Thursday, December 29, 2011

I hope this isn't the start of a trend, but another Aunt died on December 27th.  I would have posted sooner, but I had a pretty bad cold and wasn't on my computer enough.  I'm sorry about that.

For the record, I'm feeling better, though I'm still not over it.  It'll just take a couple days to get it all out of my system, I think.

New Year's Eve is coming up.  Everyone stay safe.

- Jim

Monday, December 26, 2011

I have to be honest, I haven't been the hard worker I'd like to be lately.  To tell you the truth, I'm still suffering from that reaction I had a while ago.  How long ago?  Some indications are that this thing started far earlier than I realized, making a real diagnosis difficult.  The trouble is that my body is largely taken for granted until it stops working or starts hurting.  I'm working on tracking the source of this, but I'm afraid I may be no closer to determining the cause or finding a cure than I was a few days ago.  I tried a treatment then, it's still being evaluated.  We'll see.

The end of the year is approaching and I have to say that though I wasted more time than I would have liked, and spent less time on the things I had planned, this year may have been my most productive yet.  Again, the outside world is often ignored by me.  Things outside my immediate interest remain outside my interests.  I acknowledge the loss; it's one of the reasons I spend the time to read my news magazines cover to cover.  I have no interest in the art world, for example, but it helps to broaden my perspective a bit.  I am imperfect, but I do my best to improve what I can.

Anyway, reality sets in every now and then and it's clear that I'm not going to finish everything or anything I wanted to by the end of the year.  That's normal.  There aren't any small projects for me.  I also can make any project much bigger than it needs to be by my very nature of being picky, though others call it OCD.  Maybe it is.  I like what I like.  The computer has to be just so, my work area needs to be just so, drawing area needs to be just so, reading area needs to be just so, blah blah blah ad nauseum.

The rest of the year will be spent on _sundry_.  All the little odds and ends of this or that project are the focus.  Too many piddly things are put on the back burner because they're waiting for this or that bit of attention.  I also plan on watching DVDs, movies, television series, magazines, and other things.  There will be a daily list, I'm sure, but I'm not working on anything larger than day to day stuff.

Next year's resolutions have been pared down.  Oh, they're still probably unattainable - I am who I am, but I will try harder to do my best all the time.  I'm still working on that list, but it will involve unread books, periodicals, movies, as well as branching into other areas of fitness and financial responsibility.  I have not been completely remiss, but I have been too remiss nonetheless in these areas.  Despite my best efforts, it appears that I may live for a while yet, and I need to prepare for that eventuality.  While nothing I do is really inherently dangerous, I suppose there's always that chance that one or more items on the list might kill me.  If it must be so, then it will be so.  I don't think I'd make a very good old man anyway.

No.  That's not anything more than it says right there.  I'm not secretly trying to kill myself.  I'm not publicly trying to kill myself.  The person who thinks they're solving a problem by getting me help is wasting their time.  They will be wasting my time and whatever professional's time that happens to be spent as well.  Having said that, there are many ways of killing yourself I suppose, and apathy is my means.  Or isn't.  I'm not done mourning, I'm not unbroken, but I need to finish living this life before this life is finished living.  I'm not a fan of wasting time and this has been a big waste of time in that area.

So, that's some of what I've been working on and what I plan to be working on in the near future.  Yes, I'm still working on writing.  Yes, I hope to have a book(s) done soon.  Done, of course, is a relative term - I will definitely need to spend some time rewriting.  Still, the story is closer than it's ever been before, and I'm happy about that.  I just need to finish it.

I may post before then, but if not, I wish everyone a Happy New Year.  Best of luck in 2012.

- Jim

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!  I don't think I will be online tomorrow, so I just wanted to shout out to everyone that I hope they have a wonderful Christmas.  Be safe, drive careful, don't drink and drive. 

Take care!

- Jim

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Niece, Stephanie got married on Monday.  I feel quite old.  Haha.  Seriously, I'm happy for them.  I hope they have many wonderful years together.

I'd have posted sooner, but this allergic reaction is killing me.  I would rather have the old reaction of being sick than this.  Ah well.  I think I'm getting it cured, it will just take two weeks for it to take full effect.  Until then, I'm stuck with being insane.

- Jim

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Great Aunt died last Saturday.  Though other members of the family have seen her more recently, I haven't seen her in a couple years.  She was 97 years old.  She was possibly one of the nicest people you could have known and was a good friend to my Mom when both were alive. 

I suppose it was probably for the best since the years had increasingly gotten harder for her.  I just dislike the thought that it was for the best.  The world is a little darker because of the loss.

- Jim

Friday, December 09, 2011

There are a couple types of books you read in your life.  The books you read because you want to, and the books you read because you have to, or think you have to.  I put that last bit into the latter group because there's more pressure on you to read them than desire.  It's not that they're not good books - some of the best books I've read were because I had to.  It's just that one type of reading is for fun and the other type of reading is more work.

Case in point - the first time I read The Fellowship of the Ring, was because my best friend at the time was reading it.  I stopped reading during the Council of Elrond for an entire month because it seemed a lot like work.  After I got through the series though, and coincidentally started playing a role-playing game more or less based on the books, I not only liked the book, but I counted that chapter as among the best.

So it is with movies.  I watch movies on my own that I like or that interest me.  I watch many more because I think I should, either to catch references or because others have talked about them.  Even though they are hardly building trailers or even working at a pizza place, I consider these movies work, because I have to watch them.  Can you become OCD about media?  I don't know.  These things certainly become somewhat destructive at times.

Anyway, I had an unfortunate accident where my DVR deleted a Republican presidential primary debate because it was too full, so I have been attacking that DVR with a vengeance for the last several days.  Of course, as space becomes available, I've been recording more things.  If this was a show on A&E, I'd be some kind of digital hoarder, possibly tying into my theory of OCD.  Ah well, it's a theory I can't prove or test and such speculation is pointless.  I'll do it anyway because I'm like that though.

In any case, I also got my Blu-ray player.  I have some research things to spend time on as well as all of the movies that have piled up in the past years.  Oh yeah, the other part about calling it work - I normally don't sit and watch television for very long.  Unless there is some kind of constraint, either time or other people sitting there threatening me, I will take four or more hours to watch a two hour movie.  As a matter of fact, I've paused Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows right now.  Although, I think I had a pretty good reason.

So, anyway, for a while now, the plan has been to work as hard as I can until the end of the year trying to get done what I can get done and push the rest back another year.  Things I cannot possibly finish before then have taken a backseat to things I might finish.  For me anyway, measurable progress is more motivating than long hours.  Writing is being worked on, but at a far lesser pace than might otherwise be.

- Jim

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I think I've said this a thousand times, but with all the time in the world, you'd think I'd find the time to post here more often.  You would, of course, be wrong.  Silly rabbit.

I have all sorts of projects going around.  Some are important, some are much less so.  If one could be a hoarder of such things, then I could possibly have my own television show.  I'd have to find someone to cry though.  Reality shows have lots of crying.  Anyway, one of the things I'm working on is putting all the stuff I had to remove from my last computer because of space issues, back on to my computer.  No, I don't have a space issue yet, but it is inevitable.  If you thought my regular to-do list was long, the stuff banging around inside my computer is far worse.  There's games, books, documents, movies, television shows, documentaries, writing, and so on.  Even without an internet connect, with no way to leave, and no contact with the outside world, I estimate it would take me ten years at least to get through it all.  So... yeah, not going to happen.

But I try.  So here I am.  I've already transferred almost a hundred DVDs and a few CDs worth of stuff.  Some of this stuff is pretty old.  I figure I probably have a hundred more or so, but taking the time to count would just be more time.  I try not to sit here while the stuff is transferring and do nothing, but it means that I don't get much done in whatever else I'm working on either.  A DVD is five minutes at best of transfer time, which means I get just a couple minutes of work done before I have to take a break.  "Work" being a very loose term indeed.

The end of the year is coming up.  It's an arbitrary deadline, but it's a deadline nonetheless.  Reality is setting in about what I can and cannot accomplish.  It's not pretty.  Still, I hope that what I do before the end of the year helps to avoid the several months that typically happens at the beginning of new years where I catch up with all the stuff I was working on before I can work on this year's stuff.  In a way, that's a lost cause.  Everything I've failed to finish goes onto the next year - I rarely really give up on something entirely. 

The writing is progressing.  I'm not going to publish word counts any more because they're just not a metric worth measuring.  I can scam the system and just write crap if I really want to, and to be honest, even stuff that seems worthwhile today, typically isn't tomorrow.  I've thrown out a lot of ideas over the years.  The books are moving forward, but slowly.  Even when I work hard, the work is hardly moving.  Or that's the way it sometimes seems.

Anyway, the disc is done, so I've got to get going for the next one.  G'luck,

- Jim

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When things are going well, I have remarkably little to talk about.  When things are going badly, I'm afraid to post the excuses.

Generally speaking, things are going well.  My wrist has not resolved itself.  It'll get better and then I will hyperextend it doing something while not thinking and then it will be hurt again for a few days.  I'm left-handed, it's my left wrist.  It cuts down on a lot of the things that I normally do when I have to wear the brace.  Can't write, can barely type, can't play most video games, it's annoying to have to try and read, can't clean, can't sort, can't do much of anything.  Even watching movies is annoying because with the left-handed thing, I can't hold a glass in my hand to drink from.  Normally, not a problem, but it can be when I'm into a movie and while not thinking, reach over to get a glass.  My fingers are about a half-inch too short to stop myself from knocking over a glass before I can feel it.  Sigh.

On the other days, things are getting done.  Sure, it's never as much as I'd like and never as much as is needed, but things get done.  The new computer is nearly as useful as the old one while being much, much faster.  I've moved most of the files I have saved on various drives, CDs, and DVDs.  That's not particularly hard, but it is time consuming.  Oh yeah, and impossible when I'm wearing the brace.  My computer naturally, is on my left side. 

Writing is going well, when I can do it.  Some days are better than others with the wrist.  You can plan for years and years, but when pen meets the proverbial paper, a million things pop up that must be reconsidered.  I've resolved to deal with these things later, but it's hard.  I don't want to make mistakes, but my inexperience virtually guarantees it.  Could I work around these mistakes later?  Yeah, probably, but I'd rather not.  The whole experience of being a GM for MERP works against me here and it's probably more relevant than I care to admit.  Playing with a bunch of fanboys is the same as writing for a bunch of fanboys and we fanboys know when there are mistakes.  Most are even worse than me with stuff like this, but I hate to retcon or to change what has already happened.

The other thing that hurts/helps is that I'm working on so many projects at once.  True, it keeps me busy when I can't work on one or foresight fails me, but it also means that every pound of effort is divided by ten or twenty different projects.  The numbers always look smaller that way.

But, as I said, I'm getting there.  It's been a longer road than I care to admit, and I probably won't reach my goal of finishing by the end of the year, but high hopes for next year.

- Jim

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Okay, this post will fill you in on some of the crazy things I've been working on and why I'm too stuck up to post often.  First and foremost, I'm still having trouble with my wrist.  I don't think I give it enough time to heal.  It starts to feel better, so I take off the brace.  Lately, I've been moving things - not big things, not far distances, but it's enough.  I'll get to that more later, but suffice to say that my wrist now hurts more than my knee from doing these things.  I've been taking it easy for the last couple days and trying to wear the brace more.  Unfortunately, this new keyboard is even worse than the old one when I have the brace on.  So, that means less typing period.

The main thing I've been working on is setting up this new computer and getting the old one working.  The equipment was set up and working in a day, but it took two days to figure out the best way to fit them all in the cramped space I have available.  Even so, it's not an optimal solution, but it's probably the best I'm going to get for a while.  Meanwhile, there's the printer to worry about, cables to worry about, peripherals to worry about.  Getting them working is easy.  Fishing the cables through is the difficult part.

I've also been sorting papers, cleaning around, and organizing.  I spent three hours the other night shredding old receipts and paperwork that I let build up.  I'm a pack-rat, so that three hours was probably far less than needed.  I also organized magazines, books, and DVDs as well.  I even pulled MERP stuff out and made some attempt at organizing it before I packed it away.  It was necessary and no, I didn't do any work on the game itself, but there you go.  It brought back memories though and I wish I had time and means to play.  Sigh.

Finally, I've been reading.  By my count, I have just over 46 days and 3 hours before the end of the year.  That deadline is never a hard one - it's as random and meaningless as the daily deadlines I keep for things.  Still, there were things I wanted to accomplish that aren't going to happen.  So I've been trying extra hard to get reading done and some of these shows watched that I wanted to see.  I will never be truly caught up in this regard.  Just yesterday, I think I added two books to my "Someday" list.  I have about forty index cards with books on them, just waiting for me to run out of other things to do. must love me.

During the computer outage, there was a plan to get much of this work done.  After the initial shock and depression, I think I made a pretty good start on it.  Since I got the new computer, I've slowed these things way down.  Some of what I did was necessary, and some was just simply playing Heroes of Might and Magic II on a brand new computer.  I probably overdo that game stuff, but it helps me handle stress.

So that's that.  I'm currently reading November's Discover magazine that I got about a week ago.  I'm also reading David Eddings, The Rivan Codex.  I'm in the midst of watching several movies, a bunch of Republican primary presidential debates, and a biography of J.K. Rowling.  I'm working on watching old Beavis and Butthead episodes as well, since I've missed so many when they were on during the 90's.  I'll try and keep everyone updated as things get accomplished.

- Jim

Friday, November 11, 2011

I've been busy, sorta.  The computers are pretty much set up the way I want them, though there are dozens of cords of every type crisscrossing my computer room.  I have yet to dig the power cord out for my printer though, but though it isn't really hard work, all this hard work is killing my knee.  And my wrist.  I probably should have gone to see a doctor about the wrist, but given my recent history, I can't really justify going to see a doctor that can't do anything about anything.  I realize that doctors can't fix everything, but my personal doctor seems more useless than most.

My Aunt went into the hospital early this week for a "heart event".  It's essentially a heart attack, but it's not as bad as it could be.  I don't know if they're trying to make her feel better about it or if there really are different flavors of heart attacks.  Anyway, she's back home resting now and my Dad is going up to see her tomorrow. 

Writing is continuing, but slowly.  I'm pretty used to the keyboard now, but the whole wrist thing is annoying.  The good news is that this keyboard seems even lower impact than the other one.  I'm trying to take it easy and hopefully when I get back to typing, it will really be over.

And that's about it in my life.  Will post more soon,

- Jim

Sunday, November 06, 2011

I'm not really stuck on the show, but I notice that a lot of people reach this blog looking for information about Game of Thrones being back on HBO OnDemand.  Well, if you have HBO OnDemand, you probably have access to  Go there and you can watch all the episodes of all the seasons of all the shows from HBO.  I dunno how much time I'll have to check it out, but it seems pretty cool.

- Jim

Saturday, November 05, 2011

This will sound like I'm complaining, but it's just an observation - now that I have both computers running, I find that they are not equal and that one is not necessarily better than the other.  The new one is faster, but the old one runs more programs that I've come to depend on. 

Anyway, both systems are running, though there are some things I have to do yet for both computers.  I'm not sure how they will both run or the setup I will use, but I think I may go back to using the older one full time and the newer one for certain applications.  Again, I'm not sure yet, but that's where I'm leaning.  I fear change, but there are also practical reasons.                                               

The good news is that with four cores, the new computer is kicking some serious scientific posteriors in Seti@home. Wooo!  I'll fix the counter on this page shortly.

- Jim

Friday, November 04, 2011

Just a quick note for everyone - My return to regular online activities is imminent.  I hope.  New technology, repaired technology, and backups to hopefully ensure this won't ever happen again.

If you've found this blog because you're trying to figure out when Game of Thrones is back on OnDemand, then this is your lucky post.  It should be on OnDemand starting November 8th.  Apparently a lot of people are searching for this stuff, so this should help you out.

Kinda convenient it comes back online AFTER I get my new computer, but ah well.  I've kept myself busy most of the time.

 - Jim

Friday, October 28, 2011

I blew the power supply on my computer, so I will be without a reliable computer for some time.  Not sure exactly, but I have ordered an entire new computer to be delivered in less than a month.  There is a possibility that I can get parts for my current one before then.  We'll have to see.

The wrist is doing better, but writing is really slow by hand.  I haven't given up, but I haven't made much progress.  Luckily, I printed all of my notes and sundry before the computer crash.  Any work lost should be temporary, but I don't have any way to test the hard drives yet.

- Jim

Friday, October 21, 2011

The wrist is finally getting better.  I'm not going to push it too hard yet, but it has been out of the brace most of the day.  I haven't really quit, but I haven't really been writing for the past week because of it.  Hopefully soon I can get back on it.

- Jim

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My wrist is still injured.  I don't think it's broken, but I suppose that it's a possibility.  Either way, I'm not writing much or posting much.  More updates when I can spend the time typing.

- Jim

Saturday, October 15, 2011

So, I've been doing some thinking about things.  On one level, I'm trying to justify my time on this planet.  On another, I'm trying to spur myself into working harder.  More.  Same thing, either way.  For all my talk, I lost my job in 2007.  This will sound like a post I've made many times in the past.  Indeed, there are many ways in which this post is alike to those, but I'll continue.  I lost my job in 2007.  It was probably my fault, but I was dealing with a lot at the time.  I challenge other people to go through the same events and not suffer upheaval as a result.  Would everyone have lost their jobs?  Probably not, but given the economy, and the nature of my relationship with the job, it was inevitable.

It is what it is.

I spend a lot of time, "finding myself".  Some things come to me easily, and others take a lot of thought and contemplation.  They're not the same things for every person, and I find that I have to contemplate things that most other people take for granted.  There might be a reason for it, it might just be me, but either way, that's the way things are.  I spent a lot of time figuring that I had a plan and needed only to work toward that.  I even had backup plans that I regret I didn't take more seriously at the time.  Dream Job™ was... well, a dream.  It might have even been a good one, but it just wasn't meant to be.  One time, I might write off to bad luck or coincidence.  When it became obvious that I was going to stick with it regardless, they closed down, moved away, and changed their name.  Go figure.

But I still waited.  I had nothing better to do, or so I thought, and I didn't want to start something that I knew I couldn't/wouldn't finish because I was going to find a similar Dream Job™ any day.  Indeed, it wasn't until December 2009 that it became clear that other people thought the way I did - not entirely, but I wonder if that wasn't to light a fire under me.

I have no real deadlines at the moment.  Every deadline I work for is either self-imposed or amorphous.  I'm sure I am running against a clock or perhaps several of them, but they're none that I can see.  So, while that clock is running, it doesn't hold as much meaning to me.  There is another clock, less amorphous, that I know of, that could end all of my current status.  I think I have three more years though.  There's not a rush yet.

But, I've been down on myself for the time I've wasted and indeed, I have wasted time.  There is no doubt of that.  Sorta.  Learning to tie a shoe can be a waste of time to an outside observer, but it's pretty important to the person wearing the shoe.  Similarly, I had a lot of mental crap to deal with during those early years - life, death, love, injury, etc.  It was easier/harder when I was working because I could (mostly) suppress those thoughts.  It was also easier/harder when I was taking the pain medicine, for the same reasons.  It wasn't that I didn't have the thoughts, it was that I was able to digest the first pieces in much smaller bite-sized portions.  That bite-sizing was unsustainable, but I would argue that it was necessary.  Do I still deal with those thoughts?  Of course, but I think I'm done working through what I have to - the rest is just obsessing over failures.

The present situation didn't become clear for me until December 2009.  Up to that point, I didn't believe what others knew.  I didn't want to believe that I had fallen so far in ability.  Maybe it's permanent, it certainly seems like part of it is.  I have not accepted that it is all permanent, but I currently lack a true ability to change my status.  It's at the far end of inconvenient at the very least.

I won't say that I continued doing the same things I did before, because I didn't.  But there was still a lot of waiting, thinking, figuring, planning.  This whole writing thing was never much more than a dream if you will.  It was a pretty dream to be sure, but it was still just a dream.  Like the other stuff though, that time was probably just as necessary.  I could consider the reality of writing, without the pressure of doing so.  Or without as much pressure as possible, I still provided plenty of my own.

The reality is that as much as I've complained, less than two years have passed that I have seriously been able to contemplate writing full time.  The thought or dream was always there, but I never seriously considered all the ramifications of it - much like being an astronaut or a firefighter to a child.  Since that time, I've become much more aware of the efforts of others who have blazed the trail before me.  Things I had not considered before seem much less like magic and much more the product of the individual working to make it appear so.  I doubt that I will become completely satisfied with what I've accomplished in the time that I have had to accomplish it, but I'm certainly more understanding of the journey that took me to this point and the journey I still have yet to take.

- Jim

(note to self:  this message was cross-posted)

Friday, October 14, 2011

I haven't written in a while.  Shortly after my last post, I decided I would start keeping track of how much I was writing each day - actual writing, not including notes.  Of course, this number would have included things that were later cut or changed, but it would be a way to keep track of actual progress.

I made one tweet about a six hundred word day, pretty paltry I admit, and then I hurt my wrist.  I'm not sure how I did it, but it is bruised and sore.  It finally got bad enough after a couple days that I resorted to using a brace to keep it immobile.  Because of the injury and then later because of the brace, I didn't write much at all.  I got a couple pages of notes done, but I can't type with the brace on and one-handed typing is just too slow and frustrating for me.  I've come a long way from my early days of computing, I guess.

Anyway, I've been keeping up with reading instead.  Hopefully my time is still being used as usefully as possible.

- Jim

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I got some minor (and major) supplies today.  In addition, I also picked up a book, Star Wars RPG from West End Games, Galaxy Guide 9:  Fragments From the Rim.  I don't have the camera any more, so you'll have to be content with this picture.  Still, very cool indeed!

- Jim

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Well, I got the last two Zits treasuries yesterday.  I'd show pictures, but I'm having camera issues.  Sorry.  Anyway, that's the whole set.  And, I stayed up and finished reading the last one this morning.  Yeah, I really am that dedicated. 

I am still in the process of backing up files before moving them to the new external hard drive.  It's hard to believe how many DVD-Rs you need to back up 130 Gigs of stuff.  It'll be done soon.  Then it'll be back to working on REAL things.

Take care,
- Jim

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So, I got my new external hard drive.  I plugged it in, powered it on... and windows popped up about how there were errors on the drive and that I needed to scan it to make sure it was still in one piece.  I did, and everything seemed to be okay, but now I find that I'm running another diagnostic just to make sure.  Too many hard drive failures over the years makes me nervous.

- Jim

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I watched Game of Thrones again since it was OnDemand.  Actually, I watched it during the last week it was on OnDemand, finally ending in watching them all again on the last day it was on OnDemand.  What can I say?  I like my marathons.  I also like waiting to do these things at the last minute.  It's weird that I've now seen the series twice (and parts of it many more times) and still haven't read any of the books, but it's coming.

I'm still working on the prep for the books.  Because of the way that I write and the limitations I had on space and materials, notes and writing is scattered all over the place.  I don't mean all over a room or a house, but some are in digital form, some are in hard copy, some are written before others, and all have to be reconciled.  Whether I've gotten a lot done or not, I've been working on some of these ideas for close to two decades now.  It's a bigger task than I appreciated, but I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

There are a couple related projects I'm working on as well.  I won't go into too many details on the projects themselves, but one of them involved using a huge database that I would download onto my computer.  Blah blah blah secret stuff, it was large enough that I didn't have enough hard drive space.  Hopefully, that will be resolved shortly - I'm getting a new hard drive.  Should be here in a week or so.  I'll spend a couple days backing files up and moving things around and then I'll be able to use the database at will.

So, things are moving along, and they seem to be moving a lot quicker, though never quickly enough.  Speaking of which, I also ordered more Zits comic books as well, so I'll need to take some time out to finish those too.  Fun is work too, sometimes.

- Jim

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

This won't be much of an update.  I finished those comic books a long time ago, actually within a few hours of me posting those pictures, as I recall.  The printer works wonderfully and I'm acquainting myself with all the notes I've collected over the years for all of the books.  Writing hasn't yet begun in earnest, but it is picking up.  In the meantime, I'm also trying to catch up on all the reading I want to do. 

Actually, that wasn't my plan.  My knee is bothering me more than usual and I'm unable to work the hours I used to at my computer.  Ah well, I do the best I can.  Hopefully, I'll have something real to brag about by the end of the year.

- Jim

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wow.  Look at all these posts I'm making now! 

I got a new printer!  This one is better than the other one, costing perhaps a fourth of the cost of the other one to print a page.  I'm not sure about the exact economics, so I was conservative there.  My actual estimate is actually about half of that, so it's a significant savings.  Since I write all the time - even when I'm not writing, this means I'll be able to manage those things I write better.

Mainly, that means I'll be able to sort through all my book notes.  I suspect, and hope, that it will make writing easier and quicker.  It also means that I expect to be a lot busier soon.

- Jim

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This isn't the post that I intended to write.  Longtime readers may remember that about a year ago, October 2011, my Dad was mugged by a group of teens less than a block from our house.  Tonight, a group of teens mugged another person less than a block from our house again.  Same M.O., same place.

Of course people here are freaking out.  My Dad went to the casino tonight, most of the people who are here regularly are gone.  My Sister just made a tearful call to my other Sister, telling her to find my Dad and rush home.  The attack was an hour and a half ago. 

Everyone is fine, the police are randomly driving around since it took them forty minutes to get here in the first place.  Never a better time than after the fact to run around like chickens without heads.

- Jim

Friday, September 09, 2011

So I haven't posted here in a while.  I'm sorry for the people that regularly check the site.  I've noticed that a lot of such blogs aren't for relaying information or even for informational retrieval but merely a digital cry for attention.  I am not immune to this.  I tend to post more when people visit more.  I tend to write things in a way that require or incite a response instead of being merely one-way.

Yes, I know the site doesn't allow comments.  I made it that way.  Still, some have overcome the hurdles in order to send me messages and while often well meaning, they attempt to solve issues that have no resolution.  Sure, I might tell such a commenter, I can lose more weight if I run five miles a day, but the reality is that my knee would never take the strain and I would likely die in the attempt.  I would then lose lots of weight as decomposition kicked in. 

Yes.  I have a morbid quality about me.  No, that's not a cry for help either. 

Though there are days when activity slackens for whatever reason, the truth of the matter is that I'm busy.  The journal part of the blog has been taken private, and that is where I spend most of my bloggish time.  No, you cannot find that, it's as safely locked away as I can make anything that is digital. 

The rest of my time is spent reading, researching, and writing, though never as much as I'd like.  Life often gets in the way and when it does, sacrifices have to be made.  It's happened before and it will happen again, in big and small ways.  I think it's an OCD thing, but I'm not sure.  I've read a lot on the subject, but have never been diagnosed.  Regardless of my suspicions, I dislike self-diagnosis.  If I were me, confronting me, I would attack my lack of psychological diagnostic qualifications first.  Then I'd probably attack the last sentence right there.  Forgive me, I'm tired.

Anyway, I finished the Bathroom Reader from the last post a couple days ago.  I looked at the Moria book, but there's no rush for that and I want to try and catch up on other things first.  I promise that I will try to post more in the future.

- Jim

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Well, I got my birthday present finally! I ordered it for myself a week ago, but had to wait until today to get it. I'll be busy(-er) for a while now.

- Jim
I know it doesn't seem like it now. I know it seems like the sun will never shine as bright, the sky will never look so blue, and 3-D movies will always look cheesy, but the world will get over Steve Jobs resigning. I'm saddened by it too. Before, there was a chance of non-Apple related news, now it wouldn't matter if China and North Korea nuked each other into the sea, there'd be nothing but Jobs-related stories as far as the eye can see.

Trust me. It will get better. Or worse. Or might stay the same.

- Jim

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I come up with the weirdest ideas at night. This exercise should work no matter who you are or where you came from or what your interests were. Take a character from your childhood - by this I mean, someone that you pretended to be. If you're like me, it can be an RPG character, a video game character, a character in a story you wrote or told, a toy you played with, or a character you pretended to be when you played make believe, "Fairy Princess", or "He-Man", or the world famous wrestler "Slappy McWhines-Alot". If that last one was your name and you chose it yourself, I pity your childhood.

Talk to them. Yes, I said it. Pretend you're having a conversation with them. What would they say? What would you say? Would you regret knowing them or would you regret not hanging out in such a long time?

An interesting conversation, I think. I cut mine off before it went too far, but I think I'd like to try it again.

- Jim

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I went crazy and ordered a MERP book online! Moria, from their Citadel series. Not a bad price either, though probably a bit more than I would have paid if Iron Crown Enterprises was still a viable company and still had the MERP license. Ah well.

I've been busy, though it often seems like I've not been accomplishing much. The more I do, the more I want to do. The reading list has grown exponentially and with that book order will grow even more. Ah well again.

- Jim

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Okay, I finished the library book, finally. It was Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam. Um, first of all, it wasn't the kind of book I expected. Second, it was horribly dated - 2001. That doesn't sound old, but when talking about social capital, it makes the argument that much less relevant when it doesn't include more recent events like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube. I don't include Google+ in there because it's more of a religious movement than a real social force... so far.

Something that might be interesting to read. Not something to spend money on. Probably why you can buy it used for less than two dollars and new for four on

I've not given up on all the other stuff I'm working on. Writing, reading, trying to catch up with all the tv watching I missed out on. Okay, that last part is doomed to fail, but I have watched a few movies and shows over the weeks. The plan there is to clear out my DVR and then keep it less full.

Hope you're having a great summer. I think I am.

- Jim

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

I haven't written in a while. I've been working on stuff, trying to get caught up. I've also been writing, if you can believe it. It's a mad, crazy world we live in.

- Jim

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Game of Thrones is back on Demand next week. I think I'll watch it again. Hopefully the heat won't be quite so oppressive then. There were far too many names and stories all happening at the same time to take in at a single viewing.

I'll have to buy the books though. The library has them reserved until shortly after the next millenium.

- Jim

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It seems I may have spoken too soon. I had more than a day to watch Game of Thrones and I was able to finish it in time, though just barely. I suppose procrastination continued to play a part, but less than the weather. The heat here is unbearable and the dog takes refuge in my room where I do all my stuff. The tiny air conditioner is fighting a losing battle with heat indices well over a hundred... indexes. I like that word better.

Anyway, in deference to the dog, I've refrained from watching television during the hottest parts of the day. It's only a few degrees, but it's still a few degrees.

- Jim

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Life and circumstances conspired against me and I have but one day to finish the Game of Thrones 1st season before it leaves HBO OnDemand. The first two episodes seem interesting, but I'm horrible with names. Which one is Boromir again?

- Jim

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Okay, it ended on Friday night. And I finished all of them. It's hard for me to watch eight hours of television in three days. Still, I think I did good. Next step, lots of DVR stuff.

- Jim

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Dangit! I don't watch a lot of television, but I just found out last night that the John Adams miniseries is on OnDemand. It ends tomorrow, or tonight, knowing the odd way Charter sets these things up. I've been wanting to see it for a while, but something always came up, usually a lack of Cable access.

Well, I'm going to try and watch them all in one afternoon.

- Jim

Monday, July 04, 2011

Just wanted to say, Happy Birthday to the United States of America!

- Jim

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stolen from The Janesville Gazette at: without permission.

Defense attorney questions cause of death in double-fatal crash

By DAVID BRAZY ( Contact ) Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Omar Tavizon Ramos, right, looks on while his defense attorney  Michael Murphy questions a witness in court.  Ramos is accused of  killing Margaret Worden and her grandson Jeffery Bauer in an Easter  crash while Ramos was driving drunk.

Omar Tavizon Ramos, right, looks on while his defense attorney Michael Murphy questions a witness in court. Ramos is accused of killing Margaret Worden and her grandson Jeffery Bauer in an Easter crash while Ramos was driving drunk.

The family of Margaret Worden and Jeffery Bauer displayed their  photographs during a court hearing for Omar Tavizon Ramos in  Janesville.

The family of Margaret Worden and Jeffery Bauer displayed their photographs during a court hearing for Omar Tavizon Ramos in Janesville.

— The defense attorney for a Janesville man charged in a double-fatal crash questioned Tuesday if one of the victims died as a result of the crash, if the accused was at fault in the crash and if his client was on pain medication when he spoke to investigators.

Omar Tavizon-Ramos, 21, is charged with two counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle for the deaths of Jeffery S. Bauer, 19, of Janesville and his grandmother Margaret Worden, 61, of Janesville. He also is charged with injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle for injuries caused to his passenger, Gilberto Vargas-Cano of Janesville.

Ramos left University Hospital 15 days after the crash and boarded a bus before he could be arrested. He was taken into custody in Janesville two days later.

The accident occurred at 2:45 Easter morning at Center Avenue and Racine Street. Worden was driving a minivan south on Center Avenue and was turning left onto Racine Street when it collided with a car driven north on Center Avenue by Ramos.

Bauer was thrown from the minivan and died at the scene. Worden was transported to Mercy Medical and Trauma Center, Janesville, and died 12 days later at the hospital.

Dr. Muhammad Alkhan testified Tuesday that Worden’s death was caused by a stroke she suffered because of trauma from the accident. Alkhan said an artery in her neck was torn, likely in the accident. As her body healed, a clot broke loose and caused the stroke.

Defense Attorney Michael Murphy questioned if age or disease could have caused Worden’s stroke.

Alkhan said that was possible, but he believed it was caused by the accident.

“You cannot blame the age for the death,” Alkhan said.

Members of Bauer’s and Worden’s family attended the preliminary hearing. They placed a picture of Worden and a picture of Bauer with his dog, which also died in the crash, on the bench in front of the family.

Janesville police officer Benito Rocha testified that he spoke to Ramos at University Hospital in Madison on May 3. Rocha said Ramos told him he he’d had two or three beers the night of the crash and was going about 5 mph over the speed limit.

Ramos told Rocha the minivan had one of its doors open at the time of the crash and was going too fast, which caused the accident.

Murphy asked Rocha if he saw Ramos take any pain medication or if he asked Ramos if Ramos was on any pain medication. Rocha said he did not see Ramos take any medication.

Ramos and Cano were at a bar in Beloit before the crash, according to the criminal complaint.

Cano, who testified from his wheelchair Tuesday while wearing a cast on his right wrist, said he did not remember getting into the car and did not remember the accident. He said the last thing he remembers was drinking two beers and later waking up in the hospital.

Ramos’ blood-alcohol concentration at the time of the crash is unknown. He was not breath tested at the scene because he was being treated for his injuries. Blood samples drawn at the hospital after the crash still are being tested at the Wisconsin State Hygiene Laboratory.

To convict Ramos of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle, prosecutors must prove that Ramos was intoxicated and that his intoxication caused the crash.

The hearing was postponed until 2:45 p.m. Tuesday, when test results on Ramos’ blood samples are expected to be available.

I'm not going to comment much on this. Not yet. If they actually determine that he didn't kill her or that he wasn't at fault, I will be livid. I see they cleaned him up though. Typical defense move.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The benefit for baby Blake went very well by all accounts. I'm afraid I didn't make it. Even if I thought I was going, I hurt my knee the night before and was up all night in pain. Lots of people showed up and it's pretty apparent they had fun. That's what counts.

Blake is doing much better now. Now they've just got to pay for all of it.

- Jim

Saturday, June 11, 2011

No, I'm sorry, I haven't changed my mind about the blog. Though technically still online, there's no way for the public to access it. It's hidden, and then some. Forever is an awfully wrong time, so I don't think I'll be able to guarantee that it will remain hidden for all time, but I don't see any chance of its current status changing soon. Even searching for it won't find it, not only is it hidden, but the door is locked.

In its absence, it has grown beyond the boundaries set up for it to be public and any change in that status would require changes to existing posts. No, I'm not talking about you behind your back, but there are things that really can't get out.

I suppose, if you're really worried about it, you could drop me a line and ask for a private permission, which is possible. I don't know if that would work, but perhaps your powers of persuasion are stronger than I thought.

- Jim

Monday, June 06, 2011

Some days are just made for being an Imperial Pilot.

I don't have any screen shots, so you're just going to have to be content with the Wikipedia description here.

I'm not entirely certain I like this version over the others ones. It's prettier, mind you, much nicer to look at. Still, my TIE fighter engines sound like they need space oil or something. The engine is knocking.

- Jim

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

For those keeping track of the Seti@home numbers on the side of my blog over there ===>, they had a problem with a server, that they're still working on fixing. They've moved most of the data to another server and are slowly getting things fixed. It's not a solution yet, but a temporary fix until they can fix it for real.

I took the time to stop downloading new work so that I could upgrade to a new version of Seti@home without risking too much data. I had one upgrade that went bad once and though it's never happened again, I don't want to go through the experience again. It was hardly the end of the world for anyone - after the work expired without me doing it, it was rereleased so others could do it. Still, it's a personal preference, probably OCD.

Anyway, between those two, the numbers will and actually have already fluctuated wildly. I figure three or four more days until it gets back to normal, assuming they can get the server situation straightened out. I'm still doing work, I technically only stopped for a short time, but there was a slightly longer period when I did less work as well. Anyway, we're back up now here, so future fluctuations aren't real, just apparent.

- Jim

Monday, May 30, 2011

With my hearing loss, I doubt the military would have ever accepted me. By the time I thought about it, my knee injury made it a moot point though. It's one of my biggest regrets.

Still, to those who served and more to those who lost their lives while serving, THANK YOU on this Memorial Day.

- Jim

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I managed to get to the library just in time.

I'm currently reading Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community.

I haven't finished it yet, so I'm not recommending it or anything at this time.

- Jim
If you are looking for more information about the Voyager probes and their missions, then Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery - By Stephen J. Pyne probably isn't the way to go. Yes, it contains some detail, but the details are somewhat sparse and the entire account is littered with comparisons to other ages of exploration as defined by the author.

The comparisons can be similar, they can be relevant, but they are not necessarily so. The problem with such an analysis is that it's less a historical record than a commentary of our own time - which is neither the time of the earlier voyages of discovery nor the time of the Voyager missions. Sorta. Technically, the Voyager probes are still out there doing science, but they are done with the work that made them famous to regular people.

I have to admit, I hated the book in the beginning. I was looking for a true historical record (as true as such things are) and got this by accident. But... it might have just been what I was looking for. It has certainly caused me to think about thinks and given me new ideas and directions for writings of my own. In that, I suppose it's served it's purpose.

This isn't a traditional review of the book, I realize. I'm not recommending this book to anyone because what people bring to books is different for every reader. I had a specific purpose for reading the book and the purpose was fulfilled, in a way I hadn't considered earlier. It did its job.

- Jim

Friday, May 27, 2011

I finished Time: January 10th, 2011 and have moved onto Time: January 11th, 2011.

- Jim

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm not recommending these, mostly because I haven't finished reading them.

- I am currently reading Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery. By Stephen J. Pyne.

- I am also reading Time Magazine: January 10, 2011.

Yes, I'm a bit behind on my periodicals. Sadly, the pile is much lower than it's recently been.

- Jim

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Well, I'm not going to hide it. This decision has been a long time coming, despite claims to the contrary. Originally, the blog was to serve as a personal journal. The whole point was to move such things to the "cloud", though the term wasn't really there at the time. I had just suffered a hard drive crash and wanted the safety associated with the internet.

The recent crash changed all that, though again, the decision has been long in coming. Despite being a private journal, there were many things I couldn't post because it was too public. If the whole point of the blog was to help me in writing, it was also a big impediment since I could rarely share such thoughts here. Even worse, there's no point in using this blog as a backup if the backup remains insecure.

Of course there were people who got mad at what I posted, whether it was about them or something they cared about. There were people who tried to use what I posted against me, as if they could win arguments by using my past to insult me. And there were people who misunderstood the concept entirely and thought that I was either crying for help, suicidal, or dying. For the record, I am none of these. Well, technically, I suppose everyone is dying from the day they were born, but that's it. My only medical issues are that I have allergies and a bad knee. A very bad knee, but just a knee. I don't think it will kill me any time soon.

So, there it is.

No more personal thoughts, ideas, or concepts. I'm taking the journal out of the blog. Oh, I imagine I'll fill it up with things that interest me, but that's it.

Oh, in the meantime, I have backed up the former blog. I'll be transferring it back to my hard drive where it will become a real journal. Nothing is lost, it's just no longer public. I'll also be backing it up in other ways as well.

- Jim