blindcanary
@blindcanary / An American Writer.

Obligatory ‘new theme’ post.

Zero Comments / Posted 2 days ago / in Blog / #: /

I’ve been working on this for two days and like usual it’s not the best, but I don’t think it’s terrible. I’d say it’s nothing to write home about, but I’m literally writing about it right now. The sad part is that I really can code and make things look pretty. I just have a hard time proving it… There’s a lot of areas where I cut corners. I plan on updating this theme every now and then, so tiny changes should start popping up here and there. I still need to work on the comment area and post formatting. Also, a mobile version. Oops. Cool.

Other useless tidbits: I really need to start using Gust when posting, it’s so nice and pretty but I always go straight for the regular wp editor.

I’m working on Heroes Revisited, Vol. 4 for next week. This week’s installment, Vol. 3, has already been queued. Like the rest of the series, both will appear on their prospective Fridays.

If anyone actually sees this, tell me if you think I should make the text bigger/ smaller or keep it the same, also any thoughts you have on the design and how I should polish it up. I miss the old days of High School when I ate this shit up and was always on my design game. I need to find the motivation to get back into it, especially with all the new trends and things.

I just purchased bc for another year, so it’ll be my moniker at least for a few more months. If I do change it, it’ll be for a whole new ‘branding’ thing. Again, effort, motivation.

I also really, really want to start a podcast but I don’t even know where to start, aah! I don’t know anyone who is truly willing to help or has any experience, and it’s not like I’ve got tons of fans or anything to listen to it. Who knows.

This blog needs a niche. Probably television. I’ll work on that.

Thanks for reading /

Heroes Revisited, Volume 2: THE [PAPER] COMPANY YOU KEEP

Zero Comments / Posted 7 days ago / in Television / #: , , , , /

When I began to re-watch the first season of Heroes, I didn’t think I’d be able to feel enraptured as I did when I watched it live in 2006. On previous re-watches, the show’s eventual decline loomed over me, and I generally only made it half way through the first season before switching to thoroughly better shows.

I remember re-watching the seasons several times when it was still on air. Heroes has a sense of wonder, of mystery, of shock value. It’s pulpy at times, and grandiose at others. The acting talent isn’t perfect, but it’s not necessarily bad, however it is occasionally phoned in. The show is entertaining, but it always straddles the fence between logical and absurd, especially when juggling multiple story arcs across the continent.

Season One, Episodes 10 – 17

According to the all-knowing internet, the first season was meant to be split into two ‘Volumes’ (like season three), letting each arc contain a general, closed plot with the approximate length of a cable series, with a network budget. Personally, I think you can tell part way into season one.

Like I mentioned in the last post, the series spends a lot of time making characters backtrack or go through side plots, and often these are where the characters’ paths intersect. I wonder, if Heroes had taken the original plan of two, closed volumes, these needless distractions would have been less apparent, and therefor more meaningful to character development.

In episode 15, ‘Run!’, a character starts out in Las Vegas with the sun already out, travels 5 hours to LA, locates and fights another character, and is back in time to trail another fellow protagonist in that day, still under the sun. That third character is from New York, and just happens to be given an entire backstory, previously nonexistent, in order to get him to Las Vegas – another five hour flight, by the way. It’s things like this I expect from ok television, but not from great television. Ok television has characters move for the plot; Great television has characters move the plot.

Did I mention this show had devoted three/four episodes dedicated to finding a sword, yet only one episode on what I mentioned previously? Also – guess where the sword is. I’ll give you a hint. It’s Las Vegas. The second part of the first series feels more convoluted than the first half.

I’m doing a lot of nitpicking, and it’s because I really do love this show. I was fifteen when it first aired, and I was there from the beginning. Watching week to week in the standard television model, these ‘issues’ that I have with the show are less cause for begrudging. But in the modern day binge watch, which I must say I heralded before the days of online streaming, they’re incredibly distracting from the main plot. An even half of the show could probably be reworked or completely cut to allow a more cohesive arc. This is a problem with most 23-episode seasons, though.

With the constant flow of characters, though, the B plots are entertaining in the moment. It’s only after I’ve finished the episode that I realize an entire plot was entirely pointless or otherwise distracting. The second half of the season revolves the characters more chaotically. I don’t even remember the last time I saw DL or Micah, though to be fair they’ve both been mentioned. I’m sure this is due to being little more than supporting cast members for a single character in a ensemble already brimming with characters.

Episode 17, the last of the season one episodes I’ll be mentioning in this post, feels like a natural end for many of the character’s plots at this point in the season, as did episode 9. If I remember correctly, these are where the shows’ hiatuses lived when watching live.

Knowing all that most of what comes in the later seasons, watching season one is a double edged sword. Fervent fans may notice just how much future volumes of Heroes broke continuity with their strongest season. As this isn’t meant to be a spoilerific series of posts, I’ll leave this as a slight mention.

Overall, the second part of season one is more hectic than the first half, though still thoroughly enjoyable in the moment. It’s definitely a show that, due to it’s format, can be enjoyed in quick succession or evenly spaced out – though both methods are bound to come with their own caveats. Binging this show makes it’s side plots more apparently disjointed from the season arc, while it’s serialized nature will leave others confused.

Next time, I’ll be covering the last five episodes of season one, including the finale.

Heroes Revisited, Volume 1: A FANATIC’S GENESIS

Zero Comments / Posted 2 weeks ago / in Television / #: , , , , /

Thanks to the news of Heroes Reborn, I decided to start a re-watch of the original series. Back in 2006, Heroes was my favorite show. I stuck with it through the anti climatic series finale, the writers strike of season two, and even enjoyed, to the best of my ability, what season three had provided us.

But season four had become something even I couldn’t handle. The series I fell in love with had mystery and heart, but had become a fumbling mess. I stopped watching halfway through, and only ever looked back to re-watch the first few seasons begrudgingly.

The news of Heroes Reborn has awoken a memory of what the show first gave me: happiness, wonder, excitement. My TV addiction is kind of sad. TV was the only thing that inspired me as a teenager. Heroes was one of the first, and as with Supernatural, it was one of the few that truly disappointed me.

It’s fitting, then, that I’m writing this while watching the season one episode Six Months Ago. The episode looks back at a simpler time in the characters’ lives, before they knew all that was to happen up to this point in the series. It’s an origin story more telling than even the pilot, an origin story written with all of the knowledge of what’s to come so far.

Just like this blog post, to an extent.

Every few episodes, I plan on writing my thoughts on the characters and their arcs. For those of you who haven’t seen it, avert your eyes. For those who have, let’s be in pain together.

Season One, Episodes 1-9

I’ve just finished Episode 10, the previously mentioned Six Months Ago. But before discussing this episode on it’s own merit, I want to go over what’s happened so far.

The first nine episodes deal with introducing the main characters, various people across the United States who discover their latent super powers. They begin as various stereotypes: the blonde cheerleader, the empathetic male nurse, the selfish congressional candidate, the single mom who is just trying to make ends meet, and various others, but within the first three episodes they’re given room to breath.

I remember watching the pilot the night it first aired, and I’d been instantly in love. The first few episodes round out additional members of the cast, including dropping the first mention of the seasons’ Big Bad (more on him later). It isn’t until all of the characters, their locations, and their powers are introduced that we start to learn more about the season’s main story arc.

Over the first few episodes, Peter Petrelli, the hospice nurse with great expectations and dreams of flying, soon discovers that his ability is to imitate the abilities of those around him, which quickly becomes one of the devices used by the show to slow his arc down and let other characters catch up. When Peter’s not doing much, it’s because he can’t.

Another hero with a similar device, the not ironically named Hiro, is a time and space traveling Japanese tourist. Over the first few episodes, his arc is slowed down by his learning how to control his gift. Soon, though, he and his average-human friend Ando make their way to America, as this is an American show. Once in America, in order to keep the pace, Hiro and Ando spend more than enough time using Hiro’s gift to game casinos before Hiro gets knocked out a few too many times. At one point, the story is stalled by separating the two friends for a single episode.

The thing I like about the first season of Heroes is that there is too much happening to find the constant stalling too annoying. Hiro is one of the warmest, charmingly adorable characters on the show (and on TV, period), yet he’s also the most over-powered, so it’s understandable, and smart, to make much of Hiro’s early story centered on being humorous at best. The rest of the cast gets some room to grow without Hiro becoming too strong in his abilities too quickly.

With a cast as large as Heroes, this constant stalling by plot device is used often, but is barely as noticeable as with shows with smaller casts. Whenever someone’s progression is being set back, someone else is going at full speed.

Often, the show adds to it’s mythology in these finely-tuned moments. (I believe this is unique to the first season, and explains much about why the show went down hill in later seasons). A reoccurring symbol, for instance, pops up in various characters’ scenes, becoming more prominent as the series progresses. Characters crisscross each other’s lives unknowingly, hinting to the viewer the importance of each character to a greater arc.

It makes sense when watching this first season that these were meant to be standalone seasons featuring entirely unique casts. Season Three would later split the season into two different arcs, but the damage had been done at the end of season one when the characters’ popularity trumped the intended cast switches.

In these early episodes, characters intersect at chance, hinting at a larger mythology that is close knit. When Isaac Mendez, a meth addicted painter, prophecies a bomb destroying New York City, Hiro has already seen said future, and Isaac and Peter share the love of their lives and increasingly find themselves connected. Hiro also runs into Peter’s brother Nathan, the congressional candidate who can fly, while briefly separated by Ando, who himself meets one of the other characters.

It’s these moments that tie the characters together when even their plots don’t. For most of the cast, they won’t have any relevance to the major plot arc until much later in the season, offering stand alone arcs that only briefly intersect with other characters in standalone and largely throwaway scenes.

The first instance of two plot arcs colliding is when Hiro from the future, speaking perfect English and equipped with a Samurai sword, travels to Peter and freezes time to tell him: Save the Cheerleader, Save the World, a phrase which would grow to encompass the show’s popularity. It was the first instance of bringing the various threads of the plot together.

Episode nine felt like a natural end, and was probably followed by a hiatus. It’s an intense episode that brings many of the characters together, and introduces Sylar – lovely, evil Sylar – face to face with the core characters for the first time.

I’ll be writing more about episodes 10-17 in the next installment.

Freelance Canary

Zero Comments / Posted 4 weeks ago / in Other /

I’ve decided to begin making my way into freelance writing. Working dead-end retail jobs that refuse to give me the hours I need to survive is no longer cutting it. I want to go back to school, move, and be an adult on my own terms, and I’m not being given what I need to succeed – so I need to take it — legally, of course.

Freelancing takes a lot of work to get into. It’s not an easy field, especially for writers. If I wanted to get into programming or design, that would be one thing – but these are fields that I see myself as an amateur, whereas writing is something I know I will be doing for the rest of my life. Creatively, it’s something I’ve always been interested in a majority of it’s forms. Wether I’m writing a report, a book, or a blog post, I can get satisfaction out of my work.

Most fields I’ve been interested in have left me with a narrow field of interest. Design and programming, again, are the biggest examples of these. I’m very particular about them to the point where they rarely interest me anymore.

So this brings me to freelancing – doing the thing I love and making money off of it. While of course the end game is to be a published author, I still need to make money in the mean time. It’ll take months to get a solid footing, but I believe in myself enough to know that I can do it, it just takes the right amount of effort. Where I can put off writing my books, I can’t put off working for a client.

Consistently writing is going to make a big difference in my creative life, too. I’ve seen it before; when I can afford school and I’m in an English course, doing the coursework sets a creative fire. Essentially, it’s the phrase along the lines of, “Write every day, even if it’s just a sentence,” at work.

I’m really excited. I’ve signed up for several websites and avoided any through-and-through content mills. I was thinking about trying my hand at the Yahoo contributor network, but they’re shutting it down.

The next step is getting my portfolio filled. The biggest struggle I’ve come across in my writing is my own self doubt. I’m a self defeatist at heart. That’s not going to fly anymore.

I was thinking of looking for internships as well, but my choppy education makes me nervous about getting any. Additionally, I was thinking of having some fun with secret shopping. There are a bunch of things I could be doing to make a bit of side money, and I need to get myself in line. I’ve always romanticized the ‘hustle,’ and it’s at the point where I need to throw myself into the life of the struggling writer, making ends meet.

Additionally, I really, really am toying with the idea of starting a podcast. I think I’ve got a good personality, and all that’s holding me back is not having the right materials, wanting a partner, and getting the format down. But I’m flirting with it, so we’ll see.

I also really, really need to get published. I need to start writing short stories and get out of the novel mindset. I’d love to be in a literary magazine, I just need to do it and get out there.

The whole point of this post is to point out that a few weeks ago, I was passively accepting that my jobs were screwing me over. A few days ago, I was actively bummed at the turn of events. Now, I’m seeing it as an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and become the full-fledged writer I’ve always been meant to be.

 

Blug

Zero Comments / Posted 1 month ago / in Blog, / Short Stories /

I’m sitting in my room, wearing new sports pants even though I don’t play sports. The sun will be setting soon, but its light still filters through my blinds. This position I’m in, laying across my bed before my macbook, shoulders back beside my neck, is incredibly uncomfortable, but regardless it feels right for the moment. I haven’t figured out the relevance of all this yet, but sometime in the future I want to look back and picture what life looked like before I’d developed a backbone.

The backbone is elusive. It’s a creature of habitual confidence and assertive control. Native to few places, the backbone has made it’s home in the humble and the jackasses alike. Then there are those of us, slug women and slug men without their snail shells (the shell is important here, but I’m not sure of it’s metaphoric purpose). The backbone doesn’t know science; it doesn’t need it. Someday, some slug woman or slug man will discover their snail shell backbone. The surgical process will take time.

I’ve readjusted. I’m sitting now, cross-legged. My macbook sits at an incline, its front corners on my legs, its hinge on my bed. I’ve turned the keyboard brightness up to combat the setting sun. I’m bent forward now, and my shoulders rest a little lower. That kink in my neck is gone. I think this is what a backbone feels like.

A lot has decided to change recently. I got a second job, which mainly consists of scanning things and printing stickers, and placing these stickers on those things. Things like candles, things like pillows, things like vases that serve few purposes. If I lose this backbone I’ve discovered, I could sleep in one of those vases, fill it up with my slug body. This vase is my clearance shell. I’m sorry, not clearance, sale. This job is too fancy for clearance. Sale. (It’s clearance.)

Three weeks have passed since getting this second job. I’m doing great in it, but I’m not getting the hours I was told to expect. I’ve barely been trained, so most of my knowledge comes from teaching myself. This seems to be a common thread in my life, teaching myself things.

Job #1 used to be overnight. I’d go in at 10 PM, I’d leave somewhere between 3 AM and 5 AM. On the days I have shifts at Job #2, I’d sometimes stay at the mall and go in to Job #2 at 7 AM. Job #1 is moving locations. No more overnights. If I want to retain my hours, it would mean assimilating to working during the day, learning to put creams on peoples faces and painting them like one of my slug girls. No thanks. So both jobs start at 7 AM, on different days now, and I’m taking less hours at Job #1. I’m getting the same amount of hours that I used to get at only one job, but split between two different stores. In fact, I’m getting less.

If I hadn’t have gotten that second job, where would I be?

The universe knows that I have plans. It knows I want to leave this place, make my way south to Dallas, leave DC behind forever, but it’s fighting back. Slugs and snails are less complex creatures, easier for the universe to control. It throws salt on the wounds, watches them wither up and die.

In my last English class, the last class I had in college that didn’t make me want to wither up and die, my teacher professor wrote in my margins not to mix metaphors. I didn’t think that was fair, but I liked her and she gave me an A for the semester, so I let it slide. She said I wrote like David Sedaris, which I don’t think is entirely accurate because David Sedaris writes like David Sedaris. She hadn’t written these two pieces in tangent, because they were on two different papers, but I’d like to think the later was on her mind when she’d written the former. I didn’t appreciate her simile. Just kidding, I loved it. But someday, I want somebody to write in my margins, You write like Blind Canary.

I mixed my metaphors, and I think somewhere along the way that constituted me growing a backbone, because before that summer I’d only wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t one. I was too scared. I lived in a shell. Shells are tiny and cramped, and they hurt my neck. I consider myself a writer now, even if I’ve been too tired with 1.5 jobs to do it every day. If I have two half jobs, I don’t really have an excuse anymore. This has been the longest chain of week-to-week creative writing I’ve ever done. I mixed my metaphors.

I’ll probably have to get a third (!!!) job if I ever want to get out of this town. But until then, at least I’ve got my macbook and an increasing amount of margins.

It’s mostly dark now, and to be honest my screen is too bright. My back feels like it’s on fire. Is that what backbones are supposed to feel like? I think this can count as a short story, because it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But in the end, when the slug crawled out from his bargain sale vase a snail, he’d grown a backbone, and he’d written something. It wasn’t a particularly good something, but the snail had slept two hours in as many days, and he was at that point where the most important thing in the moment was his new sports pants, which really can only be worn with a backbone. That’s not science. Backbone doesn’t need science. Backbone supports all, even snails. Slugs are nice, too.

This got weird. But I’m writing. That’s a backbone.

BONUSSnails are Hermaphrodites.

Snails have the reproductive organs of both, males and females, which categorize them as hermaphrodites. However, they cannot create offspring on their own. They must mate with another and then both of them will have the ability to lay eggs.

Snail-World

DUDE.