Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whatever gets you through today...

Life continues on.

Ship's in New Jersey right now... I've been meaning to write for the last week or so, but at first, whenever I sat down at the computer I just couldn't think of anything to say. Then the ship's LAN and satellite linkup went down, and I was effectively struck mute anyway... I'm sitting in a Barnes & Noble in Holmdel, NJ right now, about ten minutes (and a $13 cab ride) from the ship. My bank account is at $-26 right now, but I've got about $200 in my pocket... and no way to get it into my bank account. 12 AM Friday is payday... so I guess I'll just keep on keeping on. There's little doubt that this temporary bankruptcy is doing horrible things to my credit, but I can't seem to bring myself to care overly much... I've been borderline burnout for the last week or so, and I don't even know why. I'm not depressed, or down, or angsty... I'm just kind of 'meh'. Like worrying about things is just too much of a bother... I'm still laughing. Heh, and iGoogle serves me an appropriate quote - "Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so." - John Stuart Mill. Thanks, Google.

There's a huge storm outside right now... much more impressive when it was coming on this afternoon, heavy winds forcing everyone in the Deck Department to seek shelter as it whipped the seas to a froth and rolled the ship, even tied to the pier, lightning lashing an angry sky, a gray curtain of rain rushing across the sea at us... all that potential, reduced to a paltry dribble and a chilly wind. Typical Jersey.

It's really not that I dislike Jersey, I just don't want to be here... but I didn't really want to be at home, either, and at least this way I'm saving money on food and gas, and I've got the extra motivation to work overtime and make more money. I just feel out of place, I guess, maybe with myself... like nothing fits right, and nothing feels right. It's pointless, and it's stupid, but that's the way things go, I guess.

I've been taking pictures like a fiend, lately, all the better to feed the blog... many of them are worthless (and I've learned, to my mental scarring, to never forget my camera in the crew lounge again), but a few might be worthwhile. I'll try to get them up before either my battery or my hotspot account run out... I've got another hour left, and even as slow as this connection is that should be sufficient. For the most part, they're just slices of shipboard life - things we're doing, none of which are momentously exciting (although some of the shots as we tie up or let go from different piers were nice enough).

I feel so metro, blogging away in a coffee shop. Emo blogging, at that. Tee hee. Which reminds me, it's time to satiate my poorly neglected caffeine addiction.

...mmm... Peppermint Mocha...

So, The Office of Letters & Light - the group behind National Novel Writing Month - are starting a new crazy adventure, Script Frenzy. The objective is to write a 20,000 word screenplay or stage play within the thirty days of June, and since I've proven myself incapable of writing anything without a firm deadline, I've signed on... even though my script writing experience is nil. But hey, 50,000 words was, once upon a time, an undreamt-of goal for me, too. I've bounced around on my ideas for a while, now, but I think I've finally settled on one - and like my first NaNoWriMo novel, it has its roots in a different project I was working on, once upon a time.

I dubbed the project "Odyssey". It was a roleplaying campaign, originally intended for D20 Modern, but other ideas were bandied about - it never got beyond the planning stages, so it's not like any of the mechanics ever mattered. The name has several homages, to Homer of course, and to an old TV show of the same title that I never really watched, but liked the looks of on the bits and pieces of episodes I caught - something about a kid in a strangely surreal post apocalyptic world where all the adults were dead. Or something. It also had links to a D&D (originally Palladium Multiverse) game I ran called Journeys.

The basic storyline involves a group of strangers - the players characters, of course - on a subway in a major East Coast metropolis (probably New York, despite my lack of actual experience with the city). The train wrecks, and the passengers are miraculously unharmed - but no help comes. When they finally get out of the train and hike to the surface, the find the entire city deserted - as if the population had simply dropped what they were doing, and walked away. What was supposed to follow was a journey across a strange, changed America, where the world - to use the parlance of Stephen King's Dark Tower series - had 'moved on'. In places, there is nuclear wasteland - in others, plague - in others still, the aftermath of natural disaster, or alien invasion, or other countries invading, or all of the above, at the same time. Sometimes, the disaster is fresh and new, still burning, still dying. Sometimes, the world has been dead for centuries... millenia. New life is growing. There are no explanations, and every scattered survivor has their own theory. Somehow, the characters have to make it across America... and maybe even further, across the world.

The original idea was pretty unstructured, but since then the possibility of apocalypse - and what people do in the aftermath - has become a hobby of mine, and writings in the genre some of my favorite. I would recommend S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, Brian K. Vaughn's graphic novel Y: The Last Man, Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, George Romero's Dawn of the Dead - the original, of course - and numerous other works which I've no doubt overlooked and haven't the breath to mention anyway. Needless to say, I have a few more ideas to throw into the mix - chances are, though, I won't attempt a movie screenplay, but rather something more like a TV series pilot - meaning I won't actually have to worry about wrapping things up as much.

But I ramble on, and I realize my battery is slowly but surely dying - twenty minutes of power left, and this thing always lies. I should probably publish while I still have the chance, and offer vague promises of future updates... yes.

So, with any luck, I'll write more soon - getting started is always the hardest part. As anyone who knows me can testify, I do have a tendency to ramble for hours on any subject that fascinates me, and at least on a blog I don't have to worry - too much - about people getting bored and falling asleep on me. I mean, it's not like I have to look at you, dear Nobody.

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