Grumpy

On Garbage

So I’ve decided to finally finish and edit my novel from NaNoWriMo. Just…

It’s complete garbage.

I didn’t make it 5 words before finding something I disliked, and wanted to vehemently cross out in bright red ink, like slashing a terrible monster or the like. It’s my worst nightmare come true, it’s 87 pages long single spaced, and I would rather print it off to experience the catharsis of burning that piece of $%#^.

10 year old kids can write better than this absolute tripe. It’s like watching a car with a bent wheel try to move, only to have the one side of the car lift and fall like some shambling Igor.

The bonus here is that, at the very least, I can tell it’s garbage.

It’s also telling that writing this abomination took a month, and after having spent months teaching others how to write basic forms of stories in a variety of uninteresting and curriculum mandated ways, I can look back on this thing and tell that it would take much, much longer to edit. Multiple months, to be sure. Five, if I had to guess.

Hulking is not a descriptor I would use for most novellas, but the one I wrote has earned it. Not because of deep, heavy hitting content. It’s also a novella, so not size. No, the hulking bulk comes from the pedantic, terrible pacing and ridiculous attempts at tension by focusing on the wrong parts of the story.

Focus on character would have been much better than focus on environmental factors. I was trying to write a video game, but it’s worse than that because video games present and environment for a player to interpret, and this story rams it down the reader’s throats.

Not to mention all the ‘edgy’ gore, the attempts at horror, action best described as a play by play on a football monitor. Clunky doesn’t begin to cover it, like a blanket for someone who is several inches longer than the motel bed.

There is much work to be done; if it can be salvaged at all. My Dad always could find uses for good quality trash; just the other day, while he was visiting, Dad picked out several doors, hooks, and shelving units that others had thrown out. To him, these items were still useful, helpful.

Some things, though, are just trash.

What the heck do I write about damnit?

Also known as what happens when I don't know what I'm doing.

FRUSTRATION CRUNCH

Anything you say? FANTASTIC. That totally narrows my options down to a fine point. If my options were colour in a pencil crayon, I could totally colour inside the finest pictures so long as they are a mile wide.

I don’t know why I stopped writing though. Sometimes I’ll get e-mails commenting about my posts, telling me “Hey dude, this is awesome” or “this post is beautiful”. So I’ll re-read what was posted: who the hell wrote this? Not me. This writer was actually funny! His thoughts were on things that were so trivial and yet so prevalent that…

Why am I using big words? No. Stop. No big words. Head out of your pretentious bum, Phil, you’re here to write for fun, not a damn philosophy paper.

Speaking of which, guess who is now a philosophy major? As if the huge majority of the people who are ever going to read this didn’t know that already, but it never hurts to say it again. Does it? No? Guess who is now a philosophy major? Me. Cause I have so many big ideas, I just had to get marked for them. You know, instead of committing it to the harshest critics in the universe: ZE INTERNET.

Gotta admit though, it feels good to be typing things on my mind not relating to solipsism or faith, or existence or whether existence can exist. Wat.

So here I am writing while listening to this song here on repeat while waiting for a video to upload. Did I ever really imagine that I was going to write for a living? Heck naw. As one of my buddies puts it, “I cannot be assed” but why? Why can’t I? Because I have no idea what to write about!

One last time: what am I to write about? Here’s a new thought: why don’t I do what I do best and rage? Every single good post I’ve written, or whatever past me wrote because, good golly, he writes differently. In any case, every post that really has made me proud has been one of rage and critique. Poetry? I’m far too blunt and it’s like watching a dog navigate through a hoarder’s china collection chasing the car that just crashed through the house because…. oh god what am I even writing.

But definitely not poetry: if I can’t even get a good analogy out of my brain without it completely falling apart, a poem is going to be far too much mental malaise.

So let’s converse. Let’s talk. Let’s shout and yell and rail against things that don’t make sense, and you can all make fun of me.

Phil, it’s time to meet the world: this time, for reals bro.

5 Minute Short Story: 2 Men and a Wall

A man walked by his favourite shops as he always did. First the bakery, with the sweet smells of succulent confections drifting by him still as he passed the deli. The sandwiches there were amazing, stuffed with ham and beef.

And normally the third stop was stopping by the wall. There was a wall separating the deli from the next building, a library of sorts that the local university made good use of. There was something different this time though: there was a man standing facing the wall.

The walking man, named Jeff, stared for a second. Why on earth would the other guy do that? Standing in front of a wall. Its silly! Suddenly, the man started smacking his head against the wall.

Jeff ran towards the man. “Stop! Stop! Why are you doing this?” he asked.

The man gave an angry stare at Jeff. His unkempt beard and scruffy hair indicated that he was a student, and they were going through finals. “You don’t know, man. You can’t know. Things look really bad, okay? I’m going to fail, and it’s all my fault.”

“That’s why you’re smashing you head against the wall? The only thing you’re going to get is a headache!”

The student shook his head vigorously. “No man, this? I need this. Just go away.”

And what else could the Jeff do?

Top Ten Reasons Why Moving In After Frat Boyz Sucks

VIKINGS DO NOT CLEAN

Just today (at the time of this writing, which is May 1st/2nd) we moved out of our old house, my friends and I. Our house, A.K.A the Castle, was a great place: but due to whatever reasons we decided to, we moved out into this new place.

This place was nearby, and was well known as an establishment for rockin’ keggers, the kind people actually paid money to get into. It was that house in the neighbourhood, and still we moved in.

Every experience is a learning experience. I learned that moving into a house like that was a $&$#ing terrible ordeal, and that, in short, sucked.

1. Moving sucks. Period. It could be for any number of reasons, like the fact you’re leaving your home behind, good memories, you’re being forced to by the mob, it’s being done at gunpoint, but basically because MOVING REALLY SUCKS.

If you’re moving at all, I hope you have a damn good reason.

2. They don’t know what a mouse is. Or how to find and get rid of one, for that matter. I’d like to say that the cupboards were spotless when we found them, but what really happened was the horrible smell of bleached mouse crap. It was inspiring… it really motivated me to kill it with fire.

3. There was a ceiling? Really? Cause I had no idea before I decided the music was so awesome I’d punch the ceiling. Now I’ve left my mark on something! I can die happy.

And he might.

4. And that reminds me there’s a wall… Cause I had forgotten that the walls aren’t made of Unobtanium and as a result might chip and break if I punch it with my fist.

Oh well, I think it adds character, don’t you?

5. Tape is for &$##*(@, You don’t use tape in a manly house to put up posters and such, no. Also, you can’t just use the built in closet, ’cause that’s for sissies. You want posters? NAILS IN THE PLASTER. You want a shelving unit? UP ON THE WALL, USE A BOLT GUN.

Oh, thanks frat guy. It looks awesome. My room could be a ^$#*ing CHAPEL because it’s so HOLY. I was thinking of installing some holes anyway. I’m glad you made up my mind. It spells class. In moderately sized holes.

6. I’m too lazy to take off my shoes. So, instead of taking them off and keeping the hardwood floor safe to walk on in socks, you’re going to stamp the dirt so hard into the floor that the wood goes from cedar to ebony eh? It matches the curtains you left me. Thanks. Oh, and now the tiles in the kitchen don’t slip? That’s good, I’ll be sure to walk around bare foot on the dust encrusted tiles so I don’t slip and break my neck.

Besides, I’d rather have foot fungus anyway.

7. Loving the long showers. And it’s kinda obvious. The grout at the base of the shower is gone. Arrividerci, great grout, sayonara. Au revoir. You’re now gonzo, bereft of existence you now litter my bathroom floor. If you didn’t provide an entrance hazard for rodents you’d be useless to everybody. The grout has now joined the garbage disposal, a malignant memory on a forgotten parquet. The grout is no more.

However, your hair is quite spiky. I approve.

8. Everything is a sticker surface, and double sided tape is a statement. I gotta admit, even I was impressed when I found a picture of Jesus made out of errand strands of double sided tape littering the inside of my new closet space, interspersed with irremovable tears of stickers. I called up the Pope to check it was a miracle!

I got an answer. Turns out it’s just an idiot who decided to sticker up the house with YOUNG AND RECKLESS. It’s a badass older version of YOLO right? Right?

What’s that smell? Oh, it’s angst stickers.

9. We decided we wanted a petting zoo. So we bred dust bunnies in such large quantities that it required not one, but two professional cleaning crews to actually round them up once we left. It was like hunting for diabolic and disgusting easter eggs.

They were big enough to kill a grown man. I named one Caernabog. It had sharp, pointy teeth, and required that we use our last remaining holy hand grenade.

10. I heard you like booze. So we boozed up your floor, we boozed up your wall, hell! We boozed up your ceiling. We knew that, upon entering the house, you would love to mop the floor AND the walls too! Also, I hope you don’t mind that we used the wine to make it look someone had been brutally murdered on the spot.

D&D: Ow

Yeah. This.

So. In case no one knew, and most if not all of you wouldn’t, we’ve started a D&D campaign at my place.

That’s right, I’m that nerdy now. Go us. Guess who’s the DM? BOOYA IT’S ME. IT’S CAUSE I’M SO GOOD AT EVERYTHING GRAAAAAARRRR.

So yeah, I’m DMing a campaign and the first three sessions have cause me to think about the boundaries of what is possible, which don’t exist. Specifically on how to abuse those lack of boundaries, and how it makes the DM a sort of god.

Nothing has made me want to put those powers into effect like a couple of my players.

In my campaign, we have 4 Player Character’s and my GM controlled Cleric for when things get really hairy. The first guy is Drew, who’s playing a Psion. He’s a good PC, and RPs and games well based on what people are doing around him.

Stan is our Dragonborn, and doubles as a Dragonborn Fighter/Warrior hybrid. He’s definitely the most ridiculous of the group, and has already almost derailed the campaign more than once through his crazy antics. Happily, those situations never really go awry, at least not to a point where I couldn’t handle it. At the moment, he’s enchanted with a  chastity belt that, should he attempt to tear off his pants, will send him flying 10 feet in the air; but how that happened is a story for another time.

Alie is our bard, and she’s learning how to play with the rest of us. She’d be an excellent RPer if only everyone else RPed with her, and because I’m still a beginner DM, I’m having a hard time beginning and keeping up RP. Although the kind of RP she’d do is… still unknown.

And then there’s Mack. Ooooooh, then there is Mack. Mack is our Rogue. He rolled a rogue. He rolled an ELF rogue, and we all know what that usually means: arrogant, entitled, and it’s not necessarily restricted to the game.

Suffice to say, Mack has an “I’m the best” mentality, and we all know that when you have that mentality when you’re playing a game that is controlled by the RNG gods, things can only go from bad to worse.

As an example, the very first encounter we had involved 5 wolves, and the encounter nearly tore the group apart because no one read the godamned combat chapter. Either way, he wasn’t happy that the wolves almost tore him apart (Due to a low AC form not reading the %$#^ing BOOK.)

Next time, the encounters were apparently a lot easier. Why? We read the book, and we discovered that sneak attack procs on any combat advantage. Go figure, with his newfound knowledge, Mack trashed all the things. He had a lot of fun, which was good ’cause there’s something else you need to know about Mack.

Mack gets incredibly sour when he loses. Oh yes, he does.

So as a result of “being the hero,” Mack was very happy to be the center of everything for  a bit: he had stabbed more than a few kobolds, killed an Ankheg, and stabbed a big ol’ bitchy kobold crone. Fun was had by all, and the only person who got close to dying was my Cleric.

And then today. Ooooooh, today.

So the characters wake up, and decide to get back to the main quest: a story for another time.

Mack isn’t thinking, and decides not to check for traps when walking through the alleyways (Kobolds are known to set traps up everywhere. Everywhere) so as a result, he gets caught in a net. The group gets ambushed by kobolds who then proceed to almost kill their catch: not surprising. He was caught in their net.

Despite the tough fight they had, they overcome it, but is he happy about it? Let’s answer a question with another question: did he get the killing blow on anything?

Assuming the usual answer of the karma-ful RNG gods, he was already moping about how unfair and shitty this was. When the group went to the sewers, they were assaulted by rat swarms and a couple of styrges. Go figure, the styrges go after the frailer people and the swarms follow them and so attach themselves to our Psion, a clothy. As a result of flailing, our rogue has a hard time hitting them.

Go figure, he misses. A lot. He gets frustrated, throws his dice. Generally acts spoiled, childish. Ruins the mood for everyone, despite another successful encounter.

It’s been awhile, so let’s see what I can manage.

Monsieur le Rogue, do you understand what is D&D? It is a game. It is a game based on team work, and on the ability for a group, emphasis on group, to have fun together by killing imaginary monsters and such. Together, see? Which means that, if the group succeeds, you succeed.

So as a result, those rolls of yours? They only matter if your group loses. If you live, and there’s no way you ^$%#ing CAN with 2 healers, then you’re golden.

Here’s my issue with this: you do  realize all this moping ruins the game for the group don’t you?  What about all the times your group managed to save your ass, or speared a kobold with magic? What about all the times that Drew managed blow up a monster’s brain? MIND CRUSH. The epic HELICOPTER?!

When you ruin the mood of the gaming night, you ruin my ability to maintain the game’s pace. You ruin my ability to keep people engrossed in the game. More importantly, you ruin the fun of the group because you’re personally not killing the things. Your group is killing the things, you are winning. You have completely forgotten that your character should be happy to be alive, not skulking about how you didn’t die.

So please. For the love of whatever gods your character holds dear…

Do not make me abuse my GM power. I can and WILL summon the wrath of Pelor and shove a gigantic, spikey golden boot up your ass, and cause you to explode.

If that’s what it takes for my group to have fun, then so be it.

SMARTEN UP.

Thank you.

Growing Up Isn’t All That

The more and more I’m told to grow up, the more and more I want to understand this concept.

I mean, the idea of it: we’re supposed to get a job.  What else are we supposed to do, though?

We’re supposed to learn to drive.  We’re supposed to drink, have sex, make babies, and “progress” through life (I’ll talk about progress another time).  The big thing though, is this: we’re supposed to get a job.  If you have one of those, you’re instantly better than anyone who doesn’t have one.

Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t working for the rest of your life seem a little stifling? Yes, you make money.  You earn a house, you get kids, yada-yada and so forth.  That’s all good: but it seems so regimented and ordered that it looks almost… boring.

Some really like this stability, and that’s fine with me.  I’m not sure I do: I like stability, but not enough to base my life around the idea.  I don’t want the 9-5 job.  I don’t want a full time boss.  I don’t want to be stuck in the wheel of society, eventually rusting away.

This idea, of rusting, is what “growing up” feels like to me.  Running around. pounding pavement, has been the most demeaning task I’ve ever set out to do.  Every time I’m through with handing in an application, all I think is how useless I really am in this “real world.”

The other thing is, how on earth am I supposed to get a job with no experience? To be honest, I actually do have lots of experience.  Even with it, people tell me I don’t have enough.  Okay, that’s cool, but could you give me some? No? What do you expect me to do, grind Xp on the local playground monsters?

*sigh* I guess I’m just exasperated.  I feel like an equal in my school, where my skill is appreciated.  The instant I come back home, I feel like a tool who can’t be used by anyone.

Grah, so annoyed.  😦

Maybe I just don’t understand what’s so great about it.  Maybe I just need to suck it up.

But to me, it seems so unnatural and…

Ugh.

PHiL

The Reason I Won’t Buy Pokemon Anytime Soon

Those eyes won't get me to play the game, Charmander.

I am a huge pokefan.  I have owned at least one of every generation of the games since Blue version way back when.  I loved the simple, yet powerful gameplay evolve from a simplistic game where I can run through the elite 4 with my blastoise alone to a strategically fun game where different pokemon are absolutely necessary.

However, it’s this exact same change which has gone too far, and has, pretty much, turned me off of Pokemon games forever.

The big change was adding more than enough variables to customize pokemon with, with not enough ways to control them.  Let’s start with natures.

Natures are special traits pokemon have that influence their statistical growth.  This cannot be known until you catch or hatch a pokemon.  You cannot influence or manually choose the nature of a pokemon.  If you have a pokemon that relies on special attacks, and he has a nature that reduces that stat, then you’re out of luck.

Second, Passive Abilities.  These abilities are also random, and most pokemon have a choice of 2 of them: once again, however, this is randomized.  And I don’t know if it’s just my bad luck, but it seems that certain passives are rarer and harder to get than others, once again randomizing your pokemon.

Third, EV’s, or Effort Values.  EV’s are a special point you get for battling your pokemon against other pokemon.  Your opponent will give you a certain number of EV’s, dependant on the pokemon, and these EV’s influence and increase your pokemon’s stat growth.  This level of customization is not visible in any way, and so you have to guess which pokemon give which EV’s, and how many.  You cannot track the progress of these EV’s in game, from what I could tell in Pearl anyway.

Lastly, there are IV’s or… whatever it means, Internal Values, I don’t know! Either way, this is the biggest prick of them all.  It’s untrackable, unchangeable, and impossible to determine without being a large computer.  The IV’s are values that are determined in a pokemon from the moment you own it, and are indescribably annoying for a Min/maxer like myself.  Since you cannot see it, change it, or otherwise know about it at all, it could make all the training in the world useless compared to some guy who simply had better luck with his catch.  It’s indescribably retarded and is hardly strategic.

And that is why I don’t think I will get the new pokemon games: randomization.  When I learned about all this shit in Pearl, I nearly drove myself mad with all the stat boosting and strategy mongering I was trying to do.  Trying to breed the proper Sableye with these moves, the Sceptile with those stats… only to discover that, finally, some pokemon are better than others, and not for any lack of trying.  Yes, it makes your Growlithe and your friend’s Growlithe different, but is it fair? I would argue Not.

Dissatisfied with pokefate,
-Phil