Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve is over

Sue and I spend the Christmas Eve day together. It is our holiday. Christmas Day is the family day. It gives us one private holiday and one public holiday.

We started the morning with the purchase of a new Nero Wolfe book to listen to and a wonderful french toast breakfast. The french toast had butter and confectioners sugar. It is amazing how good the food is when Sue cooks it and we eat it together. I know she and I have been together a long time, but I find myself fascinated by her. The book we got was Death of a Doxy and it is really a good one. The Nero Wolfe audio books are better than either the radio shows or the TV shows that show up. The TV shows are very pale imitations at best. Michael Prichard does the audio and he is true to the original Rex Stout stories.

As the day went on we spent a lot of the day simply relaxing together with our eyes closed listening to the audiobook. There is something special about spending quiet time with one you love. I think that because we spend so much time talking about projects, politics and plans that being able to share silence is romantic, but I think its best to leave that part out of the days pleasures.

We got an organic chicken to share and filled it with stuffing. The flavor of old fashioned chicken baked slowly is astounding. We will be eating chicken happily for the next couple of days. Mocha and Mac, our pack members/pets got a good portion of the leavings. Boy were they excited. Afterwards they both laid down on either side of us and slept. Fun stuff. A pack relaxes.

For desert we had home cooked brownies with vanilla ice cream and chocolate. The whole thing just melted in the mouth. It is the first time we tried this as a desert, and it will go on our regular menu as a food.

We spent most of the evening in quiet meditation together and I feel rested this morning, which is probably a good thing because soon we will be dashing madly from family house to family house today. We will be stopping at home to eat between trips. I'm afraid that we will be skipping the family meals and eating our food instead. I hope no ones feelings get too hurt, but the modern foods just don't measure up.

Well, off to the days activities.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A lot happening here

There are a huge number of small things going on here.

I am having to learn to bake bread in a toaster oven. Our oven gave up the ghost and we are using a toaster oven and two burner hot plate set up. With just the two of us it is working surprisingly well. The problem is bread bakes differently in the toaster oven. The heat reflecting off the low top burns the top of the bread. Aluminum foil conquers that. The heat is more intense and I am down to baking at 340 degrees. And developing a single loaf recipe is interesting. Getting a good rise from the bread is a problem so far. With our energy use reduction the house is cold. We have a ceramic wall heater in the bedroom so I am putting the bread there to rise. All in all, I think I just about have things working again.

Oh, and I have some work to do. I have started the process of changing our DNS host for artbysvc and dragonstorm sites. Hopefully it will go smoothly. It will be a cost reduction of $300.00 a year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It was the Sunday before Christmas...

As it happens we are now on the Winter Solstice. During the previous week and next week I will be honoring this venerable holiday. It works out nicely that the modern Christmas celebration happens to match up with the old Winter Solstice. I am guessing this is not an accident.

I have always had the desire to tie the Stormlands Holy days to the four Solstices and Equinoxes of our own calendar. Since DS is a social game it would be fun to be able, both as players and GM to know know the general world happenings going on behind the characters adventures. I am doing some thinking out loud here, so don't quote me.

Winter Solstice Dec. 21st, celebrations Dec. 14th to 28th.

Jan 30th to Feb 8th Mid Winter celebrations.

Spring Equinox Mar 20th, celebrations Mar. 16th to 27th.

May 1st to May 9th, Mid Spring celebrations.

Summer Solstice June 20th, celebrations June 14th to 27th.

August 2nd to August 10th, Mid Summer celebrations.

Fall Equinox Sept. 22nd, celebrations Sept. 15th to 29th.

Nov. 2nd to Nov. 10th, Mid Fall celebrations.

There, I have eight Stormlands celebration periods with earthly dates. Now I am going to have to go back and search Sue's notes for the historical celebrations that I can put into these. My first thought is that each of these times would have several special days within them. Some still ongoing and some historical.

These would represent the eight times of the year that the clans would collect tribute and offerings.

I know that each of the Dragon Clans had a "dawning" celebration that celebrated the first dawning, or creation, of their clan.

Jikadell, Elethay and the local cults each have an "emergence" holiday commemorating the emergence of their diety. Elethay's emergence would be during the Spring Equinox. (Elethay, charity focus) Jikadell's emergence would be during the Fall Equinox. (Jikadell, Sin offerings focus)

The Valarian Deathday Massacre Mourning and the Jikadell Freedom day would be during the Summer Solstice.

Sue has just shown me a negotiation she is in for Character cards and Sponsored cards. Looks like it is time for me to get to work on those sections on the web. So I will post this and get to work.

You should comment on the "celebration/calendar" ideas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Back To work

I actually took most of the weekend off, what a strange concept. I enjoyed the time with Sue, but she worked more than I did. It is tough to slow her down, but I think I need to to keep her from burning out.

I am forcing myself to do some writing every day now. It is in short fragments scattered through the DS pages. I need to get back the skills that got me published some years ago. At the same time I can transfer more of the "feel" of Sue's world to the DS players. It may help all of us.

I sometimes loose track of entertaining web pages and I stumbled back across one of interest. It has some funny and biting animated cartoons. You can check it out here.

I am back to baking bread, but so far the result has been less than stellar. I sometimes wonder how I loose skills. I wish I knew if they returned faster the second and third times, but I've never tracked it well, so I will have to guess.

That is it for today. I'll keep putting up short updates on the twitter feed to the right as I work. Now I need to get back to the Winged Cat story fragment....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Week Ends

I've had a pretty productive week now that I have been able to clear out the Conwebs from my mind.

For me doing creative work requires a calm atomosphere away from the hubbub of loading the car, driving, unloading the car, running around at a Con, loading the car, driving again, unloading the car. Followed by manufactureing replacement items, new items and repacking everything. Then do it all again. The whole sequence takes about two weeks per convention, no matter how big, or small, the Con may be. That does not even cover the effects of eating food that does not sit well with me, and causes no end of health issues for me.

I am hoping that I can use my blogging to let me access some creative time during the Con season of March through November plus January. With just December and February as creative months I find myself with dozens of unfinished ideas throughout the year. I have no idea of how many of those ideas are better than the ones we are now persuing, I have little or no way to test them. The end result is a good deal of frustration knowing that a whole lot of fun is being missed by me.

Ah well, I have to quite complaining and get back to work.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Learning to Live

I've gotten a lot written today, so I took a short nap before moving on to the next job. After I rise from a short satisfying rest I find myself craving cheap potato chips like I used to eat all the time.

I realize that I have been conditioned by years of advertising and my actual needs are being interpreted by my subconscious in terms of my training. It is my job now to reverse engineer the craving. What I may be looking for is the extra oil in chips. So I am sitting here eating a popper of organic popcorn made with twice as much olive oil as I normally use.

Another observation that is crossing my mind is that the longer I am away from traditional TV advertising the more irritating and obvious it is becoming to me. I caught a couple of episodes of Life, an NBC show. I watched two episodes. I found them interesting, but I was agitated instead of interested. I proceeded over to itunes and bought the shows. Sure enough, it was better without the ads. Shows that depend on moods and layout to be entertaining do not survive well on commercial TV. I saw a show called Raines a couple of years ago. I had watched one episode and decided that it had potential. I picked it up at Itunes and discovered that it was, for me, one of the best shows I had ever watched. It was a lot better without the ads. The show did not last long and I'm sure the reason was the ads breaking up the shows flow.

Hey, the popcorn worked, my craving is gone.

Monday, December 8, 2008

That was a Mistake

Saturday when I picked up Sue our dinner was behind schedule. We decided to stop and pick up coney island hot dogs and fries to eat. We both really enjoy those dogs, or at least we did.

The coneyies set off an acidic stomach reaction in me that lasted through Sunday night. I found myself having to nibble on bread, cerial etc. to keep the pain under control. Unfortunatley I discovered that peanut butter increased the problem. Normally it does not cause problems. Since I have a mild allergy to nuts I must suspect that I should be very careful about eating Peanut butter, *sigh*, I really need to make an actual "foods I can eat" list and a foods I must avoid list. Conies and Peanut butter should be on the outs.

The saturday Flint Handmade Etsy show was satisfactory. The snow slowed things, but it still was worth the time.

I am getting some work done even now, so I'll be getting back to it now.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And a Picture

Sue got me a picture of her set-up at the Flint Handmade Etsy show, which is going on right now!


Another Day in Flint

I just got Sue set up in the Flint Etsy Handmade show downtown Flint. I need to get Sue to take a couple of Pics of the event and her set-up. Hold on while I switch and e-mail her. Still there? Ah, good. Lets see if she picks up the message.

I know that our town has a reputation, but its not so bad, well, not for an aftermath city anyway. I was surprised at how many people had come out of their rubble piles to check out the show. They seemed to be a nice young, well armed group. It should be interesting.

Actually the crime rate has been dropping radically here in Flint for the past few years. Personally I think its because people stopped coming to our town and we are just short of targets. Which reminds me, whose coming to visit? This has nothing to do with anything, but I need to renew my hunting license.

OK, while Sue is at work I have a chance to really go wild. I think I'll start by catching up the dishes and then move on to a rousing round laundry. Now thats some crazy stuff. Maybe I'll get a chance to squeeze in a couple more pages of the Gatekeeper comic as well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Need a break to Think

Why does everything seem to take forever to get done? I'm back to working on getting the old Gatekeeper Comic up on-line.

I've worked out a better navigation set up. The cover page will have the pages all listed to the left. The other pages will just navigate through to the end. It will allow you to go back to the start and page through. It works best on the cover page because that page is longer.

I'm also trying to get a better Ad set-up on the pages. Sue wants to do comics again and that presents me with "issues". Doing comics as a cottage business is tricky. There just isn't a distribution system for us, and besides, we like doing it ourselves. Not the brightest way to work, but we like it that way. We may well be able to assemble it all into a LuLu book at some point, but that comes later. What I have to do is get Ads integrated into the pages to try to create a revenue stream for this type of work. At the same time I want to try to get people to our own Cafepress store. That means getting new "comicish" items done to entice people into buying.

I am hopeful that you guys out there will help get people to our comic pages as Ad revenue needs a lot of people looking and a few using the Ads. The more viewers we get the larger the "few" becomes.

While I do this html work I am taking a break from our growing Rex Stout audible books to review to my old Mark's Mysteries podcasts. I want to get back to doing them and I have a growing plotline building in my brain.

OK, Back to work.

Too much thinking

I'm having my normal too many ideas, too many jobs problems. Ideas for stories, cards, games and more keep floating up from my subconscious into the brain. The trouble is they are flashing by far too fast for me to actually get them to a useable format.

I'll be working on a short story fragment for something like the Bloodkin Evolution and suddenly a line for a podcast comes in to the fray. When I look at that one my mind gets diverted and the next think I know it is an hour latter and I'm looking at a new card idea. I usually don't know how I arrived there and nothing has really gotten done.

In some ways I like being a dreamer, but that does not get much done. I am going to either except my chaotic creative thinking pattern and get little done or I need to learn to ride roughshod over the imagination and focus on just one line at a time.

My concern is that if I get the mind under control would I simply stop the imaginings? That would be bad for me as I may not have enough ideas to work on afterwards.

I know this all sounds a little silly, but it is an issue for me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Interesting Holiday

On wednesday we received news that Sue's Grandmother had died. She was 94. The death was not unexpected so it was not overly emotional, however, the extra duties on top of satisfying two families was tiring. That will have to do as an explanation for my infrequent postings.

We had hoped to get down to LeftoverCon for a visit, but with everything happening we just could not do it. I wish we had been able to work that out.

The family visits on Thanksgiving were a little strained. My not being able to eat the unknown foods at both families places caused some raised eyebrows, but, well, I have not felt this good at the end of this holiday weekend in years. It was the right thing to do, and darned difficult to do. I just do not know what commercial foods I can eat and feel ok, so I have to duck them all.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about what to do with my blogging/podcasting. I am finally forming some distinct thoughts on the subjects. I will be trying to use different blogs for different purposes. This one will highlight my twitter comments on the side and personal comments in the body. I'll use twitter to do vague updates of projects/duties that I finish that you folks may want to take a look at.

For Dragon Storm I want to try to get some good "content" on the DS Beta and LJ blogs. A longer explanation of how and why cards exist should be a good place to start. It will be an illustration of the Chaotic world of Dragon Storm by sticking information about the world in the original comments plus in responses to questions that come up in the Beta blogs and LJ blog.

I have been putting up links to articles I have found of interest on that blog. Since I spend some time everyday searching for material to use in gaming and life I may as well pass it on. One of the things I have learned as I search the web is that I have an awful lot to learn about this communication thing. Sometimes knowing how much there is to learn is daunting, but what the heck, I'll just keep plowing onward.

At any rate I think I'm starting to sort out what is going on in my mind and a way to split it out into a series of blogs.

At any rate, if you what to dig through my different blogs to see what interests you, you can find them all at our handy dandy links page. dig through and see what interests you. Let me know if there is something more you want to see.