“Ten Things That Are Awesome (Right Now),” by David A. Hill, Jr.

This is part of a series of blog posts cranked out by my adoring proselytes — erm, I mean, faithful readers. I’m in Utah (er, presumably — maybe the plane crashed, or maybe I was forced into white sexual slavery somewhere in Dubai), so the task of entertaining you froth-mouthed moppets falls to others.

Today’s post is by David A. Hill, Jr.

Before we start, I’ll preface this post with an explanation of what it is. Although, this is probably not news to you if you are a reader of Terribleminds, Our host Chuck Wendig thinks I’m surly. I think he’s a buttface. He’s challenged me to come up with a list of ten things that are awesome. While I could have said “David A Hill Jr” ten times, that’d probably reek of self-indulgence. I’ll leave that for elsewhere. He mentioned mixing up personal, entertainment and other things. I’ll do that.

Without further ado, Ten Things That Are Awesome (Right Now).

One: Being Human

I had low expectations for this show. With the way media inundates us with supernatural dramas, I figured there was nothing new under the sun (see what I did there?) I thought I was looking at an even more kitsch Vampire Diaries. I wasn’t. Also, I’m not overwhelmingly impressed with most BBC material I see. I know, I’m a bad geek. For example, I thought Red Dwarf was funny, but not funny enough to keep watching after the first series.

I love Being Human. It’s full of, surprise, humanity. It maturely exhibits the struggles that make vampire and werewolf stories fascinating to me. It’s also made me think differently of what the afterlife might be like. There’s interesting mythology, subtly clever writing, and it’s all peppered with brilliantly inane humor. Sunday’s episode used the line, “Did you just call me deadly furniture?” Spot-on, A+.

Clever stories about monsters = Awesome

Two: Dragon Age

I think too much, I’ve been told. I overanalyze things. I look for deep meanings and value where things aren’t necessarily supposed to be. (Or, I’m just full of myself. Your call.) I really like Dragon Age. I know it’s just another rehashing of Bioware’s formula. I know it’s another boring Lord of the Rings epic. I know it’s full of Matrix and other pop culture jokes that make me groan.

I don’t care. I like it. I can’t explain it, I just do.

I realized this when the expansion was announced. I thought, “Damn, I really want to play that.” I rolled over all my criticisms of the game, and though, “I shouldn’t be so excited for this, but I am!” The Grinch’s heart for video games grew three sizes that day.

Unapologetic fun = Awesome

Three: Maschine Zeit

If you know me, you know I’m doing this game called Maschine Zeit. If you don’t, well, I’m doing this game called Maschine Zeit. If everything works as planned, I’m releasing it in May. I’m not only very excited about it, I’m confident for it. It’s been a huge motivator. I feel it’s made me better at my normal job (freelance penmonkey is what Chuck calls it,) because writing it gives me incentive to write strong material quickly. Any of you that have written professionally know that a tangible, in-your-face motivator is about the best thing you can have.

Motivation = Awesome

Four: My Family

I’m sappy, I know: Fuck off. My older daughter, Modistina, just turned three. She’s now able to log into Windows and navigate the web. She can play video games. She’s fucking amazing. My new daughter, Acacia Crimefighter, just turned two months. She can… Well… Smile. But it’s adorable, and again, fuck off. These two bugs owe their genesis to both my wife, Philomena (Filamena Young, as the internets are more familiar with) and me. Filamena’s the best friend I could ask for, and the only person I can be in a room with for more than a day without the desire to cause myself injury. I couldn’t mention my family without mentioning my in-laws, who are so supportive and cool, I want to know when they turn out to be serial killers.

My family = Awesome

Five: Catalyst Game Labs

They’ve been the bulk of my freelance work for the past four months. I’m working on my fourth consecutive Shadowrun book, and I’ve put words in on two Eclipse Phase books. They’ve got some damned good gaming mojo going on over there. If you’re not familiar with Eclipse Phase, it’s a transhuman space/sci-fi body horror style game. It’s done very well, debatably because the creators don’t treat their fans as thieves. Shadowrun’s been around for about a million years, spawning video games, novels and all manner of stuff.

Great games = Awesome

Six: Burn Notice

I didn’t watch this show until the third season. Why didn’t I? Well, I’m busy. Also, I think I was worried I wouldn’t love it. I was worried it was going to be the same misogynist violence-porn that I’m just tired of watching. It’s brilliant. It’s clever. It’s action-packed without being silly about it. It’s full of cool characters in all shapes, sizes, genders and the like. Bruce Campbell is in it. It’s well-researched, but integrates the science more as fun facts than info dumps. It’s like MacGuyver, if my grandfather didn’t like it. (Note: I think I like Psych more. I love that show. But Burn Notice is newer to me at this point.)

Espionage porn = Awesome

Seven: Valkyrie Sky

It’s a free-to-play Asian MMO. I usually don’t like MMOs, because as far as I’m concerned, it’s all the same Diablo/WoW fantasy click to kill goblins crap. I’ve seen dozens of MMOs, with very few exceptions (read: EVE Online,) you don’t see a lot of new ground being broken. Valkyrie Sky is so very not-WoW, it’s alarming. All the missions are overhead shooters. Think Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. Of look back further to games like R-Type and Gradius. Oddly enough though, it’s fantasy themed. You control wizards, warriors and all that jazz, you just control them the way you would a spaceship in a shooter. The same company has also released fighter MMO, in the vein of Final Fight/Streets of Rage.

It’s far from perfect. The translation is terrible. But it sends a good message to developers.

Breaking molds = Awesome

Eight: The US President

I’m critical because I love. While I don’t agree with a number of his decisions, I fundamentally disagree with “The American Way,” so that shouldn’t get in the way of my assessment of Barry. This guy has accomplished more than any other president during the past generation, and in a single year (the video becomes relevant exactly a minute in.) While no, he’s not given us all bioengineered puppies that are unable to poop or grow older, he’s curbed a gigantic crisis. He’s also made a number of rather progressive changes on a subtle level. He’s working on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Congress is drafting legislation right now, so it can be done right. He’s closing Gitmo. It’s taking longer than anticipated, but I can only imagine the red tape nightmare. While I dislike the state of the union, I think the president is fucking rocking, on a relative level.

Progressive changes = Awesome

Nine: Terribleminds

While Chuck’s a friend and sometimes coworker and it might sound corny, I have to say that his blog (I’d link, but that’d be silly, right?) is amazing. I’ve directed a few of my friends starting on the path to professional writing, and they’re in love. While he’s mostly saying things that professionals have heard before, he says them in a context that applies to his statement. By that, I mean, he’s writing well about writing. He follows his own advice, in his advice.

Chuck’s doing good stuff. He’s going places. I’m nowhere near where he is in his career, but he’s a strong point of comparison and role model for freelance types.

Also, he’s the master of SEO, thanks to his Abby from NCIS method of driving mad web traffic.

Writers that make Firefox’s spellcheck suggest “Chuckhole” = Awesome

[ed: awww. so nice. also: kiss-ass. :) ]

Ten: The Daily Show

Jon Stewart has hosted the show for eleven years. I have not watched, read, or liked anything consistently for eleven years. (I wasn’t too thrilled with Craig Kilborn. His show was mostly just jokes about how nice his hair was.) Jon impresses me regularly. He pushes buttons. He calls out the assholes of the world. He asks hard questions. He entertains. He brings accountability to news journalism. He’s a comedian, and he brings accountability to news journalism. It’s sad that it has to be this way, but at least we have Jon. Jon introduced Lewis Black to the public eye. He’s a very Carlin-esque comedian, and almost as brilliant. Lately, he’s introduced John Oliver, who is easily my favorite correspondent ever on the show.

While I like Colbert, I don’t think his show is as thoroughly important to the fabric of modern America. It’s important and wonderful, but it’s no Daily Show.

The power of comedy = Awesome

There you go. I like ten things, and grudgingly, I’m willing to admit it.

11 comments

  • I’m very proud of you David. Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I don’t know which step “blogging about stuff” is, but I know that with the support and care of friends and family, one day you can be a mindless consumer zombie, ingesting Fox News and farting out patriotism.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen Shadowrun; the last I knew Wizkids had the property. The Daily Show is one of the few things I watch religiously still, and Jon is the best thing that’s happened to that show. I did like Kilborn (Craig Kilborn – Blonder than Koppel) but Jon made the show amazing.

    Great list – I especially dig that your daughter shares a middle name with Penn Jillette’s (someone that I apparently look a lot alike).

  • If you want to see the links, just highlight and delete the failed HTML, it’s no big deal.

    And I gotta say, you’re smack on with #8 and #10. I can’t agree with the family thing, mostly because my kids are getting to the surly years and I need to make sure I’ll be taken care of in the end, so I’m gonna stick with my family being the most awesome.

    I swear, you and Chuck are going to make me like another video game, huh? I guess I’ll just have to look into Dragon Age after all.

    (And as for Craig Kilborn, he’s a smarmy douche that continues to think the joke is that we’re too busy admiring him instead of laughing at the subject. What a douche nozzle. Jon Stewart is far more layered a comedian than CK will ever be.)

  • Scionical:

    Blogging, I want to say, is the modern version of Step 10, taking a continual personal inventory. However, the twelve steps reek too much of religious psychobabble for my tastes.

    Shadowrun’s taken a huge turn for the better. I like it infinitely more now, and that’s not just because I’m writing for it. Our new line developer is keen, we’re doing fun new products, and things are just plain cool.

    Yes, she shares a middle name with Penn Jilette’s. Little known fact: I wanted to be a magician growing up. For a while, I was a mad scientist, which was the science equivalent to a magician. I did ‘science tricks’ for children, while telling jokes, entertaining and teaching them.

    Danielle:

    No idea how that works.

    Stoney:

    I come to realize that any problem I feel like I have with Obama is actually a problem with the way the US works. He’s doing very well, considering the shit taco he was given. And yes, that’s exactly Kilborn’s problem. I couldn’t pin it, but you’re spot on.

    Josh:

    Maschine Zeit is coming. I have cover proofs! Very soon, I’ll have the cover. I’ve not been so impressed with a cover in a long time. I love it.

    Gloria:

    Thanks. I’m so very impressed with Being Human. Chuck’s blog is pretty easy to survive. I just had to stop worrying and love the bomb. Or something.

  • I’m right there with you re: problems with Obama ultimately are problems with how our gov’t is set up/is currently operating. It’s incredibly frustrating, the old laborious processes that COULD be modernized and made more efficient. Also, if we cleaned house and put more people like Al Franken in office. My $.02.

    Again, great post!

    And for people unable to C&P/delete to get the Maddow link to work: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34833567

  • Thanks, Stoney.

    The link is Maddow talking about how Obama’s actually done more than any president’s first year, in like forever. It puts it all into perspective. While yes, we expect a lot from him, he’s doing amazing things. It’s just slow. The system works slowly, it adds red tape and stops us from having ponies. While I want ponies, I understand that Obama is doing the best he can with what he was given, and I’m very pleased with that.

    I love Franken. He’s an educator. He says it like it is, and can explain to the jaded why his stances make sense. He and Grayson are really what we need, smart, hard-hitting people that won’t take second best for an answer.

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