B.U.I. (Blogging Under the Influence) (PG-13)

Blog 012916  WARNING, I’M DRINKING!

Fueled by the effects of ethanol and swooned by the melodic sounds of 80’s and 90’s rock, the word smith has chosen to bedazzle…  oh who the fuck am I kidding?!?!?

So, the consumption of Jack and Dew is currently taking place, and I decided to make an entry in this here blog thingy.  Good idea?  Not my fuckin’ problem <grin>.

I’ve got a lot going on in that abyss on my shoulders.  I have reached a stalemate between Mind the Shadows motivation and other ideas ricocheting around in there.  I am currently enjoying a World of Tanks feed from my best friend on Twitch.  I just finished playing a little 7 Days to Die; it’s a zombie survival game to which I currently find myself having a mild addiction.  Oh… I also raced last night. That didn’t go very well.  And yep, I’m drinkin’ a little 😛

As for Mind the Shadows, I am missing that next piece of inspiration to drag my muse kicking and screaming back to chapter 7 and beyond.  I know I have to get Marek and Jammer on the same page so that they can work together getting Marek’s shit together, and that’s great.  It will likely increase the bond they already have when Marek shares his big secret.  Jammer will definitely want to know more and help his friend deal with it.  In fact, I think it should be pretty easy to tie that off and take the next step. I need a catalyst to push that over the edge, though, and I kind of got one, right?  Yes, Jammer is going to look into who tried to connect to Marek’s Net box.  But I’ll be brutally honest;  I don’t have a damned clue who that is yet.  I suspect figuring that out is the key to getting this road on the show again, but I’d be shittin’ ya right now if I told you I had any idea who that is and exactly what’s going on there.  I think that’s the big stick in the mud.

The other ideas are one each of sci-fi and fantasy.  The fantasy is some older shit that I kinda want to revive from my gaming days, but the needed work, as I perceive it, feels a bit daunting.  I might actually enjoy it given the nostalgia I’m likely to experience resurrecting some game night memories, but I also see the other idea and Mind the Shadows as other avenues to be… lazy?  Less work?  I dunno.

The sci-fi idea is something that’s just starting to take shape in my head.  I haven’t put a word down yet.  I’m not sure if it’s overly original, but I’ll likely have fun writing it if I can actually start to drop that mental turd. Yes, with that remark, I’m allowing for the possibility that it’ll stink <grin>.  I guess I need more head fiber, though.

Oh well,  I guess I’ll knock off here.

The race?  Bah! It was a league race where I got myself into a bad situation on the first lap.  I panicked when someone else made the situation worse and hit a guy that I shouldn’t have even come close to touching in spite of our proximity.  It created some bad vibes.  It was implied that I did something that I know I didn’t actually do – and wouldn’t do, and it kinda torqued me.  I thought I had a better reputation than that.  I think now, though, things are cool between me and the guy whose race I ruined.  No hard feelings, I hope.

Now I’m done… later.

24 Hours + A Lap

Pulled it off.  We ran 729 scored laps in the 24 Hours of Daytona race on iRacing.  Then our team leader – who ran the last stint – decided to run just one. More. Lap.  Just because…

We finished 12th in our class (mult-class) and 28th over all out of 43 cars.  We really did well considering that we were in a split that was ideally a better group of drivers than our team.  We made the decision before the race to use the one team mate’s high iRacing score to help get us in with a better group for the race.  A higher “iRating” is indicative of a driver that does well in “official” iRacing races.  With so many drivers wanting to run a race on the iRacing service, iRacing divides up the drivers/teams based on iRating and creates several instances of a race.  The drivers/teams are grouped based on their iRatings.  Higher scores are grouped together and such.  In the team events like the Daytona 24, the driver that registers for the race has his score taken into account for which instance or “split” in which the team will compete.  Our teammate was a driver with a high score, and we took advantage of that fact to be with better drivers.

We learned a lot from the better drivers, and had so much fun racing with a group of drivers that race hard but clean.  The really cool part for me was the fact that 3 of the 5 of us had never raced in an endurance event like that.  I’ve been in 5 now.  While the “newness” has worn off, I still really enjoy the “work” it takes to keep the virtual car alive in the simulator and finish such a long race.  But it was very cool to help the newbies get their first taste of it.  They loved it, and we’re already talking about the 12 Hours at Sebring race.  Gluttons for punishment, I suppose 😉

So, what’s the big deal of running hundreds of laps?  It’s more than just the laps.  It’s the planning and making strategies and schedules and, and, and…  the story

In the second hour of the race, one of the guys wrecked the car really bad.  It was a simple lapse of concentration, but it cost us dearly in car damage.  38 minutes in the pits got us enough repairs to get the car back on track, but it was 20+ mph slower than it had been due to body damage (causing aerodynamic problems) and engine damage (reduced horsepower).  We were being passed by everybody like we were standing still.  It was very frustrating and disconcerting.  We were still trying to run, but we were also trying very hard not to be a danger to others on the track due to our lack of speed (believe me, it makes a difference).

Then 2 hours later, the damaged engine spontaneously blows.  We managed to coast the car back to the pit box where we waited another 42 minutes to have the engine replaced.  All the while our competition is clicking off laps.  We ended up dead last waiting for the engine replacement.  iRacing simulates the approximate time it takes to make a multitude of repairs on a race car, including engine replacement. Real life race teams typically have backups for everything in a car for endurance races, so iRacing simulates what it can.  The simulation didn’t replace the engine the first time for some unknown reason.  Maybe this was because it calculated a higher probability of the engine lasting than it did, but when it started simulating engine stress on the track, it also started simulating degradation… and eventually death :-/

24 hours later, though, with a mostly repaired car and some good clean driving by all of us (a great team effort) we took it from dead last and finished up higher than we though we could.  We passed other cars mostly due to them spending time in the pits for repairs of their own.  On occasions, though, we had to race for position.  That’s the big deal…

Race Week (Virtually)

Yep, it’s that time of year again.  This week iRacing is hosting its version of the 24 Hours At Daytona.  Practicing and qualifying happen through Friday, and the race starts at 7am Saturday morning.  As a major geek and a fan of both real and simulated auto racing, I will likely be at or very near my computer for 24+ hours this coming weekend.

Race team logo and preliminary custom paint scheme for the car

I got a team that will be racing the McLaren MP4-12c… for 24 hours.  Real or not, it’s one hell of an experience to race a car for that long.  It’s no longer just about speed.  It becomes about keeping the car intact and driver & pit strategies.  Last year, I was up for 27 hours straight.  For those that don’t know about this kind of thing, no, I won’t be driving on my own for 24 hours.  It’s a team effort where we will switch drivers (I think 5 of us this year) during pit stops (yes, the iRacing sim/game can do that) throughout the 24-hr race.  While not driving, the other team members act as spotters, crew chief and general support for the guy “in the car” through voice chat and manipulating pit stop options (tires, tire pressure, amount of fuel, etc).  My team last year brought the car home 2nd in class.  Here’s to hoping for a good finish again this year.

By the way, the real 24 hour event is next weekend; the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

So, you may not hear from me until after this coming weekend, but rest assured, i have not lost interest and I am still working on Mind the Shadows, among other things.  I just gotta do this racing thing 😉

Chapter 6…

Well, I decided to put up chapter 6 of Mind The Shadows.  I managed to push aside my other distractions long enough to give it a couple of tweaks – for better or worse – I thought it needed.  Making the adjustments drew my focus a bit, so we’ll see what happens from here.

I’ve also got chapter 7 in the works, and I hope to post it sooner than later.

Enjoy.  As always, feedback is welcome.

Always a Good Time

So, I went off my normal Saturday night, home alone rail.  I went from watching my best friend and a couple of mutual friends playing 7 Days to Die on his Twitch stream to playing with them.  Normally, I would watch them on the stream and surf the net, play some music and maybe do some writing.  Tonight I just wanted to “hang out” with my buddy.  So, I joined his multi-player game.  I had a great time.

I’ve known Matt for over 25 years.  We became the best of friends by the time we finished tech school together.  He has become family to me.

Every time I visit Home, I make it a point to spend some time with him.  It’s been a while since I’ve been Home, too.  Maybe that’s why I felt so compelled to join in the game tonight.  I need to make sure to do that more often.  I ended up having a lot of fun.  It might not be as good as being there, but it was still time with my friend.  I’m very thankful for that.

I know this might sound sappy, but if you have a close friend that lives far away, you understand.  And if you’re like me, you don’t have many friends anyway.  That’s not a complaint.  It’s a fact of life based on choices I have made.  And I have discovered over the years that those choices were not bad at all.  Again, I am thankful for a friend that has not let the distance be a problem.  Thanks, Matt.  Thanks.

Uh…

Happy New Year.

It was a long week.  I was getting used to 3-day weeks with the way work holidays fell.  This was the first FULL week back.  I know… wah, wah.  But hey, it’s my blog 😛

MadKeyboarding

Sorry for the lack of keyboard work.  I’ve been letting myself get distracted too easy.  I’ve been wracking my brain a bit on Mind the Shadows.  I’m trying to tie a couple things together, and for whatever reason, I’m getting more out of just beating my head against the desk.  I’ve also  had a couple of preliminary other ideas starting to rattle around.   I’m afraid if I go down another “rabbit hole”, though, I won’t come back to the Shadows anytime soon.  Any advice?  Do I mess around with something else and hope to come back to the Shadows?  I’m pretty sure the indecision has created my lack of motivation.  Funny how that works.