BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 32 – Adventures in House/Dog/Cat/Chicken/Fishsitting

Week 32 – Adventures in House/Dog/Cat/Chicken/Fishsitting

Dammit, it’s Monday again already?!

This will be another short one, I’m afraid. As the title indicates, I’m smack in the middle of a very involved job for my pet/housesitting business, and I’m dead tired from it. Suffice to say, it looks like Chapter 28 of Shattered Skies will be the next project to go up, since I got on a roll with it this past weekend. I’m making a concentrated effort to get what I can done during my downtime at this job. Anything that keeps me away from this client’s chickens is a welcome distraction. I never knew what stubborn, messy, and incredibly stupid animals they were until I started taking care of them… more to the point, until today, when I spent ten miserable minutes trying to herd seven near-braindead birds into a coop because they didn’t have the sense to come in out of the pouring rain by themselves.

Good lord, do I ever need a vacation.

– BHS

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 5: 1.5 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 1 page done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 28: 9.25 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~45% done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Semi-Shorts Episode 02: Now in progress

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 31 – Plus Ultra

Week 31 – Plus Ultra

Sorry for my rotten mood last week. Trumpcare seems to be dead again, for what it’s worth. I’m not any less pissed at McCain, who could have stopped this nightmare in its tracks when it came up in the first place, and who still votes with Voldemorange and the rest of his party of lunatics 95% of the time… but I can go on living, at least.

I wanted to push to get Episode 05 of Silent InvenTOYry done this weekend, but it’s hit yet another snag. The footage I shot for it last weekend was all unusable due to a really stupid mistake on my part… I forgot to change my camera’s brightness settings from automatic back to manual before filming. Result being, the outside footage was way too bright, and the inside footage was way too dark. I still managed to make some progress on it, but it’s most likely not going to be done until mid-August at this rate. I’ll be house/petsitting for a family in the neighborhood for a week starting Saturday, which means no access to my PC and no access to Vegas. I might try to rush through Episode 02 of Semi-Shorts as a placeholder, but it’s unlikely. At least I’ll have my laptop with me during my sitting job, so with little else to do (aside from work, of course) I should be able to write some more.

On the glowing recommendations of several friends of ours, VDrake and I started watching Boku No Hero Academia. I was afraid it would be another generic Shonen Jump series… I’ve been wary of them ever since Bleach drew me in with the bait-and-switch of its first fifteen episodes only to spend the rest of its run as an endless series of “my sword is bigger than yours” battles with an exponentially increasing cast of characters I could care less about. To my surprise and delight, BNHA seems to be trying to subvert, invert, or outright defy as many of the tired old shonen hero tropes as it can. In the seven episodes we’ve watched so far, every time I’ve seen something that looks like something I’ve seen a thousand times before in Dragonball/Naruto/etc., the plot’s taken a hard left swerve and managed to surprise me. There’s genuine feeling behind the protagonist, Izuku, and his impossible dream of becoming a hero… which also sounds like the same old “chosen one” crap, but that gets turned on its head by depicting the actual work that he puts into achieving that dream, rather than having powers, fame, and glory dropped in his lap. Like, there seems to be a deliberate effort here to take what works for other shonen series (hero from humble beginnings, rival that’s cooler than he is, mysterious mentor, huge cast of characters) and improve on those tropes while shattering others. To sum up, I’m really shocked at how much I’m loving this, and if it can keep up the pace as it has been, I might have a new favorite on my hands.

– BHS

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 5: 1.5 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 1 page done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 28: 3.25 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~45% done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Semi-Shorts Episode 02: Now in progress

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Belated BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 30 – We’re So Screwed

Week 30 – We’re So Screwed

Sorry for the belated update. It’s been a rough couple days, and judging by today’s news it’s not gonna stop there. Let me take this opportunity to give a colossal FUCK YOU to the Republicans who just voted to kill me and tens of millions of other Americans, with an extra-special SERIOUSLY, FUCK YOU to self-proclaimed “maverick” John McCain.

I’m in a bad, bad mood right now, and I don’t have much else on my mind other than more profanity, so that’s it for this week. Sorry.

– BHS

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 29 – Missing My Queue

Week 29 – Missing My Queue

I wanted to have the first episode of the newly-dubbed Silent InvenTOYry Semi-Shorts done tonight, but I hit a technical snag and lost my groove to work on it. Bleh. That’s the closest to being done of all the things on my to-do list, so barring any more difficulties it should be up tomorrow at the earliest. I’m going to need some help to film a few scenes for the next full SI episode, but as soon as I can get hold of a few extra hands I can get back to work on that.

Next up in the writing queue is Chapter 27 of Shattered Skies, which I estimate is about 40% done.

So it looks like I won’t have the revision of Soulsnatcher done by the end of July after all. I had a feeling that would be the case, but barring any sudden bursts of inspiration and/or motivation, I think the best I can hope for is getting Chapter 5 out this month. Part of the blame for this rests on me, of course… despite my efforts to get on a regular writing schedule, I had too many days where I just don’t feel it. Not helping matters is that my petsitting business has exploded this summer. I’ve known for the last few years that May, June, and July are usually my busiest months, but this year in particular I’ve had job after job after job stack up, with barely a week going by without somebody in the neighborhood going out of town. Work has to take precedence over writing, and given how easily fatigued I am… again, bleh. I’d love to be like my Tumblr friend Sid, who can hold down college courses and a job and has still managed to update their Overwatch fanfic every week like clockwork for over a year now… but that just isn’t how I’m wired. By the way, said fanfic is in its last few chapters, so I’m activating Shameless Plug Mode™ and encouraging all my readers to go check it out and give Sid the praise they so richly deserve. If there’s one thing to look forward to now that summer is winding down into its usual hot, muggy, and generally intolerable period, it’s that I know the finale of BMHBYH will be spectacular.

– BHS

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 5: 0.5 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 1 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 27: 7 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~30% done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Semi-Shorts Episode 01: ~90% done

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 28 – Anniversaries

Week 28 – Anniversaries

Two anniversaries to observe this week, and I’m going to start with the sadder and more personal one, if you’ll indulge me.

Today marks ten years since we lost Doug Marlette. Mr. Marlette was a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist known to us Southerners for his devastating wit, his lengthy feuds with Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker and former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, and his comic strip Kudzu. He was also my friend and mentor figure.

When I was in eighth grade, I had a school assignment to interview someone who worked in the job I wanted to have as an adult. I wanted to be a cartoonist at the time, so I sent off letters to all my favorites: Jim Davis, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, Bill Amend, everyone I could think of. None of them responded. I was at the point of despair when I learned that there was a nationally-syndicated cartoonist right there in North Carolina, the next town over from mine, in fact. Surely, I thought, there was no way that someone of that caliber would give me the time of day, but since I was out of options, I decided to give it a shot. I was incredibly nervous when I called his number, but he spoke to me like an old friend. He not only agreed to do the interview, but he invited me to his home out in Hillsboro. He was patient and friendly with the stammering, star-struck kid who showed up at his door, and he not only gave me all the time I needed for my assignment, but he looked at all the drawings I brought to show him, he gave me a pile of autographed books, he showed me his Pulitzer and his wall of signed cartoons from famous figures, and he even invited me upstairs to his office to see where he worked. I’ll never forget the first sight of that great big inkstained desk, or my shock when he presented me with an authentic signed original Kudzu cartoon, the kind that were usually given to celebrities, politicians, and Presidents. I had that cartoon framed, and it’s still in my room today.

Our association could have ended there, but over the next few years, I saw and spoke with Mr. Marlette many more times. I attended the lectures that he gave on the UNC campus, and no matter who was there he always recognized me and made time to ask how I was doing. He always spoke to me when I called him on the phone, even if he was busy. And at one of those lectures, the audience was called to sit down while he was still looking over my sketchbook. During the long and boring introduction from the campus reprepsentative that followed, I looked over to my side where Mr. Marlette sat in the front row… and saw the Pulitzer-winning cartoonist nearly in tears laughing over one of my cartoons, not paying attention to the rep’s intro speech at all.

I always hoped that one day I could present him with a signed copy of my own first book, as thanks for all the time he gave me, but ten years ago today, my mentor and friend died in a car accident in Mississippi. He was mourned by dozens upon dozens of his fellow cartoonists, by his friends and family, and especially by me. I will forever regret not being able to return the favor.

Mr. Marlette was more than just a cartoonist. He was a man who refused to bow down and shut up, who made a career out of savaging the famous and powerful and always stuck by his guns when they struck back at him. He was an activist, a scholar, and a philosopher. He taught me more than he will ever know, and I was blessed to be treated as his friend. I wrote the following poem in his honor.

There is a quiet field of green

Where my teacher rests.

Within the red clay, lost in peaceful sleep

With withered wreaths and flowers above his head, left by friends and family.

I arrive there long after they’ve gone, bearing no gift but what I can remember.

There is a distant field of green

Where my teacher rests.

Where my thoughts run deep with sadness

In a memory from long ago I hear his laugh

And see the welcome smile upon his face

As he greets a stranger like an old friend.

There is a peaceful field of green

Where my teacher rests.

And as I kneel upon the dry grass

Waiting for the tears to come

Instead, I find myself smiling.

Because somewhere, far away, my teacher laughs

And once again touches pen to paper.

In loving memory of Douglas Nigel Marlette
1949 – 2007

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates

The happier occasion this week is the 20th anniversary of the release of my all-time favorite movie, Princess Mononoke. I’ll have more words and a tribute up on Wednesday.

– BHS

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 5: 0.25 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 1 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 27: 5.5 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~10% done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Mini-Episode 01: 50% done

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 27 – Underrated and Overhated

Week 27 – Underrated and Overhated

I’m making decent progress on the next chapter of Shattered Skies. More about Dead End and what exactly Joker is doing with his hostages will be revealed in this chapter, so look forward to it. I also feel the music bug itching at me again, so I may try composing another piece for the Tasakeru soundtrack.

In between writing, petsitting jobs, and diving further into Kamen Rider, I’m putting some more time into gaming this week. I’ve been putting my new PS4 through its paces, this past weekend especially. I preordered Crash Bandicoot The N. Sane Trilogy, and I’ve made the lovely discovery that those games were (and are) friggin’ merciless. Since I never had a PS1 as a kid, I missed out on the Crash series for the most part, though I always have liked the characters. Well, one character. Coco. Her being playable in all three of the remastered games in the trilogy convinced me to give it a shot… and, well, I’ve always prided myself on being excellent at platformers, but CB1 is giving me a hell of a rough time. And I understand that these games were even harder originally? Good lord. So I made these…

The real reason I bought a PS4 comes out at the end of the week, though. At least, I assume it does… there’s some troubling uncertainty in regards to the US release date, and so far my efforts to clarify it have met with complete failure. I just need to hope that it shows up on PSN on time.

Now brace yourselves, readers, for this may come as a shock, but… I’m buying Accel World vs. Sword Art Online.

I can hear some of you gasping and/or vomiting, you can stop now. Please allow me to explain.

Despite its current position as the #1 anime that everyone loves to rag on, and despite its enormous and disproportionate hatedom, I like the SAO series. Does it have problems? Oh yes, absolutely, it’s got a mountain of flaws any way you look at it. Even at my most charitable, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece… but it’s hardly the rancid crime against humanity that the average anime fan says it is.

If you take the time to actually watch SAO for yourself instead of obeying the whims of the kneejerk lynch mob that is modern fandom, there are things that it does well. The music is by the divine Yuki Kajiura, for one. The animation is gorgeous. And Kirito, far from being the insufferable chick-magnet God Mode Sue that his reputation would suggest, actually has depth to his character that’s not apparent at first. Maybe I’ll lose a few internet brownie points for saying it, but when it comes to bad anime, SAO isn’t anywhere near the bottom of the barrel.

Besides. Most of the SAO video games so far have been well worth purchasing even if you don’t like the series. They’re single-player RPGs with tons of content and replay value, how is that a bad thing?

And as the title suggests, SAO is only half of this game. The other half comes from its sister series Accel World, which makes up the “underrated” part of this week’s Report title. It’s really unfair that SAO is both so popular and so detested, because A) AW has always struggled to find an audience despite having a much better story and characters, and B) the hatedom automatically assumes that any flaws SAO has must be present in Reki Kawahara’s other works as well. Because he’s a loathsome irredeemable sexist pervert hack and anything he touches is trash, many would claim.

I wish the people saying stuff like that would bother to check out Accel World. The protagonist is Kirito’s near-total opposite, a chubby, unpopular loser who’s a legend in the game but a nobody in the real world. The main love interest is badass, confident, shrewd, in total command of her relationship with the hero, a brilliant tactician, and unquestionably the coolest character in the series. The plot  has way more depth than just “try to win the game”. And the villain, if you go into the series past the point where the anime ended… hoo boy, the villain is a trip and a half. As I said, AW is sorely underrated and underrepresented, despite the fact that it’s generally better all around and even occupies the same universe as SAO (albeit 40 years later). This game will mark the first meeting of the two series outside of a non-canon light novel chapter and appearances in other crossovers, and with a roster of 48 playable characters (!!!) from both series (and no, playing as Kirito is NOT required), it’s got pretty much everyone represented. The free flight mechanics from SAO: Lost Song have returned (for the SAO-verse characters and at least two of the AWers, that is), the combat system has been tweaked and improved, there’s PVP and co-op multiplayer… forgive me if I sound like a commercial, but I see very little downside here. I’m damn well looking forward to Friday, and I hope at least some of you will watch when I stream gameplay.

– BHS

 

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 26 – Halfway Point

Week 26 – Halfway Point

We’re halfway through this year, even though it seems like several decades longer than that. Considering that I thought Lord Voldemorange would kill us all within maybe two months tops, I think we’re all doing pretty well, all things considered. If we can stop His Fraudulency from dismantling and selling off our health care system, our internet, our free press, our democracy, our environment, and our organs for another… ugh, three and a half years, or until whenever the FBI gets around to yanking him from office, maybe we’ll be okay.

My, someone’s cranky today, isn’t he? Please excuse me.

Anyway. After an obscenely lengthy series of delays, Chapter 4 of Soulsnatcher is finally done. As I said when I posted the other day, it’s inexcusable that it took me so long, but I’m trying my best to make up for it. It’s the site’s eighth birthday on Wednesday, so I may try to have something special up for the occasion.

Shattered Skies Chapter 27 is also now underway, though I’m shifting its priority back a few slots to work on other things, including some photo projects and the upcoming episodes of Silent InvenTOYry.

Little Witch Academia is over, and ahhh, what a ride! Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid is its only competition for Anime of the Year in my book. Having just seen the last episode, which hit all the right notes and prompted more than a few manly tears, I’m confident in saying that I haven’t felt so good about an anime’s final episode since Madoka Magica, and that’s high praise indeed. Anime endings are hard; most series blow it in the clutch, even some of my favorites. LWA, however, gave us an appropriately Gurren Lagann-esque jaw-dropping spectacle for the finale, wrapped up pretty much all of the story’s loose ends, and brought the house down in its final scene. We need more feel-good anime like it, dammit. I watched it in between paragraphs of this entry, and I think you can tell there’s been a marked improvement in my mood. XD

Back to work I go… I wanna take advantage of the warm and fuzzy feels while they last.

– BHS

(Original post on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-26-688899865)

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 4: COMPLETE!
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 27: 1.5 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~10% done

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New Fan Art!

Two new items in the Gallery from Silver and Suoish!

Chibi Zero, by suoish

Tasakeru rabbit sketch, by Silver

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 25 – Shameless Self-Promotion

Week 25 – Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, not like I don’t shamelessly self-promote normally, but anyway. I finally got Episode 04 of Silent InvenTOYry done, which you can watch below.

Please remember to like, comment, subscribe, and share. As I mentioned before, CoPromote seems to be irreparably broken, so I’m going to need serious word-of-mouth to drive up my view count.

Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, there’s this short but incredibly stupid promo I just made for Episode 05. It’s going to be quite an occasion. Unfortunately, YouTube’s blasted auto-copyright flagging struck again, so the music I had in mind for this promo is… much less impressive than it should be. I’m sorry, but it was either this or silence.

Anyway. My goal for this week is to finally get Chapter 4 of Soulsnatcher up, so everything else is on hold until that’s done. I wanted to have it up today, but… bleh. Brain no work good.
– BHS

(Originally posted on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-25-687502305)

  • Tasakeru Book III: Soulsnatcher, Chapter 4: 10.25 pages done
  • Tasakeru Patreon: 2 Patrons
  • Book II Appendix: 0.5 pages done
  • Shattered Skies Chapter 27: 0.25 pages done
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 04: COMPLETE!
  • Silent InvenTOYry Episode 05: ~05% done

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BHS Blogress Report: 2017, Week 24 – Back in Business

Week 24 – Back in Business

I finally got back to work on Tasakeru this weekend. Maybe it was thanks to knowing that I have an ungodly busy week coming up, but I was able to finish all but the last scene of Soulsnatcher Chapter 4. It feels good to be out of my rut, not gonna lie.

There’s also good news on the Silent InvenTOYry front: Episode 4 is almost finished, and the item that was going to be reviewed in Episode 4 and is now the subject of ep 5 has finally shipped and is on the way. So the plan is to put ep 4 up this week, then get to work on 5, and do three mini-episodes to make up for the hiatus.

I think I may hold off on doing more of Shattered Skies for a while. Back in January I made a resolution to finish the revised edition of Soulsnatcher by July, and that’s coming up fast… I mean, there were unforeseen circumstances what with the death of my hard drive and a huge upsurge in petsitting jobs, but still. I’d like to keep that resolution if I possibly can.

Here, have an Overwatch thing that I did.

– BHS

(Originally posted on DA: http://tasakeru828.deviantart.com/journal/BHS-Blogress-Report-2017-Week-24-686128654)

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