The Clear-Channeling of Radio

Has resulted in this: http://flashbak.com/40-songs-ruined-by-american-classic-rock-radio-28179/

I have to admit, that list makes me glad for Pandora and Spotify. I can agree with most songs on there, and probably add a few more. Even a diehard Rush-geek like myself can say there are a few dozen songs from the Master Power Trio I would want to hear more often to bring “Tom Sawyer” into a moderation allowing all people to appreciate its magnificence. Ditto “Back in Black,” really why not “Flick of the Switch” or “Ride On”?

Variety? Spice of Life? Not on Classic Rock Radio stations.

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I am going to say something that satisfies no one.

Living in Missouri, I can hardly avoid following the Ferguson events, whether I wish to or not. And I would rather not. Local news is depressing, usually intentionally so, and often times too vapid to make it worth watching. My general take is along the lines of Don Henley here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0xr31XbSOU (though he deserved the abuse in his case).

And the media is the villain here, more than anyone. Officer Wilson, IMHO probably could have reacted with less force. But that isn’t murder. Or even criminal. There’s no excuse for the New York Times living down to its fishwrap of record moniker and doxing his address–and saying his WIFE, who is innocent of ANY crime, lives there as well. They played up the ‘gentle giant’ narrative, which facts show is not true. They dealt the race card, from the bottom of the deck, time and again. They coordinated with those wanting a riot, and now they have one. I’d ask if they were ashamed. But they know not the meaning of the word.

Michael Brown is not a martyr. Not a gentle giant. Moments before the shooting, he was choking a man in a convenience store during a robbery. His crime is on video. He initiated both verbal and physical violence with the police officer. Multiple witnesses of multiple ethnic backgrounds confirm it. His family has a history of criminal and violent behavior as well. He learned that from them. He was not ‘walking down the street’ because he was carefree and innocent. The list of motives for doing so in truth are slim, and none endear him as a particularly sympathetic figure.

I believe in both citizens and officers having cameras and mikes to record all altercations. Because very few people want to be the first person caught in bad behavior on camera. It’s proven to reduce belligerence in altercations. I don’t believe in the police having access to military-grade gear. They’re not trained for it. They don’t need it. If a mob gets to that point, it should be the National Guard doing the dispersing. That said, anyone who reaches for a police officer’s gun, or pushes his cruiser door shut to punch him through it, cannot expect that to end well.

To the extent what happened has anything to do with race, it was people outside the situation that made it that way. To the extent race relations have been set back, it is because professional agitators have convinced the residents of Ferguson to riot. Not protest. One does not ‘protest’ by burning down businesses and destroying property. It is sad. It is terrible. But tragedy and murder are not synonymous.

I Should Be Writing

Well, yes, I really should be.

It’s been a rough few months on that front. Got sick twice, lost interest in my current project. But couldn’t find something to replace it with. Now I’m looking at it with good eyes again. But as soon as I did, yeah. Sick a third time. I do not fall ill that often.

To be fair, there was also a high gamelock threshold in there over the holidays. Finally played Mass Effect through, beginning to end. I enjoyed it, until the end. Which I modded. ūüėõ

I also picked up the expansion pack to X-COM. Love it. But I think the new cutscenes are more graphically demanding than the originals were. Very odd that they would up graphics requirements for the same game. Still, more Alien blasting fun is nice. Makes me wonder if I should write some military sci-fi sometime. ūüėČ

Anyway, lest I get lost in distractions again, I need to get back to writing. But I needed to look at this. Just to remind me it still exists, if nothing else.

Times Like These Remind Me

That if I wanted to do ANYTHING else, other than be a writer, I should probably do that. The frustration of having to salvage work I had finished. Real life illness and loss, and then work piling on top of that. I guess I can hope that with all the stuff that’s happened this month, there won’t be anything that can get in the way of NaNoWriMo.

I’ll be set up to finish the second Sword & Sandal over the Thirty Day Frenzy this year. And having gotten sick, I was able to do some reading last week. Specifically¬†Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo. The first book of a fast-moving zombie story (28 Days Later¬†style Infected-Living Dead). It’s a fun read. Before that, I’d read the second Verity Price novel, which was a good read. But not as fun as the first.

I’m supposed to write a couple short pieces this week. But I’m so far behind I haven’t had a chance to think about them yet. Maybe I will once I get the notes from my Sword & Sandal out of the way this weekend.

Oh, and can I say, the craziness of CONCACAF on Tuesday night was one of the most EPIC sporting events I’ve ever seen. Americans rooting for Panama. Mexicans rooting for the USA. Panama rooting for Costa Rica. And the US, with SUBS, rallying to win a game they had nothing but pride and auditions to play for, earning their best record in the Hex of all time. But when Graham Zusi scored that goal, it was¬†complicated.¬†I never want the US to lose. But Mexico missing the World Cup? oooo, that would be so beautiful. All I can say is¬†GO KIWIS!

Really, This is Starting to Get Old

Really, This is Starting to Get Old

OK folks. My cards on the table, I thought Nolan’s Batman Trilogy was as good as any three films in modern cinema history. Better than¬†Star Wars, probably as good as¬†The Lord of the Rings. Better than¬†The Godfather.¬†The 1st and third on that list because in both cases, the final installment weakened the whole. Star Wars dies for me with the appearance of the Ewoks, and Godfather Part III is a collection of iconic moments. Not a great movie with iconic moments in it. Even LOTR struggles with moments in¬†The Two Towers¬†(Elves in Helm’s Deep? Theoden SHOULDN’T have gone to Helm’s Deep? The hobbits in Osgiliath? Really)

The Dark Knight Trilogy has no killer flaw. Not that every moment is perfect, but it is not betrayed by them. It’s a great movie series, where each part is excellent and combines to make a better whole.

BUT, it’s done. And you can’t expect a new Batman to inherit the mantle of Bale’s Batman just because Nolan is in the project’s background. And let’s be honest, the ‘gritty’ Superman hasn’t sold anyone yet. Moreover, THIS Superman and Batman don’t know each other. So why should they fight? Or frankly why should they care about each other? Superman has no history, and they’re going to have to reboot Batman’s as well.

The iconic moments work because of the tension that’s built up to arrive at them. And as¬†http://io9.com/the-problem-of-premature-nerdgasms-979468607¬†this article illustrates well, if you don’t have the build-up, you can’t buy into the payoff.

So all this talk about “Yay! Batman in Man of Steel 2?!” Has me responding with a shrug and ‘meh.’ Make a storyline. Prove this ‘gritty’ Superman actually has value on his own first. And develop a plotline that shows us why Batman has to come out of retirement while you’re at it.

It’s like Warner Brothers is careening from one past DC moment to the next. But they haven’t EARNED any of those. Come back when you have.

In Search of the Perfect Writing Instrument

File this in the section of: “I’m journaling this because it interests ME, dagnabit!”

I’ve been using a G2 clicker for a long time. I’ve been ok with it. It writes decent lines (especially finer points), it’s not uncomfortable for¬†normal¬†use. It does…ok. It’s like the Starbucks of pens (without the shilling for political causes that makes me boycott them). You know the quality of product you’re going to get. It will be serviceable and consistent. The price is acceptable.
But there are problems. Using the pen long-term causes ugly brown streaks along that annoying clear barrel. The ink skips more than people want to admit. It takes far too long to dry for a gel pen. The clips are cheap and have a nasty tendency to break. When used for writing books, it feels clunky and quickly leaves those nice divots in your middle finger. And often the refills are more expensive than buying new pens, which I consider an unpardonable bit of market-grubbing. “Hey, save the environment by reusing your pen. And pay MORE for doing it!”¬†:crash:
It’s still a good pen for work. But it’s not the pen I want to use for writing.
So I started looking for a new pen. One that’s more conducive to the Craft of Writing. For the sake of my pocketbook, I’m not considering Fountain Pens (though I soooo want to). So still gel pens, because of the balance of affordability and legibility. Something comfortable, refillable (and I mean PRACTICAL refills), and sturdy enough to carry without exploding.
I tried the Uniball Signo first. I wanted to try the Jetstream. But I never find refills for anything but the 1.0mm, which is absurd. I refuse to do normal writing at anything larger than .7, and I’d prefer .5 or even smaller point. The Signo refills at the minimum acceptable .7. And it was incredibly comfortable to use, with a sturdy clip. Buuut. The ink takes too long for a gel to dry, and smudges egregiously. ¬†It’s a very good work pen, but it’s not ideal for writing.
I discovered the Frixion from Pilot, and started playing with its Clicker model. While not ‘as’ comfortable as the Signo, it’s moreso than the G2. The clip is again, not as sturdy as the Signo, but better than the G2. And the ink…:jawdrop:¬†Erasable ink that WORKS! Awesomesauce. The problem? Weeeelll. I burned through 2 pens in 4 weeks. Refillable or not, that’s pretty fast for a pen to run dry. Also, it refills in .7, BLUE. Which I’m ok with blue ink. But it’s not ideal for everyone.
It’s most certainly¬†not¬†a work pen. But it might be a good writing pen. We’ll see how long this batch of refills lasts.¬†:P
But oh I wish I could afford to use fountain pens….
Update: My Frixion lasted exactly THREE days, and produced 24 pages in a composition notebook before giving up the ghost. YIKES. But then, the Signo looks to only have 5 days, and perhaps 50 pages in it. Gel pens go bad quick. But these seem to go bad a little too fast, IMHO.