It's been a month since I last sat down and wrote one of these. It's close enough to 4:20 in the morning to make the 420 joke, and I'm sat here with a thick slice of CostCo carrot cake—the kind with the really rich, white icing—and a huge mug of black tea sweetened with a generous dollop of honey and a splash of cream. I woke up at 1 AM and finished reading Patrick Ness's "The Knife of Never Letting Go". It's the first new book I've read from start to finish in what might as well be forever. I feel the need to review it, so here's what I'll post on Goodreads:
I'm a writer, and one with a jealous heart, so as such I tend to read popular novels with a skeptical and pessimistic eye. This was also the first book I read from cover to cover since finishing Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" (July 4, 2017). I just got my first Kindle, and so far it's been amazing. If you're on the fence about getting one, and you've been reading books via tablet or mobile phone, I highly recommend you get yourself an e-ink device some kind. Much like a pair of wireless earbuds, you'll feel like an evolved human once you've experienced it. But Ness's book, right.
It's a long chase story where a boy comes of age. I didn't particularly like the boy, and he suffers a lot. It's like when someone in a writing workshop says "make your characters flawed, and make them suffer" and Ness took that advice to its furthest logical conclusion. If you enjoy dark, dystopian, "Young Adult" fiction, you'll find a lot to love here. What I found most interesting about the book was how it was written. I'm currently somewhere in the second year of a creative writing degree, and Ness takes pretty much everything my profs claim is "poor form" and writes a novel using supposedly broken tools. And makes it work.
Not even two chapters in I'm thinking: there's really no rules to writing readable prose. It seems to come down to just doing what's best for the characters and their story.
4 out of 5, loses a point for being a touch predictable and forcing me to buy two more books to see the real end.
I spent March playing videogames. Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Redemption Online, mostly. This past weekend I pulled an all-nighter playing Call of Duty: Cold War's new Outbreak event, which is basically just a sandbox for grinding out progression. There's a bit of time spent in World of Warcraft sprinkled in there, too, and I think I'm using games as achievement therapy again. Or maybe I just fell out of love with this resurged interest in game development and publishing. I honestly don't know.
I'm very proud of my latest poem presentation, "Dissolution". So, there's that.
I'm going to simplify things a little, going forward. Perhaps I made too many promises to myself last season. Perhaps winter was just weird. Spring is a little under 3 weeks away, and my 46th birthday comes 10 days after. Let's try to at least do something worth talking about, yeah?
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I livestreamed on Twitch on the weekend. Both Saturday and Sunday. I managed to hit four hours in the first session before I had to abruptly cut the broadcast. It was Ménière's disease (MD). Sunday's show was a little longer, at six hours, but also cut short by an MD attack. I've been having them more frequently. It used to be I'd get a handful when the seasons changed, but these last few weeks I've had one or two a day. It just means I have to stop whatever I'm doing and lie down on my right side. I need about four hours downtime during the attack, and then I'm wiped for the rest of the day. It sucks, but it's manageable. Based on my limited experience with debilitating diseases, I'd rate mine pretty low on the agony scale. The real point here is: I livestreamed on Twitch, and that was something that I thought I'd never do again.
I'd actually meant to go live on YouTube, but I'd forgotten to change the settings on the streaming software. I can just imagine some of the folks who still had their Twitch notifications turned on jumping in shock as their mobile devices buzzed to life. There had to have been at least one smugly satisfied grin, accompanied with a whispered "I knew he'd be back". The streams themselves were fine. I won't be returning to a full production. Here's my current modus operandi, feel free to adopt it as your own:
The above is a recipe for zero-stress livestreaming. The focus on no-plan, free-form video gaming is a return to the roots of the activity. I've always wanted to do game play streams, it just took me a long time to figure out a comfortable approach. There's really no reason for Twitch to own my content. The removal of VOD and clipping also reduces the odds of future embarrassment. I'm still keeping local archives, on my personal machines. Maybe there'll be some kind of a documentary to cut in the future?
The 1-day follower-only chat means you've got to have followed the channel for at least 24 hours before you can type anything into the live dialogue. This kind of protection is a no-brainer. It'll mitigate the number of trolls, and since we're going to be running on a cycle of few streams it'll boost loyalty. I'll be advertising upcoming streams on my Twitter, and inputting them into the Twitch schedule, so if anyone wants to be prepared to chat when we go live they'll have plenty of notice.
Lastly, keeping to the Art category is just me acting like a punk. I don't want to leverage Twitch categories for views. Honestly, I'd rather the viewership came from anywhere but Twitch. Also, who really wants to start up the old argument about whether or not games are art?
There's as many reasons for coming back as there were for leaving in the first place. Mostly, I'm lonely. It's an easy social outlet. Aside from that, there's people out there who actually want me to stream. Since I don't have any excuses for not, I might as well. And lastly, there's still 168 video games to give away.
Oh, and cussing and good music are back on the menu.
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