"Scrivener Apocalypse"    [ 19 ]   
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Nov 2016
 Doing Science

You wander into the cluttered laboratory belonging to a fringe-scientist who is now absent, pass by all manner of strange equipment and odd bits of gear in various states of connectivity . . .  This last entry of TomboStudios is going to feel a lot like that ~ a lab all strewn with scattered gizmos and components left in the wake of someone moving onto What's Next

Funny thing about alchemy: you sometimes accidentally fabricate a thing or two you never could have imagined when starting out. That happened this year and, in a broader sense, during the life cycle of this entire website. Originally intended as a shared portal for online animation development and dissemination, this 'throwaway writing hobby' weblog slapped together as a next-step substitute after 30+ years of analog journaling became the primary draw for visitors, which really took me by surprise. Faithful readers may recall how boldly I declared in January of this year that my KUNG FU is strong!  This was more apropos than I could have foreseen. Not only have I gotten so much stronger in my focus, research, and determination, I flat-out leveled up beyond the bounds of this web site altogether!  Unexpected, but not unwelcome!

Okay, check this out: this odd-numbered entry (#19 of 2016) actually adds up to an even 80 if you count all the entries of this blog series. So though it may seem untidy at first, this obtuse entry qualifies as a satisfactorily 'nice' number to end on after seven years of effort —( 2012 doesn't count ~ more on that in a moment )— and actually beats Star Trek's original televised series run by one!  BOO-YAH!  Over a third of a million words + heaps of graphics = what I've got to show for my creative aspirations since 2010. Sure, it's nothing like the 444,000 words Stephen King cranked out for just one book ('It') but then he wasn't a single parent raising three daughters while fending off years of convoluted court battles and holding down full-time work-a-day jobs while assisting in various time-consuming ministries. So I don't feel so bad. Actually in the Creative Arena I've just been slowly gliding away, all steampunk-like, from the Multimedia Train for years (RIP Flash) . . leaning ever so hopefully back toward my writing roots. Now at last it is time to empty these last few bubbling beakers, wind up all the electrical cables, store the mutation samples and Get On With it!

Yes I know, some of you completists out there may feel abandoned by the fact that I did not complete my bold vision for 2016: namely, to finish a 25-count acrostical blog run with titles beginning A-thu-Z (minus one due to navigation layout restrictions). In truth, I was well on my way to that home stretch when my laboratory pretty much exploded at 'S':

"Alchimia Consilium"  
"Book-o-rama (|15|)"  
"Consider Treatment"  
"Daughters @ Home"  
"Exploring Scrivener"  
"From the Sky Down"  
"GoPro Crazy"  
"Homeward Bound"  
"Jolly Jolly Grog"  
"Limbic Juju"  
"Major Gear Shift"  
"New Arrival [#2]"  
"Only We Four"  
"Perennial Gardens"  
"Quetzalcoatl vs Yog-Sothoth"  
"Scrivener Report"  
"Textless Hermit"  
"Uncanny Valley"  
"West Besterns"  
"Xploding Toast Productions"  
"Zombie Apocalypse"  

◄ Just for kicks, here's a list of how they all went down. Keen observers will notice how the proposed 'S' listing does not match this entry's title. I had planned to report a rich and lurid review of the writing application 'Scrivener' along with a robust account of the avalanche of marketable materials I most assuredly would have developed since April's 2016·05 introduction. Instead, much like a bad transporter accident, this final entry is like a kicking, flopping, unholy combination of that idea rudely merged with my last projected 2016 blog·post detailing the approaching Zombie Apocalypse. But that's alchemy for you (and writing with no editorial accountability).

 "Plants vs Zombies"

I can count on one hand the number of times I have opened Scrivener since downloading it ~ not the sort of report you want to hear from one who really wants to Master That Application. On the contrary, I have thru-played 'Plants vs. Zombies' with the regularity of valium administered to the inmates at Arkham Asylum. Since its release in 2009, this little gem has served as a therapeutic and manageable metaphor reflecting the very real struggles I have faced defending our home from the methodical and escalating onslaughts of near-legitimate undead forces since 2004 (which had nothing to do with writing). Goofy as this game clearly is, its portrayals and repetitive strategies in dealing with wave after wave of senseless assaults genuinely mirrors my own experiences. The ridiculous stupidity of the enemy and their drone-like appetite to 'devour brains' have set more than one team of lawyers [and their office staff] into fits of laughter at their absurd tactics and contemptible practices. Yet for all their efforts, braying, and staggering predictability, they never won a thing worth mentioning — all part of the ♫ Alchemy of Life ♫ (sung to the tune of Disney's "Circle of Life"). Such zombies never seem to learn (can't learn? refuse to learn?) and simply, tragically, stagger on like pawns lost in their own base nature, preprogrammed to ricochet through this life from one ill-conceived scheme to the next . . .  ~~  OK, all done venting. I have never really delved into the details behind these zombie assaults in all my years of blogging, and ▲ this is as much as I choose to divulge. I have since moved on to 'Rocket League' for colorful, mindless entertainment ~~~

 "Rocket League"

Divergent distractions aside, one would hope for more of a return after months of intended commitment than: "I gave some occasional thought to opening that one application." Now I am dropping the axe on this blog / website / online creative venue, casting it adrift into the oblivious eddies of cyberspace. Like an ongoing Science Experiment, kicking the props out from under this sprawling prose and graphix-heavy endeavor will redirect these very energies toward Mastering Scrivener and pursuing a more meaningful literary path! Truth be told, I would like to just print some hard copies of all this existing content and call it good, but I pre-paid for this domain & ISP all the way through 2022 [!!] and so feel obligated to provide a conclusion of sorts in case something I produce in the future might inspire visitors back to this retro site. I don't honestly expect this, but have been pleasantly surprised by comparable experiences already, so you never know. Here then are a few details concerning the rest of 2016's planned entries and beyond, like a smear of cyber-spackle smoothing in the hoary cracks of Ambition . . .

   blue flask  
The rest of 2016 that never was . . .
"Textless Hermit" — How & why I don't own a smart phone or suffer texting / twitter / etcetera (yet)
"Uncanny Valley" — Lookitup .. pretty creepy-cool and kinda fun!
"West Besterns" — My favorite Western flix (#1: True Grit ©2010)
"Xploding Toast Productions" — CD covers, booklets, liners, labels I designed/created over the years
"Y·B·W·Y·B" (You Become What You Believe) — Another juicy slab 'o theology!
"Zombie Apocalypse" — Eschatology review/update into 2017 . . .
Coolio Topics intended for future posts . . .
Book-o-rama (|16|) {of course} — most recent collection of book reviews
OOPARTs! (Out Of Place ARTifacts) — 'woo-science' of supposed ancient out-of-place/time artifacts
Irreducible Complexity — One of many 100% debunks of the grossly outdated 'THEORY of evolution'
Bio·RFID Legislation of 2017 — This is a real thing coming to pass by the time I would write about it
Quantum Qomputers — What Q·computers are all about & the aberrant 'weird science' behind `em
Sympathy for Aqualung — Jethro Tull and the homeless problem
Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou — ie, 'Vangelis' ♫ WAAY more awesome than you ever thought!
Disney World (5 yrs later) — Photo retro-comparison of life then (2012) vs. Us Now [mega-fun]
Visiting Zermatt — In the valley of the shadow of the REAL Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland



 ochre flask





 green flask
 What Happened?

This whole Scrivener thing was really just the last straw in my long slow exit from the multimedia industry. There was a time when some of the most creative minds in the world —( literally from all around the world )— would meet in conferences primarily in the United States to showcase, compare, and celebrate the bleeding-edge latest in functional and/or beautiful multimedia design, programming, and capabilities, featuring [among other lesser programs] Macromedia's "Flash". These were heady days cascading with innovation and productivity like I have never experienced in any creative discipline before or since, the best Wild West days of creative programming!

A number of elements served to bring these exciting frontier days to a quiet and shamefully dismal end, but nothing crippled the industry so much as Adobe's buyout of Macromedia, along with Apple's arbitrary determination to eradicate Flash from their locked-down one-button-serves-all design methodology. Oh, and the industry-wide implementation of monthly fees rather than a one-time software license cost per version release. That pricing model really punished freelancers hoping to stay current in stacks of cross-platform products. And you can add to this overall decline Microsoft's ongoing obsession with overcomplicating their applications, rendering what used to be 100% reliable and simple-to-use only more and more frustrating to adopt. With every WINDOWS or MS OFFICE update, once-common special features have slowly and steadily dwindled away. I used to believe that the computer industry as a whole would only become easier and better and faster for users, but I have been proven so sadly mistaken. A simple search back in the day like "*.doc / containing 'ren*fest' or 'IMAX' saved between 1/1/11 and 11/4/15" only got more convoluted or 'hidden' or impractical with each new Microsoft release. Keyboard shortcuts began to disappear. Even the last iteration of Adobe's (*hack*) Dreamweaver forced another unnecessary 'upgrade' upon the world, causing all of my menus to completely vanish. Seriously. I am able to access them now only by recalling some still functional keyboard shortcuts like ALT+E or ALT+I; they're completely invisible and inaccessible otherwise. Oh I know that I could, AGAIN - with every iteration - go hunt down why this is happening and divest the time and energy to discover and test a battery of platform or browser-dependent workarounds . .. but I am soooooo sick and tired of having to work this way. Instead of ease-of-use innovations, I find every new upgrade more constrained and limiting.. except for the 'opportunities' extra payments may afford you, for functions that used to just be a regular part of these program(s)... The last 10 years of my DL-development work has fallen prey to more constricting firewall issues than I can list, a complete lack of Admin Rights now (granted, perhaps only in our particular work environment, but it certainly hasn't helped anything) and, with the advent of Windows 10, 'undocumented features' like MS Office attempting a full re-installation every time I open WORD or EXCEL . . .

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, believe me ~ but the whole point is, instead of ♪ Getting Better All The Time ♪ the industry at large and my personal experience as a forefront innovator surfing that once wonderful wave of pixelated creativity  has  only  gotten  worse.  Since the last FlashForward Conference (Boston 2007) corporate greed has strangled the last shreds of hope I once held for continuing as a pioneer in the multimedia design and development scene. I used to win awards for my DL creations, even scored entire new jobs simply by showcasing my work. Now daily / weekly / monthly / eternal experience feels like a static point on a Detroit auto assembly line where the possibility to generate any truly groundbreaking innovations are relegated to shadowy memories of those bygone days from the Old West . . .

 cheese  arrowtail

FLASH, while it lasted, was an unparalleled Creative Dream. There really was nothing else like it for well over a decade. And those glory years marked a grand, otherworldly epoch when anybody could become one of the innovative cogs in the formation of the Multimedia Industry! But those days are gone · · for me, anyway.  And you know, I never did garner a coveted Flash Conference orange arrow award. I just wasn't singularly good enough to compete against development teams from New York, Japan, or Europe. Every year dozens of these gaudy awards were handed out to The Best of The Best!   orange arrow  orange arrow  But where are they all now?   orange arrow  orange arrow  Probably forgotten in dust-covered boxes shoved into the corners of closets, or lost amid the clutter of attics, maybe chucked out with the rest of the junk after a garage-purging weekend. They certainly served their purpose as a brilliant marker in time, but again, those days are looong gone. And in truth, I scored a far greater orange arrow award than anyone else: a massively oversized one my eldest daughter crafted for me years ago to acknowledge and celebrate my single-parenting efforts.  :-)  No multimedia award can come even close to that!

So now I walk away with a head full of computer design and aging programming knowledge, for what any of that is worth anymore, looking forward to even greater creative arenas beyond that steady stream of changing icons . . .

 Flash logo 1  Flash logo 2  Flash logo 3  Flash logo 4  Flash logo 5  Flash logo 6  Flash logo 7
 What Now?

Now I will throw down some lynx & summary stats and Finish This Post so I can jump right into daily safaris through Scrivener!

Here's a screen shot of my word count tracker in Excel with entry titles tucked away in cell notes. There is no 2012 to speak of because I kind of took that year off to help with extra ministries teaching Youth & stuff — I think I'll also drop in a clickable Title·Lynx index . . .

 green flask
  2010   2011   2013   2014   2015   2016
1) History / Vision 1)  Twigs and D.C. 1) Apocalypto·No·Go 1) Above All Else... 1) Antarctic Reverie 1) Alchimia Consilium
2) Promises Promises 2)  A Day in May 2) The Mighty TAWG 2) Book-o-rama (|13|) 2) Book-o-rama (|14|) 2) Book-o-rama (|15|)
3)  A Magic Kingdom 3)  Our Golden Girl 3) End of the Map 3)  Comic Khaaan! 3) AL 2 AZ < 30 Hrs 3) Consider Treatment
4) Digital Cadence 4) The Godfathers 4) I'm Just Sayin'... 4)  Introducing Sopheria 4) Zamar Bazaar 4)  Daughters @ Home
5) Endlessly Fascinating 5) Flaming Meteors 5) Looking Back 5)  Crickety Graduation 5)  The View from D.C. 5) Exploring Scrivener
6) Give a Little Bit 6)  Imposter Alice     6)  Cabin Time 6) September Looms 6) From the Sky Down
7) Shout Out Loud 7) Our Best Pets     7)  HI·Ann Adventures 7) Rainbow Revisions 7) GoPro Crazy
8) First Class 8) Aiming High     8) Trekkin' To Games 8) Radical ConCERNs 8) Homeward Bound
9)  Arizona Weekends 9) Superior Purpose     9) I Saw Three Vids 9) The Puking Bride 9) IYTSU·SHATOI
10) Mutants, Everyone             10) F·L·R Day!! 10) Jolly Jolly Grog
11) Don't Forget to Play             11) The Bible Project 11) Kraków!
12) Seven Father's Days             12) B4 · STAR WARS VII 12) Limbic Juju
13) Steampunkosity             13) ITEOTWAWKI(AIFF) 13)  Major Gear Shift
14)  Kaui + Jessica                 14)  New Arrival [#2]
15) Idol Chatter                 15) Only We Four
16) Shell Games           16) Perennial Gardens
17) The Divine Shape    
Italix = PHOTO·centric
    17) Quetzalcoatl vs Yog
18) God's Greatest Rival                 18) RotGLEW
19) Wounded Warriors                 19) Scrivener Apocalypse
20) Singularity              
21) Tree of Life    
Average = 13⅓ per year
22) Minification                    
23) We Hate To Leave                    
24) Go To Xtremes                    
25) Chronicles                    
 What's Next?

I started this endeavor seven years ago to hone my production skills in a loosely-framed website, assigning self-imposed deadlines to (hopefully) train myself to better discipline my time and efforts for generating original content, producing and/or managing graphic design work, operational layouts (addressing diverse delivery requirements), and all the requisite HTML/JavaScript/CSS programming. Now I'm trading all of that in to develop a close personal working relationship with Scrivener, which may or may not require a handful of some of these skills after all for multi-platform publishing ~ we'll see... And so long as I continue to scribble in the occasional travel journal, I feel obligated to maintain 2010's "Chronicles" entry with appropriate updates. This will obviously shift the site's overall word count . . . but who really cares at this point?  :-]

By the time November 2017 rolls around, I may be ready to jump on the NaNoWriMo wagon for the first time in my writerly life just to see if I can knock out some sort of marketable novel [rough draft] in a month. If you've never heard of 'NaNoWriMo', it stands for "National Novel Writing Month" which is like a virtual annual Woodstock for Writers. Everyone who's in the game commits to busting out a whole novel in one month (that being November for some cosmic reason — probably has something to do with an obscure Greek mythology reference, I'll bet). Writers everywhere rise to the occasion and band together for encouragement and/or solace, many beards are grown, and come springtime, a rash of eager new manuscripts skid across the desks of agents and publishers the world over.  Sounds like my kind of elixir!  :-)

 'OMNI' magazine

I sent an ambitious sci-fi story to 'OMNI' magazine back in ..1990, I think it was. Curiously, a lot of the concepts I dreamt up and wrote about then are finding their way into TV shows & movies in the past few years. (Common Zeitgeist Knowledge ~ who knows?) The core story was [big surprise] rich in challenging, pan-dimensional religious precepts meant to provoke actual real-life consideration in the minds of readers. So far, that flavor of writing seems to reflect the best product I can conjure from these typing fingertips, so I hope to pick up where I left off and generate some new contemporary mash to submit in short story or article form... perhaps even develop a fresh novel series or two. I honestly do not mind starting out small while working on a few large-scale projects which I plan to initially market through Amazon and/or other venues. The publishing world has changed an awful lot since I first waded into that swamp back in the 90's, so I must dedicate some time to (re)learn the latest tricks of the trade. And of course I will need to read more now than ever, which is a critical part of any Writer's job: see what's out there, study the Classics, explore other genres...

Today, while Flash is writhing on Adobe's cyborg operating table to be repurposed and re-re-released as 'Adobe Animate', I am diverting my energies and changing my focus toward entirely new horizons. The future compatibility of ActionScript 3 no longer concerns me. [yay!] Firewall snags and managing dozens of different software licenses?  P'shah — not anymore!  This will mark ..what, my 18th career change? I kid - but kinda not. My own experiences remind me a little bit of Mark Twain who tried his hand at not a few disparate trades before settling down as the 'voice of America' author he became. I pursued a similar path by my own choosing. I have worked in general construction, a vitamin C plant, an aluminum factory, and for a paint manufacturer. I have sold shoes for a living, managed restaurants and apartment complexes, guided lives in a rehabilitation center and assisted in prison ministries. I have been a landscaper, a professional tile-setter, a trained chauffeur, a museum data steward, a radio disc jockey, a Director of Technical Services at a 'mega-church', taught piano and music theory (playing multiple venues as both a volunteer and a paid guest musician), sold products from a trailer literally in the center of a NASCAR race, created artificial surgical-implant arteries out of Gore-Tex in a science-clogged 'clean room', received full training as a court reporter, wrote the curriculum for and directed an entire training department (hiring and managing a staff of 40+ trainers), and during one cold week on the shores of Lake Superior, gathered hundreds of pigeons in a rented wharf property for God-knows what ultimate purpose ...even made those dreaded 'cold calls' for an insurance company — ALL of this for the purpose of providing a sprawling cross-section of life experiences to draw upon as a writer! Like the wiley Mr. Twain, I have sampled numerous careers and met thousands of fascinating souls along the way, traveled a bit of the world, and eagerly anticipate more. His mission statement as an author is highlighted in Justin Kaplan's 2001 introduction to Twain's "Life on the Mississippi" (©1883) as Samuel Clemens “announced to his family that he had had ‘a “call” to literature.. to excite the laughter of God's creatures.’” This kind of persistent drive, whether bent toward humor, thrills, edification, or intrigue, compels every artist in every culture. In my own life, I've been putting off this Call for decades, coming to embrace only recently my own writing mission statement of sorts, which I will share in a moment. But first, a quote from the man himself that sort of kicked my newfound determination into high gear, along with similar Calls To Action by a variety of other artisans spanning broader disciplines . . .


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by
the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.
So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain 


  If you try, you risk failure.  
  If you don't, you ensure it!  


  'Someday' is not on the calendar.  


A dream is just a dream.  A goal is
a dream with a plan and a deadline.
— Harvey Mackay 


Creating animation * means creating a fictional world. That
world soothes the spirit of those who are disheartened and
exhausted from dealing with the sharp edges of reality.
  * &/or any compelling story
— Hayao Miyazaki 


Don't animate drawings. Animate feelings.
— Ollie Johnston  


You don't depict fate; you depict will.
— Hayao Miyazaki  


Since brevity is the soul of wit .. I will be brief.
— Polonius in Hamlet (Shakespeare)


~ Right.  Me = 'brief'...  These web pages (and my emails) testify against me! But the argument stands: we do not read merely to gain information. If that were the case, the literary world at large would not exist and this very entry would be less than 10 words in length: "I decided to stop blogging and write professionally." That's about as entertaining as fistful of sand.  Factual?  Sure.  Engaging?  Not a bit.  We read to get to know our authors, discover who they are and, through their stories, how they view the world ~ and we test and learn about ourselves in the process. Read Tom Clancy books and you not only get to know Tom Clancy, but you get to know yourself hanging out as if conversing with him about all sorts of secret-squirrel spy-tech topics! This works the same with Stephen King, Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Wells, Verne, Tolkien, Lewis, Dickens, Tolstoy, Austen, Steinbeck, Michener, L'Amour, Crichton, Grisham, Metaxas, O'Reilly, Rowling, Seuss ~ everyone who has ever written a volume of text. You get smarter through that kind of interactive exposure. Any schoolkid can gather & report facts, but it takes a true artist to capture hearts and imagination, to draw readers into a new place and a new way of thinking, perhaps even a whole new Paradigm Adjustment!  This is the real magic of Writing!  ~~  So .. my own mission statement: I hope to present the realities of God's Truths wrapped inside a tasty burrito of thoughtful entertainment, pointing readers to His rampant creativity, holiness, goodness, faithfulness, certain hope, steadfast promises, love, and overall trustworthiness, which I am convinced are ALL more ‘real’ than anything in this world ◄— Perhaps a bit too florid (and a rough first draft) but that's where my heart beats as a writer.  :-D   Oh... I just crunched a test tube underfoot ~ probably oughta get on outa here ~


 Karate Guy