Today is the last day of my vacation. I’ve been off since last Friday and it has been an interesting vaction, with its series of ups and down.
This weekend was rather rough. For starters, I’m still sick which makes everything “extra special”. EDM and Fluffy are also sick in various degrees, but while she just gets slightly cranky, he gets rather monstrous. I think I raised my voice once even.
Fluffy had family coming over, which meant I got to clean. Ended up taking about three or so hours but now I have a working home theater (only two speakers and a 1.7 meter screen). And a cleaned-off pool table.
I just finished a remarkably productive weekend. I’m about halfway through chapter 16 on edits, though I’m thinking about breaking it into 3 chapters to get a better POV in the middle and build the plot. I’ll worry about word count later. I also merged the edits from the writing group for chapter 3 in, did a quick edit pass on 4 before sending it out for this week’s presentation.
Some years ago, I was dancing at my cousin Andy’s wedding with a woman I didn’t really know besides her near-obsession with cows and the fact she dances to “Earl Must Die” at her own wedding (best wedding song I’ve heard). It was one of those “pay to dance with the bride” things which I didn’t really knew existed and didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, I’m a fairly decent dancer (I used to love ballroom dancing).
But, we talked briefly about things, then something came up.
When I saw your RSVP, I didn’t know who it was at first. Then Andy remembered, you are the ‘lost cousin’.
Lost cousin. That hit me in a lot of ways. I don’t call people often. I have trouble sending emails or letters. I don’t give out Christmas cards or birthday cards. I’ve gotten a lot of flak over the years about that but it wasn’t anything I really felt the need to change.
Saturday, I spent just over ten hours upgrading a friend’s web site and forum. They have fifty thousand members and a quarter million posts on a relatively small computer. And, given the apathy of most of the Internet, they don’t bring in enough to actually upgrade the machine to decent hardware. So, I had to figure out a way of getting a SMF forum upgraded on a 500 MHz machine and not break anything.
I can’t say it was easy. It wasn’t, mainly because their forum attachments sat at 60k+ files and 6 GiB. In one directory. *shudder* Basically, it took more than three minutes to parse the directory contents and the system had a 30 second cut off. So, no maintenance, no downloading, nothing.
The frustrating part is, despite I’m doing everything for him for free, he can make money on it. But, he doesn’t. He doesn’t even follow minor suggestions which I know work, since I’ve seen them work. When I first got involved, I showed him how to save five hundred a month on his forum. The only thing I can do else is make it profitable, but he keeps saying “yah, yah, yah, I’ll get there.” I really hate being blown off that way. Just do it and get it over with.
I’ve slowed down my support of his machine over the years. I’m guilty of not really helping people who don’t help themselves. In five years, he’s had so many opportunities to make money, but all he does it bitch about not getting enough donations.
Hrm, kind of like me bitching about not enough time to write or program. Damn it… I need to change that. Remember, boys and girls, what you hate the most in others is something you probably have yourself.
Now, the one person I can’t do this to is Fluffy. In the last year, our MythTV box has been steadily ignored except for the occasional hard reboot when it locked up. Every other time I visited, I spend a few hours just repairing the thing, but I haven’t really been back to Illinois since it depresses me so much–it hasn’t been home for months. From here, I try to repair it, but the reboots and lack of love finally pushed it over the edge. Last night, it basically imploded. I can’t fix it remotely so I walked Fluffy through disconnecting my 700 GiB MythTV box and hooking up the receiver directly.
In two weeks, it comes to Iowa. I’ll make it work again but I’m frustrated that it died a week before I was about to shut it down to move.
Today, I would seriously like to not do tech support.
Convention time is coming up for me, including the main one in my year: GenCon Indy. I’m also planning on going to ICON this year, now that I’m back in that territory. And living only eight blocks away, though I’ll still stay at the hotel on principle.
While talking to a friend last year at GenCon, I was reminded of some of the “mistakes” I made at the first GenCon. I saw the same mistakes being made by the other married couples in our gaming group and I decided to put them down so hopefully the random Google search will bring it up and save someone a long drive home in angry silence.
This holiday week may be signaling a rather interesting change of pace in my life. Obviously, it started with putting Smokey to sleep, but it also marked the point where Fluffy gets a roommate to hopefully help with our financial woes. Sadly, my refinance didn’t go through, nor an extended line of credit, so its probably the one way to help. Not to mention, it means that Fluffy has an adult in the house and a two-year old running around. Which might help the biological alarm clock ringing every time I visit.
It was also a chance to watch Firefly again (yah for Nathan Fillion’s's butt! I mean, everyone else too… ), Invader Zim, and Absolutely Fabulous. If you can’t guess, most of the week was watching DVD’s and just spending time with the wifetype in a happy martial bliss.
We also picked up Rayman Ravin Rabbid 3. They really figured out what they did wrong with #2 and made it good for #3. The WiiFit board really worked out well for some of the games, Fluffy is pretty good at the dancing games if they involve full-body movement instead of the pure timing/rhythm games that I excel at. I also ended up playing DarkStar One until it crashed four times in two hours and a few hours of Jak II, which I’m borrowing from a co-worker.
Driving wasn’t pleasant, but not terrible. Its about 230 miles or so one way to Illinois and going there at night wasn’t too bad. FiL annoyed the hell out of me right before I left, mainly with his opinions of what you should do with gays. I hate that he won’t see any other opinion, but what can I do? He won’t change probably as much as I won’t change. He doesn’t really care if he’s a bigot, it is what he is and he sees no reason to change it. I decided a few weeks ago to stop talking about it, but he keeps bringing it up. Besides that, it was great going to Illinois, but it started snowing on the way back to Iowa. So, I had to suffer with the frequent slowdowns as people rubbernecked the accidents.
Remember boys and girls: it is the passenger’s job to look at the accidents and the driver’s job to keep moving forward. After the fact, its the passenger’s job to tell the driver all about it.
Obviously, I missed the deadline for Baby Squid God. This time, I mean it, I’m not going to do another game writing contest until 4E7 and just focus on the game I already have to fin: CuteGod, Wordplay, and Baby Squid God. I’m going to focus on writing and finishing stuff this month, around all the holiday trials, of course.
Started working on a longish story. It won’t amount to much, other than just the simple joy of writing (its pretty much non-publishable since I’m going to be posting it on a story site). After that, I’m planning on working on my two commissions (one from April of this year). I’m dealing with the fun of a new writing project, when all the characters are so… new. Its like a first date all over again.
Today, I earned the right to bitch about the president and congress for another four and two years respectively. In other words, I voted. With all the stuff going on with the flood, I decided to do an absentee ballot. I got it on Friday, got to see all the candidates, look them up online, and and send my ballot out this morning. Kind of cool, I’ve never tried it before but I think I like doing it this way. I was also surprised to see eight groups for the presidential list, which is six more than most people really think about and three more than I thought was on the list. I won’t say who I voted for, but I’m really glad I had a chance to add my 0.000000004% contribution (estimated, I don’t know how many registered voters there are) to the next four years.
It was an interesting weekend. Went back to Illinois to spend time with my honey, discuss our future, and spend six hours in a car entertaining myself. In this case, I got to thinking about a novel I’ve wanted to write, so I sketched out the chapter outline. It is about a retired hero of the world who’s grandchild ends up following in his tracks. Just the idea of writing about a man in his seventies who used to be the most powerful warrior in the world just seems appealing to me. Just the idea of what happened after “happily ever after” appeals to me. And it has a great ending, I think.
I came home to notice that the Lovecraft Commonplace Competition started while I was enjoying time with the wife. And I have six weeks to figure out something. Which is really cool, since I’m ignoring the contest’s basic rule (use a phrase from the commonplace book) and going with something I think will be fun. Not that the phrases won’t be awesome, the screenshots and mockups are great. I just want to write Baby Squid God. Time will tell. I also got feedback from my old gaming group (they are old because I haven’t played in six months). Good feedback on the squid I posted, ideas on how to advance, and they are starting all these fun games without me. Oh well, makes me almost wish I pushed a bit harder to do something new at the beginning of last arc. There are times when putting things up to a vote ends up not the way you expected.
Finally, Fluffy and I are switching gears on the house. Today, we are going to pull the house off the market and wait out this credit crunch. If things go well, I can juggle monies for a while I try to get things a bit more even (secret plans!). It is… painful to do, but realistically, I don’t think we are going to sell for the next four months, so why spend all that time keeping the house presentation-friendly. It also interrupts some of our (secret) plans on cleaning up the finances. Okay, not that secret, but one involved my old boss and shouldn’t be aired. It also means two of my kitties are going back to Illinois for human contact and interaction. Paks is staying with me at the apartment; I almost have her toilet trained.
No, I’m not going to work for her.
This morning, I was trying to plan out my weekend. I got Changeling on Sunday, but apparently that is Easter so its going to be a short game (I don’t celebrate but some of my players do). On Friday, I’m planning on driving into Chicago to go to a book signing for Anton Strout*. I’ve never been to a book signing in my life, so I’m curious to see how they are run (I already have a good idea) but also to support my non-local writers. Yeah, that and I have this curiousity to see if Anton is the same as his writing. So, if you are in the Chicago area, take a bit to head into Chicago itself and throw money at a poor, starving artist**.
* Yeah, I reviewed his book yesterday. In general, I try to be objective as possible in reviews and my opinions of the book doesn’t reflect my opinions of the writer. Knowing about it just gave me an excuse to find a book to read and to peel myself off my own computer.
** I’m not sure if he is starving, I mean how can someone starving be actually able to post so often. That would mean that blogging was like crack. But, I do support supporting writers and artists.
I also saw news that Elfquest is going to be released online for free! ElfQuest is one of those series that is highly influential in my world. In one of my worlds, the entire forest elves are based on the Wolfriders and some of the flavor of the different elves I contribute from ElfQuest directly. So, finding out they are all free, despite me having most of the main books, is one of those really awesome things about the Internet!
And a bit of watchporn. As you know, giving my last name of Moonfire, I’m occasionally a bit obsessed with the moon. This watch shows the phases of the moon, but this watch has multiple layers rotating in a moire pattern throughout the day. I wanna!
I think Fluffy is getting familed-out. She is resisting coming with me on Sunday to visit my dad for the holidays, mainly because we are also going to have a friend over for five days and we’ll be gone for about four to five of those just to visit him (he’s an hour’s drive away).
It is definitely a season of reconnecting for me. A friend, Phyllis, came out of the blue and invited us to lunch. We had a nice little meeting, even if we were close to a half hour late, which I despise being.
I spent close to thirty hours helping a friend’s forum. They needed their SMF forum converted over to InnoDB so their hosting provider would stop complaining about the damage they were doing to the shared hosting machine. Fairly simple, but it took a long time to covert a quarter of a million row tables on a production, shared machine. Thank the gods that MySQL added a “ALTER TABLE bob TYPE=InnoDB” feature which I didn’t know about until yesterday.
While that was running, I went out and saw the Golden Compass. I liked it. It was a neat movie, some lovely special effects, and I like stories that stick with one fantasy world (no, I won’t watch any sequel that goes into “our world” no, no, no, hate those). After being burned by the Bridge of Tarabithia, I was plesantly surprised. Though, I can see why people claim that the story is a jab against the Catholic Church, I didn’t feel it was that. I felt it was jab against all organized religions and fascist governments. Anyone who tries to control your mind and the truth, so I had no trouble with the movie at all.
But, it is the end of the year. A reminder of things to come and plans coming to life. I sat down and renewed my membership for the ACLU, EFF, and FSF today. Not to mention paying a ton of bills and cleaning off my monetary worries for another month. It is nice getting paid (this Wednesday) and getting my car back again. With a flush on the accounts, I don’t worry nearly as much.
Character Builder (91%)
World Builder (2%)
Kitteh Braik (7%)
Case of the Morning Zombies (Edit #1, 0 of 37 chapters)