Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Another day in the month of May

It's May, but it feels like April. That's okay, I like it cool. I feel like I'm different people these days. There is one of me who laughs at everything, one who is angry at everything, one who wants my life to be better, one who wants to sleep. I feel fractured. I'm sure it will pass. And then come back.

The most honorable Papasan turned eighty-five last week,. He's three years older than Señor Grandpagoni was when he passed away. I'm going to be forty-five this year.

My life seems to go in stages. Sometimes it feels like it's in a holding pattern. Sometimes it feels like it's out of control. I find myself not caring about things I used to, and interested by new things.

I'm still a gentleman of leisure, despite temporary jobs. That should last for another month or so, I'm guessing. I try to go out with friends when I can. We drink and talk about our lives, how everyone is becoming more and more divided.

I'm taking my sainted mother to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 tomorrow, down in Bridgewater. AMC has taken the whole fun concept of a cinema drafthouse and turned it into something expensive. I used to love going to the one in Arlington when I was stationed there, a lifetime ago. I got to see Heavy Metal and Yellow Submarine there. I can always pop them into the DVD player, but it's not the same as meeting a bunch of new people at midnight because we're all weird and like the same old animated films.

I hear Howard the Duck makes another Cameo.

I try to ignore politics these days, even though I can't help but find them entertaining. Comey is the good guy, Comey is the bad guy, Comey is the good guy again. So it goes. I just got sick and angry at everyone turning against each other because they didn't worship the same gods or goddesses, but I don't think I helped at all, just made things worse. Oh well. I can't seem to escape religion.

They made a TV series out of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, which is cool, but they're stretching it out to three-plus years, which I'm not happy about. One season would have been more than enough. I like it, but the pacing is way too slow. Thumbs up to Gillian Anderson as Lucille Ball (the Goddess of Media), Orlando Jones as Anansi, and the incomparable Cloris Leachman as whatever ancient Slavic goddess she's supposed to be. The woman is over 90, that's awesome that she's still working.

"Blücher!"

Anyway, my daughter's class is singing "Walking on Sunshine" at their Middle School graduation, and I promised I'd play the video for her, over and over.

I hope you had a special day.

TTFN
-Tony

t-5568...

Friday, May 05, 2017

He's Quagmire, Quagmire...

All partisanship aside, could it be that the real problem is that the cost health care in the U.S. has skyrocketed beyond that of any other first world nation, and until that problem is fixed, any attempts to regulate who is going to pay for those astronomical costs are always going to sink to an us vs. them quagmire? Could that quagmire be the distraction goal of the powers that be, so the real problem never gets addressed? Please (kindly and respectfully) discuss.

TTFN
-Tony

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Life rolls on

I just finished working at the NYC International Car Show. It's a temporary electrician's job the Union usually gives to guys who are out of work. Lots of putting cables and lights up, or putting video walls together, then taking them down again.

The most honorable papasan turns 85 tomorrow. I wonder if I'll live that long, where I'll be, and what I'll be doing. I keep imagining amazing technological, biological, and medical advancements, but then reality kicks in, and I wonder how many of their researches will be squashed for non-profitability.

This may not be an original thought, but I wonder lately if humans have emotional thermostats. That's why some people can't be happy or satisfied no matter where they are or what they're doing, or sabotage any hope of success, their friendships or romances, or any attempts at improving their life. Their brains think they are supposed to be exactly where they are, and will do anything to stay there. So who or what gets to set the temperature? Discuss.

At any rate, wishing the best to all. Take care, my friends.

TTFN
-Tony
t-8,297...

Friday, April 07, 2017

Hello,Dummy!

Once upon a time when I was about 23, I worked at the S'barros on Hilton Head Island. One day, a little old man came in and bought a few slices. I said he looked familiar, and he mumbled something under his breath. As soon as he walked away, it hit me.

"Enjoy your pizza, Mister Rickles," I said.

He turned around, walked back to me, and crooked his finger. I leaned in, and he leaned over the counter, his nose an inch from my face. He looked me up and down, and asked, "How the f**k old ARE you, kid?"

Rest in peace, sir.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, April 03, 2017

The American Dream is Having Growing Pains

When you try and create something, there is always that period when you ask yourself, "What am I slaving away like this for? Why am I bothering? No one is going to read/see/hear it, no one is going to care."

Well, maybe people will, and maybe they won't. The truth is, there's nothing you can do about it. Don't let it upset you. Don't let it feed your depression, because it will. There's a reason AA uses the prayer "Let me change what I can AND IGNORE WHAT I CAN'T and give me the wisdom to hide the bodies where no one will find them." Because worrying about things or people that you can't change, no matter how unjust it seems, is an emotional black hole that will carve you away from the inside.

Just make your art, my friends. Make it the best you can. Just try to find intrinsic joy in the making, and then, when you're done, move on to the next one. No, you may not be successful, or recognized for your hard work. Yes, you may crash and burn. Yes, you may get shitty reviews, or be completely ignored and get no reviews at all. But you know what? You can't care about that. All you can do is the absolute best you can, and put it out there. Success is not guaranteed, but failure is if you don't even try.

Good luck, my friends, in all that you do.

TTFN -Tony
t - 12,603

Saturday, April 01, 2017

LEAKED SCRIPT FOR "THE LAST JEDI"!!!

Based on J.J. Abrams’ completely original script for The Force Awakens, here is the scientifically extrapolated plot for the next Star Wars film. WARNING – SPOILERS BELOW!

The Alliance camps out on an Ice Planet that is totally NOT Hoth. Darth Emo sends some AT-ATs to attack their base. Finn manages to slice one open and stick a grenade inside, giving everyone else time to escape.

Luke Skywalker takes Rey to the jungles of his hideaway planet so he can properly train her in the ways of the Schwartz. However, it turns out that she’s such a natural, she does not need any training, nor does she need to learn any discipline, or have any personal growth. She’s just too darn good.

Darth Emo decides to send some bounty hunters after Finn and Poe, including the last of Jango Fett’s clones, YubbaDubba Fett. After a nifty escape in an asteroid field (where the good guys evade a giant space slug that is not – we repeat – NOT a worm) they fly to a city in the clouds. One of them remarks that the planet it hovers over is so not Bespin. Darth Emo captures them at dinner, and proceeds to torture them.

Rey has visions of her friends’ plight, and wants to rescue them. Luke tells her sure, go ahead, she’s already practically perfect in every way. The ghost of Han Solo appears, and confirms that yeah, she’s awesome.

Rey goes to the cloud city and winds up having a fight with Darth Emo. In the fight, he tells her that he is actually her cousin. She screams that no, it’s not true, it’s impossible - and chops off his hand.

Oh yeah, and someone gets frozen in carbonite.

TTFN
-Tony

Monday, March 27, 2017

In the most delightful way!

Mandy: Why do Mary Poppins' kids need medicine (to wash down with a spoonful of sugar) anyway? Are they sick, or something? 

Me: Well, yeah, they keep hallucinating that she can fly with her umbrella, that they can jump in and out of pastel drawings, that they can laugh on the ceiling... those kids have some real problems, don't you think?

TTFN
-Tony

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

From Fun To Tedious In Under Four Seconds

I’m probably one of the few people who accepts Facebook friend requests from people they don’t know. It used to be fun. When fb started and had not yet become the cancer that it is today, there were actually interesting new people out there who wanted to interact. One or two, (as unbelievable as it sounds,) told me they had found me because they liked my books. One was an obvious but hilarious attempt at catfishing, but that’s another story.

Lately, of course, whenever I get a friend request, the feeling has gone from “Ooh, is it an old friend or family member trying to reconnect, or someone new and interesting?” to “Sigh, another fornicating spambot.” Usually, such fake personas have a brand new account, and claim to be some scantily clad bimbo, complete with a picture they downloaded from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit page. Those, of course, I disregard. One guy who claimed to live in Africa immediately began begging for money to help his poor brother get an education. Seriously pal, beg for money for your baby’s life-saving drugs instead, you might get better results. One person in India didn’t contact me for about a year, then suddenly messaged me out of the blue. He told me that he wanted to have his way with me, and then kill me. I told him that it would probably be more interesting the other way around, then proceeded to block him and report.

I got a request the other day from someone who looked like an elderly gentleman, who had a few common friends. I accepted out of curiosity. Of course, the messages started right away. “Hi. Hi. How are you? Are you there? Have you been contacted by (some acronym I forgot but I deleted the thread after I unfriended and blocked him.) Hello? Are you there?” Sigh, it’s depressing.

It doesn’t help that fb Messenger for Android has become the precursor of Skynet, and wants to take over every aspect of my phone. “Can I pretty please have access to all your contacts and email addresses?” Hell no. “Awww, come on, I’ll be your best friend! How about texting? Why are you using stock texting? I can text for you instead!” Um… no. “How about YOUR DAY? Wouldn’t you like to add the extreme close-up picture of that thing growing on the inside of your nostril to YOUR DAY?” Well… yeah, actually, that sounds like fun.

Anyhoo, peace, love and soul.

TTFN -Tony
t - 17,151

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Forgotten War

The Boy Scouts interviewed Dad yesterday as part of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project. It's amazing how he neatly kept everything for years. Meanwhile, I can't find my own socks in the morning.

Although he was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, and a Bronze Star, he lied to his family while in Korea, and said he wasn't in combat. This was because my Uncle Mel had seen combat in WW2, and my grandfather would cry when he read his letters. All the air mail envelopes are letters he saved between him and his young cousin who lived in the Bronx. She had polio, and spent almost her entire life in an iron lung. He kept the letters light because she was a kid. She died in her her teens. (This is part of why anti-vaxxers drive me up a tree...)

TTFN
-Tony
t- 21,403...




Wednesday, March 01, 2017

From The Garry Gnu Gnostic Gnosples

And so it was that Jesus went into the desert for forty days and forty nights to clean his belly button of lint. And yea did everyone in Jerusalem take their lint from their own navels, and burn them. Then they put the ashes upon their heads in the sign of the t, because they were terrific.

And then Jesus spoke, saying “People should give something up for this time, whether it be Doritos, cheese, or watching hentai tentacle porn online.” And the people said “Oh Lord, what are these tentacles, and why should we ever tie up hens in a line?” And He replied, “exactly.”

The Word of the Lord
-Tony

t - 27,252

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Every sha la la la la, every woah oh oh oh...

Had a dream last night that Slayer did a Death Metal cover of The Carpenters' "Yesterday Once More". Now I have it (the dream version that doesn't really exist) stuck in my head.

I started playing with Unity last night. Decades ago, I did some work in VRML with the intention of creating a virtual web-site alternative to my main page. The problem was that whatever I created wound up huge (who in their right mind would ever go to a page web-page that was 3 megs???) These days, that's the bare minimum size expected for the backdrop. The question is,what to do with it? I want the result to be interesting and creative, something different. I think a minimalist style would be best for keeping file size down. David O'Reilly proved you can do great work with it, and once said something about the limitation forcing him to be more creative.

I managed to get Burn: Cycle running on my Windows 10 PC last night using DOSBOX. I miss 90s adventure CD ROM games that had bad acting and cartoony FX over actors blue-screened and placed in CGI backgrounds. Harvester was my favorite for pushing every limit possible, but Myst 1-4, The 7th Guest, & Phantasmagoria 1&2 were pretty awesome as well. I don't know, they just seemed like they wanted to be more creative with a new medium.

TTFN
-Tony

T-33,247...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Zen and Civilization VI, or Gandhi Nuking My Piece of Mind

I’m assuming that everyone has gotten upset at people or things that weren’t really there. Or rather, we get angry at people, places and things that are not in the present. Perhaps they’re politicians or our bosses, old arguments, past acquaintances or family members, online trolls… the list is endless.

The way I’ve learned to deal with this is to recognize that my anger at things that aren’t in the present… is just Gandhi.

If you’ve ever played Civ  4 - 6, you might have an idea of what I’m talking about. It’s become a running gag that due to a glitch, the AI for Gandhi can go from Mother Theresa to slinging ICBMs in an instant. But what’s worse – and this is the important part – is that like all the other world leaders, he mocks you.

Not enough food, production, military, culture, or religion? Gandhi will interrupt your gameplay with some obnoxious quip or comment. He’s also a hypocritical dick who has no problem trying to convert all your cities to his religion, but will whine and start a war if you send your apostles to convert his… but that’s beside the point.

The point is, Gandhi is not real. Well, he was, but you get what I mean.

“No shit Sherlock,” I hear you cry. “It’s just a game.” Well, we only actually exist in the present moment. Therefore, things that are not in our present are not real either. But for some reason, we still let them upset us.

When you come down to it, the Civilization games are merely a flow of strategic choices. The aim is to pick the most logical path to your goal before the various AIs beat you to it. This can be done without any graphics or sound, but pretty pictures and obnoxious world leaders create a false narrative that gets us emotionally involved and keeps us coming back for more – even if the things causing this emotional investment aren’t real.

Like emotional distractions that are not in the present.

What if we applied that model to our lives? Not to get too much into the simulism theory, but what if we see life as a series of logical steps we can take to reach a goal, but our path is full of imitation Gandhis – things not in the now that we need to let go of – that create a possibly derailing, false emotional distraction?

Whenever I find myself re-hashing an old argument, or angered and upset by the news, work, or anyone or anything else that I have no power to change, I just imagine that it’s a cartoon Gandhi popping up and ridiculing me. Once the illusion is broken, I know I have a choice: I can recognize the distraction for what it is and stop validating it, or continue to let myself be sucked into an emotional spiral by something that is not really there. The more ridiculous I imagine his gloating, the more ridiculous I feel if I don’t immediately choose to stop. (And yes, just like when playing Civ, I’ve found myself bargaining to stay upset for “just one more turn...”)

I’ve also had a Yoda in my mind for the past thirty-five years who pokes me with a stick and chides me for never having my mind on where I was (hmmm?), or what I was doing – but that’s a different story.

TTFN
-Tony

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stop Whining and Edit!

Nobody ever told me that writing a book would be like having to be the world’s meanest English teacher, having to check the world’s brattiest student’s work. No wonder so many hated me.

Every writer is different. To me, writing is like sculpting. You mold clay into a rough shape and form, adding more details here and there. But in the end, you realize that your renaissance-era left leg does not match the Greek-era style right. What do you do? Do you remake the left, the right, or both? Does the weight of the left arm make the entire figure topple over? I guess you have to reposition those mixed-era legs now. And what the hell is with that hat and hair? Maybe he’d be better bald instead…

So eventually, you get the base pose, figure, hair, and bowler hat down to what you want. That’s great. But there are cracks in the elbows and knees where the weight is showing. Better take away some of that belly fat and reinforce them-but not too much. As you’re reinforcing the knees, you come up with an amazing idea – what if he’s wearing all around knee-armor? That would be really cool… except you better give him elbow armor as well. Which means his snazzy bowler hat looks ridiculous. Better make it into a helmet. Okay, now everything works and is balanced. You have what you consider a sculpture / plot / story / whatever: The first draft is finally finished.

The next day, you see all the details and imperfections that need to be smoothed or sharpened. Okay, fine, I’ll give the hair that’s peeking out of the bottom of the helmet some definition. Now it looks amazing and realistic. But… his eyes just don’t match it now, and his stubble is way too rough for such fine hair. Both need to be fixed and then it will be perfect. Okay, they’re both fixed, but why is his hair so nice when his armor is so filthy? Sigh…

To make a long story short, I really thought the second and final draft of Debris of Shadows: Book II would be ready by now, but it’s still being edited and obsessively scoured. I thank you for your patience.

TTNF
-Tony