Just Not In The Mood Or Is The Mood The Problem?

There are times when I know I should sit down and write. Writing is something I do everyday or at least try to do everyday. I have more on days than off by a long shot. Bouncing around my noggin is more Puddles and Whiskers. There is also a stray thought or two for another story involving them, a roleplaying campaign, and some other writing.

Typically with that much bouncing around I sit down in front of the computer and write. Not today. No idea why, just not in the mood to write. To allow the ideas FOR writing to bounce around and take shape for sure, but not write. It’s a weird place to be in.

I spent and am spending a lot of time painting and reading. With 9 figures to go, I am close, very close, to finishing my Death Watch army for Warhammer 40k. I know, I know you never really finish an army. Building an army is like writing, you constantly tinker with it until you are finally satisfied that there is nothing more you can do. After a few games, I will tinker away.

Speaking of that, finally taught family friend and the rest of the family how to play Warhammer 40k. Previous attempts to teach under the old rules went as expected, interest, but not too much interest because of the complexity of the game. The new rules, ten minutes into teaching and they were playing without much assistance from me. And better, actual interest in playing again.

I’d like to say that has me ocupied, but it does not. I think that is my main issue right now, there is a sense that something is going to happen, that Spring/Summer get out and do something vibe, except this is not a get out and do, but a something is up. Hard to explain other than to say I pay attention to these vibes. Paying attention to this one has me distracted.

Distracted enough that I bounce between one thing to another and back again. I am reading Fate Core, Ciaphus Cain Hero of the Imperium, two different Warhammer 40k indexes, a host of comic books, and few other books. Read a few pages or a chapter, paint part of a miniature, try to settle down, and repeat. Ugh. Frustrating to me.

Who knows this could blow away soon and back to my non-distracted self.

Bloody Bear Reading Corner: 14 Hours And 500+ Pages Without Power

What does a bear do when the power goes out right at the best moment of Transformers Dark Side of the Moon?

A bear wonders how long the power will be out after checking the breaker box.

A bear would check to see if the neighbors have power, but the neighbors are in the distance and it was very hot for a bear to be walking in just to see if the neighbors had power.

A bear realizing that he has no internet pulls out his trusty phone that he never uses because it does have internet, files a complaint about the power, sees that he is not the only bear affected, checks the estimated time for completion…3 hours not so bad

A bears pulls out the book he had started the day before Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. Sometimes for this bear life has a strange way of connecting one thing with another without realizing it. Such as there is a TV show called the Expanse, that I was thinking about watching. I found Leviathan Wakes which turns out is the basis for the show, I did not know this at the time. After finishing Leviathan Wakes in 10 hours, I plan on watching the show AND I plan on picking up the other books in the series.

Leviathan Wakes is the polar opposite of Robopocalypse. Where Robopocalypse is told through the eyes of several characters in tiny snippets leaving much for the reader to put together, Leviathan Wakes is told through alternating chapters of two primary characters. There is plenty for the reader to imagine. The story however is all there and what a story Leviathan Wakes is.

A science fiction space opera with a very detailed world, Leviathan Wakes also has a mystery and elements of horror. Suffice to say, I believe there is something for everyone, character development, space battles, horror, mystery, deep story line, good plot, and there is room for more.

Without giving much away, Leviathan Wakes begins with a kidnapping, which is where Detective Miller joins the book, looking for the missing person. Jim Holden, working on an ice hauling ship investigates another mystery. As the book progresses the two characters come together for something much larger than the initial kidnapping and mystery.

The primary setting is the Belt a series of space stations in an asteroid belt. That being said, Earth and a colonized Mars get involved making what starts out as small story turn large in a similar way how Star Wars began small and turned large revealing a universe much bigger than expected.

This bear is slightly glad for the power outage, because I had something I don’t normally think I do, time to read. Leviathan Wakes is a page turner, not in that mindless manner that many page turners are, but in a “I have to know what happens.” I got invested in the story and all of the characters. What more can I say, give Leviathan Wakes a try.

Trials and Tribulations of Comic Books

As regular readers know, we enjoy going to comic cons. What you may assume is that we are avid readers and collectors of comic books. That would make sense, read and collect comic books, thus go to comic cons to find, share, and enjoy in our love of comic books. The reality is that we are not avid readers nor collectors.

A long time ago, up to the middle of high school I was an avid reader and collector of comic books. I sold them for something or the other I wanted at the time. No regrets, but that marked the end of my comic book reading and collecting.

Then children arrive. In an effort to move them from board books I think how much enjoyment I got from comic books. Plus, I had an itch to read something different. Perhaps I think, comic books might be another bridge for the kids and the adults, might spark some creativity in all of us, and show the kids that the don’t have to give up pictures and words for word only books.

Except the kids…well were kids. They had to see some of the Marvel movies first. Actually SEE Iron Man before they even wanted to open a comic book. Guess what happened then? If you guessed, Iron Man on a page did not look like or act like Iron Man on the movie screen you would be right.

Funny thing is that the stuff in a comic book store caught their attention; a poster, a statue or the cover of a comic book. Slowly over the years I try to introduce a comic book or two that I think one child or another will enjoy based…well based mostly on nothing because there is a problem with comic books and purchasing them, at least for me.

I can read story synopsizes and reviews until I am blue in the face. What I cannot not find out until I purchase something is how much other reading is necessary to make the comic or graphic novel make any sense at all. I know comic books have never been much on anything other than pumping out issue after issue, with variant covers, and crossover stories, and reboots, and blah blah blah…

That’s great for someone to dive in. For someone looking for a place to start for themselves or their children, a real crapshoot and not a crapshoot in favor of the parent. Yes, I am frustrated. If the children had remained immune to comic books I wouldn’t be. But they are interested and they have questions that I cannot answer because I, like them, have no clue about references and history no in the issue or novel they are reading.

That level of disconnect is not good. Try to imagine a book that billed itself as the “first” or “the whole story” and as you read you realized that there were hundreds of other books that were referenced directly and indirectly and you have no way of knowing what they mean. Frustrating right? Now imagine being a kid.

I am happy and surprised each time one of them comes out of the library with a comic book or graphic novel and finishes it, a single issue is confusing and graphic novels are never “the whole story or series” in one book. I hope that comic book creators figure out some way to address this, I know our kids and I would appreciate that. We might purchase more than we do.

Bloody Bear’s Reading Corner: Robopocalypse

I know as a bear I should be out doing bear things during the spring and summer because in a few months I will be hibernating or as I like to call it catching up on my online gaming time. What? You didn’t think bears actually slept the whole winter. We are really good at faking sleep when you come around.

Instead of doing bear things, I spent the day in the shade reading. I found a book that caught my attention enough to read in one day. The book, Robopocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson is a page turner. The gist, in an similar, but different world, robots rise up to wage war on humanity.

Robopocalypse begins at the end of the war and through a series of interviews, recollections, and other devices tells the story of the robopocalypse from the beginning to the end. If you have read World War Z by Max Brooks or in my opinion the much better Journals of the Plague Years by Norman Spinrad then you will instantly recognize the style of story telling.

Each chapter is separate story that advances the time frame and tells an important moment in the war. As the story unfolds recurring characters meet with other characters and so on. Funny thing to me is, I read the entire book in one sitting and the story is the thing I remember, not the characters. The story was that interesting to me. However, the characters other than one who is introduced really late in the book were not interesting to me.

Part of the reason is because of the style of storytelling does not allow for a lot of character development. Sure there are moments where a scared character turns into a warrior and vice versa, but given the situation there is plenty of room for growth and development for the characters. Yet, none. Another reason is because the character types are expected, soldier, civilian, scientist, and so on.  None of the characters do anything to defy those expectations-the solider fights, the scientist figures out things, the hero is heroic. For me, it really was the story that kept me turning pages, I had no vested interest in the characters.

World War Z is zombies, much bigger, and tells a story of the world in peril better. There are a couple of characters I looked forward to learning their fate. The situation was interesting, the villains even though they were zombies were interesting. The robots in Robopocalypse at times read like a new car catalog-here is the shape and what it does and nothing more.

Journals of the Plague Years is a plague, a sexually transmitted plague. A short book especially when compared to the other two has characters I cared about. Has a unique situation, how does the country deal with a sexually transmitted disease and allow me to say the “solution” of taking the ill, drugging them up, arming them up and setting them loose on countries we are at war with was interesting.

If you are looking for a page turner you could do worse than Robopocalypse, such as Eye of Terror a book written so badly I flipped through the second half looking for good writing.

 

Frustration

Being a writer and person who takes care of just about everything around the house with a bum arm (getting better each day) is frustrating. I’m not that person to sit and do nothing. On a typical day before noon I have cleaned the house, done the dishes, run to the store, painted a miniature or two, and written a blog post. For the past week I have slept in late, watched a lot of TV (there isn’t much good on Netflix, Amazon, or any other form of electronic media), and tried to find a comfortable way to sit.

Watching the house get dirtier and more disorganized by the day frustrates me. Barb and the kids are doing what they can, but they don’t have the time to take care of the day to day stuff like I do. A good sweep, a good mop, a good vacuum, a good dusting, and a good dose of tidying up, nothing major but enough that I am bothered by it.

Not being able to buckle a seat belt or drive is also frustrating, thankfully this week everything is working out so a friend can pick up the kids from school. The ache and pain, constantly trying to find a comfortable position is also frustrating, I don’t enjoy sitting around for long periods of time. I can read, but only if the book is on table, because holding a book while my arm is in a sling is…yep, you guessed it frustrating.

I cannot cook. I could cook if someone else did all of the prep. Due to schedules that hasn’t worked out well. I also cut myself trying to cut a steak into slices for a sandwich. I stopped counting how many times I dropped the fork each time I made a cut.

Most frustrating of all is the writing. I can somewhat write in a notebook provided the notebook lays flat, I can find a way to prop my bum arm up without undo stress, and the background ache doesn’t, which is almost always does, force the writing out of my head.

I’d love to be able to sit down for a lengthy period of time to bang out more Puddles and Whiskers and Menagerie. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to. The ideas are there. The voices are there. The other arm required for fast typing is not. To give you a scale, each paragraph of this is followed by 5 to 10 minutes of rest and massage.

Hardly a way to create a flow of writing. Like I said things seem to be improving in small steps. I would prefer larger steps and a lot less frustration.

 

The “UpSide” of Being Sick

I had to check my phone to see what day it is, this happens when I am sick. On the plus side it is not Saturday, which means I have not been sick that long and I am feeling better. Not great, but an improvement over yesterday. The negative side, the voices have left my head preferably for the safer grounds of where I am not sick. The voices being the characters I write about. They will return…when I am healthier.

Laying in bed reading, being sick, and watching copious amounts of Bourdain I wonder if there is any benefit, to me, in getting sick from time to time. The immediate answer is no. For the two to three days I tend to stay sick, my productivity drops to something that most people would recognize as “normal.” I don’t like the inactivity enforced upon me, I am an active person who prides himself of doing lots of stuff with his time. Lying in bed watching TV is not one of those things…unless sick.

I did hit upon a few good things, I get lots of sleep. In fact over the last two days I have slept more than I tend to sleep in four days. I don’t sleep a lot. I go to bed late and get up early. As long as the pattern is maintained I do not suffer, when the scheduled gets tossed into the dumpster then I pay for it. So I have gotten lots of sleep.

I get to read. That may sound odd, I read every day, but when sick I marathon read. By my bed is a stack of books, on a variety of different subjects and genres, the stack varies from 3 to 10 books. I read through them over a period of time, adding to the stack frequently. When sick, such as now, I burn through the books. Over the past 24 hours I have finished two books. These were not great works, crap books in fact, you know the science fiction or whatever genre that are pumped out in mass by writers who’s only talent is the ability to put some words together using someone else’s ideas. I used crap books to break up the bigger books. When sick, however, I devour the crap books they take my mind off being sick and that is the joy of a good crap book.

I get time off from being a parent. I know no parent ever stops being a parent, but if you have kids you know there are times when someone else steps up and does all of the parenting, those moments are golden. Unfortunately, I have to get sick. I have spent the last 10 years raising our children to be as self-sufficient as they can. This is why. While Barb is at work and I am sick the kids need to be able to get their own food without asking me if it is okay. They need to be able to bathe on their own, clean, and if necessary cook (warm up) using the microwave.

Finally, I get toys or in this case a toy. Barb knowing my love for Stikbots bought me a new one while she was getting medication I needed.