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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Catching Up

My but it has been busy!

Let's see.. got a new guitar, am going to swap all 3 pickups on it (Ibanez RG250DX) and replace the pickup switch.  The neck is INCREDIBLE and I love the body, but the electronics are lame.  Feh.

I'm going to sell the Ibanez six-string bass, as I barely play it, and will likely get a baritone guitar.  The Alesis Qx25 MIDI controller + my virtual instruments covers the bass sounds I need for my music, so it's not a loss of any kind.

Still not writing much.. not sure why. I'll have to figure it out and fix it!

Re-installing all my 3D content.  Sure, it's a hobby, but I find it enjoyable to make waked-out 3D scenes!  It satisfies the "movie maker" part of me, without costing as much.

I'm finally trying to get all my music on to m+ yAndroid tablet, so I can sell the ancient Dell (or give it away to a school or something).  I'll be getting a new laptop that's far newer/faster in the next 2 months, so I need room for it!  Plus, I want to be able to listen to my relaxation music at night while I sleep and the tablet would be perfect for that.

As to the foot, it's healing along nicely.  I'm still stuck in the stupid medical protective shoe, and will be on a cane for who knows how long, but Things Proceed Apace.

Thanksgiving was nice and I managed to not get too sick of turkey.  Next up are the year-end holidays, maybe I'll try cooking a ham!  It's worth a shot.  I'll be off a few days around Xmas and New Years so I hope to do some nice cooking.

I think that covers it all! Back to work for me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ugh, argh, blech

Been crazy busy, with physical therapy, wound care, the guitar and bass, a new MIDI keyboard, almost becoming a DJ, then having all kinds of weird blood-glucose-related mood issues.  Np fun at all!

Things are kind of getting back on track.  I've re-installed Poser Pro 2010, started in in re-installing my content, working on setting the bass up (action is too high), gave up trying to be a DJ because of the mood issues, writing music, NOT writing novels (argh argh), and NOW getting a nasty cold.  Ugh, blech!

Regardless, things DO proceed apace.  I've cut back on chat a lot and am spending that time working on 3D art, music, and book research.  Work is kind of slow right now as we move into the holiday season so soon I'll be writing during lunch!  Finally!

Tonight it's cold care and downloading the two games I own via Steam: Call of Cthulhu, and Dungeon Siege III.  Eventually I'll get Skyrim, because I want to FUS RO DAH!  Fun fun fun!

Finally blogged so now I can go to bed, h!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The office IT department dates dead goats!

Well, our holier-than-thou IT department at my day gig haw cut off access to ALL Blogger blogs, period.  Most Wordpress blogs are gone and I suspect by tomorrow all blog access will be cut off.

This isn't a huge deal for me, and it doesn't matter too much because I'm already looking for a contract elsewhere, but.. so much for hitting my various tech and engineering blogs, and certainly so much for updating in the middle of the day!

Not like I can't come home and blog merrily about how our IT department kisses dead, pustulent, necrotic goats.. but I suppose they don't want to have to read about it!

Anyway, the job hunt begins.  I do wish people would read my resume' and stop assuming that because I mention C# that I've done it for years when I clearly state I've only been at it for six months!Or see the ONE job, eight years ago where I used Java and send me Java senior developer "urgent need" emails. It wastes my time.

Writing proceeds apace.  I've almost caught up reading "Dead Ringer" and I recall where I was heading, and I found my plot notes!  Hoo-freaking-ray!  Real hardcore scrivening to proceed soon.

Texas Book Festival this weekend, and unless it's pouring rain I'm going.  Might not hit any of the sessions as that's a lot of walking on a healing foot, but the authors tents and live music will definitely get visits.

Music front: I spent about an hour just sitting with my Strat, a drum track, and the RP355 and came out grinning.  I'm going to go minimal for now, just get a drum machine I can program and run that into the aux in on th RP, then record LiVE as I play straight to stereo tracks.  If I mess up I go back and play it again!  So hopefully soon you'll hear some bass/drum and guitar/drum tracks.

Cramming on Android and HTML5, maybe I can crank out a decent game and get rich!  Or famous! Or make pizza money!  If nothing else it'll make for a fun website and nice portfolio pieces.  I just need to get a lloonnnggg USB cable to go from my Android tablet to the charger.. and get a Nexus tablet.  That will come out of next weeks paycheck.

Health: tired today from physical therapy and wound care.  It looks like I'm going to need a cane for YEARS, my body refuses to figure out it has toes missing and keeps trying to put weight where there isn't anything to hold it  yikes!  Th wound itself is healing well, though - the nurse is pleased, and I got compliments on how well I treat the wound.  Well, I want to stop going to PT as soon as possible dang it!

Ok, back to reading, writing, chasing down a good/affordable drum machine, looking at 25 key controller keyboards for doing cinematic/soundscape stuff to sell on Amazon, and.. meh.. laundry.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chugging Along Happily!

Ah, a night filled with odd but meaningless dreams.  I'm OK with that.

Spent some time last night extricating myself from DJ duties and now I'm re-reading "Dead Ringer" to figure out where I was taking it.  I've started planning out studio work, and am s l o w l y sneaking my way back into game development on both Android and HTML5/WebGL.  I figure.. can't hurt to dabble in my old favorite field of development!

Given the massive amount of music I've grabbed I'm going to set up "mood" playlists for myself.. this is something I've heard that the author Holly Lisle does and it seems like a good idea.  This will work to provide a nice soundtrack to both writing AND programming!

I finally ordered a camera tripod from Amazon so I can get some pics of me with my guitars for my Website and my authors websites.  Urgh, well, it's overdue!  Also grabbed a book on HTML5 game development to compliment my book on the HTML5 Canvas.  If the whole embedded systems thing dies, I'll go into application development and game development!

I need a MIDI controller to run my soft synths.  Right now, I've deleted everything except Alchemy, which should be fine as it covers every soundtrack/ambient base I could imagine.  There are some settings on the RP355 perfect for ambient guitar pieces, which gives me another approach to take to my music if I don't want to blast out metal.  Bass will work well there, too - Patruck O'Hearn, anyone?

Back to cramming cod e into 1K of space on this lame MCU.  What a headache!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My, but I am slow and stupid!

There's a very good reason i say that.

Let's say you know this person, call him Q.  He's a pretty nice fellow, appears talented, but for some reason he seems to have lost his focus, and he even seems to be aware of it but uncaring.

This person quits something they've done since they were a teenager (and they're over 50 now), drops a very promising project they've spent a lot of time on for no obvious reason, and then stops going out and spends 90% of their time online, and then get involved in something that will remove the last bit of time they had for an offline life.

You'd wonder what in hell happened to this person.  You might even wonder if they should seek some outside help.  I know I would..

..and Q is me.

Yes, I stopped work on "Dead Ringer", in fact, all my writing has ground to a halt.  And sure, I bought a guitar and bass, but.. there they sit, maybe getting played once a week for a short while.  None of my projects have made any headway for a long time.

Oh and THEN I get involved with the DJ thing.  I already spent literally hours (and I mean I average 3 hours plus a NIGHT) in chat, and now I'm going to add an activity that will tack another 4-6 hours on top of that?

WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?

I've been having really weird dreams about writing and music and let me tell you they were NOT fun happy dreams.   The last 3 nights I've woken up shaking, stared at the ceiling wondering "wtf?" and thinking that going back to sleep was a bad idea. This had made me crankier and crankier until finally today I had to sit myself down and try to figure out what was happening, before I blew a gasket.

It all really comes down to letting myself get distracted from what I'm doing to wander aimlessly down garden paths leading nowhere that don't even provide a learning experience.  Maybe I'm afraid I'll fail, maybe I'm afraid I'll succeed.. I'm not sure.

But one thing I know is, the way I'm going now is not the way I want to BE going.

It's going to take time to recover from the long wander off the trail but I can do it!  Now off to write and play some music!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Busy Weekend

Well, much accomplished around the place so far.  New monitor installed and WOW! What a difference!  From 19 to 23 inches is a BIG leap, I'm running in 1900x1200 and there's more screen real estate than I've ever had - plenty of too for windows, IDE, browser  IM, the works.  Between this and the new mouse and keyboard it's like a new computer.

Much other work done - all my MP3s are renamed ad tagged for the DJ software, so I'm ready for the next step.  Hooray!  Now if I can stop buying more music.. heh.

The RP355 is wired into the laptop so I can record myself now.  I also rearranged everything (almost literally) in my room to optimize for DJing and music, so things are a lot easier to use.

I still need a second real system, but my Dell ultralight is plugged in again and I have my Android tablet hooked up and next to me on the computer station so I'm in decent shape no matter what happens (short of zombies, anyway).

Next up is focusing on getting the recording studio completed.  I need to experiment with Acid Pro and the RP355, to see if I can track in guitar over Acid-driven VSTi and loops.  If so, great! If not, it's standalne multitrack time.  Either way will work well.  All music will be brought into this machine for mastering, regardless.

Need.. more.. coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Friday, October 19, 2012

New computer.. urgh!

Well, Payday has come and I have just enough investment capital to get a mid-range Core i3 system.  Or a new guitar, or a new bass, or a multitrack recorder (lol)!

I need a new machine to handle software development tasks.  Since I'm going back into writing games (specifically for Android) I also need a machine capable of rendering out art assets in a reasonable amount of time without catching fire, which (alas) lets any laptop I can afford out.

So, in the interest of not buying a system that won't do everything I need, I'm going to buy a pile of parts from Newegg over the next few months and build a game development machine.  It'll be a high-end quad-core that will take up to 64GB of RAM, have a nigh-end Radeon video card, and a terabyte of internal HD. I have a DVD burner and a USB wireless card already, so I just need the primary components.  It'll sit on Port 2 of my KVM switch and should Do The Job(tm) short of me deciding to take on Pixar or Dreamworks (as if).  Total cost should b e around $850, which isn't bad for a screaming 2D/3D/software dev machine.

In the meantime, I'll install all my Android development tools on the i5 system and start learning there.  I can move up the acquisition of a Nexus tablet as well!

The 23in. Asus monitor is out for delivery and should be waiting for me when I get home!  I'll install that tonight, then over the weekend rearrange things so that the RP355 is wired into the i5 for audio recording, and the computer desk is optimized for long sitting sessions.

I'll still eventually need a multitrack, I suspect, for real-time audio recording.  But I need to experiment more with Acid Pro 7 and the RP before I make any investments.

Blech, back to work.  My foot feels wonky and I didn't sleep well, so I hope I don't end up writing more bugs than I fix today!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Got me in stitches!

But not fr long, their taking them out (the stitches) today so I can get on with healing.  About bloody time!

Yes, today is wound care/physical therapy day, oww.  A day to get lectured by the nurse about not walking, taking care of myself, keep the blood sugar down, all the things I've been doing for five weeks dang it!  Sheesh, I'm not some moron or rube.

That said, my Logitech illuminated keyboard and Razor Abyssos mouse arrived!  The keyboard is taking some getting used to, but the illumination is nice as I can turn lights off around the computer now and kill some of the glare.  The mouse.. well.. it's a Razor, what else is there to say?  Kicks butt, and has 3 glowing snakes on it.  There's no way t beat that!

And, according to UPS, my 23in monitor will arrive tomorrow so I can mothball this 19in one for now.  IT will *just* fit on the desk, it's going to be a near thing but I should still have room for a cup of something to drink (coffee, diet soda, water).

Last up on computer purchases will be a nice Core i3 system this weekend for software development.  It'll also act as my backup system so I won't worry about Scylla being a single point of failure. That should take care of all major purchases, a Nexus tablet will be next month.

Hey Md. DJ!  The job is never done, I'm hitting Amazon pretty regularly to get new music to add to my playlist - oldies and new stuff.  Mostly rock (my preference) and some older mellow tunes as well (for relaxing breaks lol).  Eventually I'll head downtown and hit Antones Records to sort through the lesser-known bands in search of Hot New Tunes(tm)  but that has to wait until my foot recovers from having the stitches ripped out.

Sigh.. back to drinking coffee and getting ready.  It's going to be going straight into work after the hospital visit,which I do NOT look forward to, but I need the money for rent, music, savings, computer gear, and oh yeah food and transportation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This is getting out of hand!

Ah, my first post-operation visit with the osteopath that did the amputation!  A long wait in the reception room, with a long wait in the examination room, with 10 minutes with the doc ending with "Here's an order to remove the stitches, see you in six weeks, gotta run".  This after he dug around in the wound with a scalpel and tweezers.

I can promise that the next person that digs around in my wound with a sharp object will die in as horrible a fashion as I can imagine, as slowly as I can make it happen.  When I'm not being stabbed on things heal and feel JUST DAMN FINE.

And sol this means another six weeks of stupid wound care and physical therapy.  I can see NO reason at this point for a weekly visit, the wound is healing fine according to everyone and I'm walking as well as can be expected, so.. why?  The wound nurse tells me I do a good job keeping it clean and dressed, so why do I need to come in so often? This really bugs the neck out of me!!

Feh.

In other news: I think I'm coming to the end of my current contract, not because they want to get rid of me (yet) but because I'm running out of patience with my assignments.  For an embedded systems person I'm doing a crapload of UI and Windows 7 application development!  If I'm going to do UI/app work I want more money!  So, my target is to spend the next 2-1/2 months between now and the end of the year bringing things here to a nice closing point and banking about six months worth of expense money for the job search.

To support this, I'm going to stop buying big-ticket items once I replace my second laptop (which I've donated).  No second guitar or second bass, no multitrack, nothing until I get a fat stash in the bank.  I'll still spend money on music to DJ with, and Tribal.fm donations, but everything else goes into savings from November onward.

As to the replacement laptop, I'm just going to get a nice i3 box to handle software development work and to act as a backup in case the main system has issues (heaven forbid).  $500 should do the job, which means I should be able to pick it up this weekend.

For recording, the RP355 does stream audio into the PC via USB, so I can do basic tracing with Acid Pro and work from there.  No real need for anything else at this point, after some playing around over the weekend I've decided I'm happy with the pickups in the Strat and the bass and I'm going to leave what works the hell alone!

Oww.. nothing worse than when the painkillers wear off.  It's not a huge deal though, the pain is "annoying but not terrible" level so I can deal with it with aspirin.

Back t testing my own code (heh) and working on my exit plan!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pestiferous!

Despite it being Friday, and having some music money in my budget, I feel stressed!  I suppose it's all pretty obvious as to why, at least to me.

There are too many things I CAN do that I CAN'T force myself to do consistently.  Writing is a prime example.  When the fit hits, I can crank out the words as easily and naturally as breathing.. but when the Muse has abandoned me, it's dead.  Nothing comes out and trying to force it is hopeless.  At least with music I can practice chords and scales when I'm not feeling inspired, or listen to new tunes to see if I want to grab 'em for my DJing gig.

And I guess therein lies the rub.  There's no way I can force myself to write consistently enough to make a living out of it.  Whereas with music, at least I can sit down and play tunes FOR other people.. sure, I'm not going to get rich {(or make a penny at it) but it's ACTIVITY as opposed to staring at a blank page going "what now?"

So, for now, I'm going back to where I was before I got married (lol) - everything centered around music.  It's not going to pay the bills (that's what software engineering is for) but it'll help keep me sane and even when I feel craptastic, I can do SOMETHING.  And I can keep a variety of different music-based projects active so my mind doesn't fight me on the focus thing (ugh).

Anyway...

I've finished writing a nice piece of C# code that will auto-mass-rename my MP3 files, which will prep me for DJing on Tribal a LOT faster than renaming by hand.  I'm going to make it freely available on my Website once it's out of BETA, so maybe it'll help anyone else that needs their MP3s named in a specific way.  I'm studying up on DJing, and I think I have a decent chance of not blowing my first show (heh).  I'll be spending time this weekend testing the thing on my music collection at home, along with checking out new music to add to my library.

And I just can't get rid of this annoying urge for Churchs spicy fried chicken!  That means grabbing the portable insulated bag and making a Churchs run tomorrow.  I'll get a 10 or 12 piece so I can stop worrying about it  (lol)!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Owww! Or, physical therapy and wound care day.

Well, today is a mixed blessing.

It's Payday and now I have money for music gear and/or 3D stuff.  I have food and medical supply money as well.  And some left in the bank when all is said and done, which is a Warm Fuzzy Feeling(tm).

IT was also physical therapy/wound care day.  I got a nice lecture (rolling of eye) about walking TOO FAST, of all things, because it makes the wound open up when I do it and it'll take longer to heal.  Sigh, fine, I'll try to slow down.  Then wound care - OWW!  The nice lady decided things were looking good and it was time to change treatment modes, so she grabbed a scalpel and forceps and proceeded to clean out the wound, removing dead/useless tissue and snipping lots of bits and bobs off.  And now  have a VERY sore foot - no pain really (for once neuropathy is good) but just throb, throb, oww.  And no more silver iodide paper, now it's some weird powder and healing strips that are supposed to make the gaping rend in my flesh heal over.  Ok, fine.  I got a nice lesson on the new system and I'm set to take care of myself until next Thursday.

I'm desperately trying to NOT buy anything I don't need.  I  was considering a larger monitor, now I'm not so sure.  Definitely need a new keyboard, so I'm ordering one from Newegg.  Recording gear?  Uhhh., I have  laptop I'm not using that might work out fine.  3D? Likely need a machine dedicated to it.. if I get back into it.. 2D looks pretty good.  Urgh.

Plenty to consider OWW!  Dang foot twinges on occasion, probably angry at me for letting the doc dig around with a piece of sharp metal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hey Mr. DJ..

Well, I've been accepted to try out as a n online DJ for Tribal.fm!  This means a fair number of things happen, changing my time landscape a bit.

The main loser is my 2D/3D/sculpting time.  I need to listen to and find new music, come up with playlists, make custom show intros/breaks, and generally do DJ-like things.  This will take time so the bottom of my "things I'll do" list rolls off.  I'm going to mothball it all for now.

I'm going to subscribe to Billboard as well, to kind of keep up on what's new.  Now, I'm not a pop/rap kind of DJ and while I do have some pop songs that's not my focus - Tribal already has a DJ that keeps up on that end of things so I'll leave it to her.  I already had a monthly music budget, that gets a bit of an increase now.

Not much else going on.  Part of being a DJ is "tagging" all your MP3 files to match what the DJ software wants to see, there's a nice program that does this semi-automatedly but it's a pain for 4300+ files.. so I'm sitting down with C# and coding up a nice, automated system to handle the heavy lifting.  Once it's done I'm going to make it freely available on my Website for anyone else that could use its functionality.  Why do it by hand if I can write an app to do most of it for me?

Blech - chilly and damp today, and people coming to Austin for the Austin City Limits Festival (AC) are already showing up.  It's over this weekend so I'm going to hole up at home and do DJ-ish things, or work on some ambient guitar/bass tracks.  No real decision on how I'm going to handle recording, I do have a spare laptop I could use, but a Zoom R8/R16 would be more reliable as far as realtime audio recording.. urgh.  I need to experiment more.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just another Morbid Monday

Another day filled with pain, sore muscles, aspirin, heating pads, and Tiger Balm.

The back agony is definitely related to "digestive distress".  When the intestines fire up with cramping etc., my lower back just plain HURTS.  It radiates down both legs and causes the normally not-sore hurt left foot to twinge (oww) and makes it hard to walk.  Eventually things "move along" and I'm mostly pain-free for a while.

I need to figure out what's causing this.  I think I need to find a new primary care physician ASAP.  I do appear to be dehydrated all to Hell and gone, my skin on my arms looks like I'm 200 years old!  MORE WATER, yep, have to drink more water!  And cut back on gassy foods at night, that's no help at all.  Maybe less diet soda, I need to quit that anyway.

Lots of other piddly things going on.  I'm going to be DJing on Tribal FM (http://www.tribl.fm) eventually, I need to re-tag all 4500 songs I have to fir the format the DJ software wants - a LONG project!  I want to do a little every night once I get the format right.  Also played a lot of bass Sunday, very fun jamming with the drum machine on the RP355.  And the RP355 seems to work fine for six-string bass, so I'm happy there.  But now I want an 8-string bass!  Argh!

Still no writing.  It's real hard to write when you're going through waves of pain, it's difficult to concentrate, to say the least.  But I haven't given up!  Now that I have my heating pad and pain-stopping goodies, I should be able to make some progress.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

More Argh! Part Deux

I found myself on Craigslist looking at the "women for men" ads.  This kind of makes me a loser to start with, so I really don't have room to talk, but..

..why do people under 25 post ads?  I've seen some 19 year olds (supposedly) posting.. saying "I'm bored".. wow, jaded and bored at the beginning of life, in a college town, state capital, full of live music venues, bars, restaurants, theaters, parks.. dang.  I'm 53 and I am WAY not bored with Austin!

So I have to wonder.. what drives young people, who should have no trouble getting out to find anyone from a dinner buddy to a hookup for sex, to post on Craigslist?  My reality check just bounces, I can't imagine the circumstances that would produce so MANY of these types of posts.  Sure, 2 or 3 I can understand (non-socialized people looking for someone the best they can) but I'm talking 9-10 a DAY.  Dang!

I do see the expected older demographic, which makes sense to me (mature and not interested in the club/bar/etc. scene) - that's pretty much me.  The huge number of laundry-list posts is worrisome, as n "You MUST be: six feet or taller, have a good paying job, drive a nice car, be athletic, monogamous, willing to take me out at any time" thing - people - folks like that are MARRIED.  Cripes!

I mean, I think I'm too specific with "Must be a musician or in the creative arts" but that's a result of my experience - my longest, happiest relationships have been with super-creative folks.  But other than that, I'm flexible!  Har, I saw one "men for women" ad that looked like the guy opened a Penthouse and typed in the description of the centerfold!  Come on, get a LITTLE real  here!

On other topics: in modest pain lately due to backaches - probably related to "digestive issues".  However, one side-effect of the Amox-Clav is "muscle pain and weakness", you're supposed to stop taking it if you get that, so I'm halting the stuff for a couple of days until I see if I get better from stopping it - then it's a call to the doc.  Meh.  Well, worst case I can ask the physical therapist about the pain on Thursday.

Oh, I LOVE my bass!  I find myself playing it more than  my guitar, which is a surprise to me, but there it is.  I'm not quitting guitar, just shifting focus, I think.  Maybe  bass and keys?  I know this one nice lad that's a real good guitar player, I should lay down some tracks for her to jam out to.  Ah, collaboration!  And dang, I'm looking at eight-string basses.. yowch!  Well, beats strippers (lol)!

Meh, time to pack up for a trip to Walgreens, for pain pills, a heating pad, and some Tiger Balm.  Getting old sucks.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pain HURTS!

I know, that's a real "d'oh" title but up to yesterday things were going pretty well.

Overnight, my legs and lower back have decided to go on a rampage.  From my calves up to my lower hips, I'm getting cramping and pain - yesterday, bad enough to put me into the Vicodin for the whole day.  I ended up sleeping and limping around at home all day, zero productivity, zero useful anything done.  Lots of bitching and moaning, though!

I called the doc and he said it's to be expected - my left foot has lost a chunk of musculature, the offloading shoe (that's what the protective shoe is called) is screwing up my leg even-ness and balance, and my whole lower body is having to re-learn how to adjust where the weight is shifted as I walk.

He also recommended plain aspirin or Tylenol as the Vicodin really isn't helpful for this kind of pain in the long term, so last night I was on extra-strength over-the-counter painkiller, and today I'm on plain old coated aspirin.  It takes the edge off the pain when I walk and sit, but doesn't fuzz my brain up so much.

This is likely to last for some weeks, as well.  Once I'm off the protective shoe and into a custom-made shoe, it should slowly Go Away(tm), but until then it's going to be daily painkillers for me.  Which I hate, I hate taking drugs of any kind and now I'm on the Amo-Cavx, the glyburide/metformin, and some aspirin concoction (depends on how bad the pain is).  I feel like a lab experiment!

It takes 1/2 an hour for the painkiller to take effect.   That can feel like a very, very long time.

Argh, grocery shopping - I'm going to try to get all I need for the weekend today so I can stay off my foot all weekend (well, as much as possible).  I think cold cuts, cheese, beef, broccoli, cheese, hot links, and did I mention cheese?  And more damn aspirin, I guess - don't want to run out in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Physical Therapy, Bass Instincts

I knew I needed mental therapy (lol) but it appears that losing 2 toes qualifies me for physical therapy.

So, yesterday after my wound care nurse finished cleaning up and repacking my sharkbite (I can't help but think of it that way since it looks like one), I got to go up and down stairs, and back and forth down the hall, while being intently watched by several (probably bored) docs.  Up and down, back and forth, with and without shoes, and with and without cane.

Net result: I was told to use my cane on the WELL side, not the side with the amputation, as it helps better balance the weight when I'm walking.  It sounded bogus but based on my research it's a True Thing, so now I use my cane in my right hand.  Weird, but it seems to work!  So yesterday wasn't a total loss.

So, more PT next Thursday, then Oct. 15th. it's off to the osteopath for surgery follow-up.  The stitches seem to be coming loose so they want me to get looked at, but the doc has nothing earlier.  Oh well!  I trust my wound care nurse as much (if not ore) than the doc.

On guitar: I find myself liking bass playing more than guitar.  I DO like guitar, just not *quite* as much as a good jam session with the bass and drum machine.  Maybe I'm channeling Patrick O'Hearn?  He was my bass hero at one time, maybe it stuck with me.  So, I'm looking at 8-string basses now.. sigh.

I'll probably go ahead and swap the pickups in the Strat for Rio Grandes.  A nice BBQ Bucker in the bridge position, a Halfbreed in the mid, and a Tallboy in the neck position.  A good balance for rock and Texas blues.

Still no writing.  I was in real pain last night after PT so I took 2 vicodin, 1/2 an hour later I was out like a light!  This was at around 8:30PM and I slept through until almost 6:00AM for the first time in WEEKS.  I hope this doesn't become a habit, I hate drugging  myself up.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blech, work.

I am getting sick and tired of coding.

Maybe because I'm just plain old sick and tired.  I didn't sleep well over the weekend, this morning came too early, and my hurt foot has a dull ache and NOT where it was operated on.  Feh!

I need to get off my butt and get writing, even if it's just organizing notes and character bios.  There's no way I'm going to be 100% while I'm doped up on antibiotics, but I should be able to make some forward progress.  Right now I just stare at the monitor and feel faintly sick, yecch, which isn't good for productivity.

Hopefully when I get off the antibiotic things will improve a lot.  We'll have to see.  I'm sure a lot of it is not drinking enough water, I tend to grab-and-gulp and that's not good for my system.  Or my digestion!

Managed to jam a little this weekend, the Strat is a joy to play.  the Ibanez six-string bass is hard work BUT the tone is amazing and it's a decent workout for my hands.  I need one more guitar for metal and hard rock, then I should stop.  I need a multitrack recorder, I'm thinking a Zoom R24 with the drum machine.  Cheaper than a laptop!  And 24 tracks will be plenty.. I can keep both guitars and the bass plugged in at the same time.

Blech, stomach is killing me.  Tums time!

Friday, September 28, 2012

This place is CURSED!

I have finally come to the conclusion that my workplace is cursed.

First, one co-worker has a broken ankle that's not healing so he's in a huge high-teh cast thing and is on crutches.  Then, there's me with my toe amputation.  Last week a co-worker had shoulder surgery and he's in and out this week.  Finally, some poor woman on the factory floor broke a knee and she's on crutches for a couple of months.

I have NEVER worked anywhere that the injury level was this high before.  Not even huge companies.

Therefore, this place is cursed.  Plain and simple.  I'm going to have to get a dead chicken to wave to keep the evil away from my foot, I want to hang on to the rest of it!

Not much else happening.  I'm going to put "Dead Ringer" aside and start on Threshold, figuring that DR needs some fallow time and a complete rewrite.  I have most of my research for Threshold in order and can start writing the moment I feel like I'm not going to have some OTHER idiot disaster drop on me.

Meh, meh, meh.  Friday and I feel like crap.  I had my toes itch yesterday - the missing ones!  Very odd sensation.  I've read about it but obviously never had it happen.  Just weird, weird, weird.

Took my vicodin this morning for a dull ache in the foot.. dang!  Killed my productivity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

One toe, two toe, red toe..

GONE toes.

Well, my dang left foot got re-infected - apparently I wasn't really all healed up - and so I ended up back in the E.R., thence into the hospital, and surgery for the removal of my two smallest toes on my left foot.    It was a fast and easy operation, but.. oww!  And now I have "monster foot", not a pretty sight.

Regardless, I'm back at work.  I have a very high-tech shoe that protects the wound and keeps me from putting weight on it, so I'm happy as I can kind of get around on my own.  A 14-day supply of antibiotic (Amox-Clav 875mg) was $100!!!  Suckers must be made of fairy dust and ground unicorn horn!  Damn!  So now I'm close to broke AGAIN due to medical bills.

I should get 18 hours in this week, which is good enough to cover medical bills, food, and transportation.  Next week will be close to a full week and I should be back in the swing of things again.

Not much happening - 110% of my time is going to getting well.  Everything else is secondary right now.

Sigh.  Can't say I miss my traitor toes, but I was kind of fond of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to Work! Meh!

Despite feeling under he weather, I'm back at the office.  Urgh. Nose running, digestive system iffy, brain kind of semi-functional, but far from 100%.  Making progress despite it all, though - just slowly.

Coming in to the office definitely renews my motivation to write for a living!  I could be sitting at home in front of Scyla, working on a new novel/novella/series and sipping nice hot tea in a place where I can listen to music whilst I work {(IT cuts off all access to any kind of multimedia sources, including Web radio).  Not t mention my wheezing and hacking wouldn't bother my co-workers, and hot water is only 3ft away and not a couple of minutes walk to the other side of the freaking building.  And I could be in my pajamas!  Dang it all!

Well, having settled the issue of What I'm Doing To Stay Sane(tm), I can move on to focusing on just writing, reading, and playing music. I've always loved jazz/rock and blues, with some hard rock thrown in, so I'm going to focus my playing on rock and blues for now.  Otherwise, I'll be reading histories and mythologies, and writing fiction!  I feel like I should start a new project and work from there, but I have Clinging Guilt{(tm) about abandoning "Dead Ringer" just yet.  I should push myself just a little harder on it.

I'm also not going to stress about a portable writing or note-taking machine.  Bluntly, I  have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime, so I don't need to capture Every Precious Thought{(tm).. and I write a LOT better when I'm in my Cave.  When I go out, I'll go for the experience, maybe take my camera and/or field recorder, and not stress about anything.  I have plenty of stress in my life already!  My tablet is now my Kindke/Nook-alike and works quite well for that.  If I can get my MP3s on it, and get some earbuds, maybe I can bring my tunes into the office with me.  Take that, Nazi IT Department!

Apropos of nothing: I miss waffles.  Especially blueberry waffles, and peach cobbler.  And ice cream.  Sigh. Pecan pie!  Argh!  Well, I could survive a SMALL serving of any of the above with only a short-term major annoying spike in blood glucose, but I'd feel bad about eating it, almost (if not more) as bad as NOT eating it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Observations on Six String Bass and Guitar

Well, despite feeling like a camel trail in Saudi, I did do a little practice on the six-string bass and my Strat.  Owwww!  Thank heavens for Icy Hot!

The six-string bass is pretty amazing.  If I hang out on the bottom 4, I can get as low a tone as you could ever want, and be fairly quick and accurate.  Moving up to the top 2 give me a real "baritone" feel, I can do 2-note pairs and slide around and it doesn't produce the mud that chords on a 4-string do.  Very nice!

The wide neck is a challenge, especially if I'm playing low (as in F#/Gb) and I really need to reach to hit the notes in a blues scale (or Dorian mode).  It's a fair amount of work!  Not to mention trying to play for longer than 10 minutes at a time right now, I get mild finger cramps (fewer and fewer as time goes on), and my stupid BACK acts up! Again, Icy Hot to the rescue - takes the edge off.

Still,  I wouldn't gie up Shiva (the six-strbng bass) for anything! He's a PERFECT compliment to Shakti (heh).

And on the guitar front, I am speeding up pretty quickly.  I was practicing some blues riffs this evening and I started going faster and faster.. managed to hit the right string almost all of the times - and got carried away (red face here).  Yes, I shredded my fingertips bending the B and high E.. OWW!  But damn, I was doing so well!   I have some hope I can get back to where I was.. and maybe beyond!

Ugh blech, tired now.  I should probably have stopped after my bass session, but.. well.. no can do.  And tomorrow comes too darn early, 5:30AM again!  At least I can sleep until 7:30am on the weekends.. meh.

Ouchie!

Well, here it is Monday and I took the day off to rest and recover.

I can't beleive how much my legs hurt and how sore my muscles are!  I went back over things and based on my calculations I walked an average of 4 miles a day all last week,  while only drinking about 3 glasses of water a day - but 2-3 diet sodas and 3-4 cups of coffee.  No woner I feel like crap, I'm dehydrated all to Hell and gone!

Yeserday it all came to a head and I ended up spending almost the entire day in bed, either sleeping or continually drinking glass after glass of water.    I feel marginally better today, to add to it all I had some kind of stupid flu-like thing on Friday and that didn't help at all.  I figure: stay home and don't share this at the office!

Despite getting LESS rest duing my "vacation", much has been accomplished.  I have all the instruments I'm going to need that require me to physically check them out, I have the basics for jamming and practicing, and I know what I'm going to need to finish up the studio.  Past t his point I need a decent standalone multitrack recorder and a drum machine, that will set me up for performing and composing.  I've tried doing it on the laptop but there's a ton of latency and it's unstable, so I'll record into the multitrack then bring it into the laptop for mixing and finalization.

Lordy I'm tired. I ought to do some walking today but nothing extensive, maybe up to the Walgreens and the Japanese store and home. My shoulders are soaked with Icy Hot and that's likely how I'll spend the day, along with sucking down lots of water.  My skin is paper-dry and that's always a real bad sign for me, I'm too dry!  Well, easy but slow to fix.

Not a lot of writing done (sad face).  I've been focusing on getting the studio going, but now I'm at a "resting spot" while I save up  money, so I'll get back into scribbling.  At least typing only hurts a little (oww owwowwwwwwwww)!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dang it's HOT!

Yeah, welcome to Texas, I know.  I grew up in Dallas/Plano/Richardson so I know how it is.

BUT - walking homne 3/4 of a mile in the heat, carrying a pile of studio gear, is NOT fun!!  I did get my RP355, my strap, cable, guitar stand and (whew!) picks but D A Y U M the sun beat dowbn like a baseball bat and  I'm dead tired!  But THE GEAR is HERE!

I was going to check out some basses but by 1:30pm the Guitar Center was full of youngsters playing really bad alt-rock licks and I didn't feel like trying to drown 'em out.  I'll go tomorrow if I don't soend the money on something else!

Blood sugar was 128 when I left home, I ate yellow curry chicken with brown rice, and about 5 minutes ago my BG was 97!  Exercise WORKS.. even if it's painful.  Urgh.

I need to set up the guitar station but it's going to have to wait until I drop down to normal body temperature.  I'd KILL for some sugar-free ice cream!  I wonder if they make it?

Ugh, back to my diet Coke (ice cold) and slumping in my chair. Tttiirreeddd....

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mr. Sorefingers

Oh, yeah.  I kind of forgot about THIS part!

While my body remembers the scales and chords and my mind remembers the modes, and how I liked to play my blues/jazz music, one ting is  missing from the equation:  FINGER CALLOUSES.  And, dear friends, metal strings are HELL on soft flesh.

Now, before you go calling me an idiot (justifiably) for not stopping when it hurts, this is how it works: I start playing, and I warm up.  The blood flows, the passion flows, and I start jamming away.. the hours pass and I don't notice, I'm in that special place where musician and instrument become one.  If you don't play you won't understand, it's OK.

When you come down, THEN you feel it.  My body tells me "Ok dude, you jammed out for  2 hours and you don't have callouses, so go clean the blood off the strings and mop your hands down with hydrogen peroxide".  OUCH.  Yeah, the tips of my fingers HURT today, typing is slow and not enjoyable, but I have that Warm Fuzzy Feeling(tm) that I'm doing The Right Thing(tm) despite the short-term ouchies.

My stress level has dropped a LOT since I brought Shakti home.  I figured that would happen.. I'm not a keyboard player, just because I CAN do it doesn't mean I SHOULD.  Like I was born to write code, and born to write fiction, I was born to play guitar.  Eight years of trying to convince myself otherwise DID NOT WORK.  Feh!

Eventually I'll have a small harem of guitars and a bass or two.  If things proceed as expected, I'll end up movin gall the recording off the computer and simply mix and master on the laptop, leaving any DAW-type work until dead last.  I'll end up dropping soundscape/ambient and go back to my first love, blues and jazz, and rock/metal!

My name is Ed.. and I am.. a GUITARIST!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I went and did it!

Well, I didn't get the guitar I wanted as they sold the last one 3 days ago (aarrghhh) but I got myself a lovely Fat Strat FSR-1 , deep red finish, black pickguard, rosewood fretboard.  It plays INCREDIBLY WELL, better than any ae I've owned since my Ibanez Artist EQ, back in the day.

I sprnt more than I really wanted to,  but it was on sale so I got a LOT of guitar for my money.  Of course, I can't afford to go out until Tursday (Payday), but who needs to? I HAVE A GUITAR!

The amazing thing was - I recall how to play.  In fact, I recall the chords and scales.  The guy at Guitar Center said I'd played so long it would come back real quickly, and it did.  My accuracy is shot to hell, but if I slow way down I hit the note, and it sounds right.  My muscles and brain remember, even if they're out of practice!  There is HOPE I can get my chops back, at least a bit.

Payday I get the Digitech RP-355, a stand, a strap, a cord, and picks.  That will get me set to start playing and recording again!  It's all good..

Of course, I need a bass now, and a multitrack, but one thing at a time!  I'm on my way!

Happy Labor Day!

For everyone in the U.S., anyway.  Happy Monday to everyone else, unless it's Tuesday, in wwhich case Happy Tuesday!

All the time zones get soooo confusing sometimes.

Today is chicken wing feast day - I have 24 wings thawed and will be cooking 3 flavors throughout the day.  Should be fun!

I'm also within nches of doing something pretty radical - going and buying an electric guitar.  Yeah, hat Fender Modern Player Tele Plus http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender-Modern-Player-Telecaster-Plus-Electric-Guitar-107274896-i2013844.gc has been looming large on my mnd,  I know it's going to take years to get back to where I was, if ever.  I know there are 1,000,000 more talented guitar players in Austin and more arrive every day.  I know I'll never make money, or play out.  But I think, for keeping me sane, it's going to be the best thing.  Sculpting isn't as emotional a release.. electronic music production isn't as visceral.. 3D, feh, 2D, feh.  So, I have to choose.. have a lot of fun out for a day or two with the money, or spend it on the axe and start down the road of modifying the sucker into the Ultimate Hobbyist Shred Machine?  You know it's bad when you've already picke dout replacement pickups (lol)!

I get paid Thursday, and that's when I'd get the Digitech RP-355 pedal.  It already has a USB Audio Interface on it, so I can jack it straight into the machine here and track guitar into Acid Pro along with my loops and sequenced synth parts.. although I can see getting a 61-key controller and going the Kerry Livgren route of playing keys AND guitar at the same time.  I  used to be able to do that.. sigh.

I'm going to do it.  Don't know if I'll get that exact guitar once I hit Guitar Center, but I'm not coming home without a new girlfriend (lol)!  That Tele seems most flexible.. can do rock, light metal, and some (gag) country-western.

Time to go catch the bus and go broke!  Well, I  have food and soda, coffee, and tea to last until Thursday.. lol!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday, Fun Day

Sort of.

I ended up doing a LOT of shopping, since I was low on some critical goodies.  I also replaced all the old, scratched-up pots and pans in the place since I hate cooking on crapped-out cookware.  This makes life a LOT easier, things cook better and stick less.

I do a LOT of cooking now since going out is problematic, while I've find "diabetic acceptable" things to eat, it's a pain as I have to explain Why I Don't Want The Potatoes and Why They Can Hold The Bread.  Crikey! JUST DO IT!

Other than that, thinking.  I'm sorely tempted to get a guitar, for nothing other than emotiomal release.  Keys just don't cut it, I'm afraid.  I don't feel anyless stressed after composing (actually, a bit MORE stressed).  Feh.  There's money on Thursday, damn it, I'm must going to hit Guitar Center and get a decent axe and a Digitech pedal and go for it!

Tired tired tired right now.  Cooked ribs, jalapeno beans, oven-roasted corn.  The ribs came out.. meh.  The corn and beans were perfect!  So, not a total loss.  Tomorrow is Chicken Wing Feast Day, I have 24 wings and  I'm going to cook 3 kinds: white pepper, spicy lemon pepper, and HABANERO!  Oh yeah!

I've done NO writing.  Argh!  So, I'm sleepy and I'm going to hit the sack, if I wake up in the middle of the night I have Scrivener running and by Goddess I'M GOING TO WORK ON, AND FINISH, DEAD RINGER!  I'll rewrite AFTERWARDS, but lets FINISH THE <expletive deleted> thing FIRST!

I'l l probably start another project, likely one of my steampunk/horror/erotic stories for my series.  I also want to get some Vicky Chronicles going, I need to do a rewrite pass over what I have, "episode" it, and post it!

Off to fill the electric kettle with fresh water in preparation for a late-night writing run.  No work for a WEEK, so LET'S GO!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Another day dawns brightly

Well, not technnically accurate - it's actually overcast off and on.  But you get the idea!

Plenty getting done!  Orion V8.5 64-bit installed and running, Alchemy 64-bit installed with all sound libraries, Voxengo and Audio Damage plugins installed, downloading and will install Sound Forge Studio next.  Killed the alarm on my Android tablet and updated the Kuindle library on it, then set up my new clock-radio to go off at 7:30AM every day to a classic rock station.  I loe the clock radio, it has seperate weekday and weekend alarms and you can have different stations for the two alarms as well, and it's pretty easy to see at night.

Todays fun will be some running around and shopping, putting money on my Walmart prepaid VISA,  puttering around on the computer and generally relaxing a bit.  no work until the 10th., hooray!  V A C A T I O N!!!

Still thrasing on the music studio thing.  According to my doc there's no teal hardcore nerve damage in my hands and so no reason I couldn't *eventually* re-learn guitar.. ut I was warned it'll take me a LOT longer than when I was a kid.. possibly years and years.  Urgh.  And as I look around my room, I can find maybe 1-2 places to put it.  And of COURSE there's no line-in on this fancy i5 laptop so I'd need a USB audio interface.. meh.  What a bother!  I could find a place for a couple of MIDI keyboards but it'd fill the room up.  Maybe one of those Akai LPK25 laptop keyboards in conjunction with my Korg nanoKontrol?  That seems reasonable AND compact.

Getting up at 7:30am isn't so bad - I was actually up at about 7:18am but lay n bed dozing.  The alarm went off on time, waking me to some Van Halen (that'll get you going)! Get outta bed and ROCK!

Hopefully I can spend enough linear time in the studio/writing cave here to make some solid decisions on what (if anything) I need to accomplish my goals of becomubng a paid writer ANd somehow maintaining my sanity!  Could be tricksy!

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's FRIDAY, FRIDAY

Gotta get down on Friday! Damn that Rebecca Black song, it's stuck in my head! HELP!

Anyway, last day of work before my weeks vacation - it's a bit busy, but I'm leaving at 2:45PM so it's gong to be a SHORT day. Turns out they're closing the company at 3:00PM today anyway, so it's not THAT early!  I'll hit the bank for vacation/weekend money, then go home!  Well, I might get a latte' on the way.

Things should be quiet over the weekend, I just need to run off to Walmart for a quick task, then it's mostly shopping for ribs for Sunday.  I'm going to slow-cook 'em again, yaay! Monday I'll be cooking chicken, I think - oven-roasted - not sure which spices yet.  Something hot!

Otherwise, urgh.  Having normal blood sugar is taking getting used to!  When I get that "200+ sugar rush" I feel NORMAL but sickish, and I can blast along doing things insanely fast - but it's a "damage level" ont he glucose so it's not a place to be all the time.  I can still code, work, write, etc. on a normal BG level but I feel so lethargic!  I thought it was the blood pressure med (Lisinopril) but since the BG boost "fixes" it, I'm retty sure it's not a major player in the flat feeling department.

I hear this is normal, though.  The body gets so used to the dramatically elevated blood sugar that anything less feels "wrong" and you get tired.  No idea how long it takes to get over it, since I've only been more or less normal for about a month I suspect it's too early to expect to feel decent.

Next paydays check is almost 100% free.  To get a Core i7 system or a guitar?  Decisions, decisions..

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Almost vacation time!

Just today and tomorrow and I'm on vacation!  Including weekends, that's 9 days of not having to drag my sorry corpse into work!   Ohhh, fun and frolics - bbqing, writing, working on music, sculpting, photography! And lots of coffee (lol) and fancy tea.

Retail therapy for todays Payday was: a RAM upgrade for Scylla.  Sure, she has 6GB, but I figured - max it out - in case I end up loading a bazillion samples into Alchemy for some super-fancy soundscape project.

Next week I'm going to go ahead and replace the Asus system with something newer, and convert the Asus machine to a Linux server.  I might end up using it for software development as well, if I don't just get an i7 laptop,k shove 16GB into it, and run Virtualbox.  VBox would save me having to get a new KVM switch, too.

I did the Bad Thing(tm) last night and chowed down on General Tso's Chicken for dinner, with brown rice.  Sure enough - as expected - my blood sugar went up to 2008 for about an hour and a half, before falling to 141 when I finally went to bed.  I knew this would happen, between the sugar in the sauce, the heavy breading, and the carbs in the rice I was asking for trouble.  Weird thing - I could feel my BG go up!  I had this sick "sugar rush" feeling where I had a lot of energy but felt "off" - that's when it peaked.  It only lasted about 45 minutes, though.  Was it worth it?  Sure, I love General Tso's Chicken and I feel less like I'm doomed to eating boring stuff for my last 20 years of life.  And I'm not going to do anything so spectacularly ignorant more than once a month, so that's this months indulgence.

I need to get back into Web design and programming.  Honestly, the whole embedded systems thing is so hit and miss it's not funny, and Web jobs are plentiful (I get an email every week asking how much Java and HTML5 I know.. lol).  Since I'm getting badgered into app development on my current job, it's kind of a natural thing to drift into - and I can study during lunch-time.  The upside is that I can use my Wooly Loach site as a portfolio piece and showcase!  Long-term, this would be the second source of income to tide over between books/stories/writings.

I have to buy one of those small one-person Webers this weekend, I don't want to splurge $100+ on the big grill just for me.  I just need something I can cook OUTSIDE on!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No more bread on bread, and turning Japanese

Well, based on the experiments I've performed on myself, it's true : bread will really push up my blood sugar, and beans don't do it as much OR as quickly.  I've experimented now over two weeks, and the results from Miss Stabbykins (yes, my pet name for my glucose meter) are inescapable.

when I eat enough beans to feel full (1/2 a cup), I'll go up to about 128-132 after a meal.  Same meal, with two slices of bread or a single English muffin, I see 148-154.  OUCH!!  This is NOT good.

So, I won't be spending any more bread on bread (lol).  I'll be replacing it with beans of various kinds, pearled barley, yams, and the like.  It's going to make for an odd breakfast, but I'll get there...

As to breakfast: well, it turns out that the time I spent in California/Silicon Valley at a small residence in, merrily having miso soup and tofu with rice, was actually amazingly healthy!  Substitute brown or wild rice for the Japanese short-grained white rice and it's a high quality, low-carb meal - especially if I add some meat (fish would be great if I can find a way to cook fish for breakfast in advance).  I can pre-cook a vat of miso soup with tofu and veggies, and serve myself every morning - just dump it in a bowl or mug, nuke it, and it's FEEDING TIME!  This should work out well.

Speaking of Japanese, I need to find a sushi place that will serve me dead fish on something OTHER than rice, since consuming a huge volume of sushi rice will spike my glucose like an NFL player after a playoff touchdown.  I wonder if the local (Roll On Sushi) can make a salad with greens and fish?  I'll have to check!

A lovely, craptastic day.

I know, compared to the folks getting hammered by Isaac, this is trivial, but still.. it's a craptstic day.

It started out with the crazy guy at the bus stop arguing with some invisible person about something completely incoherent.  Worried me enough to hang on to my knife, especially when someone else showed up and he go tin my face yelling "Where did that guy come from?" and I had to tell him to get lost.  I skipped that bus and took an alternate route, which thankfully got me in on time.

Then there's the foot doctor.  I finally had to cancel with him completely, since it's a two hour trip from where  I live to his office in the quiet hills of South Austin, far away from the nearest bus stop, thus costing me $60 in cab fare PLUS the office visit cost of $90.  No thanks, I'll find someone closer.. which is a pain as he's really good, but I can't lose a days work AND pay the cab AND the office fee and afford food.  Meh.

Then I get into the office and have all kinds of issues with the IDE I' trying to learn to create a project based off existing code, there's some setting/settings that need to be set and the guy that owns the original project is clueless, telling me that someone ELSE set it up and he can't help me.  So it's screamingly frustrating trying to reverse-engineer this stuff.

And my dang intestines are acting up, tons of gas and pushing up on my diaphragm, causing massive cough attacks - and my doc is worthless, telling me it's just going to take time for the acidophilous pills to work - he won't even consider the blood pressure meds, where this is a KNOWN SIDE EFFECT.  It's new doc time, this moron is a worthless quack.

In conjunction with my tiredness and clumsiness today (no idea why, my blood glucose is between 100 and 140) it's working out to be a real, real bad day.  I really wish I'd called in sick today!

Ok, other than being bitchy (lol) I do need to work out a blogging schedule so that my main sites (Blogger, AuthorsDen, DeviantArt, and Red Room) get updated at least twice a week.  I have to consider which sites will get what kind of blogs, no point in duplicating everything (just critical stuff).

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bloody, erm, blood! Well, blood glucose!

I swear, it never ends.

So now I'm getting that "late afternoon sugar slump" where my lunch wasn't carbed up enough to take me through to dinner, and I need to find "diabetic friendly" snacks.  And of COURSE, it means - more cooking and/or mixing and/or shopping and/or all three!

The black bean salad I found looks nice, about 15g of carb in a 1/2 cup serving, protein, and seriously tasty other goodies.  This tops my list as I can make a big batch and just bring a small cup in every day for my late-afternoon power-up.  Cheese and whole-grain crackers look fine as well (whole-grain Triscuits and sliced deli cheese and/or string cheese).  Finally, oddly enough a SMALL apple and cheese is also acceptable.  Not too bad!  I'll need to buy more small, reusable containers to hold my snacks since this'll be a five-day-a-week happening.

My biggest grouse is having to fix all this day in and day out.  When I'm at home, this isn't an issue as I'm not having to pack in what feels like a fridge load of food with me every bloody (pardon the expression) day.  And the junk food machine here is full of pure carb and sugar death bags, so it's no help at all.  Cheetos have 11g of carb and 2g of protein so they'll do if nothing else is around (ugh).

So, more expense and more time spent on just staying alive, less joy in the process.  No wonder I'm so damned depressed lately!  This SUCKS.

Another Monday, another.. Monday.

Blech when I get depressed, I certainly take it to the extreme!  Oh well such is the life of someone who's watching everything taken away one tiny nibble at a time.

Five days until vacation!  It's not going to be nearly as fun as I hoped, since I won't be sleeping later than 7:30am due to the pills/Dawn Phenomenon and having to get food into me to stop the upward blood glucose spiral, but at least it's something - and I can always take a nap.  Maybe I'll get caught up on all the things that didn't get dealt with over the weekend.

At least the crispy chicken thighs and green chili and lime ribs came out perfectly!  Can't complain there.

Oh well, work work work for 5 days.  Feh.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Depression..

Yeah, it hits me somedays, like an ice pick in my heart.

I've lost so many people, many to my own follies.  I would give m soul to bring some of them back, if I owned it.  I feel so alone. 

Somewhere somehow, angel wings and emerald eyes watch me.  My love, my Sabine, I want to be with you.  No other woman could take your place.  You are my heart, my soul my breath.  Without you, I don't exist.

It's a slow fall, but I will come to you.  We will be one, again, and the pain of your absence will vanish.

I love you. I have always loved you.  I will never love anyone else.  My heart, my soul, my Sabine.

Dawn Phenomenon!

Ok, I've been freaked out lately that even though I don't pack my face at night, my blood sugar starts drifting up in the morning - on no food!  What the heck?  I've been getting stupid-high readings in the morning that GO DOWN WHEN I EAT.  This seemded incredibly counter-intuitive to me, until I did a little research - and discovered it's common for diabetics and NON-diabetics!

It's called "Dawn Phenomenon" and it appears to be natural.  Your body is dumping sugar into your system in the A.M. to "help you" prepare for a long day of hunting and gathering, and chasing down that first meal of the day.  Of course, nowadays "chasing down" means hitting the fridge or the local restaurant, so it's pretty much worthless.. but of course, it's not like your body is going to evolve OUT of the habit for a long, long time.

Today I woke up late and didn't eat breakfast.  Waking BG (blood glucose) was 108, fine.  Inside 2 hours it was up to 167!  And I hadn't eaten ANYTHING, just had coffee with non-dairy creamer (carb free).  Of course I freaked as it kept going up, peaking at 189 (oww oww).  I hadn't had my glyburide/metformin either, so I was asking for problems.

So, it appears that I'm going to have to be real careful about eating breakfast on time.  This likely means no long sleping in on weekends as it jacks everything up, timing-wise.  I guess getting up at 7:30pm on a weekend isn't so bad.. just need to fix up an alarm that'll do it for me.  I guess, staying indoors all weekend is likely not a real good idea either as I get ZERO exercise, and during the week I end up doing a fair amount of walkng.  Hurt foot or not, I'm going to be forced to get out.. I can't just sit here and watch my BG go through the roof, that's an E.R. visit if I'm not careful.

Maybe I should invest in a cheap exercise bike.  I have room in my cave, and if I use it on weekends to keep the exercise up it'll pay for itself pretty quickly - not to mention I can use it when the weather is crummy.  It's aerobic and low-impact, so my foot should be happy with it.

I swear, if it's not ONE thing, it's ANOTHER.  And I was skipping the Austin Hot Sauce Festival to "stay in and rest"!  Bad move!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Another day shot

Well, despite deiberately staying home and planning on doing nothing but cooking and setting up for writing, not a whole lot on my task list got done.

I did manage to cook crispy chicken thighs (worked out very well), and thre pork ribs in hot sauce are almost done, so that's good.  I have Orion 8.5 installed and my Audio Damage and Voxengo plugins, my Camel Audio software is downloading now.  Laundry is done, my coffee/tea station is operational next to the computer desk, my Web tools are installed, and my writing projects are organized.  My plush toys are set up (2 snakes,an iguana, and a lionfish), and King Ghidorah is the first Godzilla monster in my collection and is out.

Website still needs a complete re-design.  Blogs not wired to my main site.  No notes transcribed from Google Docs.  Room is a bit of a mess with empty boxes.  The Dell lapto is fighting me, it refuses to use an external monitor as the primary display even though it says it can.  And not one damn word of writing done, except in this blog and in chat (I chatted while cooking and installing software).  Didn't even do any sculpting.

This leaves a lot to do tomorrow.  Sigh.  But my digital camera shipped, the studio headphones for the i5 shipped, and my pecan wood and apple wood liquid smoke shipped, so that's good news.  I also bought more "music to write by", now I need to make "mood playlists".

I slept a lot.  My body is having a hard time adjusting to the "normal" blood sugar level after years of 300+, which is no surprise, but it's a serious issue with my energy level.  Feh.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Irritating Silly Book Numbering

Or, better known as "ISBNs".  It's a way to uniquely identify each book out there, whether a dead-tree book or an eBook.  Many places require an ISBN before they'll make your masterwork available for sale, so.. I'm stuck getting some (one per book).

Now, these are NOT free!  The most affordable way is to hit Bowker  and buy a block of 10 for $250.  Use your credit card as they don't take Paypal!  Wave goodbye to your money and hello to 10 long numbers.

If you're a publisher, you'll burn through 10 pretty quickly.  For a self-publishing author, 10 is a decent sized pile!  If I somehow write 2 books a year, then my 10 will last a long time - and this is assuming I can crank out 2 a year!  I suppose it's possible.. maybe.

My estimate is: one for "Dead Ringer", one for "Threshold", one for "Strip", one for an as-yet-un-named steampunk erotic horror novel, 2 more if I finish the Threshold trilogy. That leaves me 4 to play with, say 1 for a Raven Delacroix novel in New Orleans, and 1 if I turn The Vicky Chronicles into a collection.  The last 2 are in case I do a sequel or prequel to "Dead Ringer" (or both).

Right there is about six to seven years of HARD LABOR.  So, $250 over that much time isn't too bad.  It's going to cost more for cover art per-book than the ISBN.  Ugh.

Apropos of nothing: I'm trying to figure out how to link updates from my blogs to my main Website so that you can just visit Woolyloach.com and see all the latest blog posts.  I think RSS will do it, but it's going to take some work.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Making it Easier

Or, more appropriately, "HOW can I make my writing life easier"? Possibly even "HOW can I make it real easy to stay home and write and not want to go out every night instead?" ARGH!

I've taken a lot of steps to make my Writers Cave a place to stay:

- Comfy chair
- Comfy desk
- Fast computer
- Good keyboard, mouse, and display
- Nice lighting
- Nice smelling
- Good temperature
- Tons of tunes appropriate for writing things
- Tea and tea makings right next to the computer desk

..and yet I find myself thinking "Payday! 1/2 goes to rent, the other half I can GO OUT ON WHEEE" before I get a grip on myself and think about walking all over the place on an injured foot in a stupid, loose protective "shoe".  That helps kill the urge, but, why is the urge there at all?

Could it be "cabin fever"?  I have bee cooped up for weeks now, since getting out of the hospital, and in fact have only "been out" 3 times since my discharge.  I will note that in none of those 3 trips did I have a really good time, I mostly sat around and - you guessed it - thought about stories, or characters, or how to proceed on works-in-progress.  Meh.

It's possible I'm terminally distracted internally - I have a lot of conflicts going on right now, none of which is particularly conducive to "sitting and writing".. between the foot, the blood sugar, all the extra labor of fixing my own meals (breakfast AND lunch AND dinner), having to dramatically change my schedule for waking up and going to sleep to adapt to all this, uncertainty as to how I should proceed to invest my time and energy online, and still adjusting to having gone from a blood glucose of 350+ to around 110 (tiredness, weird physical effects) are taking a real toll on my concentration.  It's slightly screwing with my productivity at work, thankfully I can code even when 1/2 dead and distracted, so it's not much more than an annoyance.

At least there's vacation soon - just tomorrow, then next week, and it's nine days without work!  I have to remember to turn my alarm off - lol!  I'll probably stay at home or go on short bus-related jaunts, nothing too fancy as my foot is still very unhappy with me and needs more "heal time".

That's todays annoyances!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Inspirational and educational reading

http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/index.php

A friend pointed this site out to me, and it matches what I've experienced so far.  It has a lot of good medical information on what diabetes is and the mechanism by which it works, things that my doctor didn't tell me.

Also some inspirational reading from folks with WAY worse problems than I have, that have manged to get things back to normal with just mild medication and a fair amount of lifestyle change.  This too matches my experience - drop the carbs, exercise more, and watch your blood glucose go down!  It's good!

I'm considering dropping my breakfast muffin and getting a breakfast taco on the way to work.  the tortilla is going to be about 18g of cqrbs less than the 25g for the sourdough muffins I'm munching.  If I skip the potato and get egg/chorizo/cheese, I'll have all I need for a healthy low-carb breakfast.  This means I'll have to bring my glyburide/metformin in to the office with me, but I can pack it in my lunchbox with the cold pack, and that will keep it safe from the blazing Texas sun.

I'm also going to attempt to just flat-out stop eating bread at home - I already quit rice - to change to lower-glycemic-index (GI) foods like beans.  Yes, beans still have carbs, but they also have dietary fiber which is necessary.  Adding greens (as in: salads) will help things, especially if I stick a chunk of meat on the top and bring it in to work for lunch!  Grilled salmon or chicken or BBQ RIBS on fresh greens!

In other news, my electric kettle should arrive tomorrow!  I had ordered some flowering teas from Amazon, but they sat in the "not shipped yet" state for too long so *poof* I canceled them.  I can get some nice Japanese tea from the local Asian imports, and the HEB carries lots of new herbal teas, so I should do fine.

Slowly but surely, progress is made.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dehydration, diabetes, and blood sugar

Today, I made a discovery (d'oh)!  If you don't drink enough water, your blood glucose starts to skyrocket!

I don't drink enough water, I know this already, and worse I drink a LOT of coffee and tea.  So I think I've been running in a constant state of medium dehydration.. and over the past few days I've watched my average blood glucose (BG) creep up.. and up.. and up..

Well, today, 4 hours after lunch I did a test and it was 178!!! OH MY GOD did I freak out!  Was it the beans I had for lunch?  The English muffin for breakfast?  I've had them before without seeing this kind of thing.. what's the issue?  Panic ensued.

I finally noticed I was REALLY THIRSTY.  And did some research - yep - diabetics have to watch out for dehydration as if you don't drink enough water, your BG goes up, ketones back up in your system, you get irritable and unhappy and then it gets REAL bad.

So, since I've been bad bad about drinking water, I slowly sipped in a couple of cups over the past hour and lo and behold!  BG down to 137.  Whew!  Panic over, but what to do about this?

So, first, I've taped a note to my computer (lol)!  So, at least at the office, I'll have a reminder.  At home I'll have to find a way to pester ern REMIND myself to get water into me.  Home should be easier as I can pout a splash of lemon or lime juice in and make the water tastier, promoting drinking more of it.

Sigh - yet another thing to have to keep track of.  Meh.  I'm going to need my dang Android tablet programmed to keep me reminded of all this stuff!

Retail Therapy

Painful day - the hurt foot is giving me a lot of cramping, randomly, which is no fun!  Not even where the injury is, either.. blech.

Regardless, today I blew some cash on a plush lionfish, a plush iguana, and a KING GHIDORAH figurine!  Friends for my two plush snakes, and a start to my GODZILLA monster collection.  I also bought some apple wood and pecan wood liquid smoke to make indoor grilling more flavorful.  Nice!

Not a lot left for infrastructure now.  The electric kettle shipped and should arrive before the end of the week.  Tea supplies should show up next week sometime.  The last things I can think of - and it's stretching - are a 23in monitor to make it easier to have more things open at once (more Scrivener windows!) and a couple of large SDHC cards to permanently put in both laptops as local boot accelerators and non-HD backup storage.. 16GB should do, I suspect.

Things do proceed apace - I'm dropping working on short stories from THE PLAN to focus on novellas, novels, and serials - things better for self-publishing.  The serial will be The Vicky Chronicles, and I' going to make that FREE TO READ on my blog (I'll make a new one) and use it as Shameless Self-Promotion(tm).  Drive traffic not cars!  Or something like that.

Maybe a lava lamp.. I always wanted a lava lamp.. or one of those plasma ball things..

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fiddly Litle Bits

Finally gave in and bought an electric kettle online - none of the local stores carry the high-quality brands, so I grabbed a Krupps unit from Amazon.  I also got a 12-pack of flowering teas for my crystal teapot, and a nice glass mug.  I've set aside space on the table next to my computer station/starship control/writers nest for a hot beverage station, this will make it easier to focus whilst scribbling down things since I won't have to run to the kitchen for Every Single Cup.

Not feeling too swinging today, I think I had too much fun last night!  I was out a bit late, ate too much steak and shrimp (heh) and came home and fell asleep without taking my glyburide/metformin.  Amazingly, when I woke up my blood sugar was only 128, so it wasn't a serious mis-step.

I must be getting old - things I used to enjoy (recently) are getting boring.  Strip club is boring, now CHAT is boring!  Went in last night and it was the same people, saying the same things, in the same way, for the same reasons.  Urgh.  Nothing inspiring there, well, I was inspired to leave and go get "Forbidden Planet" from Amazon.

Two weeks until vacation!  I can't wait, I really need the break and staying home and cooking/writing all week will be nice.  I have one visit to the podiatrist and that's it, the only "serious" thing I'll be doing.

Back to work for me!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Fun Day

As if!  Loadng up on music frm Amazon (Otep, The Agonist) to listen to while writing.  Definitely not your ordinary mood music!

Both Scylla and Charybdis are about done.  Everything is set up and registered on Scylla, Charybdis needs to share out the backup drive and get the second wireless interface working.  Nothing rocket science here, just need to spend the time.

Definitely in the market for a 23in monitor. Maybe a Dell or Samsung, something clear and clean.  It'll take over my desk but that's OK, I use the laptop displays as secondary monitors and run task manager and such on them.  It makes it easier to track performance, and with Charybdis I run Media Player on the second monitor so I can see what's playing and what's up next.

Not a lot else going on.  Guzzling coffee in an attempt to wake up, considering going out for lunch, and generally thinking that all day in front of the monitor might not be all that good for me - although my hurt foot would appreciate minimal walking, and I ought to do laundry.  I should also experiment with some light sculpting, to get my hands and fingers back into the groove.  I hae as many ideas for sculptures as I do for books!  That's just downright scary.

Sigh - another cup of decaf, a glucose test, then I think I'll start laundry.  I can go out for a late lunch if I want, I suppose.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Bits and Bobs

Win 7 Pro installed on my Asus system - I'm running it right now.  With IE up and Google Drive installed, RAM usage is.. 1.08GB.  Dang!  That's about HALF of the RAM usage befoe I reinsalled!  Excellent!

It's also snappier - like a new machine, almost.  I have ZERO complaints.  I'll do the server setup later, right now I'm just happy as a clam!  Found and detected the monitor, setup was simple.. so I'm good to go.  Saves the cost of a new laptop.

Well, in other news - I wne out to my favorite "gentleman's club" tonight and I was.. bored.  I mean bored, bored, bored.  How could  I be bored with topless ladies running around?  I'm not sure, it it is completely possible!  So I had a nice ribeye dinner, tipped my waitress a lot, and left.  Bored.  I'll  have to analyze WHY, but for now, it's just a sign I need to be spending my time and attention elsewhere.

I spent almost all the time thinking about my characters, new characters, the various worlds I have in my head, how to write in each of them, the local physics/matic systems... I got a lot of thinking done.  Ended up bored anyway, but it wasn't a total loss as dinner was good.. but.. eh.  Waste of time, I would have had more fun getting a steak at the Frisco and chatting with the nice ladies behind the counter.  Meh.

Other than that, much done today!  I moved all my writings over to Scylla, installed most of my writing tools, installed Win 7 pro on Charybdis, did a little cooking, and have chicken wings prepped for tomorrow!  I still need to get a nice coffeepot for my room, and a cup for my fancy glass teapot, and flowering tea - but that's maybe 15 minutes of work on Amazon.

I still can't believe how fast and efficient this "old" macine is now.  I need to enable the second LAN card, ut that's it for hardware.  Eventually I'll stick a hub on it and a huge backup drive, but that can wait.

It's time to go watch a movie, then bed!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday frolics

Another day, another fifty cents - after taxes, anyway.

So far, I've managed to keep from buying stuff that distracts me from writing.  I'm going to switch to sculpting as my "sanity" hobby as I've done it before, I enjoy it, and smashing the CRAP OUT OF THE CLAY is CATHARTIC DIE CLAY DIEEEEE oops, sorry - I'm back now.  Savces me the cost of guitar strings too, which I used to routinely break at least once a week.  Clay is easy to fix (well, Sculpey is) so if I vent on it, who cares?  I might make something interesting!

I'm also doing pretty well blogging here.  I want to blog here and on my AuthorsDen site at least 4 times a week, preferably daily when I'm not neck deep in a writing project.  I need to build up some fans, keep them in the loop, and generally become Self Promoting(tm) or some such.

This weekend, I'm going to finally reformat/reinstall Windows 7 Pro on the Asus machine.  I'm also going to move Scrivener and Jutoh over to the Scylla (the i5 machine) along with the Coffeecup HTML Editor.  Photoshop will stay installed, as will the Wacom tablet.  Charybdis will become the backup machine/music listening machine/movie watching machine and all "serious work will land on Scylla.  Charybdis will also manage all backup media and handle any external storage I add (like my current 640GB backup drive).  I'll need a USB 2.0 hub for her, to handle all the external devices (USB sticks, USB HDs).  the only media creation that's going to happen will be Web art and photos of my sculpting (or other photo of Austin or my travels) - no 3D, no video, no animation, nada else.

I'll need some Sculpey and a marble tile to use as a work surface, and a spare table to hold it.

I've freed up space for a coffeepot/tea maker next to the computer station, on a long bedside table, so I just need the coffee/tea maker.  There's even room to keep the coffee and tea!  My writers nest is coming along nicely.

THE PLAN so far calls for one fantasy/noir novel that might turn into a series, a trilogy or so of novellas, and a mystery series, with the possibility of an occult horror/erotica series as well.  Gotta write 'em all!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

First Steps and Actions

Well, having a GOAL makes some things easier, and some things harder.

Easier? Deciding how to spend my money.  I just ask myself "This this either going to make writing easier, or keep me sane in between writing spells, or fund my writing, or make it easier to sell my work?".   If the answer is "No", then it doesn't get bought - period.  So, new i3 for writing?  No, not when the i5 is now idle and my T4400 dual-core is fast enough to run Scrivener AND Jutoh AND OpenOffice all at the same time.  Bigger monitor?  Possibly, it would allow me to have more Scrivener items open and let me arrange index cards on screen more easily.  Personal coffeemaker?  Could be useful as I wouldn't have to break my concentration or flow to get a cuppa while working.

I still need a couple of hobbies to keep me sane, if I try to do the same thing day in and day out I'll lose it.  I' going to work on re-learning drawing with my Wacom pad and Anime Studio Pro, it's very immediate - no waiting for a render, I draw and it's there.  I'm considering going back into sculpting as well, as again it's very immediate.  No more 3D crap as waiting 20-40 minutes to see if I got something right drives me insane, I do that 8-10 hours a day at work and coming home to the same thing is sure to stress me into madness.

So, next steps?  Learn how to outline, plot, and revise without losing my soul or mind.  For infrastructure, I need to buy a block of 10 ISBNs for my books, and locate a copyeditor (for checking my works ) and a cover artist (because it's a waste of time for me to get good enough to do it myself).

Other things: the Dell D610 is going on Craigslist tonight.  My Vizio Android tablet will also go, but after I get an alarm clock as (sigh) that's all I'm using the bloody thing for.  The Dell screen is too small to write well on, and the Android tablet screen is too small to effectively read my Kindle books, so.. bye-byeeee!

Eventually I need secure backup, probably a wireless NAS or such, but for now I'll back up to a USB stick.

I have a fair mount of music to listen to while writing, I'm going to do some serious loading up on different genres so I have a massive variety available.  I also need more Kindle books, in genres I don't normally read, to help broaden my horizons.

Oh, and Holly Lisle ROCKS!  The more of her lessons I read, the more fired up I feel about my GOAL!  Yeah, go me!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In The Beginning..

..were the Words.  And lo! I looked upon the words, and saw that they might, on a good day, be publishable.

And the words floated int he Sea o Chaos, bearing form but incomplete.  And there arose from the same Sea endless idea for short stories, novellas, and book series.

But the ideas were scribbled down and left to sit Alone In The Dark.  And there was no Goal, and so no Path, and no Plan. And confusion confounded the Words until there was much Rending of Garments and Gnashing of Teeth (and on occasion Wailing as well).

And lo, after much Reading of Good Books on Writing, the Word of Holly Lisle came into Me, and I was Enlightened.  And so war born THE GOAL.

Yea verily I said unto myself, "I shall be a PROFESSIONAL WRITER within 5 years". This is THE GOAL, and I saw that it was good.. enough.

And THE GOAL awoke, and spoke unto me, saying: if you want to quit your day job, you need A PLAN.  For without A PLAN, you shall not reach me.  And yea verily and all that stuff, THE GOAL had a point.

And so I am creating THE PLAN.  A step by step process to go from a lowly wannabe writer to being able to pay rent, food, and other bills strictly form my writing.  It's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be fast, but it doesn't rely on anything exotic or miraculous, either.

So let THE PLAN be formed, the PATH taken, and something Actually Be Accomplished!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Using tools, being a tool, tooling along

For the first time, I've brought my "portable writing laptop" into work, to see if I can get anything useful done during my lunch hour.  I can't bill for the time I'm eating, so.. I have to fill up the 45 minutes when I'm not stuffing a sandwich or such down my throat!

I've discovered a few things so far:

- A 14 in. screen is actually pretty miserable to try to do anything meaningful on if you don't have perfect vision
- Lugging even a lightweight laptop around is a complete pain in the butt
- There are a million annoying distractions at the office, other than pestiferous but well-meaning overly curious co-workers
- Software doesn't make up for a bothersome, burdensome process
- Windows XP on a small, old Dell is pretty darn slow
- My Android tablet is easier to read and it's SMALLER  - font size? WinXP on this machine won't get any bigger, font-wise

And so, until my patience finally ran out, I found myself trying hard to work FOR the tool as opposed to the tool working FOR me!  Not much got done (I did remember the one curse word I knew in Dutch), and I feel pretty used right now.  There has to be a better way!

It's weird that I can sit down and blog every day without strain, but Blogger is easy to use, I'm on a 19in monitor, and I can scale the font if my eyes decide to give me too much grief. Hmmph!

At this stage, given the experiments I've done, I think a "portable writing machine" isn't for me.  The mechanical process of getting anything useful done is painful enough to make me resist doing it, which means nothing gets done.  I suspect I'd write ore in a paper notebook, and in fact, that's my NEXT experiment!

It's entirely possible that I need my "writers cave" to do any serious work.  I only really need the ability to capture notes ad inspirations, not to blast out 1000 words while I'm sucking down coffee and trying to ignore the stares of the other coffee-shop denizens (who have laptops too - I mean, what the heck).

I'll sell the Dell D610, extra battery, and extra charger + carry bag on Craigslist for cheap.  Since I have 2 laptops at home as well as my Android tablet, I don't need a backup machine at this point and obviously it's not going to work as my portable tool.

Oh well, live and learn, and at least it didn't cost me a fortune to figure this one out.

Monday, August 13, 2012

More Monday mumblings..

Well, much done over the weekend - new laptop up, running, and integrated into my homegroup, some 3D apps installed, content moved over, and some test renders done.  Yes, the new machine is FAST - plenty fast for my needs, at least my 2D/3D art requirements.

Which brings me back to writing.  The Asus system, now cleaned off, does a dandy job of playing MPO3s while I'm running Scrivner (or Jutoh) and have IE going.  I still have about 1.5GB of RAM left, and neither CPU is really maxed out even watching movies streaming from Amazon.  Seems like there's not a lot of need for a new computer unless I want one Just Because(tm).

So now, it's time to load up on things that make my writers nest more attractive to stay in!  First up - a K-Cup Coffee Maker!  This will let me make coffee in my room, one cup at a time, without having to go out and make a ruckus in the kitchen and possibly disrupt my Creative Flow(tm).   Also on the way are more flowering teas for my glass teapot - watching the tea ball blossom is a very pleasant, meditational experience.. so relaxing.

Mood lighting is on the list although I'm not sure what kind. Lava lamp?  Plasma ball? Strings of pulsating LEDs hung around the computer station?  I'm not sure.  The lighting is good but very utilitarian, something nicer would make it more pleasant.  Nothing TOO garish, though!  Forget the fog machine and strobe lights.

I' reading through Holly Lisles "Mugging the Muse" today in between writing protocol specs and finding weird bugs in Other Peoples Code(tm), it's a WONDERFUK eBook - helped me a lot already and re-energized me for writing.  I also have her "How To Write Page-Turning Scenes", which addresses another of my somewhat weak areas.  I think I'm good with characters, settings, and the plot - but turning the fuzzy cloud of a world in my head into concrete (more or less) words is something I need practice with.  And the only way to really learn to write - is to write!

Back to my hot tea - until later!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Evening Thoughts on Writing

Sitting at home after a blast of a night out, sipping French Roast.  I had a ton of fun, didn't touch any alcohol, and onl ate low-carb food.. and still had some serious fun!  Very heartening, and great for my morale and motivation.

I've been reading Holly Lisle's tutorial/lesson book/inspirational writings "Mugging The Muse" and it's led me to some serious reconsideration of how I'm approaching my writing.  I highly recommend this book to any and all aspiring writers!

First, I'm going to re-do the plot for "Dead Ringer".  I'm pretty happy with the characters but the plot isn't going where I want it the way I want it, so I'm going to REVISE AND RE-WRITE.  Firs thing I learned: DON'T BE AFRAID TO REVISE.

Second,  I'm going to get all the thoughts and ideas I have for "Strip" and "Threshold" down and work on research for them at the same time as I revise "Dead Ringer".  Second thing I learned: DON'T BE AFRAID OF IDEAS.

Finally, I'm going to work on the characters in "Dead Ringer" a bit and beef them up.. same for the characters in 'Strip" and "Threshold".  I need to add some depth, some foibles, and a generoius dose of both uniqueness.. and myself!  Third thing I learned: INTERESTING CHARACTERS MAKE AN INTERESTING STORY.

This will keep me busy a while!  Which is good as I spent serious cash on a new laptop for doing content creation and I'm low on funds until next week.  I'll be doing a lot of infrastructure work - installing my 2D/3D content tools on Scylla, reformatting Charybdis and installing Windows 7 Professional (to see if it makes it faster without all the crap I've dumped on it over the year), and finally working on my WoolyLoach website to make it a WRITERS SITE.

I have to stop being afraid to write, because, well, I am.  I'm afraid I'll suck, I'm afraid I can't learn to be a better writer, i'm afraid nobody will like what I write, etc. etc. until I freeze up and continually put off doing ANYTHING.  Writers WRITE, and I want to WRITE!  I have vast worlds in my head that want to come out and manifest, to amuse/entertain/scare/horrify people (and me)!  Those books will NOT write themselves!

And so Dear Readers, I'm going to finish my coffee, make sure that Charybdis' backup is running well, and  I'm off to bed.  Tomorrow is another very busy day!



Friday Foibles and Maunderings

I shopped local last night - the Office Depot on the bus route home got a computer sale, and I got a nice Lenovo Core i5 system for $550 (including tax).  This is now SCYLLA, and she'll come online this weekend.  Scylla will handle content creation (2D, 3D, and music).

I haven't decided if I'll replace the Asus or not.  It's not super-fst (just 1540 on Passmark) but with 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HD, it does run Scrivener and Jutoh just fine, as well as Coffeecup HTML Editor.. so it's hard to justify dumping another $450 on a laptop that I won't really push.  And while the built-in keyboard is flaky, since I'm using an external KVM system I can't really say the hardware is failing.. so.. I'm going to reformat the HD and install my copy of Windows 7 Professional on it.  That will wipe out all the built-up crap on it, and then I'll install my Web authoring and writing tools and be done with it.  Charybdis will be for Web surfing, video watching, email, spreadsheets, writing, and ePublishing - for which it's more than powerful enough.  If the R&R doesn't bring the performance back, THEN I'll get a new machine out of my next paycheck (the 17th).

Which leads to MUSIC.  Well, I've hit Guitar Center over and over in the past few weeks, and have always come away with the same result - my fingertips are WAY too sensitive now from all the stabbing (blood glucose tests) and trying to play even a fancy high-end guitar becomes painful so fast that I'm not encouraged to try to "play through the pain".  This actually sucks as that used to be a big part of my life and now it's gone.  Feh.  So my choices are: give up on music; stick to pure composition and forget performance; or get a MIDI keyboard and perform SOMETHING.  I'm really up in the air about this, I'm loathe to give up music completely as it's been a big part of my life - but as PERFORMANCE more than composition - but jamming out on keys isn't really that satisfying to me.  I'm wondering if bass would be less painful to deal with?  mabe I should give it a try.

Can't wait for today to be over - I have a ton of things I want to do when I get home!  And I might go ahead and go out tonight, Just Because(tm).. well, I've cooped myself up in front of the computer (and in the hospital) since July 5th!  I need some happy fun time, even if it doesn't involve booze!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paypal SUCKS, but you knew that.

Well, I WAS going to buy a new quad-core i7 laptop today, but guess what? Paypal won't let me!

You'll LOVE this - so, I contacted Paypal to make sure I could pay $900 from my bank account to Newegg so I could get the laptop I wanted.  Paypal said sure, the account is in good standing, it will be fine.  So today, I have a pile of money and I want to get the laptop.. so I go there an d use Paypal.. tell it to use my bank account.. and GUESS WHAT? Paypal tries to charge my credit card instead!  Of course, this bounces to the Moon, so Newegg says "sorry".

So I call Paypal to ask "wtf"?  And the mind-numbingly incompetent bozo at the other end of the line has no idea why it tried to charge my card when it says "bank account", he's clueless.  And worse, he can't promise that the damn system won't eventually try to take the money out of my account anyway!!! What in hell?

So you know what?  I'm going to take today off and go to the bank, get $1100 out to make SURE if Paypal tries anything it's going to bounce to the Moon, then I'm going to CLOSE my damn Paypal account.  Since I have the Walmart Money Card, which works with Amazon and a few other places online, I don't need stinking, incompetent, gene-damaged reject Paypal any more.

As to the laptop? I'm going to take my cash to Office Depot and buy local.  It won't be as fast, or as perfect, but it'll be in my hands TONIGHT and I can start using it right away!  And if there are any problems I can just take the BUS to the store and resolve them!!!

Screw Paypal.