Archive for October, 2006

Everquest…

Ok, I admit it: I have a soft spot for games. I grew up trying a variety of RPGs, ranging from the traditional D&D to the diverse landscapes of the Palladium multiverse and beyond. When I was coming to work this morning there was a segment on the radio station’s morning talk show talking about Everquest.
Admittedly, this is one that I have not played, however I have been introduced to MUDs and other games. I have also played some of the Elder Scrolls series (while it is fundamentally a console game, it appears to have similar features and interactions).
What bothers me enough to write this, is an email written by a mother calling the game evil. She arrived at this conclusion stating that her som had dropped out of school in the 10th grade to play the game, and that the family has had to go through counseling because of the issues that were caused due to game. Please note: my degrees are in business and English – not psychology or psychiatry.
Last time I checked, Everquest is a subscription based game. Translation – a monthly fee is required to continue playing the game (duh!, I know). My question is this – if this child was in the 10th grade, how was the subscription being paid? By the parents? Probably so. Another question to ponder: Why was the game (rated T for teen and above) even allowed, especially knowing that a subscription is required?
Now, I don’t know the entire situation – only the snipet that was read on air. There may be extenuating circumstances that were not discussed, but come on, folks. 1) It’s a game… why, as a parent, are you allowing them THAT much time (and money) for a GAME? (There was a statement made that issues were generated when they tried to curtail some of that gaming time, creating a bigger issue)… If things were limited from the beginning, and boundaries placed, then there should not have been a need for family counseling (over a GAME!?!). It fundamentally sounds like there are other issues, and the game is being used as a scapegoat.
Remember, I grew up as a gamer, and while I encourage my nephews in some of their gaming endeavors – and I intend on doing so with my own children in the future (if they are so inclined) – it is our responsiblity as adults to set the limits. Especially if we are the ones that would be paying for it!

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On with the show…

More news from the front: climate changes suck! That’s right, in case you missed some of the sporadic weather changes lately (be thankful) it has not been fun… Mother Nature must be suffering signs of menopause with the way the temperature has been changing. As a result of the hot/cold flashes, loads of people are now suffering through congestion and colds, raiding drug stores and grocery aisles to buy supplies of NyQuill and Sudafed. Personally, I’m muddling through day 2 of my symptoms (able to breath out of one nostril, and a throbbing in the sinus cavities like a factory production line that is churning out its products, and a periodic release of “toxic waste byproduct” to help releive pressure from an otherwise tight line), and I frequently find myself sounding like, “I have a code id my dode.”

But other than that bit of bother, everything else is going fairly well… the minutes tick by until closing time, and I’m still pondering the novel… part of me wants to get started and the majority is screaming at me to wait until November 1 so I can failry participate in NaNoWriMo…
Unfortunately, my writing projects have only been ponderings the last few days as I’ve been dealing with the congestion and general blah feelings.

But, I am maintaining my schedule of at least one entry here per day, so I am at least feeding my writing habit by providing some activity… which is at least better than nothing, I suppose…

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Mid-season swings…

‘Tis the season for climate changes, and the requisite health swings. My wife and I have both been fighting off some wonderful symptoms for the better part of the past two days (sinus drainage, scratchy throat, and just general blah feelings). And today is only Wednesday, with little chance for extended rest until this weekend. Now that that little bit of information is covered, on to the fun stuff…

I practiced a little more bass last night, and did some constructive work around the house (did the dishes, finished cooking dinner so my wife could rest & recover, put the leftovers away, fed the animals) and ended up relaxing in my office, burning some cds. With foul weather outside, it was a relatively quiet evening.

I have put a hold on some of the “writing at work” lately… not really intentionally, though. I’ve gotten quite a bit of the basic story planned for the novel, and am franly a little concerned over the development (in a good way – currently at around four pages for an outline, and still haven’t reached where I see as the end of the first installment yet!), but I think I may have enough for a significant start in the planning for NaNoWriMo.
That’s also grounds for another question – to outline, or not. Well, I have never really (seriously) focused on writing a book, so the question is a very good one. Each writer will ultimately give the pat (and correct) answer of, “It depends on the writer.” I think an idea can be developed pretty quickly, but for there to be a focus and consistency in the development, there should be some form of outline. Even though it may not be written down, I firmly believe there is a conceptual outline that the author is considering. Writing the outline down makes it easier to pick out scenes to develop (complete with key notes of special events), instead of accidentally introducing something at the wrong time, or mentioning things out of sequence.
I haven’t tried it before, so I figure I’ll attempt if for a little while to see how things work out. Of course, the outlines are the easy part… fleshing them out and breathing full life to those visions is the more delicate art…

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Tuesday…

A simple post today… it has been rather quiet, the weather rainy all day. I resumed bass practice last night, after almost a week off. Just blah. I’m looking forward to cleaning the house, practicing my bass, and trying to get some writing done this evening… and hopefully go to bed at a reasonable hour…

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It’s stupid season…

I don’t generally like to rant, but on thins occassion I just don’t feel that it can be truly avoided. I am generally patient, and try to be understanding… I had put in a request for an audiobook at the local public library – back in June. The item in question was “lost” and was having to be ordered, but apparently no one had been pushing for it for a while. I follow up on this request in late August, only to find that the request card from June had disappeared. I had requested another audiobook at the same time (same author/series), that was in a similar state… having to be replaced.

Ok, I can understand the card getting misplaced by someone because they were a bit overzealous in performing their duties and, despite there being two similar sounding titles for different books. Elements of my penmanship may be questionable, and while I can understand it, it’s a bit frustrating.

I spoke with the ladies at the circulation desk upon discovering the “missing card”, when we filled out a new request, and placed it at the front of the list. Neither title was available yet (as I said, they had been lost and were being reordered), but they were showing as “In Transit” or “In Processing” – they must have arrived but just not ready for circulation yet. Yeah!

This library has a computer-based card catalog, which is accessible from their website. I have periodically been checking on these two items, as the request has been in since June. Impossible as it may seem, I visit the site one day to find that both items are available. Since I was told that I was first on the list for one of the titles, Imagine my surprise to find that I did not receive the customary “Your book is waiting” cards. Better yet, I find out that the title that I was supposedly first on the list for had been checked out – and not to someone else that was waiting!
It gets better… the other title that I had been waiting for, when I found out that I was next on that list, the item is placed on the shelf instead of being tagged and held at the front desk. I got to have the privilege of carrying the item to the desk and asking, “I just wanted to check on the status of a hold. The system showed it as checked in.” “Sorry, it’s not back here,” they replied, as I was holding it in my hand.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that their computer system has issues – only one hold can be in at a time for someone, or the flags don’t always show up when there are holds, or just faulty layouts where it becomes difficult for people to find and enter the proper information. The only other information that has ever been figured from my numerous visits and conversations in trying to figure why so many people can be giving out “wrong” information (“We are constantly training new people,” I was told. – Funny, but I’ve seen and been talking to the same people on all of my visits) I have come to only one logical conclusion: as the days get shorter, the stupid gene starts going crazy and causes rampant loss of common sense and the cold cuts off blood flow to the brain. Any other thoughts?

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Friday the 13th… and no goalie masks (yet)…

Relatively quiet day today… only a few hiccups in the phone system, but easily managed… not like having to go onto our back-up systems like we had to do yesterday.

This evening is looking to be equally quiet (mostly)… I’ve begun trying to get back into MtG for a while now, having been out of the loop for about… geez, I just though about it… at least eight years. 8! EIGHT! I look back on it when I first was getting into the game (back in the days of Revised… just as I was graduating High School, one of my friends got me started, and I began my dosing of Magic: The Addiction… – I’m actually only in need of two cards to have a complete Revised set… and I actually HAVE those, but they ended up being from 4th Ed., so they are acting as proxies for now…) and remember the joy of getting packs (or boxes) and sorting cards and planning decks. Back then, I was a collecting nut… lots of cards, lots of hobbies…

But tonight is a new night. I’ll be attempting to reimmerse myself in the game, with real players, as opposed to playing the online version… All in the spirit of resurrecting some of my past, and building it into part of my future… even if only for the occassional break, or the excuse for a “boys night out”.

All this starts on a Friday the 13th… and my goalie skills are poor… and I have no machette… I hope some of my rusty old school Magic can still work…

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Thursday…

A quiet day, by most accounts… at least through most of the morning. Someone in the office decorated the “holiday tree”, so we are all now able to be enriched with the wonderful joy that is Halloween… only without all of the extra candy (Cue Garfield and the pirate ghosts, “Candy, candy, candy, candy!”).
By lunch, however, chaos decided to run amok (Everybody scream, “Amok, amok, amok!” while spinning around in circles). Our phone systems had some bad eggs for breakfast, leading to loads of gas, dropping of calls and an indefinite period of lags, hiccups and a generally annoying afternoon spent waiting for connections to be reestablished to actually forwarded from our office instead of only receiving them. Just another day…
The redeeming factor, sort of, is that tomorrow is Friday. The catch is that it’s the 13th. So tomorrow while we’re out and about, we have to be very careful to aviod big burly people wearing old school goalie masks… especially if they are carrying macheties.

On the writing front, I’ve continued to flesh out the outline for the novel that I’ve been tinkering around with for a while… In a good way, I’m actually getting a little scared… the outline alone is looking like it may be at least 3-4 pages… looks like I may have plenty to keep me busy for my attempt at NaNoWriMo next month…
Time to adjourn for now, so I can plug away a bit more on the outline before leaving work for the day.
– J

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