NaNoWriMo – Entry #5

I’m sitting at 38,000 words, with nine and a half days left. This week is the last full week of the month, and I can taste the end approaching. It tastes like a poorly thought-out, quickly written story, with gaps and missing characters and so much required polish it makes me wonder if I should even bother finishing the novel.

It’s better to have a shitty novel than no novel at all. At least I will have something to edit, to change, to spruce up a bit before I have someone else look over it. I’ll finish the book this year. I will make it readable the next.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Thankfully, I haven’t had writer’s block yet. I just have periods of writing garbage.

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Entry #4

Halfway through the month, and I’m over halfway through the word count. I’m hoping to keep the pace up and finish strong. So far, it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be, but I’m also lucky to have a lot of free time on my hands, as well as a lack of children. I should have no issue finishing up on time.

That being said, even though I’m almost thirty thousand words in, it still feels like I’m starting out. The story is slow, and there hasn’t been a lot of action yet. I’m trying to limit the dialogue, but it seems at least a few scenes are people simply sitting down and talking. Once I’m done the first draft, I’ll go back and start sprucing the place up with furniture, if you get what I’m throwing down.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. To anyone who’s new to the blog. All kinds of apologies. Once this month is over, It’ll be back to interesting topics, I swear.

p.s.s. I feel bad for anyone who has to read this shit.

NaNoWriMo – Entry #2

It’s been four days into the contest so far, and I’m a little ahead of the game. Although it’s been going smoothly so far, each say has been getting a little tougher and tougher. Certain questions keep popping up in my mind. Here’s one of the big ones that has been rattling around in the noggin.

Has anyone explained to the other members of this national novel writing month group that 50,000 words isn’t really a novel? I mean, it’s not an adult novel, and even if young adult literature is popular is that what everybody is writing?

Yes, from the people I talk to, everyone seems to be doing young adult, typically referred to as YA.  Which is fine, I guess. After Harry Potter success, I can guess people are after that sweet teet of children’s fantasy.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Ok, that last sentence came out wrong.

 

NaNoWriMo – Entry #1

So I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, which is the clever abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. The goal, which is listed on nanowrimo.org, is to write a 50,000 word novel in the span of a month. A particularly lofty goal for many people. This year Mr. Charlton has decided to participate. As a result, I won’t be hitting my usual 750-1000 word article which graces the internet thrice a week. If I’m going to be running a word count, it should very well be towards the project I’m working on.

With that said, I’m still going to be posting here, thrice weekly, although it’s going to be a lot briefer than usual. Expect to see anywhere from 100-200 words put down on the intertubes. As it stands, I’ve hit about 3,500 words. It’s only day two, and to be honest, I haven’t written much today, until now.

I’ll keep you posted.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. See, this is 150 words that could have gone to getting me a deal on software. I’ll explain later.

Mr. Charlton – The Laggard

I sit on both sides of technology. One one hand, I spent my Wednesday evening ranting about how the internet has turned everyone into some sort of huckster. That Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are full of narcissists who are screaming at the top of their lungs to look in their direction. I also know that’s pretty disingenuous coming from a guy who has a website with his name as the address. The irony is not lost on Mr. Charlton. But it’s true that I’m completely clueless when it comes to social media.

On the other hand, I spent my Thursday evening creating procedurally generated terrain in JAVA. I can replace the processor in my computer, even making sure the thermite paste is properly applied. I can create 3D models and have them sent to a 3D printer. I have a number of computers. Two of these computers run Linux. I have, at one point, had a computer with three operating systems on it. Mr. Charlton has spent decades now breaking computers, and I’m at a point where I can safely be trusted with one.

The picture I’m trying to paint is I both love and hate technology. I love computers, but I hate carrying a cell phone around.  I think the internet is a wonderful, fantastic tools for communicating and sharing ideas, but I absolutely loathe Facebook, Instagram, and Google. I think new gadgets are neat, but I’m convinced that if you can’t open a device and fix it, then you don’t actually own it. I should also mention that almost all the technology I own is really old.

Which puts me in the camp of, what Kat has labeled me, the laggards. The late adopters of technology. I’m using an old Galaxy SIII for my phone. Both my little lappy and my tower PC were bought in 2009. I didn’t actually own a cell phone until 2006. The only thing I own that’s even relatively new is a laptop that Kat’s parent gave to me. Either than that, everything I own is crazy old, in terms of tech progress.

The thing is, I don’t actually need my computers and my cell phone to do more than they’re already doing. The only thing I haven’t been able to install on my phone has been Pokemon Go. My computer can’t run the newest and greatest games anymore, but everything I play is pretty old school. My computers are almost exclusively used to write and design stuff, and they do that just fine. Truthfully, I’m saving my pennies right now to upgrade the beast of a tower I have, but I’m in no rush. Until it bursts into flames, the workhorse is still sitting happy besides my desk, churning out the polygons. Why am I so damned adverse to change?

I thought about this long and hard, and it boils down to two things. I hate being pestered, and I’m a minimalist.

Let’s start with being pestered. I don’t actually like having my cell phone on me. Sure, it’s great for emergencies, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the last time there was an emergency that needed my immediate attention. For the most part, it’s an electronic invitation for someone to pester me. And it’s not a human that’s usually being a bother, it’s Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or maybe it’s…

“Mr. Charlton! Neil DeGrass Tyson just tweeted a picture!”

… look, this is what I’m talking about. Alright, I’m turning the push notifications off. How on God’s green Earth do you…

“Hey! One of your friends just spammed a massive invite to everyone they know on Facebook! Are you able to go to their party taking place 2000 kilometers away from you tonight?”

Goddamnit! How do I turn off every one of these stupid noti….

“Man, someone from Instagram is at the gym. They want you to know they are at the gym. Here is a picture of them at the gym, in gym clothes.”

Turning off the push notifications on my phone wasn’t easy, but I managed to get it done. Still though, I don’t need to be connected to the network at every goddamn second of the day. The way apps are designed, you’d think it these programmers used to be crack dealers. The people who work at places like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest use various psychological tricks to keep you coming back to their sites. How many times have you checked Facebook today? Five times? Ten? Is it more?

On the minimalist side of things, I’ll put it bluntly. My phone, for me, isn’t a sign of status. I don’t care if you have a better phone than me, or if you have a MacBook Pro, or if your computer has way more RAM than mine (it’s important to point out that most people rarely need over 8 gigs of the stuff. Anything over that is overkill). Some people like to call it ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. I refer to it as ‘The Biggest Dick Waving Competition in the Universe’. The only time the brand name is important is if I’m working for that brand, and they are paying me to sell it. This rarely happens in my life.

I’ve caved recently, though. I’ve given up the idea that I can succeed as an adult without social media. If this is how the world is going to be, then I have to accept it. So feel free to follow me on twitter @SandyCharlton. Twitter only allows me to use 140 characters, so that might be a problem. Brevity is the soul of wit, and you’re about to find out how witty I’m not.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. LinkedIn is also a weird one for me. It’s like Facebook, except with less ignorance and racism.

p.s.s. I actually don’t have an Instagram account. Those people who are social media savvy, is this something the hip young kids are using?

p.s.s.s. Social Media Savvy is code word for narcissistic sociopath.

A Steaming Pile of Internet

There’s another reason I didn’t post anything for two weeks. It’s because I didn’t have anything interesting to talk about. Nothing I was doing was particularly interesting at the time. I wasn’t reading anything worthwhile, I wasn’t examining any fascinating new articles. I was staying inside and playing video games and watching television. I needed a break from brain thinking, and loaded up my mind space with cerebral junk food. There’s nothing wrong with that, except, it left me with nothing to scribe about and no desire to make something up. I own a small slice of the internet, though. Not a very big slice, mind you, but a slice non the less. As the proprietor of this tiny slice of web zone, I’m now considered a “content creator”. This is where we enter bullshit territory. So pucker your assholes, because Mr. Charlton is going to rant for a bit.

See, before the internet, the world was filled with musicians and writers and designers and inventors and artists and a whole mess of crazy people who made things. They usually worked with marketers, entrepreneurs, publishers and another heap of humans to package and sell these things. These marketers, entrepreneurs, and publishers were the gatekeepers. They decided who got to be successful, and who didn’t make the cut. For years, this seemed to work in favour for the latter group. There’s always been this undercurrent of hatred for this group, these so-called suits. They’re business people at their core, and they’re interested in making money, not making dreams happen for artists. Fair enough. Then the world wide web took off, and soon it became easier for the painter, the poet, or the filmmaker to create art and sell it without the middle man, these so-called suits. We entered a new world, where people who created things got to deal directly with their fans and the purchasing public. Awesome, right?

There’s a problem, though. Back in the day, the artist used to think “You know what, these gatekeepers have shitty taste. If the people could only hear my music, then I’d be able to be successful. I’d make it if I just had the chance.” Those artists were wrong. It wasn’t the gatekeepers who had shitty taste, it was the people. I wrote a post years ago, on the old blog, about how people have lousy taste. That includes me. I have abhorrent taste in music. I have a soft spot in my heart for terrible movies. My idea of decorating a house is minimalist, in which I don’t decorate my house (the added bonus of not having to dust shit is also nice).

The internet is steaming cesspool of pop-culture refined sugar, not because that’s what people want to make, but that’s because it’s what people want to consume.

I’m going to give you a choice. You can either get a fast food burger once a day, or you can splurge at the end of the week and get a three course meal at a fancy restaurant. The only caveat is you can’t have both. Most people are going to go for the first option. There will be a few people who’ll wait for the crazy amazing meal, but not everyone is into fine dining. The internet is taken this to heart, and the term is ‘content’. In order to be a viable website, you need to have new content. Every. Day. Even if it’s not particularly good content, people still need to be able to come to your space and find something new.

Truthfully, this has less to do with people’s shitty taste, although I will defend to the death that I’m right on the money with that. It actually has to do with how the brain is hardwired. The brain likes being rewarded with stimulus, and will fire some dopamine in your direction when it gets what it wants. The same pleasure centers fire up when you get a message, or a text, or a Facebook like, or browse a site and get something new. That’s why websites like Facebook and Instagram are constantly updating. It’s why people are constantly checking their feeds every ten minutes.

If you’re a massive organization, like let’s say Buzzfeed, you just need to churn out crap everyday. And that’s what Buzzfeed does. I’m not certain how many people contribute to Buzzfeed, but it’s got to be a couple dozen. If you’re flying solo, like myself, you have to make a conscious descision. Do I churn out crap everyday? Or do I try and have some standards and at least put together a legible article?

Here’s the thing. Even what I’ve just written here is pretty trashy. I haven’t solidfied my research, but rather just took a bunch of ideas I’ve been pooling in my head and vomited them out onto the page. Which is maybe why I haven’t been writing as much, ’cause I hate churning out crap.

The internet is both a blessing and a curse. The artist isn’t just an artist anymore, they’re a ‘content creator’. They now have to be selling themselves at all times. I like putting shit down on paper and online. I do not like adding a million hashtags to what I’m doing to try and whore myself out. Anyways, rant over. I’m going to get back at something more interesting later this week. I promise.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. You know what happens if I break my promise? Nothing.

p.s.s. Maybe it’ll be ’34 ways people are using the internet the way junkies use heroin’.

p.s.s.s. #writing #writerslife #doIreallyhavetodothis #Igetitsaneasywaytopromotemyself #anditsfree #butseriously #everytimeIseeapostlikethis #Iwanttostaplemydicktothebackofacar