Action-Packed, Character Empty

I love superhero movies as much as the next guy. In fact, I love them more than most people. They bring me to a place I’ll never go and set me behind the eyes of men I’ll never be. Yet, let’s be honest. The money-hungry production studios are coughing up as many superhero films as they can, and not all of them are good.Image result for dawn of justice explosion

Simply put, action is mind-numbing porn. Everyone likes it even if they don’t admit it. It gets the heart pumping, but it’s also strangely relaxing. With that said, you can’t just dive into action. The action has to mean something. That’s why you need characters; genuine, fully realized characters.

Characters aren’t real. They’re people made up in cafes and break rooms by nerdy writers like me. However, a well-written character will make you forget they’re fake. They will live and suffer, and hope and dream just like any true human would. They have things to fight for, things to lose. They change the world around them and the world changes them as well. Without characters, stories have no meaning.

When a lot of these fat cat producers make their blockbusters, they trade out their characters for CGI and explosions. Action sells after all. But in the end, the audience is dissatisfied because they don’t see characters. They see basic forms of characters colored in with one sloppy stroke: good guy, bad guy, love interest.

Worse, some films put a ton of people in their movies because Avengers did it and made it work (ahem DC). They forget the Avengers was created after nearly every character got a standalone movie to show who they were. The Avengers gathered flushed out characters instead of pulling them out of nowhere. They could dedicate more time to action because the characters were already well-defined. Even so, the Avengers dedicated time to developing their characters just so they wouldn’t fall back into cliched archetypes. Think of Agent Coulson with his geeky trading cards and awkward interactions with Captain America. That’s character building. It connects you to the film and makes you legitimately sad when someone…I don’t know…dies. Spoiler? Aw come on. You’ve all seen it by now.Image result for agent coulson captain america

Obviously not all action movies are bad. Not even all superhero movies are bad. Action is fine. But I’m getting tired of all these blockbusters. I’ve had my fill of violent fights and explosions. Just give me a relatable character and I’ll be happy. That’s all I want.

OPM Workout: Day 4

One Punch Man Workout: Day 1

Just as I thought, these exercises are making me sore. I’m hurting in places I didn’t know could hurt. But I have to say, it’s getting easier. I can push through the 100 sit ups without much struggle. I don’t seem to feel the pain until after I finish the last sit up. Sadly, my six pack has not appeared just yet. Generally, I store fat in my stomach and there was a little extra fat in my diet these past few days because of some impromptu parties at which I feasted like a pig. So I probably shouldn’t expect a 6 pack until I start eating healthier.

Image result for six pack beer

The squats and push ups still give me trouble, but it’s only day 4. By day 30, I’ll be doing squats and push ups in my sleep. Besides the 100 reps are doing their job. Maybe it’s just the endorphins talking, but my ass feels great. It’s got a little more oomph if you know what I mean.

Image result for nice ass donkey

So all in all, progress is slow, but progress is progress. For anyone else trying a new workout routine, just keep going. Every day is a better day; a better workout, a better body, a better you.

One Punch Man Workout: Day 1

One Punch Man is a popular anime featuring the superhuman Saitama, who can destroy any foe with one punch. Great show! I highly recommend it. The true origin of Saitama’s power is unknown, but Saitama claims all he did was exercise every day. His workout consists of 100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, and a 10km run. Starting today, I will follow Saitama’s regiment for 30 days and see what happens. I don’t expect superhuman strength or endurance, but I’m curious to see the results.

Image result for saitama

Of course, I’ll make some minor adjustments to avoid injury. A 10km every day is terrible on your knees. Not to mention, I definitely can’t run that long at one time. So let’s just forget about that part of the workout and focus on the calisthenics. Additionally, I don’t want to hurt myself by never taking breaks. I’ll take as few breaks as I need, but I’m not looking for an injury.

Right then. Starting weight: 135 lbs.Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg

So, Day 1’s workout is complete. Sit ups went fairly well, but I needed to split the squats into two sets, and the push ups were killer. Took several sets to get all 100 push ups. Hopefully, I’ll improve. One thing’s for sure, though: tomorrow is going to hurt. Hooray!

Children. Why?

Everybody always dreams of settling down, having two or three kids, and living happily ever after. But why? I mean, why the children? Maybe it’s the millennial in me, but I just don’t get it.

The negatives are quite obvious. Babies are expensive. The US Department of Agriculture stated that a child born in 2013 and raised to the age of 18 would cost a middle-income family approximately $245,340. The money wouldn’t stop there either. We all know how much college costs. But for now, think of that $245,340. Think how much you could buy with that, and you want two or three kids?

Babies eat, sleep, and poop, and they’re terrible at all three. They throw food around, spit food up, and refuse to eat things they loved a day ago. They wake up at odd intervals and disturb your own sleep with blood-curdling cries. And…diapers. Diapers speak for themselves. Yuck.

Having a baby is life-changing. True. Raising a child is one of the biggest responsibilities someone can have. So instead of going out with your buddies and getting drunk, you’re going to be home watching that kid. Instead of traveling the world with your significant other, you’re going to be home watching that kid. Instead of sexy-time anytime, you have to make sure the kid doesn’t hear because that would be awkward. As with any responsibility, there will be compromises.

Oh, one more thing: Ladies. By no means can I say what pregnancy will be like for you or what the pregnancy will do to your body. Even so, it’s something to consider.

So, why children? What do people say?

They’re cute. Uh…lots of things are cute. Puppies. Look at these puppies! They’re a lot cuter than babies. Come on…look how cute those puppies are.

They make us better people. The argument here is you try to make sure your baby is as healthy and happy as possible. Then after trying to do that, you realize you should try to make yourself as healthy and happy as possible. It’s a bit idealistic. A lot of criminals have children. A lot of obese people have children. In fact, sometimes the baby doesn’t make its parents better people. Sometimes the parents just make the baby a worse person like them.

They give meaning to our lives. Okay, so maybe babies don’t make us better people, but they give us a better reason to live. I find that sad. A baby isn’t a solution to a problem. A baby won’t fill the void in your life. That’s your job. Find your own meaning in life.

Procreation. This idea makes more sense. From a scientific standpoint, your purpose in life is to make more humans. However, humans are overpopulated. We’re constantly encroaching on the environment and many scientists think that our actions have triggered a new global extinction (Holocene Extinction). So we really don’t need more babies, that is unless you’re into eugenics and want to create some perfect human from selective breeding. I won’t endorse that, though.

So please people, enlighten me. Why have children? Personally, I think a puppy would be a much better idea.

Suicide Squad-Another DC Mishap

As the Marvel money train keeps chugging on, DC is struggling to keep up. Both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman received mixed reviews. No doubt, DC hoped Suicide Squad would be the movie to provide a more steady basis for its own money-train. After all, the idea of super villains fighting crime is wacky and seemingly paradoxical. Not to mention the cast is just as kooky. Jared Leto certainly built up a ton of hype after all the “unique” gifts he gave his castmates during the course of his method-acting. The stage was set for the squad to put the DC team on its back, but I don’t think they lived up to the hype.

Spoilers ahead! Continue reading

How Black is the Shadow

At last, I have finished the first draft of my fantasy novel. The book is the first in a series called the Ashborne Chronicles, and I have named it How Black is the Shadow. As the title might suggest, there are some heavy, poignant moments. However, like most fantasy novels, there are many moments of levity and adventure. The main character Kat journeys far from home and must grow to overcome challenge after challenge. I hope you will read my book when it is published and take that journey with Kat.

I will not claim my writing is the most eloquent, nor will I tell you How Black is the Shadow will be the best book you have ever read. But I know I have a story worth telling. Much like the fantasy novels we cherished in our childhoods and still cherish today (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Eragon, Narnia, and so on), there’s a certain magic to my story that will capture you and affect you on a personal level. I can’t claim perfection, and that was never my aim. That magic though – that’s what I aimed for and I think I’ve hit my mark.

I’ll continue to update you, so stay tuned. I hope you’re as excited about this book as I am. Here’s a look at my world, just to tease you.Fantasy Map

The Sun Dance

In the great blue commons,
Under the watch
Of wind and white giants,
The sun dances
Merry and drunk.
A flourish in the brine
And a waver
In the tumult.
Its toes dawdle
Against the beat
Of a long sung melody.
The gulls bay
While the sun drums on
And clams bury their heads
In the quiet earth.
Skates lie still
Like hot pans
Submerged in the sink
And a throng of men
Follows suit,
Their bellies charred brown
And basted with oil.

I crane my head up
And over the shimmering
Expanse. I vanish.
Me. An atom
Of a grain
In a sea of the finest sand.
Not a man to wave
At. Not even a shell
Worth the stomp
Of your sole. Still,

The sun shines easy
Over every shore.
The glint in my eye
Is the waltz
Of its rays, and its footsteps
Freckle my back. Even
Nothing as I am
In the great blue commons,
The sun offers all
A seat to its show.