November 29, 2010

Learning from NaNoWriMo

I'm really sad that I wasn't able to produce anything for NaNoWriMo this year.  The new job at the beginning of the month definitely threw me through a loop where I couldn't really focus on my writing pursuits.  But it did teach me one thing I absolutely have to do if I want to be a consistent writer.


Making time for writing was not something I was worried about before because I worked a job where I didn't have a lot of hours.  I could just write whenever I felt like and still get a considerable amount of it done.  Now that the opposite is true, I just have to work a little harder to get my writing done, especially considering the plethora of ideas that flood my head.

What's going to surprisingly help is having a job that involves prioritizing and some organizational skills.  Practicing those skills on a daily basis are only going to help me organize my nerdy pursuits, which many of them involve writing.  Especially this job.

I hope some of your readers were much more successful in your writing pursuits in the month of November than I was.  I do know next November I will be participating in NaNoWriMo and will friggin' succeed!

November 25, 2010

Nerdify Your Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is the one holiday that is probably the hardest to make nerdy.  As much as I know who my ideal Thanksgiving would be with when it comes to nerd idols, I was thinking if there was any realistic way to have a Turkey day super nerdy.  Well, I thought up some ideas, other than LARPing through your meal.  Because that idea is creepy.


This is a lot easier if you are friends with an engineer.  Use lasers to cut the turkey and portion out the food.    Sure, lasers are in short supply, but if you can get on you can definitely impress your family members with the precision you carve the bird.


We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving, and how the Native Americans basically saved the Pilgrams from extinction and they celebrated with food.  But who says that's the only broken culture barrier we should celebrate?  And not only ones from the real world (of which there is a long list) but ones from fictional universes!  The Fellowship of the Ring, half the episodes of Star Trek, covenants of Requiem coming together (if that ever happens in your Vampire games)... You can find one that can be worth celebrating.  Take the good from the fiction you love, and apply it to the world.  How could it hurt?


I'm not talking about the teams you make up online with your favorite players.   I'm talking about making up your own league of fantasy teams comprised of elves, gnomes, orcs, or whatever crazy creatures.  You could use RPGs to set up your own football game that is sure to last hours, or use an RTS to do something weird like that.  The easiest thing is to play the bomb passing game on Unreal Tournament.

Do you guys have any ideas?  Think it over the table today.

And a quick shout-out to all the new followers!  I'm now at 70 and that just make me more motivated to keep you all entertained!  We'll have to officially celebrate after the holidays.

November 19, 2010

Red Riding Hood: "Twilight" Treatment or Original Intent?

I don't know why I check up  on Yahoo as much as I do, since I keep my spam email there, but I do.  Today over on Yahoo I found this article talking about the new movie that was thought up by Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, the director of the first twilight movie.  It's going to be Red Riding Hood, and the article talks about giving it the "Twilight" treatment.

But then I watched the trailer, and I thought, nay, it's just finally getting to the point of what the original story intended.

Well, here watch it with me:

My question is why is this the "Twilight" treatment?  Just because Hardwicke is directing it doesn't mean that it's going to be anything like sparkly vampires.  

From the trailer you get that a) there's a love story and b) there are dangerous forces.  But unlike the Twilight Saga, this doesn't look like the young lady is an emotionless vessel being pursued by a creature that technically is a monster but actually is really sensitive and just wants to love.  NO.  You have a young woman who is in a secluded village that is being ravaged by an actual monster, a monster who actually kills people, and she's either dating the monster, betrothed to the monster, or even worse, BOTH.  There is a sense of actual danger because you can't really escape that village.  And the end of the trailer suggests that she's getting punished for associating with the village's enemy.  That's not Twilight, that's an old myth.

The reason I think it harkens back to the original intention of the Red Riding Hood story is that in earlier tales, not only does Red Riding Hood get into the same bed as the disguised wolf, she strips down naked and burns her clothes before doing so, suggesting a sexual predator at the same time a hungry one.  There are even theories that the story was a just a long metaphor for a young girl coming of age as a woman, losing her virginity and therefore her innocence.  

But then why is it a children's tale?  Well, not only did people become "adults" earlier in the day, but also because one of the best way to get your children to listen to you is to scare the bejesus out of them.  "Don't get in bed with strangers, young lady!  It will kill you!"  And although that may not be the best parenting method in the world, it works.

So if the whole point of the story was to convince little girls to not get in bed with strangers (or at least strange looking grandmothers), then this new Red Riding Hood movie is taking the next logical step.  Don't lie in bed with wolves, for then no one has your back.  This is especially true in a setting where you're in an isolated small village who is on a hunt for the one thing that is killing them off.  It's a scenario that we've seen played out in history dozens of times. 

Or at least that's what I get from the trailer.  I could be completely wrong and it's all about emo werewolves and their need to feel understood in a world where the odds are stacked against them.  Like the new Teen Wolf show.

Let's never talk about the Teen Wolf show ever again.

November 17, 2010

Writing Plans and Fails

Hey, I'm finally figuring out this schedule I have right now, and I think I'm finally getting used to it.  Unfortunately, I'm not sticking to all the writing plans I had.

I'll be back to 3 to 4 posts a week soon, I promise.  The last two weeks kind of hit me like a freight train.  I haven't even revealed to all my co-workers just how truly nerdy I am, let alone reveal that I'm a nerd in the first place.  I don't think they see it yet... maybe for the better.  Anyway, thinking of nerd things has been put to the side.

I don't think I'll finish my NaNoWriMo novel, or hit the goal.  I'm going to try to catch up this weekend since I have it off, but we'll see how far that takes me.

Working on the trilogy is slow too.  I did make progress but I didn't finish the first book.  I got around halfway.

My plan right now is to be more consistent with the blog posts, try my best to get 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, and then start again on the trilogy in december.

Let's try it out and see what happens.

November 12, 2010

WHAT! It's been that long?!?!?

I'm sorry guys!  It's been crazy over on my end!

I have a new full time job that has me working 6 days out of the week most of the time, but also has half days.  So I still have time to be a writing nerd. I just need to schedule it more.  I also got a car because of the job, so AWESOME.  It's official color is super-black.  Just think about how ridiculous that is.

So if you need an apartment in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, hit me up!  After a week I like the job, so I'm happy.

Please forgive my lack of posting.  For forgiveness, I'm going to post a link I got from the treknobabble blog.  It's pictures of the cast and crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Looks like they're having a lot of fun.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys!  I'm sure I'll have some more substantial and thoughtful posts up soon.

November 6, 2010

Happy Carl Sagan Day!

For those of you who don't know who Carl Sagan is, find out now.  He is a scientist who wanted the world to know how beautiful the intricacies of the universe are, and was willing to share the information.  He was brilliant, prolific in writing and in television production, and one of two men that Asimov admitted surpassed his own knowledge.  Essentially, a scientist and an intellectual badass.

To have a small celebration to a day that has almost ended, I think a remix complete with autotune and philosophical ideas should do the trick.

November 5, 2010

Are there "female" games?

Before I start, I want to say hello to any new readers I acquired from the Bioware forums.  I'm glad you all liked my female characters in games essay, and I hope some of you will like this one.

Around the same time I realized a lot of people on the Bioware forums were reading my post, I also had a small conversation with some people after work.  I was mention how surprised I was that I liked Call of Duty: World at War's campaign.  Never thought I would be that into it.  A friend asks why and I mention about the campaign was engaging and fun yada yada yada.  And then he mentioned that he notices girls play only certain games, that they like a particular part of game.

Other that the Sims 3, I don't play any "particular" games that are supposed to be female-friendly.  I love FPSs, RTSs, RPGs, and a lot of other types of games that usually have a male following.  But gender-wise, I'm definitely female.  So... I'm an outlier?

I don't think so.  This is what I think: While growing up in the society we live in (at least in the western world), girls are taught, and not intentionally, that video games are not for them.

When I was growing up, my little brother was the reason we bought certain video game consoles.  I would try them and never got into them.  It turns out it's because other than Kirby, I SUCK at platformers.  Absolutely horrible.  That's what my brother would usually play, and he mastered it.  He is also better coordinated than I am in general, making it easier for him to pick up the control schemes.  I noticed that when it came to my friends, the girls just never got the video games, even if they grew up with them around.

Part of it is because the video games were not gender-neutral.  Gender meaning the social expectations of the sexes.  A lot of video game characters are fulfilling gender expectations of glory, either being overly sexualized or the penultimate of the gender.  I've mentioned this before.

Considering the industry decided to have mostly male heroes over the years, over time there were more heroes that boys and men could relate to then girls and women.  And like a lot of "toys, parents will pick out the one that has their children's genders represented.  Boys play with GI Joes and Might Max Figures, girls play with Barbie and American Girl Dolls.  So over time, since video games had more male heros, more parents bought their games for their sons and daughters got pushed out of the market.  Girls didn't grow up with video games, and as they grew up it was easy to just dismiss video games as a "guy thing."

Let's be honest, that's just by theory, but it's what I've observed in my childhood.

With this in mind, I think women have just adjusted to not be video game players in general.  The numbers have increased in years, but it's a slow and steady thing. I don't think there's been a big push because for gender in our society, it's not considered "lady-like" to even participate in fictional  violence. The most we get are women's leagues in some sports, and usually not heavy contact sports like american football.

Recently, recognizing the purchasing power of women in general, there has been a push to identify what would make a successful game that women would like to buy.  Two E3's ago that attempt was extremely ridiculous and stereotypical girl games, not even woman games.  Now because the industry is talking about it, the mainstream gamer is talking about it as well.

To me, it isn't quite a mystery.  Just stop making it seem like games are just for guys.  How do you do that?  Well, less characters that look like human beefcakes or barbie dolls, and probably more normal-looking characters.  Less over sexualized characters and more realistic depictions of bodies and goals.

That doesn't necessarily make games more female friendly, but it makes them more gender neutral.  And that makes games welcoming to EVERYONE.

I'm not saying that the video game industry HAS to do this, but if they want more female gamers, this is the first step.

November 1, 2010

New in November

When it rains it pours.

I am going to make this a short post, because nothing on my end is one hundred percent yet, but I think hope is on the way.

I may have full time employment with a decent wage.  Woot!  Just a couple more days to see if that's confirmed.

I am writing a novel and some other stuff for other blogs.  More on that as it continues.

I may be taking over RPGChicago... to some extent.  If things go the way they do I don't know how I will be everywhere at once like I'd want to be, but I will definitely be figuring stuff out.

And now for something that's a definite on the Boyfriend's end.  Here is a link to a sneak peak of what he's working on.  In the month his company will be reveal more details about his project.

So, a lot of new is happening in November.  Wow.  I'm going to be busy.  Kind of awesome, don't you think?