13…is the magic number…

Hard at Work…

Some people fear the number 13.  I don’t.  Not today at least.  There are 13 more Mondays that I will have to get out of bed at the absolute butt crack of dawn to drive in to Clemson for work before summer break.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my job.  But I do hate that it isn’t in Greenville, the city that I love, the city that I moved back from the UK to be a part of, the city that has the most beautiful skyline I’ve ever seen, even at ten minutes to seven in the morning when the sun glints off the windows of the SunTrust building…

The last post I made here talked about how I entered Proud Racer: An American Greyhound in Yorkshire in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  Well, didn’t even make it past the first round of cuts, but that’s okay, really.  Mostly.  Yeah, okay, it sucked, but it wasn’t at all a surprise.  If for no other reason, my Proud Racer books are hard to categorize because I didn’t write them with a specific reading level in mind.  My niece, Mary Catherine, has read them and loves them and she’s 10, but to be fair her reading level is much higher than her age.

And I don’t say that because I’m her favourite Auntie.  Not.One.Bit.

Right now the #WIP (because I’m hip like that and on Twitter and What.Not.) or Work In Progress is more Everquest fan fiction.  I am looking at it as good practice for “real writing” but I’m finding it to be escapism bordering on addiction, if I’m honest.  The four guys that I played EQ with were amazing, and it was, to quote the man that breathed life into Sathlir Clawsharp (one of my characters), a perfect storm that all of us got together and started playing together.  I miss it.  I miss us.  But the characters in the WIP are not the guys I played with all those nights.  They have transcended those human operators and I fall more in love with each of them with every scene that gets written.

Why can’t I do this for a living?  Ugh.

Right, enough of that.  The point is that I’m writing, and I’m looking forward to Camp Nanowrimo in April and…August?  and then Nanowrimo proper in November.  I’ll be writing with the ABNA in mind this time, so maybe come next January I’ll be ready to submit a better manuscript and better pitch.

Anyway, ♪13…13 is the magic number…yes it is….♪ (apologies to Schoolhouse Rock…)

Nanowrimo Update…

So far, so good-but-behind.  Not gonna let this get on top of me like last August, though…

As I may have mentioned already, I’m doing another EQ fan fic this time around and actually, I am seeing results that I hadn’t expected.  Characters that I have lived with and loved and fueled and written about for almost ten years now are trusting me enough to show me their back-stories and I’m finding it hard to stay in the here and now because I want to spend all my time in Norrath around the campfire burning in my imagination and listen to everything they have to tell me.  Who knew that two of them met while imprisoned in Lower Guk, or that two others were actually childhood friends?

Anyway, it’s proving to be one of the most enjoyable Nanos I’ve done so far, and for that I am so grateful.  It takes my mind off flooding basements and inoperative toilets and back pain due to corset contortions in a privy at festival two days ago…well, the typing probably isn’t helping the back pain but with stories like I’m being asked to tell by my characters I can endure.

See everyone the other side of 50K words!

Corsets and moving vans and nephews and Nano…oh myyyy…

Random acts of Silly doth abound in Fairhaven…

(You should absolutely read that Oh My in the way that George Takei says it.  In fact, every time anyone says Oh My it should be using his voice.  Every. Time.)

So it’s been awhile and I’ve promised time and again to blog about the honeymoon, the European extravaganza that was the months of May and June for me and The Mister.  This isn’t going to be that post either, so if you’ve been waiting for that, you might as well keep surfing.

It’s currently the end of October which means the Carolina Renaissance Festival has been in full swing for four weekends now, leaving only three to go before we sadly pack up the Dog Barn for another year and start madly plotting our garb for our trip to the “Southern Kingdom” of Newcastle in Georgia in the spring of next year.  But wait, that’s not all that’s going on…I’m still working on getting my soon to be former roommates decked out in garb of their own (a court gown to be done by this coming Saturday as well as a doublet!  I must be MAD.), moving into a new house, and starting a NaNoWriMo on Thursday.  Mad indeed!

We thought that it would be easy to do when we started this sewing project back in August (nevermind that I was doing a Camp NaNo then as well).  We planned to do the parts of the gowns at the same time and finish them both before Opening Weekend so that we didn’t have to worry.  Ah, the best laid plans…

My gown is mostly done, as you can see in the photo above.  There are some bits that need finishing and WHO KNEW that thing would be as HEAVY as it is, but there you are.  Beauty is pain.  I had a little girl curtsy to me yesterday because she thought I was royalty (“your dress looks like the queen’s!”) so I guess it’s all worth it.  Out of the mouths of babes…if ONLY my garb looked like Bettina’s work!

Anyway, so mine is almost done and will have to be re-done before next year.  The sleeves are the heaviest part and will have to be grommetted in so that I can removed them before performing mundane tasks such as going to the privy or picking up poop or…amazingly enough…putting on my cloak!  It was like I was holding two persian cats under there.  Not good.

We’ve almost completed our move into the new house.  As I type, The Mister is wrestling with putting up blinds and unwrapping/setting up IKEA bookshelves.  It never ceases to amaze me the size difference in our furniture in our American house as opposed to our English one.  Where are my “huge” leather sofas?

Over the weekend my brother in law Andrew and his…partner?  Girlfriend?  I’m not sure the appropriate term, but they had a little boy, the first grandson/nephew for the Dunnes.  I’m hoping to see photos soon, and I need to get on the ball and email my niece, the new kid’s big sister, to check in on her.  Being a big sister is not always as glamorous as it looks, and I want her to know that Auntie Nancy has been there/done that and would love to listen if she needs to discuss the finer points of siblings.

Finally…Nano starts on Thursday and I think it’s going to be EQ fanfic for me again.  My hope is that all of this writing I grind out in November (as well as the past Nanos that have been on the same theme) can one day be edited to remove anything that the EQ head honchos may think is actually their property and made into a fantasy novel that can be published and read by people other than me and my sometimes muse, Mike (who brought one of the main characters to virtual life in game for years).

Yeah, so…that’s what’s going on here.  Not much, really, in the grand scheme of starvation and war and Hurricane Sandy, I suppose.  But enough.  You hear me universe?  I’ve got enough for now.

Oh myyyy indeed.

How Gaming Levels My RL

Tired and Fussy by Nancy Dunne
Tired and Fussy, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

First, let me say for the .0000 of you that are Lettuce Readers that didn’t know, I’m a gamer. I play Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs). Currently I play Everquest and Star Wars:The Old Republic but I have toons (Avatars, characters, etc) running around in Jade Dynasty, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, Runes of Magic, and probably Free Realms and Shaiya. I say probably because those two…oh, and Perfect World International as well…those THREE didn’t hold my attention long enough to count, really. Now then, disclaimer done, on to the post.

Simon and I are currently on a long-overdue honeymoon. We started in London on the 17th of May, flew to Paris on the 19th, and have just returned to the UK yesterday. We’re currently (as I type this) at his folks’ place up in Newcastle for a few days before heading off again to spend the rest of our trip in one of my fav cities on earth, Edinburgh.

The picture to the right, there, was taken last Monday. We went to the Louvre because it was chucking it down with rain (dontcha love Yorkshireisms?) and we thought it would be a good way to stay dry and see Paris. Dry, yes. Massively huge with ridiculously hard floors and lots of steps? Yeah, sadly.

So…onto how “Gaming Levels my RL” (Real Life). The idea for this post came to me as Simon and I were learning how to navigate the insanity that is public transport in Paris. There is a train, called the RER, a subway of sorts called the Metro, and then a tramway that thankfully we didn’t have to even think too hard about while there. We had gotten turned around…for about the millionth time…when I took hold of the map and started navigating. We found the right transit line and sat down, and Simon mentioned how good I was at navigating. I started thinking about where I learned to read maps with such ease and came to the conclusion that it happened in the old days of Everquest.

When your character got killed, you had to run back to where you died and 1. hopefully get resurrected and/or, if no “rez” was possible, 2. collect your things. I spent a LOT of time running all over the game world of Everquest (Norrath) and most of that time the in-game map was superimposed over the view of my toon running. Map reading should have been a skill set in that game. I would have been a Master Mapper.

Okay, that sounds too much like a hip-hop performer gone very wrong. Moving on.

The revelation about my Master Mapping led me to think about the other places in my life that my gaming experience has helped me level up (gain experience and progress to higher ability and content) in my real life. I came up with two more things that I’m good at in real life that I think I can tie to gaming.

The first one (or second one, really…that is counting which is part of Math, in which my skill level is a fat (0). Anyway…): Navigating crowds and new places without drawing agro. “Drawing agro” is a gaming term for moving your toon too close to something that wants to eat you. It realizes that you are close and BLAMMO. Dead Druid. Okay, maybe that’s just me. Again, moving on…

I am pretty good at not getting in anyone’s way, especially in a crowd. I think Simon was annoyed with me a few times because in a long queue I would move out and around a corner (opening up a place for someone to cut in front of us) just so that no one would accidentally back into me, thus drawing agro. I can also weave through a crowd when on the move, avoiding the very social (meaning one mob/bad guy will see you and will bring several friends to eat you) survey takers and beggars in London and Paris and managing to not knock anyone out with my backpack as I run past.

The third one (hey! Math (1) for me!) is auto-follow. In Everquest and other games, there is a command that you type that lets your toon follow along where someone else’s toon goes. That can be dangerous, in game, when that other toon runs into a forest or around a path through a mountainous area. In real life, if you don’t pay attention when you’re following or watch out for the person on /af with you, one or both of you will get lost. Occasionally in Paris I almost got knocked out cold by Simon’s backpack because I was following too closely and he decided to look around to see if I was still there. Bless him, he doesn’t game.

Anyway, those are ways that gaming has positively affected my real life. Don’t try to comment on the negs, okay? I know all of them…and to quote Stan from South Park, ” I am socializing *****! I’m logged on to an MMORPG, with people from all over the world and getting XP with my party using teamspeak.”

And yes, I realize how sad that was, quoting a cartoon character to rationalize online gaming fandom. So? /rude

/camp
/ex