Painting With Shotguns XL

E3: Ehh, Ennui, and Empty-Headedness?

Man, I usually watch the E3 coverage with a kind of low-burning hunger. It’s just not happening this year, though. Not a lot is catching my attention in a big way. That feels… weird.

It feels weird because it’s one of two things.

First: they’re just not churning out really good stuff right now. Sure, I want to play Halo: Reach, but no, it doesn’t look like a really new experience. Yes, I thought the crazy awesome cinematic to Star Wars: The Old Republic was, well, both crazy and awesome (and cinematic!), but it didn’t show any gameplay and so it didn’t really light a fire in my belly. I greet most of the news and media coming out with, “Shrug, oh, that’s nice.” And then I wander off to look at something else. The Kinect (once, the Natal)? Very interesting. Very gimmicky. Until reviews come out (and tell us how much the device misses or how much it sucks to have to get up and run an actual marathon), I’m un-wowed.

Second option: I’m caring less and less about video games. I mean, here I am with Team Fortress 2, and I’ve played it a little and had a lot of fun. No anger against that game at all. And yet, I’d rather be dicking around on the Twitters. Or, better yet, writing. (It might be that I’ve yet to have a match with people I know. So, if you got yourself some TF2 on the PC, you gimme a ring now, y’hear?)

Not really sure what it is.

The two games I love the most right now are on my iPhone. Babo Crash HD and Angry Birds.

So, what am I missing over here? Anything coming out of E3 that you’re excited about? Anybody else feeling a slow, creeping malaise when it comes down to video games?

I’ll tell you one trailer that got me jazzed (you monster):

Beard Lasers: The Contest

I gotta say, hot dang some of you have really stepped up to the plate on this I Wanna Do Laser contest. Nicely played, freakazoids. I gotta hand it to you. You’re all insane geniuses.

Of course, contest isn’t even over yet. Got till Sunday morning, when I roll my can out of bed and crawl my way to the computer, the haze of tequila and fruit flies still humming about my brow.

Remember: prize is a copy of Nosferatu clanbook.

Hell, I’ve got so many entries over here — ten so far — that I think it’s only necessary to settle with with a poll when the time is right. (Anybody got a recommendation on the best way to do polls in WordPress?)

Oh, also: I updated the t-shirt shop. I didn’t know you ladies actually wore ladies’ t-shirts? I mean, I just figured, hey, a t-shirt is a t-shirt. This is why I’m a guy, by the way, because we assume shit like this to be true. Regardless:  the terribleminds shop now accommodates People With Breasts And Non-Manly Figures. It’s Ladies Night!

You know you want a taste.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.

*drops the mic, walks off the stage*


Speaking of Sunday, that’s also the day that, if you fine feathered fuckos carry my sorry ass to the “1000 Followers” line on Twitter, I will write you a free Codpiece Johnson short story.

That is the 20th, and it is now the 16th.

I am at 971 followers, and if my crappy math skills do not entirely fail me, that means I still need 390 more followers by Sunday. Right? That’s right, yeah?

*gets out a calculator*

Oh. Uh. I mean, 29 followers. In five total days (by the end of Sunday, remember). It’s doable, but it’s going to be a tight squeeze since I lose a couple few followers every day (and don’t think I don’t know who you are; thanks to Twitter Quitter, I got the hook-up).

See, what I’m secretly hoping for is that you get me to like, 999. Because then, I’m almost at at a thousand, and yet, I don’t have to write you people a short story! No effort on my part! A clear win-win situation. And I can just laugh and laugh and roll around on my waterbed filled with the tears of virgins, and sleep beneath covers stitched from the skin of millionaires.

Stuff Is Almost Happening Without It Actually Happening Yet

I have to reiterate: the life of the writer demands a steely patience, the kind of patience that runs deep.

I do not possess this patience.

Things progress in this eternal Game of Inches.

The film is really moving forward in a good way. I can’t or shouldn’t talk much about it, but suffice to say, it’s really starting to gain momentum.

The television project made it to another level, which is an interim level we didn’t know existed, but it’s still better than not being on any level at all, so we’ll chalk it as a clear “win.”

The novel is, well, the novel. Which is to say, it’s like a brick. That is sinking to the bottom of the ocean. This is of course mightily dispiriting so far, as every time I catch a whiff of possibility, of promise, of potential, it doesn’t quite go anywhere. Still, it’s not like the book is out of the game or anything. Hey, editors? Publishers? I will work my tail off for you. I’m a whore! I’m a writerly man-whore! Let me service your publishing needs!

Ahem. I have no shame, be reminded.

What else?

I’m cooking up this new novel, and it’s going better than I thought. I’ve finally got my hands around this story’s throat. Now I merely need to squeeze and force it to kneel. Outlining goes apace, and I’ll kick into high gear come Monday. And then, ideally, it’s a slippery chute straight down to Finishtown.

I’ve got an article coming up in a future Escapist issue, so that’s nice.

We’re selling a house, which is a Sisyphean task. Hell, it’s a Sisyphean Poopatorium. But we have a showing today, so cross your fingers. Sacrifice a white bull in our honor.

Oh, and I need freelance work again.

If you have some, or know of some, I’d appreciate a head’s up.

The Plague of Doubt

Yellow Dinner Jacket I don’t talk about it much, but sometimes, I am plagued with self-doubt. A feeling that, at any moment, I’ll be discovered for the fraud that I am. A dread certainty that someone will read my work and eventually say, “Did you know you’ve been writing gibberish this whole time?” And then they’ll laugh at me. And dump pig’s blood on me at the prom. And then I’ll need to go all Psycho Psychic on they asses.

I’m always waiting for the floor to drop out.

I don’t acknowledge it, generally. Not much good in it. It’s like hypochondria. Or a wasp hive. Once it’s in, it’s in. Hard to get out. Acknowledging it can give it power, lend it strength.

Still, once in a while, it’s not a bad idea to point at it and say, “Wuzzat?”

And then get out the wasp spray. Or the Xanax.

Links In The Great Chain Of Being

Wanna get a glimpse inside a television show “writers’ room?” Them folks at i09 gotcha covered.

Could the state of slow business in Hollywood lead not to a 3D explosion but rather to original, innovative material? Here’s hoping. Once more, a sacrifice of a white bull would go over nicely about now.

Newly-svelte and sexy sex-beast John Hornor Jacobs is over at his site offering us a killer interview with Steven Brust. So, go there. Read that.

The Hindmarch talks about storytelling and mediocrity.

And that’s all she wrote. Say goodnight, Gracie.


  • I’m not sure we’re watching the same E3. If you have G4 somewhere in your channel selection, you might want to watch through them, as they’re airing more in depth interviews and demos between the big press conferences. Last night they sat down with Bioware to discuss and play The Old Republic. It works a lot like other MMOs, and adds that Bioware touch. Like special Origin planets for certain classes, the ability to multi-class and basically min-max the shit out of everything from abilities to your equipment. Plus, fully voiced NPCs for every encounter (including minor ones) and the promise of minimal early level grinding. I’m kind of excited.

    Plus, I’m stoked for what Epic has brought to the table. (Hey, I’d have to be. Supporting local business and all). Gears is a given since I love the first two so much, but Bulletstorm really caught my attention. It’s the kind of over-the-top action I can see myself really enjoying. And, by enjoying, I mean laughing maniacally while blowing dudes up.

    Then there’s Nintendo. I don’t have a bad thing to say about them since they’re finally giving me some new Kirby.

    I’m not bothered too much by the gimmicky things coming out, like Move and Kinect (though that laser tag thing Ubisoft is trying to shill is going to bomb horribly). What’s really getting my goat is all this emphasis on 3D. Crysis 2 looks bad ass enough on its own without the need for doofy glasses. Plus, not all of us folks out here in gamerland have stereo vision. It’s like being handed those Magic Eye things in the third grade all over again – It’s a duck? Gee, looks like a swirling mass of color for me. Stupid kids these days with two sighted eyes …

    • @Kate:

      Even the G4 coverage has been kind of boring for me. I dunno. Must be me, then? Hell, I turned it on last night and it was ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK after 10pm, not the usual E3 replay. I’ll need to see if any gameplay videos for Old Republic exist.

      Epic: ehh. Gears has never been a game that really hooked me. Big roided out dudes do not an avatar make for me. Bulletstorm looks cool, for sure — though, not exactly new. And it looks like it could play a little too fast, too frenetic.

      I mean, it’s not that I don’t have interest in these things, but “interest” is as far as it goes. I’m just underwhelmed, mostly.

      Again, might be me.

      — c.

  • I am pretty unimpressed with E3 too. I’ve had the Wii for a while now. Bowling is fun on occassion. Any “serious” gaming is going to have some button mashing. Swinging your arm back and forth because you need to slash your sword 100 times gets old after a while and I just start hitting A. All this motion stuff just seems gimicky. Maybe someone will have a game that is really intuitive about using the motion sensors and will rock the world. Until then, it gets a big meh.

    The 3DS looks cool, sounds cool, could be cool if it works as advertised. But my current DS works fine (my kids LOVE them) and replacing them is low on my list right now.

    Kill Bad Guys 2, Zombie Slayers 47, Driving Cars 14, and the like aren’t going to excite me too much. Start rolling out some new properties guys. Hey, if you need some writers to you know, come up with something new and fresh… just sayin. Though, after saying all that, I am looking forward to the new Mass Effect, and hoping they pull off the newest Dues Ex. So maybe I’m full of it.

    Kick the doubt’s ass. Best thing for me when it rears up is to keep my head down and keep plugging away. Got a rejection from Asimov’s this weekend. Found a new place to send it within 15 minutes.

    • @Joshua:

      This, yeah. The Wii — well, we got rid of it. It did very well at the Dust Collection game, not so good at the Amuse Its Owners game. The Wii was a paper tiger. For us, anyhow.

      Re: the doubt — yeah, I’ll kick it in the teeth, no doubt. But it occasionally rebuilds itself out of spare parts and comes hunting, hunting, ever-hunting.

      — c.

  • See, I thought the same thing about Gears at the beginning. The poor husband had to cajole me with promises of extreme violence. What got me pushing him to keep playing was the campaign storyline. I’m one of your Audience archetypes, so I’m a sucker for story.

    But then, I bleed gaming. So it might just be me. ;-)

  • I have been enjoying Gears 2 a lot more now that I have gotten further into it and am getting good at using cover and stuff. I wasn’t too impressed at the beginning. Now I’m loving it. Will have to check out the Gears 3 video.

  • I’m like Iggy Pop following Henry Rollins. I’m waiting to see what these other rockers are doing before I come on stage and do MY thing.

    Eager to do laser, but I want to do it just right.

  • I doubt that I have self doubt. Wait. I guess that means I do.

    Yeah, ‘course I do. We all do. I like that you took a risk to say so, since, to me, overcoming your self doubt adds bonus points to your achievments. And, a healthy dash of self doubt makes for better editing.

    Oh, and I’ve enjoyed the different angles of folk “doing Laser” all week. It’s some serious kick-assery.

    The poll sounds like a smart move and whatever widget you use will be better than the one I suffered through on blogspot.


    • I think PollDaddy has a plug-in, but I’ve read it might be sort of klunky, or require two different plugins.

      And yes, klunky, not clunky.

      Shut up, everybody.

      I blame @Rick.

      — c.

  • Twisted Metal, yo. Twised Metal. Metal, that is straight, and then Twisted. Twisted Metal!

    But yeah,a lot of E3 this year fails to impress. Blugaragh. No desire to buy an X-Box, more desire to get a Wii, enough to make me very happy with my PS3. Good stuff, but a lot of meh stuff also.

    You’ll have some laser come Friday from me.

  • The self-doubt thing goes hand-in-hand with being a writer, methinks. Maybe the big names get over it at some point, but maybe not too. It does require a certain amount of arrogance to assume you can succeed with the quill. Embrace that arrogance and make it yours! Arrogance and self-doubt can battle in a steel cage match and distract you with their shenanigans!

  • The doubt. God, the doubt, the fear, the anxiety. I’ve got… some big issues with this stuff, sometimes. This is why I write so much over on my blog about fear, and how you can’t let it win. The fear lives curled up around my neck and it never really stops choking me.

    It helps to, uh, cut down on the caffeine. Sorry. Sometimes the truth hurts. But yeah: It’s just a part of the life. I don’t think it ever goes away.

    • @Andrea:

      Word to all that.

      Except the cutting down on caffeine part.

      *swings a switchblade wildly through the air*

      No touch coffee! Mine! Mine!

      Ahem. Actually, I only drink one big cup a day, and then a cup of tea in the afternoontime.

      Still. Fear. Yeah. Grrr. Punch fear! In the belly.

      — c.

  • Ok, I hope there’s no comment limit, and I’m sorry that this is long, but it’s from Neil Gaiman on just this topic, sent to all the 2007 NaNoWriMo participants. Chuck, please delete it if it’s too long and I’ll just forward you the email. I couldn’t figure a way to link to an email I have stored on my computer.



    Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

    By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You’re not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You’re in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more—and that even when they do you’re preoccupied and no fun. You don’t know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you’re pretty sure that even if you finish it it won’t have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began—a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read—it falls so painfully short that you’re pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

    Welcome to the club.

    That’s how novels get written.

    You write. That’s the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interloc king stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It’s a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn’t build it it won’t be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

    The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

    The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”

    I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”

    “You don’t remember?”

    “Not really.”

    “Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”

    I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.

    So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

    One word after another.

    That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.

    So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

    Pretty soon you’ll be on the downward slide, and it’s not impossible that soon you’ll be at the end. Good luck…

    Neil Gaiman

  • Regarding the self-doubt, which part of your anatomy do we need to slap? I’m tagging along precisely because of the quality of your writing; that’s what pulled me in. Oh yes, and the no-holds-barred growling. All the rest is just hard work. So tish and fie to those icky doubts as you’re a cannonball of genius. Obviously. Will that do?

  • It is comforting to come here everyday and know that you are not alone, that alone makes you go on. Thank you. We are all in writing rehab.

  • Portal 2 is really enough for me. But then, I really only pick up a couple of new video games a year, and this year WoW will suck me back in for at least a few months with Cataclysm.

    I think part of the reason E3 may have underwhelmed you is that you’re not a Wii fan, and Nintendo pretty much kicked everyone’s asses this year, between the game lineup and the 3DS. Today’s Penny Arcade covered things nicely.

    Also, do not forget to write a Clockworks guest blog/intro thingie by Friday. I will run that shit on Monday if it’s in my inbox. (Also, I usually keep the comic and blog profanity free, but for you, write whatever the fuck you want.)

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