Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Καλό Μήνα Ιούλιος - Good Month, July!

I've changed the background in the blog.  I thought I needed a change.  I love that picture I was using.  I took that picture myself, but I need to change my approach, my attitude and I'm starting with the theme.

I'll be changing it again.  I don't have much time tonight and I need to find the right picture.  Like a favorite song, a cherished aroma, comfort food, an inspirational picture can make a dramatic difference.

I'm going to write.  I'm going to post.  It may be sloppy, ugly and short at first, but I'm sure it will grow on me, and hopefully on my readers as well.

I went back and read, "Barfight at Simplicity Genoid" as well as the Empire Beyond Mars stuff I have on this blog.  I'm fairly inspired. I've also been listening to the Indiana Jones theme and the weather has been very inspirational.  This blog post is a good first step.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Surrender, June!

As June draws to a close I look here at this blog and realize that I did not post once this month.  That is inexcusable.  I had intended to post regularly, once a week. I wanted to post fun things.  I was going to post about world building through a character.  I didn't do any of it.

What was wrong; why didn't I?  I don't think I was moving in the right direction.  I am absolutely swamped with things to do.  I have family, work, scouts, etc and as it stands I relax maybe a few hours a week while sleeping about five hours a night.  I literally don't have enough time in the day.

That's still no excuse.  I get a great deal of pleasure from writing.  I am proud, entertained, happy, thrifty, accomplished, tickled and so much more.  I need to find some way to write here and share that in a way that is consumable by others.

I tell myself stories all the time.  That was one of the major reasons I started writing.  I figured I was already doing it, I might as well do it so that others can read and enjoy.  If I could make money doing it all the better.  I will never make money writing if I can't write regularly.  I won't even get to enjoy it unless I do it.

So, as we say goodbye to June, I also say goodbye to Zoso Angrybarn, at least for now.  She is a lovely girl and her country is a very nice and interesting place.  I just couldn't really find her, nor could I find an actual story for her to live in.  It just wasn't coming together.

I am itching to write.  I will be doing some writing very soon and it will be the kind of writing I can share here.

June?  I'm afraid I'm going
to have to let you go.
The good news is, I have been writing.  I finished a story this year and had some help editing it.  It is a rather long short story, but I was aiming at a particular market.  Unfortunately that market is not accepting submissions right now.  Missed that boat.

I may be throwing some questionable stuff on this blog in the near future.  It may not be my best stuff, but I resolve not to start something and not finish it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Movie Poll Review - New Poll (don't be frightened)

Gene Hackman as Polish MG Sosabowski
Our last poll was a movie one.  What is your favorite Chicago movie.  Blogger dumped our results lately, but if I remember correctly it was one Ferris Bueller, one Blues Brothers and one Other.

My next poll is regarding horror stories.  What is your favorite type of monster?

Stephen King in his non-fiction book, Danse Macabre describes four basic archetypal
"monsters."  He names them The Frankenstein, The Vampire, The Werewolf and The Ghost.  In our poll we'll look at them another way.  This other way perhaps may expand the tropes is (respectively):

  • The Thing that Should Not Be
    • Frankenstein
    • Cruel intelligences
    • Demons and devils
    • Evil incarnate
    • Mindless destroyers
  • The Thing that Devours Us
    • The Vampire
    • Animal predators
    • Parasites
    • Possessing demons
    • Succubi
    • Viruses
    • Zombies 
  • The Thing with Two Faces
    • The Werewolf
    • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • Dictators
    • Serial killers
    • Transmorgifiers
  • The Thing that Would Not Die
    • The Ghost
    • Banshees
    • Liches
    • Slashers
    • Spectres
    • That which demands revenge
    • That which seeks death
    • Wraiths
I'm not sure where Lovecraftian Cosmic Horror falls.  I suppose some of it is Mindless Destroyers, but not always.  I just don't know.  If you don't know what your favorite monster fall under, please  put in a comment and we can try to figure it out together.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Thursdays Are Right Out

Writing on Thursday is not working for me either.  I volunteered to help coach the local High School Rugby club as it is just getting started.  That's all my "free" time on Thursday.
Penoan flag

I'm going to make this a quick post, but I wanted to introduce someone you our blogging community.  Her name is Zoso (I hope she forgives me, I think her last name is Volvóodis-Lagenam Iratus-Phteris, but I could be wrong).  She lives in Chicago, but she emigrated from a small country called Penoa to the USA.  I would like her to share some of her native country's culture and history through interviews in the coming weeks.

She will likely say that she actually emigrated to the US from Canada.  In point of fact, her mother was expecting as they were coming from Penoa to America.  She went into labor when they had a layover in Canada.  They only stayed 24 hours before continuing on to the States, however Zoso maintains a duel citizenship, a fierce love of Hockey and all thing Canadian.

When I can get hold of her I will interview her and share her answers here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Writing About Not Writing

Here it is, late on another Monday and I've not written my blog post yet.  I am writing about not writing, which is writing, but there is certainly some tautology there.  It seems a little like going back in time and killing your own grandfather.

I realized writing and posting both on Mondays is not a good idea.  I moved my writing day back to Thursday.  That didn't happen last Thursday, or Friday, or ...

I have made writing daily work.  It is a proven method for me, and plenty of other authors (or maybe I should just say authors).  Writing one day a week, or some days a week doesn't seem to work for me.

By the way, I have two interesting observations about the picture I used.  I think that's Hebrew on the keyboard.  I don't write or speak Hebrew, and please don't take it as a political statement.  I just found and like the picture.  It seemed appropriate for today's post.

The other observation is I found this picture on a blog called Dreaming On Paper.  I took it without permission (shh).  The date he posted it was 15 April 2013.  I had misread it and thought it said 2014.  It seemed strange that it should be posted tomorrow, but then it is tomorrow in some parts of the world already, and I thought it would be cool if I could post it with a date before the original date.  Unfortunately I eventually saw that it said 2013 and I eventually remembered that this is 2014.

Back to the writing part.  This is not an excuse, but more an observation on what works for me.

I am reminded of a small island in the Caribbean I visited once, well, by visited I saw it while messing around with Google Earth and what with all the pov pictures it's just like being there anyway.

The island is called San Vita, and is named after the patron saint of lost keys (remind you of a certain temple?).  Don't bother looking for it.  It is so small you'd never find it and anyway I pulled the Wikipedia article and sent a note to Google that it is fictitious.  I want to keep it all to myself.  It is just so adorable.

The native name for San Vita is Goinoware.  It was the name the inhabitants of nearby islands gave to the Spaniards when they first arrived.  It means, "What island, that one, oh we never go there, don't bother, it's a complete waste of time, and no fun at all."  Surprisingly efficient these native languages are, aren't they?

Back in the 1950s the CIA set it up as a Wicker Chair Monarchy.  It's similar to a Banana Republic, but instead of being fronted by the United Fruit Company this was the Amalgamated Patio Furniture Co.  It was headed by the King of Savings for years.

It's now an autocratic economy (everybody minds their own business) under a Liberal Dictatorship where everyone is at liberty to be a dictator to everyone else equally.

I think I may retire there someday.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Atlantis Rising

I have a "theory" about Atlantis.
Is that the temple of Biro, God of Lost Pens, on the far left?
pic courtesy of bermuda-triangle.org

Atlantis is the lost continent.  It stands to reason that if it is The LOST continent then it should be associated with lost things.

What I mean by, "associated" is that I envision temples to Lost Socks, Lost Keys, and Lost Glasses.  These would be great stone temples the glory of the ancient world where these lost things would just appear, filling the buildings from across time and space.

These must of necessity be transient locations for many of these things, thus the temples would be very active and lively places with keys popping in and then back out to return behind your sofa.  A temple might be blessed with the appearance of grandpa's horn-rim glasses only to lose them again a moment later when they return to perch on his bald pate.

There might be other things there too.  I imagine the people are all fat, but beautiful, young and sane.  They are very wise as well because they have the vast store of our own lost memories to call upon.

This is, of course a continent, a world outside our own; in another perhaps parallel universe, or perhaps on a very slight angle.  Yes, I believe it would not be perfectly parallel because at some time it, if only for a brief moment, if only in Plato's dreams, it crossed paths with our universe.  For a time a man could walk the streets and find his dog.  Maybe the people would approach him with his wallet he was sure he had had in his left back pocket.

They must have been wonderful times, but alas, they are all lost to us now.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Poll and Poll

A Pole pole courtesy of
The Copernicus Center Google+ page
Our last poll did illicit much response.  Only two people responded and said their preferred method of writing is with something computerish.

I actually had this poll idea a while back and now I get to use it.

What is your favorite Chicago movie?

I'm not going to list movies that are about Chicago if they weren't filmed here (I'm looking at you Chicago!) and short shots that are essentially stock footage don't count either (I'm looking at you My Big Fat Greek Wedding).  I'm debating including The Dark Knight.  Gotham looks so much better in these films because of Chicago, and if you know Chicago you know immediately it was filmed here.  On the other hand they call it Gotham, which I always considered to be New York.

I looked for some sites that listed movies in Chicago.  Esquire had a good article, and I'm thinking I should be able to trust Chicago Magazine and The Chicagoist.  I also pulled a list of all the movies ever filmed in Chicago since 1896 from The City of Chicago's own home Website.

For the poll I'm only going to put my top 5 up there to vote on, and an, "Other" category.  If you want to add others you can put a comment on this post.

Here is a list of Chicago movies I like:

  • My Best Friend's Wedding - don't actually like the movie, but the City looks fantastic in this and it has the Cuneo Museum up here in my neighboring town of Vernon Hills.
  • Candyman
  • 16 Candles
  • Untouchables - you don't like this movie?  "Well, you're not from Chicago."
  • Backdraft - I don't think the firefighters will agree, but I like it
  • About Last Night
  • Stir of Echoes
  • The Fugitive
  • The Blues Brothers
  • Risky Business - I have lots of comments about this, North Shore, "Looks like University of Illinois!", "Sometimes you just got to say...", the El, "Get off the babysitter", my mom told me Tom Cruise reminded her of me
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • The Break Up - again, don't like the movie, but Vaughn loves the City and it shows
There are some others that I've heard fantastic things about and may have seen part of, but not the whole thing:
  • Ordinary People
  • Road to Perdition
  • Public Enemies
  • Color of Money
  • Call Northside 777
  • Hoop Dreams
  • High Fidelity
  • Source Code
  • My Bodyguard
What do you like?  What are your favorite quotes?  Please share and vote.