When I’m not reading, writing, working, spending time with family, recording audio, practicing bass, etc, I will occasionally play a video game.
If you recall, last time I played Firewatch. An oddly interesting and depressing video game with fun graphics.
This time I decided to play a shorter game again and played Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I knew going in that this game dealt with phychosis and disturbing mental imagery. Combined with multiple background voices that constantly talk in the characters head. That’s about all I knew going in. That this was a disturbing game.
Yeah, it’s a disturbing game. I know there is a sequel in the works and I’m anxious to see what the second will bring.
That said, I played the game and watched the video feature that was included. The gameplay was good. Some tricky puzzles. There is NO explanation at all in how to play the game. You need to figure things out as you go. That means battle can be a little tricky and just when you think you’ve got it figure out, you’re pinned against a wall, can’t get up, and you’re dead.
Oh, and I didn’t mention that if you die too many times, the game will consider you dead (there’s a cool visual trick they did that I really liked.
Now, I’m a casual gamer. I’ve reached the point in life where I can buy all the games, but it comes down to how much time do I have to commit to a game. That’s why I picked this one. I read online that it takes an average of 4-6 hours to play. Well…I’m me. I like to stop and look around. Take in all the sights. See all the flora and fauna. I died a few times because I was busy looking at the details on the enemy instead of button mashing.
This game has some beautiful graphics. I don’t know it’s just me, but for some reason I was cruising at 60fps the entire game (on PC) until the final boss when I dropped to 25 and dipped under 10 fps even when I tried to lower the graphics. No idea what was going on there.
Even so, the game is beautiful, fun to play, and really creepy if you pay attention to the story and run around and read all the signposts, checkout all the abandoned buildings and see all the…you get the point.
Yeah, I spent 8 1/2 hours in the game. What can I say. I like to look around.
Anyway, really fun game. Worth the time.
If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know “The dog” ate a few of my signed books. One of those was a book signed by Neil Gaiman. I’d gotten that one signed when I met him at World Fantasy Con 2011. I was sad the book was gone.
Neil sent me a personal message after I’d made that blog post. Something I never anticipated nor expected. I shared the message with the boy, whose dog ate the book. He shared the post with is sister. Again, if you’ve read along, she didn’t believe that he’d emailed Mr. Gaiman and laughed at him. She also didn’t believe that Neil had sent me a personal message.
As a joke, she’d gotten me two Neil Gaiman books for Christmas. I share with her the story and the message Neil had sent me and showed that it was from his verified account. She now believed the story, but still thought her little brother was silly for emailing Mr. Gaiman and expecting a response.
Art Matters, because your imagination can change the world, is a collection of 3 essays by Neil. Having heard the Make Good Art speech he’d given (on YouTube) I heard the entire book in his voice and read it with his slow, confident reading style. It was a joy to sit down and enjoy this book, much like the books will tell you to read fiction for enjoyment as it’ll help your imagination and help you understand empathy.
A wonderful book to start off 2022. Let’s see what book I finish next.
Oh, for those wondering about the card, I bought a deck of Star Wars playing cards to use as bookmarks. As I have a tendency to read a LOT of books and sometimes multiple books at the same time, I needed bookmarks. I didn’t want to spend a large chunk of money on several bookmarks, so I bought a deck of playing cards. As I read a book and finish it, I’ll post a picture of the book (be it physical or ebook) and a picture of the playing card bookmark.
I also purchased a steampunk tarot deck that I will use for each short story I read this year. Let’s see how far I can get through both decks, eh?
No, I didn’t win. First off, I’d have to submit a story in order to win.
I have submitted in the past. What that means is I’m now on the email list for the rest of my life. That’s not a bad thing. I fully support the authors that are on or have been judges over the years. It’s a great contest that’s been running for a long time.
The stories are some great stories and I get advanced review copies for my honest opinion. I’m a few stories in and not ready to give judgement yet. I will say, the first story is cat story and while I don’t normally like Kitty Fiction, this story took a great angle. It’s not on sale yet and I’m spending some time this weekend getting through the stories.
Oh, and there is some fantastic art also. As always.
Hope you’re having a great weekend. By the Numbers will happen tomorrow.
In the Murdock Family Household, we’re Marvel fans. We’ve gone back and rewatched all the MCU movies in order. I’ve watched all the NetFlix series (with the exception of Jessica Jones season 3, and Daredevil Season 3). We LOVED Wandavision.
My Favorite Daughter burned through Falcon and Winter Soldier as the episodes came out. The Mrs and I, well, we took our time.
Last weekend, we burned through the first 4 episodes, and today we finished off the last two.
Wow, Marvel is getting so good with their story telling. That’s all I really have to say here. I don’t get the hated toward the “new” Captain America character. To me, he was not someone to hate, but rather sympathetic.
If you’re a fan of the Marvel Universe, you need to keep up with what Disney is doing. It’s amazing.
That’s all I’ve got today.
Until Next Time!
I’ve seen number of reviews with a multitude of complaints about Godzilla vs Kong. It’s getting panned and, honestly, I don’t understand why.
What I mean is, if you’ve seen the previous movies, you know it’s not high-brow entertainment. It isn’t doing more than it intends to do. On top of that, there are still many nods to the original material. and previously established story lines. I was happy they even kept the same actors from the previous movies (Godzilla: King of Monsters and Kong: Skull Island).
That said, there wasn’t much of a plot in any of these movies. There’s a simple set up, one-dimensional characters, and we’re off to the races. Lots of fighting, TON of destruction, and you’ve got a movie. It’s, to be, brilliant in its simplicity.
For me, this movie is much like watching Pacific Rim. I can turn off my brain for a couple of hours and enjoy the ride. I am not expecting much and this movie did more than I thought it would. It was silly good fun that made me remember just how terrible the Godzilla movies were from when I was a kid, yet they kept things simple and went for incredible graphics.
I’m not sure what others were expecting from this movie to cause them to get unhappy with it, but I think it’s getting a bad rap. This isn’t a movie like Avatar which promised so much and was little more than Pilgrims vs Indians where the Indians win (and for me, failed hard at plot by trying to be more than it was). It’s a fun film that keeps the franchise going and I’m hoping for more movies like this in the future.
What did you think? Let me know.
Until Next Time!
11.22.63: A Novel by Stephen King
I listened to this book on audio. I’ve got a lot of things to say about this book so get ready. There may be spoilers. You have been warned.
As a Reader: Stephen King hit the mark with this one. I was disappointed with the ending of his last couple of books so as this one neared the end of what I thought was the end of the story. I was quite wrong where the story was going to end. It kept going, and going, and going sort of like the Lord of the Rings. I loved that it didn’t just drop me and leave me wondering or have some weird/corny ending that left me miffed that I’d wasted my time.
King takes us from 2011 back to 1958 several times. Each time things are reset. When George Amberson (the character’s assumed name in the past) stays longer to prevent the assassination of JFK things get weird. There’s a long time for our main character to wait. I had a little struggle with how easily he accepted this task from a person eh didn’t know very well. This part seemed to be glossed over in favor of the person going back to a past he had never lived in. It bothered me, but only slightly.
There’s a lot of fun King had in the past. It almost felt like he was reminiscing about his boyhood. Perhaps longing for a simpler time. I’m not really sure. There are a lot of side trails along the way to stop the assassination and I really didn’t mind them. This is what King does best is to draw you into the characters life. It’s like the end of the Dark Tower. It’s not about the Dark Tower, it’s about the journey. He layers detail upon detail in a way that builds a tapestry you can believe in and learn to love. Then he yanks the rug out from under you, stand you back up, dusts you off, and does it again. Each time you curse what the characters are doing to each other and the lives they’re ruining even though this is only a book.
The end had me tear up a little I’m not ashamed to say. King has a way to get you to really care for the characters. He’s always done that, I’m sure he always will. But the ending of this book (as he mentioned in the afterward) was inspired by his son, Joe Hill, who recommended a different ending. It was a drawn out ending, but satisfying. A very enjoyable ending indeed.
As a writer: Mr. King, please stop feeling like you need to intermingle your works. Yes, you had nods to IT, Christine, and other works I’m sure I missed. Let a work stand on its own. This bothered me to no end as it only provided lines of thinking that lead no where and annoyed me to no end. As did the pie throwing scene. I read Mark Evanier’s blog and he went on and on about this. I wish Stephen King would have as it does relate to the era. One pie = funny, many pies does not equal funnier. Also, they’re not real pies. I refer you to http://www.newsfromme.com/2011/12/13/recipe-corner/ .
I really enjoy how Mr. King doesn’t just have someone go and buy a jacket or a hat, or a gun, but will take a small bit of time to explain what it is, why the character is buying it, introduce you to the person doing the selling, and spend a little time doing some things that might otherwise be considered mundane. He makes them interesting and fleshes out a story in a way that makes the world feel real. He doesn’t skimp. He doesn’t take shortcuts. He loves to drag you along before he slaps you with the reality he’s built in a real and brutal way.
Recommendations: Other than that, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Not that I was looking for things to complain about, mind you. This book was wonderful. If you read it, or listen to it as I did, you will enjoy it. Stephen King is a master at what he does. He doesn’t write horror or sci fi. Those are only trappings attached to his name. He writes stories about people. People you will like, some you will hate, some you will come to think of as real people. I’ve always liked that about his work and 11.22.63 did not disappoint. Well worthy of your time. Do pick up this book. I can’t wait to see what Mr. King has in store for us next.
Until Next Time!
Today I sit here looking at a blank page. Words escape me. Some would call this writer’s block. I just feel like my brain is empty. It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s that I’m not able to think of what to type. I figured I’d type up a daily update and see if words begin to flow. Some times that’s all it takes is a little kick to get things moving. Ignore email for a moment. Ignore the twitter feed for a moment. Look away from the comments on those blog posts.
It’s not that I haven’t been writing words. I’ve done a great deal of work today. I took a break intending to write this blog post and perhaps get a little written in Golden West and all I could do was stare at the screen and wait for something to fall out of my brain.
I’m pushing 200,000 words on the year. When I hit 225,000 I’m going to get myself a techy gift. I like to do this for myself and I feel the halfway point is a good time to do that. You may ask yourself what I’m thinking about getting. I’ve been asking myself the same thing.
I’m a mouse fan. I’m not a big fan of ‘hotkeys’ of key combinations. Yes, I know them. Yes, I use them. But I want a mouse with a lot of buttons. One that’ll allow me to do multiple things with my right hand instead of typing. Yes, I currently have a mouse with two regular buttons, a scroll wheel (that clicks and tilts), the back and forward buttons and even a button above the scroll wheel. There is a DPI button but I cannot modify that one. The mouse I have is the iHome (I forget the model) and it was $40. It’s a very nice mouse. Lightweight, cordless. It’s a good mouse.
I want something better. So I’ve been on the hunt for a mouse with multiple buttons. Yes, more buttons. I want a mouse I can program so rather than do all the hotkey combinations I need to do, I can just click and go. I know having a mouse with more buttons will take some getting used to, but I’m prepared for the challenge. I have a few I’m looking at, but rather than cloud your thinking with that I’m looking at, I’m curious what others who have multi-button mouses are using and why. I’m a programmer, not a gamer, but I’d like a mouse that would work for both (eventually)
If you aren’t using a standard mouse and you have one with more than your normal share of buttons, what is it and why did you chose the one you have? How do you like it? Would you suggest that mouse? Does it have multiple profiles available? It is easily programmable? Are the keys easy to get to? Is there a steep learning curve or can you just plug, program, and go? Can I easily program a macro ‘on the fly’?
Like I said, I’m at 192,000 words and when I get to 225,000 I’m going to be getting a new mouse. I’ll take pictures, leave a review, post my thoughts and opinions on it. It’ll be just like a book review. What I like and why, what I don’t like and why. This is a present to myself. I’m not shy about price if the product is a good fit for what I’m looking for.
Are you a mouse manufacturer? I’d be happy to do a review (I can also do a video review) if you send me a mouse. Again, I’m not an avid gamer, but I’d find a lot of other uses for a mouse being that I’m a programmer and speed is the key. How quickly and efficiently can it assist me with tasks I do over and over in a given day.
See, I’m now primed and ready to do more. I knew once I got started I’d be able to pound out some words. I think I’ll go pound out some more.
I didn’t post about ducks yet, did I?
Let me start out with a surprise I got today. My story, Don’t Use the Phone, got reviewed over at The Digital Inkspot. I was greatly surprised and delighted by the review. I saw another review for the same story that I somehow missed and was also happy with that review as well. It’s a great story (in my own opinion) and it’s still free. So go on over and grab yourself a copy!
So I was away for a few days. I did a LOT while up in the bay area. So much in fact that I’m surprised that I got any blog posts done. It was up early, to bed late. The last day it was in the second day of rain up there. My sinus gave me a reprieve the first day of rain. Perhaps it was all the Chinese and Indian and Sri Lankan food I ate while up there. But Wednesday did not agree with me at all. I was a slobbery mess and felt sorry for the kid sitting next to me on the plane ride home. I kept asking for more napkins from the stewardess and putting the used ones in my pocket. It wasn’t a happy trip home.
On the plus side, despite my head feeling like it was being crushed underwater, I wrote. I decided that I needed to heed my own advice and stuff head be damned I was going to write. I wrote in the airport… hold on, I’m missing a little point here.
I had left for the airport with ample time. Silly me, I said I’d fill up the rental car before I dropped it off. Silly mistake. There is apparently a law that forbids a gas station from being with 20 miles of the airport. Therefore I got to the airport, spotted where I needed to drop the car off, then remembered I needed to fill it up. I drove, and drove, and drove and even told my GPS navigator to find me a gas station. It did. I went there. Gas Station #1 didn’t take credit cards. Well, this was a company business trip, I needed to put the gas on the card, right? Gas station #2 also did not take credit cards. CONSPIRACY! Gas Station #3 did take credit cards. I locked up the pump and the guy said “Make sure you use the right zip code” I had, I tried again, locked up the pump again. He was busy under the hood of a car and said to try another pump. I did, it locked up also. I went to a third pump with my personal card, it locked up. I went to a fourth and tried it as debit. Locked that pump up. Other people started to arrive at the gas station so I left not wanted to feel the wrath of the man when he realized I’d locked up four of his gas pumps during the soon to be rush hour.
I went back to station #1, used my ATM to fill up the tank, and went to drop off the rental car. I dropped off the car and God decided I wasn’t damp enough and opened the sky a little bit more. Of course I didn’t see anyone so I flagged down a kid in a rain suit and he told me to quit standing in the rain and just leave the keys in the car. I did and made a bee line for the bus to the airport. God must’ve felt bad for the bus waited for me.
Getting back to the airport I took off my shoes and socks and put on filp flops. SO much easier to go through security. I stood that looking at my wet shoes and my carry on. I looked at the wet shoes again, gave them a shake and stuffed them in. I got my boarding pass, still tried to figure out why the crosswalk was outside saying “Walk, gotta get on” and decided that it was just some weird local custom I’ll never understand. People in line were friendly as were the TSA folk. My stuff made it through unscathed.
I sat in the airport and wrote. I wasn’t in the fiction writing mood, but I did write something that I will post here in the future. I wrote a lot (nearly 2000 words) before I got on and on the plane. My sinuses nearly shut me down, but we still went to the in-laws house and said hello and talked for a while before my father-in-law said I looked like I was going to fall out of my chair, which I nearly did, and we called it a day and went home. I took my hard core medicine and dumped my suitcase on the floor and at 7:30PM went to bed.
I woke up at 5AM, read for a little bit, went back to sleep, and woke up again at 6AM. I decided that was enough sleep and got up.
I like the Bay Area even if it did try to kill me, but hey, San Diego has tried to kill me before. I don’t hold it against them. I’m just happy to be home. Rain is scheduled for this weekend. I hope it doesn’t run me down too badly.
For those keeping score, I missed my 2000 word daily goal two of the three days I was away from home. That puts me a little behind, but as I keep saying, I can get caught up. Just you wait and see! Just you wait.