Nothing Else

Ups and downs, ups and downs
It's a crazy week, month, year.
I'm not sure what to update.
I hope y'all are well.

There's going to be a HUGE deal shortly.  I'm going to announce a Kickstarter, in order to raise money to make a short film.  The goal is to break past this plateu in my writing career.  If it works, it could be amazing.  If it doesn't, I think I'm going to call it quits.
To be completely honest, I'm not entirely sure which one I'm hoping for.
  • Current Music
    Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
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Transform Ya

A recent bout with collecting the Transformers Combiner Wars figures (along with the comparable Power of the Primes figures) has left me with a staggering sense of optimism, hope, and happiness.  It's a strange thing to be so eager.

It's left me wondering about the role of tangible things.  For much of my life, I've eschewed tangible accumulation (to varying degrees of success), often with at least some nod towards the Buddistic-like avoidance of worldly goods.  But some time spent studying the teachings of Buddhism and the Dali Lama has led me to think they're both really, really wrong.

I don't care to go into a treatise about why Buddism is incorrect, at least not now.  But I think there's some serious martyrdom at play, some pronounced 'I'm better because I suffer', which as a patient of Depression, I can attest is not the case.

this has also led me to counsel some friends to binge.  Buy some Hot Wheels.  Get some shoes.  Have stuff.  I don't buy into materialism, but I think a truly ascetic life is overrated.  Stuff is cool and there's nothing wrong with liking a tangible good.  Quite the opposite, at least potentially.

So I'm spending what very little disposable money I have on toys (and then a bit of non-disposable money, but that's another matter).  And you know what?  I can't remember when I've been this happy. I've left most of the Power of the Primes unpursued for now because it's a newer line and thus easier (and cheaper) to find, in case somebody (like my parents) want to get me something for my birthday.  I've discovered real value in making one's self easy to shop for.

So far, I've completed Superion, Menasor, Bruticus, Victorion, and Optimus Maximus.  Sky Reign and Computron are in my sights.  Devastator is on my radar, too, although since he isn't a Scramble-City Combiner (ugh, I hated that episode), it's a little harder to consider him quite the same.  Predaking is in there too, but I never liked him that much and I think the figures look silly.

Toyland

One of the dangers of writing a thinly-veiled Transformers ripoff is that I really want to see these characters as toys!  I'm building up to the big reveal of a combiner and holy crap is going to be cool.  Plus, I feel like I've done some interesting things with the team that the kids at Hasbro and IDW haven't even touched.

Speaking of combiners, have you checked out the Prime Wars Trilogy toys?  The middle series, Titans Return is kind of unremarkable (but not bad!), but Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes are stupidly awesome.  Part of that whole gamification approach I spoke of in my pevious entries has been centered on collecting most of those lines because oh my god!

On a related note, so the Combiner Wars and Power of the Primes figures are awesome.  Cool.  I've also seen my interest rekindled in an older line called Battle Beasts.  These were tiny (1.25") anthropomorphic animals in armor.  They had the gimmick of a rub sticker that revealed an element in typical paper-rock-scissors fashion (water beats fire, fire beats wood, wood beats water...somehow).  The figures were nicely sculpted but barely qualify as toys.  They had two shoulder joints and that's it.  While in Japan, they were part of the god-awful Transformers Headmasters line (WHICH DIDN'T MAKE ANY GODDAMN SENSE), in America, they had no appreciable backstory, characters, or setting.  And yet!
And yet, like the Combiner Wars, I find myself trolling eBay to see if I can find some for sale at a reasonable price.  There isn't a single one in the series I wouldn't pay at least a dollar for.  They're all awesome!  But even Fisher Price toys have more articulation, so what's the deal?

Cultivating this sense of anticipation has been wonderful.  Building these goals and tracking progress towards achieving them has been great.  Yeah, I'm still not sure how I'm going to afford any of it, but dammit, it's been fun!
  • Current Music
    Wolfstone - the Glass and the Can
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    ,

Chimes at 5

I've seriously run out of steam for today.  Not in a bad way; I just worked hard all week and I've got very little brain left.  It's honestly not a bad feeling (although I wish what I had written was more substantial).  Sometimes, especially artistically, the best success I can get is that I created bad stuff.  Bad work can be made good.  Nothing can be made of work that isn't there.

My plans to gamify my work, in an effort to stymie my video game addictions (minor though they be), has hit a bit of a snag.  I'm really not getting the day-to-day benefits that I was hoping for.  Neither am I getting the high thinking abut this stuff because, well, I don't have time.  I don't have time to actually handle and play with Transformers.  As such, the idea of buying more of them just isn't holding the luster.
I still don't know how I'm going to pay for it, or if the rewards will really hold up.  We'll just have to see.

I've gotten a bit more ambitious with my shoulder and knee rehab, so that's promising.  My mom seems to be taking a bit better care of herself.  Things do seem to be moving in the right direction on most every front.  It's just there seems to be a long way to go, and I feel like the momentum is slowing down.
  • Current Music
    Weezer - Station (Meat Puppets cover)
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Backfist of Destiny

It's been an interesting week.  Good, I'd say.  Maybe even great.  But fuck all, is it tiring.
I've been attempting to "Gamify" (which is, amazingly, a real word) some of my efforts in order to be A) more productive and B) fight a video game addiction.  The results, thus far, have been quite exciting.  Some of the enthusiasm is beginning to wear off, though.  And I've yet to reach a major step.
So I've gone back to very old thinking.  Pre-school-level thinking.  I have a list of chores (like, draw a sketch).  Every time I draw a sketch, I get 1 point.  Get 100 points and I buy a Transformer.  Yes, it's remedial as hell.  I don't care because the Combiner Wars figures are fucking amazing and I want them all.  And it's helped me sketch a lot.  It's more complicated (because of course it is), but that's the basic gist of it.  And it's worked.  I've drawn a LOT in the last week and my energy level for the whole prospect has remained high.  So we'll seehow it goes.  Affording this stuff might be another matter but, again, we'll see.

I'm energized and enthusiastic and that's something sorely missing in the world at the moment.
  • Current Music
    Paramore - Ain't It Fun
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Eye Jackets



So this video popped up on my feed yesterday.  I try to avoid watching anything that will distract me too much but Toy Galaxy's videos are usually pretty good.  Their digression into more serious fair, however, has been a step above.  I was a curious and it did not disappoint.
The long and short of it is that what we love can become something that costs more than we can bear.  Addiction isn't inaccurate but it isn't the right word either.
I am suffering from a worsening shoulder injury that the prevelent theory is a labrum tear.  I don't know eactly when this injury happened but I am not without a multitude of possibilities.
The likeliest culprit (this year) has been a recent effort to 'master' the Czar of the Bodyweight Lifts, the One-Arm-One-Leg Push-Up.  As progress stalled, while pain mounted, this diagnosis sent me into a spin.
I've been accumulating 'lifts' since embracing gymnastics.  Not content to achieve the Sinister Goal (100 one-handed swings with a 48kg kettlebell, followed by 5 get-ups on each side with the same bell, all in 16 minutes), I've been doing gymnastics training (begun September before last after I injured my hip at my blue belt test).  Things like the Hanging Leg Lift, Stand-to-Stand Bridge, Reverse Leg Lift, Windshield Wipers, Pistols, and Hamstring Raises, are all feats of gymnastic strength that I've achieved.
Not enough.
I'm knocking on the door of a free handstand, I can do a tuck-planche for reps, my front and back levers are both coming along.
Not enough.
The long list of lifts keeps inching its way up.  And thus this video registered with me.  Is this fun?  Do I enjoy this?  We're beyond 'do I need it'.  I'm easily the strongest person at my kung fu school.  Even the pro fighter I help train for weapons tournaments remarks in awe of my strength.  So why am I still so determined to master every last skill and maintain it endlessly?
I have to cut back, and yet the thought is unsettling.
And all the while, my shoulder aches on.

dis Joint

So my shoulder troubles have been tentatively diagnosed as a torn labrum.  What's the labrum, you ask?  It's the meniscus of the shoulder.  That's three joints now, not including the still-strained hip muscles or the broken wrist.  Ugh.
Lots to say and not a lot of time.

Hang in there!
  • Current Music
    Gary Clark Jr & Junkie XL - Come Together
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Crossovers

I want to see some crossovers.  A Thanksgiving or two ago, I caught on cable one of the WWE's crossovers with Scooby-Doo and it was far more fun than it had any right to be.  Marvel and DC have crossovers every so often (I think at least once a decade, if not more frequently) and with Marvel and Star Wars both owned by The Mouse, let's be honest, it's only a matter of time.
But that's the top shelf stuff.  I want to see some crossovers that are a bit more mid-tier.  Crossovers like...

Ultraman and Doctor Who
I don't know which Doctor.  I'd say one of the newer ones.  Probably Cappaldi, just because he seems like he'd have to most guff to give the great giant.  I do know that I'd want it to be Ultraman Great, or Ultraman: Towards the Future for decent people.  I don't know how you'd crossover a normal-sized pacifist with a 200m giant who solves all the universe's problems with half-speed karate but they've got to find a way.

Ghostbusters and Cthulu
Maybe not Cthulu specifically, but there's plenty of space in the Ghostbusters franchise for HP Lovecraft's general shenanigans (in fact, I think he was a plotpoint in an episode of the cartoon).
And before anybody asks, I'd be pretty fine with it being the new Ghostbusters.  The movie didn't blow me away, but I liked the characters and since it had to follow one of the greatest comedys ever, I think it did more than fine.

Final Fantasy gameplay and mechanics
I really want somebody to tackle FF8's drawing system again and see if they can make it less cumbersome.  I think the general concept had some real promise.
I also want somebody to combine some of the early games' leveling system.  Combine the License Board of 12 with the Materia System of 7 and the Junction System of 8 or 9.  And bring back a better version of 5's job system.  There's a bunch of different game play mechanics that today feel too constrained.  I feel like you don't need to reinvent the wheel; just combine some unicycles.

Power Rangers and Supernatural
Not so much Power Rangers with the paranormal or Supernatural specifically.  I just want Power Rangers to get the CW treatment.  Up the age a little bit.  The Arrowverse has proven that audiences can respond to 'cartoony' elements with more mature stories.  I don't want full-tilt, Christopher Nolan dark and gritty.  But I'd like some Power Rangers stories with a touch more reality (reality, not necessarily realism).

SIMCity and...well, a lot of things
I want a SIMCity Transformers game.  Let me design a city on Cybertron.  Just for starters.  I feel like too many of these games focus on the competative aspect.  My favorite thing to do in SIMCity was to input the infinite money code (of course this was on the SNES) and build my dream city without worrying about the funding.  I want that in other franchises.  I want a castle builder where I don't have to scrape for dollar amounts or fend off PvP players.
The creative, builder side of games is sorely neglected.

UFC and WMAC Masters
UMAC Masters was karate done pro-wrestling.  It was a short-lived show but it had a lot of charm.  One of the things that made it work was that they set their 'matches' in these themed arenas with various color-coded ninja.  I want a reality fighting event where it isn't versus an opponent but a scenario.  Walk down these three city blocks, with obstacles staged randomly.  The goal is less one combat athlete versus another and more about situational awareness, movement, reaction speed, and reaction appropriateness.  The set-up would have to be uniform for each round or whatever in order to judge the events to be fair, but I still think there'd be a lot of merit to it.

Strip clubs and Intellectualism
I'd love to go to a place and talk to someone about stuff.  LIke, I on't want to see a therapist just to vent or whatever.  I don't want advice or input.  I just want stimulating conversation.  I'd straight-up pay a person for that.  That's kind of the concept of maid cafes, at least what I've gleaned from the handful I've been able to observe.  I haven't been able to get into one at an anime convention.  Somewhat like ASMR, I am incapable of believing there isn't a sexual component to them, but I also think sexuality and sensuality overlap and are oft-confused.  But maid cafes are less about short skirts and submissive behavior and more about attention and manners.  Those are wild guesses on my part, though.

Well this went weird.  O__o
  • Current Music
    Meat Puppets - Station
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Workout Stuff

I'm not sure what to call it.  Workout ADD?  A bad case of the borings?  I dunno.  A bunch of people praised the results of my hardwork at the convention last weekend, and yet I still feel compelled to re-evaluate what I'm doing.  Undoubtedly the seriously jacked-up shoulder is part of it (turns out what I feared was a rotator cuff tear is actually a gross muscle imbalance between my traps and my upper pectoral).  I turned to some new information sources on how to fix it, but this has got me second-guessing my gymnastics goals.

See, I'm doing Gymnastic Bodies with some kettlebells in between.  It's going fine but it's very slow.  How slow?  I'll likely complete the program sometime in my mid-40s.  Not the end of the world, especially since I seem to never ben lacking for strength and endurance at the kung fu school.  My body control is continually improving too (I can do a planche tuck consistently, and I've about got a half back lever; knocking on the door of a handstand too).  and yet this (admittedly mild) dysmorphia endures.  Down this road lies anorexia, bulima, and other issues.

I need to be doing less, not more.  and yet there's part of me that won't stop until I can do everything in Gymnastic Bodies, Simple & Sinister, and Convict Conditioning.  And once I can do all of that, then I'll try to go back to barbells, or I'll start doing exploisive calisthenics.

and all the while, my shoulder is raging at me.