total loser

All posts tagged total loser

I am very immature.

Published August 28, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

—WARNING!—

The following post contains gratuitous smart phone game stories and images.

You have been warned.


So, for reasons that may baffle other minds as much as my own, I have become addicted to Animal Crossing:  Pocket Camp.  (Thankfully not to the point of actually giving in to their constant pestering to spend real money to buy in-game currency.  I am not about to fall for that.)

For those who don’t know, it’s this cute little game from Nintendo (the smart phone dumb-down of a much more in-depth game from various of Nintendo’s consoles (the first one to come to the US was on the Gamecube (which I loved to pieces) but it actually started on the N64 in Japan) in which you’re this lone human living in a town/campground/whatever filled with talking, anthropomorphic animals who expect you to run a lot of fetch quests for them.  (Well, it’s more complicated than that, esp. in the console versions, but that covers the basics.  Sort of.)  In the Pocket Camp version, you have a “friendship level” with each animal, and when that hits certain levels, different things open up, like what requests they can make when they’re staying at your personal campground, etc.  At one particular level (15 with most animals, but 10 with some of the early ones), they’ll ask you to make a certain item and add it to your campground.  (It doesn’t have to stay there, of course; you just have to talk to them while it’s there, and then you’re free to remove it again.)  This particular item cannot be crafted until the animal has asked you for it, so it’s a necessity to get all the animals to that point if you want to complete your catalog.  (Of course, without spending copious amounts of real money, you can’t actually complete the whole catalog, because too many items can only be obtained with “Leaf Tickets” which are slowly earned normally, and can be more quickly obtained with an in-app purchase.  So, total catalog completion is impossible, but I want to get everything that doesn’t require Leaf Tickets.  At least they have the decency to split the catalog into normal and “special” categories, and you can complete the normal one without spending money.  Of course, I wouldn’t begrudge spending money once, like to unlock a new character who would sell me Leaf Tickets for the other in-game currency, Bells, which are super-easy to obtain.  (I have, in point of fact, told Nintendo this through the game’s suggestions/complaints menu, but of course they haven’t acted on it.  Maybe after playership drops through the floor following the release of the new Switch game, then they’ll do it.  Or maybe they’ll just shut the game down.  Who knows.))

Aaaaaaanyway, you get a tiny thumbnail of each item to unlock before you actually unlock it, so I knew the well-dressed hippo was going to ask me to have a replica of Michelangelo’s David crafted for him.  And I was expecting, you know, a cheesily polygoned fig leaf at a certain spot on the cheesily polygoned statue….

Read the rest of this entry →

So, I’m back…

Published May 17, 2019 by Iphis of Scyros

Class is over.

I wish I could say “yay, I’m graduating tomorrow!”  But everything that could go wrong yesterday (when my final paper was due) did.  And I mean, yeah, I got the paper turned in.  But I know by now to listen to omens when they’re that overwhelming.  (Seriously, I was crying on my drive home.  It was that bad.)  And those omens were saying “you are an idiot if you think you’re graduating.”

So, rather than getting a diploma mailed to me in a few weeks, I think I’m going to get a letter saying “oooh, no, sorry, you counted your credits wrong!  We could have told you before, but we didn’t, because lolz.”

Okay, yeah, a university would never send a letter that said “lolz,” but you get the idea.

It might not even be that I counted my credits wrong.  What if some jerk pulled my paper out from under the professor’s door and threw it away, just because they thought that’d be a funny prank?  (Yes, the professor actually asked us to just stick the papers under the door to his office.  It’s pretty typical of him.)  Imagine failing your final class because some passing creep decided to have a laugh at the expense of hard-working students!

Anyway, doesn’t matter.

Even if — when — the inevitable letter comes to say I didn’t really graduate after all, I’m done with school.  I can’t handle another semester.  I’m not smart enough.  I was a fool to think I ever had the brains to try getting a Master’s Degree in the first place.

So, now that I’m free from my student responsibilities for good — one way or the other — I’m going to get back to  blogging again.  I’ve been looking over this year’s Read Harder list, and I’ve already met four of the challenges, so I’ll post about those in the next few days.

Other than that, I also want to post my final paper.  Not until I’ve heard back from the school, of course!  (I don’t know how plagiarism checkers work, but if they scan the internet as well as published works, then I could get accused of “plagiarizing” myself.)  It’s not a great paper, but I got a lot of really interesting material, stuff people don’t tend to know about.  If I ever lose my job and win the lottery (lol, like I could win the lottery, especially when I don’t usually even enter it), I think going to England to cull and publish a lot of the primary documents that I didn’t have available for this paper would be a great use of my time.

Posting the paper will probably be three or four posts (it was 27 pages long), and hopefully by then I’ll have figured out how I want to keep going with this blog.  I mean, I know I want to keep posting reports on the books I read for Read Harder (and noteworthy ones that aren’t for Read Harder), but I’m not sure what my “usual” posts will be.

I need to get back in the habit of writing — I definitely plan on taking part in July’s Camp NaNo session — so I may post about that process, and/or post some of the results.

Other than that…I dunno.  I’ll see if I get a new rhythm going, or if the blog just becomes “random eclectica.”

IWSG: NaNo time again

Published November 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Bah, I really wanted to write a non-IWSG post this month.  I even tossed some ideas around in my head…during the commute to and from work, when I couldn’t do anything about it.

*sigh*

Well, anyway, I actually finished the draft I was working on about mid-month, giving me some time to play around with a new fanfic (which I didn’t come even close to finishing) as well as time to do some prep for NaNo.

I’m pretty confident that I’d have super-duper no problem finishing this year’s NaNo novel if I had no other demands on my time.  But I have a presentation and a paper to prepare (and as of this pre-writing, on Oct. 30, I’ve only had my main source for 24 hours, and have read about five pages of it, max), plus the museum where I work will be decorating for Christmas, which will likely take away the majority of a day when I’d normally be free to write (probably two or three, actually, as I’m going to need at least a day to pull all the toys that will go on display, plus I’m supervising a display case we always fill at a local library for the holiday season), and as Christmas season approaches I’ll have to be working more days as we get more busy at work.  So…yeah, life is going to do its best to throw a wrench in my writing plans.

Maybe there’ll be a freak snowstorm and I won’t be able to go to work for a week.  That’d help me keep caught up on NaNo and my class work.  Might kind of suck otherwise, though…

(Also, I am totally creeped out beyond anything any Halloween-related movie is likely to do.  Not ten minutes ago, a mosquito landed on my computer.  Inside my bedroom.  This is all kinds of wrong, and has left me compulsively scratching all over myself as if it’s already bitten me everywhere (despite that most of me is covered with cloth).  How did it get in my house?  How did it get in my bedroom when I always keep the door shut?  How is it even alive?  I know it was unseasonably warm today (70+ degrees Fahrenheit), but earlier this month we had nights that were down below 40; it should have died of cold.  Even worse, I didn’t wanna squash it on my computer, and so it got away, and now I don’t know where it is…)

Missing Letter Monday No “F” – Worrying

Published February 12, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

You ever think “yeah, this is it; I’m going to be sacked any day now” or something like that?

That’s what’s been going through my mind lately.

I think I’m just being kept around until my exhibit opens, so that I can be the one to go down when the board hates it and/or it causes a publicity nightmare.  (It’s already two weeks late in opening.  Not really anything I could have done about it — display cases needed to be bought, and that’s not something I’m authorized to do — but I could and likely will still be assigned the blame.)

Were I being told the truth about that, it wouldn’t bother me so much.

Only I’m totally not.  Every time I bring the subject up to my co-workers, they assure me that I’m being paranoid and that’d never happen.

I don’t know why they think I’d believe that.  I’m totally untrained to hold this job, and I suck at it.

Why wouldn’t they send me packing?

I mean, I don’t even know why they didn’t do it ages ago.


 

IWSG – A Day Late (Again)

Published September 7, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

*sigh*  I suck.  This is the second time (though thankfully not the second time in a row) that I’ve only remembered my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post the day after it was supposed to go up.  I could make a lot of excuses (things are hectic at work, I had my first assignment (of sorts) due this semester, I’m generally a stressed-out wreck) but ultimately this is just me being my usual idiotic self.

The bitter part is that I actually had stuff to talk about.

I’ve got two things going on with my writing right now.  My super-massive fanfic (155k!) is finally getting a rewrite, more than a year after I wrote it, thanks to someone from AO3 volunteering to beta it.  I’ve never actually worked with a beta before (not in a proper sense; I’ve had a few people read things and then give me a few hasty notes with no accompanying back-and-forth) so it’s a little nerve-wracking, but so far it’s been really awesome.  She’s been giving me very helpful notes about places I needed to flesh out and follow-through on earlier plot threads.  (With so much text, it’s not surprising that things got forgotten!  Especially considering I wrote it in a month.)

The other thing is that I’m trying to get myself ready for this year’s NaNo.  I’ve had this idea kicking around for a while now, but wanted to get the fanfic urge out of my system before I started devoting any serious attention to it.  Only then I discovered Sparkler, an online magazine that would be the absolute perfect place to try to publish this project if it turns out good enough to try to publish it (which is, admittedly, highly unlikely), and so now I’m totally motivated to try and get this puppy written.

I did finally work out a really good solution to a backstory issue that had been plaguing me — which had the additional benefit of making one of the main characters already a wanted man before the story started, so he can’t possibly blame the other main character for dragging him into danger —  but I’m painfully aware of how little actual world-building I’ve done so far.  I want each country in this fictional world to be partially based on real cultures, but I have this distressing tendency to use that as a crutch, thinking of it so totally blatantly as a transported version of the country that my (chaotic) plot-development word processor file has placeholder names like notFrance and notJapan.  (And my dependence on their history was going to be even more ludicrously similar, to the point that they were going to arrive in France during the Reign of Terror and then (despite that they’re a century apart) end up in Japan during the Meiji Restoration.  Uh, not in the same book.  This is the start of a series.)

Trying to figure out the right way to handle that aspect of the world-building is challenging.  Though perhaps some of it can be left for rewrites?  I dunno, though, that sounds dangerous.

I need to focus more time and attention on the world-building before November (fortunately, it’s only September, lol!), but I don’t know how much time I have to do so.  I’m working more days than I used to, and my responsibilities have increased (which I’m not complaining about in the least; getting to design exhibits was something I really wanted to do!), plus my class this semester is what’s officially called “directed readings,” which basically means I’m self-directed and just check in with the professor every so often to make sure I’m on the right track…which means I really have to dedicate a lot of time to the research, since no one else is going to do any of it for me.  (I mean, I like that, but it’s also a lot more stressful when you stop to think about it.)

So, yeah, I’ve got a lot to be insecure about right now, and yet I’m also kind of in a hopeful place.

IWSG – The NeverReady Story

Published October 5, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Please don’t kill me.  I know it’s a lame post title.

So for once I actually looked at the monthly theme for the IWSG post, and it was “When do you know your story is ready?”

I actually have two answers to that.  One for my original works, and one for my fanfiction, which I’m sorry to say has completely taken over my (writing) life since I allowed myself to return to it for July’s CampNaNo.

The original works answer is easiest, and the reason for the post’s titles:  they’re never ready.

There was a time when I thought differently.  When I thought they could be polished up and presented to the world.  But then I stopped and actually looked at what I was writing, and realized that no, they absolutely could not be.  So, I write them, and maybe polish a little, make a few changes to things that really bug me about them, and then I just let them be.

I know it probably seems like a terrible waste of time to write hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of words with no intention of ever letting anyone else read them, but…since no one would read them even if I released them into the wilds of the Internet, what would be the point?  It’d be a much bigger waste of time to go through re-write after re-write, trying vainly to make dull stories and uninteresting characters into anything other than what they are, only to fail spectacularly and only sell one or two copies (at $1.99 or less), and even then only to friends and family who would only give very polite “how nice for you” responses.

Now, for fanfiction, it’s a bit different.  Because there’s no expectation of perfection in fanfiction (although I wish other writers would at least edit their stuff before posting it!), no one’s going to criticize for a mistake or twenty, and even major characterization errors can go uncommented upon.  Plus there’s a built-in audience in the form of other fans of the original work, so a few people will actually read what I’ve written, unlike what would happen if I tried self-publishing my original fiction.

And, of course, for fanfiction, I’m in 100% control, so I can always go back and change something even after I’ve posted it online.

So for fanfiction, it’s easier to decide something is “ready.”  I’ve developed a process:

  1. I let it sit for a little while, and write something else.
  2. I give it the once over, looking for major mistakes, and places where whole sections might need to be torn down and replaced.
  3. I give the twice over?  Well, whatever you wanna call it.  I look it over again for mistakes and needed changes.
  4. Let it simmer a while longer.
  5. At least two more passes looking for errors and changes.
  6. Edit something else.
  7. Return to it, and if I can read it two or three times without wanting to change anything, it’s probably ready.  That’s when I run the spellcheck….which is complicated in this new fandom, because I like to change the dictionary setting so that the English character’s POV uses English spellings, and the American character’s POV uses American spellings.  Kind of weird, yeah, but I’d feel like it was lacking all attempts at verisimilitude if my British character (inside his own head) was talking about “color” and “honor” instead of “colour” and “honour”.
  8. Then I read it over one last time as I’m posting it online.
  9. Then I sit back and watch people ignore it.

Of course, that’s for short fanfiction.  I’m not sure yet how to handle the novella-and-longer stuff.  (July’s word tally was 155k.  And I’ve got another about 55k that I’ve written since.)  It’s going to be a variation on the theme above, I guess.

Missing Letter Monday – No “R”

Published September 26, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, that lets out most of my topics.

Uh, I mean, most of the topics I actually kinda wanted to talk about.

I guess I could tell my museum tale if I used “desktop” instead of “compute*” and maybe…uh…well…hmm…I guess I could just use…no, that’s got one, too.  Dang, that’s just not gonna happen.  Not today.  (Pity, it was kinda funny…)

What else could I talk about?

School?  No, too stultifying.

My house?  Ugh, too much of a mess!

The election?  God, no!

My fiction?  No, too pathetic.

The blog?  Way too pathetic.

Ugh.

Maybe I should just put the blog on hiatus until such a time as I actually have things to talk about again.  This is just getting sad now.

I suck.  Big time.


MLM icon init MLM R

Researching the New Project

Published May 22, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

So, as I mentioned briefly in my last post, I’m working on a new fiction project, rather than either of the two things I was expecting to work on this summer.

The important thing is that I’m writing again — around thumb- and wrist-killing amounts of Hyrule Warriors Legends — and that I’m currently pretty excited about the project.

The down side is that the story takes place in a time period that I lived through and yet don’t actually remember:  the early 1980s.  (Before you criticize me for not remembering, let me ask you this:  how much do you remember from when you were six?)  Compound with that the fact that the genre is a twist on the romantic comedy (a type of movie I never watch), in first person narration by a man (already a problem) who’s a mostly-closeted homosexual.  That last part would be a hard enough perspective for an essentially non-sexual woman even if the work was set in modern times, but in early 1982?

Layers upon layers of new complications.

Now, you may be wondering why I chose 1982, that being the case?

Well, there are a lot of reasons, most of them involving not wanting to let go of the characters’ original origins as dead backstory characters who survived Vietnam only to get killed in a case of mass hysteria during a tragic ski vacation.  But there are reasons to hold to that backstory, even though the tragic ski vacation and horrible early death are now removed from it.  For one thing, I don’t have to make up a new history for the characters.  (As that’s one of my weaknesses, this is an important reason!)  For another, of the same-sex couple, one has been gay since he was fifteen, and the other…well, he’s already in love with the other guy, he just don’t realize he is, so as far as he thinks of himself, he’s straight.  (If that’s inaccurate to how reality works, I apologize.  There’s not much I can do about it, though; that’s kind of at the crux of their story together.)  The narrator — gonna switch to using names here to make it less awkward — Ashley, though he’s been aware of his feelings since he was fifteen, has tried to keep his number of sexual partners to a minimum.  Not out of fear of diseases (that likely would never have crossed his mind!) but because he’s been in love with his best friend, Paddy, the whole time, and keeps wanting only to be with him, so the other men are more or less an aberration against his constant heart.  (Or that’s the way he sees it, anyway.)  The upshot of all this is that by leaving the story set in the early 1980s, I can give him that period of brief sexual experimentation without any risk of ruining their eventual happy ending by his having contracted AIDS; in the window between its introduction to the US and the public becoming aware of it, he had very few partners, and since he doesn’t live in one of the coastal cities where it first became prevalent, it’s not a stretch to imagine that he’s been spared thus far.

Now, I did a little cheating to help me get around my lack of concrete knowledge about 1982.  It’s first person narration, but rather than random first person narration — where we don’t know why the person is telling the tale or to whom — Ashley is very up front in the first few pages about the fact that he’s writing this story into a book, and that the events (while “true”) took place more than twenty years earlier.  So I can have his narration reference a movie that didn’t come out until 1993 if I want, because it’s the twenty+ years later Ashley talking, not the one from 1982.

But that only covers the narration.  There’s still a lot more I need to research about the early 1980s.  How did they dress?  How did they talk?  What were the prevailing stereotypes of the time about homosexuals?

The last one is the stumbling block, of course.  It’s obviously of vital importance to Ashley what the stereotypes of the day were.  Since he’s closeted from everyone except one female friend and the other men at the gay bar where he sometimes goes for drinks when Paddy’s busy, he can’t engage in any activity that’s earmarked as being stereotypically gay.  He’d actively avoid those things, even if he wanted to take part in them, because he’d be afraid of being found out.  (Though I suspect he wouldn’t want to take part in most of them anyway.)  And more importantly for his narrative voice (as opposed to his actual behavior, since he’d never admit that he feared being outed) he’d be outraged at the offensive stereotypes being unjustly applied to him and those like him.

A certain amount of his outrage would transcend time, of course:  since it’s his modern(?) voice narrating, he can be just as outraged at the stereotypes of the 2010s (or whenever) as at the stereotypes of the 1980s.  But whenever someone else’s behavior would reflect the stereotypes of the time — he’s sort of falsely outed about halfway through the book — that’s going to have a big impact.

And that’s where it all falls down a bit.  I went on Wikipedia to look up the movies of the early 1980s and very late 1970s, so I could pick a few to watch and get an idea of clothes and especially how people talked in that time period.  (Most of my favorite movies from the late ’70s and early ’80s do not take place in the real world/present day, and are thus of no assistance.)  As I was clicking on name links to get summaries, I was particularly paying attention to ones that sounded like they would have depictions of the stereotypes of the era.

The problem is that most of the ones that have massive depictions of the stereotypes are not available on Netflix for precisely that reason.  They’re offensive, and so they’re not available streaming, and normally I’d be totally okay with that, because under normal circumstances I wouldn’t want to watch that, either.  But now it’s research…and yet I’m not sure I could force myself to watch them even if they were available.  (And I’m not about to request the DVDs from Netflix, since they’d be sent to my brother’s place…)

I don’t know; maybe I don’t even have to.  Maybe the stereotypes haven’t changed that much.  Or rather, maybe they didn’t change much from the early ’80s to the early ’90s.  The stereotyping is finally beginning to lessen, so today’s stereotypes are slightly different, but I remember stuff from the ’90s well enough not to need any refresher course.  Much of what I have planned is probably in line with the stereotypes of the day.  (For example, after he’s falsely outed, one of Ashley’s students barges into his apartment to see for herself if he’s gay.  When she finds a sparse, un-decorated apartment, a bit sloppy around the edges, and a fridge containing nothing but beer, she’s convinced that he’s not really gay, because his apartment is too much “like a man’s.”)

Changing gears a bit, let me go back and talk about that one female friend who knows Ashley’s gay.  The original thought behind this project was to take the romantic comedy motif of the heroine’s “gay best friend” and tell the story from his perspective, while removing the negative stereotypes likely applied to him.  Since I don’t actually watch romantic comedies (the most recent one I’ve seen is French Kiss, and I find the love story the weakest part of it) this is in itself somewhat problematic.  I suspect this first draft is going to portray as completely flat both the characters who would be the leads of the romantic comedy.  And at this stage of development, there’s probably not a lot I can do about that.  (That’s what re-writes are for, right?)  It doesn’t help that the narration is stilted, of course:  Ashley may be her best friend, but she certainly isn’t his.  In fact, he finds her a bit annoying.

*sigh*

Actually, I think everyone in the book is going to come off as flat, except maybe Ashley.  So far, even Paddy’s not got much depth to him, despite how fleshed out he is in my head.

Ugh.  Maybe I should just give up on taking my writing seriously.  I’ll never write anything good enough to share with anyone else, so what does it matter?

April A-to-Z Reflections

Published May 9, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

First Reflections

Well, my biggest reflection is that I chose a theme that was way too complicated.  As a result, I ended up getting lazier and lazier about it, and the comparisons started getting cheap, sloppy and almost exclusively stuff I knew well before starting the challenge.  (And this, of course, was while taking a class with heavy reading and a paper each week, so it was doubly poorly chosen as a theme.)  It actually started feeling like work in the final few days, to the extent where I had to promise myself a reward for finishing — and a bigger one than I’ve promised myself for finishing my classes for the semester!

Next year, I’m gonna do something much simpler.  I actually already have something in mind, though I don’t know if I’ll end up doing it or not.

had written a long bit here explaining why so many of my “first choice,” as it were, topics for posts were nixed and had to be replaced at the last minute.  It didn’t really have much to do with April A-to-Z, so I’ve moved it into a different post, so if you want to read about it in detail, please follow that link.  I’ll sum up briefly here by saying that my original sources proved unreliable…and as the month progressed, I realized one of my new sources was also somewhat unreliable.  Ugh.  (BTW, if you saw my “U” post and wondered about the other version of the story, it’s in that other post on the sources, so please check it out!)

Summaries and Scores

Overall, I feel like I changed most of my post’s topics within 24 hours of writing them.  So I thought I’d share with you what they were originally going to be about.  (I’ll get to a recap of what they ended up being about — and a tally of cultures — after this.) Read the rest of this entry →

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