Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More future plans (and just ranting in general I guess).

Hey guys, sorry for the lack of post last week. I went out of town over the weekend and when I got back I didn't feel well for a couple of days. So rather than just post the picture of the sick guy again, I just decided to wait till I was feeling better. So yeah, sorry.

Typical youtube video length for me...what am I editing,
web videos or movies?
Anyway, I just wanted to take it easy today and let you guys know what I'm planning to do for the future regarding this blog, Youtube, and my writing. Like I've said in a previous post, I feel like my Youtube channel is taking up more and more of my time than I want it to and its got me feeling as if what little creative writing ability I have is slowly liquefying and sliding off the cliff into the bottomless abyss below. Needless to say, this is something I find unacceptable. As hard as it might be to accept for some people, writing fantasy and genre fiction is my life, and I have millions of little ideas in my head that are wailing and beating the sides of my skull with giant robot fists to be let out. Now, I know this is my fault. My time management skills are poorer than the hobo living off the grocers' dumpster and it's something I actually want to improve and be more productive. So with that in mind, with future Let's Plays (I.e: after I finish Dark Souls and Bloodborne) I've decided to do what I was doing before I got my capture device and go back to making shorter episodes, about 20-30 minutes or less (not counting the recap section or the visual novel machinima bits, the latter of which I'm considering cutting down on as is). I say "after I finish" those games because I'm a few bosses away from beating them anyway, and I don't want to drag them out any more than I have to.

I'm also going to try and do more live commentary (that is, talking and reacting as I'm recording) in my videos to cut down on production time. I wasn't able to really do this before because the two microphones I was using at the time (one on my USB gaming headset and the other a generic USB microphone) produced this overwhelming 'buzz' sound (and picked up radio signals) that I couldn't fix without a separate sound editing program like Audacity. I recently bought a new microphone that uses a traditional 3.5mm jack instead of a USB connector and that seems to have solved this problem, at least for now.

My new Microphone.
I'm also seriously considering doing a lot more streams over on my Twitch page. For those who don't know, Twitch is a website that lets users broadcast live gameplay (and other things as well) over the internet. You can think of it kinda like watching live TV, only that people can actually comment on what you're doing as you play, so it allows for more interaction with your fanbase. It's much easier to do than recording and editing videos for hours on end, and it gives me more time to relax and enjoy what I'm doing. So, I might start doing that more.

As for the Blog, Nothing really new to report on that. The schedule I have right now for it (updating it every Tuesday), is working out pretty well for me. It fits in with what else I want to do and writing whatever pops into my head is admittedly kinda cool. Granted, I would like to see it grow and reach a wider audience, but that will come with time, I think.

As for the writing, well as I've said. I have a completed the first draft of my book and I need to get back to marking it up. But I still need beta readers, but no one I've asked has the time to do it (and I do understand why). A friend of mine, one Vanna Smythe (whose books you should totally check out by the way), suggested that I join a website that was all about Literary Criticism called Critique Circle. I did sign up, but I haven't been able to post anything on there. because.....I don't have enough points to do so...Ya know, I can understand having a premium membership option, websites don't pay for themselves after all. But how does it make sense for a site about critique to have something as arbitrary as a point system? I'm here to get feedback on my book, not play fricken Space Invaders. The way you get more points is by reviewing other people's work, and the author you're reviewing has the option to reject it, and that means you don't get any points. I don't enjoy doing reviews very much anyway, at least not anymore, so you can imagine my frustration here. but if that's what I gotta do, then, well, donkey work first, right?

Well anyway, that's all from me for now. Thanks for reading and putting up with me. See you later guys.  


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New video.

Hey guys. I got nothing this week, so I'll see you next week.
In the meantime, here's a new video. it's part short story/ fan fiction, part Dark Souls Lore video: let me know what you guys think, later: 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Old Hubpages book review: The End of Childhood (Childhood's End).

Childhood's End is one of those books that I always recommend to people, but I can never figure out how to describe it to them. Mostly because when I mention it to the average person that the plot has aliens coming to Earth, the first thing they say is something along the lines of "oh like Independence Day." And then I say who the author is and the fact that he wrote the movie and novel 2001: A Space Odyssey....and then they get this expression on their face like I just told them I eat ripe human flesh, nod noncommittally, and hurriedly change the subject....If I could back in time, I would go to Stanley Kubrick and tell him to not to make 2001 so dreadfully boring.
All joking aside, this is one of my favorite books of all time. It was the first book by Arthur C.Clarke that I had ever read, and it was one of the books that, along with Frank Herbert's Dune books, changed my expectations as to what Science Fiction could be and what it could achieve.

The plot is divided up into three parts. The first part takes place late in the 20th century, where the US and the Soviet Union are deadlocked to win the space race for military purposes when suddenly gigantic alien spaceships come to earth. The ships belong to a race of beings called 'The Overlords,' Sounds like a cliche alien invasion story, but surprisingly, The Overlords are not on earth for that reason. They don't want to conquer us, heck they announce in the first week of their arrival they are they intend to save mankind from destroying itself. They just sit in their ships and supervise the human race and only interfere when necessary. But, despite their good intentions, many people don't trust them because they don't reveal themselves physically. That doesn't happen until the second half of the book when the plot jumps ahead 50 years and mankind have entered a golden age. And it turns out that the Overlords...looks like the image that everyone has of demons. So what do they want? Well, that's when things get interesting. In the third part and final part of the book, it's revealed that their goal was to guide the evolution of humans until a certain point, namely the point where they develop telekinetic abilities and basically, become a hive mind.

Why? Well, it turns out they serve an entity called "The Overmind," a god-like intelligence freed from physical form and made up of an uncountable amount consciousnesses from ancient civilizations. In other words, this thing goes around space adding the consciousness of entire species to itself once they reach a certain point in their evolution. The Overlords, unable to join with it for some reason, act as a kind of bridge for the next species. The book ends when this point is reached in the children of the "Last Generation" and the Overmind takes them into itself. The plot is fascinating, mixing real science with smart and imaginative speculation of our own future as a species, and on the existence and purpose of alien civilization and what their intentions to humanity are. The book also deals with themes of the evolution and decline of human culture and society as we evolve as a species. I don't have time to run down all the themes.

But needless to say, this is the only book I can think of that will make you think and make your head explode (but in a good way). I especially love the idea of the Overmind. It's neither good nor evil, it's just the end result of evolution. You never really see it, but you can always feel its presence throughout the book just waiting for the time to come to fulfill its purpose. Japanese anime fans, incidentally, will probably recognize the idea of the Overmind as the basis for both Neon Genesis Evangelion's concept of "Human Instrumentality" as well as Space Runaway Ideon's concept of the "Ide." And that was no accident.
I only have two real complaints, the first is that there doesn't seem to be a main character. Although the characters aren't bad by any means, the only ones that come close to being the main focus are the Overlords, but I really couldn't connect with them that much. I dunno what it is, but something about them just makes me scratch my head in utter confusion. They want to be absorbed into the Overmind even though they can't (it's never really explained why). And even if they could, they know that it would mean the absolute end of their species. Does that make sense to anyone else? My second complaint is that I always found it weird how accepting the human characters are about the whole situation. I mean, early on in the book some countries do try and fight the Overlords but that doesn't work at all, and then they just kinda back off and never try again. The reason being is that the Overlords do what they say they are gonna do, they make very few (but big) demands and they don't interfere with humans unless they have too. They oversee the creation of single world government and basically force humanity to grow up and stop acting like idiots. They're like the ultimate nanny, now that I think about it, just with demon faces. Pretty much the same thing happens when humans learn of the Overmind, there's no mass panic or anything, everyone accepts our extinction as inevitable. Now, this makes sense in context, because (with one very short lived exception) by this point human society and culture has pretty much hit a dead end, and really can't advance any further. So it makes sense, but it certainly wasn't what I was expecting.
The cover of Led Zepplin's Album 'House of the Holy' was
inspired by the end of the book.  

But ya know what, that's what I love about this book. It's not predictable, and it's devoid of cliche. It's not about killing aliens, or speculating about new technologies or whatever, it's about exploring ideas. In other words, Clarke took an alien invasion story and used it to talk about philosophical ideas. And as a result, he was able to write one of the masterworks of the genre and help shape what it is today. If you're a fan of science fiction (or just reading in general) and you haven't read this book, then I say you're long overdue. Check it out.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Random musings: Time slips away.

Gonna be a short one today. As a lot of you know, I'm a fantasy writer. I consider my writing to be one of the most important aspects of my life and I still dream of writing an epic story in the same vein as The Lord of the Rings or The Wheel of Time. But I'm also a Let's Player on YouTube (or at least I'm trying to be one anyway), and while it hasn't brought in much in terms of financial gain, I do enjoy making and editing videos and uploading them, And in the more recent videos, I've added what I call "Visual Novel Style" machinima, in where I take a freeze frame and add text (or speech bubbles) over it to further expand the story/lore of a game and give a little more life to my customizable silent protagonist (assuming that the game I'm playing has one). Sometimes, this might even be as complex as adding an entirely new scene with pictures, sound effects, music etc.

But the thing is that Youtube is now taking all of my time and I can't seem to figure out how to adjust my schedule to fit in it and working on my book or whatever story is going through my head at the moment. Now this is nothing new, time management has never been one of my strong suits, and when I engage in any creative activity like this, I tend to get hyper focused on it and spend hours upon hours doing it without regard to anything else. And stopping in the middle and doing something else is really, really difficult for me.  Actually, come to think of it, this might be why I get burned out so easily *laughs*. Anyway, what I'm trying to get at is....if any of the authors that follow this blog have any faith left in me, could you please give me some advice on this? I've tried other methods and they haven't worked for me. I'm not asking you to solve it, but maybe if you share how you find a balance between your writing and real life (for lack of a better term), then maybe it could give me some insight as to what I'm doing wrong.

Just leave them in the comment section.

Thanks in advance, guys. I'll see you next week.          

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Not a good time.

Hey guys. Sorry, I'm not doing a post this week. Something personal happened over the weekend that still got me pretty rattled and I just don't want to talk about it.

I'll see you next week.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Batman VS Superman: What the hell happened?

I'm pretty sure that enough time has passed now to say that, when looked at objectively, Batman VS Superman ISN'T a terrible movie. Is it perfect? Good God no. But is it the death mound of T-Rex feces that every critic and their grandmother have made it out to be? No, I don't believe so. it's just uninspired 'meh.' But with that said, yeah, I can see why people don't like it. I'm not gonna review the movie, but I am gonna be as objective as I can be, and take a look at why the film got the reception that it did. And from what I can tell, it all stems from the director, Zack Snyder.

Let me just say right now that, yes, I DO enjoy Mr. Snyder's movies....some of them anyway. 300, for all its stupid historical inaccuracies and not so cleverly hidden "America F**ck yeah" bullshit. is STILL a great action movie. And Snyder's adaptation of Alan Moore's Watchmen, is, in my opinion, one of the best comic book movies ever made. But it's Man of Steel that Snyder really starts to lose me. I've been a Superman fan ever since I was a really little kid, hell he was one of the first fictional characters that I ever latched on too and probably did more to shape my young mind than, well, anything really. And while I thought that Man of Steel was a good reboot of Supes' film career; looking back on it, I'm starting to think that maybe that had more to do with Christopher Nolan's and  David S. Goyer's screenplay, rather than Snyder's directing. Because, for all the flaws that Man of Steel had, it was still faithful to the spirit of the character. Batman VS Superman however....not so much. The point is that, while I do think that Snyder CAN do comic book/superhero movies. It has to be a VERY specific kind of superhero movie. Namely...not anything based off of mainstream comic books. Which leads us to Batman VS Superman. Oh, and from here on we are wandering into spoiler territory, so you've been warned.
RIP, Jimbo.

I don't mean to focus solely on the Superman side of things here, but as far as I can tell, this is where a lot of the complaints come from. Snyder took everything that Superman was about, threw it into a pin of rabid hyenas, and is now charging people for the privilege. Just utter disrespect to the fans and what to Superman stood for. For example Superman mainstay, Jimmy Olsen, dies in the opening of the film, and after a while, Clark/Superman becomes reluctant to save anybody because reasons, and mopes around for half the film until Lex Luthor kidnaps both Lois Lane and his mother. One scene, in particular, seems to be the most egregious. There's a scene in where Superman appears before a hearing in the US senate about if they should try to restrict what Supes does....annnnd then a guy in a wheelchair who has a grudge against Superman detonates a bomb that kills everyone in the room (except for Supes, obviously). But get this, Superman heard the bomb with his super hearing, and he did NOTHING. Uhhhh....what? Snyder, have you never read a Superman comic book in your life? That's NOT what Supes would do in that situation. If anything he would have grabbed the Wheelchair (after pushing the occupant out of it), smash through the ceiling and let the thing blow up in mid air.

So why was Superman's personality changed so much? Well, the popular reason is that they were trying to make Superman more identifiable as a character, by giving him actual human emotions. And yeah, I can see why casual fans would think that he's not identifiable. In terms of what he can do, Superman is stupidly overpowered. I mean, this is a guy so physically strong that he can pull Planets out of their orbit with his bare hands, and outrun the gravity of a double black hole. And in the early days, Superman's personality was just a 1-dimensional boring nice guy, and the writers just gave him a new power literally every day. And while modern comic books and the various film incarnations over the years have done their best to correct and curtail both of these factors, it's a reputation he still has to this day. So yes, I can understand why they changed his personality for this movie. But here's the thing, Mr. Snyder, *ahem* YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!! Changing his personality serves absolutely no purpose and your not even doing in any way that's interesting or thought provoking. And on top of that, its is such a departure from the original character that, if not for the costume, he wouldn't be recognizable. Superman has never been about angst or being moody or brooding or things of that nature. That's Batman's thing. Superman is Pandora's little light of Hope given flesh and superpowers. That's always been the crux of his character, of his personality. Taking that away and replacing it with moodiness, doesn't make him more mature or identifiable, it just makes him look like a wuss and makes you look like a twelve-year-old who thinks that having a Whinny the Poo tattoo on your groin is the height of badassery. Oy.

Anyway, some people also point to Henry Cavill's portrayal of Superman/Clark Kent as an overall negative to the franchise. Honestly, I don't think that's fair. Why? Because anyone who takes this role is flying in the shadow of Christopher Reeves. That's not an opinion, that's a fact. For many people, myself included, Reeve's iconic portrayal of the character IS Superman, he set the standard to which all other actors who come after are gonna be compared to. Cavill knows this, and I don't think he's trying to fill Reeve's boots. He's doing his own thing with the role. And I think he's doing a great job with it, and I hope he stays in it for many more films. And let's be honest, guys....at least it's not Nicolas Cage.      

As for the Batman side of things, honestly, I don't have much to say about that. Mostly because...well I LIKED Ben Affleck's portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne. And I'm actually excited that he will be returning to the role in a stand alone film. No, it's not Christian Bale, but Affleck is great in the role in his own right, let him stay. I also like Jeremy Irons as Alfred. So, uh,....I got nothing bad to say about this part.

But the one who steals the whole show was without a doubt Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot). Ho-ly shit, her showing up and fighting Doomsday was just amazing. This is something that DC fans have been waiting for a long time. Wonder Woman is considered the third of DC's big three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), and yet for whatever reason, she has yet to receive any sort of modern film adaptation, outside of a few animated films......It just kinda sucks that Snyder didn't really give her really anything interesting to do. Seriously, Wonder Woman doesn't even show up in full costume till the final battle with the film's version of Doomsday. Before that, she interacts with Bruce Wayne a little, and that's it. Hell, she hardly has any dialogue until the end. For such an important character in the DC Universe, she sure feels like an afterthought.

This leads me into my final point and a major reason why I think that Batman VS Superman was received as poorly as it was, Poor world building and plot holes. I know I just said that I didn't have much to say about the Batman side of this movie, but that's because I was just focusing on the Affleck's performance more than anything else. Most of the problems with Batman's side of this film is actually tied to this point and I wanted to put them all together in their own section for the sake of my own sanity. Anyway, Leading up to the release of this film, we were lead to believe that Batman VS Superman would be a continuation of both Man of Steel, and Christopher Nolan's excellent Dark Knight Trilogy, and that both story threads would meet up in the middle and from there we would get DC's answer to The Avengers, The Justice League. To my knowledge, Warner Brothers never denied this. Fast Forward to the film's premiere and we find out that we had been hoodwinked.  Nowhere in the film are the events of the Dark Knight Trilogy ever discussed, with the possible exception of Wayne Manor being burned down. There's no mention of Lucius Fox, no
Batcomputer becoming the NSA's wet dream, The Joker, or even a shadow of Catwoman. There was, however, scenes showing Bruce Wayne's parents being shot and him becoming Batman and Bruce arriving in Metropolis during Man of Steel's final battle with General Zod and an easter egg of a Robin costume being sprayed in Yellow paint (see picture) and that's when it hit me...this film rebooted Batman, again. So, what we have here, is a NEW version of Batman, except that it's set in the Man of Steel universe, and this is the universe that DC is going to be setting all of its films in from now on. And they can't even get THIS right. This whole film feels like a half-assed crash course for DC to catch up with Marvel's film universe. But DC, Warner Brother, do you even know why Marvel's been so successful with this? It's because they took the time to develop each of their characters with their own separate film franchise, and their universe expanded and grew with each film. So by the time we got to The Avengers, we already had a good grasp on this universe and these characters that we had basically grown up with them. But here, you're jumping right into a cross over without giving us anytime to adjust to establish the universe or any of the characters What you should have done is a stand alone Man of Steel sequel or two, then a solo Affleck Batman movie or two, solo Wonder Woman movie and a sequel or two, and individual films for the other members of the Justice League, AND then you should have made Batman VS Superman and used it as a jumping off point for the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, not for your entire universe.

Oh, and before I forget about him, here's something else that needs to happen to get your Universe straight, FIRE Zack Snyder. Seriously, I heard on Pat The NES Punk's Podcast (see the video on the left), that he doesn't even read Comic Books unless there is a lot of killing, blood, and sex in them. And that if he had made Batman Begins, he would have had Bruce Wayne raped during the prison scene. I'm...not even going to express how I feel about that.                

Anyway, As I expressed at the top of this, Batman VS Superman isn't actually a terrible movie. But it's certainly not the best, and there's a lot wrong with it. But at the end of the day, I still think that it's a watchable movie. But this was just my two cents on the matter.

What do you, Dear Reader, think?

and I'm out. see you next week.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just a quick update and Chaos Drift.

Hey guys. I hope you all had a great Memorial Day. I sadly don't have anything planned this week, and I need to focus on other, business related things today. Namely, an independent game developer has allowed me to make a video of his game that he's trying to get onto Steam via their Greenlight service; which allows independent developers to submit their products to be voted on by the Steam user base. If said product reaches a certain number of votes, then the game will be added Steam's extensive library for people to buy. This is the game in question:

And I did tell the developer that I would at least try to get the video out within the week, so...yeah, sorry. I will be back next week, regardless. So, I'll see you then.

And in case anyone is interested in the game, you can buy it at the developer's website here: http://www.chaosdrift.com/  

And here's the Steam Greenlight page: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=693657968

See you next week guys.