Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Rot at the Core of New Star Wars Movies

Friday, October 20, 2017

Jaime Reynolds (1967, Prozack Staple) - New music, the creative process,...

Jaime Reynolds of the bands 1967 and Prozack Staple sat down to talk to me about new material being delivered from 1967, upcoming work with Terry Date (producer for numerous albums from Soundgarden, Pantera, Deftones, Slayer, and more), music business, his work and composition process, family, creativity, and life in music.
You can contact Jaime at https://www.facebook.com/1967band/ 1967band@gmail.com
Buy 1967’s music on itunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mountain-of-hope/id892410873
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/if-love-ruled-the-world-ep/id517868814
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pull-and-be-damned/id893514044



You can pre-order Zul's debut album at:
zulonline.bandcamp.com (digital and physical)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/memories-adrift/id1294564706
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076B52LG5

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Analysis and Review

My rundown of the good and bad from the last Harry Potter film, written by JK Rowling, author of the original 7 Harry Potter books.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Writing Your Book or Album - Overcoming the "Practice Mindset"

Are you a writer or musician? Dancer or painter? Comic artist? You may be holding yourself back with what I call the "Practice Mindset" - where you view as necessary some large amount of "practice" that must be accomplished before you can actually work on your real goal - writing your book, writing your album, whatever the end goal is.

Also!

My Samurai fiction / Historical fiction novel, Muramasa: Blood Drinker will be available free on Amazon this Saturday and Sunday. Grab it while you can!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Millstone Threats" - James Damore and the Chilling Effect of Job Losses

My take on the recent chilling effects of James Damore being fired due to the media attack on his "anti-diversity memo" which was really a data-backed explanation of how attempting to make Google's racial make-up match the population would be discriminatory and bad for business, since different groups make different decisions.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wintersun - The Forest Seasons Analysis and Review

Unlimited power is the ideal thing when it is in safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government, and earthly despotism would be the absolute perfect earthly government if the conditions were the same; namely the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual; but as a perishable, perfect man must die and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Simplifying complex ideas in politics and discourse

The "false dichotomy" the "hasty generalization" and many other rhetorical and fallacious terms usually trying to do one particular thing - turn a complex concept, idea, or issue, into a simple one. This is excellent for political expediency, but awful when you want action done for correct reasons, as it skips over debate and discussion to arrive at a conclusion that may ignore many subtleties of an issue. I explain this technique and talk about it in the context of two hot-button (and complex) issues - Trans issues and abortion.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Newspeak: "Gender Confirmation Surgery"

I break down a new popular politically correct or newspeak phrase - Gender confirmation surgery - and how it fails to function as anything useful by destroying the meaning of their words in context, particularly the word confirmation. Compare its meaning to "Sex change operation" or "Sex reassignment surgery."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Despicable Me 3 - Review and Analysis

My review of Despicable Me 3 - the 4th animated movie in the series. Does it suck? Find out! And for a limited time you can get one of my books for free by joining my mailing list - https://dl.bookfunnel.com/pyiwm5x1jn

Sunday, July 16, 2017

In The Wake [ambient][classical][bass][EWI][Dark]

Brand new ambient track featuring the EWI (electronic wind instrument)! I thought it might be nice to take a break from the book grind considering I released a new high fantasy book last Friday. It was a good week to spend in the studio. Oh yeah, you can still get my High Fantasy / Adventure Fantasy book, The Water of Awakening for .99 cents!

Friday, July 14, 2017

How to bend strings on the guitar - where to place your thumb

Recent guitar question: How do you bend strings without wrapping your thumb around the neck?
I find that a lot of people initially learn to play the guitar with less than ideal left hand technique, especially on the electric guitar. I've gone over the benefits of using a neutral thumb technique (thumb in the middle of the back of the neck) for reach, ideal joint movement, and facility, but I haven't talked about extended techniques like bending.
So, you do NOT need to wrap your thumb around the neck of your guitar to bend strings. I find it no more difficult with a neutral thumb position - easier, actually. You need to visualize your fingers bending the strings by pushing or pulling along a plain extending through your big knuckles and perpendicular to your palm. Do this rather than push or pull strings toward the center of your thumb. A little bit of added "tension" in the thumb on the back of the neck (you should be mostly playing with arm weight, remember?) should give you all the grip you need to do bends and very wide vibrato. (I'll do a video on this later)
That being said, if you don't have too many problems switching between thumb positions, don't stress about relearning everything at once. What matters is that you can execute the techniques you want to and make the music sound good, not that you play with perfect technique. Technique serves the music, not the other way around.
In case anyone is wondering, I also play on fairly light strings (.009 for the high e) which makes everything easier. If you are having trouble muscling through your strings, consider going to a lighter set - most of the shredders I know and have met over the years play on LIGHT strings, not heavy. Playing on .012s doesn't make you more of a man.
A great person to watch to see what I mean is Jari Maenpaa of Wintersun - you can find many of his videos on youtube and he uses a neutral thumb technique for bends.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Grand Conspiracy

The Grand Conspiracy is a piece of skeptical wisdom in two parts - first, the grander the conspiracy, the less likely it is to be true; second, the grander the conspiracy, the more likely somebody who already believes in the conspiracy will assume contrary evidence is in fact part of the conspiracy. I use the example of "flat earth," an idea that gained popularity in the 19th century in certain religious circles, and has gained ground today.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How to Add Texture to Text in Inkscape - how I created the title of my l...

In this video, I show how I created the textured, bright text I used on the cover of my latest book, The Water of Awakengin, out on July 7 on Amazon. I show how to clip textures using strokes and filled text, how to use interior drop shadows to shade the letters, and how to "lift" the text off the background using rear drop shadows.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cover Reveal of my New Fantasy Book - The Water of Awakening

The new heroic fantasy book The Water of Awakening is on the way. Below I, David V. Stewart, reveal the new cover! The story is part of the classic heroic/adventure fantasy tradition, with plenty of new elements thrown in.

-DVS

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dune movie adaptation - Analysis

On this episode of Writers of the Dawn, fantasy authors David V. Stewart and Matthew J. Wellman talk about the successes and failures of Dune as a movie, specifically the David Lynch adaptation. Lynch considered it a failure and refused to put his name on (oddly) the director's cut, but we consider the movie to be a success.



Writers of the dawn is:

Matthew J. Wellman – Urban Fantasy author, musician

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dune Movie Adaptation - Analysis and Review

Did David Lynch really fail with his movie adaptation of Dune? Fantasy Authors David V. Stewart and Matthew J. Wellman analyze the movie adaptation of Frank Herbert's Classic scifi novel.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Which News Sources Should You Trust? Some Practical Advice

Returning to some ideas from the Everyday Skeptic perspective - which news sources should you trust? Are there any unbiased perspectives out there? I give some advice on how to find credible sources and how to deal with the bias that comes with most mainstream media narratives.



David V. Stewart is the author of Muramasa: Blood Drinker and Prophet of the Godseed.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Return of the King Movie Adaptation - Analysis and Review

Fantasy Authors Matthew J. Wellman and David V. Stewart talk about Return of the King in terms of its adaptation to the silver screen by Peter Jackson. We also talk about the glaring omission of the real ending.



Matthew J. Wellman - matthewjwellman.com
David V. Stewart - davidvstewart.com, dvspress.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Two Towers Movie Adaptation - Analysis/Review

Fantasy author David V. Stewart and Urban Fantasy Author Matthew J. Wellman talk about how the second Lord of the Rings book, The Two Towers, was adapted to screen - what was successful and what was lacking.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Fellowship of the Ring Movie adaptation analysis/review

Fantasy Authors David V. Stewart and Matthew J. Wellman discuss the ins and outs of movie adaptation within the context of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Today, we focus on the first movie and first book, Fellowship of the Ring. In it, Jackson makes numerous omissions and additions to the source to make it fit a standard hollywood format for narrative.



Writers of the dawn is:
David V. Stewart – Fantasy and Historical Fiction Author, musician
Matthew J. Wellman – Urban Fantasy author, musician

Monday, May 22, 2017

Malazan Book of the Fallen Overview Review/Analysis

Fantasy Author David V. Stewart and Matthew J. Wellman give an overview and rough review analysis of Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, an epic fantasy series set in a universe devised with Ian C. Esslemeont. In it, atypical fantasy races engage in a divine struggle to determine the fate of an old and complex world.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Way of Kings/Stormlight Archive - Analysis and Review

Fantasy Authors Matthew J. Wellman and David V. Stewart give a writer's analysis and review of The Stormlight Archive, Brandon Sanderson's epic fantasy series of which two books have so far been published: The Way of Kings and The Stormlight archives. We discuss how the structure supports the story, how the characters are developed, and Sanderson's "Flashback" techniques, which drop in past details at critical points to make the reader re-evaluate the main narrative.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Prophet of the Godseed - Hard Scifi free on Amazon

Until May 19th you can get Prophet of the Godseed by Science fiction and fantasy author David Stewart for free on Amazon. It deals with the consequences of time dilation in interstellar travel, singularity with technology and cognition, and whether you should interfere with other cultures that are close to being obliterated.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Fantasy Authors (part 1)

Fantasy Authors Matthew J. Wellman and David Stewart talk about the top ten fantasy authors, based on several criteria, including contributions to the genre.



Matthew J. Wellman is the author of Fantasy Novella Cloaked in Darkness, available free for a limited time.

David V. Stewart is the author of the Hard Science Fiction Book Prophet of the Godseed, available free for a limited time, as well as the Author of the Japanese Historical Fantasy epic Muramasa: Blood Drinker and Fantasy Fairy Tale Garamesh and the Farmer, also available as an audiobook.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Music Theory: Minor Scale Forms (Harmonic, Melodic, Natural)

What are the different forms of minor scale? Are they useful composition, or merely a convention of music education of the years? I explain harmonic, melodic, and natural minor scales, what they produce theoretically when used, and how they obscure the realities of how composers actually used minor keys, creating false ideas in generations of musicians.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Historical Fiction is fun to read

Why do readers read historical fantasy? What do they get out of it? As the video below explains, it has to do with the interest of the setting itself, how that setting affects the characters, and the enjoyment of learning about a new culture through a meaningful story.

David Stewart is the author of Japanese Historical Fiction book Muramasa: Blood Drinker, which takes place in the late Muromachi period. It is available free on Amazon through May 14, 2017 in ebook format.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Music Theory: Minor Keys (Introduction)

In this week's Music Theory video, I give an introduction to minor keys from the theoretic perspective of ratios - Minor is an inversion of the relationships in a standard major key.

Katana: The Ultimate Weapon?

Is the Katana the ultimate weapon, or is it overrated crap? As a Japanese Historical Fiction author, I give some information for the proper context of the famous Japanese sword and how to appreciate it for what it was while not deifying the weapon. You can get my samurai epic Muramasa: Blood Dinker for free for the next few days on Amazon.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Music Theory: The Circle of Fifths (or fourths) and how keys are related

What is the circle of fifths? In this video, the circle of fifths is explained as the way different keys are organized according to their closest relationships, which is usually a movement by a 3:2 ration in the tonic or by one accidental at a time, or by an interval of a perfect fifth.



David V. Stewart is the author of Muramasa: Blood Drinker, a Japanese historical fiction novel featuring samurai. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Music Theory: Keys and Key Signatures

What is a key? What is a key signature, and how do I read it? How is one key related to another key? This video gives the definition of two important terms: Key and Tonic. It also introduces the pattern that is common to all major keys using sets of whole and half steps, and gives a few methods for memorizing the order of sharps and flats as well as how to decode key signatures to build a major scale.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Music Theory - How to move beyond standard triads (Composition supplement)

Below is a little video I put together to explain three easy ways you can move beyond the standard tonal triads and give your music extra tension, dissonance, or just clear away some of the cheesiness of root position triads.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Poison Pill of Medical Marijuana

In the following video I discuss the impact of medical marijuana legislation on the public's attitude toward pot, its understanding of cost/benefit analysis in medicine, and some of the misinformation that has been rampant since the late 90s regarding availability of THC for treating particular conditions.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Why you should read fantasy

Why should read fantasy? I give a few reasons for people who aren't yet into the larger genre, and what you can get out of it as a reader that you just can't get with other "realist" genres. Fantasy is a genre you need not fear just because you see large tomes on the shelves of the setting seems odd - these things can deliver incredible insight!



You can read my Historical Fantasy novel Muramasa: Blood Drinker on Amazon!