Well Played, Asus

Asus and I have some bad blood. Well, the local Asus and I have bad blood. It started with a small confusion and mishandling of a certain motherboard. It’s unclear if I broke it or they did when they scrambled to get it from me, thinking I broke it – which I insist, have not.

In any case, I still like the brand as a whole. They sent me this press release and thought no harm should come by simply posting it. So he ye!

Press release follows:

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) launched its promotion for its complete gaming peripheral lineup, called the ROG Great Gears, Well Played promo.  

Made for every gamer

ROG peripherals are made for every gamer. With different molds, features, and top specs, gamers can truly dominate the game with comfort, speed, and style.

Promo Mechanics

1. Endusers will get free items once they purchase the following ROG gaming peripheral sets.

a. Rifle pack: FREE PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUND (PUBG) digital game code.

i. ROG Claymore gaming mechanical keyboard

ii. ROG Gladius II gaming mouse

iii. ROG Strix Fusion 300 gaming headsers

b. Sniper pack: FREE Php500.00 Steam credits

i. ROG Strix Flare gaming mechanical keyboard

ii. ROG Pugio gaming mouse

iii. ASUS Cerberus gaming headset

c. Shotgun pack: FREE Php250.00 Steam credits

i. ASUS Cerberus MECH RGB gaming keyboard

ii. ASUS Cerberus gaming mouse

iii. ASUS Cerberus gaming headset

2. To claim the freebies, endusers must provide proof of purchase and other details to http://www.woobox.com/dk8d8

3. Purchase period is from 19 March to 18 April 2018.

4. ASUS PH will provide game codes within 30 days from enduser’s submission.

5. ASUS PH reserves the right to amend the promo mechanics without prior notice.



ROG Claymore P10,910

ROG STRIX Flare P9,410

Cerberus MECH RGB P4,770

ROG Gladius II P4,730

ROG Pugio P4,110

Cerberus MOUSE P1,120

ROG Strix Fusion 300 P6,530

Cerberus Headset P2,530


Beat the Fit into yo Back! No? Ugh. Cringe.

This motherfucker here is the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 500.

Based on the picture, it’s splashproof, so go ahead and run wild under the harsh torrent of piss from the sky! Yippee-ki-yay!

But ok for real-sies now. I got a hold of this and took it out for a spin. And hey, you know? It’s not bad. The audio is crisp and the Bluetooth range is pretty damn good. You won’t know you’re missing your phone until you’re on the other side of the city. Yeah, it’s a sweet deal plus, despite thick walls and glass getting in our way, music flowed seamlessly.

It’s comfy in the ears too. It doesn’t cancel noise, so you can technically still hear outside environments and people will hear your guilty pleasures in music.

The left earcup has the play/pause, forward, back buttons. Nothing special there. The right cup has the mic button. Long press it and your hot voice assistant will be serving your whim.

Double press the mic button and it will dial a number. At least that’s what happened to me. I assumed this was meant to re-dial the last number you called but from my experience the dialed number was someone I haven’t called for a couple of days. Maybe I’m just stupid.

Do I really need to go into further detail about this? No? Awesome. But I will anyway. There’s the standard jack at the bottom for those who aren’t too keen on the whole wireless thing. It’s always nice to be given options, right? Even though the drive of technology forward is a wireless, interconnected world. 

A vision of the future where your smart car can detect your smart headphone, and will recognize your voice and automatically open, and the engines will rev as soon as you stick your butt in the seat. 

For someone dumb as I am when it comes to writing stuff and gizmos, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 500 gets a certified DAMN!

I have an extra photo of the headphones and I don’t know what to do with it, so gaze upon it one more time with the slick Plantronics logo.

Innards #16: Expanse

Some time ago I got it in my head that I can write well because I enjoy it. These days I’m not so sure. Self-loathing is a thing, gnawing at the back of my head. Wouldn’t go away, no matter how much I shoo it off. That’s alright. I like some self-loathing, keeps me sharp, in some way.

In any case, besides sulking in the corner like a whimpering cretin, I’ve sorted out my writing a bit. Things are looking somewhat hopeful, with the baby on its way and the job hunting and all that shenanigans, all things considered, my writings just got the refresh it much needed.

Year of the Red Whale23%

23% is as much as I can give to my current WIP. As of this writing, the Red Whale has about 50,000 words. The prime original word-count was 120,000 and then I decided to cut it down to 80,000. I’m dancing between the two, since I’m going to self-publish anyway. I can go crazy and push through that 120K, or chop things off with clean 40,000-word novellas. Sounds intriguing. But I don’t want to do that. “Year of the Red Whale” is a self-contained story. My challenge now is deciding to maintain the single protagonist perspective or add a few POV characters. There are four candidates to help expand a ton of things. I hope to finish the final draft of this book by the end of February.

Project Ashes: 15%

Oh, humbug. I have 40,000 words written in the first book of Project Ashes. I have parts of the beginning and parts of the end, with little details in between. This is a grimdark tale that is part of a much larger epic. I’m really excited to devote more time into the completion of this story.


Crap. Crap. Crap. Project Mindfly is a novella I’m working on for this month’s Apex Publication’s open submissions. I’m not sure where to put this story, if it’s fantasy or horror. I’ll just say it’s weird. Missing person. Body horror. Time travel with a twist. All that gritty stuff. I’ve began writing this story about two years ago but somewhere down the line I stopped to focus writing Project Ashes, which was, ironically, pushed back because of the Red Whale.

Project Sherlock10%

Every now and then I look back at this WIP. I love it and to me, is a fine project after Project Ashes. It’s got miscreant heroes, adventure, a bit of romance, conspiracy, street gangs, assassins, and an epic showdown in one of the unlikely places. It might involve a little bit of magic and if it does, it will probably be tech-based. Like Jedi lightsabers. If magic does get tangled into the mix, then, Project Sherlock will be part of a much larger world I’ve crafted up. The entire concept is really cool and exciting, so I’m putting a lot of thought into it.

Project Sword0%

Holy shit Jon, what the flying fuck is this? A new project? So soon? You still have a bunch of commitments like Project Ghost, “Tunnel Crow Town,” and “The Conductor.” And there’s a whole lot more. What is this Project Sword? Well, it’s a standard sword and sorcery. I wanted something that’s a little bit traditional. Just a bit. I have the characters mapped out and how some of the scenarios will play out. Yes, it will probably begin in a remote village farm. Yes, it will probably involve a main character who wants to live a normal life but is instead force-fed a destiny with big-ass responsibilities. Yes, it will probably have elves and dwarven folk, talking trees, and the such. And yes, it will probably have a pub scene, which is very important to fantasy stories. I got it covered though and I plan to twist ’em all up. My main concern is two of the characters resemble so much from the ones in Project Ghost. So, I don’t know. Should I merge them or what? We’ll see.

I guess that’s it for now. Here’s Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Tell me, baby”

This Year in Reading

It was a rocky start but I was able to catch up a bit to my reading list. But I hadn’t consumed this much books since I first started reading in the early Y2K. 

So I’m just going to drop down some of the best stuff I got to read that helped me push my own writing aspirations forward.

Holy shit! This book was really good. The writing is simple, comprehensive and yet to sprinkles so much details in the mind. This is a story about a middle-aged teacher, who lost his newly-wedded wife, while out in their honeymoon in the Tower of Babel. It’s like reading a book produced by Studio Ghibi. You know, the people who made “Spirited Away.”

Holy shit! This book was freaking fun! It’s cheesy as fuck! But it’s hilarious and it’s fun! It’s an adventure story of old-timers. One last gig. The reunion. The greatest hit! It has tons of references from heavy metal and rock musicians, which all sweetens the deal. 

I really liked this book. It’s a folk tale. Something you would hear from people who has never left their remote village. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had stayed that way. But it blends with more fantastical elements that gives it a whiff of epic famtasy into it with a really dark twist.

I think anything from Mark Lawrence is an obvious pick. Ninja nuns are awesome and I’ll just leave it as that.

Kristoff brainwashed me since Stormdancer, the first book of the Lotus War trilogy, which also happens to be the author’s debut novel. Godsgrave, book 2 of Nevernight, feels like a restart that ends with things kicking off toward a conclusion. The action is intense and the sex scenes are awesome.

If there’s a book out there that made me believe you can make one-book epics, this is it. Written by the same dude who wrote Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Sea of Rust is Mad Max with robots. 

The tension from the main characters got me so hooked I burned through all three books while putting on hold the rest of my reading list. It’s gritty and twisted, and the characters keep making mistakes which lead them to all sorts of crap. 

Special mentions should include Brandon Sanderson’s “Snapshot” which reminds me of a certain episode from the first season of Rick and Morty, and Pearce Brown’s Golden Sun and Morning Star from his Red Rising trilogy. Then of course there’s Marie Lu for her Warcross, but before that there was The Young Elites, Rose Society, and Midnight Star. 

Stranger Things 2 is a remake of the first season

Yes, there will be spoilers for both seasons of “Stranger Things.”

“Stranger Things” is a period piece set in the ’80s, a throwback from how technology and culture leaped and bounded forward. Now, we can agree to disagree that, “Stranger Things” season one felt whole. You had a beginning, middle, and an epic end. It told a well-paced and heartwarming story, one that became a phenomenon without resorting to graphic violence or nudity.

It resolved every important plot thread there was. Will Byers is back. The demigorgon is gone. Most of the bad guys are dead. What’s there left to talk about? Jonathan and Nancy’s sexual tension? Look, they’re teenagers, young and indecisive, there is a glimmer of hope in there left for the audience’s imagination to develop their own fan-fiction how that story can go. Besides, Steve proved himself as an awesome fellow after all. Then, can we talk about what happened to Eleven, instead? Of course. That’s the fun part. That’s where the beauty of the entire season also lies. No matter what we speculate, we will never know what happened to Eleven. Things that weren’t meant to exist, stopped existing. Even Eleven, as harsh as that sounds.

But, there’s one more thing: The slug that Will retched out of his stomach? Look, horror has a way of terrorizing its viewers/readers down to the last minute. The slug scene tells us that it’s not over for Will. And yes, it hints a second season, but it didn’t have to be. It only tells us that the nightmare is far from over and the future becomes uncertain.

“Stranger Things” was perfect. It works as an eight-episode show and it could work as a two-hour movie, with some minor plot elements cut off. What kicked me in the balls was Jim Hopper leaving Eggos in the middle of nowhere. If anything, that was the scream for Season 2.

Beyond that Eggo scene, I will repeat once more, “Stranger Things” was perfect. It’s so perfect, instead of creating a head-on sequel, we got a Season 2 that is pretty much a remake of Season 1.

Season 2 followed every pattern of the Season 1 to the book.

  • Something happens to Will Byers
  • Strange things happen. People are going missing in S1. In S2, harvests are dying.
  • Discovery of someone/thing. Mike and Eleven in S1. Dustin and Dart in S2.
  • Kids get in some real nasty shit. In S1, the government was hot on their trails. In S2, it’s the, as Dustin calls them, demi-dogs, that almost got them.
  • The Byers house is renovated.
  • Bully-issue.
  • The love triangle. Jonathan only looks on at Nancy with Steve. Now it’s Steven looking on at Nancy, knowing she’s with Jonathan now.
  • For a little stretch: We lost one strong supporting character each season. Barb and Bob. (Be wary of any future “good” support characters with B)
  • The stand in the Byers house.
  • They get Will back.
  • Eleven saves the day.

Season 2 makes sure that you can watch it without watching Season 1. It answered all basic questions. Why was Jim Hopper so attached to Eleven? Where did Eleven come from? Why is Will called Zombie Boy? All of those are answered in Season 2, making it more than capable of standing on its own without prior viewing of the first season.

I think this was intentional. Unlike Season 1 that felt complete. Season 2 felt like it needed a sequel. There’s an eerie sense that this cannot be the end. It’s not because it had a campy ending with everyone laughing and smiling. But it’s how everything was setup! Damn it I’m bad at this. Anyhow, seasons one and two of “Stranger Things” were too much alike. I’m not complaining. I love every bit of it. Now, I’m excited how Season 3 will turn up and I know deep in my bones that things will be totally different.

Thor: Ragnarok was great, but…

Spoilers for Thor: Ragnarok

I love “Thor: Ragnarok.” It was the most delightful Marvel movie I’ve watched probably since “Iron Man.” Straightforward and fun. I feel the chemistry between Thor and Loki was spot on, and so much better than any of previous movies. Cate Blanchett, as Hela, was damn impressive and scary. The way she slayed everything with her infinity blades was jaw-dropping.

However, I say these with a heavy heart, that there are a few things I didn’t like about the movie.

First among all: Jeff Goldblum. Yes, the dude from “The Fly,” or the doctor from “Jurassic Park” who spent most of his time on his butt from some injury, or that nerdy guy who managed to upload a ’90s era computer virus to shutdown an alien mothership from “Independence Day.” The problem was with Jeff Goldblum played the Grandmaster so well. Too well that it foreshadowed Hela as the main antagonist. You spend plenty of time in Sakaar, where Thor is hanging out for a bit and trying to assemble his “Revengers” that you sometimes forget that Hela is on the background, terrorizing Asgard, and we get this facade that the Grandmaster is the main villain.

Oh, Hela’s character is well developed, I think. She is excited to give just anyone a history lesson about who she is and what she had done for Asgard and Odin. I suppose, what I’m after here, is more engagement between Thor, Loki, and Hela, seeing as they all had daddy issues, being siblings, and whatnot. Ragnarok felt like a setup, should a fourth Thor movie be made. Though with a return of Hela, may be impossible, considering how it all turned out. So, I’m betting Doctor Strange will somehow mess with the timeline.

The second thing I disliked in the movie was Thor’s lack of concern for his friends – primarily the Warriors Three, getting butchered by Hela, just like that, as if they were throwaway characters. Well, actually, in a way they were? They played solid roles in the first half of the first Thor movie, then diminished in the second. I’m not asking for total character arcs, I’m just saying, even Heimdall mentioning about it to Thor and he’d just make a one second reaction about it.  Sif is not around either, so that’s a big question to me, and the only thing I can think of is Marvel thought that Sif and Valkyrie were too alike, which sounds rubbish.

And that is all my tiny nitpicks about “Thor: Ragnarok.” We got a quick glimpse of a big-ass ship during the mid-credits scene, and that can only be Thanos’, arriving to extract the Infinity Stone from the Tesseract – which Loki, no doubt, has taken. It should also be pointed out, that during the D23 trailer of “Infinity War” (We’ve all scene it, OK?), Thanos is wearing the Infinity Gauntlet with a single gem (fine, Stone) embedded on it. And I’m guessing that’s the Space Stone.

In any case, that’s the end of my senseless ramble. I could come up with a thought piece about how “Thor: Ragnarok” is a reflection of immigration, but what’s the end game? Read this instead, since it shares pretty much the same idea. We ride onward to Valhalla!

The Emperor’s Blades

Holy Hull. This was an awesome book. It kicks off real simple at first, the emperor is dead, and two of his three children are unaware of it: One trains to be a badass assassin, and the other, the heir, invests his time getting buried alive, haul stones, getting cuffed at the back of his head, and drink tea, to reach a state of Nirvana.

The book opens with a prologue that shows you the meaning of rot, and then the following chapter paves way to a graphic scene of a corpse. I should say the chapter had me hooked and I was curious enough to keep on reading until things unraveled.

I have no problem with graphic violence in the stuff I read and watch. But what bothered me in “The Emperor’s Blades” is how it’s all the women getting butchered in graphic detail. The inclusion of one kick-ass woman in the book doesn’t help elevate that. 

Beyond this, the book was a great read. I loved the description and the prose. I loved the pacing, despite being a long book, everything moved at a fast and clear pace. 

There are three main POVs, each of the emperor’s children, but we spend most of our time with the two boys – the assassin and the monk – and only about three chapters with the eldest, the daughter. Though from a certain perspective I can understand why she had so few chapters and I can only imagine things will change, fast, in the next two books when shit gets real.

As the characters are scattered throughout the empire I felt there was deep immersion and how large the world is. Each one was so different from the others. So different when something shook up the status quo, it felt like a threatening alien presence.

After this book I’m pretty much sure I’ll read everything Brian Stavely, the author, writes. For now, onward to Book Two: The Providence of Fire!