And though I had slain a thousand foes less one,
The thousandth knife found my liver;
The thousandth enemy said to me,
'Now you shall die,
Now none shall know.'
And the fool, looking down, believed this,
Not seeing, above his shoulders, the naked stars,
Each one remembering.
--John M. Ford, The Final Reflection

The Asylum Director

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"The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn't require any." - Russel Baker

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Well, I’m back.

I’ve finally managed to land a job. It’s as a writer for iWebmasters. Now, as per my contract, I can’t tell anyone what it’s about or who the client is or what exactly I do but still, it isn’t too bad. Sure, the pay isn’t as good as I want it to be but still…I’m going to be paid to do what I do at home for free. Now, I’m still on probationary status and I won’t become a regular employee until after six months worth of proving myself that I can do it. I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as I think it is but if it isn’t, I’ll just remind myself that I signed a thrice-damned contract already. I’m stuck there for the remainder of it and I’ll just have to find some way to make the most of it and the work. Besides, since I’m writing, it’ll hopefully give me enough time to keep working on my non-work related writing, which is still high priority for me.

So, aside from that, what else is up with me? Well, for starters, I can’t believe I’m still managing to maintain some level of contact with my Ambergris friends. I’ve gotten used to not having them around anymore but that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy being around them again. In the time since I left, it seems like a lot’s happened and yet, at the same time, nothing has. A few, I’m told, are still sticking it out in the *cough*Hell*cough* ABU account. Some, I guess, enjoy it to a degree or aren’t completely disgusted with it. Others I know are just giving it a year to get promoted to a position they want before they decide to move on. After all, they practically promised us that we’d be up for promotion real soon. As for the ones that left, I don’t have as much contact with them as I’d like. One of them is in Convergys, another went back to her studies, another probably decided he was better off employed back in Japan and the others each found their own little niche in the world. So, in effect, that just leaves me as the one who hasn’t found his place in the world yet.

As for Grace (my closest friend back there), I think she’s finally gotten some measure of the happiness I always thought she deserved. According to her, she has a boyfriend now and it just so happened to be Lei, another ABU dude. While I would never have imagined it, now that I think about it, there really isn’t anything in either of their personalities that wouldn’t mix well with the other’s. I think those two aren’t the stereotypical perfect match but they mix real well with one another and I think he’d be good for her and to her. He knows that she can handle herself if he isn’t and he knows I’ve got her back, just in case. Though I’m pretty sure she won’t need me for anything other than during those odd moments where she’ll be drunk or being overly contemplative and she needs a serious answer to some sort of strange question that most people wouldn’t bother giving a second thought to, let alone answering. Then again, that’s what makes me a different sort of friend, as someone once put it.

Moving along, I’ve recently started re-playing Final Fantasy VIII. This time, I’ve decided to take the time to fully customize everything. I nuked all the Elemental Attack Junctions since they’re ultimately more of an annoyance than an aid. I dug up as many of the stat-raising items as I could to build their stats to insane levels. I actually bothered to level all characters and GFs to 100. I never thought it possible that Cactuar could go beyond the 9999 damage cap at that level. It took a lot longer than usual but I finally managed to get them all to how I want them to be, right down to the Angel Wing’s little used Meteor trick, not to mention the easy-to-abuse moves of Zell’s Duel limit break. Lionheart may be the most obvious but Zell can do more damage if you exploit his limit break and Rinoa…well, she took on several level 100 monsters on the Island Closest To Hell, Ultima Weapon, Omega Weapon and all forms of Ultimecia with minimal support with the trick I used, plus a Hero tossed her way. The game clearly has taken up a lot of my time but it was worth it to get the most powerful characters that FFVIII could allow, based on my style of play. That game isn’t the best Final Fantasy ever (that honor belongs to FFVI) but I don’t think it’s the worst either (for me, that has to be FFVII; thankfully, nobody reads this crap so I won’t get much fanboy hate-mail). However, I confess that it is a guilty pleasure to play through the budding love affair between Squall and Rinoa. Just wish Rinoa was the main character and not Squall though. FF seriously needs to have a strong, capable female lead again after Terra of FFVI and while Rinoa has several traits that aren’t suited for the job, she’s a better candidate than Yuna, Garnet or Tifa (Aeris doesn’t count; she’s dead). Oh well, at least FFXIII seems to fulfill my wish for one.

Of course, the whole ‘school days’ feel I get whenever I step into Balamb Garden, as well as Rinoa and all the official and fan art I have of her, sort of inspired me. Mind you, I think the whole super-powered, elite, specially-trained high school students thing is overdone, so I probably won’t steer my idea in that direction. Besides, my last story already took care of that problem. I think it is about time I got back to writing stories set in high school. It is where I started writing and frankly, it feels like home whenever I write about characters that are trapped in the educational system. But, of course, I’ll need to make some adjustments. What I’m planning likely isn’t going to do well in a setting based on the real world. No, I’ll need to make a completely original world but one that isn’t too different from the world as it is now. I’ll need to refine this idea for a bit, let it bubble in the old cauldron for a bit. Maybe try to re-think the whole ‘factions’ concept that’s been in my head for a while now. Come to think of it, I haven’t written anything even remotely critical of religion, the religious and the very concept of religion lately. I should get around to doing that.

Also, I’ve been thinking about writing ‘adult’ (that’s a misuse of the word if I ever saw one) material again, reminiscent of old Yuki’s Diary or Kasumi Inn or my old Love Hina lemon fanfiction. The adult fiction exam I had to write for the iwebmasters application of mine showed me just how rusty my pr0n writing skills are at the moment. They’re definitely in their worst state in years and while I’m not really all that intent on focusing on them, I do believe I need a little brushing up. To that end, I’ve re-read Erik Lustbader’s The Miko and Anne Rice’s Belinda to get a feel of it again; it was elements of their erotica that I tried to weave into my ‘adult’ writing anyway. I need to feel that old rush again, I guess. I’m not going to say that my creative arsenal isn’t complete without it but I certainly don’t think I can do without that. After all, sex, sexuality and related things are all aspects of a person and some traces of them should manifest in any fictional character. But as I look back, it makes me wonder how I ended up writing something so elaborately twisted as Yuki’s Diary based solely on a whim I had at the time. I’m not about to say it’s the best of its kind in the world but it isn’t as bad as one would think, I believe. If nothing else, straight guys and a few straight girls love it. Maybe it’s just because you can’t help but admire a hot girl who’s rather open about how she likes things. Admittedly, Yuki wasn’t anywhere near the sexual huntress that I’d originally planned her to be, though I may still get my chance in my next project.

Maybe something sci-fi-ish. Or perhaps something more along the supernatural. Part of me isn’t about to go into high fantasy akin to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings or something Dungeons and Dragons-ish and I firmly believe that Rowling’s Harry Potter books are just more nails into the coffin of the dying fantasy genre. However, if more fantasy stories are styled after D&D: Ravenloft, that’s different. Aside from Ravenloft official fiction and fanfiction, I’m not aware of any fantasy fiction that carries elements of gothic horror so heavily or so well. As it stands, far too much of the fantasy genre has become stereotypical and unimaginative in the way it portrays elves, gnomes, orcs and the like; it’s tall ripped off from Tolkien now. Even Ravenloft does that, in those rare domains that have elves as a major chunk of the population. But I’ll save more on these thoughts for another time. For now, as part of my post-Akatsuki plans, I think I’ll revisit an old idea of mine that sort of took off but didn’t get very far for various reasons the first time around. Sadly, I can only recall the general idea of it and a few character details but none of the actual text. I’m sure I can find it on the internet somewhere but I’m too lazy to look, so I’ll have to just re-tool it.

That’s all for now. I had better get back to…whatever it is I’m doing right now.

And on a random note, the new thing Blogger seems to be trying out is pissing me off…it insists on logging me in using my Google ID but even though I do have that, when I registered with Blogger I used my Yahoo ID. Now, I don’t know if anyone else had that same problem or if my logging in with the right ID to post this was a fluke but it is rather annoying. I have the same ID name on Blogger, Google and Yahoo and it does get frustrating trying to tell Blogger’s system that I used Yahoo with them and not Google. It insisted on logging me in using Google, which meant that I didn’t have a blog set up yet. And for some insane reason, I can’t get into Blogger with my old ID and Yahoo account, the bastards. That resulted in the delay of this post.

Anyway, time to go do...stuff.

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