Quote of the Moment

Maybe you’re just imagining that you have a good imagination.
- from ConceptArt.Org forums

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Operation Machete - Phase 1 Complete

Well, I just posted the latest site update. Skyhaven Adoptions now has a new look, the Skyhaven Hunt is temporarily closed for renovations, and Brightdreamer Books & More now is a proud affiliate of Amazon.com rather than Barnes & Noble. Not too terribly bad for two months' work, if I do say so myself... (I say this, naturally, knowing my own tendency toward laziness. Heck, accomplishing anything at all in two months isn't too terribly bad by my standards.)

What's next? Well, the Hunt needs rebuilding, for starters. I already have a few evil ideas about its new incarnation, most notably in the graphics department. To give you a hint, one of my more recent purchases was a (discounted) copy of Bryce 5.5, a 3D rendering program that promises to allow me to create entire realistic worlds right on my own computer. Whether or not it lives up to the box hype I'll find out when I install it, and I won't install it until I get a new computer. (I won't get that, ideally, until some time in April. I'm still earning the money to pay for it, for one thing, and I'm waiting to see if the store I plan to buy it from ever resolves the problems that my sister is having with her new machine from them. Hers is apparently the only one in the batch with these issues, but she had some rather special specs, and the motherboard is apparently somewhat tricky about special specs.) Yes, I bought a program before I have the computer to run it properly. I already have a game that's waiting for the new machine (Paradise), too, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my sister will convince me that I'll need my own copy of The Sims 2 to keep Bryce and Paradise company on my big new hard drive. I call it planning ahead... yeah, that's it. Planning ahead...

I also need to get my own life in gear. I've had my new job for about two months now. Part of the conditions I asked the universe for concerning this new job was that it would enable me to successfully pursue my own creative endeavors. I admit I haven't exactly been diligent about that end of the deal, and the only one I can ultimately blame for that is myself. The job itself is only three days a week, and it's not exactly work you take home with you (unless you check out a book while you're there - yes, I can check out library material if it doesn't have a hold tag and the Great Machine hasn't scanned it into the system. Pretty cool, huh?) Now that I'm more or less certain I won't be kicked out of the job anytime soon, I need to grit my teeth and start working on those oh-so-nebulous dreams of mine. I mean the dreams of walking into a bookstore and seeing my stories on the shelf, or creating my own illustrations for said stories, not the dreams where I'm being chased by the school bus or wandering through a gaming world.

Well, no, blogging isn't earning money for a new computer, nor is it getting me any closer to anything resembling a dream, is it? Guess I ought to sign off for now and get back to work...

Monday, March 19, 2007

This Is Your One-Week Warning, Skyhaven Fans...

ATTENTION!!!

This is your ONE-WEEK WARNING... if you are in the middle of the Skyhaven Hunt, you'd best hurry. I am updating Skyhaven Adoptions within ONE WEEK of this post. The Skyhaven Hunt itself is temporarily closed as of this coming update. (I would've waited to update until I had the new Hunt ready to go, but my hand's been forced by Barnes & Noble. They're changing their affiliate program, and long story short if I can't switch to Amazon I will no longer have any book links whatsoever.) All outstanding Gargoyles and Jewelwings will be safe, but the Skyhaven Hunt itself will - once again - be closed for an undetermined lenght of time while I completely rebuild it from the ground up. That means that few, if any, existing puzzles or mazes will be left intact when I do restore the Hunt. That means that, if you're hot on the trail of some particularly elusive prize, you'd best get crackin' on solving it before the update hits the 'net.

When will that happen, you ask?

Within ONE WEEK of today, Monday, March 19 2007.

Consider this a courtesy warning...

Thank you, and happy (hurried) hunting!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Droolin' and Dreamin'...

Intel Core 2 Duo CPU...

GeForce 7600GT 256MB graphics card...

16x DVD RW...

320 GB hard drive...

1 GB RAM...

Loaded with XP or Vista Home Premium...

1 year parts/3 years labor warranty...

All this and more, for under $1200...

Yep, I've been looking at computers again, and I feel myself getting closer and closer to actually making a purchase. Nothing against my Pentium III machine, mind you, but it's getting harder and harder to justify holding onto it when it's just a matter of time before it finally goes the way of my 386 and my 8088. (I'd say it would go the way of the Commodore, but last I checked they still booted up, unlike the later computers.) If nothing else, it's getting harder to find software primitive enough for it to handle. Most everything's on DVD-ROMs these days, and while I'm fairly certain a DVD drive can read CDs, I know CD drives can't reciprocate. Even the recommended specs of simple games seem to be getting higher and higher, and my machine's falling further and further behind the information curve. (Well, that and I'd really, really, really like to get a sleek new machine.) But, of course, it's not as simple as that. There's data transfer, for one thing. Skyhaven's still a half-finished mess on my end. If I were to update now - and I do want to update, if possible, before transferring machines so I have a backup on the internet in case something goes Horribly, Horribly Wrong - the Hunt would be obliterated, and I wanted at least a start on the new Hunt ready to go. Granted, I'd have that start if I could get my brain to focus, but the fact remains that I don't have it at the moment, and it may be a little while before I do. And then there's scrounging for all the disks of all the programs I'd want to keep, like Paint Shop Pro 8 and the support/extra software for my Wacom tablet, my camera, and stuff like that. I might also have to consider a new printer, as the HP 780c's been hanging on for a few computers now and may well be too primitive for a new machine. Then there's always the little stuff you don't always consider, like getting everything set back up how you like it on a new computer, uploading desktop pics, setting sound options, getting e-mail and internet going again, and junk like that.

But... you knew one of those was coming, didn't you? My sister just bought a computer from the local shop whose ad I quoted at the start of this entry. She actually ordered it yesterday, and it was ready today. Our old shop took about a week to get a new computer built, but this place has enough preassembled (without actually being one of those national proprietary pains in the rear) that she actually could've taken it home yesterday if she hadn't wanted a few custom features installed. Since she does a lot of gaming, and since Vista is a) showing some compatibility issues and b) too new for the bugs to be worked out yet - not to mention c) apparently, according to a person she knows who beta-tested most of Microsoft's operating systems since at least Windows 98, a memory-eating waste of money that doesn't really "do" anything better from the standpoint of the average user - she got it loaded with Windows XP. I, too, would like to stick with XP until forced to switch to Vista, as I really don't want to relearn how to do everything at the moment. The thing is, since the system itself usually comes preloaded with Vista Home Premium, they gave her a free upgrade coupon, which she has until the 15th of this month to redeem. A free upgrade is nothing to sneeze at. So this is a better machine, at a decent price, with a very quick turnaround time... and a free upgrade. If I order by March 15th. The 15th. One week from today.

I wonder how fast I can get Skyhaven ready...