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wasted day

Well yesterday was a complete waste of time. At green hell we were presented with ridiculously large shipment of one dollar crap to be unloaded. It took two-thirds of the day/night/shift to do just that. When I got home I had intended on eating, and waiting for the fish tank lights (timered) to turn on so I can feed my little buddies-And then I was to redress, and head out to somewhere (Starbucks) to further study the RPG Maker software.

Unfortunately after my dinner, I had decided to take a short nap-Was bloody exhausted after all. What was intended to be a half-hour to 45 minute snooze had turned into some eight -to-nine hours of heavy sleep. I later awoke at four o’clock in the afternoon. sigh….

A wasted day.

Fortunately my studies isn’t for a class. Unfortunately I can now log a day in my life that seems to have been a listless waste with no progress. I cannot afford to do that again. I need focus.

It’s near 3pm now, I’m at Starbucks, and am about to resume my study. Today is Friday, and I have the rest of the weekend off.

It’s time to work. Really work-Toward building my future.

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engine decision

After doing a bit of testing with both RPG Maker VX Ace and Multimedia Fusion 2, and also fumbling around in my head the style of game I will initially make, I have decided to start with RPG Maker, simply because it made me smile the quickest.

I don’t doubt the ability of MMF2, it’s just I feel that the engine is built more towards the action genre-More 2D platforming and shooters and such. I do plan on making a space shmup (shoot’em up) like the classics Gradius, and R-Type; However I feel like telling a more in depth story first, with dialogue a character building. I believe RPG Maker has more potential to make a hybrid adventure/jrpg style game, at least with lesser time and headache-And in that way I can concentrate more time on the content and assets vs programming.

That’s not to say it won’t be a learning experience-It will be quite a task to master either programs, and it already is progressing to be so-But I will not fail.

I will make my games. I will tell my stories. I will create and develop my art and music.

And I will feel like I’ve done something with myself-A sense of accomplishment.

In other news-I have notified my temp agency that I am leaving Dollar Tree and will be available again January.

I hope they can find something decent for me.    

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storms arrival

Image

I’m so excited! I’m also quite comfortable as I type this post.

Yesterday, as I was about to take a little nap before working my graveyard shift at green hell, there was a sudden ring and a hard knock at the front door. I went to see who it was, and saw the postman driving off. I immediately looked down and there it was! A package for me, one that I was not expecting until tomorrow (today). Hurray for missing the Christmas postal rush!

Problem. I was half asleep-Should I open it now, or wait until after work?

For the sake of motivation and positive re-enforcement, I decided to hold off. So while I was working, I had something nice to think about and look forward to when I got home.

Of course when I finally did get home I immediately tore the package open like a kid on Christmas morning. Kinda silly response, I suppose, but this is a special gift-Something I would never in my life expect as a gift, let alone from someone I barely know.

Yes, this is the famed mechanical keyboard I mentioned in the ripple post-The CM Storm Quickfire TK with Cherry MX Brown switches. And it is every bit as wonderful to type on as it is beautiful to behold. The audible clacking and the tactile feedback is such a joy that I wonder how I ever got by with the generic membrane keyboards over all these years. I certainly wouldn’t want to regularly go back to that feeling-And that’s one reason why I wanted this particular keyboard-The size is quite portable, and I can see myself easily bringing it along with my laptop. Just need to get a proper casing for it. Could have gotten a smaller one in fact that had no number pad, and integrated directional buttons, but I find myself using the ten-key pad often, and toggling between the pad, and the directional keys is just an easy tap of the number lock key.

The switches are supposedly rated for fifty million depressions-However since they are real Cherry switches, they can be replaced and even modified. So in all likelihood, I will be using this keyboard for the rest of my life! That is outstanding!

I just can’t thank Jen enough for this. Thank you. Thank you! As I’ve said, and will continue to say: This random act of true generosity will never ever be forgotten!

Thank you, Jen!

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good will

It is Saturday so I decided to do my weekly hibernation and sleep in. Unfortunately when I awoke the day was half over. I hate that. Around 1pm, I got dressed and headed over to Starbucks to work on the blog and study the gaming software I picked up. And unfortunately my usual Starbucks at Bayhill was full. No private tables, nor any spots on the counter were free. So I had to abandon it.

Went to my secret wifi hangout, a Wendy’s which happens to keep their wifi unlocked-But before that I dropped by a nearby Salvation Army thrift store.

I love thrift stores. The randomness of it all makes it interesting. Back when gaming was more or less still a niche hobby for little kids, and games were still considered toys, I used to make rounds around all the local Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, and even flea markets looking for cheap games, and other good second hand deals. My collection was quite large. I had several rare gaming consoles, and many many games. I made some good extra cash selling most of it on a growing eBay market.

Then of course, gaming became more mainstream around the time when PS2 was joined by Xbox, and many other people were doing what I was doing. Things that were rare just weren’t worth it anymore, so I generally gave it up, and generally just pick up things I want to try playing. At least I can say I was a hardcore collector at one point, and can talk the talk.

In any case, I still get the itch to look around thrift stores. And lately it’s been something of entertainment for me. I tend to see the same people every time I go in now. It seems the reseller market has grown quite a bit, not just for video games, but for virtually anything. There are people there primarily for shoes, primarily for bikes, primarily for toys. They use these thrift stores to stock themselves for other business ventures, and they take it quite seriously, and get very upset if they missed something.

It makes me kind of cringe to think that these stores are basically established to help out the needy. When someone pull into the a lot of one of these Thrift stores in a Mercedes or a BMW, you know they aren’t there shopping to furnish their household with items. They want to make a buck out of something. Even worse, I now see these thrift stores are connected to the internet. They directly price many items now based on eBay sales.¬† And if they are having one of their many 50% off sales, they hike the price up of items to simply outrageous prices.

For example. Today, I spied a used lone Logitech MX5000 Bluetooth keyboard minus the mouse and bluetooth usb dongle. It was a little beat-up, not too dirty. I opened up the battery compartment, and there were batteries present and not leaking. I turned the on button, and nothing came on the lcd. Of course, I switched the batteries around, and there was enough juice present to turn it on. Knowing it was still bluetooth sync-able without the dongle, I successfully synced it with my smartphone. To my surprise it worked, and even the multi-media keys controlled the sound, and media player. It was really neat.

Since it was a keyboard, I figured the usual price would apply-some five to 10 dollars (which I would gladly pay). I flipped the keyboard over and finally looked at the sticker price-They wanted fifty bucks!

I immediately searched Logitech MX5000 bluetooth ¬†on eBay and lo and behold, a complete set was commonly (attempted to be) sold at fifty dollars. Even with their weekend sale of 50% off, they still want twenty-five dollars for this lone keyboard. Ridiculous. I rationalized it rather quickly-Nope, no way! They’re fekin nuts! The sad thing is I know someone will pay that price, but I do wonder how long it will sit. I probably helped the store out by getting it to work too-But that’s what I do-I like to tinker.

A nice Indian fellow and his wife were in the electronics area as I was finishing messing with the MX5000, and I overheard them looking at an older hp flat panel monitor. The guy said he really needed a new monitor, and this was in fact the cheapest one in the store. At half off the monitor was only ten dollars. Even with eBay, the people who price items tend to mess up. Ha!

Anyway, I helped him locate the necessary cables-Essentially taking the power chord from a computer, and a vga cable from another monitor. And then I told him to stay there, and I went out to my car and brought back my laptop for him to try out the monitor. We hooked it up, and it was working just fine-No dead pixels, and all the buttons for image alignment and adjustment worked as they should. He was quite grateful. I just said Glad to help and Merry Christmas and off he and his wife went off with a perfectly functional ten-dollar flat panel.

It simply felt good to help out.

I didn’t walk away empty handed today tho. I found the perfect sized bag for my old drum machine, a virtually brand new pair of tennis shoes, and a dvd of the animated feature called Renaissance (there’s that word again) starring Daniel Craig. — Total for everything-$6.50.

Not bad.      

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another tool

Another tool is gained.

The Humble Bundle for this week features the game making program known as Multimedia Fusion 2 along with a handful of full games that were created using that software. After looking at video examples of those games, and looking at some tutorials, I was impressed and decided to go ahead and donate to gain this software.

I am just a beginner in game development. I did start online courses for game design, but I have no prior programming skills aside from being schooled in the Adobe Creative Suite and various music programs, aside from a little html from my previous website experience. Code is in fact quite foreign to me. And so these stand alone, point and click game making programs that I’ve picked up (RPG Maker and MMF2) are somewhat limited in the capability. These programs are more relegated to the old 2D styles of sprites and tilesets; But I see them as perfectly good place to start for someone like me. Additionally they are also open enough programs to administer the altering of code and script, and I will be sure to familiarize myself as much as I can with such options.

I am rather excited!

In completely unrelated news, I am at a different Starbucks and so I’ve made a variation on my usual Earl Grey tea-Aside from a little milk/creamer and Splenda, I requested and applied a couple packets of Honey. Not bad.

The weekend has finally come for me, and memories of this last weeks’ session in Green Hell is slowly fading away. Having said that, the odd hours of the graveyard shift is catching up with my body-I have not slept but 4 hours in the last two days. However, the excitement of recent events has kept my mind speeding along.

I have much information to cover before I decide to recover. 

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Sponsor Cybergraphix Animation

Sponsor Cybergraphix Animation.

A fellow member of the Tex Murphy Mutant League (Matthew V.) has informed me of this start-up animation studio that he is associated with. They will be releasing original anime content in the near future distributed by FUNimation. They also do commissioned work from scripting to music to animation.

They need a few sponsors. Based on what I’ve seen they seem a promising group to back.

I don’t have much money, but I’ll throw in $10 to show my support.

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Two connectors, one latch, and four screws-Pull out, push in, and re-apply.

My newegg purchased LG blu-ray drive ($35 on black friday) had arrived for my desktop! Works like a charm!

Finally got to view the special features disc from Prometheus. So much information!  

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ripple

I am part of something called the Tex Murphy Mutant Leage. We are group of dedicated fans who have helped to drive funds for a Kickstarter project to resurrect 90s FMV and PC gaming icon, Tex Murphy in a whole new game, and bring to a close a cliffhanger that has kept us fans in suspense since 1998.

Without going into too much detail, in 1998 Microsoft bought out the company and development studio Access Software, the company behind the Tex Murphy Adventure game series. Instead of developing more games, Microsoft effectively dumped the franchise, and concentrated solely on Access Software’s other big IP, the Links Golf simulator series. Tex was gone, but to many of us Mutant League fans, he was not forgotten.

After so many years, the IP of Tex Murphy fell out of Microsoft’s ownership, and was bought back by it’s creators. For a few years the creators have pushed around ideas on having Tex Murphy make a modern day comeback, but of course money was an issue. Long story short, along came Kickstarter, and with it came us old fans, many of which are older and working professionals. With our money, and promotional savvy to get more money, Tex indeed is reborn.

I myself am one of the upper tier backers. I gave one thousand dollars to bring back Tex. Indeed I was affected by the character and storytelling of the Tex Murphy games during my high school days. The ultimate underdog, the ultimate anachronistic character-A 1940s P.I. whose one hundred years out of place.  I drew a lot out of Tex, the character-The wit, the morality, hell even some of the mannerisms.

And these days, I feel the core of that character parallels me even more.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve been actively seeking a mechanical keyboard. After trying some out at the (not so) local Fry’s electronics I just fell in love with them. They seem so much more comfortable than the modern day membrane keyboards with their spongy feel. And the tactile feedback assures you the key has indeed been pressed. Of course such keyboards command a bit of a staggering price. Yet with my hands hurting so much from working at Green Hell (and even as I type up this blog), I definitely tried to justify the expense.

After much research into the specs, types of switches, the different manufacturers, and reviews (I could go on and on), I decided on a reasonably priced CM Storm Quickfire TK. I could have bought it that instant, but I decided not to, so I could potentially pay for gas, food, and insurance. I’ll wait and buy it hopefully during some after Christmas sale.

My cousin Melanie, is a believer of the Secret, tho not intentionally by that name. As in the Laws of Attraction she puts out to the universe the thoughts on whatever she desires. Whether it works or not in practice of course is speculation. Reading the book or watching the movie definitely does a good job of selling the Secret to you with examples of people who live by it.

Well, in terms of this keyboard. I thought, Oh what the hell.

I went ahead and wrote a Facebook post, stating my desire for that keyboard:

cmstorm_request

And minutes later….

cmstorm_reply

I was indeed in complete shock.

Jen is a fellow Tex Murphy Mutant League fan and Kickstarter backer. I believe she’s one of the top tier backers who donated… far more money than I ever could have, and will even be featured in the game! Aside from being part of this excellent group of charitable fans, I really don’t know Jen personally. I know she is a hardcore Tex Murphy fan with quite a collection Tex related knick-knacks that I’m rather jealous of-Other than that, she is a complete stranger to me.

I don’t know if the Secret was truly at work here, but I know now how selfless a human being can be. When all this had finally sunk in, I was sobbing. I couldn’t believe someone would do such a thing for me. For me?! I am (as my subtitle says) no one in particular. And as I replied (in that second pic) I truly feel that I don’t deserve such luxuries- Especially from an almost complete stranger who probably does not, or did not bat an eye at my existence. I am just blown away by this. It’s miraculous to me.

Thank you so very much, Jen! This generosity will not be forgotten.

The next day, I decided to call my best friend, Jeff, and I had told him what had transpired and what has been happening-Everything I’ve covered in the last half dozen blog posts that I put up today- The outcome of my cousin’s spirit animal cards, the events at work, to gaining the game development tools, to a virtual stranger giving me the funds to purchase that keyboard-It is all linked and related to each other. I cried as I was talking to Jeff and realizing all this.

I truly believe this is all culminating into something good in my life. This is the start of a new voyage, a new chapter-Something that I must see through.

I have to live.

Holy…. I don’t believe I’ve ever said that before.

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drop

More matters on Green Hell. Work started as it normally did. Midnight to about 3, we unloaded the delivery truck, which we found out to be in excess of 3000 pieces of merchandise. We did it all moderately quickly.

Just before lunch at 4am, the store manager gathered all the employees including myself for a little meeting, a state of the store, addressing some issues.

The gist of it was that we need to speed up productivity. Compared to other stores we are lagging behind. Of course the only other store to really compare to is the only one that does better sales than us in the state of California.

I certainly didn’t mind the update in information. However, I was a bit appalled to how the store manager proceeded to motivate us into working more productively.

To be blunt, he tried to apply scare tactics.

He basically threatened us with phrases like:

“We get some 300 individual applications each month. That obviously means the economy is still bad. Look around you now, some of you may not be here at the end of month. If that happens, do you know where you’ll be?”

I can go on, but basically the store manager told us all that we are easily expendable.

At that moment and during lunch after that meeting I had made up my mind. I’m leaving Green Hell effective at the end of the month, if it not sooner by their say.

I already hate that job. It has been a physical nightmare. The graveyard shift has taken a big toll on my health. My sleeping patterns fluctuate to the point that I’m always tired, and as a result I haven’t been to the gym in weeks. Furthermore, my hands….. my hands are now always in pain. I need them. And finally I smoke cigarettes more than I have in years. And I was quit not long before that job. I will quit again when I leave.

Of course I can easily comment on how little we get paid. Minimum wage at part time-That alone should tell the manager why we aren’t happy or jovial workers.

I understand that Green Hell is the place to go and shop for people of all status to get the very basics for survival-Canned goods, toilet paper, cleaning supplies-Often not the greatest quality of items, but good enough to get by. All of it at a dollar a piece.

This store  is literally the best bang for the buck in this economy. Unfortunately for my fellow co-workers and myself, the corporate branch of Green Hell sees their employees the same way. After spending these past few months with them, I can assure you all we are not cheap labor, and we are capable of so much more.

At the end of the day, the manager requested if I can work unloading a truck at another local store. ¬†I said I was going out of town, up to Chico (Paradise, CA), to look for housing and establish a job there. Yes, I lied, but it wasn’t too far from the truth-Perhaps just a few months away. I just do not wish to work more than what is required. I may not make much money, truth is I already do not, but to me the extra two hours of hard labor netting me a measly ten to twelve dollars is not worth my sanity.

I know I can do better than this. I have done better than this, and I will again.