Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cue the Toy Piano Music...


I call this opening photo "When HDR Attacks!". The photographer is Pat Kavanagh. There... proper propers proffered.

If days had soundtracks and/or music playing in the background, then my past few days would be accompanied by the tinkling sounds of a toy piano. Just kinda weird, surreal, off-center, quirky... nothing major, just a bunch of little things... keeping me on my toes, and a bit off-balance...


...not unlike this brave (stupid?) soul.

Of course, part of the problem might be that I put The Dragonbone Chair on hold before even cracking the paperback open, so I could read Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. I can honestly say, I've never read a book like it before. I'm not sure a review will be possible, but I may give it a go. I'm tearing through it, it's a wonderful read, equal parts absurd, deep, heart-rending and hilarious, like the semi-coherent thoughts of a man who has endured incredible trauma and is on the edge of sanity. Quite amazing.

And I dove into Diablo 3 as well. A good, solid game, with far more positive attributes than negative. While I will withhold final analysis until I've dumped a couple dozen more hours into it, all things considered, I think I prefer Titan Quest and Torchlight a bit more. We'll see if that holds. I'm only in Act 2.

Here is something you've never heard/seen in your life. It is Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" performed by a full orchestra and a choir of 10,000 trained singers. Yes, 10,000. Put your headphones on, crank the volume, and feast your ears on this for a while...



I really hope this doesn't come across as uncool at all, but it seems incongruous to me for some reason, Japanese faces and trained opera voices. I have never put those two together before. Regardless, that was truly amazing to listen, if you stuck it out all 18 minutes, like I have (several times now).... if not, at least cut to 6:45 and get an earful.

So I've been making great progress on mapping out the storylines and character arcs for the fantasy novel I'm working on. The more I get things down on paper, the more excited I get. Frankly, I think the stories I want to tell are really very good. Of course, why wouldn't I think that? Once I get the notes more and more detailed, I hope to end up with a stack of index cards for each of the four main storylines, with each card containing a summary of a scene in the sequence. It is, if I may be so bold, extremely fun.

While I'm on the topic of writing, I've been contemplating what happens to writers who lose the use of their limbs, either through paralysis or dismemberment, etc. How to write if all I had access to was a speech recognition software? If I had to dictate it all through the spoken word, would the story and style be much different than if I hammer the text out on a keyboard? I'm half-tempted to try and write a short piece that way (or even a blog post or two), just to see if the sentence structure, word choice and presentation would be similar to typing, or radically different.


So, I was playing Battlefield 2 on my PC the other night, with Maggie watching me, and on a whim, I asked her to take over for me so I could run upstairs and talk to wifey about something. Maggie was stunned at the offer and jumped at the chance. I showed her the basic controls, and she put the headphones on and jumped in. Yes, she's six, I realize that! Still, I didn't think it was a big deal. In fact, when I got back, I fired up the iMac and launched BF2 on that system as well, and Maggie and I played together. We drove around in tanks and I let her blow me up a bunch of times. She loves the game. Therein lies the problem. It's all she wants to do now. She's hooked.

Not exactly my best moment, as far as parenting goes. She's always been into cars and transformers and blowing stuff up, so in a sense, it should be no surprise. But man, has she taken to the game. She's even flying the choppers around now, which is not easy...

Ah, well...


So my friend [name withheld] called me tonight to let me know that he won 13 grand on the slots at a local Indian casino. He said he was 800 ahead at the time, so man, did he rake it in tonight. I've been thinking, since he always seems to win at the slots, I should invest in him! Kick him a monthly stipend and let him go play it. I don't have the patience or the desire to do so myself, but hey, if he enjoys it and is good at it, I'll split whatever he wins with him!

Bah, I'd probably just waste the winnings at Starbucks anyway...

OK, I think that's it for now. Thanks for all of the input on the previous post. You are all awesome, every one of you. Say hello to your moms for me...

Dave the Off-Center

12 comments:

Bob said...

Cool post, dave. I enjoy reading your experiences of writing a fantasy novel etc...

Haven't tried diablo yet, but i WAS tempted to start up TQ again after watching clash and wrath of titans back to back...

Greetings from Slovenia, my friend!

David Wagner said...

Bob! Great to hear from you again, bro. Hope all is well on your side of the world. D3 is definitely worth a play, if you ever get around to it. And even though your not a US citizen, I'm still going to vote for you for President... Bob 2012!

Chris said...

Dave windows 7 has some basic speechbto text tools. Let's what a blog post made with voice recognotion looksblike

Chris said...

Curse my typing on tiny telephone keyboard

Anonymous said...

Remarkable choir! Can't even imagine the sum of hours under that roof of mastering their instruments, vocals, and synchronizing them all together for that night.

My son had the gaming gene. You either have it or you don't (he was disappointed that I didn't :). Have fun modeling gaming boundaries. I used to eat candy inside the pantry, so we each have our own parenting methods.

By the way, that picture is spectacular. I'm not photoshop savvy - has it been altered?

Beth A.

logankstewart said...

Slaughterhouse 5, eh? Is this your first Vonnegut? I'm thinking it must be. The man's writing was extremely influential to my writing style, blending absurd with harsh reality and whatnot. That said, Cat's Cradle is hands-down the best Vonnegut book out there. It's a bit more uplifting and less devastating than Slaughterhouse, and funnier, too, if you can imagine. I definitely recommend it. So it goes.

nutschell said...

haha! Pacific! and I'm afraid of heights so that 2nd picture makes me dizzzzzy!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

David Wagner said...

Chris: Thanks for the heads-up. I'll nose around and see if I can find the voice features you mentioned.

Beth: Would have been amazing to hear that music performed live. Although I still have a hard time with soprano soloists, lol. Those high notes rattle my brain...

Maybe I should play games in the pantry...

That picture has been thoroughly tweaked. The process is called HDR, though I'm not positive what that stands for. What it does it combines several versions of the same shot, which were focused at different rages, and merges them so that the entire picture is in sharp focus. Then the contrast and saturation levels are cranked up, making the highs and lows more extreme. The results are usually pretty striking, but I think this one is a bit overdone. That's why I titled it the way I did...

Logan: Yep, my first Vonnegut. I've always known of him, but never read him. I'm assuming Slaughterhouse Five is somewhat autobiographical. I'll have to research it a bit. I'll look for Cat's Cradle next, thanks for the plug. So it goes.

Nut: I'm no good with heights either. Maybe that's why I love those helmet-cam vids of those guys climbing crazy-tall buildings, bridges, cranes, etc.

kristacole said...

I think it'd be cool to see the difference using voice writing!! you should definitely try it!!

Awesome opening picture... about to get some prismacolor map pencils in the mail gonna try my hand at color... black and white is mostly all I've ever done.. but color can make a art piece look so mesmerizing..

dude on a tight rope that high has no brain too insane to be real lol

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing that opera performance... thoroughly enjoyed it, though I can not imagine that the recording was optimum by any means... would love to hear that sort of environment live!

Whenever you get to a point of being able to let someone ready or proof your fantasy work, I humbly offer my services as a voracious and discerning reader! If I ever get to the point of writing again I would like to dabble in the Sci-Fi or fantasy realm, though I may be no Orson Scott Card, lol.

Good luck with the blog!

Drydoryssus said...

That wasn't Bob.
Bob never uses caps. Ever.

You're now the proud gamer father of a gamer daughter. Don't worry; celebrate!

David Wagner said...

Krista: I think that guy may actually be walking that rope without any gear... if not, that's a great photoshop job. Good luck with the next step in your artwork!

Tannji: Probably a few months away from anything like a complete rough draft, but I may just take you up on your offer. And yeah, I'd have loved to been in the audience and heard that choir live.

Dry: That had to be Bob! He had the cool accent and everything! Yeah, I guess I should be proud my daughter is a gamer. I should introduce her to Titan Quest...