Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Rant About X-Future

This update is going to be hard for me. All I want to do is turn off my brain and not look at a computer screen. Yet, here I am.

I'm surprised actually. Not so much that I'm writing this blog, but that I have to struggle so hard to do so.

This past week has been just a repeat of the previous ones: Go to work, be run ragged by the lack of staffing in the start of our busiest season, come home exhausted, pissed off, and emotionally drained, veg on the couch to try to ignore the rest of the world exists, and lose track of what day it even is.

There was no motivation there for anything - aside from playing a little more Lego Marvel Superheroes. Once again I had no drive to do any writing or research. I was doing the bare minimum to avoid Zero Days. Even with my sermon about bite-size tasks turning in to full project completion, I haven't really been able to do so myself.

I was able to accomplish NOTHING during my two days off this past week. Two days off in a row. TWO. I essentially had the equivalent of a weekend off for the first time in maybe a year. I did minimal cleaning, crocheted a teeny bit, The Bard crashed Friday in to late Saturday, and we more-or-less marathoned Lego Marvel Superheroes the full 24-hrs he was over.

Sunday I actually fell asleep just about when I got home. I even napped a little before work. I was still exhausted. Go figure. However, Sunday was also the start of me kicking my butt in gear with my slacking off with writing.

About a month ago I had a strong desire to continue work on the collab project Ronoxym and I were writing about Devon and Willow. Sadly, I can't actually CONTINUE the story since I have no clue where Ron wants to go with it. Yet he hasn't touched the story since March; maybe even end of February. Anyway, I had already edited the "inside Devon's head" portion we've written, but there were still 12pages before that. So I started editing those too.

That's what gave me Non-Zero days since Sunday. I've been slowly re-reading and editing the rest of the story. It's a slow start, but it's something. It gets me in the "how to edit a second draft" mindset; which is a process I need more practice in since I rarely do second drafts of anything. At the same time it got my writing juices mildly flowing again as I try to rework sections of our story.

That's the main reason I'm so surprised at my deep, DEEP desire to ignore all things writing and needing of brain function. I was all proud of myself for getting back in to the writing swing of things. I was getting excited about working on this post.

Then Phfylburt happened.....

For those who might not recall, Phfylburt is one of my husband's friends who is a prominent player on the X-Future boards. Hubby may be the Game Master of the board - in charge of all things plot-wise - but Phfyl is one of the main Storytellers. Hubby and Phfyl routinely bounce plot ideas back and forth in order to come up with some of the most intriguing story points in the game. Phfyl is one of the people I wish to work with in rebooting X-Future as a webcomic.

Still looking for artists, by the way....

Anyway, despite last night I do still wish to work with him on a webcomic reboot, but at the same time he's the reason I don't wish to write at all.

The reasoning is super spoilerific for the X-Future story, so please just quickly scroll on down if you don't want any spoilers. I made sure to keep the spoiler part inside a blocked quote so it's easy to see what part to avoid.

Just before I was ready to go to bed Hubby noticed that someone had posted on the X-Future Facebook group for the first time since early MARCH. In fact, it was the first time ever someone besides ME posted in the group - everyone else usually just responds to my posts.

Anyway, what was said new post?
It was Phfyl stating simply: "I am a monster. Of this I am aware."
I knew INSTANTLY that he meant Lincoln. My beloved and favorite character on the board: Lincoln. My heart started racing and I sprinted to my computer. Hubby chuckled at my concern for the character and told me I didn't want to read.

However, he warned me with that little playful chuckle in his voice. He'd usually do this to spook me as a prank. Typically if he warned me I didn't want to read or watch something with that playful chuckle it meant either a) nothing bad happened at all and he just wanted to freak me out, or b) something bad did happen, but it was mostly angsty feels that weren't so bad aside from me going "I NEED TO CUDDLE THAT CHARACTER!"

Since I was told to check out Lincoln's journal first I figured the later would happen. Phfyl would be a monster because he came up with a new mental or emotional torture for his little character. I was fully expecting to read what was posted and then find SOME way to get Lia over to Lincoln to comfort him. Hell, I had been trying that for weeks now, but more on that later.

I went to the Lincoln's Journal thread and saw simply: [Page had been torn out]
I was like "WTF? Why bother posting in that thread if it's just gonna say that a page was ripped out of the book?" I then saw the post in Lincoln's bedroom and thought maybe there was context there. Perhaps the bedroom had some narrative to explain what Lincoln wrote, and why it was torn out of the journal.

Nope. Still no clue why the page was ripped out...

Instead I ended up switching gears as I got excited about possible character advancement. One part of the bedroom post seemed to suggest that Darwin - the voice inside Lincoln's head that has been heavily implied to be a separate being of some sort - was able to unexpectedly take over control of Lincoln's body for a moment.

Lincoln was all Emo-Boy once again. Darwin was trying to cheer him up, and then demanded that he get out of bed and talk to someone. Lincoln refused, but bolted upright anyway. This was where I got excited and thought that Darwin somehow figured out how to take control of Lincoln's body. I even thought that perhaps this was what Phyfyl meant. Perhaps he was a monster because Lincoln got bumped out of his own body; sorta.

You could tell by the way he talked towards Lincoln that Darwin had a brotherly sort of love towards him, but Darwin also couldn't resist tormenting and teasing him. Perhaps Phyfyl's monster comment was regarding a grand reveal in which Darwin was really some villain. It actually just happened on the boards in which a supposed best friend turned out to be a sleeper spy. We also have a villain who literally head-hops, and so Darwin "living" in Lincoln's head wouldn't be too far fetched.

Maybe now that Darwin knew how to control Lincoln's body he'd create mischief in Lincoln's place. The groundwork was already there. Lincoln got depressed again because he got in a fight with Tyler, and got the two of them and Crystal thrown in to a detention session. Darwin wouldn't have needed to do much to create more hell for Lincoln and possibly bring the X-Men down from the inside; an ongoing theme it seems.

Then the rooftop scene blindsided me.

Darwin was driving Lincoln to finally go talk to someone - especially after the whole "Did I just control you?!" part. Lincoln agreed at first, but decided to finally use his newly healed wings instead of walking throughout the school. I was again excited for him. So much potential can be had in this character and I was so happy that he could possibly be happy again after being able to fly once more.

Except Lincoln randomly turned for the worst. He motions to talk to his mom - whom he had just found a week before after a lifetime of searching for her - but abruptly declares that there's no way she could help him. He then thanks Darwin for being a friend and begins a spell. Darwin recognizes the spell but can't do anything to stop Lincoln. He calls out for help, but being a voice inside a kid's head no one can hear him. At least, not fast enough.

Lincoln completes his spell and almost instantly combusts. Yup. Phfyl KILLED Lincoln! Just offed him! Had the kid commit suicide out of nowhere! What's worse is HOW he did it. The kid is now splattered guts, a jawless skull, and wings painting the roof of the Xavier Institute. Grotesque! It was pretty much an "Eff you guys, there's no way we can bring Lincoln back."

See, in the Marvel Universe - especially with the canon character we recently brought in to the fold: Elixir - characters rarely stay dead. Hell, more often than not a character's heart will be pierced and they will actually DIE, but then Elixir will come by and heal said character. Good as new and capable of fighting another day. If we REALLY wanted to, in theory I'm sure we could have found a way to revive both William and Liam. Hell, Hubby's waiting for the opportune time to reveal that two different deceased characters are revived.

But then there's Phfyl's masterpiece. He sure as hell made sure NOTHING was gonna revive that puppy.

Alright, now for some buffer text so that people who skipped the spoiler above won't accidentally see anything as they go back to reading the blog... if they ARE still reading the blog. Anyway, the non-spoiler section is where I'll explain why this event made me not want to write this update, as well as touch back upon my earlier statement about Lia and cuddles.

So the above happened and let's just say it blindsided and dumbfounded me. Phfyl just devastated me with the mildest of warnings, and when I called him on it and asked for a reason he simply reposted what he said in the Facebook group.

I was a wreck. It completely ruined everything for me. I was finally getting back in to the forum - one of the few remaining players - and now I don't want to look at it.

I'm slowly playing through a mission as Willow, but I think I'll just have Hubby relay over what he did, and then have him post my responses so I don't have to bring the board up. I even hid the link in my favorites bar so I wouldn't be tempted.

I have no real clue what to do with Crystal - Hubby keeps reminding me that she's technically an NPC, and so I don't have to do anything with her; just respond as her - but I REALLY have no clue what to do with Crystal now. I have no idea how she's gonna react. It could go one of about ten ways!

So, I'm down Crystal. I've also been down Trish since January. I had already "lost" one of my favorite characters because Ron is still MIA.
He's never on the boards, and he has two characters keeping a third one sort of locked in a role play that he has to finish up. So even if Ron ever DID hop on the boards, Hubby would slaughter him if he role played "the past" with Trish; since the Brotherhood section hasn't been caught up with the "current" timeline it's still considered "pre-time-skip". Since - as I just mentioned - The Brotherhood hasn't been caught up - aka: nothing past "Rescue Trish Mission" posted yet - and since I can't role play with Ron's characters Devon or Nys - again, as mentioned, Hubby would slaughter him - the only way I can do anything with Trish is to do solo-plays. What was Trish doing during the two years skipped on the boards? Trick there is I'm not really sure; hence not posting as her even though I wanted to.

I temporarily lost my favorite character until the board advances far enough - which isn't gonna happen any time soon since no one goes on to role play anymore - and I can't think of what to do with another character who MIGHT be able to advance things, mainly because the people she'd most likely interact with don't really frequent the boards at all anymore. So if I tried any sort of role playing with them she'd be just as stuck as Phfylburt's one character who is waiting for Devon and/or Nys to do ANYTHING.

Then there's Lia.
My first character. She used to be my main character. She's taken a backseat to Willow - whom Hubby claims is mostly my personality which is probably why she became my new main - and to Trish. Lia's broken and emo-rific. She's really struggling emotionally right now, and that's one of the main reasons I haven't done anything with her for a month. I'm not really sure what she'd do next.

Part of me thinks she'll just want to hide in bed for a few more days, but would Ripley, Chayse, Willow, or even Lia's dad allow her to isolate herself like that? Would they be understanding that she needed space? Would Crystal's wonderful bluntness show itself by way of telling Lia to suck it up and get over it? Option two would be that Ripley was able to cheer her up enough to at least shower and leave her room. But where to? Probably to grab something to eat, but at the same time I feel like Lia might be all "I'm too depressed to eat anything" and just poke at the food regardless of her stomach's protest of the fasting. Lincoln has also been in a rough patch lately - although Lia DID miss the small stint of his wings being hindered - and I REALLY wanted to have Lia and Lincoln sort of interact more. Emo Corner Twins Unite!

I think this is why I'm most pissed off at Phfyl. I wanted Lincoln to be sort of Lia's Last Hope. She's on the breaking point right now and needs some sort of way of redeeming herself. Lincoln could have been that option for redemption. The two of them could talk and interact and maybe life would be able to get better for Lia. She'd stop being so emo and I'd have a useable character again.

Instead, what Phfyl did pretty much nails Lia's coffin. I really don't see a way for her to bounce back. There's been too much drama, turmoil, emotional dive-bombs, death, and betrayal for a 17-yr-old to handle. Too much for even Ripley to fix. Now, because of one super stupid thing that Phfyl did, I feel like I have no choice but to retire Lia.

I need away from the forum for a while. Maybe I'll think of a better resolution, but right now I'm just seeing Lia throwing up her hands, shouting "NOPE! I'M DONE HERE!", and packing to move back home to Long Island. Screw you all!

I can't even express how much last night's solo-play upset me.

It felt like it came out of nowhere. Phfyl hadn't really been on the boards for a few weeks - partially because his one character waiting on Ron to do something - and when he returns he does THAT!? It seems so cheap. Kinda lazy, actually. And there was so much story potential lost now. It's just gone! So many questions left unanswered. That pisses me off.

There was also emotional turmoil for MYSELF there. I wept. By god, I was a MESS last night. I yelled. I sobbed. Legit SOBBED. I ranted. I was PISSED! I was inconsolable as I stormed around the house. I tried to get my mind off of it by going through my FB notifications, but I couldn't focus. I tried to work more on my crocheting, but I kept losing count. Hubby tried to cheer me up with some humorous shows off of Netflix. Eventually he gave up and we did just go to bed.

Yet I continued to rant. I continued to call out how stupid of a move Phfyl made, and how pissed off I was at him for doing so. I then vented that I felt guilty about being so mad at Phfyl because I didn't want Hubby to see me so anguished and then HE'D hate Phfyl for pulling such a stupid stunt - and therefore ruining my night. I was then even ANGRIER at Phfyl for making me feel guilty about the possibility of Hubby also hating him - me for the stupid move on the board and Hubby for pissing me off so royally.

I couldn't sleep. I was just so irritated by what Phfylburt did on the board that I couldn't turn off my brain. I went from being infuriated to depressed to calculating any minute possibility that we could reverse his moronic move.

I hoped that Phfyl would at least explain to me why he did what he did.
Did he have a master plan? He and Hubby usually do. Some intense over-arcing plotline that would take this imbecilic play and make it EPIC in the long run.
Was he just bored and figured "eh, why not?" I'd still hate the decision, but I'd at least UNDERSTAND it.
Did he feel that he was taking on too much with the boards and wanted a way to cut back? Again, I'd be pissed at how he went about doing so, but I'd get it.
Hell, I was so agitated by the post that - even though I HATE this trope - I was even hoping for a "it was all just a dream" sort of scenario explanation from Phfyl.
Instead he answered my "Why'd ya do it!?" with a repost of what he said on the FB group, with the addition of a devilish grin.

That just made me more pissed.

I guess that's just the power of well-written characters. Phfyl - although an almost crucial player on the board - doesn't actually post all that much. We see his characters slowly grow, but at the same time it's quick since there aren't many posts to go off of. There aren't many interactions with his characters. They mostly hide in the background of the action and drama that mostly centers around my characters - since I tend to be on the boards most frequently and have the highest amount of active characters.

And yet this one simple post was able to emotionally strike me like nothing else has in a while. The last time I felt so many conflicting emotions was about 4yrs ago. It's personal family stuff so I won't get in to the details, but it was REAL LIFE and REAL PEOPLE that got me so flustered that I would quickly flip-flop back and forth between angered and depressed. This is only the SECOND TIME IN MY LIFE that I was this uneasy about something... and this time it was about a FICTIONAL CHARACTER IN A FICTIONAL WORLD!

So, let's pause a moment to give props to Phfylburt for writing so expertly. And then give him a Dead Arm for the same reason.

Anyway, my ranting about this can go on for another couple-dozen paragraphs, and this post is already epic. I think I'll stop here. Perhaps I'll continue in a double-post today. Either that, or save it for a post for next week. Regardless, if I do continue I swear it will be a little more soul-searching and a little less straight out ranting.

So much for "I didn't want to look at a computer for a while", huh?

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