NaNoNetMo (Yep, I made it up!)

Mushu Avatar

Been a while since I’ve blogged without squeeing, so here you be. This year…Wow. For me, I feel that 2014 belongs to the Trickster–that’s for sure! Insert the word “unexpected” into just about everything possible, and that sums up my rollercoaster ride.

But now that the year’s winding down, I find myself in need of some quiet time to focus on art, cleaning house, and writing so erm…I can do more of that, really. I’m nowhere near finished unpacking yet, and that means I’ve got my work cut out for me. Plus, I’m heading to a writer’s retreat and am doing a few more conventions this year than I have in the past, so yeah…

National No Internet Month! Starting on Friday, December 19th and running through January 19th. WOO!

I can’t go away entirely because that’s the nature of the proverbial work beast right now, but this means no external website visits, no Twitter, Facebook, Google+, forums, or what-have-you…nada…unless there’s an emergency I have to deal with. A few blog posts here and there on this site? The Squee project? New announcements? Yep, absolutely. But other than that, e-mail will be best to get a hold of me.

Of course, this is nothing new mind you. It’s just funny how connectivity works nowadays. If I don’t say something, people think I’ve gone off the face of the planet or something. I wish I had the money to travel around the world! Sheesh!

    Mood: Ready for Spring
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: 30 on the elliptical
    In My Ears: Heater fan. Seriously.
    Game Last Played: Brain Age II
    Book Last Read: Erm… Can’t remember! And it was just yesterday!
    Movie Last Viewed: Not sure. I’ve been re-watching the Doctor Who Christmas specials, though.
    Latest Artistic Project: Beading! Cookies!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


The Big Catch-Up on 25 Squees (and other Musings)

Darth Vader Masked Avatar

I have Avengers on in the background as I’m writing this, and thinking back (for some bizarro reason) to the Ewoks television series, and how much I don’t like Hydra and would like to Monica Smash them into oblivion. See also: lamenting the fact that I let the Squee project lag, but scrambled to take vacation, so there you be. And, to top it all off? I’ve been obsessed with the concept of resilience as of late, and how important that is for writers.

Let me rewind that last statement, because it’s something I want to reinforce. Writing is a hard job, because when the words don’t flow? Yeah, we only have ourselves to blame. No amount of [insert real life b.s. here] can excuse a lack of writing, because we can do that anytime, anywhere–even if it’s for half an hour. Fifteen minutes. Something. Resilience, though, isn’t about writing. It’s about the lifestyle and all the other peripherals that come with it. The contracts that fall through. The projects that we don’t get credited for or we’re forced to take to pay the bills. The good reviews, the bad, and the ugly. The pressure we receive from friends, family, fans. Etc. Etc. Etc. And then depression starting with isolation, then an over-reliance on the Internet, then a loss of perspective…until? The things we say online don’t seem to have an impact in real life, because we’re not grounded in real life enough to know that words can hurt other people.

Anyway, deep thoughts ahead of squees. There was a point where I got discouraged, since there’s so much going on right now, so many real world issues…but now that I’m back from a wonderful vacation? I feel like these squees really are another way to hold back to the darkness, another method to be resilient in addition to be grounded in real life.

On to the 25 squees! This’ll bring me up-to-date through Tuesday, December 16th.

1.) The Star Wars trailer was released! No, I haven’t seen it. I’m very excited for the new films, but want to enjoy the movies when they debut in theatres. I’m a little old school that way I suppose, and don’t want to let the dissection of every nuance ruin the experience. Star Wars is, and has been, a huge part of my life and I couldn’t be happier that the property is in great hands.

2.) This design. Because it’s true and awesome. Don’t Read the Comments by miski

3.) I’m done with holiday shopping. WOO. Not done with cards or shipping, but soon. SOON!

4.) Throwing a party. Excited!

5.) My trip out to the Bay Area could easily take up the rest of these squees. Plus, we took a trip out to the Redwoods and up the coast to Eureka.

6.) Science is awesome. Congrats to the space team that landed on an asteroid, then got this data! Rosetta Instrument Reignites Debate on Earth’s Oceans

7.) I’m a guest at Mo*Con X. Pretty cool!

8.) A time capsule in Boston has been found, buried by Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. SO FREAKING COOL!

9.) Finished another Firefly RPG supplement. Announcement to come VERY soon!

10.) Christmas cookies. Mixing, baking, eating. Need I say more?

11.) Blue Man Group is coming to a theatre near me in February. WOO!

12.) Time for the annual MDK (Murder Death Kill) holiday photo. Let the shenanigans commence!

Christmas Rimmon and Zak

13.) I don’t put up loads of decorations, but this 8-Bit Wreath is one of my favorites!

14.) I never get sick of watching The Avengers. So impressed with the connected plots that weave in and out of the movies and the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show.

15.) Put in an order from JetPens.com for this calligraphy pen. Here’s the awesome part about this pen: the colors BLEND.

16.) Managed to clean our place before we left for California, so came back to a fresh pad. After one load of laundry, I’m totally caught up on maintenance-type crap. Woo!

17.) Starting to get some reviews for my latest project. Geist: Ready Made Characters. Glad fans are digging them!

18.) Two unannounced projects are moving forward, I’m getting caught up on other projects, and I’m making progress on my own stuff, too.

19.) Combat boots have been acquired. I’ve been looking for over a year, ever since my old ones got irreparably damaged on a trip. Opted to go with a convertible pair of Doc Marten’s and I’m really anxious to break them in.

20.) I mentioned earlier that I was starting to Couch to 5K program. Due to the pressure on my joints, I wasn’t ready for the speeds I was aiming for. I’ve since modified the program, but I’m keeping up with it. Really anxious to build some endurance and continue on the health train. It feels great to get my heart pumping again!

21.) A squee for Phil Reed and Sam Mitschke from Steve Jackson Games. They’ve been promoted!!! YAY!!! Well-deserved.

22.) Another squee for discovering Joseph Bruchac, a Native American author. Really powerful stuff.

23.) Happy that Constantine is getting some rave reviews. It’s a GREAT show and I’m thrilled for the cast and the team that put this together.

24.) Heading to a holiday party tonight to see some friends I haven’t seen for a while. Pretty excited about that!

25.) Last but not least, I’ve already made my New Year’s Resolutions and am diving into the pile. So grateful for my co-writers and editors to be able to do what I do. Thanks for seeing 2014 through and cheers for a BIG 2015!

106/365

    Mood: Go, Go Gadget
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed. (Sort of). I had 3.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: 30 on the elliptical
    In My Ears: Computer fan. (It’s loud!)
    Game Last Played: Mah Jong
    Book Last Read: An encyclopedia about demons and fairies pulling from global folklore.
    Movie Last Viewed: The Avengers
    Latest Artistic Project: Beading!
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


This Week’s Squees. Productivity-related even!

Mushu Avatar

Okay. I have a confession to make. I’m stuck on a Ni No Kuni board so vidjo gaming breaks are few and far between. F-Bomb timed puzzles. I SWEAR! I have, however, been busy with other things. And I socialized. Which is, of course, always dangerous. Always.

On to this week’s squees!

1.) Printed out the Couch to 5K plan. Will attempt to start this tomorrow. I squee in the face of motivation!

2.) Things I do when I’m not online. Rags to Riches Bracelet

Fairy Wirework

3.) Speaking of not online, I’m looking forward to NaNoNetMo for December. (National No Internet Month. I made it up!) Yep, I will still blog but a little less conversation and a lot more enjoying self and being productive offline is needed.

4.) Loads of socialization visits. Did I mention. I was social! I am not a sociopath! HOORAY! Annnnnd… I am planning… A party. Whoa. (I jest, but I’m actually not that bad. I play extroverted Stewart-esque host quite well.)

5.) Found a treasure today. A fat Star Wars Origami book. I have a happy. Now, if only I had a floor to justify getting a R2D2 robot who could roam around one day:

6.) Got through 150 e-mails today. Chipping the in box down to…um…less than what I had before. WOO!

7.) I have some great news to share very shortly. It’s career-related, and I think you’ll dig some of the new projects I have coming up.

74/365 through 81/365

    Mood: My window. It moves.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: HAH HAH HAH HAH!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: HAH x 1,000!
    In My Ears: The tank. Sh… I have to feed my fish. BRB.
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: Work-related. Still.
    Movie Last Viewed: The Tick BECAUSE BATMANUEL.
    Latest Artistic Project: You’re looking at it.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


Using Fiction to Slow Cultural Erosion?

Cthulhu Scribe by Drew Pocza

I had an interesting conversation a few weeks ago when I went out for sushi therapy. One of my favorite chefs (shows you how much I like sushi, eh?) is from Indonesia, and he told me a story about the islands in his home country. He said that, thanks to Facebook, the younger generations just want to be cool. Speak English. Dress like their favorite singers, artists, and celebrities–which worried him a little. The more his fellow Indonesians fully adopted an American lifestyle, the faster his own culture (specifically, the various dialects spoken on the different islands and how distinct each one of them is) would begin to disappear forever.

Now, of course, he’s an American immigrant. He’s had an interesting time getting to this country and had something else to say, about how we don’t know how great we have it here, how free we really are to be whoever we want. I was inspired by this conversation, because when the subject of “what I do” came up eventually, I told him I was a writer and he asked me to write about Indonesia, about his culture. (The funny thing? One of the waiters was from Indonesia, too, and they met completely by random here in the States, each from separate islands.) He didn’t care that I was an American or that I know F-Bomb all about the country. I don’t know why that is, really, but I felt there was a sense of trust there. This is, after all, what writers do: we read, we research, we write based on what we learn.

This isn’t the first conversation I’ve had about this topic and it won’t be my last. Maybe you don’t know why I have these discussions, why I’m insufferably curious, and why I care. What I’ve come to understand is this: the more we communicate, the greater the chance cultural lines will blur as certain dominate cultural traits take over. This can be a natural occurrence, but it’s often been forced, too, and you don’t have to look very far into the past to see that. For better or for worse, cultural blending has happened throughout history–even outside of war and genocide. Now, however, I feel (and I could be wrong about this) it’s happening at a faster rate than it ever has before. What I see, is that this (being erased) is what people might be afraid of. Zeroing in on that gentleman’s point, dialects/languages used for hundreds, thousands of years could completely disappear within one-or-two generations if they’re no longer used or taught. It doesn’t take much time at all for a custom or language to be erased, adopted, or modified into something new. Just a blink.

I feel there’s a bright light, however, because we can preserve and slow cultural erosion. It takes time and effort, sure, but this is the benefit of art. By making art–whether that’s pottery, jewelry, music, paintings, stories, etc.–by drawing from who we are, what’s around us, and digging deep to that core, I feel we can preserve and slow cultural erosion through our fine works. What I’ve also learned over time, is that people want to see themselves in the media that we create, because they don’t want to be forgotten or feel invisible.

Also, I feel that people who don’t see themselves physically represented in mainstream media don’t automatically ignore a story if they’re not included. How much money has the Star Wars franchise grossed? How many people have seen Star Wars? Know those characters? Understand its cultural impact–even if they don’t like it? That’s powerful stuff. The fact that this story is now embedded into our public consciousness means that it’s become part of our culture. And, because of the internet, we’re seeing the results of how fans feel about “mainstream” characters like these, through cross-gender/cross-cultural cosplay, fanfic, fan art, and other creations within fandom. The reason why that exists? Why fans are taking characters and making them their own? The audience seems to be crying out: please represent us! We want to see ourselves in the stories you tell! Like those who fear being erased, others no longer wish to be invisible.

For this reason, this is why I feel making art is, quite possibly, the most powerful gift we can give ourselves and each other. By using our unique voices that speaks to who we are, where we came from, and what we see around us, we can do a great many things with our prose. This is exciting to me and, I hope, it inspires you as well.

Oh, and the gentleman in question? I encouraged him to write his own story in his native language, as it turns out he used to be a writer. Next time I go back for sushi therapy, I’m hoping to hear an update!

Deep, deep thoughts. And only my second cup of coffee. Hrmm… Must fix that.

P.S. F-Bomb comma splices.

    Mood: I think I’m crazy enough to start the Couch to 5K next week.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Well…
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Stairs. Lots of F-bomb stairs.
    In My Ears: White noise. Very relaxing. Zzzzzz…
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: Work-related.
    Movie Last Viewed: Snowpiercer
    Latest Artistic Project: An origami desert rose
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


Two-Weeks Update on the Squee Update

Maleficent Queen Avatar

Halloween and other hilarity has pushed me back from the weekly squees, so here’s two weeks’ worth. I posted this today on FB, but I think it bears repeating since this is partly why I started this blog squee’ing project.

Here’s what I said:

“Just because our political leaders are divisive and have tried to lump our entire populace into red vs. blue, I don’t feel we have to follow suit. People cannot be summed up in one word, and the reality of living and breathing in a complex society means that we’re ever-evolving characters in our own stories, not one-trick ponies, who have to work and live together.

That’s why I try to be positive when I can, even though it’s hard some days, because I work and live with all kinds of people–not stereotypes.”

Here’s 14 Reasons I’m squeeing… To catch me up.

1. Once Upon a Time is shaping up great this season!
2. December will be a NaNoNetMo for me. (National No ‘Net Month.) I’ve found some great projects to set up beside me to MAKE ART on five-minute breaks. Huzzah!
3. Had a fantastic meeting with my comics collaborator. Progress!
4. Doctor Who. “Dark Water” FINALLY!
5. Had an anthology approved. Can’t wait to tell you about what I’ll be working on!
6. Halloween was fantastic! I dressed up, scared my friends, made some good eats…
7. Just found out that Hulu Plus allows me to see Constantine and Gotham, plus a mega-ton of documentaries. WOO!
8. There’s apples with oatmeal calling my name… MMMMM… Fresh, cinnamon apples and oatmeal…
9. A productivity trick I’ve learned is to change my desktop/phone wallpaper to black-and-white photography. Further reduces noise and distraction.
10. Family visits—two of them!
11. 80% off Halloween decorations… WOO.
12. Bead workshop this weekend!
13. We started fires! In our fireplace! For the first time ever!
14. This is the results of a few weeks’ worth of folds.

Origami Folds

60/365 through 74/365

    Mood: Hungry. OBVIOUSLY.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Managed!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: A walk plus stairs.
    In My Ears: White noise. ZZZZZZ…
    Game Last Played: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
    Book Last Read: Work-related. Still.
    Movie Last Viewed: Manchurian Candidate
    Latest Artistic Project: I folded a thing.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Last Man Zombie Standing.
    Latest Game Release: Things Don’t Go Smooth
    What I’m Working On: Primarily tie-in games work, original comics, and novels.


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