Yesterday, I had the brilliant* idea to drink two cups of matcha tea at 4pm.
I have a little matcha set, and I enjoy the whole ritual and experience around making it. I measure out a little bit into my bowl, use my fancy whisk to mix it all up, and then savor the result.
It was so delicious, I made myself another bowl immediately after.
SMASH CUT TO MIDNIGHT.
So I’m wide the fuck awake, sitting in my game room, watching TV. I’ve been here since about 9pm, when Anne went to sleep, because she had to get up at are-you-fucking-serious-o’clock today. What I wanted to do was watch a movie, but I’ve convinced myself that committing to a movie is a bad idea, because I don’t want to be awake until 2am. I’ve watched a couple episodes of Night Gallery (on the Decades channel, which is worth the hassle and cost of a digital antenna for your TV. Seriously, if you’re GenX and want to see the stuff we loved growing up, the DTV channels are where it’s at.) I’ve watched two episodes of One Step Beyond on Hulu, and I think maybe I can convince my brain to shut the fuck up and let me go to sleep … when I see that the most recent episode of SNL features Courtney Barnett, whose music I’ve been crazy about since I first heard her on XMU about three months ago.
So I decide that I’ll just watch one of her performances and then I will go to sleep.
(This is where I spare you the Medium thinkpiece about how SNL doesn’t do the same things for me that it did when I was in my 20s, and how almost all the sketches in this episode were all derivative of the same premise that wasn’t funny when Fred Armisen — who I respect as a performer — did it in his indulgent monologue that reminded me why I find Portlandia obnoxious and unfunny).
But there were some genuinely funny moments sprinkled into the show. The digital short was great, Update had a couple of laugh our loud moments, and Courtney Barnett was fantastic. I guess it was about 1am when I realized I needed to get up in 8 hours, but my brain was all THAT TEA WAS GREAT HEY POPCORN IS GOOD GO GET SOME.
My brain made a good point, so that’s how I ended up eating microwave popcorn in the middle of the night, and nearly choking on it when I saw this sketch, Farewell Mr. Bunting.
I’m reasonably certain that a lot of you won’t be able to see that, because geolocking and bullshit, but if you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s great.
I ended up watching all the way to the end of the show, which I’d rate 1 star out of 5, but decided to curve up to 2 out of 5, because of the short and the sketch above. Also, I hope Courtney Barnett comes through Los Angeles soon, because I’d really like to see her perform live.
So here I am. I finally have the time and the opportunity to write some fiction. My whiteboard is nearly full of one-liners and bullet points, and now it’s just time to pick one and finish the first draft.
And so, of course, I don’t want to make a choice. I don’t want to commit to one because WHAT IF IT’S TERRIBLE AND ALL OF THIS IS A WASTE OF TIME screams my stupid idiot brain.
But I will. Maybe it’ll be the zombie thing that’s been around for a long time, even though I’m super done with zombies, because the zombies aren’t what the story is about. Or maybe it’ll be the thing that’s kind of a Twilight Zone thing. Or the thing that I started in January, stalled out on, and lost interest in finishing because of reasons.
Yeah, it’ll probably be that one because there’s a lot of work in it already, and even though I don’t like where it is, I can get it to where it needs to be. That’s the key and the real secret to this whole thing: even when you want to stop and give up and do something else, you keep on going because nobody sits down and does ten thousand words at one go that can be published exactly as they are.
So there’s a little pep talk that I needed to give myself. Maybe it’ll help someone else who is struggling with something similar.
Keep reading, if you want to experience some flash fiction I wrote to keep myself engaged and in some kind of shape while I was working on Tabletop.
I was really tired when I wrote this. I was just going to reblog the photo, and then I thought, “it’s interesting to me that the structures here look like they’re biological, but not just biological. They’re biological in an effort to replicate what human biology looks like.” So even though I wanted to go to sleep, I stayed up past my bedtime to write it:
We never found out what they called themselves, and after we left, giving them a name beyond their EG designation felt wrong to all of us, so they remain xiSIG688.
When we left, we didn’t know if xiSIG688 were a species, a colony, or a single living organism that was too far advanced for us to comprehend. What we knew was that they covered nearly all of their small planet, which was designated σ688 in the EDP. We knew that they constructed cities similar to others we saw in every system, including our own. We still believe that this indicates the existence of a seeding species, though that is only supported by ontological arguments, and remains but conjecture.
From orbit, all imaging indicated that this … species or colony or whatever it was posed no threat, so I volunteered to land.
We broadcast intention and information as required by protocol, waited the standard time, and having received no response, I made a controlled descent and landing. It was uneventful, like dozens of others I’d done before. My instruments recorded and reported the chemical and elemental composition of the atmosphere at all levels, and it is filed in the appropriate report.
My landing was within nominal parameters, 2000 meters from the edge of what we determined to be a medium-sized city. Coordinates are filed and confirmed.
I exited the ILV and took samples from beyond the landing area, which were immediately secured in SEM and returned to orbit by automation, per protocol.
I remained inside my EVS for the duration of my visit. I was unable to record any smells, but my audio sensors captured the familiar sounds of running water, the quiet whistle of a light wind, and a hum that was inaudible to me, but has since been confirmed, graphed, and is currently under review.
I saw no apparently indigenous creatures during my brief EV on σ688 but –
That is not entirely accurate.
What we all thought were buildings, what we all thought were the remnants of a possibly dead civilization, were alive. xiSIG688 either construct their entire cities from living creatures, or σ688 itself is a single living organism, or perhaps a colony, presenting itself into the shapes of cities that we have seen in other systems along this arc, including our own world.
I believe that σ688 has much to teach us, and may in fact be a direct link to the seeing species, if not a living member of the seeding species itself.
We request permission to return and remain at xiSIG688 until such a time as minimum level contact per protocol has been achieved.
This was a dumb idea that spring fully-formed into my brain, and it amused me:
Shilo told himself and the scientists that he signed on for the experiment because he believed in the project.
He was thirty meters out of the habitat when the acid kicked in, and he realized that he’d actually signed on for the experiment because he was a god, trapped in a human body, and it was the only way he could release himself, and emerge into his true form.
Another one right before bed. I saw this and thought, “Where did the monoliths come from, anyway?”
The star was not particularly warm, and the planets it had captured and nurtured were very small. It was unlikely that intelligence of any kind would arise in the system.
And yet, the beacons must be planted. One on each rocky planet, one one the third planet’s moon, and a final beacon by the largest gas planet, the guardian of this system.
Yes, it was unlikely that intelligence would arise in this particular system, but they had been wrong before. The beacons were activated and they moved on, leaving seeds behind them.
So … there’s some stuff that I did where there wasn’t stuff before. Now I can get to work.
It was a really good season. I had the most fun I’ve had since the first season, primarily because I reclaimed much of the stuff that had either been taken from me, or I’d given away.
We played games that we wouldn’t have been able to play in previous season, like Fury of Dracula and Eldritch Horror, and rather than try to go for lots of games that are heavy on strategy, I recalled my primary focus in the first two seasons, and looked for games that were accessible and varied, so that more people in the world will want to play more games. I played games that I never would have considered, because they have a lot of luck involved, but are still fun because they’re fast.
I stopped worrying about what The Audience was going to think, because I realized that I had allowed my fucked up brain to turn The Audience into The People On The Internet Who Hate Whatever I Do Anyway So I’ll Show Them. Recognizing that (with clarity I wouldn’t have had without my reboot) gave me permission to make the show that I wanted to make, the way I wanted to make it.
And I can’t overstate how good it was to clean house and get rid of the toxic garbage that was dragging me and the show down. If I’d only done that, this would have been the best season, ever, from a personal standpoint.
I also won a game this year, so that’s a thing.
I’m tired, but it’s a good tired that feels earned instead of imposed, if that makes sense.
So the last few games we played this year were:
Fate Core RPG with John Rogers, and Felicia Day, GM’d by Ryan Macklin. I realized about halfway through this play session that it was running a lot more like a demo than a story. It was fun for us to really get into the guts of the system, but that’s not what I wanted the audience’s experience to be. I mentioned this to Ryan, and the second half was more like the narrative experience I wanted for the episode. It’s going to be interesting for me to see how it comes together in the edits.
Steam Park with Jonathan Coulton, and Paul and Storm. Oh the poop jokes. So many poop jokes.
Welcome to the Dungeon with Janet Varney, Rhea Butcher, and Hector Navarro. This was surprisingly intense.
Harbour with Kyle Newman, Matt Mercer, and Nika Harper. Oh, the amazing Nika Harper meltdown in this episode.
So at this point, we don’t have an episode order locked down, but my producing partner and I are working to figure it out. I’ll share that information when I have it. One significant change this year is that I have no say at all over the actual schedule for release. I’ve asked for episodes to come out every week once we start, but I don’t have the authority to demand it. Luckily for me, Legendary is pretty awesome and supportive of what we want to do with the show, so hopefully we’ll either make that happen, or some compromise that makes me and the bosses happy.
As far as I know, new episodes will be released starting in July.