All posts by Stephen Oravec

New Photo Series: Power Lines

With my renewed interest in photography, I got to thinking I wanted to do a photo series that could fall under the umbrella of cablepunk but not be part of the conceptual cablepunk photo series previously established. A trip to Tony Packo’s for their $2 Hungarian hot dog special every Tuesday gave me just the inspiration I needed to begin this new series focused on power lines.

I had previously prepped my Canon PowerShot SX30 IS to be ready to shoot widescreen photographs in B&W. However, I didn’t have that camera with me when I stopped at Packo’s that particular Tuesday. Instead, I had what we all have, and what has partially made me lazy when it has come to photography this past decade: my smartphone. In my case, that’s a Motorola Moto G6.

So, I whipped out my smartphone, took a few pics of the power lines behind Packo’s and, shamefully, later posted the one I liked best to Instagram, thus perpetuating lazy photography in the second decade of the 21st century. A week later, I would go on to post two photos from another Tuesday trip for $2 hot dogs, the first for which I even used an Instagram filter. I am not proud.

What I like about Instagram — and what I vaguely remember tweeting about what I liked about Instagram six years ago — is the square format of the photographs. My first camera was a Kodak Instamatic X-15F which shot on the square 126 film, so that’s where I began, and that’s probably what keeps pulling me back to Instagram.

However, after over a decade of social media use beginning with MySpace in 2007, I’m tired of it. I’d rather showcase my photos here where they’ll certainly get less exposure, but where I won’t be concerned about likes and comments and the whole hullabaloo. Starting out, I’m keeping that square photograph format made popular again by Instagram, but its usage has more to do with remembering my origins taking snapshots with my Kodak than any current connection to the Instagram app.

So here they are: the first three photos of my new Power Lines series.

Power Lines #1

Power Lines #1

Power Lines #2

Power Lines #2

Power Lines #3

Power Lines #3

I have locations chosen for a second and third set, but as my priority is writing Grimm MOBA, they will come when they come. Still, it’s good to be seeing the world with a photographic mindset again, and I hope you enjoy the work I produce.

Cablepunk Turns Ten

Ten years ago today — March 9, 2009 — I took two photographs which I named Cablepunk #1 and Cablepunk #2 when I posted them to Redbubble that evening.

The idea for something “cablepunk” had been floating in my brain since October 2008. I knew I was going to write a novel, but that was going to take some time. (Cinderella Cablepunk would appear February 2014.) So, I did what I had been doing at that point in my life: I picked up my Canon PowerShot A650 IS camera and took some pictures and, consequently, established cablepunk.

Cablepunk #1

Cablepunk #1 — nicknamed “Halo” — is my favorite of the two images, but it’s the one which has received little affection.

The image is of a blue Iomega external hard drive with its USB Y cable resting across it. You can see part of the plug in the bottom right of the pic.

What I like best about the photograph is the attention it brings to the two types of cable sleeves visible beneath the outer transparent casing.

The glow of the cable and the contrast between light and dark in the overexposure — caused by a simple desk lamp — gives the photo for me an ethereal feel, resulting in the Halo nickname. Also, I’m kind of reminded of the Halo Array.

Cablepunk #2

Cablepunk #2 by Stephen Oravec

Cablepunk #2 — nicknamed “Snake” — is certainly the more popular of the two photos.

Shortly after it was posted to Redbubble, it was a featured photo on the site. This resulted in nineteen comments on the image. Likewise, when I posted the photos to 500px in 2015, #2 is the only one to have received a comment. Additionally, #2 got thirty-seven likes at 500px while #1, in contrast, got just five. So, there is something apparently more appealing about Cablepunk #2.

The image is of a Monster Cable brand AV cable for the original Xbox. I draped it across my old IBM keyboard for the photo. I’m currently amused I once used a white keyboard.

I like the black criss-cross pattern of the outermost casing of this cable, and the green beneath it has forever lent itself to the color branding of all things cablepunk for me.

Cablepunk was established on March 9, 2009 with the creation and posting of these two photographs. While cablepunk is still a fledgling offshoot of cyberpunk ten years on, the coming decade will no doubt see its growth as nostalgia for our cabled past grows.

Casting Recap

After starting out the week broadcasting on Facebook Gaming a little Legion reputation grind in World of Warcraft, I switched over to the Nintendo Switch on Friday with the rerelease of the puzzle game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.

My goal while streaming is to complete everything in a stage before advancing. That means I not only have to get the star for each chapter, but the three diamonds as well. Plus, new to this version is Pixel Toad, so he must be found. And, of course, there is the bonus challenge for each stage. Sneaking past all of the Shy Guys in Chapter 6 really gave me some trouble. You can view that video on Facebook here.

The aim for this week is to continue broadcasting my playthrough of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker with the goal of potentially completing the game. However, seeing as it took me a half hour just to sneak successfully past some Shy Guys, that goal might be hopelessly unrealistic.

My Facebook Gaming profile can be found at fb.gg/cablepunk, and please be sure to follow its main page: facebook.com/cablepunk. Streams will generally be in the evening Eastern, but no schedule has been set yet.

Grimm MOBA: A Novel

After spending quite an amount of time in development hell as a graphic novel, GRIMM MOBA is finally coming late-2018 as a novel by Stephen Oravec and published by Cablepunk Press.

As planned, this will be the first story in the Grimm Arena series which tells the tale of the gamer Elle as she competes in the virtual reality game Grimm, a fairytale-inspired multiplayer online battle arena.

More information will be forthcoming here in the following months!

A Return to SWTOR

2018 began with my return to BioWare’s Star Wars: The Old Republic. While I had issues with the game when it first released in 2011, and while I still think it’s a buggy and clunky game, it does have some good qualities, namely: the storytelling, Force lightning, and lightsabers.

Khem Val did not survive Quick Travel. It's not a bug, it's a feature!
Khem Val did not survive Quick Travel. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

In returning to the game, I first focused on leveling my Sith Sorcerer to endgame, making her my first character to actually reach endgame. During vanilla, I quit before I ever made it to level 50. The current level cap is now 70 on account of the expansions over the years. Fortunately, leveling isn’t the chore it used to be. Class missions now give an enormous amount of experience enabling you to skip most other quests. Then, of course, there are the Legacy perks and subscriber XP boosts. Planets now scale you to their level, ensuring you’re earning XP no matter where you are in the galaxy.

Additionally, the game has had many quality of life improvements since it first released. The Legacy system of 2012 was a great improvement, but what I’m particularly loving now is the mission terminal which not only has all the heroic quests, but also shuttle passes directly to them. The XP is incredible, and the gear you get for completing those heroics is for your actual level, not scaled-down level, which makes gearing to level 50 unproblematic. As a result, I’m currently leveling ALL advanced classes.

Put your clothes back on, Harvey.
Put your clothes back on, Harvey.

Flashpoints (aka dungeons) now have a story mode which you can solo with a companion and with the assistance of an amazing battle droid which is easily the best tank ever. Consequently, I’ve been able to play through various operations by myself, fully enjoying the story without having to spacebar through cut scenes, and to explore every nook and cranny of the flashpoint map while getting those bonus missions done.

This forthcoming story, this planned series of posts, is about leveling my all-new Sith Warrior. While I love my Sith Sorceress, sometimes I just want to battle with a lightsaber, and the Sith Warrior easily fulfills that.

Overcompensating.
Overcompensating.

With Legacy perks, an obsessive-compulsive desire to complete EVERY quest, and a recent bonus XP week to coincide with game update 5.7, I managed to reach level 45 before ever finishing the Prologue and leaving Dromund Kaas. At level 59, I was ready to leave Balmorra, but I continued on with that planet’s bonus series and was level 62 before I ever touched down on Nar Shaddaa.

Currently, I’m questing, advancing the story, and tracking down datacrons on Nar Shaddaa.

Unlocking Nar Shaddaa's yellow datacron.
Unlocking Nar Shaddaa’s yellow datacron.

Catch me live streaming Star Wars: The Old Republic and more on the Cablepunk Press Twitch channel!