Monday, April 27, 2015

Today's post comes with a side of DANGER!

One day, my wife is gonna get me killed, and not in a way that will allow her to collect on my life insurance policy, either.

Silverfox has a passion for "augmented reality" games. For the most part, these games consist of finding a particular set of geographic coordinates with a game program on your smartphone, and then in some way proving you were there. 

In Geocaching, you find a capsule/piece of tupperware/ammo can someone has hidden somewhere on planet earth with a piece of paper in it to sign. It involves using your smartphone or a GPS unit to track down the lattitude/longitude of the thing you're looking for while not falling off a cliff.
I say falling off a cliff, but here in Louisiana, you are far more likely to get bitten by a venomous snake or an alligator. The principle is the same, and while there are urban Geocaches, the fun ones are more remote and rural in nature.

With Ingress, you either capture the coordinates, or "portals" or hack them to get in game loot. everything in it is virtual, ad must be tethered to a real world object like a statue or monument. As a result, it is a more urban game, and can be challenging and frustrating as there are two factions trying to capture portals and claim territory. The factions are the resistance (blue) and the enlightened (green)
Kind of like a worldwide game of capture the flag, only with nerds with smartphones clustered around a statue of Rodrigue's "Blue dog" while muttering derogatory comments about frogs and smurfs at each other.
true story!
My wife started as a Geocacher, but moved up to Ingress a few months ago, bringing me with her under the "must always try something fun for us to do together" clause in our marriage vows. I've been playing this game, which I have found to be both fun and slightly addictive. It makes me a little paranoid, but I hear that's fairly normal. the game has a real cloak and dagger element to it, which I really grove on. I play probably once a day, when I can find the time.

Silverfox is WAY more into it than that. She will hop out of bed at two in the morning because the "damn smurfs have taken rivertown!". She teams up with other players of the game to perform huge city-wide ops against the opposing team. When I tell her that I have a book signing in a city we've never been to, she looks at a special map to see how many Ingress portals she can hack along the route. She takes the whole thing pretty seriously. I have my own quirky things that I take too seriously, so I don't judge.

Unfortunately, I must have missed where we got to the point where us being out on the roads during tornado/tropical storm conditions just so she can "hack portals" for game loot was a perfectly acceptable thing to do. We were driving uptown, lightning flashing above, tree limbs crashing down in our path due to the winds, floodwaters obscuring the roads, and the torrential downpour making visibility nealy zero, with my knuckles white against the steering wheel, and Silverfox is next to me happily playing the game. To make it clear, this is the same storm where this happened:

That video is of TRAINS BEING PUSHED OFF A TRELLIS DUE TO HIGH WINDS! And we were out in it playing Ingress.

My wife has nerves of steel. I will grant her that. I however have nerves of jello. All I'm thinking is, "Please don't let them have to put 'Died playing Ingress' on my tombstone." I mentioned this to Silverfox at the time, and she said "That would be AWESOME!" right before one of her in-game rivals made a comment on the in-game chat/comm about how he was hoping a house would drop on her so that he could steal her ruby slippers.

Yeah... my wife isn't the only one that takes this game a wee bit too seriously.

The flip side of doing such a dumb thing is that it makes for a GREAT story. Like Hemmingway said, "Whatever doesn't kill you makes you a better writer" My wife is apparently dedicated to making me an EXTRAORDINARY writer.

God, I love this woman.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The never ending battle...

I know that some of you might read that post title and say "Great... Rob is about to regale us with a boring rant about how Superman looks so much better with red underpants! I'm outie". You would be wrong, and not just because of your use of the past pleurperfect tense of "out". True, I could go on endless rants about Superman's preference for briefs, but today's post is actually about what seperates the "Writers" from the "People who Write".


There are many people that spend years writing and perfecting their novel, short story, or poem for it never to be seen by another human being, but will maybe read it aloud to their cat on valentines day if the feline in question promises to poop in the goddamn sandbox. 

These people (that we'll call Bob) got a rejection notice on the first thing they ever sent to a publisher, and never tried again, thinking to themselves "Well, if editor A thinks my stuff is crap, I guess my Mom was right about my writing, and I should consider truck driving school."

Here's the thing... Just because Editor A twisted his mustache and stomped on Bob's dreams, it doesn't mean Editor B will. In fact, Editor B will run over those dreams with a steamroller. What Bob doesn't see is that it may take all the way through editor gamma (Bob ran out of english alphabet letters and had to go to greek) before Bob gets that validation of "yes, we'd like to see the full manuscript"

Rejection is part of the job, kids. Be ready to hear lots of bad stuff about your work before you hit that editor that "gets" where you were coming from with the drag queens exploring the final frontier, because when you find that editor, it's soooo worth it.

Finding the time...

ThisOne of the biggest challenges when you're a writer is trying to find the time to fit in all the projects, the social media stuff, your family, and having that crazy thing that normals refer to as "a life". I've always been the kinda guy that has issues when I try to multi task. I have nothing but respect for people that can do it well, but whenever I try to balance work, school, writing, and my life, something always suffers.

Interesting side note... My autocorrect tried to change "writing" to "writhing" in that last sentence. If the tech guys at apple only knew...

When I find myself committed to multiple projects, the first thing to suffer is this blog. I just find myself having no time to do it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be a part of history... This changes today. I have found the time to do almost daily updates, and it was in front of me all along.
This is a photo of me in the carpool line to pick up Charlie from school. For about half an hour each day, I sit with this as my view:
This is a full half hour that through the magic of modern telecommunications I can spend writing instead of singing Billy Joel songs loudly and off key along with the radio. I'm sure the school's neighbors will appreciate it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Slice of Life... (and PB&J)

Most mornings, I fix the kids breakfast. The Monday after a convention, I am less than enthustiastic to do so... The scene in my kitchen this morning:

Oldest Kid: Dad, can you make me a PB&J sandwich?

Me: Sure kiddo, but I'll need your help. I'm hurting from the con.

Oldest Kid: Sure Dad. What do you need? 

Me: Well, get the Peanut butter from the pantry, the jelly from the fridge, and the bread from the counter.

Oldest Kid: okay. 

Me: Could you open the peanut butter for me? I wrenched my arm lifting boxes this weekend...

Oldest Kid: Sure.

Me: now take out two pieces of bread...

Oldest Kid: You're making me make this sandwich, aren't you?

Me: I'm just surprised it took you till the bread to figure it out.

Oldest Kid: jerk move, Dad. Jerk move.