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September 2022 Update Part 1

15 Sep, 2022

Well hello there! Man, I can’t believe it’s been 3 MONTHS since my last post! So many things have happened!

I’m not really too sure how to start this post exactly, so I might as well just jump right into it. It’s been a few months, and I just wanted to post an update of what’s been going on since my last post (not the Thor one, I posted that because I was tired of seeing the draft in my Keep notes), talk about a lot of things and generally bore you to death. This was one article, but then it grew to over 5,000 words and I decided I didn’t really want to bludgeon my readers with a thick block of words to the temple. So now it’s a two-part article! Yay!

An Overview

Alright, so here’s a summary of what’s been going on, which I’ll be going into more detail further on in this post and part 2 (not necessarily in the same order). I’ll probably also add more things as I talk, and also get very sidetracked. Buckle up!

Writing and Reading

Might as well start with the one I’m probably the most excited to talk about! It’s MY WEBSITE anyway, so I make the rules around here!

The best way to start this off is to give a brief (EDIT: not-so-brief) history of my relationship with writing and my overall issues with “hobbies” in general. Looking back, writing I think has always been a part of my life in some aspect or another, but I don’t think I’d ever appreciated it until I decided to start writing and then began contemplating the ramifications of what that meant as well as what it could mean from a more personal level. For example, my whole family has always been readers, at least all the way up to my great grandparents on my mother’s side (unsure about my father’s side, I think they were mostly TV-ers). On my mother’s side, everyone always had a book, and would always be reading. I was that way too. I’d be the kid who would actually read while walking down the street. Yup, I was a smart-phoner before there were even smartphones!

Specifically though, it was always fiction. Same with the rest of my family. While of course they read non-fiction from time to time, it was always fiction that sparked joy and imagination in all of us. My mom used to read fantasy books to me at bedtime, and we would sometimes read a series together (I would read it, and she would pick it up and catch up with her unholy reading speed in the moments I put the book down) and then just geek out about how cool the characters were, the adventures they went on and all that jazz. One of the best series for that (for basically my whole immediate family) was the Eragon series. We would pontificate on what the next book would be about, wait with heart-wrenching sorrow at the sheer eternity it would take between each published book, then voraciously devour it once it had come out. Those were good times. I would carry the hardback versions of these books (veritable behemoths they were) around school and tuck it under my seat for easy reading access between subjects.

One of my favorite series as a youngin' was The Edge Chronicles, which I’m sad to say that almost no one has heard of in all my years talking about the book. It was so wonderfully illustrated and the world was so fantastically imagined. It was also fairly grim-dark at times, what with blood frenzied bird people who would gleefully peck out the throat of their victims and proceed to devour their heart while it was still beating, but other than that: wholesome. (I say this sarcastically of course)

The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwoods - Hardback Version

Anyways, suffice to say I’ve always loved reading. However, once I was out of highschool and into university, my reading rapidly declined. I became more and more interested in computers and technology (especially since it’s what I was getting my degree in), and I was working and going to school almost an hour a way from home everyday, so the commute was atrocious. Sadly, my declined reading continued pretty much until now. Sure I’d read some things, I’d also started but didn’t finish many books, but I wasn’t feasting on the written word daily. It wasn’t really until I decided to read the books in The Witcher series someone had given me that I got back into it. I read… 3 of those books before setting them down. It was a small spell between that and my next book (Arena, which I wrote a review for), but I think I had finally rediscovered my roots again. Reading was FUN again.

Now why do I say “fun AGAIN”? Wasn’t it always fun? Well, no. I’d like to take a brief moment here in the middle of my tale to touch on something I’ve only recently come to terms with and which may help some other people who read this. READING SHOULD BE FUN. If you’re stuck reading some dumb non-fiction book because you feel like you have to, because society demands it, then you’re doing yourself a gigantic disservice. Reading is (honestly) a laborious and attention-hungry task, and if you’re not giving your attention and effort towards something you feel is actively feeding you the good feels, then DROP IT. RUN AWAY to a better book. Don’t let society dictate what you should and shouldn’t read. I’ve fallen into that cesspit of lies about how you need to read more “self-help” books and read such agonizing titles as “Think Wealthy” and “Mastery” while being fed the same BS of “this book really helped me to become a better person” and “I’ll never see such-and-such the same way again, it transformed me” to make you think that you’ll come away a new person and have total fun the whole time reading it. LIES. BIG FAT LIES. Again, if you’re actually factually not enjoying reading something that everyone says is great and that you should read to become a better person by some arbitrary measure that’s not specifically aimed at you and your needs (because sometimes people who care about us can actually recommend good non-fiction books that will in fact help you and you should read despite your initial response to it, sometimes change sucks but we need it) then put it down and read a good story that gives you the good feels.

Look, if you are one of those people that enjoy this type of reading and perhaps even read these titles and enjoyed them; then good for you. But these words aren’t for you. Just realize that some people just do not find that fulfilling, interesting or even mildly fun. It’s to these people I’m writing this advice to. And if you take umbrage to what I’ve written, I’d like to kindly ask you to STUFF IT. Stuff it deep down with all the other junk in your colon. Thank you.

Whew, okay. Got that out. Sorry for the rant. I do think it was important to cover though. Some people may have needed to hear that. Moving on now.

I can very easily spend this whole article on this one subject alone, so I’ll skip along a bit here. Suffice to say reading was a bedrock for my life, and a great deal of joy especially since we didn’t even really have proper internet until when I was close to 10 or so (dialup was so slow that I just ran around outside instead). That and my mom made it really easy to read, we had our own veritable library of books.

But why writing? Well, I’ve been bouncing around between hobbies for a long time now. I’ve been trying everything out to see what sticks, and this is just another one of those things. Hopefully it’s not and it turns out to be something I can have fun with for years to come, but as it stands I’ve only really just started in earnest with it maybe about two and a half weeks ago. My friend had been really getting into it and his passion and excitement rubbed off on me and inspired me to start writing as well. That and I read Stephen King’s On Writing, which was VERY good and very inspiring.

So yeah, I started a few weeks ago and right now I’m working on my second short story. I finished my first one in about a week, this one is shaping up to be the same. I case anyone is wondering, I’ve included a picture of my work area below. That’s what it looks like when I sit down to write. A few years ago (2017 I think) I found an immaculate Brother Opus 885 fully-manual typewriter on eBay, which was in such amazing condition it even came with the original test paper, warranty slip, case, and a little letter the original owner was composing to complain to a company about some incorrect packages (which is just about the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read). Best $60 I ever spent. His name is Oliver Bleu, and Olly and I have been writing some magic these past few weeks.

Oliver with my regular cup of water and some pretzels for munching, working on a story

Now I can hear you asking: “Why a typewriter? What is this, the Neolithic era?” Hey now! First of all, RUDE. Oliver does not deserve such harsh treatment. Second, there are two reasons why I decided to start writing on a typewriter instead of a computer:

  1. There are no distractions. The only thing it can do is write, no email, Google or YouTube.
  2. It forces you to continue moving forward. I don’t have the luxury of correcting every word and perfecting it. I must keep writing.

So far it’s worked pretty well for me. I would heartily recommend that if anyone wishes to do short-form stories and novellas to go ahead and give a typewriter a try (If it is convenient for you). It may get you out of the slump you’re in as well if you’re already a more developed writer.

Also, I do plan on posting my stories here eventually. Right now I’m sorta following King’s method, where I leave the story alone for a few weeks, then attack it viciously with an editing pen. After that I will submit the story to my closest confidants, and from there if any edits are required they will be fixed. And then finally after that is complete, they will go here to the world. I look forward to doing so!


Let’s interject that long and lengthy section with a smaller one, dedicated to my Gameboy: Molly.

A few years ago I was watching a lot of videos by The Retro Future. I was so fascinated by what he was doing on there! I knew people repaired old game systems and stuff, but he made it look so easy, so approachable! And in fact, it is relatively easy when working on simple old systems, like a Gameboy.

This inspired me. I used to have the original Gameboy, a Gameboy Color, an Advance SP and I still had my original DS. Those other consoles got sold due to money constraints, but after seeing these videos I was ecstatic about possibly finding “broken” systems for cheap and fixing them. Then lo and behold, I found one. A perfect condition original Gameboy with official case, games and game cases. The only problem? A “broken” screen. The device was listed for about $30 or $40 (it’s been long enough I don’t remember the exact number anymore), way below what they were going for in this condition with accessories (at the time they were about $80 or so?). I bought it. When it arrived I found out the “broken” screen was that it had some stuck lines. Quite a few actually, like close to 12. Come to find out, that’s like a 5 min job of opening it up, heating up a solder gun, getting some wax paper and re-heating the contacts on the screen to re-flow the solder on the original connections. BAM. Back in business.

So yeah, I got a literally perfect Gameboy for half-price with only 5 min of simple work. The lovely thing about it? There was a name on the back of the device: “Molly Gilbert”. Written in permanent marker in perfect handwriting. Sadly while I was disassembling it I began to erase the name with some alcohol, starting with the last name. Once I had done so I paused and realized that it didn’t matter if there was a name on it, it was wonderful history to this little perky device. So I left the “Molly” on there and have since regretted erasing the last name. I’ve considered re-writing the last name, but for now she’s just “Molly”.

Tetris for GameBoy

Molly and I have been enjoying each other’s company this past week. I’ve taken her to work, out to the pub, and have been quite content jamming some Tetris. I have a special place in my heart for Tetris, grown during my time in soul-crushing Catch-up-class in highschool (for lack of a better name). I would secretly load up an NES emulator on a USB stick I carried around that had password-cracking software and programming tools to play some Tetris or Contra. I was looking at LukiGames today to see what Gameboy games they had, and I was pleased to find some pretty cool looking puzzle-type games and simple shooters that I could boot up and play between traffic jams. I’m really looking forward to buying these games (each one is like maybe $10, which is nothing these days)! Of course, these are games I’d probably never like as a kid, but honestly all the games I liked as a kid aren’t as appealing anymore as they once were. I’m a new type of gamer now. One who plays games that either respect my time and attention or are made for you to literally get lost in doing nothing but chopping wood for your mansion (I’m looking at you, Skyrim).

My parting shots to you, dear reader, for this section is this: if you love doing something that might seem silly to others or to your past self, just do it for the love of it. Obviously don’t murder people, but if you miss playing Tetris and have an old Gameboy with Tetris, then play it daggumit! Who cares what others think? As long as Molly and I are having fun then everything is alright.

General Stuff

Last I left off in one of my articles I had switched over to Fedora for funsies. Well, it was fun, but ultimately proved too… well, inconvenient still. So it’s back to Windows 10. Not much to say there, just plopped the old SSD back in (since I keep all of my files on my home server / NAS anyway) and went on my merry way.

On a different yet related note, I’ve been thinking about running DOS again recently. Yes, I know, THAT DOS, as in MS-DOS. I know what you’re probably thinking: “kenizl you’re so handsome I wish I was as studly as you, you big hunk of man-meat”. First of all, THANKS! That made me feel better about my self-image. Secondly, yes, DOS is super old and no-one in their right mind would use it today except for edge cases. Well joke’s on you because I’m not in my right mind anyway, so HA!

The reason I’ve been considering running DOS again (yes, AGAIN, I used to run a DOS computer back in Highschool because I was bored) is actually so I can use it for writing. The typewriter has been such an amazing instrument of creative locomotion for me, and I think a large part for it stems from the fact that it can only do one thing. What else can do one thing at a time? DOS. That’s right baby! I spun up a virtual machine the other day and loaded up FreeDOS. Then I found and installed WordPerfect and tried it out a bit. Dude, that thing IS AMAZING!!! It’s literally like a DOS version of MS-Word! Come to find out actually, Word was made by the people who made WordPerfect, so it all makes sense now. But yeah, I’m going to use DOS for my re-writes and edits after I edit up my first draft from the typewriter.

Next up, got a new home video system. My server runs Plex so I can watch anime and immerse in Japanese, and I’ve been hooking up my laptop to my TV to watch the shows. Problem is, I had to keep getting up to adjust things, or plug in the laptop if it started to drain. So I was thinking I’d build a small media computer to play Plex on, but when I started to tally up the parts I’d need for the computer I had in mind, it was gonna be like $80-120. Then I realized I could just get a Roku. So I did. And I stripped everything from it except Plex and Pandora. I even got rid of YouTube last week, it was sucking up far too much of my time. So yeah, that’s been pretty cool.

Speaking of Plex and my server, I finally got it setup so I have some services that I can reach anywhere in the world (with internet)! I’m so stoked about that! I’m also VERY TERRIFIED of what may become of such a reckless idea, but hey, you only live once. Until you have to make a new identity I guess… Then you live twice! Or thrice!

And last but certainly not least: I’ve been continuing to build crazy MTG decks. I do a lot of brewing, but I’m not very good at it. My decks always revolve around silly themes or combos or dumb shennanigans (how do you even spell that word???), but never really any good cards or synergies. But I enjoy it. Premodern turbo-fog all day!!!!!

Premodern Turbo-Fog Decklist

To be… CONTINUED????

Alright, perfect stopping point. Onto the next part!

kenizl86 out!