Let’s Break Our Resolutions

It’s inevitable that my New Year Resolutions are broken. It always happens. What have I broken?

Nothing yet. However, there are some personal goals I didn’t mention that I haven’t been able to do. This is what I wanted to do:

  • Make two posts a day again. I actually went back to one a day and I even missed a day.
  • Write a bit every day.
  • Read a bit every day.
  • Start my science videos in January.
  • Do some book reviews in January.
  • Keep up on comments.
  • Keep up on social media.

Well, I failed all of those. Maybe February will be better. I’m going to push myself to do it!

Have you broken your resolutions yet?

Week in Review – January 29, 2017

The past week has been busy. Not so much online, but there was a lot in my personal life. This includes my daughter’s birthday in the middle of the week and her birthday party today. And this blog had a huge milestone.

Reading

I almost finished Animal Farm, by George Orwell. I’m at 92% done, and I’ll easily finish it tomorrow. Then it’s on to a new book, Theft of Swords, by Michael J. Sullivan.

Writing

I didn’t get anything done, unfortunately.

Videos

It was an odd week for videos. I actually recorded 6 videos for my main channel, but only uploaded 3. I will be uploading the remaining 3 this week, as wel as recording new ones. I still haven’t done the new channel trailers, though.

Patreon

Nothing. Major revamp coming very soon!

Languages

I need to get back to work on languages.

The Blog

100,000 views! I reached that huge milestone today, actually. It’s hard to imagine that number of people. Of course, it’s the number of views, not number of people who read my posts. But still, amazing!

Studying

Nothing.

The Next Week’s Goals

Get back on track with everything, especially since the month is ending and another is beginning. I need to get caught up with comments and social media. I want February to get off to a great start in all aspects.

How was your week?

I’m Back, But…! The Jay Dee Show 17

It was supposed to be my triumphant return to my main channel. I actually had 6 videos recorded, but only 3 made it up. But they are recorded! They’re just going up next week instead. You see, the problem was time. And with this weekend being pretty busy, I didn’t get around to doing what I wanted. Look for those videos next week!

The first video on my main channel answers the question, “Where are your booktube videos?”

And then I did a tag, one which didn’t really apply to me because I don’t really read young adult.

And a quick, spontaneous video. This week was very frosty, and it reminded me of Narnia.

My science channel will still be coming. The planning is a bit more than I expected. And I still don’t have a name for it!

So, what did you think of the videos?

Authors Answer 117 – Difficult and Easy Scenes to Write

Writing isn’t always easy. Of course, writing isn’t easy! There are some aspects that are more difficult than others, but it really depends on the author. Some people have a talent for writing action, while others do really well with dialogue. So, what do we find easy and difficult to write?

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 117 – What kind of scenes do you find the easiest and most difficult to write?

Eric Wood

The scenes I most enjoy writing are those from a child’s perspective. Perhaps because I have 2 of my own. Perhaps because I’m more like them than I can admit. The scenes I find most difficult to write tend to be ones about violence and death. Because of that I don’t typically include those in my writings. Naturally you won’t find those on my blog or in my children’s stories. I have written a few violent short stories, but I never shared them so I don’t really know what others think. I just feel it’s not my strong suit because I don’t like it.

C E Aylett

Ooooh, you’re really making me think with this one! Um… I’m pretty good with conflict of emotion scenes, and especially with dialogue. What I’m not so good at are action scenes. Or more accurately, fight scenes. I have the utmost respect for authors who can write huge or epic battle scenes. I can just imagine them with a full board of little plastic figures in a bedroom or attic that they move around so they don’t lose track of who is where and what everyone is doing.

D. T. Nova

Easiest: action that has an excuse for not being entirely realistic. (Though incorporating realistic consequences into fantastic scenes also comes fairly naturally.)

Most difficult: scenes that require substantial description but still need fast pacing.

Linda G. Hill

Fight scenes! It’s not that I don’t know how to fight. I have a brown belt in Shotokan Karate. It’s just all those body parts moving around – I never know how much detail is too much.

Jean Davis

The easiest for me is a scene where characters are conversing. When we get to scenes where lots of description is necessary to flesh out the setting, I’m not in my happy place and writing is slow going.

Elizabeth Rhodes

Scenes that are heavy on dialogue come easiest to me. I can focus on what characters say, maybe add a few hand gestures, and move on. Scenes that rely on heavy emotion, such as scenes where someone’s dying or getting married (or maybe both?) are hardest for me because I struggle with portraying emotion convincingly in stories.

Gregory S. Close

Fight scenes are both easy and difficult – action scenes are exciting and generally move quickly, so the words pop out fast.  Then, in the editing stage, you have to worry about repetitive word use and phrasing.  Swords swing, scythe, slice, chop and parry a lot in a battle but you have to use the terminology sparingly to avoid repetition.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

This might sound strange, but I find the easiest scenes for me to write are the emotionally loaded ones. Sex scenes, death scenes, anything that’s torturous or horrifying, or anything that is accompanied by a hammering heart and a racing mind. If it’s a situation that would make you forget the world, or make you want to die, I find it not only easy, but fun to write.  I feel like that stuff comes to me naturally, maybe because my own mind is always racing, finding the dramatic in every moment.

As for the most difficult? I feel like I’ve changed my mind on this particular question a few times, but at the moment I’m going to go ahead and say action scenes. I find anything action-heavy (fight scenes, big battles in particular) to be extremely difficult to put into words. I can see everything happening in my head, like a movie scene, but trying to actually formulate the words to describe it in a way that doesn’t sound watered down is very difficult for me. I’ve written fight scenes that I imagined as these wonderfully amazing waltzes, and then when I go back to read them over they sound like the characters are just stomping around each other in clumsy circles. I’m not entirely sure I’ll ever get the hang of those scenes.

Paul B. Spence

The easiest scenes for me to write? Conversations and fight scenes. Conversations are easy, and should be for any author. You sit your characters down and have a good chat. Fight scenes, well, I know how to handle myself. I’ve been trained in western martial arts, and I’ve practiced for decades. I have also been in street fights, bar fights, knife fights, gun fights, you name it. It doesn’t always apply to science fiction, but much of it does, or at least, I make it work.

The most difficult scenes for me are love scenes. I hate reading love scenes in books. I think such things should be private. It feels like I’m writing porn. Sigh. I’m not a prude or opposed to sex, the gods know I love it myself, I just don’t like to share it. However, sex is a natural part of being alive, so I strive to write the scenes into my stories because it makes them more complete.

H. Anthe Davis

I noted this previously, but I can’t do romance, and I definitely can’t write sex scenes.  I can do horrible awful violent things to my characters, but once they take their clothes off, I just draw the curtains on them; I don’t want to deal with it.  I probably should work on it more, but I’m much like my protagonist, Cob, who doesn’t see any reason why anyone should ever be naked.  On the other side of the coin, I find banter very easy to write — whether it’s two people or a whole group.  I have to cut down my banter sections considerably any time I edit, because otherwise my characters will just snark at each other for a dozen pages a pop.

Cyrus Keith

The easy scenes are the action sequences: Fight scenes, chase scenes, scenes where things are happening. The hard ones are the introspective scenes where a character reveals himself to himself. Action can get boggy if one isn’t careful, and revealing the right thought at the right time makes the difference between being brilliant, and being boring. And I can’t stand being bored.

Beth Aman

I love writing dialogue, so scenes with conversations are easy for me. I also really like writing emotionally tense scenes, or scenes with conflict. I have a hard time writing if there’s no tension in the story.  I also struggle to write descriptions and fight scenes – so many details, so little time.

Jay Dee Archer

The scenes that I find that are easiest and most difficult to write are both emotional. However, it really depends on the emotion. The easiest scenes are those that have very strong emotions, including arguments, fights, and very intense feelings. Except for romance, that is. I find romantic scenes and love scenes the most awkward and difficult to write. Good thing I don’t write romance! I just love to write the scenes that contain a lot of tension or violence. They tend to be more exciting to read, as well.

How about you?

If you’re an author, what kind of scenes do you find easy and difficult to write? If you’re a reader, what scenes do you find easy or difficult to read? Let us know in the comments section.

I’m an Edmonton Oilers Fan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an Edmonton Oilers fan. For those who don’t know, it’s one of the teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Back in the 1980s, the team had one of the greatest dynasties, led by the legendary Wayne Gretzky. He was eventually traded away to the Los Angeles Kings, and at the end of the decade, the Oilers won their last Stanley Cup.

Fast forward to last year, the Oilers had missed the playoffs since they went to the Finals in 2006, narrowly losing the Stanley Cup in seven games. They’ve been going through a ten year rebuild, rebooted a couple times. The most recent rebuild has been incredibly successful. The Oilers are back, and so is Wayne Gretzky. He rejoined the Oilers, but as partner and vice-chairman.

In 2015, the Oilers drafted Connor McDavid, who is now the league’s leading assist and point scorer in only his second season. He’s a Gretzky or Crosby-like player, and is likely to be the top scorer in the NHL for several years. Other standouts this season are Leon Draisaitl, who’s turned out to be a very good offensive player, Patrick Maroon, who has had an incredible breakout year in the middle of his career, and Cam Talbot, who is now third in the league in wins by a goaltender.

I spent eleven years in Japan, and most of that time, the Oilers were out of the playoffs. Now that I’m back in Canada, I’m really enjoying watching them win. They just beat the San Jose Sharks tonight, tying them for first in the division. It seems so weird saying that now.

So, who else is a sports fan?

For My Daughter’s Future

I openly oppose what Donald Trump has been doing. If you understand why, then we probably have similar opinions. If you don’t understand why, then you need to step back and examine the consequences of his actions. 

Why do I oppose him, but I’m not actually American? What the US does in many cases can have effects all around the world, especially the environmental issues. This has me worried for my daughter’s future. Still don’t understand? I’m not sure if you ever will. It doesn’t need to be explained. It seems like common sense to me. 

That’s all I’m going to write about this on this blog, unless something especially disturbing happens. I will continue to see what happens.

What’s Going on Inside My Head

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about recently:

  • My daughter read her first book by herself. This is actually pretty exciting for me.
  • I worry about the future of science in the US.
  • Climate change is real. Stop trying to hide it.
  • I wonder which team will draft me when I finish this season in the OHL in NHL 17 in Be a Pro mode.
  • This had me laughing my ass off.
  • Tomorrow is my daughter’s 5th birthday. This weekend will be the first time that we have a birthday party for her and invited friends. I wonder how it’ll go.
  • What should I watch on Netflix?
  • I loved the school group that came through at work yesterday. Amazing kids.
  • I miss Japan.

What have you been thinking about recently?

Star Trek S1E10 – The Corbomite Maneuver

Star_Trek_TOS_logo.svgThis was the first regular episode recorded after the pilot episodes, but it was the tenth aired. However, it turned out to be one of the strongest episodes.

Season 1, Episode 10: The Corbomite Maneuver

Original Air Date: November 10, 1966

Stardate 1512.2

Planet: None

Featured Alien: First Federation (Balok)

Main Cast: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Sulu, Scott, Rand

Main Guest Characters: Lt. Bailey (Anthony Call), Balok (Clint Howard)

Things I Noticed

As I mentioned before, this was the first episode filmed after the pilot episodes, though it was aired as episode 10. So, there are a few things that don’t match up with the later episodes.

Right off the start, the camera work when panning out from Spock and zooming in on navigation was terrible.

Uhura is wearing a yellow uniform. This indicates that it was a very early episode, as she later wears a red uniform.

McCoy ignored the red alert to finish Kirk’s physical. That seems slightly irresponsible. But some of McCoy’s behaviour is a bit too focused on Kirk rather than the situation at hand. Thankfully, he doesn’t act like this in later episodes.

Lt. Bailey seems to resent Spock a bit at the beginning. But more on his behaviour later on.

The women’s uniforms seem so loose and baggy compared to what they are in most episodes.

Unlike other episodes, they’re using metric in this episode. They did use miles at one point, mixed in with metres, but it was mostly metric.

Bailey jumps to conclusions too quickly. A bit of insubordination from time to time.

Kirk is annoyed that he was assigned a female Yeoman, Rand. Rand seems rather bitchy with him. If this were made these days, these attitudes wouldn’t be there.

The giant ship Fesarius looks better in the remastered edition.

Kirk referred to the ship as the United Earth Ship Enterprise. The Federation’s name hasn’t been established at this time.

For someone who was standoffish, Bailey has turned into someone who is rather timid in dangerous situations. And then he snapped. What kind of military has someone like this in such an important position as ship’s navigator?

Interesting how so many people are in the corridors during this high alert situation, clinging to the walls as they’re tossed around.

McCoy didn’t pronounce Balok correctly. Everyone else, including Balok, said “bay-lock.” McCoy said “Bah-lock.”

It seemed very strange seeing a 7 year old Clint Howard with the movements and mannerisms of a child and an adult voice.

My Impressions

Honestly, my nitpicks above aren’t that important, other than some behaviours and Kirk’s attitude toward a female Yeoman. Extremely outdated, and wouldn’t reflect the 22nd century at all. Otherwise, this was a pretty solid episode, despite being the third taped episode.

The thing that stood out for me when I was younger was the creepy Balok puppet. I thought this was the creepiest scene in all of Star Trek. It was a face that could’ve given me nightmares. However, I still enjoyed watching this episode when I was a kid. And now that I’ve watched it again, it really is one of the stronger episodes.

The acting is quite decent in this episode. Everyone is extremely serious, except when we get to the final scene. William Shatner was fairly decent and Leonard Nimoy was very good as usual. DeForest Kelley was a bit too overbearing, more than usual. But this was the first episode he did. Grace Lee Whitney was too strong for her position, but that’s not a problem with her acting. More a problem with how she was written in this episode. George Takei was very good. But I had a problem with Clint Howard. Of course, he was only 7 years old at the time, but he was obviously a child. How he acted and his movements were those of a child. It was just weird seeing him speak in a child-like manner with an adult voice.

With that said, the story was a very solid one. I really enjoyed the bluffing and Kirk’s resolve throughout the episode. He was a leader. I couldn’t fault the writing of this episode. It was extremely well done. I have pretty fond memories of this episode.

Verdict

★★★★ 1/2

Your Voice

What did you think of this episode? How did you feel about the puppet Balok, and then Clint Howard’s performance? Let me know in the comments below.

Week in Review – January 22, 2017

Another slow week in some respects, but I felt pretty busy. It was back to school for my daughter, and she’s started doing something: reading! She’s now learning to read words, rather than just letters. And she’s learning quickly. I’m impressed. I can’t wait until she can read a book all by herself. So, what else happened?

Reading

I finally started reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, and I was able to finish 47% of it in one day. I think I’ll finish it this week easily. With two books finished this year, I’ll be ahead of my monthly goal by one.

Writing

Although not writing, I’ve been preparing to work on some world building.

Videos

I only uploaded three videos on my main channel, but I’ve returned to my normal video-making pace this weekend. I’ve also announced that I’ll be working on world building videos. I’m still trying to figure out the new video editor.

Patreon

Nothing. Major revamp coming very soon!

Languages

Nothing, but feeling motivated to work on Japanese, French, and Norwegian. Yes, Norwegian.

The Blog

Nothing special in the past week, but continuing with once a day posting. I’m also keeping a very close eye on my stats. You see, I’m approaching a huge milestone. I may achieve it before the end of the month. However, when I resumed twice a day posting, my stats returned to what they were before. Back to once a day, and it’s slowed down again. It’s all about the number of posts, it seems. But also how much I use social media and comment on other blogs. Must get back to work on that!

Studying

Nothing.

The Next Week’s Goals

Catch up on social media for both videos and the blog. Keep up to date on comments, and comment on other blogs. I need to do that all again. Also, I intend on doing a Star Trek Project post, as well as the Argentina book post. And more!

How was your week?