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This is Halloween


My awesome niece will be going around as Supergirl. Since she's too young for candy, she will be collecting for UNICEF, thus still working the whole superhero angle...



That's a Superman itty-bitty in the can. Incidentally, for a couple years there, I dressed up in a Starfleet uniform and took my sister trick-or-treating while I collected for UNICEF.

But yes, my niece is awesome. Expect more pictures on November 1.

Now, a staple of Halloween is ZOMBIES! Learn how to deal with Zombies by watching this educational video about Zombie University.


Followed by a seasonal message from Zombie!


Then we have the quintessential Halloween video, with some dancing and music that is part of our cultural history.


Last, and hopefully not least, is the annual, seasonal, re-release of my short story, based on actual events...

Zombies at Dunkin' Donuts (pdf)

And if you liked that story, feel free to leave a tip by way of a donation to help Rocky, Riffy, and Minerva get their annual shots and diabetic care and so on.

On a related note... HAPPY BIRFDAY ROCKY AND MINERVA!!! And though it's not Riffy's birfday, it was late October, 11 years ago, that I almost hit him with the car on my way to class, was a sucker for hard luck cases, tossed him in the car, skipped class, and thus adopted him. So, all three furkids have some sort of Halloween attachment.

I hope you all enjoyed this seasonal post. Happy Halloween!

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Alas, it is the end of another calendar year. A universal measuring stick. I've been somewhat contemplative the past few days, and I have also realized that I do this on the annual day I celebrate my birth onto this ball that circles the sun.

In reality, I guess we're all constantly self-evaluating and self-improving. Even if it's evaluating how much of an asshole we've been in the past year and how much more of an asshole we can be in the next year. Eh, it's all good.

As for me... I just set goals and such. Reading goals, writing goals, financial goals, project goals... A year ago, I was hoping to have a sellable novel by this point. Well, instead, I have improved my writing a little, and I'm giving serious thought to looking up some markets and seeing if I can sell "Christmas Spirit" to a magazine or anthology for Christmas 2014. Not quite was I was originally angling for, but, hey, it's a start. I at least have enough confidence in it to make the effort.

Tonight will likely be a quiet night. My sister and brother-in-law are over for dinner. I have an invite to a party later on, but, I'm not feeling entirely social, so, I think I'm going to skip out on it this year. I can't see feeling lonely out in public when I can be lonely at home, so, yeah. Maybe I'll get a little more reading done.

Speaking of reading...

Here's what I read in 2013... )

Comics )
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Alas, it is Caturday. I have had a productive day. I got most of the housework done. Things like cat boxes and bird cages and whatnot. I'm sitting here realizing that I've only got five days left of my break. It doesn't seem like long enough. At the same time, I was actually glad to have some stuff to do today. It gave my day a little more structure than what I've had the past few days.

That's the thing with this big Christmas/New Years break - The first half of it is so busy with last-minute Christmas prep, and then...nothing. I had hoped this would give me some extra time for reading and writing, but I was so exhausted from...everything...afterwards that I just plain didn't have the mental energy needed for jumping into writing. I'm just about back to my normal level of reading, though.

I'm working on closing out files for 2013 and starting files for 2014. I sincerely hope 2014 is a better year. Granted, 2013 was off to a rough start, largely with the problems at work and with the car needing a transmission overhaul. And no one's said boo to me at work since March, and the car is doing well with new tires and the new blower motor. In 2014, I need to get the windshield replaced, and then it'll be due for inspection at the end of the summer. Joy. Between now and then, I'm hoping to maybe at least patch the hole with something. Doct tape, maybe. And continue to use that rust inhibitor and maybe get some spray-on car paint to deal with some of the worst rust blemishes and see if that doesn't improve the appearance enough that the State inspectors won't actively try to fail it again this year.

Financially, I'm about where I was a year ago. Maybe a little bit better, since what I still owe Gary for the tires is less than what I owed him for the engine at this point a year ago. The only other roblem with the car I see in the immediate future is needing to replace the power window motors. The one on the passenger side has been dead for over a year, but I don't think I need it to pass inspection. The one on the driver's side still works, and I need it to work in general, what with needing to put it up and down every time I park my car in the garage on campus. Fortunately, it's only a $200-$300 repair, if need be.

I'm also hoping to be able to see my optmetrist and get contact lenses again.

Oh, and I'll still need to get money set aside for Minerva and her $600 dental work that she needs.

In other news... I've noticed my sleep has been better this break. Usually, I fall into a habit of staying up until 4 or 5 in the morning during the break and sleeping in until noon. This year, I've been waking up around nine or so and going to bed at my "normal" time. I'm thinking the androderm patches are having some luck in regulating my sleep/wake cycle a bit better. My energy is a little better, though my back is still giving me problems. I'm not devouring Christmas cookies like I was at the beginning of the break. I don't think I've gained more than a pound. With the energy level being a little better, I'm getting antsy. Thing is, I have so many little, organizational projects, my biggest problem is picking a place to start and just...starting. I'm not yet freaking out over the fact that my break is more than half over, but, depending on what I get done in the next day or so will determine how much I freak out on Wednesday.

I'm also trying to finish up a few books before the end of the year. Especially Neal Stephenson's Anathem. I liked he beginning of it, and I'm liking the end of it. The middle kind of lost me in a few places, but things started making sense at the end. Next up is Reamde, by the same author. Stephenson tends to write near 1000 page tomes, and part of wanting to get through these books is the fact that they're heavy to carry around. I mean, I got Reamde about a month before I got my Kindle. Anything else he writes will go on the Kindle.

Did I mention how I wrote about 17k words from early October through mid-December? I...haven't written that much in a long, long time. But now, I need to work on outlines, which is maybe a little harder to measure than actually writing a story, since word count is useless (for me, anyway) and I'm looking more at how many scenes I map out. But I'm still fleshing out settings and such. I've also found some security in giving myself "permission" to sketch physical scenes, such as rooms, to help myself better visualize elements of a story. And then I'll go ahead and describe those scenes. Because I don't think any of you wants to be subjected to my drawing tragedies.

Looking ahead... I'm hoping I'll at least continue dancing regularly in 2014. Part of me is tempted to start taking lessons again as soon as I pay off Gary, but, responsibility sets in, and I'll likely use that money to pay off other debts and to save for any other emergencies. I'm hoping I can get into a routine or, maybe more accurately, a rhythm with regards to outlining/mapping stories.

Oh, and a big THANK YOU to everyone who actually took the time to read "Terminator:East" and "Christmas Spirit" and comment on them. Such commenting boosts my morale and encourages me to keep writing.

On a final note... I watched the Original Trek episode "Dagger of the Mind" today with Rocky and Yoda. It's about as close to a Star Trek Christmas episode as we get. And maybe I should be...concerned...that Rocky and Yoda had their own running commentary as we were watching it.

More later...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] mrs_tribble AND [profile] sophiabrat!!!



High-speed, low-budget post...

I have slept a LOT over the past two days. But then last night, I started getting some stuff done. Checking in comics and so on. This weekend is a "light" chore weekend, with only laundry and cat boxes and such to worry about. But I am hoping to at least get the outdoor lights up while we have some above-freezing temperatures during the day. I might run an errand or two this afternoon as well.

I have to say Thanksgiving was rather enjoyable this year. I ate way too much, though, despite efforts to pace myself. I've been surprisingly restrained with leftovers, though.

Yesterday was a day of errands. With the deposit of my paycheck, I paid several bills and then went to the vet to get another ampule of insulin for Rocky. Kid should have enough insulin and syringes to get us through Christmas and New Years.

I haven't done any writing since Tuesday. I'm hoping that I'll get some done tomorrow, if not tonight.

On the bright side, "Christmas Spirit" is up to 7170 words...



And, since I worked on "Star Wars: Escape" this month...



Actually, it may be closer to done than the meter shows. Unless I decide to combine the second story idea into the first story, which would be do-able.

Everything else still needs some serious outlining.

And then the reading update... )
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Anyway, more later...
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] unsilenceddream, [profile] drewshi, AND [personal profile] seanan_mcguire!!!



So...life has smacked me upside the head. A little. First off, not going to dance tonight. The anemia stuff has me feeling a little drained, and the morning ended up being busy. So, I'm going to pace myself. As for the morning's busyness? Well, I went to check the fluids and such on the car. I also noticed a front tire kind of low on air. So, I got to try out my new digital tire gage and such. Put air in the tire, thanks to Rich's air compressor, but, I discovered a few problems. First, there's a slice mark on that tire into a small area of tread. There's also a screw embedded in the tread. Lastly, the side walls are cracking. I noticed various degrees of cracking on the other tires. The result is that I will be replacing the tires sooner than later. I was hoping to hold out until the summer, but... Meh. The windshield might have to wait until after the tires. So, I need to do some budgeting this weekend and figure out how things are going to go the next few weeks. Or months. Or whatever.

Here and there, I'm still getting impressions or even admissions that people think I'm slumming here at home. It's annoying, but these days, it's annoying in that it means there's someone else I have to write off. At this point, if people don't know my situation, know what I've done for my family, and so on, then they don't deserve to be in my life. Indeed, they're already out of it to be so clueless. The Cliffsnotes version, for anyone needing to be brought up to speed, is that I helped out my mother after my father died. I put my family first and helped pay the bills, mortgage, and so on when the place where Mom worked kicked her to the curb. It was only two years ago that she found a permanent job that paid her more than half of what she was making before. She's still getting on her feet financially. On top of that, before she had the hip replacement (almost three years ago), there wasn't a whole lot she could do around the house, and I couldn't see having to take care of my own place and be over here 2-3 times a week to take care of this place for her.

Why am I still here? Well, before Mom had the hip surgery and before she got her current job, I sacrificed my own credit to keep a roof over our heads, up to and including buying her a car when her Sebring died. She no sooner got her new job that the engine in my car went, and it was cheaper to replace it than get a new car, or, another used car with likely the same or more problems than what Cammie has. Given that my credit was shot, there was no way I'd get approved for anything "new" or even comparably equipped to what I have now. What I'm restoring now. Now, I'm still paying off the engine, since there have been other issues that have come up, like all the dental work I needed that wasn't covered, other medical stuff not covered (such as co-pays), needing a new motherboard and chipset when the furkids knocked a glass of iced tea onto my computer, and then all the vet stuff this past year with TomTom and YoYo and Rocky. I'm surprised I had anything left for Christmas gifts.

I'm not here because I'm lazy or mooching or can't function on my own or anything else. I'm here because I'm, if anything, more responsible than most and have a high value on my immediate family.

Will I be here forever? Probably not. I'm here for the next few years at least, since it's going to take some time to dig myself out of debt and save up enough for my own place. I can't see getting an apartment or somesuch where I can't have pets or don't have enough room for all my books and such. I would like my own place someday, but for right now, where I am works. I can continue to help Mom and Rich out, dig myself out of debt, and have some significant freedom for my cats.

Anyone who doesn't know this by now or who still thinks I'm slumming it...can go take a long walk off a short pier.

In other news... I didn't get any writing done yesterday. I instead had that annoying voice that says I'll never be published, that I don't have what it takes to be an author. So, instead of getting any writing done, I was instead busy gagging that bitch and kicking her off a cliff. Would I be able to write full-time? Don't know. Not any time soon, that's for sure. I'd need to get established first. And I need the medical benefits from my current day job. But, if I'm successful at writing, then early retirement is a definite option...

Just some stuff bouncing around in my head. That, and... I'm going to (finally) use some of my medical time on the 14th for a trip to the dentist. I'm debating taking the whole day and maybe getting in to see the family doc to get the ball rolling on this anemia thing. Sadly, I shouldn't have to even think about this; I should be able to put my health first. It's times like this that I wish I had ignored a LOT of people in the past and actually focused on my writing a lot sooner...

Comics )
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Happy New Year, Everyone!

So, here we are, at the obligatory January 1, New Year's Day post where we gush about all the wonderful and amazing things we're going to do this year before Life smacks some reality upside our head...

Oops... That was a little cynical, wasn't it?

Seriously, folks, 2013 will be a great year not if I win the lotto or find love or even get a job offer from Ron Jeremy to be his replacement. It will be a good year, nay, a great year if, simply, no major disasters happen! No engines dying or computers exploding or major illnesses or pet losses or pet illnesses or job losses or accidents or house damage or mafia hits or wormholes or Cybermen or zombie outbreaks or warp core breaches or Cthulu sightings or Zuul-infested refrigerators or alien invasions or machine (Terminator, Cylon) uprisings or apocalypse predictions...

Anyway, I'm still planning on going dancing this weekend. I plan to make my "writing tracker" file where I can see how often I'm writing, how much I'm writing, and help me start setting daily word goals. I will continue to read quite a lot, continue to blog and, hopefully, by the end of the year, I will have at least noticeably, if not significantly, less debt than I have now.

In the meantime...Books I read in 2012! )

Comics )
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Damn, only two more days of the holiday break. I had hoped for a few days where I'd wake up around 8 or 9, get breakfast, then work on writing until 2 or 3, then read for a bit, then maybe a little more writing, then gaming. Unfortunately, the break turned out to be a little busier than I anticipated with house stuff and errands. And sleep.

I'm almost done John Scalzi's Redshirts: A Novel With Three Codas. I've been highly amused by the main narrative, and I still have two codas to go. After I read the main narrative, I was ready to make a vow to not kill any characters in my novels, and I'm glad I read that first coda before making any such vow. That first coda also has given me a lot to think about with regards to writing in general, as well as writer's block and so on. I need to stop being so lazy and start pushing myself.

Tying some things together... I think I may be anemic. I mean, since September, I've been denied at the blood bank for my hemoglobin being too low. And my energy level has been down, too. Hence the extra sleeping over the break. And having a hard time getting myself motivated to work on stuff around the house, and even writing. Now, given my esophageal issues and GERD, there's a link there with anemia in that nutrients aren't being properly absorbed into my body. And then there's the Nexium, which may be hitting my bones and affecting my marrow in that red blood cells aren't being manufactured in the right numbers or in the right way. Lastly, there's an infinitesimal chance that kidney stone back at the beginning of the year did something to my kidney and my erythropoietin is down. Yeah, I kind of doubt that last one. Now, since work is kind of shitty about allowing me to use time I've earned, and since I have a backlog of things to take care of as a result, it may be February or March before I go to the doctor to get this addressed. In the meantime, I'm taking B-complex vitamin supplements and switching to a Flintstones chewables vitamin with iron for my multi-vitamin.

In any event, I'm hoping this is something that can be addressed with vitamin supplements and not require shots or anything. Still, I'm...annoyed. First, there was the whole sleep apnea and sleep disorder thing, and now this. I'm tired of this damn meat sack conspiring against me to where I'm just existing instead of living. Anyway, we'll see. Oh, and all this might be a significant contributor to the whole weight-loss thing. If my body's having a hard time absorbing nutrients from food, this might explain extra hunger and such, and might explain metabolic issues causing me to store fat instead of burning it.

But, I am determined to, eventually, get this all figured out and dealt with. Who knows? Maybe by March, the vitamins and such will have given me the boost I need, and the trip to the doctor will just result in some tests to make sure there's not some underlying major thing going on and I'll already be bouncing back by then.

In sucktacular news, Trek author and comic book writer Peter David had a stroke. Please keep him and his family in your prayers or thoughts.

Comics )
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Yeah, I kept the blog "dark" in support of protests for SOPA and censorship.

I mean, seriously, can we really prevent widespread piracy? Or content-sharing? What would be next? Having to pay a fee and apply for permission to sing "Happy Birthday"? Being fined for quoting movies? As is, I'm kind of surprised the RIAA hasn't shut down karaoke bars. I mean, they've damn near come close to shutting down gyms and dance studios. I never advertised myself as a DJ for hire because technically I can't just go somewhere and play music without risking getting into a hell of a lot of trouble. I can do so at TTL and such because they're already raped up the ass without lube charged exorbitant fees to...provide music for us dancers to, you know, dance to.

And in another venue, something SOPA could put a crushing end to is fan fic. (Yes, SOPA could end far more things than fan fic, but, I'm going with more personal things to kind of narrow down my example machine.) Okay, so, those of us writing fan fic could still do so and just not share it on the internet. But there are whole groups who write and read each others' fan fic, and this has been greatly facilitated, and would then be greatly crippled, by SOPA.

Hell, even here on LJ and DW, how many icon groups are there? And why do we use a pop cult icon with a witty saying? Because it expresses something we're feeling or want to share. Fan vids, fan fic, icons, LOL cats, movie quotes, music lyrics, karaoke... They are all artistic manifestations of the human need to express. Indeed, it also emphasizes the importance of and need for art in general in society.

Dorkgasm has this post about sharing leading to interest. I share this link because, well, it's relevant. In fact, it even mentions Nine Inch Nails, which I became interested in after seeing a BSG fan vid with Baltar and Six. There have been several songs and bands I became interested in after seeing a fan vid set to their music.

Geeks are Sexy has a wonderfully comprehensive vid about PIPA and SOPA and the threat they present.

And then there's this cute parody...



In other news, The Mary Sue has an article about George Lucas retiring as a filmmaker. Well, he'll still do smaller projects. My take? Yes, I wish he'd stop screwing around with the original trilogy. Some of the improved effects were cool, but most? I don't think they're an improvement. If they could release a DVD or Blu-Ray where at the menu, you can select which version of effects and added or redone scenes you want, and create your own version, I'd be all over that. For example, in A New Hope, I'd have the scene with Jabba the Hutt, have the dewbacks, but have Han Shot First.

Unlike so many others, I don't think the prequel movies were an abomination. I liked Jango Fett, Qui Gon, and Mace Windu. Granted, this was more in the novelizations of the prequel trilogy, but Palpatine's rise to power, eroding of civil liberties in the name of security, and seducing Anakin to the Dark Side is actually pretty deep and has scores of social commentary on current events. Lucas' flaw, in my own opinion, is that he's a perfectionist and he's got enough clout to give in to his own version of OCD. I can criticize only so much because I have experienced this with my own writing. It's hard, but you have to know when something is done and learn to walk away from it, and still love it in spite of all the flaws you may see.

On a tangent to that, I have to tip my hat to so many authors... Michael Martin and Andy Mangels, James Luceno, Kirsten Beyer, David Mack, Dayton Ward, Geoffrey Thorne, Peter David, J.M. Dillard, Vonda McIntyre, and many more, who have either written novelizations of movies or used (shitty) material from movies of certain franchises and used them for compelling storytelling. I mean, Nemesis sucked, but the Titan novels and the Destiny trilogy and the Typhon Pact books have used Data's death, Romulan politics, and the Next Gen crew going their separate ways to launch some superb storytelling including some serious thought and visceral scenes. Joel Schumacker created the travesty of Batman Forever, but Peter David's novelization of that film thoroughly redeemed that story. Oh, and he did the same thing for Fantastic 4.

And I still say Ward and Dilmore and Mack have created a far more interesting Original Series-era saga with Vanguard than what J.J. Abrams could ever hope to achieve with his Trek reboot. If done right, the movie version of Vanguard would easily blow the Trek reboot out of the water. Unfortunately, the track record of making books into movies is not all that great. I mean, hell, Asimov's The End of Eternity was, actually, an excellent story as well as a compelling argument as to why we shouldn't let our space program stagnate, not to mention a very good twist on the old story of needing to take risks in order to achieve great things, but I'd be hard pressed to come up with a director and actors to do the book justice.

Moving along...

Yes, this post is in the clear. I figure that with the whole censorship thing, I should make this one available to the masses.

Anyway, took Mom to get her pain shots today. She's okay now, but the procedure took more than twice as long as usual.

TomTom does this caterwauling thing, usually at about this time of the night. Well this afternoon, he did it right behind me, and I actually got to watch him. I had always wondered why he did it... Vocalizing his status as the alpha? Mourning the missing people? In pain? Well, when I finally saw him, his face and stance was what I've observed of people when they're singing karaoke. In short, I have a cat who sings.

I think Tom's going to need the same thyroid surgery as YoYo. Fortunately, it's not critical at this juncture, which gives me time to save up money for it. The vet said they're okay as long as they get enough to eat. YoYo is kind of sedate, but TomTom was chasing me through the house when I was taking care of the cat boxes earlier. Not bad for a 15-year-old fuzzball. I think he yells at the birds - and kids - to get the frack off the lawn when we're not home...

Wednesday's Comics )
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It's been a busy yet productive day. Amazingly, I managed to get everything done I needed to get done. Lunches are ready for this week, cat boxes and bird cages are cleaned out, laundry is done, bed sheets are changed, and the house has been vacuumed! Plus, I got some more reading done.

Anyway, I've bought myself some time this week now to try to get some writing done. Ann Crispin posted a link on Facebook to her blogspot post on writing productivity. Now, as every writer has their own style, Muse, and way to get that Muse to cooperate, I know that writing advice is just that: advice. Not law. Though knowing how I write and such, I think this advice might help me get back into writing regularly. Since I've gotten the house stuff caught up and have a few days where I really don't have much else to worry about after work, maybe I can jump start my writing a little.

In other news... I wonder if TomTom was hyper and decided to conquer one of his fears or if he's going senile. While I was vacuuming, there was one point where he ran up the steps, smacked the vacuum cleaner, then, realizing that it was still running and unaffected, he then had an, "Oh, shit! Need to get out of here now!" look and ran back down the steps.

Pictures of kitties )

Yes, they're all so miserable and mistreated. Spoiling them does that...
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Alas, it is time for the monthly reading and writing update. Sadly, there's still nothing measurable to show for writing. But for reading...

Cut for sanity )
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So, it's been a busy weekend, with a few more busy weekends coming up. This weekend was a slight water change on the fish tank and using my fish tank brush to tackle some of the algae. Specifically, the algae on the glass. Depending on how finances go over the next few weeks, I may go to the fish store and get some better algae eaters and maybe a few other fishies for variety.

Next weekend is vacuuming and washing the car, and the following weekend is opening the pool. Maybe. Depending on finances and subsequent procurement of necessary chemicals. Oh, and procurement of necessary 2 X 4 material to replace the steps leading to the upper pool deck.

I stopped at Pep Boys yesterday and got yet another window control switch for Cammie, as well as a funnel I hope is the right size for adding oil. While I was there, I checked prices on some other things, such as sand paper and body paint and rust inhibitor and such for my project of repairing or, more accurately, patching the hole on the passenger side and arresting the progress of rust over the rest of Cammie's body. Fortunately, that stuff isn't too expensive. I just need to root around the garage a bit and see what kind of drill tools I have with regards to the sand paper and whatnot. I also saw that they carry speaker wire, and another car project this summer is to replace the speaker wires. The stereo is good, the speakers are good, but the wires are falling apart. I figure it shouldn't be too hard to replace the wires... Just disconnect from the back of the stereo, tape new wire to the old wire, then go to the speaker and disconnect the wire and use the old wire to fish the new wire through the car.

But, hey, my fish tank looks more like a fish tank instead of a weird project by an unsocialized eccentric who has a fetish for algae...

Moving along, I've spent about 3 hours this weekend just reading articles from Cracked.com. I loved this one about hacking, though, the first page is screwy. Like the layout template isn't linked.

Though the one I found hysterical and at the same time tragic is the one on how Hollywood doesn't get technology. Hysterical, because I'm enough of a geek to at least know what GUI means. Tragic, because embedded within the article and especially pointed out in the last section is a big explanation why I can't get a decent date and why most people aren't worth my time. I tend to cringe whenever a pop show on ABC, NBC, or CBS attempts (and it's usually a piss-poor attempt at that) to explore some sort of sub-culture, be it nerds, trekkies, gamers, kinksters, steampunk, cat aficionados, hypochondriacs, and so on, as they usually show some sort of extreme case with someone who is maladjusted to begin with, and then thus profiles the maladjusted person as belonging to a group of maladjusted people. The lesson being given is that if you don't conform, you're not an individual, but rather a social reject capable of snapping at any moment.

Case in point: after Columbine, Goth kids were harassed, monitored, and given unwarranted counseling to make them normal, because the media portrayed Harris and Kleiborn as Goth kids who were bullied once too often. Other Goth kids (and as a caveat: I'm using Goth primarily because of the dark coloring, black trench coats and such that were "warning signs" of the time; many nerds and geeks suffered the same post-Columbine treatment as the Goths) were interviewed by reporters and psychologists looking for signs that these kids were traumatized ticking time bombs, and when the kids answered with, "Yeah, the jocks and cheerleaders harass us, but, we just plain don't care," well, that was unacceptable. The more these kids seemed normal, involved with community service, had plans for the future, and seemed better able to deal with stress, the more shit was made up to make these kids conform to what conformists expected to see. In short, the kids were fine, but the media, be it journalists or Hollywood, decided they couldn't handle that and both went the route of fiction.

Hence, why I don't watch much TV, and even less mainstream TV.

But that last bit, where Hollywood is obviously clueless about modern gaming (levels?)... And asking one guy (because everyone else is obviously well-adjusted and thus doesn't play video games) if he can play the game, and having him respond, "I live with my mother and have a Captain Kirk uniform in my closet" is just...insulting.

Hell, I live with my mother and I have a Captain Picard uniform in my... Oh dear...

In all seriousness, though, those of you who have been here for any length of time know that though I live with my mother, I'm not in the basement, and I also do a shit-ton around here because my mother is partially handicapped thanks to fibromyalgia and degenerative arthritis. In short, I'm here not because I'm maladjusted but because I have a sense of familial responsibility and responsibility in general. Granted, Mom's not an invalid, but it would be very difficult for her to be here by herself, and since I can use the extra space (compared to an apartment or townhouse), not to mention the pool, the driveway, and not having to worry about whether I can take the cats and birds with me, or which cats, and so on.

I hold down a decent job. I write in my spare time. And yes, it's science fiction stuff. And when I look at all the writers I am e-friends with, be they science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, or anything else, they are all well-adjusted people. Sometimes a little harder on themselves than they need to be. But most have families and kids. A good many have a day job as well to pay the bills. They're aware of what's going on outside of their house and around the world, and aren't afraid to comment on it. They're involved in their communities. In fact, they tend to do more to make the world a better place than most other people. (Maybe it's because we have better role models, and that in turn has made the aforementioned people role models as well...)

Thank you, Cracked.com, for pointing this shit out to help me better understand myself, the world around me, why I should value my geeky and nerdy sides, and why my cats are better than most people. Thanks to all of you writerly and creative types for being beacons of hope and making this world just a little more tolerable, if not out and out better, for the simple fact that you have the courage to be yourselves and speak out.

Conformity can kiss my hairy Italian ass!

Meanwhile, as I have been composing this entry, I've had the laptop running so it can download updates from the past week. TomTom at first seemed interested in what I was doing on the main computer, and I told him I was busy. He then decided if he couldn't use the main computer, he'd settle for the laptop, and then started petting the laptop's keyboard...

Anyway, to round out what has already turned out to be a too long, too ranty, and mayhaps too other-worldly entry, here are comics! )
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I'm putting this up and out in the clear... Does anyone have any good recommendations for software to draw/design starship stuff? I know there's that "Starship Builder" program, but, from what I've read, it's kind of limited. Specifically, I'm looking for something that will let me draw some basic pictures to include with my Challenger series, both of the exterior of the ship and maybe the interior as well. Something that could, perhaps, allow me to draw things like the stuff on the Ex Astris Scientia site, plus give an idea of what the bridge looks like and so on. Or at least to show the floor plans. Right now, I'm considering scanning in some of the stuff from my USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D blueprints and editing things, depending on how well my bottom-bargain-basement editing software that came with my digital camera works. I mean, I don't even know where to start, and I don't have a lot of money...

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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January 2015

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