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.)
Um. Yeah. Dumb me kind of forgot it’s okay to promote my own stuff on my own damn blog.
If you see a red glow off in the distance, it’s just me blushing.
So. After a bit over a year of living on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, almost all my ebooks have now returned to their proper home, Smashwords. (The ones that aren’t there are awaiting new covers.) And as luck would have it, they went live on the first day of the big annual sale. They’re all either free, or half off.
I upgraded my computer recently. Yes, I know, I’ve told everybody in this world and three others about my new computer. That’s because I love it, and I’m proud as hell that I assembled the big beast without messing anything up. But I stuck my old drives in the new case, because there wasn’t anything wrong with them. And… about three weeks later, one of the big old monsters started groaning and complaining, acting like it was way too old to get up in the morning, and saying it wasn’t going to last much longer.
So I got a new drive. Took a chance this time on something new, which I usually don’t. I tend to wait for a new technology to be out in the world for a while before trying it, because it seems like tech companies are in such a rush to get something out there that they don’t neccessarily work out all the bugs first. But what the hell, life’s short. The drive I got is a hybrid between a normal drive and an SSD, called the Seagate Firecuda. And let me tell you, that thing is fast! I don’t regret trying something new this time, that’s for sure.
Which brings my rambling ass back around to the 3D stuff. Imagine that.
When I moved into the new system, it screwed up all my carefully sorted and organized 3D content. My categories didn’t work anymore, what with the new OS and the new SSD holding the new OS and having to re-install all my programs to work with the new OS and… You get the picture. I’d just barely begun getting the mountains of stuff organized when I had to put the new drive in, and move all my content. Again. Breaking all my categories. Again.
“Bugger” was the least of what I said, but I got everything onto the new drive.
I bought a product ages ago when it was on sale for about three bucks called Content Cataloger Easy. I wasn’t initially too impressed with it, because all it does is round up every thumbnail in the content directories and display each and every one of them. It makes a huge batch of images, stretching across many pages, without an easy way to navigate through the things. But I gave it another try out of sheer desperation. Yes, the thing is still a pain, with the endless scrolling through mountains of crap. But it’s also really nice, because it lays out pictures of everything, complete with the path to the whatever. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across something I forgot I had, or I forgot just how cool it was.
Which brings me to my other problem. Please, people, don’t let me buy any more content! Holy crap, I’ve got enough stuff cluttering up my hard drive to last three lifetimes! If you catch me hinting that I’m looking for more, then please kick me right in the butt. Hard. Because I’ve got plenty.
I blame Daz for that. 😉 They’re the ones that have had some amazing sales right when I’ve had some bucks to spend. And it’s also my boss’s fault, too, because she gave me a nice shiny bonus check that coincided with one of those good sales.
And now, having sufficiently bored people with my randomness, I’m going to get back to sorting my big pile of stuff. Let the agony of sorting be a lesson to me for the future, one all about exercising self-control and using the bonus check for real world things like food, or clothes, or even vehicle repairs.
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.
I did it! I finished my NaNoWriMo project today, at an officially verified wordcount of 50016. This, despite the moment of panic when I discovered the Scrivener wordcount does not, in fact, match up with the NaNo validator. In fact, it was off by about 250 words. That part sucked. “I’m done! I’m done! … oh shit. No I’m not.”
If all goes as planned, I will be editing/revising The Apex Mage in January. Ish. Who knows if I’ll get to it. Because I’ve got a guilty secret. The sales were just too good for my self-control, and I bought the Elder Scrolls Online. It’s a gorgeous world in there, and it may take me a while to come out of it…
I confess, I’ve been waiting quite eagerly for this one. And now it’s here, but I can’t get it yet until I recover from paying rent, so… I’ll advertise it instead. 😉
J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out: “The Rising Tide.”
Earth is dead.
Five years later, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever, a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship. When Eddy Tremaine and Andy Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.
Control the AI, control the people.
Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes—people of every race and identity, and some who aren’t even human—must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide.
Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.
Series Blurb: Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.
Scott is giving away two prizes with this tour – a $25 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of “The Stark Divide,” book one in the series (US winner only for the paperback). For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4734/?
Eddy Tremayne rode his horse, Cassiopeia, along the edge of the pastures that were the last official human habitations before the Anatov Mountains. Several ranchers along the Verge—the zone between the ranches and the foothills—had reported losses of sheep and cattle in the last few weeks.
As the elected sheriff of First District, which ran from Micavery and the South Pole to the mountains, it was Eddy’s responsibility to find out what was going on.
He had his crossbow strapped to his back and his long knife in a leather sheath at his waist. He’d been carrying them for long enough now—three years?—that they had started to feel natural, but the first time he’d worn the crossbow, he’d felt like a poor man’s Robin Hood.
He doubted he’d need them out here, but sheriffs were supposed to be armed.
He’d checked with Lex in the world mind via the South Pole terminal, but she’d reported nothing amiss. In the last few years, she had begun to deploy biodrones to keep an eye on the far-flung parts of the world, but they provided less than optimal coverage. One flyover of this part of the Verge had shown a peaceful flock of thirty sheep. The next showed eight.
The rancher, a former neurosurgeon from New Zealand named Gia Rand, waited for him on the top of a grassy hill. The grass and trees shone with bioluminescent light, and the afternoon sky lit the surrounding countryside with a golden glow. The spindle—the aggregation of energy and glowing pollen that stretched from pole to pole—sparkled in the middle of the sky.
The rancher pulled on her gray braid, staring angrily at something in the valley below. “Took you long enough to get here.”
“Sorry. The train was out of service again.” Technology was slowly failing them, and they had yet to come up with good replacements.
She snorted. “One helluva spaceship we have here.”
He grinned. “Preaching to the choir.” Forever didn’t have the manufacturing base yet to support anything close to the technology its inhabitants had grown used to on Earth. Which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you asked him. With technology came new and better ways to kill. He’d seen it often enough in the NAU Marines. “What did you find?”
“Look.” Her voice was almost a growl.
Eddy looked down where she was pointing. “Oh shit.” Her missing sheep were no longer missing. They had been slaughtered.
He urged Cassiopeia down the hillside to the rocky clearing. A small stream trickled down out of the mountains there. He counted ten carcasses, as near as he could tell from the skulls left behind. Someone had sheared a couple of them and given up. It looked like they had skinned and cut the rest up for meat, the skin and bones and extra bits discarded.
Gia rode down the hillside behind him.
“Didn’t you report twelve sheep missing?”
She nodded. “Bastards took the two lambs. Probably for breeding.”
“That actually might help us.”
He dismounted to take a closer look at the crime scene. “They’ll have to pasture them somewhere. May make it easier to track them down.”
“Maybe so.” She dismounted and joined him. “This was brutal work. Look here.” She picked up a bone. “Whatever cut this was sharp but uneven. It left scratch marks across the bone.”
“So not a metal knife.”
“I don’t think so. Maybe a stone knife?”
He laughed harshly. “Are we back to caveman days, then?” It wasn’t an unreasonable question.
She was silent for a moment, staring at the mountains. “Do you think they live up there?”
“Who?” He followed her gaze. Their highest peaks were wreathed in wisps of cloud.
The Ghosts had been a persistent myth on Forever since their abrupt departure from Earth. Some of the refugees had vanished right after the Collapse, and every now and then something would end up missing. Clothes off a line, food stocks, and the like.
People talked. The rumors had taken on a life of their own, and now whenever something went missing, people whispered, “It’s the Ghosts.”
Eddy didn’t believe in ghosts. He personally knew at least one refugee who had disappeared, his shipmate Davian. He guessed there must be others, though the record keeping from that time had been slipshod at best. He shrugged and looked at the sky. “Who knows?” It was likely to rain in the next day or so. Whoever had done this had left a trail, trampled into the grass. If he didn’t follow it now, it might be gone by the time he got back here with more resources.
Gia knelt by one of the ewes, staring at the remnants of the slaughter. “Could you get me some more breeding stock? This… incident put a big dent in my herd.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” He took one last look around the site. It had to have taken an hour or two to commit this crime, and yet the thieves had apparently done it in broad daylight. Why weren’t they afraid of being caught? “I’m going to follow the trail, see where it leads.”
Gia nodded. “Thanks. We’re taking the rest of the herd back to the barn until you get this all figured out.”
“Sounds prudent. I’ll let you know.”
Slipping on his hat, he climbed back up on Cassie and followed the trail across the stream toward the Anatov Mountains.
Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
A Rainbow Award winning author, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.
Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/
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.