Was walking home one night with some delicious folks from the Derby Anime Society. One of them started talking about finding a d*ck in a box of Strawberry Pocky. Suffice to say, I've been careful not to just stick my hand in Pocky boxes expecting nothing to be amiss. But Pocky d*cks amuse me somehow.
I haven't made a journal in a while. I really should have, but I get the impression that nobody ever really reads these anymore. And I can see why - the long rants about personal peeves and stupid problems that don't affect anyone on DA that knows me, the fact that I treat it almost like a semi-weekly blog of my inane and trivial life rather than an actual artistic journal, and I always make my journals really long.
So I don't wonder why people don't read this anymore, rather I wonder why people read it at all. I never really considered myself particularly interesting. Not as a person, anyway. Maybe I invent a few quirky characters, but personally, not so much. Idk, maybe it's the lack of caffeine and this inexplicable tiredness I have right now. But, anyway, what Chaz journal is complete without a rant and a weekly update?
So for the vast emptiness of the internet to not read, here is mah lyf. To try to make it seem less intimidating, I'll break it up into smaller paragraphs. My usual tack is to lump things of the same topic together in one paragraph for each, making for huge walls of texts. Not ideal for some people, so I won't do that this time.
Being on a Creative Writing course has its perks. Having no exams is definitely a big one. I didn't choose it for that reason, and I've never been bothered by exams - not the build-up to them, not the actual taking of them, and least of all the results - but it does mean I end up with a lot of time on my hands in what would otherwise be the third semester of Uni.
From what I understand this is pretty much a long period of time where the exams for the Uni modules are taken by students that have them, and since I don't have them, I can just go home a month or so early.
Good right? Not in some ways. For one, I still pay the money for halls. It's unavoidable. If I go home, I'm paying over 1.3 thousand Pounds for a room I'm not even using, and if I come back to stay the semester anyway, I have nothing to do. It's a lot of money to waste just sitting in my dark room playing video games and eating the same pasta dinner every night.
Though, to shake things up a bit, I've gotten back into Warhammer 40k again. The board game, I mean. I've always loved the books and games, but the board game is something I've not touched for at least three years, and they've recently updated the game's entirety to its sixth edition, meaning a lot of my old ideas of how the game is played no longer apply. Not that I was any good at the game in the first place. Hell, I play Marines, and I've never won a game, even in cases where I probably should have.
So I've been going to my local Games Workshop in Derby for the past few Sundays to reacquaint myself with the game and spend a few hours with people who have the same interests. To be honest, it gets a little awkward at times, but that's usually when I'm left alone with the staff. I'm not good with people who actually know what they're doing. I even paid for a magazine I didn't really want just to break the tension. Which it didn't.
Last week, my Marines went up against this little kid's Guard army, and on the first turn (he had the initiative, so he went first) over two thirds of my army was gone - lost to long-range firepower spewed in my direction by his tanks -, both Dreadnoughts had exploded in the face of my Techmarine Warlord, and almost all of my Anti-Tank was gone. For any Marine player, it would have been an utter disaster. Enough so to consider throwing in the towel without even rolling the dice for my turn even once since the game started. It was pretty much decided on the first turn who'd won, and I'd not moved any of my models or fired a single shot.
To lose any of your Marines as a Marine player is something to consider - they're not disposable soldiers, they're tough, capable and potentially devastating troopers, every single one - but I had only a handful left, and he'd taken zero casualties. Nothing I had on the board could touch him except for a single missile launcher that somehow survived, and between that and the sole Meltagun carried by the luckiest sum-bitch Marine I've seen yet, was the sum of my counterattack, bleak as it may have been. My disgruntled Techmarine was what did the trick however.
The missile launcher barely dented when it fired at the Leman Russ that had slaughtered his comrades, the Meltagun could only inflict a single hull-point of damage on the Hellhound Tank vomiting flames into my sole piece of cover, but lo and behold, my disgruntled Techmarine, after losing his two precious Servitors and both Dreadnoughts, stomped up to the Hellhound and fired once with his plasma cutter. The f*cking tank exploded. EXPLODED.
It was an unbelievably stroke of luck, and it was all I was getting. Next turn, the Techmarine got annihilated by the Leman Russ Tanks and the Guardsmen, the remaining Devastators were brought down to two men, and I had only two Tactical Marines left on the board. 5 Marines, against three Tanks, and over 30 Guardsmen. Even so, I popped off a few more defiant bolter rounds before being obliterated to a man, and the game ended there. True to form, I'd failed to win another game. The real wound though, another Marine player went up against another Guard Tank player and won. By only a handful of remaining models, but he won.
Last but not least, the case holding my models fell off the table. The damage was minimal. Surprisingly so, in fact, but it hurt a little. The Techmarine who'd destroyed a Hellhound so amazingly had his Servo Harness fall off, several others lost arms and backpacks, the Attack Bike lost it's plucky little pole thing, and it just kinda... disheartened me. Moreso than losing to a really bad winner of a little kid. As his Tanks destroyed my Marines, he'd grin evilly and shout things like "Die Marines, like the cowards you are." The other Marine player and I wasted no time in reminding the child that Marines, quite literally, "Know no fear", but the kid was having too much fun.
But enough of that twaddle. Whenever I feel like my writing is experiencing a slump in quality, or I get writer's block, I have a particular series of books I read that gets me back on track. I'm sure anyone who's actually reading this, and has read my other journals before to boot, will know what I'm walking about. The Ciaphas Cain novels by Sandy Mitchell. Easily my biggest influence as a writer, it is, without a doubt, my favourite book series ever. Novels, that is. I have my own favourites on Graphic Novels and Manga, but for actual Novels, the Ciaphas Cain books are all my favourites. Collectively. I'm sure other writers have a book similar to that - that they can read when they're in a slump and as soon as they do they start to feel better. I've not asked any though, which is weird, considering I've attended Uni with them all this time...
In the world of my Artwork, Hunter is being brought under close scrutiny. I don't mean people have been critiquing him (as much as I'd like them to) or what have you, I mean I've been looking for ways to redefine his character. I liked how he was early on because of how different he was from the entirety of the Cirque, but as things carried on he kinda got more... generic. Nicer, kinder, more friendly. Bland, is what I'm saying. He was never really an asshole to begin with, but he had ideals and he stuck to them.
These days he's such a goddamn softie I hardly feel like I know him anymore. That's just in RP's though, but his design's been subject to scrutiny as well. Not that I'm going to change it if I can help it, but rather, it's been pointed out to me that he doesn't look like a Circus performer. And that's true. He doesn't. There are reasons why that is, of course, and whilst I wasn't planning to go into these until I post a Hunter update thingy later on, I figured I might as well address them now.
1 - I saw what other people had been making and... I didn't want to make anything like that. Not to say other people's characters were bad, but I didn't want to copy or anything. I didn't just want to add another Clown, or Acrobat, or whatever, with a generic colourful costume and a bubbly personality.
Cirque Sinistre is a circus in nightmare hell, where people go to earn their lives back after committing suicide. For god's sake, nobody who goes in there should be happy or lovey dovey unless they're insane. And if they are, not outwardly so, what with Sinister stalking around the place looking for buttons to push. So I purposely went out of my way to make a character that was nothing like any of the other performers - a utilitarian Tamer named Hunter, who used his skills and experience as an actor and stuntman to bravado and cheap-shot the monsters to... unconsciousness. He's not supposed to be a funny Clown or a nice-guy Acrobat, he's a cynical Tamer of Shadow Beasts.
2 - Hunter is a function over form, substance over style sort of guy. He sticks out like a sore thumb from the rest of the Cirque, and that's his gimmick. His audience comes to see him for the novelty of it. He looks more like a gladiator than a performer, and rightly so, considering he's supposed to be fighting F*CKING MONSTERS. And anybody will tell you that it's really hard to defeat something non-lethally when that something is definitely doing its absolute darnedest to end your life, and nearly impossible to do so when you're supposed to do it in a manner that an audience would find 'exciting'. I get that the Cirque's not my idea to mess with, but come on now, do you really expect someone who fights hellspawned Shadow Beasts for a show to look like a flamingo? Hunter's performance come from him, not his clothes. And in fairness, tons of people turned out to see Gladiators fight captured Lions and such back in the day. If they were wearing a sparkly leotard, not only would they be ridiculed for it, they'd be killed before they could even feel embarrassed about it.
3 - He might look like a warrior, but he's just an actor. The fact that anybody actually believes he's a fighter is a testament to his prowess as a performer. He might be fighting monsters, but he manages to make it look cool, exciting and dramatic, instead of morbidly torturous and terrifying. Like something out of a movie, except it's actually happening right in front of the audience. If you dumped a lesser man into an arena with a Shadow Beast, I assume they'd be torn apart, either to the horror or amusement of the audience (I won't pretend to know what Demons like to see). The fact that Hunter doesn't make it look like he's fighting for his life, like it's under control and nobody is harmed in the making of it, just goes to show that he's really, really good at what he does. In my entry for the Cirque's first contest, he is actually feeling the stress. He's not composed, he's not acting anymore, he's sweating, gritting his teeth and trying his hardest to just not die. Because he's not a warrior. He's just an actor.
That's all I really have to say for the moment. The week's been slow, what with the coursework for my modules being a priority, so whilst I won't neglect DA, don't expect any posts for a while, not until the work's done at least, same as last year when I didn't touch DA for a while until I finished the work. I procrastinate like nobody's business even without DA xD But don't worry, I'm not ever leaving this site ;3
For anyone who stuck around and read all this... thank you. Really.