2014 Year in Review: The Year Everything Changed

It’s been a long year.

I used to always do these for my deviantArt page, where I’d go over my various works and accomplishments. And in the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this year. Thinking about how different a place I’m in now.

Most of you know that I’m a diehard fan of Babylon 5. People would ask “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” and my answer was always “Babylon 5.” Best damn science fiction series ever done. And yes, even better than Firefly. (Shun me if you must, but it’s true)

Season 4 was probably the best season of Babylon 5. You had the Earth Civil War and the end of the Shadow War. So much happened in that one year of storytelling. But what really stood out to me was the opening titles.

Babylon 5: Season 4

It was the year of fire… the year of destruction… the year we took back what was ours… It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain… and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed. The year is 2261. The place: Babylon 5.” 

That…is a very effective description of the last year. You know, save for the whole 2261 and Babylon 5 bit.

A Year of Fire, a Year of Destruction, The Year We Took Back What Was Ours…

2014 started with me on short-term disability from severe panic attacks in relation to…conflicts…with the Apple Store I was with at the time. Though I returned to work shortly after my birthday, the panic attacks resumed within two weeks. It was then when I realized that Apple–or at least that Apple Store–wasn’t the place for me anymore.

As I searched elsewhere for an escape from the madness and depression, things became apparent to me. That there were those who sought to see me gone from my position I had fought so hard to earn. I saw the “writing on the wall” as it where.

It was during a conversation where I saw these motions in play when I received a voicemail that changed everything.

You see, a week or so before, I had interviewed for a position with Blizzard Entertainment. That was within a few weeks of me applying. This was after several phone interviews, all of which I simply called out of work for.

Even in the midst of pain, fear and mental agony, everything changed. And a week later, I went outside to take a phone call on my last break of the day. During that phone call, I was offered the chance at a dream. A chance I never thought would actually happen. A chance to work for Blizzard Entertainment.

It was that day when I put in my two-week notice at Apple. It was the end of my history with Apple. After a fashion. I was sad to leave my friends. I was not sad to leave that store. I still hope for the people who remain…but even before my departure, many long-time employees had fled that store. I still have friends at that store…but they are few and far between.

I have no intention of ever walking in there again. Because the suffering my family endured at the hands of that Apple Store wasn’t over.

However, at the beginning of June, I got to walk onto Blizzard Campus for the second time. The first time was for my in-person interview. The second time…it was as an employee of Blizzard Entertainment. The things I’ve seen there…they still take my breath away. Even six months later (can you believe it’s already been that long?), I still make sure to drive by Building 1, with the huge “Blizzard Entertainment” logo in blue letters stand proudly at the top of the third floor.

I found a purpose there. I found people who respected my knowledge and my experience. A place where I can truly be myself. Where my crazy ideas aren’t shot down because “that’s not how we do things” or “that’s not the direction Corporate wants us to go.” Instead, I’m told “go for it.”

I did.

And I’m happy to say that in my time at Blizzard, I have completely rewritten the book on how they handle–ironically–Mac computers. I’ve said many times that I’m no Apple-head. I don’t think everything Apple does is perfect. I’ve endured too much to have any such illusions. But what I’ve accomplished there in six months has had a bigger impact than my entire time at Apple Retail.

Sadly, the suffering wasn’t over. In the months after my departure, my wife was subjected to cruelty, cowardice and mistreatment. They refused to accept her new schedule since I now had a job with regular hours. Instead of simply saying goodbye, they strung her along for six weeks before suddenly, one Saturday, terminating her for “attendance violation” because they forced her into a position where she would be required to call out, despite her constantly trying to get her shifts covered and notifying them well in advance.

That was a hard blow to us.

Thankfully, through multiple miracles, we were granted unemployment despite Apple’s “claims” on how Laura had left the company. And so, God gave us enough to survive even with my new pay at Blizzard.

And I prospered at Blizzard. Laura herself has said many times that though it is a little harder on us with me there, she’s far more happy that am happy. That’s what really matters. While things haven’t always been easy, I have to say…I do truly love my new job. And as I go into the new year, things look even brighter.

 

It was the year of rebirth… the year of great sadness… the year of pain…and the year of joy.

Yes, while the information above can very easily be handled by those words, other things did happen. Such as during December, both of my daughters had seizures within a few days of each other. We did three separate ER visits. Two overnight stays in the hospital. One fully battery of neurological exams including CTs and MRIs. I ended up watching each girl by myself for at least a day and a half each. And it happened the week before Christmas. It was also the week when Blizzard had all their special Christmas events, save for the actual company Christmas party. I remember when I called out on Wednesday because Caitlyn now had had a seizure…thinking that this was the most ridiculous excuse ever. Like calling for your sixth “grandmother’s funeral” in Discworld terms (If you’ve reach the City Watch books, you’ll get it).

In addition, the panic attacks haven’t really stopped. I thought changing jobs would help. And while that has helped, I’ve found that there is much more happening behind the scenes. I don’t pretend to understand it at all. At the moment, I’m just struggling through.

On rebirth though…I usually don’t like another year passing. It’s a reminder of everything I want to do but haven’t yet. Did you know that I had planned to have two novels published by now? Why didn’t this happen? Blizzard. And that’s okay. Blizzard changed everything for me. In fact, I’m going into my next birthday happy…looking forward to what the years ahead have in store for me at Blizzard.

It was a new age. It was the end of history. 

My writing? Well, I managed to knock out another NaNoWriMo, making this my fifth year running for winning the 50K race. This time it was a close one. And I finally rewrote Stormhaven, a project I’ve been meaning to do for years. I’m fairly happy with the outcome too.

In addition, I’ve published my second short story: “Beyond the Waterfall.” You should go check it out. Like right now. And if you could leave a review, it’d make my day. I published that back in September, though it was ready in July or so. There’s a process you have to go through when publishing fictional works now that I work for Blizzard. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay for working there.

I’ve recently started writing again. I took most of December off, as I’ll admit I was swept up into World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. Makes sense since my name is in the freaking credits now!

WoW:WoD Credits

 

My name should also be in the credits for the “Goblins vs. Gnomes” Hearthstone Expansion, but I haven’t actually looked that one up yet. But I have to say…seeing my name in the credits for World of Warcraft is a mind-blowing experience, especially since our subscriber base went from 7 million to 10 million within about a week of the launch. People like it. A lot. In other words, WoW isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Anyway, a little obsessive about that game. Heh. And that’s my “new age.” An age where I can finally be doing something that’s going to affect millions of players across the world. I’ve found bugs in places no one’s thought to look. Remember those Panderan Phoenix mounts you got from the Silver Challenge Mode Dungeons in Mists? Well, during August or so, I discovered a rather surprising bug that they weren’t going account-wide as was initially posted in a blog post. It was just something someone overlooked and that stuff happens. Let’s be honest…within a few minutes of people logging into WoD for the first time, people would have noticed. But I stopped that from happening. I got it in and even got some praise by the Dev saying “Good catch.” (I’m not revealing anything here. It’s actually buried in the patch notes somewhere).

That was awesome. Now that’s long past and I’ve found plenty of other things. I’m even happy to say that some of the hotfixes in the game have been from me, especially some of the ones involving legacy raids involving the whole stat squish thing. For all you legacy raiders out there, you’re welcome. 🙂

It’s totally awesome to see your work in the classic “Blue Text” of patch notes.

The funny thing is that’s not actually my job! It’s not my job to find bugs in the game itself. I’m supposed to handle the hardware side. But since I play this game every day the same way I’ve played it for years even after starting at Blizzard, I’m coming in with a unique perspective. I read the quests. I explore the details. I look around. There’s a lot of players who just hit “accept” the moment the quest pops up. I don’t. I’m emotionally attached to the characters. (And let’s just say that when I finally get in Creative Development, the Alliance is going to have their day (okay, I’m totally kidding, it would be years before I could do anything like that, but it’s a fun fantasy)). I play. And that’s gotten me a lot of cool things.

Otherwise, we now have two kids. That was the same as last year, but Tali’s now yammering away in her own speech, though she can say Mama, Dada and Yay. I love this. She danced to the Opening Intro of My Little Pony. Heh. Caitlyn was raised on Mass Effect and Tali’s going to be raised on My Little Pony. I’m okay with this.

But that brings about another change. I’ve said a dozen times that one of the reasons I threw myself into the Brony fandom is not only because of the amazing community, but because I realized I was afraid of what people might think if I decided to like this show. And that ticked me off.

Well, I’ve taken it to a whole new level at Blizzard. I’m actually leading the Blizzard Bronies. When I first arrived, I searched for the group, as there are Pony references littered throughout their games. (My favorite example is from Diablo 3. There’s an achievement named [Magical Mystery Couture] which just means you equip a wand, a source, and a wizard hat on your wizard at the same time. That’s a direct reference to the Season 3 finale “Magical Mystery Cure,” the musical episode where Twilight Sparkles ascends to alicorn and princess.)

Anyway, I was utterly shocked to find that there wasn’t one! After some internal debate, I decided “Screw it! I’ll start one!” For months, I was the only one in the group, because I had no way to advertise. Then someone in HR decided to do the old Summer Rush idea (you know, when all the college clubs would come out and have booths so people could sign up?). Well, I knew I would be the only one there, but I did it. I had my Build-a-Bear plushies, along with my vinyls, PMVs playing on my laptop and a signup sheet and a raffle with prizes I purchased myself. And I got eleven people.

Since then, my desk has become a tourist attraction for anybody who likes Ponies. (I have about a bajillion of them decorating my desk, screensaver and walls) A lot of the people are parents like me who got into it because of their daughters. Some of them are original Bronies, who just checked it out probably because the internet was flooded with them. But no matter what, it’s a good group now. There’s still some misunderstanding about the Brony sensation, but I’ve made it my mission to make sure people get it. They don’t have to like the show, but I want them to understand the purpose behind this culture and that it’s not weird or creepy.

I’m never going to convince everyone, but who knows? Maybe I can get a full “Elements of Harmony” quest line into the next WoW expansion. Heh. That would be awesome.

It was the year everything changed.

I think 2014 is the year of the greatest changes for us as a family. I know the addition of the kids are enormous changes to handle…but…well, remember those websites that list the events that cause the highest levels of stress? I just decided to pull one up at random. Now I know this isn’t purely scientific or anything, but here’s the events. (It’s based off of the The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, apparently)

#6 – Personal injury or illness – 53

#11 – Change in health of family member – 44

#15 – Business readjustment – 39

#16 – Change in financial state – 38

#22 – Change in responsibilities at work  – 29

#25 – Outstanding personal achievement – 28

#26 – Spouse begins or stops work – 26

#30 – Trouble with boss – 23

#31 – Change in work hours or conditions – 20

#38 – Change in sleeping habits – 16

#42 – Christmas – 12

My total is 364, which (according to the website) means I’m way above the normal line of stress. Heh. I could have told you that. Anyway, it’s just a random website I pulled up. But a lot of these events were one time events. The key is that we survived.

Laura and I have been through more than you can possibly believe. Things that I will not be sharing with you all, but know that since we managed to survive them before we had kids, it made us all the stronger. While we will probably always have the occasional fight, miscommunication, broken expectation or issue, both of us know that neither of us is walking.

Everything has changed. But instead of changing for the worse…or seeing the slow decline of my life into mediocrity, boredom and self-doubt, I can actually see a bright future ahead for the first time in a very long time.

The war with Apple is over. Laura and I are both done. We passed through it, battered, cracked and scarred, but we passed through it alive. And now, we have a whole new life to look forward to.

I think it’s only fitting that in the last few days, I’ve started a new story. You see, I’ve had trouble sleeping this last week (I got Christmas Eve-New Years Day as paid vacation) because of intense dreams. And I remembered something…that happens when I haven’t written.

This story isn’t actually new per-se. It’s a massive revision of a story I began in 2010 called “Rain.” It was a story I didn’t really know what I was doing with. Then I had this cool idea called “The Last Dreamer” about a future where humanity has done away with sleep after an unexplained plague of nightmares prevents the entire human race from sleeping properly. They’ve replaced eight hours of sleep with this wondrous technology that requires them to enter stasis for three hours a day. That was after most of the population of the solar system went half-mad…or worse. So about a hundred years later…we have someone who can dream…someone without a name, without an identity…

Someone who isn’t affected by the nightmares. And what this individual has the ability to do will change the entire course of human history…and human society.

Cool, eh?

Anyway, this has been my year in review.

So there’s only one thing to do so I can end it properly.

That’s right…it’s PMV time.

I’ve done two major events for the Blizzard Bronies. A Double Feature starring “Double Rainboom” and “A Brony Tale” and Hearth’s Warming Eve with “Snowdrop,” “Children of the Night” and a couple other things. And I’ve found the perfect finale that I’ll be using for every Blizzard Bronies Featured Event.

“House of Ponies” by Racercarghost.

 

And then I just realized something. It’s actually not New Year’s Eve. It’s New Year’s Day. So I can’t “end” this. I need to “start” this. So there’s only one thing for it.

This is the introduction PMV I play to every one of my Blizzard Bronies events: “Together” by TheAcelps:

Here’s looking forward to a New Year for the first time in a long time. May it be filled with fun, friends, games and a hell of a lot of writing. 😉

-rks

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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

Affirmations, Internal and External

Some of you probably know about the “Five Love Languages.” I read it a few years back and I really liked it. Not because it gave me any new information, but more because it helped me put things I’ve always felt into words. Now I could go on about this at length, but I what I want to talk about is one specific kind, which is the most important kind to me. It’s “Words of Affirmation.”

I don’t think I need to explain what that actually means, so we’ll skip that part. But what I will say is that lately, those words of affirmation about my writing has been coming up in my head. Part of that is because I’ve been having a rough time at work. To add difficulties, Caitlyn has not been nice to Laura and I lately and it’s taking it’s toll on us.

So these words of criticism have been building up in me and I’m desperately trying to fight them back. And a recent commenter happened to drop another one on me at just the right moment. And some of my other thoughts…

I won Honorable Mention in thousands of entries for the Blizzard writing contest. I’ve committed my life to raising an awesome child. I protect my wife even when all logic says back off. I’ve been told from COMMUNITY COLLEGE that I should be a pro writer. Even when the rest of the world is going to hell around me, I stick to what I believe. I got Genius after fighting for FIVE YEARS.

And you know what? You can never take my imagination from me. I can do things in my mind and with the written word that makes every paltry sales goal look like a dim shadow forgotten in a new dawn.

((That last part is actually an excerpt from my personal journal))

Why am I stating this? It’s not to be prideful. Because for every success, there’s a thousand failures in the shadows. But that’s where I want them to stay: in the shadows. I’ve found myself focusing too much on all the pain and misery and not enough on the positive aspects of life.

I have an odd sort of memory, a memory that is sporadic at best. It’s why I keep a journal so religiously. Because if I don’t, I know I’ll forget the stuff that matters. I often regret not starting it earlier. I could have used it to process the stuff that happens in my life. My journal actually started August 3 years ago when I got a very bad review for the original “At the End of All Things.” I did it to process my emotions, since I was so devastated by it.

I wonder if it’ll come easier in time, getting critical reviews of my works. Huh.

Anyway, to try and bring this long rambling stream of consciousness to a head…

Why am I going through all of this? To fight back.

Owl City’s “Shooting Star” says it pretty well:

Way up in the air, you’re finally free
And you can stay up there right next to me
All this gravity will try to pull you down
But not this time

So my challenge to myself? Not to let gravity pull me down. The only problem with that is it’s a second-by-second battle. And it’s very easy to lose ground. So very easy. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to pull it off, so I think I might ask for some divine help.

Writing News

Now that you’ve glimpsed my brain, let’s talk about writing shall we?

Laura finished her readthrough of “Soul of the Scribe” and I’m about halfway through. It’s still a powerful story for me and I think it’s the best story I’ve ever written. I can’t wait to do something with it. Originally, I was going to work on some WoW short stories/flash fiction as a little side project, but I haven’t had the focus or motivation for that right now. But I’m going to change things up and stop doing my journal on all my breaks of the day. 15 minutes isn’t long to write, but I learned in NaNoWriMo that those 15 minutes do add up over time.

That’s all I really have story-wise at the moment.

Oh yeah, and I have brought my Twitter Account to full “writer” feed now. I’ll only be posting writerly updates on it, so if you’re interested, follow me! It should be on the side of the page. 🙂

Now, I think I’ll leave you with something positive to enjoy.

(For the record, I felt this song had a lot more potential as a music video than this, but I’m no music producer)

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Kanrethad Down!

Lyss before the banished Kanrethad!

Lyssinna Starfall before the banished Kanrethad Ebonlocke, Leader of the Black Harvest.

This one is just for the World of Warcraft people! After 50-60 attempts at this insanely difficult boss that requires an intimate knowledge of the warlock cast, I finally got him today at around 2:15PM. The reward? All of my red/orange fire spells are now green! It may seem like a small and silly thing, but it’s one of the most difficult fights I’ve ever done in WoW and I’m delighted to have finally defeated this guy. 🙂

Scrivener Experiments and Exceeding Word Counts

So my new challenge with this story for the OC Writer’s Anthology is to write the short story entirely in Scrivener. And I’m starting to adapt to the program. And I’m starting to see the worth in it. I think for my major stories, like Orion and Dreamscape, there could very well be some advantages to using it. The idea of having a central part for characters is wonderful, along with consistent information on settings and such.

I’ve realized that a lot of my writing habits have to do with format, margins, text and style of the page, rather than actual mechanics with the word processor. I still don’t like the fact that I can’t really use anything as effective as Word’s autocorrect, but having built-in word count goals (and word counts that are not limited to 100,000 words) is really nice.

The bad news? I’m already passed the maximum word count for “Beyond Waterfall.” The target was 3,000 words. At my request, the head of the program said the max is 4,250. I already hit 4,500 and I suspect I have another 1,000 words until completion.

The plan? Finish the story. If I can “compress” it, then I’ll compress it. But I tend to leave holes in stories rather than have sections that can be easily cut. The worst cast scenario is that I come up with something different. I still have a couple months until it’s done. And considering I’ve busted out a 4500 word short story in a few days, another one shouldn’t be too hard.

Maybe I should look at my other short stories and recognize the common elements that work so I don’t go so far over.

Nothing else really new here. We’ve decided to cut down on Caitlyn’s TV and add more play time. I’ve also decided to try and have more conversations and less “do this, don’t do that.” And I’ve started doing Old Raids with my Guild, Saga, in WoW again. I really missed doing these. We managed to down 10-Man Heroic Ragnaros & Al’kir too with the Feedback Achievement.

Anyway, that’s it for now. See you next week!

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

A Quick Hello

I’m a bit pressed for time, but since I couldn’t make my Sunday deadline, I wanted to still do one this week.

I had a really good time at the other Apple Store. The commute was great and the people were just fantastic. I felt totally welcomed and was very happy with the entire thing. I was sad to leave, but it’s not permanent. Not yet anyway. I’m hoping I can work something out, but I’m going to continue doing my best.

My experiment by doing all of the coming short story in Scrivener is going well. I’m finally starting to adapt to the program. I like the Compose mode where I have nothing on the screen but the notes I want and the main document. It’s working well for me.

I did have to ask for a word count extension though. I just can’t seem to write anything short! The goal was about 3,000 words, but I’m already at 2,500 and I’m about halfway through (I think). But I think I can end it by 4,000. As long as I don’t get distracted within the story. But so far, I’m pretty happy with it.

And that’s about it! Let’s see…I’m excited about the new 5.3 Patch landing today in WoW. Really excited about that. And I was looking into the Xbox One a bit. Disappointed about the lack of backwards compatibility, but I think there’s a lot of potential there. I won’t be a day-one adopter, but I rarely am for consoles.

The only other thing is that I’ve started listening to Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. Fantastic so far, though I’m not the biggest fan of Michael Kramer’s audiobook voice. But he’s making it sound more raspy than he used for the Wheel of Time series and he doesn’t sound so blasted bored, so that’s helping.

Okay, time’s up!

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Lost in Space

Excuse me if I’m a little loopy at the moment. I recently had a change in the generic brands of one of my medications and I think my body is having trouble adapting to it. It’s not going well. But I know I’ve been letting this slide, so let’s at least get a few things going.

Camp NaNoWriMo

First, I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo for April. So far, I’m about 5,200 words in. I’m actually behind in my word count. It didn’t help that I had a screwy schedule today and I feel so loopy it makes a bowl of spaghetti look like lincoln logs in comparison. (What? It makes sense! Shut up!)

I’m working on Stormhaven. Once upon a time, Stormhaven was going to be a webcomic project I was going to do with Laura as my artist. It didn’t pan out. We only got the first 2-3 panels done before she decided she didn’t have the time (or interest, to be honest) to commit to this on an ongoing basis. That was back in 2006, if you can believe it.

Here’s a teaser synopsis:

It was just a prank. And no one was permanently injured. But Magical Justice got involved and now Daniel Makkus, Jr. is stuck in some backwater town called Stormhaven with an old washed-out warlock as a teacher. There’s only one problem: he’s been in the school for less than a day before his magic goes nuts. And why on earth is everyone in this school acting crazy?

A rebellious magic-wielding teenager…
A crotchety retired warlock…
A tomboy with a secret…
And a (mostly) normal guy…

Stormhaven: It used to be such a quiet place.

Anyway, it was in desperate need of cleaning up. A lot of that is because I wrote it as a rough draft to create a webcomic from instead of it being an actual story. I would someday like to see a comic version of the story, but I’d like the story to be okay first.

Other Bits and Bobs

Let’s see, had my 8 year anniversary a couple weeks ago. We did Aquarium of the Pacific with Caitlyn and then did Cheesecake Factory together. It was pretty mild compared to our usual assortment of things, but having Caitlyn definitely complicates matters a lot. But the night before that we had take-out Olive Garden and watched the UK Version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The last time we had take-out Olive Garden was our rehearsal dinner, so it was exactly 8 years to the day. 🙂 Cool, eh?

Easter was a blast too. We had a lot of fun with Caitlyn, who did her very first Easter Egg hunt in my dad’s backyard. It was cute to see her shake the little eggs twice every time before dropping them in the basket.

Things

Nothing else to really report. I’ve discovered pet battles in WoW and I’ve enjoyed leveling through that. It’s something different than the usual assortment of quests I’ve done a dozen or so times. Work’s been pretty okay. There’s been some messed up stuff around me, like the son of my pastor passing away and my friend’s friend getting in a horrible car accident.

But to end on a good note, I now have a 27″ iMac, the brand new model. And it’s stunning. I love that darn thing, which I’ve christened “Odyssey.” I name all my computers after starships. My first Mac was “Enterprise.” My old gaming PC was named “Cosmos.” Mac Mini: White Star (it’s now my media center). Laura’s iMac is “Excalibur.” Finally, my workhorse of a MacBook Pro is named “Normandy.”

I feel a little better having written this, something to knock off the list. And now?

Now it’s probably time to go back to work.

Good luck and have fun!

-rks