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Forum » Galleria » The Graveyard of the Unfinished
If I have any flaw at all (not likely), one of the more glaring ones would be my inability to see a personal creative endeavor through to it's completion.

No matter the size or complexity, the highways of my life are littered with the remains of projects never finished. The reasons for not finishing them are as varied as the projects themselves, but generally can be boiled down to either laziness, lack of finances, waning interest, or too little time.

RetroDaze is one of the few exceptions, mainly because it was something I wanted to do for so long, but didn't know how. That, and the subject matter was of a much higher interest to me than most. But even it would probably not exist if it weren't for a perceived need for it. After reading some of the posts of criticism over the "reinvention" of RetroJunk, my enthusiasm for meeting that need was given a major boost. If I couldn't BUY RetroJunk from Vertex, then I would do the next best thing... and make one of my own.

So, I thought this thread could serve as a monument to the things we just don't get done. Here are a few of MY more recent incomplete efforts...


I actually did complete a number of creative projects for the site, I have been a forum member there since before the toy line re-launched in 2002-2003, and a search through the "Fan Art" section will produce a number of artistic endeavors.

But one in particular that I was working on in later years still remains undone. I think this is mainly due to a lack of interest on the part of the community itself. I expected there to be a bigger response to it than what it got, and that "took the wind out of my sails". So, it remains unfinished. I called it a "Figuromic". It was a MOTU story told using a mixture of action figures and "Photoshop" (or in my case, "") magic.

TORN: Part 1 - Click for Slideshow


You ever watch those late night infomercials and think, "Why didn't I think of that?" Yeah. Me too.

One day a few years back, as I was leaving the Wendy's drive-thru, I picked up my cup of soda to take a swig... and then the lid popped off and it spilled EVERYWHERE! This happens to me all too often, and it is extremely annoying.

The more I thought about it, the idea of something to prevent it from happening again came into my mind. At first it was just one of those thoughts that you have and then discard, seemingly never to bring it up again. But this time, I actually gave it the old college try.

I started to work up a design for something that would keep this from happening again. And then it went from just a scribble on a piece of paper to an actual description and development image.

And then I started checking into ways to make this a real product. And that's where the idea slowly began to die. To bring something even this simple to the market is nearly impossible nowadays. It is very discouraging to discover how restrictive the market of ideas has become. You need this form, this patent, this representation, this much up front cash, blah, blah, blah... until you just don't care anymore.

I went so far as to have it reviewed by Davidson, a company that specializes in such things. But it became quickly apparent that this company wasn't really interested in making your product happen. They just get you to spend money on developing the idea to a certain stage, where most of these ideas come to a halt. But by then, you've spent a great deal of money and have nothing to show for it.


This was a project that I was enthused about enough to move it from one media to another multiple times in hopes of keeping it alive. It began as an idea for creating virtual items with real world value.

These days it is not unheard of to hear about people spending big money on virtual items, whether they be virtual real estate, or highly developed and high level gaming characters in MMORPGs.

So this was going to be my attempt to create virtual valuables in the form of virtual collectibles. Virtual "action figures" or "figurines" that could be used in online battles ( not unlike a Pokemon or other similar battler ). These "action figures" would increase in value with every winning battle, and could potentially have increased value in the form of "accessories" or "add-ons".

A website would house the entire project, and occasionally new "DigiChars" would be released on the site and could be purchased on a first come, first served basis by the community. A point system would act as the currency (collected by battling or by "buying" points).

I had all ideas in place and developed to begin construction of a functional site for the project. But that's where it ended. Mostly because the finances required for building it from scratch were too great. That, and I wasn't convinced it would be something that interested anyone but me. Even so, the idea would live on after a chat with an old acquaintance.

The DigiChar Internet Game Story Prologue (Also Incomplete, lol)
The DigiChar Internet Game Play Guide


I was sifting through some of my old email one day, and came across one from nearly 10 years ago. It was a series of correspondence between myself and a gentlemen that worked for a company called Toy Vault. At the time, Toy Vault had just acquired the Godzilla license, and was seeking information and opinions from the Godzilla fan base on what characters would be most widely appealing to them if made into products.

Somehow (the circumstances of which I have forgotten), this gentlemen had gotten my email address and wondered if I would be willing to offer Toy Vault this kind of incite. I agreed, and began speaking with him regarding future Godzilla products.

Well, seeing those old emails made me want to see if Toy Vault was still around, so I visited their site. Surprisingly little in the way of site design had changed over the years. But I did notice they were now producing board games.

This got me to thinking, "Maybe I should present my DigiChars concept to them as a board game". So, I reworked the concept of it, created an image for what the board might look like, developed some ideas for game "cards" and "pieces/figures", and presented it to him.

He then sent it to the head of their board game department, who proceeded to pan it as too expensive to ever consider, among other criticisms. I didn't mind the constructive criticism of the game itself. But I didn't see why it couldn't be done in a cost effective manner. So many companies produce action figures or figurines. And more still produce board games of various complexities and pieces. I don't know. But either way, financial hurdles once again killed an idea of mine.

I still had it in my mind that I WAS going to use this in some capacity! But for what I couldn't say. And then came The Hunger Games.

DigiChars Board Game Instructions
DigiChars Board Game War & Event Card Possibilities


I know what you're thinking - Just let it go man! But I had invested so much creative juice into this idea, that whenever I was inspired to do something else, I immediately tried to fit the DigiChars into it somehow.

Well, I had been hearing a lot about these novels that kids and teens were just bonkers for... called The Hunger Games. I cracked one open at a Toys 'R Us one evening while shopping with the family. My first thought was, "I can write something like this!" And then as the days followed I was tossing this idea around of writing a novelette.

It was not something easy to do. Not so much because I didn't feel I could write, but that I couldn't "lower" myself to just writing. I am a visual person, and as such I like my creations to be visual in nature. So to leave the visual part up to a reader, was very difficult. But once I started, it just came pouring out! Before I knew it, I had written 50 pages worth. I combed through them multiple times looking for spelling errors and story inconsistencies (there were many). I had finished a chapter, and thought I couldn't be stopped! This was really going to get done.

Then I started showing to folks close to me. The response was less than enthusiastic. Nobody ever gets as excited about these things as I want them to!!! And that pretty much killed my inspiration to continue it. I did manage to write a bit more of it, but then it slowly died off, like so many other things I do.

However, I still feel a connection to this world that I have created in these games and this unfinished novelette. There is a tiny, tiny spark there that hasn't gone out that may bring me back to it again one day - especially the novelette. Time will tell.

DigiChars - Dawning - Chapter 1
DigiChars - Dawning - Chapter 2 (INCOMPLETE)
The Jon Holley Sessions - Sessions 1 to 10

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I don't know if you want advice. You're probably just venting/sharing. But I have a reaction that probably falls along the way of advice. Just some ideas how you could push some of these more if you wanted to.

I don't think that's a novelette. If there were five chapters all approximately the same length as chapter 1, I think it would qualify as a full-on novel. If you would finish it, you could always try Kindle Direct Publishing. Same with Torn. But if you do a board game or book, I think you should change the name from DigiChars since that came from being virtual computer stuff.

As for the Cup Clamp, I think you could apply to be on Everyday Edisons or Shark Tank. They are truly interested in getting things to market, as long as they believe the idea is good. Plus you might get to be on TV. Or, just watch those shows for some idea of what you could do with it.

OK, enough of that. Time for me to humble myself, as well.

First of all, you've taken all of those projects much farther than many things I have thought about. Things like...

A noise generator

I like to play with sound. One thing that really interests me is "black noise". What's that, you say? Well you know what white noise is. All of the sound frequencies together, making that KSSSHHHHHHHHHHH sound you get when you turn on channel 74 without cable. Black noise is indeed the opposite. It turns off all sound. That is, it's the reverse of the input waveform. You can find a cheap and not too effective version in those noise-cancelling headphones.

Here's the sound you're hearing:

If you flip the waveform:

And play it back:

They cancel each other out. Of course, you have to match the volume of the source frequency. And if you want to silence it, you have to do this all instantly. I know there is a way to do this with a microphone and the right electronic circuitry. Something about a XOR gate or something. I just don't know what that way is.

This is common theme you'll find in my idea graveyard, a lack of sufficient knowledge to implement. I know theory but not much practice, and I am ashamed. I wish I had understood things better when I was young so I could take my education in a different direction.

I got as far as a mockup. A friend who knows more was going to help, but he was mired in his own poor motivation. When it became apparent he was abusing his girlfriend, he had to leave the house.

BUT I DIGRESS. The thing should have been about the size of a computer keyboard, probably somewhat thicker and deeper. It would have standard 1/4" and RCA inputs and outputs (BYO amplification). And while black noise would be the predominant feature for me, I wanted it to also be capable of generating white noise, as well as pink, blue, and other types of noise. And have a delay feature for the sound canceling (interesting effects from offsetting the reversal) And, if there's time, frequencies ranging across the full range of human hearing and beyond.

I've had at least two more ideas using electronics to create/translate sound in weird ways.

Comic books

That's what I wanted to do when I was a kid. Make comic books. I did come up with a team of heroes. The main guy was basically a Ninja Turtles ripoff named "Ace" and the main bad guy was pretty much Shredder, except he was a tiger. The good guys team was four members, but in a terrible attempt to be original they were not turtles. There was a little puffball kind of thing with wings who could transform into a much bigger and tougher creature. I don't even remember who the others were. I did a story that made it about five pages before being abandoned. It was pretty pathetic, although I'm not sure if I realized it at the time.

Slightly better, but never getting more than two pages, was a character called "Mantis". He escaped from the insane asylum during a thunder storm. He wore a trench coat, a giant grin at all times, and the 90s-est haircut ever, and had two knives with giant blades. The kind with brass knuckle/spikes on the handle guard. Like Batman, he refused to use guns. The bad guy was "Kwiksotik" (Quixotic, and his backstory was something about he believed he was doing good. Maybe kind of like Punisher but not as violent and with a more cartoonish costume) and he did use guns; I didn't realize at the time but looking back, he also kind of looked like a Batman villain (circa B:TAS)

I don't have any of those pages I drew. I think I'm glad about that.
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Your interest in playing with sound is unique. I've never heard of that before. Perhaps you had a career with Dolby or Skywalker Sound open to you and didn't even know it.

As far as comic books, I had those same aspirations. But after I left high school, where I was basically the best artist ever (LOL), and entered the real world (where I was a mediocre artist), it became quickly apparent that this dream probably wasn't happening.

Also, I do appreciate the advice. You never know when advice might come in handy.
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Vaporman87 wrote :
Your interest in playing with sound is unique. I've never heard of that before. Perhaps you had a career with Dolby or Skywalker Sound open to you and didn't even know it.

It's not just sound. I also like to play with light and optics and electricity and're right, I could have had a job in something like that. While my interests are wide, my knowledge is not deep. Like Jon in your book, I insisted on going to art school. But my parents were too nice to force me to do something else. Sort of a regret in my life. It was fun, but it was just fun. I got to play for 4 years and now years later I find myself in a pleasant enough, too comfortable, boring job, making just enough money in a dead end. I kind of wanted to go to trade school or something, but my parents were adamant early on that I would go to "real" college. If only I'd had the foresight to go for business or engineering or something. But all that stuff seemed boring and hard! I lacked discipline. I couldn't even hack it in illustration, so I changed majors after first year.

It's funny how consequences work. You don't understand them until they punch you in the gut.

This might sound kind of depressing but I want to be clear I don't feel negative or bad about this stuff. This thread just made me revisit some realizations I've had.
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I found myself in a similar yet reverse situation. I can't say I was "adamant" about attending art school, but it was something I had just assumed I would do.

However, if I was going to do so, it was required of me to first get a degree in something more grounded. You mentioned business... and that is exactly what my major was for the two years I was in college.

Personal issues forced me to leave college after two years and go directly into the family business. I had NO social skills equivalent to those needed to be a good furniture salesman. But that's exactly what I became. So I had to learn to talk to people QUICKLY.

Other circumstances through the years have led me to where I am now. Some quite unpleasant. But I see now that it was right for me. Looking back on it all really makes it so obvious that it was just what was planned for me, or at least placed there to capture me when I fell.

But as you can see, my creative spark didn't die with propane. LOL
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The Waitress and the Potato Pusher

You ever start something, lose it, and find yourself unable to recreate it? This was just such a thing.

When I first moved to Sacramento with ex-Mrs steak, I got a job in a produce warehouse. I was working 65+ hours a week. I thought I would lose my mind. I was very good at it, and it was very boring. I had little time to do anything but work and sleep. ex-Mrs steak took a job as a waitress. We barely had any time together, and we were not very happy.

I wrote a story about it. That was the setup. Then one day, the potato pusher comes home and says to the waitress, "let's go to Iceland" and they did and lived happily ever after (although I did not use that phrase). The writing was charming and the drawings were wonderful. This was one of --scratch that, THE only piece of drawing and fictional writing made in my adult life of which I would be proud. I wanted to print it and make a book out of it. I did not want it to be seen before giving it the physical form. So I destroyed the original paper drawings after scanning them into the computer, and put those in a folder with the text file. Then I put password protection on the folder.

Can you guess what happened?

That's right! I used some crazy password and couldn't remember it two days later. D'oh!

I did some looking into removing the password, but everything I could find about doing it was crazy complicated and beyond my abilities.
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I did some looking into removing the password, but everything I could find about doing it was crazy complicated.

That's just depressing. But I know how you feel, to a degree. I had several short "horror" stories I had written in the 5th and 6th grade stuffed in a single folder (a real folder, not a computer one). A friend of mine and I were both big Friday the 13th/Nightmare on Elm Street fans, so we thought it was a blast writing our own slasher stories and creating these larger than life killers (looking back on it now, I have to wonder what on earth my parents might have though if they had read them!).

But when my parents divorced, and my mom put our house up for sale, I could not find them at all. They were lost forever. Perhaps she DID find them and burned them. LOL. I wouldn't care at all for the content of them these days, but the memories they might refresh WOULD interest me.
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Now that RetroDaze has cemented its tiny little spot on the web nicely, I have started picking up the pieces on one of these long lost projects (for inclusion in the RetroDaze network of sites.) 

That project is the DigiChars internet endeavor. A while back, I happened upon a very nice and customizable script for a "Virtual Pet" style site. Once I cut to the meat of it, I realized that this script was the perfect backbone for bringing DigiChars to life!

I will need Moudy to add my battle/warring system and some PayPal integration to it, but almost everything else I can customize myself. This is something I thought would cost me thousands of dollars to bring about... yet here was this script and a community of users with advice, sitting there for FREE. 

So I've begun my toiling with the code to get it just right, before handing it over to Moudy. You can see how it's progressing here.

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Haha, I love this thread. I want to take my kids to DIGICHARLAND one day!

I rarely start ideas, even though I've had tons. I delt with Davidson myself. I had an idea for a beach blanket that had weighted corners so it wouldn't blow around on the beach. I contacted them and they wanted 1,500 dollars to design a prototype. IT'S A BLANKET WITH WEIGHTS ON THE END! I pretty much gave up after that. I did a patent search and apparently the idea was already in print. I never saw one so I assume someone is just sitting on the idea waiting to sue or sell.

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You staff guys should build a corporate building. You stay so busy.
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"Magic can happen to you."


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