Have story, will code – Do I need another obsession? ? Interactive fiction calling – again. The ideas that won’t go away.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Interactive fiction – Another game?

I wonder, as I so often do.
: I sometimes get this uncomfortably sharp urge to write another epic
Interactive Fiction game.. Several ideas sit and wait just a folder browse away. All I have to do is awaken that obsessive part of me and let it dominate.
There’s just something very soothing about building a world that is defined yet so random, creating rules that are insanely complex but purely logical, give it life, and have a limitations on how random the end result can possibly turn out. Very… compelling. Ultimate control, but not set in stone. It’s game in prose. A life in poetry.
A wicked waste of time.
But I miss it.
And I tell myself I don’t have that time.
But surely I do.
surely, I can just take a quick look see.

! section 1 Setting the scene
[Initialise;
location = SmallRoom;
move ivan to location;
move coat to ivan;
give coat worn;
move JanitorsKey to coat;
move letter to coat;
move dog to SmallRoom;
move collar to dog;
give collar worn;
startDaemon (dog);
startdaemon (rat);
print "Would you like to restore a saved game? ";
if (YesOrNo()) ;
print "You grew up never knowing what was real. You learned early on that fathers lie and mothers are too stupid to get it. Scam after stupid lie taught you that promises were as lofty as autumn leaves and that money, despite what your parents kept insisting, do not grow on trees or come without a price.
After nearly twenty years of endless expectations of shady fortunes that never actually manifested. Oh, what a shocker.
As soon as you could, you got the hell out of there, that town, that family of good-for-shit trash. You were better than them.
Now, your dad is gone. Someone caught up with him for reasons unknown and you could not care less.
they did him good. they did him dead. But before going into the stark and wormy night, as sonofabitch fathers sometimes do, he left you a rundown, rat-infested, crappy old house.
Yeah, thanks dad.
But that is why you are here. It could be nothing, just another lie. But maybe not. You touch the outside of your coat. In an inside pocket is an envelope and it rustles softly. His last gift to you.
you glance around and before you can change your mind and walk away from your past once and for all, you go inside.
Trespassing.
Because, your father didn't give you a house. Not quite. He gave you instrutions and a key. And another promise.
You breathe noisily through your teeth and look around. You catch the foggy outline of yourself in a filthy window pane and glare at it. Like father, like son. Dad, this better be good.";
];
!Section And here starts the fun. Starting with a dummy object.
thing window"Grimy window"SmallRoom
with description
"Seemingly placed there without any thought on symmetry or esthetics, set somewhat crookedly in the west wall, is a window. Flaking offwhite paint and grimy cracks in badly abused wood serves as a sad excuse of a frame. A long since dead spider probably haunts its abandoned dwelling that adorns one cracked windowpane. Beyond the dirty glass looms and even dirtier brick wall; not more than a foot away. You wonder about the view beyond the neglected barrier. This room could use a bit of light. ",
name 'west' 'glass' 'window' 'pane',
before[;
open:
if (crowbar notin player)
"With what? Your head?.";
"Okay, so you have a crowbar. do you even know how to use it? No, because I didn't write code for that yet."
thing crowbar"Crowbar"SmallRoom
with description "A crowbar. Very useful in a text adventure game with windows in it.",
name 'crowbar',
has ;

This is something I was working on years ago in Inform 6. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get Inform 7 -a natural language IF version– to run on my Mac. It appears to me that either it doesn’t play well with Mac in general, or with it’s screenreader, Voiceover. It’s not a big loss to me, even if I am intrigued by it, because I enjoy working directly in I6.
Want to see what a real Interactive fiction master does, visit Emily Short and be amazed. If you thought text adventuring has died in the shade of the new world of attention deficits, well it has not.

Thank you! House of Imp lives another year.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Another year for House of Imp – Thanks to you!

Thank you!

An emergency ask for help was posted here and anywhere I could think of yesterday, Sunday 26th 2020. And here is what happened. Not only did you help me with the webhosting fee for this year, with your help I could also pay the over due internet bill (Rural internet access is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. ).
So yes, I made those payments late last night.
Total raised just over $400

Thank you for caring

You can continue supporting House of Imp and me — even when it’s not an emergency, there are always costs —
Become a monthly donor on House of Imp.

(And I can’t not give kudos to Paypal for creating such a smooth fundraising and money transfer experience. I am quite impressed with the way Paypal has taken accessibility to a new level these last few years. Paypal’s accessibility is truly superb.)

Let’s get right back to business, shall we?Here’s what’s up at the moment:

Kompozing:

Token

Podcasting: We are working on a new Music we Love podcast featuring one of our favourite collaborators from kompoz.com. No, I’m not telling. We didn’t ask yet. 😀
Writing: I am currently, alongside writing the second Sundered World novel “Mother of Crow”, revising the first book “A Mother’s Heart” which was edited and published in a rush. It is quite rough to be honest. Whether it is a good idea to work on the two books at the same time is unclear. 🙂
Icarus Machine: We are working on the EP “Fragile. Vocals are mostly recorded and we are waiting for some stuff, hesitating on other things, doing all the things. In other words, it’s all a big pile of confusion and scattered workflows- Until it’s not. Wish us luck.
JennyK in real life: Living in a house turned complete mess in preparation for the unavoidable sale come spring/summer. — Let’s just say , shit will happen whether we want it or not and one day I’ll think back on this winter, lie and say, “maybe it wasn’t so bad.” 🙂
*********

House of Imp is the personal website of JennyK – Vocalist, lyricist, and co-producer in the melodic metal band
Icarus Machine.
It is also a
Blog,
The Now and again Radio Podcast,
The Music we Love Podcast, and a collection of self-published
fiction.

Updated! Trying to keep this place alive – Can you help? Do listen, think about it, be well always.

Reading Time: < 1 minute

House of Imp

House of Imp and JennyK need your help.

JennyK here, listen, think about it, and be well. But please do it now, Friday will be too late!

Help!

(It is safe and secure, accepts paypal and creditcards.)
************

Update

As of Jan 26th 2020, 8:50P.M
13 Donors have helped me today. . You all rock.
And you have all saved this website for this year, and more.
I’ll update this tomorrow. I’m amazed. Seriously.
Daniel, Bill, Rafael, Adrian, Emily, Nigel…. And several more – I don’t have your names. Thank you!

Total at this moment exceeds $250!

You all rock!

*********
Breakdown of needs:
Jan 31 – domainregistration 1 year for jennykbrennan, $15 (approx.).
without this I have no access to my main email accounts.
Feb. 14th – Webhosting 1 year (webhostinghub) $150 (approx) Without this I have no hosting, no website, no access to my other email accounts.
************

************

House of Imp is the personal website of JennyK – Vocalist, lyricist, and co-producer in the melodic metal band
Icarus Machine.
It is also an intermittent
Blog,
Podcast,
and collection of self-published
fiction.

It’s okay to not be okay. Attitudes change, that’s great. But is it? Is the word Anxiety losing its meaning?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s okay to not be okay

It is isn’t it?
Well, in one very important sense it is; it’s okay to not have it all together. Mental illness is something so many of us deal with and it’s the new normal to some degree. Not that it’s something people are comfortable talking about, but it’s getting better.

True. Yes?

But I’ve noticed something a bit odd and quite disconcerting. I admit, this is my perspective and I do not speak for you or anyone else. These are just thoughts that have come up lately. I’m not even sure if it’s an actual viewpoint, a definite opinion, if it’s something that has actually changed in the last few years, or If I’m just completely full of it.

So here it is.

Yes, mental illness is okay to deal with, to admit having issues with. Everything from slight social anxiety to serious cases of OCD and beyond where serious medication is needed. I think it’s going the right way if nothing else.
but the first thing I find myself uncharitable enough to think at times is that, “If everyone and their aunt claims to have anxiety, then what does the word “anxiety” actually mean in real life for me?” The odd thing is that if I tell someone that I have anxiety, Joe Blow down the block might say “Oh, that’s okay, we’ve all got that. Pot helps with that these days, doesn’t it? I get anxious all the time. You should take a walk or something. Join a club or whatever.”

Sigh.

the thing is; I don’t think Joe Blow down the block knows what anxiety is. he most certainly doesn’t know what an anxiety attack does to a person. Or how crippling social anxiety can be. Or how stress hormones in the body from cronic anxiety will make you sick, physically. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Joe, I know you mean well, but before you minimize the suffering of those who actually do suffer, you might want to talk to a few of those who know what it’s like.

Really, I do feel like my anxiety, which is both crippling and makes me physically sick, and prevents me from doing so many of the things I deep down wish I could do, gets viewed as nothing more than a slight case of being a bit scared or nervous. Oh, everyone has anxiety these days, no big deal. If it gets bad, there’s pot, and there are drugs. What’s the big deal?

Now, you tell me, am I being fair?

let me know in the comments if you think, as I do, that just the normalizing of the word “anxiety” has made it pretty much meaningless. Or maybe I’m thinking about this a bit screwy, then tell me that.

Jen

Music: Demo of “Hey, it’s okay.” by JennyK.
‘s

When the hunt for accessible WordPress plugins makes me exhausted and frustration takes over the keyboard. A blind webmasters commentary

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When the hunt for accessible WordPress plugins makes me exhausted and frustration takes over the keyboard. A blind webmasters commentary

There are great plugins. There are bad plugins. There are fantastic plugins. There are accessible plugins.

And I quote from my latest encounter with one of those: It’s fantastic -according to the 5.0 rating and 200k active users,

“Easy to use and 100% FREE social media plugin which adds social media icons to your website with tons of customization features”

I’m not naming this company because I know I can find something else to use and I don’t have the energy to try to make them change things. But here is the deal: It’s a simple thing one would think. A few buttons, a few links, five minutes to set up, set and forget. Unfortunately, after thirty minutes of fighting with it, I deactivated, deleted, and drew a deep breath, backing away from the computer.
And I remember perfectly decent people say to me,
“Well, at least you can do some of the things you need. Better than nothing isn’t it?”

Let me say that again,

“At least you can…. Better than nothing…”

Oh, pardon me while I throw my prospects in the waste bin and cleanse work ethics from my brain. Let me also tie myself to a corner and promise to never want to excel in anything, ever. Allow me to learn the concept of Good Enough, I am blind after all, why want to be professional?
, Now, let me reframe all of that:

“Boss, you know that new computer?”

“Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it? It’s really fast.”

“Yes, I’m sure it is. But there’s no monitor.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that. We’re thinking of getting the monitor sometime in the future. I’ve got people looking into it, I think. It is something I thought about but it seems complicated.”

“Okay, so how am I supposed to do my work? I have video to edit for the Friday show.”

“Oh well, I can’t see a real problem. Just build yourself a monitor and use that.”

“Err, well, it’s not something I ever thought I’d have to learn. So, no I cannot.”

“No? I thought you were capable and could do anything.”

“I’m a video editor, it’s not my job to build the equipment I need to use, is it?”

“Funny, it’s not my job either. I don’t even know who makes those. But don’t fret. You can always use the 486 over there can’t you?”

“You mean the DX? The one with the broken mouse and 16 mb of RAM?”

“Yes, of-course. Hell, At least you’ll have a chair and a desk to work at. That’s more than some have. It’s better than nothing, isn’t it?”

***

JennyK.
.

,

Do you thank your Alexa? Here’s why I think you should. – A reflection

Thank you text on chalk board
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Do you thank your Alexa? Here’s why I think you should.

A House of Imp Life-hack Click To Tweet

So, you’ve got one of those. The Alexa, the Google assistant, the Cortana, the infamous Siri on your phone, tablet, computer, or of course that smart speaker sitting there on the counter listening.

Do you ever ask for something and she says, “I don’t know about that.”?
What do you say? And do you make sure she is listening when you say it?
I ask that because I’ve noticed a difference in how my husband and I talk to our brand new Echo device, namely Alexa. He asks her for a song and she gets it wrong and no matter how he tries to get the correct title or artist, she just doesn’t get it or the song is not available for some reason. At that point he gets frustrated and says “Alexa, Fuck off!”

Yeah, I get it. The funny thing is that I say it out-loud too, but I don’t say the name. So, I don’t say it when the damn thing is “listening”.

Yep, I am really big on anthropomorphizing, I admit it. And I’m well aware of it.

And that is why, when I ask Alexa to create a list, or look up something interesting, or when she tells me something amusing I didn’t expect her to say, I say Thank you. I don’t always make sure she hears it, I’m not all that out there. But I do say it. I say it in almost the same way I thank my dog when he brings me something he shouldn’t have picked up in the first place or when he sits politely when I ask him.

The other night my Alexa played some pretty ding and said, “I’m reminding you, about that thing.”
I had totally forgotten so I said without reservation, “Alexa, okay got it, thank you.”
“Of course,” she said.

Nice.

The thing about that little interaction is that it made me feel good. I mean, not in any earth shattering type of way but in some abstract sense of decency kind of fashion that is so hard to describe. What I believe is that my thank you was an expression of gratitude toward the technology and the people behind it. I’m grateful for this kind of thing, the convenience, the ease of use, the amazing people making that semi-creepy human-machine interaction possible.
It fascinates me, it scares me at times, but overall I am delighted.

So yeah, I do thank my smart speaker when it gives me something I find of value, like information, entertainment, or cleverly stupid lame jokes. I thank my stupid privacy killing talking speaker because it makes me feel good.

To be fair, I am the kind of person who says thank you to the impossible-to-open packaging when it finally gives me the goods. I thank the printer for spitting out my shopping list without a hitch. I give my thanks to something in the air around me when I hang up the phone after a successful phone call.
It’s all about gratitude,. And I am grateful for so many things. In some odd way, having Alexa gives me an incentive to express that gratitude more often. And I think that is a good thing. Whatever makes me feel better in some small way, has to be a good thing.

So, don’t tell your idiot device to go shove it when it gets it wrong. Remember that behind that little thing and beyond all the wiring and intangible signals, are humans. People with amazing ideas, and awful flaws. Be grateful for all it has to offer instead.

Say Thank you.

Jenny,

About the author


Jenny K. Brennan is a Swedish/Canadian vocalist, songwriter, and writer living in Ontario, Canada since 2002 with one husband, one dog, and unfinished projects in the thousands. Find her on
The House of Imp,
kompoz.com,
Icarus Machine official,
JennyK Productions Youtube,
and other places. She is the lyricist and vocalist in the melodic metal band Icarus Machine since 2015. She studies braille at The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually impaired. On her free time, she learns Wordpress by trial and error, audio production using Apple Logic Pro, and carpentry by association.