Writing emotions. No, not ABOUT emotions.

The problem with writing is that it’s wholly subjective. Qualitative. No hard data.

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

ClickStats, my clicker-training data-keeping app

Where we can do quantitative analysis, we can make reasonable judgments even when our emotions aren’t in alignment. “I felt great about this today, but we actually had only a 70% success rate.” Or, “Oh, man, today has been a total downer and I hated this session, but we nailed it with a 90% success ratio.”

That’s very nice for behavior analysis and free throws. Not so useful with writing.
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Peter Cushing and Asian Folklore

Peter CushingImagine my delight when I stumbled upon the Peter Cushing Centennial Blogathon and realized it tied directly to Asian folklore and therefore I could totally justify a blog post.

Cushing had a long and varied career, playing everyone from Sherlock Holmes to the Sheriff of Nottingham, but even those who aren’t film buffs will remember him as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars (as pictured here), one of the few who could successfully tell Darth Vader when to step off.

But Cushing had a particular niche in horror films, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today — specifically, his role as Van Helsing in a kung fu zombie vampire movie.

You read that right. Continue reading

D&D Gone Off the Rails

English: A twenty-sided die (d20) as used in w...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s no secret that I’m a nerd and a geek, but I’m pretty new to the gamer scene. In fact, my first Dungeons & Dragons experience was at Gen Con a few years ago. And it was a lousy experience, to tell the truth. The scenario was written so badly that even the GM (assigned to run it, not his choice) realized that it wasn’t possible to save it.

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I Ran for Freedom. And I Didn’t Collapse.

So this morning was the 5K run to benefit International Justice Mission, combating modern slavery. (Yes, real slavery still exists today. In higher numbers than ever, in fact, but thankfully also as a smaller percentage than ever.)

International Justice Mission charity run

Yes, that’s a six-year-old. Ahead of me. Shuddup.

What you have to know is that I don’t run. Really. So this was a really good cause for me to even sign up. I had planned to do at least a bit of training beforehand, but a rotated pelvis nixed that. And that’s my best excuse for why I was able to take a photo of a six-year-old in front of me in the pack. Continue reading

Ben-Hur: Drama, Conflict, and Parody

Cover of "Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector's ...

Cover of Ben-Hur (Four-Disc Collector’s Edition)I love Ben Hur.

I love Ben-Hur.

Yes, it’s become somewhat fashionable in recent years for critics to wave their hands disdainfully at the film which was previously held in such esteem. Fine, they can have their pretense of superior taste. And okay, sure, trends in acting have changed in the last half-century. But I still love the film.

No, seriously, I once calculated that I’ve spent maybe half a week or so of my life watching Ben-Hur. Step aside, amateurs. Continue reading

A Game Not For One Night, But For A Thousand and One Nights….

English: Princess Parizade Bringing Home the S...

Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree, 1906, oil on paper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friend Mark gave me a new board game for Christmas. The setting is the world of the traditional 1001 Nights, in which Scheherazade is weaving tales to amuse Shahryar and keep herself alive. Players are story characters, with literally thousands of game paths (very re-playable).

It’s a bit different, as games go, rewarding not just game accomplishments in terms of points or accumulated treasures and things, but extreme storytelling — that is, the more dramatic, tragic, twisted, inspiring, and generally enthralling your character’s journey is, the more likely you’ll win the game. Continue reading