Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the sun's been quite kind, while I wrote this song...'s for people like you who keep it turned on...

Just another day in paradise. Out to sea once again, pulling in tomorrow... this'll be the last time the ship's in Virginia for a long, long while, though I'll hopefully get a chance to catch a train or rent a car and make my way down for a weekend or two before we deploy. Got a lot of things to clear up before we go, renewing my lease, picking up my medications, and all that rigmarole... I'll take the weekend and most of next week off, unless they suddenly decide I'm too vital to let go. O_o It's happened before, although usually the powers that be have more sense. I am, after all, just another deck ape - one of almost forty, and hardly irreplaceable.

Not a lot else going on, we've finished up a number of unreps - quick ones, for the most part, just a long line of tincans topping up their tanks before they pull into port, but it helps the day go by. Tomorrow's payday, which is good - lord knows, I can always use the money. Haven't played Neverwinter in a few days, which I suppose means I broke the addiction - I beat the original campaign, and Shadows of Undrentide just doesn't seem to grip me. I'm fooling around with the Winter Assault campaign for Dawn of War right now, but with Script Frenzy starting tomorrow I'll probably drop that, too, at least until the end of June.

Shipmate lent me Wonderfalls... haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but my friend Damaris has spoken highly of it (she also compared it to Dead Like Me, which is one of my favorite shows... so here's hoping good things will come of it).

And... that's about it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I may be old and I may be bent...

...but I had the money 'till it all got spent.
I had the money 'till they made me pay,
Then I had the sense to be on my way.
I had to stay in the underground -
I was in the house when the house burned down.

Sitting in Barnes & Noble again, enjoying coffee and internet. They tell me the ship's computers are working again, but I haven't had a chance to prove it for myself - I'm going to need to do all the regular rigmarole of renewing my account and setting up. Nothing too major, just a hassle when I'm trying to juggle other things with my free time... like Neverwinter Nights.

I finally managed to get NWN and Vista to cooperate (thanks in no small part to downloading the offered patch), and I spent all weekend holed up in the rack playing obsessively. The last time I played I only made it to the opening of Chapter 2, playing with my roommates at my old house - meaning it was at least early '05, possibly even '04. I've made it further this time, and I have some hopes of actually finishing the game - finally. Of course, I picked up the Diamond edition, so I'll have two expansions and a fistful of modules to play through if I make it through the main game.

I've got a bad habit of picking up video games, playing them obsessively - like scorning food and sleep to cram in a few more minutes - and then losing interest as quickly as I gained it, letting them lie half finished and never touching them again. It's a waste of time and money, so I've mostly weaned myself of it; thank god I've never had the time for MMPORGs like Everquest or WoW, because I'd probably be one of those sad saps found dead at his computer. It's been a while since I've been hooked like this, but a good D&D-based game will do it to me every time.

The ship's still in New Jersey, but we'll soon be underway again - not going anywhere in particular, just cruising the water off the coast and doing training (and a few actual) unreps. It's kind of nice to be doing something, anything, again. I'm almost looking forward to deploying. Training squats, practice unreps, with another MSC ammo ship - the USNS Mount Baker, an older and smaller ship with a lousy reputation in the outfit.

Several of my friends are hooking together solid plans to attend Gen Con this year, which fills me with envy and sorrow - the ship will, of course, be overseas at that time. I could - maybe - make Origins, if I pushed, but a smaller group than normal is going this year, and they're going primarily to spend time with a friend whom, while I don't actively dislike, I also don't particularly get along with. They're also looking at flying up, and then staying at his house, which removes two of the things I enjoy about the con experience - the road trip to and fro (for whatever reason, I enjoy long car rides and road trips), and staying in the hotel at the con (while massively more expensive, having one's room so close is oh so convenient). So, no dice for Origins and bloody unlikely for Gen Con - which makes me quite the sad J.

And, as previously mentioned, incredibly envious of all those who are going.

And... that's about it for this update. Eagerly awaiting Script Frenzy in just over a week, although I'm still pondering just what I'm going to write. Here's hoping my NWN addiction doesn't get in the way of my writing. >_<

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whatever gets you through today...

Life continues on.

Ship's in New Jersey right now... I've been meaning to write for the last week or so, but at first, whenever I sat down at the computer I just couldn't think of anything to say. Then the ship's LAN and satellite linkup went down, and I was effectively struck mute anyway... I'm sitting in a Barnes & Noble in Holmdel, NJ right now, about ten minutes (and a $13 cab ride) from the ship. My bank account is at $-26 right now, but I've got about $200 in my pocket... and no way to get it into my bank account. 12 AM Friday is payday... so I guess I'll just keep on keeping on. There's little doubt that this temporary bankruptcy is doing horrible things to my credit, but I can't seem to bring myself to care overly much... I've been borderline burnout for the last week or so, and I don't even know why. I'm not depressed, or down, or angsty... I'm just kind of 'meh'. Like worrying about things is just too much of a bother... I'm still laughing. Heh, and iGoogle serves me an appropriate quote - "Ask yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so." - John Stuart Mill. Thanks, Google.

There's a huge storm outside right now... much more impressive when it was coming on this afternoon, heavy winds forcing everyone in the Deck Department to seek shelter as it whipped the seas to a froth and rolled the ship, even tied to the pier, lightning lashing an angry sky, a gray curtain of rain rushing across the sea at us... all that potential, reduced to a paltry dribble and a chilly wind. Typical Jersey.

It's really not that I dislike Jersey, I just don't want to be here... but I didn't really want to be at home, either, and at least this way I'm saving money on food and gas, and I've got the extra motivation to work overtime and make more money. I just feel out of place, I guess, maybe with myself... like nothing fits right, and nothing feels right. It's pointless, and it's stupid, but that's the way things go, I guess.

I've been taking pictures like a fiend, lately, all the better to feed the blog... many of them are worthless (and I've learned, to my mental scarring, to never forget my camera in the crew lounge again), but a few might be worthwhile. I'll try to get them up before either my battery or my hotspot account run out... I've got another hour left, and even as slow as this connection is that should be sufficient. For the most part, they're just slices of shipboard life - things we're doing, none of which are momentously exciting (although some of the shots as we tie up or let go from different piers were nice enough).

I feel so metro, blogging away in a coffee shop. Emo blogging, at that. Tee hee. Which reminds me, it's time to satiate my poorly neglected caffeine addiction.

...mmm... Peppermint Mocha...

So, The Office of Letters & Light - the group behind National Novel Writing Month - are starting a new crazy adventure, Script Frenzy. The objective is to write a 20,000 word screenplay or stage play within the thirty days of June, and since I've proven myself incapable of writing anything without a firm deadline, I've signed on... even though my script writing experience is nil. But hey, 50,000 words was, once upon a time, an undreamt-of goal for me, too. I've bounced around on my ideas for a while, now, but I think I've finally settled on one - and like my first NaNoWriMo novel, it has its roots in a different project I was working on, once upon a time.

I dubbed the project "Odyssey". It was a roleplaying campaign, originally intended for D20 Modern, but other ideas were bandied about - it never got beyond the planning stages, so it's not like any of the mechanics ever mattered. The name has several homages, to Homer of course, and to an old TV show of the same title that I never really watched, but liked the looks of on the bits and pieces of episodes I caught - something about a kid in a strangely surreal post apocalyptic world where all the adults were dead. Or something. It also had links to a D&D (originally Palladium Multiverse) game I ran called Journeys.

The basic storyline involves a group of strangers - the players characters, of course - on a subway in a major East Coast metropolis (probably New York, despite my lack of actual experience with the city). The train wrecks, and the passengers are miraculously unharmed - but no help comes. When they finally get out of the train and hike to the surface, the find the entire city deserted - as if the population had simply dropped what they were doing, and walked away. What was supposed to follow was a journey across a strange, changed America, where the world - to use the parlance of Stephen King's Dark Tower series - had 'moved on'. In places, there is nuclear wasteland - in others, plague - in others still, the aftermath of natural disaster, or alien invasion, or other countries invading, or all of the above, at the same time. Sometimes, the disaster is fresh and new, still burning, still dying. Sometimes, the world has been dead for centuries... millenia. New life is growing. There are no explanations, and every scattered survivor has their own theory. Somehow, the characters have to make it across America... and maybe even further, across the world.

The original idea was pretty unstructured, but since then the possibility of apocalypse - and what people do in the aftermath - has become a hobby of mine, and writings in the genre some of my favorite. I would recommend S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire, Brian K. Vaughn's graphic novel Y: The Last Man, Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon, George Romero's Dawn of the Dead - the original, of course - and numerous other works which I've no doubt overlooked and haven't the breath to mention anyway. Needless to say, I have a few more ideas to throw into the mix - chances are, though, I won't attempt a movie screenplay, but rather something more like a TV series pilot - meaning I won't actually have to worry about wrapping things up as much.

But I ramble on, and I realize my battery is slowly but surely dying - twenty minutes of power left, and this thing always lies. I should probably publish while I still have the chance, and offer vague promises of future updates... yes.

So, with any luck, I'll write more soon - getting started is always the hardest part. As anyone who knows me can testify, I do have a tendency to ramble for hours on any subject that fascinates me, and at least on a blog I don't have to worry - too much - about people getting bored and falling asleep on me. I mean, it's not like I have to look at you, dear Nobody.