The One Hundred and Fifth Post: The One Where I Am Taking A Well Deserved Vacation… Yes, Again

I am taking a four day weekend to celebrate the release of this minor game. This blog entry is coming a little late, and for that I apologize. Saturday has been a little hectic today so that Sunday can be my day of rest, since Monday is going to be a big writing day and Tuesday is going to be spend shooting at midgets (in a video game, of course) and Wednesday will be spend wondering why I’m still not shooting at things (maybe in the context of a video game… maybe not…).

Now that the FBI is going to be pouring over this particular blog – my mind is switching from the current project to I/O Error – and I’m just throwing stuff to the wall to see what sticks, so I ask you to bear with me. Here’s the issue: the main characters are robots. How would you scare a robot? There is obviously no fear of death (there’s no fear period) and there is no notion of an Afterlife to concern them. Immediate bodily injury is an issue, but only if they can’t get to the parts, and if something goes so wrong that a whole body must be reconstituted, then you just download the back-up file and off you go. Now, we can take a step back and think of the situation like this (and I may have gone over this in a previous entry, so I must ask you to please doubly bear with me, or get a good, stiff drink): emotions can be looked at as responses to stimuli. You get a raise, you feel happy, because that raise now puts more money in your hands to use as you see fit. Someone cuts you off in traffic and you get angry because either they did not signal their turn, or now you’re going to be late (or in my case, later). Stimulus and Response – the basis for comedy. There are whole schools of philosophical, psychological and theological thoughts about our emotions and how they should be displayed. Let’s take a look at one case that most people here should know: this guy.

Does he have emotions, chips and whatever not entering into the debate? If we take the rather bland definition I have as a standard, then yes – Data is an emotional creature. However, he will protest (in the earlier episodes) that he has no genuine emotions, since for him – emotions come from an understanding of their source. For Data, an emotion is not a Boolean equation, but a shadow cast on Plato’s Cave in a wavelength he can’t perceive. A romantic thought, but unfortunately, I can’t really go along with this interpretation. Not that it doesn’t have a place in science fiction – in fact, the notion of the Outsider is a central plot to fantasy, sci-fi and horror. It all depends on the Outsider’s relation to everyone else and how that becomes the basis of emotion as it’s perceived in others. One person’s Outsider can be a harmless collection of spare parts, and another’s could be a machine sent back through time to try to kill you. I guess that in making the main character in I/O Error, I am making it (her) an Outsider on many levels: an android taking care of humans, with needs being computed and satisfied to balance out some pre-determined equation. A sensate creature put into a realm that challenges her pre-build notion of what is real and what isn’t (Hello, Objectivists!). A member of a crew who defies the chain of command to help a crew that might not appreciate completely what’s going on. I think this one book is going to be better than the one I am trying to finish. Of course, I won’t know until I finish the thing, won’t I?

And on that note, since it is 3 AM here, I am going to bed. I wish all of you a good night (or good morning) as I put an end to the rambling.



Seething Apathy

The One Hundred and Fourth Post: The One Where I Impatiently Wait To Get Work Over With…

Got another couple days off this month for reason which you should know by now. If not, go back and re-read the last few days – it will become obvious. I mean, really obvious after the posts from last week. Enough of that – yesterday, I found a book that I am going to get just because I like the premise: the book is called Unwind, it’s an interesting idea and I could see that taking place – along with the premise behind Coma. It’s almost like cannibalism, but without the social taboos, and like anything else – I would love to see how a society like that would function if a person is considered worth more as constituent parts rather than a complete whole. I’ve always wanted to see other parts of societies whenever I see a really good movie or read a really good book, see what constitutes ‘fun’ or get an idea of what else is happening beyond the immediate threats: what’s a popular band? Who won the Oscar (or nearest equivalent)? Is my favorite football team losing in other realities as well as this one? I have to know. One game that really scratched that itch for me was 2nd edition Shadowrun. Some of the books they came out with not only dealt with new rules or equipment, but how the society looked and acted ‘off-screen’ as it were. I remember one sourcebook going into detail about the NBA in the Awakened Age, and even having TV programming from one of the countries inside the North American Continent. I love that sort of stuff!

Now as far the progressing/regressing novel, I am tempted to do this: finish the one scene, pad the other and call it a day to send it off to my more-than-patient-soon-to-be-suffering-editor. There are two whole chapters I know I am going to have to re-write, so I don’t know if it’s a case of ‘send it to the editor when done and politely request that she see if the two chapters make an sort of sense with the additions‘ or ‘rewrite the two chapters and get that done since you know if has to be done anyway‘. Advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.

Now, on to more free-floating work on I/O Error – now, I read an article that explains quantum computing and that they would use a chlorine-based medium as the computing agent. So, I was wondering if different substances would generate different sorts of computing skills. In solid state computing (like your computer) they ‘dope’ silicon with other chemicals in order to give it varying levels of conductivity and resistance and create transistors. I was thinking that in making a quantum computer, different computing mediums give different responses – some responses that can’t be readily explained away by the medium having a greater ability to bump electrons to a higher state or a different spin when voltage is applied. I’ll have to look a little more into this, but it could explain Gail’s predicament with the spooky kids.

Well, if I am going to get anything done, I should send this off and get crackin’. Hope y’all have a good day.



Seething Apathy

The One Hundred and Third Post: The One Written Behind Enemy Lines Again

Hello all.  This might be a shorter than usual post, since I am writng this at work (hence the ‘behind enemy lines’ tag). I woke up this morning to Barky Bark and the Furry Bunch, tried to start something on my computer, but I was too tired, so I ended up taking a nap (remember when you were little and swore when you grew up you’d never take a nap?  Yeah, neither do I). After that, I had enough time to get showered dressed and get to work. When I get lunch, I’ ll upload this at a wi-fi hotspot.

I’m going to finish the novel this Saturday (I know, I’ve said that this before, but this time I mean it) since I’m almost done with one scene and have a major scene to write and a minor one to pad a little.

I’ve got to get this finished for the second best game coming out this year (hate mail from Borderland 2 fans in 3…2…1…).  Don’ get me wrong, I love the game but Halo 4 has got more of a story arc as far as I can ferret out from the promotional material


Well, I should wrap this up.  I gotta be nice… or fake it really, really good.

Seething Apathy

The One Hundred and Third Post: The One Where I See The Hand Of Fate Moving Me Along…

I just got the preliminary sketch of one of the characters in the novel from the artist Bindi van der Linden:

Holy Freakin’ Cow.

I can’t wait to see what Rhona is going to look like! I like it when good events like this sweep me along – lends credence to the whole “I don’t believe in fate, only destiny” idea. All I have to do is finish one scene and re-write a couple to give more Rhona time and to try to develop her character a bit more. As I have said before, I’ve felt that Anya has overshadowed Rhona a little in the novel. Can you blame her? I mean – look at her. Anyways, my goal to get this book finished and out the door is the weekend, since I am going to be completely unproductive this coming Tuesday and I’ve got the writer’s group next Saturday. The pickup scenes should be rather short – one with her assisting in the duel and the other in the final scene (don’t want to give anything away). I might just elaborate in the duel, but give her a big shining scene in the end. Who knows? Frankly, I just want this over so I can move on to the next piece. I am actually beginning to understand pregnant women in the final trimester (cue angry letters in 3…2…1…).

I/O Error continues to be worked out in my head. Right now, I’m working on the background events leading up to Gail’s discovery. I’m also doing a little research into quantum computing. I think that’s the only way to have a computing system fast enough to mimic human thought (a key element in this story) but still not be something so cumbersome that it can’t be feasible. Yes, I know – its science fiction so I don’t have to go into details about how it works, but I want to know in the event that it comes up in the story, or someone asks me a question. I’m not that much of a discovery writer – I try to nail down as much as I can first before getting into the main story itself. Thanks to those long nights in the John Rolfe garage, I learned the importance of planning and story-telling. I also learned how messy paper-mache can be.

So, there are a couple of movies coming out this month that I can’t wait to see: Dredd and Looper. I can’t wait to see Dredd because of this guy. He’s a great actor and maybe this will wash the bad taste of the earlier movie out of my mouth. As far as Looper goes, I’ve read a little into it and I am intrigued by the premise and I want to see how they explain away the inherent paradox. I can’t get too into it, because it gives away plot points, so after it’s premiered and I go see it the next day (comes out on the 28th, I’m going to see it on Saturday), after that, I’ll report on what happened.

Well, I need to get going and get that scene finished as long as Daft Punk is playing on Pandora.

Have a great day.


Seething Apathy

The One Hundred and Second Post: The One Where I Get Back On Track…

… and no better music to do that than “Why So Serious?” from the Dark Knight soundtrack. This is the last full week I have to work, and then I get a couple of days off for National Midget
Face-Shooting Day. Another month and a half, and then it’s the big vacation for a week and a half (my birthday falls in there somewhere) and the release of Halo 4. So, yeah – I’m pretty jazzed up about the next couple of months. Even more so when the novel gets finished and sent off for the serious editing – I did find a bit of software online to help with the onerous part of edit: finding repeated words, clichés, etc. It’s called Smart-Edit and I tried it a couple of times. It works as advertised: highlights words used a lot, hunts down adverbs and clichés for you to decide which one gets used. A lot of useful stuff is out there, thank God I found it.

One of the issues I am having while plotting out I/O Error is the idea of emotion being shown-but-not-shown. The androids are made to be as human as possible, even to the point where they’re talking to each other rather than using wireless links to send data (a point brought up by someone in my writing group). They have varying levels of interaction based on their function: Gale is going to be the most ‘human’ out of the group because of her role in Guest Services. I’m thinking the least would be Selma in Engineering – not around humans that much and the ones she is around would be more interested in her as a machine than a person. Anyways, Gale can fake the emotions when needed and this is part of the conflict between her and the others. After all, when someone acts odd for an extended period of time – we try to put some distance between them and us (unless you’re a fan of the ‘Jerry Springer Show’, then its wedding bells and fistfights). The same thing with the androids, which leads me to the ending that would look great in the movies, but I’m still working on it in my head as far as getting there. I supposed the theme of the story is going to be ‘the outsider among us’. I think this project is going to be harder than the current project because with Rhona and Anya, I can show emotions (and that’s the crux of the conflict) easily with them. In I/O Error, they’re very polite and firm about what is protocol and what isn’t. The climatic meeting in the middle of the novel is going to sound more like a passive-aggressive Parent/Teacher Conference. I’m wondering if this is a good idea or not.

Anyways – I’m flipping my .mp3 player back to “Why So Serious?” If there ever was a sound for crazy, it’s the beginning buzz in the music. I played it on a loop when I was writing the final fight in the novel. I liked how the song was paced: moments of frenetic motion followed by patient stillness – which is how I imagined the final fight between Anya and her opponent (I don’t want to give anything away). Well, I should actually get back to that so I can finish it. I know that I am going to be nothing but unproductive next Tuesday. Have fun everyone.


Seething Apathy

The One Hundred and First Post: The One Chockfull of Explanations

Some people may be reading this blog from my other social media site… and could be shocked over what they are reading – so, an explanation is in order.

When I started this blog two years ago, it was what would be called by Mike a ‘secret public journal‘ – I was giving voice to private feelings, grievances and joys while trying to maintain a certain level of anonymity. Hence why I rarely if ever gave names and places (except for that one time) that could be linked back to me (or, maybe more than one time). Certainly, there were some things that I have said that would cause other people to look at me differently, or not to look at me at all. If you read over the whole length of the blog, you’ll see that I start to come into my stride. It becomes less of an online bitch session – of which we know there are so few remaining in the world – and more of a reflection of what is happening in my life. Reading some of those earlier posts have made me realize that I have come a ways from what I used to be as far as being a blogger. Will I continue my upward spiral? I certainly hope so. Will have people along for the ride? That would be nice. Part of the reason I continue this blog is to keep myself motivated in the writing process I hope to make a living out of one day – captive audience and all that.

It’s 2 AM right now. I can’t sleep very well, and I thought I would use that energy to write this and maybe do some thinking about the novel. Once of the problems I am having is Anya running away with the whole darn thing. So, the solution is to write more about Rhona in is: especially the scene with the carnival and the final fight scene and the aftermath – especially the aftermath. When originally written, it was just with Anya and the Scholars – it would be more powerful if Rhona was in the Scholar’s Seat and speaking on Anya’s behalf. Anya makes several changes in the story, but Rhona stays Rhona, and I don’t think that’s really a good idea. Anya’s changes certainly make for some excellent drama; it doesn’t seem fair that Rhona kinda just blithely skips along. So, once I finish the pick-up chapter, I will go back and touch up some scenes – moving the expected date of completion from ‘the end of the week’ to ‘shortly before I die’… again. Not a complaint, but since this is going to be for all intents and purposes my first novel, I want it to be the best effort I can put forth. Of course, as I have been told ‘good art is not completed, it is abandoned‘ – so I expect to finish this thing and move on to the next one.

Well, I am starting to finally get sleepy – yes, I just accused myself of boring myself to sleep. I will trundle off to bed and try to get some more work done tomorrow.


Seething Apathy

The One Hundredth Post!

To be honest, I didn’t think I would stick around this long for this point. Yeah, I have a horrible track record about these sorts of things, so to make to 100 is a sign… of what, I have no idea. Fortitude? Stubbornness? Well – I have to thank all of my fans (the both of you), for helping me keep on with this. What started out as a private journal has become… well, a semi-private journal – since I lead a boring, non-shocking life, I can put it out there for people to see if they stumble over it on accident.

I will again say thank you and I look forward to getting to the 200 mark. Even if I have to dragged kicking and screaming. J


Sincerely, very truly sincerely

Seething Apathy