Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Twitter Short Stories: An Odd Osment Moment

I randomly wrote a short story on Twitter the other day. I was creatively inspired after watching a weird movie on Netflix. It was fun to make these tweets so I might do this again in the future!
























A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE: a reread project – Forward into AGOT – Part 2

SPOILERS AHEAD (don’t read on or click links below if you don’t want to be spoiled) 

Nothing has been curing my brain’s appetite for deep thought quite like G. R. R. Martin’s fantasy-series masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire. Lately, I’ve been delving into the ASOIAF Reddit, listening to podcasts (such as Radio Westeros and A Podcast of Ice and Fire), and watching YouTube theories (from awesome people like Preston Jacobs and Alt Shift X).
This is Part 2 of a series of notes/thoughts/observations/etc (HERE IS PART 1). that I’ve been taking as I reread the entire series. I’ve been marking up my book with ink pens and tiny bookmarks as if I were analyzing this for a lit class. I’m sharing it here for fun, and as my small contribution to the fandom.
CAUTION SPOILERS – I am not going to hold back on spoilers going forward. Text from Books 1-5, The Winds of Winter sample chapters, Game of Thrones TV show, The World of Ice and Fire, and anything else I can find will be posted. Do not read on if you do not want to be completely spoiled about everything.
Arya I - Jon Snow and Arya are sitting on a sill and staring down at the other Starks kids and Joffrey and Tommen training down in the yard. Arya asks Jon why he isn't down there with them, and he says, "Bastards are not allowed to damage young princes," he said. "Any bruises they take in the practice yard must come from trueborn swords."

It's interesting when you think through this quote, since Jon, if a Targ, might truly be a prince and Joff and Tommen are truly bastard born from incest.

Also in Arya I is a moment of potential foreshadowing: Arya and Jon are talking about how Arya ran away from her Septa's sewing lesson. Jon says, "The longer you hide, the sterner the penance. You'll be sewing all through winter. When the spring thaw comes, they will find your body with a needle still locked tight between your frozen fingers." To which Arya responds how that isn't fair or funny.

In Tyrion I there's this exchange:


"Oh, yes," Tyrion admitted. "I hope the boy does wake. I would be most interested to hear what he might have to say."
That, to which Tyrion says, "You know how much I love my family." This scene has always stuck out at me because for one thing, Tyrion DOES love Jamie, if not anyone else in his family. I don't think Tyrion would do anything to endanger Jamie. However, I don't understand why Tyrion is having this conversation out in the open.

Jon II has this gem: "Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle. Who knows?" I wonder if Arya will ever see Jon again. In the outline of the entire series that has come out, Jon was once supposed to fall in love with Arya. If Jon became king, it's also possible that Arya could marry someone at his court and live there. Who knows? Hah!

Tyrion II has a few notes: It's interesting to note that Tyrion borrowed a selection of rare books from the Winterfell library (before the library would later burn, that is). That makes him an unlikely keeper of Stark knowledge that might be relevant later. He might know a few secrets about Winterfell or Old God magic.

Turning the page, Tyrion is shown visiting the dragon skulls in King's Landing. Nineteen skulls, and one of them "watched him go." At the end of the chapter, Tyrion is staring at Jon Snow in the same way, with similar descriptions as the skulls.


And that shall close Part 2 of this blog series. I’ve read far beyond, but I don’t want to make these blogs too long. Anyway, thanks for reading, and tell me if I missed anything! Special thanks to http://www.asearchoficeandfire.comfor helping me keep track of chapter names and quotes!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mac’s El Capitan update is terrible and frustrating


I just wanted YouTube to work on Firefox.

That’s all!

I have so many bookmarks and systems saved to Firefox, that I really did not want to move to Chrome. I love watching Internet videos, though, and the updates I needed FORCED me to update to the new Mac OS, El Capitan.

My videos work now, but here’s everything that has stopped working:

1. My scanner no longer links to my computer directly. My Mac cannot see my scanner. I’ve tried everything. This sucks for me because I use my scanner all the time.

2. Image Capture does not find any of my hardware. Yes, I have Googled this problem and found written solutions, but none of them have worked.

3. Everything is slower. Windows and documents and pictures now take waaaaaaay longer to load. My desktop chugs to try and load icons.

4. I can no longer use calculator at a quick whim. I know there’s this new side-window thing now, but it takes too long to load and the calculator must be clicked to select it.

5. The green circle at the top left corner of my windows now expands everything to fullscreen mode. I hate full screen mode with a passion. So, now, to get my windows to size properly, I have to drag the corners to where I want them. Apple, I hate you.

6. The new Itunes is always awful, but this is getting ridiculous. Somehow, Apple thinks I want to stare at giant icons and album artwork. I don’t! If I wanted album artwork, I would have bought a physical copy of the disk! I want my lists! Itunes is getting worse and worse. Heck, I’ve even downloaded Winamp for Mac… All I need is a new Podcast service, and I’m done with Itunes forever.

7. The new update resets all of the little settings I’ve spent years fine-tuning. Little selections like having crop tools not snap to a grid are all reset back to factory-standard. How annoying this is at every turn!

8. And this one is the most annoying. El Capitan hates my keyboard. I’ve always hated the flat Apple-ified keyboard that comes with the Mac. I need to feel a button press down. Also, I hate wifi keyboards because they are always shotty. I’m a writer; I don’t want to write an entire novel on a crappy flat keyboard or with something that requires a new battery every two hours. I need wired keyboards that have buttons that feel right. So, I use standard keyboards. However, now, every time my screen saver pops up my keyboards goes to sleep and can only be resuscitated by unplugging it and then plugging it back in. It’s so frustrating! I turn my screen off every time I leave, and I have a password lock so that nobody else snoops in it while I’m away. Now, however, I cannot key my password without unplugging and replugging in my keyboard each and every single stinking time. GRAAAH!

Summary: El Capitan is so terrible that I’m pledging right now to make my next (and soon approaching) computer purchase a Windows PC.

Apple, if you find this somehow and want to help me solve these issues and make me reconsider my loyalty to you, please email me at oxyborb@gmail.com


Monday, November 23, 2015

Fallout November


My last blog was Oct 20th, so here’s all that’s happened since:

I switched to a different position at my job, and it’s awesome. I get paid to watch movies on Fridays, now. Also, I have some of the students that I had a long time ago, and it’s good to have them back.

I spent Halloween handing out candy and showing off my new Cerberus animatronic. It was great.

I went to a Halloween+Thanksgiving+Birthday party with a ton of people I don’t know. Sometimes I’m great at sinking into a new group, sometimes I’m awful. This time, I was OK. I chatted with my friend’s girlfriend about Mario Kart and other games, and I met a few people I’ve seen around town but never have spoken to. Also, I saw Corey of Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship dressed as Burt Reynolds from SNL’s parody of Celebrity Jeopardy.

BTW, if you don’t know what Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketshipis, watch:


So awesome! I love this band. They have the best audience engagement ever.

I had dreams about farming and raising bees, Five Nights At Freddy’s haunted houses, Bloodraven from ASOIAF, and one where my house slid down a giant mudslide.

I got Fallout 4, also. It’s from my ABSOLUTELY FAVORITE game developer, Bethesda Games Studios. It’s amazing.

My mom had a birthday, and I got her a light-up Three Kings for her Nativity set.

My buddy came into town and we did some Christmas shopping. He told me about his new girlfriend, who seems to be truly awesome.

I took a paid-time-off day and began a new artistic project.

As of typing this right now, I’m about to go on a field trip to a circus with my school. I love getting paid for doing fun things. Today is going to be great. It’s only a three day week, too, as Thanksgiving is coming and then a 4-day weekend. How nice!

Anyway, I wanted to save this for the end. The Paris attacksthat happened on 11/13/15 shook the world. What an awful thing to happen to humanity. I will never understand what kind of brainwashing people who become terrorists must go through to think that mass murder is necessary. Nobody ever thinks of the terrorists, but I can’t imagine what has been done to them to twist them so badly into doing such evil. They can’t be sane any longer. I couldn’t imagine killing a person under any circumstance, much less training and being brainwashed my whole life to kill people. Paris is such a tragedy, and I wish them peace.

Thanks for keeping up with me! You can find me @Oxyborb on Twitter.

...all this time...


Truly, I’ve been extremely busy since April, and even more so since August. But, what was consuming my time finally ended, and my life has freed up dramatically.

It’s weird to have free time. So weird that I am determined to fill it. I
recently met up with a friend about a new artistic project. I want to make videos or start a podcast or something. Art that I can do regularly, quickly, and socially.

Writing a novel can be very lonely work, and my long-term vision is not rewarding in the short-term. I mean to publish a book (by whatever means, is to be determined), but what that equates to is that I cannot show my book to the world to consume. I don’t have people reading and telling me what they think of my book (besides my beta-readers, but that’s different). 

For artists, engagement with an audience is a reward, and it’s one I haven’t been feeling since my focus has been on writing novels that I have to keep mostly secret. A long time ago,
I used to write songs and I was the lead singer of a band. I could play a show or write a new song and feel the reward of engagement with people. It doesn’t take months to pick up a guitar and play as it does to write a novel.

So, that’s where I’m making plans. I’m beginning a project that will allow me to create art that is quicker to produce, gets me socially active, and is easy to send out for people to engage with. It’ll probably be on YouTube or in a podcast form.

My novel, meanwhile, is still going really well. I’ve been working to make it perfect, and as a teacher, the notion of Christmas break excites me.

Thanks for keeping up with me! You can find me @Oxyborb on Twitter.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

On Kotaku’s “A Price Of Games Journalism”


This is a response blog post to this article.

To sum it up: Kotaku, a blog about video games, leaked secret information about two games before they were even announced to the public, and the companies who make those games blacklisted them from any further interviews, inquiries, or early copies of games. Kotaku’s article makes the argument that they are writing for the fans, not for game developers, and that posting the leaks was in the name of good journalism.

My response:

You’re not a hero. Posting about video games is not heroic. You’re not saving lives. You’re not leaking an internal company document that says there is a severe problem in a new model that causes car crashes. You’re not getting the inside scoop about hostages in a war-torn county. You’re not busting down a drug ring.

You’re leaking video games before the company is ready, and that’s not a heroic journalistic ideal. You’re not using journalism to do good in the world; you’re using a shady source to generate clickbait (which means ad revenue).

Posting about games before they are announced hurts the companies that make them. Hurting a marketing plan can cost that developer money. It’s basic. You’re endangering the jobs of game developers so that your site can generate more clicks. It’s selfish.

Of course developers are going to cut off media outlets that are actively and knowingly hurting them. You’ve hurt these developers, but you’re only posting about this now because you realize that your leaks have come around to hurt you.

You deserve the blacklist.

One last thing: You’re so upset about this company trying to control the way people talk about the games, and yet you have an “approved” comment system? Hah. I scrolled through the comments on your article, and sure enough, almost every single one I saw was in your favor (...never before has the gaming community been this united...). It makes it seem like you're deleting any remark that disagrees with you. The pic is a screencap I took of your post when I tried to hit the reply button:


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Halloween 2015

 I love Halloween.

It is how I describe my personality. I am Halloween. I am mischievous fun. I am autumn.

This year I bought a few new toys. The biggest being... Cerberus.


 He spits fog. He lights up. He barks. I love him!
Here's a video:


Cool right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Looking forward to November

I get so excited about the Halloween season that I start it around August 20th, when the Halloween shops open. Now, I can't stop thinking about Christmas.

I know. I'm ridic. 


But November is going to rock for me. My favorite game-maker, Bethesda, is releasing Fallout 4. As a school teacher, I get Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving (+Friday) off. I took a PTO day on the 18th, as well. Meaning, I only have one 5 day week in November. Two four-dayers, and one three dayer.

There's also a field trip to a circus that Thanksgiving week, so that'll feel more like a 2-dayer. Then it's straight on until Christmas, which is 11-days of paid relaxation. HOW NICE!

But, I love Halloween. I do. It's nice that it's on a Saturday. I'm excited to wear a costume to school (I'm thinking of going as Gargamel, since I have a student that loves Smurfs). Last week, I went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. There's nothing better than wandering around a pumpkin patch. I might go this weekend, just for fun. 


Still, November is the month I'm excited for.

In other news, last weekend I was a monster in a haunted trail for cub scouts. I do this every year, but it was still really fun. The stars were out that night. I realized that it had been a long time since I've seen them, and it was refreshing. It reminded me how small earth is, in the scope of things. How many planets and stars are out there! 

My time has been freeing up lately. I've been so, so busy since August. It's nice to be able to consider more about life than just work. I have more time for art. I began rereading Half-Blood Prince. Haha.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Creativity in Writing: Part 1

Don’t be weird for the sake of being weird.

If you’re writing about a creature with fly-wings, bunny ears, and wheels for feet, then I expect your world has less gravity to support easily torn wings, large predators stomping around loudly, and paved grounds covered in blacktop.

Weirdness in writing requires logic. You must have a reason for something to drift so far outside of a box. 


 The real world is the box. What is now is in the box. Our dreams can go beyond. Fiction allows others to see your dreams, like a map. Inventors, scientists, and engineers have this, too. Plans, schematics, formulae…

What if I put Chemical X with Chemical Y?

The curiosity drives the test-tube holder to pour them together.

That is what creativity is, mostly. Putting one thing next to another in a way that nobody has thought of before. Before reading this sentence, you’ve probably never imagined what an Eleraffe looks like, but now you’re trying to puzzle together an elephant and a giraffe. Does the elephant’s trunk have to be as long as its neck?

Weirdness is something I thrive on, and my experience has taught me how to repackage it so that it is digestible for a target audience. In writing, this is extremely important. Why does Alice in Wonderland work? Why does a cat’s smile lingering after the rest disappears make sense to the consumer of this media? Why don’t we question why a walrus and carpenter are friends?

It’s because we know that there’s something up with that book. We know that it’s framed as some sort of dreamlike state, written by an intoxicated mind. The readers tumble down the rabbit hole in the beginning, and from there they are “matrixed” into the world of weirdness.

I have more to say, but I’ll continue this is Part 2.

Hogwarts Recreated in Super Mario Maker!






Minecraft, Terraria, Lego... Anytime there is a creativity tool for nerds, there usually ends up being a Hogwarts recreation. There's a good reason for this: Hogwarts is home to many people who fell in love with Harry Potter's world. 

So, when I got Mario Maker, my mind went there. I decided to play my hand at making Hogwarts within the Mario universe. Above is the Hogwart's crest.

You can play it, too! Here is the course ID: 1C0E-0000-00A4-1A1C

Please leave me a star if you've enjoyed it! More stars means more level slots for me to build with! Also, leave a comment here with your username and I will return the favor with stars on your levels! Thanks ahead!

 

 Here is the astronomy tower. Who is that teacher? Don't kill him!

MORE PICTURES AFTER THE JUMP!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Showcasing My Levels in Super Mario Maker: Issue #1

Mario Maker is awesome, and I've been making a bunch of cool levels. This is just a showcase of those, not the review.

Please STAR my levels and FOLLOW me, so we can play together. Leave a comment here and let me know! I will star and play your levels, gladly! Seriously, I'll star them all so you can get your medals bumped up!




Here are some of the levels I've designed (note, if you go to my in-game profile and follow me, you won't have to imput the codes for each one. Just look at the other levels I've designed in my in-game profile):



 

 

Ice & Fire

One of the best levels I've made! This level has about 10 different branching routes you can take/explore. Also, there are two really awesome boss fights to encounter. Secrets. Bonus areas. Sub-levels.

Course ID: FD13-0000-0070-1B5F













Goombablock Fort

My first level evolved quite a bit as more parts unlocked for me. I've recently remastered this level to make it one of the coolest ones I have. The difficulty is medium, but there are many ways to beat this one. Try and find the Shoe Goomba, while you're at it.

Course ID: 48F7-0000-006D-D294










Otherside Haunted Manner

I wanted to make a haunted house that had legitimately scary moments. I designed this to have a tone that is eerie, with repeating level designs and a broken-building look. Like any good haunt level, mine is a search for a secret exit. Good luck!

Course ID: E255-0000-0072-997A



 THE CHALLENGE!

Beat these levels and leave a comment! Post a picture of your high score and I will post your levels on my blog and declare you the King of that level! Please star my levels and let me know so I can star you back!




I don’t watch TV. I don’t have a phone.


phone

I’ve been opening up to my co-workers lately, and they all think I’m a conundrum. How does someone exist in 2015 that doesn’t watch TV or have a cell phone? I guess I’m weird.

When I moved back from Seattle, I shut my Washington-based line down and I didn’t replace it. I have a phone, two in fact. I have my old Droid and an iPhone that I got for free after a family member got an upgrade. I wanted it to listen to podcasts in my car.

I could activate it, I guess. I have far more than enough money (I’m making more $ than I ever have before). I have a buffed out savings account. There’s nothing holding me back. I just don’t want to because I hate phones.

I hate being contacted no matter where I go. I hate constant texting, that constant reassurance that one is loved. I hate how technology puts up walls between people to interact in the real world. Phones are shields blocking families from talking to each other at dinner. Phones are dividers between spouses while they lie in bed at night. Phones have replaced bikes, walking sticks, and the outdoors in general for children. Phones are obsessions.

btw, Happy Halloween
I hate how constant digital connection makes us all disconnected from the lives in front of us. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t miss having a phone.

 

tv

Someone literally described how they loved watching the Kardashians when I told them I don’t watch TV. They told me I’m missing out. Maybe I am. I wouldn’t know.

I don’t hate TV as passionately as I do phones; I just think it’s boring.

I studied literature. I am an aspiring writer, and I research tropes and plot lines to avoid. I tear apart storytelling so I can learn how to be good at it myself. And TV is boring for it. I can predict almost any televised fiction.

Reality TV, on the other hand, is boring to me too. I hate “voted off the island” situations. I hate heavy competitions, and people unrealistically speaking into a camera after the event happened. It’s not reality. It’s artificial reality. It’s planned and programmed and cut up and put back together. It’s forced drama and cliffhangers.

I watch Game of Thrones, I’ll admit. Although, it’s more like a movie, and the writing is good because it is based off an amazing book series. That’s 10 episodes of watching a year I do.

I know, I'm not a normal person, but I don't feel like I'm alone. 


Leave a comment if you don't use a phone or tv and tell me why. I want to know who else is out there like me.

Sketching with Harrison: Round 1

 So, I like to sketch. As you might have already seen, I like to take an art pen and doodle. Most people pluck out theirs phones and check their notifications when they have a moment of free time; I draw. I don't usually know what I'm drawing until it's out on the page, so that's what was happening here. (I'm not a professional artist, or even a wannabe, I just enjoy it)


 The drawing above began with the teeth. I drew teeth and teeth and more teeth and then I decided that I wanted to try and make whatever it was turn out to be cute and ugly at the same time. I think I succeeded.

(more after the jump)


I like to draw random body parts. I know, that's odd, but it's how I practice. The one above was all about how to combine them with eyeballs. 



Arrow man was originally just the line of his jaw, until I decided it looked like a jaw and began to make a head. This would have looked cooler if I had blackened the back of his head more. 



I drew this in a hotel room while my friends were all still asleep. It has be trademark eyedrop that I repeat in art so many times. Sometimes I try to repeat shapes or patterns. He's so happy!



Sometimes I just draw a picture of everything running through my brain at the time. I had been playing Batman, so there he is. Most of the rest of it has to do with Batman, in some way. It's hard to remember where it all came from. I drew this one while sitting awake in a person-I-just-met's apartment in Chicago.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The bittersweet emptiness of finishing The Witcher 3

I didn’t just beat the game; I got all the trophies (I played it on PS4). I don’t always aim to Platinum a game, but there are just some games that make me want to become a master of it. I have never played the first two games or read the books, so W3 was my first experience in this world.

a funny glitch I came upon
Now, my blog is about constructive criticism. I am a creative-type; I love thinking about how to improve games. I don’t usually gloat on and on because that’s boring to read, but I will say this:

The Witcher 3 is awesome storytelling. It takes each character from its huge cast through an individual story, allows you to get to know them, makes you love them, and then brings the entire cast back in the last act for a grand finish. The last act of the game, I kept saying to myself, “I love how all of these characters have come together. I love seeing ________ here.” Even minor characters, like a certain swamp godling, return for the last act. The whole thing gave me the feels. Well crafted dialog, well thought out plot, believable characters. Lore that is rich and rewarding. Monsters that give you the moral choices to allow them to live. The Witcher 3 left me feeling bittersweet about the game's end, because the character-drive writing was so, so good. I wish it could have gone on and on.

The Witcher 3 is a masterfully crafted work of fiction. Well done, CD Projekt Red!

Let me also gush on that developer. Wow, kids. You’re really a AAA dev now. I expect a million more games from you. Not only is the storytelling some of the best in gaming ever (right up there beside Mass Effect), but it also might be the absolute most beautiful game graphics I’ve ever seen. It’s stunning. I don’t even know how or why games would ever need to look better than this. Wow.

On top of all that, CD Projekt Red made me feel so excited and love-stricken with this dev before I had even popped the disk in the PS4. Just opening the package for this game yielded a helpful story booklet (for people like me who are new to The Witcher), a soundtrack (which is AWESOME, beautiful music), a nice unfolding map of the world (in full color), and a slip of paper with the note in red:

This was really classy. Really classy. I’m not being sarcastic. The dev is saying that they recognize how hard I’ve worked to pay for their game. It makes me feel good inside, to know that they intend to support me as much as I’ve supported them. This small slip of paper is AAA customer service from a AAA dev.

And they lived up to it, with honors. Most companies take ages to patch their games, but The Witcher 3 has been patched several times, and I’ve downloaded tons of free DLC. They listened to criticisms against the game, and they’ve reacted with fixes. I’m just really, really impressed.  

 
SPOILERS AHEAD! CAUTION! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

One Year of Daily Writing (not on this blog)


Today I achieved one year of writing down something from my life each day onto a calendar book that I got from a random credit union.


It’s really cool to remember things like my dream about a haunted centipede tattoo or that one guy who dressed up as Colonel Mustard at that Halloween party. I logged sad memories about a college buddy passing away and that day I got hit by a tornado while on Green Mount Road. This past year, I marched in a parade for a congressman, went 37 days without caffeinated beverages (…COFFEE…), saw a musical comedy in Chicago, road tripped to SOHO music fest, and pranked about a million telemarketers (and one very unsuspecting AT&T U-verse door-to-door dude).

Weird to see so much of it bunched up in a paragraph like that.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

More Kudanites and Master-of-None

My last blog post was partially about kudanites. These are creatures of my own invention, which came from inspiring pictures of seahorses I took. After drawing them last month and also editing chapters in which they are in, I felt so inspired to try my hand at sculpting one out of clay.

Here is the result:







It was modeled after these drawings (which I drew).








Here it is from the front and back. Weirdly flat.







The leg/tentacles were fun to do. The paint is mixed with metallic silver.







I tried to make a creature unlike anything I've seen in lit before.






The stand is a mint-container, loaded with rocks.






 

I have always excelled at art. I love painting, sculpting, writing, song composition... etc. But when I decided to become a writer, I knew I'd need to focus to actually master it. I didn't want to be the doer-of-all, master-of-none. So, I quit most of the other types of art I made. When I get the itch, I try to scratch it within the realm of my writing projects. This was that. I needed to sculpt, so I did something for my book.

My Wild Random Road Trip to Chicago

My weekend was wild. Absolutely wild.

a fantastic band
So, a week ago I posted on Facebook that I had a week off from my job (I work at a school, on break between summer and spring sessions). One of my old college friends responded. She had the idea to go to the zoo, so we did. It was great, but that’s not the wild part.

I got another response from my buddy, and he wanted to go on a random road trip. I thrive on weirdness and spontaneity, so I said yes. We left two days later (Thursday). 

touching a manta ray
He had a friend in an awesome band called Jetpack Hotline (check’em out!) and we went to their show, in a bar called Original Mother’s. It was a wild show. Beforehand, we had crawled around the city and rode the train. Somehow, we talked with a hundred locals and laughed with them. Everywhere we went we met people randomly.

The next day we drove out to the Navy Pier and then walked around the city. We drank coffee from a few places, and I had AMAZING donuts from a place called Stan’s Donuts. We walked to the Cloud Gate and then to Shedd Aquarium. We took the water taxi from there back to the Pier and finally partied there for awhile. 

good breakfast
We stayed the night at a friend from high school’s place and jammed out with his roommates. We went to a Spy Store, and checked out a bunch of weird spy gear you can buy. The next day we did coffee and then visited an old friend who used to run ITP (my old theatre company). We caught up, did a random hike, and talked with his fantastic girlfriend about dinosaur sign language and compared swords…

After that, I met my traveling bud’s college friends at a pub, and we ate lunch (I had brussel sprouts). We then went to a hilarious musical comedy called “Cupid Has A Heart On” and then went out clubbing. We danced until 3am and were brought up to V.I.P.P. status, which was crazy. I don’t even want to write all the crazy things that brought us up there. It was a fantastic night, though. 

this exists
Cloud Gate
I finally drove home on Sunday, detouring to a few random small towns, and then went through the hundreds of pictures we took. There are so many things that happened that I don’t want to type out here, but I will say that everything was amazing and random.

It’s just so awesome to have gone on vacation without a single bad thing happening. Nothing went wrong. Heck, even traffic and parking was OK. We did a good mix of touristy and not-so-touristy things. We walked the middle of the city and the neighborhoods in the outer districts. We hiked the waterfront and took a ride on a boat. We ate authentic food and homemade local affairs. We surfed the couches of a different person each night. It was so cool. I will remember this as one of the best experiences of my life. 

I'm in this photo with my hand held up
A big thank you to the awesome people that hosted me and my buddy for the nights we stayed, and also to the roommates (and one friendly dog) who allowed us into your homes. I also want to say how very lucky I feel to have met and interacted with so many new people over the course of the weekend. The bandmates/groupies, the random people at that Irish pub, the girlfriends, the random club bouncers, the college friends, that guy playing Ms. Pac-Man, and everyone else. It was a pleasure.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Please understand...

...how much the world will miss this man.


R.I.P. Satoru Iwata, President of Nintendo

Monday, July 6, 2015

What I found at an indie bookseller for a dollar is... Beyond Belief

I am a crazy horror fan. Specifically, I love anything that reminds me that Halloween is coming. I also love books, so when I saw Dracula's face on this book, Beyond Belief, I had to open it up.
What I found inside was even cooler than I imagined!


It's a pop up!!!


Inside the haunted house, there's a seance going on. If you shine a light into the chimney, an apparition appears. Some sort of mirror trick! I love it!


 Big foot.


Aliens!


Dracula! On the flip side of Dracula is a bat that hangs upside down when you close the book. 

There's only 4 pages, but I think it'll make a great coffee table book. It's really fun!

You can buy it on Amazon for cheaps!  This is not a paid promotion; I just really like the book!

Gloomy



Lots of storms in the Midwest. A big part of one of my trees fell over.


Much of my life in July has been trying to set myself into a good routine. I've been eating right, working out, and writing every day.

I'm not great at routine, because I love variety. I guess that's the hardest part. 

The only thing that knocked me off my routine (and he would have said it's no excuse) is that I had a friend pass away recently. He had an awful condition. It really hurts me to think that someone the same age as me is gone because of a disease. It sucks, truly. 

I feel like he could pop up on facebook at any moment and say something snarky to me. I will miss him. I'm going to his visitation today. It's going to be so weird. He would hate the whole thing. He was a metalhead, so any emotional shindig would have made him cringe.

This selfie I took is of my new Fallout 4 shirt. I love Bethesda games so I had to jump on this. It's cool looking, but the material is sorta cheap and it doesn't feel like the size I bought it in. Maybe I should just focus on losing the weight, right? Hah.

This month is going to go by fast. July is summer session at the school I work for, so we don't have any Fridays this month. All four-day weeks. It's really nice. Then we get a little break in August. More time to write, for me. It's not all gloom and doom, I suppose.




Sunday, July 5, 2015

oxyborb is now oxyborb.com

How cool is that?


When I was in high school, I used to run oxyborb.com as a sort of goofy personal site. 


 That's where these random banners came from. I'm just posting them for memory's sake.


Now, I own oxyborb.com, and I plan to keep on keeping on. I just want to blog about video games and Halloween and other weird stuff.

Cool beans!

I have more about the Witcher 3 and Splatoon coming soon.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Kudanites and an update

I did some sketches of creatures that appears in my novel:
kudanites

I had to share them because they turned out so well! 

So, work is still ongoing on my novel. I wrote something very complex, and I have spent much of my time making the cogs fit. My world is giant, so I'm being very careful with its development. I want this world to maintain more than just one book, one story... I want to create a playground that I can return to again and again. I want sound logic in how the weird stuff works.

Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of Mario and many Nintendo games once said, “A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.” 

I vowed from the beginning to take all the time I'd need. I thought I'd be done by the end of June. I now hope to be done by the end of the year. I guess the biggest non-writing setback I had was an unexpected promotion at my job. I took on more responsibilities, so I was forced to give up much of my non-work time to get work done. That promotion got easier recently, so my burdens are less. 

I have done something well: every day I've set a timer and completed a certain amount of time editing. So, it's moving.

The last thing I want to mention is that my friend passed away. We went through college together, and often talked books and writing. This is relevant to my novel because he was one of the first people to read over my rough draft and give me feedback, and his input was invaluable. It's gotten me down, but I read over the notes he sent me and it felt like he was speaking to me, alive again. I suppose he does live in my novel, at least a little.

Have a good 4th of July, everyone.