Space Tether

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The end of NaNoWriMo (But Not the Story)

It’s just after eight in the evening and my dog is staring at me from the hallway. The cheap, red wine is coursing through my veins, warming my body like a well earned hug, but its warm happiness is only a precursor to the bubbling joy I feel from finally achieving a well set goal. This month was NaNoWriMo, and for the first time since 2014, that’s four whacks at this pig mind you, I have finally reached the disgustingly high word count goal of 50,000. To put that into a bit of perspective, that’s about 1667 words a day, rounded up. To put that into an even better perspective, Stephen King claimed that while working on a novel, he writes 2000 words a day. Stephen King doesn’t have a 9-5 sucking the life out of him (he did, at one time, gods bless him), his kids are all grown up, and he isn’t going to college or trying to snag that hot little piece from work with a heart as sick and swelled as his ambitious of placing word on paper for a living – he’s gotten all those ducks tightly in a row. Whereas, in contrast, I’m some clock punching, knuckle dragging, drunkard whose only surface passions seem to be reading, Dungeons and Dragons, and pissing my time away as the whole world carries on and on and on without me. Fifty-thousands words, just saying it sounds like a mouthful of shit. One thousand is on the above average side of a college term paper, 1984 by George Orwell was eighty-eight thousand nine-hundred and forty-two, and in between that, somewhere under the spilled wine, crushed out cigarettes, and countless baleful glances from an unwalked doggie is fifty-thousand words. Hard to believe, but believe it. If I could do it again (and I can) I would (and I will). This novel is far from over (a little on the far, but close to an end). I have bitten nails to nubs, doubted myself into insomnia, talked to my handgun like an old friend over far too many drinks, and more than once had the urge to stop fooling myself and resign my life to punching a clock and scratching my ass for a living.

NaNoWriMo is over now. The words have been counted, I’ve watched their Congratulations YouTube Video, I even bought that damned near twenty-dollar t-shirt that claims “I’m a fucking winner” (after shipping and handling, they aren’t savages after all); but then there is that question posed time and time again that I read all too often as a LOSER on the wrong end of fifty-thousand words: What’s next? The rest of the novel, you assholes.

Fifty-Thousand words is a good starting point, don’t get me wrong. But Game of Thrones is like what, a thousand books? Jane Austin shit books in her sleep, Tolkien cracked a few when he wasn’t busy being grumpy, and Bukowski turded out a few more when he wasn’t drowning himself in contempt for the human race (among other things). I won, truth be told. I hit the mark, I finished the race, I bought the goddamn t-shirt – but I’m not done. There’s a story there that needs an end, there are people there, people I created, that need an ending to their tale. But not tonight. Tonight is for celebration. Tonight is for smiling because “I done good, momma.” I tested my salt. I tested myself. I hit a goal that is fucking ridiculous when there are bills to be paid and jobs to be done. And, maybe because I’m drunk, and, maybe because I think I’m hot shit in a champagne glass (and not cold diarrhea in a dixie cup, for once); I’d like to share the chapter that pushed me, and my story, and the denizens within its wordy bounds, with anyone who cares to read it. Now, like always, this is a rough work, rougher than, well, you find an analogy, I’ve done my writing work for the day. But thoughts, comments, criticism, hate, what-have-you is always welcome.

To read my last chapter (written for NaNoWriMo) follow THIS LINK RIGHT HERE, or look up into the navigation bar under NaNoWriMo Excerpts and click on Hamman (2017).

Thanks for stickin’ it out with me even though I’ve been a real rat-bastard of a stick-in-the-ass for all of November.

-phill

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The Annis Hag’s Tree (and an update)

mindflayer It’s been a while, and like always the reasons vary from different view points. The typical reasons are apathy, but i haven’t just been apathetic, i’ve also been busy – continuing working on my novels, working on a secret project, playing dungeons and dragons… you name it, i’ve been digging my hands through it – so some things have to suffer. And, in this case, the thing to suffer the most has been this page.

Now that the colder seasons are descending upon us here in Ohio, i’ll have more time in front of this computer away from the distractions from the outside (other than shoveling snow… it’s coming soon, believe me).

Last gaming session my players came upon a planar crossroad as they sought out an Annis Hag (don’t worry, I’ll have a Dungeons and Dragons session story time soon enough – we’re only getting to session 8, so there isn’t all that much to cram). As they made it to the Annis Hag’s home, they found that it was surrounded by Nothics. That ended the session, and the next session picked up right in the beginning of a fight, and i figured, instead of just drawing it out on the battle map, i’d build some battle terrain for them to play with. The end result looked something like this.

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The “tree pillars” were pretty straight forward to build. Just papertowel rolls, cardboard, hot glue, and paint; but the center piece was the real point of interest. It was the first time i attempted paper-mache.

I started with a base of some twistie ties, three towel paper rolls, and some carboard, and then crushed them together. Then i just used a mixture of white glue and toilet paper and covered it up. The next step was to add rubble, which was just a mixture of fish-tank stones, pebbles from the yard (which i have a ton of since running a powerline to the garage last summer), and this fine stone stuff (the black stuff in the pictures above) to get this look. Then I used a stink load of modge-podge to seal it all together… and then i waited two days for it all to dry.

Next, after the two days have finished, I made a mixture of black acrylic and modge-podge to lather the whole thing. The mixture not only made a nice base coat, it also sealed all the rubble in (because, even after drying, a lot of it started flaking off). This part took my longer than i expected because i found that after letting the mixture start to gum up, i’d apply another thin layer, making upward brush strokes, which game the model a more bark-like look instead of gummy paper mache.

After the undercoat finally dried i moved onto the next step, painting. This is something that i’m still getting the hang of, especially when it comes to mixing and knowing what they will look like when they dry. I’m using cheap acrylics which can just be found at any art store (you can actually see a red bottle of it in the background. Since the tree was dead and ash colored, i used light blues and grays, then cool blues and whites with lighter passes. In the end, it looked like this:

For creating this, i used a lot of methods taught by DM Scotty over at the DM’s Craft (check him out). Thanks for checking it out!

-phill

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Breakfast Cat Comics: Mine (rough draft)

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Breakfast Cat Comics: Fekken Hocker

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Breakfast Cat Comics: Church (rough draft)

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Breakfast Cat Comics: Sanic (pt 3)

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