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.)