Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Working Wednesdays: The Use of Google Calendar and Reminders



Okay, crude naming conventions aside, I want to talk about how I have built up a much more consistent writing schedule through Google Calendar’s appointment system.
In the past, I have had trouble focusi... [50 minutes of reading textsfromlastnight.com]
In the past, I have had trouble focusing. I would work when time allowed, and I let pretty much anything take priority over my writing. Bowling one night, watching a movie the next. Hell, even things like not-doing-a-damn-thing-on-the-computer started to take over.
I needed a reminder, set at a time of day that is usually open, that would tell me to get started. To let me know what I was supposed to be working on that day, and in a no bullshit way, to write my daily word goal.
I knew that Google had some decent apps for time management. Calendar can sync easily with your phone, computer, and pretty much anything else with a browser, but I didn’t really start using it to its potential until I uncovered the reminder system. 
Also, if you don’t use gmail, get off my website you filthy communist. I hope your AOL, ASK.com, and 16 other toolbars eat your Internet Explorer 5 browser. You’re only excused if your name has its own domain behind it. 
Six days a week, a reminder is sent to me, usually as I am walking through the door of my house. Depending on the day, it can be as simple as “Write 1,000 words” or “Finish Wednesday’s blog post. On days where there are multiple tasks, I will set the reminders to come at different times in an effort to keep me more on schedule.
The process is simple. Create a new appointment, edit the event, and add an SMS reminder to be sent to your phone. It only takes a few seconds, and is well worth the effort.
This isn’t the be all end all of time management of course. I’d love to hear what the rest of you are using. Hit up the comments section and let me know.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Freaky Friday: Attack of the Killer __________!




It might have surfaced below the stairs, some conglomeration of mops brought together by the blood of a disgruntled janitor and the spirits of the hobos he loved. Maybe you have a killer mulch pile, with a seemingly insatiable appetite for troubled children (buy it, it's good damnit). Or, more notably, you have an iguana exposed to nuclear fallout who just so happens to have a taste for Asian architecture.

This may be a guilty pleasure of mine, but I love myself an obscure monster movie. Godzilla notwithstanding, the original creatures cooked up by supernatural forces have always been one of my favorite horror tropes. Done well, they can make the inane terrifying, and done poorly, it usually turns into a mess of hilarious crap. Some of my own early short stories could be categorized here. Not crap, but as monster stories.. Well, maybe crap too, shut up.

To any fan of Stephen King, this trope is usually recurring and satisfying. Killer cars, dead pets’ resurrected, entire houses; it all works for Sai King.

No matter who is doing the writing, there are a few things you can usually be sure of: if it exists, someone has probably twisted it into something else; Horrible snowmen, clowns, animals (usually made huge for effect), and dolls are the common culprits. Mimes could be considered part of this trope too, but only because they are such terrible, soulless, awful beings.

So, which objects-gone-rogue are your favorites? Have you ever written a story that meets this trope? If so, hit up the comments because I would like to know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dark Art #1: Zdzisław Beksiński



If there is such a place as hell, I’m certain that Zdzisław “I can’t afford all the vowels” Beksiński has been there. Mostly known for his fantastic realism work, Beksiński produced some of the most disturbing and hyper realistic art that I have ever laid eyes on.



A Polish painter of simple origins, Beksiński started out with more abstract works. Slowly this turned into sketches of the hellish landscapes that would become his most famous works. During this time period, he would pick up oil painting, which ultimately led to his signature and unmistakable style.



There are often rumors of what inspired his great works. The most common one on the internet is about being in a coma for many months, and awaking to write what he saw. I haven’t been able to find any reliable source information on this, so it should be taken with a huge grain of salt.




The end of his life however, is no fairy tale. It is well known that he lost his wife, followed by the suicide of his son a year later. In 2005, Beksiński was found murdered in his apartment, stabbed 17 times by his caretaker’s son. The dispute was over a $100 dollar loan.

I plan to run a Dark Art feature once a month for the foreseeable future. If you have an artist you want featured on here, throw them in the comments and I will gladly take a look.
 
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