It’s a sale!

I’m pleased to announce that I am in the first stages of a non-fiction sale to a small computer magazine. The article is a short feature, and after querying the editor, I received an assignment to write the article!

This is very exciting for me. It’s an appropriate small step toward my goal of being a fiction writer. As Stephen King says in On Writing, it’s important to pay your dues before you really start to climb in the writing field. It gives you perspective and experience.

Of course, this is still in the early stages, and all kinds of things could happen. I could write the piece and the editor could decide that it doesn’t fit the magazine’s style. Or something drastic could come up and I could miss the deadline. Or something really drastic could come up that could force the editor to rethink the entire editorial schedule and my story would no longer fit. As they say, it’s not done until the work is completed, the papers are signed, the publication is in print, and the check is cashed.

But for now, there’s a sale on the horizon, and it doesn’t appear to have a skull and crossbones on it. 🙂

Back?

It’s been a long time. My last Creativity Journal entry was October 24, 2002. I have written little since then, but I have not been entirely devoid of creativity.

The band formerly known as Flat Rabbit has started getting serious; we added a couple of members, and our first gig is a benefit for the victims of the December 21st Summit Apartment fire in Thornton, Colorado. See the band’s website for further information.

I spent my lunch hour throwing that site together; I expect it to change much in the coming days and weeks.

One of my vices in the last three months has been a game called Motor City Online. It’s an online racing game, and I’ve become hopelessly addicted to it. Even this has not been uncreative, however. I have experimented with building my own skins for the game, and the results are below.

I chose to use my character’s ’65 Mustang for the experiment, since that is the vehicle referred to in Agamemnon’s Skinning Tutorial. Also, I knew I wanted to build a Denver Bronco themed car, and what better car to use than a pony car? The picture below is an in-game screen shot of my first attempt on the Mustang.

Not bad, but it has some problems. Most notably, the orange mane of the Bronco logo washes out next to the orange car. Bad design idea. Here’s attempt #2:

Much better. The blue really sets off the logos and is consistent with the Broncos theme. It was a lot of fun to build the skin, even though I’m the only one who can see it in the game. To everyone else online, this is simply a standard, red ’65 Mustang.

Technically, I did attempt another skin before these. It was a modification of an already modified ’73 Firebird skin, the closest thing to a second-generation Camaro that exists in the game. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work very well because the model that the skin wraps around is much more true to the body of the Firebird than the Camaro. I may post a shot of that car if I can get a good angle on it. Originally, it was an attempt to replicate my old 1970 Camaro Z/28, a car that I miss dearly and should have never sold. I may give it another try, now that I’ve learned a little about skinning.

Thanks to all of the people who sent me e-mail about the site recently. Two of the e-mails were guitar-related, one from a person wanting my final opinion of the Carvin Bolt kit (which gives me some incentive to finish documenting that project) and another from one of the primary guitar playing influences in the early days of my playing, Peter Neds. You can read why Peter is one of my favorite guitar players in “The Zone,” one of the first pieces I wrote for this site, five years ago.

Is Troubleshooting Creative? You bet!

The closest I got to creativity today was troubleshooting my Windows 2000 server. I received an old motherboard, processor and case from one of my coworkers as payment for upgrading him to a new system, and proceeded to move my Windows 2000 Server installation to this new machine. Rather than just move the disks over and hope for the best (I’ve had mixed results with this in the past on machines at work) I decided to format the drives and go with a clean install in the new system. The OS installed with no problems, but when I tried to set up Active Directory after the install, the machine locked up.

Ah! A challenge!

I tried swapping the network card out, thinking it was maybe a compatibility problem, but received the same result. I checked Google for the last message displayed (“Configuring the local server to host the Directory Service”) and found several posts from people having the same problems, but no solutions that fit my situation. I tried setting up DNS manually, and was successful, but the installation still hung. Finally, I decided to move ahead with installing Service Pack 3 and the Security Toolkit for Windows 2000 Server, and tried promoting the server to a DC after that. Lo and Behold, Active Directory installed with no errors or hangs. Problem solved.

Then after I had the usernames and properties set up, I attempted to install the new Western Digitial 40Gb drive I purchased a couple of weeks ago. The motherboard BIOS detected and installed the drive without coaxing, and I figured it would be smooth sailing to format and get the shared folders set up on the drive. However, when I opened the Disk Management container and attempted to write a signature to the drive, I got the following error after a long wait: “LDM Configuration Disk Write Error.” I was also informed that the Disk Management container had become unstable, and that I should restart the machine or close Disk Management.

Ah! Another challenge!

When I tried to format the drive with NTFS, I got a similar error. But the solution to this one was easy. I restarted the computer with a Windows 98 boot disk, ran FDISK to create a Primary DOS partition on the new drive, and restarted Windows 2000. Now the Disk Manager saw the partition as a healthy DOS partition of the appropriate size, and I was able to format it with NTFS.

Creative? Yes. Simple? Yes, but I still had to think creatively to get around the roadblocks.

Kim and I went to see S1M0NE today. I think John Shirley was very kind to this movie in his Locus Magazine review. Probably too kind. Even my wife, who is not a computer expert, picked up on the obvious computer-related flaws in this movie. I agree with Shirley that the movie has a pleasant taste, but if you know ANYTHING about computers — and if you’ve read this far in this log entry, you must — don’t take your brain to see this movie. Leave it at home, on the bookshelf, enjoying the company of Shakespeare and Conan Doyle.

Slacking Off

I slacked off today. The only things in my day that resembled creativity were fixing a co-worker’s home computer and playing Literati.

We got a lot more good rain today, and that’s always welcome this summer. When I was going in to work, I thought I saw a light dusting of snow on the mountains right behind the Flatirons, but it was just an illusion. Some wispy clouds were snagged on the tops of the mountains, and it looked like snow from a distance. Pretty, but it would have been cool if it had actually been snow.

It’s ironic; this has been the best summer for bike riding in many years, but I haven’t gone riding at all. That’s pretty lame.

Housekeeping

Today was a day for housekeeping on the website, and I didn’t do much that was creative. Basically, I organized the files behind the scenes of the site, which will probably confuse the spiders, but the site is active enough that they will be back soon to index it.

The only change that will be visible to readers is the absence of the Current Rant link. Since I started this Creativity Journal, most of the things that I was inclined to rant about have appeared here. The Creativity Journal has really become the focus of the site, so I reordered the links down the left side of the page and removed the Current Rant link.

In the afternoon, a fast-moving thunderstorm passed over Boulder, where I work. The clouds were a dark, roiling gray, and they carried a short, hard rain. As the thunderhead approached, we could see the leading edge of the cloud rolling in upon itself. Half an hour later, blue sky was spreading over the Flatirons. Welcome to Colorado, where we can have all four seasons in one day.

I had planned to go see Flex Luther tonight at Cricket on the Hill, but I have had less than 15 hours of sleep in the last three days due to my writing groups and the Johnny A concert. I think I’d better stay home tonight and get some sleep.