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Hello World

Website owner: Sandra Fikes

Site Mission: A place to discuss my work as a writer. To discuss video games from the perspective of a woman gamer. And to have fun with 3D design.

About the Webmaster:

Writing: I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. My first actual income from my writing came in the form of a $25 check I received in 2003 from an online company for a few articles I wrote. I went on to earn a living writing things as varied as grant proposals, business plans, advertising copy, and various articles.

In 2008 I decided it was time to stop wanting to write novels and write them. Soon after that my mom passed away and I was forced to refocus my life to even more time spent helping my father as his caregiver, no longer having the support of my mom allowing me time to work on my writing. After my father passed away in late 2010 other things prevented me from getting back to writing. It has been a long tough road since that time, but throughout the bumps and drops I remain focused on finding time to work on my writing. Most recently I have enrolled in a course on writing a series at Holly Lisle’s writing course website.

3D Design: I’m by no means the most skilled of 3D designers, but I try to do my best and love working with 3D as a medium. My chosen program is Blender, although I have used others in the past. I started out years ago with Poser, then when Blender hit the Open Source market I downloaded a copy and began learning it.

That did not last long. I ended up having to set aside 3D just as I started learning how to use Blender and it was not until 2007 before I got back to the program. It had changed a lot and I did not have the time to re-learn it, so I set it aside once again.

In 2013 I finally got back to Blender with enough time to start learning to use it, I thought, but my efforts were slow and sporadic. I’m still very new to all of the possibilities with the program and work on the weekends to perfect my skills and learn new things. This gives me a much needed break from the long work week spent writing.

Gaming: I began gaming in the 1970’s when my father would take me to his workplace and let me play “Snoopy and the Red Baron” on a small computer in the corner of his office while he worked. The first computer I programmed was a huge monster that took up an entire wall, into which I fed punch cards as my dad explained to me how they worked. My dad had started out his own life in computers when he was in the Army in France and his base got a fancy new computer that fascinated him enough that he talked one of the installers into lending him a copy of their book on how to program the thing. He took the book home and sat at the dining room table all night reading it with a six pack of Coca Cola and a bottle of whiskey. The next day he knew as much as the men that installed it and was assigned to be the programmer for the computer. He would go on to work on projects that included the debugging of the program that became the Internet we use today.

My first computer was a Vic 20. When the Commodore 64 hit the shelves I stood in a Post Exchange (PX) in Spokane watching two soldiers try to figure the thing out. They got fed up and walked away, so I went to see what it was. I could see them watching me with bemusement, so I set to work and programmed it to say “Hello World!” then ask for the person’s name, upon entry of a name the computer would say. “Hello, (name), I am the Commodore 64.” It was a good feeling to watch them move over to see what I had done as I walked away. 😀

From the ’70’s through the ’90’s I played computer games off and on on a wide range of computers. The Vic-20, Commodore 64, Tandy, Apple II (e and c), Atari, Amiga, PlayStation, Nintendo… the list is a long one. In 2001 my dad had a major stroke and I had to put aside a lot of things, including gaming, as I became his primary care provider. After he passed away, I got back into gaming with my youngest nephew and have since become a fan of game series such as Army of Two, Skyrim, Uncharted and Resident Evil.

I spend some time on PlayStation Home, and am continually surprised by just how many times I will be met by surprise when I inform the people I meet I am over 40 and enjoy video gaming. It seems like all the younger gamers of today have no idea that my generation was there at the dawn of video gaming and are still going strong in the game community, even if we do tend to stick to our games and not go to these new social areas like PSHome and the like. I’ve had a few encounters that left impressions, such as a person who got irritated I beat their score in Mass Effect 3 online and insisted I had to be a 12 year old boy claiming to be a 40-something woman to have done that good.

You can find me on PlayStation as either ShadesDaughter or, more rarely, as Shades-TalonMerc.

So, this site is also my own little journey into the world of video games from the point of view of an old gamer.

 

“To err is human, but to really screw things up you need a computer.”
– I know he didn’t start this quote, but I first heard it from my dad.