies and play video games.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mindless Entertainment

Before there was RockBand and the like, there were two games by Harmonix (creators of Guitar Hero and RockBand) called Frequency and Amplitude. I was obsessed with the two of them. Obsessed.

I spent hours trying to conquer every song on the highest of difficulties. I ruined my eyes playing those games (No, really, I didn't blink enough, which caused my contacts to shrink while STILL IN MY EYES, thus re-shaping my astigmatism into something even worse. I now where my glasses when playing RockBand and such.) I pissed off my friends playing those games--them hearing the same beats, same songs, me cursing, over and over and over and over and over again. Those were good times.

Yesterday, I busted out Amplitude once again. Man, such a good time. Nothing to think about. You don't really have to concentrate. You just let your mind fog over, check out and let your reflexes run the show.

It made me happy. And lately, this seems to be something that's harder and harder to do...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Life Goes Up

I'd forgotten what it feels like to really get into something new, to start a new story, find the characters, and watch what they do.

I'd forgotten the surprise you feel when something pops up in your writing that intrigues even you, when you ask yourself: "What in the world is going to become of that sentence?"

I'd forgotten how spinning brand new sentences, rather than pulling off the loose threads of old ones, feels so much better in your hands.

As I said on Wednesday, I'm spinning a new tale.

It feels good to remember.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

+Muffin of the Dead+

Haunting has nothing on blueberries.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wow... Almost Missed Today

Totally spaced this out today. I thought I wrote this earlier this morning. Glad I checked.

As for things to report: I've started another novel. It may turn out to be a short story, but I HIGHLY doubt it--considering it's based on a short story I wrote during my undergrad days. I've changed the main character, though I think the original character will still be in this one. We'll just have to see what happens.

The biggest thing with this one is that the process is already COMPLETELY different from my last novel. I suppose this is what they mean by each piece of fiction being its own evolving entity. Unlike Jumping Off Bridges, where I had an ending in mind, I just need to find a way to get there, this one, tentatively titled A Startling Lack of Color, is a bunch of pieces. Because it is based on the short story, I have pinpoints, places I want to be, but I won't know how to tie them altogether or how they will all add up to a story. So, instead of going from point A with point B in mind, I'm simply writing whatever point I feel like, could be A, could be GG, could be ZZZ, who knows? I figure I'll frustrate my future self, write it in pieces and let the me of a few months down the road go, "Why the balls did I not write this in a logical order?"

Considering how much I had to restructure Jumping Off Bridges, I figure it might be easier this time around to just have pieces to move around as I please. We'll see. I'll keep you updated as time goes on. I'm hoping this one is only about 60,00 words compared to JOB's 80,000+. Again, who knows. JOB was supposed to be a short story.

I'll keep you all posted as things progress, and perhaps I'll start a "Progress Report" along the side here. So you can see what all my projects are and where I'm at with them. Another writer I saw did this, and I thought it was a good idea. I might just steal it.

Gibberish tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

For My Funk Today, I Blame...

The rain? No. To easy, and cliched.

Starting off the morning by taking my cat to the vet? No. I suppose he is doing alright--all things considered. A cat with only one functioning kidney, and even then only about 2/3 of the normal capacity, is expected to go to the vet for various reasons.

Watching both The Informant! and The Incredibles this weekend? Maybe. These two fine examples of film--especially in character development--make me realize how sorely lacking my own novel still is in fixing the wants of each character AND having dynamic relationships with those they come in contact with.

Waiting to hear back about my novel? Probably. Granted it's only been a week since I even mailed the thing off, and less than that for the time it's actually been in the hands of the agent. Patience, everyone says, patience. I'm trying. I really am, but realizing how much my novel is still lacking worries me that much more that this thing has been sent off once again--and not quite ready for another's eyes.

An unknown fifth thing? Sounds like the best bet, as I'm not sure what has killed my drive to do ANYthing today.

Whatever it is, I have lost all drive, run out of gas on every project I've been working on. Maybe I just need a nap or a healthy dose of video games. Man, I miss those things...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fuzzy

My brain is numb today. Feels like I don't know what is what, or who is who, or which project of the many I should be working on.

Had a weird dream last night involving The Incredibles and Venture Brothers. Not exactly sure how the two overlapped, but I kept waking up because of it, then going back into the same dream. Something to do with a water park, and The Monarch and Sgt. Hatred inadvertantly kill Mr. Incredible, Dr. Venture, and Brock all at once, leaving the brothers to themselves. Not sure what happened to the rest of The Incredibles crew.

Who knows, maybe this is an omen: Pixar making a Venture Brothers film? Brad Bird directing an episode? Doc Hammer going to work for Pixar? Or Disney's next purchase: Adult Swim.

I suppose only time will tell how prophetic I am--and here's hoping that I'm simply full of dookie.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

On to New Things

At least until I hear back from the agent, I'm devoting myself to new projects.

Currently, this means: doing arts for my friend's graphic novel, editing the latest edition of Bring the Ink, and writing a book proposal. Also, I want to get a bit of a backlog of Gibberish, so I can have a few weeks buffer--in case I get lazy. And, I have a new--I think--novel idea that's been buzzing around my brain for awhile, and it seems to be as good of time as any to start getting it out. Of course, I could always work on the stacks of short stories I wrote so long ago.... Oh man, I'm already starting to feel overwhelmed and I haven't even started on anything yet.

In other news, I purchased The Beatles Rockband, and it is a good time. While their music is wonderful, it's a bit of a bummer that most of their songs are so short. It didn't take too long at all to blaze through the Story mode. Not like it matters, the whole reason I bought the thing is because it will provide countless more hours of clicking and hitting and singing in front of a television with my friends. Though I am disappointed by the lack of "Hey, Jude," "Norwegian Wood," and "She's Got the Devil in Her Heart." I hope these will be available via Downloadable Content. (I will check after I post this.)

And sorry for the late posting of Gibberish yesterday. With my day of doing nothing, I almost forgot that I had yet to update the thing. I don't figure it ruffled too many feathers. Tomorrow's Gibberish should be on time and ready to rock... or something.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

Novel Update: Done?

After a long haul of around 11 hours of writing yesterday, I think, I think I'm done. Granted, all I can think is that the whole thing is a piece a crap, and if anything, I ruined it as I cut pages, added some more, re-organized the last quarter of the thing, and added a new ending.

I suppose we will see soon enough. I'm mailing it out to the agent today for round two. Basically, I figure that if she passes again, I'm now in a good position to shop it around elsewhere. Otherwise, even if she wants to simply see another re-write, I figure I'm in. Any agent willing to look at not one, but TWO, revisions has to be invested enough to stick with you, right? Maybe I'm just projecting.

Either way, I suppose we'll know soon enough. Last time it took, maybe three weeks to hear back from her. Hopefully, it will be even sooner this time around, as I'm now in the "Requested Material" status. Who knows though. I'm just going to try to remember to breathe, to remember that I know have a novel that is very much ready to be shopped around, and I can distract myself with the sweet Rock Band grooves of the Beatles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Novel Update: Pacing

On every earlier draft I had, I couldn't wait to be done, so much so, that I barreled through the last few chapters, turning them into thin bits of plot rather than good writing. With each draft, they have gotten a bit better, a bit more meat on those bones, but I inevitably race to the finish line. This time, I'm really trying to hold back, to keep myself going at a slow walk through the prose, find where it needs more emotion, more description, more sensory images.

It's getting harder and harder to do this though, as I'm nearing the completion of yet another draft. I can tell that it is better than the last, but I'm not sure by how much, or if it was even worth all the extra time. I honestly have no idea what I'm doing. I never have. Words come, and I put them on the paper. They do their own thing. I simply listen. I just hope I was tuned into the right frequency this time...

See you on Monday, with a completed novel, and less of an ulcer--I hope.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

+Screaming from the Heart+

Archive

Unless of course you are paying her for her love, then it is perfectly okay.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Novel Update: Puzzling

At this point, I feel like my novel has become one of those puzzles that is nothing but one color, or the same kind of texture (grass, hair, clouds, etc.) where there are so many possibilities for the pieces to fit together--sort of--but only one of them is the correct spot. I've moved a few more things around, and they feel even better in their new locations. Hopefully this is a good thing.

I've also been combining a few of the chapters, cutting out the boring parts and going for the throat instead. I'm really hoping this thing is much more emotionally engaging than the last draft, but really, who's to say if I've truly succeeded? It's going to be different for everyone. But I know that I feel drained after writing some of these things, like my emotions have sapped from my fingers and onto the page. Could be wishful thinking, but I suppose I'll find out soon enough.

As a side note: My cat has now been missing for a full 24 hours, and that is always disheartening. He's done this type of thing before and been gone for a little more than two days, so my wife and I are trying to keep the worries to a medium. Plus, this time around he has a collar with his name and my number, so I'm thinking SOMEONE would've called if something had gone wrong, right? Here's hoping...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

Domo For Me

This arrived in my mailbox the other day. It is awesome. Enjoy Labor Day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Novel Update: The Tear Down

Right after my post on Wednesday, everything went wrong. Seriously, seriously wrong. Everything I was writing was utter crap. I felt with every atom of my being that I was ruining the thing I'd worked on so hard and so long and put so much love and effort and attention into. I was ready to throw the whole thing out the window.

Because of this, my wife--thank God for her--suggested I take a night off. I did. No writing Wednesday night.

And Thursday started a bit better, I was going through my chapters, plugging right along, but the feeling never went away. I kept feeling like, "No, this is wrong. I am ruining the entire novel." My friend and mentor, Mark Haskell Smith, told me I should simply follow my instincts, and if my instincts are telling me to stop--for the love of everything you hold dear--STOP WRITING.

Another chapter later, I finally listened.

I sat down--after climbing out of bed at close to midnight--with a pen and a scrap of paper my wife and I write our grocery lists on. I wondered what would happen if I simply cut half of this crap that was giving me problems, and it seemed like it would all be better. And like what I'm about to do with my novel, I'll condense the ending.

Basically, I'm restructuring the last few chapters, cutting a few more, and blending a few of the others. I think the overall arc is now EXACTLY as it should be. There will need to be tightening and a few more scenes that need some overhauling, but I think--knock on wood--that I finally have everything in order to make this thing an emotional punch in the face, gut, and genitals.

See you, maybe, on Monday. There may just be a bonus comic instead.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

+Terrorist Troll+


Are we even allowed to deal with mythical creatures? If so, I would like a pot of gold, a unicorn, and a pixie. In return, I will give plastic bracelets, Snickers, and my firstborn.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Novel Update

As this thing has all but taken over my life, I'm simply going to do novel updates for the next two weeks when Gibberish isn't there to entertain. If I see/read/hear something good, I'll still pass it on, otherwise, the updates might be a bit boring for the next bit.

Basically, things are on track. I've got until Sept. 14 to send off my novel back to the agent. (I just heard back from her on a check in, and they are still interested in seeing what I've done with the thing.) I've got less than a hundred pages to go, and unlike previous drafts of the novel, I feel like I not only know where this thing should go, but I also know the HOW and WHY it's going where it is. Perhaps this means I finally know what I'm doing. Perhaps I've finally just ruined the whole thing. I suppose we'll find out by the end of the month.

So get your freaking out hats on, because I'm sure caught up in the midst of it.

p.s. I'll be sure to let you know when the aforementioned interview/article about me drops at Broken Frontier.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

+Close Enough+

Archive

Besides, you still owe me from when Hell froze over.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gibberish News

Good Monday, everyone. I hope yours isn't nearly as busy as mine. Bleh. So many things to do...

In the meantime though, I just wanted to give you all a head's up and let you know that I am being interviewed by the good folks over at Broken Frontier. Not sure exactly when the article will drop--sometime soon, I think. But I wanted to let you all know for future reference. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, I'm off to my full, full, day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Two Quick Things...

...as I am still ridiculously busy.

First, there have been more people--lately--reading my blog than I've had people reading my comic. Perhaps they are just reading my comic through the blog, and thus not hitting up my webcomic's official page. Either way, I'm trying to decide if I'm flattered or disheartened that people like my words over my works.

Second, read William Gay. I finished a short story of his the other day, "Where Will You Go When Your Skin Cannot Contain You?" It is amazing. Track it down. (It can be found in 2007's Best American Short Stories collection.) Read it. I'm sure you will not be disappointed. And if you are, well, then there is no accounting for taste. This is my homework that I give to you over the weekend. Read this story, and comment back to me.

Otherwise, have a good weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lit Journal Submission Opportunities

Today is a day that needs to be completed while working on other things. Many, many other things. So this is simply a plug.

Poets, Short Storiests, Essayists, Comicists, Artists, Bring the Ink needs you. A lit mag is only as cool as its submissions. So please, send something cool. Cool is good. It will make people read your work--and our mag. Check it out, and read some of our current material.

Gibberish tomorrow. More busy-ness, too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

+In This Place+

Archive

Another acceptable term would be rapscallion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Less and Less These Days

It feels like it's been a very long time since I've had a film truly creep under my skin and haunt me. Back in high school, it was about every third film that I watched, I'd be thinking about it for days afterward. Now, I'm lucky if it happens once or twice a year. Yesterday, I watched such a film.

Vals Im Bashir (Waltz with Bashir) is one of the most interesting and haunting films I've watched in a long while. The style Ari Folman has given with the animation and documentary aesthetics works on so many levels. The images are stunning and burn into your retnas, the ghosts of this film flickering through your head the instant the film credits roll.

I know it is nothing short of a cop-out, but this is really a film that simply needs to be seen. It will probably have a different effect on each person. For me, it reminded me of how lucky I've been to grow up where I have, sheltered from so many horrors in life that I rarely think about and others have had to deal with on a daily basis for years. And it made me realize what my father might have experienced during his army days--and why he rarely speaks of such times.

See this film if you have any interest in animation. See this film if you enjoy something more substantial than explosions. See this film if you're like me--sheltered from so much. Maybe it will peel off a few layers of the tough skin you've grown around your heart.