Shine Get!

 

I got a blog award! While I’ve never heard of them before, it seems like a literary spin on typical art memes and I’m definitely up for it! I’m glad Bryna passed it on for me to do, so let’s get started.

1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
Thanks, Bryna! It’s always good to have people out there reading the things I don’t write, heh.

2. Share seven random facts about yourself.

  1.  I’m 6′ 5″. Since I lack the speed and coordination for basketball, however, it’s really not that useful.
  2. My middle name is Garland, which is dually awesome by its own merit and by its Final Fantasy relevance.
  3. I’ve been a long-time gamer, but didn’t join the seventh generation until I got a Wii around Christmas 2010.
  4. I am Canadian. Despite this, I’m slightly under drinking age, don’t care about hockey, and don’t parler francais very well.
  5.  is my favorite number, for no apparent reason.
  6. I’m taking an introductory Arabic course at university next year, and I’m also slowly trying to learn Japanese. With my French skills, should be a snap.
  7. Without my glasses, I can’t even see a foot in front of my face. Glad I’m too tall for most people to try to kick me there.

3. Pass the award along to 15 deserving blog buddies.
Uh… Like Bryna before me, I can’t claim to have that many blogging friends. Discounting the ones she already covered, I’ll award this to (in no particular order)

  1. Thaumaturgist at My Writealogue
  2. Ryan at A Nerd’s Life
  3. Ralph at The God of Hallways

The only others I could mention are Bryna and Ishana, but they’re already covered.

4. Contact those buddies to cogratulate them.
While everyone’s gonna get pinged by this, I’ll inform them personally anyway!

Shard

If it’s Camp NaNoWriMo, does my writing have to be campy?

Summer field in Belgium (Hamois). The blue flo...

Image via Wikipedia

…’Cause I could probably roll with that, if need be. Most of my readers will be familiar with NaNoWriMo, the one time of year when I actually have an excuse to not be blogging, but the good folks at NaNo recently announced the beginnings of Camp NaNoWriMo, a summer project. It’s certainly interesting, the idea of a second official ‘WriMo. I’m definitely gonna give it the old college try, though. Won’t have much else to do this summer while I wait to give university the old college try. More novel ideas have been brewing in my head of late, and for whatever reason a manufactured excuse is the perfect excuse to commit them to writing! So how about you guys? I think it’ll be nice to give the insanity a try when it isn’t quite so freezing outside.

Shard

A Wild New Theme has appeared, what do you do?

Welp, the time has come to revitalize this blog yet again. You might’ve seen me around comment sections in a few places, but I haven’t come back here to roost since around January. I’d been messing around with the new Mystique theme on my beta blog for a while, so I figured now was as good a time as any to unveil it on my main site. But, I don’t really have much else to say at this point. Look forward to more stuff in the near future, but for now sate yourselves with this haiku:

When my hair sticks up
I can feel it shake around
Feels like antennae.

Shard

I Come Late to the Party, with but Scraps to my Name

As inadequate as the public schooling system often seems to me, it has done quite a skillful job of forcing my nose to the grindstone these past weeks. As an unfortunate side effect, I have failed to prepare anything for Ishana’s Resplendence Winter Writing Project. Wanting neither to give up nor miss this checkpoint entirely, I tried twice in the last few hours to concoct a scene from either of my two latest story ideas, but both are still far too immaterial to give me something to show off. Terrible, really.

Buuut, I had a fallback. I’m too tired to meticulously link to all the posts and comments on my blog and others where I’ve spoken of my first NaNoWriMo attempt, but I’m sure you’ve all heard of it at least once. In scrambling through my writing folders, I kept passing over the one still uncreatively labelled ‘Epyk’ [sic]. But a few checks short of wit’s end, I finally conceded to give it a look. I brought up my old manuscript, copied the first chapter over to a new document, tweaked it in the places where it was most starkly terrible, and popped it onto Google Docs. It stars Saryin and Felwin, in case you’re familiar with them. Now you can read it…

Here.

Don’t take this to mean I’ve decided to take on my old manuscript as my Winter Writing Project, but don’t take it to mean I haven’t, either. I really can’t have much of an idea of anything until I can dump all the first semester school stuff from my head in about two weeks. We’ll see, I suppose.

Shard

Zodiac Shift!

THIS JUST IN: Never mind, I didn’t bother to do enough research. Feel free to read this post anyway, but scroll down to Ishana’s comment to catch the real deal.

Despite sounding like the formation command for some sort of giant robot, this is actually some business both serious and trippy. Some important scientists have declared that, as a result of moon shenanigans messing with Earth’s orbit, the conventionally held dates for the Zodiac signs are in fact HELLA WRONG [sic]. Here’s what the old dates were:


Aries: March 21 – April 19
Taurus: April 20 – May 20
Gemini: May 21 – June 20
Cancer: June 21 – July 22
Leo: July 23 – August 22
Virgo: August 23 – September 22
Libra: September 23 – October 22
Scorpio: October 23 – November 21
Sagittarius: November 22 – December 21
Capricorn: December 22 – January 19
Aquarius:January 20 – February 18
Pisces: February 19 – March 20

So that’s the classical system, passed down to us by the Babylonians. Tried and true, right? Apparently not. Here’s what the Washington Post declares is the setup now:

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
Pisces: March 11-April 18
Aries: April 18-May 13
Taurus: May 13-June 21
Gemini: June 21-July 20
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
Scorpio: Nov. 23-Dec. 17
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

Setting aside the fact that this schedule puts a bizarre overlap day between every sign, it’s pretty jostled, eh? BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. Either because of the tumult already happening, or for reasons unknown, there’s talk of officializing Opiuchus, the Snake, as the thirteenth Zodiac sign. It would fit in Nov. 29 – Dec. 17, squashing Scorpio down to 6 days, and coming before Sagittarius. Now, players of Final Fantasy Tactics, Final Fantasy XII, or any other Ivalice game will already be familiar with fair Serpentarius, but it’s quite a shift for the rest of the world.

So, what do you think? I really don’t know at this point. The shift would throw me from Virgo to Leo, which is weird. Ophiuchus being added seems largely pointless, but I’ve played too much Final Fantasy to not be amused by it. There’s some precedent for the opinions of our regular commenters, though; Thaumaturgist has established her view on the Zodiac, and Ishana has mentioned on two occasions her views on arbitrary dates versus concrete ones. What do you think, though? Will this shift send you to a new sign, or stay the same? Is your new one better in your eyes, or worse? Leave a comment.

Shard

Ironic, my dear Watson (via Word Nymph)

As a shameless infomaniac, this is certainly an interesting turn of events. I watch Jeopardy! every day, so there’s no way I’ll miss out on watching this. Looking forward to it now.

Shard

Ironic, my dear Watson Perhaps you have read the news that in February, for the first time ever, a computer will compete on Jeopardy! You might remember when an IBM computer beat chess world champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match in 1997. IBM’s latest challenge was to build upon that feat by taking technology to an even more difficult and complex level—building a computer that processes natural language, complete with humor, irony and sarcasm, as well as nuances, … Read More

via Word Nymph

When we Last Left our Hero…

Dead Snow Angel

Image by CarbonNYC via Flickr

Coldness. Everywhere. Even with no sense of direction, he could feel the chill north, south, east, west, and everywhere inbetween. He was lying prone, surrounded by…something. Something cold, at any rate. He tried to lift his arms, and found that the substance encasing him yielded with minimal resistance. He lifted his head tentatively, only to find bright light beyond the cold material. Opening his eyes, he found the world quite similar to the one he’d left for dreams of darkness. Truly, only a thin layer of snow distinguished this land from the one in his memory. He had survived November, and now played host to December.

In other words, I’m back! I can’t say I succeeded in writing a novel in the past month, but I agree with Ishana enough to say that I didn’t fail, either. I know my story a lot better now, even after only 16 000 words. I also see glaring holes in it, but not nearly as glaring as my project from last year. I also learned that I’m more of a plotter than a pantser, since my writing derailed in the midst of a section of story not outlined in my notes. So that just means I go back to planning, and write my story piece by piece. My first NaNo attempt has done nothing more since I wrote it than collect dust and comfort the homeless with its smoldering corpse. The basis was sound, but a critical flaw in the worldbuilding inclines me toward not continuing it directly. If I ever go back to it, it will be from the ground up, refining it into a workable product. Which I’d like to do eventually, since I like the characters so much.

This year’s attempt, on the other hand, I could conceivably continue, once I do some more planning. I might have to strike the last part from the record, but it’s largely salvageable. The last part is questionable at best, though, since I introduced a character I was saving for later, a plot twist I was saving for later, and nearly introduced another character I was saving for later, before abruptly stopping. But I’ll go back to it, in time. I might even leave in the last section, sans the second new character. I have to keep some things a surprise, after all. There’s little to gain from playing all my cards so early in the story.

I was also pleasantly surprised by how well my characters made their own decisions. In particular the one I introduced in the last part, Aryxander, seems to be the most autonomous. I never expected to find him working for the lowlife Terrick who had appeared early in the story and never again since, and I certainly didn’t expect him to do something majorly game-changing much later on in the story. But even I’m in the dark as to the extent of that one, so I really can’t go telling you guys.

In other news, I’m now a contributor at Class of Last Year! I’m forced by the author’s whim to write under the name Spencer[at]classoflastyear.com, but it is indeed me. Thus far, that has largely consisted of Rickrolls and Words of the Day. Actually, I might steal Will’s and/or my own Word(s) of the Day, and post them over here. We’ll see.

Shard

The Last Bastions Fall, and I begin my Descent into Madness

As I write this, the last hour of October is already half gone. I can feel the ominous chill foretelling the midnight dawn of November. Soon, the insanity will wake before I even lay to rest. For the next month I will reside in a dark place, a place governed solely by words. Scribbled on the walls, the floors, the tables, everywhere.

For those who haven’t gathered yet, I’m talking about NaNoWriMo! Yes, it is thither that I will reside for the next month. If by some strange happenstance I appear here, rest assured that it will be in the form of some irrecognizable monstrosity. But as my last vestiges of sanity abandon me, I’ll wish good luck to my comrades-at-arms, some of whom are already lost in the Novembrance, Ishana, Thaumaturgist, and Ralph/Emitar. Good luck, friends, and safe passage! But now the sands tick away, and the darkness calls to me. Down, downward I fly. Down, downward I fall.

Shard

CreateSpace Dangles the Carrot Yet Again, and by Carrot I mean Novel

That’s right, CreateSpace is offering once again to give succesful NaNovelists a proof copy of their novel for free. Gratis! This is so exciting. I’m excited. The incentive was so strong last year, I was almost tempted to fill in 30 000 words of lorem ipsum after my novel failed after 20 000 words. But I didn’t, and I’m glad. A hollow victory is no fun, and I’d hate to spoil my first novel with those sorts of soured memories.

But that’s last year. This year, this year will be different, I say! I’m gonna finish my novel, and get that proof copy. For sure, this time*.

Shard

*surety subject to change without notice. But I hope not.

Ghost Squirrels, Apparently!

The Squirrels are back...:O)))

Image by law_keven via Flickr

Taking a break from my recent spree of inactivity, I decided to take up the writing prompt from Ishana’s latest post. The end result turned out a little poetic, maybe.
————————-

The beast wakes to its usual surroundings. Darkness, not even much of an inconvenience. The night is quiet, its serenity broken only occasionally by traffic outside. But that scent…The scent beckons once again. The beast ventures forth, insubstantial paws pattering noiselessly across the tiles and up the walls.

It passes in front of the window, gleaming silver in the moonlight. Not an Earthly silver, but the ethereal silver of transient whispers of existance. But no one is watching, and the beast is certainly not inclined to vanity, even in its prior life.

Inside the box, the smell grows exponentially in both magnitude and sweetness. It lies just ahead, masked by some tasteless shell. A deterrent for simpler creatures, perhaps. But the beast scurries forward, well-versed in its tricks.

But tonight is different. Tonight the beast slammed against a barrier where none before had impeded it. There was a sound, like laughter, and suddenly the beast was falling. Falling, falling, as if from a height too high for it to comprehend. Falling, falling…

By morning there was nothing left, save for a few vapors diffusing into the dawn.

Shard

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