December Goals Revisited

Hey, folks! After four hours wrestling with Audacity and an inexplicable series of crashes, I’m writing you a post. Boring!

We’re gathered here today to remember that we command our tools (ie goals, schedules), they don’t command us.

That clear? Cool 😎 Now that we have an understanding there, I’ve come to understand December needs some rehashing:

  1. Keep the Podcasting and EOY Goals
    1. Parties and seeing friends and remembering the year – check!
      Podcasting? Hopefully. I’ve really borked Audacity – by the time you read this post, I’ll have decided on my own what to do 😑
  2. Step Back the Modules
    1.  I had such aspirations to write three full games in the month of December… Oh well. Instead, you’ll see three mini-tabletop role playing games. A page for setting, a page for mechanics and characters, a page for phases of play, and a few pages for items and NPCs.
  3. Deescalate Shallow Seas
    1. “Great vague-booking, Jimmy! What the heck does that mean??”
      It means I’m down-scaling 40,000 words to write to 10,000. (40K would be about 80 hours of writing over three weeks at my 500 words / hr.) I’m also nixing the idea of a first draft – We’ll start at the beginning, but correctly this time.

I had a long rant for you about how tools and what we set out to do shouldn’t consume nor command us… how goals aren’t our tyrants – we’re our own masters yadda yadda ya…

It sounded better spoken. Maybe you’ll hear it someday if Audacity recovers 😁 Or I’m short on post ideas 😅

Whatever the case, take care! I’ll aim to get something cast-worthy your way soon ~

Goals Recap – November 2019

Phone lock screen base image from an unknown source

My November has been full of study, just the way I like it. Think we’ll need to redirect to creating more, studying less for December, though that’s another post 😉 Despite there being a week left, it’s Thanksgiving, so let’s get on with it:

  1. Podcast
    1. Won. A podcast every week talking about these goals has been absolutely fun. So much so, I think we can continue this into December 😁 Checkout cast 01 here.
  2. TTRPG
    1. Winning. Editing the system right now, though it still requires some example modules (or full games) that leverage these rules and will be distributed after this post.
      Overall, the greatest contributions of this goal are:

      1. The 4M Stats: Mind (mental ability), Muscle (physical ability), Machine (tool use), Maybe (optional stat for a narrative)
      2. Character squad mechanics
      3. Advancement through gear
      4. Game Master and Player prep shortcuts
  3. Redirect Shallow Seas
    1. Won! I used the Ring Theory / Ring Structure to re-outline my Shallow Seas universe. This wasn’t difficult after some study, though deciding on the Dragon (the big-bad thing the Heroes slay) required some serious thought.
  4. 2019 Pics
    1. Failed. Having only made it to March / April of all of my 2019 content, I merely did not get to posting every day, multiple times a day. Sigh.

Oh! And there was a fifth extra goal: Extra writing. This kinda happened, though it wasn’t writing fiction: It was writing scripts for podcasts, taking notes on how to make and direct tabletop role-playing games, and filling in RPG modules and rule systems.

So that was November. Fun. Now, we’re onto figuring out December’s role for my goals. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving, and a fine start into the last month of the decade! 😃

Monthly Goals – November 2019

I’m itching to do more with tabletop (TT) RPGs. I also want to write. After some self-analysis for my career, getting myself out in the open more is also a prerequisite to my success.

With these things in mind, I present to you, my goals:

My Goals Due EOM:

  1. Podcast
    1. 15 minutes, every week. I’ve struggled with how to shoehorn myself into what to talk about. The solution seems to be to talk about these goals and what’s on my mind. What could be better than me talking about making things better?
  2. TTRPG
    1. More tabletop role playing games! Play a TTRPG, draft a complete TTRPG system, and give myself kudos for publishing my TTRPG notes and/or playtesting the TTRPG.
  3. Redirect Shallow Seas
    1. Shallow Seas takes direct inspiration from Star Wars. I’ve written two-thirds of a first draft, but it feels flat. November can be the time to rewrite what the world is, the plot, and where to take the story.
  4. 2019 Pics
    1. Do you know what I’ve been doing? Do I? Let me go through my gigabytes of photos and videos of this year, figure out what’s going on…
  5. BONUS – Write
    1. It’s NaNoWriMo! 2016 was a lot of fun when I participated. 2019 is not that year. Thinking that Saturday’s could be set aside for writing-jams so this huge collection of stories in my backlog don’t get stale 😉(Won’t hold myself to this extra goal – it should push me to accomplish more sooner, though!)

Let’s get to it 😁

Phone lock screen base image from an unknown source

Goals Recap – October 2019

Phone lock screen base images from Pinterest and IStock

In October, Tabletop RPGs (TTRPGs) were my life. Here’s why:

  1. Titles and Loglines
    1. Won? This is tough. I pick working titles based on my gut instinct as soon as I have a premise for a world or story which fits decently well. The loglines are rough since I tend to change the stories to great extent when outlining… I at least have something for what I set out to do. Are they any good?… Meh.🤷🏻‍♂️
  2. Truths
    1. Won? I have a brainstorm of the ‘Truths’ I’ve encountered consistently in life, but it’s unorganized and unedited for my own biases. More work is required before this can be useful to others 😑
  3. (Tabletop) Role Playing Games
    1. Won! 😎 … But at what cost? Information on how to make games, write games, prepare games, run games, play games, interact with players, and so much more is running around in my head and in my notes. I want to finish this gestating system I have created for faster-combat-focus-while-roleplayable TTRPGs, but haven’t determined if it’ll be my priority for any upcoming month.
  4. A Pull-up
    1. Won! I feel so good about this!!! Gah! I’m up to three pull-ups at a time now (context is previously doing 12-15 pull-ups seven months ago). Still not 100% with my shoulder, but this is a huge milestone. 💪🏻

Physicality – check. I did things – check. I studied – check. I secured my future – check (kinda). October was a good month. Can’t say it was a super-smashing success, though it certainly wasn’t a failure.

Look forward to what gets planned for November – ought to be a legit month ~

Monthly Goals – October 2019

As was committed last quarter, last month had stellar impact in what I wanted to have accomplished. Writing, money in housing, people, experiences, all of it worthwhile.

But I’ve been having a nagging… urge, to work more on tabletop RPG systems. The ideas have been stewing for a few months now, but even as I write this in September, I’m surrounded by notes on different play systems. In October, I’m going to leverage that drive, while not forgetting to write something too 😁

My Goals Due EOM:

  1. Titles and Loglines
    1. Taking a hint from Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!, I’ll be fleshing out, at the bare minimum, the titles and loglines of my bucket full of back-burner stories. (This feels particularly liberating, no longer having to use “Working Title” anymore 🙂)
  2. Truths
    1. Putting together a collection of “Truths” (see capital ‘T’) is on my end-of-life to-do list. Having discussed some of these with intellectual persons, I already have my first pre-order for the collection once it’s put out (unknown to them, it’ll be put out for free [I’ve a short rant about why – Truth!]). In October, I’ll get at least this collection together concerning people, people interacting, the world, stories, religion, government, and an outlook on the future. (Daunting, no?)
  3. Role Playing Games
    1. I’ll continue my study of tabletop role playing games, but I’ll also put together the systems I think might work best for fast, intuitive, flexible gameplay 🎲 Anything to further this understanding will be taken up, including organizing a role play session, watching games be played, and going solo through my own systems.
  4. A Pull-up
    1. My arm still isn’t 100% from a shoulder injury experienced earlier in the year. Though able to do a few push-ups again, pull-ups are still a no-go.  I aim to fix that. 💪🏻

Join me in celebrating how good it is to get after some important bits! 😃

Phone lock screen base images from Pinterest and IStock.

Goals Recap – September 2019

Read how I’ve decided to try out monthly goals.

Phone lock screen source image from Chris Bourassa

A smashing success! Let’s get to it:

  1. Submit to Black Library
    1. Won. Twice. Besides a writing sample that was edited by some very strong friends of mine, one of them let me know of Cubicle 7’s (not “Crucible 7” 😑) call for writers. In about one-and-a-half to two hours, with 30 minutes to spare, I applied there, too! Despite it being months before knowing the results, it’s a heck of a win, this goal.
  2. Investigate other housing options
    1. Won? Didn’t find apartments at better prices and am cooling my heels looking at houses (expecting a raise that’ll benefit my loan pre-approvals). Regardless, I’ll keep an eye out for houses in Las Vegas because this is where I can see myself living for a good while 🙂
  3. Meet and hang out with other people
    1. Won! Friends I haven’t seen in ages, I got out to visit. More folks I’ve reached out to, some of whom I’ll be seeing in October and summer 2020. It feels good to be in a place materially, socially, and mentally to keep up with some pretty cool folks ~
  4. Fulfill end-of-life experience goals
    1. Won! Played in the waters of Venice Beach in Santa Monica, saw some important people, and tried sensory deprivation (cool, but maybe not all that 😜). This is a tough one to have done, because now I need to re-evaluate what to do with my life, even if it’s only three months ahead 😶

I like winning. Can I make a repeat of October’s goals? Guess those will have to be figured out first… Bear with me as I get my priorities straight 😁

Monthly Goals – September 2019 – A Tryout

Super successful previous quarter. However, as I was writing the post for the December quarter, a lot started happening really quickly. Into such an extent, I feel we’re going to try something new: Monthly goals.

Let’s talk about that.

My Goals Due EOM:

  1. Black Library Submission
    1. By the 21st of September, a Warhammer 40000 story of either “Betrayal from Within”, being “Against the Odds”, or a “Hunt for Glory” will be in Games Workshop’s inbox. Getting after it! 😎
  2. Housing Updates
    1. I’m looking at houses and/or cheaper apartments. Crossing my fingers something cool is found! In any case, I do like where I live already 😊
  3. Others
    1. I’ve been really good in August about meeting more people, friends old and new. This is merely a goal to keep that up for a month!
  4. End-of-Life Experiences
    1. Part of my ‘mortality’ list, AKA ‘what-if-I-die-in-three-months’ to-dos. (Morbid, aye? 💀) Already getting sensory deprivation under my belt, visiting LA to play at the beach soon, and visiting important people I haven’t seen in awhile after that.
Phone lock screen source image from Chris Bourassa

All else is secondary. I’d thought to include starting a simple podcast, writing the things I’ve found as “Truth” in life so far, cleaning up my Blood Crown short story from last quarter, and ensuring I can do one pull-up (recovering shoulder injury). Priorities change, as can be expected 🤷🏻‍♂️

This’ll be an interesting challenge, to do in a month what might be expected to stretch over three. What are your sought for outcomes in September?

Quarterly Goals Recap – September 2019

Read the updated goal post here.

Spoiler: It was a very fine quarter.

Photo Of People Holding Flags Near Fireworks
Fireworks and people from
  1. Flesh-out three larger outlines
    1. Won. The three stories (all WIP titles) were completed very early on in July. Gem Heist is short but complete, though a little boring despite involving ghosts (surprise). Aladdin gives me a lot of excitement as it explores themes of children entering adulthood and the old guard envying youth. Nightmare Jack is grim though not vulgar with its horror exploring hope, the acceptance of death, and taking life for granted. (Comment if you’d like to see more of these.)
  2. Edit a fan-fiction to be a unique IP
    1. Won… Kind of. I explored outlining a short story, but it ultimately fell flat. The parts that did work worked in a way so far different I was merely writing a new short story. Instead, I blitzed through a horror short story first draft involving some malicious jewelry in two days split over two weekends. (Sounds like a win to me.)
  3. Keep up this blog
    1. Won. Did I cheat, though? Out of the sixteen blog entries since the original goal post, thirteen of them were carving up various short stories. That’s unsustainable going into the future, so how will I pivot?
  4. Make it rain $$$$$
    1. Won. Have more money in the bank not just at the end of the day, but going into the future too. This took a lot (a lot) of work: Timing, negotiations, study, travel, deals, talk. I’ve learned a lot, and can now demand a lot. With my current main income stream, it can boost my earnings to a point where moving to a place like Seattle or San Francisco to work for one of the Big Five between $150K and $200K wouldn’t alter the outcome of my ultimate goal: Financial Independence.
  5. Book education and LeetCode (Bonus!)
    1. Won. Met this through the previous $$$$$ goal. Needless to say, I’ve become a better software developer, leader, and person. #BeHumble 😂

Oh, and did you know the Windows key + the period key gives you an emoji palette on Windows systems??? 😱 I’m hooked 😁 The more you know!

Phone lockscreen source image from Pablo Olivera

Back to goals. This quarter involved many pivots, some quick action, dedication to getting things done, and was ultimately a very, very successful time in my life. Full steam ahead into the last quarter (or month; more on this later) of the year!

They’re Aboard – Epilogue

This is the unofficial story of Reserve Imperial Guardsman Kye Cromp. When the defenders of the massive warship Honorable Action die to the boarding swarms of monsters, Kye’s journey to escape will bring him face-to-face with horror.

Start at the beginning.


The human sits in a cold cargo hold, its hands clammy from the damp. It rubs its larger eyes, wiping goop off on a dirty shirt. The scabbing at the base of its neck itches. Flipping the collar up does little to abate the chill. Memory hints to it that the body remembers such a chill, but it’s more a dream than concrete recollection.

The bulk cargo ship also serves to shuttle passengers. Many people are spending their trip among the ill-insulated containers, storage, whether for holding food, goods, or luxuries. Their destinations for some populated world are the same. For them. For it.

They are coming out of Warp travel. It’s a strange place to go. There are voices without bodies that want to talk to the human like as they prattle to the other humans, the creatures without a family who are ones among none. This human is accompanied by many and can give the whispers no heed.

Bells chime. Orbital entry is close. The human gets up, joints aching in the low temperatures. It doesn’t mind. There’s work to do.

It has long since memorized the paths needed to traverse the labyrinthine aisles between the stacks of freight. With walls whose heights disappear into the gloom above, privacy had been easy to come by. Walking to the main sections only takes minutes.

Before the section’s airlock, many others join the human. They are its family, its handiwork during the length of the dismal voyage. Every one of them smiles at it as their paths converge. It doesn’t know if they recognize how special they are to each other, but it need not wonder about such things. These former strangers are ready for the work ahead.

There are no guards at the hatchway. Security must be looking after the more lucrative passengers. Stepping into the bright light gets the human to squint.

Strolling through the polished halls, members of the family split off down side corridors. Their absence does not disturb the human. Those travelers will find their way to other departures, other ripe vistas teeming with life.

The vibration of atmosphere baking along the superstructure hums in the walls. The human feels the rumble of retrograde engines in the roots of its regrown teeth. The sensation goes away soon enough.

A group of civilians mills about outside of their cabins. The crowd is large. It works a way among them without recoil or pause. No one troubles the filthy wanderer. The vox speakers direct all non-essential personnel to gather at the unloading ramps. A tide of bodies carries the human along as it blends into the soon to be departed.

Waiting doesn’t last long at the exit. With a gentle rocking of the deck, the ship touches down. A smooth, reassuring impact evokes a quiet cheer among the passengers. The human smiles because nothing is stopping its work.

Pressure changes in a hiss. Gates the size of buildings perform a gentle slide along their tracks. The crack between them sheds glorious sunbeams onto the upturned faces of the crowd. Of the dirty human. Its eyes adjusting to the shine, it looks out on the field of wonder.

Megastructures lose themselves in clouds on the horizon. Ground transports zoom along tiered levels of roadway. Ungroomed trees dot the far fields of the landing zone. Able bodied folks, elders and children alike, go about their business. It seems all is right with this peopled world.

Boots stained with human and inhuman blood march off the ramp. Crowds swallow their wearer into superficial oblivion.

The human breaths deep of the crisp air, itself hinting only slightly of ozone, a taint of smog. A tear wets its cheek. “So many to join us in communion,” it says, voice lost in the commotion. Everything was right for this one of many.

This unofficial work is published under the Intellectual Property Policy of Games Workshop Limited:

They’re Aboard – 9

This is the unofficial story of Reserve Imperial Guardsman Kye Cromp. When the defenders of the massive warship Honorable Action die to the boarding swarms of monsters, Kye’s journey to escape will bring him face-to-face with horror.

Start at the beginning.

The Ninth Hour

No bodies, alien or human. Only lots and lots of blood. Everywhere. Soaking into the rugs, painting the enameled woodwork, everywhere. Thankfully, not enough macabre horror exists to cover the exit placard.

Kye, regardless of the wailing alarms, checks each corner, inches forward only a step at a time.


He turns his head. Did… Did something come out of the speakers? It likely was his gut talking. There wasn’t enough time. Gambling on the chance, Kye dashes for the door.

In to the next hall are symbols showing what Kye can recognize as escape pods. Or something of the sort. There’s less blood here, but more bodies.

A pack of xenos beasts charge at him from the far end of the corridor. Kye looks at his empty hands and turns them into fists. It wasn’t fair! Not fair! This close and they had to be here! Kye yells, hobbling towards the bounding monsters as best he can. They come. He goes. The gravity gives way again.

He flies forward, his feet skipping over the ground. Over him go the beasts which snarl and snap their maws at him. Kye tries to get his balance only to send him end over end through the open hatch.

Grandeur gives way to polished fineness and the lack of gravity gives way to weight. Kye is close enough to the deck he merely loses breath at his fall. The door he had floated through slams shut under gravity’s influence. Kye feels he can only groan. Turning his head, there lies his salvation. An escape pod.

Shakily getting up and pulling with unsteady hands, Kye hauls through the round portal of the pod. Pushing off the cushions, the climb through the various compartments leads him up into the flight chair. Once the buckle is in place, hatch sealed, Kye taps buttons the monitors tell him to tap by their lit sigils. Light music begins to play but he cuts that nonsense off immediately. The stellar boat rocks under the power of some unseen force, a low rumble vibrating through the frame.

At a button click, rockets fire the pod like a missile into the void. Pressure flattens Kye into his seat, broken teeth gritting tight. He spies leech-like space attackers enveloping the front of Honorable Action. Debris hits the escape craft, knocking him around. Boosters stop the spinning. His former home’s metal skin seething with xeno bodies comes into view. Great gouts of flame and depressurizing mist strike out of canyons yawning in the sides of the vessel  at nothingness. Explosions engulf kilometers of the warship.

Despite it all, “I… I’m free. I’m alive! Alive, Emperor be praised!” Kye could have been that. He could have been another corpse jettisoned out into the void but he’s free. Away from all the war, all the horror.

Over the desecrated starship Kye witnesses the ruin of the fleet once so prideful. Hulls burn to black, their reactors bleeding into the void. Others list empty, some bearing parasites nibbling on their parts. A minor, pitiful few continue to strike out with lasers, plasma, and cannon shot far, far away from Honorable Action. Their luminous silhouettes dim under the shadow cast by the torrent of alien flies buzzing after them in the dark.

Engine temperature climbs on the monitor before him. “Blast it,” he says. “Shutoff! Shutoff!” Kye grabs a hefty red handle, giving it a yank. “Shutoff…”

Away the boat drifts, a fever taking its pilot. Kye dares not start the emergency beacon. There’s nothing outside but death. Who knows what waits in the dark. Instead, he tries to disconnect as many systems as the little flight terminal will show him. He pleads that the machine spirit grant him a massive drop in temperature. Kye refuses to be found after all this for something as foolish as keeping the lights on.

The pod has heard his prayers when frost creeps to cover the portholes. Kye’s teeth chatter, cutting the puffs of his breath into bits. He picks at the tatters of the uniform that’s no more than rags. There could be a blanket in the hold. The restraints are slick under his numb fingers. Kye stops fiddling with his buckle when a glow leers through the icy panes. Wiping a bit of the freeze away with his sleeve, he stares down on a planet below. Likely the world Honorable Action was supposed to go to, a final destination. They are here. The globe is burning. A living cloud that blocks the stars bears down on it, spreading along snaking tendrils as if a drop of purple ink had been dropped in water, filling, reaching, contaminating every part of the world completely. Spontaneous storm fronts flash, overtaking the sunward edge of pristine natural green, yet to be turned to a blighting alien hue.

“Lost, it’s all lost. The Emperor help them. Help me!” Kye’s ode makes him feel a bit better. He almost feels warm for a moment.

To block the reminder of humanity’s struggles below and above, he pulls the window barrier down. The cold comes in anyway. The pod creaks and ticks, the cabin sighing while the heat escapes. Kye begins to wonder if the lack of temperature is making him delusional. There’s the warmth again.

“What might -?” His exclamation joins another puff of air, one smelling sickly sweet.

Kye’s heart gets caught in his throat. His chest muscles seize. More vapor swirls over his shoulders. He opens his shaking mouth in unimaginable terror. No cry utters. In front of him, pinpoints of shine move out from his own frozen reflection in the dark window. Warm again. And it stays warm, a hotness irradiating through the chair that traps him. His entire focus locks on the glinting images before him. Extraordinary eyes. Hot, gooey lumps probe their ways over Kye’s collar, along his neck, wrapping his forehead. Emperor, he should run. Go. Oh Throne, where? He chokes a whimper passed cold cheeks and burning tears down his face. It doesn’t matter anymore. He is going to die there. To this thing. Its eyes. As hot exhalation beads moisture on the back of his spine, Kye becomes calm. He knows he shouldn’t be calm. The strange face that looks back through the reflection is almost soothing. Is soothing. Kye shouldn’t be anything but calm. But the human wonders who should be calm. It can’t be anything more than this, the feeling of being all right. He’s not been this content since … there is no other time. It has always been this content. Happy. The thing in its mind will bring it back home, whole in the family. No need for worry, wonder. It’s perfect. Perfect.

An unspeakable something consumes its biological freedom, whatever that might have been. The human relaxes to rest in the warm embrace of a will not its own, drifting into a final oblivion of one among many.

Finished in the epilogue.

This unofficial work is published under the Intellectual Property Policy of Games Workshop Limited: