Friday, April 28, 2023

Today I learned about the knights of capitalism.

Today I learned about Pinkertons, a.k.a., the knights of capitalism. These guys have a long history of defending capitalism in strategic ways. From busting up strikes to seizing property for corporations, learning about Pinkertons was very interesting, and made me lose a little respect for capitalism in general (I know...the amount of respect I had for capitalism has been at an all-time low lately). But you do not want to run into these guys unless you have your own private army. Why? Because they essentially are a private army.

So, how did I learn about Pinkerton Detective Agency? Wizards of the Coast sicked them on a guy that got some stolen Magic cards that had yet to be released and who was showing them on his Youtube channel. Pinkertons showed up at his door and were very aggressive, even making the guy's wife cry. The agents claimed he was in possession of stolen goods and they threatened him with escalation to law enforcement, from one to ten years in jail, legal fees, and $200,000 in fines. 

I'm embedding a video below that you should watch if you want to know more about Pinkerton Detective Agency. These goons are "real life" men in black. It's pretty weird to say this in 2023, but there you are. I wonder if they could be featured in a story in some way. They seem like quite colorful characters, if you manage to stay out of their crosshairs. We all like to think that society follows rules of etiquette, and that the only kind of trouble we can get into is from police. But there are all kinds of ways to get into trouble that a lot of us know nothing about, and Pinkerton's is just one of those many ways.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Rated-R Kraven the Hunter movie is coming later this year and I have some questions.

I learned today that Aaron Taylor-Johnson is going to be Kraven the Hunter in the Marvel movie when it comes out in October. This is old news for a lot of people. But I liked Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Kickass, in Godzilla, and in Avengers: Age of Ultron. As an aside, I still can't believe he got so swole between Kickass and his other movies but lots of young men go through this kind of transformation these days with things like Crossfit, personal trainers and gyms, and body shaming being ubiquitous in schools built within neighborhoods of privilege. That and protein, protein, protein. So, because I like Aaron Taylor-Johnson, I will probably go and see this show in the theater on opening weekend. But that doesn't mean I don't have questions.

The big one that I have is why are we getting this movie in the first place? I mean...I've read a few Spiderman comics. I even subscribed to them back in the nineties and had a "box" at the local comic book store where I could pick up my issues. But I was never excited to read the Kraven the Hunter storylines when they showed up. I was always just wanting more Peter Parker. The next question I have is why is this thing going to be rated-R? It seems like an odd choice made by Sony unless you consider that Joaquin Phoenix's Joker was also rated-R, and it made a ton of money (it joined the billion dollar club). So is Sony trying to make its own Joker? Apparently, the answer is yes. But is it the right thing to do? Should we be excited by this? To answer these questions requires us to look at history just a wee bit.

The comic books all of these characters appeared in were all approved by the Comic Code Authority, and later on, they were rated Teen (13+). That also included Kraven's Last Hunt, which is a story a lot of people love. So, by this alone, an "R-rating" doesn't make any sense. Times have also changed a lot though. Back in the 1960's, being a "big game hunter" was respected, and it had an element of "cool" to it. So Kraven the Hunter would have had this formidable aura about him of man vs. beast that just doesn't exist anymore. These days, big game hunting elicits an "Ewww...what an @$$hole" vibe, because it is mostly just rich white douches shooting staged hunts and killing endangered animals. I'm not seeing how they could make this character (in any way) sympathetic.

But then again, Joker was a character that wasn't originally meant to be rated-R. But it does work now because the R-rating shows how damaged he is (mentally) while making him a mirror for society. He is in many ways an everyman now. Joker is an allegory for the modern world's ills (and the problem with gun violence in America). There's a ton of stuff there to sympathize with. But Kraven? He's just a rich dude that claims to fight animals fairly, but he also takes a magic potion to give him super strength, speed, etc. Kraven could be really interesting if Sony could work a deal with Disney and thus obtain some X-Men rights to use the Savage Land, which is the prehistoric area that is attached to Antarctica. Dinosaurs are both big game and deemed acceptable to hunt by modern standards. So that would get rid of the "ewww" factor. But Sony doesn't have X-Men rights. They only have Spiderman to work with (at least as far as I know).

Anyone else out there (reading my words) have any thoughts about a Kraven the Hunter movie?

Monday, April 24, 2023

The Strange New World's season two trailer makes me giddy with excitement.

 I saw that the Strange New Worlds season 2 trailer dropped this weekend. This is a show that I very much enjoy. I'm embedding it below so that you can watch it too. And I'm also going to share a few of my observations about it right now:

1) Pike's hair gets more majestic with every episode. It really does.

2) The actor who plays Kirk is more handsome than the original Shatner. I love that we get these iconic characters played by other actors.

3) I hope they continue with the Spock and Chapel stuff that they started in season one.

4) There will probably be more Gorn, and that's a good thing. The gorn were a pleasant surprise from last season.

5) Is there time travel happening this next season? The revolving door that Kirk has trouble dealing with seems to be hinting at some time travel. It wouldn't be a Star Trek show without at least a little time travel.

6) This is more my jam. I'm kinda over Picard.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Are you scared of A.I.?'s happened now. A.I. has won a prestigious international photography contest. And thankfully, the artist who submitted the photo came clean and said that it was completely AI-generated. I was wondering how long it was going to take for this to happen. It turns out...only a few months. You can read the original article HERE on CNN. My commentary follows (oh, and here's the picture):

Taken from the CNN article, "The eerie black and white image shows two women from different generations--the older woman appearing to hang onto the younger woman from behind." It's a remarkable photo, and it was generated in probably under a minute.

I was talking to my friend, Joseph (also a roommate) about this last night. I'm afraid that A.I. is going to take jobs...tons of jobs. And I also already realize that it has made any of my artistic skills obsolete. Like, it can now do anything I was able to do, better, faster, in greater quantity, etc. It's just nuts how fast this happened, and I'm glad that I have a real job (at least for now). I also wonder how long it will be before none of us can tell the difference between what a computer has done and what is done by a real person?

Anyone else scared of this new technology? Anyone else want to comment about it?

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

If dialogue is valuable to you then don't watch Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal.

Is anyone else watching (or has watched) Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal on Adult Swim? This is a weird, animated show with no dialogue at all (or virtually no dialog). It's the story of a cave man and his pet tyrannosaurus that behaves more like a dog. It obviously takes place on an "Earth-like" planet, but none of that matters. The first season ended with Spear (the barbarian who rides the T-Rex) uttering a single word: "Mira." It's (I think) the name of a bald woman who managed to connect with him before she was suddenly abducted and taken away on a ship. To clarify, it's either her name or something associated with her identity.

Season Two picked up with Spear and Fang (the T-Rex) constructing a raft made from trees and sailing the ocean. During the journey, Spear kills a huge turtle for food, sees a bunch of whales, experiences a lot of weather, and their raft is finally torn apart by a megalodon (giant prehistoric shark) which he fearlessly punches over and over and eventually stabs in the eye, wounding it enough that it leaves them alone. They then wash up on a beach in a foreign land. All this without dialogue of any kind. You just have to observe what's going on is all. Spear isn't afraid of anything (basically) and just punches (or slashes) things no matter how big they are. It's strange to see this animated character just charge at stuff without any (seeming) thought to how he is going to defeat such a foe. He just does it, and oftentimes takes the thing he's attacking by surprise.

It's an emotional and brutal world that's on display, filled with so much gore and blood, while the T-Rex and the barbarian that rides him seem to be able to endure just about anything. These two are tough with a capital "T," and even though I think that there's no way they could defeat the things that they end up triumphing over, he seems to be able to pull it off again and again. In the midst of the second season, we also got treated to a tragic love story that happened with the T-Rex and another T-Rex with a red-colored head. It surprised me, and I didn't think I'd get invested in it as much as I did. There really is nothing like this show on television right now, and I'd encourage you to watch it if you've got the time.

I'm learning that Primal is a bit of a challenge to watch, as it demands your complete attention. Its prehistoric world is ripe with reminders that every creature is either predator and/or prey. For me, I've learned that (in many ways) I don't so much as watch television as I listen to it. So, with this show, I discovered early on that I can't turn away, or I'm going to miss a whole bunch. It's not something I can watch while working on something else. But the story is compelling enough that it warrants that kind of investment of time. Whether this proves to be valuable to me as an experience is something I'm still thinking about, but my initial thoughts are that I think it has value. Sometimes devoting 100% of your attention to a thing is oddly satisfying.

Monday, April 17, 2023

The Mandalorian is reaching for far more than just a story of Din Djarin and Grogu.

Today's post is about The Mandalorian. My particular review is different than ones I've been seeing online regarding The Mandalorian, and I'm going to say that this season has probably been its best yet (most people who write reviews don't seem to be liking it all that much). It's ending soon, but I don't mind at all that Din Djarin has taken a backseat to Bo Katan. The character of Bo Katan has always been interesting, but probably never so much as she is within the framework of The Mandalorian. Here, the story of Bo Katan has been allowed to come about full circle, growing from the Clone Wars character and surviving the death of her sister, the Duchess Satine Kryze, and the apocalyptic destruction of the planet Mandalore to now become a warrior and great leader who represents one of the last hopes of her people. I think that this is the kind of story that Star Wars was meant for, and the Disney + series is uniquely suited to make the whole thing pretty great.

And what was The Mandalorian supposed to be about anyway? It's easy to assume that it was supposed to be the adventures of Din Djarin as he navigates the various customs of his particular Mandalorian cult to which he belongs. Maybe some assumed that he was supposed to be "the chosen one." But it all seems to fit so much better that he isn't "the chosen one." I don't think leadership of that kind seems to be what Din is good at doing. This is in contrast to what Bo Katan is great at doing. I'll be honest here...were I a Mandalorian...I'd follow Bo Katan. She's got an amazing moral compass, and she's tough to boot. Those are two things that I look for in a leader, and I think others do as well.

So, I guess that the Mandalorian now has evolved into a series that is about the struggle of all Mandalorians to become relevant again in the Star Wars universe by restoring their homeworld and relighting the Great Forge. There's going to be a lot of obstacles in the way (as this season has shown us), and there are some pretty bad villains who are heavily invested in extracting beskar from the husk that was Mandalore. If you don't know, beskar is a kind of wondrous metallic alloy that has the ability to provide tremendous protection when it is made into armor, even repelling a blow from a lightsaber. And we've seen that (even though the Jedi are essentially gone) and the Sith are few in number, there do seem to be quite a few instances of people running into those who are wielding a lightsaber (or something similar). So that has gotta come in useful more often than not.

The Mandalorian is essentially morphing into more than what it started out as. At first it was this story of one guy in beskar armor and Grogu, the baby Yoda look alike. But it's now turned into this fascinating struggle of the rise of a great culture from the ashes of a cataclysm. How can you not be in love with that, no matter which character (at the moment) seems to be taking the spotlight? And also, many kudos to Disney to make the episodes so beautiful. Each one is dripping with details and amazing special effects, so that it is indistinguishable from a movie.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Today's post is about two things I've noticed people are doing that are generally just awful.

As I write this post today, there are two things on my mind. The first is that Salt Lake is probably going to experience some historic flooding. This has made me a bit concerned as I'm not certain what all I can do about it. We topped out at 900 inches of snow in our mountains which are about 12 miles away, and that is more snow pack that anyone has ever seen as long as records have been kept. It's a weird place to be, because on the one hand, we really needed the water. But on the other hand, if temperatures warm up too quickly (which can happen with climate change and its extremes), then we could literally have rivers of water running down the street. So the city has set up sandbagging operations at a lot of places, offering free sandbags for residents to protect their homes (along with help to get them filled). But then there are the capitalists...the people who want to make money because...well...the mantra of today is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps or else." Some people are listening to this mantra, and they are doing what capitalism does to make money. They exploit cheap things and sell them for more. 

So what do you have then in this kind of situation? I'll give you one guess, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. Here's the answer: all the sandbags are disappearing because people are putting hundreds if not thousands of them in their cars and then selling them for $10.00 a piece on Facebook marketplace. The city literally cannot keep up with the sandbags because they are getting stolen by thieves  sold online by entrepreneurs to help make ends meet. Keep in mind that these sandbags are supposed to be free for residents to use. Far be it for me to call these people thieves entrepreneurs. I don't want to give the word thief  "job creator" a bad name. Who needs sandbags anyway? Because we obviously elected Biden and as long as he is president, it's all his fault for everything. At least, that's what I'm told by unscrupulous people my everyday neighbors. I hold nothing but contempt and hatred love for my fellow human. Big smile :) I sure do love the capitalism that y'all vote for out there. Go Republicans!

The other thing that is on my mind is how my Facebook feed has filled up with people claiming that laziness is now considered a trauma response. Let me repeat that: "Laziness is a Trauma Response." And yes, you might be wondering why I follow a lot of lazy people. I just do, and I'm not sure why that happened. I think it's because being queer when I was a young person had me running around with certain people that existed on the outskirts of college life. They were weed smokers, white, and openly accepting to all sexualities. This was before polyamory was a thing and these people decided that having multiple partners was a sustainable and healthy lifestyle (it isn't) mostly due to capitalism's demand that money needs to come from somewhere and people generally don't like to "give" money to a relationship where sex is essentially freely given as often as one needs it--why buy the cow when the milk is free?)'s just what I've observed. No judgement. I live my life in the logic circles that my mind dictates, but I do hate being right so much of the time.

Well...we all got old. I'm 51 (for example), but the thing is...I stepped away from these people decades ago, but we all play games, etc. so it was natural to accept friend requests. Only, all of these people I know who were some of the laziest people I'd ever met with unkempt dorm rooms and super laid back attitudes and getting by on the bare minimum are now super-stressed, living on disability checks, and just unable to adult at all. And now they post crap all day long on their Facebook feeds saying things like, "I'm not lazy, but laziness and the inability to be motivated, and the inability to clean and do other things is a trauma response. I've been abused by the patriarchy, by the workplace, by parents who wanted me to do chores, by this and by that, etc. And I now have C-PTSD from all of that and I'm not lazy. I'm just traumatized!" Mmmkay. It's not how I see it, but whatever. So what do you want? And they scream, "Reparations!" And these same people, some of whom are trans, think that if they are misgendered by a pronoun, that the only acceptable apology is a sincere, "I'm sorry to have misgendered you," and then a tip of at least $25.00. The "tip" is the reparations that the person believes that they are owed. Gimme a break. I'm never going to do that. I don't care if I ever hear from that person again. I'll keep my money, thank you. I can make friends and socialize with people who don't demand money if they become offended.

Folks, the world is getting really weird. I don't know if it is just generalized unchecked mental illness or what? But things are starting to resemble a circus funhouse that doesn't make any sense UNLESS you accept that 70% of everyone you meet in a day is yet another example of an awful person. Then things make sense, only it's not the kind of truth that makes your day. Anyone else care to share some truths that have been on your mind now that I've bared mine?

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Fall of X is going back to the status quo when it was a refreshing break from the status quo

I didn't attend, but I guess that (on Saturday) at MegaCon, Marvel Comics unveiled that the mutants in this year's Fall of X see their nation of Krakoa basically get destroyed. Here's a recap of what Krakoa is in case you need one: it's an island nation raised from the Pacific Ocean by powerful mutants and a place where they can live away from people who hate them that serves as their own sovereign country.

The first time I got introduced to it was in reading Jonathan Hickman's House of X and Powers of X. This introduced the "Krakoa Era" of comics from what I understand about the storyline and how it is marketed.

 All I gotta say about this is that it'd be nice if a world-changing break to the status quo didn't eventually revert back to the status quo. Does Marvel plan on just rebuilding the school and flying their blackbird around to help people in a world that hates and fears them forever?

X-Men is finally something different, and it should remain different. But whatever. Marvel is going to do what it is going to do. It's just hard to get excited about them tearing down everything that they built up over the years. Why couldn't Krakoa just last forever?

Monday, April 10, 2023

Season 3 of Star Trek Picard is pretty uninteresting as far as storylines go.

I haven't completely caught up with Star Trek: Picard. But, I've seen enough of season three to be a bit nauseated at how deep the nostalgia is going with this series. Look...I liked The Next Generation but I didn't love it. I preferred some of its spinoffs to the furthering adventures of Captain Picard, so maybe I'm part of the problem. Or maybe I just need to have my Trekkie card revoked. Either way, Picard is the worst of the new Trek shows, and I'm glad it is ending with season three.

Thus far this season we have a storyline that gives Picard the son that I guess he was incomplete without. That would have been fine on paper. I could have been on board with just that. But the reality is much more complicated. I dislike the character of Jack sooo much. He's annoying and the fact that they are treating him like some golden child in the vein of Wesley Crusher but with a much darker storyline potential just makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit. Why did Picard and Beverly Crusher's son need to be so "special" the whole story had to revolve around him? Because...nostalgia...right? And the character is deeply unappreciative of this position in the story, doing his best to be an unlikeable brat even though he's far too old to have that term thrust upon him. Additionally, the weird romantic tension with Geordi La Forge's daughter feels really a forced diversity bit...wherein once more the white guy falls in love with the black woman.

And there are all of these really deep dives into Next Generation stuff. We've had two allusions to the pilot episode of The Next Generation. The first was watching the birth of a bunch of jellyfish like aliens from a nebula that reminded me of the jellyfish alien in Encounter at Farpoint. And then we had this callback of Riker whistling "Pop goes the weasel" in the Holodeck, completing a musical tune that was vexing a very young Data who was having difficulty finishing it on his own. It's made me do some eye rolls a couple of times and then say out loud, "Boy they really are going deep with some of this crap." Then of course there's the appearance of Moriarty again who (the last time I remember) was in a simulation that would never end and provide him with endless adventures via a computer that ran off a battery that would last hundreds if not thousands of years.

Anyway, maybe the whole point of Picard was to remind us of the things that fans liked from The Next Generation. of the things I loved about Trek was seeing things I hadn't seen before. I love breaking new ground, not retreading old ground over and over again. It's the reason why I haven't liked the last three Star Wars movies that happened after Return of the Jedi. But I have loved The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch, The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, and all the other tv shows that are on Disney +. Those shows go boldly into stories I don't know, and they expand on the lore. The Force Awakens on the other hand, just retread a plot we've seen before, and it wasn't all that original.

I want to like this show, but it's boring. Anyone else feel the same way? Or am I just completely wrong?

Friday, April 7, 2023

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves is probably my favorite movie thus far in 2023.

I've now seen Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves twice now in the theater. It's a superb movie, and I strongly recommend you go and see it. It is worth full price. Now for my spoiler-laden review. Sorry, folks if you haven't seen it. But now's your time to head out if you intend to watch it on your own.

I want to begin by saying that I think I've waited a long time for this moment to arrive. Dungeons & Dragons has never been more popular than it is now, and I'm actually not sure what happened to create this popularity. But walking into a game store on Wednesday evening here in Salt Lake, I was amazed to see that there were four tables packed with people busily playing it, and they encompassed all ages. I've never seen that before, and it felt really self-validating to be part of a phenomenon that seems to be so important to so many kinds of people from all walks of life.

D&D has also not been without its stumbling blocks. The parent company of D&D named Wizards of the Coast has tried to license its intellectual property before for movies, and these have all been disastrously bad. What happened with Honor Among Thieves though was that it was clear that the director knew what kind of movie they were making and decided to embrace the silliness and fun of it all rather than try to make some high fantasy that would stand on the same shelf as The Lord of the Rings. The movie was constantly poking fun at itself, and that was its charm. Enough so that when the serious moments did arrive, they landed perfectly and with poignancy that left me verklempt at what I was watching on the screen. Honestly, the storyline for this thing is a real gem, especially if you are well-versed in the lore of Faerun (the D&D world in which most of their materials reference). However, if you don't know anything about Faerun, that's okay. They give you everything you need to know in the movie, and it is handled so expertly that it doesn't come across as an infodump. Rather, it is wildly entertaining.

Looking back on my viewings of the movie, I think that my favorite part of it was the resurrection of Holga, who is the barbarian main character played to a tee by Michelle Rodriguez. Her story arc is a full circle of carefully interwoven emotional moments thick with loyalty and heartbreak and then peppered with strong symbolism. For example, a dragonfly that you see throughout the film comes to represent Edgin's (Chris Pine's) deceased wife. In a touching moment in the movie, it is revealed that Edgin tried to catch one that had strayed into their home in some quaint village called "Rock Bottom." But rather than catch it, his wife tells him that the secret is to just open a window and then the dragonfly finds its way outside. She tells him something like, "You need to just let it go."

Well when Holga suffers the same fate that killed his wife, Edgin has to make a choice with a powerful magical item he procured that can only bring back one person that he loves dearly. It can either be his wife (the driving force behind Edgin's decisions for the entire movie), or he can choose to bring back his best friend Holga, who has always been there for him and helped him to raise his child. Edgin (the bard character played by Chris Pine) grows so much in this one scene in the film, and it's an incredibly attractive and satisfying thing to observe (when a character experiences emotional growth). And then Edgin sees a dragonfly, and he makes the decision to bring back Holga because he knows he needs to let the memory of his wife (which is all that she is now) go.

This kind of storytelling that loops back on itself seems like it would be easy. But having written books, I can tell you that it isn't. A lot of the times it can land cheesily or it is difficult to pull off with any kind of style. The Honor Among Thieves cast manages to land this thing with apropos grace, and I think they are able to do this because they have the audience laughing along with them in so many other areas of the film that (by the time this moment arrives) the audience is now ready to accept something serious, poignant, and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

For the April IWSG I'm talking about that first and second novel and young me versus old me.

Hello again. It's been a hot minute since I've posted anything on this blog. For the curious, my roommates have now moved in, and I'm now through my adjustment period I think. Leading up to the move in I tried to make things smooth. I changed out the shower head for them in their bathroom with a luxury shower head made by Pulse. I also made room in all of the cabinets and in the garage and freed up a bunch of storage space. I also changed my Xfinity plan to an unlimited data plan, as these roommates are much younger and prefer online interactions to other kinds of interactions. This means that they are online a lot (usually playing games). So, I think they will be comfortable. It's actually fun having roommates that share the same interests. Overall, I'm happy with the situation. Now it's time to open the blog up again, and the best place to start with doing that is the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group post. If you somehow have not heard of this monthly blogging event, you can go HERE for all of the details. But, I think I summarize them pretty well below.

What is the Purpose of the IWSG?: It's to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.

When do y'all post?: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. So, that's when you'd post your thoughts on your own blog. You can talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. It's a safe place to discuss your struggles and triumphs. You can also offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. You should also visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a dozen new people each time and then return comments. This group is all about connecting. The IWSG wants to remind you to be sure to link to their web page (as I did above) and to display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

The IWSG Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and the hashtag they use is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Nancy Gideon, and Natalie Aguirre!

Now, every month, the IWSG announces a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt someone to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. If you go this route, then you should include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

But always remember that the question is optional.

And I think that's it. So now I'm going to answer the question.
April 5 question - Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?

I unfortunately lost my first and second book. I remember writing it during my last year of high school. I did it on a typewriter, and I lost that copy of that story a long time ago. Then I wrote a sequel to it during my first year of college. I was such a nerd, investing tons of time in writing a story that I didn't even have the first clue on how to publish it. I remember when it got to around 400 pages, I was growing alarmed that I'd barely gotten to the midpoint of my story. I was also impressed that I'd written 400 pages. However, the problem took care of itself as the floppy disk I was storing it on got badly damaged, and I had no backup. This turned out to be a good thing, because the book was probably terrible, and this incident made me rethink my characters and why I wanted to be a writer in the first place. It also made me acutely aware of the dangers of storing things on digital media. It was not the only time I'd run into this problem.

I tried to outsmart the data and always future proof it. This took the form of buying a CD-burner and burning things to CD. Haha! I thought. There is no way that CD's will ever be obsolete! You can store tons of stuff on them. And here in 2023 I have about fifty CD's that are all scratched up and I have no way to read any of them anymore that I'm forced to admit...yeah putting things on CD was stupid. But not DVD-R's! That wasn't stupid... but yeah it was. Those are obsolete now too. Sigh. Don't even get me started on music. I've had MP'3s and then iTunes and now I just pay Spotify. On and on it goes. I've probably paid for the same song a dozen times over several times in my life.

I even have a small 4GB thumb drive that has stuff on it, and I wonder when the time will come when I can't plug that thing in to retrieve the things I wanted to hold onto. For the most part, I just store everything in the cloud now. Which will work until the cloud somehow goes down.

So, what were my thoughts about a career path on writing? Well, I arrogantly assumed that I was special, and one of the only people I knew who could write a novel. This is wrong that it is laughable. Crapping out 1000 pages is extremely easy...a lot easier than I ever would have thought. And a lot of people are capable of doing just that. But anyway, this arrogance led me to believe that should I ever want to be published, that it wouldn't be too difficult. And then I finally finished a project and suddenly discovered that it actually is, and that you need to know all of these things about how the business of publishing works and how to network with people and how to market yourself and how what you write needs to be tailored to an audience that has money to pay for your product. Suddenly, my eyes were open. And as far as now goes, I think that the young me would be very disappointed with the old me. But the old me is quite happy with the old me, as I write things that I want to read, and I have outlets to publish those things through self-publishing that provide me with just enough reward to be satisfied. Young me was way too concerned with his own self-importance and seeking validation and approval from others. Old me just doesn't want to be in pain in the morning and to fill my free time with entertainments and enjoying what life has to offer.

There's also been some strange validations that have come my way via Dungeons & Dragons, which was my childhood hobby. So, in recent years, D&D has soared in popularity and there are just tons of people who are expressing interest in it or who are playing it. And here I am, someone who has DM'd games for almost 40 years, and suddenly I have all of these new people to teach and who seek out my advice (and who have a strange reverence for people like me who have been doing this for decades--I'm like the guru on a mountaintop). It's been a tremendous amount of fun, and people really like the games I've been running for them. So much so that I basically have a waiting list now. So, in one way or another, I became the storyteller I always wanted to be. It just didn't turn out anything like I envisioned it doing when I was in my early 20's.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and reading all of my words. I'm going to write about the D&D movie for Friday.