Expanding the Family

Talissa

So, as most of you know, Laura and I expecting our second little girl, Talissa, on November 5. What you might not know is Laura believes Talissa is impatient. She’s been having very irregular contractions for some time now. To be honest, we don’t know when she’ll come, but she’s definitely coming. And soon.

With Caitlyn, Laura and I focused all our energy and thoughts about preparing for her birth. But with Tali, we’ve had to deal with my panic attacks, family issues, work issues and Caitlyn herself, which hasn’t really allowed us the proper time and thought to realize what’s about to happen.

I’m a bit nervous…more so than when Caitlyn came to us. It’s strange…

But don’t worry, you’ll know when it happens.

Writing

Thankfully, our new bedroom configuration has helped a lot. In fact, I’ve made a few records lately in my writing. Yesterday, I managed to do 1,000 words in 30 minutes. And today, I did 1,000 words in about 45 minutes. To my surprise, Laura said she was okay with me trying to do NaNoWriMo this year. I wasn’t expecting that, but you know me, when I focus on a writing goal, I do it. Deadlines are wonderful things for me. And I think I even have some ideas on what to do.

So yes, I will be doing National Novel Writing Month for 2013. I’m under the name Makkus, so feel free to add me as a friend.

I’m hoping I can finish the draft of “Sun Eagle” by the end of October, which is just a few days away. I’m not sure though. A lot depends on Tali.

Oh, I decided to add something kinda fun. Today, I needed a rough sketch of Ari’Dennlier’s town square for the scene I was writing. In this story, there’s an impromptu festival going on there, celebrating the arrival of a Wandering Arbiter.

Ari'Dennlier Town SquareThis is an extremely rough diagram as to major areas. But it’s an interesting little tidbit from this story. Since you’ve been hearing about it for a while, I decided you might like a glimpse. I’m also working on a revised version of the World Map for the Dreamscape universe. And I’m happy to say that I finally have a name for the planet: Taylin. I wonder if you’ll be able to figure out where it’s from. Heh.

Gaming

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve played a lot of games lately. The nice thing about both Laura and I being on leave is that we actually have evenings together where we can play games when we want to. Laura’s been really enjoying SW:ToR as we’re both playing Counselors, me a Jedi Shadow, her a Jedi Sage. She’s enjoying it though, actually asking to play.

I also finished Chapter 2 of the Jedi Knight story quest line on Jedi Knight Lyssinna. Wow…now that’s a serious ending. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it’s damn good. The excellent storytelling they’ve done with this means I’ll probably end up playing one character of every class. I remember once reading that SW:ToR was the best KOTOR sequel ever…even if it isn’t much of an MMO.

However, there are plenty of things SW:ToR does right…and plenty it does wrong. Someday soon, I’ll be adding a personal review, even though I know a million people far more qualified may have done the same thing.

I’m hoping someone will eventually care though. 😉

Mass Effect 3 (Warning: Minor Spoilers for the end of ME3 ahead)

Mass Effect and I have…quite a history. I was a diehard fan of the original and I was three times the die hard fan of Mass Effect 2. I was at midnight release for Mass Effect 2 and actually drove all the way to West Hollywood for the official Mass Effect 3 midnight launch. But with all that, the ending of Mass Effect 3 emotionally devastated me. In truth, part of that was because I was playing it during the time of Caitlyn’s seizures, when both Laura and I took time off to care for her after the first of her seizures. Because I couldn’t really handle the emotional impact of those events, I refocused my emotional energy on ME3…which I could control…or so I thought.

I managed to play a bit more after seeing the end with Lisa-Anne Shepard…but eventually…the thought of coming back was just too painful. However, a few days ago, I decided to say screw it and find out what the best possible ending for the extended cut could be. And with that knowledge…even though it’s not considered ‘canon’ by Bioware, I decided to come back. And I have with a vengeance. I’ve recently finished the Leviathan DLC (which was pretty damn good) on Lisa-Anne and Laura and I are playing Omega DLC on her character, Adra Shepard. I’m waiting to do Citadel until I’m done with everything else, since I know that’s the last big bang.

But today, I also decided to get into multiplayer, remembering hearing about all the improvements (and how I actually wanted to improve my “Galaxy at War” score so I could get that perfect ending). I had to redownload some of it, but when I did, phew, that was a great battle. Gold with Hazard Ghost Base. I love sending my Salarian Infiltrator against Geth. It’s so damn fun. And I am a holy terror with the N7 Valiant Sniper Rifle. I love that gun. In fact, after I’m done here, I’ll probably head back in.

Dues Ex: Human Revolution

For this part, I’d like to just post my thoughts I wrote in my journal:

Just finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Intense game, especially for someone who likes to play it non-lethal. But it was very good. However, the choices at the end definitely are ones to think about. What is the ultimate purpose of technology? Should we push ourselves forever forward? Should we use it to control the darker elements of society? Or should we realize just how dangerous it can be?

I like games with a message…even if it is only really a question. Considering my line of work, it’s definitely something to think about.

It’s also slightly ironic that I’m updating Odyssey (My 27″ iMac), Normandy (My 15″ MBP) and Excalibur (Laura’s 21.5″ iMac) to OS 10.9 tonight.

Good ending. Though I haven’t gotten into the “Missing Link” DLC either.

World of Warcraft

To my dismay, it appears that my WoW guild Saga on Wyrmrest Accord is closing down. Not actually disbanding, but just going inactive. A lot of players have become burned out I think…and 5.3 didn’t help. 5.4 has some cool stuff, but the Timeless Isle (especially if you have a lot of alts) is really easy to burn out on.

I’m not leaving the guild. Frankly, I haven’t been playing all that much anyway, even with all this extra time. And with Tali coming, I’ll have even less.

In Conclusion

I ended up finding a new therapist recently, since the previous one made some odd comments…and frankly wasn’t all that good. But the previous one also made some negative comments about the whole Brony thing that upset me somewhat. About how it would have limited my career potential, such as different paths my life could have gone in like the Navy or becoming a Pastor (both of which I considered in the past).

I remember driving home from that and while I was listening to Everfree Radio, this song came on. And while I know you are sick of My Little Pony stuff…as usual, I challenge you to watch this. It might make you think.

And that’s it for this week. Most likely, next week will be about a baby named Talissa. 🙂

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

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Slightly Dazed…

I’ve had a rough couple of days. Nothing…nothing seriously bad. Just…a lot of little things. Caitlyn’s being a little terror…I’ve had to tear apart the bedroom and the closet to set things up for the coming of Tali. I’ve seen three different therapists and one psychiatrist this week (I’m trying to find a new therapist, that’s why so many…) and I’ve been killing myself trying to write as much as I can.

The good news is that I’ve managed to consistently do a minimum of 1,000 words every day this week save for Friday, during which I did a huge overhaul on my -rks blog here.

Here’s some of the new features…

Journey to Equestria, Pt. 1” – My first steps on how I joined the Brony culture…even if I’m on the sidelines at the moment

Dreamer” – Just some placeholders here, but I have some cool ideas I’m looking forward to using.

Daddy” – I have some great pictures of Caitlyn and me in here.

Gamer” – This was a hard one. I did a custom design for my Active Games, Recently Completed Games and My Favorite Games of All Time. I also plan on adding a section for various impressions and thoughts on games. It probably won’t be a full review section, but it’ll be something.

Author” – Fixed this up a little here and there.

Reader” – Added a teaser for my current featured book, “Glasshouse.”

I’m experimenting with some other new ideas, but I want to make sure that my true writing work doesn’t suffer. I have managed to start a bit on an edit for “Beyond the Waterfall” which I hope to have published by the end of the month.

I’m sorry I don’t have anything deeper right now…but…my brain is just…fritzed.

Today’s video isn’t a true PMV. It’s a really catchy and fun song that I enjoyed. Yes, there’s a small bit of Pony in there, but it’s secondary to the real song. Just enjoy it.

Good luck and have fun folks.

-rks

 

PS, I’m trying an experiment where I’ll be writing these Sunday night and posting them on Monday morning. I’ve realized that a lot of people probably don’t read stuff on Sunday night. We’ll see if there’s any change in audience.

Journey to Equestria: A Retrospective, Pt. 1

I decided to take some time and write out the beginnings of my journey into the world of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. If you’re curious as to how I became so enamored with a show about colorful ponies aimed at a demographic of young girls 8-12, here is is.

I have also posted this entire article under “Dreamer” at “Journey to Equestria: A Retrospective, Pt. 1

This installment is a record of the journey itself. My impressions of the show will be revealed at a later date.

Journey to Equestria: A Retrospective

Part I

For some years now, I’ve heard whisperings of the “My Little Pony” craze on the internet. I’ve always smirked a little bit and was vaguely curious, but never curious enough to actually do anything.

I’m sure I’ve been running into the My Little Pony cast for years now without realizing it. It’s called surfing the web. Many people interacted with it first either through 4Chan or other forum-based websites, but I have never been part of those communities. And I haven’t been into cartoons since Duck Tales, Tailspin and Darkwing Duck.

Continue reading

Writing to a Different Beat

So the good news is that Laura and Caitlyn are doing well. No further issues with anyone, aside the annoyances of being 36 weeks pregnant. Eep.

I know I’m almost out of time until baby Tali arrives, so it was long past time to get set up so I had a place of my own to work…and to retreat to when the need arose.

Ironically, it was a disagreement with Laura that prompted a complete rearrangement of our bedroom. Not only did we fully configure it to work with the coming baby (adding in the baby swing and the bassinet), but we set it up so I can actually use my desk for writing!

Behold my new writing station!

Writing Desk

Before you say a thing, the large Pinkie Pie and the six Plush Ponies are actually Caitlyn’s. She’s been misbehaving a lot lately so they were taken away and put in our room where she’ll get them back when she earns them. I just decided they needed a home until then. As for the small plastic Rarity and Fluttershy…those are mine. 😛

What I really like about this is the second display. That display is what I used to use to make Normandy, my 15″ MBP, into a desktop before I got Odyssey, the 27″ iMac. This display been sitting in our bedroom collecting dust for months. And it was the other night (and ironically, the cause of the disagreement) when I came up with the idea of using the screen with Normandy. I can keep story bibles, quick reference panes, word counts, whatever I need on there as I write so I can reference them easily! What you’re seeing there is one of my maps for the Western Reaches, one of the continents for the Dreamscape world. (I don’t have a name for the planet yet).

Anyway, I’m really excited about this. I finally have a space to write to myself that’s organized and doesn’t have a ton of clutter to distract me. As long as I start up my new Network Location called =LOCKDOWN=, I can’t access the Internet while I write. I do that to prevent the distraction of the evil interwebs. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted on there when I should have been writing.

Rediscovering Writing

So in the last few days, I’ve learned a few things and relearned a few other things. First, I’ve learned that if I keep to a writing schedule and make sure I take my meds properly, I can write a 1,000 words a day. I’ve done it for most days this week, in fact. I’ve also relearned that I tend to type faster the more I write per day. I’ve noticed I can type and think far quicker during my journals than I could a few weeks ago. Doing all this writing trains my hands and brain to work together better.

But the most important thing? I’ve found where my “hurtle” is. I used to make goals for 500 words a day. That may sound like a lot, but it’s puny. And I used to struggle with it a ton, being completely unable to string together anything coherent or just metaphorically spinning my wheels. But I started to realize that when I reach 1,000 words, I’m not staring at the word counter every other paragraph. The alert actually comes as a bit of a surprise.

What’s it all mean? It means that if I can usually surpass 700 words, I can go much farther than that. I’m actually looking forward to testing this tomorrow at the Mission Viejo Library. I’m going to spend a couple hours there tomorrow and just focus on writing and writing alone.

A New Path

So I’ve started to make some new goals for myself. I realize that writing and editing are two very different things. And while I can smash my head against the keyboard trying to write…

(seriously, who doesn’t do this when you have writer’s block?)

…editing I tend to psych myself out far more. I loathe editing, though I know it’s imperative to do. One of these days, I should post the first version of “Ashes over Stormwind” alongside the original just so you can see what editing actually does. (Funny story, while cleaning out my desk, I found at least 100-200 pages of printed drafts for Ashes over Stormwind with notes from both Laura and I. I probably went through that story at least 20-30 times).

Anyway, my original drafts are usually dreadful.

And while I’m editing, there’s a voice in my head that tells me I’m not writing, so I’m not doing it right.

Therefore, I need separate times for writing and editing.

So now, I have a schedule.

During Caitlyn’s nap, I will do my 1,000 words minimum (unless I’m at writer’s group or the library). And when we first put Caitlyn down for the night, that’s when I’ll spend about an hour editing something. My first goal is going to be “Waterfall Steps.” I want that published by the end of October. Yeah, that’s a good goal. It’s already been well edited, so it shouldn’t take too much time.

There, it’s in my Writing Reminders list. And I’ve also put dates on finishing the updates to the new -rks pages, most of which are still blank. I’ll do one a day for a week and that should take care of things. Along with editing and along with my writing.

Yeah. That should be fun. 😛

Okay, I’ve rambled on for…holy…almost a thousand words. So I’ve done 1,000 words in “Sun Eagle,” 2,175 words in my personal journal, and another 1,000 in my blog. Over 4,000 words in one day.

Yeah, I wish writing fiction was as easy as doing journals or blogs. Then I could do novels in two weeks.

Pfft.

I think that’s it for this week folks.

Let’s see…what sort of Pony videos should I leave you with tonight…

*rummages in YouTube video history*

Oh yes…something to help you sleep tonight. Try it out. You’ll like it.

I promise.

Would I lie?

Heheheheheheheh. Sweet dreams.

Good luck and have fun folks!

-rks

Back to Normal…Sort of

Medical Stuff

First and foremost, Laura’s home. She got some sort of bug that was making her throw up just about everything to the point of serious dehydration. She was in the hospital from 1AM on Sunday morning to about 4PM on Tuesday afternoon. I spent most of my time making sure Caitlyn was taken care of (thanks to my mother, father and a neighbor for watching her while we dealt with all of this) and just trying to be there with her. Ironically, I ended up playing a ton of Civilization V. It’s a perfect game for situations where you need to walk away at a moment’s notice.

She’s fine now, though the last few days have been hard. My short-term disability for stress has been extended up to Tali’s birth, so the good news is I won’t have to go back to work until at least December at the earliest. Laura’s OB/GYN extended her own leave to start a week early too. So that means we’re both at home now.

Ironically, this has become a bit complicated. You see, Laura and I have had opposite schedules for almost 3 years now. It’s an accepted part of life since we had Caitlyn. Caitlyn had become used to this as well. But now that all three of us are home, I don’t think any of us really know how to react. Caitlyn’s acting out a bunch, fighting me for almost everything. And even Laura and I have had our issues, but we both recognize they’re caused by stress with everything that’s going on.

We’re starting to make it work though. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it, as always.

Writing Time

Another unexpected benefit of this situation is that I was able to attend the OC Writer’s Group for the first time since the first meeting way back at the beginning of the year. It was nice to get to network and socialize with fellow writers and I plan to make a habit of it until Tali is born. I managed to do over 1,100 words there, which was pretty impressive. I normally don’t do well writing in social environments as I tend to get distracted rather easily. So it’s still a big accomplishment for me.

“Sun Eagle” is going pretty well. I’m having a bit of trouble with the middle. It’s okay though since I know the endings. There are two in the story, for two different plot lines. But I’m happy with it so far.

Gaming Time

I’ve found that Civilization V is one of those games that’s great to play while playing other games. I’ve been playing it on the sidelines while playing SW:ToR and WoW. I’ve also finally gotten to the Timeless Isle in WoW and found I really enjoy it, especially the whole hunting for treasure thing. And for SW:ToR, I just played the Maelstrom Prison flashpoint. And that was amazing. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t played it (though I suspect anyone who’s reading this either has already done it or doesn’t care much) but the finale was perfect…though I wondered about the identity of the other character for some time. I didn’t see the identity of the entity though…but it makes sense. I also love that it was the second time matching wits with the Grand Moff. It gives the series a great sense of continuity.

I also just purchased Bioshock: Infinite last night. I’m looking forward to playing that. The first two Bioshocks were dark and seemed to have next to no replay value (at least to me), but I’ve heard such great things about Infinite that I just had to try.

Oh yeah, and trying to get Mods to work on the Mac Steam Civ 5 was a pain in the butt…but worth it. I found it strange that the code itself actually demonstrates how to reactivate the mod system within the game. It was strange. Very strange. It’s like the porting company expected people to do it.

That’s all for this week I think. I’m going to continue working on “Sun Eagle.” But right now, I’m tired. So nothing else super deep.

Today’s Pony Videos are two really good ones.

The first is a silly but ADORABLE like half animation/half music video/half who-knows-what? Caitlyn loves it. And the second…you simply must watch. It’s a great crossover between MLP and another rather famous creation by Lauren Faust currently on Cartoon Network…

Anyway, enjoy them!

Good luck and have fun folks!

-rks