Friday, December 29, 2006

Insanity beckons

I'm noticing a theme this week.





Maybe it's just because I'm going through my usual misanthropic phase that seems to emerge every once and a while, but my typical rage has risen to a fair degree the past few days, which is a sure and disappointing sign that the Christmas fever of goodwill is already at its end. Because I'm seeing and experiencing so many things annoying me right now that I think the next thing I look at is probably going to burst into flames. I am Superman. Yes.

Just a few things that have made me crazy of late:

- My strange mutating illness refuses to budge. Still. A whole month later. I don’t. Understand. Why. I'm starting to suspect it's Colonel Mustard, in the Dining Room, with the Candlestick.

- Sitting at a junction yesterday, an ambulance is heard screaming down a road. Two cars at the junction coming from the left side decide not to stop, but rather drive STRAIGHT INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE JUNCTION, BLINDLY, AT HIGH SPEED. Said ambulance, coming from the north side has to swerve slightly out the way to avoid collision because the drivers of those cars were too stupid to realise why everyone else was stopping. Had the ambulance crashed at that point, at least 7 roads all linking to that junction would have been crippled, as well as the obvious danger of whoever the ambulance was trying to serve being in a worse situation. All because two people wanted to get across 10 meters of road quicker than the emergency services. Urgh.

- A recent article goes up and I talk about objectivity and the metatextual aspects of a particular game. First reader's response? To say I clearly never played the game because I apparently got the mystical race of the fictional character wrong. Which is made all the more galling because A) I didn’t get it wrong, B) what he refers to in my article isn’t actually IN my article (he paraphrases and ends up putting words in my mouth), C) he clearly didn’t read the article properly in his scramble to try and defend the game, which is amusing because D) I wasn’t criticising the game in the first place, and now E) the rest of the readers are caught up in a pointless argument over what bloody mystical race the fictional character is, and F) I cant respond because I don’t have the necessary access. I'm actually laughing now, because it's kinda funny. Maybe the medication is kicking in.

- Littlewoods online has left me in the lurch with my Wii remote, telling me the delivery date of Dec 22nd is now mid Jan. Which would be fine if they hadn’t told me on Dec 23rd. And already took the money out. And if I didn’t need the damn thing before then for the relevant New Year's parties. Take in mind I ordered it in November, it's horrible service.

- Casual prejudice/bigotry from a forumite, with no apology or explanation. To indulgently quote a character of mine: "The 21st century. Age of enlightenment. Aint it a trip?"

*Breathes out*

Wow, this is cathartic. I feel much better now.

Anyway, to my actual planned entry this week as not to make me seem like a totally sour old man. Namely, the project update blog. Nothing fancy about this; it's a rundown of how each project I'm working on is going in an attempt to:

a) Keep you up-to-date on the billion stories I've got going,

b) Keep my arse busy on them by making you aware of them. Which may be a basic psychology trick (you know of them, therefore they're in the public domain and now need to constantly pushed on so I don’t feel like an idle wretch),

c) Hopefully provide a tally of my successes (probably boring), my failures (probably more entertaining) and everything in-between (probably the bulk of this blog).

So this section will be projects either close to completion, in progress for publication or actually complete and awaiting publication.

TITLE: Bad Luck Inc.
TYPE/MEDIUM: Comic book short story. Drawn by Yui Marr.
GENRE: Sci-fi
PUBLISHER: Futurius
CURRENT STATUS: Written and drawn. Awaiting editing, lettering and printing.
SYNOPSIS: See preview link below
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Minority Report, The Matrix
PREVIEWS: http://cbrotherson.blogspot.com/2006/08/bad-luck-inc-preview.html
PUBLISH ETA: Early 2007 in the Futurius Anthology: Tales From the Plex Vol 2.

TITLE: Secret comic project (can't say much as I'm under contract)
TYPE/MEDIUM: Monthly comic book series
GENRE: *whistles*
PUBLISHER: *coughs*
CURRENT STATUS: Ongoing monthly, several issues written, some to be drawn imminently.
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Sorry, cant say at this stage… gives far too much away.
PREVIEWS: Coming next year
PUBLISH ETA: Late 2007, 2008 and hopefully beyond.

TITLE: Butterflies and Moths
TYPE/MEDIUM: Full 22 page comic book story
GENRE: Supernatural drama
PUBLISHER: Futurius
CURRENT STATUS: Written, currently being drawn by a fantastic artist to be named soon
SYNOPSIS: "What would you do if you've been given the hardest choice to make in your life – and had to make it over and over and over again? What would you do? How would you cope? How far would you go to sacrifice your life for the sake of others?"
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Donnie Darko, The Sixth Sense
PREVIEWS: Coming soon!
PUBLISH ETA: Sometime in 2007

TITLE: The Cure
TYPE/MEDIUM: Prose novella
GENRE: Psychological thriller
PUBLISHER: Gorelab, hopefully (Adam? Adam? ;) )
CURRENT STATUS: Written and finished, around 12,000 words
SYNOPSIS: "When an insular Eastern European family living on the borders of a terrible war are forced to take in a mysterious stranger, they find their lives spiral into a land of distrust and sickness, as ghosts of the past threaten every part of the future."
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: The Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs, The Mothman Prophecies
PREVIEWS: Available on request
PUBLISH ETA: TBA

TITLE: The Twilight Cleaner
TYPE/MEDIUM: Comic book short story
GENRE: Horror
PUBLISHER: Onyx Cross
CURRENT STATUS: Written, currently being drawn by the brilliant Armando Mendoza
SYNOPSIS: "Within the trappings of society and expectation, a young woman finds herself asking the question of where her loyalty are, to carve out a worthwhile future. Of course, when you're a vampire survival by night and death are necessary, and the limited options force her into a horrific dawning realisation…"
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF YOU LIKED: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Lost Boys
PREVIEWS: Coming veeeeeery soon…
PUBLISH ETA: Late 2007

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bad Santa


There was originally going to be a lot more to this week's entry, but in truth, a little of my Christmas cheer has deserted me through the chaos of continual illness, numerous emerging problems and having to deal with the above while still keeping on top of current deadlines. Bah. So it's a slightly condensed version for your eye-teeth. Humbug.

Before I get into it, I just want to do my usual promo of current work going live. As per week, my recent WiiChat column has gone up with another due just before Christmas Day and then probably one more next week (I think): http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/
They're actually becoming "acclaimed", which is, you know, nice and stuff - I've been writing for bloody ages and I'm far more used to the deafening silence of apathy, so it's nice to know they're being enjoyed.

My entry to the Best Games of 2006 are over at Boomtown as well: http://pc.boomtown.net/en_uk/articles/art.view.php?id=13087

There'll also be a comic review over on ComiX-Fan this weekend, once I get the energy to write the damn thing.

Anyhoo, the bulk of this entry beckons: it's the inevitable 'best of' gubbins which is always good for this time of year (and not being used because I have little else to write about at the moment, oh ho ho ho no). The 'rules' are simple. Just copy and paste the below and remove my choices, adding your own. Your selection doesn’t have to be stuff released just in 2006, it may be something you've discovered this year but been out for a few years or whatever - just as long as your FIRST ENCOUNTER with it is this year. It can also be as in-depth or little as you want and you don’t have to use every category, especially if you can't think of something for it at the time. There's nothing too personal here, but as I said before, ignore questions you don’t want to answer. Although obviously, they'll be conspicuous by their absence and I'll note it for future reference ;)

If you're new, feel free to join in… consider it a meet and greet of sorts.

So here's my batch, in no particular order.

NAME
You know this one already

CURRENT LOCATION
Birmingham, on my bed, lying on a mattress of full fat butter

AGE
19? Okay, 27 (really 19! Honest!)

JOB
You should know this one too... (it's 'layabout')

BEST FILM(S) SEEN IN 2006
The Departed, Children of Men, The Prestige, Pan's Labyrinth, Crank, Jarhead

BEST ALBUM/SINGLE(S) HEARD IN 2006
The Minstrel Show – Little Brother, Black Republican – Nas & Jay Z, Murray's Revenge – Murs

BEST BOOK(S) READ IN 2006
American Gods – Neil Gaiman, Lone Wolf and Cub – Kazuo Koike & Goseki Kojima (started 3 years ago, but read most of the 28 books this year)

BEST TV WATCHED IN 2006
Lost, Entourage, Prison Break

BEST GAME(S) PLAYED IN 2006
Bully/Canis Canum Edit, Gears of War, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

CHEAP PROMOTION BONUS ROUND - PLUG SOMETHING
My whole links list (seen to the right) deserve plugs, along with any publication I work for ;)

A BIZARRE EVENT FROM THE YEAR
Applying to become a series writer, with little experience, then actually getting the job before realising a whole several months later that it's the real deal. Whu-guh?

AIMS FOR 2007
See that a majority of my scripts get translated to paper, not go insane, try not spend most of the year in an overdraft, not get pulled into fruitless arguments, continue the crossover from games industry to comic industry, not go insane (really this time)


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! :)
(No, that's not part of the quiz)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"The pain... oh, the pain..." said Doctor Zachary Smith

In a tad too much pain this week to write a true entry (on top of my illness, my wisdom teeth are causing problems as well, so I'm writing between moments of painkilling lucidity). Last week's Wii feature actually went up early-this-week, with a new one set for sometime between now and the weekend. They'll be over at: http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/

I'll have something that you can join in on next week, so be prepared and have your opinions sharpened like school pencils (sans nibbled end bits - yes, I know you all did that at school, dont deny it).

Have a good weekend!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

So much for the weekend update

Best laid plans, hm?

Yeah, had a few problems in getting a weekend update done for about… ooh, a billion reasons. But yes, my Wii was indeed one of them. It's a great, great machine and enamoured me far more than I expected considering I've yet to play nothing but sports and mini games on it so far. I also created my Mii, which I managed to get looking a little like me (although the creator lacked my mini dreads, so I'm wearing a hat… which, in truth, is what I wear when I'm out anyway).





Sorry for the poor quality, I took it with my phone. But I'm sure you get the idea.


But in any case, yeah, Wii is the future. It told me so, in a lucid dream, with its little blue light. Even before I get Zelda in the post. I would have a handy link to the feature I recently did on Wii's future, but it's yet to be posted on WiiChat. Next week. Although my optimistic opinions about how the console would be received now feel very vindicated in hearing the numerous stories about how people who usually don’t play videogames are enjoying Wii. In fact, my Mom, who's not played a videogame in something close to 20 years, played Wii Tennis last night and was so impressed that she told her partner about it, and spent several minutes talking to me about it today about how much she enjoyed the game and what else she could play on the system. Was I amazed? Seriously, you don’t know the half.

At this point, Paracetamol (did you know that word isn’t in the Microsoft Word dictionary? Although it's US adopted name, Acetaminophen, is. Hmm.) is kicking in. Yes, I'm ill again. I'm lame, I know. The throat infection is trying to come back, as eerily prophesied by my friends this weekend who told me there'd be a chance of the illness resurfacing seeing as I didn’t treat it (and therefore only pushed it below the surface rather than cure it). I can be a horrible hypochondriac at times, but sadly my throat hurting like hell and pain while swallowing is not something I'd wish upon myself, intentional or no. So now I'm looking at the unused prescription my GP gave me last week if the flesh-in-gullet problem suddenly reoccurs tomorrow. Although I'm hoping my immune system, lots of vit C and strepsils can flush it out before it gets that bad again.

The most important thing this weekend was that said friends -Tim and Lucy- visited with my ever-lovely (and growing far too fast) godson, who makes his blog debut right here, right now. Take a bow, Preston.





















Oh and before I go, I'm a feature reviewer for ComiX-Fan this week, with my review for Spider-Man: Reign, so feel free to take a look at that over here: http://www.comixfan.com/xfan/forums/showthread.php?t=40825 I also wrote a PlayStation party-games piece at PlayStation.com http://uk.playstation.com/pdcf/index.jhtml?locale=en_GB'A PlayStation Party for all'. The site makes it impossible to direct link it, but it's easy enough to find as it's a recent feature.

And that's me done for now. Ironically, this is an update of sorts, isn’t it? Handy. Anyhoo, time to take advantage of the pain-killing time. Eat or Wii? Decisions decisions...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Warning: the following programme contains scenes of a vague sexual nature and mild peril

Yes, I know I'm early.

No, I'm still not well.

Despite this week being far kinder on my schedule than the last couple, I know -just know- I'm not going to be able to get anything too meaningful from the spongy trifle that is my brain this week. The throat infection is nearly gone, so the sensation of moving a pound of flesh each time I swallow or talk has passed, but it's now mutated into a cold and cough, making me a comedy act of coughs, snot, sneezes and dribbles (especially attractive) every five minutes. Ah, man-flu. I've been expecting you.

So, I've decided to do a semi-update now and then potentially do another later across the weekend if time permits it. Which, in not so subtle terms, means "I'll write something if work deadlines, and the fact I'll be playing my new Wii for stupid lengths of time, permits it".

C'est vrai. Lemsip honesty contains the most brutal of truths.

What will I be gracing you with in the interim, then? Well, aside from the fact I finally -finally!- did my bloody tax returns (yes, I know I promised to do them a couple weeks back, I'm sorry) and the better revelation that they weren’t nearly as painful as expected, this week's pseudo-update is below. It even has pictures. For once.

- My newest WiiChat column is now up. http://www.wiichat.com/nintendo-wii-articles/7259-wii-fam-il-y.html is where my thoughts lie. I talk about how the machine has affected family dynamics and what this means for the console's potential sales figures. My only disappointment with the feature is that it became a terrible reminder of how unreliable and impolite people on a whole are. While several gamers volunteered their stories for the examples in the article, several others jumped at the chance only to leave me in the lurch and refuse to reply to my emails after. So a few reshuffles later, the piece ended up in its more example-lite form that is published. It probably would have been a bit too long with more stories, but a lack of courtesy gets my back up at the best of times.

- Excitingly, a preview of the comic book anthology I'm part of is now up over at Futurius. http://www.futurius.com/tftp_vtwo.html is where a few samples are being shown, and lovely they look too. Be aware that the preview doesn’t contain any of my story material (it's still being lettered and finished), but it's a nice confirmation that the anthology is edging closer to completion for the coming months. At which point, I'll start posting some previews of my first story on here. I'm hoping the brilliant artist I have for my second story can get something done in time, but seeing as I should have at least 3 comic book stories published in the next 10 months, maybe I'm just being greedy. In any case, check out the preview.

- Off-beat humour alert. Oh, and yes, I'm talking about Wii again. Sorry. The Japanese manual has fairly amusing pics that would normally be associated with health and safety warnings that come with any machine. Although while we boring Westerners would get dull pictorials, the Japanese have wonderfully visual versions that are (presumably intentionally) comical. It's almost like playing a game of Pictionary to guess what the exact warning is.




Your Wii remote can be used to gleefully and brutally re-arrange the face of close friends and relatives. DO NOT DO THIS



Left unattended, your Wii may dress up in your clothes and develop thoughts of its own. These thoughts may or may not be sexual. If sentience is gained, DESTROY IMMEDIATELY



If Wii is not destroyed, it may develop a 40-a-day habit. Potentially after aforementioned amoral thoughts. USE PROTECTION







And on that risqué note, I'm off to watch an episode of Firefly and hopefully not have dreams about The Grudge, which I 'experienced' a few hours ago. My night-thoughts are bad enough as they are without fingers popping out my skull. Did I tell you about the time I started sleep-walking after thinking there were tigers outside my room...?



No?




Oh.