Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA Hockey Wins Silver Medal, but the Real Prize Lies Ahead

After giving it all they had to tie the game up with under 30 seconds to go in regulation, the USA men's hockey team fell just short of gold in overtime today. With a payroll nearly fifty million dollars less than the Canadians, and no home field advantage, the loss for the Americans was not unexpected, but it stings just a little bit.

And that's the thing, it only stings a little bit. Most hockey fans know that the real prize has yet to be play for. Sure, a Gold Medal means more than a Stanley Cup to the European teams, but by and large, in North America the prevailing attitude is Cup or Bust.

So Ryan Miller returns to the Buffalo Sabres, hungry, and that can only bode well for the Sabres chances down the stretch. With the trade deadline looming, it will be interesting to see what changes General Manager Darcy Regeir will make, if any. So on the heels of the Olympics, the chant turns from USA back to LET'S GO it should.

Writing, or Lack Thereof

Since I'm about halfway through completing edits on my book, and my creative efforts have been largely dedicated to that project, I have been remiss in my writing lately. On one hand, I do not mind continuing to become intimate with my novel. Certainly I will need to be throughout the publishing process, but I had just realized tonight how long it had been since I'd simply written, created something.

I guess I tend to shy away from that while editing, knowing that if I get involved with something else, I'll start to divert my efforts there, and fall behind on the editing. Tis a difficult scale to balance.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hey Syracuse Sports "Fans..." suck. No, really.

I went to the Mirabito Outdoor Classic on Saturday. It was a good atmosphere (you know, for this shit city). The problem was that the crowd was at least 40% Binghamton Senators fans, proving once again that Syracuse sports fans are incapable of showing up for games in their own back yard. The crowd had absolutely no ability to drown out any chants, and there were probably more B-sens chants than Crunch chants over the course of the day. Pathetic.

Fast forward four days to today, the night of the USA vs. Switzerland quarterfinal hockey game. Now I was at work for the first hour, which is fine because the scheduling was retarded. Then I went to bowling. I had to ask the bartender if I could put the game on, to which she brilliantly replied, "what channel?" Annoyed and with the remote sitting there on the bar, I turned the TV on myself.

Luckily, we were on the two lanes right outside the bar so I could look in and see the TV without obstruction. Over the course of the first two games, I watched the hockey game being mindful of my turn. The worst part is, I was the only one watching the game. Yes, the only one in a league that is probably 95% full of guys that consider themselves sports fans. Absolutely pathetic.

So Syracuse, when you pull on your garish, ugly "beat 'Nova" shirts late this week (who was the genius that came up with that one?), take a good long look in the mirror. Don't be alarmed if you see a brown mass of goo, your mirror isn't broken, you're just the fecal matter of sports fandom.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brendan Burke

We all have heroes for one reason or another. They could be people in our lives or in our career fields that we aspire to be like. They could be celebrities with qualities we wish to embody. They could even be characters in movies that react to a situation in a way we find admirable. Often times they are extraordinary, the best of the best, but on occasion they’re not much different than you or I. Or at least they wish people saw them that way.

Brendan Burke was one of those people. A twenty one year old young man, he strove to be no different than you or I. Son of notorious Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, he was the manager of the Miami of Ohio University Hockey team. All his life he’d been burdened by an admission that could change his standing in the eyes of his family, his peers, and his teammates. Brendan Burke was gay. Late in 2009, Brendan finally became open with his sexuality, and ESPN did an excellent cover story on the reactions of his teammates, and his larger than life father. Well, as best they could anyways. The reaction, when it wasn’t positive, wasn’t really anything. You see, in a rare moment that gives rise to one’s faith in humanity, no one really cared. It’s not that people already knew, though I’m sure some did. It’s that the message to Brendan was universal, “we support you no matter what, and this doesn’t change anything.”

His hockey teammates went even further, rallying behind his cause. They imposed a ban on anti-gay slurs in the locker room, some players effectively becoming policemen against such terms, even though it was never intentional. How much have phrases like “that’s so gay” become part of our everyday language? It’s heartwarming to see a complete and utter absence of negativity in situations like these. It speaks to who we are, and how far we’ve come as a society, and yet, how far we still have to go if situations like these are still aberrations and not the norm.

Unfortunately, unlike many tales of heroes, this one does not have a happy ending. Brendan Burke along with one of his friends died in a car accident on February 5th, 2010, a life tragically cut all too short. I don’t doubt that there are hundreds that wish we could have Brendan back, even those that did not know him. But you almost have to wonder if, after his message was broadcast to the world through ESPN in November 2009 if he’s gone because he fulfilled his purpose here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Somewhat Smaller, Less Evil, Future Ideas Update

So in addition to the afore mentioned Vampire Story which I have outlined in the appropriately titled tab on my website (or here if you're reading this from my site), I have several other projects rolling around my head.

Cube Wars:  Cube Wars is actually completely written, but needs editing and has some consistency issues.  The gist of the plot is that there are conflicting work groups for an Architectural firm.  Rather than work hard on their projects to get ahead, they wage war against each other with office supplies, using their cubicles as forts.  It is written in diary format, like a whacked out version of Anne Frank.  It is meant to be funny, but carries a lot of action and some poingnancy.

Dystopian Future Story:  As data storage capabilities grow, I don't think it is out of the question to assume that one day we will be able to literally download ourselves into a new vessel when our body is ready to give out.  The story will follow Arnet Tanner, who has seen several hundred years in various forms and now wishes to die.  However, a government that places extreme value on human life has gone to great lengths to ensure that no one else will ever have to deal with the pain that death brings.

I haven't worked out the details of the future world, or even the plot itself yet.  I am waiting until I finish Vampire Story, and possible Cube Wars before I begin outlining the story.  I'm not even sure if the afore mentioned plot is even what will end up sticking in the end.

Generational Love Story: I am enamored with both the idea of reincarnation and the concept of soulmates, two people inextricably linked through time.  This story will follow two such people through several eras past, present, and future as they find themselves again and again.  It should be interesting, but it will largely be a collection of short stories with vastly different themes, settings and extra characters with the main characters remaining the same.

As you can see, I really blow at coming up with titles.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Big Bad Book Update

So it's been a while since I gave a report on what I've been up to for "Vampire Story." As you can see, I have not come up with a better title. I finished a few weeks ago and have been going through the editing process, splitting it into three steps:
  • First Round - typos, poorly written sentences, obvious inconsistencies within chapters.
  • Second Round - inconsistencies throughout the entire book, character reviews and checks (is that character consistent throughout the story, and is their level of knowledge consistent; i.e. do they know things they shouldn't?)
  • Third Round - rewrites and additions
The book came in at around 84,000 words, which is a bit on the shorter end of what I was aiming for, however; I believe there are three chapters that I need to add.  One will be particularly rough because it will cause me to revise one chapter in which I like the exchange had between characters.  I also need to nail down what exactly I am going to do with the prologue.  As much as I like to get right into the action, I think that readers do need a bit of a setup for the story.

I plan on dishing it out to whomever is willing to read and make comments.  If that's you, be sure to let me know.  What will really help is comments on specific parts ("I like the way this character does this."), or questions ("Why did this happen/this character do this?").  The questions will be especially helpful because it will allow me to address the weaker points that I simply don't see, knowing the entire story in my head.

All in all, I hope to have something that is pretty close to be submittable within a month.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Obligatory First Post

I will talk about anything and everything here. Topics may include, but not be limited to the Buffalo Sabres, Global Warming, Endangered Species, Architecture, Politics, Social Commentary, Love, Sex, Porn, Art, Literature, and Historical Figures.