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.

The facts are these: I finished the initial full draft of my first novel, Project 27 Days, two years ago as of last month. I will have finished the final draft two years ago as of early October. Project Princess is continuing in full swing - not just in the figurative sense but also in the sense that in the narrative, things are sometimes swung and in many of these cases, lives are lost. My goal is to have the full draft of the book finished before I hit three years after completing Project Princess next year. Whether or not it'll have a real shot at being published by then remains to be seen, but failing that, I may take the plunge and risk self-publishing through Amazon, going by the reasoning that the fantasy genre has thrived in the self-publishing scene, and Project Princess does technically take place in a fantasy setting. There's no sexy troglodytes, though - the next big thing, you realize - and that may cost me dearly.

Aside from that, if I'm going to get out of here this year - and the prospects of that are looking as dim as ever - I need to find some freelance work that I can actually juggle with everything else to finally start making some money. I'm also going to be focusing on the iPhone game I'm involved with more now too, as we're beginning to enter the writing phase with that project - the game itself is a ways from nailing down a release date, but as that project begins to surface more visibly on the internet, I'll devote more time to talking about it.

The Spiral Reverie redesign the other day was part of an effort to jar myself out of my severe posting lull as of far this year. Aside from the former visual design, another problem with this blog has been its over-reliance on ridiculously long - and often image-free - posts that few have the courage or patience to brave. And over the years, I've started numerous post categories/topics, but haven't spent enough time fleshing many of these out. The neglected include: Ben Doesn't Know Anything About Sports, Movie Talk, Internet Spelunking, Publishing Chronicles, Film For Lovers, Science Babble, Sincere Personal Nonsense, Let's Get Morbid, You Call This Comedy?, This Guy Isn't a Great Short Story Writer, Actual Writing-Related Content, Apparently I Listen to Music Too, Porcupine Corner, Baby Pictures: Future Asshole or Furniture Mogul?, and That's Probably a Goiter. Subjects sorely missed by all, I know. It's tragic, if you think about it - and even more tragic if you don't.

This was supposed to be a much shorter post than it's shaping up to be. Unfortunately, I'm too good at introducing things, it seems. Yet another character flaw to lament. Let's move on to, at last, the first installment of the now regular feature this post is intended to introduce: A Few Words. Yes, short-form content on a more regular basis. Exactly what you were dying for. And also what I should actually be capable of producing more consistently - possibly the sort of thing more people might read.

My brief thoughts this time are horribly America-centric, but they are, I feel, a legitimate lamentation. Though this past winter was largely disappointingly brief and mild here in the southeast United States, massive snow and ice storms swept across the country and continent for much of later 2010 and the earlier months of 2011. We saw record and unusual snowfalls across a significant part of the country, along with plenty of power outages, some times when it was necessary for drivers to abandon their cars in treacherous conditions, and even a few deaths.

On the extreme-right, we saw a very predictable response to these weather conditions: smug, self-satisfied proclamations of "How 'bout that global warming?"

Now, just over a month into spring, we've seen dangerous storm systems crossing the country in recent weeks, bringing heavy rainfall, hail, and even some devastating tornadoes, including ones that killed over 250 people just the other day. This kind of extreme weather - much like the extreme conditions we saw across much of the country this past winter - is by no means normal, and the damage done and lives lost are certainly no laughing matter.

That said, I've noticed a distinct lack of commentary on the role climate change has likely played in these extremely unusual weather conditions over nearly the past six months now. We don't tend to see this much extreme weather clustered together, but few seem to be commenting on what we're seeing here. Much of the nation is either uninformed or completely misinformed about the nature of the catastrophic climate change our planet is going through, in large part thanks to the Republican party's ongoing war on science and the corporate-owned media trying to create 'debates' out of things that are not being debated - like the fact that industrialization is contributing to our planet's excessive carbon problem and dramatically affecting the climate. When the right writes off climate change - as in the aforementioned response to extreme winter weather - they tend to casually shrug off 'global warming' as the pleasant thought that someday our whole planet might be one big tropical paradise.

The reality, of course, is that as global temperatures rise, so too rises the temperature of our oceans, accelerating the already rapid rate at which the polar ice caps are melting. This will put large parts of countries, major cities, and even entire island nations underwater in mere years. And as the planet warms, weather patterns grow more extreme - we see harsher winters with more blizzards and ice, more frequent and powerful hurricanes, and more powerful storms. What we're seeing now is really only the beginning of a situation that isn't going to get better by shuffling our feet and making excuses for not reducing our carbon emissions. And as more extreme weather tests us - as Hurricane Katrina did in 2005, the harsher winters have begun to in recent years, and the waves of powerful storms and tornadoes we've seen in recent weeks - the more we're seeing how unprepared we really are for the much more dangerous weather patterns that we bear some responsibility for.

As a nation, our infrastructure is falling into increasing disrepair. When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, George W. Bush flew in for a photo op and we largely turned a blind eye to the city and its suffering people. The powerful blizzards of this past winter and the devastating storms of recent weeks have served as reminders of how fragile and fallible our ways of life are - all it takes is a certain amount of ice and we're trapped in our homes. All it takes is some strong enough wind or a tornado, and our lives are easily destroyed or even lost entirely. At every turn, we continue to seek excuses for continuing our addiction to fossil fuels, while setting hesitant carbon emissions reduction goals for the far off future, by which point, it will be far too late. And it's becoming increasingly apparent now that in many capacities, we may already be a ways into 'too late' territory and well on our way into turning this world into our coffin.

When seeing this kind of unpreparedness and suffering at every turn in the face of especially unusual extreme weather patterns in recent months, it's hard not to get the sense that we're already in completely over our heads.

As you'll notice, a 2011 trend here is to post depressing, soul-wounding things. Because now is not the time for optimism. Arson, perhaps - but that's a little debatable.

At the end of this post, one thing can be said for certain: this was not a few words. The next one will be shorter.

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