Stuck on Homestuck

Wherein I Sort Of Become a Stuckie

I haven’t posted in the past few days because I’ve spent most of my free time trying to catch up on Homestuck.

What is Homestuck? Good question, but there is no good answer.

It could be called a web comic, but it so much more than that. Homestuck incorporates comics, animated gifs, text, Flash movies and Flash games in an epic undertaking that is, to date, upwards of 5000 pages in length.

The story begins as the tale of four teenagers who play the beta version of a computer game, Sburb, and inadvertently bring about the end of the world. They manage to escape to an alternate plane where a higher destiny awaits each of them. Oh, and there are trolls. And these trolls are immensely popular.

The core audience is teens and young adults, called Stuckies, and they are obsessed with it. Homestuck is popular among the cosplay crowd at anime and comic book conventions, even though it exists only on the Internet. Here are some photos I took at Fanime 2012 in San Jose, CA.

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Mike Rugnetta of PBS’ Idea Channel likened Homestuck to James Joyce’s Ulysses. I think he’s got a point. Check out the video below to get some idea of what the deal is with Homestuck.

Confused? Don’t worry. You’re supposed to be. Homestuck has a wiki, of course. It’s helpful, but dense, with layers upon layers of information. It’s a useful guide for when the story winds back around on itself and you’re trying to figure out who or what a certain character and/or thing is.

Homestuck is part of a larger work called MS Paint Adventures. The creator, Andrew Hussie, wrote and drew three other interactive comic adventures before beginning on what became his masterpiece.

I’m on Act 4 and there are currently six acts with at least one more to go. On top of that, Mr. Hussie has decided to create a Homestuck game. To raise the money, he’s appealed to the Stuckies with a Kickstarter fundraising page. The primary goal was to raise $700,000 in a month, starting on September 4, 2012. As of this post, he has raised over $1,155,000. Pretty impressive and a testimony to the popularity of Homestuck and the strength of the fan base, especially considering the game won’t be delivered until June 2014.

So, if you’re looking for something to read/watch/play/experience or are interested in exploring a cultural phenomenon, you might want to check out Homestuck.

A Slew of New Kindles

To Buy or Not to Buy

Today, Amazon announced it is releasing a whopping seven new versions of the Kindle and the Kindle Fire. I’m guessing this is an attempt to steal Apple’s thunder before the announcement of the new iPhone. If so, well played, because those who love and/or lust after tablets and eReaders will certainly take notice.

You can read more about it in this article from the LA Times, including these important details:

Amazon’s seven new devices are a cheaper Kindle e-reader for $69; two versions of its new front-lighted Paperwhite e-reader; an upgraded Kindle Fire tablet for $159; and three HD Kindle Fires: a 7-inch Wi-Fi version, an 8.9-inch Wi-Fi version and an 8.9-inch 4G model. Prices for these HD models range from $199 to $599. Paperwhite, which comes in $119 and $179 versions, features a higher resolution, up to eight weeks of battery life and a slimmer design. The Kindle Fire HD family features 25% less glare, dual antennas for faster Wi-Fi and a front-facing HD camera.

You can also read the CNET reviews of these new products:

I have to say, I was mighty mighty tempted by the Paperwhite. If you look at the specs on Amazon, the resolution of the Paperwhite seems much superior to the Touch. The built in light means no more turning on lamps or opening blinds so I can read.

However, a couple of things have put me off. The Kindle Touch holds up to 3,000 books. The Paperwhite holds up to 1,100 books. That’s a significant difference. The Touch also has a nifty audio function that can play audio books and even read your book to you in a robotic voice. I haven’t used it much, but I like that it’s there. It makes for less juggling between devices.

The deal breaker for me, though, remains the screen. I bought a Touch because I didn’t want a backlit or frontlit screen. I get tired of sitting in front of a computer all day. I was attracted to a device that was very much like reading a book. With a book, you do need to turn on a light or open the blinds. No big whoop.

Sadly, the Touch has been discontinued. However, a six-inch button-controlled Kindle with the unlit screen is available at a nice price, starting at $69, and a keyboard Kindle is still available as well.

You can see the new line-up of Kindles eReaders and tablets here.

A Cookbook for Readers

Free Today on Amazon

I’ve posted this book before, but it’s come up free again and is definitely worth the download.

“The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook” is an awesome treat for readers and writers who also love to cook. Author Christy Dorrity combines the best of both worlds with book descriptions, companion recipes and book reviews by various bloggers.

For example, “Mockingjay” by Susan Collins is accompanied by a recipe for District 12 Beef Brisket, an inexpensive recipe that can feed 20 people.  In “Switched” by Amanda Hocking, the main character, Wendy, doesn’t want chocolate cake for her birthday, so the companion recipe is I Hate Chocolate Cake.

I love the whimsy of these pairings and I enjoy reading the book descriptions and the reviews.

The 2012 version of the book has been released, so if you love first book, show the author some love and buy the second volume.

  The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook by Christy Dorrity
Great books, bloggers, and recipes meet in this fresh and unique cookbook that helps you experience books, not just read them. Books were selected from the author’s book review blog and paired with delectable recipes like “Fairy Touched Calico Brownies” from the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, “7-Day Layer Dip” from Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, and “I Hate Chocolate Cake” from Amanda Hocking’s Switched. Mouthwatering photos complement every recipe. The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook includes a foreword by Amanda Hocking, author of the USA Today Bestselling Trylle Trilogy and showcases over seventy reviews with links to book review blogs and author websites. Whether you’re a food lover, an avid reader or a book blogger, there’s something for you in The 2011 Book Blogger’s Cookbook.

  The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook by Christy Dorrity
NOT FREE $4.99
Great books, bloggers, and recipes meet in this second volume of a fresh and unique cookbook that helps you experience books, not just read them. This year’s volume features even more tasty reads, recipes and book bloggers. Books were selected from the author’s book review blog and paired with delectable recipes like “Caramel Crack” from Shatter Me, by Tahereh Mafi, “Everliving Soup” from Brodi Ashton’s Everneath, and “Jagged Ham” from Elana Johnson’s Possession. Mouthwatering photos complement every recipe. The 2012 Book Blogger’s Cookbook includes a foreword by David Farland, award winning, New York Times Bestselling author, and showcases more than one hundred reviews with links to book review blogs and author websites.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

This freebie is a limited time offer and there is no guarantee it will still be free when you click on the link. Grab it sooner rather than later.

Newbie’s Guide and Grammar

Free Today on Amazon

I am a big fan of Barry Eisler’s John Rain series. There’s something about a gentleman assassin that set’s a girl’s heart aflutter. Sure, he kills people, but he has principles and he knows how to treat a lady right. 😉

I’m also a fan of Barry Eisler himself because he’s one of those successful authors who generously help other writers. So, if I see his name on something, I’m inclined to check it out. Today, I found a newbie writers’ guide among the Amazon freebies. The forward is written by Barry Eisler. The book itself is by scifi/suspense/horror author J.A. Konrath. It seems to be a compilation of posts from his blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing. The book is very long, 1100 pages, but it looks like the kind of material you can cherry-pick for what you need.

I also found a grammar book that helps “identify and fix the ten most frequent grammatical errors.” When I write, I want to let the words flow, get the story out, and worry about the fiddly bits later. Problem is, it is easy to miss those bits because they can be hidden by spell checkers, skipped over by fatigued eyes, or not recognized as errors. I like the sound of this book because it focuses on the fiddly bits of grammar.

  The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath
Are you a writer? This book was written for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting your ears wet and learning your craft, or if you’re a seasoned pro with an extensive backlist. The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing contains all of the information you need to understand the writing business and maximize your sales and success. There’s over 370,000 words of writing advice, tips, tricks, and observations. It also includes a foreword and several bonus essays by bestselling author Barry Eisler.

  The Big Ten of Grammar by William Bradshaw
Have you ever hesitated when choosing between I or me? Have you had trouble figuring out tricky pronouns like who or whom? What about those always-troublesome comas–do they go before or after the quotation marks? If you’re anything like the rest of us, you struggle with these age-old grammatical issues. In this practical and easy-to-understand handbook, Dr. William B. Bradshaw identifies the ten most common errors in English grammar and helps you to recognize and correct these mistakes, enabling you to write and speak with greater clarity in your personal and professional life. The Big Ten of Grammar is the perfect guide for students, teachers, and professionals to use in brushing up on their grammar.

Descriptions provided by Amazon

Disclaimers and Disclosures

I found these books via Amazon’s Kindle eBooks store. Resources for free Kindle and other format eBooks are listed in my sidebar.

These freebies are limited time offers, so there is no guarantee any of these books will still be free when you click on the links. Grab them sooner rather than later.