1.21 Jiggaexcuses

Yeah, I missed a day. Not on purpose, I can assure you. Plus, the previous two days have been kind of terse. Maybe I ought to start there and explain a little.

Some of the weirdness that’s been going on these past two or three weeks has not stemmed from the move, but from the fact that at work, we’ve been wrapping up a release candidate. Friday was the last day for that, and as a result I ran into a situation where I needed to make a 30-mile trip into the unknown on Saturday morning in order to deal with some of the fallout. I had literally no idea where I was going, and if I hadn’t got there before noon, the goal would cease to exist. Fortunately, a) I had the GPS unit, and b) I woke up at 5a anyway and got there at 10a. So my store of adrenaline was pretty well gone by noon. My car wasn’t damaged or anything; the trip was smooth, though there was a small detour.

So that brings me to yesterday afternoon, the first point since… oh, July, where I had the weekend to myself and no major obligations left. I did a little bit of cleaning up, but the majority of the day was spent right where I am now– on the couch. Unfortunately, you know what they say about inertia, and around 9p I was asleep. I woke up at 11p to get a blanket from the bed but other than that I was done. (Sue me, the couch was already warm and the bed was not.)

Today, really, should be more of the same; I’ve got to take a quick run out to get groceries for the coming week or so, and later on a friend or two will be over to help test out Rock Band 3 in local multiplayer. Because if there’s one thing that I really want to do today, it’s rock.

So, I suppose, that means I’m going away. I hope you don’t mind. But, for tomorrow’s post, I promise you, I’ll be back in time.

………….all this has been a really convoluted excuse for saying that I also watched the Back to the Future Trilogy yesterday.

Godspeed

Tomorrow morning I have a trip to take that isn’t terribly far… but it’s one of those ones where if I’m even one minute late, the consequences will be too severe to even consider.

I wonder if the car rental place has a DeLorean available on short notice….

Kilobyte Writer

….okay, so that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. (Also, there’s something fantastically wrong about that video.)

Anyway, the big news that’s been percolating for a while is that, by the end of December, you’ll be able to buy a digital copy of A Civics Lesson through the Barnes & Noble Nook Bookstore. I’m taking November’s NaNoWriMo time to finish up Frangible Time and to polish ACL for publication, which necessarily means that what’s been published on Linguankery to date for that one may not necessarily be in the “final” book. Specifically, I’m putting in a few retcons and scenes to help tie it into the sequel story. (The problem really was that I did too good of a job of wrapping everything up in the LG draft, and as a result I haven’t had much luck in hooking the story in. Some of Frangible Time ties into both books, but it’s largely independent.)

Additionally, I’m taking a page from the esteemed Ewen Cluney’s proverbial book and publishing an indie RPG in the first half of 2011. The game is still in development and needs some time for playtesting and to file off the serial numbers of the inspirations, but it’s being designed with three goals in mind: one, to be available for easy reading on an e-reader; two, to be playable in short bursts anywhere and everywhere; and three, to be an inexpensive and attractive alternative to some other modern-day psychological-horror games (who know who they are). This too will be available on the Nook store but also as a straight PDF.

These projects are a little ambitious, but I’ve every confidence they’ll succeed beyond my expectations. Wish me luck, folks– in 2011 I go pro.

The Keytar Is Cool Again…

…’cause the boys and girls in Boston say so.

So, Rock Band 3 is pretty much a success. Pro Keys mode is probably the easiest and most accessible of the Pro modes in my limited experience. As an added bonus, now any time someone says “why don’t you play a real instrument?”, I have something I can use to bludgeon that person to death. Melodically, of course. Gamer-Rage in D Minor.

Today was very, very good for more than just RB3, though… more on that in the coming days.

Gamerscore Milestone: 16000 Points

Tonight, my Xbox/Games For Windows Live Gamerscore exceeded 16000 points. The achievement that put me over this plateau was “Pro Keys To The Max (15G)” from Rock Band 3. My current count for achievements is 924 individual achievements across 115 games, totaling 16029 points. The average value of each achievement is 17.35 points, with an average count of 139.38 points per game (Xbox.com reports 20.61% gamerscore completion and 25.86% achievement completion, with five fully-completed games). It took 162 days to reach this point from the previous plateau of 15015 on May 18th, 2010. 69 achievements were collected in this time, totaling 1014 points, with an average value of 14.70 points, and a collection rate of one achievement approximately every 2 days, 8 hours, and 20 minutes.

Crunchy Number Butter

I’d been planning on moving for quite a while, but up until June or so I wasn’t in a position to be shaking up my financial situation due primarily to the fact that I was a contractor. While that hasn’t changed, the nature of the job I took back in March had stabilized to the point where I felt comfortable taking the opportunity that would very soon present itself. After Otakon, I started making some preliminary inquiries and getting a feel for what I would need to have and do in order to pull off the move. That coincided with some pleasant news on the job front as well, leading me to believe that there had never been a better chance.

Part of the major planning involved was ensuring a steady stream of money for during the move. I would need a significant outlay of cash in order to prepare a security deposit and first month’s rent, and then I would need funds to cover the cost of hiring a mover, the apartment cleaning for the exit, and other resources. To this end I altered my paycheck disbursement to ensure that a certain amount of the money, higher than what had been placed before, was going automatically into a different account. Having this money in a separate kitty where its use would be less casual than the everyday expenses helped out tremendously, but ultimately I figured it might not be enough. I had to move smarter, not pricier.

One of the ideas I’d been considering for a while was the use of an off-site storage facility to hold some of the more valuable possessions I’ve collected during the move. I had begun looking into the situation as I settled on a location to where I’d move, and started feeling out the amount of space I’d need for the short term, and if the new place didn’t offer an on-site locker (it doesn’t), how much space I’d want to have as an ongoing archive area should the need arise. As it turns out, once I’d discovered where I was going to move, there was a storage facility within walking distance. As soon as I’d heard that the application was approved– two months out from the actual move date– I started manually hauling boxes of stuff to the facility. At an outside guess I’d say this probably cut maybe $300-500 off the bill for the movers.

Another important thing was going through my closets in the old apartment and initiating a serious, hard-core no-holding-back purge of crap. It’s important to make a distinction between archive materials (receipts, hard drives, old notebooks, etc.) and just plain ol’ crap (cords to stuff that broke years ago, manuals and magazines years out of date, literal junk). Some of it got recycled, such as the computers and monitors (how I managed to acquire more CRT monitors than old computers is quite frankly beyond my ken); a lot of it ended its journey unceremoniously hurled into the dumpster, after the necessary shredding or obliterating. This too probably saved me a good $200 or so.

Finally, a week or two before the move date I held a sale on Craigslist. This took out a good chunk of items that were either still good enough to make recycling them a waste, or were just too bulky for me to get rid of without injuring myself. Turns out this earned me around $200 at a point when I had needed to dip into the moving funds to take care of a minor emergency.

Now, obviously, I was not perfect about keeping my hands off the moving stash. More than once I bought some game book or another with the earmarked funds. However, during the entire time, I did not once need to go a week without spending money or anything so draconian. Even accounting for the so-called “impulse drift”, I was well within my budget, to the point where, when all was said and done, I had enough left over to buy the new couch for the apartment over a month in advance. Considering I had gone into the venture thinking I was going to need to borrow funds to see it to completion, the move was an unequivocal success.

Anyway. I paid off the Rock Band 3 pre-order on the way home tonight, and unfortunately I don’t feel up to the thought of attending the midnight launch party. I’ll at least have something to look forward to for on the way home tomorrow, assuming I don’t decide to get to work at 5a in the hopes of being able to leave at 1p. Yeah. Just a tiny bit excited for this game. Ciao, kids.

Welcome Home

I know what it says about me that I have a Game Clear notice up before a full, real blog post about the move. Actually, I know what it says about me that I blog about my video game accomplishments, of course, but let’s set aside that particular bit of high-octane nerd fuel for the moment. (Besides, where you live isn’t really a home until you’ve played a game in it, and for video gamers, not until you’ve finished one. So, from a certain point of view, I really couldn’t post until I had a Game Clear to report. Also from that same point of view I need permission before I can be let near sharp objects.)

So, yeah, the move. I’d be lying if I said that it hadn’t been influenced by the fact that the building I was living in before was falling apart. In the letter that I turned in to the landlord I said that the “mildew [was] holding the walls up”, which is accurate in that there is mold and mildew attached to the walls, but on further reflection I think it was the insect nests providing the real structure to the building. When the cleaners left the apartment last night, they said they did more bug-mushing than they’d ever done on a job.

I can say in my defense that it wasn’t like that when I moved in in late 2006. That fall, the walls were undamaged, and while there was some mold and mildew that came in over the winter (which was warmer than usual, meaning less snow and more rain/running water), I guessed that it would be cleaned up when spring came. Yeah, I realize now how optimistic that was. When Rick came by in 2008, there was a little damage, but the place was still livable. By the time he returned in 2010, the building had deteriorated to too great of a degree to be believed. More to the point, my greatest fear was that during the 2010 trip, a sudden snowfall would strike, again preventing any traffic from entering or escaping the parking lot. That situation had struck in February, preventing me from being with my sister during her darkest hour.

In contrast, my current place is paradise. I have more room, the amenities are nicer, and probably most importantly the neighbors actually talk to me. The process of the move, which has been ongoing since the end of August, was very smooth. In the next day or so I’ll go over some of the things I learned while moving, in the hopes that someone else can benefit from my successes and mistakes. Today, however, I’ve got a couple last errands to run and then likely the most restful day I’ll have had in weeks.

I’m home.

The End Of The Beginning

Tonight’s the last night before the move finally begins. It’s a little strange for me to think that, two months ago, I started the move project with almost nothing ready except for the vaguest hint of a plan. Now I’m less than four days away from having completed the whole shebang. It’s a little scary, yeah, but I’m sure it’ll turn out for the best. Now if I could just convince the butterflies in my stomach of this fact, I’ll be all set.

With that said, I’m going to have to go silent again for at least the duration of the move. I’ll continue to tweet as time passes and events warrant, but blog and forum posts are going to be a rarity until Monday at the very latest. Wish me luck, folks.