Monday 31 March 2014

The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

I've been sitting on the fence regarding this one for a while now. But after much deliberation, I have finally decided to give the 2014 Blogging from A to Z challenge a go. That's right, I am all signed up and I've even got the badge to prove it. And just like I did in my past two years of participation, I'll be going in with none of my posts written beforehand. Scary, but all the more exhilarating.

For the benefit of those who don't know, the Blogging from A to Z challenge is a month-long blogfest that has been held every April since its inception by Arlee Bird in 2010. The goal is to post every day in April, save Sundays, with each post centering upon a different letter of the alphabet, starting with the letter A on the first day, and culminating with the letter Z on the last. Anyone interested in signing up can do so here.

I had to think long and hard before I finally settled upon this year's theme. In 2012, I went with a movies theme. Last year, I decided to go with speculative fiction books. This year, I have chosen another area of interest, namely video games. But as I quickly found out while trying to plan my future posts, I have way too many favorite games that settling upon one for each letter of the alphabet seems almost impossible.

So, instead of highlighting my favorite video games for the challenge, I have decided to broaden the scope and highlight my favorite video game franchises. So rather than pick just one out of, say, a hundred Mario games, I can just pick the franchise as a whole. But even then, I would still have to forgo several other franchises; Megaman, Metroid and Metal Gear are but a few from the above example.

All the same, I am really looking forward to this year's challenge. Half the fun is discovering new blogs and the fantastic bloggers behind them. My oft-neglected blog could also use the activity. So here's hoping that I am able to make it to the very end.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

IWSG: A Greater Effort

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for another round of Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. The IWSG was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, sci-fi writer and blogger extraordinaire. You should definitely pay his blog a visit, if you haven't already. For more information about the group itself, you can also visit

First off, I need to apologize for missing last month's round of posts. The date somehow slipped by me, and by the time I realized it, it was already too late. I did manage to read a few posts from other members since then, but I promise to make a greater effort to keep a date with the IWSG.

Speaking of making a greater effort, my insecurity for the month once again centers around the fact that I haven't been writing nearly as much as I am suppose too. Blame it on the job, blame it on life getting in the way, none of that can really take away the way I feel, knowing that I have been neglecting my current project for way too long.

It's not like I haven't been writing at all. I recently wrote a Valentine-themed short story for my significant other. I was almost tempted to post it on the blog, but then decided it was for her eyes only. Aside from that, I haven't written anything more than a few hundred words here and there. I know that everything adds up at the end of the day, but I really need to put in more time and effort than I am presently putting.

Monday 3 March 2014

The 86th Academy Awards

Last night was the annual Academy Awards, Hollywood's biggest and most prestigious movie awards. And in the ceremony's 86-year history, never has a science-fiction movie received the top honor. Sadly, history wasn't made last night, even though there were two science fiction movies vying for Best Picture, Gravity and Her.

Instead, the top honor went to 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's adaptation of the memoir of the same name. The movie also won Best Adapted Screenplay, and a much-deserved Best Supporting Actress award for Lupita Nyong'o. Cate Blanchett won a Best Actress award for her role in Blue Jasmine. The other acting awards, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, went out to Dallas Buyers Club costars, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto respectively.

But the true winner of the evening was the science-fiction masterpiece, Gravity. The movie dominated the awards ceremony with a total of seven wins out of its ten nominations. These included the ceremony's other top honor, Best Director, for Alfonso CuarĂ³n, as well as a slew of technical awards. Other notable winners included Frozen, which won Best Animated Feature and Best Song, and The Great Gatsby, which won the Best Production and Costume Design categories.

As far as losers go, the biggest losers of the evening were American Hustle, which failed to win a single one of its ten nominations, as well as Martin Scorsese's black comedy, The Wolf of Wall Street, which also went home empty-handed. But the Oscars aren't all about winning. It is about getting due recognition, and the fact that they'd been shortlisted as one of the year's finest is an honor by itself.

Still, I have to say that I am quite pleased with the results. The movies that deserved to win won, even though a part of me wishes that Gravity had also taken home the Best Picture award. It was easily the best all-round movie, one of those rare movies that transcend technical boundaries, a true technical marvel. Also, it would have been nice for a science-fiction movie to finally take home Best Picture, but I guess the wait continues.