Part III

So it turned out that there were never pics of the sword. I’d like to say that this absence of pics was the cause of the delay in this post, but the flaw in the system exists between the keyboard and chair. Specifically, I get distracted while writing the still-untitled Book #2 and helping Yvonne with her 3rd, and the Blog ends up being bottom priority. In a related good news/bad news scenario I’ve cooled off my Team Fortress 2 activity… because I finally have a machine that can run Payday 2, so expect that to crop up in the tags for the next few posts.

Current Events:

  • As mentioned, Book #2 has been the top item consuming keyboard time since the last post, and as of 2 days ago rough draft #1 is complete. Or ‘complete’. Many characters and locations still have descriptive placeholders instead of names, such as [VonGuard], [Chief], [Prince] and [OtherPrince]. Mike the Merc has a name, as does the Corsair, but several of the major players in the weird game of blood and deception are involuntarily anonymous. Additionally, a few sections of the book have already been bracketed for deletion or hard editing; a perfectly good (but excessive) description of a kneecapping here, some superfluous exposition there, and so on. Of course, a few revision passes will be required before I show it to anyone aside from the limited crew of people I would trust to help me move/dismember/bury a body.
  • Also as mentioned, Yvonne is grinding away at her third book (1 and 2 available at Amazon for download). Her story is progressing nicely, and by ‘nicely’ I mean that the war that is serving as the backdrop to her tale of love and acceptance is getting louder and nastier. In my unofficial role as in-house technical adviser, this has resulted in increased participation in her writing process. Hopefully I’ll be able to blog more actively between answering questions for her.
  • The other day we took some time to sneak out and see Hardcore Henry. Everyone who is describing it as “First Person Shooter: The Movie” is correct, both for good or for ill; the ‘plot’ has a few little turns here and there, but mostly it’s a pretense for one of the most impressive run-on ass-kickings yet seen on an American theater screen, and the novel filming technique of strapping a GoPro to a stuntman’s head produces both some badass sequences of movement and action along with the worst ‘shaky cam’ this side of the Borne  franchise. Your mileage may vary wildly; I see it as an instant cult classic and some of Sharlto Copely’s best work, Yvonne sees it as a nausea-inducing plot-vacant crapstorm which she has vowed never to forgive.
  • When it comes to computers, my tendency is to make a machine last as long as physically possible, mostly because I hate spending money if I can avoid it. A side effect of this is that I go through long periods where my computer is functionally obsolete as a gaming platform, but I can’t justify upgrading until some kind of circumstance pops up. Recently, the laptop that I used to write Caroline’s Awakening and about 90% of Book #2 entered the terminal phases of a death spiral that had commenced about a year ago when the battery decided that it didn’t need to work anymore. While in theory it has some life left in it, Yvonne got tired of watching me “pre-start” the vent fan with a can of compressed air while turning it on, and of hearing the occasional distressing high-speed clicking the machine was producing, so we sucked it up and got a new one. I’ve got a few years of catching up to do (read: I have to play Fallout 4 and Metal Gear 5, and want to play a bunch of other stuff), but I promised Yvonne I wouldn’t make any major acquisitions until her Book 3 and my Book 2 are in the can. Since I already had Payday 2 (an optimistic gift from a friend that didn’t pan out on my old machine, even with all the settings in the basement), technically I’m not breaking any rules. For those not familiar with the Payday franchise,  it’s a 4-player on line co-op game where you play a crew of criminals getting up to some crime. This crime can take the form of methodical sneaking and occasional zips of silenced gunfire like modern ninja, high speed smash and grab raids, or stand-up fights with massive quantities of law enforcement, depending on what contracts you take. It’s a great game, although verging a bit into ‘pay to win’ territory; several weapons simply aren’t available unless you pay real world cash for downloadable content, and while they aren’t strictly mandatory there are times where you will kick yourself in the ass for not having them. For instance, on more difficult jobs there is a random chance of a special enemy named ‘Captain Winters’ showing up, and all the weapons that are really good for dealing with the son of a bitch cost actual money. Additionally, as an online game a lot of your fun hinges on the competence of strangers; stealth-oriented jobs can be a massive pain in the ass, bordering on impossible, if your crew doesn’t have it’s shit together. Stealth is a gamble, if you pull it off the rewards can be great, but if you screw up you either need to try again (which is the only option on some stealth jobs) or square off against an armed response that you probably aren’t equipped to deal with. Oddly, the worst isn’t the inexperienced players, who for the most part are willing to watch, listen, and follow the lead of more experienced hands. The worst is when you get two or more veterans in there who disagree on what the ‘best’ course of action is, which can result in the team trying to use assets intended for executing one plan to try and execute two plans at the same time, sending both down the toilet while the two veterans call each other idiots over their microphones and everyone else wonders why they’re not shooting up a shopping mall instead. Ah well, such is the life of crime.

The Future:

  • I’m going to need to start working on cover art (and a name for the book to put on that art) in a little while. The artist who helped us out for Book #1 might not be available, so I might be on my own. Currently, the plan is to go with something similar to the first book, specifically a map held down by an assortment of weapons and other objects. Related to that, I need to get my hands on one or more Mark VI Webley revolvers. A source may be available that won’t cost anything, but since technically making cover art for books can be written off as an expense against book sale profits, the temptation to just buy one is present. It wouldn’t need to be a high condition one, just an old beater with a 45 ACP conversion on the cylinder, the kind that might explode if someone shoves a modern jacketed defensive round into it. And as long as we’re going nuts with speculation, perhaps I could get my hands on a mold and a small press and roll some of my own cold-loaded rounds with the old school “manstopper” wadcutter bullets, which are basically cylinders of raw unjacketed lead that expand well enough on impact that using them on a human is technically a war crime. But I didn’t sign the Hague Convention of 1899, and in the event that I participated in a war I’d likely be executed as an un-uniformed combatant if captured, so I might as well go whole hog.

-PTK

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