Doing the happy dance!

3D, Random

Okay, I understand about 99% of anybody, anywhere, is not likely to give a crap about computers, or building them, or anything I’m about to say. That’s cool. But I’ve got to say something about this, or I’ll pop wide open. So if you don’t care about fancy computers, you might want to go away now, ’cause that’s what I’ve got to talk about.

Quick background: I love computers. The one I’m using now is the first one I built all by myself from start to finish. I made it seven years ago, when I only occasionally messed with 3D art and was more into games and video editing. So I built it mainly for games (okay, Skyrim in particular) and video editing, figuring that anything that can handle those uses could make it in the 3D world as well. But it was only in the middle of the pack as far as fancy computers go, and I still drooled like crazy over the big, expensive, custom machines some people could put together.

Even more background: I’ve had financial issues off and on for years. One of the things I did to improve the current financial situation is get a Newegg store credit card to rebuild my credit. Yeah, that Newegg. The one that sells computer bits. The one that likes me enough that they kept increasing my credit limit to the point where I could buy a really sweet pile of parts and build a computer to make other people drool over.

And one more major background factor: I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that if I exercise some willpower and stop blowing my money on energy drinks, junk food, and even more Daz stuff that will join the huge pile of stuff I haven’t used yet, I can afford a pretty hefty payment on that Newegg credit card. It won’t be easy, because I really like energy drinks and junk food while I’m working, and I really really like new Daz toys, but I can do it.

I don’t desperately need a new computer. This one is still working just fine… for everything except 3D, which is something I do a lot of these days. And the poor thing just doesn’t have the power to keep up with certain advances in Daz Studio. Namely, dForce. I can get around the lag in big scenes with sneaky tricks. I can use other sneaky tricks to try and avoid crashing my video card with Iray renders. But I can’t do diddly shit about not having enough memory, or even processor power, to handle dForce. And it really annoys the hell out of me when I’m trying to do what I normally do and work on several different things at once, and my poor, abused system slows down to the point where I do far more swearing than anything else.

So I did a lot of research, and assembled three wishlists. One was a practical, affordable, yet powerful system. One was a slightly too expensive, really powerful, holy-crap-I desperately-want-it system. And one was ridiculously overpowered, insanely expensive, and somewhat scary system, involving liquid cooling. It would’ve satisfied every crazy computer daydream I’ve ever had. But I’ve heard of horrific liquid cooling failures, involving thousands of dollars of destroyed computer bits, and want to avoid liquid cooling if I can.

And yesterday, the holy-crap-I desperately-want-it system had enough parts go on sale to bring it down to twenty-six bucks more than the affordable system, so I did it. I ordered the bits for an awesome dream computer! I’ve no doubt it’ll be a colossal pain in the ass to pay for, but I don’t care. It will be awesome with 3D, and will laugh at games on their highest settings. And if I get back into video editing, it will breeze through everything from effects to rendering without hesitation. I am doing an epic happy dance.

I am also driving damn near anyone I talk to bonkers by babbling about my computer bits. They’re on their way here, you know. The case shipped separately, for whatever reason, and is in Commerce, CA right now. Which is moderately scary, because the last time I ordered something online and it shipped through California, it got burned up in a wildfire. Not cool. The rest of the bits were just picked up in Indianapolis, IN. It made me laugh that the bits went there. My truck came from there. I spent quite a bit of time there when I was a little kid. And if my dad became a ghost, he’s most likely haunting the racetrack there.

In case anyone is still reading and actually does give a crap about building computers, here’s some of the good stuff.

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 8-core 3.7 GHz processor

Gigabyte X470 AORUS Ultra Gaming motherboard

Corsair Vengeance LPX 64 GB DDR4 RAM (yeah, baby! 64 freakin’ gigs!!!)

2 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 (only the 8GB version, but there’s TWO of the little bastards! No more overnight Iray renders!!!)

And there’s an SSD, and a cool case, and lots of fans, and a 1000 watt power supply… and none of it will get here in time for my four day weekend. Which sucks, but that’s the price one pays when one must wait on the Labor Day sales. So I’ll only have two days to build it and play with it. Who cares, it’s going to be mine for a very, very long time. My current computer lasted since 1/1/11, let’s see if this new, crazily overpowered critter can make it a full decade.

 

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On Feedback

Random, Writing

I’m heading into the final stages of editing my overgrown story Firestorm, which means I’ve had someone read it and give feedback. This is an important process, I know. And it helps improve the final outcome, especially when one is self-publishing. Being a solitary writer can sometimes feel like shouting out into a vacuum, wondering if anyone will ever hear. At least that’s how it feels to me.

But this time the feedback made me realize it might be easier to go it alone sometimes. Wow. Made me feel like the shittiest writer ever, some of it, because I got the distinct impression that the reader wasn’t even reading my manuscript, but rather something completely different. Some of the comments had me going “Huh? What do you mean, being surprised by X? There was a whole friggin’ chapter about X earlier, how could it blindside you so bad?”

And yet, at the same time I want to forget all about other people’s opinions and just write for myself, I’m still happy I sent the sucker off to be picked on and misunderstood. Check it out. Every single time the person asked a clueless question, it pointed big shiny arrows at a flaw. Because if the area in question wasn’t boring or poorly written, then the person wouldn’t have asked questions about it. Right? Right. Plus, it made me think of something a friend said ages ago, about movie critics. Paraphrase: You don’t have to agree with the critic. If you know what they like or dislike, it can still give you a good idea if you’ll like the movie or not. So, and this is my interpretation now, if the critic hates lighthearted, silly space operas, but you love them, a bad review might be a nice indicator that you’ll love the movie. Especially if the critic rips on the character for wearing a spacesuit that looks like pajamas, but you love the cheesy pajama look on a bridge crew.

So I applied that manner of thinking to the feedback, and it helped a bit. What? You didn’t like that I left four millennia of history out of the action scene? I must have gotten the action right, ’cause I know you love slow, in-depth, detailed explorations of history. And you can’t figure out why a character would do something Not Nice? Awesome, I gave the character a flaw.

And yet, there’s that whole “shittiest writer ever” feeling… Argh. I’ll just keep telling myself it’s okay, the shittiest writer ever wouldn’t bother trying to find and fix the flaws.

 

Not Dead Yet

Random

Okay, wow. I haven’t posted since October 30. So much for being more active on this blog. Here, have some excuses.

November’s easy enough to explain away, that’s NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated.) Won, 50008 words. Also worked my ass off at my day job.

December? I remember December. Barely. Busiest month of the year for dog groomers, took a break from writing after NaNo, made some simple New Year’s resolutions that should be easy to keep. Even went to see a movie.

And then… the world exploded.

(Warning: TMI ahead!)

I have a stupid, nasty disease, called adenomyosis. It’s disgusting, painful, and when it acts up, I get sick enough that I feel like dying would be a vast improvement. I’ve had this crap for six years now, and it just keeps getting worse. And this time around, it knocked me flat as a pancake. I seriously thought I might be dying.

Come to find out, I wasn’t far wrong.

I don’t have health insurance, because it costs too much. But this time I got so freakin’ sick I had to go to the doctor, even though it cost wads of cash and maxed out all my credit. But I found out I had blood clots in my legs and lungs, and acute anemia, and that either one of those things could kill me off.

Great.

So, long story short, I’ve been, quite literally, deathly ill. More than once, even. My creative life has fallen by the wayside, although I am currently fighting my way through Camp NaNo. (That’s Camp NaNoWriMo, the easier version of NaNo where you set your own goals.) I haven’t been able to do crap as far as 3D art, which sucks major butt. And to make life even more exciting, my computer’s starting to feel its age, so even when I do try to render something there’s no guarantee it’ll work. I even had a BSOD last night, trying to render a scene. A BSOD! On my wonderful computer!

All whining aside, right at this moment I feel okay. Tired as hell, but whatever. I’ve been writing all day, I cleaned up nearly three weeks of mess, and I have a scene rendering. So I’m going to quit whining and feeling sorry for myself, try not to drop dead, and get back to the things that really matter: writing, 3D art, and creating some content for this damn empty blog. Not to mention frantically saving cash so I can build out a new, far more powerful computer, even if it means I’ll have to abandon my faithful old Windows 7 Pro.

Woo-freakin’-hoo!

Oh, That Muse…

Random, Writing

A lot of creative people have a muse. Dictionary.com defines muse as the goddess or the power regarded as inspiring a poet, artist, thinker, or the like. Pretty fair definition, I’d say.

Some people are lucky enough to have a real person as their muse, but I’m not. Some people find inspiration in a photo, or a piece of art, or a place, or even a cat. I don’t.

Of course not. I can’t possibly be normal, have something so mundane as a muse I could look at, talk to, interact with. Nope. Not happening.

Instead, I get a nebulous and temperamental voice in my head. Well, sort of a voice. That’s the easiest way to think of it, even though it makes me sound completely insane. Sometimes this ephemeral muse is kind to me and showers me with ideas. Other times, like in recent months, my muse shuts the hell up and won’t say anything at all, even under threat of violence. Which, let me tell you, makes me feel real adult and rational, threatening to kick the shit out of something that doesn’t even exist.

I’ve been thinking about this temperamental muse of mine a lot lately, wondering what its problem is. (His problem? The bugger’s cranky enough to be a male.) And… it keeps coming back to the same thing: the real world.

See, my muse went on a long hiatus once before. It began on September 11, 2001, and lasted for a really long time. I went from writing and creating 3D art all the time, pretty much non-stop, to just barely creating anything at all. Because after what happened, writing smutty, slashy fanfiction just seemed so unimportant and trivial, it wasn’t even worth it.

But a good muse won’t be kept down, and mine eventually recovered. It started presenting me with idea after idea–you should see my WIP file–and helping me fill my online galleries with art.

And then… political bullshit happened.

Leaving my muse all sorts of pouty and unhappy, barely willing to toss out a half-hearted idea every now and again.

Idiots running my country, bills growing larger than my income can support, bigots and assholes partying in the streets… What place for creativity in all that? Why bother? Why not go crawl under a rock and hide, don’t worry about writing queer fiction or blog posts, don’t bother producing pretty pictures in a world full of ugly…

Yeah, whatever. That’s a line of crap I’m not going to buy into. Because I’m not going to let this stupid world get me down. I will feed my muse with Dr. Pepper (the real sugar kind) and pizza until it cheers up, and I will keep right on writing and making 3D art.

It’s harder now than it should be, yeah. But it feels like not writing is letting the jerks of the world win, somehow. Like allowing the stupidity of others to keep me from creating art or writing is just giving up and letting “them” win.

So screw “them.”

If nothing else, at least I can create beautiful worlds where bigots and assholes get run over by steam-powered freight trains or blown up by colossal fireballs. That’s the beauty of being a writer, after all.

Going offline for a while.

Random

Yes, I know. I just made a nicely public commitment to create a writing blog. But once again, real life has intruded.

I’m beginning the process of trying to buy a business. And by “business,” I mean my current job. If I can pull it off, life will be really, really good. But if I screw this up, I will most likely lose everything.

So in the interests of not effing up my entire life, I’m going to stay away from most social interactions for a while, and focus on scary things, such as market analysis and demographics. Things I became a dog groomer, 3D artist, and fiction writer to avoid, damn it. But if I want to continue living in this rather nice town, with a steady income and clients who love me (I mean this literally. I hear it a lot, usually from little older ladies with cute little dogs.), not to mention the ability to purchase food on a reasonably regular basis, well… I’m just going to have to suck it up, do the kind of work I dislike intensely, and put together a stellar business plan that makes me look like I’m so good there’s no risk at all in loaning me 60K. Ain’t no one going to do it for me, or help out. Even my sister the accountant answered one question for me, then told me to go find a financial adviser.

I’ll likely still be at deviantArt every day, but just lurking quietly, looking at a few bits of art in the mornings. And I’m still doing Camp NaNoWriMo, of course, but I’ve drastically reduced my word count. I love to write, but my only means of supporting myself is far more important. Everywhere else I’ll likely check once or twice a week if all goes well.

Wish me luck, because I really need it… Er, wait. Please wish me good luck. With this much on the line, I don’t want to take any chances.

Updating Myself

Random

I always intend to be more active online. Well, today I finally started an account at Queeromance Ink, which included a place to put social media links on the author profile. Holy shit. I have a huge online presence… and it’s almost all terribly out of date.

So here I go again, dragging myself out of the shadows of anonymity I always retreat to, and making another effort to be active, and current, online.

And in case you’re wondering… the out of date places are:

WordPress

Twitter

Goodreads

Patreon

Behance

Vimeo

WattPad

Tablo

my own website (!!!)

Amazon (what ever happened to that author page I started ages ago, anyway?)

At least I’m active on deviantArt and Facebook. I’m not completely hopeless.

Now that’s sad.

Random

Many years ago, I saw a car with a sheet of notebook paper taped up in the back window. On it someone had written George W. Bush does not speak for me. Now, that was back at the point when Americans were supposed to stop eating French fries and eat freedom fries instead. So I thought that was pretty damn neat, and put a modest little statement on my personal website, George W. Bush does not speak for me. I was really happy to take that down eight years ago.

Well, today my personal website has sprouted an innocuous little political statement, right up at the top. Donald J. Trump does not speak for me. It’s pretty sad that it came back, that little statement. And it’s not like my personal website gets massive amounts of traffic. But I feel a tiny little bit better having a disclaimer to show that I’m not an [insert favorite perjorative(s) here] idiot, nor do I like the future that appears to be looming over my poor country.

Seriously, people, is tolerance and hope really all that bad?