Dog people will understand why this is funny. 😀
Dog people will understand why this is funny. 😀
Something awesome finally happened last night. Ever since I had surgery a year ago, I’ve been trying to get back into bellydance. And… my body’s been stubbornly refusing to cooperate.
But last night, I was in the middle of thinking the usual this sucks, why even bother, I can’t dance, and suddenly my body said oh yeah! I know how to do this!
And I became a bellydancer again.
*does happy dance*
(I know. The picture has nothing to do with dancing. But the silly things make me happy.)
In case you don’t know this already, I love to bellydance. I’m out of practice now, because of that whole sick thing, but I’ll get back to it soon. Work’s far too crazy right now to allow much of anything.
Anyway, I was thinking today about my last public performance. I was up on stage, dancing with my veil. People were okay with it, but not going crazy or anything. The music changed, I let the second veil come out, the crowd went bonkers. Everyone loves double veil, after all.
One of my veils cut loose and fluttered down to the ground.
Super embarrassing! There I was, spinning like a crazy thing, wearing my “I’m performing” smile, with only one veil. Crappy. But I traveled towards it over three spins, then spun low and grabbed the sneaky bastard and got it going again. Decent enough recovery, but man, it sucked.
And you know what? Despite the embarrassment, I still love to dance. Maybe I’ll get back to performing again, maybe not, but either way I’m going to break those veils out again and let them fly.
Once again, as almost always, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. And again as usual, my plans got hijacked by a rogue idea.
So here I am at work, unable to get anywhere near my computer to write until way late tonight. And my head is exploding with ideas that will pop like soap bubbles as soon as I get home. Such is life…
Previous babbling about the new computer is located here.
My computer bits arrived a couple weeks ago. They were promptly blessed by cat butts. And of course, they came in two orders, case first, then the rest days later.
In the middle of the week.
So there I was, with a fine collection of boxes. My kitten, Goon, decided to help me unpack.
Then I got to look at my lovely pile of parts until the weekend rolled around. Note the presence of my kitten assistant.
The processor, and AMD Ryzen 2700X, got special treatment. It got to sit on my desk, where I could look at it and touch it and take a picture of it that I could take to work with me. Yes, I am a weirdo, and I fell immediately in love with my beautiful processor.
Pretty, ain’t it?
Eventually, the weekend arrived. I slammed a bunch of caffeine after work on Saturday and got busy, slowly and carefully. I’m both a wimp when it comes to screwing/unscrewing things (painful hands), and a klutz, so I was more than a bit terrified to work on this ferociously expensive pile of parts. I found a minor casualty of shipping: one of the supplemental fans had an owie. Shouldn’t make much difference, though, and certainly not bad enough to go through the hassle of returning it.
Check out the fancy packaging on the power supply! It’s dressed better than I am.
Naturally, I couldn’t get everything put together before I absolutely had to go to bed. It’s not easy working an eleven hour day, running errands, making dinner, then building a computer. I got most of it assembled, though.
The next morning, I got up, finished assembling stuff, made all the power connections, and took some final pictures before plugging it in. Just in case it blew up, you know, I’d have visual proof that it had been pretty once.
And then the moment of truth:
There you have it, folks. Lots of pretty lights, and the beginning of the nightmare. It lit up. The fans came on. But nothing else happened!
I tried everything my nerdy brain could come up with to make the thing work. Long story short, I couldn’t do a damn bit of anything, because the processor was bad. That beautiful, precious processor, that I loved so much, was defective.
So back it went to Newegg, leaving me with a sad, partially built computer. One good thing happened. I was able to drop one of the new graphics cards, a Gigabyte GeForce 1080, into my old system. (I was so stressed that I didn’t realize at the time I could’ve shifted the old parts into the new case and run both new cards. Duh! But again, stress.) It worked great.
A word about graphics cards, this kind in particular. I’ve never had a problem with Gigabyte products, so that’s what I looked for. I originally wanted the 1070Ti, but when the 1080s went on sale cheap enough to knock the total price of the system down into the “possible” price range, I bought them without a second thought. More power, more CUDA cores, it’s all good, right? But then I read all the reviews, and saw all the bitching about how crappy and loud these particular cards are. Well, I can say for certain these Gigabyte cards are neither crappy nor loud. Okay, so they don’t light up. Big fat freakin’ deal! There are plenty of other shiny lights in my case, I don’t need the cards lit too. They function beautifully, and even under a full load, the noise just plain isn’t loud.
So anyway, I waited nervously for a week, checking the status of my return every few seconds. Yeah, I know, not helpful. It finally arrived at about 2pm on Monday, almost the end of my weekend.
With many prayers to the computer gods, I reassembled my system, and…
It did the same fucking thing.
Power came on. Fans fired up, then wavered on-off-on-off. Angry red light on motherboard screaming processor problem!
Then the damn thing laughed at me, reset itself, and began to boot from the Windows disk in the DVD drive.
Whew! Talk about relief! I swear, I almost puked when I saw that glaring red light on the motherboard. But I finally got the dream computer together, running, all parts working together sweetly, and even all my drives communicating properly on the first try.
Now it is sitting behind my monitors (have to stick it under the shelf to keep the kitten from using it as a springboard), quietly humming away. I’ve had a couple issues getting stuff to work right, but nothing major. I’ll be reorganizing all my 3D content and such for the next million years, and have yet to get my ancient Wacom tablet connected to the extremely modern motherboard, but it’ll happen. Someday. And until then, I’m enjoying the hell out of my lovely new system, and especially enjoying watching it render things incredibly fast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A lot of creative people have a muse. Dictionary.com defines muse asPretty 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.