Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy Holidays Everyone

This may very well be it for the year. I cannot guarantee anything between now and the new year, though, maybe, just maybe, there will be something on New Years Eve. I can't say one way or the other.

Yesterday I wrote up an informational page on my writing current events mini-site for the defunct publication Killing Time - Horror E-Rag™ explaining what it was, and all about it. I'm thinking of adding a second page, this one with recollections about the experience of writing the e-rag. The currently available page is a part of http://www.rmtp.ca/rgmale/index.htm as well as the status of other major projects I have in the works. The exact link is http://www.rmtp.ca/rgmale/erag.htm and comes under the curious link of Learn on the main page.

I've been in my mad scientist's lab cooking up a nasty little monster. I'd like to use it for a game NPC but if I do that I can't just turn around and play with it in a story for sale anywhere. So it looks like I won't get so much to play with it as use it. Come to think of it, I have a place more suited than anywhere else to use it. Well, two places, maybe something of a cross over point between the two mythoi. I can feel the gears turning in my head. This why I'm not always that specific about works in progress. Most of the time its to protect my own copyright until the work is in print, and the rest of the time is not to step on someone else's copyright.

I must now go apologise to the player who was looking forward to interacting with the creature in the game. Now I have to try and do two things at once... build on the background of the creature, and come up with something new for the game.

Mood: lackadaisical
Music: Dirty Lover by Quiet Riot and Oh Come, All Ye Faithful by Elvis

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Dark or Dumb (but first an update)

The editing on the e-book is complete. I have to do up the first few pages of the book, which would be the blurb/sample, the copyright page, a title page, that sort of thing. Then I mess it all up fixing the text styles, cut out my beloved double space because no one uses them in publishing no matter how handy they are on the eyes, and bang and beat the book into a pdf file. So, as I surmised a while ago, the e-book will be available in the new year, not before. It's just as well. I have to organise my advertising campaign.

I was doing some writing for my Rifts game, though not on the big super gaming week extravaganza. I hope in January to get things really rolling again. That'll mean some changes, but nothing extraordinary. Most of what it means is getting off my butt and getting things moving, and I'm not talking about just missions. I want to hit all the untapped possibilites of such a dynamic group. One thing I'm considering is the alignments of some of the characters. I'm embroild in a heated debate with myself over what exactly should be expected of a diabolic alignment, then from there I can decide how I want to handle it.

The problem lies in that if you take it as things that the character must always do, and ways they must always be like, then someone who fits the diabolic category pretty much has to be a useless raving loon that can't work for anybody, can't work with anybody, can't handle having people work for them, and in any place with any sense of reality would be killed off pretty quick because of their actions. So obviously, this can't be the case despite how with all the other categories that level of adherance to the list of traits works just fine.

What the list of traits for the alignment must be, is the tendency to be that way when they're at their worst. Or somehow its meant to be a much more fluid scale. Or there just aren't that many diabolic people and those that are are of no consequence to any kind of story other than cops track down serial killer who has nothing more to their character than the M.O. they're working with and the same-old-same-old profile which is being run into the ground on dozens of crime shows. Where's the fun in that?

Certainly, this is a huge part of the argument against using alignments at all. Unlike the people who just plain dismiss them I use them for the simple reason that as a part of the game you go with it. Not using the alignment system is akin to say changing all the rents in Monopoly. You can do it, but then you're not playing the same game, not playing the way it was intended. Rules can't just be called stupid because people prefer a different method. You might as well call cycling stupid because you own a car.

Mood: self-indulgent
Music: Christmas is a Birthday by Burl Ives, Silent Night/Holy Night Jam by Joe Satriani

Monday, December 12, 2005

No Witty Title At This Hour

Oh happy day,
Oh happy day,
Since I forgot,
Since I forgot,
To add to my blog!

What happened can be described in one word... nothing. Well, nothing online, and nothing much work related. I fiddled around with replacing the power supply in a computer and finding out that while there is power, nothing else seems to be happening. Have to take it somewhere and get some help. I don't know what problem could be. I had two hard drives with two different operating systems and I tried them together, and apart. Turn on the power, the lights come on, and that's it. I might think it was the video card gone, but it worked in the computer store with a short-lived plug in from another power supply. Its hard to tell with these old drives. Is it set to slave or master? Does it have to be set at all if its the only drive? Is the CMOS looking for the old drive? Is the CMOS actually still working or did the battery go and there is no more CMOS. Who knows. Software is my forte.

Editing on the e-book continued on for a bit and has since stalled. I had given myself a date to begin sales, but it looks like it won't be met. Chances are it won't be available until January. I had hoped to use the fixed computer to run Word 97. Yeah I know, old as the hills software. It's a nightmare looking at Office XP. Priced at greater than $450 it seems criminal to put on a computer I only paid $700 for, even if I did supply my own HDD, monitor, DVD burner, etc. If I'm going to spend that kind of money it's going to be a nice big LCD monitor to replace this CRT one, which is valiantly trying not to die on me. The contrast is shot on it, and there's a vertical line that wavers about.

The train of thought derailed, typical. The reason I need Word, and not this substitute that I'm using is because I need to fiddle with paper-sizes and this thing doesn't do non-standard sizes, yet PDF files don't fit the traditional formatting and have to be fiddled with. I have some other issues to deal with as well that this substitute program seems incapable of doing either.

Working backward, the reason for the stalling on the editing is a matter of frame of mind. I can't just sit down and edit something any old time. It takes a sharp focus without distraction and a lot of patience. In addition to what you'd expect I have to be able to pick up on the voice of the piece and manipulate it where its gone off kilter. The worst part is in not changing the voice as you go through editing. Was there an affect to a character's voice, is there a trait particular to the narrative voice, did I choose to break that rule for a purpose and why. Yes, I break the rules. It's sometimes necessary. It says things about the teller of the story who is never me, but either a passive viewer to the story, or one of the characters in it. Sounds schizophrenic I know, but its no weirder than the characters refusing to do something because they'd rather do something else than what I had in mind. You know, the usual writer craziness.

Trails off...

Mood: pained
Music: Fear is the Key by Iron Maiden and Blue Christmas sung by Porky Pig

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

...And Your Little Dog Too!

The book is about half-way edited now. Reading through the stories was like rediscovering lost friends. There were some moments where I just had to break into a hearty belly laugh of evil. Good stuff, and that's just the Caster stories. I haven't even gotten to the Deserver stories where I am guaranteed to have much more maniacal laughter as people get more than they bargained for for their deeds.

One thing is sort of funny in the odd sense. There was, being a part of a regular publication, a certain flow or progression to the stories. For the most part that flow is unbroken. There was one exception though. I added one story to the Deservers side that was not originally one of those stories. This was in answer to adding one more story to the Casters. Now the new Caster story is one that has never seen any form of publication before. It is also the newest story of the entire book. So it felt to me at least a little funny. It was funny in the sense of looking at a photo album and finding one of the pictures in a group is from the next year.

Most of the editing is adding in the occasional comma, of which I am often accused of being lax with. Sometimes I break a paragraph in half to pick up the pace. Sometimes I change out pronouns for proper names when it seems there's too much he did this, he did that, he did the other. Sometimes even changing to the name isn't enough and a stronger fix is required to improve the flow. Nothing major in any event, though I do intend to add a scene to one of the stories I haven't edited yet. It was something I wanted to include originally but didn't have time to figure out how it would work. I think I've mentioned that in the blog before.

Back to it I go.

Music: I Can't Make You Love Me by Quiet Riot and Klavier by Rammstein

Friday, December 02, 2005

Spinning Ever Faster

There is good news in the land of Bob. After working on it all night and all of today so far I have completed the back cover for the e-book. The last bit, and the only thing that couldn't be done manually (as in by me and my hand in a picture program alone) was the ISBN barcode with additional price coding. So, this means it's time to start taking pre-orders on the book. As such I have updated the bookstore's index and people can go to peruse the covers, and the Teaser Previews. Check it out at R.M.T.P. Co. Books

As to yesterday's rant, I have done, in some cases massive additional coding, what I can to make things as right as I possibly can for my new reviews web page coding in Firefox. I fixed all of the problems though one of them lost functionality. There just was no way to get the title of the review into the navigation bar in that crazy browser. All attempts to make a keyboard space remain so proved impossible. A search of the web yielded not even one whiff of that replacement “code” that appeared in the page. It's unrecognisable, and no one has ever mentioned it. Oh well, that's what people get for using inferior software.

I had to laugh, one of the other problems is apparent only in Firefox, so there goes the high and mighty attitude. Versions of both Netscape and Opera did not have the difficulty. Obviously it is brand new problem. So no one can blame Microsoft for allowing sloppy work. Take that Mozilla!

Mood: cheery
Music: Power of the Sun by Bruce Dickinson and Crossfire by the Scorpions

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Burn the Witch!

It has begun!

I put five new movie reviews at Bob's Reviews. The easiest way to access them is to follow this link... Bob's Reviews Updates. Already I've run into one problem when I viewed them in Firefox.

It appears that Firefox is not any better than Netscape for following the W3C specifications for HTML, CSS, nor the specifications for Java, Javascript or even freaking Perl which is anti-MS as it gets. It just totally ticks me off that they think they don't have to follow international standards. It's no wonder I ardently stand behind Internet Explorer from Microsoft. In Internet Explorer the international standards work. In Internet Explorer text at 200% is twice the size of text at 100% unlike in Firefox and Netscape where 200% really equals 150%. In Internet Explorer a space is a space is a space unlike Firefox where a space can be a space or "& n b s p ;" or %20 or apparently an A%20. In Firefox a link clicked is not the same as a link entered or edited by hand, what a piece of garbage.

In Firefox 100 pixels is less than 100 pixels in Internet Explorer where Internet Explorer matches up with every graphics program I can find. I'm just waiting to find out that Firefox has Netscape's old problem where 100 pixels on the left edge of the browser equals only 99 pixels on the right, yet you cannot balance it out by adding a pixel to the short side because then you end up short on the unaltered side suddenly.

While I'm at it, why does Firefox give you ten seconds to update it on a seemingly random schedule? I'll be sitting there using it to test out pages and suddenly this little pop-up appears telling me there's an update and before I can get at the mouse the pop-up is gone and there's no easily distinguishable place I can find to make the update happen other than wait for the pop-up's next mysterious appearance.

So, I'm going to attempt to fix these five pages for Firefox, but otherwise I'd just like to tell people using it, that if web pages at my site, and web pages from the enormous high tech company CNET, as well as scripts from Google, and/or scripts from Amazon don't look right, it's your fault for using Firefox and you should get a browser that ****ing works.

Mood: pissed
Music: Burn in Hell by Twisted Sister and Die, Ricki Die by Mindset