Happy New Year! Quick Review of Movies / TV Series I saw in 2016!

Happy New Year!

2016 is almost over (thank god) and 2017 is right around the corner (for some of you it‘s already 2017)!

I thought it might be fun for me to do a quick & dirty review of all the movies/TV I watched this year! Just a head’s up, not all of them are stuff that came out in 2016.

But before we get started! To celebrate the New Years both of my books are FREE today & tomorrow!

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Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian (New Adult Contemporary Fantasy Reader’s Favorites called: “… a page-turner full of action and adventure.”)

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Chronicles of the Otherworld (An experimental Dark Fantasy Novella that’ll twist and turn your perceptions for the genre)

With that out of the way, here we go! …Hopefully, I don’t forget any.

Star Wars: Rogue One ( 2.5 / 5) – Inconsistent. Perhaps the one of the most iconic Star Wars scene at the end. Certain questionable dialogue choices. Not sure why they chose to do what they did with the characters as it was unnecessary. Final moments of the movie after the famous Vader scene also makes little sense when we really think about it.

Star Trek Beyond ( 3 / 5) – Not sure about the pacing. Villain made little sense. Action sequences were done better in the previous films.

Captain America: Civil War (3 / 5) – Another fun Marvel film. Winter Soldier was a better film since it at least felt different than the typical formula Marvel films have been following since Iron Man. The moral debate between the two sides is weak and unconvincing. [SPOILER] Weak ending where nothing that matters was lost at the end.

Dr. Strange (2.5 / 5) – Tried to do too much with the first movie. Benedict is likable as Strange. Forgettable villain with convoluted motives. The big baddie at the end is a bit puzzling considering his place in the comics. The end fight itself borders between corny and clever. One of the best post-credit “Marvel teasers.”

Batman v Superman  (2 / 5) – Too scattered. Too inconsistent. Plot doesn’t even make sense within its own logic. Snyder seemed to have pieced together moments instead of creating a film. While the actor was great, how they decided to portray Lex Luther felt like a mistake by the end. MARTHAAA

Finding Dory (3.5 /5) – Very heartfelt as to be expected from Pixar. Bigger emotional punch than Finding Nemo. Jumped the shark a bit at the end.

X-Men Apocalypse ( 2 / 5) – Very meh especially considering how impressive the preceding film was. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing really interesting, Apocalypse was surprisingly a boring villain. Gets pretty cheesy near the end.

Zootopia (4 / 5) – Funny, witty, creative, and I’d love to live in Zootopia. It handled the message it wanted to send well for what it was. Nick Wilde is also a great character.

Hell or High Water (4.5 / 5) – Just watch it. Wonderful neo-western with a compelling story and pacing. One of the most intense and clever standoffs I’ve seen in a western during the final moments of the film.

Sicario (4 / 5) – Just watch it. Especially if you liked Hell or High Water.

Moana (2.5 / 5) Some of the most beautiful visuals I’ve seen in a Disney Film. Best female Disney character to date. A bit Miyazaki-esque. Songs were generally a miss for me. The song by Lin-Manuel Miranda, however, is brilliant. Very weak ending.

Sky Rising ( 2 / 5 ) A bit too in-your-face with metaphors and symbolisms. Lacks certain Magic and nuance that Miyazaki films tend to have. Pacing is too slow. Unnecessary romance that made no sense and wasn’t even biographical. Voice acting by Hideaki Anno was mostly a miss for me.

Swiss Army Man (4 / 5) – Surprisingly thoughtful and touching. Never thought fart & sex jokes can take a movie so far.

Sausage Party (1 / 5) – Dumber than you think it’d be. People will tell you that “it’s just not your type of movie” or “you just didn’t get the jokes” when you tell them you didn’t like it. It sucked. I wanted my money back.

Corner Gas the Movie ( 3 / 5) – If you’re a fan of the show, it just feels like an extended episode… but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Caché (4 / 5) – Sometimes a bit too much with the message it wants to send (sometimes too subtle, sometimes too blatant) but it’s one of those films for film students. Masterfully filmed. Each shot has a purpose. Engrossing story.

Winter’s Bone (4.5 / 5) – If anyone wants to see Jennifer Lawrence’s acting chops this is a good film to do it with. Powerful and an organic film. Watch it.

Hail Caesar! (4 / 5) – Coen brothers film for all ages (?). Celebrates film industry while also poking fun at it. Charismatic, colorful, and whimsical.

Penny Dreadful (TV)
S1 : (3.5 / 5) – Promising and refreshing. Someone give Eva Green an award.

S2: (4 / 5) – Awesome though the second half of the season is a bit corny. Someone give Eva Green an award.

S3: (2/5) – This would be 1/5 if it wasn’t for Eva Green and Rory Kinnear. The ending is absolutely atrocious. Build up to the ending is horrendous. Rare moments where I felt my time was wasted starting this series. But, seriously, someone give Eva Green an award.

Fargo (TV)
S1: (5/5) – Tight writing, great pacing, memorable characters. Lester is a fascinating character to watch as he twists and turns through the series. Lorne Malvo is basically Chigurh but that’s not such a bad thing and Fargo brings a brilliant Coen brother feel to the force-of-nature character.

S2: (5/5) – As good as, if not better, than S1 but it’ll definitely depend on the audience. It has more “whimsical” elements to the plot that may turn off some viewers–even the fans of S1. And the vibe of the story is essentially different than the S1 as well. It’s more heartfelt and builds much bigger investment into the characters. Every actor is memorable in their own, unique ways. The dialogues are more subtle and also more profound, insightful, uniquely tailored, and at times even haunting.


I think that’s all?

Anyways…

Best Thing I Watched This Year

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FARGO Season 2

Runner-up: Hell or High Water / Winter’s Bone

Worst Thing I Watched This Year

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Runner-up: Penny Dreadful Season 3


That’s it! Maybe I’ll do books sometime soon as well!

But for now… Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! And I think I speak for all of us when I say…

“PLEASE BE GENTLE WITH US 2017!”

ARAMIRU OUT! 


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Merry Christmas 2016!

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Merry Christmas!

Jingle bells are ringing!

Uncles are drunk and raging!

I’m outside with a bat and sending snowmen’s heads flying!

And the neighborhood children are crying!

The police are coming?

Hope everyone’s having a lovely holiday and if you’re in Japan hope you got your bucket of KFC.

My first novel, Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian will be FREE today for anyone who wants it as my Christmas gift to my readers!

CLICK HERE to get your copy of the Contemporary Fantasy that Reader’s Favorite has called”…a page-turner full of action and adventure.”

ARAMIRU JINGLING OUT! 


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Explaining the 4 Common Answers & Advice Given to Beginner Writers

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Hi, it’s me. Your average writer.

You might have heard of me from my past works such as… who are we kidding? You have never heard of me. I’m a nobody. But I’m a nobody with some experience.

 

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Me. (But seriously, if you don’t know who this is you’re dead to me)

 

Last time, I posted a blog about 4 Same Stupid Questions I See All the Time On Writing Forums. Click HERE to fulfill my shameless plug.

This time, I thought I’d do something a bit more helpful and thoughtful.

I’m going to buy your ebooks.

Just kidding. I’m still poor. And with the money I have I’d rather buy a McDouble and a McChicken at McDonald’s with the awesome Mc2Pick for $2.50! What a deal! And make sure to check out their limited-time holiday drinks!

 

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Pay me please!

 

You already know what this is about. You’ve read the title. Get to the point you’re saying. Maybe you’ve already scrolled down.

This is for all of you out there wondering what exactly some of those answers you’ve received  meant. Because the random stranger who gave you the answer left you cold and hanging without an explanation. Like my dad on Christmas.


“Show, Don’t Tell”

Let’s get the big one out of the way.

I’m literally massaging my nose bridge with one hand and typing this with my other two hands as I’m trying to explain this one.

Not because it’s particularly difficult to answer, but because it’s so basic.

But not because it’s just so basic, but because it’s so basic and it’s a mistake that I make often and I know for a fact that many other writers who should be above these kinds of things make this mistake as well.

So let’s try to understand WHY this happens.

I have a simple theory: We are describing what we are seeing in our brilliant, gifted minds and forgetting that our jobs as writers are to help the readers experience what we’re seeing and not have them simply understand what we’re seeing. We’re not supposed to be the tour guides but be VR goggles. They want to be inside of our story—not be outside of it.

Showing is taking notes.

Telling is creating worlds.

 

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Strive to be this inanimate object.

 

There are times when you want to “tell” over “show” but this is one of those things where you have to master the rules before you learn to bend them.

And here’s an example just in case:

TELL:

Jimmy was mad at Moe.

SHOW:

Jimmy’s unibrow furrowed into a rugged U, his hand trembled with fury, and his heart filled with the burning desire to bitchslap Moe.


“Just Write”

You want to be a swimmer? Go practice swimming every day.

You want to be a stripper? Go practice stripping every day.

You want to be a writer? Go practice stripping every day.

Wait.

Well. Why not. Cardio’s important. But you should also practice writing every day.

This somewhat calloused sounding advice exists because most people only talk about writing and never actually write.

They think they can be writers by just spewing their thesis about the craft of ink and paper as they lasciviously rub themselves for their own creativity and avant-garde ideas.

Something about hic Rhodus, hic salta.

 

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They’re basically doing this.

 

Your ideas aren’t worth donkey’s spit on a chicken’s ass if you never actually create something with it. And unless you’re some sort of a Hemingway’s spirit reborn, you’re probably not as good as you think you are.

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So how do you “just write”? I personally say do away with the whole “have a word count for the day” thing. You know, when people say things like “just write 1000 words a day”?

Look, fellow grasshoppers, if you’re a professional writer then you know when your due date is so daily word count either makes more sense or not at all since you just have to get’er done by that date.

You know how you work. You can set your own pace.

If you’re a hobbyist it makes less sense because the rigidness and the arbitrary number just turns your hobby into a chore.

But sure. If it works for you—good. Nothing wrong with that.

If it doesn’t—don’t worry about it.  And let me recommend, instead, setting up a timed session.

Maybe one hour a day. One hour every other day.

Make it your schedule, like everything else you do in life, and just use that time to write one word or ten thousand words. Or even no words. Just do something writing related. Even if that’s reading for research, doing brainstorms, and whatever. Maybe it’ll be for an hour. Maybe it’s two hours. Just set a time.

This will give you some freedom and some ease with your writing pursuit. And if you have an end goal in mind that’s where you can set a long-term deadline for yourself.

Oh, and, if you’re not letting other people read your work—you’ll never get better. Practice makes permanent and not perfect.

Writing without outside criticism will only make your lack of talent permanent.

Boom.

Real talk.


“Write for Yourself / Don’t Follow the Trend”

So, this one’s a bit FUBAR.

To unravel this, I’ll just first explain where it’s coming from and then kind of go on about why it’s FUBAR. And just a head’s up: this one’s going to be a bit serious.

Like stool samples. Poops are fun and games but sometimes you have to use serious, medical terms like “stool” and “samples”.

Anyways.

When there’s a fad, it’ll start a trend.

Star Wars sparked the sci-fi boom.

Lord of the Rings & Game of Thrones sparked the fantasy boom.

Twilight sparked the wtf-happened-to-vampires boom.

Hunger Games started the dystopian boom.

The whole idea of “write what you’d want to read / don’t follow a trend” is that the chances of you actually catching the trend and having your passions align with the trend… are low.

Why is the chance of catching a trend low?

Because writing is a long process and publishing can be even longer. It usually takes years for someone to finish a book and see it in stores. You really think the trend will last that long? And what about passion? Do you think you can write a work you’re proud of without a passion for it? Even if you’ve missed the trend? Can I add any more questions to this paragraph? Well? Can I?

Writing what you’re proud of—something that you can call your own—can mean more at the end of the day than writing something that you thought was going to sell.

But remember when I said this topic is a bit tricky? With the technologies and how the book market is today… you can basically ignore everything I said up there and maybe you should.

Yeah, seriously.

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You know why trends start? Because they sell.

People tend to want more cake after they had a slice.

Twilight spawned True Blood, Vampire Diaries, and a bunch of other vampire shows, books, and ebooks in a variety of genres.

Erotica was a popular genre to write for on Kindle for a while because they sold like… well… sex.

Publishers will always welcome any book that’ll sell. That’s their jobs. Publish things to sell. And if the genre’s hot right now, they’ll be looking for more of that genre and might even put you through the fast lane.

For indie writers, catching trends is easier now more than ever because you can instantly check what’s selling well. Check the Top 100 on Amazon. There you go.

Passion? Damn, son. Passions tend to suck at paying for stuff. And I like stuff.

 

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Like one of these. Just to give the middle-finger to the starving children in Africa and good ideas everywhere

 

Besides, if you’re a professional writer shouldn’t you have a grasp of how to write just about anything?

Timing? You click “publish” and you’re done.

You want to put more work into it? It won’t be too hard for you to chug out a 40-50k novel that follows a formula for a standard successful storytelling in a month. Remember, NaNoWriMo thinks just about everyone can chug out 50k in a month. You’re a professional, veteran writer. If this is your full-time job, you can do it in 2-3 weeks. During the time you’re writing you can hire an editor and an artist and ding-ding-ding you have a Hot Pockets book.

Besides, talking about passion, do you think there’s a lot of market appeal to a book that’s so personally you?

Sometimes a book is too much you and sometimes that’s not a good thing. That’s when a writer is just doing a self-pleasing (there, friends, I didn’t use the word “masturbatory”) project and hoping that people might like it.

Hell, that writer might not even be thinking of readers. If your protagonist is a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper named Borga Do’Kora (stage name being Danger Dick) who’s day job is a tax accountant, maybe you really did not give a chicken’s ass on a donkey’s spit about the readers.

And that’s fine. Writing, in its best form, should be reflective and a fragment of your being. Even if that’s a half-orc, quarter-dragon, quarter-boar stripper who’s favorite food happens to be pickled eggplants.

But if we’re talking about making money, the whole story changes.


“Keep Writing”

Wow, the last one was so damn long. I’ll keep this short. You know how you improve your mile run right? You keep running.

But as you keep running, you’ll run into some hurdles along the way. Maybe your ankles will start to hurt, maybe you’ll run into better runners, and maybe some literal hurdles. It’s called gaining experience.

And sometimes, it’ll hurt. They might say you have ugly shoes, ugly face, and that you look downright silly running.

 

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Not everyone can run majestically like Tom Cruise.

 

But someone wise once told me… Just kidding. I read this on Tumblr.

“Writer’s who are afraid of rejection are like boxers who are afraid of getting punched. You’re in the wrong line of work.”

In every aspect of our lives, we should welcome valid criticisms. In writing, we have to take-and-thank any sort of feedback we can get and sort it through ourselves like beggars on the street corners Aurora ave in Seattle.

And a lot of times… the greatest of criticisms will come from our own failures. It’s okay to fail despite what my mother says. What’s not okay is to let failures just be failures. Then you’ve wasted your time.

Don’t give up. Everything’s hard and writing as a craft has been around since the beginning of written language. You don’t have to try to rewrite the rule book, the legacy, or try to be the next big thing. Just enjoy it and see where it takes you.

If someone says you suck–say thanks. What can I do to be better?

If you think you suck–well, I suck. What can I do to be better?

And I’m not saying having that attitude is easy. It’s tough. Hell, I always get salty and pissy and depressed about myself and my life. And sometimes about my writing!

But that’s the process of “Keep Writing”. You’ll get better as long as you keep challenging yourself and keep yourself honest. Make sure the cycle of depression and persistence keeps turning. There’s no fast lane here. It’s just gaining experience.

Or just give up. It’s your life. Why are you doing this if you’re not enjoying it unless you’re trying to pay bills with it?

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It’s okay not to be a writer. It’s okay not to be a professional writer. I’m sure your friends and family will be happy to hear that you decided not to be an artist anymore and decided to be a Tax Accountant and go make a happy, comfortable living without having to worry about your future.

But if you’re not going to give up, keep running. As you keep running, you’ll also learn how to enjoy running better. And hopefully, y’know, you’ll keep researching into how to run better because that’s part of keep running.

Like forms and stuff.

Metaphor. Analogy.

This got too sentimental for my taste.

AND I SAID HEY-EY-EY-EY! HEY-EY-EY-EY!

I SAID HEY!

TUPAC KILLED JFK!

ARAMIRU OUT!


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4 Same Questions I See All the Time On Writing Forums

I’m sure any writers  who don’t retire after NaNoWriMo is over will know exactly what I’m talking about.

You’re browsing through your favorite writing forums as you relax on the comfort of your gluteus maximus resting against your glorious throne (in my case a $50 dollar chair from Costco).

You chuckle at the plebians crying for help and you dowse yourself with a reality check for your daily dose of  crippling depression about your own writing.

Or, I don’t know. Maybe you just had nothing better to do on the toilet.

But this sacred ritual is plagued, as it often is, by the redundant questions that you’ve seen countless times on a weekly basis that fills up the pages of your favorite writing forums. And it’s even more than the usual because ’tis the season.

Don’t they know how to search?

Haven’t they cracked open a book before?

Isn’t there some sort of a VlogBrother piece about this?

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John Green is unimpressed with you.

Tell me honestly that you haven’t seen these multiple times before:

“Can I make my character ‘X'”? / “How do I make my character interesting?”

By writing them interestingly.

If people can write interesting stories about silly characters like Superman and whiny angsty kids like Holden–you can do it too!

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Look at this smug, godly bastard

If you have talent.

But let’s be real. Most of us don’t have talent.

We just have fun writing.

I was told that’s okay.

“How do you write women?”

Like any other person.

Add the colors of their individuality later. Like complaining about menstrual pain. Because that defines women. For men, you can make them constantly worry about the size of their penis. Because that defines men.

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“We’re supposed to have two of these?”

See? I insult both.

What? What about hermaphrodites?

Yo mama.

That’s what.

Unless your mother is a hermaphrodite. Then-she’s-a-respectablel-lady-who’ve-gone through-something-not-many-of-us-have-gone-through-and-I-hope-she’s-okay-with-the-choice-that-she-made -on-what-sex-she-wanted-to-be.

Don’t sue me. I’m poor.

“Should I do X?”

No. Don’t do it.

Yes! Do it!

I don’t know. Go ask James Patterson.

It’s impossible to answer that question without actually reading your work. Even then, remember that even Tolkien was told Lord of the Rings was a terrible idea by his peers.

But, again, let’s be real. 90% of writers are too afraid to let others read their work and 75% are too lazy and/or uncaring to read other people’s work.

To be fair–the latter is fair. Why should we spend our precious time reading your book when people probably won’t even read it for free?

Don’t you know we’re too busy caring only about our feeble writing careers? Do you think we’re made of spare eyes that we can replace from the ones that burst staring at little tiny symbols all day? We’ll lay waste to our eyesights with our own crap thank you very much!

Know your work well enough to answer that question for yourself or find beta readers… I.E. Probably your friends and family members who you’ve successfully guilt-tripped to helping for free.

Just in case some of you are actually doing that… 9/10 they won’t help.

If they’re saying good thing–it’s useless. They love you and care about dumb things like your feelings. If they say terrible things–well, apparently it was that bad. Which, I guess, is helpful.

Astonishment and surprise
If grandma says yo game’s weak, then yo game’s really weak.

Just find strangers. Hop into their tinted white vans and shove your manuscript into their faces. Stranger danger doesn’t apply here.

Please be advised that this content is meant for comedic effect and none of anything the writer says should be taken seriously or with any sort of credence. Don’t sue him. He’s poor.

“Is this original?”

No. It’s not.

You’re not either. Your mother, your school, and your girlfriend/boyfriend lied to you. There are no such things as special snowflakes. Even if it was original, we’d tell you it isn’t because we’d be jealous or want to pretend we’re intelligent and we’ve encountered it before.

How you can be original isn’t with the formulas, but you can be original with the presentation of the formulas.

Have your own voice. Your own take. And do it with confidence.

People will respect someone who didn’t pull their punches and gave it their all rather than wimpy little attempts that made no noise or mark anywhere.

Just remember Robert Downey Jr.’s sage advice: “Never go full retard.”

full-retard

Even if you went “full retard” (his words, not mine) if you gave it your all… then at least you’ll have a clearer picture of what you did wrong. If you were wishy-washy with your voice, it’d have been a lot foggier to determine exactly what you did right and what you did wrong.

Like anything else in life: Don’t be afraid to fail. Just be afraid of not learning from the failures.

Or the crippling depression that comes from failures.

And the subsequent anxiety attacks when you get up and attempt again at possible more failures.

And the sad looks you get from your family and friends as they wonder where you’ve gone wrong.

Anyways.

Yeah! Just be honest with yourself and give it your all to tell the story you want to tell in the best way that you want to tell it!


I’m no expert when it comes to writing. Not even close. But these are questions that even amateur writers could answer because they are basics of the basics of creative writing…

…THAT YOU COULD HAVE ANSWERED FOR YOURSELF WITH A LITTLE REFLECTION.

JUST TAKES A LITTLE LOGIC.

LAZY ASSES.

USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION NEXT TIME.

Fellow grasshoppers.

Lazy asses.

GRUMPY ARAMIRU OUT!

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Preview: Chronicles of the Otherworld

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Hello Everyone!

Here’s an early preview of my upcoming new project: Otherworld Chronicles: Season 1. A dark fantasy novelette that’ll be made available via Amazon Kindle.

Details regarding this project will be the subject of my next blog post!


Episode 0

ANTON’S SHORT STORY

 

It’s not the calm before the storm but the silence after that gets you.

Facing the aftermath of the carnage, the destruction, and the judgment.

Don’t be fooled by all the wood and stone that make up the mansion. All still in its place. Undamaged and clean. Nor by the oil lanterns still bright, burning, and hot. The walls tell that real tale. Painted with blood and guts.

Anton thinks he can outrun it.

Outsmart it.

Get off the destined path he set upon since who knows when. He doesn’t even know.

He tries to calm himself, but without the screams of his friends, he can finally hear his own heartbeat.

Take a peek, Anton.

Not much else you can do.

Weapons without their masters scattered across the hall.

All of them dead by the same cause.

Blunt trauma to their heads. Crushed like summer melons.

The butchered brains and pools of blood, too hard to tell whose body produced what.

His signature.

The man in the black armor. His face hidden behind the helm with a plume formed by long crimson lights that gently danced behind him like whips. Affectionately named, “Redtails.”

Anton snaps back behind his wall, wishing desperately he had learned a spell or two.

I don’t deserve this. Anton tells himself. Fuck this.

We rarely get what we deserve. But there’s comfort in the idea that what happens to us has nothing to do with what we deserve.

Because by that same rule, Anton might even survive.

From his pocket, Anton pulls out the magic from his own world. A pocket revolver. He doesn’t remember what the brand is or even what caliber it uses. It wasn’t his. He had snatched it from his brother’s drawer before he came back to this world.

He swings around with the gunpowder courage and aims the weapon at the approaching storm.

Redtails doesn’t stop.

“Fuck you,” Anton screams at him. “FUCK YOU!”

A silent soldier on a march. That was his answer to Anton.

Make them count. He says without words.

 

 

 

Bang.


 

 

Bang.

 

Bang.

 

Bang.


 

 

Anton stops for a moment and lets the smoke clear.

 

 

 

Redtails is closer.

 

 

 

Bang.


 

 

Only a little further than an arm’s length away now.


 

 

Bang.

 

 

 

The black knight allows the lips of Anton’s gun to kiss his helm.

 

 

 

Click.

 

 

The knight gently taps his dark, steel club on Anton’s forehead once…

“Look.” Anton takes off his glove and shows the back of his left hand. There was the red, almond shaped insignia that seemed as if it was tattooed onto his flesh.

…twice.

“I’m from our world,” Anton says. “You’re one of us, right? You have to be one of us. Come on, man.”

It wasn’t Anton’s fault that he didn’t know this was another one of Redtails’ signatures. There wasn’t anyone alive who knew about it. A gentle ritual he performed every once in a blue moon when the circumstances were just right. He had to be in the mood for it.

This is the silence after the storm.

Redtails swings his club.

A clang.

Sounds almost like a home run. As if Barry Bonds himself was on the plate.

It’s in tune with the crack of the shattering skull.

Then an almost immediate follow-up performance of the loud splatter on the wall.

Almost a cartoonish noise.

Anton’s body drops.

No more Anton.

No more questions of whether or not he deserves it.

Just silence.

Silence without judgment or concern.


 

ARAMIRU OUT!

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Frayed: Review of Star Wars Episode 7

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A very quick review of the film after I just finished watching it in the theaters. Straight from the head, the gut, and my bladder that held on for more than an hour. No edits, real talk!

3 / 5

Maybe 3.5/5. I’ll definitely watch it again when I can since you need to watch a film more than once to get a proper assessment of it.

The score I give is a bit misleading since the movie isn’t bad. Actually, if anything, it made me really excited for Episode 8.

I didn’t watch the movie and think, “huh, why did they do that?” or “why didn’t they do this?” Rather, I thought, “they’re trying very hard to make this exposition chapter of the trilogy really exciting and not bloated while keeping it as informative as possible.

Because that’s exactly what it was. The movie was a great introduction to the trilogy while trying to remain as wholesome as it can be on its own. But due to how much it wanted to… HAD to introduce us, the pacing was inconsistent and it did feel a bit too packed.

And by the way, people freaking out about spoilers–don’t worry. There are no real spoilers in this movie. They made it a point to not have a “big reveal” or to dramatically play up a mystery with a simple answer like that of a character’s identity.

This time, it doesn’t matter who’s behind the mask, what matters is WHY he’s behind the mask.

Fine. Simple Spoiler Alert:

Watch how quickly and anticlimactically Kylo Ren reveals his face beneath the mask in the film. It was as if J. J. Abrams wanted to shake the idea off from the audience that there will be a Darth Vader like mystery in this film. It’s not meant to be simple like that. Rather, it’s about learning these characters and how they got there because there won’t be three additional prequel movies to the two more movies coming out to explain all that. The films this time are about plot progression and development rather than big surprises to spike the plots… even more than before, they want us to really connect with these cast of characters.

Spoiler Alert Over.

It’s less about reliving the experience but rather giving the experience to the new generation with the modern updates and education.

The new cast of characters are great and it’s great to see they’re adding minority characters (whether by gender or race) into prominent roles and in roles that are really under portrayed by those genders and race in Hollywood.

BB8, the R2D2 replacement, or the magical fairy creature companion of Star Wars is incredibly endearing and has his own distinctive personality to help him standout to our old faithful droid.

Plot itself is a bit predictable, and at times felt purposefully so, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting or engaging. I mean… were people really surprised what happened at the end? It was to the point where I kind of felt it was overplayed leading up to the predictable conclusion.

Another SPOILER ALERT? Ironic given what I said? But just to help people maintain their integrity of the film? In case I’m wrong and it does detract from the film that you know these things? Since everyone’s view experience is different?

Shorter dialogues would have made a greater impact I think.

Spoiler Alert Over.

But! Even if I could tell where the general direction was going and what surprises lied ahead, I still felt involved just to see HOW we got there and HOW the characters we met would react.

I’m not entirely sure if the former happened just because I’m a fan of Star Wars, but the latter is only really possible I think if the characters themselves proved worthy of an audience’s affection.

Want to keep this short so I’ll end on this final note that J. J. Abrams was amazing on not only giving this film a consistent Star Wars feel, but also very subtly adding his own flair to make it all feel fresh.

And because of all that was done to give this sort of a fresh start feel, this is a decent place to start if you haven’t seen any of the Star Wars films yet.

So oddly enough, even if I give this film 3/5 or 3.5/5, I highly recommend others to go see it not just for the experience but to be ready for the proceeding films ahead.

 

ARAMIRU OUT!

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Leftovers

  • It was great to see how they expanded on using the Force as a tool, as a weapon, and as an entity. This was long needed in the films.
  • Not sure if this is the “best” Star Wars film as some people are praising it to be. I think The New Hope did the “first chapter of trilogy” a bit better. But again, I might need a second watch.
  • The writing for the dialogues and character interactions were far more modernized and intelligent (compared to the prequel trilogy) that not only did they have personality but also felt grounded and human.
  • I always felt like the the saber fights in Star Wars was a bit off. For example, the famous fight in Phantom Menace threw me off a bit when it was clear that the combatants were specifically aiming for each other’s blades instead of body parts. Why? Why would you do that?The saber fights in The Force Awakens were far less flashy but they felt so much more organic that not only did they feel more “right” but also felt much more dire and engaging.
  • …Can’t talk about more without “spoilers” so I guess I’ll stop it here.


 

The Revisions

Back when the book was first released in 2014, the editor and I knew that there was a possibility the editing wasn’t complete.

This was mostly due to my fault given how rough the draft was at the time and also due to an unfortunate technological mishap with the documents where some of the edits we made stayed and some did not. We worked extremely hard for very long hours to catch all the mishaps and at the end of the day I made the call to release it. In some sense, it was an irresponsible thing to do as a writer but at the time it was the choice I had to make.

But I have been yearning to be able to go back over the manuscript ever since release. It irritated me immensely that I knew my work wasn’t even at a point where I could accept it for what it was.

That’s why I felt incredibly fortunate to find an editor who was willing to go through the manuscript with us one more time.

There were three key critical issues with the initial release edition of Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian

  1. Part One – Pacing felt a bit slow and clunky. I couldn’t think of a great way to address this issue for a little while due to the nature of Part One and the role it served for the novel
  2. Grammar errors.
  3. Head hopping issues.

What Kelly, the new editor, did for us wasn’t simply help us address all those issues but also help us improve the overall quality of the manuscript by also recommending certain additions to add proper emotional oomph and recommending certain deductions to maintain the integrity of the pacing and the intended tone of the certain sections.

For example:

In Part One, we deleted the original Chapter 1  and instead added a bit of juxtaposition segments to the Prologue.

The Chapter 1, though I still like it for the tone it set, dragged on the exposition a bit too much and was in many ways unnecessary.

With that and all the other revisions made, I’m at least at a point with Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian that I can let it go for a little while now.

To move on to new projects and new directions in life. But I’ll address more of that later.

Thank you to those of you who’ve supported me this far. I hope all of you will enjoy the new edition of Black Halo: the Witch & the Guardian.

 

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