Good Evening, 27th December 2022

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing? Are people having a good festive period? Mine has been pretty darn good, but it’s back to work tomorrow. Which I am looking forward to, I enjoy my day job a lot and I like the routine (if shift-work has such a thing), and as most of my shifts are early’s I tend to have the rest of the day to get stuck into what I need to.

In the week before Christmas I had very little time to focus on writing, but I did manage to squeeze writing time in. This years NaNo project is still in process and I didn’t want to go too many days without working on it. I’ve had seven days this month where I haven’t done any writing at all, and likely a few days where I haven’t worked on NaNo ’22, but I’ve not let too many days in a row where I’ve not worked on it. Something I’ve talked about a lot on here is momentum, and I think it’s something that’s very important. I’ve lost momentum before and it’s very hard to get it back. I’m worried it’s going to happen again, so I’m hoping I’ve done enough so far with this story to stop me from hitting a roadblock that stops me dead like has happened in the past.

I don’t want this year to end with a bang, and I definitely don’t want it to end with a whimper. I want it to end with a nice steady pace, similar to where I am at the moment which rolls right into 2023 and continues.

I haven’t spoken much about my mental health publicly of late, that’s simply because I’m feeling better than I have done in a long time. Okay, then I’ve ever felt. Yes, there’s a long way to go. There are still things which really eat away at me, and as I kinda tick one thing off another three crop up. But I’m working on it all. I have less bad days now then I used to and the good ones are more frequent. I don’t believe it’s one or the other. I think some days are a mix of both, while others are neither. Those are the days I have most of, but even those days tend to be more towards the positive side of life.

The biggest lesson I feel I’ve learnt of late is to get a decent amount of sleep. Life is a lot more settled when I’m more rested.

We all have that one co-worker that don’t do much 😉🤣

20th of December 2022

Good evening folks, just a quick post tonight. I’ve managed about 10k words of editing in the last couple of days. I feel like this story (NaNo ‘22) has a lot of potential, I just need to wrangle it a little.

I’ve been looking back at the last twelve months of writing, and I’m pretty pleased with it. They’ll be a more focused list on that soon, that post will also look at 2023 a little.

Right I’m off to bed, retail at Christmas is a workout and a half. So a good nights sleep is a great place to start.

Good Evening, Sunday 18th 2022

Howdy folks, how are we all doing today?

I have edited 6000 words on this years NaNoWriMo story. I’m getting stuck into the story, mostly tidying it up but also trying to get a decent picture of how the story is going to play out.

I’ve started on a couple of short stories, one feels like it’s fizzled out while the other might end up being a novelette, but we’ll see.

We’re nearing the end of the year and I’m thinking hard about my goals for next year. This past year has felt like it’s been a preparation year, with the aim of getting a few pieces lined up for either publishing or submitting in the next two years. The zombie book will be published next year. Penal Earth will be pitched to publishers or submitted in open calls. Black Blood needs one more pass I think, and then it’ll be ready to go. The vampire book will be released in a serialised form on my Ko-Fi page, with the first story being released early on Christmas day. What is being posted on Ko-Fi is likely not the final draft, I’ll have it edited and then self-publish it in maybe 2024. I’m not sure yet.

I do have my goals for next year written out, but I’m not sure if I want to share them here just yet.

Right, that’s all for the night. Have an awesome time, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2022 Reflections

I wrote 50082 words for this years NaNoWriMo, hitting the target at about 9:40 last night.

This years NaNoWriMo got off to a slow start for me, I didn’t get caught up until the 23rd of the month, then I had a couple of days ahead of the goal, then a couple of days behind and then I brought it home on the last day.

It was a month where I was feeling like I was chasing the goal each day. My lowest word daily count was 247, while my highest was 4026.

The month started off with a busy schedule at the day job which didn’t leave me much time for wrangling the words. I’d write before work, then during my breaks and then get stuck in after I got home. Most of the time when I was writing at work I’d not really be able to get really in-depth with the work, but I did manage to get some words down. These feel more like I was thrashing out a synopsis of the scene/chapter I was working on. I’ve now got a lot of little synopsis to build from.

Other scenes I’ve managed to build a pretty solid part of the story which won’t need much tidying up when the time comes.

Where I’m at now is I’ve got a lot scenes scattered throughout the document and I’ve got to start figuring out how to connect them all. I don’t think it’s as bad as I might be fearing, but there is a bigger problem I’ve come up against. Originally I saw this as a three book arc, but was worried I wouldn’t have enough to fill three books. Now that I’ve started it, I think I’ve potentially got a lot more than three books worth of story to tell. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me with this one.

This story, working title ‘War Child’ has been one I’ve been wanting to tell for quite some time, but have been intimidated by it. I feared I wasn’t capable yet to do it justice. But after some encouragement from friends and peers I decided to dive in head first. I’m so glad I did. This is going to be one where I think I am going to be pushed as a writer. I’ve spent so much of the last year trying to get stories finished and ready to either self-publish or submit I’ve forgotten what it’s like to begin crafting a new world.

Away from the writing part of NaNo I didn’t get much chance to host or even attend write-ins. Between the manic work schedule at the start of the month and a slow cash flow it just wasn’t on the cards. The one I did manage to host turned into a solo session. Which was okay, I got words down. It’d have been nice to get a few faces there though, hopefully next year I’ll be in a better position to be the ML I really want to be. I don’t feel like I’ve had the chance to step up how I want to. Between Covid and non-writing matters that have cropped up I’ve not really been able to dedicate the required time and effort to it that I’d have liked.

What’s next? I’m going to continue with War Child, but I also need to get The vampire book ready as I’ll be releasing that via the Welcome To My Nightmare tier on Ko-Fi. So I need to pull my finger out and get that final pass of edits done!

The Horror Of RoboCop

The Horror Of RoboCop

By

Peter Germany

*Spoiler Warning*

RoboCop is one of the defining movies of the 1980s. It’s gore-filled brutality tied in with its commentary on society make it one of the few movies that almost never holds back, and hits you hard in a way that few films do.

In my personal opinion it is a horror movie. The gore alone puts it into that category but the true horror is what our protagonist, Officer Alex Murphy/RoboCop, goes through during the course of the movie.

He is firstly gunned down on his first day in a new precinct with a gleeful brutality by Clarence Boddicker and his gang, with one final shot to his head. This doesn’t kill him straight away and he is air-lifted to hospital where he does die, only to wake up as a cyborg. He has no memory of what was before. Just what has been since he was turned on.

By this point we’ve seen the gore of officer Murphy’s murder, and that of an OCP executive, but this is where we start slipping into the true horror of the movie. There are two distinct moments. One where RoboCop catches one of his murderers robbing a gas station. This triggers memories that OCP thought they had erased. Then after a nightmare reliving elements of Murphy’s death he comes into contact with Officer Anne Lewis, who’d been his partner when he’d been killed. She told him his name. This adds to RoboCop’s confusion and he goes on a journey of discovery as he solves his own murder.

The final tipping point for him is when he goes to arrest Dick Jones, a OCP Executive, after he has arrested all of the Boddicker gang, including Clarence. This violates one of his Prime Directives and he all but shuts down. He then has a confrontation with an ED-209 android which is Jones’ project at OCP and flees to an underground carpark where he is set upon by S.W.A.T. and his fellow officers, despite his colleagues objections. For the second time he is gunned down, but this time it’s by the police, who are owned by OCP. He is saved by Lewis who get’s him to an abandoned industrial space.

There is a little bonding between him and Lewis, and he takes his helmet off for the first time, and asks about his wife and son, but refers to Murphy like he is someone else.

The police are on strike by this point and Boddicker and his gang have been sent to eliminate RoboCop by Dick Jones. Who has supplied weapons with a little more firepower than Boddicker has access to.

The sequence that follows is fantastic. It’s beautiful set up, played out, and concluded. I won’t talk too much about it here, go and watch the movie, but it’s one of my favourite sequences in cinema.

The movie ends with RoboCop going to OCP and confronting Dick Jones, while there is a board meeting going on. RoboCop reveals his evidence but states that his programming won’t allow him to act against an officer of the company. Jones, having seen the evidence that he himself gave to RoboCop takes the CEO (known only as ‘The Old Man’), hostage at gunpoint (I’ve no idea why there is a gun there after the death at the start of the movie). The Old Man sacks Jones, elbows him in the gut and RoboCop shoots him, leading him to fall out a window and plummet to his death.

The movie ends with The Old Man asking the officers name, and RoboCop replies with a smile and one word ‘Murphy’.

The Hero 

Peter Weller absolutely smashes it as both Alex Murphy and RoboCop. As Murphy he is charming, competent, capable, and seems like the type of police officer you want protecting you. Early on with Lewis he mentions his son and Weller has such an electricity in his eyes and smile that you can see how much he loves his son, and later in flashbacks you see just how much he loved his wife as well. Murphy is presented as a proper family man which Weller makes real.

His integrity and bravery is shown when he is captured by The Boddicker gang. There is no compromising, he knows he’s gonna die and he doesn’t crumple.

As RoboCop Weller takes everything that made Murphy likeable, and locks it away. There is no emotion, no charm, no passion. There’s a strange confidence to RoboCop, but I suspect that is just a ghost of who he had been before his brain was rewired. A little hint that a brain might be able to be rewired, but that doesn’t mean it’s a permanent act.

He doesn’t show any form of emotion until he confronts one of his murderers, Emil Antonowsky, as he’s robbing a gas station. The way Weller responds is spot on.  He discovers his own police record, which lists him as deceased, and the no reaction Weller gives is harrowing. He then goes to his old home that is empty and up for sale. He walks through, having more flashbacks, his emotional energy rising as he moves through this empty house until he gets to an automated realtor thats on a TV screen. Which he punches.

He arrests another member of the Boddicker gang before going after Clarence and the remaining members while they’re negotiating a drug deal, in a cocaine factory. This is a scene of epic proportions. Apparently Peter Weller was listening to Red Rain by Peter Gabriel as he was shooting the scene and it’s bloody beautiful! The scene ends with Clarence Boddicker being strangled by RoboCop after he’s been through through a lot of glass windows and is pretty beat up. This is the big moment where we see conflict in RoboCop. This is the man who took the first and last shots as Alex Murhpy was gunned down. It’s only when Boddicker says that RoboCop is in fact a cop that he stops strangling him.

The scene where RoboCop has taken his helmet off to reveal Alex Murphy is a little hard to watch as Murphy processes what he actually is. Along with the information of his wife and son moving away Weller plays the grief he’s feeling very subtly, there’s a resignation to him, but afterwards we see more of the human than the machine.

That final scene where Murphy smiles, I think is a perfect ending to the film and one that is the pay off of this character that Weller gave us.

The Villains

An element this film needed was that of Kurtwood Smith’s Clarence Boddicker. In my opinion this is one of the greatest villains in cinema. When you focus on him you see that he is not just a violent psychopath, there’s a brain behind the brutality. He’s sharp and has a sophistication that is hidden beneath his brutality. There is a glee that Smith puts into Boddicker that shows how much he’s enjoying being able to play such a vile human being. I’m not familiar with Smith’s acting career but I get the impression he hadn’t had this sort of role that often. The little research I’ve done (thank you IMDB trivia) basically said Smith tended to play intellectual roles but was cast as Boddicker because director Paul Verhoeven felt he looked like Heinrich Himmlier when wearing glasses, that made him look more intelligent as well (a stereotype I loathe), but I don’t think the specs were needed as Smith’s portrayal shows Boddicker as being an incredibly smart person. I’d imagine the characters IQ is quite high.

Even though he is clearly an intelligent person he’s got no morals. He’s a character I love because Smith gave him charm and charisma when this is a murderer, a rapist, and has a long line of other convictions we only get a glimpse of when RoboCop is investigating. Boddicker literally doesn’t care about any one or thing except himself. He shows no remorse when the members of his gang are killed. He’s equally confident in dealing with drug manufacturers or senior executives of major corporations, and you get the feeling he’d kill either if they weren’t going to help him get to his goals. Even when Bob Morton is offering him money to not kill him, he doesn’t even consider it (Boddicker using his tongue to grip the grenade’s pin makes my skin crawl!). He knows Dick Jones is like him in that he’ll do anything to get what he wants, but if he thought Morton could as easily match or exceed Jones’ usefulness then I think he’d have let him live.

Apparently one of Smith’s first scenes was when he was dragged into the police station after being arrested, and it was his idea to spit a mouthful of blood onto a form and curse. This to me is beautiful, because even when he’s in a building full of cops, has been arrested for killing a cop (which RoboCop says) Boddicker still doesn’t fear where he is.

Another little note I saw on IMDB was that when Boddicker goes to see Jones after RoboCop has been gunned down the second time is the secretary he flirts with is Kurtwood Smith’s wife, Joan Pirkle. I love little nods like this.

The other villain of the piece is the beautiful arsehole that is Dick Jones. Ronny Cox plays Jones with a ruthlessness that is a sight to behold. Without Jones, Boddicker wouldn’t have reached the levels of power he has. It’s a relationship where I don’t think either of them really like the other but they know to get what they want, they need the other. Jones couldn’t have regained favour at OCP if he hadn’t had Bob Morton killed off. He wouldn’t have been able to do that without someone like Boddicker, but I suspect he would have found another way to get Morton out of the picture, maybe like Kenny at the start of the movie. It could have taken longer though and I don’t get the impression that Jones has much patience. I think Jones would abandon Boddicker as well if he thought it wasn’t profitable any more, although I suspect that Boddicker wouldn’t take it laying down.

The Score

The sound of the film is very militaristic, and there’s a sense of urgency to it. It fits the tone of the movie and I don’t think it’ll be quite the same if the production had gone a different way with it.

Ann Lewis

Nancy Allen nails the character of Ann Lewis. She played the role with a strong masculine element to it (apparently she wore mens underwear while playing the character, I think the chewing of the gum added to it too), but never is Lewis ridiculed for this. Nor is there any sexualisation of the character or an attempt to make her some sort of love interest to Murphy/RoboCop. If they had done that it would have destroyed a strong portion of Murphy’s character as he was dedicated to his wife.

Lewis is an incredibly competent officer and holds her own against these nasty male villains for the most part. Allen also has a way of taking control in her scenes. With such powerful performances from Peter Weller and Kurtwood Smith in particular some actors got a little lost, thats not a critique of them. Weller and Smith really embodied their characters, and Allen holds her own against them. I think casting her was a stroke of genius because she does have the acting chops to not get lost in the background.

I like the heart she brings to the film as well. There’s a couple of scenes where we need a little softness, and Allen brings that. And then kicks arse in the next scene! It’s great!

“I’d buy that for a dollar!”

The little transitional scenes of the news reports, TV show, and adverts should be out of place, but they add to the feel of society falling the film has.

Bob Morton

Just a quick note on Miguel Ferrer as Bob Morton. I felt for him when he died, although he should have tried to get out the house as opposed to trying to get the grenade, but I did feel for him. Yeah, he had his arsehole moments but overall he seemed like a semi-decent human being, especially for a senior corporate executive. But he had strength, drive, and wasn’t scared to rock the boat. 

RoboCop, on GameBoy

I had this, and it was hard! I don’t think I got very far in it. I vaguely remember persisting but I think I got to a part and couldn’t get past it. One thing that really annoyed me was when you were dealing with the man holding the woman hostage you couldn’t shoot him through the woman’s skirt like RoboCop does in the movie. Very disappointed by that!

Let’s get Bloody!

One of the most talked about elements of RoboCop is the violence and gore. Yes, it is incredibly graphic, but who cares? What in this movie is sugar coated? The only real moment it holds back is with the attempted rape, but even that isn’t easy to watch. I like to think the scumbag who got his crotch shot to nothing had a very painful life from there on.

The world we live in is one of pain, we can pretend it’s not, but it is. All over this planet we are committing vile acts against one another, animals, and the planet itself. So why not see it? We’re exposed to media which tells us a ‘happily ever after’ is attainable for all, which in my opinion can be incredibly detrimental. Life isn’t a bed of roses. Just look at some true crime documentaries. We are a brutal species but we don’t want to be reminded of what we are capable of.

In the gore though we see the villains, who have caused so much pain with their depravity getting their own brutal deaths. One of the most memorable ones is after Emil Antonowsky has driven into the vat of toxic waste and is stumbled about and bumps into the suave Leon Nash, played by Ray Wise, and then stumbles into the path of a speeding car drive by Boddicker. Just a little side note, Ray Wise hadn’t seen Paul McCrane (Antonowsky) in the makeup, so when Nash runs into Antonowsky, his reaction is real.

Nash’s demise is an explosive one as he’s screaming gleefully after dropping tonnes of scrap metal on RoboCop. Boddicker get a spike to his throat and has a little stumble as he beautifully dies, and Dick Jones is shot out a window. The people at the route of the violence, get violet deaths. Unfortunately this doesn’t reflect the real world very often. (I’m not encouraging violence, its just rare that some of the most horrific people get punished for their acts).

This is a brutal film, and if you don’t like heavy violence and gore, then give it a miss. If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust for their opinion. It’s not for everyone and just because life is like that, doesn’t mean you have to watch it. It’s our choice at the end of the day.

Death and Resurrection 

One of my favourite sequences is Murphy being taken off the helicopter, treated, dies, and is then reborn as RoboCop. Most of it is done from his point of view, which is quite chilling because you’re looking up as these people, total strangers, are trying to save your life. What makes this part of the sequence even more harrowing is the people treating Murphy aren’t actors. They’re real life doctors and nurses. This makes the scene incredibly raw and adds a realism to it that is brutal in its coldness. They work through what they would do in that circumstance with an efficiency, professionalism, honestly, and a coldness that I don’t think actors would be able to capture.

After the medics ‘call it’ we get blackness, and then we get views from RoboCop, a few little snippets, including a party and a part where they mention his memory being erased. Then we get RoboCop’s introduction to people in suits. That’s when we get the first taste of what he looks like in the form of a tv screen showing him. Then he goes to Detroit.

The reason why I find this sequence so beautiful is it’s a great portrayal of death and resurrection, but it’s also a mind fuck in that later events show that Alex Murphy probably remembers dying, and being reborn. Can you imagine what that is like? I guess people who have died and been brought back have an insight into it, but to come back to life as not someone else, but something else. That’s one that is going to mess with the brain and just goes to show how strong mentally Alex Murphy is.

“What’s your name, son?”

RoboCop came just a few years after The Terminator, but it wasn’t trying to mimic it. The only real similarities is that they’re both cyborgs. I think there’s parts of Judge Dredd in RoboCop but RoboCop is still it’s own thing. Yes, it takes from other elements, but what doesn’t? We get a unique movie where all of the separate pieces come together to create a tight, well built, beautifully performed, directed movie.

We’re presented a world where a corporation is so powerful it doesn’t think it can buy a city, it’s going to. The Old Man’s legacy is Delta City that is to be built on Detroit. He doesn’t care who and what is bulldozed to achieve this. This is a little too on the nose in regards to corporations feeling they can do what they want. We might not have one as blatant about it as OCP but I don’t think any of us are surprised when corporations get away with, well, murder (allegedly) in some cases.

RoboCop also gives us good and bad, and a little of the in-between. We get the real world turned up to eleven and then put into a location where we don’t ever expect it to happen. There are places in the world where crime is as bold as in RoboCop but we like to think it’s not where we are.

For me the message of this film is; with enough will the person can push through whatever they’re put through. Alex Murphy is literally killed, brought back to life, has who he was gutted and put back into the world rebuilt. But the part of RoboCop that is Alex Murphy was never going to be buried.

30th October 2022

Good evening, folks! How are we all doing tonight?

I’m not likely to get the vampire book done by midnight tomorrow, but is it really the end of the world? I can multitask, especially in those early days of NaNo. The initial excitement of the month kicking off, that energy we all have as we jump off the start line like it’s a marathon and we’re sprinting over the start instead of taking a nice gentle pace from the gun.

I’m not going to try and get ahead early on like I normally do. Most years I prepare for the worst of loosing lots of days midway or at the end of the month, but this year I’m going to look at focusing on a steady pace and getting a good foundation of this story down. I’m going to try and push myself out of my comfort zone with this one. It’s one I’ve been wanting to write for a while, have even tried a couple of times, but haven’t felt competent as a writer to do this story justice. I’m not knocking my own abilities as a writer, I feel this story I’m going to need to dig deep, and go for a different energy to what I normally write.

Can I do it? can I make this work in the way that I want it to? Ask me in two weeks.

A random picture of the river Medway in Maidstone from Friday

27th October 2022

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing?

Just a quick little progress up date here. I’m a little behind in general but I’m rolling along at a decent pace despite that. I’ve edited a short story today. The next stage of this one is to print it out and do a red pen pass on it. I’ve done another 25 pages of corrections on the vampire book (25 yesterday as well). There are more little corrections than I was expecting, mostly grammar and spelling to be honest.

I’ve got a little planning of my NaNo project done, but I’m not nearly as far along as I’d like. I’m not too worried as I normally end up winging it during NaNo anyway.

That’s all for now. I’ve had some nice consistency this last couple of weeks and I can see the progress I’m making.

Be excellent, everyone!

20th October 2022

Good evening, folks. How are we all doing?

I’ve had two productive days, well the whole week has been productive to be honest. Although today got off to a later start as I had shopping and some errands to run.

I am making progress with my goals for this month. I’ve typed up the short story I recently wrote and will be looking to do the next edit pass before the end of the month.

The read through of the vampire book is moving nicely. I’m finding more little errors and continuity issues than I was expecting, but nothing major.

I’ve also started digging into the planning for Penal Earth book 2. I’m hoping to have this as a major project for 2023. I’ve got a number of stories that are either ready to go (zombie and Penal Earth) or very ready to go (vampire and Black Blood), and I really want to push to get those published or submitted one way or another in the next two years.

I still need to be writing though. Yes, I’ve got those four pieces to get out into the world, but I also want to get ready for what’s going to be published after those.

This surge of productivity, I’ve had it before and it drifts away. I’m tired of letting it wonder off when it sees fit. I’m working on figuring out what causes me to loose this drive I’ve currently got. I know it’s anxiety, self-esteem. Confidence. I’m better prepared for working it all out than I’ve ever been. It’s still not always easy, and it’s something that’ll take time. But I’m getting there.

Rock on, Folks!

Good Evening, 18/10/22

I did a pretty solid 5 hours writing work this morning. I worked through an episode of the vampire book before getting some non-fiction done for an upcoming piece. In was a nice steady morning where it feels like I had a strong focus and was able to fend off life’s various distractions. I did stop here and there and had a slight break about 11ish but overall it was a productive morning.

This afternoon was a little more chilled then I’d planned but I’m listening to my body and that’s what it asked for.

Tomorrow I’m probably going to have a little bit more of an easy day. I’ve got some bits and pieces in GTAV Online that I want to get stuck into as I’ve not played much if it lately.

It’s been a nice steady start to this time off I have, and I’m looking forward to keeping this momentum going.

Good Morning, 26th July 2022

Good Morning, I hope everyone is well.

I’ve just read through the original draft of Penal Earth which I’m gutting for Penal Earth 2. Only thirteen pages this morning but had a few bits and pieces to do around that before I settle in for the new GTAV DLC.

I feel a little chaotic at the moment, where I’ve not done much writing this last week I’ve got bits and pieces everywhere! and I need an organise. So tomorrow I’m going to get stuck in with getting the writing bits sorted after A call I’ve got in the morning.

Right, Have an awesome day, all!