My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Computer Use | A Memoir Essay

The first time I can remember using a personal computer, was in kindergarten. I was at my friend Austin's house, and he had a Macintosh. This was 1988, so it was something like a Macintosh classic. The computer had a rectangular shape, with the monitor mounted inside the casing; and it was all in that single rectangular unit. 

His monitor only displayed in black and white. I recall how incredible I thought it was that he could remember all the names of the folders he had to open to get to the game we wanted to play. The program we opened was a downhill skiing game. We probably only had to click on the hard drive, applications, the game's folder, and then the game icon; but to me that was a lot to recollect just to play a game.

Some years later, around fourth grade or so, my dad bought an IBM with windows 3.0. At the time this computer was top of the line; it even had a cd rom drive! I messed around on that bad boy a lot, and pretty soon I was quite good at getting around on it. I was even well acquainted with dos. My sixth grade year we picked up a computer with windows 95 on it. I dove straight into that operating system. This was also the same year that I took a typing class in school. In the class there were no letters on the keys, so you had to learn. You would follow the diagrams on the screen and go through the programs, learning where to put your hands and where all the keys were. This helped my typing skills tremendously. Now instead of using one finger to find each key, I could type quickly and easily without having to look at the keyboard. This was a big developmental step in my computing skills.

I also remember for the first time using Ctrl + C to copy, and Ctrl + V to paste. We sometimes would have to type the same paragraph several times for our class work. It was funny, the Ctrl keys had been fixed so you shouldn't have been able to use them, but if you pushed very hard on them they would click. So my friends and I would only type the paragraph once and then copy and paste it as many times as were required. I remember being in awe of these shortcut keys. I had no idea you could press certain keys together on the keyboard, or even that you could copy and paste. I was excited and amazed about this on only simple computers with only a black screen and a green display of text. I liked computers at an early age. Writing this I find it funny that I can look back and remember being amazed at green letters on a black screen; and now I'm going into the 3D computer industry as a career. I now produce 3D graphics that were unthinkable back when I was in sixth grade learning to type. It is something to think about.

During high school my family picked up a Compaq Presario, with Windows 98 and a Pentium I processor. I had fun with that. They now have a Sony Vio with Windows XP. It always has problems with spyware and is very difficult to use for navigating the internet even with a cable modem. It gets slowed down and constantly has pop-ups. I even have my own computer now with an amazing graphics card that helps the 3D programs I use run smoothly. As a little boy I never could have dreamed of having my own computer.

For pc use, that is all of my list; but it's not where my computer career ended. The first time I was able to use a Macintosh again, since kindergarten, was my freshman year when I took a sixth period creative writing class. Many times we would use the computer lab, and after class two buddies and I would stay and teach ourselves HyperCard on the school's Macs. I thought that program was awesome, and I was finally learning how to use a Mac.

My senior year I took a class called Technical Navigation. In this class we learned, with iMacs and G3s, how to use Adobe Pagemill, Photoshop, and Illustrator; along with some Power Point. I was able to learn all the shortcuts and nuances of the Macintosh operating system. Now when I wanted to close a window, open a new document, or save, I just had to press "apple" and then w, o, or s. I then learned that these same shortcut keys existed in my pc.

My navigational skills at that time became much faster than before. I think that using the shortcut keys also forced me to have more of an awareness of what I was doing while navigating on the screen. Rather than looking at the menu bar and it's following pull down, thinking about it and having all my available options right in front of me, I had to know exactly what I wanted to do. I had to push the one button on the keyboard that I knew would carry out the command I wanted it to. I hope to learn exponentially, and become better and better at using computers in the future.

These same shortcut key skills have carried over greatly into the programs I use for school and what I will use in the 3D industry. In every video editing or photo manipulating or 3D software I have used, I've found that learning and using as many shortcut keys as I can greatly increases my efficiency and speed. Also, I can get rid of several menus that appear above, below, and on the sides of the screen. This gives me more work area on the screen; more real estate. By using shortcuts I can work faster than someone else, and have more space to work with for my eyes. It's a win win situation.

One thing that I really like about working on computers is how fast time goes by when working on them. I can sit down and 3D model for hours. 3D modeling is making or constructing objects in 3D space on the computer. It is similar to sculpting in real life, but instead of moving clay around to form shapes resembling things, you move around points in 3D space. These points connect with each other to form surfaces.

I have sometimes gone without eating a meal because I simply forget or don't realize I am hungry for several hours because I will get so enthralled in what I am working on. I have even skipped both lunch and dinner a few times, which is even for me hard to believe, because of work on the computer. When I work at the labs in the North campus the security guard will poke his head in the door and tell me it will soon be time to leave. That is when I will realize that it's almost 11:30, and time to go. It is during these times that I just don't know where the time has gone. This is something I am happy about, because I will be doing it for a living someday.

In the video game industry, which I hope to get into, you hear of projects nearing there deadlines and employees getting asked to work crazy hours; staying very late to get the work done. This is something I already do at times. I would much rather have a job with longer hours which went by quickly than a job with only 40 hours a week in which each hour of every day seemed to drag by.

If we did not have computers today of coarse the world would be ok, as it always has been with out computers. But now that I work on them so much I find it hard to imagine a world without computers. I see them everywhere and in several different things being used for several different applications. For storing data alone, if that were their only purpose; even then they would be incredibly useful. This is because in one small computer you can store a warehouse full of information. They also make that information extremely easy to navigate through and find specifics with.

To think that now some actors have a computer generated model doing their stunt scenes for them in movies is amazing. I love computers, and I also love art and storytelling. I hope to use computers for these two things. Making art and telling stories in a highly visual way. I can only imagine what the future holds for the level of realism a computer will be able to generate; considering where we are right now. But I hope that there will always be someone out there not always trying to make it look perfectly real, but instead goofy and/or artistic.

This was an assignment for my creative writing class at the Art Institute of Seattle. I probably wrote it around 2004. It's really interesting to read it now. I'm pretty sure I thought we were at the cutting edge of where technology could go, and now to get these words into this blog post I took a picture of them with my phone from a printed page, which I was then able to copy the text from the photo and paste it into a document. I still had to fix the formatting, but still it's crazy how technology has continued to develop.

An Unfamiliar Room | A Poem

Soft voices.
At least those who know each other.

Everyone else,
Sitting, waiting.

Wishing for prognostication.

Sitting in a seat they weren't sure of picking
But chose in haste to get the attention off of them.

Chosen in haste to get the seating eyes of
Unfamiliar faces from scolding their comfort bubble until it bursts.

Sitting down to a small smooth desk that they can call their own.
For the next four hours
They will look at its scratches and drawings.

Their own small space of individuality
Clothing them from the rest of the class.

The rough rustling of a back pack,
The sweet sound of someone sipping coffee.

Tall decaf double shot non fat raspberry mocha latte,

Eyes searching plain white walls while
A few coughs echo off their banal surfaces.

The calm steps of the teacher as he walks
To give his welcome to the class.

He hides his anxiety he shares with his students well.
Eleven weeks will soon pass;

And this now familiar room, these now familiar faces,
Will surprisingly be missed.

This is a poem I wrote for a creative writing class while attending the Art Institute of Seattle earning my BFA in Animation and Media Arts. I probably wrote it around 2004 as a 21 year old. We had classes once a week for four hours, and each quarter was eleven weeks long. In that time I always was amazed at how a group of strangers had become a familiar class I would miss.

Coffee Coffee | A Poem



I like coffee. I like drinking coffee.
I like drinking coffee in the cool hours
Of the night while drawing, doing homework, or driving.
I like to drink coffee.

I don't mean fancy coffee.
Just cream
and sugar.
Coffee of the kitchen countertop.

No espresso stand or coffee carte;
Whipping up something special.
I'm talking a big, red, metal can
Of Folgers in your cup-board.

The best part of waking up
Is Folgers in your cup.

The best part of staying up
Is Folgers in your cup.

Getting coffee at a Shari's IHOP, or Denny's
Two in the morning with Folgers in your cup.
The feel of the silver spoon
Hitting the white sides of a porcelain cup.
I can hear the sound it makes. Ting ting.

Stirring in the cream and sugar.
I can see the cream swirling in black until
It fades to a creamy tan.

I like to shake the little sugar packets and listen
To the small grains shift to the back of the pack
As the paper goes crinkle crinkle, crinkle crinkle;
Much faster than I can say crinkle.


To hear the sound of coffee being poured
Is a treasure to the ears.

Its euphony brings a sliver of energy soon to be delivered
On that first taste; after you
Set the spoon down on your napkin and
See it creep brown slowly.

Slowly across white fibers textured in pattern.
First sips travel and coat your textured stomach

Your eyes seem to open just that much more.
You first start to notice the haze around you as a restaurant.
That big bright pillow you fell onto is a
Booth now sturdy and stiff.

You sit at your table and mix the cream
And stir the sugar.

You forget about getting here at midnight.
The lights are on, everyone is awake
Conversing as if it were midday.

You continue working on your midterm or your final,
Or maybe just your sketchbook drawing, and
Before you know it, almost everyone else is gone.

No one is talking anymore, there is much less noise.
You look down to see that a myriad of
Sugar packets have been shook, poured, and stirred.

You peer back to the door you drowsily entered and see that
There is light outside. A new day has started without you and
Here you are without memory of night passing.


Your midterm is minutes from completion and all you
Have to do is make it to that one class and turn it in.
You can then go back home and have your night,
But it will cost you the day.

However, when you wake up,
There is always coffee.

This is a poem I wrote for a creative writing class while attending the Art Institute of Seattle. I probably wrote it around 2004 as a 21 year old. As I write this, that was 18 years ago but in some ways it feels like only a few. Crazy how time flies.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull | Book Review

Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, #2)Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was really fun. I thought the characters, magic, traps, and challenges faced were creative, fun, and a bit more intense than the last book. I really liked how the story didn't start right back at Fablehaven but gave us a little glimpse into the ordinary lives of the two sibling main characters. Then it was all go from there with lots of fun, adventure, and more of the story world and how it works revealed. I look forward to reading the next one. It's been fun to read this alongside my 10 year old and talk about it.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
Book Review

The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot, #1)The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While it seemed like a bit of a mix between the Great Gastby and a Sherlock Holmes novel, I wouldn't say that's a bad thing. Just as I felt the book was becoming a bit dry the murder happened, and no that's not a spoiler if you know this genre. I must say I actually don't know the mystery genre well but have always wanted to get into it, thus my reading of this book. I have read one other of her books a few years ago, "And Then There Were None," which I quite enjoyed and rated four out of five stars. It was an interesting thing to find that the narrator in this story was interested in becoming a detective, yet it was another character, Poirot, who does the investigation. I was expecting it to be the narrator character, but then it was like duh the series is named after Poirot. I’m just saying that’s the way the story led me at first. I suppose it shouldn't surprise me, as it's a lot like Sherlock Holmes, and even the Great Gatsby, where the protagonist is not really the narrator or main character. I'm sure varying definitions of those terms would lead to disagreements with how I worded that, but I'd wager you understand what I mean. I quite enjoyed Poirot's interviews with people. I liked how he differed a bit as a detective from Sherlock Holmes, he has perhaps less powers of deduction and more a talent for thourough investigation where he follows his process and finds things out in that manner. I never disliked Homles's amazing deductions, but it was cool to see Poirot go to work in action rather than puffing on a pipe to solve the case almost exclusively with his mind. EDIT upon futher reading I saw Poirot use great powers of deduction to help him solve the case, and much like Sherlock Holmes he definitely reveals all in a huge avalanche of information at the end. Here's maybe the difference though, while Poirot is sharp, he is also surprised by things and must work them out as he finds new evidence. We get the sense that Poirot is making some amazing deductions as the story progresses, and while he may have solid conclusions, he continues to work on the case. I liked that sense of movement. It is very similar to Sherlock Holmes, but also he does it in his own way with his method. It is heavily inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writings but has a different flavor. I really like the character of Poirot too, as he is described as a small man. He seems not to be physically imposing, but his demeaner still is one of confidence and assuredness. He's a cool character. I look forward to more books with him in them. I enjoyed the narrator, Mr. Hastings's, observations about how the characters handled the death. Richard Armitage did a great job narrating this book. His variation for the different characters brought a lot of life to the dialogue, and there was a lot of dialogue so he was a great choice for this book. It cracked me up how Mr. Hastings would get annoyed with Poirot and his elusive knowledge of the crime that Mr. Hastings couldn't guess at. Overall I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

double Dutch | Vocab Words

Ever since my A.P. English class, in which my excellent teacher gave us a new word of the day, I have grown very fond of learning new words and their meanings. I used to carry around a monstrously tall stack of index cards with words on one side and definitions on the other. Just about all of these words were ones I had never even read or heard of before, let alone knew the definitions for. My vocabulary expanded like crazy that school year. Now, whenever I'm reading a book and come across a word I don't know, I stop and look up its meaning. This is a great way to learn new words, by reading! Below what you'll find is less a word than a slang phrase. I heard it while listening to the audiobook "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," the first in the Hercule Poirot mystery series of books. I hope to start including this phrase "double Dutch" in my diction.

double Dutch

noun Slang.
unintelligible or garbled speech or language:She could have been talking double Dutch for all we understood of it.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

I Can Fly | A Serial Story

I'm writing an ongoing serialized story for the new platform Kindle Vella. If you haven't heard of that, it's Amazon's way to publish serialized stories. Serialized is where instead of a complete novel, it's more like episodes and seasons - like many TV shows. So the first few episodes of my story, "I Can Fly" are setting up the characters and the world. Once that's done, each episode will be it's own self contained story. I'm excited about this because my schedule has been pretty nuts lately, which has lead to me simply not having time to write fiction. I did start an unofficial Minecraft novel, but after getting a couple chapters in, I haven't worked on it more. This project is a great outlet for me to write tons of short stories, and they'll all be building on each other, but also each will be self contained so it's a project I can actually make progress on. I think this will be a great way for me to write fiction again, even though I'm super busy with becoming a pastor. When I feel like the season is coming to an end I can plan some wrap up episodes and then it might be long enough to be a book. For now though, it's a really fun new way to write in a serialized way. The first two chapters are live and I hope to be posting more soon. Check it out here:

 I Can Fly | Kindle Vella (

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
Book Review

Wow. What a journey. A lot of it went over my head. The only way I was able to make it through this dense but beautiful tome was by reading it a chapter at a time and then listening to episodes of The Prancing Pony podcast where Alan Sisto and Shawn Marchese astutely and lovingly go through the chapters talking about them and helping you understand what all is going on. I can't wait to read The Hobbit with this podcast as a companion, though I've read the Hobbit half a dozen times already! I could see maybe revisiting this book again someday in the future. I feel like it will take several reads to maybe scratch the surface of understanding all of what is going on and all the names. Tolkien indeed rendered a rich world!

Grab your copy at Amazon, the mass market paperbacks are cheap. I read it by listening to the audiobook. It was excellently narrated by Martin Shaw.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

My First Story

659 words. That is how many words I managed to write at my parent's old IBM computer in high school. I knew I wanted to write a story about someone on a quest to find the greatest sword ever made. I couldn't have even told you at the time that I was attempting to write a fantasy story. I didn't even know that word or what "genre" meant. I just knew I liked stories and wanted to try my hand at my own. It wasn't until finished college that I started to actually pursue writing, and even that was after I got married and quit the heavy metal band I was in. I wanted to have something to continue my creative output into. Unlike being in a band, which required a lot of time practicing, I could write on my own whenever I had time to. And so, I started to write. If you click on the BOOKS tab above you can see I have written some books. A search on eBook retail websites will show you I've written a couple dozen short stories as well. I had the idea today, wouldn't it be fun to finish what I started all those years ago? Now that I've learned a thing or two about story structure and have gotten a lot of words down on the page. Maybe now I could tackle this story. It would be a Young Adult fantasy adventure. My original title was simple: "The Swordsman." I doubt I would stick to that if I ever end up publishing it but there it is. It smacks of "The Three Musketeers" which I remember getting from the Library and reading one summer. That's where I picked up the word Zounds. So here it is in all of it's terrible glory:

Splat! A drop of rain was sliced into several pieces by his perky aggressive hair. It welcomed grease and always reached for the sky. It was easily pleaded, for who it rode upon was constantly on the move, sweating up a fight, or escaping death once more. The clothes of which he wears, with reasons, are replete with lush forest shades, and a worn look. They are tattered from much good use, and carry little stories with each rip or tear. His eyes are resplendent, and yet wise. With his current sword grasping his left hip, he walks always briskly (that is, when he's not running of course). His forest flavored eyes are constantly mimicking the ways of his body, jumping around and dodging from place to place.
“Zounds, there he is!” shouted a castle guard.
“He mustn't get away!” yelled another.
He raced down the dark lonely alley, jumped off a wall, and kicked himself the other direction to just catch the top of a gate. Quickly he jumped over to the other side, set down a long plain sac, and drew his sword. 
“Take this in return you undeserving pitiful swordsmen; you have my sorrow for your great lack of skill. Tell the king this sword I have throne to you is of equal value, just not quality.” 
Or so I hope, he thought. 
“I guess they don't make royal guard standards as high as I remember.”
The guards just tried to ignore him, even though they knew he easily got the best of them. They were all trying to get the gate open faster, but with little luck. It was but a small side gate rarely used, and rather rusty no less. The long brown sac was quickly snatched, and taken away. The guards, knowing they had failed, simply gave up with the gate, and watched the stealthy figure disappear into darkness. Then they heard a strange sound, perhaps a whistle being blown, and then the trotting of a horse. Yet all of this was out of sight, for the darkness had already set in long ago; just as was planned by this mysterious crafty swordsman.
“Was not that the man who goes any and everywhere in search of the greatest sword ever built?” said a guard breaking the silence. 
“Could be, let me have a look at that there…” 
The guard's face turned to stone.
“It had to be! For look upon the sword he left behind!”
He gazed upon the long missing sword of the Vanchester Castle. "This sword tis from a very far away land! Lord Byron shant be as mad at us with this, but we still have it coming to us."
Slowing the pace through Everglade Meadow he threw down the sac revealing a majestic sword of almost perfect weight, balance, and length.
This one better be superior to the last one, not that I had to go to any trouble to get it, he thought.
Having his sword he continued on his way towards the nearest forest his eyes met. He knew not of where he was going, or why he was going that way. He only knew that he was going somewhere, and that somewhere was a place to test out his new sword to see if it was good enough. If it wasn't an adequate sword then he would search word of an even greater sword, and then head that way as he liked.
As of now, he had wandered into a cheery forest. As he roamed through he found a small trail far off from the beaten path he was presently following. He only cared for an adventure at the end of the way, therefore, he began to follow the smaller harder to ensue trail. After a matter of ten minutes he saw the trail begin to broaden, and finally the musty appearance of an old shanty came into view.

Copyright Dan Absalonson © 2022