I have a lot to talk about

d5e81d8f642ce63634e689903d613712I mean, just off the top of my head:

  • The escape room I went to in Indianapolis on Saturday, which was insanely awesome even though we didn’t get out;
  • The pants-shitting terror that ensued while dropping my son off at my parents’ for the day and happening to check Twitter at the exact minute everyone in Hawai’i got the “You’re about to die!” message on their phones;
  • The subsequent boneshaking rage at the discovery that the thing supposedly in charge of the country did not even bother to interrupt its round of golf while that was happening;
  • The ongoing success of the “draw each day” initiative, which is only four days old but, hey, I haven’t quit yet!;
  • The outstanding stupidity of my day at work today, which featured three different sales that were closed and then cancelled within half an hour;
  • The economy’s about to crash, by the way– ask how I know;
  • The fact that I’ve begun two different writing projects this week and am pretty happy with the development of both so far;
  • My annual “Shut the fuck up about Martin Luther King, white people; you’d have hated him” post;
  • Begging for reviews from the person using Kindle Unlimited to work through a couple of my books this week;
  • Whatever the hell else happened to cross my mind.

Instead of doing any of those things, I’m going to go to bed early, because I feel like hell.  This is about all I can manage in terms of coherent thought right now.  So pretend I wrote as many of those posts as you like and feel free to respond to whatever you think they might have said below.

In which fear is stupid

IMG_6721Holy cow, that tablecloth has gotten raggedy.

I had an idle thought the other day and put it on Twitter– I wonder what kind of artist I could be if I drew something every day for a year, it said– and now suddenly I own a sketchbook.

Well, “suddenly” if agonized over the idea of spending $5 on a sketchbook for two days counts as “suddenly.”  I mean, as projects go, this isn’t much of one, right?  I’m not talking about full-blown landscapes or some shit, just, like, a quick sketch every day to elevate my ability to draw from not the worst artist on the planet to maybe somewhere in the top half of humanity.  I’m not about to start a webcomic or anything, although I’ll admit thinking about the first Questionable Content vs. how it looks now as a perfect example of what practice can do for someone.

So I own an inexpensive, yet reasonably robust sketchbook, and I bought some new pencils, which probably wasn’t strictly necessary but hey, pencils.  And all I have to do is draw something.  I don’t even really have to do it every day!  Just draw some shit once in a while!  Like, I get to set the rules!

And I put the sketchbook down, because I found the idea terrifying, and here I am blogging about it instead of just picking up a pencil and drawing something simple and calling it a day.

It’s so weird how hard I work (we work?  It’s not just me, right?) to hold myself back sometimes.


EDIT:  Boom.  Don’t expect me to post these too frequently, if I even continue with the project (I’d estimate no more than a 50% chance this lasts longer than a few days) but at least I did it once:

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Also, I need pencils with better erasers, as you can tell from Uncle Grandpa’s incorrectly-misshapen head up there.

Odds and ends/proof of life post

polar-vortex-nasa-670-1I woke up the other day and consulted my watch to discover that it was thirteen degrees below zero outside.  I feel like we were largely spared polar vortex horror last year, for the most part, but this year has definitely picked back up on the trend of the last several years, which is that the weather at the end of Winter Break is horrifying enough that school being cancelled and the break being extended is at least plausible if not guaranteed.  The boy goes back on Monday, finally, and I think the weather will be back to winter-normal by then, mostly, but holy fuck has it been cold around here lately.  There’s maybe, I dunno, fifteen inches of snow on top of the house, too, which means that we probably got eighteen to twenty since it tends to compress under its own weight after a while.  On the plus side, the new car appears to handle pretty damn well on ice and snow, or at least the new tires I put on it not too long ago appear to have done their job.


IMG_6692.jpgIN OTHER NEWS: the Lumberjack Beard is dead; long live the Lumberjack Beard.  I don’t normally shed my winter beard this early in the year, winter having just barely started, but apparently the answer to this year’s beard question, i.e. “How long can I let this fucker get before it starts to drive me insane?” is about nine weeks.  Granted, I brushed it backward to make it easier to shave off for that picture, but this was easily the bushiest I’d ever let my beard get, and unexpected side effects were starting to crop up– like eating getting much messier and– and this one really surprised me– all that hair on my face actually making it harder to sleep.  I think if I groomed it a bit better it wouldn’t have been as much of a thing, but I’m a novice at this and wasn’t super interested in putting in the research time.  I’d intended to just dial it back but ended up going completely back to the vandyke that I keep on my face for the other eight months of the year.  I may grow it back right away or I may not, but I won’t be doing Full Lumberjack again anytime soon.


IMG_6678.JPGMy phone is starting to slowly fill up with pictures like this, and I’m starting to see grid shapes with arcane symbols and glowing lines on them every time I close my eyes.  My buddy James Wylder posted a shot to Instagram of a bunch of notes and diagrams he was working with as he was playing through The Witness, and upon discovering that the PlayStation store had it for $15 and deciding I could use a more cerebral break from Horizon: Zero Dawn and Nioh, I was in.  Two days later I’m hooked as fuck.  I’d compare the game to Myst, but Myst had a genuine story to it and this really doesn’t; the reward for solving puzzles is more puzzles and occasional frustration and headaches.  There have been a couple of puzzles where I’ve had to cheat to get through them and at least one where even when the answer is on the screen in front of me I’ve been unable to figure out why the right answer was the right answer, but for the most part it’s hitting a nice sweet spot for me– challenging enough that solving the puzzles isn’t automatic, but not so challenging that my rapidly-becoming-legendary lack of patience with video game bullshit kicks in.  If noticing that some vines near you are a different color from the other vines and then figuring out how to get outside and line your screen up perfectly so that the vines trace the right path on the grid in front of you, and then taking a picture of it with your phone because fuck that, you don’t seriously expect me to memorize this, do you? sounds up your alley, check it out.


I had plans to write fiction this week, but they were burned to the ground once I realized that I’d have the boy with me all day yesterday and today for the last two non-weekend days of his break.  I’ve been lazy as hell on hiatus since Tales came out but it’s time to get back on the horse.  Next Thursday, then, I will either officially begin work on the latest version of the sequel to Skylights or start working on my entry for this anthology or both.  Because battle poets.  

Book sales have had a nice little spike lately too.  After most of a year where if I was selling a book or two a month I was pretty happy with it, I’ve sold five books today, two yesterday, and twelve since Christmas Eve– and that absent any sales or any particular promotion on my part other than a few surprisingly well-received Tweets.   In an absolute sense that doesn’t seem like much to brag about but I’m still in holy shit people are sending me money for stories mode, and I kinda hope I never break out of that.

That said, if anybody else wants to keep the ride going, that would be awesome.  Reviews would be cool, too, especially of the three that aren’t even at 10 yet.  Wanna help me out?

goddammit

So I literally just realized this a few minutes ago, while on the toilet, no less: I’ve been hemming and hawing about writing the TLJ review– have been actively avoiding doing it, in fact– because Star Wars fandom has been showing their collective asses in a big, big way this week, and oh Jesus Christ am I so very tired of Star Wars fans.

I used to love y’all.  You used to be my people.  I spent three fucking days in line for Episode One, and it still ranks as a treasured memory.  We all had a blast.

It was the last time being a Star Wars fan was fun.

Look at this nonsense for a second:

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The person who put this together does not remember spending three years wondering if Vader was really Luke’s father, guys.  If you want to talk about divisive Star Wars movies, we can start with that shit.  And I am tired, so very fucking tired, of people taking an entertainment franchise that goes in a different direction than they expected and interpreting it as a very personal Attack on Their Childhood.

Fuck your childhood.

(Another reason I haven’t written the piece yet: there’s a piece going around called The Last Jedi Doesn’t Care What You Think About Star Wars– And That’s Why It’s Great. Chances are you’ve seen it, since I imagine anyone reading this is pretty much guaranteed to be some flavor of geek anyway. I coulda written that article, guys, and it’s kinda thrown a monkeywrench into me writing my own piece.)

But anyway.

I loved the goddamn movie.  Loved the goddamn movie, and having waited a week to talk about it has not cooled my ardor, nor has it caused me to abandon the fact that I’ve apparently managed to deem two Star Wars movies in a row my new favorite Star Wars movie.  I have!  It’s true.  And my favorite behind those two?  Fuck you, it’s Return of the Jedi, considered the least of the Original Trilogy films by the type of person who claims to be a Star Wars fan but when pressed will tell you they hate every single one of the films except for ANH and Empire.

So, yeah.  Fuck those guys.  I’m tired of Star Wars fans.

But I loved the movie.  Maybe now that I’ve got this bullshit off my chest, I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.