Memory Book/Fractal Confusion (Kevin Breeman)
|Crew of the USS Columbia|
|Lt. Commander Kevin Breeman|
Personal Logs · Medical Records
Professional · Personal
Friendships · Romantic
Okay I've looked over other people's histories here and I've decided I started off a tad too formal in my own bio. So I'll give a few details. Let's see, first off I'm a software engineer in real life specializing in the Java programming language. I love reading and philosophy and Star Trek (duh).
I joined this group because I wanted a place where I could keep writing fiction on my spare time. I wanted a place where I could shoot off some ideas and see how they played among a group of friends. For the rest of this page I'll give some history of what I've done here and how I've tended to roll when simming.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Characters
- 3 Real Life information
- 4 How you came to UFOP: SB118
- 5 History
- 5.1 Answers to Template Questions
- 5.2 Auxiliary Character(PNPC) Development History
- 6 Current Simming Strategies and Maneuvers
- 6.1 Preliminary Definitions: Analysis of Simming
- 6.2 Narrative Voice Injection
- 6.3 Historical Memoirs
- 6.4 Nothing is Sacred. Everything is Significant
- 6.5 Metaphor Injection
- 6.6 Pick a Group Geared more to Part Time Simming
- 6.7 First Person Narration
- 6.8 Narrative Voice Re-absorption
- 7 Retired Simming Strategies
- 8 Proposed Simming Strategies and Maneuvers
- 9 Simming Blog
- 9.1 2009-10-16
- 9.2 2009-11-08
- 9.3 2009-12-06
- 9.4 2010-01-03
- 9.5 2010-03-02
- 9.6 2010-03-21
- 9.7 2010-05-21 - A Crisis of Voice?
- 9.8 2010-06-04 - Transfer to the Ronin
- 9.9 2010-06-06: Simming Recession on the Ronin
- 9.10 2010-06-08: Strategy for the Ronin
- 9.11 2010-08-02
- 9.12 2010-08-22: Help comes to the Ronin
- 9.13 2010-11-01: Transfer to the USS Victory
- 9.14 2011-01-03: New Forms of Art
- 9.15 2011-03-06: Coming out of a New Simming Slump
This text is and always will be an organic one. Since I'm trying to convey a history of my role in this group while still a member I cannot ever portray objectively or even clearly every part of that role. I cannot say for certain what my membership here will contribute to the group nor what it will contribute to my own life.
Broadly I am at a stage in my membership of this group at which I see myself as trying to tell little stories with my sims. I try to carry forward the plot while at the same time attaching to my posts little comments or observations about life. Sometimes I fear I will get into trouble for this some day though I think if that happens it will more than likely be because I've somehow taken that approach to simming to an extreme.
So with this approach in mind, I give you what I believe to be an accurate picture of what I've done here from my rather humble position as a novice.
Previous Writing Experience
I've never been published as a writer. But I do often post to poetry/prose forums and I have been known to keep a blog. That experience has made my sims a tad verbose at times about my characters' internal thoughts (indeed, one of my points for improvement going into this group was my lack of dialog with other players). I've also tended at times to make simming into a more laborious task than it needs to be. But that is probably also owing to the fact that I want to get out of this experience some practice writing.
Real Life information
My education is that of a computer scientist and, to a lesser extent, a writer. I am happy to say that I am employed as a computer programmer.
How you came to UFOP: SB118
My interest in UFOP began when I was trying to find a game in which it was possible to write stories collaboratively. Naively I fancied myself a rare breed in my interest in such an activity, believing that most other people would baulk at the notion of a game in which people had to work to produce a textual artifact rather than follow the pre-existing plot of a video game.
I was pleasantly surprised when I ran across UFOP and, not knowing the conventions of simming, I wrote a story for my entry sim. It was accepted and I underwent a wonderful training cruise involving mutated tribbles and here I am.
I would like to tailor this section with some of my own information. However, for the sake of trying to be consistent with the template, I will offer first answers to the questions presented there.
Answers to Template Questions
I was placed initially aboard the USS Independence-A. I found the game there immediately engaging. This isn't to say that there weren't challenges. For example I might have gotten a bit too picky with one simmer's writing style in an OOC and I worry that might have driven him away, as he shortly thereafter sent a note that he'd be taking a leave of absense.
To be quite honest I find playing this game the most natural of any game I've ever played. Am I better at it than other people? I doubt it. It's just a good fit for me. However, as I've hinted elsewhere in this article, my tendency to get too overly attached emotionally to writing characters has gotten me into trouble on one occasion.
Sometimes I get a bit nervous with OOC's because it's easy to let IC and RL personnae blend with each other. I have no idea how people who are married in RL manage to sim IC dating and even marriages. I don't think I could do it. That's not to say that Breeman is basically me transported into the Star Trek world. There's a lot about him that's different from me. However, I do invest a lot emotionally into writing a character, to the point that I'll sometimes find myself feeling the way they feel at random points in my day if I think about what to write next.
Also, citing sims in mediawiki format on this wiki has been rather tricky. I finally developed some good regular expressions that can be used to convert the sims. I might script it and post it up here so others can create articles easily based on their sims.
Finally, I sometimes don't involve others' characters enough in my sims or I add a tonne of background information to the posts. I worry that might make others think I'm hogging a spotlight or something. Then there is the excessive scientific and engineering lingo in a lot of my posts. I suspect that might be driving some away. And of course sometimes I worry I'm offending people in OOC emails, like the one I sent about the planet Desperot possibly claiming certain players' characters. In that email I included a reference to one player who wasn't posting a whole lot. I hope that didn't offend him.
I have accomplished several things while being a part of UFOP. The thing I'm most proud of I think is my simming logistics strategy of using linux's Festival text to speech engine to convert the set of emails for a given day into an MP3 for consumption while I perform various household tasks. I have had many long and enjoyable hours contemplating the motivations behind various writers and their characters while sweeping the floors or cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn.
I've come up with some cool new writing styles and then framed them in terms of maneuvers. I'm sure it's probably been done before but I still think it's kind of cool.
What I hope Ultimately to Accomplish
I think I've provided a summary of that above. But perhaps more detail would be beneficial here. I think I've been having some measure of success in using this game to think more positively. I have written narratives and contemplated scenarios in which many would give up and capitulate while my own characters and those of other writers have pressed on.
What I hope to accomplish then is to portray men and women, aliens and children, who, in spite of the greatest adversity and hardship, press on nevertheless.
Also I like using this group as a place to throw ideas that would not otherwise have an audience around. My job in real life is a very creative one but it still does require me to be more professional. Here one can explore one's creative side and let one's hair down at the same time with comparatively less consequences.
Where I see this Group in Five Years
I don't really know where we will be in five years.
How this Group has Contributed to Star Trek's Legacy
I don't know that I am authority enough on Star Trek and its fanbase to comment. I have always seen Star Trek as probably among the best shows television has ever produced. I know it's certainly had an effect on me. As to the effect it's had on other people, I have no idea. I don't watch much television anymore simply because I haven't the time.
Auxiliary Character(PNPC) Development History
Here I will give a brief description of the characters I have invented, in chronological order.
was drawn from my own experience working for an old Dutchman on a farm during the summers of my university years. He was a stern man but also one who taught me a good work ethic.
was based loosely on Ellen Ripley of the Alien series. She was left aboard Science Station 7623 to shut down a transwarp conduit experiment. She was inocculated with an experimental anti-radiation syrum but she was tormented by voles (common term for rodents throughout the galaxy) during the aftermath in which she waited in vain to be rescued by her comrades. Her story itself was based loosely on the strange guilt complex expressed in HP Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" and also on Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner."
was a character whose story consumed my time more than Breeman's. This eventually led to a major incident involving a marathon sim. In short, she was designed to explore human emotion from the standpoint of a human outsider. She was a quasi-romantic heroine in that she was tormented by the consequences first of divorced parents and second of a botched slave tagging attempt that left her with a prosopagnosis preventing her from recognizing her parents.
Patri's story ended due to both IC and OOC factors. In the case of the former it ended because Patri was pursuing a dream of racial extermination through the ritualistic killing of a Grendellai named Cyrus. This impossible and unrealistic dream owed presumably to her arrested development at the hands of the botched slave tagging attempt. A rescue attempt by the FTU ended in failure when their vessel was detected as it attempted to escape.
Turning to the OOC reason for the story's end, I composed, with the help of some others, a marathon sim in which I attempted to extricate her from the ship's brig so as to enable myself to continue writing her. This "Patri Incident" was probably the lowest point in my history here but also an important turning point. It represented the end of the "grand strategist simmer" picture I had of my role in the game. I saw myself as some kind of strategist pulling strings in order to further in-character plots and moral tales without reference to planning with other group members.
I should point out also that Patri's story arc represented a kind of pilot project. The character Patri represented the IC representation of an online persona I had been using to conduct research into the occult in 2008. I thought it would be an interesting project to deploy a version of that persona for use in this game.
Finally, I was getting too wrapped up in writing depressing posts about a fundamental disconnect between Patri and her emotions as a result of her implant. As Patri was sent away with the SFMC I decided to try my hand at a non-neurotic female character,
A carefree university graduate, Sarah Novak is currently serving a practicum in software engineering aboard the USS Independence-A. She is a skilled computer programmer and has assisted Breeman on a few occasions.
Blake Dragon is a musician who performs traditional heavy metal music at religious services throughout the galaxy. His music is a mixture of many different religious traditions. As a theist tending toward a judeo-christian bent Dragon imbibes much of his art with references to themes of sin and redemption, seeing himself as a kind of facilitator of unique spiritual experiences.
Eric Da'Pan represents a more practical-minded scientist. He has a doctorate in astrophysics and he is also a very people-oriented person. He acts as a sort of opposite to the very theoretically-minded Kevin Breeman.
Jessica is a character who allows me to switch writing styles at will while I sim. She writes in first person, reflecting on her life and then writing about the events in the sim. Of course what Jessica doesn't realize is that she is in fact in another universe writing on the goings on of the reality as it exists in the world of SB118 sims.
Current Simming Strategies and Maneuvers
Preliminary Definitions: Analysis of Simming
Ever since I joined this group I have been fascinated by the study of simming in and of itself. In studying simming and the strategies one can employ in playing the game I have come up with several terms.
Demand is the number of posts tagging one or more of a given simmer's characters.
Output is the number of posts a player produces per day.
The aggregate output is the total number of posts per day that a given simming group produces. As I understand it, in order for a sim to continue to survive it must produce an aggregate output of about four posts per day.
Momentum is the amount of demand a player can expect as a result of the amount of demand he is placing upon other players at present. It is a rather inexact figure whose computation would depend upon a greater amount of statistical knowledge than I currently possess. In general, momentum would depend on how fast the players the given player currently has tagged usually respond.
For me a good momentum would be one post per day.
Tag flow is the movement of tags between characters. It is more a way of visualizing who is simming and with whom. Consider the following example of a tag flow graph:
The arcs represent the number of tags. So for example during the period over which this graph was compiled (in this case from Aug 2nd 2011 to Aug 4th 2011) Breeman tagged 2 other characters while he was tagged a total of 5 times by other characters. Tag flow graphs are a good way of seeing at a glance who is most active in a sim at a given time. In this case, Breeman, Nicholotti, and Jaxx are most active over this slice of time.
I'll just describe how I've gone about writing my sims here. I'm sure others have used similar methods for writing though perhaps under different names. I'd like to begin by outlining the cognitive framework in which I operate while I'm creating my sims. Presently my sims are part of a sort of architecture, with the real world at the top (on the left) and the simming world at the bottom. The intermediate layer is the set of narrative voices that allows the reader to peer into the sim world.
Some have noted that this architecture is constrictive. However, I would like to point out that any sim can be viewed in this way. A sim is a narrative text. As such, it is a text in which a narrative agent tells a story (Bal, Mieke. Narratology. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 2009. p. 15). One may conveniently conceptualize the narrative agent him/her/itself as being an individual who occupies a reality dubbed the narrative voice or meta-character layer. This reality itself may or may not be a part of the Star Trek universe, but it is one in which it is by necessity possible to possess an intimate knowledge of the Star Trek universe.
Narrative Voice Injection
This maneuver involves making use of the narrative voice to add a bit of effect to a post. For example, consider the following piece of text:
The chair under him lurched a few centimetres but his body felt stationary and motionless. It wasn't that the physics on the bridge were in some way violated so much as that his brain, in conforming with the laws dictating the physics of this region of space, did its feeble best to maintain conscious experience with the disjointed information. Where parts of his sensory system were able to register, small temporal fluctuations in other portions of his brain were causing reality's coherence to diminish a bit. Of course Kevin was not able to recognize this at the time, and so I must clarify the matter as his narrator in order that this narrative might maintain the coherence which its subject lacked in experience.
Here, the narrative voice acts as a meta-character, mentioning that he/she/it must clarify a few things for the reader since Breeman himself is unable to fully recognize what he is experiencing. This technique should not be employed too often as it might lead to meta-simming.
Breeman frequently cites references from a journal kept by a mysterious and often suicidal great great great ... great grandfather in the 21st century. By means of this source of information I am able to use Breeman as a vehicle to comment on issues today through a 24th century lens.
Nothing is Sacred. Everything is Significant
This has been an underlying creed in my writing here and elsewhere and even in my living of life in general. There is no experience which cannot be explored, no person from whom it is not possible to learn. Even those pessimists I was complaining about earlier in this article can teach us to have greater resiliance in the face of the peanut gallery.
In producing sims I engage in a no-holds-barred pillaging of my life and of the books I've read, the people I've met, and the places I've been to produce the posts. There's no place I won't go and no experience I won't draw from, good or bad. Of course I don't add really personal stuff - that goes without saying.
Pick a metaphor or image and run with it, turning it over in your sims. The Venusian counselling sims and the quazi-jovian red-spot I think are examples of this.
Pick a Group Geared more to Part Time Simming
When I first joined I had no idea how much time it would take me to post for this game. So I went with a group geared more toward being able to post 1 to 3 times per week. Looking back this has been beneficial not only because it suits my hectic working schedule but also because it gives me more time to write well thought out posts. I couldn't see myself writing in a group geared toward posting 4-7 times per week. I couldn't keep up and write well there.
First Person Narration
This can be used to spice up your writing with an alternative perspective. You could even write from a second person perspective if you like, though your reader might get annoyed after a while of being told what she/he is doing all the time.
The advantage of a first person narrator is that the reader can be set at ease to enjoy the tensions of the story with the knowledge that somehow the narrator got through it and lived to tell the tale. I suppose this might also rob the reader of some of the suspense though.
Narrative Voice Re-absorption
This is a special maneuver that should be used with care. It would work in a situation such as one in which a character is stuck inside some kind of a temporal anomaly. For example, consider the plight of one Jessica who finds herself waking one morning. The simmer has elected to write her from the first person perspective. He has also been employing narrative voice injection in the past. The simmer is now positioned to execute a narrative voice reabsorption.
The absorption involves the morphing of the first person narrative voice into the already-extant narrative voice. For example, the first person might say something like "And then the space-time continuum changed such that I forgot everything and then found myself writing the story of Joe's life." Where Joe, of course, is the character on whom narrative voice injection had been employed in the past.
This allows the second character (in this case Jessica) to be retired gracefully and with some flare. She morphs into the previous narrator. However, you should use this move with care, as you are now faced with the problem of potentially having to carry around Jessica's baggage when executing subsequent narrative voice injections.
Success with Jessica
- Jessica falls down mining shaft along with manifestations of the Desperot Entity
- Decides to become a writer
- Describes her encounters with John Ewen, a mentor writer
- Acts as official narrative voice [a Breeman sim].
Retired Simming Strategies
Simming as a Game of Risk
When I first started as a regular player here I saw myself as some kind of strategist, trying to move characters around like nations in a multi-lateral world of plot development akin to the board game Risk. Indeed, my general feeling toward this game was inspired a lot by my recent reading about world war one and the atmosphere of distrust that preceeded it. I would have to say that the Patri-Jia Kom incident ended that.
This was for the better as I focus now more on the team-oriented aspect of simming. I should like to focus even more on that in the future.
Proposed Simming Strategies and Maneuvers
This section will discuss some of the more exotic ideas for simming I have dreampt up over the past while.
In this section I describe the current situation in which I find myself as a writer in the game. This section is designed to act as a living record of my successes and follies. Dates given in this section will be in RL time and not in IC time. It will be composed of a set of discrete dated reports.
With the intent of spicing up the planet of Desperot I proceeded to write a few posts about a man named Rowls who lived on the planet and who experienced strange and possibly hallucinogenic experiences. While on the face of it this was a good idea it did have the drawback of apparently running contrary to David Cody's post about the world being devoid of life. It is indeed the case that I was aware of the planet's lack of life, but I wanted to inject the possibility of some kind of alternate reality which interfered with the present reality of the planet.
Negotiations took place and my sims stood. Further sims by other writers continued this stream of ideas about people occupying the planet. At present there appears to be a stall in writing. This is likely due to real life issues but may also be due to confusion caused indirectly by myself.
I pledged not to continue writing about Desperot's 'people' for a while but I did write a post about Breeman's finding something about the way in which the planet behaves. At the IC request of David Cody I am holding Breeman in his current position in the game until further notice and will concentrate on current deployments of PNPCs.
With the introduction of new characters into the game I have been concentrating on increasing character interaction with Breeman and the others. I've also introduced an arachnoid robot named Henk in order to explore Breeman's arachnophobia . The spider's AI specializes in the psychology of behavioural modification (naturally) and so he is a wonderful vehicle for exploring psychology, particularly that of phobias.
I've been doing well exploring writing more emotional and sociable characters using Eric Da'Pan. Da'Pan's interaction with Ens. Tyriden th'Dani has been a great vehicle for both myself and for Ens. Tyriden's writer to develop our two characters. This narrative arc is occurring at the same time as the story arc with Lt. Jg. Breeman on the surface of Desperot.
Regarding Desperot itself, I have been simming a lot of vignettes about the effects of whatever is happening on Desperot on a miner name Rowls. It appears that the other writers aboard the ship are working on a plot about alien communication through energy discharges. I think I'll back off for a while and see what they come up with. I'm actually hoping they end up inventing the core of Desperot's mystery while I follow their lead and write after-effect sims.
Adding a Picture for Kevin Breeman
Wow! Added a picture for my PC. This is a strange experience. I've had many different pictures in my mind of what Kevin Breeman would look like. Now that I've put up a picture for Kevin Breeman I hope I'll be able to feel a bit more certain about who this person is that I'm writing about. Will Breeman morph into a Doctor Who type character because I picked David Tennant's picture for his "avatar"? Or did I pick Tennant's picture because I've always loved stocking Breeman with a certain eccentricity and innovation?
Only time will tell.
Leading a team for the first time. It's a bit of a challenge and certainly a learning experience. Relying a great deal on NPCs rather than direct interaction using Breeman. The idea is that this will prevent the appearance of micro-management. Again though I'm feeling awkward because am I the writer not micro-managing by simming the NPC's in the first place?
The mission is to Paryat and my team is tasked with explaining curious abilities manifesting among some of the locals.
Made Breeman have a mysterious vision of a simulation that Lt. Jg. Tyriden developed. Other writers don't seem to have tried to take that odd part of the simulation and run with it, but perhaps that is due to my own making it rather opaque and mysterious.
The USS Independence has been re-tasked to a different mission. Thus my team leadership activities will, insofar as they concern the Locet, be ending for the time time being.
2010-05-21 - A Crisis of Voice?
Recently the plurality of narrative voices I employ and the fluidity by which I alternate them have caught up with me. On our current mission my use of a present tense with a character called Jona offered me several advantages. Unfortunately it caused no shortage of confusion among other simmers, who were used to a flashback style that involved smooth delineations between scenes. With Jona I used present tense in order to allow the writing of his story to move freely into the past tense (flashbacks) without the need of adding flashback tags to the posts.
As discussions of this have continued it has become apparent that I have yet to settle on a single narrative voice. This is a consequence not of some lingering existential crisis I'm having but rather of the way I've treated my membership with this club. That is, I have viewed it as a place in which to try out writing ideas in harmless fun.
So a kind of quest has begun for me to find a voice, making me a "voice-seeker" in the words of one fellow simmer. One possible resolution to this problem of course would be for me to do nothing and to define my voice not as a style that is characteristic of Kevin Breeman but rather as a plurality of styles, the employment of which is characteristic of my own style of simming.
2010-06-04 - Transfer to the Ronin
Over the course of the past several days I was made aware of a crisis in simming counts aboard the USS Ronin. At the request of one of that vessel's senior officers, I put in for a secondary character. The attempts to get a secondary on the Ronin were frought with struggles resulting from my own enthusiasm butting up against the more level-headed command staff. In the end, the decision was made for my primary to transfer to the USS Ronin.
Thus, I am now simming Lt. Kevin Breeman as the chief of science aboard the USS Ronin. I must say that I leave behind a great group of people whom I will miss dearly. However, it is my hope that the Ronin will have its own challenges and opportunities and great people. The Ronin was, after all, the formative vessel for such simming greats as Elisa and Jack Kolk. I am sure I will encounter there other great simming minds of whom I am unaware in the weeks and months to come.
For the record, here is a transcript of the original email I sent in farewell to the USS Independence-A:
It has been an honour simming with each and every one of you over the course of this past year and a half. I could not have found a better group of people with which to begin my career in this neck of the internet.
I would like to thank especially Elisa Kolk, Ralik, Joel, the writer of Nicholas Lucianno, and many others for many hours of fun and rewarding writing. If I have left anyone out of that list blame my rather tired mind and not my heart :).
I'd also like to thank Maggie for giving me the opportunity I am pursuing at present. I am leaving the Independence-A not due to any difficulties I might have been having but rather that I might help out some fellow simmers on another vessel.
Lt. Kevin Breeman
Frmr Chief of Science
2010-06-06: Simming Recession on the Ronin
The volume of simming on the Ronin is very low. Because of this all the NPCs I have deployed there are currently blocked. There is a slight amount of activity on the Breeman front but other chars are blocked. I fear this may result in a couple of things:
1. Me as a writer being at the core of most of the activity. That is, I'd be either driving most of the activity by tagging people or else I'd just be simming to an empty audience.
2. The Ronin not being saved simply because people will see (1)
I suppose then I'd just get tasked to another ship. I do miss the Indy so maybe I'd get sent there again.
2010-06-08: Strategy for the Ronin
As I mentioned in my previous entry, I have deployed a great deal of NPCs to the Ronin. The goal here is to stimulate output from other players. So far, players have responded and demand upon me is now at about one post per day. This is a very comfortable position as it affords me a greater amount of time to respond and it minimizes any conflict simming might have with my RL commitments.
Well it's been a while since I last posted here. My real life situation has prevented me from simming as much as I'd like to and the lack of posting on the Ronin has sapped my creativity a lot. I tried acquiring a secondary but then I found that I just couldn't concentrate. Maybe I'm in a bit of a thunk. I don't know.
I've re-introduced that present-tense narrative style that caused so much confusion back on the Independence.
2010-08-22: Help comes to the Ronin
Help, in the form of my academy instructor has arrived on the USS Ronin. Simming has really picked up in pace and I'm finding it difficult at times to keep up. Still though, it's not terribly challenging as long as I keep utilizing my logistical strategies.
2010-11-01: Transfer to the USS Victory
I'm writing this retrospectively. I seem to have reneged in my keeping of records of what I've been doing simming-wise to the point that I missed this turning point. My transfer to the Ronin was accompanied by a small amount of controversy regarding what it was that actually prompted the move. I don't think the drama was long-lived but essentially it boiled down to the following:
- A ship where simming rates were too high to allow for 'contemplative' simming styles
- Real-life commitments
- Marine Simming
That last item was the cause of the controversy. I did not consider marine simming to be of interest and I also found the marine characters themselves to be out of tune with characters in the rest of Trek. Shortly after my departure I wrote what I still consider to be a short manifesto [] that expresses my thoughts on the matter. Indeed, I made a promise not to write any more on the subject but instead to leave the document / post as my thoughts for the record.
The response to the post was mixed and more or less negative, usually centering on my use of quotes from actual marine sims. It should be noted that the intent behind those quotes was not to attack the individual authors but rather to provide a bit more strength to my argument. However, I do concede the point that some might have been offended.
Since transferring I have been content. One thing I do notice however, is that the Victory exposes me to many more of my weaknesses as a writer. Whereas the USS Independence-A and, to a lesser extent, the Ronin tended to be vessels concerned with the mission and with a few smaller details on the characters, the USS Victory tends to feature sims that are much more relationship-driven. That is, there is a lot more romance. This is the form I'm weakest at, so I look forward to taking the opportunity to hone that skill aboard the Victory.
2011-01-03: New Forms of Art
Over the past two weeks I've been learning to use Blender. What is neat about this fact is that it comes exactly one year after I learned to use GIMP to doctor with pictures and use them to embellish wiki entries. I'm thinking particularly of GIMP planets, which have helped bring life to wiki entries on the worlds we sim.
More generally I've been noticing a shift away from simming as a place for literary experimentation to simming as a place for escapism. To be sure I think this is healthy since it suggests I'm becoming more of a fun-loving person. I suppose the transition can also be blamed on the fact that I haven't been reading complex books by guys like Murakami lately.
2011-03-06: Coming out of a New Simming Slump
(Please note: I'll be posting each entry to my simming blog  on the main site as well)
My real life job has recently made it difficult for me to post a lot. However, that is now tapering a bit, so I'm getting back on my feet.
I can't say that a lot of stylistic changes have happened between my last blog entry and the present, so maybe I'll just report on what I've been simming lately.
I've revisited my decision not to include any AI's in my simming aboard the Victory. I did this for two reasons. The first was that I noticed other people simming them (for example, Katy Orman's 'Unky') aboard the Victory. The second was that, whether or not it's important for me to look at new writing styles, AI's and their attendant philosophical quandries are still a big part of my writing style.
So to this end I've re-introduced my Smilies. I even rendered them in 3-D on the wiki to bring them even more to life.
In general, things are picking up again and I'm hopeful I'll be able to introduce more of my usual creative flair into the sims.