Ruckin’ With You | 9.25.16 | On a Pre-Birthday Sunday

Late edition for the previous week. Smartly I launched this birthday weekend/weekbegin with a 4-day weekend off from work to commemorate my latest trip ‘round the sun. Before officially being another year older I decided to finally finish constructing the companion website to this one. The site is called RUCKERPEDIA. Long-term readers here may recall that as the former moniker of the blogsite you’re currently reading (succeeded by RUCKOLOGY and finally, Rucker | Writer).

So what the heck is RUCKERPEDIA, you might ask? Essentially it is the site that will serve as my official online archive of fiction (of various formats and genres), poetry and lyrics. You could think of it like an online zine, but dedicated exclusively to my many various works. For posterior, if nothing else. It will also be a place to host some all-new writing that doesn’t quite belong elsewhere.

I’m currently tweaking the layout now and then will begin to stock it with pieces over the next week. With any luck it will be primed and ready to launch upon an unsuspecting public next Monday, October 1st. I hope you’ll all dig the chance to easily peruse my more creative writing, given the out-of-print aspect of my published works and the very low profile nature of my writing “career”, for lack of a better description.


So my post-punk rock band Neglect the Alarm, which continues to find reasons to not reconvene for writing, rehearsal and recording sessions, has somehow managed to receive two honorable nominations via Punk Rock Night, which was our first and only live booking for 2016 (at the historic Melody Inn in Indianapolis, IN). Apparently we left quite an impression on a cold January night to have still been in the consciousness of the people who nominated us. I’m totally honored that our little-band-that-could got nominated for BEST NEW BAND and the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD (that voting took place just a week ago, for fuck’s sake). We’re in great company too. Personally, I’m humbled. Yay, us. As for the immediate and distant future of our band? I could do no better than the great Nostradamus on that one, and he didn’t exactly have the highest successful prediction rate.


Saw Deftones last Monday night with an old friend who got us in with a free will-call ticket because she has connections for that kind of stuff. I’m a casual fan of this band, I have 4 of their 8 albums and really love their 4th album, the self-titled one from 2003. They played no songs from that one, to my great dismay, and really only 3 or 4 of the 19 on their set list did I actually like. It’s not that I truly dislike most of their music, it’s listenable, but it’s just kind of . . . there. Almost pedestrian. I think the main thing is, especially with their later stuff, guitar-wise they’re not really riffy. When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, I need RIFFS! So, needless to say, I was bit bored for the 90s minutes that we stayed to watch.


Historical Quote of the Week

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


My Facebook Quote of the Week — in reaction to the Washington state mall gunman being captured by authorities. 

“Oh, nice. This gunman of 5 cold blooded murders got confronted by police and lived. How fortunate for him. Like with Dylan Rooth, I wonder if they stopped to get him a bite to eat?”

Snarky, I know. 


New Hashtags:

#ThisIsNotFiction #ThisIsRealLife

For use when you encounter news in social media that is so anti-progressive that it has you questioning if this is real life.


Song of the Week:

“Starboy” by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk

(Explicit — NSFW)

//tools.applemusic.com/embed/v1/song/1156172683?country=us


Be good to each other.

Have a great week.

-BLR

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Workbook 10 | July: Time for Crime

This is a #workbook update on #ruckology by Brandon L. Rucker in which he reports on the productivity and counter-productivity of his author/musician life.

Not a whole lot to report in this working update because I’ve been busy living (more on that in tomorrow’s The Evening Muse). Let’s get right to it.

Comics

Project: CrimeTime (with artist Joshua S. Hooten) – Nearing the end of preliminary work and beginning actually scripting this week so that Joshua can start producing actual pages this coming weekend. The plan is to compose a breakdown of the plot Sunday, and then actually script out the page-by-page plot beginning Monday. That is what I will present to Joshua as his guide from which to illustrate his story pages, a method known as the “Marvel Method” which was pioneered by the great and legendary Stan Lee as a necessary means of expedience because at the time in the 50s and 60s he was the editor-in-chief as well as the head writer, charged with the task of providing multiple scripts in short order to multiple working freelance artists who needed the work in order to maintain a steady income. Of course I only WISH I could be in that same situation with a cadre of artists clamoring for the opportunity to illustrate my stories. Dream on.

Alas, I’m using this method, in lieu of the “full script” method (which does panel-by-panel directions) for a couple of reasons. One: I want a more flexible means of composing the dialogue that a full script does not really allow. Two: in the spirit of ultimate collaboration, I want to give Joshua plenty of creative space with which to compose his pages. This is our baby, and if I am the father of it, then that means he is its mother, doing the heavy lifting and giving graphic, physical birth to it. This project does not become a fully formed comic book or graphic novel without his creativity, talent, skill and workman’s effort.

And now I present to you his most recent piece of digital art, even though it has nothing to do with our project. But who doesn’t like Conan the Barbarian?

JSH Conan - b&w JSH Conan - color

Says Joshua:

“Bro…. I cannot wait to have a story to start drawing. I don’t even know who this dude behind the stylus is anymore.”

See why I’ve cleared my calendar?

Prose

Since finally partnering up with my best friend and creative partner this summer to work on creating comics, prose is very much on the backburner while I focus on the comic. However, since I’m not writing in full-script format I will be able to keep my prose faculties somewhat in working condition as I use them to a certain extent in plot-style scriptwriting.

Whenever I do get to refocus my efforts on prose I will look to finish updating and completely revising the short story “All Things Considered” which has been begging to become a novella, at the very least. It could be that great mainstream American novel given its subject matter and themes, but I’m still probably not quite the author to pull that particular feat off just yet.

I’d really like to get to “The Monster Under the Bed” short horror story this Halloween season. It’s a creepy tale I conceived on my birthday last year that I should have written last October after I wrote up the synopsis.

Other than that, the novel series that’s codenamed Project: Blood-Borne still waits (im)patiently for me to return to it with umwaverimg commitment and a final decision on whether it’s going to be young adult, new adult or just general adult fiction. I’m pretty sure no other would-be novelist overthinks that kind of thing, right?

Music

So my rock band Neglect the Alarm (more affectionately known as NTA) finally reconvened for practice this past week, after three months of inactivity. Hopefully we’re getting back into a groove of regular practices with the intent of expanding our roster of songs. We have a goal of achieving a total of a dozen completed songs by the end of the year. We’ve pretty much solidified Song #7, which we began before our break. And I think I may have the workings for what would become completed Song #8 with the three riffs I put together on Saturday.

Also, we absolutely must put the finishing touches on our 5-song demo EP that we recorded in December. Aside from the one and only show we played back in January, no one else on a public level has had the pleasure of hearing our music. That’s a damn shame.

Journalizing / Blogging / Archiving

So a few changes are afoot around here at #Ruckology. In July I fired off three Thinkbooks, my weekly download of brain juice leakage logs. Beginning this month I’ll be adding more new series. So coming real soon: Artbook, MusicBox and ComicsBox. A little later I may have Photobook, Tunebook, and Quotebook. They will all be self-evident once they’re up and going. Just keep an eye on the menu to the left to help ya with navigating this crazy blogsite. Tomorrow brings a new Evening Muse in which I gripe about the writer’s plight.

And that should wrap this up. I have a busy, busy August ahead so I expect to be broadcasting a rather robust Workbook edition in some thirty days as I get more hardcore into the business of writing and rocking.

Be good my people.

Lifebook 1 | Belated New Year’s Brief

Hello! And, um, Happy New Year!?!?

Yeah, I know, I’m really late. I guess it’s been a long minute since I’ve posted a proper update. A New Year has come and gotten well underway since the last time I discussed my life activities, or confessed in stark detail my ongoing creative struggles – or what I like to call the Writer’s Plight. The latter I will get into more this coming week, and the former I will touch on in this quick rundown of notable events this year so far:

January 3rd – New Guitar

2016-01-13 00.07.05Started the new year off with a instrumental acquisition: a 2015 Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro electric guitar with silverburst finish, special humbucker pickups with coil-tapping feature, a thin neck and decent string action on a rosewood fingerboard with medium-jumbo frets. This beauty — I named her Silvestra — made her debut in the next event . . .

January 16th – NTA’s Debut

My band Neglect the Alarm made its live debut on the Punk Rock Night stage at the historic Melody Inn in my native Indianapolis, IN. Many thanks to PRN curator Rich Barker for booking us in a pinch, and the three other bands on the bill: The Last Standing, XXX Smut and Roberta Sparrow. Videos and photos from the show can be viewed on the Neglect the Alarm Facebook page.

After the show we promptly went on hiatus as our drummer 2016-01-19 22.18.15continues to land job opportunities working on independent films in various entry-level capacities, building his CV. We’re all old men in our forties so it’s almost a certainty that our little band is a transient thing, whereas Tommy’s goals in filmmaking are bit more far reaching into the long-term future. The plan is for NTA to resume operations as a proper four-piece in the month of April.

February 2nd – Traffic Accident

So I was involved in a car wreck on my way home around 6:30 PM. My 2014 Kia Forte Sedan was rear-ended by an elderly fella who seemed a bit out of it. I was at a stop light, perhaps 4 cars back when BAM! My world was jolted, jostled, rattled, rocked – whatever synonym you want to use. I was unharmed, miracul20160203_110518ously, I suppose because he obviously wasn’t going too fast, but obviously the rear of the car took the brunt of the impact and the collision forced my car into the SUV ahead of me, hardly even damaging it, yet crunching the frontend of my car pretty good. Long ordeal short, my car wound up being totaled (the estimator got up to $10k in damage and knew another $5k was likely and thus I got a call from an adjuster and was happy to’ve had GAP insurance as well). So this unfortunate event eventually lead to . . .

February 13th – New Car

I now have a 2016 Honda Civic Sedan, easily the best, biggest, sexiest Civic they’ve ever made. I wanted a dark gray one with dark interior, but since that was not in the cards (they only had the light interior) I got yet another black car with dark interior – my third in a row, also my third new car since 2011 because in I had traded in the 2011 Kia Forte Koupe in for the 2014 Forte Sedan. I had been with her quite two years yet before we were forced apart. I was quite fond of her. But I can’t deny I may be even happier with the Civic. The music streaming technology and sound system alone make it the most enhanced ride ever. Also happy to have a sun/moon roof again.

February 27th – New Laptop PC

A week ago I finally upgraded my PC operations with the ASUS Q552UB, a 2-in-1 with 6th Generation Intel Core i7-6500U CPU @ 2.50 GHz, 12 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, Windows 10 (with touch). Also has an NVidia Geforce dedicated graphics card.

Looking at my last ASUS which came out in 2010, it’s amazing how fast micro technology changes and the insane efficiency they’re able to achieve nowadays. The elder machine has huge vents on the back to help cool itself, because it has a Core i7 along with an ATI Radeon processor — both of which ran quite hot. This newfangled one, however, is fully sealed and doesn’t even get  very warm and the fan is a quiet whir, unlike the old one that sometimes sounded like an airplane at takeoff. The only thing that could truly make this new on better would be a Solid State drive for increased speed and optimal efficiency.


Housekeeping Notes

If you’re a regular reader returning for the first time in a while, you probably immediately noticed a different look here in terms of layout and even the general name change. This has always been brandonrucker.com but a couple of years back I named it Ruckerpedia. I am now in the process of re-configuring my online venues – expanding, actually, and thus I need specific brands for each venue. Brandon Rucker Dot Com is the hub — the HQ the main blog. Comic Book Fetish.com is specifically a comic book commentary and appreciation blog, dedicated to comic book-related geek culture and such. Two more online venues are under construction, each with a specific purpose: the all-new Ruckerpedia will be my online publisher and archive of fiction, poetry, etc – both old and new (and developing). The fourth and final site will be outlet for my musical production. I’ll tackle the specifics and informative details in the coming weeks. I aim to launch Ruckerpedia on the first day on the Spring Equinox.

-B.

 

Workbook 5 | Quick Musical Update

Me - ntaThere is much to update from the past two months or so, but I’ll just touch on the musical aspect because that requires less words to summon before I head out for the day.

So my rock band of 10 months, Neglect the Alarm, has been putting the finishing, polishing touches on the five songs that will form our first release of new music into the wilds. We have slated our as-yet-untitled (though likely will be self-titled) 5-song EP to be recorded at the earliest part of November at Azmyth Recording studio in Indianapolis, IN, not far from the practice space we use every other week. The mini-album will be financed, produced, mixed and mastered by us D-i-Y style, and likely released digitally for free.

Practice July 29, 2015

NTA banner cropped

(not final graphic)

Group photo by Jason Fredriksz

Workbook 4 | July 26-August 1, 2015

Current Project: Me (my confidence, my outlook, my purpose)

The week that was . . .

  • Started the week off in a bit of a funk. Lacking confidence in my ambitions and lacking conviction in the possibility of actual achievement in my goals.
  • Began to wonder if I should simply forgo writing fiction, which over the last few years has truly become hard work, and just take the easy way out and opt for nonfiction since that has been so much easier to do the last few years.
  • Exorcised some of those negative demons in a Journal Juice entry and felt a little better after the expulsion of negative emotions.
  • Agreed that even though I have serious doubts about my ability to pen a complete novel at this current juncture, I should still continue to work on my fiction, long or short, at any opportunity that I can, but should remove some of the self-applied pressure from myself so that I can still at least enjoy life while I continue to struggle.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me? (digital uploads)

The week that was . . . 

  • Read through, spit-shined and polished “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” since it has such a timely subject matter given current events regarding police and citizens. This short story was originally published in my LOCAL HEROES anthology back in November 2011, which of course is no longer in print. While still not a great example of my abilities (its origins date back to my earliest days in prose), this latest update of it seems to read better than the print version, at least. So there’s that.
  • Began reading through and spit-polishing “All Things Considered”, but with that story being over 5000 words long and needing serious updating to bring certain details into the 21st century (unless I decide to keep its setting in the mid-1990s),   it’s going to take more than a quick afternoon sit-down to get it up to par. It’s likely I’ll get the other stories on the project ready before I get this one prepped to go.

The week to come . . .

  • Upload “Call of Duty: A Cop’s Tale” to Smashwords this week, but not before . . .
  • . . . Putting together a serviceable digital cover for it.
  • Read through “The Other Roommate” to see if it is truly finished and decide whether to self-publish it or submit it to fine bizarro publication.

Current Project: Blood-Borne (novel)

  • No comment.

Current Project: Neglect the Alarm (band)

The week that was . . .

  • Band practice was great this week. We got the official fourth song done with the beginnings of what will be #6 in the works. There’s a first ever group photo below. It’s an action shot, DGAF punk rock style.

Practice July 29, 2015

The week to come . . .

  • Looks like there may be another short break.
  • Continue to work on riffs and lyrics.
  • Kick around logo ideas for our “non-logo”.

Workbook 2 | July 12-18, 2015

13611-snifty-spiral-notebook-clip-artCurrent Project: Blood-Borne (codename)

The week that was . . . 

  • Continued working loose details into the skeletal outline, adding structure to the spine of the plot.
  • Came to the sad realization that while the kids are out of school for the summer, and with a family vacation looming in a week, efforts on writing progress would largely be thwarted.
  • Also realized while at a local live show featuring members of my musical brotherhood that with music always being the first artistic love and primary means of artistic gratification,  writing will take the occasional backseat as my own band activities increases in the coming months.
  • That said, I aim to first-draft this puppy some time by year’s end to maybe February of the new year.

The week to come . . .

  • Document character motivations and resolutions.
  • Lay out character place positioning stating where the main characters are at, where they’ve been and where they’re going.
  • Create listening music soundtrack for the themes of Book One.
  • Take tablet PC on vacation so that more of this can be continued during down time.

Current Project: Operation Remember Me?

The week that, uh, wasn’t . . .

  • Did not choose one of the remaining pieces to dust off and upload.

The week to come . . .

  • Begin to re-read each remaining piece so that the natural, compulsive impulse to fix things kicks in.  That should guarantee more progress on this project.
  • Design new covers for digital upload.

Current Project: Neglect the Alarm (band)

The week to come . . .

  • While band is on a short break, continue to write new guitar riffs for future songs.
  • Rework what used to be designated as “Song #3” so that it starts out with more intensity.
  • Continue work on new lyrics and vocal patterns.