• Entertainment,  Gaming,  Uncategorized

    Rediscovering Halo

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    When I bought the Xbox One a couple of years ago, I specifically got the Halo edition because it came with Halo 5 and I’ve been a fan of the series since I discovered it in 2003, a couple of years after the first one came out. The new console also came with the Master Chief Collection, which puts the first six games into an integrated collection.

    When STO (my primary gaming entertainment for the last year or two) was having its recent update snafu and I couldn’t play for a couple of days, I happened to notice the Collection was still installed, though I’d never actually booted it up. Perhaps it was time to visit an old friend. I played the first two missions and have played four more since, enjoying it like a comfortable re-read.

    But it’s just the campaign aspects of the games I’m interested in; it’s all about the story for me. I’ve never been a PVP fan, though I enjoy cooperative play if it’s done well. When the kids were younger (and all three of mine played some version of Halo at some point), I’d play with them to have some extra time with them, and they were into the multiplayer experience. I never got good at it, but I got good enough that they weren’t leaving me too far behind, and we had fun together. Left to my own devices, though, if we aren’t working together to achieve an objective, I’ve got no interest. So I probably won’t be looking at the online play much, if that’s even still a viable thing with the release of the most recent game five years in the past.

    If I keep enjoying it, there are six more games to replay between now and the release of Halo Infinite, whenever that happens to be.

    Of course, it’s not lost on me that I’m making he discovery at a time when my life is changing and I’ll need to be very, very focused on other things if it works out (more on that next week, really).

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Uncategorized

    Wing Chun Dummy Update

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    A few days ago, I detailed most of the DIY martial arts equipment I’ve crafted for myself. I left out a couple of things, like the gripping jars (nigiri game), but since those are really just pickle jars of a certain lid size with sand poured into them until they reach a certain weight, they’re not all that exciting to look at.

    The last thing I put in that post is the current project, the simplified Wing Chun training dummy, and I thought I’d put a bit of an update on that. When last we saw the dummy, it looked like this:

    Now, after a couple of coats of a nice red stain (and drying overnight), varnish (and drying overnight), and the appropriate padding added, it looks like this:

    And I’ll be hanging it in the garage tomorrow morning, a couple of feet over from my wall-mounted tire makiwara.

    The home dojo is slowly coming together. Someday, I hope to have stolen half the garage for training purposes. Right now, I’ve got about a quarter of it. The other quarter will take time as there’s still a lot of stuff to deal with.

    But I’m happy with the results so far, even if I don’t necessarily want to share pictures of the whole thing.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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  • Opinion,  Poetry,  Uncategorized

    America Is Burning

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    I’m not seeing it as much on Mainstream Media as I was a week ago, but it’s still all over my social media and independent services. Protests, anger, people whose eyes are finally open to the racism all around us. Spread across the world.

    Eight minutes and 46 seconds.

    I live in Canada and we often pride ourselves on how much better we are than the States when it comes to pretty much every social issue you want to name. Better isn’t the same as good, though, and you can find plenty of news stories just in the past week to show that we have a lot of the same issues and the same problems and the same blindnesses as our neighbour to the south. We don’t talk about them as much because we don’t really want to see them, but they’re there.

    And we’re not on fire at the moment. At least, not yet.

    I’m writing all the time and poetry has always been a piece of things for me. The poem that follows is a small chunk of my emotional reaction to what’s going on in the US, but I’m worried about Canada, too. The poem is a week old now, and could have been written a week or more before that if I could have put the words together.

    A couple of days ago, I managed to find the verbal expression to record myself reading it, and posted it on my under-used Youtube channel. If you’re interested, I’ve embedded the video below the poem.

    Stay safe and be well, everyone.

    And stay angry. Channeling that is the only way things will change.

    America is burning
    And so many wonder why
    America is burning
    Its promises lost in lies
    Of a nation built on ashes
    Soaked in blood, and scarred by lashes
    Its leader, whose constant tweeting
    Serves the beating
    Of his chest, his old and pasty minions
    Offer the same stretched-thin opinions
    Of entitlement and division
    Bring a new collision
    Every moment, sowing hate and fear
    Grinding down any who should appear
    To disagree
    With the myth that they are free
    Because, obviously,
    America is burning.
    And it’s difficult for me
    To find a way to see
    Why it isn’t just and right
    For the fires to roar through day and night
    The silenced voices to be heard
    The nation’s vision a bit less blurred
    Except by tears
    For lives lost over years
    Awaiting more than heart-felt words
    To soothe despair still churning
    Underneath the golden sheen
    Of an ever-tarnished, dying dream
    America is burning

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  • Uncategorized

    Writing Update for the Week Ending 11 June 2017

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherTwo weeks in a row with the writing report. I’m going to count this as a win, although I posted nothing but book reviews this week. I had intended more, but we’ll try harder in the coming days.

    Accomplishments this week:

    1. Draugr Rising 3rd Draft – finished. Not that I had much left to go, but it’s still worth noting.
    2. Book Review Catch Up – turned my point form notes into actual reviews for the remaining half dozen books I’ve finished recently.
    3. Undead Story Selection. Squeezed this down to 95,000 words worth of stories. Most, but not all, of those are in a first draft state. 40 stories and flash pieces. A nice number. Editing will start shortly, but I’d like to clear a few other things off the project list before I get deep into it.

    So, pulling those off the list that leaves the current “next 10” as follows:

    1. Shrine 1st Draft
    2. Star Trek Marathon Logs Redux
    3. Scattered on the Wind Final Draft
    4. Star Trek Comic Strips
    5. Novella/Novelette Review Catch Up
    6. Haiku Selection
    7. Fractured Unity 1st Draft
    8. LoC 2 Plot
    9. Fallen Heroes Outline
    10. Star Trek Book/Comic/Merch

    LoC = Lords of Creation, a species of aliens in Universal Destiny. I have a few notes made for the sequel, but nothing resembling an actual plot yet. That’s the step I’m looking for here.

    Fall Heroes is the third book in the Heroes Inc. trilogy. This is plotted at the chapter level. Ish. Needs more detail and to be broken down at the scene level so I can then ignore that when the characters tell me they want to go their own way.

    And there are still pieces of the Year of Trek to get done. Lots of them.

    But the lion’s share of creative time right now should be spent on the first draft of Shrine, book two of the poorly-named Troll Wars Quartet. Poorly named, because there’s barely one war and it’s not happening in this book. I’ve just finished reading what I’ve previously drafted so I have a good grip on the story. And I can already see at least two more spots I want to diverge from the established outline.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Life,  Uncategorized

    That’s My Secret, Cap

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    Why so angry?

    Come on Lance, you’re a white, middle class male in western society. You’ve got it great compared to most of the rest of the people in the world. What can you possibly have to be angry about.

    Really?

    War, human rights abuses, atrocities committed in the name of ideology or religion or politics, ideology and religion and politics generally, inequalities at every level and in every aspect of every society across the planet, animal treatment and factory farming, ecological destruction, ignorance and stupidity, apostrophe abuse. I could go on. There’s so much to be angry about, I wonder quite frequently why everyone else isn’t.

    It should be easy to overlook or dismiss so much of it as not affecting me directly. That’s what most people do with most things. I have to keep my job, support my family, deal with life. Who has time to be angry?

    Apparently I do. It doesn’t take extra time to be angry, but just being angry doesn’t do any good. It does take extra time to react appropriately, and my time, with family, work, and other obligations, comes at a premium. I can’t just respond to everything that pisses me off. I have to pick and choose the things that are really worth the emotion, but just being angry back at something isn’t generally helpful.

    So I have a rule of thumb: respond in stillness.

    Anger has to be focused and channeled to do any good. Flying off the handle when something makes you mad just makes you another troll, whether that’s on the internet or in real life. Only once I’ve examined the cause of the anger and why I’m feeling it, and calmly figured out the appropriate response will I let that response happen.

    So I have to pick and choose (and sometimes I’m still wrong, but that’s okay – when I’m wrong, I get the opportunity to learn something, often about myself) and I have to make the response after consideration.

    But again, why should I bother?

    I think I’ve come up with a very simple answer to that question: no lasting change ever came about because someone was happy about something. Anger pushes things forward, if you can control it.

    Maybe the only thing I’m changing is the way one particular person is looking at an issue, or maybe I’m the pebble that finally starts the avalanche without realizing it. Maybe I’m change the way I think about something. Any of those is worth the time it takes to focus the anger.

    And maybe I’m not the only one who feels this way. Maybe someone reading this does, too.

    Stay angry, my friends.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Life,  Uncategorized

    Sneaky Ego

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherNever make the mistake of thinking you’re above ego, or beyond it. Flattery is always possible and can take a lot of different forms. Being asked for an opinion or participation by someone you respect is a less obvious form of flattery but one that’s very likely to touch your ego, make you stand a little straighter, make you work a little to be worthy of that flattery in your own eyes.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that, at least until you unconsciously step over a line your probably didn’t even know was there and allow your desire to live up to expectations to pull you out of the moment and into a private one where only our experience matters.

    Your ego just took over without consulting the rest of your brain. Sometimes, it’s irritating being human. Not that there are many other choices.

    Be well, everyone. And be vigilant.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • NaNoWriMo,  Uncategorized,  Writing

    True NaNoWriMo Victory

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    My hands slipped from the panel, but the impressions they’d been in remained. The cavern lights stayed on, and the panel didn’t drain back into the floor. Tears started again, real tears now, streaming from eyes finally free to weep. I’ve been angry, and I’ve been guilty, or felt that way, but I couldn’t until just that moment actually grieve for my best friend.

    Goodbye, Hoshi.

    So I finished “Scattered on the Wind” on the way home tonight. Finished dictating it, at least, meaning that the principal story is complete at, currently, 62,322 words.

    I say currently because the word count will keep increasing for a little bit, probably a week or so past the end of NaNoWriMo. This is because I have, at the moment, only cleaned up the dictation as far as chapter 15. In terms of raw words, that’s 57% of the story, and in terms of chapters, it’s exactly half.

    It’s strange how much of the last three chapters, and in particular the final chapter, have been a struggle to get out. It’s almost like I didn’t want to finish the book. More likely, it’s that I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted leading up to the final moments. That’s slowed me down a couple of times in this first draft and probably means I’ll have more to clean up in those sections.

    Either way, the story is complete, and it is a complete story, although the final scene leaves things quite open for a sequel if choose to write one. And I may, because I have a couple ideas of things that might happen in it, but not yet. There are too many other stories I need to I had, and and a couple of them are rather pressing on my mind.

    I think I may have mentioned at some point that I have around 20 or 25,000 words left on the second book of The Godquest and I’m going to start back on that tomorrow. If I can maintain the NaNoWriMo pace I’ve been on, it should take only about a week and a half. If I can maintain the pace.

    I’m still plotting the first book of Peace Bringers, but I’ve also been doing some re-plotting on a story I started last year and stalled on about a third of the way through. Draugr Rising will be my next focus, right after I finish book 2 of The Godhead and it probably needs about 50,000 words yet. Then Peace Bringers.

    No rest for the wicked, no rest for the weary, no rest for the writer with too many ideas.

    Be well, everyone.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  • Tech,  Uncategorized

    Entering the Tablet World

    Facebooktwitterrssyoutubeby featherI decided a while back that my next computer would probably end up being a tablet. My current laptop is starting to stagger and I’ve just about had it with burning through laptops in a couple of years. There are too many of them in the house anyway.

    On Labour Day at Best Buy, while browsing the tablet section, I allowed my wife to talk me into a Surface. Between the sale and the recent price reduction, it’s was a pretty sweet deal. Out of stock in the store, we were able to order it online. It arrived this morning about 20 minutes before I had to leave for work. Awesome timing. I was able to open the box and plug it in before I left.

    Now, I’m not a huge Microsoft fan, exactly, but I think every computer I’ve ever had has run some kind of windows, except for the old desk top I’m experimenting with Linux on. And I’ve been following stories and reviews on the Surface. I’m not going to give any serious opinions yet, but I want to be impressed. Everything I’ve read tends to be polarized and partly depending on when it was written; the more recent, the more favourable the review, it seems, so I’m hopeful. I’ll post bits and pieces on what I discover and accomplish with my new device as we go along.

    But right now I have to go play with it. While I’m still awake.

    Inside this box...
    Inside this box…

    IMG_2313
    There’s another box. And inside that box…

    My new Surface RT.
    My new Surface RT.

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