Must Organize Computer Files

As I went to save the notes for my work on Shadowlord’s Gambit I realized I had a serious problem with my computer. Over the past few years it has got as chaotic as the rest of my life and I have been left with stray folders in several places that have parts of things saved in a hurry across multiple locations. I also have things I started to work on, but never got any further than creating folders and blank documents for them. I think my next procrastination period will be to clean up my hard drive and external drives and thumb drives and collect everything into neatly sorted work places.

Shadowlord’s Gambit: Old story – new lead

Last night I was trying to reconstruct a story I had lost somewhere along the years that I gave the working title of Shadowlord’s Gambit. Sitting down with a red pen and a yellow legal pad I started writing out all of the vital scenes I could remember from the original story (written in the span of a month back in 1996 – yes, I did NaNoWriMo style challenges for myself before NaNoWriMo was a thing, part of why I guess I never really got into that), but, anyway, I wrote an 80,000 word novel in the span of one month, because I had borrowed a computer and needed to prove I could write that story.

I read like a narration of a Dungeons & Dragons playthru, but… I succeeded, printed it out on one of them old clunky dot-matrix printers, then spent the years since losing it and finding it and losing it again. I have no idea where the printed document is, and odds are that in the past couple of years it was destroyed along with most of the rest of my possessions, so I am starting over on it.

That lead me to last night and a listing of all of the events I could recall that made up the core of the book I had wrote so long ago. It was a story of a young thief’s efforts to leave behind his life as a thief and find a new life as an adventurer, however, as I wrote out all the things that stood out to me as the core of the story I realized that the story was not about that character at all. It was about one of the people he had met along the way.

I realize that I had seen that before. I felt that I knew what the story was about, however, so I adjusted it, or tried to adjust it, to be more about what it was supposed to be about. And… lost interest in the story and went off to do something else and lost the story for another couple years. A cycle that, looking back, repeated over and over. I was always trying to force the story to be about what I had set out to write, never looking at it with an objective perspective to see what the story itself was about.

I’ve had characters that took on lives of their own and were not at all like what I had set out to create, but for some reason I had never considered that one of my stories might have done that.

So, I now have plans to restart writing The Shadowlord’s Gambit from scratch, with the new lead being a strong-spirited swordswoman. We will see how far that new perspective gets me.

Steampunk Spammers?

In getting my work back up and going I spent a little time today sorting out my spam filter and discovered something amazing. Spammers are now using steampunk power to try to sneak their spam past filters.

Take a look at this start from a comment trying to sneak past with keywords about some brand name shoes in it.

it was an uphill battle. Few people used them (and the Internet itself was still limited by volume of water is always dosed by a proportioning pump to hydrolyse any acid anhydride

That is exactly how the spam comment starts, with “it”.

Now, some might think this was just a randomized cluster of words, but look closely. “Few people used them” – the ‘them’ in question here are steampunk computers, which, as we all know, are powered by steam (water), however,┬áhydrolyse is a term that refers to the breakdown of a compound through a chemical reaction with water. Something about the pump process for the water is causing a chemical reaction that is interfering with the computer’s access of the Internet.

The system runs on a very precise balance from the look of it, since it seems that to access the Internet it requires acid anhydride; a compound formed by removing water from a more complex compound: an oxide of a nonmetal that forms an acid when united with water.

I don’t know that much about chemistry, to be honest, but it certainly sounds like a basic description of how a computer could run on steam. At least – if we check our brains at the door and just kick back to enjoy a fantastically impossible story. Maybe I will do further research into this revelation of how such systems work at a later time.

Thief: opinion-based spoilers for ending – plus my sequel wish-list

I finished my play-through of Thief last night and found the ending… well, I had read a tip on how to deal with something in chapter seven and someone in the discussion had done something I find very irritating – they talked about the ending of he game. Thankfully they did not actually say any details, only that they had been disappointed by it. That seems like a minor semi-spoiler, but still, on a thread that was talking about a mission before the end of the game, having someone express their feelings about the end, with no spoiler warning, just feels wrong to me. It left me not quite so excited for the ending as I had been.

Having my thoughts about it tainted by the stray comment I watched the ending with a perspective of ‘Oh… I see why that was disappointing.’ The joy of the game was so low that I did not even bother to play much past the end and just hopped out of the game and watched some Primeval on Amazon Video.

This morning, thinking back on things as I was waking up, I realized that the ending was not as disappointing as I had felt it was last night when my perspective had been clouded a little.

I’ll tell you why after the spoiler cut, so if you do not mind knowing how the game ends, or have already played it – read on past the cut.

Continue reading Thief: opinion-based spoilers for ending – plus my sequel wish-list

“Hidden” messages in advertising logos?

I was pinging around in a semi-asleep state a few minutes ago when I decided ‘what the heck’ and followed a link to an article at Your Daily Dish asking “Can You Spot the Hidden Messages in These┬áCompany Logos?” It was a little bemusing at first, but I had to stop when I got to the fourth one and realized that the person who wrote it was seeing “hidden” meanings where there quite literally was no hidden meaning.

I mean, yes, there is a peacock silhouette on the famous rainbow NBC logo, but, uhm, it is not hidden. I knew two possible things about the writer of that list as soon as they presented the NBC peacock as a “hidden” meaning. 1) they were very young, born after the 1980’s, or 2) they did not watch much television, at least not broadcast TV.

In the late 70’s and thru the beginning of the 80’s, NBC ran a rather fun promo that proudly proclaimed they were, well, “Proud as a Peacock.”

Check out this 1980 fall lineup promo from Retro Junk. NBC – Proud as a Peacock. Yes, NBC was proud of their programming, and rightly so. The peacock in their logo is far from a hidden message, it is a symbol of the pride NBC had in their programming and, I would hope, a reminder to all who work there to ever strive to be the best network on television.

As for me, I stopped looking at the logos at that point to write this and will now close The Daily Dish and go back to playing Thief until I fall asleep.

Thief – Spoiler warning: Chapter 5: The Forsaken

One of my favorite games is Thief a single player first person perspective game that gives you an open-world city to play in the shadows of and lets you pick your own path to your goals.

I will admit that I have not yet beaten the game, despite having had it for some time. I was playing it shortly after I got it, then ended up being distracted onto other games and just did not get back to Thief for a very long time. By then, a lot of time had passed and I had left Garrett in one of the final climactic battles of the game and, well, it seemed like it would be less fun to just finish the game without having the thrill of having played up to that point, so – I continued to not play Thief for – a very long time.

I got back into the game a couple of days ago, however, and since I am just wanting to relax and not worry about stealth I lowered the difficulty. Instead of ramping it to the max as I had my first play-through I set the difficulty to normal. Some challenge, but still a nice relaxed pace for the fights. In a lot of ways I wish I had left it at max, but, I’m just along this time to relive the story, I’ll beat it on max setting some other time.

So… the spoiler. If you do not want to read spoilers turn back now…

Spoiler Cut

Continue reading Thief – Spoiler warning: Chapter 5: The Forsaken

Starting Over and Rebuilding

Nothing quite like realizing that you have to rebuild everything, including your life, over from scratch to make you really sit back and take a look at what you want to keep.

This post marks a important point in my life, as it is the starting over for this website, my writing life, and, well… my life in general.

I’ve been less living and more just existing for longer than I care to admit. Being an anthropophobe can make it scarily easy to just shut yourself away and, well, waste away. I’ve realized that I need to do something, to get myself back into making a proper living and paying off backlogged bills and reclaiming the life that I lost when I lost my home.

My current place of residence is a 7′ wide by 11′ long camping trailer. I love it, I could stand to have a little more room, but as spaces go this is a nice little livable area. One day I would like to save my parent’s old motorhome and move it onto a piece of land somewhere where I can combine the motorhome and the camp trailer into a small cabin that would then be boxed in by a small framed in cabin structure. The motorhome and the camping trailer together would give me everything I would need, since the motorhome has a small bathroom with shower in it as well as a kitchenette and everything, and the camping trailer has a small kitchenette and a small dining area. I could easily convert the motorhome into a dining-room, kitchen, and bath, and the trailer into an office, lounge and bedroom.

All of that aside… my current goal is to rebuild the camp trailer one square foot at a time to create a sleeping space and office in it. This is difficult since I am living in it with two dogs and a cat during these renovations, as well as trying to run a small business out of it. Thus… one square foot at a time. Small manageable chunks.

I’ll be doing the same to my work life, namely this website and the writing I do both here and elsewhere. One small chunk at a time to get it all done. Which, brings me to another issue. Somewhere along the way I lost all of my work on my stories. No idea where the drive it was on got misplaced to, but it’s gone. Start over time.

So… starting over. Rebuilding mt life, my work, everything from scratch and we will see where I am in a few months, 6 months, a year from now. Hopefully somewhere along the way I get my finances all cleaned up and myself out of debt, my writing all on track and some things providing me with an income that lets me save for the future, and with some luck a home where I can tuck in and stop stressing out about having to move again.

It’s sure to either be a very boring or very exciting experience.

Site rebuild needed again because of theme update

I updated my website’s theme, which, of course, means I have to update the website as well because the theme dropped a good portion of the customization I did to it.

The writings of an anthropophobic gamer

It’s been a long time since I last wrote on this website, long enough that for a while I was thinking I would just let the site fade away. I’ve had it for over 15 years now and in that time it seems like life has left this site neglected more often than not.

Still, it is a very special website for me. When I was a kid I wanted to create a line of products for use with 25mm lead fantasy figures, (yes, they were made from lead once upon a time). In my planning for that I decided to create the product line name Fantasy Scene. Very creative, I know. The problem came along when I saw a similar line to fantasy scenery items already bearing the name Fantasy Scene on the folded over cards on the plastic bags. I returned to the planning and came up with Fantascene. Brilliant, both words combined into one… and again, someone else had a line of fantasy scenery products with the brand name Fantascene. Young entrepreneur hopes crushed – for about fifteen minutes, when I decided that if I could not use the word I wanted I would use alternate spellings.

Phantascene. It turned out a better move than I had realized when I first wrote it down, because on closer inspection of the words I wanted to use I realized an underlying meaning I could use as a business name to cover all the interests I had:

Phantasm – a figment of the imagination
Scene – a setting in a story

In one word I could summarize my line of fantasy scenery, my writing work, even my dreams of one day starting up a film production studio.

Okay, so that last might have been a big big of a dream for an anthropophobic, but back then I was still courageous enough to be planning going to college and holding a job outside the home.

As for the website, I’m not ready to give up on it just yet. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I plan to do with the site and I still think it is a good place for me to work on my writing and for me to share my passion that is gaming. My computer might now be able to handle dong 3D graphics and videos, but someday I hope to be able to afford a system that can, and when I am able to I will most certainly be adding those to the mix here.

For now – this website will be the writings of an anthropophobic gamer seeking to make a living writing from home about the things she loves – gaming, writing, and videography.

Person of Interest point of interest

I started watching the old CBS series Person of Interest on Netflix, a series about an ex-CIA agent, John Reese, who goes to work for an eccentric billionaire with access to some unique information. In the first episode a driver’s license belonging to Reese, played by Jim Caviezel, is held out at an angle to allow the license to be read.

I am a bit of a pause button junkie who wanted to be a props artist, so when I get a chance to examine props closer I take it. When those props hit another interest, such as having writing on them, all the better. As I was studying the license I discovered something. I will let you look the item over, I made a screenshot of it. And no, it is not the name on the license that is the item worthy of a double-take.


Hard to see? Take another look then read on.

I would not be surprised if you noticed it as quickly as I did, but it is also something that could be overlooked even if you look directly at it, which was no doubt the prop person’s intent in putting it there. I mean, after all, after staring at the handsome former CIA agent John Reese for so long, who would think he would identify on his driver’s license as Sex: F ?

As I said, I am new to the series, so this is likely something that fans have known about since the episode first aired, but I still find it amusing enough to be worthy of sharing.

As for the series. The first episode was good. I have been avoiding it because I was not sure I could get behind the science of how they find who to look into, but the show did a good job of explaining that, or at least a good enough job that I am going to not let my “but how?” questions stop me enjoying it for long enough to give it a proper evaluation.