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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 messageโ€ฆeven 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

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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

Derailment

Well…this week…

Has turned out to be unexpected.

I mentioned last week the stress was starting to get to me. I don’t remember if I mentioned the panic attacks or not. Well, they reached a boiling point and I decided to see my psychiatrist about it. And after a brief discussion, he decided to put me on a short-term disability leave. As such, I won’t be returning to work until the second week of October at the earliest. It also depends on how I do.

Now, I should say that things have improved quite a bit since I got some time to myself. Things have been difficult though. Caitlyn’s had an attitude problem the size of the galactic core. I’m trying to deal with all the details for this leave, plus the coming baby shower for Tali this weekend. There’s also Caitlyn’s EEG on Tuesday and my own counseling session on Monday along with another OB/GYN appointment.

Fun stuff eh?

Writing

But I’m not going to waste this time. A lot will depend on my meeting with the counselor, but I have several plans. The first is to kick my writing into overdrive. And yesterday was a good start. After putting Caitlyn to bed last night, I managed to punch out 1,036 words in a new short story called “In the Sun Eagle’s Wake.” It’s been a long time since I actually wrote in a new story. I’ve done so much editing, revising and reworking that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to actually write. And it was great, especially since I only have the roughest of outlines for this story in my head. It means I can go anywhere and do anything.

But the other matter is far more exciting to me. Starting this Wednesday, I’m going to start going to the Mission Viejo Library and spend some time alone in a study room focusing solely on writing. No internet, no distractions, NOTHING. Nothing but me and Scrivener.

It’s going to be AWESOME.

And by the way, I do plan on putting this story up on Kindle too. ๐Ÿ™‚

In addition, sometime tomorrow morning, I will get Glimmer ready to go out on other platforms.

It’s a lot better now that I have Normandy back. I was forced to work on my iPad Mini for a short time again, though thankfully it was only 2-3 days this time. And now I have another 90 days on my warranty. I had to turn in my Mid-2010 MBP 15″ for some seriously loose hinges on the display.

Other Matters

I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot else going on. I know I should have a ton of cool writing projects going on, but at this point in my life, I have to do it when I can do it.

But, I did get something cool in the mail the other day!

Friendship Free Fall

This was my little gift to myself for getting Glimmer up on Kindle. Right now, I love it. It’s classy…and it helps that Twilight there is trying to reach a book. It seemed fitting somehow.

Laura and I have been enjoying the console version of Diablo 3. It’s fantastic to play side by side with her on something. Especially for a game that’s easy to just tear things apart after a hard day of work.

In addition, I’ve been really enjoying my time in SW:ToR right now. The game has its issues. Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of things it needs, but the story is amazing, just amazing. It’s a great time.

This is probably the first -rks blog I’ve ever done while sitting at home. Every other time has been on my lunch break or rest break at work. But, just because I get some time off to try and get my head right doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the commitments I’ve made. I know they’re more to myself than anyone on here. Let’s be honest, most days I might get 1-2 visits.

But I hope one day, someone will get curious and take a look back through these and see how I became the writer I will be.

One day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay…today’s random YouTube Video seems particularly fitting. Yes, it’s another PMV, but it’s a good one.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Glimmers in the Night

Glimmer

I’m pretty stoked to see FOUR 5-star reviews of “A Glimmer of Perspective” on my Amazon site. Three of them were from the Facebook OC Writer’s group, though I’m happy to say I didn’t ask for any of them. All of them were the honest opinions of others. And I don’t even know who the fourth is!

So people seem to like my writing. That’s good. I’m happy to hear it.

Still, please take a look!

Because I’m starting something new!

In the Sun Eagle’s Wake

This story is set in the Dreamscape universe. And I’m aiming for it to be a short. I hope. Whenever I actually AIM for a short story, it ends up long. But so far, the pieces are just falling in place without any trouble. So far I’m about 1,000 words in. I don’t really know how long it will be. I have a middle and an ending vaguely in mind, but that’s it. But so far, I’m enjoying it and the characters are just fun.

The Night

And now to the not-so-fun thing.

The stress in my life is getting…extremely difficult. The stress caused by issues at work, Caitlyn’s seizures and everything else are starting to impact every aspect of my life. I’m not sleeping well. I can’t concentrate. My writing isn’t working as well as I want to. I’m not doing well at work.

It’s getting bad.

I have a plan on what to do…but…well, I need some serious divine intervention to make it work. Now’s a good time for a miracle, God.

Gaming

I’m taking a break from World of Warcraft right now, even though 5.4 just launched. I wanted to give things some time to settle down before I head to the Timeless Isle…and then take Lyss into Siege of Orgimmar. Should be fun…though now I get the fun activity of trying desperately to hide from spoilers about the end cinematic.

So after I finished most of the campaign and Tiny Tina’s Assault on Dragon Keep in Borderlands 2, I decided to move on to something I’ve been wanting to play for a bit: Star Wars: The Old Republic.

SW:ToR

I haven’t written much about this since I stopped playing back in March some time ago. I feel bad for BioWare, because they had an amazing game there…but…it just didn’t hit the nail like it should have. The original issues that annoyed me greatly in the beginning are still there. Very long load times and very long travel times. I might be spoiled from flying in WoW, but it’s just difficult to judge. In addition, I don’t feel all that powerful. I seem to have to heal after every fight…and it slows things down a lot.

Sadly, there are new problems with the Free to Play model. Primarily, they shove the subscription model in your face every chance you get. Seriously…it’s EVERYWHERE. When you go into a rest area, you find out you don’t get rested XP…from a giant message along the time. Just mousing over XP bars or even GETTING QUEST REWARDS…you’re told a thousand times you need to subscribe to get this, that or the other.

With that being said, the story is still damn near amazing. At the moment, I’m going through the Jedi Knight quest line on Alderaan and I am definitely into it. I do love that my character is actually fully voiced. And the environment are gorgeous. I’m considering reupping for about a month or so to see if it’s worth it or not. But I haven’t decided yet.

Rewards

So, to end tonight, let’s talk about my own rewards. First of all, I purchased a Fluttershy and a Twilight Sparkle patch for my work bag. And a new pony shirt. (What? Did you think you were going to escape the pony thing? Ha!) I’m totally thrilled to get these. My own little present for finally getting published.

Now…I’ve thought about the videos for this week…and couldn’t come up with anything clever. So time for just some random Pony Music Videos:


ย 

Why? Because I like them. That’s really it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, that’s it for this week. I’m going to put the whole “Journey to Equestria” thing on hold for a bit. I need to update it and proofread it.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Hammer and Wrench

Haven’t posted in a bit and been a busy week. I had intended to post yesterday, but a family event took out most of my time and I ended up spacing on this entirely. Even though I think I have something on the order of two people paying attention here, why not keep going, eh?

I’m writing a new World of Warcraft short story, called Hammer and Wrench, detailing Gelbin Mekkatorque’s emotional reaction to the loss of Magni during the events of the Shattering. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably not a WoW player and that’s okay ๐Ÿ˜‰

The important thing is that it’s a contest entry on the WoW Forums. It’s nothing official, done purely for and by the community, but it could have some neat prizes and seems like a good way to connect with people on the server. I’m also trying to join a new guild, called Saga, on the Wyrmrest Accord server. My last guild came from Blackwater Raiders and then disbanded shortly after due to the move and the launch of SW:ToR.

Of course this is happening right before Mass Effect 3 comes out, which will utterly destroy my free time and take me away from WoW for some time too! I’ve linked the new trailer at the end of the post here.

Anyway, had some more family stuff happen. Caitlyn fell again a week or so again and ended up having a seizure from the impact, for the second time. Just like last time, she’s fine. Had another CT Scan and everything checked out. She was acting normal within 30 minutes of the incident. She is now not allowed to play on the couch because we just can’t deal with the emotional ramifications. A week later, my mom ended up in the ER from a bad fall where she had a rather large bruise in a rather uncomfortable area. However, the good news is that Caitlyn got to see her great-grandparents twice in the last two weeks, which is great for all of them.

Other than that, I’m still working on ProjectZ (which is a renamed THE PROJECT because it sounds cooler). I’m thinking of further networking too.

After this story is done (it’s due on the 26th!) I’ll take one day to work on this site, update it and bring over some more stories from deviantArt, then get back to work on Orion 2.

Until then, have fun!

Oh yes…the new “Take Earth Back” Trailer for Mass Effect 3: