January 31st, 2016

Today was very nice and relaxed. I was able to sleep in, followed by a little reading and playing some Diablo III before lunch. The afternoon offered more of the same with a break to pop into town to do some prep for tomorrow and get something for supper.

After that I watched some of the NHL All Star Game (go John Scott!), had a nice bath combined with some more reading, then played even more Diablo III. And right now I’m checking out the very first episode of The X-Files on Netflix while I’m typing this out. This will be probably be followed by a little more reading in bed before going to sleep.

All in all a nice, relaxing day, which is nice, especially after the rush I was in last night to finish my writing assignment.

I’d like to write more but I don’t have much else to say at this point, even after such a relaxing day. The good news is that today marks the end of the first month and me successfully blogging once per day, which is awesome. Even if I do fall flat on some things (see last night for example) it’s nice to know I can still meet some goals.

Here’s to getting off to a good start in February as well, and hopefully having more to say.

January 30th, 2016

This is the first entry I’m making on technically the next day, whoops. I had a writing challenge for which I’d signed up that was due at 1:29am today, January 31st, or 11:59pm EST. And, like an idiot, I let it go too long before working on it in earnest, even though I had a full eight days to do it.

The sad part is I had a decent idea of my plot and what I wanted to write after my trip to St. John’s with my cousin Terry last Sunday. I just didn’t work on it really until a day or two ago, and then most of today. If I’d done it like I talked about (and should have), namely having a draft ready for Wednesday or thereabouts for Terry to review for me, I’d have been fine, but nope. I put the pro in procrastination.

And I know it too, that’s the frustrating part. Ugh. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up too much but I saw this coming and didn’t do anything about it. Heck, I spent a good chunk of last night and this afternoon playing Diablo III, which was fun but didn’t help one bit with my writing.

Anyway, chalk it up to some things never change and I suck at getting things done in time I suppose. I need to fix it but it’s too late now for this one. At least I got something submitted, though I barely reviewed it myself let along had someone beta it for me, so I know it’s horrible. Oh well.

January 29th, 2016

Writing is hard. I knew this before tonight, but as I’ve sat here at my computer since, oh, 6:00pm or so, I’ve come to realize it all over again. You can just about count on one hand how much I’ve written in those five plus hours. Ok, not quite, but not too far off of it.

A portion of that was from wasting time on Facebook and a few games on there, but that was over by 7:00pm. The rest has been either idle browsing / puttering around, and chatting with people online. I’m also messing about with iTunes on shuffle and adding in tracks with ‘Play Next’ and ‘Add to Up Next’ when it hits a sweet spot / artist for me.

It’s all good, however, because I have all day tomorrow to work on things as well. That’s it, though; I have to have my submission ready by 1:29am Sunday morning my time. I have a good outline and characters in my head, I just need to get past the opening I’ve settled on and go from there.

So yeah, that’s my exciting snowed in Friday night. Time to go fetch myself a nightcap of scotch, methinks.

January 28th, 2016

Short post again tonight, as it was another Thursday night filled with ball hockey. I’m definitely less and less beat up every time I come back, but it’s still taking the good out of me. I really need the exercise and it’s fun though, so that’s a good thing.

Not much to say today. Finally hit level 70 in Diablo III after realizing I was leveling wrong, whoops. Not that there’s a wrong way, per se, but there’s definitely an easier way to what I was doing. Once I remember that and started down bounties on a lower difficulty level (less XP but way faster) I shot up from 50-odd to 70 in just a few hours or so over last night and tonight before hockey.

Now it gets more fun, once I start getting better gear and start doing tougher things. I don’t have my buddy Brad playing with me this time though, at least not yet. We’ll see whether he jumps in later on or not. Seasons last for about three months so he’ll have lots of time to join if he wants.

I also should be writing, but it’s pretty late and I just want to kill pixels for a while before bed. Writing will come tomorrow and Saturday, at least I hope it will. If not then I won’t beat myself up; see yesterday’s post for more info on that.

Right, so off to slay demons it is then.

January 27th, 2016

Today is Let’s Talk Day, started by Bell Canada to talk about mental health across Canada. By re-posting various items and hashtags on social media they raised (are still raising actually since it’s ongoing until 12am PST) money for mental health awareness, a very laudable goal.

For my part, I’m fortunate to have had good mental health throughout my life. There have been times when I’ve had to speak to people in the past, however, which is hard to talk about without getting into the ‘w’ word I promised myself I wouldn’t use here from Day 1. That’s an omnipresent challenge in my line of work, but I’m very lucky that we have a plethora of resources at our disposal. Both the Legal Aid organization and our provincial Bar association have programs in place to help those who need them.

I’ve not had to avail of them with my current job, but I have used them through previous positions of employment and it was a great help in dealing with things. Not everyone is as lucky to have those resources at their disposal, and I’m both grateful and thankful for them.

While I don’t suffer from any mental illness, that’s not to say that I haven’t had my own issues with which to deal. There are many days that start and/or end with me berating myself internally – I should have done X today, or I did Y wrong, and I’m an idiot, I suck, I don’t know what I’m doing, etc. That happens probably more that I’d like, and it’s honestly been happening a bit lately since I signed up for this short story challenge and I’ve not written nearly as much as I’d like.

I know those things aren’t true, at least not to that severe degree – sometime I really should have done certain things, for example, but that doesn’t make me useless if I don’t – but it does still bug me from time to time. It’s something to be aware of, and if it does get worse or ends up affecting me more I know I’ll have to address it. My awareness of that comes partly from seeing others going through similar situations, from my aforementioned awesome employee’s assistance programs, and from events such as Let’s Talk that bring these kinds of things out into the open.

I hope if anyone out there has issues with mental health that they are able to get the help they need, and if there’s ever anything I could do to help someone who’s reading this, please, just say the word. I’m far from an expert to say the least but I’m more than willing to help, even if I could only be an ear for someone to vent to or ask for an opinion.

January 26th, 2016

Once again I find myself unable to think of something to talk about on here. I believe a good chunk of that is writer’s block in general thanks to my focusing on the NYC Midnight Short Story competition, which isn’t going so well either. I do have a plot and all, I’m just having a hard time knocking the words loose.

My right hand is hurting too for some reason, I’m not quite sure why either. I didn’t do much typing at work today, I did take some notes but nothing too extensive. That’s a little worrisome too, and I hope it will feel better tomorrow. Right now it’s just annoying, some throbbing and aching between the middle and ring finger.

Wow, I really am at a loss as to what to write about here. This clearly means I need to think of some future topics tonight and tomorrow, maybe write them down somewhere, because it seems I have a million and one ideas in the morning (particularly while in the shower) but when I sit down here at the computer? Nothing. Boo to that.

Alright, that’s what I’ll do then. I also considered picking one decent topic and saving that for a Saturday or Sunday, and relying more on little topics during the week, but right now I have absolutely nothing so that will still need work even if that’s the plan.

Ok, that’s enough typing with a hurt hand for now. Here’s hoping sleep helps, both physically and psychologically speaking.

 

January 25th, 2016

I have to admit, the biggest hole in my geek cred resume is that I’ve never watched The X-Files. I know, I know. I’ll give you all a minute to pick your jaws up off the ground.

Looking back I’m pretty sure I saw the first (only?) movie they made, and I did see the odd episode, but I really didn’t watch any more than that. I always wanted to, and in fact I was given Season One on DVD as a gift (from T I believe, maybe?), but it’s just one of those things where you only have so much time, you know?

It appears to be on Netflix in its entirety, and I did give a lot of thought to watching it from the beginning prior to last night’s new episode. Once again, though, there’s only so much time. I think I will give it a shot, however, maybe some night when the wife’s gone to bed or over a weekend perhaps. Right now I’m doing more writing than anything at the computer (though Diablo III is calling me…) and Sara’s been playing Mass Effect on the TV, so we’ll see.

Actually, now that I think about it I could just take my laptop upstairs and watch Netflix up there while she plays. Or, since Bell Aliant added a channel on the digital cable expressly for accessing Netflix, I could just watch it on our television upstairs. Hmm.

At an rate, it’s getting late and I should get to bed, even if it’s only to watch an episode of something or to read for a little while. So much to do, so little time, am I right? How many days until our next holiday again?

January 24th, 2016

Ok.

So.

This post will be full of spoilers for The 5th Wave, both the book and movie. It will also likely be of little to no interest to most people, so you’ve been warned.

One last chance to hit the back button on your browser.

Alright.

I got my copy of The 5th Wave from a book exchange a few years ago, around Christmas of 2013. I didn’t read it right away, as I hadn’t heard anything about it and was probably reading a bunch of other books at the same time (as I am wont to do), but I picked it up again a month or so ago when I’d heard it was being made into a movie.

I’ve previously written about it here, particularly how I didn’t realize it was a Young Adult work until I hit some very Young Adult portions of it. That didn’t deter me, though, as I’ve written lots of that genre before: Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, most of The Hunger Games (gotta remember to finish that one of these days), and some of the Divergent series for example. And I’ve liked them all to varying degrees. So I kept on reading, and I’m glad I did, because I ended up really liking a lot of the characters. I even picked up the second book in the series literally the day after I finished the first book, and I’m a good chunk of the way though that now too.

The last time my cousin Terry and I saw a movie (which was The Hateful Eight earlier this month) we decided to have a peek online at upcoming releases to try and schedule some further excursions into the city. I really look forward to these trips, as we get a chance to catch up, hang out, see a movie or two, and usually have a meal together, all in one day. They’re great, and whether or not the movie is any good it’s still always an awesome time. We earmarked a few movies for upcoming trips, including The 5th Wave, Deadpool, Batman vs. Superman, and some others further down the road.

Today was set aside for The 5th Wave. And we saw it. And… I don’t really know where to start, to be honest. I raged at Terry almost immediately, I decried the film on Twitter while we were walking through the mall, and I ranted some more at him as we drove back home. He deserves a medal or something for putting up with me, to be honest, as he hasn’t read the book but he still kindly listened to my ravings.

I’ve honestly considered writing a long, rambling post here about what they messed up and why, but that would take a very long time. While I know you can’t always include every single little detail or else your movie will be far too long, there are some elements that you really should include. Things such as character development, especially scenes and/or events that form the cornerstone of a character’s motivation and growth, should be included. They don’t necessarily have to be in excruciating detail, but if they’re very important then they should be shown to some degree.

There are several of these types of moments stripped from the book, which was what infuriated so much. I know movie adaptations are seldom as good as their written versions, but this film seemed to go out of its way to revise and omit critical elements in its protagonists’ lives.

Again, I won’t go into as much depth as I kind of want (or could), but here’s a few for those who’ve read the book:

  • Cassie’s dad isn’t killed by Vosch right in front of her, which was arguably the key motivator for her after reuniting with her brother. Instead, her dad dies when a meeting goes astray rather than a herding and culling by the Others;
  • The whole Cassie and Evan element is extremely rushed and has her docile and running away from him, as opposed to arguing with him, fighting him, finding out about him and keeping it secret until she can use it against him, even trying to kill him, or you know, being a badass in general. In the movie she just runs almost immediately.
  • Also, the biggest problem re: her and Evan is that Evan didn’t shoot her in the movie. That’s right, they even show a flashback where he actually shoots another silencer who was shooting her. I was livid at this because lakdawioaw;ldkaw wtf. Seriously. Seriously.
  • The whole of the military scenes was sorely disappointing compared to the book. There was no evil drill sergeant punishing them, showing them failing drills, having to work in the disposal area, etc. It honestly felt like they were at camp or something compared to the book.
  • Ben wasn’t sick at all in the movie, which is the whole reason behind his Zombie nickname and a huge part of his growth.
  • OH YEAH. Also neither Cassie’s nor Ben’s families were shown having to put up with looters / attackers etc., which is how Ben’s family was killed and he ran away. That was a HUGE part of his development, that he ran and didn’t fight, which Vosch took advantage of and why he went back for Sam etc. A HUGE loss for Ben.
  • When Ben was brought into the camp he had to actually kill his friend from the outside by pressing that button, not some random person. This was also a huge development for him and beginning to trust Vosch et al.

Ok, shit, I have to stop or else I’ll just keep adding more and growing more and more frustrated. Because god damn, what a let down.

Honestly, the more I think about it I’m just upset over the potential future of any other movies. If this one bombs, and wow, it’s got a (deservedly) horrible score at Rotten Tomatoes, then there’ll likely be no more movies. Just like the His Dark Materials trilogy, which hasn’t had any of the other books translated to film since The Golden Compass bombed. Which sucked because I really wanted to see The Subtle Knife brought to life.

But yes. Bad adaptation, because it just didn’t show why its characters were doing what they were doing. Or how they became who they were at the end of the film. And that’s basically what the whole story is about. I just have no idea who adapted this and thought it was fine. Seriously, I’m so disappointed.

The book was far from my favourite thing ever, but I admit I did grow fairly attached to the characters and really was looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. I didn’t expect it to be perfect, but I expected the portrayal of the characters to have at least some ring of truth to it, not like this.

Which reminds me of a particular scene in The Matrix and gives me a perfect ending to sum up my feelings on this movie:

giphy

January 23rd, 2016

I signed up for the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge 2016 which kicked off last night. Well, technically at 1:29am this morning for us here in NL, but whatever. Participants have eight days to write a 2,500 word maximum story which much match a given genre and include a given subject and character. Mine are mystery, a cult, and a barista respectively.

I first stumbled across the NYC Midnight site last fall with its Flash Fiction challenge, giving you 48 hours to write a maximum of 1,000 words in a similar fashion, which I also entered. That one allowed participants to take place in two rounds, scoring points if your entries were in the top 15 of your group, then the top 3 people in each group went on to the third round, and then so many of those went on to the fourth and final round.

While I didn’t make it to the third round, I did get points in both my entries (the first one is here and second one here, for those interested), and a fair bit more for the second than the first. You also receive feedback on each entry too, which will also happen with this Short Story contest, which was nice.

With the additional time to write, I’m really hoping to put more into this attempt. Both of the 1,000 maximum word stories I entered before were basically done in half a day or so, due to my failure to schedule for each weekend. Both weekends I ended up going to St. John’s overnight on either Friday or Saturday and those days and nights were wasted, at least with respect to writing. That lead to the next morning being wasted too, by the time I woke up, had food, lollygagged around the city, etc.

I’ll be working during the week of course but I should still have ample time for writing, provided I make myself write. And hey, that’s why I have this blog, right? Even though this is a bigger goal, by 2.5x, I’ll have far more than 2.5x the time in which to write it, so it’s all good.

I popped into Carbonear to pick up a few things this afternoon, and a plot revealed itself to me while I was driving. Here’s hoping I can flesh it out into something interesting. Wish me luck!

January 22nd, 2016

Thankful that today is Friday. It was a long week, and even though today was Friday (which is historically easier to get through than most other days) it was a long day. I blame being so tired from last night, though that was great exercise so it was well worth it.

At any rate, TGIF. To start off the weekend, I had a surprise left over from the mail yesterday that I opened today, namely January’s Lootcrate. I first signed up for this service last… September, I think? It was a while ago, mainly because I’d been interested in one of items it purported to have from the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I am truly a sucker for anything Assassin’s Creed related; see me not having finished Unity from 2014 and having bought Syndicate when it came out last November already.

Anyway, the item turned out to be a sweater / pullover to celebrate the launch of Syndicate. Also, it technically wasn’t in the Lootcrate itself, but rather a similar program they offer called Level Up where you can order wearable items on a monthly basis as well. You can get shirts/sweaters, socks, and accessories, I just got the shirt/sweater knowing it would be Assassin’s Creed related, but it’s neat that there are other options.

I canceled the Level Up service (a little late though, and got an Attack on Titan shirt that’s awesome which I gave to Sara for her birthday) but maintained the Lootcrate since it was pretty neat. That month I think the monthly theme was Time and it came with a mini replica of the hoverboard from Back To The Future that is awesome.

It’s been a little hit or miss with me since; I was fully expecting a huge bunch of goodies for December but was a little let down with it. January’s is excellent again though, complete with a little plush Face Hugger toy, an X-Files LED flashlight, and a replica Leeloo Dallas multipass, among other things. I think I’ll keep it for another while and see how it goes.

I’ve also been getting the bi-monthly Marvel Collectors Corps which also started out awesome – female Thor and Miles Morales Funko Pop figures! – but has been a little meh lately. I’ll give that one another go too, it’s only every other month so it’s not as bad anyway.

So that’s been the start to the weekend on my end, not too bad at all. Here’s hoping the rest holds up, I’ll be off to see The 5th Wave on Sunday and I’ll be sure to write about that once I get home.