Saturday, September 27, 2014

We walk among you

Sooooooooooooooo…I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) a lot lately. (The five-second review? I like it. It has its problems, it has its rough edges and things that make me go, “Pah, this again?!” – but by and large, it’s a fun way for me to spend my evenings.)

So. In just about every game I play which has such things, I am…ahem…a somewhat avid farmer. Meaning that I collect raw materials – plants for potions, ores for smithing, wood for bows and so forth – whenever I see them.

It almost pains me to pass up an ore-node, or leave a pile of lumber on the ground…not pick the lock on a chest, or open the barrel to see what’s inside.

I also have a somewhat embarrassing tendency to be so focused on my farming that I don’t notice things like, say, the level ha-ha-MUCH-higher-than-YOU super-elite troll now with Super Special Player Killing One-Shot Powers that is standing right on top of the ore-node.

“…oh…well, hello there, big fellah…aaaaaaaaand, I’m dead again…sigh…”

Now, I told you all of that so I could tell you about this.

One of my guilds in ESO is called ‘Get Rich or Die Farming.’ I think I’d actually call it my “main” guild – it’s definitely the one I enjoy most in terms of interactions with others, and it’s extremely active and full of fun, helpful people who help each other over the rough bits and such.

One afternoon our guild master came up with these.

And of course I bought one, because it made me laugh. 

In due course it went through the laundry and percolated to the top of the stack in my drawer and I put it on and wore it. Because it was a) clean and b) the next one on the stack in my drawer.

Look, I’ll be blunt: I’m getting dressed at about 4:45 in the morning, OK? And I probably didn’t get to bed before 11:00 or 11:30 the night before. Because that’s just what always happens, no matter how ardently I vow that tonight, I am TOTALLY going to be IN BED by no later than 9:30.

“Let’s see, which of my fine frocks shall I wear today, and what cunning accessories shall I wear with it?” are just not questions I’m willing to entertain at that hour. Next shirt in the drawer, pants aaaaaand, DONE.

But I digress.

So I’m wearing this shirt, and I’m not thinking anything of it really. I wear a lot of shirts that have things Muggles might not understand on them. Anime characters, slogans from the 70s, the occasional “if you work in any of the major coding languages, you will totally get this” or “decode these math symbols for a joke!” thing – so I’m not too surprised if someone is kind of looking at my chest with an expression that clearly says something like, “Math…hurts…” (The one thing we can rule out pretty much immediately is that they’re looking at my breasts. Unless they have a magnifying glass in their hand. Or binoculars. Ahem. Moving on.)

SO THERE I AM. Sporting my guild t-shirt and heading back across the street to Homer the Odyssey after having deposited Captain Adventure at the gates of the Hallowed Halls of Learning.

AND THERE’S THIS OTHER MOM, standing at the crosswalk with me, staring at my chest and making the math-hurts face.

I had to glance down at my shirt to remember which one I was wearing. And then I was a bit confused because really…uh…this isn’t one of those puzzle-shirts, it’s just, you know, a slogan, right?

And then she suddenly goes, “Is that, like, a statement about how conventional farming is totally about corporate greed these days, and that’s why our food chain is so broken that it is killing us?” 

First I went Disappointed smile

Then I went Thinking smileoooooookayyyyyy, that was an…INTERESTING…leap, but I GUESS I can KINDA see it…

“Er, no. Hahaha. No. This is actually from a game – it’s the name of one of my guilds in Elder Scrolls.”

She’s still making math hurts face at me, which really should have been my cue to just say, “…it’s a video game” and shut up, but oh no, that would have been something a normal person would do.

Instead, I went full on Alien

And that was why, $DEITY forgive me, I tried to explain MMOs, guilds, ‘farming’ in video games and in-game economies.

You know, the talking-too-fast Cliff’s Notes version. Because we’re standing on the street waiting for the crossing guard to force the reluctant drivers to obey her.

And now then she’s looking at me like I just went, “Meepa-beepa! MeepMeep! Boop-boop-meep-waaaaaaahka-whaka-wahKA! Woot-woot! Beep!”

So she did what any suburban mother would do when confronted by an alien making beeping noises and said, “Oh, that sounds like fun…”

“Uh, yeah. It…yeah, it is. Hahaha. Ahem. Have a good one!”

“You too, hahaha!”

I couldn’t help but think, though, as I settled in front of my massive monitors, ergonomic keyboard and Mouse of Many Buttons that she was actually pretty darned lucky.

I might have been wearing my “Not Normalized” shirt.

No, well, hahaha, OK, see, in database development? ‘normalization’ refers to…uh, noooo, actually, not ‘OH GOD, MAKE IT STOP!!!’ but rather…

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Meanwhile, in knitting…

According to my Ravelry notebook, I started working on the Fia Pullover in March 2013; as I recall, I got the sleeves done in no time flat, and then shot through about the first three inches of the main body…and then…well…I suddenly went, “…eh…” and set it aside.

Just as suddenly, I regained my enthusiasm for it not terribly long ago, pulled it out and started working on it again. It’s actually a rather pleasant knit – the “main” pattern requires having the ability to count and pay attention and thus I can readily see why I decided it made lousy BART knitting…but the side patterns are very easily memorized and require almost zero thought to speak of.

Which means that I can totally work on this while I’m watching foreign films with subtitles. Woot.

I realized last night that I was a mere ten rounds from the Beginning of the End – the shoulder shaping. 

At the moment, I am choosing to ignore the fact that there is still a lot of work to be done on this after the shoulders are cast off, and am allowing myself to enjoy the feeling of being “almost done” with it at last.

That I then have the blocking to do, and sewing and cutting the steeks on the main body and the sleeves, attaching the sleeves, and then the picking up and knitting of the collar…are problems for later.

For right now, I’m almost done.

Yay me!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Colds and Ceilings

I have a cold. A really nasty one, the kind where symptoms just kind of keep piling up on you. Fever, chills, cement-in-sinuses, coughing so hard you’re a little afraid you’re going to throw up, can’t breathe, wait, how can my nose be RUNNING this much when I’m so STUFFED UP?!, and no-medicine-on-earth-seems-to-do-anything-for-me sort of cold.

This has got to be some kind of record: The Denizens have only been in school for about two weeks, and bam. They brought home the bubonic plague for me to catch. Awesome.

Meanwhile, of course, both work and the construction on the Den continue without the slightest pause. Which is also desperately unfair. I mean, really, there ought to be some kind of law which says that when someone is clearly dying, everything around them should just, you know, stop. As a sign of some respect for their increasingly-delicate condition.

Especially things that involve loud banging noises or asking the dying person whether or not something is on-track for deploy on a specific date.

And man, it should be straight-up illegal to ask The Afflicted about items they’re allegedly supposed to be finishing up by a specific – and all-too-quickly approaching – date while there are loud banging noises going on in the background.

But, alas, the world does not work as it should. So work has this completely irrational idea that I’m going to be, you know, working during my shift (feh!), and that I’m going to be getting things done on time (whatever!) and that I will be maintaining “professional behavior” (pfffft!) and stuff like that.

While there has been much hammering, sawing, banging, thumping, and the occasional whoop of “whoa!” going on in the background.

Meanwhile, I opened my home office door (a.k.a., my bedroom door) Tuesday afternoon at the end of my work day and my house looked absolutely surreal.

The whole house seemed to be swathed in this plastic. Floor to ceiling. Taped down, so, um…question…? How do I get into my KITCHEN…?

It was kind of creepy, actually. Like something out of a slasher film. Brrrr.

But, there has been a lot of progress in four short days. On the outside of the house, we have a new office downstairs, and a bedroom upstairs.

My office has a door out to the garden (squee!), and windows on the other walls looking out into it (double squee!). (It also has a door inside the house – I won’t have to, you know, go outside to get into my office or anything.)

It’s a little hard to envision what it will be like when it’s a house instead of…a garage? or a storage shed? which is kind of how it feels right now.

To get access to the upstairs bedroom, well, we needed a new walkway. This was trickier than we expected, naturally, because it couldn’t go where we had sort of thought it should due to code-stuff and clearance-stuff and load-bearing stuff.

So instead, you come up to the top of the stairs and make a u-turn onto the new walkway. But not right now. It’s missing the railings and such. Really kind of asking for trouble, trying to walk across that right now. (This does not, of course, stop the cats. In fact, they were also undaunted when it was just the support beams. What? I’m just out for a little STROLL, clumsy human…)

That walkway leads to a big new loft area, formerly the vaulted ceiling over the dining room…

…and the new upstairs bedroom is on the other side of that lit-up area. Which is a window. Which is going to be torn out of there pretty soon.

Much as we’d like to think we’re “nearly there” given that we have, you know, walls and floors and stuff, the sad truth is: We’re barely getting started. This is actually the “easy” part – the hard parts are still to come.

Like, it’s a little hard to get the perspective from that picture, but the total clearance where the door to the new bedroom will be is, I think, less than four feet.

Clearly not going to work.

So, the whole roof on that side of the house has to be “lifted” up by several feet.

That’s where I’m pretty sure things are going to suddenly start slowing way down; and of course the “finishing” work is extremely frustrating on that front. It’s like, done, buuuuuuuut, now you’re waiting for somebody to show up with paint, and then there’s all this “OK, so, we did our hour of work and now we have to wait X-long for things to dry or set, so, see ya tomorrow, lady!” stuff…

So I’m trying to enjoy this period of easily-measurable progress while it lasts.

Even if it does involve a rather insane amount of hammering, and sawing, and banging, and crashing, and…