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    Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
    12:04 pm
    Wanna help out and get mentioned in a new book??
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vua/forging-foreshadows

    Anything you'd like to give would be appreaciated greatly by those of us involved in this fun project. It can also get you a mention in the book!

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to check this out and giving us a hand.

    Current Mood: artistic
    Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
    10:08 am
    Malediction
    One

    “Garus Reffore, you are hereby terminated as of this date. The Ishukone Corporation will, at no time, consider you for re-hire. This termination is final and official.”
    Garus stared blankly back at the Director of Human Resources.
    “I’m fired?”
    “You have fifteen minutes to clear out your desk and leave Ishukone premises.”
    “What did I do?”
    “What you are doing right this moment.”
    Garus blinked.
    “Wasting time, Mr. Reffore. This corporation is built on profit and you are a black hole for ISK. You disobeyed direct orders to shorten trade routes and were aware of the consequences. Now clear out or I shall have you escorted without any of your personal effects.”
    “Those trade routes took the ships through low-security star systems. Pirates would have destroyed them if-“
    “I’m not here to speak with you. Get out.”
    Garus took in a deep breath and left the Director’s office, deciding to go directly to FROG’S PUB. He had about fifty ISK to his name and two days before the lease on his apartment was due. His wife and his daughter were never going to be home to greet him. His life was now, officially, over.
    “Might as well drink myself to death, right?”


    “Another, please.”
    Garus drained his fifth mug of Amarrian ale. He turned and noticed the beautiful woman sitting quietly next to him.
    “Whatcha drinking?” he asked, his voice scratchy and his vision only slightly blurry.
    “Black tea. My own private stock from NOL.”
    “Who?”
    “Not who. Where. NOL-M9. Delve Region.”
    Garus’ eyes glazed over.
    The woman looked over at him, her amber eyes sizing him up.
    “Would you like to accompany me to my ship?”
    He stared at her, frowning, trying to make sense of her words. “You have a ship?”
    “Yes. Lots of curves. Big guns. You know the drill.”
    “Sounds sexy.”
    “You have no idea.” She leaned over and grazed his cheek with her moist lips, allowing her cleavage to inch perilously close to Garus’ potential grasp. Then, she was walking away, out of the bar, toward the station’s docking bay.
    “This isn’t what I had in mind, but what the hell, one last fling before I go,” he whispered.
    Garus Reffore left the bar and never looked back.


    The woman’s name was Bellisa. Everyone, including the Capsuleer who controlled most of the functions on the ship, called her Belle.
    “Why me?”
    “Why not? Consider it a new start to life.”
    “But, I don’t know anything about flying ships or whatever else you do.”
    “That’s why you’re here. To learn.”
    “I thought we were going to have sex.”
    “Don’t be foolish. Now, you have a choice. Do you want to live or not?”
    “You’ll kill me if I try to leave?”
    “Of course! Listen to me, Garus. You were a nobody. You were fired from a job you despised by a corporation you despised. I’m offering you a new start in your life. A chance to get rich or die in glorious battle.”
    “I don’t want to die in glorious battle.”
    “Neither do I. But I can see it in your eyes, Garus. You do want to get rich and you want to show Ishukone that you’re better than they are, don’t you?”
    “Yes.”
    “You want a chance to be somebody, right?”
    He nodded quietly.
    “Good. So, while the pilot controls all the major functions on board our Malediction, it’s up to you and Squee to procure our winnings.”
    “What’s about you?”
    “I take care of the pilot’s needs. I offer my advice to him on where to go and what targets are ripe for us.”
    “Will you attack Ishukone’s interests?”
    “Why do you ask? Do you have any information you would like to share regarding their cargo runs and transport locations.”
    “You know I do. I know how to get the info, too”
    “So, you’re good with computers and hacking software protocols?”
    “Pretty good, yeah.”
    “Okay. Let’s see what you can do, Garus. Perhaps your rewards will come sooner than any of us expected.”


    All he could do was hold on and hope the inertial dampeners continued to operate. The Malediction class Interceptor sped around the slow-moving hauler, orbiting in a tight 1000 meter radius.
    Garus powered up the cargo scanner and smiled.
    “Datacores. Encryption equipment. It’s all there!”
    “Well done!” Belle said.
    He felt the Malediction’s rockets launching from their silos, the hum of the ship’s warp scrambler and the pulse of the microwarpdrive all working in concert to defeat their enemy. He glanced over at Belle, who was smiling as she stared deeply at her computer. Over her shoulder, Garus could see what the Capsuleer saw, an image of his ship, their ship, orbiting an old Caldari hauling vessel. Rockets ripping into it without mercy.
    “The Badger’s shields are down,” Belle said. “Armor at twenty percent and dropping. She’s all ours! Garus, initiate a directional scan. 360 degrees. Are there any other ships in the area?”
    Garus powered up the system scanner in front of him and watched as the information blinked on his screen a moment later.
    “A Coveter-class Exhumer in a nearby asteroid belt. Several Guristas cruisers in another asteroid belt two-point-one astronomical units from our present location. That’s it.”
    “No threats. Excellent!”
    There was a sudden thump that Garus felt inside his entire body. He looked over at Belle’s screen and saw the debris cloud of what used to be a Badger-class hauler.
    The Malediction’s microwarpdrive powered down, the warp scrambler was silenced and no more rockets left their nest.
    Garus took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
    Belle was watching him, smiling. “For some of us,” she said, “the adrenalin rush of a battle never goes away. It’s a bad addiction.”
    “Until you die.”
    “Yes. Until you die.”
    Belle turned back to her computer station.
    “Stand by to loot that baby for everything she’s got,” Belle said
    “Ishukone’s gonna suffer for what they did to me,” Garus whispered.
    “So is anyone else who stands in our way. Good job. Now, grab your gear and begin looting the wreck while Squee does the salvaging.”
    Garus smiled. For the first time in his life, he felt like somebody and it was a feeling he hoped would never go away.

    TWO

    The Director of Human Resources, Noolok Tuonyyda, read the reports for a third time.
    “Bad business, these pirates.”
    The Ishukone Corporation’s Chief of Staff, Ruunuken Vulli, frowned and squinted her eyes into tiny slits. “There’s one pirate in particular I wish you to look at.”
    A badly pixilated image appeared on the monitor in front of him.
    Noolok shrugged. “Who’s that?”
    Vulli smiled now and leaned back in her chair. “You don’t know?”
    “Why should I?”
    “Take a closer look. The Captain of that ship is a Capsuleer, by the way. Well versed in the abilities of a Malediction-class Interceptor. The woman is well known to Caldari’s mega-corporations as Bellisa Ruosaka.”
    “Ruosaka? She has a twenty million ISK bounty on her if I recall.”
    “Correct. So, the security chief of this station is already being interrogated as to how she managed to get on board. Do you recognize the man next to her? The one off-loading our encryption equipment onto the Malediction?”
    This time it was Noolok’s turn to squint.
    “Can’t say as I do.”
    “His name is Garus Reffore. He was in our employ as of three days ago, when you fired him.”
    “Garus Reffore? What’s he doing there? He’s nothing. Less than average in every area of his work detail. He couldn’t write a report to save his life and it damn well cost him his job!”
    Noolok sat up proudly.
    “Do you know how we got this image?”
    “I’m not privy to the tactical configurations of our transport fleets.”
    “Fortunately, I am. You see, we had a Buzzard-class Covert Operations Frigate following each of the transport ships. They were able to coast in and take these images.”
    “They never assisted?”
    “How? Did you expect those ships to yell at this Malediction? Scare it away? No, their job was surveillance. Report their findings, if any.”
    “Did Reffore know all of this?”
    “Of course not, you imbecile! Did you even bother to read his psychological profile before terminating him?”
    “No. I just did my job.”
    “Well, Director, if you had read his psych report, you would have known that he was volatile. His wife and only child had recently been killed in a tragic accident…”
    Noolok flailed his arms as if chasing away annoying bugs.
    “I knew all that…”
    “Excuse me. If I wish to be interrupted, I’ll inform you.”
    The Director furrowed his brows in confusion.
    “Due the untimely deaths of his family, Mr. Reffore began drinking. His life began unraveling. Did you bother to assist him in any way?”
    “All employees know they can request assistance at any time.”
    “You didn’t answer my question. Did you assist Mr. Reffore in any way?”
    “No.”
    “I see.”
    Vulli stood up and turned her back to Noolok, who felt sweat beading across his forehead.
    “Due to your incompetence, it has been discovered that ten of our corporation’s high-technology transport ships, including a Bustard-class Deep Space Transport, were intercepted and destroyed, their cargo confiscated. Hundreds of millions of ISK were lost in those raids. Do you know how this happened?”
    The Director blanched and felt his stomach trembling, the acid within building and rising.
    “Do not make me repeat myself again, Director.”
    “Garus Reffore. He was responsible for coordinating those transport routes. They were originally scheduled for between 15-23 jumps from their home stations to their end stations.”
    “Until…”
    “Until the routes were ordered shortened for budgetary reasons.”
    “Resulting in all ten shipments having to go through low-security space with no CONCORD protection, making them extremely susceptible to being hijacked by pirates.”
    “I didn’t order the riskier flight plans! I fired the guy who implemented them!”
    “No, you fired the man who objected to the plan.”
    “His boss-“
    “Has already been dealt with. Mr. Reffore refused to sacrifice the safety of those transport crews for a few million ISK in savings. He deserved a promotion. First, we took his family, and then we took his life. Now, we have an enemy dedicated to our downfall. How do you think this make me feel?”
    “I don’t know.”
    Ruunuken Vulli turned around, holding a hand-held particle blaster.
    “It makes me angrier than I’ve been in almost eighty years.”
    She fired the weapon and Noolok watched as his body remained sitting in its chair and a fountain of blood erupted from its severed neck. It took him less than a second to realize that he could see his headless body dying before his eyesight faded into eternal blackness.

    Three

    Garus manipulated the computer console and called up a secondary security screen.
    “Here! I found it!”
    Belle stepped up to his shoulder.
    “What is this?”
    “I think they’re blueprints for a new battlecruiser variant. Something faster than a battleship, but without the shielding. Something stronger than a cruiser.”
    “They already have both the Drake and Ferox-class battlecruisers. Why another?”
    “Why a Rokh class battleship? Something else to make ISK on.”
    “Are you sure about this?”
    “It appears authentic. My encryption codes weren’t compromised. Yeah. I’m sure about this. A CovOp frigate is going to try to transport these items while cloaked. It’ll be nearly impossible to catch him.”
    “Nearly, but not completely. It’s almost too good to be true and I suspect we will come across more than just the Buzzard. This one is bound to have more protection than any of those haulers.”
    “Agreed. They’ll do anything to protect their profits.”
    “We’ve done very well and gotten very rich up to now. Do we risk this or move on to other targets?”
    “We destroy those Ishukone bastards every chance we get!”
    “Or die trying, right, Garus?”
    “Or die trying.”
    “Very well. I’ll advise the Captain to chart a course to the Synchelle Star System.”
    “Synchelle? Isn’t that where the first wormhole opened up over a year ago?”
    “The same. Poetic justice, don’t you think? Something else is about to disappear. Thanks to you, Garus.”


    Ruunuken Vulli was immersed in the Capsuleer fluid, in complete control of her ship. She watched and she waited.
    Her Sabre-class Interdictor sat, cloaked, at the Synchelle stargate to Kassigainen. She continually scanned the system and waited to hear from her assistant, who waited on the Kassigainen side of the gate, cloaked as well. When the word came, things would happen very quickly.
    Any second now, Vulli thought.
    As if on cue, she heard her assistant’s voice. “Malediction decloaking at the gate! Jumping through now!”
    The bright flare of the stargate erupted thirty five kilometers from her position.
    Let’s see how good you are, pilot!
    THERE!
    The Malediction decloaked, just for a moment, heading directly for her.
    The Sabre decloaked and launched its Interdiction Sphere, a warp-dampening ball of energy that instantly shut down a ship’s ability to escape quickly.
    “NOW!” Vulli commanded.
    Her Sabre’s microwarpdrive flared to life and pushed her ship towards the Malediction, which suddenly found itself unable to warp away from the danger approaching it. However, it still had a chance of escape and her pilot was experienced enough to take that chance.
    The Malediction suddenly disappeared from view, her engines powering up to speed a millisecond beforehand.
    Just before disappearing under cloak, the Malediction began a turn, aligning itself toward the stargate to Algogille Star System.
    Vulli now knew where to steer her own ship. She just had to get within two thousand meters of the Interceptor to decloak it.
    The Sabre’s sensor boosters flared to life and Vulli knew she had mere seconds after decloaking the enemy ship to target and keep the Malediction from getting away.


    Garus suppressed a deep chill and held on as the Interceptor banked hard, attempting to flee as quickly as possible.
    “She’s coming right at us. Escape maneuver Alpha. Burn away from her. Don’t worry about the gate until we get out of this damn bubble,” Belle said.
    She turned to Garus. “Activate the targeting system. The Interdictor has a huge signature compared to ours. If we can target her first, we might get out of this in one piece.”
    “Incoming,” the Malediction’s pilot said, his voice booming throughout the entire ship.
    The stargate flared to life. Seconds later, an Anathema-class CovOp frigate appeared and angled down toward the Sabre, but it was more than twenty kilometers away.
    The Malediction was now approaching 400 meters per second, faster than the Sabre and the Anathema. But not fast enough. The Sabre was 1800 meters away and the Malediction’s invisibility field shut down.
    Garus pressed a button and suddenly, blinking red cross-hairs surrounded the Sabre.
    He turned and saw Belle smiling. “Targeting acquired. Firing rockets. Four thousand meters to bubble’s edge.”
    “The Anathema’s got us targeted. They’re launching missiles! Brace for impact!”
    Two thousand meters from the bubble’s edge, the Malediction’s rockets hit the Sabre and the Anathema’s light missiles scored a direct hit on the Interceptor.
    Sparks flew from a shattered power conduit.
    “Shields down to thirty percent. What are those things?”
    “One thousand meters,” the pilot said. “Hold on!”
    The Malediction buckled and Garus felt each hit.
    “What was that?”
    “Sabre’s autocannons,” Belle said. “Until death, Garus Reffore.”
    “We’re not dead yet.”
    “Shields down. Armor at 40 percent. We can’t take another hit,” the pilot said. “Anathema’s firing missiles!”
    Garus waited for the impact. He waited for oblivion. He thought of his wife. His daughter, waiting for him with open arms.
    Then, he felt extreme acceleration push him back into his chair and heard the cheer from the pilot. It was almost as if the ship itself were grinning in proud relief. Looking over at Belle, he saw she had that same expression he must have had.
    “Are we okay?” Garus asked her.
    “Squee’s already working on repairs. Pilot’s already cloaked us. I’m scanning down various safe spots. We can stay in system for weeks if we have to. We were lucky, but for now, we’re safe.”
    Garus smiled. “Until we die.”
    Belle blew him a kiss and went back to work.


    Vulli smiled. “Disengage pursuit. Repeat, disengage. They’re gone.”
    “We can wait them out!” The pilot of the Anathema sounded angry.
    “We can, but we won’t. Return to the station. I will be along shortly.”
    Without responding, the Anathema turned away and disappeared through the stargate into Kassigainen.
    Vulli powered down her Sabre. She opened up her communications system and engaged the local frequencies.
    “Well played, Malediction. You have won your freedom here today. However, should you attempt any further attacks on Ishukone’s interests in this region, you have my word that you will be hunted down relentlessly, with the might of the entire Ishukone Corporation behind that search. Any other targets are, of course, not Ishukone’s concern.”
    She was not expecting a reply, so when one came, she arched her eyebrow in surprise.
    “Why? Why would you show mercy now, when you never did before?”
    “Garus Reffore. Perhaps this is my way of personally apologizing to you for the injustices perpetrated upon your family and yourself by Ishukone. Regardless, I consider this matter closed, and as the Chief of Staff, my word in this matter is law. I do not expect to hear from or see you again.”
    Ruunuken Vulli grinned, powered up her Interdictor class Sabre and turned back toward home.
    “Good luck and good hunting, Garus Reffore. May your new life hold more promise than your old one.”
    As the stargate powered up and enveloped the Sabre, Vulli thought she heard Garus whisper thanks. At least, that’s what she hoped she heard. In the end, it didn’t really matter. He was free and she had given that to him. It was all she had. It was all either of them needed.
    10:06 am
    Close to forever
    Well, this is the first post I've made here in nearly an eternity. Life has become much busier, as I am a probation officer with over 950 felony convicts on my caseload. I am writing for various entities and it seems as if I have barely enough time to breathe, let alone post online.

    In any event, I will make a separate post right after this containing a new short story I've written for EVE online. Any of the ships or solar systems mentioned can be looked up online for visual identification, should anyone choose to do so.

    This is such a rich, fertile universe to play in. And oh, so much fun, too!

    Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the story and thank you in advance if you take the time to do so!

    Current Mood: accomplished
    Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
    4:24 pm
    Well...I passed!!
    My medical and psych evals are all green...so I am officially a Deputy Probation Officer!!!

    Now, I await a phone call from the director of the division I am working for to tell me where to go and when.

    I am still in a bit of shock!!

    Current Mood: shocked
    Wednesday, November 18th, 2009
    9:02 am
    Writer's Block: Book review
    What (if any) books would you ban from a high school library? Are there certain subjects that you feel are inappropriate for teenagers regardless of literary merit?


    None.
    Friday, November 13th, 2009
    11:34 am
    updates of a sort
    I have a lot of EVE writing to do. I've got 20 missions stories set-up and ready to go...I just need to plug in the information. This particular developer I have isn't anywhere near as communicative as my first one, so we shall see how things turn out.

    Motivation levels to write ANYTHING, however, have been at an all-time low of late. I am testing for the job of Deputy Probation Officer and, the ironic part of it is, the part I fear the most, the psych, is NOT what is on my mind, but rather the fact that my own blood has betrayed me and sent the doctors in Occupational Health a false positive regarding Hepatitis A. A bit of history...11 years ago, I contracted Hep A. Thus, I SHOULD have Hep A antibodies. Trouble is, the doctors don't seem to believe me when I tell them that I already had it. Further, my medical records from 11 years ago are in some storage unit belonging to a doctor diagnosed three years ago with Prostate Cancer and whose practice was either sold or shut down, I just don't know. I only know that I can't get my old records. So, I am going to see a doctor this afternoon and find out what I can do. I am utterly confused about this whole thing, but it HAS taken my head out of the psych thing, so I won't belabor my confusion.

    For the record, I've passed all the other medical related issues (cholesterol is still WAY too high, but I won't drop dead tomorrow because of it - heck, I might do something about it if that were the case...heh...). Psych will, I have no doubt, get back to me sometime in the next couple of weeks. Or someone will. Just wasn't expecting any problems to occur because of THIS.

    Also, quite to my surprise, the docs at Occupational Health still seem to think I am being considered for an Armed Unit. That wasn't what I was told, but when did that ever make a difference? It's been almost 20 years since I fired a weapon and I will admit to missing it...I was classified a marksman way back in the day...of course, that is shooting at unmoving pieces of paper (and the occasional tin can).

    I am almost finished watching last years CSI: New York. It's taken forever to get through this season, but then I haven't had a lot of time. I really like Gary Sinise. Next up will be Bones.

    Reading book one of Jack Campbell's THE LOST FLEET series titled, Dauntless. I am very impressed and enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. At this point, I will get the next book in the series and keep with it.

    I failed in my promise to read a book I promised to. Various reasons, including hating to read on the computer and being unable to print out a 400 page book to take home with me as well as numerous life issues have just taken me away from it. I am honestly not sure if I will ever return to the book, although I would like to. Right now, though, I have a Thanksgiving deadline on this new writing assignment and not a lot of time to read except at lunch here at work...and who wants to sit at the computer doing that when I am sitting here at the computer all day anyway? UGH. So, my apologies to the author. I've never NOT followed through on a promise to read something before and it saddens me that I've had to do it a first time.

    Finally, I am REALLY digging Ilan Eshkeri's score to STARDUST. It runs the emotional spectrum and is more fun than you can imagine. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you're having an awesome Friday the 13th!! Here's hoping for an even better weekend.

    Current Mood: busy
    Thursday, November 12th, 2009
    7:45 am
    and now...the waiting game...
    I will let everyone here know how things turn out when I find out. Thanks to EVERYONE for their moral support in my endeavor to become a law enforcement officer.

    Current Mood: working
    Friday, November 6th, 2009
    4:23 pm
    Ugh
    It's been forever since I posted something here. Bleh.

    The thought of failing this psych eval again is making my stomach curdle. The fact that I am hearing horror stories about the evaluator isn't helping. I hate this. I hope the job is worth it, because if I fail this one, I am NOT going to spend the $300+ it will take to appeal it. I can't go through this stress again. Well, I can, but I just don't have any desire to. The stress is all self-induced. I know this. I am well aware of my own mental handicaps and how I tend to sabotage my own success.

    I am down to two weeks to write twenty missions and I haven't even started. No research. Nothing. And the stress of this job thing is going to drag on until at least next weekend, if not longer.

    Failure is in letting myself down...letting down those who actually believe in me....letting down those I might be able to help and those who I enjoy working with every day. What if I am psychologically unsuited to do this job?

    Yeah. What if? So what? Aren't there plenty of other jobs out there that will challenge me? Something NOT administrative. God, how did I get stuck doing something so tedious, so dull, so monotonous, so mind-numbing. No wonder my cholesterol is so high...why I've got a beer gut that threatens to trip me...why my energy level is so low and why my self-esteem is just as bottom-of-the-barrel. I am 44 years old and I am stuck in a job that bores me to tears.

    How did this happen? I was supposed to be making films and doing what I love doing. I was supposed to matter in some small way...add something to the universe...inject some small piece of me into a universe that doesn't really give a rat's ass one way or the other.

    I was supposed to be able to do anything I set my mind to...be whatever I wanted to be. Why was that all a lie? And why must my future hinge on the personal impressions of people who have no idea who I am, but think 1000 questions can tell them?

    Bleh.

    I still have another 28 millenial minutes left until I can crawl back to my cave.

    Bleh, I say!

    Current Mood: bored
    Friday, September 18th, 2009
    8:11 am
    Shutter Island
    Truly amazing. Only 90+ pages in and I am already completely and utterly spellbound (was so at page 1...but wasn't completely sure until now). Wonderfully written, compelling characters, eerie atmosphere. So far, perfect. My goodness, what Scorcese can do for this...I can't wait for the film.

    Current Mood: enthralled
    Friday, August 21st, 2009
    4:02 pm
    BLUEBALLS!!
    So there it is...right in front of me...all gorgeous and sexy and perfect...and I cannot do a damn thing about it. Not a thing.

    You know, it really is frustrating when you read something you absolutely love and admire and can't talk about it to anyone.

    ACK!!! :)

    I just read one of the best fantasy stories I've had the honor to take time with and I can't talk about it for legal reasons. I will, however, say this: the author is brilliant!! I will trumpet his/her future works with glee and abandon (I will also do so with several other authors I admire, so no one will ever know who I am actually talking about publicly....at least until such time as, perhaps, such secrecy CAN be rectified!).

    It took me the equivalent of about 10 hours to read through its entirety and those were a wonderful, visually stimulating and creatively fulfilling ten hours.

    So, thank you, Mr./Miss *******, for the opportunity to read a wonderful story. I greatly enjoyed it.

    Now, onward. I have one other to read that is promised. That shall begin now.

    Current Mood: thankful
    Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
    8:19 am
    Chad Ostreko (1/2/81 - 8/4/06)
    Three years ago today(!!!!!), my friend Chad Ostreko took his own life. Suffering from bi-polar disorder, forced to return to his home (and away from the love of his life), trying to numb his pain through drug use, Chad was dealing with more than a twenty-five year old man should ever have to deal with.

    Yes, others are dealing with more than he had to. Yes, his story has been told repeatedly by others who survive the experience, stronger and better able to cope with the world.

    But this isn't about them. This isn't about the survivors and the ones who lived.

    This is about one who didn't. Chad was a little brother of sorts, who introduced me to music I hadn't paid any attention to and discovered I loved. He was an old soul, cliché as that sounds, who loved experimental jazz as well as contemporary pop. Chad was a poet. Chad was also desperately insecure about himself and had terribly low self-esteem. His drug use was an attempt to fit in, but he never did it around me. He smoked, heavily (the nicotine probably helped him to relax, although that's just supposition). We would sit for hours, listening to music and just talking. He would tell me about his dreams and aspirations. He would confide in his love life. He wanted approval. He wanted to feel special. He wanted to be loved. Sound familiar?

    Chad was an everyman, but he was special. He was loved. He just didn't think he was deserving of it. He wanted to be in Southern California, but couldn't afford it by himself and his parents weren't interested in supporting him (and his smoking/drug/alcohol habits) while at college.

    Back in the Chicago suburbs with his parents, he felt isolated and alone. His bi-polar issues resurfaced with a fierce determination that fed on his deep sadness, low self-worth and need for love. In the end, Chad's greatest fear came to pass. He died alone. I suspect he felt as if he deserved it. He couldn't have been more wrong, but I couldn't tell him this. When he was taken back to Illinois, he lost all contact with those of us who cared about him here in Southern California.

    In many ways, Chad is still with me and I make every attempt to honor him. Despair and low self-esteem can be debilitating, especially to those who feel they deserve the pain they feel. With no hope, there is little desire to escape that pain. The only escape is the final escape into eternal darkness.

    Chad's pain is gone. But for those of us who held him in higher regard than he held himself, for those of us who were touched by this sensitive, funny, yet horribly sad soul, the pain lingers. Three years. My God, I can still see his face, hear his voice, feel his sadness. The music he introduced me to keeps him alive in my heart. Damn, I miss him and hate that he's gone.

    Chad's memory remains alive in a couple of creations. A part of him exists with me in the world of Eberron as a plucky Halfling who worships the goddess of fortune. Ironic that, but in this universe, I felt it appropriate. Another part of him exists as an agent in the world of EVE Online who works for a corporation determined to create new technologies for clones and artificial intelligence to machines. Again, there is a certain sense of irony in that, though perhaps a bit more obscure than the first example.

    In any event, I am dedicating today to my friend Chad Ostreko, who would have been 28 this year. I want to do something creative…something wonderful. I want him to know I miss him. I think he would have liked that. Chad was a romantic, after all.

    EDIT: An online obituary claims he died on 8/3. So, there may be some dispute on exactly what day he passed away (from my perspective). Suffice it to say that, whichever day it was, I mourne his loss.

    Current Mood: sad
    Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
    2:33 pm
    Thursday, June 25th, 2009
    10:39 am
    15 Novels that Influenced Me - In No Particular Order
    1. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
    2. Death is a Lonely Business, by Ray Bradbury
    3. Magic's Pawn by Mercedes Lackey
    4. Bug Wars by Robert Aspirin
    5. In Awe by Scott Heim
    6. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
    7. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    9. Fireflies by David Morrell
    10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
    11. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
    12. Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
    13. The Nightswimmer by Joseph Olshan
    14. It by Stephen King
    15. The Materese Circle by Robert Ludlum

    Current Mood: bored
    Monday, June 22nd, 2009
    11:27 am
    Once again...CCP calls....
    This time, however, it won't be for White Wolf, although I do owe Matt McFarland yet again for opening doors that we was probably completely unaware he was opening. Thank you, Matt.

    As I've signed the contract (and NDA), I can probably tell you that I will be writing for another game that is controlled by CCP, but I don't think I can say exactly what it is...and since I am not sure, I won't. Suffice it to say that I am completely and utterly jazzed!!!

    This is a chance to try something new, yet again, and for a genre that is near and dear to my heart. I've already begun writing the story and I'm working with a hands-on developer that is communicating to me exactly what he needs...and really, that's all a freelance writer can ask for.

    So...once more unto the breach, dear friends...let's have some FUN!

    Current Mood: excited
    Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
    9:58 am
    A light scene in a dark book
    You know you’re liking a book when you can laugh out loud at a conversation. Case in point, this scene from the novel CHOSEN PREY by John Sanford:


    Lucas took the Menomonie files home with him, meaning to look through them during the evening. Weather arrived a few minutes after he did, and they went for a walk along the river, enjoying the cold. Then they walked back to Lucas’s house and ate small triangular sandwiches of cheese, onions and sardines, with tomato-herb soup, at the dining room table. He told her about Jim Wise, the bullet-headed man who was not the killer; about Ware and his priest; and about Kidd.

    “You think Marcy and this Kidd guy…”
    “She likes the type,” Lucas said. Then he asked, “How can a sandwich that stinks this bad taste so good?”
    “It’s a great mystery,” Weather said. “So Kidd is a good-looking guy?”
    “Not as good looking as me.”
    “We could hardly expect that,” she said.
    “But…I don’t know. Not bad-looking. Sort of beat-up. Big shoulders: Looks like he could pick you up, put you over his shoulder, and carry you right up to his nest in the tree. I suspect he gets laid a lot.”
    “Hmmm. I’m feeling a little tingle myself,” Weather said.
    “Marcy did, for sure,” Lucas said. He looked over his empty plate at hers. “You gonna eat that triangle?”

    In these kind of books, you get a lot of gruesome murder scenes, twisted psychology, cat-and-mouse games between cop and perp, so it’s pretty nice to read a scene with such relaxed and honest humor, between characters that you actually like. Sanford has done a wonderful job so far and it makes me sad that I’ve spent so long away from Lucas Davenport’s world. These are such well-written characters and I am enjoying this book immensely. I LOVE this opportunity to read for pure pleasure again. It’s been too long.

    : And this scene...OMG...

    That evening, Weather showed up with a big black leather Coach travel bag for her sixth consecustive sleep-over. Lucas dropped The Wall Street Journal on the floor next to his chair and said, "I've figured it out. You hate me and you're trying to fuck me to death."
    "In your dreams," she said. "The fact is, I'm gonna get pregnant. You volunteered. The second fact is, I'm right around my fertile period and I'm trying to blanket it."
    "Blanket it."
    "Yes. So if you don't mind, bring yourself back to the bedroom. It'll all be over in a few minutes."

    LOL!!!!

    Current Mood: amused
    Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
    10:49 am
    An odd (and hopefully brief) urge
    I am feeling in full fight-or-flight mode at the moment and for many reasons. Actually, I am more in flight mode...tired of fighting the typical lack of stability in work life, the lack of motivation in creative life, the lack of desire in personal life...the lack. I'm tired of it.

    I don't know how to have a stable work environment unless I work for myself, and that isn't an option at this time or in this economy. I don't know how to motivate myself to write on spec any longer. Why bother? I don't know how to want another person in my life on a romantic level. Honestly, I really don't feel like I WANT someone to share my life with. I am not a sharing person, or rather, I am a controlling person and I don't want someone who wants to be controlled, but any other path leads to discord, so again, why bother?

    Oh, I know all the arguments for and the ones against. Right now, I'm just in a place where solitude, the total erasure of abject stupidity in humanity and a desire for rationality are all so desperately needed. However, I don't see ANY of that occurring, so...I need to figure out a way to adapt and accept that which I cannot control.

    Fuck.

    Updates, because I need to see exactly where I stand:

    School: Not going to take the summer class : Bible as Literature. I need to read for entertainment and the bible in no way is an entertaining read for me.

    Fever: An idea that has several directors interested in the story and wanting to read the script. Problem: I have lost interest in writing it. My (poor) writing partner, Eric, is waiting on a first draft from me to go over and polish. He might be waiting for some time, because I just cannot wrap my head around finishing this thing...and I really should. My head won't shut up and I feel somewhat schizophrenic on this, part of me yelling at myself to just plow through it and the other part saying that I have no right to tell a story like this. Just shoot me now, please.

    EVE: Interested in freelance writing for them, but suddenly losing interest in the game itself. I sometimes feel so lost in this game that I just don't even want to try to figure out what I'm doing. There is a completely irrational fear of losing everything and, while I CAN die, I can never really lose everything, so I am not sure what the deal is.

    Life: Took myself off the Lipitor. Why should I have to worry about my liver exploding just on the off chance that my cholesterol levels might cause my heart to seize? Why must we always seem to have to trade one way to die for another? Western medicine is making less and less sense to me every day.

    Music: Beginning to really like the music of my father's generation. I always liked jazz, just never really explored it deeply. Modern music bores me silly. Give me some Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone. Heck, throw me some Rush, Eagles, Queen and Foreigner while you're at it. Give me the film scores of the 70s and 80s, maybe some of the 90s, but keep the 2000s away from me. They are either dull as crap or poor attempts at retro. Where is the musical voice of this generation? Where are The Doors or the Beatles of the 2000s? (God, please don't tell me it's Brittany Spears or Miley Cyrus? While I am sure they are both interesting people...

    Anyway...enough ranting for now. Back to the tedium that is my job. At least I have a job. Lucky me.

    Current Mood: depressed
    Friday, May 29th, 2009
    4:14 pm
    A shout out and thank you
    Someone likes one of my creations: YAY!!

    http://forums.white-wolf.com/cs/forums/t/6425.aspx

    Thank you hesha333 and glamourweaver for the kind words. Y'all made my day!

    Current Mood: excited
    3:19 pm
    Thursday, May 28th, 2009
    12:14 pm
    Pop goes the Frigate
    This is an EVE-centric post.

    Last night, I joined members of my corporation (Team Vagabond) on a region-hopping excursion to blow up ships and eliminate bad guys.

    I was the only one NOT in a Vagabond (a Tech 2 speed-cruiser). I was in a lowly Incursus, a Frigate that looks like a green bumble-bee with a lance, as if it is all ready to joust. I suppose she is, just hope she doesn't get hit to hard. She'll crumple real fast.

    Incursus' are cheap and fast, kinda like my dates, and often die glorious deaths in battle.

    Thus was my fate sealed. I was Team Vagabond's scout, hopping through gates, looking for enemies who think I am an easy target (my dates may be fast and cheap, but I am easy, so it balances out that way).

    I found one...in an expensive ship (Rapier) who thought I was easy pickings. Oh, did he learn the error of his ways. He target-locked me. I then target-locked him...proceeded to disrupt his warp drive (making a quick escape impossible)...warp scramble him (making ANY escape impossible) and then screamed out to my brthren in Team Vagabond to HELP!!!!

    When they came, they conquered quickly. Not quickly enough to save my little 500k isk (Inter Stellar Kredits = money) Incursus, as the enemy was hitting me hard, but they took out a 15m isk Rapier. Just like that. It was, indeed, a glorious site.

    The rest of the evening was more harrowing, but less dramatic. I bought another ship (a destroyer) and was discovered hanging out at a gate. Seconds later, the system was popping with incoming baddies jumping in. AN enemy fleet was coming after me. I ran and they followed...escaping their attempts to trap me. Team Vagabond cloaked and hid...which is nice. I straddled the Jump Bridge leaving the region, waiting on word that my compadres had managed to escape the enemy fleet's wrath. They did...and we all returned home.

    Somewhere, out there, I have a rookie ship that needs to be trashed (it was given to me after I returned from my Incursus' destruction by the insurance company). It is mostly worthless, but I just might go after it sometime, rig it up to run and scout...and wait and see who comes nibbling.

    Oh, the havoc we can wreck...

    Current Mood: amused
    Monday, May 18th, 2009
    9:24 am
    From light to night
    My first act this morning, upon being awakened by my housemate, was to sit next to my dear baby Miranda and hold her while she suffered through a convulsion. They had started earlier this morning and the three of us, Reyes, Tomm and myself, were preparing to take her into the hospital. She was unresponsive, could barely move, wasn't eating.

    My second act of the morning was to sit with my baby girl, who lived a very good 14 years, I must add, while we drove her to the hospital. There was another convulsion and there was absolutely nothing I could do. I just only whisper to her, tell her everything was going to be okay and let her know she wasn’t alone.

    Act three was to hold her, caress her, whisper and cluck to her as they administered the drugs that put her to sleep one final time. Unlike Chloe, who we put to sleep just two short weeks ago, Miranda simply and quietly took a last breath and that was that. No fuss. No last gasp at life. Just a quiet goodbye.

    This past year has been positively ruthless. But, here's the thing. While I remember Chloe as a vindictive bitch who had her moments of tenderness and humor, as all cats must by nature have, Miranda will always be the crazy weirdo who lives beneath the kitchen cabinets, hides in the darkest corners, never comes out during daylight and races to the sprinkler heads in the morning as they shoot on to catch a drink...or the crazy white Calico who jumps into the shower while it was running.

    That was my fault, actually. When Reyes brought Miranda to me (while I was at work, managing a Blockbuster Music way back in 1995), she literally fit in the palm of his hand. Her eyes weren't open yet and she looked absolutely pathetic and adorable and perfect. We fed her those first weeks with an eye dropper, as the cats in our household at the time weren't overly fond of each other as it was. We bathed her in the sink, letting the warm water flow over her and keep her clean. I'm pretty sure that's where her fascination with faucets came from. And her need to drink from them, versus from a bowl.

    For every household move I made, and there have been dozens since 1995, Miranda has managed to come along, finding the closets and cabinets to hide in. Her meows were odd sounding things, almost as if she had no idea how to do it (and probably didn't). She was loveable and had no problem sleeping with anyone on the bed. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats and having them close up to me causes my sinuses and eyes to just go haywire. In any event, for the past 15 years, Miranda has been a wonderful part of my life.

    My final acts this morning, as far as Miranda has been concerned, were to carry her home in my lap, covered in her towel to keep the sunlight out of her vacant eyes (she really did dislike the sun) and to dig her grave in the back yard. Tonight, when the sun goes down, I shall lay her down on the dark one last time. I shall cover her in the heaviness of night, where she felt most comfortable and I shall both thank and curse the gods for bringing this precious soul into my life and taking her away from me.

    Reyes swears he will never bring another pet into the house again. The sadness and pain of loss is too much to deal with. I know better. If there is a kitty that needs to be saved or needs a home, that kitty will be welcomed with open arms. It might be a while, it might never be. It could be tomorrow. Regardless, Miranda was my baby and to ignore any other poor soul just because I fear losing her (or him, or them) to that which we all must succumb to one day...well...that would be dishonorable and just plain wrong.

    Miranda, my little girl, I miss you more than you will ever now. Thank you for the gifts you gave me and may you hunt the night like a shadow. You will never be forgotten. I love you.

    Current Mood: crushed
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