Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 in review / 2015 resolutions

It will be hard to be non-bias on this one, because 2014 ended in a shit storm. So to try to remove bias, let’s look at my resolutions for this year.

The big resolution was to re-examine my life and where I want to go.  I did lots of questioning at the beginning of the year. I tried to apply to film jobs outside of the state.  To get anything in that field I had to show I had current experience, aka recent film jobs, which I had already been trying for for years, or I need to go back to college. And so came the question...did I want to try going to college while working full time? Unfortunately, nothing interested me enough to stress myself out to go to college, work full time, just to acquire more debt to get into jobs that wouldn’t pay much more and have no guarantee of being any less stressful. Film, writing, video… all jobs I would prefer, but I’ve gone down that road before, there is no promise it will work out, and experience has taught me that additional college experience isn’t really going to help. Programming or medical professions don’t really interest me. They might pay a bit more, but it’s not going to have an over-all positive net value in my life.

There are promising job opportunities opening within my job, and in Portland, in the future. I have, for better or worse, resigned myself to holding my breath until those come to fruition. It is hopeful that I start seeing that type of movement early in 2015.

My other major resolutions was to make a great, permanent change in my life. As discussed above, I still have my same job. I am still single. I am still petless. I am still not a serial killer (not that I’d admit that either). On the 31st, I was sitting in the same apartment. As of the 3rd of January, I did change residence and got new roommates, so it could be counted as a delayed success. But even that is minor, as I will be living only about 5 minutes away from my current location. Not really a scenery change. So my 2 major goals, figure out where to go in life and create a change in my life are both counted as fails in my books.

The rest of the goals were various forms of fails. Fitness was a big fail, but understandably so. And I didn’t even really do much more yoga outside of a month or two. My writing was focussed on D&D or my comic book, so enjoyable, but not career pursuing. I read more than the year before… which is saying like 3 books. Due to scheduling, I only went on a few other hashes. I did join a pay for dating website, so I got that experience under my belt… and it was regrettable. Definitely a loss of money. I apparently spent close to $1500 on alcohol last year (I didn’t count New Orleans, but I didn’t do much drinking then), most of it during the summer. I have no positive nor negative feelings towards that amount, I just wanted to know. While the fitness part is disappointing, the rest are all kind of “eh.”

Really, the only thing I did well was my goal #5, be more active for Halloween. While technically Halloween itself I did minimal, I did do the Great Horror Campout, and also had my New Orleans Halloween trip. I saw a ton of haunted houses, got lots of great scares, and a few mementos that will last. I passed this one with flying colors.

From the perspective of how many goals did I accomplish...this year was a disgrace. I really only accomplished one of my goals, two more that were gimmes, and neither had positive effects on my life. So much for trying the unbiased approach to 2014.

I don’t feel it was totally bad though. Again, goal #5 was very important to me. In fact, from the month of August through the majority of November, I was doing really well.  Great Horror Campout, New Orleans trip, I had an awesome partner in crime, and I felt in those months I really knew who my friends were and I was spending lots of time with them. I felt truly loved and happy during that time. It definitely helped that work was only minorly stressful during that period as well. I think the memories I made during August through November will outlast the negative memories of the year.

Another great thing is I changed my comic books formatting, and so far am getting very positive feedback. The followers of the page have grown immensely, and I feel like I’m getting good work done. I am looking forward to seeing it grow over the next year.

But since the middle of November until the end of year, life got really bad. Had to search for a new apartment which turned into a nightmare, work got extremely busy and filled with screamers and hate while while the hunt for new jobs became depressing, my health deteriorated, my partner and I split, and of course the normally expected stress caused by the Holidays. Due to all the stress, I became (and still am) very reclusive and introverted, so I’ve been seeing my friends a lot less. Christmas Eve 2014 has been put in the annals of time as one of the top 5 worst days of my life (I believe its #4, possibly #5), largely impart to work stress.

This year I am going to try to limit my resolutions and focus more on what did work. Of my resolutions, I only really cared about less than half of them. I’m going to focus my resolutions on things that will make me happier with life. I’m not depressed, but I’m not happy either. The past few years I haven’t had a “Happy” year. I’ve had happy moments throughout the past few years, but I wouldn’t say any of the recent ones have been over-all happy.

Resolution #1: Make another vacation that’s about me. One of my best times of 2014 was the New Orleans trip. While I have a few “vacations” planned for 2015, they are marriages, or large group gatherings. They will be fun, I will enjoy them, but they are about other people. They aren’t for me. The New Orleans trip was on a whole different level. With the extra vacation time I have now, I will want to make sure I do this again. While probably not New Orleans, we’ll look at other places I have never visited.

Resolution #2: A separate resolution dedicated just to Halloween. Maybe it can be mixed with Resolution #1, maybe not. Either way, focussing a lot on Halloween or other scares / haunts made me super happy. It is definitely a reason for my happiness from August through part of November. If I can salvage those months, than I’ll at least be able to smile on that period of time.

Resolution #3: This one might be a bit harder, but I’d like to move somewhere that will allow me to own a dog. I have always had a dog in my life, and not having one now just feels wrong. I would focus on my health running the dog, I’d have a buddy around me to keep me happy, and overall I think it would be a wise investment in my life. Unfortunately, this resolution may be partially out of my hands. It depends on my living situation, it depends on what opens up, and life may change for me financially as well.

Resolution #4: Find a way to be happy with my job. Switch jobs, change companies, go to therapy. Something. I have had this resolution multiple times. It’s important. I’ve been working on it for years, and so far nothing has really changed. I’m really hoping if I can accomplish the above three, then while this one won’t pass...I’ll at least feel better over-all. And that’s the goal. To feel happier about the year.

Fitness, reading, writing,art, and tattoos are all things important to me. But they are things that don’t need resolutions. When I suffer illness, or bad asthma, or whatever else that takes me away from doing them, having a resolution to do it just makes me feel like I’m further failing, and it doesn’t make me feel any better when I succeed. It’s a lose-whatever situation, and I don’t need to put myself into that.

So despite the stressful start, I’m hoping if I focus on these resolutions, I can make 2015 better.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Great Horror Campout Review

I just got back from the Great Horror Campout Portland Oregon, 2014, event. This was the 2nd year the events been held at all, and the first time in Portland. Let’s start off with saying: I absolutely loved this event. I am already planning on going again next year. Every single dollar I spent on this was 100% worth it, and I would definitely rate it 5 stars. It was also the second year this event has gone down, and I look forward to them improving many things (and reading the reviews, it sounds like even during this year, they took advice and greatly improved).

I was unsure what I was getting into when I signed up. Some of the things I heard they wanted to do sounded like borderline torture, an “extreme” horror event that would potentially leave me emotionally scarred, while some reviews made it sound like a subpar snoozefest that would leave with me regret. Nonetheless, I went in with high hopes.

This event should be advertised as an all night, horror themed scavenger hunt. This is a game. At times its a competition, other times its cooperative, and other times its a test of your own skills. And its all horror themed. There is an area to watch horror movies, to listen to scary stories told by a fire, there are monsters prowling the tents pulling you out if you try to rest, there are forested areas filled with creatures, there’s a “Voodoo” magic ritual, a haunted-house, a labyrinth filled with monsters, and lots and lots of things you have to reach into to pull something out.

I think its important to note here there are many types of horror. Hostel and Rosemary’s Baby are NOTHING alike, but both are categorized as horror movies. What scares certain people is laughable to others.  “Screamer” horror, where something jumps out at you is very common at haunted houses, but it generally makes me laugh.  There’s gross out horror, such as reaching into gunk or seeing gore. There is the fear of waiting for something or the sense of being hunted. Sensory Deprivation is a type of horror that can actually really get me jumping. There’s torture and humiliation horror, where you actually have to experience it. There’s lots of other types of horror, and I felt that this event had a little bit of everything. Screamer and gross out humor are the easiest to employ and there was plenty of it. The only thing lacking is anything that would be classified as “Extreme,” but I’m sure its hard to get too many people to sign up for true torture. Many of my friends didn’t sign up because they were worried about how bad it could possibly be, so my reinsurance that its not that extreme will definitely bring them in.

A day or two before the event, you receive a printable Dossier, which includes what various events there are, what “SCAG” items you are looking for, and hints / riddles. An example is that one hint is “The Penitent Man knows to ask for Agony.” During one event, you are asked “What do you desire,” answering “Agony” gets them painting blood on you, as well as a piece of scag that you might need to be crowned a “Hellmaster” (aka winning). This just tickled my fancy, and made it a mind game. My focus was now split between reading the dossier, figuring out what to do, and worrying about what was sneaking up on me.

So we get there, start pulling in, and someone runs right in front of my car. He’s one of the “Mutated hillbillies,” and starts yelling at me “What the fuck! Get through that fucking gate!” And just like that, this shit is on. This isn’t going to be child friendly, this has hollywood level make up, and this shit is going to involve both harassment and shit jumping out at you.

While standing in line for check in, you get harassed by the mutated hillbillies. Everyone did a great job, and really kept to a character. Some of them would steal your items and run off with them, and others just stood way too close while talking at you. A less murderous version of the Hills Have Eyes. While going through security, we talked to a cute a couple and we eventually formed a “Group” to help each other out and join the events. After checking in, you go through security, get to your tent, and can set up. During the process, there are prowlers who jump into people’s tents or do the infamous rev-a-chainsaw right behind you trick, there are mutants “kidnapping” people and making them publicly grovel, and a few monsters who just want to hug you with their big goo covered bodies.  At a set time, there is orientation, where they basically go over the rules of the games, an idea of what’s about to happen and things to expect.  And then you’re off, for the next X hours, you are released to enjoy the area they’ve created.

We started by going to the “Dumpsters.” A bunch of satyrs, who looked fucking amazing (I’m going to stop that. EVERYONE at this event looked fucking amazing. There was not a costume that didn’t make me say “Wow, thats well done.”) guard some dumpsters.  You have to jump into the dumps-

Nope. I was kidnapped. Hood thrown over my head, dragged off, and forced to my knees. I then hear someone shouting for volunteers. “Whose going to join this bitch in the woods! Don’t make me bag all of you fucks!” I hear some roughing up, then told to stand, and put my hands forward. My hands are guided to someones shoulders, and then we march. The ground is uneven, and I have TO “watch” where I step while blindfolded as the ground is uneven. The people around me are freaking out, “Oh god, did you just see that.” “Oh shit, there’s something following us.” No, I have a bag over my head, I can’t see shit!  But, I am seeing movement. A scream, some laughter. Eventually we come to an end. Our guide removes my hood, and tells us to go over there, in the dark forest, and we’ll find some scag.

As described earlier, some things scare me, others don’t. Being bagged didn’t scare me itself, but it set me in the mood. The group I was with was scared for me, and one was already freaked out. While none in our group got kidnapped again, plenty of others did.  There was a van going around grabbing people. Other people were thrown into cages, which looked terrifying, “hunters” who would catch you and “feed” you to a monster, and while I never witnessed it, there were apparently zombies throwing people into coffins. To get all the scag, you had to be exploring areas while being ever vigilant of monsters coming at you.

I’m not going to detail everything, because there was a lot. So much so, I didn’t actually participate in all of it (I missed an event or two). The area we were guided to had human corpses that you had to reach into, through gore, to find scag items. Some were large, like ribs, others were small pentagram coins. There were events that were physical competitions of you against others. There were very hidden things to find. There was a labyrinth with monsters in it that if they saw you moving, you were dragged out and had to start over. There was a “haunted” house area with the strobe lights and things jumping at you (it was a decently done haunted house; better than some haunted houses I’ve paid $20 to go through just once). A pool that you floated through while a creature tried to flip you. There were mandatory events, one being just tug of war, another being a game called “Blood tag.” I’ll let you imagine that one. Basically, outside of people who wanted to literally be tortured (which I give, some of the advertisements made it sound like you might get taken to a dungeon and literally get waterboarded or given electroshock therapy), it had a little bit of everything for everyone. It wasn’t “extreme,” but I felt there was something to get everyone. Again though, the event is first and most of all a Scavenger Hunt, with a horror theme. It was far from the scariest thing I’ve done in my life, but it is easily one of the most fun times I had with a horror theme.

The event got even better later. Around 1 AM it got completely dark and many people had decided to clock in for the night and take their chances in their tent. I spent little time in the actual camp area,  Now, it was very dark and there weren’t people screaming warnings of when something was coming. There were no lines for any of the events either. I wandered into “Creature Country,” and actually got scared. This is an area where creatures could, and would, actually capture you. With no back up, I was digging trying to find an item, and then I hear a twig snap behind me to my left. Then another to my right. I stand slowly, and look over my left shoulder.  A monster is breathing down my neck. To my right, another. I take a breath, and then I scatter. I scatter the wrong way too, and I think I lose them. I have a freaking flashlight, and they know the area...I can’t lose them. They play with me for a bit, eventually decide they are done, and guide me to the item. I grab it and start heading BOO! Another monster jumps out at me shrieking. I fall to my knees, take a deep breath in, and just start laughing. They fucking got me.

At the very beginning people were spread out, but it quickly got clumped up. I loved the rush of having a group that was watching out for your back while you were reaching into gunk, but when there are a dozen other groups nearby screaming and alerting you when somethings coming… gets rid of some of it. Not to mention, there was a ton of light pollution. By the end of the night, when I was alone or with just another or two, we could see nothing but that spooky glowing cabin in the far distance and the exact area my flashlight shown on.   Unfortunately, outside of either “Get a bigger venue,” which has lots of difficulties which may or may not be out of the hosts hands, or “Have less people a night,” which goes against the concept of profitability, I can’t think of a fix for these. The camp did have plenty of Mandatory events throughout which took large portions of people off the field at a time to do some other awesome events. The scavenger hunt ended at 2:30am, and I do wish it was open a bit later because, for me, the best time was after 12:30 or 1ish when people were crashing for the night.

Another problem was that there was a lot of passing of information. Clues being answered and many people learning it, or hidden areas being talked about and next thing you know there is a line. This isn’t something I can blame on the hosts though. As discussed earlier, I formed a small group of 4, and when we figured something out we tried to discreetly share it with each other. Still, sometimes what we said in whisper was overheard by another group. And we were trying to be discreet. While the camp counselors could discourage it, there was actually fun in bartering information with others. This is another unavoidable problem.

The third problem is really the complaint of a loser. I did not earn the title of “Hellmaster” by the end of the night, and I really tried. To become Hellmaster, you had to collect a certain # of items from certain areas. The hardest items were either through competition or limited in #. For the competitions, I often found myself competing against tons of different people, and they were long events. The smallest competition was 7 people, and the largest was somewhere around 40, and they often took somewhere of over 10 minutes each. Of everyone who signed up, only 16 people had a chance to take the Hellmaster challenge. I would have aced the Hellmaster test, which was horror movie trivia, but I couldn’t get those items. Simply put, I didn’t do what I needed. The competition made it a ton of fun for me. Some people thrive on competition, other people thrive on competition but only if they win. I’m a little sore I didn’t become hellmaster, but it’s really just fueling me into being better next year.

Let’s conclude this shit. I loved this, and am strongly recommending all my friends join me next year (and then stealing their stuff so I can be Hellmaster! Bwahaha!). The monsters were amazing, both in make-up as well as acting. All the games were enjoyable, and the concept is solid. It wasn’t the scariest thing I’ve been to, but easily one of the most fun. The faults I found in it could simply be the faults of reality. A huge thing to me though is I’ve read the reviews from last year, and the ones from earlier this year, and I see a lot of improvement. They are taking the feedback to heart. If they keep doing that, I can see this being an event I never miss again until it becomes Burning Man huge.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

True Detective and The King in Yellow

True Detective (2014) and The King in Yellow, by Robert W. Chambers (1895)

After watching the HBO series, True Detective, I felt deprived of some secret knowledge. I understand many of the references from the show, such as the Green Man, I grasped the Male vs. Female power and City vs. Nature, but what eluded me was the references to Carcosa and The King in Yellow. The answer came from Robert W. Chambers 1895 collection of short stories, The King in Yellow. My interest in this book was solidified when it came to my attention that this was one of the influences on H.P. Lovecraft. There will eventually be spoilers, for both The King in Yellow as well as for True Detective.

The book is comprised of ten short stories. The first four all have a horror feeling to them while referencing the King in Yellow. The following two felt like sci-fi / fantasy love stories. The last four all felt like they were about living in Paris during World War I. Due to how the book was comprised, starting with horror moving to science fiction / fantasy and then ending in stories that were, more or less, about love during a time of war, it gave the last four a very surreal feeling. I am sure if I read those four without the context of the first six, they would have had an entirely different tone.
Chambers’ writing style definitely focussed on what he knew. His stories generally focus on an American in his prime studying abroad, specifically Paris. The protagonist is wealthy and pursues art in some fashion, such as sculpting or painting. Not surprisingly, this coincides with events in his own real life.

As a lover of horror and seeing the development of Cosmic Horror, I really enjoyed the first four stories. While far from the cosmic-horror that HP Lovecraft would write, it definitely laid the groundwork for developing mythos. There is a lot happening in the background of the stories, specifically with The King in Yellow, a play that is never fully written, but anyone who seems to read the full thing goes mad. Not necessarily stark-raving-mad shipped to an asylum mad (although, definitely not out of the question), but more of an obsessive mad. It’s not necessarily supernatural, but has the intonation that more is at play than our normal comprehension. Chambers’ horror would be that a door always opens, even if you fully latch it, it swings open again. Maybe there is something more to it, but maybe its a shoddy built house. In comparison, Lovecraft would have that swinging door potentially be something natural, but by the end of the story we have traveled into a new plane of existence.

In terms of True Detective, the biggest thing is their meeting The King in Yellow. The two protagonists meet the villain, a man who lives in “Carcosa.” After their encounter with him, the two go a little bit mad. Their current selves vs. their past selves are incredibly different, but one can see where either would be tipped in that direction. The villain of True Detective feels like he could have fit into the short story “The Repairer of Reputations,” being specifically an ugly individual with odd appetites, but a potentially incredibly intelligent character who has used his position to influence others and remain himself invisible. There is a madness and dream of grandeur about the character.

While reading the short stories didn’t further illuminate anything for me in either True Detective nor Lovecraft’s works, the stories were still interesting. The first four definitely painted a fowl world, while the last four tried to paint a world during war for me that is equally beyond my concept. They were entertaining and quickly read. As a horror and fantasy fan, I can see the groundwork for a lot of future works laid here. None of the stories were specifically that great, but I can see where many great authors used these stories to develop much greater concepts and even genres.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Building A Computer

After having owned my last computer for about 6 years now, it was starting to malfunction here and there. The problems were minor, running video games in low graphics and occasional crashing. Things were just slowing down. Hell, it crashed running Windows Media Player once! I had intended on saving up money through the year, and maybe build a new computer by the end of the summer, depending on how well I could save / bonus at my job.

Then my job informed me that I needed to upgrade my windows within the month.  My current computer might not be able to take the upgrade, on top of that... did I really want to pay around $100 to upgrade windows on a computer I planned on decommissioning by the end of the year.  That was my impetus to start.

I decided to build my own computer for a couple of reasons.  First off, nerd cred.  Seriously, building your own computer as opposed to just buying one is seen as incredibly nerdy.  It takes a lot of reading everything, double-triple checking to make sure you got all the right parts, but its also a lot of fun.  It's also not really that hard.  But it also saves a ton of money.  I built a potentially $2000 computer for just over $1000.

I'm definitely going to go over everything I did with pretty pretty pictures.  I'll explain the process, what I did wrong, and things I fixed.  BUT, I'm not a professional.  I would strongly suggest reading Lifehacker's guide on Building a PC over my stuff.

So Here's what I bought!  Everything but the video card was bought from Newegg.  The video card was bought for my old computer from Best Buy, and cannibalized into the new computer (no, seriously, that's the term when you take a piece from one device and place it into another).

The case is Rosewill's Thor case.  A case is something you can use repeatedly, so you want a good one. Things you want to look for are: Cooling, # of ports, and size of Motherboard it can carry.  The larger a case is, the easier it is to get into it, but also makes it harder to transport.  I might one day buy a gaming laptop, because this thing is going to be a bitch to move.  But, it comes installed with 4 fans and speed controllers for up to 6 fans, can hold any size Motherboard.  It's also named Thor, and my constant obsession with Norse Mythology took control.  $140.

Motherboard: I bought the ASUS P8Z77-V LK motherboard for $130. For a motherboard, you want one that's going to hold the proper # of cards and RAM, and the right type of slots, and how many USB ports and stuff it has.  When choosing a motherboard, you want to see what type of processors it can go with, and the size of it to make sure it'll work in your case (or that your case will hold it).  At this time, DDR3 is the most common.  DDR3 is basically better and cheaper than DDR2.

Processor: I bought the Intel Core i7-3770k quad core processor for $330.  The processor is the most expensive thing I bought, and for good reasons... it's the actual CPU.  You want to make sure your motherboard and processor are compatible, as that's super important or else nothing will work.  One thing I like about newegg is it will suggest things that should go along with the most recent part you looked at, so that's cool. It's 3.5ghz, which means its nice and fast.  The number of "Cores" is basically how many processes it can run smoothly at once.  I often find myself surfing the internet while listening to music and playing a video game... so 4 sounds about right.  If you are building a machine to only run one massive program or something, fewer cores will probably be a better option.

Power Supply:  I bought a Corsair 750W 80plus Bronze certified for $110.  You want to make sure your power supply is going to have enough cords and power to keep your computer running.  Generally 600 is enough.  The "80 plus bronze certified" just indicates how efficient it is.  80 plus means its at least 80% efficient, so 80% of the power is going to your computer, the other 20% is basically getting lost as heat. Bronze just indicates how efficient it is.  I wanted a Gold one, but it was sold out.  Here's a nifty chart to get you an idea of their efficiency!

Ram: I bought the Vengeance 8g mem of Ram for $76.  It's DDR3, so works with my motherboard, its pretty, its also more than I will ever need for awhile.  I could have gotten away with 4 or 6, but 8 was just as expensive, and if I need to upgrade I can just buy another 8 and use them in conjunction.

Harddrive: I bought the WD Black Series 1tb 7200rpm 64mb cache HD for $100.  Memory used to be expensive, and now its cheap. It's got 1tb of memory, which is way more than I dreamed of a decade ago.  I didn't go more because I have a 2tb external, and also because its easy to add more memory.  My case has 6 slots for Harddrives, so easy for me...a smaller case might have less, and really small might only 1... in which case it might be worth it to buy a larger HD to start with.  The other #s just indicate how fast it will travel when recalling the information.  Make sure that its got the right connector for your motherboard, but I'm pretty sure they are standardized to be SATA plug ins.

Optical Drive: I bought a ASUS DVD Burner for $20.00.  You need an optical drive for CDs and shit.  I bought one.  It works.  I might buy a Blu-ray player eventually and install it later, but that'll happen when it happens.  Again, make sure it has the proper plug in, which should be SATA. My case also has a ton of ports for new optical drives, so I didn't really care.

Video Card: Technically optional as my motherboard already has monitor support, and graphics card just really enhances any graphics and helps them run smoother as it processes all of it.  I cannibalized my GeForce GTX 660ti from my old computer.

Alright, lets get to building!

As is often stated, RTFM: Read The Fucking Manual.  Read it, understand it.  Especially for the motherboard.  Also, keep yourself grounded, so you don't statically kill anything.  Personally, I've never heard first hand accounts of anyone doing this (always a friend of a friend whose a dumbass deal), but I never want to hear it either.  I repeatedly touched the edge of my case before and after touching anything.

Step 1: You can either start with the power supply or the motherboard.  I started with the power supply.
Basically, there is a large hole in the back of your case.  Your power supply should be able to smoothly fit in there and get screwed in.  Super easy.

Step 2: Motherboard.  Before starting, you may want to check to make sure you know where the screws will be going and that motherboard should fit.  As long as you double checked to make sure case will hold the right size of motherboard, you should be good.  My case can hold any ATX motherboard, so had a bunch of holes, and I just had to find the right ones. Before screwing anything though...

On the back of your case will be a vertical slot you have to remove and install a face plate.  It should be right above a bunch of horizontal slots where your video / audio cards will go.
It should snap in. If it doesn't get your roommate to do it for you, which is what I did.  This piece was annoying because there was a bunch of metal snags that I had to bend in, and I was trying to snap it in from the wrong side.  Also, I have man sized hands, so sometimes its hard to get small things.

Before installing the Motherboard, I decided to plug some things in.  I apparently didn't get a before and after picture, but on the motherboard there is an area for where the processor goes. It kind of looks like a mouse trap.  The processor is actually a small metal square that fits in their.  One of the corners of the processor has a gold arrow, and one of the corners of the mousetrap also has an arrow.  You want those two arrows lined up.  You open the mousetrap, you place the processor in the slot with arrows matching, you close the mousetrap. Closing the mouse trap should require minimal force.  That processor is like a thing Ghirardelli chocolate, and you don't want to break it.  Hopefully, your PCU came with a fan.  My fan had thermal glue already, so I just had to set it right on top of PCU, and then I locked it into the motherboard.
Like that. The fan has a cord, and right in the area should be a plugin that reads CPU_FAN or something similar.  Plug it in there.  Also in this picture, I installed my RAM chip, which is the piece to the right of motherboard.  Its a lot easier to install it now then when the motherboard is attached to the case.

Alright, next step is there are a bunch of screws that screw into the case, and then allows screws to screw into them.  I had you take note of the matching holes earlier.  Screw the screw screws in to those matching holes.  Place the motherboard on top.  This is so its not sitting just directly onto the case.  I did this by first lining up the USB ports of the motherboard to the face plate and moving it in. Once everything is aligned, screw that bad boy in!
Once it was in, I used the top most slot for my video card.  I removed slot cases, slid the video card in, and called it good for now.

Step 3: The Hard drive.  I really wish I had a picture of just my open case, but I don't.  If you go to the first picture, it does show the case.  In the lower right of the case is a bunch of slots that open up facing the the side of the case. Mine had a removable tray.  I took that out, wrapped it around my HD, and screwed the HD in.
The tray slid in nice and clean right after.  You want to make sure the plugs face out.

Step 4: The optical drive. The front of the case should have slots that can be removed.  There is no picture of me installing the optical drive because its really case dependent.  On my case, I had to unlock the enclosures to open them up, and then I literally just pushed the optical drive in.  It was a tight fit, and required some pressure, but once in it locked easily.  Other cases might have a tray like the HD, others might require to be screwed in.  Generally its straightforward.

Step 5: Anything else you have. Any other video / audio cards, other HDs or optical drives, anything else, install that now.

Step 6: Wires! YAY Wires.  Before doing this, I suggest reading the fucking manual, but... the manual can also be confusing as fuck.  CPU_FAN is obvious, but they aren't all that simple. Somethings are easy, such as the power supply for the Motherboard, where its like "Well, there's only one male one female that fit duh."  But other areas are...less fun.

Something you want to keep in mind is that a big deal of keeping your computer cool is how well air can flow.  You want to keep your case as open as possible. If you notice from my first picture, the back of my computer has a bunch of holes.  As much of my wiring as possible is down on the other side of that, keeping the chassis itself clear.

First thing I did was power cords, because I'm metal.  Also because they are key, and easy to figure out.  I later moved these cords much further to the right and against the case.  After that I did the SATA plug ins (e.g. hard drives and optical drive), followed by the stuff on my face plate.

My motherboard has an area for fans to plug in, and I can control the fan speed through my BIOS.  But, my case has two fan controls.  My motherboard only had 3 slots for fans, and I have 4 fans.  Not in my manual was that my fans can connect straight to a plug in at my case.  Sorry I don't have a picture of the final wiring configuration.

Another difficult part was the power switch and IED lights.  The directions for this were staring at tiny 9 prongs that were semi-confusingly written.  I did it wrong the first time, and my computer wouldn't turn on.  I was off by a set of pins, and everything worked.  It turned on!

Step 7: Before turning on your computer, make sure you have a mouse and keyboard that will work.  Most new motherboards should accept USB direct plug in ones, but a wireless device is not going to work because that needs a driver install.

First time you turn your computer on, do it with no CDs in.  When it starts, the first screen should ask you to hit DEL or some other key to enter BIOS.  It'll load your bios, and should indicate if there are any immediate things you should be concerned with.  If you are all into messing with stuff, you can make adjustments here. I'm not really really into that, and I don't really feel like overclocking, so next step is insert your OS disc, and install Windows or whatever!

After installing, you will want to update your drivers.  A cool thing now is that a lot of providers, such as my nVidia card, now has me install something that searches me devices and keeps them updated.  Yay for not having to hunt everything down.  This was actually the longest process for me because its a lot of the computer shutting down and turning back on and continuing to download.  This took ... awhile.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 New Year Resolutions

2014 Approaches,and time to get some Resolutions on the board.

#1: Let’s start out with the heavy shit. Figure out my future.  I’ll turn 30 this year, and its about time I seriously reconsider it all.   At this time, I don’t know what I want from my future.  I know I need to get a new career.  I need to get out of Customer Service.  I know I love writing, and I want that to be my future.  I know I love Oregon and I want this to be my home.  So I have some options that I need to make my mind up about before this year ends.  Those options are:

A: Continue looking for film jobs.  Expand my search outside of the Pacific Northwest.  Some of my connections might finally pan out, and the thing I went to college for, film editing, may come to fruition.  Problem is, I love Oregon.  I love being close to my family.  And Oregon makes escaping the city easy.  Next, they MAY pan out, that’s not a promise.  This would involve more waiting and less doing.  I also haven’t done anything but volunteer editing since I graduated, and in the tech world, any time off kills your experience.  I may have graduated as a “shoe in” to any position available (there were none), but now I’m not sure if I’m even qualified.  There are too many things that make me ask “How’d they do that?”  I might have to take classes to catch up.

B: Go to college.  But for what?  I’m not paying more money for a field that I’m still in debt too with little to no pay back.  A job that would guarantee to pay is programming.  I could, easily, get a programming job with a programming degree.  There are pages and pages of those jobs posted every single day.  But it wouldn’t make me happy. It would pay more, and I’d probably be happier than I am dealing with customers, but my job would just be a job.  It would not fulfill me.

C:  I could go to college for what makes me happy, writing.  Get an English major or something similar.  There’s a few jobs that that could be useful for.  Like Copy-editing, or being an actual editor, and those I would enjoy.  But there’s only a few of them, and some strong competition.  I initially didn’t get a degree in anything writing related because I simply didn’t see it paying off.

D: I could go to college for something completely different.  Medical fields are always looking for jobs. They pay much better, but I think I’d be less happy there. I don’t do well with physically sick people, and I’m not sure if I could stand the hours.  Psychology / Sociology would be nice, but I have too many friends in those fields who can’t find jobs to think that would be anything but a money / time sink.

E: Deal with it.  Realize that about 70% of the jobs in America are Customer Service jobs, and I should be thankful for th- Fuck that noise.  Seriously.  I know I can do better.

#2.  Let’s calm this right down now.  Stay physically fit and healthy.  If I can maintain my fitness level, it should reduce my stress and sadness.  Thing is, I keep taking breaks, and I can totally tell it impacts my head.  I plan on doing at least 1 race a month again, and hopefully do more physical things like hiking / swimming / camping through out.

#3. Writing.  Do it more.  A lot more.  Find a book club, a poetry club, a short story club, something writing club, and join it.  Work on getting your comic out more so more people read it.  Just do more writing and honing the thing that does make me happy.

#4. Don’t read more.  Seriously, the one year I put “Read more” as one of my goals is probably the year I read the least.  So...maybe if I do the opposite I’ll get the opposite effects as well?

#5. Be more active during Halloween.  It’s my favorite Holiday.  I did go to a bunch of haunted houses, but I want more.  Either a vacation dedicated to Halloween, or maybe volunteer to be a haunter for the month?  I was highly disappointed in what I did this year, and I know I can do better.

#6. Create a chaotic change.  I need to change my job, but if that doesn’t work I need another major life change.  Move, adopt a dog, invest money in something, become a serial killer.  I don’t know, a change that forces me to change how I live my life day in and day out, and see how that impacts me.

#7.  Hash more.  Because running drunk through the city should’ve happened a long time ago.

#8. Join a pay for online dating site.  Why? Because OKCupid sucks in Portland.

#9. Do more Yoga.  This should be higher on the list, but maybe having it at the bottom is good.  Read the top, and then skip the middle and read the bottom.

#10.  Document how much I pay for alcohol in a year better.  I want to know how much $ I spend in a year on alcohol!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013: My year in review

Year in Review: 2013

With less than 10 days left in the year, its time to review my year.  Before we get into looking at my resolutions for the year, a “How I felt I did.”

This year felt like a year in limbo.  Despite a lot of attempts, the things I desired to change remain unchanged.  I still have a job that I am not only dissatisfied with, but actively hurts my mental well being.  I did have multiple interviews, and a few close calls...but no new job.  I again hope to be out by summer, but we’ll see if that ever occurs. My lovelife is much the same.  Despite having quite a few interviews, aka “dates,” the year ends with me still pining over the same woman it started with.  I feel as though I have lost a number of friends, but in turn have gained new ones to to replace the old.   My finances are not much better, nor worse, than they were last year.  My health might be slightly better, but only slightly so.  I am quite happy with my living situation though, so that’s great.  

Now, how did I do with my resolutions.

1. Physical Health: I did 12 races in a single year, and in January I will have done at least 1 race / month. But, I fell behind on my upper body workouts.  Overall though, I am pleased with my running and what its done both for my physical health, as well as for my mental.

2. Growing my comic book: This is easily my biggest success.  I completed 2 issues in the year, and have over 1000 unique ip addresses visiting my site at its prime.  I am ending the year looking for a new artist, but also possible other opportunities.

3. Read More: Well this was a dismal failure.  It started out decently, then I started reading a book called Imajica and I’m still suck on it.  Maybe this year I should just hope to finish that single book.

4. Write More: I did alright on this one.  I did write more, posted more to my blog, and other things. A few short stories, a few short prose.  Nothing large though.  I will count this is an acceptable pass.

5. Continue being awesome: Well, duh.

6. Do more video editing: A failure, yet again.  And this may be the last year I try for that dream.

7. Get a New job: While definitely a failure, I did try.  I had a bunch of interviews, and made some network connections.  I am not going to be harsh on myself for this one as I honestly feel like I did my best; but at the same time, I am right now getting ready to clock in to a job where I feel like my purpose is to get abused for the next 8 hours.

8. Go on an adventure:  Eh...not really.  There were excuses for this.  Namely being that in the middle of the year, I ran into something that ate almost all of my free days.  Still, I went to a few mini-adventures.

9. More tattoos: Huge success.  I actually over doubled my tattoos.  I got both my sides completed with big tattoos.  And of course, my beloved Chocobo.

10. Geek out more.  Another big success.  I played a lot of video games, done some serious fantasy writing, play Dungeons and Dragons frequently, and became the Dungeon Master of a small group.

11. Get Good at Something.  Nope, not really.  But I did try.  I really did try, and I had a lot of fun doing so.

12. Family.  I worried less about my family this year.  I didn’t try nearly as hard to “Fix” my families problems. I also spent a good deal time more with some of my extended family.  And of course, lots of time with my best friend.

13.  Help my friend graduate.  Um, it’ll be in the next month or so.   Soon.

Reviewing this, I feel much the same.  I should feel good because of my success with the comic, but I am worried now that I have to find a new artist, what is to come of it.  Again, it pressures that this was the year of limbo.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gravity of a Lost Moment

Chatter fills the void with nothingness. Words are elongated and pulled apart into the blackest of holes while my mind's machinations finds significant indications in a betraying smile. A backward glance, the search for the perfect word. I fool myself into believing there is more here than there is

All because of a lost kissed. Standing beside her, alone, in the dark. A world of strangers discarded for solidarity. A look into her eyes, a bite at the lip. I had never been so close to what I desired, and I had never ejected so fast.

I recall falling backwards, staring across the growing distance at her. Praying she'd turn around, hoping she'd pull me back in. Instead I watched her head lower. Her cigarette drop and find its way beneath her heel. She never once turned to face me; there was no backward glance in that disappointed sigh. Instead I gave an empty scream that never reached her ear.

I lashed and thrashed like an astronaut lost at space. I desperately grasped at what was out of reach. Perhaps a saving hand did reach out to me, but in my determined lust I swatted them away.

Now I sit across from her, impotent to save myself. I search these star filled nights for a glimmer of that lost moment. To see her finally turn around; to hear her ask me why I didn't just lean forward. To have her pull me back in so I can recover that single cherished moment.

Instead I find myself staring at the light of a distant bright star, knowing that what I see now is already dead.