Now, this is my type of galaxy


One of my bosses in my day job was invited to an event in Singapore to learn more about Samsung’s newest tablet, the Galaxy Book.

It’s a device that’s designed to go head-to-head against the Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

I got my hands on it for a little while and the first thing I noticed was how heavy it is for a tablet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good portable device and lighter than laptops. And, according to my boss, comes with its own stylus and keyboard, unlike Apple where you need to get the Pencil and the Smart Keyboard separately. 

The keyboard that ships with the Galaxy Book is without its flaws. But it’s something you can really type with on the get-go. From my experience, the early moments of the Surface Pro and the iPad Pro’s keyboards were a little jarring and I needed to get used to it, much more than other foreign keyboards I’ve worked with. It also has those satisfying clicks whenever you punch them down.


It also runs on a Windows 10 platform, something I’m familiar with. Though it’s likely 1000x susceptible to malware infection, depending on your online activities. But that’s more of a cybersecurity matter. 

In Philippine peso it’s priced around 40K, about a little more than $1,000. It’s almost carries the same price tag as an aged Apple MacBook Air, which I still consider a really damn good typing machine.

In any case, I like the Galaxy Book. Consider this Certified DAMN!

Press release follows:

The Galaxy Book is Samsung’s latest offering in the workbook segment boasting of combined power and mobility for the go-getters. Working on the go will be a breeze as this workbook is powered by Windows 10 Operating System, pre-installed with a Microsoft Office Suite, and comes with a full-keyboard cover case.


If you’re one who loves taking notes down old-school style, you will surely love the S-Pen. The Galaxy Book’s Advanced S-Pen has a fine 0.7mm pen tip for precise note-taking and drawing. Its high-pressure sensitivity provides a realistic writing experience that will surely delight he writers out there.

The Galaxy Book also helps you keep that corporate style on point. No need to lug around your bulky laptop in that extra bag. This new innovation comes in an elegant all-metal body–only at 8.99mm thin, and lightweight at 648g.

Rayman Legends to make a big Switch

I love platformers. I grew up with Mario, Sonic, and a bit of Mega Man. Rayman was the first PlayStation game I have ever played. I loved it back then and I love it now.And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that “Rayman Legends” isn’t one of the most intense and best platformers we’ve had in a long, long time. 

Ubisoft appears to be milking the Legends title some more instead of making a proper sequel. It has been a number years already and I’ve met people who had double dipped on this from PS3 to PS4, and some even willing to triple dip when it comes out for the Nintendo Switch.

In any case, posting a press release sent to me by one of my pals from Ubisoft.

Press release follows:

RAYMAN LEGENDS: DEFINITIVE EDITION LAUNCHES SEPTEMBER 12 ON NINTENDO SWITCH

Ubisoft announced that “Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition” is coming to Nintendo Switch on September 12, 2017.


Rayman, named platformer of the year and winner of multiple artistic and musical achievements, is coming to the Nintendo Switch for the first time with “Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition.” It allows up to four players and offers an exclusive wireless local multiplayer experience in Kung Foot mode. With the Nintendo Switch device undocked, players can use the touch screen to take out enemies, manipulate platforms, cut ropes and much more, anywhere, anytime, in both solo and multiplayer. Additionally, players will experience a new and exclusive tournament feature in an updated Kung Foot.

Set in the enchanted world of Rayman, “Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition” follows Rayman and his colorful band of friends as they discover a mysterious tent filled with a series of captivating paintings. The gang must run, jump, and fight their way through each world to save the day and discover the secrets of every legendary painting.

Grim Company

I just finished reading Luke Scull’s “Grim Company” 2am last night. I ended up waking up real late and having to explain to my boss about my tardiness, especially on a day when important stuff was about to happen.

In any case, it was worth it. I spent about three days reading through the book, with about a total of seven hours. Not a record breaker or anything, except on day three, when I started reading at around 9pm.

I enjoyed the background. Magelords risen up to gods, the corpses strewn on the land, where magic is harnessed and all the other cool shit happening. It was a massive thrill ride from start to finish. The characters were interesting and full of so many flaws, so many you can’t help but actually appreciate them for it. One of the main character, Davarus Cole, well, let’s just say he’s a dick, but he always meant well, despite himself. And, even someone like him actually becomes a fun character to follow around.

I really have no idea what else to say about it. It’s fun, full of action, there’s an amazing background, the characters are awesome, and there’s so much more happening behind-the-scenes. No, not another game of politics, this one swings the action and doesn’t let up. There are looming threats that we’re all familiar with.

Prose is great! Though I’ll be a little direct here. Scull isn’t on the level of George RR Martin or Steven Erikson, when it comes to piecing words together in the most stylish and thought-provocative way. But Scull delivers full clarity, with images bursting into your mind as you read through the pages. It’s glorious writing when you lose yourself in the words and just find yourself sitting in the middle of the entire book like you were just watching an IMAX film.

Wrapping this up, “Grim Company” is one of the best damn books I’ve ever read in recent years. And I’m eager to get started with book two “Sword of the North” as soon as possible.

 

Innards #13

I promised never to make another “Innards” post unless I’ve actually made some real, solid progress with my stories. Then this means, I just made some real, solid progress!

It’s only been a little over a month, and my current project, titled, “Year of the Red Whale” has built itself a humble 15,000 words. More are still pouring in as I do my best to type as fast and meticulous as I can. I’m rather satisfied with the outcome so far and things are continuing skyward, much to my satisfaction. Before the month ends, I hope to reach 20,000 words and enough to proceed to the book’s “Part 2” segment, which I aim to become my NaNoWriMo entry. Whether I reach the 50,000 goal or not should be awesome. There is a deeper drive now to finish my stories more than ever.

As I continue the Red Whale, I’ve gotten a chance to check out my older projects, “The Conductor” and Project Scar. Each were started in 2010 and 2008 respectively. Both are around 30,000 words and looking at them now, I’m surprised by how different they are from what I’m writing today. Not in a bad way. The prose was a little bit more florid, the pacing was nice, and world was more imaginative and bigger. On a single page, I’ve managed to cram in a lot of information, without feeling like an infodump. I know what I’m saying sounds egocentric and I’m just blowing air into my head. Not really, I’m just saying, if someone like me, who has little to no talent in writing, can come up with something like that. Then anyone can.

The biggest difference I’ve made was spending a lot of time in those two stories. I remember staying up late at night trying to finish a chapter. Always pushing into my head, one more paragraph. I’d spend entire weekends locked in a room, staring at a blank page, trying to cough up the right words that would breathe life into my stories. I wrote a paragraph. I stare at it and I take it out, unsatisfied. It’s a long, damning process that ended up being worth it.

It was also a time when I’ve done nothing but read a lot of books, nonstop. I suppose all those prose bled out into my subconscious. “Year of the Red Whale” begins to pale in comparison against “The Conductor” and Project Scar. Looks like I’ve a lot of thinking and redesigning to do.

The only advice I ever took was from an Aussie writer: “Read, write, and practice.” He said. I took it to heart, kept reading a lot, kept writing a lot, and got a lot of feedback. I never settled on what I’ve written. If I had to cut out entire chapters just because they no longer fit, so be it. It’s a habit that needs to come back.

These days I only get to write three to four hours a day, at night, after getting back from work, where I’ve spent the entire day writing. It gets dull and sickening, but, that’s all part of the challenge.

I never really relied on any other books that thought how to write. Sure, I got a few, read what advice they’ve got to offer, and I’ve only ended up feeling disappointed, wishing I’ve spent my money elsewhere. There are a ton of forums out there who can give the same exact advice from those books, for free. They can be a little harsher though. The only books that I felt were ever really important, were Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style.” The first one, was well, because it was about King telling us how he got into writing and it was damn interesting. The second book, King himself had actually suggested in his book I’ve just mentioned, cleaved a path  on how to write better, how to construct concise and clear sentences. If I had to choose between two sentences where one attempts to sound profound and sophisticated, over one that immediately puts an image in my head without disrupting the flow of the story, I’d pick the latter any time. That’s the most important thing, clarity. Writing is a long process. You’d start with a blank page and by the time you hit less than 1,500 words, over an hour has already passed. That’s fine. That’s how good art is crafted. Savor every moment of it.

On other news: The Wife is insisting I should switch jobs. With my income, I could hardly blame her. She believes I can do better. She’s not the only one, truth be told. Many other folks who have grown old within the company are insistent, I should get out while I still can. The inferiority complex in me is trying to cower behind closed sheets, afraid to take on another professional, meet new people, but, but, potentially earn at least twice as more than my current job. I only earn, in US dollars equivalent, around 280. It’s pretty dismal.

Earlier this week Nintendo has finally unveiled the NX console – the Switch. It looks amazing. It’s a console I want to have alongside a PlayStation 4 when I get one. When they announced sometime ago that Nintendo was working on going mobile, I didn’t expect this. It is a brilliant execution, a potential merging between handheld and home consoles – considering handhelds in these past years, had been Nintendo’s strongest selling point. If ever, the Switch will be my first Nintendo console since the SNES, and I’m really looking forward to it.

It’s no mystery that I’ve gotten myself into reading more self-published books. It started with Hugh Howey’s “Wool,” and followed by Anthony Ryan’s “Blood Song.” I wanted to see what all the fuss had been about and how the independent-segment is fairing. And it’s looking quite good. There are lots of talented traditionally unpublished authors out there. Sure, some of them needs a few more polishing, but the quality of fun and stories they deliver remain to be topnotch. My recent read was Will Wight’s “Unsouled” and it’s something that needs more attention.

Apparently I’m still in-love with Hayley Williams. Her weird iTunes Festival getup in 2013 and the green-haired, tight shirt,  skirt, stockings look in Wango Tango 2014, was just, damn.

Out of boredom I went back listening to some bands I haven’t listened to for a long time. It’s just such an amazing treat to go back and relive the songs that defined my era while growing up and how I started getting into music. Green Day gets the most nostalgia in me with their song, Basket Case, and of course, Boulevard of Broken Dreams. This is quickly followed by Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue, bringing back old memories from my time in California as a wandering, angry, solitary teenager. I also just found out they’re on their very last tour. That hurts. Finally, there’s Foo Fighters. I haven’t been a fan of their newer songs, while still great, I’d still like to dwell on their songs like Monkey Wrench, Learn to Fly, Long Road to Ruin, and yes, Everlong.

The season 7 premiere of “The Walking Dead” blew my brains out. So, spoilers from here. Based from the comics, I knew what was going to happen. But the first shocker had thrown me off guard, it was an attempt from the production crew to mess with the longtime fans of the series. Something worst was bound to happen. It just did.

Year of the Red Whale: NaNoWriMo

Oh snap! I just did it. I just did this thing in NaNoWriMo where I announced Project Crown! Looks like I really will be participating this year.

As of this writing, Project Crown has over than 10K words. NaNoWriMo asks writers to start writing on the first of November. I’m not in the mood to stop writing and work on yet another project (Project Hunter, most likely).

Project Crown is on the roll and I see it being completed soon. Even though that’s still about 90-110K words to go. What I’m going to do, is write as much as I can until the official start of NaNoWriMo, after which, I’ll jump to the book’s next segment, or rather, the next “Part.”

NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write 50K words between November 1 to 30. If I do that, that’s 50K new words into my novel. To participate in the spirit of the event, I won’t include any words written before November 1.

I’ve announced Project Crown in NaNoWriMo as “Year of the Red Whale.” And that is its final title. It’s a fantasy story set in the Industrialization era. A time when most of the world has been discovered, explored, and colonized. It is a time for modern medicine as new diseases are born from the empire’s strands.

It is a revenge story and will involve all sorts of crazy stuff in it. I’m very excited in how much I was able to put in it without being senseless clutter. It all worked, somehow, at least for me. I’ll have to tally what the beta-readers will have to say.

Anyhow, I suppose I’ll talk more about the book some other day, when it is undergoing rewrites and polishing. While I understand a 100-120K-word novel is no easy feat to accomplish, I’m aiming to complete this story sometime in December. But who knows, I’ve said that before about Project Ashes.

 

Train to Busan

Holy shit. That’s my reaction to this film. I held my breath the entire way.

The hype is real. If you haven’t seen it right now, then do yourself a favor, and go watch it at this moment. Skip school, ditch work, and grab your friends or family, and take them out for this ride.

If there is one thing about Asians is highly efficient in making a film, it’s evoking emotions.

“Train to Busan” is terrifying, sad, and sweet. Its characters are flawed and frustrating.

Unlike most, if not all, zombie films, where the origins of the zombie outbreak are never explored. “Train to Busan” takes a moment to actually tell us what exactly happened.

It is rare for such a thing to come from a zombie film. Some of the greats have had their time and withstood the test of time, to become legends, hushed whispers among hardcore fans of the genre – nearly all of them has come from George Romero.

“Dawn of the Dead,” (1978) “Night of the Living Dead,” (1968) “Zombieland,” (2009) and “World War Z” (2013) are the only films that come to mind where zombies have been mildly entertaining and were actually good films. It wasn’t the zombies that made these films great, it was the characters. Each one had a character arc of their own,

Make no mistake, “Train to Busan” is all about the characters. All suffering with human dilemmas that is a stark contrast to their current situation. It’s a film about family, it’s cast is full of traveling families, it explores kinship, survival, and how fear can drive a mob mentality to a single train of thought.

Majority of the film takes place in a train, a single ride from one end of the station, to the other end. It is because of this tight space that causes a sense of claustrophobia. If there is anything to analyze in this film, it’s how modernism has driven us apart from our families.

“Train to Busan” is an entirely different beast. If films such as “The Good, The Bad, and The Weird,” and “Snowpiercer” had not put Korea in the map as a fine source of international films, then this one will.

Project Crown

These are harsh times for me. I haven’t gotten into writing my manuscripts in a long time due to stress in my day job and other matters. It has made me getting back into projects Ashes and Sherlock difficult.

So, to get back into a writing groove, I have started Project Crown. It was an idea that took off around mid 2015, but never really explored it until a few days ago while riding the train to work.

Project Crown will be a revenge story with bits of romance, family issues, political conspiracies, gangs, betrayal, and supernatural mumbo jumbo.  It will also include, weird magic, giant walking war machines, powered armors, and whatever else I can think of that will fit in the settings.

I still have no pitch for this. But through my day-to-day commute, riding trains and buses, the story has been mapped out pretty well. I see the beginning, middle, and end. It will be a standalone, about 120,000-150,000 words at most, maybe.

I’ll add more details eventually. I don’t expect to finish this story in a while considering Ashes and Sherlock are top priorities. But meh, who knows.