Tuesday, March 31, 2020

April 2020 News

Ready for an April Fool's joke?
I'm not.

I'm always ready for a joke.

Another month down without me resurrecting Silexare.com. The longer that fails to be a priority, the less likely it will happen soon.

Let's make like Grylls and get into it. 

I sometimes end up sitting amidst a pile of scene-guts without clear direction of what to use, what to toss, where to go. This is fixable, and honestly not even that hard a fix. I just need to be able to tap into creativity by CONCENTRATING. Therein lies the problem these days. My job has gone crazy, as I'm sure has yours. Stuff is just hella wack right now, as the youts would say.
(To my distant-future readers, we're in the throws of the COVID-19 pandemic and are enjoying a lockdown/quarantine/social distancing/you name it.)

- ~*~ Silver Lining ~*~ -

I've mentioned I hired Felix Ortiz as the cover artist for V&V. He did miraculous wonders that I can't wait to bestow upon you.
Well, he hit me up over the weekend to share a painting he's been working on related to the cover design work he did for me and by Hove did it elevate my spirits. I'm sharing an iteration of it with you, in the hopes that it brings you a fraction of the utter delight it brought me.

painting by Felix Ortiz
You know what? I'ma tell you a little about it and introduce a couple of characters. There's a lockdown in effect. Pain and suffering and boredom abound so why not? Please forgive any lack of polish. I'm not breaking my nuts over this, just trying to cheer up you.

V&V tells the story of Turesia's civil war, wherein the monks of Ausgan prepare to defend their tropical home against Fohrvylda's warriors, who seek to invade and lay waste.
(imagine the Danish raiders falling on Lindisfarne monastery but instead of finding monks in the position of the fetal, they meet chitin-clad martial artists, singing litanies of lightning)

Foreground Left - Basalt Kale, Ausgan 
He's an exemplar (Consonant monk) of the lowest order in Erudition, gifted in negation and very little else. He would use his abilities to help the higher-tiered mancers in their training, but an incident years back cost a fellow exemplar his life. Kale lost all trust and utility. This left him with idle hands and an unpredictable void cloud. Bad combination.

Foreground Right - Irdessa the Undying, Fohrvylda 
For the past two years she's been a prisoner of Promontory, forced to fight in the arena Keswal, where she is a crowd-favorite. As brutal as her day to day may be, she will quickly come to miss it after she escapes into the badlands. Turns out surviving combat to the death is simpler than protecting her people from bloodthirsty birds and beasts and the immortal grudge of His Might, Vretos.

Background Left - Magus Kalderys, Ausgan 
The Consonant Fist. Intemrus' Judgment.
A baromancer able to reduce entire villages to ash with his Consonant song. He works tirelessly to defend the Holy City and fight back the cannibals of the Untamed. His only fear in life is that he is not on the beach to meet the Fohrvyldans when they arrive. He will serve them justice, and grant their remains to the wind.

Background Right - Captain Jeret of the Domestic Patrol, Forhvylda 
Jeret desires only to ascend the ranks of Promontory's military, as well he should. If anyone deserves the rank of Marshal and a seat at Vretos' Court, it is not that imbecile Zander. By the time Fohrvylda launches their fleet against Ausgan, he'll have earned a warship of his own, on the front wave of the assault, no matter who or what stands in his way.

SEVENEVES by Neil Stephenson
At this moment, 60% through it, I give it 3/5 stars. This story takes an amazing and horrifying concept (the moon breaks apart and falls on the world, ending all life) and analyzes it closely, realistically, scientifically, technically, numerically, statisticall.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
I'm sorry. This 800 page monstrosity has been a lesson for me in my genre preferences, and you can keep Hard Scifi. I don't care the numerical values of the propulsion required to save a swarm of synchronized arklets from a bolide of X mass. Just show me how they dance in the blackness of infinity while sharing a single brain, why don't ya?
Holy s^&t this book had potential. And you know what? If Neil had exercised a modicum of style with the telling, I bet it would have been 5/5. But no. He wrote it with the exsanguinated prose of a doctoral thesis, as if future generations of scientists might rely on this actual document to save us all when the moon does fall apart.

EDIT: Ok. I'm at like 80-85% through it now and I'm starting to really see the payoff of the title and the story's theme. We're elevated to 4/5 stars, but it's not going to hit 5. Like I said, prose. That's my kink. That makes the journey worth the destination.

Lest it go without saying, I'm not ruined from Neil. I gave SNOW CRASH a preview and really digged the style therein. Not next or necessarily even soon, I'll give Mr. Stephenson an udder chance.

Peter wants me to play Halo online. 
Drew wants me to play Satisfactory.
Maybe I will do those things.

from Squenix, so you know it's freaking good
In the meantime, I've been playing Octopath Traveler, which is just delightful!

I miss it already
Kingdom s.2
I talked about season 1 on Silexare.com (which is dead right now). Season 2 is exactly as good, if not better. I love visual story telling brought to me by anyone besides that overworked and absolutely exhausted boom bang boobies factory, Hollywood. 
I suggest Kingdom for those who can stomach subtitles and who are curious to see a zombie story told WELL with strong characters and political intrigue in an era when blades are just starting to give ground to firearms. 

Next Month
I'll see you right here because I'm not reviving Silexare.com in April and anyway, NONE OF US ARE GOING ANYWHERE, SH'LONG AS THE ROROVIRUS IS ON THE RAMPAGE.

now go wash your social, don't touch your hands, exercise face distancing


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Research Record - March 2020

Here's some light reading for your 'tine. Christ almighty this one's been weird. Lemme post this while it's still semi-relevant.

Obviously I fell down the Covid-19 wormhole, which entailed a lot of research and tangents and so bear with me while I try to keep this all halfway entertainformative.

Bushmeat - A term originated in Africa meaning essentially 'wild meat'. Can be pretty much any sorta beast you manage to kill and eat. Or at least eat. Yewei is pretty much the Chinese variety, and sold at wet markets. Oh, what's a wet market?

Wet Market - In the kindest terms, this is a market that specializes in perishable goods, particularly of the animal and produce variety (as opposed to a dry market). Famous among such markets was the

Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market - The largest wet market in Central China (540k sq ft) and the alleged birthplace of Covid-19. The problem with butchering some of the animals that fall into the category of bushmeat or yewei is that they are just spackled with disease. Animals traded and butchered in this market included

You might notice I used the past tense while referencing the market. That's because it's been shut down by health authorities to examine, disinfect, reinvent. (Although the govt-run news provider - Xinhua News Agency said at the time that it was being closed for renovations)
I've read multiple reports, some saying this closure is temporary, some suggesting it's permanent. Apparently as of February 14th China has banned the trade and consumption of wild meat across the country. This does not cover traditional Chinese medicine, but I call it quite the win considering we have wild animal butchering and tampering to blame for tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera, smallpox, measles, influenza, syphilis, HIV-1, AIDS, Ebola, Creutzfield-Jakob disease, monkeypox, T-lymphotropic virus, anthrax, and God only knows how many parasites.

On the other hand, I hate to see ancient traditions undone. Chinese cuisine is one of the oldest in the world, and is tied to their traditional medicine. The Manchu Han Imperial Feast is a notoriously grand meal that took place during the Qing Dynasty. It spanned three days and featured 108 dishes of every variety you can imagine and probably plenty you'd rather not. Surely the preparation of the dishes took place in a more sanitary environment than the middle of a meat market, but I'm sure some wet market shopping was necessary to accommodate such a gargantuan feast.

Part of me loves the idea of a wet market. For some people in the world, it's their only market. During mine and my wife's trip to the Dominican Republic we witnessed freshly butchered meat hanging on hooks on the front porch of what looked like residences. I admit some part of me wanted to buy a chunk and throw it on a fire with some local spices and see what I could come up with. Speaking of local spices,

History of Spices - I'm not entirely sure where my fascination with spices came from. But for those of you in the crowd who are new here, I'm a chronic world builder. Pretty much everything that inspires me at all gets transmuted to fit into Silexare. I love the idea of spices as a valuable commodity, as hard as it is for me to imagine. I can walk in the grocery store and snatch up cumin, thyme and oregano as if they're all just variations of salt. Only later in life am I learning how such spices got to Bilo, and why their names are so un-English.
It's just freakin interesting, okay?

Tangent achieved. I'm leaving you with this next one.

Sefirot - I'm not going to try to explain it because I don't understand. It's tied to Kabbalah, a school of thought in Jewish mysticism (apologies for what might come off as a derogatory descriptor).
Originally stumbled upon this concept because Sephiroth is one of my favorite villains of all time. But I return to it because of my fascination with its processes, particularly the second step - Chokhmah. It means (and I'm copying Wikipedia's definition) the first unbounded flash of an idea before it takes on limitations. When I'm struck by inspiration, I prefer to linger in this phase as long as I can, before the box of reality inevitably closes in.

Chokhmah is relevant right now because I've finally had a break through on a project/challenge I've been dwelling on for several years. This project is my next large one, and will commence in earnest after the V&V trilogy, after making a YouTube chill VG song compilation, but before writing another book/series or building a video game I have in mind.
For fear of revealing too much, this will be an interactive environment simulator engine. Let's call it project InEnSiEn. No. That sucks. How about Schala.

There is a story of a pack of wolves being reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and the trophic cascade that followed. That story is directly related to this project, and is a big part of the inciting inspiration. I didn't scour YouTube for the very best iteration of the tale, but here's a great one if you're interested.
YouTube - How Wolves Change Rivers.

See you guys next time


Monday, March 2, 2020

March 2020 News

I'm getting more comfortable with the possibility of not reviving Silexare.com. I was never too uncomfortable with that possibility, so this doesn't fare well for the site and my 5+ years worth of news posts and reviews of games, movies, music. It had sorta become just another thing to keep up with. Kind of like my Facebook Author page vs my Facebook Not Author page. I want to murder one of those. Two seems useless. Maybe that will be a side quest of mine this month. Probably not.

Also, I've noticed a trend. If the 1st is on a weekend, then you're getting the News on the 2nd or 3rd. Maintenance such as this is for weekdays, my goodman.

I'm on scene 28 of 31. Feels like climbing a vertical wall with no rope. I thought I was stuck on 25. Now I'm TURBO stuck. Actually... looking at my previous posts, I was stuck on 25 for at least three weeks. That's not the case with 28. I feel kinda better now. This is one of those scenes where the villain goes Muah ha ha and breaks down his vile plan right before the hero stops him. Except the hero isn't stopping him.

EDIT: Scratch all that. I finished scene 28. Powered through and now I'm happy again. Set optimism to fleeting.


Have I ever told you about Hollow Knight? No? This is up there with Bloodborne and Last of Us as one of my favorite games to come out in the last ten or twenty years. I'm playing through it a second time after setting it down for about a year. It is exactly as good as before. Maybe even better, since the dexterity already exists and less grinding is required to git gud. But Traitor Mantis is spanking me like a step child...

ALSO HOLY CRAB I JUST GOT A NOTIFICATION: Final Fantasy VII Remake demo dropped this morning! Downloading today. Playing tonight.


BLACKWING by Ed McDonald
I'd heard so many good things about this book, and it did not disappoint. Galharrow is a gritty, jaded mercenary-type and his voice is hilariously sarcastic and cutting. Very fun to read. The world and the magic systems are awesome. For me the pacing sorta shook a little toward the end. Still, highly recommended.

Another gritty, jaded hero! This book scratched an itch I wasn't aware of. Engineer-fantasy is what I'd label this and it comes with piles of sarcasm and a good supply of  the 'nuts and bolts' of fortress siege and siege defense. I recommend.

Next Month
I'm not even going to pretend I'll be done editing this book. I'll never be done!

See you then