Monday, November 14, 2011

I know it's not Sunday, It's Monday

I know, I know, it's Monday, not Sunday, but I'm trying to write a novel in a month, so gimme a break.

Speaking of Nanowrimo, It's going well and I am finding it easier than previous years to stay on track. I think part of it is that I told alot more people that I am doing it so now I feel obligated to keep going. Some parts feel boring and badly written, plain and useless, bad descriptions of places and feelings. But some feels good, feels cool. Some descriptions feel scenic and perhaps even poetic. Sometimes, I feel I've written something cool and even if that is just one scene, one paragraph, one description or one sentence, even just one word placed perfectly, it feels really good. I guess that's why writing is really fun, because of those rare moments where you feel you have created something good, in some way, shape or form.

I've written 23k words so far and am just getting to the beginning of the real adventure in my fantasy story. Perhaps there's too much build-up but I feel that's okay. I'm still getting a feel for the characters (is it wrong that I'm liking the lesser main characters than the main characters so far? I guess so, considering I always liked Aragorn better than Frodo). So yeah, maybe 20k words is too much lead up but if a novel is a piece of clay, than the first draft is the rough shape and once the whole shape is complete, then you go back and cut away the sculpture into it's fine detailed form. Or not. I don't know much about sculpting, but the metaphor sounds okay in my head.

Life is interesting, crazy and unexpected. I am not anywhere I expected to be but it is fine, great even. I always felt my future was a vague, undefined and foggy mess filled with uncertainties and lack of knowing, knowing I wanted to do with myself or what I even could do in the future. Now that foggy mess is clearing, the shape defining itself as I slowly figure shit out. There is still some vagueness to it, I think I want to teach but I am not absolutely certain about it, but that's okay, there will always be fog, questions, and the unknown. It is the future, after all, it must hold some mystery or what's the point? But I know the basics of what I want. I want my girlfriend and I want to write, I want to get published in something somewhere eventually. I want to enjoy art, in books, movies, video games and life. I want to enjoy life and to realize when I am enjoying it. Not only to stop and smell the flowers, but to realize just how great life is, that I get to stop and smell those flowers just for the hell of it. Hell, I want to sniff those flowers so hard the petals get stuck in my nostrils. I think that's a metaphor.

I had some time today, as I subbed for a high school social studies teacher (it was rather an easy and uneventful day) that I had time to hand write on lined paper. It felt good, nostalgic even, as if putting a pen to paper and moving your hand and seeing words you created and drew is more personal than typing on a computer. I guess it makes sense. On a computer, each letter is typeset in the same font/size, perfect and robotic where as in handwriting, every person has a style and each letter is a unique drawing, especially in my handwriting, and those who've seen it know, it resembles that of a third grader's, or worse. Chicken-scratch some would say, but it's not chicken-scratch, it's human-scratch and feels creative, like I'm sketching a strange drawing as I'm writing. A piece of paper filled with handwriting is very unique and beautiful(or ugly, if it's my handwriting) in it's way, where as computer-typed paper looks the same as any other.

Sitting here in a quiet class as the kids read and take notes on a worksheet, I guess I will write about some stuff.

For books, I recently read Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King, which I have to say is an amazing read. It tells the story of 4 or 5 characters with intersecting lives in different time periods while using 3 or 4 different writing styles. It really is quite remarkable and I would highly recommend it. It has only a touch of supernatural, most of it is simply modern fiction an it's damn good. Some of King's best writing, in my opinion.

I would also recommend Salem's Lot, by King. It is basically a tale of Dracula coming to a small Maine town and it is very well done.

I also read Vonnegut's Man Without a Country, which is very short an to the point. It is depressing and negative and has alot of truth. It is also funny. I remember Slaughter-house Five was one of my favorite books in high school.

Speaking of books from high school, Lord of the Flies is one that comes up in Hearts of Atlantis, an I think I'm going to read it again. I remember it was a very good book and I enjoyed it, but I also think my high school self was pretty stupid and probably missed alot. I think it will be alot of fun going back and rereading it. Yup, that's me, the guy who rereads books from high school for fun. Just call me an old fuddy duddy.

Television is at it's best and worst. Reality Shows more fictional than fiction show human beings being stupid, overly-dramatic, and competitive. They show rich people being horrible so we who are not rich can feel good about ourselves. They show human beings being terrible people. The worst of the worst is Toddler's and Tiara's, a show about mothers torturing their daughters, ages anywhere from 1-4(I wish I was joking) by putting them through beauty pageants. Look! You can see stuck-up snobby materialistic bitches with self-worth problems being molded before your very eyes! Meanwhile the disgusting mothers attempt to live vicariously through their toddlers, dressing them up and parading them around like dolls, even having them wear bathing suits in front of an audience and judges. Why the hell do pageants exist at all anymore? And little girl pageants? Seriously? And now we're televising them? It is absolutely fucking stupid. And yes, that fucking deserves to be there.

There is some okay reality shows, about actual workers and history, shows where you might learn something or where the people are people and not the worst scum on the earth. I don't really watch these though, because when I watch tv, I want to experience a story more than I want to learn about a job or about history of certain objects. Speaking of stories on tv, some of the best tv ever made is being created right now. Stories with characters more real than a 'real housewife' or a 'bad girl', dealing with more realistic problems than 'omg my 3-yr-old lost in a pageant.'

Best show ever? That's tough, too tough. Deadwood is great, nay good sir or madam, it is fantastic. Take a lawless western town, add a ruthless determined boss-man, an angry sheriff, Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, with awesome acting and brutal violence and you have one hell of a show. Another great is The Wire, which tells a story of drug dealing and murder, with realistic characters on both sides of the Law. There are cops you hate and criminals you pity, even root for. The acting is great, politics and machinations so realistic it's almost painful, an the characters tragic. Once you watch this, you won't be able to watch CSI because you'll realize it's all tv bullshit. It has a large cast of characters, alot of slang dialogue, and doesn't hold our hand through the plot so it can be confusing to follow. It is very good, though. Oh and it features the awesomest most badass gay gangster you'll ever see.

The Walking Dead is good. It has zombies but it's really about what humans do in a crisis, how they react when society breaks down and what's the point of living. It's entertaining, sometimes silly, but I mean, it's the only show on tv with zombies and it is better than much of what's out there.

Another good one is Dexter, a show about a serial killer who kills serial killers. Really makes you question exactly what a hero is and should you root for a murderer. The main actor, Micheal C Hall is also amazing. Fringe is entertaining sci-fi. If you accept the science bullshit, it tells a cool story with entertaining twists and turns.

Lost is a show I could probably write a whole blogpost on. It had many cool mysteries, twists, and interesting characters. The first two seasons were great. It was very good at making the viewer go 'OH SHIT!'. It also had mysteries for no reason or that made no sense and were never explained and the writers definitely did not have everything planned from the beginning. I liked everything about the final season except for the last five minutes of the finale. I got alot of enjoyment out of that show so I can't really hate on it. It was a fun ride.

Another show I loved was Terriers, about two grizzled private detectives. The characters were funny and 3-dimensional, acting was good and plots were interesting yet believable. I really enjoyed this show. Unfortunately marketing was terrible, nobody knew what the show was about and it got canned after one season. It's a great season though and doesn't leave loose ends.

There are also some funny sitcoms out, that are more about character humor than simple punchline jokes. People are funny in real life and these shows get that. Modern Family, New Girl, and Raising Hope are all hilarious and make me laugh every time.

As for movies, I haven't watched much recently. Toy Story 3 was as fun for me last week as the first one was when I was little. I am excited for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, even though I find it silly American's can't watch a subtitled movie. Still, if a really good movie comes from it, then I guess it's okay by me.

In the dreaded and vilified video game world, I have been playing Skyrim, and let me tell you there's nothing like rampaging across a fantasy world as a viking with an axe slaying dragons in the countryside.

This is turning out to be my longest post yet, all because of a slow day at school. Oh substitution, what an interesting profession. I am getting alot of experience in classroom management but not in creating lesson plans which I'm afraid will be my downfall while trying to find full-time positions.

In the bouncing world, some guy tried to pick a fight with me Saturday night. It got my blood pumping and I was ready to drag him outside but we talked him down. It's a little crazy how testosterone driven our society is, how much emphasis we put on being tough. Is it any mystery why guys get in fights when they're drunk, considering being a man supposedly means being tough and how can you be tough if you haven't been in a fight? Silly and stupid, I know but I feel that desire to show off how tough I am as much as the next guy. Dumb.

And now I'm dumb, this post is too long and I need to get to work writing. Or perhaps killing some dragons. So long and see you next Sunday...Or Monday.

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