Monday, March 30, 2015

What I'm Currently Writing

I noticed that I haven't spoken much about what I'm writing recently, and that's because I'm hip deep into it right now and don't really like to speak about in progress projects. It's mostly because I don't like making promises for things that are a-ways off and because things change as you write them so I don't like to make promises that might not deliver what folks are hoping.

I can say, however, that what I'm writing now is much different from my novella (which I mostly released to prove to myself that I could put something out there) that is aimed at a bit of different genre than that was. This is more mainstream and aimed at a bit of a younger audience (in body and soul) with a heavy emphasis on action, adventure, and good time heroics. It's not bleak like modern books, nor is it as squeaky clean as most "Christian fiction" is, but a salute to all the things that made my childhood fun.

A hint as to what it is might be-- well, here's an example. Think old school anime like Sailor Moon and Yu Yu Hakusho meets Power Rangers (and general henshin) meets superheroes like the X-Men. But that's not all, I also have elements I enjoy from shows like Gargoyles as well. The biggest inspiration is a show called Ronin Warriors which was a very influential show for me as a kid. In other words, what I'm working on is explosive.

But it's also long. There are a lot of stories in this and I have to work out a lot of what's going on, some world-building, not to mention the personal editing and professional editing . . . this will take a while to write.

If you were hoping for more like my S.E. Hinton / George MacDonald tribute novella (I doubt anyone wants more of that) then I apologize. I feel like a have a duty to pursue this, and so I will. As long as it takes.

In the meantime, I'll just keep waffling along with this blog reading books, listening to music, and watching movies and TV shows, and hopefully you'll see fit to continue joining me.

Have a good and blessed Easter!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Being a Fan

You know, high school was terrible. It was full of people who hated each other, made fun of anyone for any reason, and was just generally a worthless experience outside of meeting new people.

But now the internet is the new high school.

There are now standards of being a fan depending on what a certain "class" of fan you are. Geeks of a certain class are lesser beings compared to those who engage in the "right" activities. This is high school all over again. And it's sucking the fun out of everything.

I've been playing video games and going on adventures with my heroes in books, television shows, and movies since I can remember. Whatever my political opinions or views on life, it has nothing to do with the fact that I have been a fan of what I like for near my whole life.

I spent my summer vacations as a kid going on adventures watching Labyrinth or reading The Hobbit. I rescued Princess Peach Toadstool (Yep, that's her full name) from King Bowser Koopa more times than I can count. I love adventure, and the excitement of the hero fighting the villain to a near standstill and maybe, just maybe, coming out on top. I've been a fan of what I like so long that it is pretty much a built in part of me.

I've avenged Marion's death as Billy Lee since long before message video games existed. I fought Nazis with Indiana Jones way back before the academy snubbed Fellowship of the Rings for a film nobody even remembers. I still go on paranormal adventures with Odd Thomas even when being screamed at to read about the plight of some random cause of the week that is shoehorned into the latest novel that nobody will be talking about years from now anyway.

The point is, being a fan is being a fan. You like what you like because it's part of who you are. You're not in high school anymore, you're a big boy (or girl) now, simply walk away from the know-it-all fun police who probably wouldn't know true mirth if it punched them in the face.

We have enough problems nowadays without being policed on what we enjoy as well.

But wouldn't it be great if more schools read classics like The Three Musketeers with their students instead of "classics" like The Red Pony? Maybe more people would read nowadays if they did.

Just a thought.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lyric Time!

Still adjusting to the change in weather, so here's a set of lyrics I find myself singing along to randomly. It's a song called "Broken Down Piece of Junk" by Rockabilly king, Brian Setzer.

When you start thinking too much of the stuff you own, this song helps you laugh at how ridiculous it can get to be obsessed with the things we own.

I'll try to get a better post up next week, so for now, enjoy!

"Broken Down Piece of Junk"
By: Brian Setzer

I got a beat leather jacket
I got a broken down car
I'm gonna push it up the hill if I can make it that far

'Cause everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!

Got a broken record player
I got a bird that won't sing
And the buzzin' in my head goes ring-ring-ring

Everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!

Well, one man's fortune, honey
Is another man's worst bad luck
If I ever crawl outta this hole alive
I'm gonna spend every last buck-buck-buck

But I ain't got a job
Live in a cheap hotel
The door ain't got a lock but I say "What the hell?"

'Cause everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!

Well, one man's fortune, honey
Is another man's worst bad luck
If I ever crawl outta this hole alive
I'm gonna spend every last buck-buck-buck

Now don't misunderstand me
I got my moonshine mash
But if I made any money I'd be gone in a flash

'Cause everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!
Everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!
Everything I own is a broken down piece of junk!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Voyage Back Home

I just saw Star Trek IV for the first time in my life. Yeah, I know I should have seen it sooner, I'm just not the biggest Trek fan outside of Wrath of Khan. Search For Spock, the third movie wasn't bad, but The Voyage Home was far better and a great conclusion to the cinematic trilogy that started with Wrath of Khan. Shame I didn't see it earlier.

You see, when I was a kid I watched all the "cool" franchises everyone was talking about. Raiders of the Lost Ark made me an Indiana Jones fan, A New Hope made me a Star Wars fan, Alien made me an Alien fan (I should not have watched it so young, though) and The Terminator made me a Terminator fan (another one I shouldn't have watched) but Star Trek stopped me cold on the first movie.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was so unfathomably awful that it turned me directly off of Star Trek for years and years. It was even worse when I heard that movie was creator Gene Roddenberry's true vision for the franchise. And if that was what he wanted for the series, then I wanted no part of it.

You see, I didn't have any Trek fans as friends to tell me not to start with the first movie and that Roddenberry's take on the Trek universe has never been considered the best one. It was only after years of being pestered by science fiction fans and hearing enough praise about Wrath of Khan that I finally decided to give it a watch. And boy was I glad that I did.

Wrath of Khan has everything. Adventure, romance, thoughtful reflections on life, Biblical allegories, action, and suspense, are more than enough keep any viewer glued to their chair. Roddenberry also had near nothing to do with it, too! I was kicking myself for years for never seeing it before.

But then I saw the sequel, Search For Spock, and it was good. But it was no Wrath of Khan. It was missing a lot of the great moments the older movie had, and the movie felt like a lot of the time that it was just trying to do the opposite of everything Wrath of Khan did. Still, it wasn't bad or anywhere near as awful as the first motion picture was.

It threw me a bit off track from seeing Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but I'm glad I did.

So what's the point of this entry? Well, it's not a review of Star Trek IV. If you have the chance you should see the motion picture trilogy of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. They form a great film trilogy that really leaves you satisfied by the end.

The point of this entry is to point out how things have a habit of coming full circle. I spent a lot of my life avoiding this franchise due to a bad first impression, yet after finally giving it a chance and just recently seeing it end (the trilogy, that is) left me with a feeling of satisfaction and the impression of finally scratching a tiny itch that has been present since I was a kid. Sometimes, it seems, a little hope and optimism for the future is all you need to get you by a rough hump, and I could have used something like this much sooner. But it is what it is, and while I wouldn't call myself a Star Trek fan (Don't like any of the TV series, and have no desire to see any of the other films outside of VI) I will call myself a fan of this trilogy.

I guess I would say that the long voyage home was worth the trip. That happens a lot, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Music to Write by: David Wise

Video game music tends to get a bad rap. The first is that since a lot of people see them as pointless time-wasters they figure the music is just as pointless. The second reason is that because game systems used primitive soundchips in the old systems that they weren't capable of writing good songs.

The first is just silly, but the second is flat-out wrong. Here's the thing, early video game music up until around the PlayStation 2 heavily relied on instrumental music in the vein of old pop music like The Ventures or The Glenn Miller Orchestra, and since these songs had to keep people engaged and coming back for more game they tended to need to be better than average.

Whether you like video games or not, some of it is exceptionally creative, and some of it is downright brilliant. In fact, some of it is pretty inspiring to some including me.

Today I'm going to talk about tracks from one of my favorite video game composers, David Wise.

David Wise was a member of the company Rare (formerly Rareware) and was one of their in-house composers. He has since moved on to freelancing as the company has floundered in creativity and a loss of key staff over the years. The story goes that he was found selling keyboards in a music store and wrote some catchy tunes that played from them, for that he was approached to work at Rare. And the rest is video game history.

The reason David Wise has become one of the most popular composers in the video game world is because of his writing style. What I said before about The Ventures or The Glenn Miller Orchestra? Throw in a bunch of other genres from dance, tribal, surf, post-punk, and classic video game music and you might begin to understand his appeal.

*Tracks after the break*