I was headed to the gym that fateful day when I heard a pop coming from my engine, followed by what sounded like a rubber band flopping around.
After weeks of screeching sounds coming from the car when it turned on, needless to say I did not wind up going to the gym. I brought the car back home and it has been sitting idle in front of the driveway ever since.
Dad and I looked under the hood and found a completely shredded serpentine belt.
When I say spaghetti in the car, I’m not kidding.
Mondays are street sweeping days, so the car couldn’t stay idle forever. Thus I called AAA this morning and had it hauled off to our preferred mechanic.
Mom and I drove behind the tow truck on the way there, which gave me the opportunity to photo the damage from a different angle:
Luckily for my plans later this week, the issue was fixable in a matter of hours. No need to lose my vehicle overnight.
So I spent the afternoon driving around with Mom doing chores. We stopped by my Grandpa’s complex to pay his rent, got a document notarized and delivered, did some shopping and delivered a few held-up items from Friday’s Silent Auction.
By 3:00 p.m. the car was ready.
That’s more or less where the story ends, but before I left the mechanic I got to see a few of the parts that were replaced. The main one was the busted up A/C Compressor that actually had rubber remnants burned into the wheel.
This is a bit more visceral than Gable House Bowl was a few months back because I hadn’t been to that bowling alley in years. The Del Amo situation is so visceral that I’m not entirely comfortable with how I feel about it just yet.
So I figure let’s stick with car talk and leave it there.
To any of my local friends who may wind up reading this, I hope you’re safe today.
While I can think of very few distractions better suited to the title than a video game where I’m able to kill a gun-themed dragon with bees, Enter the Gungeon cannot keep me from doing some work I need to do forever.
Mostly because the Switch battery doesn’t last forever. Otherwise it most definitely could keep me from my work for forever.
But that being said it doesn’t, and thus I have broken away from the addiction of roguelikes to work some more on my Senior Honors Project.
I’ve taken a bit of a turn in my approach to the project as the summer starts to wind down. Originally I had been simply starting to write the novel I’m working on while using a separate outline to keep track of things (as I pointed out in a previous blog post). However, I’ve found that hasn’t worked out phenomenally well.
It mostly left me in a place where I had a basic idea of some key plot points and the main characters, but no real sense of progression to build upon. Just figuring out things as I went along.
So I’ve decided to step back from the actual physical writing and focus more on the finer details of outlining this puppy.
Fleshing out a more complete plot line
Coming up with the characters I want my heroes to encounter in their journey, with all the relationships those entail
Actually imagining more of the world they’re in, different names for locations included
With those in place I think writing a novel should actually be a sensible pursuit.
The thing that I’ve found most difficult about all this is naming everything. Who would have guessed that when you’re building a world from scratch you have to name all of the things?
All the characters, all the locales, all of the lore bits. So on and so forth.
Luckily I’ve made the task easier for myself by not establishing my world as one that has very strict hard-and-fast rules. I’m not Tolkien creating a crazy immersive, new fantasy world full of completely novel interactions amongst different races.
If anything… I’m kind of piggybacking off of the work he already did years ago.
See, for those who aren’t aware, my novel is a parody of sorts. It started as something meant to emulate the ideas of a book called ‘Redshirts’ but in the fantasy genre rather than science fiction.
Then I decided to narrow my focus even further. While I don’t necessarily read a ton of fantasy novels, I do play a lot of fantasy-themed video games. Zelda, Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy. So on and so forth.
This my novel evolved into one where the focus is on NPCs in a video game who gain some semblance of sentience, realizing they are caught up in the tropes of a world created by game developers who, like me, love fantasy themes.
As well as tropes of the video game medium as a whole, of course.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping not to create a boring environment seeped in tropes for the sake of it. Hopefully by the end I’ll have an interesting world inspired by and utilizing said tropes.
Because of this I’ve felt free to come up with names for things in a number of ways without having to worry about standardizing too heavily.
Looking up name generators is a good general practice for character names especially, an idea bestowed by my friend Sam who does similar things for her Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.
However, I’m also trying to look to some real life inspirations. For example, the holy order of royal guards in the kingdom which presides over the land (currently unnamed since, like I said, names are hard) is based on my mom’s name.
Or in a more fun example, one character I have is named after this glorious little thing I found at Ikea the other day.
Seriously how could I not make Eldig Black a semi-significant character in my story.
It’s just too perfect.
In fact, just perfect for the grizzled, Old veteran in charge of watching over the prince of the kingdom. The Gunter to my Corrin in Fire Emblem Fates, or the Jagen to my Marth in the original Fire Emblem.
Because at least one faction of characters in my story is not-so-vaguely inspired by the archetypical group of traveling adventurers in the early stages of a Fire Emblem game.
Those are just a few of the ideas I’m juggling right now, trying to create a cohesive world with a web of relationships among its inhabitants.
If you’re a creative-type, I’d love to hear what kind of means you tend to use for inspiration when it comes to things like character creation. Let me know somewhere on the Internet.
I know I said essentially the exact same thing about two days ago, but pardon me if this post is a little bit short or discombobulated.
We may not have been sniffing paint fumes this time around, but the family has been off on a nearly 12-hour journey across L.A. County doing chores and such. So I’m a bit tired and honestly just want to rest up considering I’m hanging out with the crowd again tomorrow and want some energy for that.
You’re not here to talk about tomorrow though, are you? Especially not when we have a Herculean tale for today.
Get out your maps if you’re interested in following along our route from the day.
We started relatively close to home in Manhattan Beach, first going to our family optometrist for my dad to get an eye exam. Also spent a good chunk of time in the surrounding mall buying sunglasses at the same time as I was doing some planning for future events.
Then we hit up a nearby Best Buy. We were picking up a new home printer we had ordered because our old one was ‘donated’ to the Redondo Union band program.
Aly’s the head librarian and has to make a lot of copies of sheet music, long story short.
While we were there I discovered this gem as I perused the video game section:
Felt like that was worth sharing.
After finishing up there we got ourselves some lunch, then made our way to the Fandango office so my dad could follow-up on some work that was being done in the conference rooms there.
At first I imagined I might focus this blog post on that. Specifically all of the movie posters that I snapped some pictures of all around the office while he was testing the technology.
Because they have some pretty unique, awesome movie posters. Check some of these out:
Pretty cool stuff, right?
Of course I also considered writing something related to my own work since I was expecting to hear back about my application to the Honors Student Advisory Council at Cal State Fullerton today.
But when I did it turned out to be a no. So… Figured I didn’t want a blog post that was a total downer about that.
There was even briefly a thought running through my head that I could offset the general negativity of that idea by countering it with this neat, little milestone I happened to hit this morning:
But uhh… Subjectively I figured 500 basically consecutive days of playing a mobile gotcha game could also be considered pretty sad as an ‘accomplishment.’
So I tabled that idea.
Soon enough a perfect opportunity for a blog post came along, however.
A little store known simply as
By little, of course, I mean the exact opposite of little. Because anyone who has ever been to the Swedish furniture chain should know that Ikea stores are god damn gigantic.
Can’t really argue with that sentiment, honestly. From the ground it took us probably four, four-and-a-half hours to make our way through the labyrinth of ridiculously named decor.
In fact, that whole adventure would probably be a little too long to enumerate in the order of how we did things. So I’m going to cop-out by just throwing together a slideshow of pictures here.
For anyone who’s curious about what it looks like in the absolute epitome of capitalism of course.
Boy howdy that’s about a sixth of a day of furniture, ain’t it?
Luckily even when we got tired and my legs felt ready to collapse we were still having a good time.
Seriously there’s few things as fun as a random thing to do with some friends than wandering an Ikea. In case you want something to do sometime soon.
Plus, even though we didn’t get all of the new furniture to fit into Aly’s refurbished room today, we still got a bunch of nice household stuff. Like some pillows that we desperately needed.
Or that we will desperately need after such a long day out, I suppose.
I also made a very interesting little observation while we were there. See as you can imagine for a store the size of a small country that has replicas of households built within it, all segmented into various kinds of applications throughout a maze, Ikea needed a way to direct the mass exodus of people.
From what I recall growing up, that goal was mostly accomplished by taping or painting arrows on the floor. That much hasn’t changed:
Except that’s not tape. Nor is it paint.
That arrow is courtesy of a digital projector.
At first I was confused about the whole thing. It seems like it would be far less expensive to use tape rather than installing all of these projectors throughout the store. There are a lot of arrows, as I’m sure you can imagine.
But then I thought about it and realized that there’s also some merit to the long-term staying power of projectors versus something like tape.
People are constantly walking throughout that store. Thousands, probably. Day-in and day-out. Seven days a week.
That’s got to wear on physical markings pretty considerably. Enough so that tape or paint might have to be re-applied every other day just to keep the information fresh.
With a projector you don’t have to worry about that. So long as the tech is working, you never have to worry about the arrows washing away under a sea of feet.
I kind of came around in my own head to recognize how good of a long-lasting idea it is to do this, is what I’m saying.
Bet you didn’t think you’d be reading a blog post that said ‘sea of feet’ in it today, did you?
Well I did it. Which likely marks this portion off as a good place to end things off.
I didn’t really have a solid idea of exactly what I wanted to write about today, so thanks for making it this far into my roadmap of our long day of chores. It seemed like as good of a stand-in for content as I could imagine.
So with that said, I’m off to go play some video games before bed. Hope you all have a good day/night/whatever it may be in your time zone!