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Thursday, December 12, 2013


Right, some fairly large changes in direction based on my "Winter Solstice Introspection" annual activity.

First, I've archived and deleted all 3D software from my laptop.  Why? Because it's distracting me from other things!  It became apparent that it was my go-to time suck for when I didn't want to write or compose.  So, off with it!  Also saves me the cost of a new laptop, as what I have is more than enough for music and writing.

Second, no guitar.  It's another excuse to avoid learning to be a better composer and producer.  So, deleted from my to-by list!  Also saves adding One More Thing to my life to deal with.

Third, I'm now more consistently blogging on my Red Room authors site, and getting more reads.  This will help build an audience for my writings once I start cranking them out.. and that should start happening pretty darn soon.

And finally - a boycott on the purchase of any new gear.  I have everything I need to do anything I want to, period.  My laptop music studio is better equipped than a lot of local commercial studios, and I have every known writing craft book/reference book, so all spare money will go into savings and on my prepaid card to save for emergencies and a REAL VACATION next year!

I re-upgraded my SoundCloud account so I don't have to worry about running out of space on my Web hosting service.  I might, once I actually have stories etc. to put out, upgrade my Red Room account to "Professional", but not until I have at least 5-6 novellas/short story collections/etc. that I an put up for sale.

If I don't post before Christmas, happy holidays everyone!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Argh, blech, yecch, etc.

Well, LONG time no blog - got caught up in a nightmare at work that has taken several months to clear up.  Very distracting mess involving a product shipping for 2 years with dozens of uncaught bugs (not my code, whew) and a project I inherited from another engineer that turned out to be close to 100% incorrectly implemented.  Most of the mess is cleaned up and hopefully in 2 weeks the rest will be done. Preferably before I blow a gasket and quit...

Next February will be my 2-year anniversary on what was a six month contract.. and I think it's time to seriously prepare to move on.  This place seems to refuse to try to move towards best practices, we keep shipping untested products (or lightly tested, at best), there's no design phase it's all "marketing spec to code", we have ONE dedicated test person and a dozen projects and they won't hire anyone else.. it's a disaster waiting to happen and I can smell trouble coming soon because of it.

I haven't done any writing lately, either, due to the stress.. that's unacceptable.  Something is going to have to give and it's not going to be my writing!  Same with my music.. by the time I get home all I want to do is knock back a beer and go to sleep, and the weekends all I do is sleep and de-stress in preparation for another week of deliberate idiocy.  Feh.

I think I'll likely leave Austin for Silicon Valley again, or maybe Seattle/Portland.  Austin is nice but it's nowhere near the kind of tech hub that I thrive in.  And it's been getting hotter each Summer, we routinely break 105! Yikes!

One final note for the day - I'm going to get an inexpensive Fender Tele to re-learn on for Christmas!  This time, I'm giving myself a year to re-learn.. I've been told it'll take about that long from people who have left guitar and come back.  I'll also get a flight case as I'll ship it ahead of me to wherever I end up.

I need to blog 3-4 times a week again.  Discipline!

Until later!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Too Torials

Normally I'm a real DIY kind of person - just sit down and go, maybe a little manual reading - but Vue is far too complex an app for me to come to terms with just based on a manual and a personal project.

So, I just invested some money for a HUGE pile of video tutorials on Vue 11 from GeekAtPlay Studios.  It covers everything from basic materials, to particles, to landscaping and rendering.  Heck, for under $40 it's hard to argue, and it'll save me a lot of hair pulling.

Given it's a 3 day weekend, I hope I can get some serious rendering in, and some composing, and writing too!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vue to a thrill

Vue 11 is a pretty slick piece of 3D software.  I've been playing with it for an evening (ALL evening) and I'm impressed.  It's easy to make something respectable, but it's deep when you need it.

I had some extra cash this week, so instead of spending it on beer (heh) I bought an expansion module for Vue - EcoSystems.  This lets you design large-scale systems of entities more easily than plunking down individual plants and structures, which will make some things easier to do.

Next will be KronosFX (time-based actions) and Zephyr (wind and related effects).  This will also get me Vue particles, which can do some amazing things.

Daz Studio, and all Daz software, has been removed in favor of Poser Pro 2012/Vue 11.  That combo is far more than I'll ever need for my humble works.

Still pressing forward on writing, it's just slow.  And I'm trying to set aside 1-2 evenings a week for music now, as well.  Just simple loop-based tunes, nothing super-fancy.. keep it simple.

Monday, August 26, 2013


In my attempt to push myself into a higher level of 3D art, I decided to upgrade my copy of Vue to Vue 11.  Pretty affordable, and works with my Poser Pro 2012.

I'm not sure if I'll need to get After Effects right off.. a Creative Cloud subscription is pretty affordable for one license, so if my Photoshop Elements proves unable to do what I need, then I'll go ahead and cough up for it right away.

Houdini has a massive learning curve, so I don't expect to be able to do much there.  Tere is a newer version of Poser Pro (PPro 2014), but as far as I can tell it's incompatible with Vue 11, so that has to wait.. which is too bad as it has some seriously powerful improvements over PPro 2012.  Le sigh.

At least now I should be able to get some killer landscapes into my Poser scenes!


Sometimes it's good.  If you know it's better to take a step back and "make do", or pursue a different path, then cool.

But sometimes, it's a MISTAKE - yes, in all caps.  And I fell afoul of such a thing.

Ever since I was in my 20s I've wanted to work on visual effects.  But, the learning is hard, the software is expensive, and so I went down the "take the easy route" and have just done stills in 3D, for illustrating my writing.  But as much fun as it is sometimes, it's just not real soul-satisfying.

So, this weekend I decided that I'm distracting myself from doing what I want to do.  I want to do VFX and if I don't get started soon I could Drop Down Dead(tm) before I accomplish anything.  I also decided that I'm not likely to do it for a living at my age (heh) so I can use the non-commercial version of my target software (SideFX Houdini), which saves me $8000!  They have a $99/year version that has more features, once I come up to speed with the free version I'll get that.

It's going to be tough - there's a massive learning curve, and I'm not going to be good at it overnight, or even in a month - this is hardcore, complex VX software and will require a lot of study and time.

But I'm tired of compromising. I want to make a giant firestorm in space blast a planet apart!

In other news - for the first time in MONTHS, I woke up this weekend inspired to compose.. so I put together a nice little ambient rock piece that a number of folks liked.  I need to get my mixing and composition chops back (they got a little stale over the months), but I'm sure I'll improve quickly.  I'm going minimalist this time - only my best audio effects, one DAW, strictly loops and loop-mangling - no virtual instruments - so I can focus on the song without worrying about CPU use, using up RAM with a ton of VSTi, and other annoying bits and bobs.

I feel cautiously optimistic.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rampant Apathy

Well, finally are calming down.  No more stop-ship bugs, I found and fixed a few things before the test guys noticed (they never found them, actually) and I repaired an emergency where a co-worker broke the communications protocol and the production had to stop while I fixed the tester (grrr).

But now.. I'm tired.  I get home and all I do is stare at the computer screen, watch movies, or veg out to Animal Planet.  I did one 3D scene of a monster that's just flying guts, a head, and arms.. but.. meh.

I suspect a full month of stress has drained my motivation for a while.  I had this happen when I worked at Silicon Valley start-ups and before critical product ship dates.. you get burned out to produce, then the mind and body need recovery time before the NEXT set of idiotic disasters and/or stupidly short product development cycles.

I hope I can get about 1-2 weeks of just ordinary work, sitting and coding and debugging without 4 Priority 1 ASAP-type issues hitting at once.  At least dishonored co-worker seems to have learned his lesson, but dang!  This kind of thing has to stop!

I need to write more, and I need to illustrate it.  Otherwise I'll end up losing my marbles and end up quitting to join a commune in Oregon or be a Pizza Hut dishwasher.  Blech.

I just don't care about apathy!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

If you can't stand the heat..


After several years here in Austin, I'm getting really tired of the heat.  And since my parents in Dallas have both passed on there's nothing keeping me here.. so it's time to plan my escape!

I'm targeting Portland, OR. for my next home.  Bus service is decent, housing costs are comparable to here, and there are DOZENS of microbreweries to sample!  Plenty of tech work in the area as well, and it doesn't get over 100 for weeks at a time.

Last year here was horribly hot, a record for the biggest number of days over 100.  This year doesn't look to be any better.  I'm sick of it!  Too hot to go out, too hot to think, too bloody hot period.

In other news: still working on my other blogs, slowly but surely.  Getting some writing in as well.  No real excitement - thankfully!  Saving for my October visit to Portland!

Friday, July 26, 2013

So much to do, so little cash

Friday at last! And with the antibiotic out of my system, I can have a Friday night feast of hot links and microbrews!

But there is much to be done.  I need new shoes, a new cell phone, a high-end 3D gaming laptop, money for my October vacation to Portland OR., and a second large suitcase.  Oh, and a few hundred dollars in 3D assets for my 5 (!!) illustrated serial novels!

Oddly, time isn't the issue here.  With no gf, no pressing social relationships, no wife or kids, I have a ton of time to spend on writing and art.  Part of the issue is motivation and discipline, but part is just flat-out not having maintained  my gear.  So things got old, obsolete, and worn down.. and now they need replacing.

There isn't a huge rush on anything but the vacation funding, but it all needs doing.  I'm still planning on moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2015, so there's a ton of time for that, but I need money, money, money to pull it off, and money money money to get a 3D machine fast enough to make illustration practical, and money money money for vacations, and money for emergencies.

It's all about money, I swear!

My next scheduled local outing is on October 20, to recall the passing of my dear friend and love Sabine Sklar in 2003.  Not a day goes by without her on my mind.  Wherever you are, Sabine, I still miss you and always will.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Nomadic Engineer

I've been giving a few things serious consideration lately.  One of which.. is moving.

Yes, Austin is nice, but it gets REAL hot and it's a great party town.. if you're around college age.  Not a whole lot here for old men like me (heh).  The tech industry here is pretty decent but it's in no way as active as Silicon Valley or the Pacific Northwest (Seattle/Portland).

So I got to thinking, as I sat and looked at my extremely portable gear.. why not save up a big pile of cash in the bank, and just move from contract t contract? 18 months here, a year there, 8-10 months the other place.. I feel like it would be fun (since I'm not moving but 2 suitcases of stuff) and I'd get to see places I haven't before.  A quick scan of the tech job board DICE shows cool jobs up my alley all over the U.S.!

I have no kids, no wife, no girlfriend, no car, no house, no boat anchors at all. All of the people I've known for a long time I know online.  There's nothing tying me to any one place now that my parents have passed away, so.. maybe it's time to give in to that nomadic streak I've been feeling wake up again.

I can write ANYWHERE, all mo works go online and there's no geographical restriction on where I can post from.  All I need are my 3D laptop, my writing/software development laptop, and my tablet PC. All that, some basic clothes, and my stuffed animals fit in 2 suitcases.  I can literally, on a weeks notice,  move anywhere.

The only thing I need is to build up a decent sized cushion on my prepaid credit card for moving/living expenses and I'm set to go.  I think I can get that done in about a year.

I only have 2 planned expenses: a trip to Portland in October for Oktoberfest, and a new laptop to dedicate to 3D and writing (leaving my i5 system for software development and the tablet PC as my portable solution).

It's time for.. A PLAN!

Monday, July 22, 2013


It's time to start planning my next vacation, and I've decided on the Pacific Northwest!

Why?  Well, it's beautiful.. I've been before and I love the area.. fresh fish, fun places to hang out.. and BEER!

Portland has more microbreweries than Austin or Silicon Valley by an order of magnitude.  I've wanted to go tour the Portland pubs and breweries for years, and since I have a friend that lives in the area I can get an expert local guide for the cost of food and beer.. not bad considering the commercial tours want $100 a ticket! Oww!

From a quick budget, if I can avoid unnecessary expenditures, I can go sometime in early October.. showing up for Octoberfest in Portland would ROCK!  I'd fly out on a Thursday and fly back on a Monday, thus only losing 3 work days (and not all in one week) - perfectly acceptable.  The only annoying thing will be getting my diabetic supplies on the plane, but that's just a matter of putting up with TSA idiocy.  It would DEFINITELY be worth it!

This means I'd have to put the new laptop off until next year, but that's not a big deal.  By October I'm going to need a vacation, the way things are going around here!

Must... save.. money....!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sick and tired of being Sick And Tired

Blech - somehow, last weekend I managed to come down with a nice lower GI infection.  So, here I sit at work, gunked up to my eyeballs on Cipro, not allowed to eat anything I really like (bland food only for 2 weeks) and exhausted from getting just 2-3 hours of sleep a night for the past 2 weeks.  It's close to impossible to sleep through intestinal cramps!

Despite that, I've posted more of the mock-epic "Olaf and the Giant Chicken" on my Red Room site.  It's about 2/5 through the plot arc and I'm very pleased with it.  I think Olaf and I will be spending a LOT of time together. now and in the future.

Other writing? Well.. my work is insanely complex now and for as far as I can see, will remain so.  When I get home, despite not having to think about almost anything, I just do NOT feel like spending hours more in front of the computer.  The mock-epic and serial stuff is easy to do, I can bash out 5-6 10-line stanzas in about 1/2 an hour, and in about an hour get 1/2 of an episode of The Vicky Chronicles or Argentum Noctis cranked out.. but anything past that and I get disgusted from being on the computer.  Looks like about 14 hours a day is my limit, then it's reading my Kindle books or watching TV.

Yes, heavens help me, I', watching TV. But it's partly educational: Discovery, The Travel Channel, and Animal Planet.  I've learned a bit, discovered places I want to visit, and let me tell you I find watching documentaries relaxing (I'm weird, I know).

Bottom line - since my job is making money, that's where my energy is gong long-term.  I'm gong to keep writing but it's all going to be short stuff (serial episodes and mock epic poetry) as I simply can't find the linear time and energy to crank out a novel.  Sigh.. tuck being an engineer for life.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Every time I think about moving...

..I end up thinking again!

Yes, I live in a ValuePlace Inn Extended Stay Residence.  Yes, the place is small.  Yes, there's no oven.   Yes, on occasion the neighbors can be noisy and annoying.

So I end up jumping on Craigslist and looking at studio apartments (I do NOT want a big place to maintain).  And I search, and look, and price, and consider.  And re-discover why I'm happily ensconced where I am!

I can get a nice studio for about $750/month, which is less than I pay now ($1160/month).  About 20 miles from the office, in a so-so neighborhood, not close to stores or a bus stop.  That won't work for me.

I can get a studio apartment near shopping, near a bus stop, in a decent neighborhood.. for $900/month.. plus utils.. plus Internet and cable.. and unfurnished.  Erm, that means buying a houseload of furniture I have no desire to own!

So, ValuePlace Inn: Whataburger 20 yards away, sub shop 25, Valero corner market 30, BBQ truck with good BBQ 1 block, Jack in the Box 1-1/2 blocks - same for a liquor store and a Subway, mini-market with about 120 different microbrews 2 blocks, Pizza Hut 2-1/2 blocks (and they deliver in less than 45 minutes), bus stop 2-1/2 blocks, work 3 miles ($9 cab ride) away.  PLUS - cable, Internet, maid service every two weeks, furnished, no lease, VERY secure, quiet 90% of the time.  Furnished, and they keep the furtinutre maintained - I got a new box spring and mattress 2 weeks ago and I sleep like a brick!

If I had kids, my old music studio, or a huge pile of belongings this would NEVER work out.  The lack of an oven means no baking but I can't bake worth a darn!  The 2-burner stovetop is great for cooking anything I can want, and the microwave covers everything else.

Sure I could save about $300/month if I really wanted to.. and lose maid service, have to buy furniture, be in a less convenient location, and LOSE MY MAID SERVICE!!! Right now, when I get home all I have to worry about is taking the trash out if it gets full, cooking only if I want to, and I can focus on my writing and 3D art.

Admittedly I get some odd looks when I tell people where I live, but once I explain it - they get a little envious!

So, today's reassessment result - STAY PUT!

I'm still WAY too burned out on housemates to want to bother sharing a house, it'd save me a fortune but.. feh.  I'm a cranky old man and I want my own space!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Small Stone Spreads Vast Ripples

I live a fairly physically isolated life - 99% of my friends are online, most in other states and countries.  The few people I know outside of the Web aren't close enough friends to sit down and discuss deep personal topics with.  Therapists cost too much, bartenders don't care, and strippers cost more than a therapist does (heh).

So, every 3-4 months I take a weekend as INTROSPECTION WEEKEND - I spend all weekend looking at what I've been doing and where I'm heading, basically a 2 day long reality check.  This helps me maintain a reasonable perspective on my life and my goals, without spending hundreds of dollars or imposing on one of my Web friends too much.

Well, this weekend was pretty productive, and there will be some minor and some major adjustments in direction based on my discoveries and analysis.  I think it will be all for the better in the long run, certainly it's going to reduce my stress level a great deal.

In summary:

No more fighting myself to write novels/novellas.  I simply don't have the temperament to spend six months plus producing something that my mind is screaming at me should have been wrapped up in around 8000-10000 words.  My entire life has been fast multiple iterations to produce a product in less than 8 months and that has deeply penetrated every aspect of my life, even the creative.  Short stories, Web comics, poetry.. fine.  Novels and novellas, forget it!  Stop stressing myself out fighting my nature!

Second: I give up, I'm going to end up writing code as my career the rest of my life.  Due to issue #1 above, trying to become a decent-selling novel writer isn't going to happen.  Short stories won't pay my rent and computer habits.  I'm getting too old to retrain myself without quitting work for a year to focus on it and I don't have those resources.  So, I'm going to quit berating myself about and focus on ENJOYABLE personal projects and not stress-inducing high-pressure activities that net me nothing but ulcers.

Lifestyle changes: no more strip clubs, period.  That part of my has lingered on 5 years longer than makes any sense whatsoever.  Yes, I met a dancer and we fell in love once.  Yes, she died of Type 1 diabetes.  No, it's not happening again.  Time to face the face I've been waiting for lightning to strike the same place a second time and move on finally.

So, I have 2 Web comics I'm going to work on because it's going to be fun (damn it) and I'm going to enjoy using my writing AND art skills to produce interesting and humorous stuff - without a deadline.  Same for my Lovecraftian/weird fiction short stories, they start when I start 'em and they're done when I finish 'em, no deadlines, no pressure.

My day gig is stressful enough, why make my own life MORE miserable?  It's dim.

Nest reality check weekend will be in September.  Wheeeee!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Catching up...

Been a while since my last blog here.

I've mostly been focused on my Red Room authors blog, as I'm trying to push my writing to the next level.  I tend to blog non-writing things here, so if you want my babbling verbiage on writing hit Red Room.

I'll be 54 on May 20!  I've taken some time off, the 17th/20/21st, to have some fun, go to Michigan and catch up with a family reunion, and the like.  Then home and back to work the 22nd!

At one time I was pretty sure I wouldn't see 54.  It's been close a few times, but somehow I made it.  Amazing.  I might reach 60 at this rate!

On house-hunting: I'm not any more!  It sounds weird, but the ValuePlace Inn is actually about the best deal in the world for me.  Most studio apartments in Austin run about $950 a month anyway PLUS utilities, so the $1100 I'm paying is in range - AND I get weekly maid service!  Sure, the neighbors can be annoying, but it's no worse than any apartment complex I've lived in.  Also, almost NO KIDS  - so no running/screaming/etc when I'm trying to think or create.  It's 4 miles from work, on a major bus route to an even more major transit center, tons of food within 2 blocks, a Pizza Hut that delivers and makes great chicken wings, a store that sells a ton of good beer, and an urgent care medical center in the mall next to us.

Of course, there are downsides: no oven (2-burner stove top and microwave), very small so there's no room to set up a guitar-based music studio, sometimes the neighbors are loud, and having to pay rent every Thursday.. but that's negligible.

It's the perfect place to hole up and focus on writing.  I can work on my 3D art as well, and the computer desk now holds my Alesis Qx25 MIDI controller so music composition/performance is possible.

If I had a wife and/or kids, or a ton of stuff, this would NEVER work.  But I've gone all minimalist and I'm happy, so there I'll stay while I write and save up money!

In medical news: the doc says I should get out of my walking boot in early/mid June, and move to an ankle brace/support.  That fits INSIDE a shoe so at that stage, I'm back to kind of normal.  I'll limp the rest of m life, but big deal - it's a good excuse to own a pimp cane!  Got to turn life's lemons into lemonade.

Ugh, back to work!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dreams, nightmares, visions, and boring stuff

Ah, sleep deprivation!  It's a wonderful inspiration.. not for programming so much, though.

I've been having some seriously odd dreams lately, I'm not 100% sure of the reason.. stress, the above-mentioned sleep loss, food (HOT HOT wings), or just being alone at last and starting to relax at home a bit now that things are stabilizing.

I don't keep a dream journal any more, but I do recall most of my dreams in the morning, and if anything seems meaningful I'll type it into my laptop.  One thing they've been useful for is story ides, I'e had 4-5 dreams that will make great weird fiction stories!

I've located two online e-zines that take story submissions.  Time to get my butt in gear and write, write, write!  I have two weird fiction shorts in progress and a few ideas for others, so I have plenty of material to get rejected (heh).

Work proceeds apace, lots of new product development, new code, bug fixing, and other things that are keeping me gainfully employed.  Nothing super-exciting or new, but it's steady and interesting work, so I'm not ready to polish my resume quite yet.

Not much on the music or 3D front.  While my DAW (digital audio workstation) program is quite usable on the laptop screen, my 3D applications are a pain as the icon-based interfaces and menus end up TINY.  Near instant eyestrain isn't conducive to creativity, so the 3D thing remains on hold until I get a laptop with a 17 inch screen (later this year).

I hope to start composing again this weekend, when I'm not writing.  I have some soundscape/cinematic pieces in my head I'd love to make real!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Buying Binge!

I love to read, and since I've brought my Tablet PC home I end up reading myself to sleep more often.

It's Payday, so I went berserk and loaded up on Kindle books.  Mostly history this time around: Medieval Europe, Inca, and some general European history books.

I love reading history and mythology.  The more I learn the more interesting my writing becomes as I have a bigger and bigger base of information to draw on.  Not to mention I get a TON of story ideas out of it!  Lots of great plots and ideas for fantasy and horror fiction, you can't beat that!

Blech, feeling flat today.  Note that it's hard to sleep well with a broken foot if you tend to roll over alot!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kow Bell Insanity!

I finally sat down with Tracktion, my effects plugins, and my massive loop library and finished off a challenge song - a song consisting almost completely of cowbells!

I now have seven minutes of cowbell samples being tortured, twisted, broken, shifted, and mangled.. along with some cow moos and a couple of pretty angry chickens.

This one guy always wants more cowbell, so, this should sate even his insane lust for the bell of the cow!

Kow Bell Insanity

Don't listen if you value your mind!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Variety is the Lice of Spite

Or something like that.

I've been blogging almost daily on my Red Room site, which is nice as it's good practice and discipline.  My traffic has gone way up since I've been more active, as well.  I must be doing something right!

On the home front, much scrivening at home, several small flash fiction pieces out and most of the chapter outline for Threshold completed.  I'm going to stay in my writers den at the ValuePlace Inn for the foreseeable future as it's affordable, near work, and let's me focus on work and writing.

I hope to work on some music this weekend, as well.  Balance, balance, balance!

As to work?  It's been crazed!  I'm shifting back and forth between embedded C and C#/.NET programming almost every day, it's a lot of fun and it's hard to get bored.  I'm currently working on a data acquisition and visualization tool for optimizing the performance of an embedded device I wrote the code for.. it's pretty cool.  Plus I get to add data visualization and .NET to my resume (heh).

Not much else going on, just trying to let the foot heal and trying to stay healthy.  I'm putting in those 40 hur weeks to save up for the chat meet in Las Vegas in May! Whee!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

School Daze

Every so often, I think about going back to school.

Having no degree has in a few instances shut off jobs from me, which is irritating as I've shipped more commercial products than most degreed folks.  It likely wouldn't make me more money at this point in my career, but it could open more doors.

There are a plethora (today's vocabulary word) of issues, though.

First and foremost is TIME.  Now, while I can free up some time in the evening and on weekends this will cut into my writing time and decompression time from work.  I could find a part-time job and do that to free up more time with a serious dent in my income, a hazard if anything bad should happen to me.  Which leads me to...

MONEY.  If I went to a physical school, that would take hours off of my work week and drop my income.  The least expensive accredited online school I can find is $960 a course.  Going to UT would set me back about $12K PER SEMESTER (!!).   If I banked about $100K I could probably get my degree in 3 years of insanely hard work, but then I'm 3 years behind on technology AND 3 years older AND broke.

Last, but not least, is.. REASON.  After a long hard look back, I've been turned away by HR because I don't have a degree - before even reaching a manager - about 8 times in the past 10 years.  That's way down in the statistical noise.  Being a contractor, almost every employer I've spoken to was interested in one thing: production.  Can I produce? Will I fit? Do I have the necessary skills? If yes on all 3, I get the job.  Degree? Not necessary.  So why on Earth am I considering such a thing?

Well, I've been thinking about a non-Computer Science degree, like a BFA in Creative Writing.  This would serve my career change well.. if I want to write for someone else as a living (which I really don't).  Will a BFA help me sell more books?  Unlikely.  Will it teach me anything I can't teach myself?  Again, unlikely.

Bottom line is: forget it.  It's not worth the overall cost vs. the return on investment. The money is better spent on focused classes, seminars, private tutoring and lots of self-study courses.

Of course, I'll go through all this angst again next year.. feh!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Write Living

Well, I finally managed to get my tail in gear and dive into work on Threshold this weekend.

I'm in what I think of as "pre-production".. research, world-building, an initial character list (main and supporting), and the outline of the main plot.  I've discovered that if I try to write anything longer than a flash fiction piece without a basic structure down, I get lost in trying to mix plot creation with running my characters THROUGH the plot and the results are pretty awful.

Bought more music to write by, some Celtic stuff, and some Steel Panther for when I need to rock out.  Music has a palpable effect on my writing, I've discovered.

The foot is healing, but slowly, as expected.  If I could take a week and stay off it I'm sure it would help, but that's not going to happen.  I'm minimizing the amount of total time I spend on it, though, and trying to keep long walking sessions to a minimum so that there's recovery time in between.  Loading the cabinet at work with soup helps as that eliminates a 3 block lunch time walk!

Work proceeds.. the demo last week went over fairly well, now to finish up this thing so that I can go on to the next project!  All I know is that there are a pile of other projects but the boss won't send me on to the next one until this one ships (lol)!  Pretty unusual for me to just have one iron in the fire.. ok, well, I have 2 (heh).

I'm still planning on the chat meet in May, just before my birthday.  I need to get a pile of money on to the credit card so it's going to be full 40 hour weeks for as long as I can do it.  It'll be nice, I've never been to Las Vegas and I['m curious.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meh, mostly

Not much going on.  The darn foot isn't any better or any worse, still somewhat swollen, better slightly some days, but nothing dramatic one way or the other.

Got a lecture about working 40 hours all the time, even though my work is on schedule and I don't bill when I'm here, so I get to work long hours 2 days to make up for having to leave early Thursdays and Fridays.  Not like I can't use the money, I suppose.

But, meh.

I'm working on 2 flash fiction stories while I think deeply about Threshold.  It's a great opportunity to experiment since they're under 1000 words, and I can rewrite the whole darn thing if I don't like it.

But, meh.

No music composed lately, either, but I do almost have all my original software studio rebuilt on the PC, and everything runs smooth as silk.

Still, meh.  Just meh.

Can't wait for the weekend, maybe going out for chicken wings and beer will help de-meh me.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Unreal Estate

I'm sure glad I like my little efficiency, because it looks like I'm going to be there for a while.

First, it's South by Southwest, and anyone with an empty closet is renting it out for an extortionary rate.  I've seen COUCHES for rent for $80 a night! Dang, I'd be on that too if I had space to rent out!  Once South By is over, these should revert to better month-by-month prices.

Second, the school season is in flux so there are a lot of "student-oriented" places (read: party houses) for lease for the school season.  And as much as I like to have fun, I also like to have SLEEP, so none of these will do.  It's too bad because the idea of living in a 4-bedroom with 2 female housemates is kind of intriguing.. oh well, too old for that!

Third, deposits.  All the nicer places want about $500 or so for a deposit plus first months rent.  I don't have that right now because of medical bills, so I'm stuck until I can bank a pile of cash to cover it.

And finally.. The Foot.  With the broken bone, I need ti minimize my walking until it's mostly healed.  The ValuePlace Inn I'm in is 1-1/2 blocks from the bus stop, next to a Whataburger, a sub shop, a bbq place, a urgent medical care place, a spa, and a corner grocery, with a Jack in the Box 2 blocks off.  In the room, the furthest I have to go is from the bed to the bathroom, which is all of 5 yards!  Nothing is a long walk and my foot loves me for this (lol).  Six weeks of low mileage on my tootsies will definitely help me heal faster and better.

Given that my stay is open-ended, the nice lady at the office at the inn says that I just need to pay for the next week every time and I can stay as long as I want.  This is about as easy as it gets.

Once the stars align (heh), I'm likely to look in South Austin, in the more artistic part of town - SoCo, or South Congress.  I've seen some nice writers-cave places that would be nice, if only I had the deposit money and my foot were healed (sigh).. around $750/mo, all bills paid.

Back to work and reading "2K to 10K", a book about how to write better, faster, and more professionally.  Go me!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday is NOT a day of rest!

No rest for the wicked, or so they say.

Despite losing a virtual hour of sleep, I've been stupid busy today.  I redid my Website to be a jumpiung-off point for my Red Room Authors Page and this blog, migrated the last of my writing projects from Google Docs to Scrivener, started in on reformatting "Love Dark and Frozen" installed Jutoh, got KindleGen/Previewer up and running.. and managed to get breakfast and coffee as well!

The only thing not in Scrivener is the story and book ideas, I have to think about how I want to set tht up.  I'll probably just use a blank template and customize it for the purpose.  Dang, I love Scrivener!

I installed the newest Korg M1 and Wavestation VSTi, they work perfectly in Tracktion - I'll get them working with Orion today,  This gives me a full arsenal of music tools as now I have all my plugins re-installed!  Composition begins next week, I hope.

I guess I should go out and get lunch, I'm a bit bitey.  That and some beer, and I'm going to spend the afternoon listening to music, chatting, and relaxing!  I've done enough useful stuff for the day!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Much icky-picky stuff going on, all very mundane.

I installed Scrivener on my primary machine last night and got it authorized.  Next up is putting Jutoh on it and testing end-to-end, from manuscript development to a Kindle ebook.

I think it'll be nice to have everything on the main machine.  I'm pretty sure I don't need 3 laptops
(heh), since I'm focusing on writing first, music second, and art in my spare time a single machine makes more sense than dedicating a laptop per function.  If I were going to go full throttle on 3D I'd dedicate a laptop to it, but.. eh.  No need.

In the next few days I need to bring Dead Ringer into Scrivener, set up a project for Threshold and bring the current draft into Scrivener, set up the outline for Threshold (yes, I have a nice bare-bones plot-arc outline), and create a project for all my general book ideas and notes.  I'll back this up to Google Docs periodically, this will make it easy to recover if something Terrible(tm) should happen.

Eventually I'll get a 16GB USB stick specifically for backing up, write an automated script, and have the damn thing back itself up nightly at 4:00AM.  There might be free/inexpensive backup software that would just save changed files, that's something worth looking into.

This weekend my Website will get updated to be a jumping-off spot for my Red Room page, and my blog here.  No point in trying to maintain 3 concurrent presences, most people visit here or Red Room already - I just need to be consistent and make sure sends folks to the Right Destination(tm).

Argh, need more coffee....

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Foot the bill.. or bill the foot?

Ok, fun time at the doctors this morning.

Between the doctor, the finance person, and me we had quite a lively animated discussion (ie. argument) over the whole foot surgery issue.  To summarize what was an hour long session, the surgery is not a medical necessity, no life or limb is threatened, and while it would be GOOD to get the foot fixed it's not time critical.  Sure it makes the next surgery more complex as they may have to remove/move scar tissue but not to a significant extent.  So, I stay in the annoying medical boot for 4-6 weeks after the swelling is gone and then I'm good for a regular shoe again.  If anything bad happens, to the E.R. I go, but there's no infection and things are proceeding, just slowly since I'm walking on it.

The good is, of course, that I can pay off the $2000 I still owe the place, while saving money for the surgical procedure since I know how much it's going to cost.   I don't lose a week of work while I'm trying to save up deposit & rent money for a move to a more permanent place.  I can bank money and shove a ton on the prepaid credit card in preparation for the whole affair.

The bad is, I'm stuck in this boot likely for twice as long total as it'll heal up, then I got get cut on and THAT has to heal up.  There's also a remote chance of breaking it WORSE if I have an accident or do something stupid, but that'd be a risk even if I had the surgery (and after surgery it's going to be a LOT more delicate until the wound heals).

So.. I will minimize walking the next month or so, keep icing it down when I'm not out, and generally Be Real Nice(tm) to the foot.  During this time I'll pay off the old debt and save for the new one, so I can just pay it off when it happens.  This also means I can save for the chat meet in May in Las Vegas (which is within 2 days of my birthday).  All in all, pretty decent results.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Temporarily Ensconced

Whew! All moved now and settling in to my temporary residence.  It's pretty nice for a "value inn" kind of residence, not too many noisy neighbors, the place is clean and well-maintained, and the soda machine is convenient - as well as the junk food machine (which has popcorn, hooray).

I'm going to be here until after my foot surgery, I think.  Lots of close places to eat, short walk to the bus stop, an affordable cab trip to the office - and very small distances to move in the room - make it perfect for recovering from a foot operation.  One the darn thing heals a bit, I'll start looking in earnest.

I managed to blast out a 459-word flash fiction piece on Sunday!  Kind of amazed myself, really.  I'll eventually post it somewhere, I want to give it a revision pass before I declare victory.  It's actually easy to do without distractions, I just threw on some music, stuck on the headphones, and went to it.

Slowly but surely making my way through a nice book on tools for self-editing, it's great stuff!  I should make a page that's recommended reading.. hmm.

No 2D/3D work right now as it's hard to do on the small laptop screen.  Same for the music at the moment, although Tracktion is easy to use even on the laptop display.  I definitely need a 17 inch screen on my next machine!

Later on this week I'll resurrect Dead Ringer and see if I can't whip it back into shape.  I think I have the knowledge I need to bring it to completion!

Argh more coffee...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The End Is Near!

Well, the end of my time at my old place, anyway.

Woke up and did final packing and triage today.  99% of everything is now in my rolling duffel bag, only bit and bobs out along with the i5 laptop.  Tonight it's bag the laptop after calling the cab, wait out front.. and I'm done!

I've been debating bringing the i5 system into the office and keeping it here until I find a more permanent place and taking the Asus box into the residence inn.  It has all my writing software and the screen is the same size as the i5, so it'd be perfect for focusing on FINISHING SOMETHING DARN IT!  No music software, no 3D software, no 2D software.. just music and writing, and sometimes chat.  It seems like a good idea, at least for now, so Monday I'll bring in the i5 and take home the Asus box.  The other upside: if someone steals it, it's less of a "cry myself to bits" loss than the i5!

Foot is no better or worse.  I'll probably get a lecture from the doc about running around on it at all, but I'm used to just shrugging and saying "Sorry, I need to get paid so you get paid" and that seems to shut 'em up.

Not sleeping well lately, I guess between the foot, the moving stress, and 10,000 little things it's making a mess of my sleep cycle.  Feh.

Back to work for me!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ugh, ANOTHER foot injury!

You read it  right - I managed to injure my left foot again.

Long story short, I slipped getting off the bus on Saturday as I was out shipping packages.  No skin breaks or obvious external trauma, so I figured.. no big deal, I'll just go home when I'm done.. and continued to run around on it.

Sunday morning at 4:00 AM I awaken to a massively swollen left foot.  Panic ensues, and when it doesn't immediately shrink in cold water it's off to the emergency room.  Doc thinks it's an infection and sticks an antibiotic IV in me, takes x-ways, and preps to check me in to the hospital.  Well, turns out it's no infection, but a compound fracture in my left foot behind the big toe!  Apparently I managed to wack it hard enough to break it when I slipped.  The same osteopath that did the amputation comes in, says it'll need surgery once the swelling reduces, they stick me in a medical full-calf boot and send me home until Friday, when I go see the osteopath again.  I hope we can schedule surgery either for Saturday so I can recuperate over the weekend, or next Thursday.. I can't afford to miss too many days or there's going to be some scrambling for rent money.

This is some seriously bad timing.  I *have* to move tomorrow, all the pieces are in place and there's no way I can stay in my old place past Friday morning.  The residence inn is expecting me tomorrow between 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM, so that's a done deal.  Not only that, I have to make it to the bank tomorrow morning to get money to go put on the prepaid credit card before I come into work.  Argh!

The only good news this week is that my paycheck was a bit larger than my estimate, so I can put more on the prepaid card.  That, and it turns out that there's a convenience store AND a Whataburger very close to the residence inn, so I have options for getting food other than the BBQ place and Jack In The Box.

It's all a total pain in the butt, but I'll make it through somehow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More Stuff Out The Door

Ok, last night the guy who's starting a band came by and got the bass and all the effects pedals, leaving me only with the drum machine.  Sigh, but they're going to a good home where they'll be used.  The guy who wanted the Strat came, saw, and bought during lunch.  Tonight I'm giving my Android tablet to a nice lady that's starting her own business, just because I like her and want her to succeed.  Tomorrow night the RG250DX goes out, along with the P-Rails pickup.  Nothing left but the drum machine to sell!

Looks like no rain this weekend so shipping the Dell off will happen, and I can make a couple of Goodwill runs.  Whoopie!

Not much progress in the writing department, what with the move, selling stuff, etc. my mood has been kind of antithetical to writing anything other than poetry about being miserable (yecch).  I did buy a couple of Kindle books on writing romance and sex scenes (blush) because I think I need help there.  Grabbed a couple of history books as well, for reference use later.

3D art front, been learning about Posers lighting models and trying to get thing more realistic looking.  I don't need photoreal for album art or book illustrations but for my pin-up stuff (Vargas style) it'd be nice.  Much to learn, much to learn.

Work proceeds.  Every time I think I'm going to work myself out of the job, something new comes up for me to do, so I'll probably be here for quite a while!  That works for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Troublesome Tuesday

Well, what a day!  I finally put all my guitar and recording gear up for sale on Craigslist, priced to move, and move it did!  Every single item on the list is spoken for that I put up for sale, the only thing that I haven't sold is the Tascam digital four track, which I'm going to hang on to for a field recorder in conjunction with the H2N.

This puts me back into fighting trim - now everything I own will fit in 3 pieces of luggage, and I might be able to reduce that to 2 if I eliminate a travel bag of medical supplies (bandages, etc.) that I believe I can get away without.  If I need to move to change contracts, or end up bouncing around extended stay inns while I search for a longer-term place, it won't be such a gigantic pain in the butt.

With Tracktion 4 (a digital audio workstation program, or DAW) in my arsenal, now moving back into pure composition is VERY possible.  This would save me the Alesis Qx25, but it's pretty small anyway so it's not super-critical.  I saved more space cutting my t-shirt collection down by 75%!

Dang, I need a beer.  I'll have to grab a six on the way home tonight, when I get dinner from the grocery store.  I don't want to keep a fridge full any more, just going to buy what I need when I need it.  Less to waste by throwing out when I finally leave!

If all goes mostly according to plan, the morning of March 1st. I'll get up in my old place, pack up the last of my stuff, and then go to work - and go home to my new place!  I'll check in February 28, drop off my rolling suitcase full of goodies, and then go off to work as usual.

It's a pain in the tail, but I'm sure it will all work out OK.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Maunderings

Monday, blech.  Oh well, it has to be dealt with.

Things proceed apace.  Sold off my 23in monitor, prepping the Dell for shipment, found a good home for the Android tablet.  Tonight and tomorrow night I'll post the rest of my junque on Craigslist.  What doesn't get sold by Sunday, goes either to Goodwill or into the trash!

I've made a reservation at a Value Inn on a bus line, the commute is a little longer but not too bad.  The place will be a weekly-rent studio with a small stove, fridge, TV, and of course Internet access!  I have it initially booked for 2 weeks starting next Thursday, but will extend it as long as it takes me to find a good, more permanent place.  At about $300/week it's not too horrible, maid service once a week, coin-op laundry right there as well.  There's really nothing close, so I won't be going out as much for the duration, plus the bus only runs until 9:30pm on Saturday/Sunday so that means if I'm out late, it's taxi time!  Will have to budget for that.

Not much else going on, all bandwidth is consumed in prepping to move.  I need to cram as much money on to the prepaid credit card as I can in the next few weeks, to provide a buffer in case something goes horribly wrong and I end up having to hang out in a regular hotel/motel somewhere, but that's a worst-case scenario.  Fun money pool is dramatically reduced for now, likely won't party anywhere but at home until I find a new place to settle.

What a bother.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Moving time!

Well, it seems that the property owner of the place I live has decided to convert the place into  more lucrative vacation/short term rental, so I need to be out no later than March 1st.!

Mostly what this is, is annoying.  Short-term, I can move into a weekly motel or extended stay residence inn.  Longer-term I need to find a less expensive solution (lol) but that shouldn't be much of a challenge.

Moving all my stuff, however, is painful, and so (sigh) I'm going to sell off abut 80% of what I own, get it all down into my rolling duffel bag + backpack + small carrying bag, and then try to NOT GET MORE JUNK without getting RID of something first!

Staying will be my Core i5 laptop, the Asus T4400 dual-core laptop, my Android tablet, and the Lenovo Tablet PC.  Also staying will be all my 2D/3D/music software.  Clothes, critical paperwork, and my stuffed toys come along for the trip as well.  I'll toss in one of my headphone/mic sets and a pile of small keepsakes and personal maintenance gear, and that'll easily fit into my bags.  I'm already about 2/3 packed, only daily necessities and 2 of the computers (tje i5 laptop and the tablet PC) are live right now.

Going will be.. EVERYTHING ELSE.  Yep - all guitars, all music hardware, all recording gear, plastic toy models, audio gear, and unused clothes.  I have a HUGE bag of old t-shirts, dress shirts too small for me, and other sundry items that I'm going to donate to charity.

I let way too much stuff build up over the past months. Should the local economy bomb and I need to move it would be painful and difficult right now, and I need to stay relatively portable so I can jump on a moments notice.

It's a big change of plans BUT! I'm still writing and doing 3D, music will be back on the computer (sigh) and that should all do quite nicely.

So, this weekend will be a HUGE moving sale as I dump a ton of goodies on the public.  Anything that doesn't sell will go to a local charity (to be chosen depending on what's left).

Well, I wanted to simplify.. and I got it! Not quite how I expected, but it's effective.

More as it happens.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Simplifying, not so simple

Some days, I really drive myself nuts.

I'm trying to simplify my life so I can focus on writing first, then computer art, then music.  So I have a pile of stuff to sell, I've managed to get down to 2 computers, and one guitar.. but..

I look at all the stuff to sell and keep thinking "But I could...".  It's hard to stop and tell myself that just because I COULD or MIGHT doesn't mean I SHOULD.  A new computer? Don't need it.  A second guitar? I don't play the one I have more than once or twice a week.  Drum machine.. don't use it at all.

So why do I have this weird desire to not only keep this stuff, but get more.. well.. "because I might want to use it some day".  No actual need for any of it, and if I put the money on the credit card or in savings, if I DO need it I can run off and get it THEN, when there's a PROVEN NEED.

Argh!  So I'm in a continual state of stress about it all, torn between a strong desire to minimize things and the sick urge to acquire things "while I have money".  I suppose it's a holdover from the feast-or-famine days of old, when Dad would either have a good contract and we were rich, or was between contracts and we were in deep conservation mode.

Just one more little bother to push through!  It's working well so far, the fewer things I have clamoring for attention, the more I actually accomplish!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wacky Wednesday

Well, plans change (le sigh).  After a nice long chat with a guitar tech at Guitar Center, it looks like it would cost me more than $500 to repair and upgrade the RG!  That's only $100 less than just flat-out buying a new  Nashville Telecaster.. so.. never mind, on to Craigslist it goes.  For now I'll make do with one guitar and see how that works out, since I only play 2-3 times a week and otherwise am writing or working on visual art stuff.

Doing more research for Threshold, I have a good grip on how I want the chapters laid out and what (in general) will happen in each one.  There will be 8 or 9 "chapters", 7 being major transitions and 2 being intro/outro kind of chapters.  It's based on the stages of alchemical transformation.. heh.  I think that structure will work out well.

At this point I'm ready to set up a Scrivener project and start in on it.  I have a few draft pages I can drop in, and then start to expand.  I have most of the major characters and some of the minor players, so there's nothing stopping me from getting Serious(tm) about this.

When I'm not writing, I'm plotting out an illustrated serial project!  Yep, The Vicky Chronicles will rise again!  That's my second priority after working on my main novel/novella project.  I have all the art assets I need to make it happen, and a good idea for the first few episodes, so hopefully soon I can get some character studies done and crank out some images.. those will end up on my DeviantArt site, which I need to link to some day (lol)!

Rainy outside today, makes for a sleepy day at the office.  Thankfully I have a ton of coffee.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday, Monday

At least it's not a MANIC Monday.  I have to be grateful for the little things, I guess.

Well, GO RAVE?NS! My team won so I'm happy about that, it was a good game except for the whole blackout thing.  I ate way too many chicken wings and drank way too much beer, and while I had one heck of a good time - today I pay.  I think, no wings or beer for a few weeks (uurp).

All computers set up and going.  The i5 system is now dedicated to 2D/3D art, the Asus has all my writing and ePublishing software, and the tablet has my Kindle library and a copy of Scrivener for portable and in-bed writing tasks.  This arrangement will do fine for a while, the only thing I might do is still replace the i5 with an i7, and move the i5 to be the writing machine, and sell the Asus off.  But honestly, that's months away at the earliest.

The studio is all set up, it's functional but I need a power supply for the multitrack (which I just ordered from Musicians Friend today).  Next up will be replacing the 4 track with an 8 track recorder, another Tascam since I really like having all the knobs and buttons.  Hooray for hardware!

As to guitars, I'm not going to touch the Strat pickups - with the right settings, it chimes, sings, and quacks like a duck (lol)!  The RG will get the P-Rails in the bridge, a Lace Sensor Gold in the middle, and a Bluesbucker in the neck.  This will turn the RG into a rock/heavy blues guitar that can stretch to metal.  I love the bass tone and I'll be taking the bass in for setup work next weekend, the neck seems a bit off in the upper frets and the action above the 12th fret is a bit high.

Writing, writing, writing.  Wrote some this weekend, and this week will get further into Threshold and the plot arc for the next 2 novellas.  It's going to be a fair amount of work to get it done, but I've pretty much cleaned everything but my day gig off my plate and I can focus on writing first, music and art second.

Shudder.. I can still taste chicken wings, even now, over the  coffee I'm sucking down.  Nasty.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Stupor Bowl Sundae

Well, it's the Football Weekend to end All Football Weekends - the Super Bowl.  Too bad the Texans aren't in it, so I'm not super excited.  I've lived in the Baltimore area, and the SF Bay Area, so I'm torn between "Go Niners" and "Go Ravens".. argh!  I'll probably go out to Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon for live music and just avoid the whole football thing.

Well, the back house is fixed up, all fire damage repaired, and the electrical system redone.. so tonight I'm moving back into my old room for the near future.  There's some student from Spain that has emergency need of a place to stay, so I'm going to shift over ASAP so she can take my old room.

Still have the darn cold, the sucker is hanging on tight!  It's being beaten back but darn, it's taking forever to shake it.  The wild variations in weather surely aren't helping, a week of 78f or so, then down to the 40s again, then back into the 70s.. urgh.

Still going to spend most of the weekend prepping things to sell and getting my computer set up again.   I'll be back on the lit keyboard and 21in monitor, hooray! It's WAY easier to work on 3D on something bigger than the 15.6in monitor on the laptop.

If I get a Core i7, it's going to have a 17in. screen.  That way if I end up in a small place again, I can still do 3D work without going blind (heh).

I need to blog more often on my writing sites, Red Room and AuthorsDen.  Once I get myself into a schedule, that should become easier.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Let Chaos Reign!

Well, it sure seems like it, anyway.  The short summary:

Lots of hospital visits to work on amputation wound.  All is healed now, I'm still on a cane for balance but normal shoes and I can walk close to my normal speed.  Hooray!

Music: I'm switching away from pretty much everything to just solo guitar+voice.  This means Craigslist is about to get a million posts as I sell gear (heh).

2D3D: Trying to break out and do more horror/erotic/pinup stuff, and maybe finally get back to the Vicky Chronicles Webcomic!  It's sssllooowww work.

Writing: Making a break from the past, I'm shelving "Dead Ringer" (which was a NaNoWriMo holdover, anyway) to focus on the "Threshold" trilogy.  I dumped my Android tablet and Dell laptop to get a Lenovo Tablet PC with a pen, so now I can take hand-written notes AND type (the sucker has a full keyboard too), which was what the Android tablet was supposed to do.  So now I can scribble story notes anywhere, woot!

And now.. drum roll.. housing!  My now very-ex housemate managed to set the house we shared on fire.  He blew a beaker, couldn't get the heater working in his room, beat the breaker box until it arced, and THEN tried to heat the place with the stove!  The electrician said the oven ran for hours at full blast, and overheated the wires.. which caught fire.  I'm in a temporary room for now, and hopefully in March will be shifting to something larger.. right now most of my stuff is inaccessible and I'm down to 2 computers, 1 guitar, and almost no other gear.  Talk about minimal!

Anyway, this years theme is SIMPLIFY.  I want to focus more on writing and 3D art/Webcomics, and then music for personal enjoyment and sharing only.  Lets keep it simple!