Thursday, May 29, 2008

On line

We're moved in. The kitties are happy, and the net connection is up. We've even used the on-demand free movies.

I'm happy, because we have wildlife here. I've seen something that looked like a small heron, about duck-sized (I think it was a green heron), and I've seen a turtle. This makes me happy, as do the hummingbirds!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

On personal development

As some of you know, I work Faire. This is sort of about that.

There are several ways I could be described, personality-wise. I'm shy. I'm a perfectionist. I'm quiet. I generally don't like the spotlight. However, these aren't necessarily good things. When I went for working Faire, I deliberately went for a role that is completely against type. I don't usually deal well with talking to people I don't know; that's what this was all about. I like to consider my words and actions; this role forced me to just do it, and not stop to consider beyond "is this going to really freak the target out?". This role was very much Not Me, and yet I loved it. I was forcing myself outside of my comfort zone, insisting that I do things I really am not happy doing, and making myself see that it really did work out that way. This really helped force me out of the shell I inevitably build around myself. Working this role for almost the entire run of Faire (I worked my arse off, and only missed a couple weekends; those were basically because those weekends, my arse had fallen off) really pushed my limits, physically, mentally and emotionally, and it was a great time. As I said at the time: I wouldn't have let a job kick my arse that hard for $50 an hour, and yet there I was doing it for cookies.

One of the questions asked after the end of the run was "What was your favourite moment from this year's run?". Many people have answered, naming many great, fun things that happened.


I answered thus: "Every single one I was out there."

I really do feel that working Faire, just this one year, has helped improve me. I was pretty much subjecting my personality to Clarke's Second Law, and that is something that really does help me.

What do you do that you feel improves you?

On the hunt...

Well, our stuff is in, and being unpacked. We've knocked off for the night, though, due to extreme achiness and the stress of a day when NOBODY was on time but us.

Where the crud did my generic equivalent to Aleve get packed?

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Edge.

I find that dealing with setting up services is usually an annoyance of great note. Today was little exception... first, CableCo. I'm not naming names, but they're a cable company. You all know what such entities are like. They have an exceedingly uninformative website, a phone service that's somewhat broken, and exorbitant rates. They're also our only choice, since the only way we could get a southern aspect for a satellite dish would be by bolting it to the roof or the wall, and we can't do that, and we're not going back to over-the-antenna TV. We need our Discovery channel. We've also got no DSL availability there, so CableCo is our only choice for internet (dialup? Screw that!) and we're getting our phone through them also. This meant cancelling the order we'd set up with the Actual Phone Company, for when we thought we were moving into a different place...

Can you tell this is complicated? I don't deal well with complicated.

Now, we also had to figure out DVR service. See, we had a DVR on the satellite TV, and once you have a DVR, You Can Never Go Back. There is just no way you can do it. However, we had to choose between CableCo's offering or dealing with setting up a Tivo (sod their crazy capitalisation, I'm using title case for them and they're going to live with it), and that led to much looking at the net, scratching of heads and passing of notes while the LA was on the phone. We're probably going to go with Tivo, I think we decided, but I got kind of lost.

And finally, because we're using phone service from CableCo, we had to cancel our erstwhile long-distance provider. This was sad; Unitel had given us good prices, great customer service and no hassle at ALL for a long time. As and when we get to pick our long-distance provider again, we'll be going back to them.

And now I want ice cream, or possibly lunch. I may poke around some more with the toaster oven in order to get toasted cheese...

Which reminds me. Must tell the LA that I want a toaster oven once we've moved in...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On the Trip

As the LA has already said, the drive up went pretty well. What she refrained from mentioning was that I had a migraine when we set out, thanks to the presence of phosphoric acid in a bottle of Gatorade. The inadvertent experiment thus performed was brutal in its conclusiveness: Silas gets migraines whenever he ingests phosphoric acid. This means no more cola for me, ever - a fact about which I find myself unable to feel sad. Root beer tastes better anyway, and if I go for Barq's it fills my addiction nicely. There are also gourmet root beers, which isn't the case for colas; about the fanciest they get is Pepsi Max (confusingly, this is not the same as the Pepsi Max in the UK; it's full-sugar, and includes ginseng and guarana, whereas in the UK Pepsi Max is the sugar-free stuff), so overall, the lack of colas is meh. Dr Pepper is included, though, but I'm not so keen on that either.

Anyway. I was pretty well packed in by bags (under my legs) and snacks, including a pack of golden Oreos. Some of my British readers may know the standard Oreo; for those that don't, it's a sandwich biscuit, with "chocolate" flavoured outers and white cream filling of surpassing blandness. It's disappointing, really; the main purpose of it is to come apart cleanly, leaving all the cream on one of the biscuits, allowing the creation of the "double stuff". This version, incidentally, is available readymade in the US, making the creation of quad-stuff and more multiples-of-two easier, although with sufficient patience these may be assembled from single instances (although past quad-stuff, it gets silly). Anyway. There are also variously coloured versions of the basic chocolate version, differing in the flavouring of the cream (such things as mint, peanut butter...), and also, we recently discovered, there is the golden Oreo, which is the basic biscuit without the chocolate. They're rather nice, lacking the carbonised edge of the chocolate ones, and I quite liked them. For some reason, they reminded me of giving blood, and somewhere around Coalinga I finally worked out why this was.

They're custard creams.

And now, as the cats socialise with the grandparents and the LA naps on the huge couch, I shall hope that things work out tomorrow such that she and I can go and catch Indiana Jones at some point. I may also nap a while, and dream of the very good pizza which was today's lunch; I would love a proper stone pizza oven.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On the move...

What the LA said, plus migraine and exploding joints. Seems my body falls apart when I get stressed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On short notice

The move is... not going according to plan. It's still going, though.

More details once it's sorted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On Hiatus

No, the titles weren't a leadin to this. However, it's true: for the next While, don't expect updates, since the LA and I are moving home, and that means Busy. Not a huge amount of updating will go on, until we're settled in the new place, but once we do, I'll provide some photos of surroundings and get on with some crafty things. We'll actually have a yard/garden (depending on which side of the Pond you're from), so I'll want some shade-loving stuff to grow there - veg, herbs and suchlike. Also a dartboard - so yes, the plants will probably be container rather than actually planted, so I can still have the darts alley.

Don't worry. This isn't a webcomic hiatus...

Friday, May 9, 2008

On wrongness...

So, today I experimented with my hair.

I attempted to do the two braids thing. It sort of worked. Specificly, it worked in a technical sense, but looked distinctly wrongeddy-wrong.

I have pictures. The LA is going to get to see them. The rest of you, not so much.

When I try the Hugo Weaving braided sideburns thing, you may see photos.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On dwarves

7 Felsite
Never rains but it bloody pours. Bunch of immigrants arriving, and the farmer's gone bloody fey. Claimed the craftsdwarf's workshop, and has apparently nicked some elf bone from the tip. Didn't know we had any, I guess the bloody goblins must've killed a treehugger. Just when you think it's safe to hate, they go and do something nice for you...

12 Felsite
So we now have a legendary stonecrafter. Wouldn't you know it'd be Mostlyharmless's girlfriend? She's made a trumpet out of bituminous coal, apparently. Carved some pictures of dwarves into some elf bone and set it in. Bet the thing still sounds crap, but it'll be funny as hell to try and sell it to the treehuggers. Ordered the waterfall turned on to celebrate. Also told every bloody dwarf that can swing an axe and not chop his own bloody feet off to go and cut down trees. We need beds, and it'll piss off the treehuggers. Also, we can make charcoal, and then we can barbecue some of these bloody cows.

13 Felsite
Calls himself a hydraulic engineer? Bloody hell, the drawbridge is flooded! Turning that damned waterfall off again.

19 Felsite
Oh for Armok's sake. The damn waterfall is still going. How bloody long does this plumbing TAKE?

22 Felsite
They've knocked off on the bloody road again. Something in the way. Went out, looked, and bugger-all could I see. Useless gits.
Ordered a strip-mining project started, since the bloody platinum seems worked out. Also going to check and see if went up or down or summat, but for now, a big grid works well enough. Keeps the miners busy, anyway.

24 Felsite
There's a bloody cow in my retreat. Get the damned thing out of there!
The stripminers have struck bauxite. Just what we needed, more of the bloody stuff. They're also moaning about damp. Bloody wimps, we're in a swamp! Of course it's bloody damp!

1 Hematite
Summer. Already? Bloody Nora. I need a drink...

2 Hematite
Drawbridge finally stopped flooding. Gah.

13 Hematite
Oh, Armok, the humans have showed up now. Oh well, they should have some booze. I think we got fleeced on the trade, though; I've never seen a grown human dance so stupidly before. Got a load of food and booze out of them, and also noticed while taking inventory that we had enough platinum for my statue to be made.

14 Hematite
So the head human honcho cornered me and wants to know what we want. Simple, booze and cheese. We can make chips ourselves, but you can't have nachos without booze and cheese.

16 Hematite
Oh bloody Armok, the gobbos are here again. Told everyone to get their arses in, and shut the door. Only trouble is, it wouldn't bloody shut. Turns out there's a shield jamming the hinges, and HOW bloody long has it been there? Mind you, I heard one place had its doors jammed by a dead bloody butterfly. There's such a thing as too bloody fine of a tolerance, guys.

22 Hematite
I think the gobbos have gone. Told everyone they could go out again.

24 Hematite
Oh bollocks. More of the green bastards, and wouldn't you know it, they've only gone and bloody killed Mostlyharmless's bird. He is NOT gonna like that. I'm getting someone else to tell him. If he tantrums, we're all screwed.

28 Hematite
He didn't tantrum, but someone else did. Smashed a bloody door, and says she enjoyed doing it. Didn't have the heart to punish her, though, since it has been a bit bloody fraught lately.
Wish the humans'd bugger off. Enough to make you paranoid, all these bastards twice your height wandering round.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On the Mountainhomes

6 Slate
Still no bloody coal, apparently. Lazy sods won't go out and look for it. Construction continues on my retreat, but these damned miners are leaving so many bloody rocks behind I'll need to walk on the wall if I don't want to turn my bloody ankle. At least someone's smoothing the place off; I will NOT retire to a retreat with unsmooth walls!

19 Slate
I found some bloody coal, and told the lazy buggers to follow the seam. It appears they've managed to; I've heard nothing more about a lack of coal, anyway. Told the guys to dump all the bloody claystone, but there's still a shitload of bauxite in there. Made a stockpile for it outside, in case we can figure out what to do with it. I was sure some bugger told me it could be smelted into aluminium (or aluminum as these bloody backwoods types will call it) but apparently not. It's a nice colour, though. Maybe I should designate it for making toys. The treehuggers'd like that. Told some bugger to clean up the goblin bits, too; it's been bloody ages.

26 Slate
Got a table in what will become my study. It's got bloody onyx spikes all over it. Spikes? Who the hell puts spikes on a TABLE, for Armok's sake?
Ordered Mostlyharmless to make me a platinum statue for my entrance hall. Might as well impress the hell out of everyone. I fitted a door, too. Bloody good one, same claystone as the surrounding rocks, but it's studded with platinum. I like this stuff, it's shiny and stays that way.

2 Felsite
Armok damn it. Mostlyharmless has cancelled my statue order. Says he needs more platinum. Told the miners they know where the bloody stuff is, go and dig it, and told the smelter to smelt it into bars because the picky bastard that he is, Mostlyharmless refuses to just use it even though it's pure when it comes out of the rock. Nothing reacts with this stuff, but for him it's got to be bars. Bloody jumped-up smith, just because he made a legendary bit of armour... greaves, at that. Why couldn't it have been a bloody helmet?
I'm going for a bloody drink. Soon as they've made my chair for the new office, I'm moving my work to there. Spikey the table may be, but that bloody nose demon is freaking me out. This desk is getting destroyed, I tell you...

More on cod and pieces thereof

I ended up not putting the squeaky toy in. The size is comedy enough...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Further on the dinner of Molesworth

So, my noodlings were successful, and I also showed the LA some of the features of her sewing machine. The basic shape for the front of the codpiece is a right-angled triangle, but with the hypoteneuse bulged, or perhaps a rectangle with one corner rounded off. This provides the bulge, when sewn together by the curved edges. I overstitched the edges to prevent fraying, and also to provide myself with a guide for the actual seams. Once I had the front together, I then cut out the back by try-fitting, overstitched its edges, and then made up ribbon loops for attachment via buttons to the breeches. Then I sewed it on most of the way, and left a hole to turn the codpiece right-side-out. Now all I need to do is find a squeaky dog toy, and get some wadding with which to stuff it, and then sew some buttons on to attach it to the breeches.

And in case you were wondering... not that silly. About 3 inches of bulge, and about seven inches high. Certainly less showy than, say, Henry VIII's.

On the Dinner of Molesworth

Or, the Piece of Cod that Passeth All Understanding.

So, my breeches are rather boring as they stand (not on their own; such is a grievous state for clothing, unless it be a wool greatcoat), and so I need a codpiece. Problem the first: lack of pattern...

So, I'm currently noodling with a piece of paper, to try and figure out a shape that will give me a suitable power bulge without looking as daft as the Black Adder's one. I've got ideas, here.

Problem the second: further visual interest. I'm thinking of some embroidery (yes, I know; ambitious!) but if this fails to work out, I'm going to want something, since the fabric is merely a contrast to the breeches. I may go for pinning my Constable badge to it for the first week...

Problem the third: reaching a pet store. I need a squeeky dog toy...

The final result will be buttoned to my breeches front next weekend...

On the murdering of swamps

Typical of this bloody place. Old Mostlyharmless was supposed to have me take over on the first of Granite, but he wasn't ready till the third. Let's see what we've got to do...

Later: OK, so that lever works that blasted waterfall he was so proud of, and that one works the drawbridge. I guess telling someone to sit by it and pull it as often as possible was nasty, but it was funny to watch it go shooting in and out... Started a Grand Project of somewhere I can smeg off to and be alone when I get out of this job. What's this? We need refined coal? Well, where's the bloody unrefined coal? Go and dig some out, refine it, and stop bothering me. I can hardly read Mostlyharmless's runes, and here I am trying to run the bloody fortress off the notes he left me. Mostly carved into the bloody desk. What the hell "Kilroy Was Here" is supposed to mean, I don't know, and as for that ugly glyph above it, it scares me... is it some kind of nose demon? I need a bloody drink.

A bit later on: Oh, bloody hell. The treehuggers are here. Guess someone had better see what they want. That lazy bastard of a sheriff was counting stuff, so I told anyone they could trade. I think we got stiffed, though. This gnomeblight stuff better be damned good booze, the price they want for it. Work continues on my Grand Project of a place for me to go and retire to at the end of my term in office...

2nd Slate: First time I've been able to check the date in some time. Bloody treehuggers wouldn't leave, then we got frigging goblins turning up. I think we killed them all, though. I can't bloody tell, I'm stuck in this office for so damned long all I have to go on is fourth hand "Yeah, they're all dead" type reports. Bloody useless, I tell you. Not a month on the job and I'm wondering how Mostlyharmless stayed sane as long as he did. I'm going to go sketch out more designs for my Big Retirement Cavern, and then see what this gnomeblight shit's like to drink...

Friday, May 2, 2008

On new responsibilities

I'm in a succession game of Dwarf Fortress, in a place called Swampmurder. I've just received the note from the previous overseer...

A little background.

It's a pisshole in the swamp. It's in Blessed wilderness though, so you shouldn't have much to do with wild animals.
The goblins and kobolds have been mostly quiet Save for an attack that took our finest mechanic. To the northeast, there is a vein of native platinum. to your direct east there is a pit mine just past the farms.
The underground farms are directly below the moat. The one on the left is permanently flooded due to mishaps with the waterfall.
Speaking of the waterfall, it is lovely, just don't forget to turn it off. If you manage to drain out the plumbing for it, you may be able to keep it running full time.
You have one legendary armorsmith, me. He is also the metalworker, and a damn good weaponsmith.
The workshops are directly past the main entrance hall. It's so backlogged with crap needing to be done it's not even funny.
I'll let you run the rest.

Looks like I have my work cut out...