The Diff. A short tale.

Here’s another short piece I recently wrote for uni. The exercise was to create some realistic dialogue. Hope you like it.

“So, you’ve finally met a girl?” Josh grinned.
Matt lowered his eyes. “Yeah, I guess so.”
“About time. I thought after your divorce you’d never get out there again. Tell me all about her. Is she a good sort?”
Matt smiled. “Yeah, she’s very attractive. She likes all the things I like. We can talk for hours about books, movies, art, comics, you name it. It’s like she was made for me.”
Josh rolled his eyes. “Nerds. So, what’s wrong?”
“There’s a bit of an age difference.”
“How much?”
“About fifteen years.”
“You old cradle snatcher, you. How old is she, eighteen or something?”
“Twenty-five.”
“Twenty-five? How old are you, anyway?” Josh did a quick calculation on his fingers. “Like, forty or something? You don’t look that old.”
“I’m scared to ask her out,” said Matt.
“You’re scared of rejection? Geez, mate, get over it and ask her. Then you won’t have to do the old ‘unrequited love depression session’ every time we chat. You can just be regular depressed like the rest of us.”

Styx. A poem.

A heart full of love
Almost fit to burst
A longing
A lonely, ongoing search
Time is trial
A Herculean feat
A test to see

If you’re worthy of she
Staying awake

Staying alive
Whittled away slowly

While dying inside
Charon waits

His payment, the price
To cross the Styx

To where the dead reside
A heart full of love

Is the only cost
If you ride with the ferryman
All you fought for is lost

Time. A poem.

In time, you’ll forget
Future becomes past
Distance and memories

In time, you’ll move on
As nostalgia replaces
Longing and currency

In time, you’ll change
Regrets and vicissitudes
Lost with familiarity

In time, truth will fade
As falsities interweave
Becoming the new history

Blog. A poem.

Random linear thoughts
Forming implacably
Escaping the gravity
Of mental singularity
Touching down
On virtual vellum streets
Personal subjectivity
Metaphor and simile
Forged into reality
Launched summarily
And read
By you
Right
Here

Session. A short tale.

“Back again,” says Ms Therapy, reclining in her chair.

“Yes,” I reply, eyeing her curiously. “Every month, as you know.”

Ms Therapy sighs, grabs a pen and notepad from the desk behind her. “Yes, I know.” She sighs again and my anxiety level rises.

“So, what would you like to talk about this time?” Ms Therapy taps the pen impatiently on the pad. She glances at the wall clock. By this point I’m feeling a little put out.

“Do you have something you’d rather be doing?” I say. “I can always come back later.” The last words via a thin smile.

Ms Therapy grins; it’s a little forced. “No, no, you know that I’m here to listen, help you with your problems…” She trails off. Her eyes are distant, and I could swear she’s starting to tear up a little.

“Are you alright?” I say, leaning forward in concern.

“Yes,” Ms Therapy says, putting a hand to her trembling mouth. “No. I’m sorry,” she says. She starts to cry, suppresses it, fanning her face rapidly with one hand, like she’s swatting away imaginary butterflies. Or maybe killer bees.

“How about I come back another time, maybe when you’ve had time to…adjust.” I start to rise, she holds up her palms signalling stay. I glance at the door – if I’m going to get out of here this is my last chance.

“I’ve broken up with my girlfriend,” Ms Therapy says. This is a surprise, as I wasn’t aware she was gay. Not that I know much about her, but I guess my gaydar is as non-existent as the rest of my people-reading skills. Before I can respond, she continues in a torrent of tears and sputtering speech.

“We’ve been together five years. She’s my everything. We are so good together. And last night, all of a sudden, she says ‘it’s not working’ and that she needs to find herself. I mean, what’s not working? She’s never indicated anything was wrong before. Then she leaves and she hasn’t come back and I’ve been worried sick and she’s such a bitch but I love her…”

I’m glad she doesn’t notice how uncomfortable I’ve become; the occasional squirm and nervous tic. “Umm…do you need a hug?” is all I can think to say. Ms Therapy graciously accepts, and for the next half hour I listen to her travails and placate her with “it’ll be alright” and “she’s a stupid woman, she’ll be back when she realises what she’s lost”.

Eventually, the tears subside and Ms Therapy composes herself. “Thank you,” she says. “I just needed to talk to someone about it. I feel so much better now.” It’s a shame I don’t, but I guess I didn’t really need a session, anyway.

“Glad I could help,” I say. My halo glows with new found, smug self-confidence.

“This one’s on the house,” she says, shrugging. “Least I can do.”

“Gee, thanks,” I say as I exit.

I can hear Alpha Girl now: “Hah! You can’t even get a therapy session right!”

Doh.

The Bed I Made. A poem.

Just another day and I drag myself from my bed
(I made it so I have to lie in it)
Open the blinds and let the light in
Far too bright for my dark little world
Maybe I should be a vampire 
Sleep in the day and only come out at night
Where I can hide my issues and parade of tears
Where I can hide my loneliness and anxious fears
Where I can have a better excuse for being alone
And hide away my sadness, no different from here and now
I close the blinds and face my womb
Exercise equipment, desk, books and guitar
If it was any smaller I wouldn’t be able swing the cat that I don’t own (wish I had a dog, though)
I’d like to have made better decisions in my life
But we’re all guilty of that, aren’t we?
In the meantime, I’ll write my blog, do assignments and shoot the breeze
I guess I’ll need a bigger gun, or at least a bigger gin (damn, I don’t even drink)
Oh, well, life goes on, or maybe it’s just a dream
And tomorrow I’ll wake up in the bed I made that I have to lie in



I love stream of consciousness poetry. It flows so honestly, and adopts a natural rhythm all its own.

Shame my life sucks so bad, but I know there are others worse off than me, so poetic venting is a good catharsis. Provides me with plenty to write about, anyway. 🙂

Outlook. A poem.

No one else to blame but me
For this sad and sorry state
Nothing left to say at all
Don’t be angry or irate
Disregard the news you hear
And turn the other cheek
There’s no one else to blame
Outlook: overcast and bleak

D&D. A haiku tetralogy.

Dice

Polyhedral dice
In your hand, controlling fate
Hack! Slash! “Die, monster!”

Delve

Deep dungeon delving
Party of five outsiders
Death or glory here

Dauntless

“My hit points are low”
Rest or spells to recover
“Ready? Time to smash!”

Dire

“Awful acting, yeah?”
Comedic celebration
Shared gaming love


These haiku are about my love of tabletop role playing games (RPGs), particularly Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). I loooooove RPGs.

Don’t know what D&D and RPGs are? Read about them here and here.

Books. A poem.

Pages on my shelf
Motes of dust floating
Crazily translucent
In dawn’s early light
Each story on my shelf
Each moment in time
Reflected in its space
The words on my shelf
Thoughts, history, dreams
Treasures immemorial
Make a poor man wealthy

Consumed. A poem.

Darkness dwells, swells
Rises up and takes the stage
In angry soliloquy
Spewing forth rage
And with every fiery assault
Slice another piece of heart
Throw it down onto the plate
And cover it with dripping
A feast for kings and queens of pain
To tear and chew until only crumbs remain

Son. A poem.

Sometimes he’s far away, head in the clouds again
In a world that’s hard to define, harder to confirm
Even with all his quirks, arguments, trials, laughter and pain
Together we are unflappable, incorrigible, unbreakable, invincible
He is my son, my amazing and unbelievable one
My sunrise, my sunset, my reason for being
My love is without measure and without end
And every moment shared is like being born again

Everything is awesome. Not.

I often get depressed at the worst times. Like today, when I have to do work for uni and my motivation is at an all-time low. The solution? Write aimlessly about depression for my blog. Yes, I’m sure that will solve everything (I may claim to be a writer, but I never claimed to be an intelligent or coherent writer. Or a man with a plan).

Sometimes I play guitar to get me back to a reasonable mental state. But, as we all know (and as I should know, by now), music played by sad people often tends to be…sad. It’s not often that melancholy musos rip into a version of ‘Everything is Awesome’ from the Lego movie (actually, it’s never – no real musos would ever play that song).

Sometimes I lie around waiting for my depression to subside. This is one of the worst solutions, as I tend to fixate on everything bad in my life (which is almost everything I do) and then try to rationalise it with all the people worse off in the world than me (which is a lot more), which makes me sadder as I’m obviously a complete waste of time who has just wasted my own time. Almost a living double negative. And don’t get me started on the bit where I start fantasising about the perfect life (or, more appropriately, perfect lie).

Often, I try to read, but people with depression are attracted to literature in much the same way they are attracted to gloomy music. This makes unhappy endings even more unhappy (“But Rhett, we should be together. I love you!” “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. I think I’ll return home and gamble and drink myself into a deep and inescapable hole. And maybe guest star as a Force ghost in the next Star Wars movie.” Note to Disney: do not have an ‘Anakin’ Force ghost cameo. I’m warning you now. You don’t want to see a depressed fan when he’s angry. Nothing to lose, y’know. I warned you I’m not always coherent).

I’m a fairly creative person—I compose stories, poems and music, draw, write this stupid blog—and one would assume that I would be able to find some way (other than high doses of legal and potentially illegal medication) to get me out of the dumps. What I’ve found is that depression is ideal for creativity. I’ve written some of my best work when I feel like crap. Of course, it tends to be a bit depressing, but there you go. Horses for courses, and all that jazz.

I know there are lots of people in the world who suffer from anxiety and depression—a quick search on WordPress reveals hundreds of blogs by sad and lonely bloggers with more than enough to say on the topic. So, my own vaguely pathetic attempts are almost laughable (or miserable, depending on how they turn out).

So, I’m looking for some sure fire quick fixes (yes, I know there aren’t any, but tell me anyway. I’m a true believer in panaceas and placebos, except when they’re administered rectally). Meditation? Tried it. Martial Arts? Do it already. Working out? Yep, a great fix that lasts the period of the workout and about an hour afterwards…Alcohol? I’m sure there’s a potential down side to it, but it’s looking good, so far…

Surprisingly, this pithy bit of writing has cheered me up slightly (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being dead and 10 being obnoxiously and overwhelmingly extroverted, I guess I’m a 4). Not because it’s good, but rather just a way to vent. Maybe I should try some more. Perhaps those uni responses…

Old Dogs. A poem.

Our old hangouts have changed
Nothing here has stood still
But we’re both still keeping time
To an age-old beat of bitterness and pain
Same old tricks for the same old dogs
So the malls may change and the atmosphere
But together or apart we are never present tense
Just more tension and pretension
Always at our expense

Whovian Girl. A poem.

It’s hard not to remember her face
Often smiling, sometimes scowling
A book clutched to her breast
And a smartphone in her hand
Nerd excitement at the latest Dr Who
Which we’d discuss at length
Dissertations on everything from daleks to Dr next
And though she had her secrets, as did I
We were always as candid as could be
On any conversation, any topic
No condescension or formality
Always earnest to the nth degree
And when we laughed it was meaningful and hearty
I miss her, as I always have
As I always will and always won’t
Never far from mind but always far from sight
I miss my Whovian as I miss the light
Now that my world has passed
Into this long and endless night

Boxes. A poem.

Life reduced to boxes
Cartons of memory
Refuse of lifetimes
Stacked and sorted
Taped and sealed
Like canopic jars
Awaiting the afterlife
Awaiting release
When stored thoughts
And precious mementoes
Will leap forth
With renewed vigour
From cardboard cages
To stride the open veldt once more
To live and breathe as before
Before time locked them away
In sealed boxes of fate
Unsure of eternity

Mindjammer – SF role playing that’ll bring you back for more

I guess you can tell by the title of this post that I love this game. I included it in my recent Top 10 Tabletop Role Playing Games.

Mindjammer is far future space opera role playing, a la the stories of Iain M. Banks and Peter F. Hamilton. It’s a world of exploration, political intrigue, cultural conflict, post-humanity, virtual existence and rediscovery. The name of the game is taken from the sentient starships that carry communications and information between the stars.

Mindjammer uses the excellent Fate Core System as its engine. I wrote about this system recently, so to find out more about how it works, click here. The Fate Core System is about cinematic storytelling and making your players look and feel awesome. It empowers players and Gamemasters (GMs) to stretch the envelope. This means that Mindjammer adventures can be…flexible, and as such, the game probably requires a reasonably experienced GM.

The New Commonality of Mankind is the setting, 10 000 years in the future. And what a huge setting it is. The Mindjammer hardcover rule book is almost 500 pages long, and it contains literally everything you can think of for a sci-fi campaign–-technology, equipment, weapons, armour, starships (including sentient spaceships), constructs, vehicles, cultures, history, synthetics, races, divergent evolution, environments, life forms–and more.

Although characters can be New Commonality humans, there are also hominids (humans who have evolved to suit their new environments, like the genurgically-enhanced Chembu, low gravity Javawayn, symbiotic Hydragand-Dezimeer, and the artistic Viri), xenomorphs (uplifted animals, like canids, cetaceans, felines, pithecines, ursoids), synthetics (intelligent starships with humanoid avatars, mechanicals, organics, installations, etc.), Aliens (the warlike Hooyow, the mysterious Lowhigh) and post-humans (Evanescents, Evolvers, Extenders, and Longevitors). And the rules are flexible enough to allow creation of your own genotypes so the sky is, quite literally, without limit. There are multiple occupations, with suggested aspects, skills, stunts, enhancements and equipment for quick builds, but players have the freedom to create builds from scratch.

In the far future, nearly everyone has Mindscape implants that enable them to connect with everyone else via a virtual network, enabling technopsi powers. The Mindscape stores memories and personalities of the dead, and can provide additional skills. It’s another environment for players to adventure in, or can be used as an adjunct to their ‘physical’ adventures.

The New Commonality itself stretches over 3000 light years from Old Earth, and contains so many systems that only a small number are in the book (The included Darradine Rim is a great introductory setting, nestled on the edge of the New Commonality and bordering the Venu Empire–lots of intrigue and cultural stresses to fuel adventures). Full rules are included for creating your own systems and sectors.

Adventure seeds are peppered throughout the Mindjammer rule book, to give GMs ideas. There are extensive sections on creating adventures and campaigns, which can be any type of sci-fi the GM and players want. There is so much contained within that it’s a bit overwhelming at times, and impossible for me to cover here. The rule book is impeccably written and edited by author Sarah Newton (who also put together the great retro-fantasy Monsters and Magic RPG, which I’ll also get around to reviewing sometime…).

There are various adventures and supplements available, including The Far Havens, Blue, The City People, Hearts and Minds, and the quickstart PDF (introductory rules and adventure) Dominion, which is only $4.00 (Australian).

Mindjammer has a Traveller-version of the game, for grognards old and new (I have many fond memories of Traveller campaigns from my way-distant past).

Mindjammer is a fantastic game and setting. The Fate rules engine is flexible and easy to use, the sci-fi setting is suitably vast, fascinating and challenging, and the options for style of play are many. You can’t go wrong with this game. Even if you already have a preferred ruleset, you can just adopt the setting.

Try Mindjammer out with your gaming group. I guarantee they’ll be coming back for more.

 

Mindjammer is available via Modiphius Games at https://www.modiphius.net/collections/mindjammer-press

Ghostly. A poem.

Ghostly
Wandering
Wanting

Lost

Missing
Wondering
Will you ever be whole

Instead of a hole

Disconnected
Disenfranchised

Disconcerted
Distant

Unloved
Will you ever be one
With another
Ever again

Ghostly
Wandering
Wanting
Lost

Until found

Fate Core System – Story telling table top role playing at its finest

I’ve been threatening to do a Fate Core review for some time now (it’s one of my Top 10 Favourite Role Playing Games), but you know how it is, so much to do and so little time… But today’s the day!

So, what is Fate Core? It’s a table top role playing game*, or TRPG**, which focuses on dramatic story telling. In the last decade or so, a number of games have entered the TRPG market that emphasise player engagement and involvement via storytelling and role playing***, including Apocalypse World, Mouse Guard, 13th Age, etc.

I believe Fate Core is one of the best cinematic story telling games around. It has some crunchy dice rolling mechanics and emphasises player awesomeness. It encourages players and Gamemaster (GM) to work together to create the story proactively as you play the game. And it enables you to play any type of game imaginable.

Here’s a few things about Fate Core:

  • Fate Core uses fudge dice. The player rolls four of these to determine if they pass or fail tests. Fudge dice have two pluses (+), two blanks ( ) and two minuses (-), and when rolled together show an outcome, where pluses are positive (obviously), blanks mean nothing (again, obviously) and minuses subtract from the pluses and blanks (you can use standard dice to simulate these if you don’t have fudge dice). When a player wants to do something cool (for example, running across the backs of crocodiles to get to the other side of the stream), the GM sets the opposition (the previous example might be considered great, or +4 opposition). The player rolls the dice and has the opportunity to invoke an Aspect (see below), or use stunts (see further below) or skills (see even further below) to add to the roll, or use Fate points (see even further down below) to influence the outcome. Once rolled, the player describes what happened and the game moves forward.
  • Players and environments have Aspects, which are phrases that describe some interesting and individual detail about the character or place e.g. “Tempted by Shiny Things”. These aspects are used in the game during Scenes, which are dramatic devices used to describe action and events. If you can describe how your aspect can add to an action, then you can get a bonus on your roll. This is called invoking, and usually costs a Fate Point. Alternatively, the negative component of an aspect can be compelled – that is, used to make things more difficult for the player. This earns them a Fate point they can use later.
  • Fate Points are the currency of the game. Players start the game with 1-3 Fate points (depending on how they build their character), and you can spend them to invoke aspects. You gain them for compelling aspects (see earlier).
  • Skills are used to do complicated or interesting actions with the dice, and are added either when you build the character or during the game – they range from +1 to +4, and you are limited in how many you have. For example, Rapport is a skill for social interaction.
  • Stunts are special tricks a player can use to get an extra benefit out of a skill or alter some rule in your character’s favour e.g. “Another Round?” Is a stunt a character with rapport can use to give a bonus to gain information when drinking in a tavern.
  • Damage is done to characters via physical stress or mental stress – a bit like hit points from D&D, but not. Physical and mental stress is recovered after each scene. A player or GM can also opt to take consequences from actions – these are longer lasting impacts that play into the story telling elements of the game, and in some cases, can affect your rolls.

What I’ve explained is very brief and doesn’t capture how cool all these elements work together when playing a game (I’m sure the authors, if they ever read this, will roll their eyes and say “But he’s just scratched the surface!”). Trust me, the rules are well written and play tested, and work really well in a live setting, allowing you to play any type of situation.

Fate Core also has an easy version called Fate Accelerated, which is quicker to learn.

One of the fantastic aspects of Fate Core is that the GM and players can make up any sort of background/setting they want to play in. There are also a number of pre-made Fate Core settings, that you can use for quick or extended games, such as Morts (zombie apocalypse), Red Planet (Soviet pulp sci-fi), Save Game (set inside a video game world), and Romance in the Air (political intrigue/steampunk), to name a few. These can be downloaded from DrivethruRPG.com, for as much as you want to pay for them.

Fate Core is also the system used in a number of other games, such as the totally cool far future transhuman Mindjammer (one of my top 10!), The Dresden Files, Spirit of the Century, Atomic Robo, Eclipse Phase (Transhumanity’s Fate), War of Ashes, and even an indie Fate Core version of Mass Effect.

If you haven’t played this game before, get some fudge dice (or regular six-sided dice), grab the rules from EvilHat.com or DrivethruRPG.com and start playing! You won’t be disappointed.

 

* Don’t know what a TRPG? You don’t know what you’ve been missing! Click here for an explanation

** Or just RPG for all the old school grognards out there who don’t get computer RPGs and table top RPGs mixed up

*** Despite what RPG implies, some RPGs are so crunchy and combat focussed that they are almost not RPGs at all, rather board games with character and skill building

Missing. A short tale.

Something was missing. Every time I looked, I thought I saw it, but like some mote in the corner of one’s eye, when I looked again it was gone. I was starting to doubt my own senses.

I clambered around the room, searching up and down, turning things over and tossing them about, trying to find the missing thing. I wasn’t sure what it was, just that I needed it. Right now. I felt like a junkie itching for a fix, but not knowing exactly what hit he needed.

If it wasn’t in my room, maybe it was online. I flicked on the laptop, checked a few regular pages, a few irregular ones, and eventually gave up, my chin resting on my open palm as I scratched my head. It had to be around here somewhere. But what was it that was missing? What was it that proved so elusive and mysterious?

And then it came to me, like a lightbulb flickering on in pitch black.  I was missing a life.

I guess I needed to get up off my arse, get out of my room and find it.

 

Defaced. A poem.

A familiar face
But I turned away
All in the past, now
What would I say?
Hiding in plain sight
The world turned round
I was gone without trace
Defaced

Touch, by Elmore Leonard. A book review.

I just finished reading Touch, a book by Elmore Leonard. I’d read Mr Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing (which I discussed in an earlier post you can find here), but hadn’t had the opportunity to sample his actual writing. Now, I’m glad I did.touch book

Touch is set in 1977. Juvenal, a young, ex-Franciscan Missionary, heals a woman’s blindness in an apartment after she is beaten up by her abusive husband. Bill Hill, former minister and salesman, witnesses the aftermath and believes he’s onto his next big score. Lynn Faulkner, an ex-cheerleader who used to work with Bill is called in to find out if Juvenal is for real, and so pretends to be an alcoholic to get into the alcohol rehab centre he works at. Juvenal reveals he suffers the stigmata, blood weeping from the five wounds Christ received at crucifixion (hands, feet and side).

So, is Juvenal the real deal? Does he heal people? Is his stigmata real?

I’m not going to answer any of those questions, because you really should read this book. Not only is it well written (I sort of expected that, given I’d raved about his Ten Rules of Writing earlier), it pokes fun at religious extremists, schlock media shows and con-men.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s a mystery, a love story and an expose, all in one.

But you should read it and make up your own mind.

Cat and Mouse. A short tale.

This story is the prequel to a poem I wrote on my blog a while back. You can find it here.

I wrote this brief story for Uni. Now that the course is over I can post it.

 

The cat sat on the mat. She preened and purred, purred and preened. She watched the mouse. The mouse sat across the room, just outside his hole-in-the-wall. He did not preen, or purr. He watched the cat.

The cat had never eaten a mouse before and wondered if he tasted good. If you’re not sure of these things, it’s always polite to ask.

“Are you tasty?” she said.

The mouse seemed confused. “Tasty?” he replied. “As in, ‘my, you are one hip, cool and funky mouse’?”

She smiled. “No. As in, are you good to eat?”

“I guess that depends on your perspective,” said the mouse. “I would say definitely not.”

The cat yawned, rolled on her side and pawed the carpet aimlessly. “Are you fast?”

The mouse’s eyes narrowed and he rubbed his tiny paws together. “Do you want to chase me and find out?”

“Not really,” said the cat, drifting off to sleep.

Stupid Boy. A poem.

Just a stupid boy
He’s getting by in stupid ways
He’s yearning for a better life
With oh, so much to say

Just a stupid boy
All isolated and feeling low
All fantasies and internal strife
Dreams and wishes long to sow

Just a stupid boy
So much smaller than the shoes he fills
Dreaming bigger than he really should
Wondering just how does she really feel

Just a stupid boy
Playing alone with his stupid toys
Running far from responsibilities
He’s just another stupid boy

Crush. A poem.

She gets by
On creative bent
And poor self image
A love of God
And 60’s music
But when she smiles
She’s Aphrodite
All wonder, shine
And wry amusement
And I’m swept away
Off my feet and into dreams
But some dreams can never be
Because life is pure
Reality

A Writer’s Lot. A poem.

And at that certain time
Heads emerge from shells
Where they were buried
Dreaming tales to tell
And cloistered in my womb
Loneliness and black dog thoughts
Of doom and gloom
I send my words to you
Sometimes liked
Sometimes not at all
Left wondering what the magic recipe must be
But liked or not
Potter on through storm and swell
Becalmed haze, unfazed
A writer’s lot is thankless
Take what you can, that way
You go on and on
And on
Tomorrow’s yet another day

Clickbait! The what’s and wherefore’s

My teenage son, Padawan-Nerd-in-Training, stayed over on the weekend (as he does every weekend, so nothing new there).

Padawan is a YouTube fan and has a number of channels he subscribes to. I, being an antiquated, internet hating has-been, try to avoid anything internet related other than this blog. Padawan showed me a few videos that were really interesting, about why crap videos and news stories attract so much internet attention.

This video talks about the theory behind clickbait, fake news headlines and human behaviour:

For more about clickbait, the YouTube algorithm and why we as an audience click particular types of stories, check this video out:

After watching all that, you’re either astounded and keen to learn more, head-tripping, or bored out of your mind (or all of the above).

Please feel free to comment below if you would like to talk about this in a high-falutin’, quasi-sophisticated, philosophically-questionable discussion.

 

For more videos from this YouTuber: The Film Theorists, The Game Theorists

Letter to a Facebook Friend

This is a uni piece I wrote some time ago. It was meant to be a letter to a friend about something I was very serious or concerned about, using real referenced materials. I went with satire and irony. I’ve removed the referencing from this version.

 

Dear Matt,

I’m writing to express my concerns regarding your increasing addiction to Facebook. According to your news feed you hardly ever leave your room anymore, don’t respond to texts or phone calls and were recently fired from work – all over your constant need to stay in touch via Fb.

Each of my Facebook friends (all 1524 of them) are concerned about your circumstances. I read on your mother’s feed the other day that you are now refusing meals and that you have barricaded your bedroom door (and blocked your mother on Fb).

In 2014 Facebook had well over 1.2 billion users, making 41,000 posts per second –  I assume that you were responsible for a good portion of those. Although Facebook remains a wonderful place for social connections, news and advertising profits, it is also a source of increasing cyberbullying, social reclusion and distraction. For example, British companies are impacted by billions of dollars of productivity loss each year because their employees spend so much time on Facebook.

Matt, my Facebook Friend, your other Fb friends only want the best for you. We’re not saying you should give up the ‘book, just detach yourself occasionally to eat and drink. And perhaps work for a living.

Looking forward to your next post!

Regards

Steve

Trois Haiku

Telecaster

Weaving ecstasy 
Musica Exotica
Telecaster Love

Chemo

Cancerous growth
Burning fear, tempus fugit 
Walk a straighter path

Nightmare

Veil of sleep, behind
Tormented dream, deja vu
Woe begotten tide

 

I will forever adore the Haiku and its mystical 5/7/5 syllable structure. Here are three I composed this morning.

Summer. A poem.

Fiery sun and liquid sweat
Hot enough to burn the breath
Heat haze shallows on the street
Skin prickling with humidity
A soaked shirt that sticks and clings
Like a long term love/hate relationship
Nights awake in a caustic daze
Of muggy games and stifling plays
Time’s farewell, the summer done
A long goodbye to sweat and sun


Here’s a poem about my love/hate relationship with Summer. In Australia it’s over for another year.

Winter is coming 😉

Shades. A poem.

Those sunglasses look cool
Such hidden depths
Reflected

What hides behind the dark
What insecurities crouch
Frozen

Is it you or someone else
Lurking behind the wall
Waiting

Maybe I see too much
Just shades of you
And me

 

I once found a pair of brand new sunglasses in an elevator. Rather than turn them in, I decided to keep them (terrible of me, I know).

They change the shape of my face when I wear them, almost making me a different person. When they’re on, I almost have a sense of increased confidence and lessened anxiety.

Does that happen with you, too?

I. A poem.

I wished
I wanted
I needed
My love to be more than
I needed
I wanted
I wished


Another poetic experiment. I like this one.

Well Met. A Poem.

A blast from the past
We knew each other better then
When our saliva mingled and so did our sweat
Now it’s small talk, not quite the same
About families, jobs and Game of Thrones
Never mentioning once
How we were like vines, all intertwined
Animals unleashed, despoiling motel rooms, back seats and parks
Pretending to others that we just met
Lying to better halves about where we went
Today it’s small talk, knowing smiles
And awkward farewells
Well met, lessons learned


A poem about misguided affairs of the heart.

Swept up and swept away, never thinking about the real price you pay.

Patrick Ness is an awesome writer. But don’t take my word for it…

Patrick Ness is a great author. He writes books for young adults – teen fiction, I guess you call it. The big difference between him and many other writers of that genre, is that his books carry a weight, a gravitas, that raises them above the mob.

I read a lot of books. I’m not trying to brag, or make out that I’m better than other people who read, just pointing out that my tastes are very eclectic. I read classics, science fiction, crime, history, autobiographies, blah, blah, blah. And I think that the eminent Mr Ness is one of the finest writers I’ve read. And that’s a pretty big call.Ness

My introduction to Ness was The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first part of his Chaos Walking trilogy. I was intrigued by the title, so I picked it up. It is one of the few books I’ve read where a scene made me cry, and I’m pretty soppy. I picked up the rest of the trilogy and was astounded that young adult fiction could be so good. It’s fast-paced, riveting and emotionally draining stuff, that explores themes of misogyny, terrorism and xenophobia. Not your average kid’s book.

I’ve gone on to read A Monster Calls, The Rest of Us Just Live Here and More Than This. Ness is brilliant. Check him out.

 

Here’s another piece I wrote for Uni, that I can publish now as that course is over.

Integrity Blues: Jimmy Eat World (album review)

Album: Integrity Blues
Band:  Jimmy Eat World
Label: RCA records (Sony)
Length: 11 songs, 47 minutes
Summary: Deep and thoughtful, dark-edged alt-rock from the fan favourites

Jimmy Eat World is an American alt-rock band hailing from Arizona. Darlings of the alt-rock and indie scene, they are have previously released eight studio albums. Their newest release, Integrity Blues, is a continuation of their polished and radio-ready, alt-rock/pop sound. The album manages to re-capture the feel of previous releases, whilst delivering material with a darker edge.

You with Me kicks off the album with sparse acoustic guitars and ethereal harmonies, before bursting into a poignant tale of failing love that bounces around like the catchy pop tune it is.

Sure and Certain, It Matters and You are Free are radio friendly pop hits in the making, but lyrically delve deeper than traditional boy-loves-girl pop ditties, covering aging, one-sided love, and freedom of choice.

The minimalist Pass the Baby is perhaps the boldest and darkest song Jimmy Eat World have ever attempted, with its commentary on the state of the music industry and social media-driven pop stars. It breaks into a super heavy, almost prog rock, odd time outro, that shows the boys are more than capable musicians. Perhaps they’re demonstrating to up and coming YouTubers what it’s really all about.

Get Right is an ode to the short attention span. It’s heavier than the other tracks, with throbbing bass and guitars, pulsing along to a Zeppelin-style groove.

The End is Beautiful waltzes in ¾ time to the beat of a graceful break up. Through rocks on through a less than graceful break up. The title track is a sparsely orchestrated tale of empty longing. Pol Roger closes the album with a ballad about touring in England and the incumbent loneliness of the road.

The current line up of Jimmy Eat World includes Jim Adkins on lead vocals and guitar, Zach Lind on drums, guitarist/vocalist Tom Linton, and Rick Burch on Bass. The band co-produced the album with Justin Meldal-Johnsen, best known for his work with Beck and Nine Inch Nails.  Jimmy Eat World have always been known for their deep and engaging lyrics, pop sensibility and tight harmonies, and Integrity Blues continues the trend. The band is in top form, both musically and lyrically, and shows no sign of becoming jaded or wearing out its welcome.

This is an album that starts out well and improves with consecutive listens. It’s an album for fans, both old and new.

 

This is an album review I did for a uni assignment. The album has been out about a year now.

Absolution. A Poem.

The sum of all regrets
Like dew drops in my hand
Drying in the morning sun
And leaving nothing left
But the air I breathed
That filled me up
Was good enough

Good enough

Scream. A Poem Of Dreams.

The angry tide
The beach swept clean
Refuse returned to the slumber of the sea

The frozen snows
Such bitter cold
Ground disguised, glistening winter freeze

The haunted house
All empty rooms
Cavities and mouldings hold mysteries

The ocean ship
Pitches, rolls away

The storm that blows onward drunkenly
 
All these things
Broil and seethe
In relentless dreams I drown, I scream


I dream about all sorts of stuff. I know you do too.

Care to share?

Feel. A poem.

Let my fingers feel your face
Contours, valleys, lines and shape
I read perfection, interlaced
I touch your lips, your smile in place 

Rain. A Poem.

I felt the rain more deeply than ever before
It flowed like chaotic capillaries down my face
It mingled with tears, a salty, alchemical mix  
It touched my tongue, combined saliva and cotton mouth
It washed me clean of tragic irony and bittersweet regret
And when it stopped I stood there dripping, alone as always
Contemplating when it would fall on me again
Would I accept its cold, cleansing embrace
Or would I shrink away to a warmer, dryer place

 

This poem is another experiment for me. I’ve been trying out different free verse structures and meters, and this one is more prose-like.

I think it worked out okay. Tell me what you think.

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