Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Tears of Caga Tió

Holiday cheer meets confectionery defecation!
It is Christmas day now, isn't it? And as usual, I'm exceedingly sleep deprived after staying up all night working on various things. You'll never find a healthier chap.

At any rate, though I was tempted to do a Krampus story this year - there will be a Krampus story yet - this year, you get a bizarre little short for the Spanish crowd.

Just earlier this month, the surreal, brilliant Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Christmas special introduced me to a certain Catalan mythological character and holiday tradition - none other than Tió de Nadal, otherwise known as Caga Tió. In a sense, Caga Tió is the anti-Krampus. Rather than punishing children for being children - all children are terrible, remember, you parents out there especially know this to be true - like Santa's monstrous Germanic pal, Caga Tió's sole holiday task is to inevitably poop candy. Ideally, turrón.

Should the Caga Tió fail in this task, the children beat it with sticks. Savagely. See? I was right about children all along.

Anyway, your annual Xmas short story. The whimsy. The weird. All that noise. Go!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Cruelest Holiday Season

Oh hey, it's already December. And not only December, but Christmas Eve. An exciting time of the year, if there ever was one. But arguably, all times in any and all years are both exciting and unexciting at once. Depends on where you are, who you're with, and countless other variables. Predicable opening paragraph, predictable opening paragraph filler. The opposite of exciting.

And I haven't even remarked yet about how I still need to write here on a more regular basis. Good thing I just got that out of the way. 2011 is a year I've spent mentally congested. Exceedingly so. This was my most inactive year yet writing here on Spiral Reverie. One of my 2012 goals is to change that. This inactivity on my part certainly hasn't been for a lack of trying. I have piles of blog posts sitting here unfinished - many things I wanted to say, or to finish saying, but then that mental congestion struck. Not that it's much of an excuse.

I'll be getting a few more of these things out of the way over the course of the remaining week of the year, at any rate. With any luck, perhaps I'll be a more exciting writer worth your following in 2012. Should I fail at that, in the least, there'll be more juicy little morsels entailing various strings of words that may or may not form thoughts that make some kind of sense for you to sink your mind-fangs into in the next year

All that yammering aside, I'll catch the few of you passing internet tumbleweeds up on all things interesting and uninteresting in a post I'll end the year with in another week or so, the salvaging of a post I intended to complete about four months ago. Funny, that. (And there will be a funnier Xmas story later tonight. I promise. I won't break this one.)

On to the purpose of this post. These prior paragraphs? An appetizer - probably some bread you've filled up on enough as so to lose interest in what lies ahead - before the mass of somber that follows as the substance of this post. You guys like somber, right? Statistically, a lot of you aren't feeling too wonderful at this purportedly festive time of year, after all. I've actually got some legitimate excuses for my latest bout of lethargy and malaise.

This one's for you, sad people. Relatively raw, just the way you like it. Always gluttons for punishment.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The House That Murder Built

Oh, right. Halloween.

Once again, I disappeared for over a month and a half. More blog posts are coming, but things are clogged up, and for reasons that are surprisingly reasonable for once. This time, anyway.

But hey, I tossed something horribly spooky at you last year, so this year, you're getting a goofier, weirder Halloween short story again. And not very long, unfortunately. But then, short fiction is short fiction. In the least, though my short story output has been much slower this year, it hasn't halted entirely.

With how infrequently I update these days - frustrating as that is - feel free to think of this blog as a ghost. Ghost blog. You lose, Ghost Dad.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Funny Story About 9 and 11

Hey! This is a no smoking city!
Happy Terror Day, everybody! Now that we've hit the ten-year mark, I'd say it's about time we started commercializing this bad boy. Wouldn't you agree? This is America, there's MONEY TO BE MADE! We can turn this tragedy into treasure - and failing that, cold hard cash - or my name isn't Otis Bunkport Jr.! Which it isn't, mind you. But it might be someday, depending on the degree of violence with which people react to my completely tasteful picture caption over there.

You see it? Are you laughing? You're not laughing. Why aren't you laughing?

Let's be honest. It's the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Many people are going to be sentimental and weepy. Others are going to be distasteful and balance that out with some appropriately inappropriate jokes. And others yet are going to make everybody uncomfortable by being angry. Very angry. Blindingly, seethingly, I-spit-fire-and-you-will-be-incinerated angry. And no, not necessarily at nebulous foreign forces perceived to be eternal enemies of 'our freedom,' or 'threats from within,' entailing non-white, non-Christian, non-conservative persons within the United States. 'Are Country' nonsense. Rage that will set your house on fire and possibly neuter your dog. Painlessly, mind you. You should have had that done already, anyway. What are you? Some kind of irresponsible dog owner?

Guess what kind of content is in this post below! You've been warned.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lower Your Eyes to Die with the Sun

Spent too much coming up with things to say in my next few blog posts - hence the delay. A comedy post, the big, horribly-belated-as-so-to-be-irrelevant Nintendo E3 blog post, and a post on the Operation Rainfall campaign for several great-looking Wii games are coming soon.

That said, just popping in briefly to post this.

The first teaser for M83's new album. This will be another amazing album of music I can write to, no question. Amazing Before the Dawn Heals Us vibes.

Monday, June 6, 2011

E3 2011 Day One: A Wilting Industry

Oh god, not this shit again.
Oh hey, it's Electronics Entertainment Expo time again. Is the industry any healthier this year than it was last year? Not at all. Can you skip over this first post on the continually declining relevance of Sony and Microsoft? Probably. Everybody's known for years that the Playstation's years as the "hot brand" in gaming are over, and the XBox line never was. Still, here I am blabbing at you. Why do I do this? Compulsion, maybe. I'm so sorry.

At any rate, I'm going to try to keep my E3 posts a little saner this year than the ones from last year, just to get the post done and ultimately move on. Better for my own time and sanity. First up, just some quick thoughts on Sony and Microsoft's showings. To say the least, I wasn't impressed.

Microsoft and Sony have already held their conferences, of course. Microsoft pimped Kinect, Sony pimped Move, and neither peripheral is the Wii, let alone disrupting the Wii. Once again, literally flailing at relevance again this year. The rest of their lineups was nothing all that notable either - nothing that would surprise you if you were familiar with either, since at this point, a good 5-6 years into this generation, they're relying on redundant game releases and over-sequeling to the point at which their conferences were just a combination of boring and embarrassing.

Back from the Rapture!

This is NOT what it looks like.
Hey guys! Long time no see! You won't believe where I've been the past few weeks! For once, I actually have a legitimate excuse for not updating.

I know this is going to sound crazy, but the Rapture actually happened, guys! Back on May 21st, just like that Harold Camping guy predicted! I'm not sure what that 'family' radio stuff is all about, but I've totally been to that heaven everyone's always talking about.

And I've gotta tell you, totally overrated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Restaurant at the End of Remembrance

Everything I write about lately is death related. These brief thoughts won't be any different. One of these days, I still need to write about JD Salinger's passing, and we lost him nearly a year and a half ago now. At any rate, moving on -

10 years ago today, Douglas Adams passed away. We lost a brilliant, hilarious author, a humanist, activist, an atheist who didn't make the rest of us look bad, and a truly wonderful human being whose life's work only bettered the world. We lost him at the tragically young age of 49 to, of all things, exercise - the stress of something intended to only improve our health and extend our lives can, at times, have the opposite effect. I imagine he would have appreciated the irony.

Cheesy a thought as this is to end on - So long, and thanks for all the laughs. Also, a pity that we'll never know what was going on with the rhino in The Salmon of Doubt.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Process Talk: Shoegaze Fantasy

In recent posts, I've shared some of the music and imagery that inspires me just for a bit of a glimpse into my process - what gets the old neurons firing - when I'm writing. In fact, some of you may be sick of that by now. And if that's the case, you'll just have to hang on for another post - this is one that's been bubbling in the back of my head since back in early October last year. Again, my thinking is that if I continue to find things to post - and go back to and finish posts intended to be finished and posted months ago - I will eventually finish clearing out the remaining mental cobwebs.

The big twist, of course, is that behind the cobwebs lies nothing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

More Like Osama Bin Awkward Joke About Somebody Dying

So, as you've all heard by now, Osama Bin Laden has kicked the proverbial bucket, bitten the proverbial dust, and tripped over the only-halfway-metaphorical toad. Not at all shockingly, theories that he had died years ago were proven untrue. Not quite ten years after the September 11th attacks, the big bad al-Qaeda head honcho we've devoted so much time, so many resources, and so many lives - not only our own, but the countless civilian lives lost in our not-wars-but-great-ways-for-contractors-to-make-money in Iraq and Afghanistan. Should we take to the streets and start singing 'War is Over,' as out of season as that would be? Break out the giant foam hands and wave them while chanting that America is number one until our voices give out and we tire of the redundancy?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Limits of Control

You're overdue for some movie talk. I need a subject to blog about today. Two and two - let's go.

This time, we're taking a look at a fantastic film that most critics and viewers have hated. That alone should tell you outright that I enjoyed it because my tastes are better - and not in the "Hey, Marmaduke wasn't made for critics!" sense - and by establishing this, I am officially firing a shot off the bow of the critical giant that is Roger Ebert.

Oh god, what have I done?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Even If You're Never Awake

This post is pretty much a reconfiguration of something I've been meaning to post since late last September. As I keep up with the regular posts, I've been planning on expanding into more music and video posts, and I wanted to share this particularly inspiring piece of amazing, ambient drone music by Stars of the Lid.

Originally, it was going to be with this fantastic video of the snowy environment and nature captured on film up in a wintry Canada. Unfortunately, in the months since, that video was removed due to copyright claim. Curse you, legal system. That video wasn't harming anyone. This video just has a single still - but appropriately chilly - image of some icy mountains. An image that will be appearing in Project Princess as well.

I had also intended to post this during the winter, when a cold, snowy, deeply wintry bit of atmospheric music like this would be entirely appropriate. With May mere hours away, we're bound for the latter half of spring at this point. What I'm trying to get at here is that I deserve a medal for my punctuality.

Evocative, atmospheric, deeply moody music like this serves as yet another source of inspiration while I work on my second novel. I probably wouldn't be half the author I am - take that as you will - if not for the music I listen to while I write. If I ever manage to expand into music in the future as I would love to, it would be a tremendous fortune and privilege to create anything even slightly near the universe of this song's quality. (Though obviously, seeking out that fortune and privilege in the literary world is my first goal before I fire any shots off the bows of other creative media.) This song is nothing less than pure emotion - and exactly why I enjoy ambient drone music and you should too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Places We Leave Behind

My current novel, Project Princess, begins in ruins. Not the ruins of some ancient civilization - 遺跡 【いせき】, iseki, or 'historic ruins/remains/relics' - but 廃虚 【はいきょ】, haikyo. The ruins of an abandoned building, or something more recent. In the case of my novel, the ruined building in question had been functional and inhabited mere weeks to months prior to where we join the protagonist, at a time in which the passage of time has not only become unclear, but relatively meaningless. Ruins have spent quite a bit of time on my mind in the past year.
The 'Stairway to Hell' within Hashima Island/Gunkanjima.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Few Words: Blathering Anew

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

That's too many waits. Still, in usual form, I know what you, my phantom-like readers are thinking. You may be sick of the shtick, but as you know, we aren't all born clairvoyant - it'd be a shame to waste this talent. Especially considering how many seconds of your valuable time I've already wasted with my inane prattling. For every second of your life I steal, I only become stronger.

Obviously, my brain has been far too congested this year for my own good, let alone the good of any of you. Thus, this is me continuing to turn over that new writing leaf with as many harpoons and pitchforks as it takes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Change You Hoped For

Whoa, hey. What is all this?

I don't like change.

I know that's what you're all thinking right now. Also, "Why the hell haven't you caught up on replying to comments lately?" I'd give you an excuse for that, but it was recently run over a bus. Several buses. Multitudes of buses. You understand how that is.

At any rate, most posts are coming soon. I went from being merely old to even more of an oldmin recently, and I'm obliged to prattle about that yearly. Also, it's been kind of a weird, stressful month year so far. Still working on getting rid of the mental congestion that's been hindering my writing here as of late.

Obviously, things have changed here. We all miss the bland gray - the nothing-but-gray. You're not alone in that. Unfortunately, technically relatively unique though that look for the blog may have been - particularly in the sense that most people have better aesthetic sense than I do as so to know not to just slap a bunch of grays together and call it a website - I suspect that many potential readers probably took one look at the blog's visual design and stomped off to forget about the site a full three and a half seconds later. As such, here I am, ever the boring conformist, with a massive new Spiral Reverie overhaul that no longer looks terrible.

Sure, it isn't unique, and I have to ascribe 100% of the credit for the layout, colors, and background image to the resources provided by the new template designer that Blogger added last year, which really removed all excuses for a terrible-looking blog. I resisted the temptation for a while, but in the end, I succumbed - I'm so sorry, ghostly readers. I've failed you all.

In the spirit of failure and the celebration of a new version of the blog, I hereby retire the Spiral Reverie 1.0 subtitle, which has served it well since its initial inception back in January of 2007. No longer will this site be 'Spiral Reverie: 'round and 'round the sickle spiral, dreaming of what's lost,' as appropriately gloomy as that was. Today, I present to you the birth of 'Spiral Reverie: tomorrow's robots, ineffectual today.' Think of it like the little superlatives they change in the opening of the Colbert Report every so often - just far less often in my case.

Someday, I will have an entirely unique looking, far better blog than I do today. A Spiral Reverie - the title of which, I'm sure you've all wondered about the meaning of for no less than years - that in no way resembles the Spiral Reverie today. A Spiral Reverie with a thousand times the regular content - and I'm going to try to post more routine short-form thoughts starting very soon - with better, original visual design, and a haunting atmosphere. Everything you look for in a struggling author's blog. Except maybe jetpacks - those things'll take your legs off. I would know.


Friday, March 11, 2011

Hope Estranged

Oh hey, I do have a blog, don't I?

I've been much quieter than usual this year. I keep promising more content 'soon,' but then not delivering. It's surprising that all two and one-sixteenth of you checking this blog with any kind of regularity have yet to gang up on me in a very small mob and threaten me with a crowbar. Still, there's a reason for my near-silence since early last November. There's a lot to be less than happy about these days - frustration with ongoing publishing efforts, struggles to get a paid writing job, the end of a very disappointing winter, fading hope of escaping the south this year already, my dog's declining health, the shocking earthquakes and tsunami that just hit Japan hours ago, and the state of both the country and the world. All of these things are weighing heavily on me at the moment, but the last one in particular has essentially clogged my resolve in recent months. I've had all these thoughts - intensely negative ones on the whole - stuck in my head for months now, interfering with my sleep, souring the enjoyment of my hobbies, disrupting my daily life, and keeping my stress levels high. I need to wake up earlier. I need badly to get out of this house. And I need to clear this blockage - this post is months coming, but hopefully it'll help.

This post is intended to be something cathartic. It is rambling and unpleasant, but if you feel like proceeding, go ahead and click the title to proceed. You've been warned. I have to admit, though, in finishing this post, I feel it's one of the better things I've written in a while - hopefully a testament to why maybe, just maybe, I should someday be able to make a living on my writing - and I'm sacrificing sleep for it, of course. Maybe I'll sleep better with all this off my chest. I hope to.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pocket Warfare: 2011's New Generation of Portables

Oh, hello there, internet! I almost didn't notice you there after spending too much staring at screens caused my eyes to atrophy and fall out. You know that thing they say about all your other senses strengthening in response to the loss of any individual one? Apparently that's not always true.

Anyway, half-hearted fabricated blog post openings aside, I'm sure you're all thinking the same thing: "Hey, what the hell man? You said you were going to start posting more often and now January's almost over and you've only got one post up. What's up with that?" But more importantly, you're also thinking, "WHY ISN'T HE GUSHING ABOUT VIDEO GAMES YET THIS YEAR?! THERE'S MORE NEWS OUT AND I WANT IT HERE AND ONLY HERE." Okay, I get it, my blog is the singularly greatest blog that has ever existed on the face of the internet. Calm down - breathe into this paper bag. I'm here. You should really consider getting some counseling - this half-baked blog hasn't even gotten a single decent redesign since it awkwardly gray conception over four years ago now. It's like the internet equivalent of a frozen dinner you left in the back of your freezer and only remember to poke at every now and then - it's not like you're ever going to eat it, or like it's even still edible.

Now what we've established in the introduction to the second post of 2011 that Spiral Reverie has severe freezer burn, it's time for you to hit the title link jump below the cut to the meat and potatoes of this post - a discussion of the new portable war to ensue on the market this year between Nintendo's 3DS and Sony's newly unveiled "PSP2," currently codenamed the NGP. (And for those not interested, more non-video-game content is coming very soon! Sit tight.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Years Like Avalanches

New Year's Day, 2011. The day that in a silent clamor, new words fell across the untrodden internet gravel of Spiral Reverie. For the first time in almost but not quite two months.

Excuses were offered, manly tears left unshed. Minds like fuses were blown, their boxes unplugged and shipped first-class to deep space. The nebulae were unappreciative, as they usually are. And then the aforementioned excuses were packed up into additional crates and fired off into the future - to be included in an incoming jumble of overdue blog posts delayed for various reasons over the time period not quite known and not quite named "The Missing Months."

So yeah, none of the usual holiday season or new year's fanfare here. "A curious silence," you guys undoubtedly thought - when I say "you guys," I mean the theoretical three or four of you who might accidentally stumble across this blog on Google at some indeterminate point in the past and/or future. This past holiday season was probably the first in which you could say I wasn't "feeling it." However much time I spent trying to get into the "holiday spirit," "cheer," and whatnot, I didn't feel like any of it. The whole season felt like a very sudden and rushed week - a busy and somewhat stressful time, pleasant though it otherwise was. A brief little typhoon, but for the most part, I felt like an outside observer, even inside my own body. And now, just like that, the year's over.

It doesn't really feel like a year's passed. I still feel like I just got over being ill in the late spring/early summer a mere few days ago, though it's January. A January starting with a 62-degree high, following lightning striking thrice in December, in snow falling here several times when it usually never does in December. And this year, it even fell on Xmas night, for the first time in over 60 years. Ups and downs. Pleasant, surreal, and at the moment, a warmer day than I'm fond of seeing in January lies ahead. Looking back, it's the aforementioned illness and its aftermath that defined 2010 for me - not exactly the sort of thing you want defining a year. It's as though a car of some kind just plowed through me when I fell ill back in May last year. I struggled with eating comfortably afterward, and I still feel like I'm not eating entirely normally or comfortably like before now either. I began to starve in the earlier half of summer for how I was feeling, and that's not a problem now, and I've grappled on and off with issues of discomfort with leaving the house and traveling in moving vehicles. At least some of this is probably due to ongoing problems with allergies that I'm to blame for anyway, with a lot of cleaning and dusting to do that's needed doing for months. Congestion can be a real killer. But still, I've felt "off" for over half a year now, and that uncomfortable feeling has yet to cease. It's definitely brought out the hypochondriac in me, and it's hardly a positive - the stress brought on from constantly thinking a million different things could be wrong with you.

These feelings acted as a continual source of distraction for me over the latter half of 2010. They distracted me from keeping focused on my writing - which amounted to attempting to juggle a dozen things at once, from writing contest entries to query letters to writing job applications to regular blogging to novel work; when you chase two hares, you will catch neither - and led me to often seek distraction in my hobbies or the internet. Anything to take my mind off my feeling stressed out, off-kilter, and as though there was something wrong with me in terms of health that I couldn't quite pinpoint, which it could very well just be a mere matter of months of crushing congestion taking a heavy toll. Unfortunately, my talent for adapting to discomfort has its limits.

I have other excuses for not posting here recently, but as alluded to in previous paragraphs, you'll see those excuses in the openings to upcoming posts as I work on catching up on my blogging backlog. I still owe you guys several months' monthly stories and half-cogent babbling on some other topics. (How do you feel about sustainable agriculture?) What better time for this blog to resume a somewhat more reliable update schedule than the new year?

Yes, it's horribly contrived - we begin every new year with the empty tradition of pretending we're going to resolve to accomplish something or some things that year. The older we get, the more mockingly we treat the idea as we realize how self-defeating it is - people rarely change, and even more rarely achieve their ambitions. We'd all be internet superstars if it happened for just anybody, and the very notion of drawing notice would lose all its appeal. We'd have to go counter-culture again, rebelling against the accepted and lauded norms before eventually coming full circle and having to find a new way to reject everything we'd achieved and stood for. Kind of like that recent controversial Patton Oswalt article about nerd culture needing to die in Wired that's prompted a collective temper tantrum from the internet's dominant nerd populace.

Still, as much as I dislike the tradition of "New Year's Resolutions," knowing as much as any other adult that they're wishful thinking that I'm no more likely to achieve than anyone else, I feel that same cringingly unoriginal urge to look forward to the new year ahead and think wishfully of the coming days. Let's organize these thoughts into bullet points - everyone loves bullet points!

- Publishing. Over the course of 2010, I only ended up sending out 8 queries total, falling far short of the number I wanted to send out. Out of those 8, only 2 got replies - both of which were rejection. In perspective, getting responses, even just for rejections, from a quarter of the agents queried isn't bad at all. But I'm still nowhere near the aspiring writer norm yet - I haven't hit the double or triple digits in queries sent, and I'll definitely hit the former this year, though it's hard to say in regard to the latter. You haven't really had the full aspiring writer experience until you've been literally buried if not flat out drowned in rejection letters. You have to be so accustomed to "No! GO AWAY!" that a positive response is nothing short of paralyzing.

I'm planning on finally getting another batch of letters out this month, and more in the spring - the real challenge is narrowing down just whom to query. Agent research continues, at any rate. I just need to find some more agents whose interests include the sort of strange literary fiction I produce.

- Finances. I'm only just over four and a half months from entering my late twenties, those last few years spent teetering on the terrifying brink of one's thirties. A time spent trying not to fall into an abyss constructed by a culture terrified of aging gracefully - or aging at all. You've gotta enjoy those shining years of your youth, 'seishun,' as they say in Japan. After all, once you get into your late twenties, early thirties, and beyond, that's when you get caught in the "real world" bear trap.

Get up, go to work, come home, relax briefly, go to sleep, repeat. Make money, spend money, pay rent and utilities, pay for things you don't have the time to enjoy anymore but are fun to think about. Find someone just as stressed out in their trapped, structured existence, bond, blow off some steam by sleeping together, do that a few more times, then make some mistakes like getting married and having kids. Grow older, realize you were never really in love with anything more than the concept, and that you were both afraid of being alone. Get a divorce, try to live vicariously through your kids, watch as the retirement age is raised every so often in the name of punishing the average person for the mistakes of the wealthy and corrupt. Eventually retire, stress out over reduced medical benefits and the inability to afford to enjoy retired life, get cancer, look back on a life spent working just to get by, die full of regrets.

This structure, when laid out and described in this manner, fits millions - if not billions - of lives across the globe. The magnificent insignificance and quietly tragic mundanity of our existence. So many lead this life or some slight variation of it - I'm ridiculous in that I want to avoid much of it. There's no satisfaction in a traditional life for me, just suffocation in an iron house lined with sleepers; some peaceful, some fretful.

I have yet to make a cent on my writing, though I'm staggering toward hopefully securing some freelance work I'd be suited to. Enough in time, ideally, to be able to make enough of a living to get by on my own. Nearly went with a job I was probably a bit overqualified for last autumn, but as the site's launch neared, I got the sense that it would be better to back out. So far, it's looking like I made the correct choice. I won't name said site, however - considering that this could be seen as a bit of a jab - out of both an interest in professionalism and personal respect for those involved with the site. I just need to keep looking for some kind of freelance writing work I'd be well-suited to while I continue to work on getting my first novel published. It would probably be ideal to find a steady paying writing gig for a longer period in the future too, if even possible, considering how hard it is to make a living on published novels - and writing in general - these days. Print and publishing have been dying for years now - it kind of only figures that my skill set is dependent on these fields. On people actually being willing to pay for my writing, and to pay to read it.

- Relocation. Moving didn't happen last year, but it's definitely on the table for this year. I need to get out on my own and 'begin' my life at last. San Francisco's still the primary destination I'm looking at, but things've only gotten more complicated. I need to work on arranging a trip out there for probably a week or so sometime this year - and to arrange it months in advance to minimize costs, as travel's hardly cheap - to get a feel for the place. One of my best friends and I were planning on splitting rent on an apartment when I moved there sometime later this year - he's kind of pushed that aside without warning now in lieu of now planning to get a place with a friend from his grad school instead, so I'm getting more into high-and-dry territory here, with costs of living now significantly increasing again. Lovely. This aspect of my plans for the year just got a lot more complicated, so it'll be interesting to see just what happens.

- Redesign. Still need to work on redesigning Spiral Reverie. Meant to last year, but never got much work done on that front. I still like the shades of gray-themed visual color scheme the blog's always had, but I know that it can be altered to work better overall. And frankly, the blog could stand to be more visually appealing - I'm sure its current look has driven off plenty of potential readers. I'm still just not sure where to begin - I'm disinclined to use the new Blogger template designer, since that's entirely geared toward using others' template designs, color schemes, photography, and other visual elements. Rather than looking like any other number of blogs out there, I want Spiral Reverie to be unique. The problem is, I lack the skill and visual design talent it would take to remake this blog into something more ideal. Still as much of a problem this year as it was last year.

- Novel Numero Dos. I didn't make nearly as much progress on Project Princess as I would have liked last year. I need to find the time to pick up the pace again this year and ideally get most of it finished within the year while balancing more regular blogging again.

- Those Crazy Electronic Thingamajigs. On a leisure note, Nintendo's launching their new 3DS portable in North America in March. A deluge of new information and game media will be coming out starting just a few days from now up through the Japanese launch next month and into the near-spring as the North American launch date nears. It has one of the most exciting game lineups - if not the most exciting - a new platform has ever had announced before launch. So as a video game nerd, it's a damn exciting year for the hobby, considering how the platform practically makes a good case for console obsolescence with all of its features and technical strengths. This is the first new platform launch since Spiral Reverie's birth on the internet four years ago today, so I'll undoubtedly be writing up some more nerdy commentary on it in the comings weeks and months. Look forward to that! (Or beware, depending on your interests as a reader of my blog.)

As of this coming June, it will have been four years since I moved home after finishing college. These years are passing far too quickly, and far too much of my youth seems to be quietly evaporating before my eyes, forming regret-condensation on my windows as the months wheel by and my precious cold months inevitably return to the heat that consumes more of each passing year. I have a lot that I need to get done this year. I've got to get better at juggling - I've got to stop feeling off-kilter and feel healthier again. I've got to get my life on track, my writing out there, before it stalls any further or worse yet derails. With each passing year, I carry only more pressure on my shoulders, only more stress, but there are things I need to do, that I need to accomplish like anyone else. Assuming it isn't a complete disaster, 2011 will be a big year. And I suspect that like the last, it too may tumble by like an avalanche.

Until everything ends, the future is always oncoming. It's hazy and often imperceptible, and never guaranteed to be bright and shiny - neither for individuals nor nations. All anyone can do is grit their teeth and continue marching forward. We have to try not to trip.