I did some writing. How about that? Also, posted twice in one month. Crazy I know.
I talk a lot about Hiddengrid this episode.
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The Ramblings of a Distracted Writer
Seems every year or so my wife or I undergo surgery for a malady or another. 2013 isn’t an exception to this rule, with my wife’s hip resurfacing surgery bringing us into the medical fold. In late February we went to the same hospital in central Florida she had her gall bladder removed seven years earlier, checked in during the wee hours of the morning, and waited for the next major life changing event in our lives. The surgery was a success and while the recovery is still ongoing we are now a happy healthy cyborgian couple.
Medical treatment, observation, and care have always been something that’s been a part of my life. The first two decades of my life was marked with often visits to doctors and staff at clinics, so I’m no stranger to the need for treatment. In that time I’ve become jaded, or numb to some of the conflicts that spring up in relation to damaged health. I learned to deal with constant pain, discomfort, and having to adjust to an environment not exactly built for the unique body I pilot. With a lifetime of such experience comes a mindset of finding it hard to deal with situations where others aren’t used to such conflicts in their day to day. In this, the past two years have been a test in understanding and compassion as I come to terms with my wife’s joint condition.
Pain’s not something that’s easy to deal with for most, especially chronic continuous pain. It was under this umbrella that Trish found herself. She’s never been on such comfortable first name terms with Mr. Pain and in the years I’ve known her, it’s always been a challenge for her to overcome when the nerves screamed from her bones and muscles, or from an accident or stumble. It then comes as no surprise over the past twenty four months as her hip condition deteriorated and her bone spur became worse that she spiraled. The depression, sadness, and anger crept into her life as the pain weaved a web through her leg. It was a series of dark traits that not only overcame her, but also began to overtake me. I could feel sensations of resentment and frustration coming from my subconscious, and there were times the anger tried to bash my compassion away. I was always able to mentally understand the harshness and pain Trish was going through but there were times emotionally I grew angry at her for not being able to just pull up and deal with it. Such an assessment wasn’t fair though, as I don’t know what her pain feels like on the inside, and I don’t medically understand the nature of how pain differs from one person to another. I know my pain. I know how to deal with my issues. It wouldn’t be fair to judge her based on that and it was this knowledge I kept in the forefront of my mind.
Well, most of the time.
Sometimes we did fight. Such events are inevitable when there are such dark emotions overshadowing a household. Having a roommate who’s not exactly a source of sunshine and a beloved elderly feline in the sunset of his life brings a bit more dark water to crash against the dam. While it never did burst we did let the over flow pipes open occasionally and scream and yell. Yet we also talked, and it was those times we came to the best treatment of the issues prior to surgery. It wasn’t easy, but things worth fighting for never are. Twenty four months of pain and suffering came, and went, and on an early morning in late February Trish went in for the surgery she needed.
The surgery wasn’t a magic cure. The days following in the hospital were hard on Trish, as she struggled through post-op delirium and the pain of having part of her bone cut down and a cap of cobalt and chrome replacing a hip joint. She made it though, despite the tears, the pain, and the struggle to make the required steps. It only took a few days but she was cleared to head home and for the next month and a half, she was home. I stood by her side during the early weeks, taking a FMA leave of absence from my day job. Those weeks were a challenge in their own right but compared to the massive shadow that had been the previous two years they were easy. It was tiring, mentally exhausting, and required a patience the twenty four months had helped forge, but it was easier overall. She came out of the six weeks better than ever. She’s still healing now, somewhere near eight weeks post-op, but she’s stronger. She’s healthier. She’s whole.
The future still holds more challenges. There will be pain. There will be suffering as each of our bodies tosses us more strife. It’s part of life and the maintenance of our physical selves. Regardless of what life throws at us we know we can take it. We’ve taken it and we will continue to greet each matter. We’re stronger together for it and while there are signs of upcoming issues with her other hip; we know how to deal with it. It won’t be so hard next time around. Maybe it’ll be my turn next, maybe she’ll have a streak, and it doesn’t matter. We’ll face it head on and plow through it.
We’ll do it together.Read More
2013 has been, what we’d like to call, a very busy year. We’re knee deep into spring and already projects have built up, life events have come and gone, and I’m already beating myself up on where I am with my time table. Also I haven’t posted an episode of my audio journal podcast in over three months, but you knew that didn’t you? Things are, as they tend to go when I point out a flaw in my schedule, going to change over the coming week as I do that metaphorical “get back on the horse” trick. But first, as tradition demand it, a review of the story so far.
When last these halls were echoing with the words of my actions, I was talking about the prep work for my wife’s surgery. Nearly two months on and she’s doing great. The new parts work fine, her health is coming back and she’s already at the day gig and working on a new promotion. I’ll be going into the details on the struggles and growth we went through during that period in an upcoming post, but I will be forth coming and saying it wasn’t perfect. There was a ton of stress, fatigue, and anger mixed in with relief, joy, and happy spousal connections. I don’t exactly want to strive to go through the experience again but would happily do so to aid her if needed. For now we leave it as an overall success story with the opening to the next part of our lives now available.
There were two projects I talked about reviving at the beginning of this year, Hiddengrid and Trans-dimensional café. TDC is still stalling. I’m not sure other than the writing time died during my wife’s recovery and the depression that came from her chronic pain and the effect it had on our lives. Now that we’re more in sync again on a positive train, maybe TDC will also return. Unlike its brother, Hiddengrid is growing strong. We’ve managed an episode each week since the first of February, and while we haven’t gamed every weekend, we’re consistent enough to keep a back log of sessions to post. I can’t tell you just how thrilled I am seeing our Facebook fan page grow and getting more and more feedback from listeners. We even managed to garner the attention of fellow Shadowrun podcasters, Critical Glitch, and had a shout out from them on the episode they interviewed Bull, the director of Catalyst Game Lab’s Shadowrun Missions line. You should go check out the episode, it’s a fun one.
Now I haven’t forgotten my main project for the year, although I admit to being behind a month (see previous paragraph about writing time). The novel is slow going but as the time of this writing I’ve reviewed both previous drafts, both outlines, and have begun work on a story bible. Once the bible is in a good place we’ll be working on the final alpha series draft of the novel. I don’t have a time table at this time for that but if I’m going to get the novel onto Amazon by Dragon*Con, I’ll need to get the draft ready by the beginning of June, and edited by July. That doesn’t leave much time this late in April, but if I can get away from the Minecraft server, I might just manage it.
Oh, that’s right. Minecraft Server. Yeah we have a server up running the great Feed the Beast modpack. It’s a great grouping of mods that have once again regenerated Minecraft into a fascinating and awe inspiring environment. I’ll go into details on this on a later post as well, but I can say my time on our Minecraft server has been a great experience with connecting to both long time friends, new friends, and even with my family, as my Brother, Sister-in-law, and their eldest are hanging out and building in our cubic world. The server itself is running half a c-note which is a great price for the server ram, and the player base has even jumped in to handle part of the bill.
There’s still countless things left to do in the year to come, but like many things it’s easier to think and act on the things that are near and not those on the horizon. We’ll be plotting out our trail for the future in the next four weeks, but we’re not going to stress over them. Really that’s how things work around here. We produce when we can and don’t stress when we can’t. In the end we do reach our goals just at our own pace.Read More
Next week my wife should be going under for the wonderful aging process of replacement parts. I’m keen to see the results of her surgery as we’ll now be a fully cyborg couple. Her replacement joint and my replacement artery aren’t exactly the fully cybernetic concepts that are tossed about in cyberpunk, future tech, or other forms of speculative fiction, but they are cool symbols of the future we are a part of and I take pride that I’m in the prototype group for homo-sapiens 2.0. With this surgery coming up though, a certain number of challenges and issues will be coming my way during the next one or two months.
While previous plans had me focused on trying to get a writing project done by March, I’ve found a bigger priority. I won’t have the day gig holding me back in terms of time for a period but my time won’t be my own as I’ll be focused on caring for Patty for the first few weeks. It’ll require a change in pace and performance as I’m caring for and not my projects and distractions. This means time tables will change as I won’t be completing the two books I had planned for the summer. Disappointing but acceptable as the price of the loss of authorial success will be replaced with the improved health and lifestyle of my most treasured person. This doesn’t change my primary goal of 2013 though, the placement of a book for sale in a book marketplace prior to October 21st, 2013.
Projects for the remainder of the month are getting refocused as we assess these situations. Needing a book to lock down, I’ve selected to revisit my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel and continue the editing of that. Completing the second draft during the time I’m off will be my main goal during the period from the point of my wife’s surgery until I return to my day job. If I get to the point of being able to start editing that book before I return to the day gig, I will. The primary goal is to have my personal editing completed by May 1st so I can have a professional eye give it a look through May.
Outside of the novel project, the majority of projects need to be pulled back and refocused. My two main podcast projects, TDC and Hiddengrid, are both functioning perfectly as planned. The TDC podcast came off perfectly during out first recording and the second recording will take place the same night I’m writing this post. Episode two drops on the 15th. Hiddengrid’s already two episodes in and I have only a few minutes of work to complete the editing and posting of episodes three and four. At this time we’ve had four recording sessions giving me at least eight to nine episodes to play with, so even if we’re unable to play a weekend of two in the coming weeks, I’ll be able to keep our posting regular still. Community feedback has been light but that’s expected as we’re a nitch podcast that’s fairly young. One of my major goals in the coming weeks is to start taking a look at joining more Shadowrun communities and making my presence known as a valuable member within.
Beyond those changes, my regular posting and blogging on the sites has thinned slightly. They’re not entirely as barren as previous months have been but they’re not where I want them to be. Changing this is going to call on my need to avoid some of the traps and distractions I’ve let myself set a pattern of exploring. I wonder if I can block my internet access to certain sites during time periods I should be working. I’m hoping to maintain my daily blogging come the time period of my leave this coming week.
Overall I’m happy with my progress this year but not satisfied. There’s still plenty to improve and I won’t get there by letting myself be dominated by distraction. Despite these illusions of entertainment I’m still getting the major items completed. That’s important enough, but as I said, it’s not enough.
I’m going to call it there, but I’ve got a personal homework I’m assigning myself for this week. It’s Tuesday evening now, and I’ve got a full week before my time is dominating by taking care of my loved one. In that time frame, let’s see the required weekly goals be met. Let’s see 3 blog posts here, a follow up on Hidden Grid for session 2, a follow up on TDC, seven daily hidden node podcasts, and completion of my updates to the Hidden Grid site. These aren’t impossible goals. They just require me to stay on target and not let distractions override me. I’ll be a stronger person for Patty, and with her upcoming trials, she’ll need me to be.
Red Shirts: To explore strange new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly die by them in horrible and ironic methods.
We all know the scene. The command crew is down on the planet, exploring a cave, ancient city, or negotiating with a hostile alien. Escorting them is some fresh new face we haven’t seen before and won’t see again. We know what happens next. The ensign takes that wrong turn first and dies, crushed under a mountain. They set off some ancient technology and are vaporized. The rebels turn violent and the captain dodges just in time for the hapless ensign to get it in the face. He had no name, except maybe after he died. Why did that have to happen though? Why did he make a stupid mistake in going around the bend you just knew was dangerous? Seriously, who’s writing this shit?
Red Shirts explores these themes of many of the tropes in classic science fiction television and movies. Through the eyes of Alan Doll, we get a glimpse of the galaxy through the universal union, a galaxy filled with wonder, mystery, new and very dangerous life. Alan’s transferred to the UU’s flagship vessel Intrepid helmed by a not un-kirk like captain, at least most of the time. He quickly learns the danger of life on board and why the ship has the worst casualty rating of any of the ships in the fleet’s history. When he and his crew mates are warned by the cryptic Jensen, Ensign Doll starts the road to discovering what’s really behind these dangerous missions and to what he can to save the life of everyone on board.
Redshirts is just fun. It starts off as a quirky and terrifying at times space opera that offers a very creative twist halfway through. This twist reveals that Doll’s universe may just be fictional, or at least being influenced by the forces of fiction. The adventures the UU Intrepid take part in turn out to be a part of the fictional narrative written in the year 2012. Doll and his companions manage to not only return to this time period using the powers of the narrative, but to also meet many of their counterparts on the set of the show. It’s a fun visitation to the “Fiction becomes reality” type of story, and the final resolution of the story to fix the show through the powers of the narrative may ask some physics questions but they’ve already covered the reality bending powers of the writing.
Redshirts is a must read for anyone who likes classic Star Trek or older Sci-fi television and movies. It plays with the tropes and makes it something amazing to behold, and Scalzi always provides the reader with fun characters. The text is a great addition to any library and the audio book reading by Wil Wheaton shows off why he’s an excellent voice for fiction. The combination makes for a great time and well worth the 8 hour investment.Read More
Hard work occasionally pays off and after a month of twisting, poking, editing, modifying, and reworking; we successfully (re)launched two major projects on the first of February. The response hasn’t been insane but it has been overall positive for both Trans-Dimensional Café and Hiddengrid: the Sixth World Chronicles. Fans over at the Shadowrun Google+ community have already shown interest on upcoming shows and we’re already seeing a few new faces on the TDC Facebook group. It’s just the beginning though and we have a lot of upcoming actions in the next month.
Hiddengrid will be the first to get new content. We’ve already recorded at least seven episodes worth of content and the players eagerly await our next session on the 9th. Episode 2 drops on the 8th, and I’ll be spending a great deal of time this week trying to get as many of the other five episodes edited and ready to go come their deployment week. I’ve also opened the door for other campaigns to drop audio episodes in for their own games (full sessions only), and those episodes will appear on Tuesdays. I already have one campaign lined up once Silver Angel is complete in a few weeks. I’m hoping to find more to fill the needs of the Shadowrun listener audience.
TDC will start getting its next episode on the 15th. Before that, we’ll start to see some blog posts showing up talking about writing observations and project status. That fiction story I promised for the end of the month isn’t completed yet, but it will be the major focus of the month. The reviews from Hidden Node will also be mirrored in the TDC Facebook page. There’s a lot of growing TDC will need to do in the coming weeks as it tries to find its footing. I think it has the potential to become a strong voice for myself and Andrew; it’s just a matter of staying focused.
Overall, it’s been a positive weekend with major projects. The two podcasts are keeping me busy, but in a practical forward looking manner. They’re providing a structure for the weeks ahead and I need that in order to get my other writing projects completed. I think that’s an important concept in my growth as a professional writer; learning the structure, skill, and development of sticking to a time table. It’s a sense of discipline and it’s very rewarding.
Next, let’s see if I can start keeping a schedule when it comes to my blogging here and on the other sites.