It's about time I got back to posting on this thing. John Scalzi started his "Whatever" blog to keep in practice writing a daily column, and it would benefit me to practice writing a daily dairy or opinion piece. So here I am.
I won't talk about work. That leaves hobbies and Real Life and opinions. Hobbies are all over the place, but mostly involve gaming and RPing, these days. Also modding, which is writing software for games. At one time, I used to write little software utilities for tabletop RPs, but that was a long time ago--like, when DOS and Turbo Pascal were things. I had a nice little elaborately detailed treasure generator for AD&D, based on the tables from Powers & Perils. I also wrote a weather generator based on the tables in the back of the AD&D Wilderness Survival Guide, and I still have my huge Traveller sector generator program based on the Megatraveller system generation tables. Anyone see a pattern here? I'm actually porting that Traveller program to Java, as Java practice, and combining it with a very ancient X-Windows C program to draw pretty maps of sub-sectors. It should scale up to sectors if done properly. Much of the aforementioned crap was done decades ago, but the source code is upon my website somewhere. Along with archives of ancient Megatraveller ship designs.
These days, my hobby programming is primarily Minecraft modding, and putting together the occasional Minecraft modpack. Most of what I'm modding are other people's mods that I took over when they abandoned the Minecraft modding scene. I never did get back to my own mods, as Simple Ores and akkamaddi's stuff takes up all my leisure modding. Of course, I've rewritten them so much they might as well be my mods.
State of the RP: I sometimes play Dead End at The Wake. Fellow Transformers fans may remember that I used to write Stunticon fanfiction; I still like the crazy boys. I've also tried my hand at playing Hellbender again at Cyberformed, but I'm just not feeling him. He played best off Becky's Hook and Ladyboss's Shockwave, and it's not the same without them. Fortunately, Cyberformed has almost no AC, so I can just coast until I get sorted out.
Writing: I haven't been. Perhaps I should set my computer up to boot to Linux first, instead of Windows, as Linux-side is where I keep my manuscripts. Windows is where the games dwell. When I get back to writing, Starscream is still waiting for me to continue "Spearmaker". Certain original characters are waiting in the wings, as well--Shani the Nubian would like me to recount her adventures across the ancient Hellenic world. She'd also like me to figure out a true Nubian name for her, instead of random Swahili, and change the name of that idiot Greek merchant she travels with. Characters can be so picky! I've also got villains who want me to put them in stories, but they do need me to find heroes to stand against them. (Seth Kane insists he makes a fine villain protagonist and his enemy is worse; I'm like, nooo... let's find a real hero somewhere, then you can reluctantly help the hero by way of double-crossing your enemy. Also, let's pick a less-obvious nom de guerre. Seriously.)
Gaming: ooh, boy. I watch Direwolf20 videos, which get me fired up to play Minecraft, then go play Stardew Valley, which has eaten my evenings. Awesome game. It's also a relaxing contrast to the usual action/adventure MMORPGs I play. The little bit of combat is pretty simple, especially if you luck out like I did and get the Galaxy Sword right after repairing the bus. (Best weapon in the game, and I got a prismatic shard out of a geode from the quarry, right after it opened).
There's a new expansion out for the Everquest2 Time-locked Expansions server, Stormhold, where Steve & I play: The Shadow Odyssey. Early word is they actually got itemization, progression and balance right this time, so maybe more people will be happy. I just know that it opens up a bunch more furniture recipes that my carpenter needs to grind faction for--I like decorating, okay? I still need to get 2 of my big 4 crafters to cap and do their tradeskill epics. Not to mention work on leveling Sammie, my highest-level adventurer. And I have so many houses to decorate! Oh, and then there's the live server I still have characters on, and there's a new expansion, with more tradeskill stuff....
Becky & Tai are playing WoW, which has me somewhat interested. I at least installed the free Starter version and am playing around now and then with Bedywyr, a human warrior. It's deja vu all over again, because the last time I played 'free trial', I had a human character... and humans always start in Northshire/Goldshire. Same hand-holding quests. I would have been bored to tears (and briefly was), except that I finally figured out how to open my crafting menus and play around with crafting. Yay! I don't know that WoW-boy will get much play, because of so much to do in all my other games, but you never know.
I just finished re-reading Diasporah by W. R. Yates. As far as Google can tell me, it was the only book he ever wrote. My guess is it was his first novel, it tanked, and he either stopped writing, or wrote his 2nd novel under a different pseudonym. Sadly, it was not good. It was not as bad as a few published things I've seen, but it wasn't good. The author was way too fond of showing off all his world-building and research, and pacing suffered badly from it. Also, possibly because I had read it before, the "big reveal" at the end was quite obvious from all the clues dropped. Foreshadowing is normally good, so things don't come out of left field and make no sense, but when they make the climax of the story entirely predictable, that's not good. Finally, the author's pro-Israeli politics were downright anvillicious and character-distorting--all the Jewish characters are interesting, three-dimensional characters, Israel's massive paranoia and arm's race is entirely justified, and all their enemies are stereotypical anti-Semites or stock totalitarian thugs. Except for, of course, for the stereotypical Japanese who were allies. Boring. The author would have been better off taking some of the word-count devoted to the engineering of the Svengild and spending it on showing us in more detail why the U.N. was a ruthless dictatorship and why the French space cities were viciously anti-Semitic and actively trying to destroy the Israeli orbital city while the U.N. looked the other way. (The reasons were told in a few sparse lines somewhere mid-book--and since the virtual undeclared war by the French space cities drove the whole damn plot, a little more detail about the whys and wherefores might have been helpful.) All in all, it was a useful review of 'mistakes not to make in writing one's first novel'.