The Best Birthday Ever


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Two days ago, I turned eighteen. That’s probably hard to believe for at least some of my followers– those who started following me when I first began this blog, less than a month after my twelfth birthday. Not only that, it’s hard for _me_ to believe. Even still, call me a man all you want, I’m a child at heart.
That said, I had one of the best birthday weekends ever. It was full of surprises. I got to drive an ATV (believe it or not I was the one in control of the wheel), and eat a bunch of fried chicken and other extremely unhealthy but delicious foods. Most importantly, though, I was able to spend it with some pretty awesome people.
First, there was Danny. I believe you all know who that is. But for those who don’t, he is my best friend who I have been communicating and gaming with for the last four years. Only problem is, he lives over a thousand miles a way, so as one might imagine we never get to see each other in person. But because it was my eighteenth birthday, my family planned for Danny to come for a surprise visit. Some how, they managed to keep it a secret from me for at least a month; I never knew a thing about it until he strolled in to the kitchen while I was making breakfast and, well, introduced himself all over again, in a way. I am not sure what the word is to describe the feeling I got; a mixture of excitement, bewilderment, and disbelief. I have been wanting to meet Danny in person for probably two years now, so being surprised with it first thing in the morning of what was to be a relatively ordinary school day amplified it.
In addition, Libby came back from college. Even though she had been down for spring break just a week before, she made the trip so she could spend time with me for my birthday, because she’s an awesome sister like that. I knew it was going to be an awesome weekend.
Earlier I said it was a relatively ordinary Friday. That’s because instead of spending the whole day at school, I was going on a trip to the mall for my annual Orientation and Mobility field trip. Since Libby was home for the weekend, and Danny was visiting, they, as well as my mom, got to come on the field trip with me. We spent the morning mostly just walking around, and because Danny, Libby and I are blind, the two adults would tell us the names of stores and we would try to guess what they sold. We just had, to pass a coffee shop, so of course that is the one shop I bought anything from – out of all of the stores in that huge place. The only other store we stopped at was Microsoft. That was my first time visiting a Microsoft store. Although I personally was impressed with the goods on display, my wallet was simply intimidated. So instead of buying anything, I settled with writing on one of the demo laptops, something along the lines of this:

To the next person to come across this:

Have a nice day!
meow.

Sincerely,

Chester the cat.

After the mall trip, we all went out to eat. My dad and vision teacher also got to join us for that. Then for the rest of the day, I hung out with Danny, while the rest of my family went shopping for yet another “something” for my party.
Although my birthday wasn’t until Sunday, we held the party on Saturday, since Danny and Libby would be leaving. I am not a social person by nature, but even though there were tons of people that showed up, I was so glad to have them there. It was such a wonderful evening. First, there was the fried chicken. According to Libby, fried chicken is apparently an “original” idea for a birthday. See, I didn’t think of it that way, I just thought it was a genius plan, but that’s just my opinion. Then, there was the cake. It was designed like a torn open bag of m&ms, and whatever they put on the top of it to make the design tangible actually felt to me like a near perfect representation, and there were m&ms spilling out. And yes, it tasted just as good as it sounds. There were cupcakes as well, with a similar condensed version of the design on them, and these had some sort of cream filling in the middle.
Aside from the wonderful food, there was that surprise my family was shopping for the previous day. After everyone finished eating, I was led out the door, and to the driveway, where there sat an ATV. It’s sort of like a car the way it feels, and it can seat up to five people. That’s just how awesome my family is; they surprise their blind son by taking him out to see the brand new ATV.
For the rest of the evening, we all hung out, ate a lot, and took turns driving the ATV. I enjoyed it because it was my first experience driving something on land without anyone holding the wheel or guiding my hands.
Finally, even Sunday turned out to be a great day. As it turns out, since the party and field trips and planning were all over, me, my parents, Libby, and Danny decided to spend my birthday relaxing. We made arrangements so that neither one of them would go home that day, instead they would wait until Monday when I too had to go back to school.

In the end, it ended up being one of the best weekends I’ve had in a really long time. I have to say. For having planned this all in secret behind my back, my family and the others who helped or participated did a heck of a good job. And I recognize that this has been an extraordinarily long post, especially since I haven’t wrote a word in what, gosh, five months? However, there was certainly a hole lot to talk about.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

P.S. I have more catching up to do, but I think that if this gets any longer, it will turn into a novel. I’ll see you next time. Have a good one.

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A Lot of Coding and A Lost Friend


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Tonight, I bring to you all some very sad news. Unfortunately, me and Nevaeh are not, friends. I tried to talk to her again the other day, but instead of replying, all she did was look at Danny’s I Pad, which he was using to Skype with me. Oh well, so be it. For all she knows, my name is Meow, I’m from the great state of Meow, I’m meow years old, and my ultimate goal in life is to meow. You can’t really blame her for never wanting to talk to me again, because judging by that conversation I’m quite a big loser. (LOL)

On the contrary, I actually have quite a bit to talk about, all of that being productive, well not really if my ultimate goal in life is actually to meow. But as it turns out, school is going along well this year, especially my Digital Interactive Media class, which is surprising since I was really scared at the beginning of the school year when I found out what the class actually was. I’m not talking about Business Information Management, the class I’m referring to is a massively visual class, where it’s barely the fourth week of school and Adobe Photo Shop is being used already. Fortunately, the teacher is allowing me to use that time to work on S Quad Racing, and setting deadlines for things, a plus since I now have another person motivating me to get things done. Anyway, he asked that I finish the regular racing mode, and I’ll be pretty well darned if I don’t. Maybe opponents won’t be perfectly matched with players, but he asked me to complete the racing mode, and he’s the only person pushing me to go forward, and I’m not letting him down. I have a lot of people who are proud, but he’s the first that is pressing me to get things done in a certain amount of time, and that’s what I’ll have to deal with in the professional workforce. And when telling him about the game, he especially got pumped about the Aggressive mode, and I will provide that to him by the time I leave his class in 8 months if it means halting progress on all the other aspects of the game until it’s complete.

Aside from that, the day after my last post, I finally broke down and employed a beta team for S Quad Racing, due to frustration at having to find and fix bugs on my own, bugs I thought were fixed already. I felt bad for them for having to test such a primitive product with so many bugs, but thanks to them I’ve been doing all the coding and fixing, and letting them test for the bugs for me to fix. This has definitely been a great help to me, because it lifts one of the most annoying jobs of being a developer off my shoulders, and results in me not having to sweep over sections of the game I thought I’d already tested through and through.
For one thing, today I solved all the crashing issues known to S Quad Racing, and also made it impossible for anyone working on a track to lose their work due to closing the application or it crashing. When I say I solved them all, I don’t literally mean I came up with a magic formula that made everything work 100% as I envisioned, however, rather than crashing, the program will simply log the error, notify the player, and save their progress. So, while I’m off coding a new feature, or doing something else entirely, the program will be logging vital errors, allowing me to pop over to that section of the code and fix what needs fixing, though my testers will still need to report bugs that don’t halt program execution to me.
Another plus side to this, is that now I’ll definitely be able to record the audio demo, without having to worry about the program hanging on me like it did in my last attempts. So, and I say this with the finality of a slamming solid stone door, there will be an audio demo by Saturday!

On a final note, I once again decided to revisit BGT, and am surprisingly grasping the subject matter fast, and more completely than ever. My main reason for doing so is a complex game idea I have, one that I’ll save for another post. For now, though, I am signing off, and will more than likely going to bed here shortly.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

good and bad news, along with current life events


Hey guys,
Steve here.

Yes, you read that right. Today is one of the rare occurrences of bad news on this blog… so I guess I’ll tell you the bad news right now just to get it out of the way.
You know Swamp? The game I’ve been addicted to for about a year now? Well due to the fact that there are so many hackers, attacks, and other unwanted things happening within the game, Aprone (swamp’s creator) is making it a paid game. I won’t have to pay for single player, but if I want multiplayer, that’ll be $24 per year.
I have a visa gift card, so hopefully that will work. If so, I might consider paying for swamp. But if not… well I’d better step up my game (quite literally) and program some audio games worth selling.

Speaking of audio games, the good news I mentioned earlier is about Trash, the card game that I am programming for the blind. let me tell you how much progress I’ve done on that.
-I completed the player system, testing it out to be sure it works. Now, you can draw, place cards at the desired position, junk, and draw from the junk pile.
-mostly completed the computer player system. The only thing I need to do for the computer player system is to add the draw from junk pile procedure, but I figure that’ll be easy.
-began the process of adding sounds. I’ve already added a deck shuffling sound for when you start the game and the deck is shuffled, but I don’t think I’ll add any more sounds until I’m completely done with all the other stuff.

Speaking of sounds, I found my flash drive of sounds, which I believe contains over 1000 sound affects. That’s good news for future games.

Moving on to my life, we’re well into spring break now. To start off the break, my friend Oscar from church came over to spend the night. It was another surprise my parents threw at me–one minute I was on the computer, chatting with Danny over skype, the next I was scrambling to clean my room and the bathroom so they didn’t look like a complete mess when Oscar came.
And three hours later, my mom and I picked up Oscar, and him and I spent the rest of the night playing wii, and hanging out.
On Saturday, I had goal ball practice, however Libby didn’t go because she went to the mall with the church youth group to ice skate (yet another event that I was going to, but didn’t figure that out until after my last update, I think). Anyway, Oscar came to goal ball as well, so he got to see my awesome skill!
Right after goal ball, Oscar, my dad, and I met up with Libby and the rest of the youth group at the mall, where I attempted, but failed, at ice skating. But hey, It’s not really about how good I was, it was about hanging with friends, (at least that’s what I hope). But seriously, even though I was ice skating along the wall, I still managed to slip 3 or 4 times, but luckily I didn’t fall.
Skipping ahead, after ice skating, we all went to in and out burger for lunch, before heading our separate ways and going home. Oscar got to hang out with me for a few more hours–and for dinner, 2 hours after we ate lunch, we had more burgers and fries. But hey, there’s no such thing as too many burgers or fries in my book :).

After Oscar left, my Saturday night went a little something like this. Lay on the couch, watching from the side lines as the rest of my family played Yahtzee on the wii, as my head pounded and throbbed, feeling as though someone knocked it with a baseball bat or something. I’m not sure why my head hurt so bad, but luckily it was gone in about 2 hours.

Besides church, Sunday was uneventful. And as for Monday, the only thing I did outside the house was go out for lunch with my sister, mom, and dad. And today, besides a lot of programming, I didn’t do much of anything.
But aside from getting out of the house, my last 3 days have been filled with Skyping my friends, and playing my games, all day, and until 2 or 3 in the morning.
Ah. Isn’t it fun to be a teenager?

Anyway, that’s about it for today’s post. I know you’re sad because you don’t get to read any more of my words at the moment, but you could always:
-read previous posts, like posts before you started following this blog.
-eagerly await my next post.
–but all joking aside, I hope you enjoyed tonight’s post. And remember last night’s Monday’s musings post–I wasn’t lying. I really do enjoy writing these posts.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Important Podcast Notice, and a Brief Life Update


Hey you guys,
Steve here.

As this post title said, I have a bit of important news about the Steven D Podcast.

First of all, the podcast will be renamed. Devin Gutirez has been helping me for so long that I think I will call the podcast Steven and Devin podcast from now on–he has contributed in a big way–helping me with game demos, and giving his word on 3 to 4 minute segments of the cast. He is very much my cohost of the cast, so I have decided to fully raise him up to this position. So devin if you’re reading this, congrats.
Also, the podcast has a new time and date–it will now be on the first and 3rd Saturday of the month. There is now a calender of podcast reliece dates on the podcast page for the next 3 months through January 1.

————————————–
life

Moving on, the passed several days have gone quite well for me. On Sunday, I had to clean… (sadly). But afterward I logged into swamp and played.
Monday I spent practically the entire day on Skype with a couple friends, and also playing swamp. I wanted to become level 18 o swamp that day, but didn’t quite make it that far.
Yesterday was the first school day of the week, and after school I actually made level 18 on swamp!!!! In fact, I have earned 600 more xp since then.
note: I made a swamp campaign repository Monday night. The site is screpository.wordpress.com where I put all swamp campaigns; it already has 100 views! …can you say Great Website Devlaying it total!eloper (jk).
Oh and why I’m on the swamp topic, I have spent 3 days 3 hours and 30 minutes playing total… shocking, right?
Back on the life events, I also found a new flight simulater game for the blind, and am afraid I will get addicted to it. Unfortunately it costs money, so I’ll try to work my way up to getting to buy thatt.
Anyway, if you’re wondering what I’m doing in the future, I have church tonight, an open couple days with just school planned Thursday and Friday (I’m saying that assuming my parents haven’t planned something I don’t know about), and this weekend I only have goalball planned.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post, and look forward to new ones.

Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

Final updates, for the next week


Hey you guys,
steve again.
So, as you probably know, I went to the lake house recently. My friend even got to come, as you will figure out on the superdeekout review and in a recent blog post I posted on Tuesday. Not only did he stay the night thursday while we were at the lake house, but on friday as well.
The latter part of the week was the funnest, while the earlyer part of the week was not so active in my life, but produced stunning stats.
First, I will talk about the stats.
On Monday and Tuesday, I received a total of 143 views. I don’t know why, but my week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. I got more views on Tuesday than I’d received in a day since October 2011. The total was 77 on Tuesday, with a close number of 66 on Monday. Wednesday was 44, Thursday was 8, Friday was 11, and Saturday was 41. Note that since it is still Saturday, it isn’t included in the weekly stats. As of now, the average number of views per day for this week and the month of July stands at 41. If stats like that keep on showing up, I may smash the record for the average number of views per day, which was set last month at 18. That was a close win compared to May, which ended at 17. Hmm… I guess I’ll have to keep spinning out these awesome blog posts and stuff like that will continue to happen.

Now, I will change the subject to my lake house and camp.

My lake house trip was a fun one. Me, my dad, and Devon (the friend I brought) were there by 2 in the afternoon, and I was in the water by 4. The weather was strange that afternoon–it got cloudy, then rained when the sun came out. It repeated this pattern about 3 times.
On another note, I should say that Thursday was both fun and fast. I was in the water swimming for about 2 hours, before Me, Dad, Mom, Libby (mom met us at the lake house a little bit later because she had to get Libby from Austin), and a few members from dad’s side of the family went on a boat parade, in my papa and nana’s pontoon boat. After that, me, Libby, and Devon crashed.
Finally, it was dinner time. I ate a hamburger and a half, chips and bean dip, a deviled egg, fruit punch, and a hot dog. When dinner was finished, us kids got to launch roman candles and sparklers, and then my dad put on an awesome fireworks show. It was awesome for Me and Libby because we could see the light and hear the tremendous booms and other weird noises. Devon, who can still see a bit got to see the colors and whatever else you see come from a firework.

On Friday, We all spent the morning and early afternoon just chillinn’ at the lake and having fun. My friend Devon was able to get up on the wake board on his second try, and spent like 5 to 10 minutes riding on the knee board.

Soon however, the trip ended, and we had to pack up and split. Me and Devon rode with mom, while Libby rode with dad and the dogs (Yes, dad brought his dogs with him. Not that there was anything wrong with that–they kept my nana and papa’s dogs preoccupied).
Well anyway, Not much has happened since the trip. I just hung out with Devon last night and into this morning, before he had to leave and go back home. Now, I’m just sitting here typing this blog, and don’t have anything major planned until tomorrow, when I have to go to camp.

Well, I guess that about wraps up the post. I will be back next Saturday to tell you all about camp–so until then…
Thanks for reading,
type you later,
Steve.

how my day went


Today was another school day. After getting up and taking another warm shower, I got dressed, and had to play on my computer before eating breakfast. After breakfast, it was the usual routine of meating at the girls side of the dorm, before walking to school. This time, we didn’t have to stop at the health center, and instead just continued until we got to school. Pretty much the whole day, we reviewed voice over settings on the mac computer, and read the voice over tutorial. We did take a break for snack at 10 like usual, and then ate lunch at 11:30, but spent the rest of the day until 2 that is, working on the mac. At 2, I had to do some math homework (I finished all the problems), before going back to the dorm. We rode in a golf cart, but it died about 3 quarters of the way away from the school, so we had to walk the rest of the way. When we got back, I had a snack, before getting on the computer and talking to my friend. Then, We all went swimming for about two hours, and were back by 6, and at that time I took a shower. Then, I prepared myself some chicken nuggets and milk for dinner, and then did some social studies homework for an hour. After that, I just messed around on the computer, before joining my friends while they hopped and restled in a pit of pillows. I restled with two kids at a time, until 3 minutes before it was time to go to our rooms. Then, I just sat on the couch until I came in my room, got on the computer, and posted my journal entry. That is all I did today.

how my day went


Today was my first day in austin. Well, when I got up this morning, me and my mom just packed my bags, and I played on the computer and ate nachoes until it was time to go. We didn’t leave until Libby, who was at her friends, got dropped off at the house. She wanted to come with us to see the counsilers when I got dropped off.
At around 11:15, we finally left the house. It was a long 3 and a half hour drive, and we stopped for lunch when we got to Austin. After that, we finished the drive to the school, which only took about 3 minutes. When we got there, we had to walk quite a way in the humid hot and thick air to get to the health center, where we would sign in and get my hair checked for lice. When we got there, I had a nurse check my hair, and almost fell asleep because I was tired, and it felt good. After that, the 3 of us got back in the car, and drove to my dorm. After getting there, my mom showed me to my dorm room, and the two of us unpacked while Libby socialised with the counsilers in my dorm.
After I was finally unpacked, the first question I asked was “Where is the computer room?”
Shortly after that, my mom and sister left, and I got on the computer, and posted a blog post. Finally, I just went in the kitchen and socialised with the counsiler Misty, and then ate dinner. When dinner was done, I just got back on the computer for a while, and socialised with some friends that I made. I can’t tell you there names, because I don’t know how to spell them.
After talking and playing on the computer, there was a meeting that described the rules and schedule. This lasted about about 20 minutes, because my friends couldn’t be quiet. I admit, that I tried to start pillo wars with them, but that’s not the point. I still blaim the roudyness on them.
Finally, the meating ended, and I got to post my blog entry. That is all I did today.

camp summary


Here is how camp went, in a breif summary. I didn’t have my computer, so couldn’t type.

We drove up to camp on sunday morning, and got there in the afternoon. Sunday night, was just the opening saramony, and time to make friends. We also had a dinner picnac.
On monday, we went to the flag pole just before 10:00 (our first activity.) After we did that, we had day activities which were the basics. RNA, which is like PE. Swimming, lunch, acting class, rest period, radio class, and archery. Each activities were an hor at least, so by then it was time for archery.
Tuesday was sort of the same way, except we had horses before rest period, arts and crafts right after it, and ropes for the last day activity. We also had camp out night, so I just hung out with friends at the camp sight, and ate a meet and potato hobo pack for dinner.
Wednesday, we didn’t have any activities before lunch, however the afternoon routine was similar to that of Monday’s. For our night activities, since it was the fourth of july, were TLC (texas lions camp) Idol. Simular to Amarican Idol, but they did acts that got judged. After that was a cool fireworks display (because I could see the flashing and hear the sound.)
On thursday, we had a Tuesday like routine, except at lunch. I had been fighting with this kid Philip, and my counseler Gus told him to tell our team leader. So, I was very angery the whole hour. But, at 1, after lunch, we had nature studies instead of horses.
That night, we had the dance (I danced with one person for a few minutes, but spent most of the time hiding in a corner with my sister.
On friday, we had flag pole like normal, but spent the day packing, and going to the talent show. After several hours of chatting with friends, we ate dinner, had the award saramony, and my mom picked me and my sister. We also car pooled with some friends.
Instead of making the six hour drive, we stopped at a hotel for the night (we left on Saturday morning.)

That is how my camp went.