As I've mentioned before, writing has always been "nice work if you can get it" for me. Well, I'm still working on trying to get that work.
I was using a Patreon, but after their fee-changing fiasco and some problems a friend of mine had with them, I'm re-thinking using their service. I have a couple other choices I'm looking into. Whatever I choose, you'll see it here first.
Another thing I'm working on is a store to sell my writings here, and also with Amazon. I don't know if that's a good idea, but leaving that just sitting around seemed dumb.
I'm lucky in that I have the skills and tools to put it together, but this is a lot of work. There is a surprising amount of infrastructure involved in even going with Amazon. Anyone who tells you how self-publishing is easier than traditional publishing is confused, I think.
I was in the middle of the local pub trivia weekly contest last night when the MC took a moment to let the room know that Stephen Hawking had died. Mercifully no one thought it was one of his more tasteless jokes. It quieted the room, and it took a few minutes for even this bunch of mostly drunken norms to get back into the game.
A lot of other people with far more credentials than I have plenty to say about his prodigious impact on the rest of the world. For myself, I can say that what he brought us was a rare ability to speak about very complex topics in a way that made it approachable, and understandable within the realm of the average person.
His life was been one long series of impossibilities, starting with even living it at all. But he did it - he lived, he had a family and a brilliant career pushing back the limits of our understanding.
I hope he's somewhere in the Hereafter getting the run-down on life, the universe, and everything.
Sorry. I had written a post that turned out awesome, and I realized that it should be an article on Gamerswithjobs, so I submitted it there. If they don't want it, I'll bring it back here.
The alternative was a long and pointed rant about an issue in medical care that's biting a friend of mine in the arse. I think we're all going to be happier of that stays on my side of the keyboard.
.... Ruler of all that is Under!
Little dogs are very very different than big dogs. I mean, I knew that with my head, but he's teaching me more and more every day.
He keeps bringing me socks from my son's old room. Terriers are bred to tunnel into things and hunt, and he's so much a terrier he's nearly incapacitated with it.
He ate a leash. Like literally ate about a foot out of a retractable leash. The guys at the pet store suggested I spray bitter apple on the new one. I tried it, and just the scent makes me wonder how many apple arses they rendered down to make that stuff. Just spraying it on was nasty. Hopefully he won't chew this one.
He also chases treats. I have some treats that he thinks are okay, but not all that much to write home about. But if you slide it across the floor so he can chase it down he's incredibly happy. If it goes under the couch, it's doubly awesome.
So he's been getting titles. I wonder how many he will have before we're done. ;)
I am SOOOOO sore, but triumphant. For I have finally managed to find the core of one of my strongest opponents - Seymour the rosebush.
Seymour's a beautiful white rugosa that the previous owners let run rampant all over the bottom corner of the front yard, eating everything in his path like his namesake. It was half again my height, and more than 20 feet around, and on a slumping slope just to make it real fun. Just trying to prune the prick (I hope you see what I did there) requires Kevlar gloves and denim armor, and even then you are bleeding for it. And the thing required deadheading four times a summer at the end of just about every branch to keep up with it's blossoming.
Now that Fire and I spent two hours digging deadwood, black berry vines, and two other plants that were placed way too close he's a proper dome shape, and sunlight can actually reach the ground. And even after all that he still had a surprise for us. We've discovered he was actually three separate bushes; I found the graft stump from when they were each bare-root bagged.
Now each one of those three bushes have enough room to grow properly. I'll add a few spreaders to give the live canes the proper spacing to grow out properly in all directions, and in a year I hope he will no longer be my arch nemesis. He's always going to be a jerk to deal with due to his teeth and claws and explosive growing habits, but I'd like to get him to at least frenemy status.
He has a sister I've named Bloody Mary due to her matching deadly armaments and sprays of gorgeous deep wine blossoms. She was a little easier to get under control, because she'd been mostly killed. So after last year's work to get rid of her deadwood and get her in line, she just needed a proper seasonal trim to put her on a good path to re-grow properly.
I also tangled with the two lignum vitae on the other side of the driveway, and Fire got in there with the loppers and fired the opening salvos for this summer's bitter territorial struggle with the blackberries coming out of the stormwater drainage pond and chunked up that big winter-killed branch from the tree in the back yard.
But this is just the first engagement of the summer. We will be victorious, and it will be gorgeous! Next battle: my puling, asthmatic excuse for a weedwhacker.
I've been a Battletech fan since we were fighting our battles across my best friend's kitchen table back in high school.
Now Harebrained Schemes (of Shadowrun fame) and Paradox Studios are going to bring a new, but old school installment of the series. We're back in the Successor States, and we're back to a turn-based battle system.
Been waiting for this one for a long time, and I'll be hitting this like the first of an angry god when it launches in April.
Steam preorder page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/637090/BATTLETECH/
I think I've finally gotten to where I can sort of talk about this.
Last Christmas Eve, I lost my dog Cleo. It was so quick. One day she fainted while running around and playing, and a frantic trip to the vet later I found that she had an invasive and extremely untreatable form of cancer.
She'd had it for a while, but there were no symptoms until something had gone wrong with the tumors in her heart while she was running around. A few days later it was clear it was also in her brain and starting to hurt her, and as a family we made the hard choice.
Since then, I'd weepily ended up looking at rescue websites but had thought to wait until Mother's Day to choose a new dog. I would have my job situation straightened out by then, and be in a good spot to make a choice. That's what my brain thought, anyway.
A couple weeks ago, I went on errands with my housemate and while we were at Petco getting some things for her dogs when this scruffy little mite from the adoption center came by for a walk with a volunteer, and I was struck by how quiet and personable he was. He was most emphatically not a little yapper. We ended up wandering back there anyways, because my housemate wanted to look at the cats, and well... let's just say after an hour or so of agonizing and logistics, the scruffy bit of fluff came home with me.
He's Yorkshire Terrier mixed with what we think is Chihuahua, and he's three years old. We named him Loki, because he's black but his big upright ears are framed in gold and he had a green collar on to seal the deal. Plus he's adopted. It really fits, too. Since he's gotten out of the Cone of Shame from being fixed and settled in he's shown himself to be a little trickster.
He's also shown me he's got the basic instinct to help me with my blood sugar twice now. We've got a lot of work to do in the public access training department. It's clear that up to now he's had nothing in the way of real training, and his owners let him get away with bloody murder. He's responded well so far, but it's a hard set of tasks. We'll see if he can do it.
But I can say that right now he's sleeping on my chest as I write this, and that in and of itself is a great start.
Final Fantasy XV just hit the PC. I wasn't too sure if I needed to buy it again, so I was holding off a bit. But I wasn't able to completely stay out of it. I just finished the playable demo Square put out on Steam, and I have thoughts.
Technically speaking, it's gorgeous. One thing Square has always been able to do is put lots of pretty pixels all in a row, and this game is no exception. Gameplay is just as clean. I had some initial fumbles due to my brain's training on the Playstation controllers from my playthroughs there, and there are things I'm still not certain aren't better done that way. But it all works properly.
That said, it's not without a price. Starting with an 18.7 gig download, and some serious system requirements. I'm not sure how close to the knees you'd have to hack the graphics settings down to run it on a marginal machine. The default worked well for me, but this machine has a fair amount of muscle.
It's got far more in it than I expected. It's not just an area or two. It includes all of Chapter 1, with a certain amount of the quests and hunts available. They're not all there, but the ones that are there are complete. The story included is rushed, of course, because so much had to be elided. But hey, all the "Entourage Simulator" parts were up and running. I got to fish, and Gladio got to setup the tent and camp, Ignis came up with several recipes and Prompto took a couple real winner pics. The end is a montage of the next several chapter cut scenes, but it doesn't give away too much.
Does it work as a demo? Well, it's made me want to go play the full game again, but they had me with the Playstation version. I can say if you're on the fence about it and prefer to play PC games, you could definitely do worse than invest the time in that demo download and see for yourself what you think.
(this was originally written before my younger daughter's wedding, but it looks like I may need to haul it out again for a new set of nuptials here at some point)
I knew this wedding planning thing was going to be a project, but there are some odd things that are catching me flat-footed. Outside of the expected Charlie Foxtrots of guest lists (aka "Uncle WHO!?") and how to decorate a late 70's chapel into something that isn't so hopelessly retro without just draping the entire thing in tulle until it looks like we're trying to make sure no one catches malaria at the ceremony, I've run into something new.
I'm writing a lot more lately (thank you Habitica) and I've submitted what I call a "Release Candidate" copy to my alpha readers. What that means is this is the best I think I can make it right now. If they approve it, it's ready to ship.
Now, the odds of them approving it as-is are low. I handed it off to some real Cimmerian Grammarians. That's what I want. Yes, this story is one I'm not all that invested in, that I'm doing first just so I can get the whole pipeline from my fingertips to a reader's hands/screen worked out. That doesn't mean I'm going to let it out there in bad shape. I want them to hit me with all kinds of notes and make sure it's the best it can be.