Sunday, September 11, 2011

Winning at Life

So for the past 3 days I've been nursing a headache and somewhatFlu.. last night went out.. stayed up till 5am watching Rage and woke up feeling..wonderful

..abet with a cat in my face who then climbed on my back and refused to budge...such is my life.

But at least in my antisocial sickymode I managed to get the header coded up. That's usually a day in itself since it's a important balance between 'fuctional', 'useful', and 'fancy' and 'too big' / 'pain in the arse' for everyone else.

The testboard which I use for development is a bloody mess atm. Neon colours, random textures but it's starting to feel like it's going somewhere........ now i just need to decide on the overall look and have somewhere to aim for. My big concern atm is that converting WWB from it's current setup to PunBB will cause a bit of a day of explosion, you can never quite tell how everything will go and with so much that can't be copied between boards it's a bit like flying from the seat of your pants.

But that's still a long time off yet. Right now it's more a case of getting it 'right' no matter how long it takes.

My big aim on the project is to make things smarter. Forums still seem to be stuck in the trap of having to be well..forums. and people find ways around it by using portals, websites and the like to avoid the well..forumness of it all. To me the forum is the focus, but it doesn't mean you can't use what's available to make things better and easier for people.

Ideally I'd like to create something where newbies get all the info they need to join on the main page. Members (who of course don't need that) will get stuff tailored to them instead. It seems obvious with the way content is presented these days that so many look the same. They use the same templates, done in the same style to fit whatever happens to be fashionable at the time. Sometimes I wonder what the point of it all is, why build a site that looks just like every other and has the exact same idea? I can't count the number of X school of magic located in X town with X as headmaster/headmistress forums I've seen in the last few years...and to not even be looking for them! Is it ego? or are people truly afraid to break out of the bubble? What's worse is that even with a quick glance you find that almost all of them are in effect the same board... couples of the month, boy of the month, girl of the month, Disney, A list stars or model face claims.. after three years I've come to realise that the majority of roleplay is remaking the original series with the cast of whatever-show happens to be popular amongst 20 year old girls at any point in time.

So the world is full of americancentric shallow smut, violent and Hollywood inspired stories with characters so unrealistic it's laughable. I've realised this is my problem, maybe if I was 'in' with that culture I'd find it fab to write crackships and ship ships and wtf all that crap means. I've never grown up idiolising Hollywood. My household was more likely to have BBC shows, the news (back to back from 4 different stations each night) and Australian dramas, scifi's and bygod films with subtitles! I grew up on SBS and the 'Auntie' ABC with old small televisions and a fascination with documentaries, science and books. I've probably watched more documentaries in my life then romances. I've watched the 'naughty' SBS foreign films shown late at night to manga cartoons my uncle showed me as a child. I don't watch that much TV anymore. Instead I tend to see writing as describing a film going on in front of your eyes. Forgive me if I'd rather it be a weird foreign film with actors and actresses I don't recognize and a plot that isn't all laid out on page one, and yes it will have subtitles and puns and innuendo a plenty that would be lost in translation to any poor unfortunates who stumble upon it looking for Princess Diary's number five million.

But youknow what? as long as there's one other person out there who 'gets' it.. and doesn't mind flicking from the MarySueDisney RP network to ours, I'm winning :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Css is like repeatedly hitting yourself in the head with a  hammer. Which must have some therapeutic benifits since  I'm stuck with a deadful headache and for some unknown logic my brain just wants to code and make it worse - gofigure  lol.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The world is fucked so let the dolphins take over..

The world is fucked..

I'm starting to wonder if that's not a all too untrue assessment of the state of affairs at the moment?

Abet I'm still rather under the effect of a documentary I just finished watching called The Cove. I remember it being recommended a while back by Thom York on Dead Air Space I think? It's funny how they tend to put up good recommendations but this one looked kind of vague and never did explain quite what it was. Anyway turns out to be a documentary following a sting operation buy a bunch of environmentalists trying to expose the mass slaughter of dolphins in japan. I still feel kind of sick by it but mostly I feel annoyed that so much of the marketing pussyfoots around what it was really about until you get a few minutes in and realise the real scale of the story. Had it not been for iView and there not being anything on I'd have skipped it as just a run of the mill dolphin doco.

Youknow when I was a kid things seemed pretty messed up? We had nuclear tests in the pacific, the rainbow warrior, Jabaluka, McLiabal, Famine in Africa, the Middle East conflict and not to mention the cries to save everything from the whales to the koala. We where told our shoes where made in sweatshops, our food was going to be full of GM crops and pesticides and everything we knew was going to be destroyed by global warming come 2050 anyway. Not to mention aids, disease, war and all the rest of it.

Now well there's nothing to worry about but supposed underground nuclear tests in North Korea, the sea Shepard, coal-steam gas drilling, the continuing rise of the Mc'Generation of fast food on every street, Famine in Africa, The New-Middle East conflict, saving the whales the over-population of Koalas. My shoes are from a defunct anti-sweatshop brand, our food is almost all bought up by the monopoly of 2 major supermarket chains that crush all in their path and global warming? Ha! Now we have snake oil salesmen of the new generation trying to push that it's crap right when watered down agreements could actually lead to some real progress.

Instead the opposition ramps up self interest. Promising no jobs will be lost when it was his government that privatised and stripped away all the jobs in the first place. You have to wonder about the so called apathy our generation is supposed to have? I'm wondering how amazing it is that anyone still has hope and faith that things will get better. I've seen politicians turn with blind eyes to the smoke stacks on the horizon and sign deals they know are worth nothing. Campaigned to save a forest that was a year later burnt down by arson and mis-management in bushfires that where a 'suprise'.. funny because I wasn't surprised. Then again I'd been to the presentation the year before on the future of Australia under Climate Change.. sponsored by a coal fire power plant. I've seen the CEO state that they believe in Climate Change and yet promise nanotechnology and unproven tech as the solution.

It seems everyone is looking to some Utopian future.. or looking with no vision of the future at all.

We have leaders who are ruled by soundbites, politicians who exist outside the scope of reality and a media who've turned into nothing more then regurgitation of spin and he-said-she-said.

I'm tired of seeing ads that tell us about the wonderful clean, green amazing future we have to look forward to if only we bought x car or used x laundry detergent. I watch them and wonder 'how' we're ever going to get to this bright future if it feels more like we're slipping backwards then anything. I think of the next generation who will never get to watch a live space shuttle launch or admire the work of scientists on beyond tomorrow dreaming up great ideas for the future. Sometimes I wonder if the stats aren't a joke that global warming is set to seriously impact lives by 2050.. the same time that the fisheries are set to collapse from over fishing and the world oil supply is to peak and start to run out.

It's hard to imagine, but then again I imagined as a kid that the power stations around town would be solar by now. That every roof would at least have a few panels. Frankly I'd rather see a solar panel on every roof then a new era of super quantum computers or robots. Fuck robots, give me humans in charge who have vision and aren't about to get knocked out by the coal lobby or climate deniers. I could live without a star ladder if there was some hint of hope that humanity would be worth the effort, because right now I can't help but hope that humans get snowballed and the dolphin's get to take over the earth.. or well.. what's left of them after we've murdered, tortured and poisoned them to near extinction.

See I knew i had a point in there somewhere..

Promise I'll be back to my usual cheery self tomorrow.

Why do you write?

I've been thinking about this question a lot today. To me I've always written as far as I remember. One of my early stories I recall was written in grade 2 or 3 about a girl who was abducted by aliens, put in a 'zoo' before eventually finding her way home to discover a hundred or so years had passed and everyone she knew was gone.

Maybe now I can look at it and go huh.. that's suchandsuch episode from the Twilight Zone but hey I was only about 11 and everyone else around me was writing about their family and plots to popular movies no doubt. To me as far as I knew it was just out of the blue, something that felt right in my mind at that point in time..though thinking back I frankly have no clue why except a obsession I had with scifi and the Xfiles at that age.

But anyway, this is supposed to be a piece about Roleplay, Play-By-Post Roleplay to be exact which has become a hobby (occasionally yes a obsession) to me over the past 3 or so years since discovering the whole world of forum based collaborative storytelling.

It seemed rather a odd thing to me at first, but I could instatly see the appeal, it was like fanfiction where you knew there was always going to be at least a audience of one to read your stories (if only so they could write their part). To me I jumped in with a feeling of adventure. Short stories (usually unfinished) had always been my strong suit and so the idea that I'd always have something new to play off and a incentive to keep going was really exciting.

..till that first site got boring and all but died. By then I'd learned the basics and created my first character. I was writing in the Doctor Who universe around the time of season 2, chosen because of my love for both the series and because of the wide playing field it gave to embrace science fiction and futurism and build entirely new words. At the same time I was learning more about the series in Canon and that eventually became my undoing when I found myself -more- knowledgeable about the Canon of Doctor Who then the ones who had created the board.

To me half the adventure in writing is in the learning, but it feels more and more that I'm a minority in that and most people get into Roleplay without ever caring much for the world in which their stories take place. So we have 14 year old Timelords and Immortal Wizards in the world of Harry Potter...which just leaves me begging the question that if being immortal was so easy why the hell did Voldemort go to so much effort in the first place? We have tales of the future where nothing is changed from the world today.. and to me this makes me feel sad, whatever happened to the heights of imagination? Is it that I grew up reading the wrong stories and idolizing the wrong writers?

Or is it that there really isn't any place for 'real' writing in Roleplay circles? I mean in the sense of telling stories that carry meaning and involve more then whatever happens to be the latest trend going, or copying the characters and ideas of every other site out there. Maybe part of all this blog is to try and see if there are others out there who write not for the sake of living veraciously though their characters or doing their own version of the plots or characters they've seen on tv. It's hard when it feels the entire world is tied up in the cliche's and circles of who-knows-who and I'm trying to avoid falling into those traps with every fiber of my being. Is it so odd to want to have a site without the ego attached? I've been burnt by trying to do the right thing, in many respects I feel much like a band dropping their label or a writer deciding to go it on their own to see if there is still a audience out there willing to listen.

I don't know. I guess that's my aim now to find out for better or worse.

To me writing is about trying to make sense of the world, formatting it into such a way that you can express the deeper mood and feelings of what's important to you.. or explore aspects of your own personality, the world you know or just bits and pieces of stuff you've come across in your life into a way that others can make sense of. I've written posts that have driven me to tears or brought back memories long repressed for being traumatic at the time. Sometimes it's not until long after I've put the words down that the real meaning of them reveals itself. Words twist and the characters themselves emerge from a basic jumble of ideas, thoughts and unanswered questions that they explore in their own ways.

These days I find myself writing more because I love to see what happens next, I rarely plot but let the characters find their own path and call the shots.. stepping in where realism and logic say that they get our of hand. I've found a talent in writing the small and every day while building arcing plots that work over months or years while trying to keep things light and to the background in order to support others along their way. Sometimes I've found my hands tied, others I've been forced into situations by others and had to find my way out again. It's all part of it but in the end it's always been about the core stories, some of which have been slowly played out over three years and enough words to make a novel or two by now. Always my characters have moved forward and grown relative to time passing.

Which makes me wonder about how and why others seem either so naive to basic storytelling, indifferent or even openly hostile to the basics of pacing, creating a believable character and world in which they exist or even the most basic grasp of how the world works. Maybe it's the pursuit of fun but more I feel it's the process of trying to outdo others and make up for what's lacking in ones own life that drives the abuse of fiction, and corruption of the genre's and words in which the roleplay's pretend to operate. How many more bisexual beautiful marysue princess girls do we need in Potterverse? How many hunky Aurors or god help us twins??

I remember fondly hearing Terry Pratchett disappoint fangirls in a Q&A session by saying there was no point to writing the happy ending, because life is about continuing. Yet all I see these days are romances, cliche stories where the names change but the faces are all the same.

I guess it goes to show why Roleplays these days make me think of the 'unofficial' song we used to sing in the Union (usually after a few drinks and as unruly as possible)

..There where red ones, and green ones
..and blue ones and YELLOW ones
.. and they all lived in little boxes
..and they all looked just the same.

..Cause sometimes you just need to say fuck..

So I've been tossing around the idea of a blog for a number of years now, to me it's always felt something that I've never really had enough that i wished to share with the general world at large. Much as I fail at it I tend to prefer to leave my real life in the background and focus more on the broader picture, it's why I prefer to work in realms of fantasy because it's easier to write about what you care about and are passionate about without so much fears of being indignant or waffling on like a twit.

..not that I eh, think that I -don't waffle, unfortunately one horrible downside I've found from writing as a hobby is that waffle comes naturally. Before you know it you've got paragraphs beyond paragraphs of just... stuff but cutting it down just becomes too much effort so you go bugger it and hit post.

..or at least that's what I do.. humph.

I've never been one for editing, it's probably been one of my great failings but I prefer to keep things honest and plain then going though the endless process of re-examining and critical thinking.

So I guess a bit of history and point to this blog in terms of what you can expect of it?

Well at this point of life I'm working to build a play by post roleplay site after a long period of feeling disenchanted and let down by the genre. Sometime I wonder if the process of collaborative writing brings out the worst in people but I do try to remain optimistic (which is greatly helped by my co-admin who saved me from giving up all together!). Growing up writing and storytelling was a really important part of my childhood, fantasy in particular as my Mum used to weave tales of a magic land where we'd fly to on our beds in order to experience amazing adventures. I remember the cat people fondly and always looked forward to visiting my Uncle who wrote Fanzines (and still does), short stories and fantasy pieces in addition to a (currently unpublished) novel he is now writing the sequel to.

I tend to think that my strength lies more in thinking and 'vision' rather then writing. I prefer world building and collabrative work because quite frankly without it I'd never get anything done or finished. As a kid growing up I wanted to be everything from a singer to a model (HA!) to a computer programmer (yes I even told my teacher those exact words in grade 4). I'd never make it as a musician but have grown up around computers for as long as I remember. Deluxe Paint III was my favourite program as a child and today I still find much of my time spent creating digital art, reading and writing against playing games or well.. Facebook.. in fact I've all but given up on my Facebook account.

Most of the folks who know me both in real life and since I joined the online world know that I'm passionate about a whole lot of stuff. So in some respects this is a blog where what would otherwise go unpublished for fear of offending people, causing a argument or getting the attention of folks who I'd rather not have anything to deal with goes. I'm all about being constructive and seeing what can be done, sometimes toes need to be stepped on or a voice needs to speak up and more often then not it's felt like arguing against the wind. But that's alright, because it's life and in the end the truth is the truth and sometimes, just sometimes you need to tell it warts and all.

Sometimes you need to be safe to say fuck ;)