Go Make Something Awesome

Sometimes things are pretty good. I’m not always the best at taking stock of that. I haven’t written in this blog much. Things have been pretty stressful at work and it’s not always the easiest thing to come home and make things. Even if those things are “just” blog posts. So I’ve been a little out of sorts with my art.

But right now, I’m sitting in my awesome, high end beanbag chair. (Yes, there is such a thing.) Listening to old school ska punk on my wireless Sonos system. There may be a lot of stress going on about me, but for right now, life is really good. And I thought I would “make a thing” as Wil Wheaton puts it.

This isn’t going to be a great thing, but you have to give yourself permission to fail. Really, you just have to give yourself permission to come out and do anything. A main point of stress for me is that I haven’t been making anything. I’m a really creative person and I’ve been find a lot of excuses for not making art.

(And yes, I can call blogging an art. It’s self-expression, which is the goal of any art form.)

So this is just a short post to say, “I’m back again.” Hopefully it will be for a while. I think I’m going to dig into different post types and ideas, so stay tuned for that. As for what I’m really trying to get across with this post: no matter what’s going on in your life, everyone has a creative force inside them and they only way to find balance is to find an outlet for it. And if you need some random guy on the Internet to tell to go make something, then I’m more than happy to be him.

Go make something awesome.

Adventures In God Damn Air Travel

Adventures In God Damn Air Travel

Hello Blog.  It’s been a while since I’ve written in you.  

Last week I was in Ethiopia and the week before that I was packing for my trip and in no mood to write.  In fact, I’m not really in a mood to write now but I need to get my post back up to where it should be.

The trip out there was pretty good.  It was my first flight out of the country and the longest I’ve been in a plane by a factor of four.  It was a 12 hour flight there from Toronto.  (On a side note, Canada is awesome.)  I didn’t freak out being in a sky tube for that long like I thought I would.  I have a serious problem with heights.

The airline I took was Ethiopia Air, which I thought was the shit because I got free food, free beer, and free movies.  What I did not know was that every international flight does this to mollify it’s passengers into a comatose state so the over worked cabin crew don’t have to fucking deal with them.

So while I was in Ethiopia, I was telling everyone who awesome the airline was and how I couldn’t wait to use them again on the trip back.  The response I got from this was a sad smile and eyes that said, “you’ll know better soon.”  I’m not completely social inept so I did pick up on those cues, but I shrugged it off.  

“You just don’t know Ethiopia Air like I do.  Our love is pure.”

The return trip liked to fucking kill me.  First off it went from being a 15 hour flight to about a 17 hour flight.  That’s a long time to be stuck anywhere.  Especially when your seat breaks and can’t recline forcing you to stay awake for the entire thing.  It wasn’t like I was going to be getting much sleep with the 16 crying kids all around me.  Maybe I’m miss-counting that.  It is possible that it was one baby that got passed around the entire cabin.  I had my eyes forced shut while I desperately tried to hate-fuck some sleep, so anything is possible.

But the children weren’t really the problem.

It was the guy at the front of my section who would angrily scream every 20 – 60 minutes for the entire flight.  It seemed like it was triggered by something.  Guy starts the sneeze. “AAAHHH!” Guy coughs. “AAAHHH!” Guy wakes up from a nap. “AAHHH!” Guy thinks I might be taking a nap. “AAAHHH!”

I wasn’t able to take a nap so that’ll show him.

You’ll also notice that I said the the flight was supposed to be 15 hours but it went over by two.  What does that mean for my connecting flight, you might ask?  It means I missed it by an hour helpful, question asking reader.  

Thank god for Air Canada is all I’ll say.  They got be on a plane back to Boston about two hours after I landed.  I did have to pay for my beer on that flight, but I’ll take it as a net gain for nobody randomly screaming.

Image via – Flickr

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Rewatch

Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas Rewatch

I’ve been thinking a lot about Hunter S. Thompson lately.  We’re coming up on the anniversary of his death and that always gets me thinking about artists, art, and writing.  So I had a couple beers and watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas again.  I was actually going to do a review of drunk, in true Gonzo style, but I didn’t because… well… I was drunk.

The movie still holds up and is a great love letter to the book.  I still don’t know how the hell that thing got made.  I mean, can you actually tell me the plot of that Fear and Loathing?  Two guys get high and trash a hotel room, and then get high and trash another hotel room.  I know I’m not being fair to the book but this did get green lit for a movie that’s about all the more action is in the flick.  You could make the argument that Duke tweaks to the fact that their bender – and by extension their lives – has gone too far, but I think he had a pretty strong suspicion that was going to happen even before they got to Vegas.

Do not think for one second I’m bagging on that book or the movie.  The novel is probably my second favorite book of all time.  It’s just not something that would lend itself to being made into a movie, which I guess is why they made it.  And good for them.  Filming the unfilmable movie is Punk Rock filmmaking at its finest.

Plus, there is something really magical about Johnny Depp reading Hunters word’s out loud. I’m so glad there are so many moments in the film where it’s really just you, Depp, and the words.

Not many people can write like Hunter when he’s on top of his game.  There’s just something about the words he chooses to use and have such a presence and voracity.  I’ve always wanted to be that deft with wordplay, but I’ve always felt my vocabulary to be a little thin.  It’s something that happens when you are such a crap speller like I am.  You stick to the nine words you know.

But hey, I’m writing a lot more now so maybe I’ll add a tenth word.

Edit: totally misspelled Vegas every time I used it in this post. But I’ve corrected it and you’ll never know I screwed up unless I write something on here about it.  But what are the chances of that happening?

Interuption in Blogging due to Snow Storm

Interuption in Blogging due to Snow Storm

I’m throwing something up here today so that I don’t break my chain and lose the challenge, but I’m going to give myself permission to not do my best work this time.  It’s not that I’m not inspired, it’s that I’m just tired.

I’ve spent the last week in Florida.  It was just supposed to be a long weekend, but the snow storm here in Boston extended it by two days.  And I cried about that all into my chilled beer while I sat on the beach in my home town.  Being back home during the dead of winter was surprisingly awesome.  Not because it was warm but because everything was super laid back.  I forgot how different the pacing can be from up in Boston, where everything is life and death.  “Hey asshole, this is my section of the sidewalk!  Drive somewhere else!”

The reason I’m kind of phoning it in today is that I have had the longest teak back I think I’ve ever had.  I had a layover in Buffalo for some reason.  I swear to God that is a made up place.  There’s nothing their and my southerner brain believed that everywhere in the north was super amazing and not near as desolate as all of our home towns.

And, because layovers are awesome, my four hour layover was extended to five and half.  Fun!  This is where I should tell you I’ve been running on five hours of sleep.

“But you could sleep on the plane.”  No. Fuck you, person I just invented to make a point. I can’t sleep on planes because my lizard brain is convinced I’m going to fall out of the sky.  Even though I’ve had to do it twice today, I couldn’t relax enough to go to sleep.

I did however relax enough to work on a fiction project that I’ve been meaning to get back to for a while now, which is why I didn’t write this post on the plane.

So here I am.  What is normally a three hour flight took me nine hours and then I had a late train getting back to my house.  But I got back to work on a project I haven’t written on a while, and, as I am now well over 300 words, I didn’t break my chain on this blog.  The challenge continues.

Just checking in.

It’s been a long winter break. The year changed so yay Earth! We still haven’t killed you yet. I’ve been trying to take it easy this last month. I got wicked sick so I really haven’t felt much like writing.

I also got an iPad for Christmas, and let me tell you that it is a device made entirely out of time knives. So sickness aside, that thing has sucked up a lot of my free time.

But as I said before it is the New Year and while I try not to get into people’s faces about New Years resolutions, I do see the new year as time for taking stock and fresh starts. I did a lot in 2013: I started a podcast and really kicked this blog into gear. (In fact, I think I’m going to set this up as it’s own self-hosted WordPress install, but more on that later.) There, were things I didn’t get to, however. I didn’t write a lot of fiction this last year. I have a lot of notes, but not a lot of finished product.

The month of blogging really helped. It let me rediscover my writing workflow and figure out who I am as a writer now that I’ve been out of college for years. (College being my most prolific time by far.)

I want to keep up the Internet projects that I’ve been working on, but I also need to add some more fiction writing. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with a major project and hacked away at every day until it was done. It’s also been a while since I’ve revised anything and that’s where writing really takes shape.

Anyone who tell you any different is selling something. Usually a book on writing.

This is just a quick post. I’ve been quite for a while and I wanted to check in. I think is going to be a good year for me in terms of creative projects. In fact, this post was supposed to be short, but it turns out I had a lot to say.

The new year may be almost a month old but new starts begin whenever you start them. Happy New Year.

Mythology, Cthulhu, and You

One of my favorite things in the world that I don’t talk about enough is mythology.  When most people hear that word they think of the Greek myths.  Of Zeus.  Of Hera.  Of Kevin Sorbo.

Not me.  Especially that last bit.  While I love Greek metrology, I am more enamored by the human mind’s ability to take the world around it and create myth.  That’s not just the wind, a god is blowing because if they don’t the world will end.

When I first heard the concept as a child, I was blown away by it.  It, of course, was in conjunction with the Greek and Roman myth.  Here were two groups of people who fought, and died, and created empires over something that we now know isn’t true.  There is no god of thunder.  The wind does not blow because a god wants it.  But that didn’t matter to the Greeks and it didn’t matter the Romans.  It was true to them.

I don’t want you to get me wrong, I don’t think they were stupid.  This fiction helped to explain the world around them.  That’s a great thing, there has got to be things that I believe that future generations will know are wrong, so if the Greeks wanted to believe in something awesome like a woman can be born full formed out of a dude’s head then who am I to judge.  I live the in same hard world they did.  As long as it doesn’t hurt other people, do what you want to get through the day.

Once I new about the Greeks and the Romans, I wanted more.  But it had to be something contemporary.  I was into conspiracy theories for a while.  I loved hearing what some people what the “truth” behind Roswell and JFK.  It’s American folklore at its best.  It also didn’t hurt that while I was getting into conspiracy theories that the X-files was the biggest show in the country.  Nowadays, they don’t seem as fun as they used to.

Another really good mythology is the Cthulhu Mythos from H.P. Lovecraft. To be honest, his writing isn’t the greatest and I’m not the biggest fan of horror fiction, but he plays with the best ideas.

And at the end of the day, that’s all mythology is: the exchange of ideas.

In fact, Lovecraft knew he was onto something by creating his own mythology so he got other writers to add to it.  He open sourced his pantheon.  And he did it back in the 30’s.

A lot of others have followed in his foot steps.  We have mythology all around us now.  That’s about all science fiction and fantasy are.  We have Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings.  Super Heroes rule the box office now.

Basically what I’m saying is: if you are into mythology, it’s a good time to be alive.

Why Your Collection of Action Figures Is Bigger Than My Collection

Remember a few posts back where I outlined all the things that I’d do on my Staycation?  Did I do any of those things?  Not really, but I did watch all of the IT Crowd.

If you don’t know, the IT Crowd was a british sitcom about an IT department at a large, faceless corporation.  Most of the humor doesn’t actually come from geeky, computer in-jokes, but from the interpersonal relationships with the characters.  It’s really funny and it has some of the funniest comic acting I have ever seen.

Future Josh is going to put out a point detailing the network environment of the IT Crowd, so look forward to that, but in this post I wanted to talk about the set used on the show.  I’m sure a lot has been said about it, but I wanted to have my say because it is pretty fantastic.

While the dialogue on the show is not littered with geek in-jokes and references, the main set is.  It’s full of old computers, EFF stickers, action figures, table top board games, and posters.  Hell, there’s even a poster from the web comic XKCD.

The set is really cool and some place that I would love to live, and that got me thinking about the place I actually live.  It looks nothing like that.  That’s not to say my place doesn’t look nice, it does but it’s not a patchwork quillt of nerd culture.  Let me say this better, I do have quite the collection of comics and sci-fi novels, as well as comic art, but’s not shown off very well.  The bookcases are very muted and don’t show off the few art books that I have.  In fact, my personal collection doesn’t really have much in the way of art.  If it doesn’t have a narrative, that is to say if it’s not a comic, book, or movie, I don’t have a lot of it.  I don’t have a lot of action figures, or art books, or movie props, or art pieces.

I don’t have a lot of what I would call “static art.”  Things that are just made to be looked at in and of themselves.  This isn’t really a personal choice.  I’d like to have a lot of that stuff around me for visual stimulation, I just don’t seem to have a lot of it.  I guess that’s because most of it costs so damn much and you really have to know how to show it off or it’s just clutter.

I’m playing with bringing more of this sort of thing into my life.  I’ve been playing with paper craft and I have a few statues that are pretty cheap.  (I just can’t bring myself to drop $400 on a bust of Batman.)

I’ve always wanted a collection of interesting objects to show off.  Something to let people know who I am and what I’ve done.  I always figured I have something like that by now, but my life has only recently moved into a shape that could accommodate something like that.

Time will tell what my living room looks like in a years time.  Who knows, it might end up looking like the show playing in it.