Update of the Week of June 26, 2017

Looks like some of my published work is going to be rearranged, modified, and revised into what will probably be a trio of new works with a great deal of new and additional content.  All very exciting.  Bank on a lot of science fiction.  What I have to wonder and worry about, in all honesty, is my other work.  I’ve completed some material variously in the fantasy genre that has nothing to do with the work I’ve already published.  They say the safe road, that one that comes without living in doorways, lies in specializing in a certain genre, specifically in a certain series, and just running with it until your audience turns up tired.

But that’s not really me.

I don’t even think it’s good form.  How can you possibly do good writing if you’re dead inside for having to write for paycheck merely–long after you’ve stopped caring about the work?

I don’t know.

Truth is, I’ve yet to materialize an actual novel out of my Goliath Thunder work.  Short stories, a novella or two, and a few miniseries.  Haven’t yet felt the pull to bury myself in this sort of epic.

Is what it is.

Anyways, there’s not much to report.  I’m just working.  The terminus is rather far away.  Oh well.  I promise that when the hammer comes down, it will be glorious.

In a Little Apartment in Osaka

A burgeoning heart suffers and cannot truly numb the pain, evident even through the jackhammer of alcohol throbbing through his veins, woeful with the continual and continuous deadlines and unpaid overtime–the miscarriage of his wife and their developing divorce.  “Life is suffering,” claims correctly several religions, and they know that man was born this way, but they do not know that he was necessarily made this way, crafted in the hands of a greening mother preparing her children confidently to survive–not to thrive.

Children’s Entertainment

You know, when I was a kid, Saturday morning television was the high point of my week.  That sounds terrible now that I’ve said it, but it’s actually the truth.  Saturday morning television has always hosted the strange visions of creators and entertainers whose ideas never really made it to mainstream appeal; that’s where science fiction used to go to die, out of sight and out of mind of the regular populace.  Who would have known the appeal that both science fiction and high fantasy would accrue in our present day?  Makes me almost sick to think about.  You people are always miles behind, but because you’re the only runners you can see, you presume that you, as a collective, are first.  Anyways, there was a lot of Babylon V, a good deal of Space: Above and Beyond, and cartoons beyond numbering, but what I liked most about them, and it was a facet of most entertainment at the time that thrilled me, is that they were all violent despite varying levels of embracing that violence.  Good luck finding any more of that in entertainment fit for children nowadays, what with hovering parents having become the norm among those wealthy enough to be heard complaining about it.

Once upon a time, there weren’t big standing armies protecting you from babbling foreigners.  There weren’t silos filled with nuclear weapons ready to rend the world asunder.  There weren’t even police forces really.  What the state had to rely upon–and really utterly–was the citizen, who filled both the role of police officer and soldier, who was raised from a relatively young age in the application of his father’s or grandfather’s arms, and when he was old enough drilled with the men in the mustering yard for the day when their little slice of the world would need them.  The state didn’t want fawning adult children raised by parents too terrified to possibly discomfort their child.  The nation required men that were familiar with violence from a very young age and socialized appropriately on when to apply it and apply it brutally.

Hard making a comparison between the hoplites of the city states and 20th Century television entertainment; I’ll give you that, but I would like to point out a slide, and it is only a slide that has occurred since the Second World War, away from making men out of our manpower, and popular entertainment is a facet of that.  Play, in a lot of different mechanisms, is the means by which the young learn about the universe.  It’s a built in bit of hardware that makes our curiosity sometimes so overwhelming.  What we play, we prepare for in adulthood.

It’s dangerous to even have passive entertainment vacuous of what we’ll be required as adults.  These civilizations weren’t built by love and good intentions.  They were built by sweat, blood, and tears–and iron.

Talk about tangents.

I Was Going to Name this “Social Media Isn’t Social”

It’s easy to work with that premise.  If you’ve ever been on Facebook, you’ll note that the majority of the platform is about moving advertiser product and providing what seems a safe and protective bubble of congeniality for those that consume it.  Long story short, Facebook isn’t really about communication; there are no great manifestos being published and widely disseminated on the medium; indeed, those that are attempting are almost undoubtedly being deliberately censored.  It isn’t a forum for the free exchange and critique of ideas.  Simply, people use it as a means to make mostly ephemeral communications with people they already know in meatspace, and they otherwise treat it as a time sink replete with advertising, cute kittens, advertising, puns, and yet more fucking advertising.  Twitter isn’t any better; if anything, it’s worse what with its widespread and extremely obvious political censorship.  But the major social media is like this.  They want to entice with the opportunities such a platform could present before you’re so deeply invested in the platform that you can see all its unsightly sores that admittedly corrupt the entire medium.

Thing is, is real life social?  I mean, a great deal of the social rituals I’ve been taught since I was a kid consider the initial exchange of greetings and thereafter all the systems required to avoid offending your conversation partner.  And if you’ve found a good friend, one who isn’t off put by the ramifications of what you might say, that’s a wondrous thing, but perhaps that’s the very terrible point.  These social rituals exist because humans generally cannot get along with each other, and as such they prefer to wax and wane about the weather and the white-picket fence rather than endure the terrible shame of possibly having fucking offended someone.  But offense has been in the past and in the present a reason for most often unnecessary violence.  You can see where good manners comes from, keeps the barbarians from chopping each other to bits all the time, but it also prevents us from exchanging what we’re really thinking.

But perhaps we just know ourselves too well, and subconsciously we know that if we feel one way about other people then they certainly feel a certain way about us.  In all actuality, we aren’t one humanity.  We aren’t even a collection of nations or a federation of clans; we’re nothing but bits and pieces of a thousand different broken puzzles that occasionally brush against each other in the dark.

As such, we live constantly with bad faith.  When we smile and offer the right, we know it is because it is the right we fear.

Pour my Beer in the Sink I’ve Got More in the Trunk

The mental exhaustion can be so palpable in creative endeavors.  I would write something meaningful, but I literally can’t conceive the words.

Things are going well.  There’s so many of them, but they seem to be going well.  I hope to have something for you guys by the day after Thanksgiving alongside a bevy of additional content that didn’t make the cut.  Whether or not I’ll be able to hit that deadline is a matter of some debate.  You see, I need to be marketing the book for about three months in advance, which means that if the book isn’t altogether completed shortly, that’s simply not going to happen.  That said, I’m not going to release a functionally unfinished book merely to hit release dates.

So what’s it about?  Originally I had wanted to release another entry in the Goliath Thunder series, but as I was running through the content I’ve already completed, I started getting excited about this little collection of interrelated short stories that I never ended up publishing.  Seemed like something easy to fix and finish.  Of course, as I began running through the text, I had all these ideas and shortly I was considering an altogether rewrite.  And that’s where we are now.  I’d call it dark fiction, and some people might label it as Urban Fantasy, but that’s not really the term.  Imagine a sort of film noir investigation drama in which protagonist is thrust into a universe comorbid with our own but at only rare points intersecting, operating by different rules and principles and possessing altogether different powers.  Just wants to find out what really happened to his wife.

Pic unrelated.

Staring into the Abrased Vestigia of Wednesday

I marvel sometimes at how little I know.  I should be comfortable that I’ve so comfortably surpassed mount stupid, but it’s not a terribly comforting feeling is it, the altogether realization of one’s utter worthlessness, absence of personal infrastructure?  This just happened to me yesterday, but for the rest of you it will have been some different yesterday, because god knows when this will ever see the light of day.

I was staring into the shells of my septfurcated pillbox one evening asking myself, “What day is it–or rather what day was it, for the hour had already passed midnight,” running my eyes across whatever traces remained of the abridged characters that indicated the dosage for the day, when I began thinking about the labors of several hours before.  You see, I am not a wealthy man.  That’s a strange thing to say at this juncture, isn’t it?  Anyways, I’m not a wealthy man, and as such I’m not willing to spend a good deal of a new laptop.  That’s another strange thing to say, it seems.  You see, laptops are constantly breaking, and investing many hundreds or even several thousands of dollars into a laptop is like throwing that money away, for repairs of this nature are never easy, as they generally require the dismantling and horrific reassembling of the entire chassis.  It’s for this reason that most of my work is completed through a tower desktop, for which maintenance is of the highest ease.  Anyways, this cheap laptop I possess came equipped not only with Windows 10 but also a solid state hard disk that had approximately thirty gigabytes of space on the drive.  On the one hand, there’s not a lot of moving parts in solid state, meaning they’re a good deal more durable than the traditional; on the other hand, they’re also very expensive.  So I had a tiny one, tiny in terms of space not actual physical volume.  Problem is when you install Windows 10 on a less than mediocre system like this is that it eats almost all the hard disk space and consumes almost all the random access memory while running, meaning you can’t actually do anything with the computer.

So, I got a Linux build, put it on a flash drive, reformated the drive and installed a new operating system.  Saved me a load of hard disk space whilst simultaneously freeing up massive amounts of memory.

But the problem is that I did a load of programming in grade school, high school, and university before I washed out of Physics because I hadn’t yet developed my drinking problem.

Seems like I forgot all of it.  Shell commands were to me a mystery.  Good lord I do not know why Linux adamantly refuses to implement executable installers.

So anyways, I was trying to install the drivers for this wireless adapter.  The one I’d been using was sort of bulky, and I was constantly (and accidentally) slapping my hands against it.  As such, I spent some money to acquire a very tiny alternative, too minute to likely bang my simian mitts against

But now the problem was that the Linux build didn’t have any standard drivers that would run the new adapter.  On the bright side, the machine came with a disk that actually contained drivers for Linux operating systems.  Problem was that this laptop didn’t have an optical drive and I didn’t have an exterior drive that could be plugged into USB.  Managed to download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website.

I was hopeless at trying to compile and bash and chop or whatever the damn files.  Probably did more damage than anything else.

This led me to a flurry of backing up any files that might possibly not have been backed up yet, on several different platforms.

Anyways, I was musing that I could read Greek and Latin with great proficiency, had a masterful knowledge of composition, knowledge of comparative mythology, American common law, could perform triple integrals and occasionally even impress my parents.

And yet I can’t install a set of drivers intended for use by little babies.

Then I remembered it was Wednesday.  Rather, it had been Wednesday about an hour and a half before.

As I hit the bed and attempted to claw in a few more pages of Paradise Lost before my soul sunk once again into Erebus, I marveled that it required people who were very intelligent to create this sort of software, software used predominantly by people who don’t even understand it in theory.  And then I mused that those that made it, most of all, were more tolerant of difficulty in their pedagogy of programming, and so they achieved higher knowledge by their hard work and diligence, which might as well be a primary compartment of intelligence.  In some time, there may be no-one left alive who understands the work necessary to keep this civilization afloat.

And then I thought that the ancient Roman villa had a slave chosen specifically to guard the door.  That was his only job.  And he usually had a dog, which frankly did most of his job for him.

The Fall of Bioware

If you’re like me, born in the eighties or perhaps early nineties, you may remember a time where Role Playing Games, aside those of the tabletop variety, were both extremely popular and extremely Japanese, whether on home consoles or even the PC.  That turn-based, spread-sheet style of gameplay might have become the dominant format, infecting titles to this very day, if not for a little company called “Bioware,” which released the RPG title “Baldur’s Gate” when I was still a source of constant agony and occasional amusement to my parents.  Since that time, up to 2012, I have purchased and played to boredom every title Bioware has released, save for three, which you could probably quite easily guess.

There just wasn’t anyone else releasing the kind of content they were working on, a unique style of Western RPG that would ultimately prove highly influential, which typically molded turn-based mechanics with a real-time presentation.  Made the games feel a great deal less stiff, and many of these titles were incredibly nonlinear, very notably the original Baldur’s Gate.  People talk about sandbox environments in our contemporary titles, but nearly out the door you could fuck up straight down the southern edge of the sword coast and get kissed to death by bleeding fucking nymphs.  I’d say it was something of a beginner’s trap, but the game was filled with potential instant deaths, being faithful to its D&D source material.

So what went wrong?  How did Bioware go from the Baldur’s Gate series, which is one of the most respected in video game history, all the way down to the punch-out ending of Mass Effect Three and whatever the bloody hell all the titles of Dragon Age were supposed to be?  The particulars have most assuredly be answered by people more knowledgeable than I, but I do want to add a few little words of wisdom.  No-one buys a videogame expecting to be lectured on their political orthodoxy.  They don’t buy entertainment expecting it to be art either; they expect it to be entertaining.  If it can do both, that’s marvelous, but an entertainer should never lose sight of his essential objective, and those predominantly concerned with the injection of political invective need to go join the legacy media before the whole shebang utterly collapses.