Saturday, September 8, 2012

Weekend Goodies: Of Books and Bliss

This is a video of author, Bliss Morgan, reciting She Rides Through the Woods; a poem from her first volume of Nightmare Fuel. This week I won a free e-book copy as a prize for winning Flash Fiction Project's August contest. The premise of the contest was simple and open. Writers just needed to write a piece and either post or link to it in the page's August prompts to be eligible for the grand prize. Preparing for university left me little time to write, but I managed two pieces for separate prompts when I wasn't trying to figure out how to get on the university's public Wi-Fi or the dorm's network for that matter.

Regardless of the situation, I was quite proud of the work I did. The submissions from the competition were brilliant as well and you should give a read in your spare time. They can be found here (Nykki B's Glass) and here (John Lewis's The Rest Stop).

As for Nightmare Fuel, I'm definitely looking forward to reading it.  Once again, thanks to Flash Fiction Project for the contest, Bliss Morgan for the e-book, and everyone who submitted. It was definitely a blast.

Monday, September 3, 2012

University Experience: Just Getting There

So last week marked my first days into university as an English major. I've been looking forward to it all summer in between writing flash fiction, catching up on my reading list, and working day by day. Along with the classes, it would be a brand new experience living away from home and pretty much everyone I knew...mostly.

So after all the school shopping for the past few weeks came the big day itself. The family and I hopped up to the school and got to unpacking the bare essentials. I pretty much planned to pack only what I need with a few entertainment items. After all, the accumulated reading list and podcast backlogs would keep me calm and I planned to take some walks around the campus.

At this point, most people I know would worry more about the roommates they would be paired up with. I knew I was, imagining situations in which politics would tear everyone asunder, dirty housekeeping was the norm, or something to that effect. However, the first few days had pretty much put those thoughts to rest. Moving in before everyone else was even more never-wracking, more or less when it was time for bed.

With no one around, it was pretty easy to misinterpret sounds from the hallway as being in the same room. At one point, I had thought someone sneaked in, used the bathroom and began to watch some television late at night. Turned out the following morning that neither the situation nor the fears I had about roommates were true at all.

Quite the opposite happened and so far, I've been getting along with them brilliantly. From the what I know so far from them and my classes, I've come up with a list of expectations for this semester:

-I will learn the basic foundations of English in academia and how it's developed over time.

-I will continue to improve my writing through classes and joining university clubs that have a good base in writing (ex. English club and the Paper).

-I will be familiar with some sports teams, especially the New England ones. That and sports programming.

Here's to a prosperous semester at far.   

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Personal History: Remixed and Reassessed

For the Record: For now this is going to be the last post where I babble on about the past. I have had ideas about moving this musings blog forward, influenced by other blogs and daily life. If you have any good ideas, post them in the comments or comment on my G+or Diaspora profile where this blog-post is linked.   

I first shared this video on Google+, agreeing with Kirby Ferguson that most works are remixed from other ideas. Some of those ideas are other works that have influenced my own from like radio plays, news stories, and other novels. Other ideas that I had put into my writing were from my own past experiences. Not only applying to the workshop assignment, but also in some of my recent flash fiction pieces.

All throughout this year, I haven't been just remixing ideas past and present. I've also been reassessing my own past to see what I can do better in the long term. Hence the long summer absences from the blog and the web overall. I really began doing this after deleting my first Facebook account where I had those sharing and social networking issues.

That person who I had the Facebook issues with? Part of that dealt with the pressure that social networking had contributed. However, most of that had deeper roots going back to my first years in high school. One of my teachers was really into trying to get me to fit in with the rest of the kids. While I may appreciate this teacher for what she did overall, that bit was really unnecessary. After all, what does fitting in actually contribute to a student's career opportunities and overall grades.

That whole concept of fitting in sustained itself throughout my high school life. While this did start dying off when I began writing, it still stayed with me in the couple years after graduation. Looking back on some of the situations that occurred because of that concept including that bit on Facebook, trying to fit-in got me nowhere.

During my final semester at community college, one of my friends had told me not to think of high school too much. I couldn't agree with him more now than ever. The friends I have now and the writing that I'm doing were not the results of trying to fit-in, but to embrace myself.

I decided after those two weeks to go back on Facebook, but 'friend' only the people who I enjoy interacting with with my 'likes' being close to zero. This way, I can stay in touch with them without businesses or blogs hogging up space on the news feed. Also, I can share what I like and be honest with it like I do on Google+. The pressure to fit-in is fading and now embracing myself is the new challenge.

By embracing the remix of ideas from friends and family, I was able to look at my past more clearly to see how I can be better. Whether it would being more productive or being honest about myself, those ideas helped me find those ideas which hindered my progress in life. With the first semester at  the university in just two weeks, it's time to put those ideas to the test. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An Actual Introduction

For the Record: I've actually been meaning to do an 'about me' post for awhile, especially after the last post. The fact that one of Literary+'s assignments asks for just that, a short bio, is very convenient and who this biography is for. Of course, depending on where you're coming from, some of the information may be already familiar to you. 

Right...where to begin? I was first inspired to write during high school where my best friend at the time went mad with his obsession of finding a girlfriend. Whereas at the same time, I broke up with someone who was overall obsessive to the point where her number was blocked in a effort to restore some sanity. I had started attending a local writing workshop at the library where I was able to expel those stresses with just five pages.

It was relaxing and turned writing into a hobby after a nice woman in my sophomore English Class encourage me to do much more with it. I wonder how she's been these days, after I was inundated with the peer pressure of mainstream politics after graduation thanks to new-found co-workers (or rather just one) and another writing workshop.

Now I'm writing again and embracing myself; an anglophile, geek, writer, and bookworm.

When I write, I listen to the critiques and rants of Mark Kermode. Yet, I'm not an overall movie person, spacing out during the middle of many a film wondering about other things. Speaking of wondering, I tend to think a lot. Sometimes I over-think as my family, friends, and biology lab partner have mentioned countless times.

On that, I'm a college student on the way to university after three years at community college. Even with all the pressures from high school graduation onwards, I still managed to graduate cum laude. And here I am, stubborn as ever.

Please to meet you!

EDIT: I didn't realize until late today (27 of June) that the assignment was updated to include a word limit for the bio. I was about 150 words too long with the bio. So I've wrote another one to fit the requirements at 100 exactly. 

Inspired to write first through high school drama and again when macaroni and cheese became a popular breakfast, I’ve documented the best and worst. The only part of that I didn’t document was being inundated with mainstream politics. It was like being buried alive. Thanks peer pressure. When I write, I listen to the critiques and rants of Mark Kermode. Yet, I’m not an overall movie person, wondering about other things. Speaking of wondering, I tend to think a lot. Sometimes overthink as my family, friends, and biology lab partner have mentioned. Even with all that, I still manage something.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Leaving Facebook: An Over-Exaggeration in the Making (?)

EDIT: Now with a question mark considering the new issues developing over FB's email changes. Especially since the issues don't bode well with laws in other countries. This post now expresses a reason why I've considering leaving FB among others.

A few days ago, I had made a post on Google+ considering Diaspora as a secondary social network due to the developing issues regarding Facebook's ethics regarding privacy, support of their users*, and overall transparency. However, after writing that post, I begun to think further, asking myself why am I really considering this option.

Then the day after that post, I recalled the reason. The reason happened to be a person and Facebook friend with good ethics about getting things done, but not on everything else. I had met him months after graduating high school and being the naive nineteen year-old guy that I was, I tried to fit in with him. By fit in, it was pretty much chuckle at his jokes, 'agree' with him about his point of view, and other things. The only thing I found good was the work ethic, as mentioned, that needed a bit of personal tweaking. Everything else, I thought, was off and yet I couldn't disagree, at least when he was around.

This transferred itself onto Facebook. When he and I 'friended', that's when it got worse. Some posts that had no bearing to politics, had been changed into something political when he commented. So a post I made, linking to an episode of Stephen Fry's English Delight, became a dystopia in his own mind, for example. It had gotten to a point where I essentially had to share items that I mostly never read, on my wall. The overall message of those many links, which mostly consisted of views opposite of his own, was supposed to say, "Can I please have my own point of view with you?"

While I may have put many people off since sharing something can indicate endorsement of a view, I wanted to have control over my social networking with family and friends aside from him. I wanted to share things that mattered to me, whether it was a post from a blog like BoingBoing or just something about my life. I finally was able to do so slowly, but surely near the end of last year. He had stopped the comments, I began my reading list with Dan Gillmor's Mediactive and also joining Google+. Through the combination of learning how to improve my own media literacy and judgement, learning how I can become an active contributor to media (ex. blogging), getting into a strong writing community, and the fact that the FB friend stopped commenting helped me feel much more comfortable with who I was.

I no longer felt obligated to be a news junkie of any means or get into politics that I had no real view on. The peer pressure he brought over never boded well personally and the escapism through astrology only made it worse. Now, into 2012, I have never felt better about who I am.

I'm back into the writing spirit and have made friends who accept me for who I am. Some of whom I've know for a few years, but I never really made the time for. I also finally did something I should have done two years ago: 'unfriending' that FB friend in question. Now with that, I don't see myself leaving the Facebooks anytime soon, but that doesn't mean I trust their ethics overall.

I'll give Diaspora a go for awhile just to see what happens. But the worst is over for now and the fact that I graduated cum laude from community college means that those years weren't wasted dealing with that one guy, even when everything else seemed to go wrong.

*While it's a free service, the way FB is going about being user friendly through frequent code changes (read Matt Kurze's FB comments here), timeline being a clunky matter personally, and having pages pay just to gain more visibility, is far from friendly.

Monday, March 19, 2012


The Writing Bit: For the Flash Fiction Project's latest prompt. EDIT: I transferred this piece over to my writing blog, Prompted Ink, so it can be covered under the Creative Commons license there. You can read it here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Writing Bit: Triumphs and Falls

The following is a writing piece for the Flash Fiction Project, found via Writ. The prompt can be found here. EDIT: I transferred this piece over to my writing blog, Prompted Ink, so it can be covered under the Creative Commons license there. You can read it here