Saturday, December 22, 2007

Pre- Christmas Update.

Hey. It's a few days before Christmas and I am just about done shopping. Wish we'd had time to window-shop this year - the boy came up with about four non-Magic related items he'd like. Momma has her wish, so does John, but I have no idea what I want and that is a bad thing.

On a lighter note, I am beginning to do write-ups for the next TRO. The art I commissioned turned out well, albeit two months late. 'Dawn Patrol' is a winner, now for 'Chaperoned'. The brief attempt I made to do BTU TRO write ups ended with acrimony. My first submission, for the Forge, was 'too long' and 'not professional enough'. It exceeded the 300 word limit per section at least once.

I promptly reminded them that they knew how I wrote before agreeing to take me on, that no one was paying me a dime for the work, and that if they wanted to shorten it, they were welcome to try. Then I resigned. No wonder BattleTech Universe's TRO effort has ground to a halt. Too few people doing, too many telling them what they can't do.

But I did finish the Isometrus. Only because it was Bill Burt's design and I promised him I would complete it no matter what. After trimming it and getting feedback on it (again, apparently too much zest for a boring-ass TRO, but I did tone it down a bit), I submitted same.

The roof leaks, but I know where and why, so it's just a matter of dry weather and a visit to Lowe's.

Current house favorite is 'Helicopter' by Bloc Party.

Gotta change the car's oil. Gotta move the wood to the newly-reinforced wood rick. Gotta change the van's oil. Gotta get a replacement fan for the car so it will defrost correctly (fan is the fourth one to crap out in this car).

More later. Oh, heard from Angelique Palassis (new last name, though). Not as interesting as I thought she might be, but then I suppose the disappointment is mutual. I inherently fight shy of people who forward chain mail and 'joke of the week'.



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Some updating IS occasionally needed...

The Drop Ship went over like gangbusters and Catalyst Games bought it for $400!

Of course, I pissed the money away. I am back to budgeting on paper because if the dough is in my pocket, it's just a matter of days before it's gone and damned if I can recall what I spent it all on. I just know the bills aren't getting paid.

The TRO:3062 with Vlad is done, and it looks darn sweet. I wrote the intro, the section intros, the outtro and thirty eight fluff pieces. We had some problems with factual errors and spelling, a last-minute battle over the final update (his only remaining piece was a mess, and I can't imagine how I missed it) and a boondoggle over the Battlemaster art, which was a warmed-over Unseen Griffin.

Sorry, Vlad. But that's what it was.

He got over his pride in a few days and fixed it, and now it's the talk of the town.

The BTU TRO is a dead duck and I told TPTB over at BTU so and why. "We don't talk about it", my white ass. Would you believe, they're actually making some of the changes I suggested. Like a deadline. I am onboard and writing four pieces for them.

Took a break from writing stories. Kinda burned out after the TRO, even found myself at loose ends when I'm not writing. I've been pounding away at the keyboard for a year now, on one thing or another. But breaktime is nearly over.

I'm actually kinda looking forward to it. The days are getting colder, and soon I will no longer be able to smoke while writing outside on the table. I will soon shift to my son John's computer instead, which will please him to no end, as he loves to fall asleep listening to the teek-tokkity-tok of the keyboard as I write.

John helped me work on my Type 2 black and white Magic:TG deck tonight. It's looking pretty good. We still have some bugs to work out, but a few Loxodon Warhammers and some Outposts and it should be workable. I swore off Type 2 ten years ago, and still don't like the bastards I have to play. But John likes it and I am determined to follow him, as he once followed me, in order to share this hobby.

The job goes well. David Wamsley is leaving, no one will miss him personally, although we will miss his professional knowledge and skills. Here's to the new guy coming up to speed ASAP, as I will be doing first articles every day from now on.

Hopefully I will rate my own stamp before too much longer.

Well, a smoke and then off to bed. It's Wednesday and hump day was pretty good. Our next door neighbor Ryan finally got rid of the bums he mistakenly rented his house to, and I thought I'd be a witness for him. But no one came by today, and as John mentioned, it's not really my problem.

See ya in a few.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 22 - Hot Project on the Front Burner!

I am in the mid-stages of finishing up a Union-Class Dropship. You Battletech playas will know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, it's a big egg with landing gear and lots of electronics inside. Sound, landing bay lights - natch, most of it will be lost on the folks at GenCon, where it will be the centerpiece of the new Battletech demo table.

Catalyst Games has taken CBT over from FanPro Germany, and a good thing, too. The guys who have been running it all these years now own the rights. Just got a Tech Manual (hardback) from Bill Burt, a month in advance of everyone else. Thanks, Bill!

I have also been writing fluff for Vladimir Chernovchenko's 'Battletech Technical Readout:3062'. Lotsa people start fan projects, but between his art and designs, and my writing talent, I think this one will actually see the light of day. Most of them don't, and from what I've seen, it's a damn good thing.

My son John is languishing; he thinks Dad is always busy and has no time for him. Gotta admit, the projects have been piling up lately, and most nights I am out in the garage, smoking a cigar and writing. I need to take him swimming tomorrow. Too bad he lost his we have to share.

Oh! I quit my job at Fire King of Seattle and now work in Quality Control for TruLife up in Poulsbo. Twenty minutes away, instead of two hours. Pay is better, they have me on mandatory overtime, I get to wear a nice shirt and tie each day. So far things are going well, though I must remember to keep my mouth shut unless someone asks my opinion....

Well, see ya later!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Fourth of July celebration...

Well, the story 'Houses' came in Fourth place this time. I think I rambled too much, or just picked a 'what-if' moment that was too obscure for the judges to really figure out. It wasn't a famous CBT historical battle or person, so they were left scratching their heads and wondering where the change was.

Oh well.

I am hoping the wretches at least give me some decent feedback on this so I can better write next time.

Oh, and a Note to my Future Self: when some ditz over on Classic Battletech Forums starts getting into how cool aliens would be, do not begin by commenting on how unbelieveable an alien race would be that had superior science, but acted like a bunch of goddamned insects driven by nothing outside of ego and appetite.

Alien moral ethics, my ass. That's us on a very bad day. Thankfully not often. "If it bleeds, it leads" would not be a news agency maxim if the bleeding were more commonplace.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back Once Again...

Hi. That story 'Orbit' won First Place. Wrote another one for the Spring Fiction 2007 over at Battletech Universe, waiting to see how it goes.

In between? Well, I wrote a short story featuring Dillon and his Grandfather for a fellow doing a Fan TRO.

Gave criticism to David Bowen, an old friend of mine who had sent me what he'd done so far on his Fantasy RPG setting. He's supposed to publish soon and has been working on this for years. Unfortunately, what he has is manifestly unready for primetime. He did not think to research the behavior of rivers or weather or people in certain circumstances, and so I fear I shot a lot of holes in his work. Furthermore, there were a lot of writing errors.

I don't think he took it well. I haven't heard from him in a month, and frankly won't be suprised if he never calls again. But I will be sad. I liked him a lot.

My son 'gradumacated' from sixth grade with all the pomp the babysitters could manage. Even he didn't want to go. But his Momma is proud. I took him swimming as a reward, and stuffed him with Papa Murphy's before sending the little guy to bed.

Today Tru Life called. I think it's to offer me the job I interviewed for on Tuesday the 19th of June, 2007. I hope so. I am tired of the commute at Fire King, being Joe and Lyle's scratching post, and feeling like a useless schlub for the past three and a half years. I was and did so many things in the Navy before going to work for Jim. How could I have become such a useless fucking drone in that short a time?

Giving my two week's notice will be like lancing a boil. $180 a pay period for gas alone. Another $30 for the bridge toll. I make $12.50 an hour, and my last raise was in 2004. I know the drill. If I ask for a raise, he'll ask why. If I say I need more money, he'll ask why I don't just work more hours.

Well, for starters, I commute 75 miles to work and another 75 home. Second, I am not a 'member' at work, meaning I'm on the outside looking in, permanently. I will never be 'one of the guys', no matter how long I work there. Jim does not trust me.

Third, I spend an average of two hours to work, two and a half home each day of the week. My car started with 75000 on it, now it has 224000. The Navy kept me away from my family for years, and we put up with it because the pay was good, the benefits were good and retirement was good. I am tired of leaving early and coming home late. That's why I don't work more hours.

But more importantly, a raise indicates my increased value to the company. So far it hasn't even kept pace with the rise in the cost of living. I know when I am not wanted, and it's time to go. It's been time for two years, but I was afraid and foolish.

Not anymore.

Let Jim find some young man to do his fire extinguishers, his shot blasting and all the other sundry duties I perform in a work week. I'm not the guy he wants.

John turned in the first Part of his Shrek Story. We worked on it together, and even though the requirement is no longer there, he wants to see the rest of it written down. So we'll maybe hit that tomorrow night. Outline is already done.

I am now doing fluff text for another Fan TRO, the 3062. It really is well thought out, and the artwork is stellar. I am putting my best effort into it, and so far Vlad approves. He has offered me more fluff to work on after the present 'Mechs are done. I wish it paid, even a little, but every little bit helps me to hone my craft.

And gets the word out, hopefully.

See ya in a month.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sorry for the Long wait...

No one comes here. That's the secret of the blogging universe, you know. The one thing they don't want you to know, the one thing that the MySpace zombies can't abide.

What is that secret?

Simply put, if you don't know lots of people already and are not willing to shamelessly use said friends to pimp yourself on the Internet, your Blog will never get a visit or a comment.

No. Seriously.

The average schlub doesn't use the search function to find other people who share his interests. Why? Because he or she often doesn't have any. Of course, the most recent generations feel no shame for having no hobbies. To them, watching TV is a hobby.

But I have a hobby, and hopefully I am improving at it.

So far, the contents of this Blog detail bits from a story called 'Anniversary'. It was eventually massaged into shape, published on Battletech Universe (Battletech Universe :: Index) in the Fan Fiction section, and read by most.

The second story was something called 'Traffic', and it won First Place in the Summer '06 Fiction Contest on the same website. Pretty good, but I am told by my friend Keith Mears that it is front-loaded by the narrator, and the details should be spread through the work as expressed by the characters themselves. As he told me, "Show, don't tell".

The third story was something called 'Orbit', submitted just in time for the Winter '06 Fiction Contest. As of right now, I have no idea if it placed, but I am busily working on the printout and expect to have a cleaned-up version ready soon.

By the by, 'Orbit' originally started as a flashback sequence by the main character in another story I am writing ("The Terrance County War"). Thank the Lord I didn't go with that idea. 'Orbit' ended up consuming about twenty four pages and 20,000 words. Devoting that kind of print space to a flashback is insane.

Of course, 'TTCW' itself is going to be rather long. The outline alone is about 14,000 words (actually less, now that I have removed that flashback sequence). It will take a while, and in the meantime, my craft improves on the smaller stories. But you would not believe the sense of relief when I finally typed the last words for 'Orbit'.

I am beginning to hate writing deadlines. But I suppose this is good for self-discipline.

Steve Satak