Friday, October 31, 2008

I loves me some Halloween. Rarely do I feel more comfortable than when I am in costume, and I have been feeling much the clothes horse the last few months. I would be such a dandy, if only I could afford it. Which I suppose means I should try to afford it.

I remember one of my favorite Halloweens, going to a friend's party in Jersey. They gave me Rennie Garb to wear, and a string of bells to put around my ankle. I felt so free with bells around my ankles.

Today I am dressed in a very bad imitation of Ash Ketchum, because my daughter fell for a Pikachu costume at Toys R Us. Most of the staff thinks I'm just trying to get away with using Halloween as a casual day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

One of the big reasons I have not been blogging recently is also one of the reasons my writing has slown to a crawl. I have been playing with dolls made of light.

Oooh, I can hear you say. Ahhh! How cool! When I tell you that I am playing World or Warcraft, you will be less thrilled. Because it is a video game, and that is wasteful.

You would be right, of course. World of Warcraft is wasteful. You spend a lot of time doing things that get you nowhere. But you are doing THINGS. One of the attractions of MMPRPGS, for me, anyway, is that they have perfected the illusion that you are doing stuff. And sometimes, at 40, I feel like I have not done nearly as much stuff as I wanted. So I waste even more time doing imaginary stuff.

Anyways. Playing alot of Warcraft. Pretty pretty dollies made out of pixels. Sounds creeepy coming from a 40 year old dude, doesn't it? Get over yourself. GI Joes were fucking dolls, Star Wars figures was dolls, Transformers are dolls, Matchboxes are car dolls. Dungeons and Dragons is dolls made out of imagination (and lead) instead of PVC. Until you buy the new collectible minis. Then it's PVC. And we kit them out with "cool" stuff. GI Joe gets guns and togs, Star Wars figures get Millenium Falcons and AT-ATs. I loved my AT-AT. Duneons and Dragons characters and Warcraft dollies get magic flaming swords. "Cool" is "pretty" said a few octaves lower. Boy dollies are a bit more object oriented than girl dollies, is all.

So I can play with my Warcraft dollies and (try to) not sound defensive at all.

Anyways, I am here to share. Just like show and tell at school! And because gaming stories are boring if you do not play, I will share pictures.


Here is Frigit. She is my "main" character, a 43rd level undead (zombie) Warrior. I don't play her as well as I would like. Her name is Frig It... I wanted to see if it would get past the auto-censors on Warcraft. My daughter started pronouncing it Fri-jit, like Bridget, so it stuck. She is a miner and engineer. I took the screen capture of her in goggles because her current mining helmet makes her look like a dork.I think the thing that really engages me about Warcraft is the widgety professions, collecting stuff to make other stuff. Go figure.

Sometimes she runs with Nellirubina, Ruby's much higher level main character.





Liposuxia is a character I settled on for Alt play. She's a 21st level blood elf rogue. I saw a character named Frostitute, and was immensely jealous of the punesqe obscenity of the name. I fiddled around with similar names: Liposuxia isn't as good, but I liked it because it reminded me of the Blood Elves, who look like scary cheerleaders. Also, I wanted to play with the enchanting and tailoring profession, and I figured a cheerleader paper dolly would be the best way to do that. Sometimes, she runs around with Poppy Tiger, one of my daughter's characters.





Malagrieve is the character I play with Ruby on Wednesday nights. She is a 31st level Draeni Mage. I have fun playing the mage in concert with another character, especially in PVP, because I can freeze and slow other characters, then run away and blast them. Ruby plays Azurothos, a 32nd Hunter.

Ruby and I have consolidated our characters on two servers: Anetheron for Horde and Aegwyn for Alliance. We play alot more Horde than Alliance. If you are a friend of ours and thinking about starting Warcraft, drop me a line, or just use one of those servers. I'd be happy to roll a low level character and run around with somebody.

FOR THE HORDE!

Monday, October 27, 2008

So, I'm at the writing workshop on Saturday, and we are watching fan made music videos for television show. I'm thinking I could do this, it looks like a fun hobby. I'd love to do it.

But I probably won't. Too much shit to do.

Anyways, two of the videos are to the same song, using different movies/shows. One was Iron Man, the other, I think, was Dr. Who.

The song was Handlebars, a hip hop video by a group called the Flobots. I'm not much for hip hop. All rhythm, no melody. But after the third time I'd seen it, I realized what a creepy little tune it was. Also, the horn goes a long way towards adding some melody.

The song is sitting in my head now. It has colonized my brain. I've listened to it four times this morning, added it to one of my Youtube playlists. I'm partial to this acoustic cover, although the performer's commentary is self conscious and unnecessary.

There's something about the increasing urgency of the atonal delivery that makes it really unnerving. Good Halloween music, I think for some reason.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I have been ravenously social lately. I haven't felt like this since I was a young man. Honestly, I never felt quite this socially omnivorous, even as a young man. As much as I want to be around people, it's all because I want to enjoy them. I was a little more utilitarian about my relationships with people when I was younger.

This weekend, I attended an informal writers retreat. I hung out with eight other genre writers at a cabin a little North of Kalamazoo for two days. The whole experience was so much fun. It's always nice to get away. The drive was lovely, and the view out the back of the cabin, which looked out over a lake, was fantastic.

My fellow writers were polite, kind, and hugely funny. They were all very familiar with a certain cross section of fandom, and everybody except me knew everybody very well. The level of in jokes was staggering and pleasantly bewildering. I got very edumicated about FanFic, FanVids, and other kinds of new subcultural hybrids. It was like getting a free pass to somebody else's life.

I would have liked to get more writing done. I found it distracting to listen to a bunch of other people type, oddly enough. There was something hypnotizing about the patter of eighty other fingers on keyboards. But I still got nine pages done and reviewed some stories I'd been noodling with, and so felt good about that.

The organizer of the retreat seems to have a habit of collecting writey people that she likes and condensing them into a group. That's a great formula for a fun weekend: activity based socializing. I'm wondering how I could duplicate that locally without a cabin.

I liked every body there, which was very nice. Mer has a knack for collecting really nice people. As I mentioned above, I've been doing a bit of people collecting myself. What seems really strange to me is that my taste in people hasn't really changed in thirty nine years. People with marginal interests, often similar to mine, especially young women. Actually, I've been getting interested in young men, too. As a young man, I often felt like I was in competition with other young men. I don't, now, and their energy is often as good as young womans.

Why young people? Well, for the same reason I like hanging out with people who have marginal interests. They are doing things that they are passionate about. Largely, the passion of people in their twenties has to do with newness fo the things they are doing, I think. Much like I like my kid because she finds everything new. The newness that twenty somethings get exposed to is the newness of responsibility and discipline, of finding security. I like watching how other people handle those things. They are invariably better at those things than I was. I like to applaud people their new skills.

Anyways, huge fun.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One of the nice things about the current election is that it has brought the hate back to politics for me. Many of my fellow America Hating liberal Democrats have been very upset by the Bush administration, but I've become lackadaisical. When Bush was first elected in 2000, I couldn't get upset. I mean, how much damage could the poor bastard do in 8 years?

Now, I am saying this late in the election because 1) I have hardly any readers anyway, 2) I am lazy, 3) I am just bad at politics. Obama doesn't excite me. That's probably some kind of epic fail for a liberal. I mean, he's polite, well spoken, and intelligent, something that we haven't really had in politics as long as I've been aware. I like Carter, but everybody else seems to think he was a washout.

I'm not on the cutting edge of anything politics. As the map above shows seems to indicate, and scholastic corroborates, it looks like Obama will probably be winning the election.

My real problem is that no candidate is liberal enough for me. No candidate will come right out and say that creationism is a form of mental illness and that DOMA's are a totalitarian barbarism. I was even fussing one of my beloved friends who does work for the Democratic party by telling him that I was thinking of voting for McCain, the rational being that his tax plan is fucknuts crazy, and I like social chaos. This is back when I thought he was supporting the Fair Tax. Also, the Republicans tend to give me money. I'm a good Democrat, pay my taxes, don't complain, but Bush cut me a fucking check, man. I gotta stack cheese. I even have kind of a good impression of McCain, from the days when he defended his friendship with John Kerry.

Then he took on Palin as a running mate. Now, I'm not going to say anything calm, reasonable, or well intentioned about Palin. My good friends Sarah Zettel and Judy Blume have already done that (I'm not really good friends with Judy Blume). I'm sure lot of other people have done so.

Palin is a crackpot, and I mean that in the nicest way possible, which is exactly what it sounds like. I know Americans like her because she is folksy and outdoorsy, and Americans have this pervasive mythology of ourselves as folksy and outdoorsy, no matter how long ago we stopped really making a living off the land. Also, Americans love mommys unconditionally, and Sarah is a Mommy, so she gets that unequivocal aura of morality that comes with motherhood for Americans.

Even that wouldn't bother me too much. We live in a pluralistic society. Although the religious right hates that, they are part of it, so I can cut them some slack for being batshit crazy about evolution and homosexuals. They got a right, although I won't be responsible for voting that trash into the White House.

And make no mistake, with McCain as old as he is, voting him into the White House is pretty much voting Palin into the White House.

Anyways, the thing that really bothered me is that Palin's mouth added only mush to the race. I think McCain, Biden and Obama (especially Obama), have been fairly measured in their remarks (although I think McCain treads close to Willie Horton territory with his remarks about Ayers).

The very first thing Sarah Palin did was tell every liberal in the country that they were fucking idiots in her RNC acceptance speech via her condescending remarks about Obama's good intentions. "What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?" She's a wanna be book banner, and uses her influence to further her means (the librarian offends me, I could care less about the cop). And now, of course, liberals are communists again, because we think that rich people should pay for the benefits they receive from the government. While both Bush and McCain, and presumably Palin, favor the corporate welfare that will bail out banks' free market fuckups sans consequences.

So fuck Sarah Palin. The woman, even after her paltry executive experience, should know better than to shovel shit to get her way. She is a hothead and a moron. The only bright spot of a Palin candidacy is that, if she is elected, she will make the Republicans look worse than Dan Quayle ever did, and hopefully re-energize the left with her over the top rhetoric. But I hope my theory is never tested.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pieces of posts that never jelled into a coherent thought strung together into one long re-entry post.

8/22

Kid Rock to Internet: "You Kids Get off my Lawn!"

This interview: "There's a real problem with this Internet thing and everyone thinking they have a voice," he said. "This is where freedom can get out of hand." Is hilarious. Largely because Kid Rock is saying, in essence: "I have no capability to think critically at all. And neither should you."

That completely turns the rock stereotype of the iconoclastic thinker on it's ear. If not comedy gold, it's at least, I dunno. Comedy uranium, maybe. Dense and highly energetic in poisonous, unseen ways.

9/25

Ah, tasty melancholy. I am tired, from driving to and from my writer's group in Ann Arbor last night. I have a mysterious ache in my shoulder, and another in my knee. You try to ignore the passage time, but it is like the world's most annoying sycophant, tugging at your robes.

On the positive side of the ledger, I started a short story that I thought about last night. What I thunked up.

I feel like Max, King of All the Wild Things.

10/3

I'm going to try to bootstrap my blog into existence yet again. I have some interesting things going on in my head.

I have been making a survey of Urban Fantasy in preparation for writing one. I have read several of them, and am surprised at what I like.

Nymphos of Rocky Flats by Mario Acevedo didn't appeal to me. I thought the main character was a bastard and an idiot.

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson did. Despite the shoe-talk, I found the brainless protagonist oddly charming.

Storm Front, the first Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher, was great. Rich character and background. Great faux-hardboiled style. Solid pulp fun.

I should have loved Stolen, by Kelly Armstrong. The basic premise was great: evil software tycoon is collecting witches, werewolves, and half demons to study and hunt. Like Buffy meets Oz. But the characters never rose above stock and the plot was the antithesis of climactic.

10/10

I have since taken a break from reading Urban Fantasy, reading the thoroughly noxious but somehow hypnotizing Average American Male, Haunted, a book about a fucked up writer's retreat recommended to me because I'm going to a writer's retreat, two manuscripts by friends, and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I am covering for my Library's writer's group.

I feel like worshiping Cthulhu, now.