Chatter #7: October 13, 2000

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM


I'm looking out the window next to me, and the shadows of big honey bees are crawling across the blinds at the top of the window. There's a hive inside the top of my window frame, on the outside fortunately. The landlord says he'll get rid of it when it gets cold enough to keep the bees from stinging. Fall has been coming quickly here; we've already had a few frosts. I guess the bees won't be around much longer. It's funny, but I think I'll miss them.

Today's a funny day; a fall day, if you know what I mean. I feel like I miss a lot of things.

What's the weather like where you are?


It may not show, but I recently updated almost every single page on the site. All traces of my prior host (the exerable TIAC) have been removed: all email addresses have been updated, and all URLs are now correct. That includes ZIPped text files, PDFs, and bundled files within PDFs. I also did a bit of proofreading and revising here and there, particularly in the Imbue rules section where I embellished on the use of multi-part items and Divine magic.

The project took about five or six hours of work over two days, which is really not bad for 100+ files and about five years of online history. Oddly enough, the tool that was most useful was Wordpad, a Windows accessory. In fact, that program has been so useful that I've put it on all of my desktops.

I used to use Windows Notepad to do my HTML editing, but Microsoft seems to have royally screwed up Notepad; it takes HUGE amounts of memory (which is insane for such a basic accessory), and crashes the system often. God, there are so many times I wish I could get my hands around Bill Gates' pencil-neck for just five minutes! Just kidding of course, but that reminds me of something funny:

The parking lot where I work is next to train tracks, which are separated from the lot by a tall wire fence. At one point in the fence there's a set of locked gates, and on the gates there's a sign:






Fortunately some local genius made a small modification:




...but I admit that Wordpad's quite useful.

If anyone is wondering, although I ocassionally use an editor like Frontpage Express or Word to do something tricky (like tables, for example), I prefer to work with raw HTML.


As I mentioned in the guestbook, I've set myself a target of adding one new magic item and 900+ characters each of found items and chaos features to the Chaos Project. That's a bit tough, sometimes; it's hard coming up with new ideas after a while. But my long drive to and from work helps (it's about an hour and a half each way, depending on traffic). When I'm sickened by what I hear on the radio I turn it off and think of things to add to the site. I often end up trying to hold seven or eight ideas in my head at once, which can be pretty awful; I use mnemonics to try and keep everything in my head, but sometimes the ideas won't stop and I have to try and jot ideas in my notepad. That's bit nervewracking on the highway at 55 miles per hour (ahem), and since I don't take my eyes off the road the result looks like the scrawl of a three-year old. Even though my normal handwriting is more like the scrawl of a six-year-old, it can be pretty hard even for me to read my notes.

I should probably look into getting one of those little solid-state microphones, the kind that are in the shape of a pen.

I must say, though, that the Imbue magic item creation rules have actually helped me to come up with new items—I'm not sure why.

Speaking of the Project, it's getting pretty big. There are well over 100 chaos features and found items apiece, and I think we're at about 40 magic items. I'm starting to wonder about archiving.

Perhaps I should take, say, the oldest 100 each of CFs and FIs and put them into a more concise HTML format? I'd include all contact info for everyone who has contributed so far, of course. And if anyone wants to expand or revise their items, of course I'd be glad to oblige.

But maybe I'm worrying for no reason. How convenient is the current set-up? What do you think? I don't want to put in a lot of work for no benefit in readability. My time's pretty limited, unfortunately.

One of the projects that is still outstanding is a serious revision of the main page for the site—not the page, but the RQ page. I know that it's in serious need of improvement; the links need to be put "above the fold" (as web designers say), on the first screen rather than the second. And instead of all that text, I should have large and cool-looking graphics for different areas. It's probably time for me to get rid of the menu bar, and replace it with a small frame giving quick links to all the different areas. And I guess I should find a background that works better—but I'm not sure what.

It really sucks, because I'm not an artist. I have a bunch of black & white lineart - over a million images on CD-ROM—but it's not what I need. Sigh...


Something weird happened recently. As I mentioned earlier, when I moved from TIAC to Your-Site I went from being in the top ten of most search engines for RQ to nowhere or way, way down. But I spent some time re-listing my site, and asking for URL updates from other sites and engines. Slowly I started to climb back up the lists, and my hits started going up as well. But suddenly, sometime in the last several weeks, my new URL disappeared off many search engines and the old one reappeared! On a lot of engines I'm not listed at all, and of course they never respond to email. It's a real mystery.

I think it bothers me more because there's so much more material on the site now, and it's being updated so often. I'll bet there are damn few roleplaying sites that have new content added daily, much less RuneQuest ones. But unless they already know where it is, people just can't hear about or find the site. Frustrating.

I've considered re-naming the site and adding support for other systems as well (although of course I'd never abandon RQ). I don't know.

Man, those bees are really buzzing.

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So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0