Monthly Archives: May 2018

Journal of the Emerald Specter 86: Friendship

I’m sure you’re wondering about the title. Well, the whole point of a title is to draw you in a bit, and unlike my normal columns, I’m going to do some dwelling on things that aren’t necessarily “fun, lighthearted,” or site related.

I’ve gone through life knowing a certain kind of person. There have been plenty who haven’t fit that mold, so I’ll start with the good before I hit the bad.

In high school, I was best friends with two others that made getting through life bearable. When I was in the Navy, I had a group that would also fit that mold… actually, lots of buddies for all kinds of occasions. Since that point, though, I’ve really only been able to rely on one super friend for all things: my wife.

Here’s where we go with WHY.

I’ve known a plethora of people who would use the word “friend” to describe their interactions with me but I can’t really reciprocate that word in the same way. The reason for that is because what they call friend is more accurately called an acquaintance.

Here’s a little bit of a “normal” interaction. Forgive the dramatics, I’m sort of merging a bunch of first hand experiences into one so that I don’t single out anyone who might be reading this.

“Hey, Joe Q. Public, I’m having a get together at my house on Friday and we’ll have ourselves some drinks and we can watch some quirky movie,” I say.

“That sounds good,” said Joe Q. Public, “But I’m waiting to hear from John Doe about going to Far Town. I’m also thinking about going to Nearsville on Friday with Ron Random.”

So… what you witnessed there is the “friend” of Joe Q. Public literally told me (paraphrased): “I’ll be happy to show up if absolutely nothing else comes up that interests me in the slightest.” I have run into this response many, many, many times. People who claim to be a friend but would rather do anything else than hang out with me.

Now, before you say something like “these people have lives, too,” I want to let you know that these same people expect to be able to show up on my doorstep unannounced, wishing to have me literally drop everything to do something on a whim.

Why should I drop things and take off on a whim? I have a life and I have things that need to be done. I also have a desire to do things on MY schedule once in a while and never getting that reciprocated at least occasionally and that almost never happened. In some cases, it never happened.

I was listening to a podcast today that brought this type of thing up, people who want to hang out with you but never actually do that on your schedule. They want you to adapt. They want you to do all the work. They want you to be irresponsible and just not do things to hang out. Those people are also interested in mainly entertaining themselves and in the above example, those people really aren’t interested in hanging out with you… they’re interested in you because you’re 37th on their list and you’re the first one to answer “yes.”

These people bother me. They bother me to the point that I have to actually relate to you a story about a specific person and how that friendship ended.

The age difference between myself and this other person wasn’t so drastic as to be unable to understand each other’s point of view. I’ll call this other person, for the sake of ease, Ray. Ray and I met before I married my current wife. We hung out occasionally, mostly in the company of others, but came to understand that our own aspirations were lofty and were mostly pointed in the same direction.

Ray had his own best friend, Mike, and they hung out a ton. Mike’s aspirations also fit ours, loosely, but Mike’s seemed to be more oriented towards moving away from others. The pairing of Ray and I seemed to be merging more as Mike wasn’t around as often. Then came the offerings of hanging out and that’s when things started to skew in the direction I gave in the example above.

I would call and try to arrange some hangouts and Ray did come periodically. Then things slowly started working away from the automatic yes and less hanging out was done on my terms. I tried to hang out on his terms as often as possible but as time went on, I got less amiable to working outside of my comfort zone.

My wife and I used to have an annual Super Bowl party where we’d invite a butt ton of people over to eat and watch the game (or commercials). The party started out large and as the years went on, people started making excuses for not showing up. Hell, some people didn’t even make an excuse, they said they’d show up and just wouldn’t. This type of thing is a good example of what I’d been dealing with.

I invited Ray to some sort of party, I don’t remember the details. It was likely an outing or a New Year’s Eve thing… something that would have been just hanging out and drinking like the old days. The response that I was given boiled down to “if nothing else comes up, sure.”

If nothing else comes up. Not like the example above because I was told yes… “except.” Then it was “except if this” and then “except if that” and finally “except of this other thing.” In the end, there was no plan made because I’m not going to base my plans off of a “only if I have nothing else going on” answer.

I picked on Ray because it’s the best example of what I have to detail my dislike.

I understand that people have their own lives but this isn’t having their own lives, this is claiming to be one thing and ending up being just a “in case I get bored, can I count on you?” No, no you can’t.

If you want to be a friend, friendship is a give and take. Friendship is a “I’ll help you move because someday I will need help moving.” Friendship is hanging out both when its convenient for you and when it’s convenient for the friend.

I hope other people read this, identify their own similar “friends,” and kick them to the curb because that isn’t what you need in life. I’ve got better things to do than work twice as hard at a friendship as the friend the friendship is with.

054: Just Like You Imagined

Memorial Day weekend and a whole lot got done on BuJourneyRPG. Hear about it now!

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

Podcast? Where is it?

Expecting a podcast Monday? Well, there isn’t one ready to go… but that is because I’ve been very, very busy… working on BuJourneyRPG!

I normally record on Sundays and this Sunday I was so busy working on the bullet journaling stuff that I totally didn’t record a show. I plan on recording one this week, yet. Stay tuned!

053: The Fragile

The news parody “Hard Baked News,” I hope you like it.

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

Journal of the Emerald Specter 85: Projects, Projects, Projects

There has been a question about what the hell is all the stuff I’m working on in the background and how much time is actually being put into each of these projects. I have a hierarchy of what needs to be done before other things that come on board and I decided to write a little bit about everything I’ve been working on, have previously worked on that is still being considered, what projects have been added as future fillers, and what this all means for all the talking about doing things and seemingly not doing things that I’ve done on this site.

THE top of the pile, THE main project, THE thing that I’m interested in finishing is the BuJourneyRPG basic ruleset. The link there is the category, which is everything that has been tagged with BuJourneyRPG specifically. If you haven’t been paying attention, I invented BuJoRPG and BuJourneyRPG is the next step in that evolution. If you have been paying attention and you’re waiting for me to drop that ruleset, I’m not ready to release it. With another, related, project involved, I have to make sure that I’ve got all my ducks in a row rather than release with a headache of fixing things in post-release.

What’s that related project? Physical bullet journal items that I’ll be selling. Time is money, folks, and if I can’t make money off this then I have to work to make a living and work on this as a side deal. I’d like to have some BuJoRPG-related income (including BuJourneyRPG), which means I could cut some hours at work and put most of my free time into working on the two systems and physical items. The physical items project is being done in small bits. Progress is being made and when I have something to release, I’ll probably announce that with links and such when the time comes, but know that I’m not stalling for the sake of stalling, I only have so much time to work on stuff at the moment.

In the last column, I announced I’m considering revisiting the ESPL. That is a distant thing, really looking for a 2019 restart of that. How can I add this into the mix without having the above two items taken care of? The key is: I haven’t added anything. Once the ruleset and accompanying physical products are out there, I’ll have “fiddle around time” to work on logos again. Read the post if you want more information, but just know that I have this on the list but not on the “active” list.

Something that is going to be happening more regularly is the Specter Show. On episode 50, I mentioned that I’m interested in “catching up” with my releases and get back to where I actually SHOULD BE with the episode/date. Having said that, I rolled back my lofty goal to look at more of a “two per week” or “three per week” option, instead of going for the original three to five per week I’d mentioned. The readings that I tested have ate up WAY more time on my end and I’m hoping that I get better at that for future releases. What readings? Listen to the episode.

Speaking of podcasting, let’s look at the Greatest Show. I attempted to turn the show into more of a seasonal offering, not overtaxing the hosting troupe with a show per week (meaning 52 shows a year), or running like we used to with a “if anyone else can be on, we’re having a show.” I stopped updating that schedule and haven’t decided how long that page will remain up… the idea now being different with what I’m trying to do. I have wanted to have more guests on and that will allow us to move the recording times/days to whenever necessary. We will still broadcast on a Saturday night now and then, while having an episode in the middle of the week with a special guest or whatnot.

The bullet journaling and the podcasting is at the top of my active list. I just wanted to drop a note here to say that.

There is another podcast that is coming, for sure, that is tied to another project that I’ve been leaving stale for about eight months now. The project can go forward because I’m ready to fill you in about what I’m wanting to do… this deserves a banner to change gears (the first of two banners you’ll see before the end of the column).

The project’s working title (like an OS codename, so less a working title and more codename) is Stellaris. There are several components to this particular project, and I’ll detail each one a little here before moving on to the next one. But first, a little history… brief history.

I’ve written short stories in the past (if you visit the way back machine, I’m talking my school aged years around 1989 to 1994). One of the most prolific “series” I wrote was my version of Star Trek, which would be more relatable as a version of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica or a combination of the two. (Keep in mind the reimagined series didn’t air until 2003, so I’m not claiming credit for that… but I am stating that my idea was much like it.) I wrote somewhere in the neighborhood of two million words (at best guess). There were several “crews” that basically crewed a line of starships with the same name, creating a universe around their adventures. I did have a “revival” of my writing late in my Naval career (let’s say 1996 or 1997), but those never really went anywhere.

Using that as the basis, I have sort of been building up a mythology and background for new fiction. I’d also like to have a SIM fleet, like I’ve mentioned in the past like Obsidian Fleet, running in this universe. That’s a “further down the road” segment of this project, let me get back on track.

The podcast that will be born of this project is that of the history of the planet of origin for Stellaris. There are multiple species, almost 10,000 years of “recorded” history, and a wealth of background that can be translated via voice to the listeners interested in the “how the hell did we get here” portion of the fiction that I’ll be eventually writing. The podcast will be formatted much like Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast, with the obvious change that I’m relating fictional events from a fictional location to the listener. I haven’t decided on how often the podcast would happen, but know that it is unlikely to be weekly.

When the history gets to a certain point, I’d start writing the fiction because you’d have enough background to know why certain characters are the way they are. The fiction would be serial fiction, with an intention to release in a novel format. The serial version of the fiction would be run as if the website was HBO and there would be a goal of 13 episodes per “season,” which means 13 installments within the book.

Speaking of serial fiction… 

I’ve talked about writing serial fiction in the past and I’ve decided to start writing it. I’ve got lots of “series” that I’d like to write and they’re all literally sitting in a file somewhere not getting done. So, I’m going to go ahead and start writing.

Will the series fit the above mentioned format? I’d like to believe so, but I’m not going to tie myself entirely down. I’m going to start writing a series based off of a short story I wrote for a college project, and I’m going to “revamp” the mythology behind that as I start writing. There will be installments, they’ll be released as they get completed, and I plan on working the mythological rework as I write.

That means NO “big write up” before writing. I’ll just keep track of things as I go.

Once I get a few installments released, I will consider doing other series. I may even try doing some background informational write ups for those before hand, but no so detailed I never get moving forward on the stories themselves.

The other big thing I wanted to move towards is… 

My goal of creating a comic book from start to finish before the end of the year is looking like that isn’t going to happen. I’m not done with the year, obviously, but I’m a realist. So, that leads me to giving a little bit of background with what I’d like to turn this into.

Yes, Specterverse.

So, when I started collecting comics in 1988 (beginning with Amazing Spider-Man #303 and branching out to many Marvel titles from there, as well as adding DC titles after that and I jumped in with both feet to Image when they launched), I had created my own superheroes and many of them, I’ll admit, were thinly skinned versions of some of my favorite heroes.

Since their initial conception, I’ve worked on my heroes to fit more of an original bent rather than be skins of other heroes. I’m basically telling you that I’ve been working on my own comic book universe for the better part of 25 years.

Yes, for real.

Since I’m unlikely to be a comic book writer, since I can’t even get seem to follow through with my goal of producing a comic book in a full calendar year, I’m going to aim to work towards JUST writing scripts. I’m intending to write them as Graphic Novels, so that there is no presence of a “monthly” release.

Using Marvel’s Cinematic Universe as a template, I’d love to write a graphic novel, or two, annually. My art is what I feel is holding my progress on this particular project back.

This is not high on the active list, but I wanted to detail it here.

I have announced in some form or another doing things that have less intense involvement on my part. These include Specter of the Galaxy, Specter of the Octagon, and Final Fantasy XV SpecterQuest where I play these games (No Man’s Sky, UFC 3, and Final Fantasy XV) and release the gameplay in installments. None of these are high priority and neither my wife have the time to play these at the moment.

So that is a rough rundown of some of the projects I have in the making. Some are nothing more than an announcement, a planning stage, etc… others are, as listed, active and noted, in the column.

There are some that weren’t mentioned at all and those are not on the active list but are under consideration. One thing I can do is talk, those things are podcasts, and that means I could just talk more… but I would need to be able to keep up with what I’m already doing, first.

Anyway… I’ll type at you next week.

052: We’re In This Together

A topic roundup, of sorts, including BuJourneyRPG, moving at a faster pace with the Specter Show, and a little more.

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

051: The Wretched

We got back from Las Vegas, because we went to Las Vegas. Want to hear some of the things we did? It wasn’t a “typical Vegas trip,” so DJ details a little bit about what we did while we were there… and it was more fun than what other Vegas trips are from “traditional” Vegas trips.

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

Journal of the Emerald Specter 84: Revisiting Things

I put “things” because there is probably more I’m going to talk about than the one thing that I was centering the column on, so I wanted to be a little more generic. Revisiting also means that it’s something that has already been and I’m examining it from a distance of time, so buckle up… I’m revisiting the ESPL.

The ESPL, for those that don’t know (more on that shortly), is the acronym for the Emerald Specter Premier League… a logo design experiment that simulated a soccer league for a whopping two seasons (see Season One and Season Two finales). This ran from 2016 to 2017, when I decided that this was a fairly labor intensive experiment.

The whole experiment was a version of this logo forum experiment.

Now, the ESPL has only not happened one year but it feels like it’s been away forever. I have had some ideas on some updates that I’ve wanted to work up and without a place to really put them, I decided to take a look at reviving the ESPL in order to do something with my designs.

What I’d like to do is revamp the logos from the ESPL, add on to the league a little, and modify the way the league runs in order to create the output in a far less intense way. I would like to run over what the logo forum experiment did/is doing and adapt things a little to suit the ESPL, specifically. (That league is the AFA, so I can reference it easier.)

In the AFA, the creator (Veras) documents off season goings on in a summary format, including things like general news, coaching changes, hall of fame news, the draft, and then has a separate post about the season… which is also done in a general summary format. The whole season. At no point has Veras detailed the roster of an entire team, nor has he detailed an entire list of names for draft picks. Soccer (the world version, not the MLS) doesn’t use a draft, so I wouldn’t need to include that, but I am considering doing the rest of the stuff in a summary format.

The ESPL had previously detailed an entire roster, complete roster moves, and I’d even gone so far as to give some fairly detailed match summaries early on in the process, though I went with a vaguer weekly summary for the second season… with the new ESPL revival, I’d look at doing the general summaries of the transfer windows, off seasons, the seasons, as well as any “extra competitions” (like a Champions League, league cup, World Cup, etc). The results would be more of a “final league table” and would probably still include goal differences and points.

My hope is to revamp all the logos, as well renaming some of the clubs in order to “modernize” the entire league. I’m also hoping to simply pop up a “league 2” in which to do pro/rel with (for those not in the know, pro/rel is promotion/relegation). I’m also considering doing the uniform designs, like Veras has done with the AFA. All of this would be done in a different way than what I’ve done previously, and I’m modeling my own efforts after the things Veras did (the way I remember it, anyway).

The first step would be revamping the ESPL logo. The old logo was a neat little ditty that worked for the ideas I had for the original run. What I want to do is make it a little more timeless, less hokey, and have the league logo last for a long time without needing to update it (if ever). Next in line would be doing a complete club identity per season. That means the logo and uniforms (I don’t really need a field design). My idea is that the Premier League and League 2 would each have their own slate of clubs, with the PL having 16 and as yet undetermined number in League 2 (though I’m eyeballing 12 to 14 clubs as the hope, at most).

If you pretend I just announced 14 clubs for League 2, I’ve just roughly laid out a schedule of one club identity per season… lasting 30 seasons. For those who are paying close attention to my wording, I’m saying seasons and not years.

One of the biggest things I’d like to do differently is run multiple seasons per year. I’m interested in stopping the identification of the year as the season. So, Season I and Season II have been completed, meaning that Season III would start the new cycle (and eliminate the references to actual dates). The ideal situation is running four seasons per calendar year but I’ll be starting with a goal of two per calendar year until I know I can keep up.

But there is one other thing that has really spawned this conversation today and will lead into some other options…

That thing is that since I have stopped the ESPL, I’ve gotten just as many hits on the ESPL posts since I’ve closed the thing down as I had when I had things running. The highest hits on those pages are the logo reveal pages. I’ve got some comparison time frames to run against each other and I’ve really had to take a hard look at if I wanted to do this.

With that in mind, I’d like to say that if I didn’t do the uniforms part (only did logos with each summary cycle), then I’d also consider running another league (or two) from different sports…

This is the second new banner I’ve had to make for this column.

Along with the ESPL (soccer), I have been considering doing logos for what I’m calling the ESLAF (Emerald Specter League of American Football).

The ESLAF would be run like I proposed running the ESPL, and if I stick to JUST logos, I can probably do both at the same time. In this scenario, I’d probably stick with doing two seasons per calendar year for each of them… but let’s not stop there.

I don’t watch basketball actively (currently), but I’m planning on following my home team (the Portland Trailblazers) starting with the next NBA season. With that, I’d also considering doing the ESBA (Emerald Specter Basketball Association), but rather than committing to that, I’m just tossing out that idea before I get to the other thing I’m interested in doing.

Mixed Martial Arts.

Using the formula with the ESPL and the ESLAF, the ESFC (Emerald Specter Fighting Championship will be what I use unless I come up with something better) would be mainly “event posters” instead of logos. Since MMA events, using the UFC model, basically happen on a weekly/monthly cycle, the ESFC could use the same format (with an obvious build up as the league would be new).

Now, you’re probably thinking I’m getting ahead of myself. If you just took all this at face value, you would be correct in assuming I’m way in over my head with all of this. So, know that I’m not talking about launching all this immediately.

The ESPL will be the first to return, and I’m earmarking the latter half of 2018 or 2019 as that relaunch. I do, after all, have bullet journal stuff to get done as promised.

If that works well, I’d start up the ESLAF. After that, I’d consider the ESFC and future options.

I wanted to put out a column and this was an easy write. I can often vamp about things to last the entirety of a full column, so I wanted to talk about this. Hopefully I can get a little interest in the project and hopefully the folks who have been pinging those ESPL pages of old will speak up at emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com and let me know you’re in.

050: The Frail

This one is all about the podcasts… well, mostly about the podcasts. Back in the saddle, DJ rounds up all the podcast info and what he’d like to see as he addresses the Specter Show, the Greatest Show, and potential new podcasts (that he’s mentioned before).

Host: DJ Allen
Intro Music: The Idea of You by Nine Inch Nails (from Not the Actual Events)
Outtro Music: The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails
Intro Lead in: Theo Rossi

Contact:
Website: www.EmeraldSpecter.com
Email: EmeraldSpecter.com@Gmail.com
Twitter: @EmeraldSpecter
Instagram: @EmeraldSpecter

Support Emerald Specter at Patreon!

147: Avengers Infinity War

Reunited and it feels so good! DJ gathers together Tricia, Metal Jesus, and the long awaited return of Rachel as the team discusses (mostly) the new movie Avengers: Infinity War.

This is the audio of the video version, which can be found here.

DJ can be reached at EmeraldSpecter.com, @EmeraldSpecter on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email emeraldspecter.com@gmail.com.

Tricia can be reached at MadeByTricia.com, @MadeByTricia on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email madebytriciapdx@gmail.com.

Metal Jesus can be reached through astral projection and smoke signals.

Rachel can be reached by telepathy.