Tooth pain

I have been having some horrendous tooth pain, the kind only antibiotics and codeine have helped with. All weaker meds are ineffective. The reason being, I need a root canal procedure done because it’s all nasty up inside. Words like “drilling” and “draining” were used. I’m not looking forward to that, though the dentist says it’s not THAT bad.

This is because of what happened when I was in fifth grade. I’d just lost two teeth the night before, and I was really woozy. I got up to get some water, I think, and I went to the kitchen bench. I was saying something, then I paused.

Next thing I knew I was on my back, in the hallway, mouth bloody, front two teeth shattered. I was crying, obviously; you would have too. I had to get an emergency procedure on my front teeth, this horrible, concrete-tasting thing they put on the teeth until they could put the caps in. I’ve had to get the plastic fake-teeth replaced every so often, usually once a year, though I haven’t had to for several, lately.

Today I went to the dentist, and found out why my tooth – the one next to one of the fake ones – has been sore this last week. It’s because of that day when I lost the front ones.

It’ll be $700 to get this root canal procedure done. Good fun.

In the meantime, antibiotics. Which are working wonderfully, btw. Though I did feel like throwing up while in the dentist’s chair. Not sure if pain or codeine or what.

So that’s what’s going on in my life right now. A complication from when I was 10 (ish). Good times.

Women Are Aliens

I’m going to be honest with you:

I’m not as familiar with the ladies as I wish I was.

That’s not to say I’m totally ignorant.

Andrew Smith recently-ish (I’ll go for vague here) said that he’s completely ignorant about the ladies. They’re foreign and alien to him. And there’s been a bit of a backlash to him saying that. (He’s got 9 novels published) I know this only because I’m on Book Riot right now, listening to a podcast, and they’re currently talking about it.

He’s supposedly only know a few females; he has a daughter, and that’s it. That’s pretty sad. To think that someone has only known 3 women in his entire life – his mother (maybe), the mother of his child (maybe), and his child (aged 17) – is pretty bleak. What about teachers? Editors of his books, or the publishing team behind them? Surely you know SOME women!

But I’m talking about this because I am in kind of the same position, sort of. See, I’m shy. As a shy male, I don’t approach the ladies. Ever. If I know any, and I know a few, it’s because they approached me first. I’m reserved, I’m introverted, and for most of my life, I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting that many of the female persuasion.

Most of my friends are male. That’s a hard fact. I do know a few women, but it’s way less than 51% of my friend list on Facebook.

But even I, who only has a few female friends, don’t make the mistake of thinking of women as alien, foreign, Different.

Yes, there’s some things that only women have to experience. You know, that whole menstrual cycle thing. And maybe feelings, I guess?

Back to seriousness, well, men feel things too, you know? We feel anger, sure. But we also feel love. We feel confusion. We feel envy. We feel uncomfortable when another dude kisses a girl we were talking to ten minutes ago. We hate, we love, we fear.

Guess what? So do women and girls. We all have these reactions, because we’re all human.

But to admit you don’t know many of the opposite gender is brave. Because you’re putting your view out there to be scrutinised, and you’re going to be judged whether you like it or not. That’s life. Man or woman, that’s what happens. You’ve got to be aware of that. You can’t hide behind a shield of “I don’t know women”. And while it’s true that some men really don’t, there’s a point where it’s necessary to admit that you need to learn, and then to learn.

If you don’t know many women, you have to correct that. I know it can be fear-inducing; for my entire school life, I didn’t know more than about 2 girls. And when grade 7 came around, when I was liked by TWO girls, I completely shut down and basically took a fetal position and tried to keep it all at bay. I did however like the attention, but since I was a ball of anxiety and confusion, I didn’t do so well with two girls liking me at all, let alone at the same time. Hormones are a bitch. People with Asperger’s Syndrome have it worse. It’s hell. It’s confusing as all hell, you probably don’t want to admit you have a problem, and you don’t know who to turn to.

I knew maybe three girls before I turned 15. Just three. One I knew from Sunday School at Church. My mum got ostracised from that particular church and I never knew why. I later reconnected with a girl from preschool, and at the same time, word on the street was that a popular girl liked me (bullshit, I said). It made me really embarrassed (out of confusion and not being equipped to handle that sort of strange new thing). The girl from preschool stopped liking me when I didn’t reciprocate with the fact that I actually liked her too. I COULDN’T, because I was a messed up ball of fear. So know you know my deepest, darkest secret.

It wasn’t until I was 15, or grade 10, that a girl even said hi to me again. It was short, I was nervous, I regret not being braver. Shit happens.

I go to my local pub, and I know maybe 10 women from there. Yes, 10. That seems a lot to me, considering how shy I am, but not that many, in the greater scheme of things.

The thing is, I don’t know anyone really well. I’ve known some of these females of the species for three or four years, but mostly, they have other people to talk to. The time spent with them is small compared to the time they spend with other people who aren’t me. I don’t know them deeply, I don’t know much about them, only the five minutes I get to spend with them, which is only enough for surface level stuff.

I’m almost 30 and I haven’t had a girlfriend, except this Chinese girl for about a month (3 days, if you want to get technical).

That was when I was 20. Two people in my entire life has asked if I have a girlfriend; one was a coworker and one was a gay guy. One guy, one girl. That’s it.

I think it might be that I’m just not appealing to people in general. I’ve gotten more interesting in the last 10 years, being a writer. But I think it might be that I’m shy. Shy people are hard to talk to, because we’re short with our answers and we don’t go around saying hi to people. It takes a lot of courage to do that. We suck at it. I met a shy girl recently, she didn’t seem very interesting. Maybe she is, I’ll definitely spend more than five minutes with her next time I see her, but she seemed pretty shy to me, not really knowing how to answer questions or get conversation going… and I finally saw what shy people are like from the outside.

I can finally say I’m less shy than I used to be. I’m not an outgoing person; I’m still antisocial in a lot of ways. But saying I don’t know any women? Well, that’s pretty ridiculous. There’s my mother, the girls I know from my local watering hole, and people I’ve worked with or for, or studied with (one of my best friends from Uni is female).

I know some fantastic ladies. And some plain ones. I even turned down a really unappealing one just the other day (a pregnant bogan who asked for a cigarette, then for my number, then for a cigarette again – no, just… no). Yeah, I usually only met weirdo, obnoxious women and I despaired because no female I met was interesting, not insane, and at least a 4. These days are better: I know some beautiful, interesting, intelligent women. I follow women on social sites (not in a stalkerish way, as far as I know). I’m even blessed to some my friends. And I am in a position that I can actually reject women who strike me as trouble. Because I’m not desperate. Because I know women now. I don’t consider them aliens any more. They’re not *that* foreign, any more. Some of the ones in my life I even like the company of. (okay, most)

So it sucks to not know many women. They make up 50% of the population! How can you not know more than 3? You must be a ball of shyness and nervousness to only have 3 in your life (or less). I’m not saying they’re all fantastic creatures (the ones I know seem to be though), but seriously? So few that you claim you don’t know ANY? That’s pretty sad.

And besides, you have to know SOME. Even if it’s just to reproduce. You obviously had to know at least one for that to happen. Unless it was this drunken thing and nine months later you got a special delivery to your door. Even then, you’d probably know at least 2. And not knowing your own daughter? That’s a bit cold, don’t you think?

Potions

Ah, the humble potion. It can restore health, mana or stamina. They can cure whatever ails you, basically. But have you noticed… they’re usually the same colours?

Health potions are generally red, mana blue, and stamina green or yellow.

Colour theory comes into this in a symbolic way.

I figure red is for blood – you have the Red Cross organisation (go donate some blood, right now!) for blood work, and having blood is generally considered healthy for human beings. Red plus signs, red potions. Red health bars, too.

Mana potions are usually blue, just like their corresponding bars. Blue is often a mystical colour, and the ocean and sky are blue, and ghosts are sometimes blue, as are magic weapons in D&D. Sting, Bilbo/Frodo Baggins’ sword, glows blue when orcs are near, is where that comes from.

Green is an earthier colour, and generally works well for stamina. Plus, there’s plant extracts that are supposed to help fix aging men’s ‘stamina’, so there’s that too. Green is nature, apex predators have stamina, I guess that’s why they usually go for green. Sometimes it’s yellow, like Dragon Age, but I’d say usually green, like in Elder Scrolls. Yellow for the sun, which is generally considered a source of positive energy (and it’s want plants want, when they don’t want ‘Lectrolytes).

So there’s some colour theory/symbolism to go with your health potions. You’re welcome.

Terry Pratchett R.I.P.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/mar/12/terry-pratchett-author-of-the-discworld-series-dies-aged-66
http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31858156

He’ll be missed.
All the great authors, actors, and the like are dying. Nobody can truly replace them, but does it sometimes feel like we aren’t producing the kind of talent that people love any more?

My favourites included Mort, Reaper Man, Small Gods, Fantastic Maurice, and Carpet People.

There was a quote about spears, and how to use them. I can’t find the quote, so I’ll try to write it from memory.

“You have a blunt end, and a sharp end. The sharp end goes in the other guy.”
“Shouldn’t there be more to it?”
“Yeah: don’t get the two confused.”

I remember I laughed the hardest I’ve ever laughed.

At least he died with friends and family around.

Also, here’s Neil Gaiman’s article (?) on Terry’s anger. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/sep/24/terry-pratchett-angry-not-jolly-neil-gaiman

Revelations

You know, you don’t see much apocalyptic fiction that’s Christian or religious these days. I know I’ve seen some movies where Rapture and Revelations happen – there was this movie that, when I was 15 and discovering everything, I thought was the coolest thing ever, Omega Codex 2: Medigo, I think – where it was the book of Revelations. Dogma was my other favourite religious apocalypse movie at the time. When I was 15, I loved those two movies.

Fast forward to 2015 and I can’t think of very many apocalypse movies, books or games that aren’t science-based.

I mention all this because you never have Christians in the apocalypse, ever. Except one character in Falling Skies. That’s all I can think of. She talks about her faith in one episode; it’s never mentioned again, as far as I can remember.

And I think I know the reason for both: they’re directly connected. You don’t have Christians in apocalypse movies because you don’t have Christian apocalypse movies. It’s always asteroids or zombies/fungii or aliens or ecological or what-have-you. It’s never wrath of God any more (which I’m saddened a little bit by). There were some extras in War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise one) who said things about God’s judgement, of course, but on the whole? I haven’t watched EVERY apocalypse movie, but I’ve got a fairly decent grounding in the genre, since I do in fact write in it. But I don’t think there’s many times when it’s act-of-God. It’s usually zombies or aliens. And I think apocalypse writers are genuinely scared of offending Christians by having any in their work.

Which is why I feel Sarah should be a Christian woman. Her, at the very least. Don’t mistake it for pandering to a crowd – I consider it a point of difference to the other characters, the spiritual guide to the beleaguered and the hurt and wounded. Her power comes from faith (and Rift energy). Magic and God is a great controversial topic, last I heard, too. And controversy is great for a writer who wants to be famous!

So that’s that.

Philosophy on attractive characters

It doesn’t matter how “not attractive” you make your characters… Hollywood will always cast attractive, young, fit, healthy people in the inevitable movie adaptation. They’ll probably do the same with TV, unless it’s a “progressive” station.

Readers want characters who are… less than perfect. I get that, I really do.

Me, I just make them reasonably attractive, though not making a big deal about it, with only other characters doing the talking about one another. It’s basic-level stuff to say they’re attractive; it’s masterful to NOT do that. If the characters are the ones who say certain characters are “really hot” or “beautiful” or etc, then you’re doing your job as a writer right.

You CAN have attractive characters. But if all of them are attractive, you won’t really win many readers over. Readers want “relatable”. Like, 90% of them. You can quote whatever figure you like, as long as it’s clearly the majority. I’m saying the actual percentage is arbitrary. It doesn’t matter, as long as it suggests a majority. And 71% of statistics are made up anyway.

Readers want relatable, generally speaking; Hollywood is going to cast the most attractive people they can find. It’s a pointless battle, really. You’re just the writer of the books; Hollywood will probably not adhere to your vision. And really, I can’t blame them. They have to make bank; jobs are on the line in all facets, from directors and producers to coffee-getters and photocopy-makers. It’s a cutthroat business, and in visual mediums, people seem to want attractive characters. I think. Maybe people are sick of it; I don’t blame them if they are. A lot of people will go see a movie due to purely hot actors. Acting is a brutal business, and generally speaking, it’s only hot actors who succeed. Or at least Hollywood will tell you that.

I’m definitely bashing Hollywood here. But they’re fair game for bashing when it comes to some of the stuff they do.

Me, I don’t care if my characters are attractive. I’m trying not to do it, writing them that way, but it’s definitely something beginning writers do, and while I’ve been writing for a while, I haven’t really gotten that out of my system.

So I write generally reasonably-attractive characters. So sue me.

I just feel it’s not worth fighting it. The adaptation will win. And if they win, you’ll make bank. So that’s alright, on a purely monetary level.

You’re just selling out is all. If you’re okay with that, write okay-to-great looking characters.

 

On the topic of characters in an adaptation, I had a dream where I was on set with the cast and crew of adaptations of my book. I was like “Oh yeah, I’ve Made It.” Adam’s actor had a last minute family emergency, but that was okay because we didn’t need him till season 2. He and Jarred’s actor were actual brothers in real life. And Jessica’s actress gave me a meaningful look. I don’t know what it meant, I’m not saying it was attraction, but there was something there. Yeah. Definitely dreaming.

 

 

On another note, something I haven’t seen in years just happened. I was tabbing to another tab and it went screwy. It was like one picture was hidden beneath the other, and as I moused over parts, they’d reveal the page beneath. This exact problem happened every time I ever tried to play Fallout 1. Weird. Kinda cool to see, a pain to deal with. Is there some kind of symbolism there, maybe?

 

Oh yes, and I almost lost the most recent changes to Children of Fire. I HAD reduced my to-do list for it from 7 to 2. Then my computer decided to have an epileptic episode and I thought I’d lost significant amounts of my files. I managed to eventually reinstall Windows and recover that, at least. But I have to go through all my CDs and re-download them all over again. This is where itunes comes in real handy. Though I wouldn’t buy digital files if I have the physical copy – providing it’s readable, anyway. Bit of a pain, that. The lesson is to back up – not regularly, but ALL THE FUCKING TIME. You NEVER know for sure when your computer’s going to act like an autistic kid in an unpleasant scenario!

From Movies

On the Simpsons, Otto just ripped out a “lute solo” in a medieval episode. And somehow that led to Bart going to Catholic school. As it does.

Okay, on with the post.

I was walking my dog with my brother early this evening when we passed some people near the IGA in tents. I asked these people if they were camping out for a sale. They weren’t.

Some point while walking the dogs I was saying that short stories are good for movies, while novels are good for TV.

See, short stories are short, you can read them easily in an hour; movies you can watch in two hours, rarely in three (LOTR, The Godfather, that sort of thing). The two seem to go together well, I feel.

I recently saw Predestination, a movie based on Robert A. Heinlan’s All You Zombies. It’s my newest favourite. And it follows the short story pretty closely. A short story was turned into, what I feel is, a very good movie.

Most movies based on books turn out kinda crap. Except Lord of the Rings. And then they turned The Hobbit into 3 movies. And added an elf chick who didn’t do anything for the story.

Okay. But then you have Game of Thrones. I don’t know anything about it other than there’s a queen-of-dragons chick,┬áincest, murder, beheadings, more murder, weddings (see murder), boring history lessons, Arya Stark, swords, Peter Dinklage, references, houses, medieval imagery, more murder, more incest, more weddings, more Peter Dinklage, quotable lines, dire wolves, weddings with a minimum of 3 murders, torture, and snow.

It’s a book. It’s also a show. Whereas a short story can be turned into a movie. I feel it works better that way.

TL; DR: So basically, Short Stories = Movies, while books = TV.