Aug 222011

Cannot run out of time. There is infinite time. You are finite. Zathras is finite. This…is wrong tool.

I have many, many projects that capture my interest. Writing is foremost among them, but so too are home improvement projects, costuming, digital art, web development, programming, learning to play the guitar, and so on. I often lament that I simply don’t have enough time to do all of that and my job and spend time with my wife and spend time with friends.

But that’s really a load of crap, isn’t it?
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Jan 032011

I saw a lot of people glad to be done with 2010. The general feeling seems to have been that 2010 was a less-than-satisfactory year. For my part, I’m inclined to disagree: in March, I got a new job at an awesome company working with awesome people on an awesome project; in July, my groomsmen took me to Atlantic City; in August, I got married and then went on my very first cruise; in October, Cody and I went as a very convincing Rose and the 10th Doctor for Halloween; in November, my parents finally came down to Maryland for Thanksgiving; December featured one of our best New Year’s Eve parties ever.

So, y’know, go 2010. May 2011 be as good or better.

To that end as is custom this time of year, I have a list of goals that I’m planning to work toward this year. They’re not “resolutions” and they’re not carved in stone; either notion is folly. But they’re things I care about and want to get better at, which I think carries more weight.

  • Devote some time each evening to writing or playing guitar. The main thing here is taking care of my “daily chores” in WoW, and then setting it aside while I spend some time doing either of the above activities. Once I’ve put some good effort in toward either, I’ll allow myself to go back to playing more WoW. I love my WoW hobby, but I can’t continue neglecting my others!
  • Get better about watching my diet again. I’ve slipped a bit since the wedding, which is probably entirely unsurprising to anyone who’s gotten married. I haven’t backslid irrevocably or anything drastic, but it’s noticeable enough to me that I want to do something about it. So, I plan to. Having a Droid will, I hope, make keeping track of my food intake a little easier.
  • Finish unpacking the house. This includes getting some additional furniture (bookshelves) and also tidying up the pantry shelves so that we can actually start making use of the damn thing.
  • Build the vacuform machine I’m always talking about. I intend to for Halloween to be very interesting this year.

That seems like an ambitious-enough list to start with.

Sep 272010

If you’ve been here long enough, or are the sort to read a blog’s entire archive when you stumble across it1, you may remember my this entry I posted about Halloween last year. The time is approaching once again, and once again both Cody and I are a bit at a loss for what to do. We have a fallback plan, but neither of us is very gung-ho about it and want something more interesting. I’m toying with the idea of trying to finish my Vader costume from several years ago, this time by first building a vacuforming table and constructing the various armor pieces out of plastic rather than placemats. The downside to this is that it leaves Cody in the lurch about a costume, since she has no interest in a Padmé costume2. The implications behind such a pairing are a little disconcerting, anyway.

I finally got caught up with House this weekend. I had forgotten how much I adore that show. Looking forward to tonight’s episode, especially on the heels of the last one, though I don’t know when I’ll actually watch it. Cody hasn’t caught up yet and I don’t want her to get spoiled about recent events. Olivia Wilde continues to be mind-breakingly gorgeous, but Cody is absolutely right when she points out that it’s particularly true in House. Outside of the context of the show, Olivia Wilde’s sculpted features can get a little too inhuman. Almost certainly a function of makeup.

September has been a very tough month, though not for any particular reason I can point to. Cody’s been feeling it too; the entire month has just felt frantic and busy beyond justification. You’d think that with the wedding behind us, things would have settled down. I think some of the insanity may stem from all the stuff we set aside for the wedding, or perhaps tuned-out while dealing with the wedding, which is now coming back with a vengeance. Even work has been nuts for the both of us, though. Not bad, just crazy busy. I’m hoping things will settle down a bit in October…so that the craziness of Halloween can take focus. Ugh.

Never rains, but it loves to pour.

  1. Guilty of doing that many times myself. []
  2. Can you blame her? []
Apr 272010

Cody’s going out of town for business, making tonight out last night together until Sunday. This is very sad. There is, however, a silver lining. I get to “surprise” her1 when she returns by presenting a de-wallpapered pantry, ready for painting. She has been on me to finish de-wallpapering it…well, pretty much since we stopped major housework after finishing the kitchen walls. So, while I’m not looking forward to doing it, I’m looking forward to having it done and making her happy.

Speaking of done and happy, the wedding website is finally live.

A random collection of WoW-related thoughts follows.

  • After spending several hours researching and implementing a customized UI for Jakosta, live use made it clear that it was a big pile of fail. With some more research, a few more addons2, and some alterations to existing addons, I think I may have something truly awesome. Won’t have a chance to test it until tomorrow, though.
  • Speaking of Power Auras, I got absurdly excited about it once I first tried it out. I immediately started wondering how I might apply it to Deowyn as well. After running my heroic for the day, I realized that it would be useful for at least two reminders: when I’m in combat without the Glyph of Life Tap buff active, and any time that Fel Armor isn’t active. Might also be worth having one when Haunt is available for casting, though I think the Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text notice I have for that is sufficient.
  • Every time I hear “Everybody’s trance dancing tonight” from the DMB song “So Right,” I think “Everybody’s stance dancing tonight,” and want to make up some alternate, WoW-themed lyrics to the song.
  • I think WoW has become my favorite hobby, which is amusing. Every time I worry about it, I just think about Jace’s “I Play W.O.W.” song and feel better. That said, I’m hoping to do some novel editing and guitar playing while Cody’s away, too.

I’m tempted to rant about driver etiquette, but have lost the gumption for the time being. My urge to write such missives tends to peak while I’m, y’know, driving, which is a somewhat inconvenient time to compose them.

  1. It’s not really a surprise when I’ve already declared my intention to do it. []
  2. Power Auras FTW! Holy crap! []

Whoa, a post!

 Posted by at 01:11  2 Responses »
Apr 202010

So, yeah. My profuse apologies for being so lackadaisical about posting for the last, oh, four months. Quite a bit has happened that’s kept me otherwise preoccupied.

First, there was that whole winter holidays thing. Second, upon returning to work following the winter holidays, I was informed (along with many, many others) that I no longer had a job. Downsizing, division cutting, etc. Basically, the company retooled itself into something completely different. C’est la vie. First thing I did when I got home was start working on my website/resume/etc. By the end of that week, I’d already sent out several inquiries.

Fast-forward through two months of hand-wringing, and a lot of WoW-playing, and I find myself working at 38 Studios. I can’t say enough about how awesome a company 38 is. You’ll have to read about it for yourself. I will say this: it’s an incredible feeling to be working on something that excites you. I can’t provide any details, I’m afraid, but I can’t wait for our game to come out just so I can play it! The only downside is the hour-long commute1, but audiobooks are helping me get through that2. I’m so jazzed to get to work every day that the commute really doesn’t matter. I end up voluntarily working 9-10 hour days, without even realizing I’ve done so until I look at the clock and it dawns on me that I should probably think about going home at some point.3

Wedding planning has continued, though sluggishly. We’re starting to pick up steam now that I’m working again, though, so that’s good. We finally got rid of our rattling, rumbling, not-at-all-working dryer and purchased a new, awesome dryer4. I did the first lawn mow of the year today, with much success. Mower seems none the worse for wear having spent the winter in the shed.

Still haven’t finished5 editing the novel I wrote in November, but now that things are settling back into something resembling normalcy and I’ve had a chance to recharge my batteries, I’m ready to dive back into the little world I created. I’ve also speced out a new system that I plan to upgrade to in the near future6. In preparation for that, and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I pre-designed the file structure that I plan to use for my new system. Hopefully, it will keep me somewhat organized.7

Since the weather is finally getting nicer, I’m also getting the itch to finish off the various house projects that remained incomplete once the cold weather set in. Chief among these are finishing the pantry and repainting the upstairs bathroom. Once those are done, I want to replace the screen doors on both entrances with ones that actually open in a logical direction. I may replace the back door altogether. It’s fine as a barrier to entry, but it’s pretty drafty.

As if all that weren’t sufficient, there are a ton of weddings and other events on the horizon: my friend Jen is getting married in May, our friends Keith and Lisa are getting married in June (and I’m in that wedding as a groomsman), my birthday and bachelor party are at the end of July, I’m getting married in August (and Keith is in that wedding as a groomsman), and our friends Christina and Alex are getting married in October.

To top things off, also spurred on by the improving climate, I’m considering actually tackling some of the costume-making ideas I’ve had kicking around for years.8 I have no idea how I’m going to fit all this together.

Somehow, I always manage.

I’ll also be making an effort to write more here. Ideally, I want to post once or more a day, just so that I’m writing something every day. Practically, of course, that’s not likely. Ah well.

Thanks for reading!

  1. And that’s one way! []
  2. So far, The Mote in God’s Eye (Niven, Pournelle), The Last Colony (Scalzi), American Gods (Gaiman), Zoe’s Tale (Scalzi), and about half of The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. []
  3. Fortunately, Cody is so happy that I’m happy about my job that she doesn’t mind at all. []
  4. They even delivered it the next day, and hauled away our old one, all for free! []
  5. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t actually started the editing process in any concrete way. Lots of brainstorming, but no tangibles. []
  6. My current machine will become our house server, running Ubuntu of course []
  7. Knock on wood, and all that. When it comes to organization, I’m a contradiction: I’m always disorganized and I can’t stand disorganization. Mm, self-loathing. Tasty. []
  8. Yes, stormtrooper armor is on the top of that list, thank you very much. []

Moving Forward

 Posted by at 12:45  No Responses »
Sep 282009

This weekend, Cody and I finally finished the last milestone in making the house “livable:” painting the kitchen. The kitchen’s modification has been a long, arduous process that started in mid-June.  The first hurtle was getting rid of its hideous pineapple wallpaper. This took an army of people to do (who have my everlasting thanks) over a period of several weekends. Once finished, we still had to patch some substantial holes and cracks, sand down spackle, prim, and finally paint.

To celebrate, we threw our first proper house party.

It’s a little odd to walk through the kitchen, dining room, and sunroom now. They’re so open. Before, they were cluttered with boxes, tools, and debris. Now, the floors are clean, the walls are brightly painted, and the boxes have been tucked away. It feels like a home.

With the major house construction projects out of the way–the pantry still needs the same treatment the kitchen got, but it’s a small space and low priority; the upstairs bathroom just needs to be repainted–I can start focusing on writing. NaNoWriMo is still a month away, but I’m going to try to amp up my daily wordcount and plow through a novel by the end of November.

The trouble is, I have yet to decide which story is the most promising. I’ll probably end up writing both at the same time, depending on which strikes my fancy at any given moment.

Sep 232009
  • Hooked on Veronica Mars.  First season is incredibly smart and engaging.  Tina Majorino (“Mac”) is adorable.  Started watching season two.  Have heard that seasons two and three are not as good as the first, with the third even breaking with the format of the previous two seasons.  Will stick with it as long as it remains interesting.
  • Glad to be back to the regular TV season with the debuts of House, How I Met Your Mother, Heroes, and Castle on Monday.  House, in particular, was interesting for breaking its traditional format.  Only regular cast member (other than Hugh Laurie) to appear was Robert Sean Leonard, and only for a few moments.  Awesome appearances by Franka Potente (Bourne Identity) and André Braugher.
  • Lots of work to be done in the kitchen, with a hard “due” date of Saturday evening, when we’re hosting a birthday bash.  The list includes sanding the walls, washing them, taping off the edges of areas we don’t want to get paint, priming, and painting.  I’m hoping to hit the first three items tonight.  We shall see.
  • Started watching Defying Gravity at the suggestion of a friend.  Excellent show thus far (two episodes in).  It’s amazing to see a hard sci-fi TV show (with the exception of that one thing, which I won’t mention for those of you who haven’t seen the show yet).  “Alive” by Edwin was in the first episode. I haven’t heard the song in years, and recognized it at once (though I mis-identified it as Bon Jovi at first).  I love that song.
  • Started reading Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds last night.  Been meaning to read this for a while.

A Great Day

 Posted by at 21:05  No Responses »
Aug 092009

Cody and I spent a great day up at the cabin with Laura & Paul, Paul, and Nana Pat. We cooked lobster.  My last memories of eating fully shelled lobster aren’t the best, and I remembered lobster seeming far more difficult than it was worth.  The shell on this lobster was easy to tear, though, and not all that troublesome.

Then Cody and I came home and watched True Blood.

Every Sunday should be this relaxing.

Tomorrow, I’m going to be Mr. Handyman around the house: taking garbage to the transfer station, working on the wallpaper in the kitchen, and unpacking some of our kitchen supplies, so as to better facilitate Cody’s desire to do more cooking.  Hopefully, this week will see the end of the wallpaper in the house.

Also, there are far too few pictures of Cody and I.  We just don’t take very many, or are rarely in situations where one might have a camera to snap pictures of us.  This is somewhat distressing, given the notion of a wedding slideshow.  If anyone has any pictures of us that aren’t on Facebook, let me know.

Aug 062009

Been a while since my last post.  Since then, a ton of stuff has happened.

  • We fully moved-in to our house (though we’re still only about 25% unpacked).
  • We set a date for the wedding (8/7) and have picked a location for the reception, which may double as the wedding site too.
  • We selected/customized Cody’s engagement ring and matching wedding band
  • My company laid off about 25% of its work force (a layoff I rather miraculously was not a part of).
  • The Vampire game has resumed.

I’m probably forgetting a few things, but those are the big highlights.

One of the reasons I haven’t posted often of late is that it seems a bit of a chore to go to the blog page, log in, write up a post, etc, etc. I’ve recently implemented an easier method of posting that I think should make posting a more frequent occurrence. I’ve also got to get over my internal reluctance to post a battery of short posts as I think of things to say. If Twitter has proven anything, it’s that people enjoy hearing about the exploits of others in short bites. I don’t think I’ll ever hop on the Twitter bandwagon, though (famous last words…).

I finally got LaTeX-style rendering working on my wikis. It’s not that this is particularly difficult to do, but rather I had never had a server setup that would allow me to make the necessary changes to support it before. The particular implementation I’m using right now is MimeTeX. I had to do some custom hackery to make it work (specifically, my server did not seem content to create image links with some of the formatting required by TeX, so I wrote a PHP “middleman” that stands between the MediaWiki math engine and the MimeTeX CGI to properly handle formatting), but it’s great fun.

The major motivating factor in getting the TeX support to work is that I wanted to explore the idea of “damage potential” in EVE Online. Because of the way damage works in EVE, specifically with turrets, a given ship using a given type of gun is going to do the most damage at close range, and then see that damage falloff gradually as the target gets farther and farther away. This isn’t accounting for aspects of the target, which also play a role. The formula for this falloff is known and can be calculated, but I wanted to see how different ships stacked up to one another when they were compared.

I decided that the best way to do this would be to integrate the falloff curve (i.e. find the area bound by the DPS graph for the ship). Of course, this led to about 15 hours of wrestling with a truly atrocious integral. After consulting with Wolfram’s online integrator, engineers at work, the think tank at SDN, my dad, Cody, and Dr. Math,it became clear that the only way to solve the integral was via approximation and a computer.  I wrote up a Python script to do the integral and started getting good results.  I’m not really sure how valid they are, though.  Mathematically, they’re sound, but I’m not sure about their practical application.

I think that’s about it for now.

Apr 222009

Cody and I are both treating the imminent acquisition of our house as a massive paradigm shift, after which everything becomes possible. I’m not sure if this is realistic, but it’s true all the same. Here are just a handful of things that are “going to happen” once we move.

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