Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Wonderland

It's been a long semester. I've not updated this in a while, and I have focused on finishing up with school. Finals are over and the last of the dreaded classes are over. I haven't submitted any writing, written any music, or thrown together a complex character or plot in months. I think that should change.

I have grad school applications to finish up, but other than the few days that will take, I have time to breathe and to create a bit. I know it's not much, but if you want to play a game, I've got a little text based adventure that I'm running. Feel free to play, feel free to read, or even make your own. I'll keep you guys up to date on the rest of my work later.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oh God What Have I Been Doing

(and other things relating to things needing to be done.)

Well, the start of school has left me once again in a reach for time, and I would like to say sorry by doing an awesome update. Between a new campaign for my RPG group (we're trying Pathfinder, and I am having far too much fun writing character back stories), my super secret project that still isn't done, and teaching about ~90 people how to fence, it's been an exciting start to the semester.

My current concept for a Pathfinder character is an Awakened Bear Druid. Awakened animals being gifted with human intelligence by the spell 'Awaken' by a druid. The potential for puns is far too high for me to consider any other alternative character. I was also tasked to create a Cleric for our group, so obviously when I found a third party race known as Obitu (un-undead skeletons that are animated with positive energy, and other such silliness), there was really no turning back. He's also following the teachings of the goddess Milani, whose holy sign is a red rose. Nothing is more badass than a skeleton wading into battle with a rose in his teeth. Needless to say, it's going to be an entertaining campaign.

Otherwise, we've gotten a bumper crop of new people in fencing and being the men's sabre captain means I get a 1/6th share in making sure that they're up to snuff. It's been a rough couple of weeks (and I'm never one to make prompt arrivals,) but I feel like it's going to be a good year. The Ohio State tournament is coming up far sooner that I would like, but that's how the season tends to run. Also about to drop an ungodly amount of money on new equipment since my cords, lame, and glove all seemed to have died over the summer. My wallet will cry for a little while because of this, but I won't have access to club gear in a few months anyhow. Graduating sucks when it comes to these things.

Otherwise, work is continuing on my super secret project and I am hoping that my partner-in-crime will hurry up with her contributions. I won't spoil anything too much, but I'm really excited about it and it's taking a lot of effort not to just blabber on about it. I'll just say that I've been reading too much Bohme.

Also Project: No Caffeine failed miserably and I am now enjoying a variety of teas and sodas... I might not sleep tonight.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life and Death of Summer

Last week of work for me before I get the summer off before I take a week of mental health break. It's been trying and what not. Lots of little things: small victories and small defeats, but we'll see what comes of anything. I'm not too much in the mood to talk about myself, so here's some random writing:

It should be of note that Edna Darling is a completely ordinary woman. She has never been featured on the cover of Gardeners Bimonthly, nor has she been recognized as the premier bassist in the Midwest. Her name has not graced the surface of a state volleyball trophy won in championships of her senior year, and not one person has heard the poetry that she writes and keeps under her mattress during rainy days. In short, she is a completely normal, albeit unrecognized, human being. What reason then is there to talk about her?

There. Right there, in the time that it took for us to cover her non-accomplishments, Edna did something extraordinary. In her living room furnished with a few antiques and mostly IKEA furniture, walls covered in lethargic yellow paint almost 10 years old, and TV that has not been turned on in 4 months, she has done the impossible. She has decided to take a class in yoga.

Now you might ask: Why is this so important? and I will tell you. It isn't. No, what she is doing is something so impossible and bizarre that it is actually changing the entire way that she perceives herself and her surroundings. The act of doing. An act so controversial and exhilarating that is has been classified as something best not done in sight of your loved ones.

What effect does this 'doing' have on the eventual heat death of the universe, the Turkish revival occurring a world away, or the steady rise of octopi as the dominant form on intelligent life? Nothing. It has no visible effect on anything other than one Edna Darling. Even then, she will quit after the third yoga session and go back to her normally routine life. But, that act of breaking the steady and repetitive march from birth to grave has allowed her to momentarily stand as the pinnacle of conscious life forms. 

It was for that brief second that Edna Darling became one of the most important objects in the universe with her bout of free will, and second only to the continuing existence of chili cheese fries in this particular dimension. For that brief second she became important. Most humans have one or two bouts of free will, and they hardly even recognize it. Some have many, and are considered either brilliant or insane (mostly both.) But choices are sitting there, just waiting for someone to take them in hand and run with them. To be, even for a brief second, important.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fears and Such

I'm a worrier. I worry about things when I don't have something to think about. I worry about people's reactions to me, I worry about my grades, I worry about not worrying about my grades, I worry about eating too much, I worry about not eating enough, and I especially worry about things that are far beyond my control. These general worries make me a mess when I'm left to my own devices. This is why I never stop working on things. I either have to be reading or writing, planning or building, cleaning or messing up. If I ever stop moving, I get an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach. These things stretch over to almost everything I do, and sometimes I just want to admit what silliness I tend to worry about:

  • If I do not do the dishes, they might rebel after gaining their independence.
  • (If I do the dishes too often they will become overworked, lethargic, and generally useless.)
  • If I don't do well in school, I won't graduate and everyone I know will pity me and hate me.
  • (Doing too well means that people tend to think I'm intelligent.)
  • Reading outside might draw the ire of the local Rocs that will swoop down and carry me away before I can write my last will and testament.
  • (Reading inside will anger the Gnomes.)
  • Local law enforcement confiscating my computer after learning about the stash of highly valuable Very Large Primes located on my external hard drive.
  • (Actually having them requires figuring out how to generate them using a Raspberry Pi.)
  • The God of Stoplights (an ancient deity long forgotten and re-situated during the 1930's New Gods Act in response to the rise of technology in the new world) might cancel our agreement about yellow lights.
  • (Also that I might remember what I signed away in that agreement.)
  • Thursday might actually be Friday at one point, and that we only have 6 days in the week from now on.
  • (Not to mention the implications on the length of the year and the extreme haste to the heat death of the universe.)
  • That perhaps one day there will be no more potato chips.
  • (And no twice baked potatoes either...)
  • Japanese Giant Hornets. 

There. Those are the things that I worry about on a constant basis. Trust me, it's a terrible existence that you want no part of. Also, rocs are a protected species in Michigan. Who would have guessed?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Like Fireflies in Overdrive

It's been an emotionally charged week for me. Lot of roommate troubles and people not knowing what it means to have your name on something. But to prevent an entire post about whining: the lights are back on. No matter what emotional filth I had to deal with or philosophical discussions I had to get into with my labmates (talk of the formation of a guild of hit men was brought up, but I had to quell the idea,) the lights ARE back on.

Everything in the end will get better. No matter what tabs need to be paid, who needs to be picked up off the floor, and how many times "Yes, we have to go, the bar closes at two." needs to be said, everyone gets home at the end of the night (usually.) Sometimes you end up sleeping on life's metaphorical couch (or her real one) and sometimes life needs to be dragged into the taxi cab and you need to fumblingly ask her address again. In the end, through all the mud and swill of life's bar crawl and the pain of the next morning, we're still alive and still able to take on what ever else comes our way.

On the bright side, the freezer is defrosted.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summertime Blues

It's that point in the year that I realize that all this summer has been spent, and that there is little left to do but wait for the final school year to start. It's downright depressing to say the least, but I am bound and determined to enjoy and capitalize on this remaining sun.

There are a few things I was working on before I got so terribly and depressingly sidetracked. There are diving trips that need plans, plots that have yet to be sketched, and relationships that have yet to be consoled. All in all I'm surprised that I can't see what else there is to do around here. But then again, am I so opposed for the school year to start up again?

I guess I'll know soon enough.

Well, more on things later. Take care.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Fall of the Pawn

I just finished my poster presentation yesterday, and I found that preparation actually leads to confidence in these sorts of things. Not a whole lot of people came up to ask me about my poster, but mostly people I already knew decided to drop by. The judge (there's a judge for these things?) came by at the same time my boss did, so I was quaking in my boots the entire time I gave the presentation. I got the scores later that day by email (again, where do these things come from?) and got remarkably good marks, all 4s & 5s (out of 5...)

In the end they are suppose to declare winners in each section, something I didn't know about before hand. My goal is, if I win I'll be surprised and flattered, and if not then I will take it as no real loss. I'm not sure what exactly winning might get me other than a pat on the back... but that's good too.

On more entertaining note, the Dark Knight Rises was excellent and a good finish to the trilogy. Bane was a wonderfully well spoken brute, and the other villains were perfectly suited to their roles. The only problem I had with the movie was how long the timeline was, but it is a far better criticism than the alternative. As my good friend that reviews comics said, "I knew the ending, but Nolan had me doubting.", and what a good thing to doubt. Uncertainty is one of the best tools in creating dramatic suspense. It's one reason why the Game of Thrones is so popular: the main characters die, and we can't predict it. Realistic uncertainty is not something normal in movies, but it is something that needs to be taken into consideration when writing them, and all other narrative. The Batman series was founded on a realistic look at the mythos, and they certainly did not falter when making Dark Knight Rises.

Otherwise, I'm going to hanker back down and work on the GRE, because grad school and stuff. Also means not a whole lot of new writing from me, but hey that happens.

Otherwise, may it be raining where you are.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday == Friday

It's been a rough few days, but I just sent my poster to the head of my lab and we'll see how much of it he decides needs to be changed. Either way, I'm done with it for the moment and that means a quick break. It's kind of sad that I really want to spend my day off by cleaning up, but I need the set cleared before I begin my super secret project (aka I will not be able to focus with the tower of empty beer cans my roommates left for me in our living room.)

Other than that, I'm super excited to go see Dark Knight Rises tonight with a few friends. I'll probably post my opinions on it, but when it comes to movies I'm fairly easy to please. (Explosions, Fight Scenes and awesome Special Effects all score disproportionately high points with me.)

I'm fairly exhausted and I the construction that is going on in the other apartments is keeping me up in the mornings, but all of that can be forgiven if the girls across the hall get a washing machine. Actually, I'd put up with quite a bit more to have access to a semi-private washing machine. I wouldn't go full Dexter for it, but I'd consider it for a few seconds.

Other than my pining for access to a washing machine... there isn't much else to say. I'm going to play dota2 and sleep a little bit before the movie. I'll let you guys know how it is, but I think I already said that...

Check you later guys

Here is a glimpse of the construction I have to deal with. I wish it would stop so I can just flirt and bribe my way to a washing machine...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tan Lines and Thunderstrikes

It's good to be back in the states once again. I know that it's meant to be a good experience to go on vacation, but it's the quiet space after a seven day family party that really hits home. (Though, making food is a huge bummer after being able to gorge for a solid week.)

Finishing up my poster and buying food, and other things like that. Also got my first batch of rejection letters, which means that I'm a real writer now. Count is only up to 2 and I'm still waiting on another, but it's a start. The entire cruise I was writing down every little idea that came into my head, and the dreams. I've been told that dream journals are really good source for inspiration. I've got quite the list of incomprehensible ideas, but there are a few gems in there. I'm not so sure I'm going to write a story based on
"Hyper dimensional savior of the world who ends up selling midget smut teaming up with a dwarfed woodcut artist to reset time,"
but who knows, that might just be a good idea at some later point. Feel free to steal that if you think you can make it work. Though 
"Man(Murderer) has tea party, nothing extraordinary happens"
might be a fun side project. Either way, I've got a good idea for what I'm writing during the August NaNoWriMo. Have yet to win one of them, though many attempts, and we'll see if I can do it this time.

Got a new big project that I'm looking at collaborating on, but that's only in planning right now. I'll let you guys know when that goes live, and perhaps sneak peaks will be in order. All of that will be in the future though. Also, just a final word: the first issue of Scifia Magazine is up, both in paperback and in electronic versions. I've read though it and was very entertained and impressed by the talent that fills its pages. I'd recommend it, bias as I may be.

So long folks and I'll see you later!

Picture of Carnival Legend, the boat I was on. It was very large.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Explosions and Posters

Hey there everyone

It's been a few days and I've been diligently working on my poster for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fair (SURF), and by working diligently I mean putting in 20 minutes of effort and then panicking for 40 about how much more work I need to put into it. This is normal for me, so I think that means that it is going quite well so far. The tentative title of the presentation is "Oh Lord Why Didn't I Start This Sooner and Is There Some Reason Why I Am Putting Myself Through This?", but I think that it will change shortly before the first editing phases. (Also as note, Powerpoint sucks at making diagrams.)

I've gotten a few more drafts written and I'm in the process of not editing anything ever again, ever. That'll probably pass once I've gone on the trip and am settling down into working again. I've been on a Defense of the Ancients 2 kick for the past few days, so whenever I get down to editing I realize that I really just want to play Death Prophet/Tidehunter and kill things. But that's just my current binge as far as games go.

Heading out on Friday to the lovely Summer Peninsula known as Florida (as opposed to the recently balmy Frozen Peninsula known as Michigan.) I'll be gone for an indeterminate period of time as I bask in the warmth of the unholy equatorial sun. Probably pics, definitively a sun tan. We'll see how much fun I'll be able to fit in during the vacation.

I'll be sure to have a full summary of the awesome diving and everything.

(On another note, it appears that someone--probably drunkenly--left a traffic cone in my porchish area. I'll let him squat there for now, but I'm going to watch him closely. Boy do I love living in a college town.)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Rush

Just got back from a grad party for one of the kids at the high school. It's odd to see these freshmen grow up and head out into the world. This'll be the last little break before I have to finish my big presentation for the research I'm doing. (I'm so glad GLBRC has good poster templates.) I also got a few new things into the wide world's submission pool, so we'll see how that is. Hopefully they come before I leave for the boat and am out of the country for a week, but probably not. Never the less, it'll be interesting to get more feedback on my work.

On a special note, I am expecting my first story to show up in print this month. Check out and I'll post something when it comes out. I personally can't wait to read what other stories made their first issue. I also played a bit part in a movie that was being filmed last summer, and I must say that the directors did an amazing job putting it together. Apocalypse Theory is an end of the world college comedy and will be streaming on for the month of July. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it watching it if you had time.

Take care, and enjoy the summer sun.

I also realize I haven't posted any writing lately, so here's a forum stub that got me a free source book for Enter the Shadowside.

  It was so easy to make something seem mysterious. Looking back, Sara would laugh at how simply the entire thing had happened. Almost a year ago she had started a website, a forum style affair that was centered about strange pictures. No one had used the website for the first week. She eventually invited friends to post things, but they only did it for a few days before their attentions shifted. But it became complicated when one of her friend’s friends had shown an unhealthy obsession with her.
  It was this ‘friend’ that she had had hoped to avoid by creating her own site. When he found the website, she switched it, took a copy of the entire thing and jumped servers. After the third time, she also took it off of the search engines. She later learned that this marked it as part of the ‘Darknet’, a sinister name for portions of the internet not browsable by the big search engines. These were normally portions of websites under construction, error screens, or abandoned web services, but the name Darknet gave them an almost eerie quality. Not that there was anything special about these sites, other than the fact that they were more difficult to access. If you knew the correct address, they came up just like any other site, but she didn’t know this at the time.
  When Sara was on other websites, she would post her pictures but use the link to her site. People began to congregate and the site gained posters. This was about six months ago, then he came again. She always knew it was him because he posted lewd pictures of girls that looked like her. So she switched. She didn’t want to disable the site, but just switched the hosting service. New address and host made it impossible to access, and the traffic dropped to nothing. She then dropped a new picture from a fresh account. 
  The traffic came back steadily, and there was a lot of talk about how and why the site had changed servers. Sara was too timid to address the users so she just stayed silent on the entire ordeal. Sure enough, he came again and so she switched. This kept happening, always about a month apart. There were users that kept coming, and they managed to find the website after only a few days after the switch. For some reason, the inaccessibility gave the site appeal. Stories started cropping up on other websites about how the site was some sort of portal beyond, and several took note about the mysterious pictures that always predated a switch. The site attracted a strange sort of crowd. They talked about secret rituals and other strange phenomena. They considered themselves part of a larger group, known as Scav3ng3r. 
  She had only heard about his death a few days ago, but he was months gone. Who had posted them and kept the site shifting, she didn’t know. She could only guess.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Diligence, Focus, and Shiny Objects

I've been finishing up my class for the summer and have been doing source searches for my research presentation, but it all seems to take a back seat when my friends decide to invite me out to see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. Now typically I'm not one to admit to enjoying senseless violence, but I am truly a sucker for historical fiction and over the top fight scenes (which were both well provided) and it was wonderfully awful plot wise.

In other news, I ventured over to Kalamazoo to celebrate my cousin getting out of high school and joining us in the world of college. Good times and good food, and gave me time to work on my personal cipher system for my campaigns (for the occasion that I don't have something pre-written). I've provided pics of scribing, and I think that it is coming along quite nicely.

I've got the Michigan Games tournament tomorrow which should be a great time. Two Wayne State fencers are coming out (both Bs) which has the potential of making it a high rated tournament for the state. I might have a shot at getting a B if I don't consider the fact that I need to beat two B rated fencers first (this is a very unlikely scenario but it's fun to think about).

Either way, I need to get some more work done before I leave the country in July. I'm just going to put my nose to the grindstone and finish some things.

Safe reading.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lying for Profit

alt. title: Making Things up for Money and Friends

Just got back from our first mini-six campaign for the summer (waiting for other people sucks) and I realized that about halfway through my session, that I had nothing else planned. I just hadn't thought of it yet, and so I made stuff up. This doesn't normally deserve any real attention, but I realized that I was just making things up as I went along and the players loved it (at least that's what they told me, I'm gullible and easily flattered), and I realized that most of what I did for recreation would be considered lying.

(Lying at work gets you fired, unless you are paid to lie as a politician, translator or author [or any variation therein])

Most of writing is me making stuff up and thinking it's really cool, then editing it so that its as fun to read as it is to write. That's just an interesting thought that came to me (one of those silly things I am realizing that most people take for granted.) I've got a few new first drafts that I might be able to etch out a viable piece from. One includes a few aliens, and another is a Victorian pulp with the advent of the golem. We'll see where these guys will go with proper editing, but I hope it is in a good direction.

Got a few things planned for the weekend, including a family graduation party on Saturday and a fairly competitive tournament in Grand Rapids on Sunday. Mostly trying to keep myself from staying in an empty apartment since my roommates are leaving for the rest of the summer. It should be interesting how I cope, but I may have to play more dota2 now that I can't just watch them play it. We will have to see, I might just write.

So long, and until we meet again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Truth comes to Isabel

Hey guys

I'm home for the weekend (home home, which is different from school home), and it's been a quiet evening turning into a quiet morning. I've been doing a little bit of editing and attempting to get more rejection letters, but what I've really been up to is reading. I haven't read in quite some time, not reading as in web comics (which I love dearly and will talk about later,) or as books (which I wish I had more time to devote to,) but actual people writing things as themselves as non-fiction, which is something I rarely read.

The ability to actually read the words off of a person's fingers, from their mind to yours (a narrative canal as an author once put it.) I'm not used to the concept, and call me naive, but it's cool and I'm recognizing that I'm doing it right now. Actual words coming off of my fingers are traveling through a series of networks and protocols, cutting up the information and reassembling it into a recognizable form that amazingly (miraculously) appears on your computer screen (or iPad, phone, ect.)

Honestly that's incredible. If you think about it, the ability to write active memoirs like this are something that has only been possible in the past few years. It's a wondrous ability that I think most people are desensitized to in this day and age (again me making assumptions about people my age.) I just wanted to make it clear that I think this is really cool.

I'm heading out tonight to my grandfather's house with part of my family. We are making dinner for him and then are heading out to the cemetery. This isn't as initially morbid as it appears, as my grandfather has devoted the past several years to completing a family history. One of his favorite pastimes has been sorting through headstones and census data to further fill out his histories. These sorts of things are entwined with the narrative canals that we are inundated with daily, and it just helps me think about the sheer scope of human interaction that has preceded us.

All of this is just a little more broad a topic than I normally write about, and I might come back to this at a later point.

See you all later

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Submission Cycle and Watching

It's been a long process of slacking. I haven't truly written a new piece in about a week and I haven't had any editing done, but that's going to change today. I'm taking a solemn vow to send out three pieces by Friday, and I'll be damned if someone is going to get in the way of me and my rejection letters.

So I stared that last night and got an entire story edited and sent out. I'm focusing on two other pieces that are not quite as close as that one, but we will see what I can come up with. It should be interesting to see what forced editing will produce on these stories.

In other words I've come to realize that watching is an acquired skill. The passive form, looking, is something that everyone has a personal forte in, but actually watching something and seeing the minute details is something that is truly difficult. I have found that people need to watch things several times to get the gist of what they are watching, but to really watch is to observe the details of something near perfectly the first time that you look at it. Honestly watching different activities is almost as different as performing said activity, and the two are closely linked. The act of watching an activity and being able to perform it.

By gaining skill in general watching, just like gaining practice in basic practicing, means that you pick up on the details quicker than an unskilled watcher. The focus needed is something that is relatively unknown in today's society, but not all forgotten. It takes the same skills as truly reading or truly participating. To dive so deep into a subject so that you lose conscious thought and just immerse your senses into it. A watcher is like a reader or an athlete, they can separate extraneous reality from what is pertinent and become one with the activity that they are seeing.

Why watch? Because, to watch is the first step to any forethought. Forethought allows consciousness before time blurs past. Watchers can see the details and know when to look for them. Watching takes effort and skill, but it is wasted unless that insight is put to task.

So watch and watch well, but don't get so lost in watching that you forget to act.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Dawn

There is something nice about the morning. The quiet before your roommates start stomping about and a tea bag brewing slowly in a cup of hot water. The quiet sounds of birds outside, and people who are much more awake than you going into work at absurd hours. I always get more stuff done in the morning. My studying schedule usually starts around 3am (after sleeping of course) and goes until my mid morning nap around 9.

The quiet contemplation of the morning hours does wonders for the soul (if you're into that sort of stuff) and I think that though I have come close to a complete breakdown at points (thank you microbial genetics,) mornings help me get through things (and caffeine, but that's a love story).

In this modern era, where afternoon seems to stretch until the sun goes down and evening never seems to end, morning is the aftermath when it should be the beginning of something wonderful. I'm not sure how else to say it, and the kettle is demanding my attention.

Take care, take care, take care
Until next time - Patrick

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Summer-Time Shuffle

Hey guys!

It's been a little bit since I've updated this (mostly because I've had other projects that needed attention). I've been restarting my writing habit and you may or may not see evidence of that come early next month. I've been working diligently trying to find some new editors (since the hobos that I picked up last week escaped when I left the windows unlocked...) but we'll see how that battle fairs. Otherwise I am excited to gather some more rejection letters.

I've been working on a few new pieces, stretching into a bit of Urban Fantasy and such. Most of it needs a few more rounds of editing, but that will come. Honestly I just need to get stuff submitted and let it sit in someone's inbox for a few weeks before it becomes stale in my hard-drive. We'll see what happens with that in the next few weeks though!

I've been working on my teaching methods for the fencing team next year since I have the considerable honor of being our team's Men Sabre Captain. I wish they realized how terribly unqualified I am for the position (but they'll learn soon enough.) It's going to be tough getting into shape before the season really starts, but we'll see what I can do.

Diablo 3, DOTA2, Diablo 3, and maybe a little Bastion... have all kept me more than busy the past month or so. Almost hit the level cap on D3, and I am starting to become acceptable in dota2 (people have stopped yelling "FEEDER!" every game, so I assume I've improved slightly), and Bastion is a super awesome game that I wish I was better at... Either way my time has become even more divided as of late, and I need to figure out how to keep everything organized.

Other than that there is class that need studying for, social media that needs brushing off, and books that need reading. As everyone else knows, I think we need to find more time in the day.

Later Dudes!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Disappointment, resolve and midnight oil

Finally got my computer parts in and working, though there was some issue with an outlet and several reconstructions but I now know how to put a computer together really well. I've been playing quite a bit of the DOTA2 beta with my roommates and have been enjoying myself quite a bit. It was a long wait for the parts, but well worth the investment.

On another note, I did not make it into Clarion for the '12 session. Sad, but there are tons of candidates for every accepted applicant so I'm not too terribly heartbroken about being a terrible writer and blah blah blah. I'm a little disappointed, but that is a completely nature reaction to this sort of news. I've taken it in stride and am going to attempt to become published this summer... somewhere. We'll see what voodoo I can manage with a few captive editors and no classes.

Had a wonderful weekend other than that though. Watched the entire first season of Game of Thrones on Saturday and the first episode of the new season last night. I am really excited and I'm going to have to read the books now (I'm a terrible person for not reading them already, but sometimes we do things out of order.) We also hosted the Alumni Tournament for out fencing club and we got to see quite a few familiar faces return to us. We all went out to Crunchy's afterword, though I only had a coke and some pizza, I do have exams this week and needed to study.

I've got another story in the works, and it seems that I always write best when I have more important things to do. Probably my procrastination kicking into overdrive or something. But anyway and otherwise, it's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster this week and I need to study for my exams.

So long, until we meet again!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time-Related Disappointments

Well, it's been an interesting turn of events the past few days... couldn't be expected, but it's not horrible, just means I have to wait a little longer for what I want.

Got my last box of computer parts yesterday. All of the boards, memory, storage, graphics, and other such things arrived from Newegg. I put it all together, turned it on, and nothing. Now, I made sure to follow the instructions and everything so there is a chance that something came busted or I missed a plug, but my friend is coming over to take a look at it after work today. Still need to pick up an OS (I'm thinking Windows 7, possibly dual booted with some flavor of Linux) and some speakers. Once (and if) it starts running I'll get to have some fun with it. 

Waited until midnight last night for the email from the folks over at Clarion. When that didn't come I got simultaneously confused and a little upset just because I felt a little ignored, but thankfully I re-checked their website. They extended the date of notification until the 22nd, which I can completely understand but still I want to know what's going to happen. Otherwise I've started writing a new story: nothing particularly cerebral or deep but it's entertaining to me. 

I've also started reading a new web comic: Gunnerkrigg Court. The art style didn't impress me much at first (not that it was bad at all), but it dramatically improves into a beautiful illustration as the comic continues. The plot is thick with minimal dead-ends, and good characterization. Urban fantasy that delves into both High Magic and High Tech at times, but never to a ridiculous(-ly undesirable) degree. It's been around for a while but it has a reputed 30(!?) comic buffer so that there is never any missed days, or so I've been told. I'd highly recommend it.

I'll keep in touch amigos!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Night's Ink

Just having a very unrestful night, so I thought I would update before I tried to sleep again. It's been a good week back at school, and I feel that the break helped raise my spirits quite a bit. Been running at fencing practice to help build some cardio, but the week off dulled my blade-work.

Hosted Catan night today, where I cook dinner and we all play Settlers of Catan. We haven't been able to do it because of the rash of tournaments and breaks, but hopefully we can get it back into the swing. I made jambalaya and cheddar chive biscuits, which all took far less time than I thought they would. There was even enough left over for munching during the week, which is a marvel when cooking for three other guys.

I've switched over from short stories to campaign writing, which is nice change to be able to actually GM a game. We're using mini-six, which is a light D6 system (instead of using tons of odd dice, it only uses standard six sided dice). I tend to do more laid-back mechanics and try to let the story flow how the players want to go. I'm going to start documenting everything on Obsidian Portal to see how well it works, and that'll be updated weekly or as well as I can do so.

I was starting to write out all the mechanics and everything (I'm pretty damn proud of what we've put together), but I realized that it would dominate the post. So if you want to see what I'm working on I would look at the Obsidian Portal page here: Sunder Lands.
(Note that I'm in the process of fill this out so forgive me for slow updating.)

It is also St. Patrick's Day and being my name sake, I fear that I may be very popular tomorrow. So I will do my best to hide until they drag me out kicking and screaming (at least give the impression, otherwise they'll think it was too easy. I do have a reputation to keep up.) Hopefully it will be sunny and beautiful but otherwise I may be fine with running around in the rain.

Well, I will write to you soon and hopefully I'll get some sleep tonight.

Edit: I would like to note that because a campaign is a collaborative effort, not all of the writing or ideas were written/imagined by me. There are several co-authors that helped build the initial setting without which it would have been impossible.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Spring Break Wrap Up

Hey there everybody,

This will be a two parter as I had an unfinished post that was going to be posted last Friday but life happened and I became to busy to finish it. I will post that once I get finished with this one.

The weekend went well as far as MFCs (Midwestern Fencing Championships) go. Big tournament with lots and lots of teams and fencers from all around, including both Varsity and Club fencers. We finished in 8th place overall (around 20 schools were there) so we did fairly well. Our men's sabre squad finished 7th, which is a vast improvement from our standing last year. (It turns out that winning schools is important to doing well.) I personally ended up in 22nd place out of 70(-ish) sabre fencers, which is 2 places better than I did last year (yay improvement!). The entire thing was very close to going much, much better or much, much worse and a few touches here and there would have had dramatically different results, but that is just how life goes.

I'm now on spring break for the rest of the week. I've got a few days of relaxing and composing that will end in my birthday this weekend. I was given a book, "Treason" by Orson Scott Card, from a friend and will start reading it once I have some time to myself. I like Scott Card, but he does tend to get a little bit too philosophical in his novels as they progress. We'll see how this one turns out.

I'm going to take a nap and read a book. Take care everyone!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Eternal Morning

It's been a long weekend and I've still have a lot to do. Our tournament went off splendidly, the movie premier sounded like a great time (The MSU Advanced Screening was a success! for more details on that) and now I have out tournament data to fill and polish and then finish the edits of my short stories. 

For a tournament to remain rated highly (such as ours, being a C1/C2 event (There really isn't a difference, just size)) the top people must finish in the top region of the results. Our tournament was defined by the two Cs (a graduate student from UofM and a high schooler from Toronto) and two Ds (one of which being myself and the other being a former MSU captain), and all of us had to make top eight in order to keep the tournament a C event. 
This was fine for the other three, but I was having a bit of trouble in pools (probably because I hadn't been fencing for most of the week (data input...) and was sick, but those are really just excuses) and was a bit concerned that I might not place high enough to keep the tournament a C. My first DE was against Chad, another kid from our club that typically travels on our third spot when we compete in the collegiate scene and it isn't unusual for him to beat me even when we're both practicing regularly. We started by him taking the lead 8 to 1 by the break, which freaked me out quite a bit. Then I realized that I should just fence and not worry about what the score was (I'll thank Ben, my captain, for verbally slapping some sense into be at the break). We went back out and I started actually going for touches and managed to eek out a win 15 to 13 (Yay comebacks!). 
He was not happy about losing, but I'm happy that he was a good sport about it afterwords. Went along to the next DE for the round of four and lost 8/9ish to 15 to Austin, a friend from RFC (Renaissance Fencing Club in Troy) which sucked, but it happens sometimes. All in all I ended up 6th place (exactly where I seeded from pools) while Ben and Austin both got their D ratings from tying in 3rd and Sierra got an E, which she's been working at for a while (She's probably out to get her D now as well, but she'll just have to wait until the next tournament). Turned out to be a great tournament for ratings (not for me but that just happens some days).

Unfortunately I was setting up for the tournament when the premier of Apocalypse Theory was airing at Well's Hall, but I hear that it went excellently. I managed to see it at the Cast and Crew viewing earlier in the week and was thoroughly entertained by the excellent film work and acting. I had a very small role and I was pleased to see that I didn't look as awkward on camera as thought I might (a true testament to their skilled editing team). I wish them further luck as the film makes its runs through the festival circuit. 

I've been ignoring my writing for a couple days as the tournament set up and tear down took its course, but I've got a slight stretch of time as we are headed to the west end of the state to celebrate my Grandmother's birthday (on my Dad's side) today. I've suddenly realized how little time there is left until the deadline for submissions (three days!?!) and I need to get into high gear to finish editing them and fill out the application. We'll see what I can do with them... 
We also have power rankings to fill out on Monday, which needs a finished and polished database. The process is rather simple and easy for the other fencers, but it's kind of nightmare for me. Thankfully it needs a constant internet connection, so I do have free time to work on writing until that becomes possible to begin fiddling with. All of that doesn't even begin to start to touch the Microbial Genomics exam and essay I have to do this week, so that studying will have to happen at some point. 

Lot of stuff to do and very little time to do it, but that sounds like a normal week for college. I'll probably not update this for a few days until things settle down. 

Catch you later Pokemon! 
(Wow, really scratching the bottom of the barrel here :/) 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How I wish it was spring

Well, still sick, but then again that is nothing new. I've been spending the time getting the fencing databases up to date, editing my drafts, studying or sleeping. Mostly sleeping.

The team is hosting a fencing tournament this weekend  here at Michigan State. It is C rated event in sabre, which is good in Michigan (almost a B rated event, but the Bs of Michigan had other obligations... can't be helped.) The last C rated sabre event in Michigan was our Spartan 3-weapon in 2009 (my freshman year), so this is the first opportunity for advancement in a while. Meaning that there is a chance of grabbing a C this weekend for me, or at least renewing my D for 2012. Being sick may screw with these plans, but we'll see how things go.

Past that we have MFCs (Midwestern Fencing Championships) next weekend, and we'll need to have power rankings done by Monday for these. They are easy calculations, but it's an enormous amount of database queries and data polishing to ensure they all go well (I hope these go well...). The Championships are the first weekend of our spring break (as usual) so we'll get to go home and crash when we're finished beating the other teams into the ground (that's the plan at least).
With all of this fencing stuff going on, I honestly can't think straight enough to worry how I'm going to do. Having a cold may have something to do with it as well, but I'm not so sure.

Finished my edit of the first story, and that has been passed back for further work. Working on the next story's editing and we'll see how much I have to cut out before I can begin reconstructing. I wish I had the energy to push through and finish these in one go, but it'll have to be a gradual process for the moment.

Been listening to Tally Hall's Good & Evil album recently. They are one of my favorite bands, and G&E is a very pretty album. I honestly wish they would tour more, and I kick myself for skipping a concert of theirs to study for a Biochem exam (retrospectively, it still doesn't sound like a good plan...). Also thinking of grabbing tickets to Andrew Bird when he drops by Detroit in May, but that's a ways off. His new album 'Break it Yourself' will have to satisfy me until then once I get my hands on it in March.

Farewell Fiasco

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Down with the Sickness

Well, I have caught a lovely spring cold, mostly likely because of the alternating warm and freezing weather that has maintained the majority of this "winter". Mostly just a runny nose and some congestion, but you'll never know what it could develop into. Plenty of cold medicine in my future, I'm sure. 

Other than the echinacea tea (Yes I know that it doesn't work. I mostly drink it because of the placebo effect, and I sort of like the taste when I'm sick.) I am happy to have finished the second of my rough drafts for submission. While the first was set on another planet (Terraforming being in the background if you didn't read the excerpt) I focused mainly on a futuristic earth. I tried to make it mostly about characters and their interactions, rotating around a robotic child in a house of orphans. Lots of dialogue and flashbacks, but I think it'll take some more polish before it really starts to shine. (Actually just got the edit of this while writing this, I think that I am very happy with where the story may go. A lovely thank you to my fairy god-editor for her unending promptness.)

After a long weekend home, it's starting to look like a promising week of work. Pączki for breakfast, and cold medicine for every other meal seem to work out for me (My eternal love of the food holidays of the Catholic faith (Fat Tuesday!)) But we are entering into Lent, in which I will become a vegetarian for one day a week and give up something (that I have not decided upon). The absolute monstrosities of the semi-religiously observant life.

Anyway, looks like some more pretend studying with nerf swords and editing drafts. I'm going to introduce the biography of one of the characters I'm cutting. Why? Because honestly, it's always the lost characters that fascinate me when I read books: what didn't make it into the final cut, and why?

Anywho, transmission over captain!

The character that I has been cut out of one of my current stories is named Nod, and this is her story:

'Dorothy was born to lovely parents in uptown. They cared for her and gave her art lessons, until the stock on their business went south due to some shady dealings and they lost the mortgage on their house. Moving into the downtown region below the glamourous upper city, they eked out a meager existence providing cleaning services and basic repair work. This degraded lifestyle was cut short by a territorial dispute between two gangs, the Eastenders and the Yellow Stripes. The shootings amongst the abandoned buildings led stray bullets into their living quarters, where her Father was killed outright and Mother was left barely surviving. 
It was at this point that Dorothy ran away from home. She lived alone for two months until she was picked up by a ragtag group of orphans led by the charismatic Cameron. Known as Nod, she became an accopmlished graffiti artist, often laying gang marks into opposing territories to divert attention from their group. A sharp critic of the 5th street gang, another band of children, she often would paint their mark with flowers and pink paint to insult them. 
When she was sixteen she escaped from the downtown and made her way into the glimmering city above, where she left a trail of wet paint and gang parodies. Adopted by an aging painter, she slowly readapted to the museum scene and worked with a variety of other media. She often used her art to advocate for gang dismemberment and robot rights. A reoccurring motif in her later artwork is that of a child-like robot, but it's origins are unknown'

This kids, is how a "short" excerpt becomes longer than a normal blog post. Nod is a character that just doesn't play a large role in the story, which has too many characters as it is. With the restructuring of the cast, some lesser characters must be let go to strengthen the other characters. I'm sad to see her not make the final cut, but that's what needs to happen at this stage. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Days After

Flogging Molly was an amazing show and I am slightly upset that we didn't order tickets soon enough for the ground level. Next year I suppose. I've never been to such a high energy show, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I really enjoyed the punk aspect and I am a sucker for traditional irish music. We may have stayed up after the concert listening to more irish music till 4 am, but that is neither here nor there. On another note I stumbled upon Bon Iver's AIR studio recordings on Youtube, and I think that I may need to start listening to them. They are a nice counterpoint to the residual energy from the concert.

Got the shredded draft from my fairy god-editor and am particularly happy to see that most of the editing was what I knew needed fixing, but there was also lots of character development that I really need to flesh out. Cutting an entire paragraph that didn't fit too well, and it'll be posted after the main body for you're perusal. Fairly standard tropes, so it'll be interesting to see how much further I can twist it into something interesting. Still need a new concept for the second portion of the submission, but that may come in a flash of inspiration. I'm thinking of a counter point to the heavily atmospheric first story and have a few settings in mind, but I'm not sure what plot hook to hang them on. I'm going to have to develop this a bit further I think.

That'll have to wait until later, as I am headed out to celebrate my Grandpa's birthday with my Mom's side of the family. It's going to be some sort of craziness, but in a very entertaining and reassuring way. I am fairly certain that it will be a grand time. Then I get to study on Sunday in prep for my lectures this week. I think that I'm going to attempt to study beforehand and try to pre-empt my bad habits... but really why do I kid myself?

Adios Astronaut

Culled excerpt from Submission 1:

"There were no great beasts in this land. The pods that rained onto this barren rock brought fresh carbon and insulating gasses, then nitrates and ammonia with the first microbes to help cycle and stabilize the atmosphere of the planet. This took hundreds of years until the satellites deemed it ready for the next step. Fewer than 2% of planets made it to the second step, but this one had. The next pods came down with mosses, lichens, and algae. This step was a crucial first test, and then more pods came down with grasses and ferns and such. After these settled they began with small animals. These were important to control the grasses and regulate the carbon. Trees and fish and the like came next. After 300 years of slowly adding new variety to the ecosystems, it was ready for the first humans, it was ready for them."

Good explanation of a sci-fi terraforming, but too much detail for the story without matching the flow of overall story. I wasn't a fan of how it looked after I wrote it, and it stuck out from the more organic approach taken by the rest of the story. It's not a bad segment, but it wasn't the way I wanted to approach it in the end and it didn't read how I wanted it. Crazy thing to post 'bad' writing, but I figure it's better than posting writing and thinking it's awesome. "Blah blah blah look at how cool I am", I prefer going: "Hey look at how much I suck, but it's not too terrible." If you really want to see terrible writing just look at some previous posts on this blog...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday is the new Friday

alt title: Typing in Class

Well, finished the first portion of my submission last night. Still needs heavy editing and such, but the skeleton is constructed. I've gathered a rough concept for the second portion, but we'll have to see how that goes when I start writing it. I might post sections of the first that I decide to cut from the final draft, but that won't be until my fairy god-editor get's her hands on it.

Finished reading a few new webcomics lately ("Manly Guys Doing Manly Things" and "Gunshow"). It's always nice to be up to date on interesting comics and my RSS reader is always hungry for new subscriptions. I've only got 38 comics that I've subscribed to currently and a few of them have ended and some others have gone outside of my attention span. It gives me something to read everyday but I feel that there are still things that I'm missing out there. I'd really like to find some more that I really get into reading (Vattu from Riceboy is fairly awesome as well as Homestuck from MS Paint Adventures). I'm fairly happy with how Monster Pulse is coming along: the artwork is pleasant and the plot is beginning to come together nicely.

I've got an exciting weekend planned, so it'll probably breakdown at some point and begin to crash and burn. I've planned for this and have a fire extinguisher in my car just in case. Concert with Ethan and his merry men on friday, big family party on Saturday and a nice quiet sunday to study (or pretend study). There isn't a whole lot else to worry about and things have been falling into place recently, which is highly unusual and I fear for the worst.

Today I have to worry about the latest play test of the minisix system after class. The most recent test had a few numbers off and the Sorcerer characters were boiling opponent's brains and the wizard's prepared spells were failing in a particular fashion (One of his tattoos burned itself off... we'll have to rethink that). This probably shouldn't happen so we had to make checks more defined. We'll have to see whether the new DC definitions are hard/easy enough for proper casting.  We'll be rolling a bunch of cheap characters and killing each other and everything in the monster manual until we feel that it's properly exploding. 

Also, a fairly decent post for once. I might be getting the hang of this.
Spot you later dullahan!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monster Makes Clearer Writing

Some sleep and a perfectly generic energy drink later, I am much, much more clearheaded. It's nice to know that my first exam season for the semester went semi-cleanly, though I still need to get this Eukaryotic test out of the way. That is still an hour away so I am pretending it doesn't exist.

I am also currently ignoring the previous two posts on here, but since I will not remove them I'll just pretend they don't exist either. I really like this game actually. I'll pretend that there are no politicians or online popups as well. Ok, now I'll add some other things I do wish existed... like hover boards and pikmen. Damn I need to stop playing this game because now I don't want it to end.

Anyway, I'm going to go take an exam and then write short stories and such. What else do I need to say... Stencils are awesome, fairy godmothers edit papers well, I like Heavy, and my chinese food is battling my monster. There. That about covers it for the moment and will be developed into ideas later.

Till next time space cowboy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sleepy Sleep and Such Simple Sounds

Well, after an interesting day I move onward into the next phase of studying. It never seems to end, does it? Ah well, there is always something going on, and now is no exception. I figure after a night of minimal sleep and about to head into another, I should try writing a bit before napping and doing more stuff.
There are a few points that I would like to cover first: I really enjoy Ecology. When I can come out of an exam and feel extremely good about what I know in a course, I am happy. Of course it is microbial ecology so there is a lot of cycles and very little squirrel counting.
I am moving onward and upward to focus on doing Eukaryotic Cell Biology now... I'm not sure how well that will go, but an obsessive run through of all the material thus far couldn't hurt. There is something to be said about the clear lucidity that take hold the twenty four hours before an exam begins. Kind of a thrilling do or die situation, not that is really the case (I admit to briefly reviewing slides before class so I know where we left off, it's a form of studying I swear!).
Anyway, I'm probably just going to work on sleep and then waking up to do more studying (that's the plan at least). I suppose I could fence tonight, but what's really a priority here? It does sound good though... No. I need good grades and must study... I'll stab people with a sabre other days.

This is really stupid. I just need to stop writing and do other things...
Really... I can do it... just need to stop typing...

That is too hard. I'm just going press the publish button and then play guitar until I freak out and start studying.

Or I could sleep...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Perfected Autobiographical Styles

There seems to be a major point of conjecture that people don't understand: People are never fully right. Even in saying that I will have discrepancies but for the most part this will always hold true. If a person is fully in the belief that they are right, then they are definitely wrong. It's a nice little paradox that keeps me honest with my dealings with others.
There are times when small truths will hold fast (this is not healthy, this much will probably kill you, leprechauns don't exist, my favorite color is blue, it rains in the spring) but these will not always be the case and should not be relied upon when proven otherwise. A set of strongly held convictions about how the world works generally define people, and when they are brought under scrutiny we tend to break down just a little bit (He always loved me, but I'm good at math, she wouldn't say that, two plus two normally equals four, I'm used to disappointment) and that's alright.
Actually it's more than alright, it's good. As long as we don't break down completely and we fight for what we still believe in: we will be better for it. Now, this will often form new beliefs that might break in the future, but that's alright as well. We need these half truths and generalizations to prevent us from mulling over the whole of creation every second. It is only when we refuse to see the errors in our reasoning that we run into problems.
It is not what we believe in that defines us, not really. It is how we react when we are forced to see the errors in our beliefs. Interaction with those people that are outside of our belief system is good and shapes us, and the more often we have our beliefs and convictions broken, the better we become at dealing with it (generally).
Humans are really messy (almost as messy as the thought pattern in this post), but if we wait until we agree with people to like them, then you will be sorely limited in your growth as unique individual (which humans are both utterly unique and extremely similar when you look closely (figure that one out)).
I'm not sure where I'm really going with this, but honestly judge people by their intentions rather than what they actually do. Good intentions mean more than good actions and always will in my book. I'd rather have someone that means well than someone who intends poorly.

Looking at this post I realize how much of a hippy I sound like. Seriously, just be nice to people if they mean well.

So good luck understanding that one because I'm going back to studying. (AKA I need to stay off of quotation sites when I should be managing Microbial Ecology and Eukaryotic Cell Biology)

Glorious Restart of Other Things and Such

Well, here we go again. I'm in the middle of working on studying for my next round of exams and I've started procrastinating again. I'm not exactly sure what or where this is going to go and I really don't care because idleness is awesome :D

So while I'm eating reheated chocolate chip pancakes, drinking fresh hibiscus tea and listening to 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' (Which is either a highly overhyped or severely misrepresented band depending on who I'm talking to and the time of day) and pretending to do a whole lot of studying, I am re-starting this up as a way to say stuff that no one really wants to hear on Facebook (because I think no one really wants to hear about anything on that daemonic site [opinion also based on the weather]) and stuff that I actually want to say, mostly.

Forgiving that previous paragraph which seems to have evolved a serious case of parentheses bloat, I am excited to continue writing about uselessness that no one really wants to hear about- except me, because I'm important (subject to observer bias). So I will update this when I get bored of mindless self-indulgence of media, which is pretty much every day when I get bored.

I think this will be easier now that I am sure that what I put on here will be very poorly written and stream of thought (which I hate reading but love writing in, go figure). There is major complications in what I'm doing and I'm not so certain that sentence structure living and breakdown of moral/ethical standards please formulaic help derogatory me measurements.

The above breakdown being such an example of what can be expected (probably never again to that extent). I trust that all will be well and I'm switching musicians to 'Sigur rós' (Damn you copy and paste!) because my album ended half way though... I should look into buying a full copy next time, but that is another rant.

So long and farewell and such!
(Seriously, just leave. I need to pretend to study.)