Category: On Me


Dorienne, the gamer

July 22nd, 2017 — 5:24pm

Something fascinating occurred over the last few months: I’ve finally decided to fully acknowledge that I’m a gamer, instead of someone who sometimes plays games.

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes has taken up a huge part of my time lately. Not just the game itself, or my alt account, but planning for it and researching for it, interacting with my guild members, and recently, writing about it. I’m writing about it on Gaming-fans.com, which is one of the first times I’ve written for someone else. I really enjoy writing reviews and such for GoH on the whole, partly because I enjoy the game, but mainly because I love writing about the game.

My gaming is really disjointed, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying it from every aspect. I keep buying games like some people collect Lego sets. I had a somewhat sizeable Xbox 360 library, but then discovered Steam Sales and Humble Bundles and decided to switch to PC-gaming, which required re-purchasing (albeit for pennies on the dollar) a bunch of games and trying to play them in a different environment. That said, I’ve got 252 games in my Steam library and I’ve only played through 6% of them.

I usually end up restarting games half the time because I take such long breaks in-between them and tend to jump from game to game. Finishing Mass Effect for the first time really brought this home. Four years elapsed between the time I first attempted ME1 and eventually finished a complete playthrough, but once I got fully engaged in the game, I couldn’t stop until I’d finished. I loved every part of following my Shepard as she commanded the Normandy, befriended various aliens, and fell in love as she saved the galaxy and in playing Mass Effect and discovering its Reddit community, I finally realized that this is a media that I’ve long-since adored.

Regardless if I own a game and it’s just chilling in my Steam library or gathering dust beside the Xbox or I’m simply curious about it, I love reading reading reviews from professional critics and players alike and researching all the furor or glee about every release or console.

While every minute spent gaming is a minute not spent working on Flight or Damen or Anne or any of the other million projects I’ve got pending, with the way first-job has been stressing and depressing me, sometimes all I can do to keep my sanity is engage in interactive stories by playing, writing, or reading about them.

Whether it’s my 13-year-old Sims 2 game that still going and going until modders can’t get it to run on modern OSes anymore, or just discovering which of the latest games can hold my attention best, I’m a gamer. I’m involved.

Part of me wants to link this into all my other hobbies by thinking that eventually I’d like to write my own game, but I think it might be best to let gaming live on its own. Gaming can live beside writing and even occasionally intertwine, but there’s no need to force myself to start a new project like writing a game…at least not until I’ve made a dent in my Steam library.

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I Dream of Writing

December 31st, 2014 — 8:55pm

From kaitco.wordpress.com:

I’ve been using the Lift.do app for much of the past eighteen months. In addition to helping me make flossing, bible reading, and some form of exercise daily activities, it has also given me a graphical display of my writing activities over the last year.

IMG_3566

Towards the beginning of the year, I seemed to be writing almost daily, but from August through the remainder of the year, I’ve been declining month over month. It’s one thing to have an inkling that one hasn’t been writing much, but seeing it forces acknowledgement. Of all things I aim to correct in 2015, one of the most poignant will be to correct the above graph.

My lack of writing, however, has given rise to an incredible epiphany about myself.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit concerned about the dark and violent nature of my imagination. When left to simply create out of nothing, my imagination always defaults to something dark and dreary. I noticed it with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year where I decided to write about pedophile serial killer seeking help for his deeds. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hardly better as I simply started with “Once upon a time…” and 5K words in found myself writing a story about a young boy escaping into his dreams as he is being abandoned by his family. I’m still unsure why my imagination, when left on its own, falls into these dark places and that’s something I’ll have to ponder and pray about at another time. This could arguably be to blame for my reduced writing in the latter part of this year, but I know outright laziness when I see it.

I’ve also been having these very detailed recurring dreams which I almost never have. I hate dreaming entirely because I never dream about horses or flying or living a happy life in my elder years. My dreams are almost always just as dark and horrible as my default imagination, but they often include very realistic circumstances involving people I love.

I had one dream several years ago where my mother and I were walking across campus and she suddenly collapsed. I tried picking her up and dragging her to find help and then I noticed that Death was following us. I then proceeded to drag my comatose mother all across campus, in and out of dorms and classroom buildings, trying to run away from Death. I had another dream about a dear friend of mine, who had just been married and was pregnant at the time. I dreamt that I arrived at work and my co-workers surrounded me to comfort me as they told me my dear friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident. That one was so horrible that I actually woke myself up screaming and I had jumped out of the bed and stood around my bedroom for a few minutes before I understood that I’d just been dreaming. These are just a couple examples of the ones that have stood with me over time, so needless to say, I hate dreaming.

My recurring dream, like most of them, can be easily interpreted. I was in college at the time I had the dream about my mother and losing her would have been incredibly difficult for me, at any time really. My dream about my friend occurred because usually when things are going perfectly for too long, I expect something horrible to happen. My recurring dream includes a mixture of current racial tensions in the country and my own frustrations about my life’s limitations. The end doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me yet, but I’m hoping to forget the dream sooner rather than later.

Despite having a mild understanding of what my recurring dream meant, I started searching online for a dream interpretation forum; something, anything, to help rid me of this recurring dream. In my searching, however, I started to think about what was really bothering me. It’s not the dreams themselves, because I know what they mean, but it’s the fact that I’ve been having these horrible dreams far more frequently than I’ve ever had and they’re recurring.

So, I posed myself some questions. Why was I dreaming so much?? What’s going on in my life that’s causing this? Is it a change in diet? Exercise? Music? Television? What?!?

No answer came to me immediately, so I focused on other things, namely my writing habits as I saw them in the Lift app and then it finally dawned on me: Reduced writing has given my brain no other storytelling outlet and thus, has left all the creative thoughts that used to be spent on a writing project with nowhere else left to go, but into dreams.

It sounds fanciful at first, but I came upon this realization in a slightly empirical manner. As I hadn’t been writing as much I should have been, I initially aimed to fix it by enacting what I called “No Write, No Reddit.” I procrastinate way too much on Reddit and so, I figured that preventing myself from viewing Reddit unless I’d written at least 100 words would kick start my writing and this actually worked. I started writing for a few days and, though it hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I had no dreams during this time. Unfortunately, after a few days, I started to get busy and I stopped writing and Redditing altogether. Then, the dreams started again and then they started to recur and the dreams even included a few slight deviations…almost as if my brain was trying to perfect or edit the dream.

After recognizing the correlation between writing and dreams, I tried to make sure I didn’t go more than 48 hours without some kind of creative storytelling and, Lo! the dreams have stopped. If were really a scientist, I’d test myself further by ceasing all creative activities again, while maintaining consistent diet, exercise, sleep, etc., and then see how long it took for the dreams to restart (and, I still may as that sounds very intriguing), but like I said, I hate dreaming and a simple hypothesis works well enough for me.

I’ve asked God recently about my writing endeavours and had considered giving up the craft altogether to focus on other ambitions, but I think I might have received my answer.

I’m a storytelling through and through. Whether I tell these stories aloud or commit them to the page, they will form and with nowhere else to go, they will internalize and haunt me either way. So, on I’ll continue.

Whether I publish or not, I’m still a storyteller and, if for no other reason than my mental well-being, I’ll continue to tell my stories until the end.

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Revel in my achievement!

March 28th, 2012 — 1:50am

This has absolutely nothing to do with writing or Christianity or anything I’ve talked about in recent months. This is just a personal achievement.

Sunday evening, I decided that it was time to up the RAM on my PC and went to Micro Center since theirs was the cheapest. I’d researched the type I wanted and how much I’d wanted to spend and had even factored the $30 that would be necessary for the folks at Micro Center to install said RAM for me come Monday morning.

Whether it was frugality, procrastination or just plain laziness, I never got to Micro Center on Monday and instead spent the night researching how install RAM. After watching no less than 10 videos on YouTube each describing the same process, I decided that this couldn’t be that difficult to up my RAM from 6 to 16GB and…this evening, I did it! The entire process took roughly 30-40 minutes when I include all the unplugging, looking up a last minute how-to video, saying a few prays about proper grounding for myself, the actual installation and the time praying as I waited for the PC to boot. All in all, not a bad way to spend an hour and voila!

Voila! I've done it!

This process was far too simple to seem this scare, what with the concept of grounding oneself and now my next project will be to revive my old Xbox from it’s purgatory of RROD. If life had Xbox achievements, there would be a “Ba-loop!” and a brief sign near the corner of my eye stating, “Install PC Component for the First Time 200G!”

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A house?

February 2nd, 2012 — 11:14pm

I’ve not written specifically in this blog for a while and I’ve got a great article coming, but until then a post from my WordPress (http://kaitco.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/a-house/) will have to suffice:

For the first time in my life I considered that idea that I should be a homeowner. I actually started to look into what homes would be in my price range before I started to add some logic to it, but I can’t escape the fact that I actually thought about it.

I’ve been anti-house for a long time, but in recent months, I seem to be running out of space in my townhouse; and I really want a garage again. The living room isn’t large enough for all my stuff anymore and I would really like to have a decent sized kitchen again. I won’t be able to afford the kind of house I grew up in yet, but the idea of a little space that’s all my own is starting to sound more attractive than it ever did.

“Now is the time to buy” is all I ever hear nowadays and I’m wanting more than ever to feel like a “real” adult with a mortgage and a car note and all the other debt that the rest of America has. Now, feels like the time.

This idea faded a bit on the drive home, but it’s still there nagging at me as something to consider. That said, just a week ago, I almost dropped 1500 to buy a MacBook just because I wanted one, so I realize I just get caught up in the moment at times.

I had planned on getting more writing done today than I did.

I wrote 1003 words today (dinner with Angel and Anthony that evening.). As far as my writing goes, I’m starting to see what I used to attempt daily as not nearly enough any more. I used to pray daily for 500 words, but now when I see that all I wrote was 500 and I highlight it on the page, it looks like nothing and it’s no wonder that it’s taken me three years to write this book.

All this notwithstanding, I wrote a poem today; probably the first in about five years. It’s not truly “my” poem in the sense that I “was” my character Dana Barrington while writing it, but still, poetry is hard and I’m always lightly amused at the result when it’s done.

I wasn’t going to write any poems at all for this project, but I’ve got Damen and Dana discussing poetry in depth and it won’t feel right without at least one:

The story

How do I tell the story
to someone so young?
Should I lie
Should I weep?
Say nothing?
Keep it deep?

He’ll ask the question
I know it; soon
I’ll take time
I’ll get by
But can I look
In his eye?

How do I tell the story
to someone so young?
I’ll make it quick
We’ll feel our pain
But he’ll know he wasn’t
Born in vain.

I was inspired, and thus my character was inspired, for the poem after reading an Emily Dickinson (If I can stop one heart from breaking) and I don’t think much of it, but it’s done and now I can move on with the rest of the book, especially since I completed Chapter 24 tonight.

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Dear Netflix: I still heart you

July 12th, 2011 — 10:13pm

So, I like many other Netflix users, received a disheartening e-mail today about a change in the Netflix pricing. Now, instead of receiving streaming and DVDs together at one price, each service is offered separately and charged separately.

Currently, I have 5 discs out at a time and I get free streaming for the pretty price of 34.99, plus tax. Starting in September, I will have the same service for 35.98, plus tax…barely a dollar increase for the same service.

The cheapskate that I am would normally be outraged at being charged more for the same service, but if I liken it to cable service, Netflix comes out the winner. For years Time Warner had effectively screwed me over by increasing their prices as much as ten dollars a month for receiving the exact same service, without having reasons as valid as Netflix’s.

What reasons, you ask? How about multi-fold increases in the customer base, all running off the same servers and all needing to increase the contracts with the studios? Sounds like a fair reason to increase a bit for the least profitable services.

What’s not profitable, you ask? How about the people paying 16.99 for 3 discs at a time and also a service that people who have no discs pay for 7.99? If you do the math, it only makes sense to differ the services as the folks paying 16.99 are getting far more than anyone else on line.

Now, someone like me at the higher echelon of Netflix service barely feels in the increase at all. In fact, it feels like a decent and expected increase for the cost of service and I don’t remember this big a stink when the previous year’s price increases came to light. That said, if you were paying just 16.99 for 3 discs at a time, you have been rather hosed, but seriously…why are people losing their minds over this? Did no one ever expect that Netflix prices were eventually going to increase over time?

It’s unfortunate that if you originally paid less than $20 for an awesome service that you now have to pay a whopping 8 dollars more than you did two months earlier, but when you consider the alternative, you are still paying far less than you did for cable.

If you are pressed for cash, then decide what you use more. Are you really taking advantage of all three discs at your house at the same time you stream movies and TV shows? If not, take advantage of one of the brilliant other offers available, like 1 disc at a time for 15.98, for example, and stop crying. If you do use all three discs and stream like crazy, then be advised that the gravy train stops here.

I, however, not being cheap when it comes to my Netflix love, feel very little of this new chain of events and, honestly, if a price hike is what it takes to keep Netflix service great and keep them from moving their call centers to abroad, I’ll pay an extra dollar or eight any day.

1 comment » | On Me, Politics

The Potter’s House

March 20th, 2011 — 11:57pm

I wasn’t actually listening to the song tonight as I wrote but I thought the title fitting for this post. I’ve always adored the song because the lyrics just help me see that there’s always “someone” to help me in dire matters:

Verse 1:
In case you have fallen by the wayside of life;
dreams and visions shattered, You’re all broken inside.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

Verse 2:
In case your situation has turned upside down,
and all that you’ve accomplished, is now on the ground.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

Chorus:
You who are broken, stop by the potter’s house.
You who need mending, stop by the potter’s house;
give Him the fragments of your broken life,
my friend, the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again

Vamp:
Joy in the potter’s house.
Peace in the potter’s house.
Love in the potter’s house.
There is salvation in the potter’s house.
There is healing in the potter’s house.
There is deliverance in the potter’s house.
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house.

Ending:
The potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

I went to church today and even got there a little earlier than I have in the past and I realized that when I’m struggling and depressed, for some reason the last thing I ever think of is turning to prayer to help “put me back together again.” I have my little prayers throughout the day or if I’m ever contemplating that one day, I’m going to die and transform into another state of energy and existence, but when I’m in most need of real, focused prayer, my mind is on everything else. I can never sit down and really think things through and have a full “conversation” with God to guide me through the frustration.

However, this is really just a personality flaw in that I hate asking for help…from anyone and this is the reason why it is important that I always attend church and make Sundays a day of rest. It’s only by going to “the potter’s house” that I feel complete again and can see everyone of my struggles and troubles in the proper light. I’m not sensible enough to pray the way I need to when I need to, so I need to go somewhere specific to forcibly give my thoughts the clarity needed to make strong decisions and still remain a child of God.

My struggles with first-job: totally insignificant. My priorities true priorities have not changed since before my career began to make these upward strides and I know I can’t allow first-job to deter me from them. I need to get back into the Word and read like I want to learn again and I need to shift my focus on being the writer I want to be. I’ve got too many distractions swimming around me and as hard as it is to say it, I’ve got too many “worldly” people in who I turn to instead of turning to prayer.

I wrote 305 words today (last words:then it’s one less thing you have to worry about) and every one of them was made only by the grace of God. I need to remember this every time I write and I need to renew my focus on not just getting through this era of my life as I march onward to my life goals, but to march onward as a Christian. So, I’m going to take the fragments of my broken life and hand them to the Potter because only He can put me back together again and make me Dorienne I’m meant to be.

1 comment » | Jesus, On Me, Writing

In vain

February 28th, 2011 — 2:29am

Pasted from my wordpress.com (since I’m not talented enough to create for two blogs right now):

One of the more fascinating things about writing a novel is crafting the personalities and voices of the many characters that appear on the page. What I find simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating is the physical act of creating dialogue that I could never even imagine myself saying.

In Damen, this comes about most often while writing Corey. Corey is crass, blunt and curses like the proverbial sailor, yet when I write dialogue, I often need to whisper the words back to myself to make sure they make sense, and when a character is so unlike myself that it’s rather sickening, I feel dirty even writing what he would say. That is to say, I used to feel dirty when writing Corey’s dialogue. I’ve now grown accustomed to it and can easily separate my own voice from Corey’s. Damen, however, is far different.

To make him a character all on his own, I gave him “life” by giving him small pieces of my own personality. Since Damen is not an autobiography, however, he is a completely different person with a voice and history all his own. I go to church often (not as often as I could and should, but we’re all Christ’s works-in-progress) and I try to thank God for all His gifts every day of my life. Damen, on the other hand, rests somewhere on the line between agnostic and plain atheist. So much has happened in his life that make him doubt that a creator could have any hand in the machinations of his world and the fact that he has had none of the religious reinforcement that many others his age would experience, has tainted him even further against God and all religion. And so, he when he swears (and when he’s still reeling in Corey’s influence, it’s very often), Damen will often use the Lord’s name in vain.

My mind and heart make great conflict over this. The mind says that words on a page are simply that and as long as I don’t go around screaming “Godd***t!” all the time, I remain clean. On the other hand, the heart that helped me walk out into the church aisle years ago, crying as I went to the altar to join the church, knows that it is wrong to use the Lord’s name in vain in any context. If I’m writing it, I’m saying it, even if I do skip over those words and phrases as I whisper dialogue back to myself and thus the battle continues.

This reminds of when my 16 century Brit-Lit class was studying “Faustus” and the effect of being an actor in the play during a time when folks were far more religious than they are now. The actor playing the titular character would have to call upon the devil to make Mephistophilis appear and whether one is acting or not, there is still that innate worry of “calling upon the devil.” While I have stopped blatantly swearing and using God’s name in vain years ago, the mere acting of writing such dialogue is difficult to the point that I go through four or five waves of typing and backspacing as I decide whether or not to have Damen think “Jesus Christ!” in a moment where he is clearly not praying. Even typing that last sentence used to get across my point gave me pause.

I can’t say that I’m completely indoctrinated as I have only come to the church in the last five years and had written off myself as an agnostic prior to that, but I must say, each time I’ve got a choice between staying true to my character and saying what I know to be wrong to say, I struggle…a lot.

I wrote 626 words tonight (his first extracurricular conversation about a novel since his father had passed) and when a moment called for Damen using God’s name in vain, somehow my heart took control and I’m glad I found a better way to say I wanted. That said, I’ve still a lot of Damen’s character to unleash and eventually, I’ll be pressed with the same battle again.

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A good start

January 4th, 2011 — 12:18am

With only laying out just two major goals for myself as of 1/1/11 (be a better child of God and write every day), I think I have done a decent job so far: I managed to get to church on Sunday and I’ve written something every day.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to set some real goals for myself, though not for the year, but for just the month. A year is a really long time when you think about it and so much can change in a year. Houses could be bought and lost, weight could be lost and gained again, families could be shattered or started…a lot can happen in just 12 months. So, since I am desiring a change (one of them being the current theme of this blog and the state of DorienneSmith.com), I think the best way to set goals is to create some realistic ones and follow-up once a month to make sure I’m on track.

This month’s goal, on top of the other aforementioned daily ones, is to get a least a twenty minute workout at least once a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but after this weekend, I realize I may need to start slow.

I was playing Kinect with my little cousins Friday night and Saturday morning I was in so much pain that I could barely move. At first I thought it was just some new side effect of a caffeine headache, but then slowly I realized that it was just moving around with the Kinect the previous night. I have been so sedentary these last five or sixth months that just fifteen minutes of activity that I used to be able to do at a moment’s notice was too much for me. I was worn out after the first round of games with the kids and, while I’m no spring chicken anymore, there’s no reason that just a little physically activity should leave me in paralyzing pain the next day. It’s time to stop the madness.

A workout a week is barely anything at all, but I at least have the plan to place what I need to go straight to the gym after work in my car so that I’ll have no excuse. Hopefully next week, I can stretch it two weeks and maybe even add a new goal, but if I can just manage this through January, I can look back on the start of this year proud of what I tried to do for myself.

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A new year

January 1st, 2011 — 11:59pm

Pasted from my wordpress.com:

I made it to see another year! Go me!

I was just going to post something to have something entered, but then I thought, “Dorienne…you know you need to write something today.” so I did. I got through exactly 1200 words and decided to break my mid-point in Chapter 7 into Chapter 8 after all, especially how I ended the previous part. It just read like the end of a chapter.

I wasn’t able to finish the laundry or about half of the full cleaning that I wanted before I left for Watch Night service last night, but I at least got the laundry sorted and the house straightened to the point that it feels clean, even though there’s a ton of dusting, etc. that needs to be done. I would have done some work today, but after trying to fight the headache, shakes, slight hallucinations and nausea that come with trying to detox from caffeine, I pretty much got nothing accomplished except for my 1200 words. I also played Kinect last night with my little cousins and, given that I hadn’t done any real exercise in close to two months, every single muscle in my body is screaming. It took me half the day to figure out if the pain was just from running around the house or if it was a new piece of the caffeine withdrawal, but when I remember all the running and jumping I did with the Kinect, I got completely psyched to get mine on Monday.

The interesting thing about writing is how difficult it is to get started when I haven’t written in a while, which explains so many of my lulls in 2010. I only went about 3 1/2 days without writing and I had to listen to only instrumental music to help my mind focus before I was able to construct a sentence. Previously, I’d go three or four weeks without writing anything and would then be surprised that I couldn’t get motivated to write anything worthwhile. I suppose one of my main lessons of 2010 was that I have to write every day. Even if it’s just a quick 200-word blurb, I have to get those juices flowing.

Well, it’s a new year and a new opportunity to get things done. In 2011, my goals are God and writing. If I can keep those things in focus, I’ll do just fine.

A PS to myself: I’ve got waaay too many drafts sitting on this blog. 2011 will see far more posting at this blog. πŸ™‚

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Dorienne, age 26

September 15th, 2010 — 8:59am

Throughout most of 2009, I ran around in a frantic tizzy about getting old and turning 25. There were so many things I desired to do before getting “old” and, yet, it was happening nonetheless. Despite all the planning and scurrying, I managed to accomplish very little by my actual birthday and started to get depressed because of it.

For most of this year, I feel as if I have wandered around in a fog, reacting to life instead of progressively taking hold of it.

As this September brought another time of deep reflection, I began to once more grow sullen about what I presumed to be my lack of accomplishment throughout age 25, but in my hours of reflection, a thought occurred to me.

Instead of age 26 being another year of prospective failure, this past year has been the year when my career (backup as it is) has really taken the strides it should be taking.

Age 26 also marks 5 five years since I was saved.

Though I was baptized at age 7, I wasn’t really saved until I was 21, on the floor of my apartment, on my knees praying for Christ’s blessings and all that He could do for me. It was in that dark hour that I found Christ and that was five years ago.

So, instead of being upset about what I didn’t get accomplished, I will go into this time of reflection remembering how far I’ve come. I am not the person I was five years ago and I do not want to be that person again. I am stronger from what Jesus has sent my way and I know that ages 26-30 will bring more challenges to make me even stronger in Christ.

πŸ™‚

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