Another 500 Words Down

I keep making the bad mistake of taking days off my writing, but whenever I get back into it they flow easily. I guess it’s just a hump I have to continue getting over.

The current story is another detective story, which seems to be my beginner’s forte right now. I have no idea when I’m going to be done with it, could be tonight or tomorrow or it could be a few days since I took a mini-vacation from the computer. Either way, I’m itching to get this one finished so I can work on a couple more projects. One is the unfinished SF/mystery I began working on after my first story was written, and the other one is a pure science fiction story inspired by a George R.R. Martin piece I hated the ending of.

Well, back to the computer. It’s nice to know I’m still making slow but steady progress!

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A Reality Check

Not all conservatives are Republicans. Not all liberals are Democrats. Not all Trump supporters are sexist and racist. Not all Clinton supporters are socialist and communists. Not all English majors want to teach. Not all criminals are bad people. Not all politicians are corrupt. Not all professional athletes are rich.

Belonging to one group SHOULD NOT mean that you have to wear a label. There are a billion and one reasons why you chose to do what you do, vote how you voted, and believe what you believe. Every single person is unique and different, and judging one person for believing in something because a large number of people believe in the same thing for the wrong reasons is ignorant and disrespectful.

This country is an absolute disgrace and this crap needs to stop NOW. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. If you don’t agree with what someone says, instead of name calling ask them if they consider your reasoning and have an intelligent and polite discussion. Instead of hating, be respectful. And in turn the chance of the same respect being returned is greater than if you blow up at somebody.

Forget that it was Trump’s slogan. Let’s REALLY make America great again, with feeedom of speech, thought, expression, religion, and so on, so forth.

Because if we can’t learn to respect each other and accept that everybody has different beliefs than us, then we are no longer the United States of America.

We are nothing but a Remnant…

Old Habits Die Hard

I saved myself tonight.

I realized that with the exception of about 500 words of a blog entry I was writing for Amazing Stories the other night I haven’t written anything in the last several days. I had no intention of writing anything today, either, but then it dawned on me that I was regressing back to the way things had always been with me. I would get super inspired, create a blog, pledge myself to writing every single day, and then all of a sudden lose momentum and not write another word for many months, or even YEARS…

But for the first time I realized that I was starting to slip and stopped myself. Last night I dreamed of an entire detective story and so I have set about getting it on the computer. It only took less than five minutes to have the first hundred or so words down, so I am in no danger of messing up with my writing goal this time.

It’s like an addiction with me, giving up. Quitting accounts for me being nowhere in life right now, a writer with no writing to show for it. Tonight I took the first step to ridding myself of the quitting addiction and I am very, very happy about that.

Now, back to work on the story.

Conquering the Goldenrod Gym

Over the years there have been many Pokemon games released. Each game takes place in a different “region” of the Pokémon world and with one exception each region has eight Pokemon Gyms led by a Gym Leader that the player has to battle in order to prove his or her abilities in order to gain entry to the Pokémon League. One of the most infamous of these Gym Leaders is Whitney, the Normal-type Leader of the Goldenrod City Gym in the Johto Region (the setting for Generation 2’s Gold, Silver, and Crystal versions and the Generation 4 remakes HeartGold and SoulSilver.)

As I wrote yesterday, I purchased and began playing the digital releases of Hold and Silver on my 3ds yesterday. It was only a matter of time before I made it to the third gym and faced off again Little Miss Cuteness herself. Before I go any further, let me talk a little bit about her Pokémon and the Normal type.

The Normal type is the most common type of Pokémon there is. Completely immune to ghost type moves and weak only against fighting types, they also tend to be able to use the widest range of moves of any other type. As a ten-year old kid back in 2000 I was not entirely aware of this, nor were many of us from what I gathered from the various Pokemon gaming groups I’m part of on Facebook. Many of us were simply not prepared for a master of the Normal in Gold and Silver. There is almost no fighting Pokemon available before you reach Goldenrod, and unless you devoted a lot of extra time leveling your Pokemon, which a lot of us didn’t (back in those days I only used my starter, which always put me at a huge disadvantage) you were bound to always be a level or two lower than her first Pokemon, Clefairy. Clefairy is easy enough to plow your way through, but then you are left with her signature pokemon, Miltank.

A pink cow Pokemon with incredible defensive and attack stats, this is the one that meant a near-certain doom for a newbie’s team, even into the days of HeartGold and SoulSilver. It’s primary moves are Stomp, a power physical attack that has a chance to make the target flinch (miss it’s turn) as well as dealing a decent amount of damage, and Rollout. Rollout is a rock-type move introduced in Gold and Silver that is a five-turn move that gains more and more power each turn. Effectively, it has the potential to knock out a good portion of your team without you being able to go anything about it. And as flying and bug type Pokemon are among the most common you will find before Goldenrod, it is almost a certain one hit knock out if they are put up against this Miltank. And if you chose Cyndaquil, the fire starter, at the beginning of the game, you’re in for even more trouble, since rock is also super effective against fire.

I knew once I got to the outskirts of Goldenrod that I needed to work on my team before I was ready to take her on. The only Pokémon in my team that I knew might stand a chance at defeating her was my Onix, a giant rock and ground type Pokemon I hunted for for almost a half hour. Rock resists its own type, and ground also offers resistance so even with the attack power increasing each time if I could get Onix high enough in level it could have at least two or three good turns to try knocking out the Miltank. So I spent two hours battling every trainer, wild Pokémon, and Whitney’s gym trainers to level up not only Onix but a couple of others, as well, in case Onix went down. As I learned the hard way in my youth, relying only on one Pokémon can easily backfire and cost you the battle.

After the last trainer in the gym was defeated, I hurried off to the Pokémon Center to heal my team and then rushed back to the gym to challenge the Gym Leader. I started with Onix, as planned, and as usual Whitney led with Clefairy. Onix was level 20 and Clefairy only level 16, so I knew this was going to be an easy one. However, rock types being as slow as they are, Whitney moved first, and attached with Metronome. Metronome is a move that transforms into any Pokémon move in existence, and as luck might have it hers turned into Iron Tail, a Steel-type move that is super effective against rock types. This brought down my health a lot. But Onix followed up with Headbutt and brought her down almost to the end, and Onix moved first the next turn and was able to knock out Clefairy with Mud-Slap.

This win made Onix move up to level 21, one level higher than Miltank. Within seconds I was facing off against Miltank, the bane of my ten-year old existence. Miltank moved first with Rollout, as expected, but its first move did only a couple of points worth of damage, so I took the opportunity to attempt to lower its accuracy with Mud-Slap. It did not do much in terms of damage, but it’s secondary effect lowered its accuracy, which is one way to put a Rollout use in its place. If Rollout misses then the next time it hits it goes back to its first-round power, which is never any good even against those weak against it. However, the second time hit. I still had plenty of Hit Points (HP) left, so I chose to do another Mud-Slap. Again, it’s accuracy went down, and again Rollout hit. This brought me to about a quarter of the way down, so I used screech to drastically lower its high defense stat, preparing to end the battle the next turn regardless as to whether or not Onix was taken out. This time, Rollout missed, and I followed up with a powerful Headbutt. This left Miltank in the red, but it still went ahead with its Stomp attack, leaving me with only five hit points. Whoever moved next would defeat the other.

Surprisingly, I went next. A critical-hit with a second Headbutt knocked out Miltank and (literally) left Whitney crying. I got my revenge for all the frustration I’d felt over the years and all the many times and in-game Poke-money I lost trying to best her. I accepted my Plain Badge proudly, thankful that all the years of playing Pokémon prepared me for the rematch of the century.

A Novel Failure

As I began working on the book a little while ago it suddenly occurred to me that I was making a mistake. The novel I began a few days ago would be impossible for me to write. It was supposed to be a fictional, semi-autobiographical book about my experiences at Marine boot camp, but as good as my memory is and how much I remember it is not enough to fill a book, fiction or non, with. I’m sure I can scrounge the material I’ve already written and some of my notes and use them in a story or two, or some essays. This will take some thought collecting and organizing on my part and will not happen any time soon, but the possibility is there.

In the meantime, I remembered that I have an unfinished science fiction story from several mi this back that I can finish, and an idea for yet another mystery I could probably start on tonight.

At least I figured this out before I got too far into it, you know? Better to stop at only 2,000 words than 20,000, which is novella-length.

Now back to the story.

Moving Along

I started writing my novel yesterday and today I ended the night at a total of 1700 words. That’s still a long way to go from the 70,000-100,000 word length of most books these days, but it’s a start.

Since I’ve had a very bad habit of writing for a little while and then stopping, I’m shooting for a very easy 500 words a day to start. I wrote that in a very short period of time today. I could have kept going and ended the night with much more, but I’m in the midst of an SOS chain on my Pokémon Moon, reading a book and I wanted to punch in this blog post on my phone so I figured 500 was enough. In the long run if I can become a professional author I’d like to follow in Asimov’s footsteps and compose over 4,000 words on a daily basis. There have been a couple of times where I actually did do this, but those were both on days I allowed myself a lot of time. At the moment it’s too much for me to write that much every day. I’d like to, and I know if I pushed myself I could do it, but there is no need to at the moment. Right now I need to focus on writing every day and taking baby steps towards getting this Zero Draft finished.

There, rant done.