Words of Radiance (not the sanderson book)

This isn’t about Brandon Sanderson’s Book 2 of the Stormlight Archive.

I read about Ahmed Best in Polygon and Wired. He’s the guy who did Jar Jar Binks. I know, we hate the character. Most people I know, who were little kids when Phantom Menace liked Jar Jar, and thought the whole film was pretty good. I read about Best’s encounters of harassment and his contemplation of suicide. There’s a process in making these films. It’s not as if Best himself directed the prequel trilogy and inserted himself as Jar Jar. The character deserves hate, yes, but not the man behind the mask. There’s a difference when saying “You ruined my childhood” to someone you know, and to someone who just appeared out of nowhere. The original films were made for an audience of that era, same as the prequel and the sequel trilogies. People are moving on and doing great things because they learn to accept changes. Best is making music and has a science fiction podcast, which are awesome. I’m glad he’s doing okay.

A few weeks ago, popular Fortnite streamer Ninja, lost a bunch of followers after deciding to take a two-day break. Fans are being a little too demanding. Give the guy a break. He’s earned his keep. Streaming is hard work. It requires skill in the game and charisma you’d see in movie stars. It’s an entertainment business. Oh well, maybe it’s for the best anyway. All those people leaving Ninja makes room for an audience that actually matters.

I wasn’t supposed to write this post. I even had a lengthy draft and decided to scrape it. Now I’m writing it again, tighter and a bit shorter. It’s exercise, I suppose. But I wrote and posted this after reading Hayley Williams’ pissed off tweet, about some guys following her and demanding she sign stuff, and stalking her in a town she doesn’t know. I don’t think I can add anything to that incident that’s already been said. Celebrities are people, space and privacy, the power of “no” extend to different things, and so on.

In the last three paragraphs, what do they have in common? An audience. A fan base, retaliating, exploiting, and harassing the popular personality. Times like these, when things are changing really fast, I think it’s important that more people stand up. We see what’s wrong, we know what’s wrong, and we wonder how we can fix it. I may be oversimplifying it, but talking about it, seems to work. Not always. But it sometimes does. Appeal to the humanity side, try to bring out the humility. It’s a shotgun blast. You’ll hit some people and you’ll miss plenty. It’s a small progressive step forward, but it’s sharper than engaging into full on flame wars. People are into building drama, creating drama, and living in drama. Trollish attempts to troll the trolls is wasted effort.

I have run out of things to say.

 

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Innards #17: Birth

Last week my wife went into an unexpected labor. Four hours later, she delivered our first child.

The delivery itself was only about 10 minutes. From the labor room, my wife was moved to the delivery room. I was asked to wait, to make room for their preparations. I complied. Ten minutes in, the nurse fetched me, and when we both entered the delivery room, the child was already there.

Everyone was surprised by the speed of the delivery. And the sudden change of our timeline shook our entire future.

My wife has two months of maternal leave. I only have seven days, which is a bummer. Thus far, things have been great. My wife and I have so far, spent sleepless nights watching over our child, changing nappies, and whatnot. The most time we were able to spend on sleep was barely 30 minutes. And yet, neither myself nor the wife feel any level of exhaustion.

 

It sucks that we need to go back to work, eventually. But such is the way of life. My writings have gained newfound priority. There’s a bunch of stories that needs to be written and the road to publication, whether independently, or traditionally, is going to be a long and hard one. If there’s any a time to make changes, that would be now.

The Red Whale WIP has progressed from 23% to 27%. A lot of changes were made. Many of those changes I am not too happy about. At the cost of 40,000 words, these changes gave room for a faster and smoother narrative. I’m circling around to see if there’s anything from the old draft I can migrate into the new one. There’s a lot of really good stuff in there.

I still have a few days left to finish what I can finish. In between writing and taking care of the child, I open Steam and have been playing “Wizard of Legend,” “Frostpunk,” “Poly Bridge,” “Brawlhalla,” and, ahem, “HunieCam Studio.” I do hope I get to stream someday and continue to work on the development of YouTube videos with “Super Mario Maker” content, while I still have the Wii U in my hands.

There’s also the pre-development of a podcast I’ve been wanting to make. I have most of the equipment, so it’s just a matter of finding the right time for it.

In any case, onward we go, first, to burp the baby, and then, to write!

No comfy

Yesterday, a strong burnt rubbery smell filled the apartment. I freaked out. It’s Summer. A season of fires. Then the wife and I discovered the smell was coming from the air condition.

Ruling out all possible reasons, I have concluded that the motor is overheating. It was a shit thing to undergo. That night, I tested the AC. I lowered the fan speed and upped the temperature a little, so it would’ve overwork itself. 

And just to stay safe, I MacGyver’d a work table using two chairs and several boxes and books, near the AC. So when it begins to smell, I can shut it off right away. 

I was not comfortable in my position. Not at all. But you know what? It turned out to be my best writing night yet.

Within three hours I managed to add some details into my story, edit a huge chunk of the book, and ironed out the plot that had been bugging me. Many of the issues have been resolved and finally I can move on to the second part of the novel. 

I have small conversations with some writers. Advice from them always points out that a writer needs to be comfortable and relaxed. It helps them develop ideas and fine tune the writing.

In my case, sitting comfortably makes me feel like shit. When I’m comfortable, my mind wanders. I end up either going to YouTube or check out any updates on Hayley Williams. If I turn on music, I end up imagining I’m in a group called The Jon Karoll Band, and we’re rocking it from ’70s classics to more modern awesome sauces like Yellowcard… anyway. Bottom line is, I am least productive when I’m comfortable. I fall asleep and I wake up with a stiff neck. I was pretty much screwed.

I’ve made good progress. And I’m going to see how much productivity I can get while feeling uncomfortable in my seat.

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.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING

MODEL NAME SRP

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.

Mindfly3%

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.