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26th-Nov-2008 12:14 am - Busy Holidays
Wow, have I been busy lately.

Just tonight, I finally started working on Chapter two, again.  I haven't scrapped what I started with, but actually made some more progress on it! :)  Most of my time has been spent working on my new, old site, Ayeka's Bliss (http://www.ayeka.net).  I decided to take a step back from Little Anime Shop, simply because it seems dead.  A message board can only offer so much, and apparently, most of the members there are bored with the site as well.

So a couple of weeks ago, I turned my attention back towards my old site, my old friend, Ayeka's Bliss.  I knew I wanted more than just a message board.  For almost a year now, I've been trying to add Social Networking components to the site.  Unsatisified with the various mods out there for SMF, I took a look elsewhere, finally settling on PhpFox.

This is now a true social networking site, and it's devoted to my favorite hobbies:  Anime, and Role Playing.

I like how I can use Groups to categorize the various message posts that will come into being.  Each group has its own dedicated board for posting, which makes it really nice to have its posts seperated.   This works really well for Role Playing games!  Each game can have its own group, where members can join or leave as they'd like!  The group's creator can also limit membership too, which is a nice feature.

I found an addon called Sub Profiles.  This is a really neat plug in that works really well for the role playing that will be going on.  Each member can create up to 50 characters, complete with pictures, thier own picture gallery, and fill in detailed information about thier characters.  They (the members) can then link these characters to a game forum introducing thier newly created characters!

Everything is so organized, and I'm really excited about all the potential this new engine has to offer.  Of course, there's other features that come standard like videos (which will probably be used for anime episodes and music videos), music, classifieds, blogs, photo gallery, and probably some other things I'm forgetting.

Now, the only mission I've got is to get more members!  I've sent out a mass email to all the old members of the original site.  So far, I think we've got about four of them back.  The good news, is, we've got like three new members! Including a member's friend!

I'm also really excited about the new role playing game that Sari (a.k.a Evil Kilala or EK for short) has started.  It's a Tenchi Universe based game, with some free form science fiction!  It reminds me of my first RPG I had on Ayeka's Bliss:  Destiny's Fear (which was a Tenchi Universe + Star Wars mix).  I've already started with my introduction post, with a couple of characters I've been thinking about using in my novel (whenever I finally decide to write it).  They are twins!  I really like the idea of twins, since it's not really used all that much (at least I haven't met any in my readings).  Sari too is wanting to do twins too, so this game should really be interesting.  I can just imagine some of the dialog that will occur.  Sounds like a fun adventure!

So anyway...I'm hoping to attract some new members and get the site back off the ground.  I remember when it was really hoppin' back in 2004-2005.   I'd like to reach that level of activity again... and soon.  (Yeah, just call me impatient!)

Um... in other news, I'm still looking for a job.  After talking with an old co-worker, I've decided that maybe it's time that invest my time and what little money I do have into getting certified.  I'll probably start out with the A+, and then move on to the Network +, and then perhaps the Linux.  Perhaps after I'm certifiied I'll be able to find a decent job.  I'm also considering looking into consulting companies for work.  Most of the employees are contract only, but I figure it's better than what I'm making now.  I've also had a short thought about starting my own business.  I found somebody whose wanting to start there own IT business, so maybe I'll follow him.  I sent him an email last night, I guess he's pretty busy.  So now, I do more of what I'm really good at.  Hurry up and wait.  Is thre a job like that?  Oh wait, that's called the Military! LOL

31st-Oct-2008 01:49 pm - Happy Halloween
Well, it's official.  Today marks the one year anniversary that I've been out of work.  Kind of depressing, eh?  I don't think I'll ever view today as a happy day again.  Anyway, I'm still holding my breath from two potential job offers.  The first one, is now over three weeks old.  I've sent Sue, the lady that interviewed me a thank you letter, a follow up voice mail, and a second thank you letter explaining my interest in her company.  She seems to be out of the office a lot.  Perhaps it's a cover, maybe she hasn't made a decision yet, maybe it's true, she has been out of the office, and just hasn't had the time to bring me in for that second interview she practically promised me.  Either way, it's still frustrating just playing the waiting game.  The other job offer, I'm not so sure I'll hear back from her.  Dana seemed nice, but she's only working for the head hunter company, not with the actual company that needs the position filled.  She never did get me the company benefits.  I left her a voice message on Wednesday.  I'm staring to loose hope in this job offer.  I guess it's time to dive back into the careerbuilder site and pass out massive amounts of resumes again

My second chapter is coming along.  I'm right at the point where the girls will find something.  It's too bad that I haven't really had the time to work on my book. It relaxes me to write.

My wife introduced me to a new site called Spark People (www.sparkpeople.com)  This is truly an amazing site.  Mostly for people to loose weight, it also has a part dedicated towards having a healthy mind set... you know, thinking positiive and stuff.  What really amazes me is the groups that are on the site.  They have just about everything, anime, ameture radio, writing, etc, just to name a few that I'm a part of.  There is also a family component to the site so you can include your family members in whatever new lifestyle change you start.

I wanted to develop something like that on my personal website.  Social Networking is the newest craze.  I've got part of what I originally wanted, but I never sat down to fully write a full blown network site, complete with customizable profile and groups and stuff.  Oh well, maybe someday when I feel motivated, I'll complete my dream.  Although, I'm pretty sure that somebody has already created an anime social network.  Oh well, it's just a dream.

20th-Oct-2008 11:29 am - Chapter 1 is published!
As the title ourtright says, the first chapter of my newest story is available on FanFiction.net  (The same screen name is used in both places for the unininitiated.)  I've decided to stick with the first person instead of going with my temptations and switching it over to Third Person Omnimenct.   I did want to do a third draft of it and try to clean it up more.  My friend Jasen told me that after reading the first draft, I had intertwined the internal monolouge with narrative description.  He suggested that I seperate the two.  I tried, but I felt that by doing that it interfere with the dynamic of the story.  Besides, I really, *really* wanted to start writting chapter 2.  After giving the chapter much thought, I decided to stretch it out, add a few scenes to help define the relationship between Skuld and Yumi a bit more, and add a few surprises towards the end of the chapter.  I feel that it will be much more dramatic this way, and it give me the chance to really write some good science fiction, although, I will admit, some of what I'm writing has been done before -- but then again, hasn't most fiction already been done before in some way, shape, or form?  That said, I'm really hoping to have this chapter done by the end of next week.  I don't think I'll need a second draft like i did with the first one.  I seem to be doing a good job filtering out the "I effect" as I'm writting.

On Friday, I called Sue from Stevenson, unfortuntely, I had to leave her a message.  I'm thinking that screwed my self out of a second interview with the wording that fumbled my way through.  The beginning of the message was clear, cut, and sounded intellegent.  But then halfway through, I got myself cluttered in my head, and that's when things fell apart.  I'm really hoping she calls today or tomorrow to set up the second interview that she promised on that Wednesday a couple weeks ago.  Had the IT manager not been so busy, we would have just had it that day.  Oh well, this time is giving me the opportunity to really learn the FiileMaker program, which by the way is amazing in everything that it can do.  I found that the scripting function is much like Access, all the keywords and commands are already there for you, you just have to arrange them in the order you want.  Personally, I like more a of a freeform scripting language, I feel that it would give me more flexibility, but then again, I guess we're dealing with the quick, easy, cookie-cutter type of scripts, and most of the people working with them don't have a degree in computer science (or at least pursuing one anyway).

I still haven't head back from Dana (I inerviewed with her company in Louisville last week).  She told me she'd get me the company benefits since they had just changed them not too long before.  I figure I"ll write her a letter and mail it, thanking her for her time to interview me anyway.  Perhaps all she needs is a quick reminder that I'm still alive and starving. LOL

Ya know something?  Kids really are amazing.  The other day, my son fell off the bed and played dead.  I rolled over to make sure he was okay, and asked him if he was dead.  He said, "No daddy, I'm alive!"  Now you might not think anything of this, but keep in mind that he's almost four years old, and neighter I, nor his mom told him the opposite of dead.  He figured it out all by himself!  Amazing, simply amazing.  I guess that shows you that television is good for something, huh?
15th-Oct-2008 07:20 pm - And Another Interview
This time I took a trip down to Louisville, KY for an interview with a headhunter agency.  I feel that the meeting went fairly well, since it went for about three hours.  The company is another small family owned business, the CEO went from $13 Billion Unisis to a small family business, bought it outright with cash.  Most of the business is web development, and they have a position open in their IT.  Basically, it's an on call 24/7 deal.  The good thing about this is that I'll get to work directly with the equipment, not to mention a free blackberry and laptop. :)  The bad news is that it's in Louisville, which isn't all that bad since it's only 45 minutes away.  She said that it might be a couple of days since Steve, the hiring person is out of town.  That's cool, because it gives the Stevenson company (here in Cinci) more time to follow up with me.  Sue should be back in tomorrow (I called yesterday to find out why I hadn't heard anything yet).  With luck, she'll offer me a second interview.  I forgot to mention with this Louisville company, that the CEO is very family oreinted.  Once a month, he takes all the employees and thier families out to dinner to unwind and get to know everybody.  That in and of itself is a realy cool thing I miss from my early days at Dolbey.

My wife read my second draft of my story.  She mentioned a couple of small flaws with the story, a time calculation issue and a few words that shouldn't have been there.  So far so good!  I've been reading a couple of books to assist with my writing talent in the meantime while I wait for my two beta readers to respond.  One a grammer book, and the other a "how to write by reading" book.  So far both books have been very helpful.  I'm hoping to finish up these two books by the end of next week, make my corrections, and then submit the third and hopefully final draft to the couple of friends that have helped so far. :)  I really want to get started drafting chapter 2.  My wife told me yesterday while we were in the car after she had read it that I had better finish the story.  I'll take that as a huge complement, since i've kept her interest in the story. :)
13th-Oct-2008 10:13 am - Day three and still waiting
Last week I had an awesome interview with a company.  Keeping in mind this took place on Wednesday, Sue, the person who interviewed me asked me to come back sometime this week for a follow up interview with their programmer.  Exciting!  Now it's Monday already, and I still haven't heard anything yet.  Perhaps they were just too busy and will give me a call this week.  This company is awesome!  Full medical and dental paid for by the company, three weeks of vacation after only three years of working there, 4% of my pay is put into a 401k, plus any extra that I want to put in.  The good thing with this is that if the company does well, they will match whatever I put in.   The job itself sounds like it's a right match for me.  Lots of IT work, hooking up printers, supporting computers, both PC and Mac, with a lot of flexibility geared towards programming.  So, as of know, I'm studying everything I can find on FileMaker.

Over this past weekend we went camping.  It was awesome!  They had this halloween thing setup.  People set up huge monsters, a haunted maze and trail.  It was fun.  I'll tell you, some of those girls could get awesome jobs as screamers :)  Ben got a ton of candy too.  He said he wanted to be a dinosaur, so my wife made him an orange dino, complete with tail and teeth, with a tounge.  For once in my camping life with our buddy who has a camper, we beat him during our packing / cleaning up.  That felt really good.

I printed up my second draft for me to read during our down times over the camping trip, but as luck would have it, I had no time to even glance at it.  So, my third draft got pushed back to the end of this week.  Besides, I still haven't heard back from Jasen, or the other two beta readers on FanFiction.net.  Evil Kilala gave me some good feedback though, so I may go ahead and start on the third draft anyway.

BSEK, wished me a happy early birthday while I was out camping over MSN.  She would be the first to wish me happiness for the comming year of 33 :)

p.s.  Talk about creepy.  The date and time are the same as of this posting!  10/13 at 10:13.
6th-Oct-2008 08:19 pm - The Second Draft -- Complete
Today I finished my second revision.  All cheers.  While I fixed the issue with the self reflevctions (I said, I did...), there is still the looming issue of telling the story.  I've come to find that first person is naturally a telling mode, not a showing mode.  I re-read my chapter and discovered something significant.  Yes, there is a lot of narration.  Skuld is relaying everything she's seeing, feeling, thinking, etc to you, the reader.  That will hopefully be fixed on my 3rd (and hopefully, final) revision.  The other thing this narration contains is past tense description!  So now I can effectivly kill two birds with one stone.  Transform the narration into scenes (which by definition means an action that is occuing in real-time), making the story more shown and less told, and now, I've also elimiinated the past tense goofs in my writing style!

I've sent my revision to my friend, Jasen for his review.  In the mean time, I've posted a few places on how to address my latest problem.  Just how in the hell does one show action while using first person POV?  I mean, dialoge is definatly one way to show things...it's an action for crying out loud.  Using the correct, strong verbs instead of adverbs is another technique.  *Pulls out my thesourus*  Now the only issue that remains is how do I relay the action that's happening in the background through Skuld's eyes, ears, etc?  I'm hoping to get some answers soon so I can start on page one again and begin my conversion.

I so badly want to publish this chapter.  By far, this story has had the most effort put into it while I wrote it, and I'm not even done with the chapter yet!

Let's see, in other news.  Over the weekend I went up to my friend Chris' house and we played a board game...Twilight Imperilam I think was its name.  Defintly an interesting game, but I don't think I've got the rules down just yet.  Oh well, perhaps in another year or so, I'll play it again.  Well, I hope I'll see him long before that point again.

Yesterday I made a trip up to Columbus with my buddy Wil.  Interesting trip.  We talked about a bunch of stuff.  While we were there we also discovered that the Outlet Mall that's there is a rip off.  What can I say... I"m a Walmart man I guess.

I got a call today for an interview.  God, I don't remember what the position was for!  I hope Careerbuilder goes back that far in its history.

And one final note.  Today the stock market took another plunge.  Looks like the $700 Billion rescue plan isn't going to do anything.  At any rate, I'm glad my wife was able to get her 401k funds before the stocks ate up all the money.  I wonder how much longer our foodstamp card is going to be good for before the Government craps out.
3rd-Oct-2008 12:44 am - Second Draft
Well, late this afternoon, I'm finally revising my first draft.  Priority one:  Remove the "I" effect from narration.  Number two:  Tweak dialog so characters are actually in character.  Three, fix time tense (this one will be difficult, since I always overlook it). 

So far I'm on page 4/17, and I really think I'll go beyond my initial personal goal of 10,000 words.  So far so good.  I'm really liking what I'm writing now.  I also had a chance to have my buddy Jasen read the first draft.  We compared notes and I've come to find out that we still think on the same level.  One thing he pointed out was that I need to seperate the monologue from the narration.  That shouldn't be too hard to do, I'm going to try to keep the monologues near the beginning or end of the sentences.

Another thought I had was to keep Skuld completely in character as she was narrating and monologuing.  The more I thought about this, the more difficult writing seemed to have become.  In the end, I'm going to follow Jasen's advice, and keep her monologue more mature (the same way I think) so that it stands out that she thinks she's more mature than she acutally is.  According to him, most teens think this way and as I recall, I believe I did too at that age.

While in the car running errands today, I managed to start dreaming up chapter 2.  I'm going to go a lot deeper than I originally planned.  Instead of just creating a personal nemesis for her, I'm going far deeper, creating an entire species.  I'm not prepared to spill the beans yet, but needless to say, things will heat up rather quickly.

Now, I'm going to end this before my battery completely dies on me, so good night, and I'm signing off.
1st-Oct-2008 11:43 pm - The Process of Writing
So, I finally have the first draft of Chapter one completed!  YAY!  It came in at just over 6,500 words, with room to grow on.  This was an interesting experience writing in the First Person POV.   I think that I left out a good portion of Skuld's emotions, and I know there is the "I" problem that I'll need to fix.  I'm looking to probably have a good 7,000 words by the time I complete the second draft.  At which time, I going to forward a copy of it to my friend Jasen who is also writing a book in the first person POV.

I had great fun running the spell check on it this morning.  I got half way through, and my computer decided to just shut down.  Cussing, I powered back on, and found that although I was plugged in, my laptop decided to use the battery instead.  I guess it's just getting old and grumpy.  I ran the spell check a second time.  This time, I managed to complete the spell checking, but before I had the chance to save, boom.  My lappy shut off again.  More cussing.  I booted back up and decided to search for a Vista battery monitor that I could put on my Sidebar.  I found one, and with 25% of my battery charged, I spell checked for a third time, this time successfully completing it.

I posted a topic on FanFiction.net in one of the general forums about chapters.  Late last night, I posted, and me being a dummy, tired, and exhausted, I didn't read any of the YOU MUST READ ME posts.  I logged on this morning, finding myself being flamed and locked.  I read the stupid READ ME posts and followed the instructions.  Reposting my original post, with a huge appology at the top, I asked about chapters, specifically, what defines a chapter?  How do you end one, and about how long should a chapter be?

So far, I've found that massive quantities of chocolate helps dissolve writers block, LOL.
30th-Sep-2008 01:06 pm - Up and writing!
No, I haven't decided on the final ultimatum.  But I have started writing, despite my very unfinished outline.  I've also decided to definately write in first person POV.  It would benefit the story so much better, allowing the reader to fully get inside Skuld's head.  Since I began writing, I've decided that I really like this POV style.  Sure, it's a bit more difficult to tell the whole story, but it allows me to write so much more detail, and really show the inner thoughts and emotions of Skuld.  It's also going to really help the story move along in later chapters (but I'm not telling what I've got planned just yet, MUHAHAHA).  Let's just say that First Person allows me to fully explore later scenes to the best detail possible. :)  Anyway, another reason I like this style is the words are just flowing onto the pages!  I've already got over 5,000 words, and I've only been writing for two days now.... mind you, I've had my distractions of family, sleep, and babysitting my son.  I'm certain that I'll meet or possibly exceed my personally set goal of 10,000 words per chapter.  I know this becuase I really haven't gotten into the main plot yet, only the very beginnings, and in story time, only about two hours have pasted by so far.  I'm also planning on having a couple of friends review this work before I release it on FanFiction.net.  Right now, I know that I'm suffering from the "I effect".  I'm going to have to go through and turn some sentances around on my second draft.  Also, I'm doing okay at getting Skuld's inner thoughts through, but as far as her emotions, I think I could probably do better.

So far I'm sticking to my primary outline.  But since I wrote that with the concept of third person POV, I'm finding that it's easier to just write with the flow and adjust later.  I'm thinking that I probably overoutlined this story, since I can't seem to really stick to all the subpoints.  I guess the best way to handle this is just follow the major points, in the order that I've determined, and let my mind find new subplots on the fly.  Already, I've created two characters on the fly, and at least three subplots for future scenes.

My wife mentioned to me last night that she really enjoys reading what I write, even though she still has yet to read my first two stories.  Wel, okay, one completed story, and the second book is still being written.  Yeah, I admit it, I'm a slacker!  Anyway, I'm hoping that she will read this story when I do the second draft.  Perhaps when Benjamin is a bit older, I can read this story to him for his bedtime.  I know I would surely like that. :)

In the jobhunting front, I'm still doing a whole lot of waiting.  I've applied to seven more jobs, and still have yet to hear anything yet.  I guess I shouldn't be overly concerned.  Based on what I read on NPR (National Public Radio), Congress decided not to pass the $700 Billion rescue plan, and the stock markets dropped by like 800 points yesterday.  So since I'm certian that our economy is sinking so far down the shitter that I may be considered one of the lucky ones... At least I don't have to worry about loosing my job :)  That's thinking positivly, right?  Anyway, would this be considered the first turd, in the Shit Hits the Fan world?

Oh well, back to writting Chapter 1.
27th-Sep-2008 11:22 am - And the wait continues
Okay, so now I'm in the middle of playing the hurry up and wait game.  Hurry up and submit the resumes, sit back and wait for somebody to tell me, "hey, I'd like you to come for a second interview."  or "I'm sorry, we've found somebody more qualified than you."

So far, I've gotten one of the latter.  I'm wondering, just how in the hell can the hiring manager find so many people so quickly (one week) to find enough "more qualified people" to work in a hospital IS department.  Doesn't my eight and a half years working for a software company that specifically deals with hospitals all across the nation count for anything?  I thought for sure that I'd have this job in my pocket.  Oh well.  There's still two other positions that I'm waiting to hear back from.  One in Louisville working as a software developer plus IT support, and one other position in Loveland, Ohio, working for a company similar to my previous job, supporting an in house, propritory, software for a small company.  The only thing going strong for that position, is that I got a surprise interview by the lead developer, which I left with mixed feelings with.  He seems like an intellegent fellow.  So if I *have* to work there, I guess I can start over with that company.

My forum seems to be gaining some activity, thank God.  I was almost ready to abandon ship with it, but the site seems to be getting new members everyday.  They aren't really posting anything, I really wish they would, but so far, I guess they're just reading a lot....what I have no idea, since there isn't a whole lot that's been posted.

An old buddy, Zoaster, joined up again, and I really like the fact that he may become more active again.  His current jlob and family commitments have really made it difficult for him to do the forum game, but he says that should change soon.  He also stated that he'd keep an eye out for potential job opportunities.... that would be awesome.

Finally, an update on my new story.  I think I've finally settled on a name, Blessings Future.  I feel that it fits the overall theme of the story.  Now, if only I can determine the last plot point that I can't seem to decide on.  The final ultimatum.  I'm sure something will come to me, but until then, I don't want to begin writing just yet.
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