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March Office Hour Highlights

Posted by Kim on March 18, 2023, 2:10pm

Office hours this month were super social and particularly fun for me. But we did discuss some personal and heavy material, along with a smattering of directly RPR-related topics. Here's the summary for everyone who couldn't make it!

How's wedding planning?
It was basically 100% derailed - the planning, not the wedding. We did actually have a three person ceremony at the end of January just to get the paperwork squared away, and then planned to do the big social celebration a year or two down the line to bring people together. But then in February, he was out of town for work, and I was out with my service dog Venice, and (spoilering because this is heavy)) she collapsed very suddenly. I rushed her to the hospital, but within 3 days she had died. I was alone at the time, my partner was out of town for work and couldn't return, my parents were in the middle of a minor procedure that nevertheless kept them stuck at a human hospital, my closest friends were at an out of town event... Since then I've been a highly dysregulated person. Not only because I don't have a service dog who monitors me and helps me stay on a healthy track anymore, but also just deeply grieving. It's been very hard to have extra energy for anything, I've just been doing my best to keep up with work and getting ready for Epic Week and other stuff that's required.

That turned out to just be the start of February drama. I can't tell you how glad I was when we turned the calendar page on that month. There's at least been no more Major Life Events in March so far.

That said -- there will be another Life Event in April. Not a bad one, though. It turned out that the breeder she came from originally had a litter of puppies that will essentially be her great great grandnieces and nephews a week after she passed, and once they hit 8 weeks I will be given the puppy from the litter that rates the highest in desirable service dog traits. It'll be up to me to raise him or her and train her up from there, so it's gonna be 1-2 years at earliest before I'm rolling with a service dog partner again, but I'm really looking forward to having a puppy in my life.

That is good news! I was going to ask how difficult it is to get a service dog . How will you hold up without a fully trained service dog for so long?
It's MUCH harder to get a fully trained service dog. Just getting a puppy with desirable traits from an experienced breeder is a lot easier. But then, of course, you have to raise and teach it, which requires you to know how to do that, and to have the energy and ability to do it. Not all disabilities allow for that, and I'm very aware of how lucky and privileged I am to be able to do that. And of course you take on the risk that even though it seemed promising, its personality isn't quite right for the job. I am also lucky in that the things I want help with aren't necessarily life threatening if a dog isn't jumping in to address them, they're just very inconvenient and sometimes very painful. So in the meanwhile I will... grit my teeth and cope like I used to in the old days?

any updates on the non-epic subscription just to get rid of ads?
I hadn't done much more with that because I hadn't really gotten the sense there was that much interest. I still think it's a good idea though. >.> (A bit of discussion later...) Well golly, I guess I have to get on epic-lite. I had kind of talked myself out of it. You are talking me back into it.

Quick question if an rp is in pms do i still have to censor heavy swear words?
No, that's a private area, the main restrictions are just what your partner will be comfortable with. Mods don't look at PMs unless for example someone has complained about being mistreated in them.

i also have a question though it might be HIDDEN LORE -- did you have any projects similar or different from the RPR, before the rpr? like a prototype or baby website from which the rpr was launched, or just older collaborative project/s in the wee hours of the internet?
Oh Lordy back in ye olde days of the interwebs XD I'm trying to think what I could tell you about. I was actually a surprisingly green programmer back when I decided that there was an obvious need for something like the RPR and that by jove I was going to fill that need. I had to learn A LOT of new stuff "on the job" as it were, I made a shocking number of silly mistakes that required patching up later

I did some very minor text-based PHP games that went nowhere, I did some boring database stuff for website clients...



My very very first appallingly ugly version of which is a website that shows drawing references based on the format of college classes I took back in the dawn of history.

It literally didn't have a name for the first like six years I had it, I just called it "The Figure Study Tool" and had it in a subdirectory of my old website about building websites for clients. Line of Action seems to have been very meaningful to a lot of people over the past decade and a half or so. I get emails about it that just make me weep (in a good way.)

I've tried to get MUCH more regular about updating and improving LoA over the past few years. Since Covid it has transformed into my main source of income apart from taking on clients, and has gifted me a lot more client-free time than before that has allowed me to build stuff for both LoA and the RPR in a way I hadn't been able to since those long gone years when I lived with my parents and had no rent to pay >.>

(Someone brought up Space Walk as a suggestion here) No, Space Walk was done a couple of years ago as I was trying to learn more about developing native apps. For reasons. >.> It needs some updates and bug fixes now. But it definitely wasn't from before the RPR.

(Someone brought up SweetGoals here) Oh, thanks for bringing that one up too! Yes, I also have SweetGoals, which is a relatively recent addition to my website menagerie. It's still basically in early alpha/beta development but I do use it heavily to track my own to-dos and projects. :D It certainly isn't pre-RPR though.

(There was a longer discussion of LoA here, and it turned out a number of people in chat already used LoA without knowing it was another of my sites. I've cut most of the chatter but retained a few bits of trivia here.)

LoA and RPR are AMAZINGLY different to work on. When I think of something cool for the RPR, if I have the energy, I just build it and release it and usually people are like "hooray! This is a fun new thing!"

LoA over the years has been picked up by a lot of different schools/universities and combined into curriculum around the world with all their own policies, local laws, and sometimes ancient faculty who freak out over change, and maybe some underfunded facilities that are still using ABSOLUTELY ANCIENT browsers and absolutely cannot update. It's also been translated into 5 - hopefully soon to be 7 - languages. So when I think of something I want to build, the amount of hoops I have to jump through to build the thing and make it work and make sure it isn't going to destroy someone's college experience mid-semester, and then when that's all done I still need to get all the new stuff/any changes that were made to old things translated. It is a very very slow grind by comparison.

I have a suggestion: A way to filter groups by Most Active!
(It was clarified that what was meant was not most recently edited, or most recent activity, but most active)
I have written your suggestion down! I'll see what I can do :)

I hope you'll be able to share puppy news next time
Service dog candidate puppy should be arriving just before Epic Week kicks off! Whenever I am a functional human I've been driving really hard to try and get everything EW ready to go well before the event so that we can all have a fun birthday event together AND I'm able to do all the requisite socializing of sweet sweet puppy <3

The next few months are gonna be like Epic Week -> Puppy -> Digital Lemonade Stand fundraiser for the RPR -> Working like crazy on MAPS

We're just over a month away from Epic week, right? Just confirming the date- I'm sure it's too far out yet to really talk about it too much as that tends to be a surprise.
Correct! Epic Week kicks off on the 24th of April every year. That happens to be a Monday this time around, which means we'll have the finale (ostensibly) on a weekend, which is pretty cool. But the actual finale will occur based on how fast y'all play through it. :)

I am once again doing some experimenting with adding/removing game elements to it. I wish I could say more! But since we're on the subject, I'll take a moment to drop this here in case anyone didn't spot it when it originally came out:

My biggest question is what flavor the cake is. I'm all about my birthday cake slice.
Well... I know that there's pink icing on the outside, but I have yet to see the cake actually cut into, so I'm not sure what kind of cake and filling we have this year!

What about the spring masquerade?
Unfortunately the very sudden death of my service dog Venice and associated grieving kind of blew up the part of my schedule that would have had me planning and executing the spring masquerade this year. I really apologize, I know a lot of you were looking forward to that.

kinda been curious for a while but do the various forum mascots have any background details? I know the pizza dragon was made by someone ages ago, and you've got your persona for the office hours, but what about the minotaur and asian dragon for character generation, or the characters on the RP ad thing?
(This was originally a question I received in private, then got permission to share publicly) Most of them are just sort of representations of characters meant to evoke a genre of RP as a whole. In terms of site characters with backstories or attending lore, probably the best known is Doubutt who can be found on our 404 pages but has also been a major part of every epic week for the last decade. But there's also Professor Minotaur, who I adore. Professor Minotaur, however comes from a family that was in the maze-guarding business for many generations and faced many barriers to going to college, including doubt from his family and finding scholarships that would consider sponsoring fantasy creatures.

He has overcome these many obstacles to become the foremost researcher in the field of RPR science.

Trying to do part-time work as a maze guard to pay for your textbooks is very challenging. No one wants a part-time maze guard, and even if you can work full-time, the pay is generally terrible because your room and board is considered part of the compensation

But if you already have a dorm room what does that help?

I'm curious where the idea came from? It's very whimsical but also grounded
Honestly, I don't know. Professor Minotaur was commissioned for the help section in the first year of the site. At the same time we also had some promotional bookmarks with a much more traditional Minotaur who was all muscley and glowy eyed and carrying a big ax and I the idea was floated by the userbase that they were related.

Which spawned a pretty immediate and complete backstory in my brain that doesn't matter in any way to using the site, but I think about every single time I use Professor Minotaur for anything XD

If I had to guess I would say I had read or seen something about HBC's recently when the idea occurred to me but it's been too long. I don't know.



March 21, 2023

Yoo my partner showed me "Line of action" a couple years ago and praised it as a great tool for figure drawing practice! They use it to this day. Meanwhile I've been telling them about this site and praising it to high heavens. So crazy that you created both sites haha!


March 19, 2023

I'm so sorry about the sad news. But puppies are exciting! It's daunting to train them but they always feel so worth it. It feels good to have a puppy and it's so wholesome to watch them grow. Rooting for you, Kim. <3
I'll try and get ready for the Epic Week festivities and the lemonade sale. Excitement!! Whee! Will there be patches for this one too, I'd like to ask? I keep looking at the ones in the store and meaning to get them, but I never remember to put it in my budget. :,)
Off to make my accolades case pretty in preparation for the cake that'll sit in it sometime...