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    • OsageOrange's Writing Thoughts #3, 2014/08/15: Backups.

      4 years ago


      On the topic of digital file backup means, there are many ways to do this, the most well known automated and manual backup systems. One could argue for the pros and cons of manual and automated back systems, but I'm going to refrain from that, as I've used a hybrid of these methods.

      So, here's a few points I've assembled that apply to both.

      1. Always have regular backups. No matter what you do in in terms of backup systems, for writing files and other data, always make sure to have regularly scheduled backups. Keeping with this mode will help in case of lost or corrupted data.

      2. Develop a backup system to other media, and with redundancies. This one states that for backing up writing files, back them up from not just to a CD, DVD, or other single copy of media, but have a second or third. Getting material off to another media source from your primary media housing source is a big plus in the event of a primary media loss.

      3. If possible, have mobile backups/off-site backups. Tying into the above note, this option is to help in the event you have the misfortune to lose all your local, readily available material. Cloud storage is a good option, or leaving a copy of material on a disc, flash drive, hard drive, etc with a very trusted source- ie, a bank in its vault- is essential for emergencies.

      4. Have a rotation schedule. Tying into all of the above points, have a means make sure backups are updated to where if one part fails, there are still backups in existence, even if they aren't up to date. A good rotation system to follow would be the grandfather-father-son system; an example of this method would be a quarterly, monthly, weekly system, the method I use.

      5. System change. If you change your backup scheme, make sure you know what you're changing. Moving data around is something that can effect the system of backups, and can result in more effort to change it.

      6. (Added 8/16 as I realized I forgot to add this one after logging off) Active file backup. As you actively work on your files, always try to back up files (copy and paste) to a separate 'dated files' folder removed from the file source locations, when you start working on files and during the session as see fit. Dating the file works with this method. Not only does this allow for the backing up of data, it also can allow one to track changes in the file's modification.

      Next month's entry will be about Writing Organization: Dividing Material into Groups (ie, a poetry folder, a short stories folder, several different universes/series each having their own folder, etc.) The following month's topic will get more specific.

    • Entry #24, 2014/08/11: Robin Williams' Death.

      4 years ago


      It really saddens me to know that Robin Williams has died from taking his own life, stemming from depression. I've struggled a few times from depression, and it does make life seem difficult. The RT community helps keep me uplifted because I know that there are many good people here, and its become part of my support system. Whatever Robin Williams may have faced, we can all still remember him, and we can rely on each other to keep ourselves strong. RIP, Robin Williams.

    • Entry #23, 2014/07/26: Job Update

      4 years ago


      I know its been over a week since I last posted anything about my new job, but its because I've been doing stuff like meeting with the department manger, paperwork, background check, etc with the grocery store this past week, taking longer than expected. I did a lot of paperwork and some store-related training today, and tomorrow is my first working day in the department, even though today was officially my first day.

      Addendum, 2014/07/27: Pulling a Grif here- Today was indeed tough, info overload, don't know fully what I'm doing, had a fifteen minute lunch break, yaddah yaddah yaddah. I'll have additional training time this week as I have my hours to work.

    • Favored Plant

      in Forums > Favored Plant | Follow this topic


      So, I'm curious what everyone's favorite plant(s) are. Whatever species it is/they are, say why you like it and you can be as detailed or simply worded as you want.

      For those who don't know, my username is a more of a layman's name the tree species Maclura Pomifera. Its native range is in eastern Texas, parts of southeastern Oklahoma and the southwest corner of Arkansas. It has had many values over the years.

      I have several reasons why I like the osage orange. One is that it has a high heat value as compared to most hard- and softwoods: I've used in the winter myself. Utah State University Link; Engineering Toolbox Link. Another reason is that this tree's wood is increasingly rot resistant. A person I know has cut down several osage oranges on their property years ago, for firewood and carving, but the stumps are still there, and one of them has even had a new tree sprout from the stump. Another person I know doesn't quite like them because of the thorns found on both sexes of the tree, giving it a walking threat to animals and humans' feet; I've argued that if the tree is carefully manged in pruning, limb/debris and fruit pick up, it can be a good tree.

      I've got an osage orange walking stave for when I go out exercising and a second that I've been holding onto to hopefully make into a bow; the Native Americans used osage orange as a bow wood and it was highly valued amongst them. A misconception of the osage orange is that its part of the orange family. It isn't- its apart of the mulberry tree family- Moraceae- whereas the orange is apart of the Rutaceae (or citrus) tree family.

      Another tree species I like are the Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis), primarily for its flowers in spring.

      11 replies

    • Entry #22, 2014/07/18: You know that job interview...

      4 years ago


      Yeah, the one I talked about in my last journal. Well, I went in today for the interview, and signed the paperwork to be hired after talking to the assistant manger of the grocery store. Due to some people not being in today, I'm gonna have to call back next week, so its likely that I'm not gonna start until then. So, I'm hoping things can get done.

    • Entry #21, 2014/07/16: Here's to hopin'

      4 years ago


      So, I've got a job interview Friday.

      As I've told several people, I've been searching for a new job for several months now and haven't had much luck so far... until I got a call today from one of the grocery chains in my area telling me they want me to come in for an interview. So, I'm getting my stuff in order for that.

      I've also been thinking about going back to school and getting a degree in medical field, and I'm leaning toward nursing. But I'm open to other options.

      Hoping Friday goes well.

    • OsageOrange's Writing Tidbits #2, 2014/07/15: Writing Journals

      4 years ago


      So, writing and journals. Why have a journal? As a writer, you need to have a means to record any idea that comes to mind. Call your recording system whatever you want to- a journal, log, entry book/file, thought book, notepad, etc. I'm going to start off with a list of a number of thoughts and practices that I follow on writing down new content. Please note that this applies to individual writings, novel and overall series material:

      1. Develop a system of recording data.: With recording sources ranging from paper notepads to voice recorders to mobile phones to computers, there are a lot of options available. Find the means- whether one mode or several- of what you think is the best for you and follow it. I use a system of, primarily, a spiral notebook and my mobile cellular device, both of which will often be with me when I'm away from home, to note down ideas before I transcribe them onto my computer. I have a few documents on my computer that I use when writing and have a new idea.

      2. Keep a means of recording material readily accessible to your person at all possible times.: One never knows when an internal thought or external influence might spark a thought. When I'm up and about, I usually attempt to get the thought recorded in my notebook when it comes to me; my mobile phone is a backup. At night, I keep my mobile phone within arm's reach, as going to sleep, or waking up from a dream in the middle of night, or waking up in the morning, might have something.

      3. Long form and short form thoughts are ok.: Any entry thought of, ranging from a short thought to change one little thing to a long prompt (or entry, depending on your system) for a scene or series of scenes, can vary from writer to writer, and a mix of long to short format entries is what I've experienced. I've had long prompt entries go for a page or two or three, and a series of short and medium length thoughts that follow.

      4. Review your recorded entries from time to time.: You might be experiencing writer's block, or trying to solve a change in plot. Rereading past entries will help keep one abreast of where one has been, and help make the needed decisions to change plot, characters, concepts. You also might also think of a new plot twist.

      My recording system:
      As I've said, I use a physical notepad journal for a long time and have developed a system. I would start it off a new physical journal by writing down the date, time and location of when I started using it on the top white bar of the first page, often followed by the first entry and numbering the pages. I would write entries down as they came to me, and I would write these ideas down in two modes. The first, which I haven't used in years, was to write out a particular scene in the notebook as time during waking hours permitted. Shorter statements- ie, a brief fact, a short written idea or a need to change something for the future- would still be put in. However, this long form method required a complete retranscritpion of the idea onto my computer version; this led to the idea of the second, current mode. This second mode is one of prompts instead of fully written-out ideas, where I write down just enough information for me to be able to, at a later point in time but as soon as possible, put this idea in on digital format. Shorter entries are still standards. Once a physical journal's pages were exhausted, I would date the closing time, date and location. This dating of the opening and closing helps me keep track of the journals in terms of development of the entries.

      Parallel to the physical journals are their digital counterparts, when they've been transcribed. I waited a time before transcribing the older journals and then started on the new prompt system. Journals One through Six, and a sequence oddball, Eight, are of the old, written-out style, whereas Journals Seven and Nine, the latter of which is 'in commission,' are in the prompts tradition, and unlike their counterparts, which have, at most, lasted at most eleven months, have gone for well over two years; Journal Nine will enter its third year this September, and it doesn't look like I'll close it out before then. I'm considering doing an all-digital journal system, so that I don't have to worry carrying a notebook around, but have yet to completely follow through.

      For those you want to use a paper based system, a trick I've learned is to use school old notebooks or other old notebooks. Four of my physical journals (Journals One, Two, Six and Eight) are all old school notebooks, or have school notebooks donating their paper to them. Use of notepads can also be used. Overall, it matters not what way of recording your ideas, thoughts and concepts (physical or electronic) in a journal, but find out what you want to do and do it.

      Gonna retitle this series of journals as "OsageOrange's Writing Thoughts." Next month's thoughts entry will be about digital file back-up.

    • OsageOrange's Writing Tidbits #1, 2014/06/22: The Xanatos Gambit

      4 years ago


      So, being one attempting at being a writer, I thought I'd share a bit more here on RT. I've been brewing over this thought I had for the past several days now, but decided to bite the bullet and present a monthly journal series on writing- what I've learned from school, personal research and experiences. Though its past mid-month, I anticipate doing future journals of this nature on the 15th of each month. This month's topic is the Xanatos Gambit.


      For those who don't know, the Xanatos Gambit is named for David Xanatos, pictured above, a primary antagonist of the mid-1990s Disney show, Gargoyles. He's the intelligent founder, owner and CEO of a multi-industry corporation, Xanatos Enterprises, which has made him very wealthy, allowing him to place a late 10th-century Scottish castle atop his company's New York City skyscraper headquarters that has 10th century gargoyles that come to life at night after being stone statues all day. His life's goals include the need to keep himself on top of everything, but even more so is his desire to achieve immortality.

      Now, I've had the opportunity within the last few years to rewatch it and think about it. It was an observation of mine as a kid and as an adult as that Xanatos really didn't get stale quite like as I'd seen in other villains, in books and especially on TV. It wasn't until I had been browsing one of the Gargoyles wikis that I stumbled across the term 'Xanatos Gambit.' The Xanatos Gambit is a manipulative strategy- the manipulator forces the character(s) he or she is manipulating to accept, often as an unwitting pawn, one of two choices, either of which will aid and advance the manipulator in their plans/goals. The Xanatos Gambit uses Morton's Fork (The choice between two options, success or failure) as its defining element, with the twist that through all of its possible planned outcomes that the villain plans for that the villain will achieve a step toward a goal or whatever he/she desires, even if its just some small, trivial thing in the end: even a hallow victory for the manipulated pawn benefits the manipulator, even for an apparent loss for the manipulator.

      Now, why would I want to use the Xanatos Gambit in writing? Its just more than having to consistently create new villains as old ones are written off, change sides from bad to good, etc: for a book series, I'd prefer to write a small series of complex, core villains that I'd focus on, and since villains use some amount of manipulation in their day-to-day tasks, have a system to keep them fresh is something I'd want. The use of the Xanatos Gambit is something a writer can use to avoid villains decay (A villain who becomes essentially a joke after high initial success), and I would prefer to have a villain last more than say one or two novels, for example. Darth Sidious in the Star Wars prequel films, uses the Xanatos Gambit quite magnificently: he manipulates the individuals around him (Anakin, Padme, the Jedi Council, the Senate, the Separatists, his apprentices) and steps from being a backwater senator to Senate chancellor to declaring himself Galactic Emperor, which of course sets up his later downfall but he remains an interesting and relevant villain. Any villain that I would create and would have use the Xanatos Gambit would have to be as unique as I could make them, but I'd also have to have the needed motivation, causality and backstory that made them such a manipulative villain. The Gambit also allows for that really intelligent villain to have a admirable side, such as when Xanatos is willing to defend his home to prevent his son from being taken away by Oberon. Use of the Xanatos Gambit for any villain/manipulator in any of my writings would make me have to work on creating a strong character, one that the reader could believe in, and, if needed, sympathize and identify with. As with any character, they would have to change over time, evolve their goals and priorities, but keep that nature of them being manipulative so that they remain 'bad', but at the same time, don't become a joke or fail as a villain. Yet, I know that I wouldn't have to use the Xanatos Gambit all the time in my writing- it'd likely be wise to throw in the occasional one-shot villain.

      I hope everyone's enjoyed this; please post any thoughts in the comment section below. Next month's tidbit entry will be the Journal, looking at recording down ideas.

    • 4 years ago

    • 4 years ago

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