The Spoils of War

Spoilers for the seventh season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Quick update: Noticed I’ve been spelling “Valyrian” as “Valerian.” Damn the Thousand Planets!

Holy shit.

That was one damn good episode.

With only seven episodes left, things are wrapping up really fast. We are being pushed in breakneck speed from one scene to another, giving us just enough screen time to let us know what’s up with this character and the next. In the previous episode, Samwell Tarly has, apparently, cured Jorah Mormont of his greyscale disease. I believe this will be the last we will be seeing them until a much later time, maybe even in the season finale, or as far back as the final season next year. There just doesn’t seem anything for them to do anymore at this point. Unless Sam discovers something important and Jorah reaches Dragonstone, where Dany and her army is currently residing.

The lowest point of “The Spoils of War” is the interaction between Cersei and the Iron Bank. Sure, we now know all about the debt being paid in singe installment, and that, the Iron Bank may back out last minute when things go awry.

At Dragonstone, Jon showed Dany the cavern of dragonglass, and we get to see drawings on obsidian, of the First Men and the Children of the Forest, working together to face the Night’s King and his Army of the Dead. At this point I can’t tell if Dany is convinced of the threat far up north, but instead uses this to tell Jon that he should bend the knee. Of course, Jon reasons why he cannot, and to this, Dany points out that isn’t survival more important than pride? Something if I remember right, was something Jon said to Mance Rayder and we all know how he ended up. Whether Dany believes Jon or not remains to be seen yet. Though, at this point I’m incline to believe that Jon has secretly bent the knee, acknowledging Dany as Queen. Why? Because he needs to damn it and he’ll need to smooth things out later with his compatriots waiting for him at Winterfell. In a lightly humored scene where Davos tried to give Jon a proper title, “King Snow” or “King Jon” and the young dragon-wolf hybrid only says, “It doesn’t matter.” Why doesn’t it? Because he’s already pledged to Daenerys Stormborn! I could be totally overthinking this.

Speaking of Winterfell, Arya is finally back home, with a warm enough welcome from Sansa and an odd enough greetings with Bran. I found it impossible not to grin and laugh out loud at to see three Starks in one scene. Littlefinger handed Bran the Valyrian steel dagger that was meant to split his throat in season one, which he passed onto Arya. Sansa tells Bran that Littlefinger wants something out of this. Bran, being the emotionless bastard he is now, says to her that it doesn’t matter. It’s chewy in way. I like to this of this as, “Whatever Littlefinger wants doesn’t matter because he will die soon.” Arya being in the same castle with Littlefinger makes things interesting. Another name to cross off the list? Maybe not yet. I don’t see it happening soon unless some real shit happens.

Talking about Arya a lot, I bet everyone is eager to see more of her in action. She did open this season by unrolling a carpet of blood. So we see her spar with Brienne of Tarth, and we get one of the show’s top fight scenes. It’s also a point that having a secondary weapon is a huge game changer in how Arya will engage in melee combat. Also, I’m certain Bran handed her this Valyrian steel weapon for a reason far more than what she might have expected: Something to fight the Wights with.

There are a lot of reunions in this episode. Theon Greyjoy spots Jon Snow as he reaches shore with the rest of the survivors of Euron’s surprise attack on Yara’s (Asha) fleet on route to Dorne. Some of us might have expected the worst, considering it was because of Theon that Winterfell collapsed into the hands of Ramsay Bolton, and where a series of unprecedented shit took place one after another. But all seems well, in a way, since Theon did help Sansa escape, and Jon, apparently, knows about it after all. When Theon said that he intends to get Dany’s help to rescue Yara, Jon replies that, to me, sounds like they’re in pretty “okay” terms, that she isn’t around.

Where is she? Theon asked. In an earlier engagement, Dany learns that Casterly Rock has been taken, however, news about what really happened just pissed off the Mother of Dragons. This incident, plus the loss of Dorne and the Greyjoy as allies, drives Dany to consider desperate measures. She intends to take the dragons and burn the Red Keep. Tyrio warns her about this. And Dany, turned to Jon Snow, about what she should do, obviously looking for someone to take her side. Jon, says something about melting cities with the dragons will only make Dany look like the tyrant everyone has seen and feared. And now, we set our sights at Highgarden, and the Lannister army preparing to take their leave. Jaime and Bronn, riding off in a sunny afternoon, engaging in puny banters and all the stuff that happens after a big battle, when their battle instincts kicked in.

We learn that Dany’s response to all of her misfortunes, was a big flip of the table, screaming “Fuck this shit!” The Dothraki horde charges toward the Lannisters as they get into formation. Then fire rains down above them, creating a blackened streak on earth filled nothing but ashes.

The intensity of this episode was grand and filled with dreadful moments. You don’t know who to root for. You know that these Lannister people are just doing what their lord (or Queen) commands, who has families of their own – as made evident by Dickon Tarley, Sam’s brother. Not to mention that Jaime and Bronn are at the heart of chaos. Two characters we’ve been following since the first season are put into the most dire situation yet. I honestly believed this was it for Bronn, as much as I didn’t want it to. He fumbled around the battlefield but still did an admirable job at navigating through all this mess of burning bodies while being hounded by a Dothraki.

When Bronn manages to get into Qyburn’s invention, which is the medieval equivalent of an armor-piercing heavy sniper rifle, I was howling in my thoughts that Drogon – one of Dany’s dragons – could be in danger. And I wasn’t far off there. While Drogon survived the attack, the damage was dealt, but without them destroying the weapon, and Bronn making a swift exit. How hurt Drogon is remains to be seen, but as Dany tried to pull off that massive spear of an arrow, Jaime finally gets to see the daughter, whose father he was sworn to protect, in the flesh. He charged his stead forward, picking up a random. He knew what he was doing. As soon as he impaled Dany, that dragon will fucking tear him apart. But he charged anyway. No doubt he was thinking about Cersei and if he died, so did that secret of who really killed Joffrey. A last minute save from, Bronn, I think, tackling Jaime down to a river as the credits began to roll.

I’m glad Jaime and Bronn are alive, in the meantime. It would also be terrible for Tyrion, who was watching the entire battle from afar, to witness his brother’s death. Though I imagine Jaime to stick a little longer. Maybe he’ll die a romantic death, turning Queenslayer to protect Cersei, or maybe Cersei would kill him behind his back, to spare him of witnessing her own demise. It’s all speculation at this point. But if Jaime and Bronn haven’t been swept by the river, they’ll be taken as hostages at most.

Only three more episodes before the season ends and we’ll have another agonizing wait for an entire year to see how things unfold.

Innards #14: The Vault


A new and big idea has decided to settle in my head. This intrusive idea arrived this morning, knocking politely in my hollowed skull, and what did I do? I let it in. I entertained it. I gave it a glass of water, fed it, and before I knew, I had accidentally nurtured it. 

Oh Cthulu… 

It’s something to be proud of and yet, something you shouldn’t. Oh wow, you got a fun new idea, neato! Yes, it is neat. But what’s not neat is me unable to finish a single manuscript.

This new idea is a reminder that I’m dragging behind while all the cool stuff is piling up. And quite frankly, the more I hold off those ideas the more they become stale. And I do not want stale bread and I certainly do not want my cheese all moldy. 

I forgot how many “Projects” I already have out there. “Ashes” and “Dark” are definitely going after Red Whale. Then there’s the matter of “Tunnel Crow Town” and Project Ghosts, which is going to be really big. There’s also Project Sherlock that needs to be written after “Ashes” and between “Dark” because the latter two are so damn depressing. Oh, there’s also Project Hunter, my planned YA books, and then well, there’s the new idea that happens to be YA. Oh, I’m not done yet. There are multiple horror anthologies being written and then Project Starkiller, which is as big as Ghosts. Oh, I forgot my 2010 baby, “The Conductor” and my 2005 sweetheart, Shards. 

There’s a few more, like projects Apples and Valentine, and my nose is itchy to write a classic High Fantasy with a bit of twist. Then ther are a bunch of novellas. So yeah. In short, I’m screwed. I need to catch up or else the world will roll all over me.

A friend of mine said I may have writing ADHD and from exhausting all my projects like that, I can see why. 

In the meantime, the Red Whale is cruising along, almost done but with a lot of holes that need more than a few patches to fix.

Now I stop this and onwards to writing!

LG plays safe with the G6

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This 2017 there is a spectrum in flagship phones. Both Samsung and Huawei have recently played their cards and are topping the Android industry. Sony is about to show off their newest contender, while HTC just announced theirs in high hopes to make a comeback in the hall of smartphone champions.

What about LG? Year after year they have been giving us excellent phones, though with gimmicky features. The G2, for instance, rocked the industry by placing its home button at the back. (Something that has been replicated in more recent phones, like Asus and Huawei.) The G4 gave us a leatherback with a somewhat curved design. I don’t know what the G3 brought to the table, despite having owned one for a while, I’m guessing it’s the 2K screen. And of course, the G5 introduced modular features that absolutely went nowhere, and that last one was a bad hit for LG.

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So what about the new LG G6? It’s safe to say that this is LG’s safest phone yet. A simpler design and well-built. It comes with hardware you’d expect from a flagship device. Though the chipset used here isn’t the latest one, which is quite a head scratcher, really.

Let’s break things down, rating each of them.

Design: 4/5 

If you ask me, I love the simpler design the G6 has over its predecessors. It has no curved screen, no disgusting leatherback, no modularity with expensive modules, no nothing. Just a great-looking phone with nice specs and other staple things.

This is an era where we are getting regular-sized phones with larger screens. The bezels of the G6 is almost nonexistent, a testament to the screen’s durability over years of development. It’s a tall phone with a tall screen and a width so much slimmer than the G5. It’s a great phone to binge on Netflix and just chill the F-Out.

While the frontal design of the G6 is nice and swell, the rear, should be smooth and, well, nice to touch. The G6 unit I managed to get my hands on was covered with a protective film, and that could only mean the darker colored G6 is a fingerprint bitch. As far as I know, without the protective layer, the back is an all glass panel built with Gorilla Glass 5. And as far as my experience goes with LG, they have sturdy phones. My G3 unit had a lot of bad drops. So did my LG G4 Beat. And before those, I had an LG L70, which underwent a ton of accidental waist-high drops. Oh, there were scratches and some dents, but the fact remains, the screen was intact and fully operational.

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The volume rockers are found in the left side of the phone that allows left-handed users to thumb through the volume. Right-handed users can go finger them with the index finger. SIM tray goes to the right side, a Type-C USB port for fast charging and fast transfer speeds, and a headphone jack. (Go suck it Apple, we want our wired headphones!)

Specs: 4/5

Display: 1440×2880

Screen size: 5.7-inch

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
RAM: 4GB

Memory: 32GB and 64GB

Dual cameras: 13MP (Both)

Front camera: 5MP

Battery: 3300

Water and dust resistant with IP68: Hell yeah!

If you look at it like that, it’s not so bad, right? While some phones kick balls with six gigs of RAM, the G6 maintains a stronghold for 4GB, and that’s not really a bad thing, as the phone is blazing fast as it already is. The difference would have been only fractions of a second.

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What bothers me here is the chipset. While most flagships use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or an 831, at least, the G6 uses an 821. Phones that use this are: Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Xiaomi Note 2, OnePlus 3T, and Asus Zenfone 3 Deluxe. All of those phones are well regarded with excellent performance, so I wouldn’t think twice about how well of a performer the G6 is.

That wasn’t to say the 821 chipset is bad. It’s just a little outdated. But make no mistake, the 821 fires up all the G6’s cores and runs all the apps you’ll ever need without flinching.

Software: 4/5

Who cares about software? It runs on Android 7 Nougat. LG’s own Knock-On has returned without a doubt. If you’re unfamiliar with that, you just double-tap your screen to awaken the phone. LG has this since the G2 and it’s been a nice addition. Though, I’m not sure if it’s the unit I have right now, or if there’s some flimsy code on LG’s part, but the Knock-On feature doesn’t always respond. The same goes with my pressing of the rear home button.

The Always-On Display, which is seen in some phones today, is present in the G6. So if you rely on your phone to check the time, you no longer have to open your phone to view it. Other notifications and battery status are always on the screen despite the phone being locked.

Camera: 3/5

Let’s get this down before the initial knee-jerk reaction. The G6’s camera is excellent. The colors are accurate, vibrant, and sharp. It has nice gestures that allows you to take selfies without pressing the shutter button. You can switch between its two rear cameras to get different aspect ratio contrasts and depth. It has the usual staple: Time-lapse, filters, slow-motion, among others. The dual rear cameras firing at 13MP each and the frontal 5MP, are absolutely fine and deserves to be in a flagship phone. However, compared to other phones out there, the G6 lags behind by a hair.

Here are some sample shots.

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Conclusion

Unlike other phone makers: Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and OPPO who all introduce their flagship phones alongside a bigger “Plus” version, LG sets aside their big-ass phone for a couple months. I’m talking about the LG V series. Last year the LG V20 received a warmer and more loving welcome than the main G5 had. While I do love the simpler G6, it’s hard not to hold my breath for a few more months before making up my mind, the next LG V phone is just across the horizon, after all.

Hard Times

This hardly requires a silly blog post but I did lose my mind for moment when I saw that Paramore was trending on Twitter. My first thought was, “Holy shit, new album!”

I searched and instead, found a new single, and I was like, “Holy shit, new single!”

It’s everything what you can expect from a Paramore song. Different. Fun. Catchy. There are some fangs hidden here and there, and if you dig deep enough, no doubt you’d find them. Some of the scenes brought flashes of some Lady Gaga aesthetics, only in a more brighter and saner style. Also the final part of the song with that sick beat felt so much like a modern day take on Daft Punk. It’s such an excellent, fun song. Love it in every way.

Hayley looks good in the video. Though I find the makeup a little too thick, making her look a little older than how old she really is (she’s 28, last I counted). I kind of miss her punk-rock years, and nothing beats her weird Tim Burton-styled looks and her getup during Wango Tango in 2014.

This song is definitely going down to my playlist while writing.

There’s a lot of crazy shit happening in the world right now. If you tune in to various media outlets and witness the fall of society through social media, it’s almost as if everyone is going through some sort of existential meltdown. Paramore is right with this song though, these are indeed Hard Times.

No doubt you’ve seen the video by now, but hey, I’m still going to post it here.

Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ goes into orbit

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For this article, images of the Samsung Galaxy S8+ are used.

With a lot of love and support from people all over the world, I was loaned Samsung’s newest flagship phones: The Galaxy S8 and S8+. And impressions over it have far exceeded than what we had expected.

After the entire Galaxy Note 7 disaster, Samsung comes back strong and hitting hard with the Galaxy S8 and the S8+. During their Unpack event, which was held in March 29 at New York, Samsung executives spoke at length about the new screen.

They call it: The Infinity Display. It sounds like Samsung is cashing in on Marvel’s next year’s almost-guaranteed hit “The Avengers: Infinity War.” In reality, the Infinity Display is just a fancy name for an improved dual-curved, pseudo-bezel-less screen. It’s OLED, meaning the pixels popping out of that screen emit their own light, which, in paper and in the ears, sounds cool. And honestly, it is.

You can even configure the screen into three different settings: 720p (HD+), 1080p (FHD+), and 1440p (UHD). Samsung even warns you that tuning up the screen into UHD with increased brightness will drain battery life faster. Well, no shit Sherlock. That’s among the reasons for giving us fast charging and fast wireless charging, right?

Part of what makes up the Infinity Display is the absence of a physical home button. This allowed Samsung to design the new Galaxy S phones with a much larger screen without bloating them up to incredulous levels. The home button is not missed as much as I thought I would, as the basic home, back, and menu buttons appear on screen already. If you think about it, a physical home button that does the same thing as the one on screen is a bit of a redundancy, right?

In the right side of the screen is a virtual drawer that you can slide out and bring out some Edge features, like People Edge and Apps Edge, which acts as shortcuts. It’s something that I personally never found useful, as there are simpler and faster ways to reach your favorite contacts list, and apps shortcuts can be sorted out anyway. Suffice to say, the People and Apps Edge only gives you a nice-looking, more organized way of navigation.

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I am a huge fan of stock Android. Just plain, bland, boring vanilla Android, for reasons that should really be obvious if you know your tech. And it finally seems Samsung has started listening to people. The Galaxy S8’s UX is all Samsung. And yet it looks so much like stock Android, simple and clean, it makes it hard to let go.

You can bring out all your apps by swiping up or down, which is really damn nice. Again, everything feels so clean and simple, navigation has never been this smoother on a phone. Also, it’s nice to point out that Galaxy S8 has 3D touch features. Tap and hold on to the app to bring out a pop-up menu that allows you to do choose a couple of things. Though, there is still a lot of room for further developments here.

My major complaint about the Galaxy S8 and S8+, and this is something I’m not alone, is the placement of the fingerprint sensor. Look, Samsung, we understand you have your own thing here, and you refuse to join the club of putting fingerprint sensors at the back of the phone, right beneath the camera, so instead, you put your sensor on the right side of the camera. It’s rather brilliant really. Actually – it isn’t. It’s annoying. I’m a left-handed person and it takes my hand a bit of a stretch to reach the fingerprint sensor. This is an even bigger concern for people using the Galaxy S8+, which is a bigger phone. However, when using my right hand, I didn’t find any problem with using the sensor, at all. So I suppose Samsung expects you to meet them halfway, eh?

There are even concerns that before people will be able to hit the fingerprint sensor, they would end up smudging their camera with prints. This wasn’t the case on the unit lent to me. I squeezed out the grease between the microscopic creases of my fingers and rubbed them all over the camera and it didn’t affect the picture quality.

However, the unit, black, or whatever bullshit shade Samsung has decided to call their version of black, is a fingerprint muncher. Only mere moments of admiring the phone, running my fingers along its glass finish, it was smeared with prints all over. It’s quite a nasty thing to look at, which is a shame, cause when cleaned, the Galaxy S8 and the S8+ look fucking good.

It’s amazing to note that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ are the first phones to integrate Bluetooth 5.0.

Thus far I have not encountered issues with the fingerprint sensor, unlike my experiences on other devices, where it takes repeated tries for the phone to unlock. This is based on a single 24-hour experience with the phone. Nonetheless, I found the fingerprint sensor to be the most effective and convenient layer of security. I dislike the facial recognition and the iris scanner tech that Samsung is so proud of, simply because it makes you look like you’re taking a selfie. It might be Samsung’s way of gamification of things, but I just don’t like it. I’m not into selfies and it bugs me that Samsung is actually encouraging me to.

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Oh, speaking of selfies, picture-taking, whatnot, Samsung has integrated their own Snapchat-ish features onto their camera, both in the 12MP dual-pixel rear camera and the 8MP front camera. We don’t know why can’t you just use the other apps that does the exact same feature. In the light of things, I suppose it’s because Samsung is trying to save you time, effort, and memory space by providing something on the get-go instead of downloading them first in the Google Play Store.

It’s amazing to note that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ are the first phones to integrate Bluetooth 5.0. This means a lot of things for the future. This means your paired devices can have a much farther range from each other. It also means fast wireless transfer speeds. But the best of them lot, is having enough bandwidth to allow two of the same device to pair to the phone. For instance, you can pair two Bluetooth headphones on a single Galaxy S8 unit. No need to share earpieces with your significant other. You can also pair two different speakers. It’s a technology geared toward the bubbling developments of the Internet-of-Things.

One of my least explored features of the phone is Samsung’s own digital assistant, Bixby. It functions the same way as Google Assistant and supposed to be better than Apple’s Siri, and something to go head-to-head against Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. Bixby is like the old S Voice that everyone hoped would just die and Samsung buried it long before that happened, hoping no one would even remember it. But Bixby is different. So Samsung says. Considering Bixby is Samsung’s own design, the AI is designed to do a lot more in in your phone such as change settings. In the Samsung website, it listed Bixby as “It’s constantly learning your ways so it can get better and better.” That’s so vague and scary at the same time.

In the left side of the phone below the volume rockers is a Bixby button. For Samsung to go this far as to put a physical button to summon the AI, we get the sense that Samsung has the intention to blow minds here. I get the sense that Samsung here intends to create a smart hub, integrating all Samsung electronics: TVs, refrigerators, washers, etc… into your mobile phone, with Bixby at its heart. My concern with Bixby is, do we really need it? Anyone who might want to connect their Samsung appliances to their phones, maybe. But for other people? I doubt everyone will want to use Bixby, let alone any digital assistants, save for a few bored questions. And in such cases, I wish Samsung had allowed the customization of the Bixby button into another application that you’d rather use most of the time. Going in-depth about Bixby requires an article of its own, so we’ll let this simmer down a little and go back into admiring the phone.

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the S8+ packs the best Android hardware you can have. Four gigs of RAM, Snapdragon 835, and 64GB internal storage that can be expanded using microSD card. It’s a flagship device, so of course everything in it was put together to give a full-throttle experience. It’s also IP68, so yup, take that phone with you to the pool.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and the S8+ is a great phone. Our local telcos will be happy to create promos and plans to rip you off when it launches in the country, which isn’t too far now, especially with pre-orders starting real soon. And if you pre-ordered, you can even get a wireless Bluetooth speaker. Give Samsung a clap folks. If the Galaxy Note 7 had damaged Samsung’s reputation, the Galaxies S8 and S8+ will redeem them.

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Narco Road DLC

I’ve been pals with a few Ubisoft employees since 2015 and they’ve been kind enough to send me Ubisoft-related news materials for the broadsheet I write for, along with the gaming website I’ve cofounder. Figured it won’t cause any harm to post the press release here as well. 

I’ve never played “Ghost Recon: Wildlands” yet, but a friend of mine had claimed it was pretty good. She gave it an 8/10 out of her personal rating chart and that’s good enough for me.

Press release follows:

GO UNDERCOVER IN TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON WILDLANDS FIRST EXPANSION, NARCO ROAD, COMING APRIL 18 

Ubisoft announced that the first Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands expansion, Narco Road, will be available to season pass owners simultaneously across all platforms on April 18. Season pass owners will have access to Narco Road one week before it releases as a stand-alone expansion on April 25.

Narco Road tasks players with infiltrating three gangs of smugglers led by the elusive El Invisible. Players will have to work their way up the ranks and earn the trust of the mysterious leader if they have any hope of bringing him to justice. Reaching El Invisible will require gaining the trust of three new charismatic bosses:

– Eddie Escovado: The self-proclaimed social media star and adrenaline-addicted leader of the Kamikazes gang.

– Arturo Rey: The mysterious leader of the Death Riders, a gang of riders who worship Santa Muerte.

– Tonio Mateos: The arrogant leader of the Jinetes Locos, a gang specializing in racing muscle cars.

To earn the respect of these bosses, players will complete more than 15 fast-paced campaign missions. In addition to these new story missions, four new types of side missions and racing challenges offer adrenaline-fueled action. Completing these activities will earn players fame and followers. The more followers a player acquires, the more interest they will get from the gang bosses, and the closer they will come to bringing down El Invisible.

Narco Road also features four exclusive outfits, nine new weapons and four new vehicle types. Traverse the massive Bolivian map in huge monster trucks, nitro-boosted muscle cars, powerful motorcycles and aerobatic planes. 

Additionally, all players will gain access to a new game update launching April 12 on consoles and April 14 on Windows PC. The update will introduce weekly live seasons challenges in the form of solo, co-op and community tasks starting April 18. Players who complete these challenges will be rewarded with up to three unique rewards per week. Challenges will be available through multiple seasons, each of them lasting six weeks and featuring a specific theme. In the first season, The Rise and Fall of Unidad, players gather intel on Unidad’s operations and combat the threat to the country.

In Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, players discover a fictionalized future Bolivia, a few years from now, in which players must take down the Santa Blanca drug cartel by any means necessary. Behind enemy lines, they hunt down targets and discover intel, using any of the more than 60 vehicles available, including cars, motorcycles and even helicopters that they can commandeer. To topple the cartel, players have to fight their way to El Sueño, Santa Blanca’s ruthless leader, by breaking down the Santa Blanca drug cartel’s operation piece by piece as they sever alliances between the drug lords and the corrupted government. A second expansion for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, Fallen Ghosts, will be available soon, as well as an all-new PvP mode in the coming months.

Halfway there

Yup. I am halfway there. Almost passed that massive brick wall that had been staggering my progress. Just need to smooth a few things and production speed should soar.

On top of that I’ve been writing something I shouldn’t even be bothering about. I still have Projects Ashes and Sherlock under development, but like I said, I just can never learn. My friend has been pushing me back and stick into completing the Red Whale. I did not make it to my personal deadline so I’m setting another one in April.

Second week of April should be my deadline with a completed manuscript.

The roadblock had been my unconscious way of making things too complicated. The Red Whale story should be straightforward with just enough twists to keep things interesting. It took me almost two months to finally get those chapters right and no amount of rewrite felt good enough. So I removed them. Six long chapters goes to the trash bin. Nope, not shelved to be used later, trashed them. They just weren’t going to work no matter what. The new characters I introduced in the chapters and some backgrounds will be recycled in another form though. After that bloody ordeal, progress started working again and things finally made sense.

I think I owe it to Marie Lu, author of “Legend.” I started reading last week “Young Elites” and was immediately hooked to finish “Rose Society” and “Midnight Star.” Those stories were, pretty much like Pierce Brown’s “Red Rising” trilogy. The stories were straightforward with just enough twists. Not too complicated. Designed for awesomeness. After reading “Midnight Star” and soaked through all the emotion there, I did a quick reread of “Morning Star” and those paved the way.

Now that this mess has been cleared up, as mentioned multiple times already, the Red Whale is on the go!