You Can Do That Too? More Blatant Self-Promotion

Never fails, at least once a month, someone is surprised by something I can do that involves writing, editing, project management, page layout and design. Never fails. I don’t mind. I had an inkling that having a Professional Technical Communications (yes the s is important) degree would be difficult to describe to others when professors could not describe the degree to me in a few sentences. Instead some opted for a list of skills and talents and others sought to find a way to make the degree relatable to me directly, such as “what do you write?”

“roleplaying and board games.”

“oh. Anything else?”

“Working on a cookbook.”

“Ah. That is a technical document and you will learn how to make your cookbook the best it can be.”

I understood early on that professors were concerned with ensuring students had marketable skills, meaning technical documents. What is a technical document? Typically a document used in a business environment. What does that mean? Well if a business is using a document, anything from an email to sales brochures to instructional manuals to interoffice paperwork to…let me put it this way, if there is a written work, my skill set allows me to:

  • make it read better
  • make the message clearer, whatever the message from a simple request for a pencil sharpener to a series of complex instructions
  • make it look better

Each of those three things has titles, often multiple titles, such as editor, layout and design, typographer, and so on. In essence my degree gave me a large range of skills that I could market anyway I choose and then some. My resume, if I chose too make a new one, would essentially be a representation of my entire skill set AND a list of all of the skills I possessed that a reader might not recognize by looking at the document. See why having a Professional Technical Communications degree is so hard to describe and why people are surprised by what I can do to any written communication. Oh wait, add verbal to that because of a good friend, Paul Zube, I have a good range of verbal skills (lots of communication courses) and research skills.

See why I am not surprised by other peoples surprise at what I can do? I find the surprise amusing. If I have a difficult time describing what I can do, how can possibly expect other people to remember or know? I can’t. Thus, I find myself recounting the skills I have over and over again, in a good way.

When someone asks me if I will look at something as simple as an email, I send them back a revised email, I can’t help it.

When someone asked me to look at their collection of erotica, I gave them my professional opinion.

When a writer friend mentioned that their editor didn’t understand them and their layout person was constantly demanding written work to layout, I explained how an editor and layout professional should work with them and then offered my services.

I like my degree, even I can’t elevator pitch to anyone.




1,625th Pony Party Post Extravaganza!

Welcome to the 1,625th post. A lot of time has passed since the last Extravaganza, close to two years. A lot has changed both here on the blog and in the real world, not that there is much difference…well…no I will stick with that for now.

So what has changed?

A whole lot less college. Seriously a whole lot less college. In fact for me to write about college I would have to write about student loans (a ball suck of a topic if you ask me) or the stories of people who are still in college or work for the college…neither of which would be nearly as interesting as Puddles and Whiskers talking over a bowl of noodles ant NiHo’s.

A whole lot less bitching about living on a college campus, because we no longer live on campus. 🙂

Lots more games. Free from the intrusive nature of college, we resumed gaming. Slowly at first and with every passing weekend we pick up more speed playing games and resuming the lives of tabletop gamers. Now if we could find more like minded people…

More stories. Lots more stories. I would love to say that I will finish them all, but you and I know that isn’t the truth, some stories just stop and others go on. At least that is my experience. I have a feeling that the primary reason for this is decades of running roleplaying games where due to a variety of reasons games run to their completion (story finished) or games cease (story unfinished).

Pony Party

I have no clue and even less desire to search through the blog to find the first Pony Music Video. I can say that at some point I stumbled across the marriage of music and anime or AMV’s. Then because of my children, at first, I found the marriage of music and My Little Pony. I have no problem saying I enjoy My Little Pony. I have watched the show with my kids and on my own. I have read several graphic novels (I prefer to read collections of comics). And, I have a small collection of My Little Pony statues or Fun Collectables dotting my bookshelves. Oh, yeah and the roleplaying game.  Back when Extravaganza’s were a regular thing so was sharing one or more AMV or PMVs I found.

With this the 1625th Pony Party Post Extravaganza I bring to you a couple new PMVs. I don’t share just any PMVs. I spend some time watching PMVs for a few things, such as editing, amount of work put in, does the images go with the song, and some other intrinsic qualities that make one PMV stick out over another. Such as this one…

I found this one on accident. Hell, I don’t know the song at all, but the combination of song and video worked for me.

Non-Pony Party Post Extravaganza

Like I said way up there, a lot of has changed around here and on here and knowing me a lot more will continue to change…I have been told I am frustrating when it comes to things like this, not that I have a clue what this they are or were talking about at the time and somewhere, not so long ago, I wrote about how plans and I do not go along well, to quote someone about something that may or may not have had anything to do with me, “We are more of a fly by the seat of our pants operation.”

And that is how we, meaning you and I the reader, find ourselves here, watching one last video, not a PMV, but an AMV because our girl loves the song and the video is pretty damn cool.

Last Words Of This Extravaganza

Thank you to readers who have been here since day one when this was the companion blog to Speaking Out on NateSexCollegeandahalfdozenotherchanges (long story written down somewhere I swear) and to all the new readers who stop on by for a story or a story of a game. Hopefully, everyone continues to visit and enjoy the ride.

500 and 1 Words At A Time: Drifiting

Prior to college…

I had a regular schedule for writing and working. I wrote everyday roughly two thousand words. Not saying they were good words, but I wrote them. Around writing was house work and work work. Mostly house work. I liked my schedule, there was time for me to do what I wanted to do and what I needed to do. Prior to college, I was able to find work as a writer.


I also had a regular schedule of classes and the writing was all around the classes. Again, not saying the writing was good, but again I wrote them. Around college writing was more college writing and wedged between all of the college writing was something for me, usually this blog or around 500 words. There was very little time to do what I wanted to do writing wise and what time there was never went the way I wanted it to…way to many project started and abandoned because yet another semester was starting.

Post college…

I do not have a schedule. I am wandering and drifting. Oh sure, I have a schedule of sorts, but despite waiting five years for this time to arrive I have not gotten back into the Prior College schedule of writing. In fact, I do not do nearly as much writing as I would like to or at least think I would like to. However, I am happier with the writing I am doing now versus the writing during Prior College phase. The quality, in my opinion, has gone up noticeably. This makes me happy.

But…there is always a but, even though I am happier with my writing and the quantity is slowing going up there is another casualty of the post college no schedule phase I am in, this blog. During college, this blog along with all of my other blogs had a schedule. The schedule was determined in part by my school schedule and the schedule of a school year. Regular readers knew roughly when my “first of the year” post would be and when “holiday plans” would be and so on.

Of late, there hasn’t been much of a schedule. I hadn’t noticed, but when a good friend pointed it out I took a look…sure enough, I have been writing a lot more “this is how I feel today” posts than posts with a point or about something. The recent fiction posts are helping give the blog a new shape I want, but I have not been regular with them. I’m hoping with today’s post that changes.

I wrote out and then printed out a weekly topic schedule for me to start following until it becomes a natural state or organically changes into something else that has a schedule. I am also going to work harder to post at a regular time, something I was really good at a few months ago and stress to everyone I teach blogging too. I had no idea, how much post college phase would affect my writing, but there it is…I have been drifting. I am to stop that. No way for me to find regular work as a writer if I cannot get myself under control.

Starting next week…

here is what you can expect:

Monday: Fiction

Tuesday: Life

Wednesday: Food or Games

Thursday: Fiction

Friday: 500 and 1 Words At A Time

Saturday: Food or Games

Sunday: Life

500 and 1 Words At A Time is the follow up to 500 Words At A Time and will be about my struggles, experiences, etc. all on being and becoming a writer post college…I hope it is not a horror story. 🙂

Pulling Everything Together

If there is one skill from college that I am putting to use it is transference of notes from one media to another. Now that I have identified the notes I want to work with I am taking them from the various, over a dozen, notebooks and one very full vanilla folder, to a file on the computer.

Another skill being put to use is creating an organized document. I could have typed in notes without any organization or thought to the future, but thank you classes, I have been creating headers and pages, and so on; essentially creating a publishable/printable/searchable document on the fly. Very nice.

I have to say I am surprised by some of the things I am finding, there are extensive notes on each of the species, such as herg or cymean. I knew these things, as a concept, but I forgot how much I wrote and drew. There are pages of notes on culture, language, religion, iconography, and even a few notes on entertainment. A long time ago when I was actively working to write my own role-playing game these notes would have been what set my system or at least setting aside a different from other who still use bare bones descriptions.

Today, the notes are being put to use towards fleshing out characters, work on the setting book, and giving me a lot of ideas of other stories and characters I can create. Speaking of characters, I am not a good character namer…yeah, I wrote that…I found tons of unused names, character descriptions, illustrations (doodles but I wanted to sound fancy), and plots. Strange how much effort I put into something.

Going over the notes I can see where one idea lead to another and where separate spin-off ideas came from; always interesting to see how my mind works (or in this case worked). I can see a lot of ideas were one-shot ideas with a definitive start and end point. These have been fun to read over. There are ideas that never seemed to get beyond the page they were on and ideas that were just that ideas for…something.

Pulling it together is nice. Pulling it together with a greater understanding of writing, publishing, selling, organization, and other skills learned over the past five years, great.

Here is a sample from my notes


General Notes

  1. Information is easy to access, search, and obtain. Privacy and security are two different concepts for people, privacy is something many assume they have as they post information constantly. Security is something corporations and the government strive to have complete control over.
  2. Stroud is always in motion, there is no “down time,” at a minimum electronic and holo ads run non-stop all over the city, especially around businesses and hot spots.
  3. Cyberware or mechanical augmentation is common enough to go unnoticed. Nano-augmentation is latest tech and not in hands of any other than corps and military for testing.
  4. Information access is in every device and easy to use. This does not mean people have access to all information, but the trending/popular/quick searches are what most people get and use as information/knowledge. Deep searches still take time.
  5. Vehicles are “smart” self-drive, collision avoidance, accident survival systems, ground-hover-flight capable (most are one or two modes at most).
  6. Magic does exist…to what extent is to be determined


That’s A Lot Of Notes

Prior to college, I wrote a lot. I spent a vast amount of my writing time creating a world and a city, Stroud, for a game system that has yet to be created by myself. Not that I haven’t given creating a system a try…cough fifteen systems…I find writing setting information more fun and useful. Witness, setting information can be used for gaming or for writing stories. A game system is only useful if there is someone, other than me, using it.

During college, I did not write much at all, that was not an assignment. Too much time spent on college and the things that go with college. Free time and an office have presented me with the opportunity to write once again. You may have read some, see here if you have not. You may also recall a recent post where I talked about all of the notebooks I found. Today was a reckoning of sorts for many of those notebooks.

Working on Puddles and Whiskers, alongside other stories, got me pulling out notes about Stroud and the world where Stroud exists. The more notes I pulled, the more I realized how much information I have on Stroud and the world. Unfortunately, that information is in dozens of notebooks. This will not do.

And that is why I spent my day culling notes from notebooks to create a Stroud Guide. Definitely not a fast project, but a useful one as I have stumbled across notes for location, scenes, characters, and story arcs I had forgotten about. There have been other surprises as well, such as the page of quotes from professors and this…


this was a…if I read my notes right, a game idea…and a bunch of fun doodles. I think the game idea was for character generation where players had a choice of parts to put together. At least that is what it looks like. Based on the pages, I worked this idea for a couple of days, going so far to create a base layout for pieces and some sample card locations. Then again, the card locations may have been for another game. Who knows, I surely don’t. Some of the notes are from college, most are from pre-college.

Now I have a stack of papers with post it note flags of many colors on them for me to turn into useful information. I also have a larger stack of papers with nothing but garbage on them, notes from classes, notes for grocery lists, random numbers and such.

Other than revisiting the past to make a new future, I took some photos of the great day while waiting on the kids to get out of school. Enjoy.

20160912_150551 20160912_150547


This Satisfies My Tummy

HomeIt has been a long time since I have felt like I was being a good parent. Say what you want, but I, in the capacity of parent, have not felt like I am doing my job. Which job, you might be asking? Providing a home for my children where they can do the things that kids do without having to unnecessarily worry about their safety. Our campus home was not safe for children to play.

No one will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Too many years of watching cars race in and out of the court. Too many years of watching parents let their children wander around the court unwatched and watching children get in trouble and injured with no parents around. Too many years of watching the drug dealer operate and grounds destroy what little bit of nature existed around us. Too many years…

Home 2Two days here and I feel better. The children want to go outside. My initial response is NO. That was the only answer on campus housing. Now my answer is YES, with the caveats that they avoid the fire pit and screaming too loudly. They run around as only kids can having fun. It is in a word, amazing to watch. And watch I do, not because I am worried some college fucktard will race across our yard, but because standing outside, something else that was rare before, is fun and feels great.

While the kids play, we continue work on making a home. The kitchen, as I spoke about yesterday, is at a place where I can cook and reorganize at the same time. Today we started work on the laundry room, office/library, and our bedroom began. Barb and our girl installed the washer and dyer, after overcoming the problem of getting three legs of the right size and one way too long. Our boy, ever eager to demonstrate that his is a master builder, has been building ever shelving unit we have. I have to admit, I am impressed. He works fast, asks for assistance when he needs it, and follows the instructions well. All of those years of Legos have paid off.

All in all, pretty good so far. Sure there is a lot of work to do around here, both ours and the relators, but everyone is pulling their weight and then some to make this place a home.

Home 3On our way home with a load of supplies we saw a family restaurant. Best decision of the day to stop in at Sharon’s Country Restaurant. Right down the road from us, from both old and new house, Sharon’s does not standout from the road. If you have a desire for home cooked food, good prices, excellent service, and good portions stop in they are open until 10pm. French Dip made with actual pieces of roast beef, cheese and mushroom omelet huge, and so on. Each meal was delicious. The owner took our order and she is great with kids and parents, showing the kids similar meals to what they wanted that gave them more and cost us less.

This is definitely satisfying our tummies in more way than one. 🙂

Plans, Puke…What Else Begins With P?


I like to make plans.

I am one of those type-something people.

What is the type-something who likes to make plans and watch them get blown out of the water and then scramble to make new plans? Whatever type-something that is, I am that one. Just don’t label me. 🙂

When you know that you will have multiple days in a row to do stuff, say your wife has three days off, what do you do? I know what we did, we made plans to do stuff. Nothing major, just some local fun stuff (local as defined by the pre-established fact that most things are an hour away in any direction). Stupid stuff to brighten our moods after yet another week of “please be patient with the process” while the university and rightly so has been “please get out soon.”

So we planned last night. Yesterday was supposed to be day one, but that quickly got blown out of the water as we had to reassure the university that we are going to leave and please don’t kick us out, deal with the bank…suffice to say that conversation went no where because “it’s a process”…take back bottles (normally our summer money, this time a pain in the ass because who wants to move $40 in cans, not us) and finally deal with some packing around here. On that end, PROGRESS multiple bags and boxes from the kids. WOOT WOOT…did I just write that? Maybe I am not dealing with the stress…crap.

Did I mention the university turned off the internet? Not our internet, but all internet to fix it. Awesome good for them and that was the other reason we wanted to get out and have some fun. Back to the plan: go to bed early, get up early, get ready, and go. How hard could it be?

Another stress induced nightmare has me up at 6 am. There is get up early and then there is that. I haven’t gotten up from a stress induced nightmare that early since college…fine around 60 days ago, but my point being I got up too early. However, since the internet was working at that time I did some internet stuff. And finally, I feel asleep on the couch…

…to be woken up by early wake up; i.e. 9:30am when everyone was supposed to wake up, but I was not awake. I did that already and was not ready for this second wake up. Showers start. I start to wake up. Then trouble begins. It was a subtle trouble, at first I thought the feeling in the air was my foul mood due to double early wake up, but it wasn’t.

Our girl came down from her shower first, but she took hers second…huh? Where was the boy? Call up to him, “Almost” “Be done in a second” “Blah blah” and so on until I Dad Voiced Him to come downstairs so we could get going (at this point the interwebs had been turned off). He shows up in the living room, turns paper white, and bolts for the bathroom where he pukes up everything.


Being a good dad and not wanting to waste the plans, I volunteer to stay home with the puking child, not something even remotely new to me, and everyone else go out. Some assurances that I don’t mind, I don’t other than the stank of puke (turned up the air fresheners) and everyone took off for what I hope has been a day of fun. Me, while the interwebs were out and between pukes, I wrote and slept.