Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Trying to beat the games I have...

Popping games into easy mode and pounding through for the sake of beating thongs before I buy anything new. Beat uncharted at last. The game is like candy, with bright , pretty levels, and bright, pretty characters with something that quite nearly resembled a plot. The thing about games like this that irks me is the need for layer upon layer of bad guys and boss bad guys to make the game long enough. Also, the suspension of disbelief was negatively impacted by the surprising appearance of main characters at convenient spots. If anything the game would have increased length of playtime with a tighter plot by allowing the player to play as the different characters in different scenarios, and even allowing them to die if the play on until everyone is dead.

I guess being on an monster and mercenary island while spelunking for Spanish and Inca gold would have been a more interesting survival horror game, to me. All the elements were there. All that lacked was the urge of the design team to take their platformer to the next level of immersion. Back to Bioshock, then...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I think I may have written another book-length... Thing. Will send this off to some people, see what they think. Surrealist re-imaginings of Greek Myths, about women and a few monstrous women.

See what some people think. See what I think when I look away a while and look back.

It's raining. I feel like i'm being watched. Time to stop writing a little while and get my head back.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Decoy people

At a shopping complex where happy people meander all over on a Saturday afternoon. There's these statues here, bronzed people smiling and laughing and kids playing embracing riding bicycles together always ecstatic frozen in ecstasy so pure that can only come from retail therapy when the credit card bills never arrive and nightfall never falls on this one pure perfect summer day. These statues are joy.

They remind me of duck hunters floating decoys on a lake. Never see it coming. Never see a damn thing coming

Friday, May 28, 2010

don't stop

things that'll kill you if you do them, generally, you should stop. smoking'll kill you. so stop smoking. drinking, too. stop that shit right now. drugs are bad, m'kay, and so are people who do drugs because they claim to be your friends but they'll steal your shit in a heartbeat to get more shit for their heads. what else kills you? fast food, lethargy, filth, driving on the wrong side of the road, or sans seatbelt, or bicycling sans helmet on the wrong side of the road, or walking up and down stairs with your shoelaces untied. eating too much salt. eating no salt. drinking too much water. drinking no water.

if it'll kill you, stop. just stop.

and if writing is killing you, you should stop. you only get one life, and one body. you don't need to be famous. if you are hurting yourself while you are writing, by staying up too late or getting up too early, or diminishing your relationships with your friends and loved ones, then you should stop. slow down. reconnect. if you're hurting your health, stop.

if writing is killing you, slowly or fast, don't let it. stop before it does.

it isn't worth hurting yourself. you don't increase the quality of the work by hurting yourself.
(he says to himself at 12:30 in the morning, because he is reminding himself that it is time to stop and go to bed, because i have work in the morning and i have to sleep and i should take my own advice, which i am taking right...


Thursday, May 27, 2010

on ocean water

With the continuing armageddon of the gulf of mexico, i can't help but think of all the damage we do to the world's oceans. we melt the icecaps, flood the sea with plastics in a toxic gyre, acquire those plastics by drilling dangerous oil wells off shore that lead to spills, and that doesn't even begin to mention the constant drain on life that is the commercial fishing industry. (don't eat shrimp, by the way. or clams. oysters are cool.)

there's a system in place that's destroying everything: a system of industrialization and oil.

so there's a water cycle where life on this planet lives and breathes and washes clean.

so there's an oil cycle where life on this planet dies and chokes and floods dirty, oil pulled from seabeds, fed back into seabeds as plastic gyre, icecap-melting toxic fumes, settling in tar balls that will someday (technology-advancement-willing) get harvested off the sea floor for new oil.

so here's what i'm thinking we should do: moratorium. spend one year with no fishing, no pumping oil, no boats, nothing. let the water rest for a year. yeah, it might destroy our global economy, but it might be worthwhile to make people live regionally for a little while, and figure out exactly what things are actually worth when they come from your own communities at your own level of wealth.

i guess i'm just another kook on the internet. mayhap i should sign up for the republican's new website. i hear it's quite a "bring out yer dead" moment in the history of internet trolls and truthiness.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

i don't like book trailers.

was thinking about book trailers, and the possibility of making one.

was thinking they're the silliest thing i've ever seen emerge from the world of book marketing. i mean, really, people. you've got to be kidding me. anyone ever buy a book because of the trailer? ever had your opinion swayed by one? i haven't. more to the point, i have never, ever seen a book trailer with the kind of power and grace of something much closer to what a book trailer should be: a quick written preview of the style and tone of the book done with words and words and words and a little subtle imagery - static as book covers - but only words.

basically, this is the only "book trailer" that ever got me to buy a book:


it illuminated the book more than any video i've ever seen.

mayhap i'll emulate it, in my way. but, i'd rather do nothing than do something crappy.
this is the most important thing to remember about book promotion: only do what you can manage to do well. avoid anything you cannot do well until such time as you can do it well. doing something poorly is worse than doing nothing at all. *cough* If I may give you an excellent example of how to do it very, very, very, very poorly:

Doing something bad is worse than doing nothing at all. Before this awful trailer, I had no preconceived notion about the book whatsoever. Right now, I cringe at the idea of even touching the book, because it burns me, this book, after such terrible advertising.

Monday, May 24, 2010

attack of the killer tomatoes...


[quote] Even in the fresh-market world, not everyone is convinced that heirlooms taste best. "What is good flavor?" says Teresa Bunn, a breeder at Seminis, a seed company owned by Monsanto. "Everyone has a different perception. You can do things to boost sugars and acids, but people want a different balance. It's hard to get people to agree on the same thing." There's also the issue of how appearance and "mouth feel" affect the perception of tomato quality. "If you're blindfolded, an orange tomato may taste good, but a lot of people won't buy an orange tomato," Bunn says. Most eaters mistrust mealy tomatoes, even if they are flavorful. Still, heirloom tomatoes do tend to have more intense flavors, Bunn says. "You can think of a tomato as a factory, with each leaf a worker. Heirlooms have fewer fruit and more factory. On the commercial side, farmers are paid for yield. They want as many fruit as they can get. A lot of times it's perceived that heirlooms are better tasting, but it could be that they just pack more flavor into them. And just because it's an heirloom doesn't mean it's a good tomato." Flavor is in the mouth of the taster.



He visits Mexico, where the American entrepreneurs who run Del Cabo Farms are trying to help local farmers make a living by growing new hybrids to be shipped to U.S. markets. The question, Allen notes, is whether their tasty tomatoes will hold their flavor and form during the long journey north.

That musing leads into an examination of U.S. tomato breeding that has created ever firmer, but increasingly bland, fruit. As labor problems and costs grew in California's tomato industry, farmers growing tomatoes for ketchup, sauce and other products turned to mechanical harvesting. Mechanical harvesters require tomatoes that fall off the vine when shaken -- but not before -- and can withstand sorting. Allen recounts how researchers at the University of California, Davis, helped develop these



Excess sodium is a leading cause of fluid retention and unhealthy fluid balance. It can also exacerbate high blood pressure by placing an additional burden on the heart. Nutritionists claim that people in the United
States consume as much as five times the daily recommended amount of sodium in their diet. While many people have put down the salt shaker, it takes more to cut sodium significantly. Many common foods have high sodium content, and some of them may surprise you.

It's no secret that processed foods contain a high amount of sodium, but just how much sodium they contain may surprise you. A one ounce slice of American cheese has 406 mg of sodium-that's over 20% of your daily recommended daily sodium intake. Chicken noodle soup is a childhood staple, but with 1107mg of sodium for one cup, it should only be eaten as a special treat and never with a grilled cheese sandwich. Chocolate pudding isn't salty, or is it? One half cup serving of pudding has 470 mg of sodium. A fast food fish sandwich has 882 mg, but even that isn't as much as the 1498 mg of sodium in just one cup of tomato sauce


"Likewise, Italian restaurants often rely on high-sodium canned tomato products for their red sauces and use plenty of sodium-laden cheese."



[not on-line completely, yet. just stopping in to think out loud because i was thinking about how i eat a lot of processed foods and it's kind of a system that creates the trend that leads to me eating a lot of processed foods, even when i don't want to. the world is trying to kill us, i reckon. kraft and monsanto, especially.]

Friday, May 21, 2010

Not a real update...

Just a quick drive-by in between tasks at work to spread a little news.

"3-Lobed Burning Eye" will be going live with a reprint of The End of Her World later this week, or next.

"The Land Bridge" a POD experiment by Zachary Jernigan, a friend of mine from Grad School, will be including a reprint of LAST STAR, first appearing in Coyote Wild Magazine, back in December of 2007.

I'm still sans internet at home, and loving it. I'm getting there. I've even settled on a title that works really well, for now, if this weird thing is even a book:

Arias for Women and Monsters

Been reading and reading, as well. Scott Wolven's excellent short story collection is excellent:

Ian MacDonald's Excellent First Novel is Excellent, but full of a surprising number of weird typographical and copy-editing errors:

Michael Cisco's Excellent First Novel is Excellent:

Thomas Ligotti's Excellent Collection is Excellent:

John McPhee's Pretty Good Collection of Magazine Articles About Shipping is Pretty Interesting:

And... Back to work at work.

Someday, when I enjoy the absence of such things less, I will turn on the internet for my new computer.

I love my new computer. It is an ergonomically-friendly, energy-efficient, word-processing-and-nothing-else tiny box of awesome:

Friday, May 14, 2010

My new computer isn't on-line right now, nor do I want it to be. It's really fun to be on an isolated box, far-away from the gizmos and gadgets of the world, completely dedicated to finishing this thing that I need to finish, because I'm near a finish-line.

Next thing I'm doing is this big, crazy surreal mosaic about mythical women that deserved better than the greeks gave 'em.

don't know if it's a book or not, yet, but it is definitely interesting, and hoeffentlich bits and pieces of it shall be scattering about the slush piles of the world to see if it is as interesting to others as I think it is.

The internet will most certainly be here when I feel like coming back, I'm sure.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Home Computer Down...

At work right now. Home computer is down for the count. No worries, though, as I had plenty of backups. It actually died right after a weekly backup, so I lost no files.

I just have no way of opening them, at the moment, except at work.

Will be formulating a solution soon. In the mean time, no updates for a while, until this resolves.