The Final Fantasy VII Remake and My Unbridled Joy

At E3 2015 this year, Sony/Square Enix just announced a remake of Final Fantasy VII, my favorite game of all time. I’ve spoken at length about FFVII on this blog before, but it truly is something that changed my life when I played it.

From a story perspective, I never knew that one tale could successfully weave all the things that I love — a steampunk setting complete with science fiction technology and the mystery of magic. The impressive, awe-inspiring design of Midgar coupled with the wider fantasy world captivated me in a way that’s still hard to describe. It’s the thing that made me want to write and create worlds. I’m still chasing the dragon on it, so to speak, in terms of finding other stories that have a similar effect on me. I can only hope to write something that hits someone in the same way.

I’ve got a few reservations about what the Remake is going to be like, and plan on detailing how I’d shift some of the story/plot points around to make it stronger, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, I’ll just sit here with this stupid grin on my face and maybe a few remaining tears in my eyes.

Work in Progress: Old Killer

In the summer, when the humidity is an overcoat sticking to your skin, they say the old killer comes to east Texas. In between the crickets and the cicadas, the deadbeats firing off shotguns in the air at God knows who and God knows what and maybe God himself, you can hear the breath rattling inside an old man’s dusty lungs, sometimes right in your ear.

When that shuffle shuffle step hits your porch, you know it for true: the old killer’s come.

He don’t knock. Don’t want money. Just your years. And he’ll kill you for them. Anything to get a few back for his self.

My dad, says he saw the old killer once. Flash of a gaunt face through a bedroom window, looking back at him as if through death’s moonlit curtain. Blue eyes tinged with red spiderweb veins, barely perched in the old killer’s skull.

Gaze slid across me like a hound’s tongue, trying to decide if it wants to bite, dad says.

What did you do?

Not a damn thing. Went still as a crucifix.

Why didn’t he kill you?

Dad stuffs the tobacco in his mouth like it’s gauze plugging up an old wound. Smacks chapped lips.

Weren’t my youth he came for that night.

Krav Maga Demonstration

I get asked a lot about Krav Maga, both online and off. The short version is that I’ve been training for almost 5 years now, and hope to one day become an instructor. It started as just a way to lose weight, but it’s turned into something more than that for me.

I could go on and on about it, but here’s a demonstration I recently saw of Eyal Yanilov, the head of our organization (and the successor to Krav Maga founder Imi Lichtenfeld).

I’ve had the great pleasure of training with Eyal on several occasions. I have to say, it’s pretty cool that this guy signed my instructor certificate.

It’s not a flashy martial art by any means, which is one of the things I like about it. React and counter attack quickly, using the shortest distance available between any of your weapons and the target. It’s an aggressive practice, wherein you switch into a different mindset to defend yourself and become the attacker.

The two things I really love about Krav Maga: first, I think everyone should know at least a little bit about how to protect themselves. But second, you learn some really interesting things about yourself when you are pushed past what you thought you could handle. Your body and mind are capable of a lot more than you think they are. It’s cool to see both of them develop.

O Hai

I always said I didn’t want to be a blogging cliche, where I don’t update for months on end and then write a post about how I haven’t written a post for months on end, but here we are.

Last year turned into one of the busiest years on record. Besides spending a few months working on this pretty huge Red Vs Blue book project, I also did my first Krav Maga instructor training course, prepared for a marathon and decided to jump back into Leet World. In fact, I probably did too many things. Especially considering the fact that we have another kiddo arriving any day now.

This is a problem I have. One of the first things that always goes on the chopping block when life gets like this is the part where I write about it. I really want to stop doing so much and start reflecting more.

But mainly I just want to write things about Legend of Korra and link to funny videos, so that’s probably what I’ll end up doing.

John Green Nails the Writer’s Life

John Green, the author of the wonderful book, The Fault in Our Stars, which sits on the precipice of a huge, huge opening weekend, offers an apt metaphor for what the writer’s life actually is: a game of Marco Polo.

The sandy-haired author said the process of writing a book is like a long, lonely game of Marco Polo.

“In which you’re in your basement alone for years and years, saying, ‘Marco. Marco. Marco. Marco. Marco. And then if you’re lucky, someone writes you and says … Polo.”

Rooster Teeth’s Burnie Burns Talks 11 Years

It’s no secret that Rooster Teeth, creators of Red vs. Blue, are pretty much my favorite content producers online. The company recently hit their 11 year anniversary, which is an even more impressive milestone when you consider that they started making online videos in a time before YouTube.

This week, Burnie Burns, creative director, wrote some thoughts on what it means to him to hit this mark, and what it was like the first time Rooster Teeth realized that it had a global audience, thanks to the web. Touching and inspiring stuff.

“Waiting is a huge part of a writer’s life. And I hate it. When I’m waiting, those thoughts creep in. That I’m not a very good writer, that no editor would want my book, that I’ll never have another idea as good as the last one I wrote…So, for those of us who can’t handle the waiting, here’s my thought: Stop waiting. Stop saying you’re waiting. Stop thinking about it that way. If you want news to come to you, make the news happen.”

Kate Brauning

The Scorpio Races

One of my favorite books I’ve read in recent years, Maggie Stiefvater’s THE SCORPIO RACES absolutely blew me away. Built on a simple, strange and interesting premise, this is a book about a girl who decides to enter her island’s annual horse race with her pony. The catch is that the other entrants are man-eating horses.

Filled with stunning language, captivating characters and some real emotional hooks, THE SCORPIO RACES is one of those books that totally catches you by surprise and doesn’t let go. I read the book in just a couple of sittings and cried like a baby as I read the last few pages on a plane. It’s an instant favorite. And hey, it’s about horses, so there you go.

From Amazon:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.

Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition – the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

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