Sunday, March 6, 2016

Still not dead, just sick... and busy

Picked up a nasty virus while traveling on business a couple of weeks ago. Thought I was getting better as of last week, then yesterday it all fell apart again. Not sure if I picked up a new bug, or if this is a resurgence of the previous one.

Either way, I feel like garbage.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Starting a New Sport/Hobby/Thing

I'm learning how to sword-fight, European style! I joined a club in my area recently, the Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild, which is a group that studies and practices the actual training and fighting techniques described in Fiore dei Liberi's book Fior di Battaglia, or "Flower of Battle".

I'm calling this "research" for my books, though in truth I'm having enough fun that I would have signed up without the research excuse anyway.

The class just started 3 weeks ago (we meet on Sundays), so I can't say I've learned a lot yet, but so far it's been quite a bit of fun. I've been interested in sword fighting ever since I was a kid, when my friends and I used to take hockey sticks, break the blades off them, and use the long shaft as a two-handed sword. Then we would fight each other out in the woods near our homes. We even allowed ourselves four "hit points" (D&D style), so we were allowed to take four hits from our opponent before being declared dead.

Later, in high school, I fenced competitively with both foil and epee. I never took it beyond high school, but thoroughly enjoyed it for those few years. And made some good friendships that lasted through the college years (none of us continued our fencing though), though we drifted apart later.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Back to work Monday

Well, I've had a two-week vacation from the office, but now it's time to get back to work. Actually, I did do a few hours of work this past week, but I was technically still on vacation and not going in to the office, even though I was watching email.

But Monday, I go back to the office and start 2016.

Can't say I'm very excited about it. But, I gotta pay the bills somehow.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Oops, I Missed It!

Merry belated Christmas!

Spent a nice day with family yesterday, and went to see Star Wars (2nd time) last night. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit and look forward to the next one.

2016 is already shaping up to be a busy and interesting year. Time will tell....

Saturday, December 12, 2015

New Map of Aerde

So, I stumbled into a pretty nifty website called Inkarnate. They've got a beta-ready web app for drawing world maps, so I went ahead and gave it a try. Below is my second attempt, the first try being a practice run.

I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

There are some pretty good tutorials on YouTube for the app, which helped me get up and running quickly.

My verdict: two thumbs up! I will come back to this app and check on their progress, as they have more features that they want to add (and that I want to use).

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Not Dead, Just Busy

Since my last post a month ago...

  • My car was totaled in a 4-car accordion (the rear-most driver was 100% at fault, not paying attention). No injuries, thankfully, but I did have to buy a new car, and I had to wait for my insurance check to come through before I did it.
  • Took a long weekend vacation with friends in TX and attended the Ren Fest northwest of Houston.
  • My employer announced an agreement to be acquired by a larger company. While the deal isn't expected to be finalized until late January (and it could still fall apart), the impact on employee morale has been noticeable. I'm fine with it, as I've been through acquisitions before, on both sides of the fence. But it does tend to make you pause in the middle of your projects and ask whether they're worth completing. Maybe the new company does things differently, and you'll just have to do it all over again in six months.
  • I wrote down a pretty solid character description of the antagonist for my next Balfrith novel. Includes motivations, some history, his strategy and tactics, and more. I've heard it said that the villain should be more than just a generic evil-doer. He must be the hero of his own version of the story. I've got that pretty well nailed for this one.
  • We moved to a bigger apartment within the same complex. With rents being down compared to when we moved in, we were able to get an extra 200 square feet, including a full extra bathroom, for not much more than we were paying before. Even though the move was a short distance, we still had to work hard for a few days to get everything transferred over, clean out the old apartment, and get organized in the new place.
So yeah, the days have been very full for the past few weeks. And this week will be business travel working on a big project out east. Next weekend, and the following week, will hopefully be pretty quiet. And then we're taking a week off for Christmas with family. So I probably won't be posting much between now and the end of the year, except maybe the week after Christmas when I have time off and am able to relax for a while.

Until then... Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Elefdar Alphabet, Continued

Thought I'd post a few pics of the playing around with letter-forms that I've been doing.

This is about the tenth version of the alphabet that I've created over the years, and definitely the one I like best.

Next to each glyph is the letter or pair of letters that it can represent. For a given letter-pair, the unvoiced version of the letter would use a single hook or loop, and the voiced version would then use the double-hook or loop. The P and B glyphs are represented explicitly in their single-hook and double-hook forms. Same goes for F and V. For the rest, the smaller hook is the "voice" indicator. The unvoiced letters would not have that second smaller hook.

Next, I took these rough sketches and drew them out in a kind of simulated calligraphy.

This one is actually four different glyphs combined: P, B, F, and V. This also makes it obvious that these letters (and the ones that follow below) all use the same semi-vertical stem, from which the additional hooks determine the actual letter.

Here we have W and R. Of course the W only has the lower hoop without the small stem above it. This doesn't exactly follow the unvoiced/voiced rule, but it works for these two letters to show that R is a kind of harder and more strongly-enunciated version of the W.

This is just the letter M. And this completes the set of all consonants that use the same vertical stem with an upper hook to the right and a slight lower curve to the left.

So if you're a geek like me, you may be wondering what the pattern is here, or rather what is the point of the pattern in these letters. It's really quite simple: these letters with the same vertical stem are all formed by and pronounced primarily with the lips.

If you go back to the first image, you can see that I arranged the letters into vertical groups or columns. The consonants formed by the lips are all on the left. The middle column is all the letters formed by the tongue behind the teeth: T, D, Th, Dh (voiced Th), S, Z, Sh, Zh, L, and N.

The consonants in the right-most column are formed by the tongue up against the palate: C, G, H, Ch (as in Bach or loch), and Y.

There are also horizontal groupings, as you can see in my initial sketch above. These relate to the kinds of sounds represented: plosives in the top row, fricatives in the middle, semi-vowels in the third row, and nasals on the bottom. This is explained in my document on the Elefdar language, chapter one, located here:

I actually now have all of my consonants and vowels drawn in the calligraphic style, just haven't uploaded the pics to my laptop yet. Anyway the goal is to take those images and make a clean font out of them. More on that soon (hopefully)!