Saturday, December 29, 2012

E.T.A.


Are you looking for a quick distraction? Here's a short animated film for your viewing pleasure. Set in the famous Alien franchise universe, it's about a guy named Martin. Martin is in the middle of working a very boring contract for Weyland-Yutani.His job is to mind the ship while everyone else slumbers in cryo-sleep during a deep space voyage. It's directed by Henrik Bjerregaard Clausen and produced by Junk. Quick, easy, not bad. It's fun.



Game over, man,
Jon

Friday, December 28, 2012

Updates: What lies ahead


It's that time again. The new year looms close, a peak soon to be crossed, the fresh new lands of the new year just beyond. It is a time to look back and measure ones progress. It is also a time to look forward, to chart the land and see what lies ahead. It's been a long time, folks, and as such, it is well past time for another example of your favorite type of post and mine:

Updates: What lies ahead...
(Or: What's going on with Jon, end of 2012 edition)

2012 was an up-and-down year for me.


On the upside, my latest bout of wage-slavery has come to an end. It's true, I have completed the varied and sundry Job-Aids the Salt Mines had required, wrapping up such titles as You and your whip: An Overseer's best friend and Flailure, how much skin removal is too much? The downside? The tinkling flow of pennies has dried up and I am forced to beg in the streets once again. It was a sad day, let me assure you, even Head Overseer Mungo had a visible tear in his bulgy, milky-pale, cataract eye as he bid me adieu.

Writing-wise


Monsters
I finished the first draft of my second novel Monsters in October. It came in a little behind schedule, but not too bad. A first draft in ten months? Not bad. The downside is that now I'm not only not-happy with the working title, I'm unhappy with the whole thing. The second draft is going to be a holy terror, the issues and problems within are legion, and I'm not looking forward to trying to wrangle it all into some kind of coherent form. Now mostly I'm not looking forward to 2nd Draft editing because that side of the writing life is never fun in the best of situations, but also because a small part of me isn't sure how fixable the issues are. We'll see what the results are when I dive back in with the coming new year. Fingers crossed.


Gunslingers of the Apocalypse
Still trunked. Still going nowhere fast. It may never be anything, but I'm planning on printing it out this coming year and giving it a read. It's been a really long time since I've last looked at it, two, maybe three years. At the very least, I should have fresh eyes and hopefully that will let me knock 20,000 to 30,000 words off and come out the other side with a slimmer, meaner draft. To what end? It's already made the Query rounds and got some good response, but not good enough, right? So, who knows. Who cares? Because I want to, that's why.


Rebel Clever Girl
This one is still in its infancy. Only a couple of chapters are done, but it's unfolding in my head and spilling into notes. It's growing and it will be something. I know where it's going and how it ends, but it's still too early to try to summarize what it's about. I like it, that's what I know. Also, I'm thinking of changing the title to The Impossible Virginia Dare. We'll see.


Short stories
I've got a list of story starters, but I'm not working on any of them at the moment. Short Stories aren't really my thing, so I'm in no rush. I'll get to them when I get to them, if ever. My other projects will keep me busy in the meantime. However, if you really, really, really want to read a short story by me, well you can go here and pick up a copy of Cifiscape Volume 2. My short story Harris is the first one in the book. It's also my first short story to get published.


Is that it? I think that's it. I have a busy year ahead, but I'll keep you updated as things happen. Keep an eye out in the coming days for my best and worst films of 2012 posts and maybe, probably, one about some of my favorite comics of 2012. Maybe. Probably. Most likely. Until then, you know where to find me.

Happy New Year,
Jon


Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Part 3

Are any of you wondering what happened to the last part of that Halo: Forward unto Dawn series I had been posting here? No? That's not that surprising.

Well, for any of you that might be even mildly curious, watch the trailer below. I'll admit, I watched this the other night and... it actually gets kind of awesome at the end. Worth going to amazon and buying your own copy? ...Maybe not, but still, it gets pretty awesome in the last part.


Just fyi,
Jon

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Memorize

Hey there, me again.

I'm planning to write an Update blog on Friday, so all y'all out there will be fully informed on what's going on with me, writing wise, and just in time for the end of the world too. Does anybody know what time that's happening, BTW? No? Bummer. Anyway, that blog will go up some time Friday. Until then, here's a cool sci-fi short film to help liven up your Hump-day blahs. It's called Memorize and it was written and directed by Jimmy Eriksson and Eric Ramburg. I don't know them in any way, nor am I familiar with anything else they've done, but this looks promising, a kind of 90's cyberpunk throwback kind of thing.

Let's watch...



Well, they sure love the shit out of that Total Recall Hologram trick, don't they? I especially liked how the bad guys thought they had pulled it on him, but no, HE had pulled it on THEM. It was just like a chess match, man, but with more head scarves.

All in all, not bad, if you don't backtrack the plot too much, and it's definitely heavily seeped in the kind of imagery that seems a little outdated and cliche these days, but it's technically adept and pretty fun and there's a couple of cool ideas in there. I'd be interested in seeing more of their stuff, if they ever drop the dog-earred and pretty tired Neuromancer/Snow Crash/Matrix trappings and instead really try to run with their more original and weird/cool ideas. They have the skill and talent, that's obvious, now let's see them take some risks.

Or at the very least, pick a storyline that is a little more engaging. I mean, was this really a seven minute long short film about people discovering how to circumvent an idea you introduced at the very BEGINNING of the seven minutes? There's not much to hold onto there, especially when there's maybe a half dozen lines of dialogue all told.

Better than average, but still kind of average in the end.

Anyway... enjoy,
Jon

Monday, December 17, 2012

Man of Steel

Two posts in one day? It's a Christmas miracle!

It's actually due to the fact that this post concerns another trailer, the official new trailer for the upcoming Superman film, in fact, the one directed by Zach Snyder known as: Man of Steel. It's been out for a few days now, which makes it old as dirt in Internet years. You've probably seen it already, I figured I should just go ahead and post it while at least some of the new car smell is still clinging to it.

Superman is an enduring character, but he is also a notoriously difficult character to get a handle on. In this day and age, in a long-term sense, and most especially in movies, he's a bit awkward. People know him completely, they know who he is and where he comes from. They know how he was raised and how that upbringing affected who he is. They know his girlfriend's name. They know he's a good person. They know all about Superman. Clark Kent. Kal-el of Krypton.

And for the most part... he bores them.

He bores them because he's often portrayed as too earnest and too straightforward, and he is often too powerful for most of his bad guys, and as a result, his stories are usually harder to relate to and generally low on action. In a nutshell, there's usually isn't any inner conflict and not much danger of an outer one either. For such an outwardly simple character propped up by such simple motivations, there's just no easy way in with Superman, not like there is with Batman, and especially not when it comes to any movies. To make Clark interesting, you have to spend some time with him. To make Superman truly super, to make him soar, you need lots of money. With Warner Bros on their knees, desperate for a new franchise, at least Man of Steel will have the money part covered. And with Zach Snyder at the helm, the action should be crazy.

But will we get to know Clark? Will he become a character again, one that the audience can really get behind? We shall see... Let's watch the trailer.

 

A little somber, a little self-important and brooding maybe, but Snyder's a fun guy so I'm not worried about the tone of the film so much. Plus, Amy Adams is Lois Lane. Nice.

We shall see,
Jon

NEXT A-Class

I'm not sure what this is exactly or where I came across it, but I think it's a Japanese Mercedes-Benz commercial, a six minute long Japanese anime Mercedes-Benz commercial. Japan, man... apparently life there is like living in some kind of futuristic video game fetish zone.

Oh well, enjoy. Be sure to click on the Closed Captioning, you don't want to miss any "important" dialogue...


Ohayou gozaimasu,
Jon

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pacific Rim

It's been a few days since this first hit the Internet, so I apologize if this isn't news to you, or if you've already squee-ed yourself into an aneurysm, but I've been busy so I didn't get a proper chance to join in. What am I talking about, you ask? I'm talking about Pacific Rim, kids. Yes, it's true. Pacific Rim, a big budget Giant Robots vs Giant Monsters movie. Are you shocked? Confused? Did you have no idea this existed? How did it get past you?


I posted about the Kaiju Emergency Alert System last week or so, so this may look a little familiar to both of you regular readers, but for the click-lazy out there, the basic story is this:

Geek God of Flamboyant Demonic Imagery, Director Guillermo del Toro has apparently discovered that I am only passingly a fan of his work. I loved Blade 2 and The Devil's Backbone. I enjoyed Pan's Labyrinth. Otherwise: Meh... he's all right, sometimes I find his design work a little too busy, it gets in the way of the movie, in my opinion. And I'll be honest, I was REALLY happy to hear that he was no longer working on the Hobbit. Also, I hated the Hellboy films. Hated them. But ever since Ron Pearlman did this right here... they get a pass from me. We're cool.

Good on you, Ron Perlman.

Anyway, I know it's Geek Blasphemy to even think this, let alone state it out loud where the various geeks and nerds and dorks and dweebs can see, but it's the truth. That's how I feel. Now before you flip-out and work yourself up into a big frothing lather of nerd-rage, keep in mind that I don't think he's terrible, he's just okay. That's all. Okay. I don't get too excited about his upcoming projects, because I've found that he is generally incapable of blowing my skirt up. Okay, maybe I'm a little excited about his long-anticipated At the Mountains of Madness film, but otherwise...

Meh.

Well, someone has apparently told Mr. del Toro about my general ambivalence toward him and his work. This appears to have really struck a cord with the man, because here he comes again, this time with a film yanked directly from deep within the brain of my Godzilla-loving five year old self. It is, quite frankly, a surprisingly aggressive attempt to win my love. The posters and viral videos have all been great so far, way better than I expected, and upon viewing this new trailer, all I can say is: Thank you, Mr. del Toro, thank you. Giant Robots? Versus Giant Monsters? On the shores of San Francisco? Why yes, I am interested in seeing more...

Aren't you? Let's watch it together.


It's so beautiful. No words. No words, it's so beautiful. They should have sent a poet, they should have sent a poet...



BWAAAAAAAA!
Jon

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oblivion

What's this? Is this original Sci-fi? From Hollywood? With a budget? And it looks Post-Apocalyptic and futuristic at the same time? Chills. I have chills. 

Here's the poster, let's bask in it, shall we?


Waitaminute... Tom Cruise? The Director of Tron Legacy? Imax? Ahhh, man... and I was getting excited too... Oh well, I started the blog, might as well finish it. Here's the synopsis:

"Jack Harper (Cruise, naturally) is one of the last drone repairmen stationed on Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying threat known as the Scavs, Jack's mission is nearly complete. Patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, his soaring existence is brought crashing down when he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he knows and puts the fate of humanity in his hands."

You hear that people? EVERYTHING. He will question EVERYTHING he knows. Things like: "Do I REALLY like Orange juice, or do I just THINK that I like Orange Juice?" That's gonna be some riveting shit right there, folks, let me tell you. Know what I mean? Riveting as in: $8 will buy you the whole seat, but you're only going to need... THE EDGE!!!

Here's the trailer, people, hold on to your butts:



Hmmm... That doesn't look too bad actually. It's a little "Apple in the Post-Apocalypse" but still, it looks fun, maybe. I like what I see, although I question what's going on with the ruins. How are the buildings buried underground? With rivers running over them? That's... odd, but whatever. The bottom line is: It looks interesting. I'm going to keep an eye out for more stuff as it pops up.

One thing I did notice that kind of bothers me? This is the second Tom Cruise movie trailer that has not shown him running (the first being for Jack Reacher--which also doesn't look half-bad). Frankly, I miss it. I hope he hasn't gotten self-conscious, or worse, hurt his ankle, as Tom Cruise is the best on-screen runner in the history of on-screen runners.

Let's all watch this and remember the glory.


Run, Tom, Run,
Jon

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Part 2

It's been awhile, but here we are with Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Part 2, just as the title to this blog promises. I posted Part 1 here, if you missed it and wanted to catch up.

First off the bat, I have to say that I'm all around impressed with this series. It's maybe a little too slowly paced and Thank God for Battlestar Galactica, right? But otherwise its quality is ridiculously high. Most web films you get are either purposefully crappy--because why bother, it's just a web film and besides script is really the most primary of importance--or they're accidentally crappy--because they lack the funds, resources, talent, or awareness to ever be anything but (the most common type)--so, it's nice to run across a series that is so well-made. The costumes, sets, props, the attention to detail, there's even a Warthog (although, it probably belongs to a slightly too obsessed fan, which is kind of sad, but whatever). The point is: There was no small amount of effort made here and it shows on screen. It's professional, a little derivative and the script could maybe use so tightening, but still... not too bad, kind of good actually.

I'm not sure who made this. I suppose I could look it up, but I won't because I'm not that kind of film head, so I don't really care (and neither do you, most likely... or maybe you do, in which case, look it up yourself), but they're definitely good, whoever they are.

Enough of my prattling on, let's watch...


Oh, no! Angsty Nondescript Troubled White Teenager has Killer Space Asthma or something! And he has collapsed! His white uniform is totally going to get grass-stained now. I hope he doesn't get CPR from Big-lipped British Girl who loooooooves him. Oochi-Goochi-Goo! I wonder what will happen. From the preview? Running, lots of panicked running. And some explosions, naturally.

This episode was a little heavy on Filler, honestly, but I don't think that would bother me as much if it was a longer show with more episodes. Being that there are only three and they're all about fifteen minutes long, I feel like they could have trimmed or made some other decisions while creating their narrative. But who knows? I haven't seen the whole thing yet.

Maybe there's a vision. Maybe there's a plan.

Fingers crossed.

All in all, it was certainly good enough to get me to tune in for next time. I hope you'll join me, Dear Reader, whenever I get around to it. It'll probably be soon, so keep an eye out, because besides the third part of this series, I still have two other short films I want to post, plus I'll be doing updates on my current projects.

When? Soon.

I promise.

Later,
Jon

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kaiju Emergency Alert System

This is only a test.




Behold, the latest round of viral marketing to be found on YouTube for an upcoming sci-fi film. That's so wonderfully modern, don't you think? Using YouTube marketing? Internet-centered. It's like living in a Gibson novel. These are for the upcoming film Pacific Rim by famed Director Guillermo del Toro.

I've mentioned it before, I think, right? Yes, here, remember?

Well after a few great posters, they have now started down the road of great viral marketing bits, which is always fun. Also, the film has a pretty Interesting cast. There's Charlie Hunnam from the melodramatic biker soap opera Sons of Anarchy. Charlie Day, from the surprisingly funny despite having a fan base which seems (at first glance) to consist almost entirely of douchebags, It's always sunny in Philadelphia. Fan favorite Idris Elba, from The Wire and Thor and Luthor and, just, y'know, lots of awesome stuff, shows up. And of course, because this is a del Toro film, the legally mandated Ron Pearlman. He's actually in a lot of great (and some not so great) things and is pretty awesome in his own right, but I will never talk bad about the man, because he did this.

So, that's all good, except... Except for the fact that the movie Prometheus started out exactly the same way too. Remember? That Happy Birthday, David video is one of my absolute favorite YouTube short films ever, but... well, we all saw Prometheus, right? Easily the most disappointing film I have seen this year, definitely in the top five of all time. So, I'm wary, is what I'm saying. I'm trying not to be too excited, because I've been hurt before. I'm leery, basically. In a nutshell, I'm cautious. I am trying to proceed with caution.

And then they put out this:


Yep. Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are the blue prints to the Gypsy Danger, one of the massive robots (the scale is demonstrated), or "Jaegers", built to defend our shorelines from Kai-ju (Giant Monster) attack. Here's a link to the Wired article, where you can see a larger version. Don't pretend like you aren't dying to go there right now. So yeah, how am I supposed to NOT get excited for a live-action, big budget Giant Robot vs. Giant Monster movie made by a man with a ga-zillion times more heart and talent and vision than the usual palooka picked to make such a film? Huh? Huh? What am I supposed to do when they put out a blue print to a Giant Robot--called the Gypsy Danger--that I could put on my wall? How can I not be overly-excited?

How can I not be?

Excited,
Jon

UPDATE!

There's more! More blue prints! And more Jaeger awesome, which is way better than Jaegermeister, especially the next day. As I'm sure you probably know. Anyway, Gypsy Danger up there? She's an example of an American Jaeger, but guess what? True, true, Chicken butt, but also: Other countries have Jaegers too. Especially if they sit on... wait for it... The Pacific Rim! DING-DING-DING! TITLE CHECK! And so, with that all said, here are some Jaegers from other countries. Enjoy!

First up, from Down Under: Striker Eureka


Next, from the Land of the Rising Sun: Coyote Tango


And from Russia... where Fiddler on the Roof was set: Cherno Alpha


Ol' Tovarishch Cherno Alpha here looks like he's about three steps away from falling apart or melting down, know what I mean? Russians... I tell ya'. Anyway, I found out about this and a whole bunch of other neat stuff over at Badass Digest! Click through to get to the larger versions.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scribblerati


I know, I know... it's been awhile, huh?

Good news. I just put up a post on how to balance your writing life during the holidays over at the Scribblerati Blog and I have some stuff lined up that I will post here over the course of the next few days. I plan on finishing up that live-action Halo series, plus I've stumbled across a couple of other cool little things, not to mention the fact that it's been awhile since we've done a writing update, so fear not, Dear Readers, there is content ahead. I will bring it.

Keep an eye on this spot.

Later gators,
Jon

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Left 4 Dead - The Movie (Part 2)

Left 4 Dead is a pretty fun zombie apocalypse based video game. It's kind of a big deal. The people like it. They like it so much, in fact, they go out in public in game specific costumes and make little fan-films that they then post on Youtube for jerks like me to crap on.

That's love, folks.

I don't know if I share that level of love, but I did enjoy the game, so when I stumbled across Part 1 of this thing here on Youtube, I had to check it out. And you know what? Not bad. It's not flashy, but it's not too bad either. Over all, a good effort for a no-budget little fan-film. Sure, sure, it's got issues, all of the actors either try way too hard to look like they know how to carry a gun or very obviously have zero clue how to and have no idea how awkward they look while doing it, but hey, whatta ya'want? It's a fan-film. Professionals they ain't. And like I said: It's better than most.

I posted it awhile back right here and now, here's Part 2.

Part 2 clunks a little. Okay, it clunks a lot. And the acting is a little more suspect in this one... okay, it's a lot more suspect honestly, and this time as an added bonus, there's a few lines of dialogue that were lifted directly from some of the more famous Hollywood produced zombie films and it is really noticeable, especially since the delivery is downright embarrassing. Good lord, kid, you couldn't even watch the original film for a clue on the line-reading?

Total bullshit. That kind of shit really bugs me.

One: Write your own dialogue, cocksucker.

Two. Who the hell do you think is watching your crappy little film?

I'll tell you who... Zombie fans, that's who. Guess what else Zombie fans watch? Other zombie films, especially the famous ones. Did you think no one would notice a direct lift from one of the highest grossing zombie films made? Normal people even went to that film, man. It's pretty well known. It's just insulting. I mean, if you're gonna steal, at least make it from somewhere obscure, put some effort into it.

Disappointing.

I may not post Part 3 because of this. I probably wouldn't have even bothered to post Part 2, except for the fact that I wanted to bitch about how shitty it is to lift from someone else's work. It's not quite what you'd call plagiarising in this particular case, but it's definitely stealing and it is most definitely the hallmark of a hack mother fucker.

Anyway... Interested? Can you spot the offending dialogue? Poser test.

Enjoy.


Shaking my head slowly,
Jon

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wolverine

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is cool and all. It's a surprisingly good fit for him and he really seems to like and understand the part. However, as I'm sure all of you unlucky enough to have seen Wolverine: Origins will no doubt remember, the last time out was ridiculously terrible. It was unbelievably bad. It was crap-tastic, as the kids say. The crappiest crap of all of Crapdom, in fact. If you haven't seen it, don't. You should never watch it, let it fade from memory. Trust me, it's just better this way.

That being said, if this teaser poster for the new film coming out next year is any indication, the new one might be pretty awesome...


Look at that, huh? I love the sumi-e look of it.

A cool and revealing design...

The image is revealing because the film is going to be based off Wolverine's adventures in Japan. A noir, street-level, Wolverine-versus-hundreds-of-ninjas type of yarn from his first solo limited series as written by famed, long-time X-men scribe Chris Claremont and drawn by current right-wing lunatic Frank Miller back in the days when both of them were good, it's a pretty good and entertaining story all about family and honor and samurai and the aforementioned hundreds of ninja. Chop, chop, hack, slice. It's the story where Wolverine the character first evolves, going from a barely two-dimensional berserk brawler to the now more familiar fallen samurai portrayal, a ronin... with claws. It was pretty well done, a good read, and probably the story most directly responsible for putting Wolverine on the path that would eventually lead us all here--for good or for ill--to this movie. Hmmm... full circle, how nice. Will they screw it up? Will they take what is a pretty straight forward, fun, cool and seminal to the character tale and crash it into the ground?

Maybe. Probably, to be honest.

But maybe not. This poster tells me that there's at least one person somewhere deep in the Modern Money Making Machine of Hollywood that is 20th Century Fox who still has some taste and insight, and some skills too, because that poster is God damn fantastic.

I'd put that on my wall,
Jon

Thursday, October 25, 2012

True Skin

Well, well, here's another nice example of a good, out-of-nowhere, Internet-found sci-fi short film. It's called True Skin and it's a very Bladerunner/Gibson-esque piece about cyborgs and techonology and the consequences of both, blah, blah, blah, and all taking place in a cyber-punk, day-after-tomorrow type of setting. It's pretty familiar, honestly, to those of us who've been around the sci-fi block a time or two and you're definitely not going to find anything particularly revolutionary going on narrative-wise, but the effects are really great. There's some nice use of color and lighting and existing environments. It's an all-around good effort that's worth checking out.

See for yourself.


I found it over at Io9.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pacific Rim and World's End

Lord knows, I love a good poster. Here's two.

The first poster is from Guillermo del Toro's coming soon-ish Giant Robots versus Giant Monsters movie: Pacific Rim. I'm a big fan of the WWII propaganda look. Sure, it's a bit easy and a little cliche, maybe, but I still dig it. Plus, Idris Elba is in it and he's awesome. All in all, this film really appeals to the kid in me. Getting to see a live action, high-budget movie about giant robots fighting some giant monsters is something straight off the ridiculous dream list of things I've always wanted to watch, but knew would never happen, so I never bothered to hope... And now it has, kind of like The Avengers movie. Hmmm, good year.


This second poster is for the third film in the "Cornetto Trilogy" by Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg. Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz are both on my list of favorite movies, really funny, really cool, and surprisingly clever (but not so surprisingly anymore, really, not at this point), so I'm always excited to see what they come up. I believe that this film centers on a group of old college friends getting together for one last go at a legendary bar crawl from their youth that they never finished... and then the End of the World happens, as it will.


Want to know more? Well, rest assured, my friends, if you stop back around here at all in the next few months or so, I'm sure you'll be hearing more about these two films, among others. They are definitely on my radar. Until then, enjoy the awesome posters.

Jon

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fringe - Wanted: Olivia Dunham

It's Friday, Friday (gotta get down on Friday, right?) and Friday means: New Fringe episode! Which is good. Have you been watching? If not, let me tell you, Season Five is going like a house'afire. The band is back together, they've played a couple of warm-up home gigs and now they're going out on the road.

So yeah, the entire Fringe team, with the notable and disappointing exception of Gene the Cow, have all finally been recovered. Peter and Olivia have been reunited, but all is not hunky-dory smoosh-wise for those two. There's still love there, but it's strained and distant. Apparently their relationship has hit a rough patch since the last time we saw them in the past--the day the Observers invaded--and the moment when they were found in the future, frozen in amber.

Olivia, it should be noted, makes for a lovely coffee table.


The trouble, not surprisingly, began when they lost their daughter Etta, barely a toddler at the time, during the confusion of the Other's attack. And not lost meaning dead by the way, but lost meaning missing. This, also not so surprisingly, resulted in our favorite world-saving super-science adventurer couple splitting up. Olivia followed Walter to New York to join the Resistance organizing against the Observers, while Peter stayed in Boston to hunt frantically for Etta.

Obviously, neither one of them was particularly successful.

Meanwhile, Etta has grown up in a gray and dreary dystopian world, she grew up fast and she grew up mean, her fists got hard and her wits got keen; she's just like the boy in the song A Boy named Sue by Johnny Cash, except that she's a girl and her name is Etta. It's maybe a good thing she's such a hard-ass though, because without her, the team would have never escaped the amber.

(Psssst--which might be tied in with how/why she was lost all those years ago in the first place, IMHO. I'm not saying the Observers are Time Travelers or nothing or insinuating that maybe one of the team traveled back and made sure it happened so that the future could be saved, but... oh wait... yes, I am.)

And so, after no small amount of some very actiony running about, the team discovers that, before they were all ambered, Walter and the still missing friendly Observer September had come up with an end-game plan for dealing with the not-so-friendly Observers and that, in order to ensure the plan's security, they fractured it into pieces and hid it in Walter's mind as well as on some old VHS tapes, rightly assuming that no one except Walter would have a VCR in the future (or now, for that matter). Unfortunately, they also discover that a briefly captured Walter's torture at the hands of the old fart Observer-in-charge known as Windmark has scrubbed the memories of those plans from his head. So now their only hope of finding out what that plan was lies in finding those video tapes and since they were apparently squirrelled away all over the wide, wide world... or at least, along the immediate East Coast, that means: Road Trip! Pack some sodas and some Red Vines, people, for the dark and strange new world of the future awaits! DANE-GER ZONE!

Which is where we left off for tonight...

I'm excited to see what's in store for our heroes even if, at first blush, tonight's episode appears to be just another installment of that age-old classic (read: tired out) sci-fi trope: "Don't judge the ugly too soon, because you might find out that they're not bad; in fact, they could actually be nice. Gross, yeah, but nice." Hopefully there will be a little bit more to it than that. Fingers crossed!

In the meantime, here's a nice little teaser promo to whet your whistle with.


See ya' tonight,
Jon

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Part 1

Here's another short film series. You may remember me talking about it; I mentioned it a while back.


Below you will find Part One embedded and much like the Left 4 Dead series from the other day, it's not that bad, better even. Two for two so far? A good sign? Maybe. Maybe things are improving along the short fan-film found on the Internet front? Maybe?

Or maybe I'm just jinxing myself.

Whatever.

There is a very familiar new Battlestar Galactica design feel in general, but what can you do? It's an aesthetic, I guess. Regardless, somewhat derivative or not, this one here is all right. A little light on the action, but what little it does do, it does pretty well. And besides, this is the first episode, there is a required amount of character and world introduction and explanation at the start. The bonus is: even though there is a lot of it, it is not undeftly handled. 

All in all, a decent start. Take a look.


Not too bad, right? Do you think Main Nondescript Troubled White Teenager will learn the value of teamwork in time to save his friends from some crisis and prove his worth? Perhaps even sacrificing himself in the process? Will he gain his absent Mother's love and/or respect? Time will tell, my friends. Time will tell.

The British girl looks familiar. I can't place her.

I'll post the rest as it appears,
Jon

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Nine

Sunrise, sunset...

Here we are, the end of a long road.

What's that? Oh, you hadn't heard? Well, guess what...?

Somewhere about 3 AM this morning? The 1st Draft was finished.


Done.

90,000 words and around a year's time since first beginning, give or take. Voila! A complete story now sits before me. Complete... more or less. More less than more, to be honest, but close enough. First drafts are first drafts after all, you have to embrace their ugly asses. They are whole, but they are not complete, they are hobbled and ugly and never quite fully set. But that doesn't matter, all of that will come later.

And until then...

It's still done. It's completed. It's a thing that exists that I created. I mean, I don't want to brag here... okay, sure, maybe I do, whatever.... I've written two whole books, kids. Two. Most people never even write one. That's kind of cool. Especially since that's what writers do, right? They write books. More importantly, they finish the books they start out writing. They close. That's important, kids. Always Be Closing. ABC, ya' hear me? You know why?


That's right, Alec. Because Coffee is for Closers. I like coffee.

In fact, pardon me a moment while I help myself... Ah! Delicious. Anyway, while yes, it can be said that nothing's come from either one of my two books (yet), that was still me. I did that. I'm proud of it, because that shit wasn't easy. In fact, it so wasn't easy that my next step is to take a break, or at least, take a break from the just completed 1st Draft of my WIP. Nothing big, just a short rest before continuing on my long journey. Completing this 1st Draft was a victory, but it was a small one. An important one, but small all the same, and in the end, merely the first step of many still to come.


Daunting, but not paralyzing, at least not completely, not this time anyway, and this next step is the easiest. Do nothing. Like a fresh pie in the window sill, my newly completed draft is gonna chill for a bit. It's gonna stew in its own juices while I try out the first couple of chapters on my next project. I might even whip up a quick short story. I've been thinking about something lately, a time travel idea, something fun and wild and not at all inspired or influenced by Looper (a film that is truly great, btw, you should go see it right away), not at all, that is, except for the fact that the market might be a little ripe for such a topic at the moment.

So, that's the current plan, the 1st Draft is done and I'm riding my own melt. In a day or two I'll sit myself down and explore this new project a little, maybe that short story too, and then, in a few weeks time...?

The 2nd Draft begins...

After that, shit is gonna get a bit rocky.


A Closer,
Jon

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Left 4 Dead - The Movie (Part 1)

Because I'm a well known sucker for zombie apocalypses, not to mention serialized genre short films of middling to fair quality found on the Internet AND the fact that I loved the game, here's Part One of this thing. It's a fan-film based off of the Left for Dead video game series, something I am much better at than J-Town Jason, which he should be extremely thankful for since I had to drag his ass all the way through the vicious hell that was the Pale Rider concert. I mean, if I had a dollar for every time I had to launch a long shot grenade just to clear a crowd of ravenous undead off of his back... I tell you what, friends, coffee would be on me, know what I mean?

Anyway, here's this thing. Apparently it took the creators the better part of two years and over 3000 hours of editing to come up with the end product: About 40 minutes of zombie fun on about the same level of quality (or somewhat better) than your average fare found on Sci-fi. This first part is only six minutes, so not too much of a commitment to check out and see if it's your thing or not.



Not bad... not great... but not bad, right? I'll post the next two parts in the next week or so.

Stay tuned, aim for the head,
Jon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Eight

It's a tentative celebration here at Casa de Hansen--actually the Salt Mines, for the moment, but later at Casa de Hansen--because I have finally hit the end of my WIP. That's right, the first draft is done.

yay.

Tentative, remember?

I should clarify. I'm pretty much done, but I'm not completely done, not yet. The last of the old story stuff I pasted in still needs to be edited and shaped a bit and I have to finish two more new scenes for the ending to round out, but all that should be done by this weekend. So I'm not completely done. I'm almost done. And by this time next week...


Which will be awesome.

The first draft of my second book will be done, hitting at just over 90,000 words and created in less than a year (give or take) and finished only a month or so behind my anticipated schedule. That is not bad. Not bad at all. It gives me hope for the future and my upcoming project.

Which I actually started a little bit... Last night.

Just a little bit.

Here's the story. Basically, I had a bad writing weekend, I was visiting family, so it wasn't totally wasted or anything, but I didn't get any writing done. Come Monday, post travel... I vegged. Tuesday was going to be the big work day. That was the plan. Tuesday was going to redeem a lackadaisical week. Tuesday... I napped. It's the wife's fault, honestly. We napped and I woke up late, so my work on my WIP last night was a pell-mell, out-of-control, hellbent, downhill rush. All output, no finesse. And man, I blasted through to the ending. And once done, it was late, late-late, and I didn't want to start doing a comb-thru, even a quick one. I was tired. Wednesday and Thursday are the dreaded double shift days, I was going to need my rest.

The plan was to check some e-mail and then rack out.

Well, it turns out, I had e-mailed some ideas to myself, things to remember for the next book I'll be working on, the project I've been developing on the side and have been planning to explore while my current WIP cools between drafts. However, when I opened the e-mail to get those notes and save them to their folder, I discovered that I had somehow neglected to create a folder for all of my Rebel Clever Girl bric-a-brac thus far.

So I did. And I saved all the notes and whatever. Then I thought: Well... since I'm here and all, I might as well get the document ready, just so that it'll be there and ready when--

I wrote the first couple of pages. Not a lot, but a healthy start.

It felt good. I'm pretty sure it's gonna be something.


writin', profilin'
Jon

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fringe - Season 5

The new season of Fringe has begun. I finally watched the opening episode just the other night and I loved it. Everything is new and different now, and I can't wait for what lies ahead.


Fringe has long been a show of sudden shift and change.

The show started out as a FBI procedural that investigated the weird, a kind of X-Files type thing, but more focused on the wreckage of cold war super science and black op programs than on aliens and conspiracy. People frozen in amber. Porcupine Hulks. Acid trip shared dreams. But these things had a thread the tied them together, all that weirdness slowly knitting itself into a tapestry that revealed the existence of a shadowy organization lurking behind it all.

After that the show became a hunt, a search for impossible answers, a thriller, still weird, still crazy. They fought shapeshifters and teleporters. They encountered time travelers and hopped dimensions. There was an old typewriter that typed messages from other worlds, all by itself. When the enemy and his agenda was finally revealed, so were other long-buried secrets. An inter-dimensional war with a parallel earth, a race for dominance against a dying world, and all started by an error in judgement, a mistake made for the sake of a desperate love by a grieving father.

Then it was a fight.

Supersoldiers. Dopplegangers. Strange abilities. Alternate worlds, twisted twins. A race to recover ancient technology in order to save two universes that had become entangled. But healing that rift only sent a mad man over the edge, propelling him on a quest to destroy everything.

And heroes did what heroes do. The world was saved, but only for so long.

A jump ahead. Twenty years.


Now, in the fifth and final season, the Fringe team has found themselves cast adrift in a whole new world, a dark and dangerous one. They are stranded in time and onto the losing side of an ongoing conflict, a war for the entire planet against the near omnipresent might of the Observers, temporal invaders from a catastrophically ravaged far-flung future.

What lies ahead? Let's watch the trailer for the upcoming season:


Obviously, I am super-excited.

Especially considering this new switch has set the show in a dystopian future and Lord knows, I am a sucker for a good dystopian future. Lucky for me, it's also an all around great show. There seems to have been too many lately that have an intriguing premise, but fall way short of their promise. So, it's nice that Fringe is so well done, smart, funny, and cool. Not to mention the incredible character work of the actors and the writers, which is amazing and oddly unheralded. A true oversight.

I'm going to try to return here and talk about the season as it progresses. Maybe not after every episode, but at least somewhat regularly. That's my hope.


Watch for it,
Jon

Monday, September 24, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Seven


I'm closing in, kids. The end is in sight. Last night I finished up about half of Chapter 17. I may be able to finish up the rest of it tonight, and if not by tonight, then at least by tomorrow as the last half also has to do with a lot of already written stuff. And once that's done?

There's only one chapter left, people.

One. Chapter 18. The wrap-up, as they say. The denouement, if you want to be fancy-pantsy, or otherwise known around here as Easy-peesy Lemon Squeezy...


At least, I hope so. It should go well.

I say that because I've known the ending for a long time now. Ever since I started, to be honest with you. It's familiar territory. It's pretty classic. Victories and sacrifices, an ending for some characters, a beginning for others. It closes down this story and maybe opens up the possibility of future ones.

So that's good news.

Plus, I've been devoting an used section of my head to the pondering of some of the potential second draft questions I'll probably be encountering and the good news with that is, the poor bastards back there in the dark, toiling away on that problem, have started to send up flares, bright arcing bursts of inspiration. Sometimes it's nothing, but sometimes... Well, none of it is anything I'm ready to talk about just quite yet, it's all pretty nebulous still, but it's promising, I'll say that, maybe even radical, shifting even... at least, as far as the current narrative is concerned. Either way, I'm starting to feel a little better about the possibility of this WIP making it through its hoops and stages and maybe eventually taking a shot at becoming a real live book.

Fingers crossed.

Not to be outdone, the Rebel Clever Girl advance/exploratory crew that have been working diligently in a separate section of my head, shaping and querying, wondering and plotting, have been sending up idea flares of their own for the big desk in the front of my brain to examine and reject, or maybe to write down and stare at, stroking the words lovingly as I imagine the possibilities. In just the past few days, a pair of new characters have taken shape and have managed to find a way to click neatly in with the main characters and the general idea of the plot. All very nice and right and looking tight and on purpose. So that's feeling strong, at the moment, and I'm excited to see what it looks like on paper finally.

Which is the best news, of course--to come full circle--because I am near the end of this current WIP and once I finish up Chapters 17 and 18 here in the next week or so and my Shitty First Draft is finally done, I'll get my chance at last.


I can't wait. Stick around, see what happens.

Jon

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Residency Protocol

The fifth and final season of Fringe starts Friday 9/28/12. I am going to watch the hell out of it. Yes, yes, suckmeister-extraordinaire Akiva Goldsman has been often too involved of late (even a little is too much), but it's usually just in a Consulting Producer capacity, so hopefully his touch from here until the end of the show will be minimal.

Hopefully.

I've been watching this show from the beginning (or close enough) and I'd hate for it to completely crash now that we've entered the home stretch. Besides, I'm too eager to see where they're going with this dystopian future to stop now. Yes, William Bell is most likely gone forever now and the two universes have been permanently separated, most likely, for forever, but there's a larger problem. The Observers have revealed themselves to be Conquerors from a far-flung future where the Earth has become uninhabitable. Those black hat bastards have murdered most of the world's population and enslaved those that remain. It is an oppressive time, one without hope. The Fringe team, recently released from a desperate and self imposed suspended animation within a block of amber, have awakened as rebels.

It is a dark and ugly world they return to. They are strangers in a strange land.

Here's a teaser:



And while I will no doubt miss Bolivia's swagger, Walternate's cool menace and Agent Lincoln Lee (both versions), I do love a good Big Brother future dystopia. A nice trade-off, especially when there are liberal doses of super science and super powers thrown in. I'm excited, Fringe turned out to be a great show that I want to see go out on top, something the creators don't exactly excel at... but well, here's hoping, should be fun. Hopefully. Though, to be honest, I'm a little concerned about the fates of both Gene the cow and the Observer known as September.

Gene is probably dead, I suppose... that's sad.
Jon


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Hobbit

Well, well, well, what a fine thing to find this morning. Have you seen it? I've posted it below, if you want to skip ahead and just go watch it, I'll understand.

It looks great, suitably epic, dark and dangerous and yet obviously maintaining its generally lighter tone, just great. I am ready. Now, I realize I may be setting myself up for a big fall, but I can't help it, I'm excited. Honestly, I haven't looked forward to a film this much, with this much faith in the creators' combined abilities to put out a really great product since the time before the Great Letdown of '99 by He who will not be Named. Is that scary? Yes. I'd be a fool if I didn't realize the potential for a massive heartbreak here, and yet... I am undeterred. I want it to work so bad, so much. It's my most anticipated film of the year. Yes, I loved the Avengers, but before I saw it, the potential screw-ups far outweighed the potential to be good. There was no way I hoped, no way, because there was no way it was going to work. No way. I was cautious. Everyone was cautious. But they did it. It worked. In every way I could have ever wanted, it worked.

But it was a total surprise that it did.

This film...?

I can't be cautious. I have loved the books forever and the Lord of the Rings films? They were exactly how they were supposed to be. If this film works, and with everything I've seen so far I have no reason to believe it won't, it will easily take the first spot and unseat Avengers for my favorite of the year. Is it unfair to assume that the top two slots in my list are already very easily filled? No. No, of course not. That's ridiculous, it's my list, who cares? But to humor you... I'd still say no, there's too much history between the two franchises and myself, if they're well done, if they're done right, then there's no way I can't love them.

And I can't wait to love this film.


"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid..."
- Bilbo Baggins, beneath the Goblin Tunnels, deep within the Misty Mountains

Jon

Monday, September 17, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Six


Progress, kids.

That was this past week's theme. Progress. Big time. In the past week, I have finished Chapters 15 and 16 and I have started Chapter 17. It was a 5000 word plus writing weekend here at the ol' homestead, which is a fine output by any standard, but considering that I'm in my final push, it's all the more awesome. Even better news is that this is what I was hoping would happen. These last two finished chapters and a good chunk of two remaining ones have all been written before, for the most part, so a good chunk of this end-run has been inserting and editing, heavily editing. It's not an ideal way to go about it, but it's basically what I'm looking to do/say anyway, and as a result is really helping me finish up, which is the only real goal at the moment: Finish the draft. At the very least, it's a well formed place holder. Whichever way it turns out, for the time being, I'm driving on.

Finish, that's the goal.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, with these two chapters finished, that means I have a little less than two chapters left before the shitty first draft is actually done. That means there's a week left, maybe two.

Something I am very much looking forward to.


Once the shitty first draft is officially done (not too long now...), my plan is to set it aside for about a month or so. I want it to stew a bit before I dive back in. I want it to settle. This is mostly because, at the moment, I'm not the biggest fan of the thing, so I need some space. Also, I realize that whether or not it survives to the point where I attempt to shove it out into the light of day and try to make it be something is wholly dependant upon my second draft. There are themes that need to be drawn out. There are scenes that need to be added, major scenes. There are a characters that will probably get excised completely. And there are a myriad of general setting and detail issues to iron out, not too mention your usual plethora of niggling little common problems lurking among the text. All this stuff has to be fixed before I start bugging my Beta Readers.

In a nutshell, I have a lot of work ahead of me before this book could ever be considered anywhere close to maybe becoming a real thing. The bottom line is: I don't want it to fail and if I dive back in right away, it will. I've dragged this thing to the finish line, if I abandon it at this point, then it's all been for nothing, just a waste of time. Sure, sure... learning experience, but standing at the end of 9 to 10 long months of writing... that and a couple of bucks will buy you a cup of coffee, dig?

So I'm going to walk away from it for a couple weeks and hopefully when I come back, I'll be able to work on it with some fresh eyes. Plus, hopefully I'll be able to nail down a real title.

That's the plan at least.

And while it's cooling, I'm going to dip my toes into this other project I've had rolling around in my head for awhile now and test the waters out. The idea is, by the time I'm ready to go back and start 2nd Drafting, I'll have a couple of sample chapters down for this new thing, plus a more concrete sketch of the story arc. Here's hoping, anyway...

Right now the new project is called: Rebel Clever Girl. Here's a barrage of potential imagery:



New worlds beckon,
Jon

Monday, September 10, 2012

Done by Summer's End - Week Five

Two weeks into September, two weeks past the end of August, the end of summer, and I still have three and a half chapters to go. I may have over-estimated how much work I could get done. I may have made a little bit of a miscalculation... just a little...

"everybody remember where we parked..."

But as they say, the best laid plans, yadda, yadda, yadda, rabbits...

The good news is that I finished about a third of Chapter 15 this weekend and I expect to finish the rest of it by the end of this week. I'm anticipating less resistance in general for the remainder of the next two chapters, as the bulk of them were written during the initial short story way back when. I don't intend to use the original work as is, of course, I will be adjusting and tweeking and rewriting, tossing some sections, keeping others. I assume it will be more like editing than writing, but oh well. Regardless, these old sections should go a long way towards speeding up my goal of completing my shitty first draft finally, a moment I am very much looking forward to. After that, there's only one full chapter and one final half chapter/epilogue left to complete, which means I may be able to salvage this project after all just by simply pushing it back along the calendar and changing the name to: Done by September's End.

Woooo! Easy victory! Wooo!

Other than that, hmmmm, let's see... Huh, I guess that's it for now. Well alrighty then.

Tune in next week, kids!
Jon

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas is a novel from 2004 by David Mitchell. I had never heard of it until recently. I just started reading it.


And it's pretty great.

Cloud Atlas is the type of novel where the first chapter or two takes a bit to get underway, kind of like the slow climb at the beginning of a roller coaster. Up, up, up, up, and all the while you can catch glimpses beyond the high hill of track before you, glimpses of corkscrew twists, hard-banked curves and screaming loop-de-loops. You can feel it coming, just past the crest and the swath of blue sky above, and even though it can seem slow at first, that's part of the draw, part of the anticipation as it draws you in, closer and closer and closer, right up to the edge and over.

Then you plunge...

I am really enjoying it.

So, what's it about?

It's difficult to say, really. Partially because I have only just started the book not too long ago, but also because it is an epic and sprawling tale and an odd one too. The structure is a big part of it, as are the different voices. I guess it would be fair to say that it is about how everything is connected. It concerns multiple time lines and multiple settings and the echos of peoples lives reverberating down through time. It takes place on a ship in the Pacific in the 1850s, in Belgium in 1931, in California in 1975, in present day England, in a not so distant cyber-punk future in Korea, and a post apocalyptic Hawaii. And it's all connected. The stories interweave and influence and depend upon each other. But that's not quiet right or quite complete either. There's more.

Remember I did just start it.


How did I stumble across it, you ask?

Well, I was about to dive into House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (which is also supposed to be pretty amazing) when I first started to hear about Cloud Atlas. It was recommended by a couple of acquaintances and when I said I'd check it out after House of Leaves, most of the responses from people who have read both said "read this one first". So here I am. The reason the book had come up in the first place though was due to the fact that Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Twyker (Run, Lola, Run) have decided to tackle the project and turn what is largely considered to be unfilmable into a big-time, big budget movie, one that looks amazing.

Here's a barrage of imagery.










Crazy and weird and incongruous, right? How does it all link together? Will it work? Honestly, the initial film festival reviews have differed wildly. It seems the film will be a pretty divisive one as no one appears to be ambivalent about it, it's a love it or hate it kind of deal. I've read vehement dismissals which called the film the worst thing ever done in the history of humanity, just as often as I've read that it's the best and most audacious film made by a human being ever. Interesting, interesting, interesting. It all makes me intensely curious.

Aren't you? You should be. That last photo? That's Hugh Grant.

Let's watch the trailer.


Wow, man. Right? Looks amazing. I can't wait. This is one of those films that snuck up on me. Almost no warning, almost no anticipation and then-BOOM-right in my lap and it looks incredible. I really hope it works. I really do. Cloud Atlas hits theatres on October 26th, 2012

Be there or be square,
Jon