Journals

Nov. 29th, 2012 09:52 pm
mellificent: (fall landscape)
Hmm, Holidailies has about 15 more participants than the last time I looked, a couple of days ago. I guess people are gradually figuring out that it's there again, maybe?

Also the formatting of the "post" page looks different in LJ today. It also has a "switch to old version" option but I don't think I mind the new one, so far, so I'll stick with it until it starts annoying me.

Related to that, there has been some discussion among my Twitter friends lately to the effect of "Why is anybody still using Livejournal?" Which, y'know, I have a certain amount of sympathy for, since I actually haven't been using Livejournal much, lately. But when it comes to Holidailies, it still seems like the place to be, in my mind, somehow! I still like reading my LJ friends page when I actually remember to do it, anyway - and that sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, in a sense, because if I read my friends page, then I might remember to post, and if people are posting, I'm more likely to remember. (Somebody else said, "I miss the old days when everybody was on LJ," and I agree with that completely.)
mellificent: (baseball - winter wait)
In case anybody who is interested hasn't seen this elsewhere: Holidailies registration is open. Here you go.
mellificent: (nasonex)
I hear that Holidailies is a go for this year, so expect lots of chattering about nothing to resume here around the first of December. (I might shoot for some warm-up-posts before then.)

(Also, FYI, because I seem to have things to say about nail polish that I figure not everybody wants to hear about, I've been posting whatever I have to say about that to my long-unused Delicious Color blog.)
mellificent: (brain leaking)
chalaza
the little ropey bit attaching the yolk of an egg to the white

I didn't know this word, and I hate that part of the egg. When I make omelets (which is usually the only time I cook with eggs), I always try to throw that part away. So it's a bit useful to me to have a word for it!



Added: Oops, I almost forgot to say that I found that here: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2012/09/two_mens_eggs.html
(And yes, it's a food blog, a place that I don't normally venture. I wandered over there from Pinterest, because I had pinned this cake: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2009/10/behind_the_scenes_out_cakes_of.html - which is very pretty and is made from bundt cakes, so it doesn't require buying a special pan. Not that I'm planning to make such a thing, anyway. Definitely not!)


(Now locked to further comments since I was getting spam here.)
mellificent: (SLoD - brains)

Yes. This.

@scottEweinberg: Again, the HFPA is a moronic farce of a critics group. They're asskissers who live to shake hands with Clooneys and such. Remember this plz.

@cleolinda: And also, there's booze and Meryl always gets her drink on and no one gives a shit by the end of the night! And that is why I love them.

@cleolinda: I'm just saying, the Golden Globes are intellectually bankrupt but they also don't make us watch interpretive dance.

From here: http://cleolinda.livejournal.com/2012/01/15/


[livejournal.com profile] columbina and I had a long conversation while playing SWTOR in the middle of the Golden Globes - I wasn't really watching per se but I would glance over and make the occaional random comment like, "ooh brendan gleeson." The gist of it was that he hates award shows and doesn't watch them, whereas I almost always watch and generally enjoy them, although I know and mostly agree with all the points against them. But, y'know, foofy dresses! Drunk Meryl Streep! I am weak. (Like that is news.) And I didn't really watch the GG's as I said, because SWTOR seems to demand more attention, for whatever reason, than a lot of the games we've played did. Which means that today, since I'm at work and bored, I'm looking up coverage of the show so I can goggle at the dresses some more and find out what else happened that I missed. (Not much, by the look of things. Except for a few dresses, and that's what the Fug Girls are for, anyway.)

mellificent: (buffy quote - death star)
OK, so this is what I get up to in The Old Republic when [livejournal.com profile] columbina isn't around - he was off today, and we played for a couple of hours this morning, but he left with a migraine around lunchtime. So after he left I:
1. decided I needed (game) money (which is, in grand old Star Wars tradition, actually called "credits" rather than money), and one way to get it is to kill a lot of stuff. So I...
2. run around the planet where we already were (Balmorra) and kill a lot of stuff. This does get me moneycredits, slowly, from looting directly and also from picking up sellable items. It also gives me a slow but steady pickup of xp (experience points), which is probably going to displease Col later because he doesn't really like it when I get ahead, and we have been playing these characters entirely together. But oh well, I didn't do it on purpose to get xp, and I didn't do any quests. (Well, except for one which I mention below, but that's a daily so it doesn't count either.)
3. I was also picking up archaeological items at the same time - that's my Sith's gathering profession - and I did some crafting along the way, and then I realized that I was running out of the crystals that you get earlier on, and I wasn't getting any more of them on Balmorra. But none of the crafting recipes used the higher-level items yet, so I decided to go to the Imperial Fleet to the crafting trainer, and see if I had any new recipes yet. (Eventual answer: I did, but they were not much help.)
    Now the game does not make this bit of travel really easy to do - I guess going from one planet to another really ought not be that easy, should it? so I trekked back to town to the spaceport, got on my ship, made the jump to the fleet (which actually is in an entirely different sector of the galaxy, so the galactic map says), got off the ship again, and ran through the cantina at the center of the spaceport (don't ask me why, but that's where you come out when you get off your ship) and halfway across the spaceport to the trainer - which takes at least as long to do as the hyperdrive jump took. The space station is big.
4. Then I made a pit stop at the Galactic Trade Market (which in any other game would be called the auction hall - although here there's no pretense of an auction, really - you put your stuff up for sale at a price you choose, and people buy it or not). I bought some of the crystals I was looking for at a fairly reasonable price, then I realized that all the rest of them were for sale for much much more (like 100 credits each) and I probably wasn't going to get any more at the reasonable price (which was more like 12 each). So then I...
5. bopped off to another planet, to Dromund Kaas, which is the Sith capital, and is where I got the crystals in the first place, to hunt down some more of them.
6. At DK, I get sidetracked between the spaceport and town by some elites that I figure out I can now kill without getting killed myself. They don't give me xp any more, because I am 10 levels higher than them, but they do give me a fair number of credits and I'm still interested in credits. (I also manage to do a daily that involves killing these elites. Once again, no xp, but credits.)
7. I cut across the bottom of town and head off toward the ruined temple place because I'm really supposed to be hunting those crystals, and I remember that that place had a lot. On the way, I wander into another elite area, and this one doesn't go so well - they are higher level - still lower than me, but they're elites and I'm not big enough to kill these guys yet. I die, poor Vette (my NPC companion) dies, and when I rez, I back the heck out of there.
8. Wander around the exterior of the temple looking for crystals. Find a lot of crystals, eventually also find a green doorway (meaning one I can go into) that I don't think I remember seeing before. Nothing tries to kill you, there's just some machines. (Apparently it is the Matrix Assembly place described here, but I just now got around to looking that up.) I poke around at the machines, and figure out that they have something to do with datacrons and something to do with these matrix shard thingys that are lying around in my inventory. Play around with them randomly and end up with a Matrix Cube, which describes itself in the tooltip as a relic, which is something I know there's an inventory slot for. It's not really the stats I need, but oh well. I'm lucky it was something useful at all, and it didn't summon some elite that would have killed me - or make my shards go poof because I did it wrong. I am just pleased I figured it out without consulting the wiki! (I think it was the RYG one I made, and those were the only three colors I had so my options were limited anyway. A blue one would have been required to make the ones for my warrior's primary stat, and I didn't have that.) Never did make it inside the main part of the temple.

So there you are. Got some credits and some useful items, and learned something interesting. Not at all what I expected to do today, but not a total loss, in game terms.
mellificent: (Happy NY - gif)
Gawd, look how organized I was with the holiday stuff in 2007 - the nutcrackers lined up on the china cabinet and all! I was very unusually organized that year, generally, which not coincidentally was the same year my mother died - we had moved right before that and we were dealing with the estate stuff, too, so I had had to be. I guess you have to know me to know how unusual that is.

But also it occurs to me - especially when it comes to decorating for the holidays - that I liked the layout of that apartment more than the one we have now - it had that large living/dining area that went all the way from the front to the back of the apartment, and the bedrooms on the side. It was generally a very roomy apartment, but I especially loved the living area. I think that helped me be a little more organized. (I read back through those 2007 entries, and up to the beginning of 2008, all the entries about Las Vegas. It's like a time machine.)

OK, now back to cards. (Cards were about the only thing I was semi-organized about this year.)

I went to a Stampin' Up class - well, actually I've been going to them off & on all year. (Sort of a disclaimer here: while their classes do use primarily their own products, the ones I go to don't push you to buy anything at all. I do think that their products are very, very good quality and I've ended up buying quite a lot of stuff from them lately, but I really love that they don't try to force them on you, and I'm not trying to sell you anything either! I'm just showing you what we've been doing.) The usual thing that we do in these classes is make maybe 4 or 5 different cards - for various occasions, depending on the season and such - and sometimes a novelty sort of item like a card holder or a candy holder or something like that, and the price of the class includes all the supplies to make all these items. What we did in December was make whole bag full of cards instead - it did cost a little more to make up for the extra supply cost, but it was still pretty reasonable. I think it was 5 each of 4 different cards that we made, or maybe it was 4 each of 5 - I guess when I look at the pictures again I'll figure out which one it was!


We had also made some Christmas/holiday cards the month before, and that was these two (and maybe one more that I didn't get a picture of):
 
and then this one:

Both of these used what SU calls "builder punches" - one punch that punches out several different related items. For the stocking it is the stocking body, plus the cuff, heel & toe pieces. And there's also a coordinating stamp set. (SU is very big on coordinating stamps and punches, as a matter of fact.) The other one is a pennant set - imagine several of the little triangular tree pieces turned upside down and strung on a cord, then it becomes one of those pennant garlands that have been so popular the last couple of years, right? Whoever designs all this stuff was very clever and anticipated this double use - you can tell because of (a) the tree design that's stamped on it, and (b) and maybe (c): the little brown pot the tree is sitting in, all of which was in the same stamp set, and I think that the star on top may have been, too. Anyway, I thought both of these were very cute.

And here are the December ones (there are 5 here, apparently, so we must have made 4 each of 5!): 





Let's see, I guess we'll number them from 1-5 and I'll comment:
1) is probably the simplest: vellum run though an embosser with a snowflake pattern, and glued down - which is the tricky part, with vellum, because if you use the wrong kind of adhesive, it shows through. I think we put glue dots under the spots where the rhinestones were, and we hid some more under the ribbon. We used different colors of cardstock - I got home with red and green - and they all looked beautiful, although I think the red ones are my favorite.
2) was a technique that the demonstrator Sue had seen somewhere I think - you use baby wipes to make a sort of ad hoc stamp pad. SU sells little reinker bottles for all their stamp colors, so she dripped ink in stripes onto the stack of wipes, and made it large enough to cover this medallion stamp, which is a large one, I would say it's 5 or 6" in diameter, at a guess**. And then the black sentiment is embossed to make it stand out. I really like this technique a lot. I'm trying to persuade myself that I don't need to have this stamp to go with it!
3) was the most complicated, with an embossed background, candy canes die-cut out of two different kind of paper, and some lacy trim to boot. They naturally also took the longest to make. (Even though we had all the pieces for the candy canes, figuring out how to put them back together was not as easy as you'd think!)
4) was probably my very favorite. It was supposed to have green ribbon on it like the vellum ones have, and I kept forgetting the ribbon, and then I decided it didn't need the ribbon at all. The glitter is something called (I think) Diamond Dust, and it was really really pretty and it also got all over everything. And I mean everything.
5) had mica flakes substituting for snow, which was weird but it came out pretty cute. These were also pretty fussy to make.

It's also possible that some of you will see some of these in person next year, because I didn't use them all up! (Once I make these fancy ones, I tend to hoard them, as I have said before.)

(and I'm getting very sleepy now so I'm stopping now.)



** It occurred to me later that this couldn't possibly be correct, because the card is only something like 5-1/2" wide. (Because they're normally made out of half of an 8-1/2x11" sheet.) So that stamp must be more like 4 or 4-1/2" - still big, but not THAT big.

Cards

Dec. 30th, 2011 06:46 pm
mellificent: (Happy NY - sparkly)
This might end up being a two-parter, because apparently I took a lot of pictures of cards.

I've been meaning all along to post this after all the cards (or rather, all the cards I'm going to get around to sending this year, which is not quite the same thing) went out - I did a little bit of experimenting around with making cards on my own this year, which I haven't done too much of up to now. My first few tries were not terribly successful, but I think I'm improving. I did a few things in the style I've learned in cardmaking class, and a few things my own way. So here's the photographic evidence. (If I get around to doing part 2, it will be the cards that we did in cardmaking class, because they're really cute.)

This is what I mean by "the style I've learned in cardmaking class" - lots of layers. It does come out very well. These are stamps from a big set of clear stamps I had, and the printed paper is just some out of a package that I bought at the craft store, I think. The trick here (learned after a couple of failed experments) is that the cardstock you make the base card out of has to be thick enough to bear the weight of the layers. The ones on these cards are in fact not very heavy, but some I've done are.

(The mustard-colored cardstock doesn't look very good in the picture, but I thought it was fine in person. I don't know if I was mistaken or if it just photographed badly!)

I used the same set of stamps to do these. I'm pretty sure the scalloped cards were out of the dollar bin, but I thought they came out pretty good, considering. (I could have tried to ornament these some more, somehow, but I decided that was likely to come out badly, and left well-enough alone. I liked the relative simplicity of them.)

I was experimenting with inks, too - the lighter green is Stampin' Up dye ink (in Wild Wasabi, if you want to know) and the darker one is a pigment ink that I already had (color was something like Evergreen). I like both of them but they do give you very different effects.

What are these big manila tags supposed to be used for? Bookmarks? Tags for very large gifts? Some commerical purpose that never even occurred to me? I don't really know, but I like this one. I have a fondness for snowflakes, so I've picked up several snowflake-themed stamps over the years, and I pulled out every shade of blue ink I could find, and stamped away. (I later did several cards along these lines, also.)


The music staves here are all the same rolling stamp from Stampin' Up - I bought a couple of them. (The other one is trees.) And I didn't know what the felt snowflakes might possibly be good for when I bought them, but they turned out to be very useful! I think I used the same "Happy holidays" stamp on the inside of this card that was on the tag above, to carry through with the snowflake theme.
mellificent: (buffy quote - flawed design)
I saw in yesterday's paper that Sears is closing stores. Really, I think it's past time. I mean, it's possible they could do a revamp and bring the "softer side of Sears" back from the dead - stranger things have happened - but really, I think it may be too late for that. I mean, they were making jokes about that catchphrase on the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and that was in, what, 1997? (Is it a bad thing that I know what jokes are in the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Nah, probably nobody that's reading this is likely to think it is.) Well, anyway, I think Sears really needs to shrink down to being just hardware and appliances, the things at which they are good, and give up on soft lines, which they haven't been any good at for the last 50 years or so! I think maybe older people (by which I mean, considerably older than me, meaning people who are seriously senior citizens) buy clothes at Sears sometimes, still, because they are there and they are familiar, but when's the last time you went in Sears except for hardware or to buy applicances? For me, it's been a couple of years, I think. I can think of at least one shirt I own that came from Sears, and it's cute enough, but there's nothing outstanding about it - it just looks like something you could buy anywhere, and it wasn't especially cheap. I see no reason to cry for the demise of Sears.

mellificent: (WoW - shiny)

I know some of you are not interested in hearing about games. Sorry about that. I find the differences between games rather endlessly fascinating, which I guess is obvious from the amount I talk about it, isn't it?


In addition to the real-life crafts I'm involved in, which are complicated enough, I seem to accidentally be playing two games right now which have very elaborate crafting systems. First there's Glitch, which has fairly detailed, realistic food recipes for the most part - with some goofy exceptions like the way you make all spices out of allspice, and you make fruit with a fruit-changing machine (out of cherries). I've been playing Glitch for, what, three months now, and so I've got that system mostly down. Not completely, because there are a lot of different crafts and there's a few I haven't really ventured into much, but mostly.

Now there's SWTOR, in which your companions do the crafting for you, technically - but you have to tell them what to do, for the most part. You can actually send them off to do "missions" on their own. You can read the description before you send them but you don't get to hear about what happens after they leave - they just come back with stuff for you, or not. (Them coming back with nothing is fairly rare, so far, but it's happened once or twice.) My Sith warrior, which is my most advanced character, has two companions now, and a ship. (A very nice ship, actually!) The 2nd companion came with the ship, and is a droid. (He says lots of comically servile things, C-3PO style, which I can't remember enough of to quote right now.)

Anyway, in SWTOR you have three "professions" - a crafting one, a gathering one, and a third one that I think is called "missions" or something, although actually the gathering one also has missions of its own. So my crew trained to be an Artificer, which so far involves making hilts for lightsabers, and also the color crystals which make the "body" of the saber turn different colors. Then my gathering one is Archaeology, which involves gathering crystals and various kinds of artifacts, and the third one is Treasure-Hunting, interestingly enough. (All Indiana Jones - similar to Archaeology, but not quite the same!) Some missions are to come back with lockboxes which might have money in them or other stuff, some are for different items which you can give to your companions as gifts, others are for gems. See what I mean about complicated? Oh, and also, sometimes she comes back with gift "fragments" which you can take to a "curator" who is supposed to be able to combine them. Col actually got sort of mad at me while I was wandering all over Fleet HQ - which is HUGE - trying to find this curator person. It turned out that they're really just sort of a vendor - you go to them with the proper number of fragments and they offer you a choice of several different gifts you can buy with your fragments. It really is kind of a crazy system.

Cruises

Dec. 28th, 2011 12:26 am
mellificent: (Mel - snow)
I had to go around a big traffic jam yesterday on the way to work, caused by cruise ships. Apparently the City of Galveston knows how to handle the traffic caused by one ship offloading and reloading passengers. It's when there's more than one that they start having trouble. And both of the ones that were there were really big ships, which probably makes a difference as well. Until lately, the main ship that did cruises out of Galveston was the Carnival Ecstasy, which is a considerably smaller ship. Cruises out of Galveston are a booming business (mostly because if you live in the Midwest you can generally fly to Houston a lot cheaper than you can fly to Miami), so the Ecstasy has apparently been assigned elsewhere, and now we have the Carnival Triumph and the Carnival Magic, both of which are very much larger. They never come in on the same day, though, so the ones there yesterday were the Magic and then the Mariner of the Seas, which I'm pretty sure is a Royal Caribbean ship. It's been around about once a week lately as well. (It's a very pretty ship, I think - its design is much more interesting than the Carnival ships.)

My life kind of revolves around boats these days, a bit. I can sure tell you a lot more about tankers and tugboats than I could six months ago, believe me. Although my dad was a commercial fisherman for a long time so I guess I've probably always known more about boats than the average person, whether I wanted to or not. The funny thing is that I don't even like being on boats all that much - I'm either sort of claustrophobic or maybe it's that I'm a bit of a control freak in my way, and it bothers me that when you're on a boat you're out of control, unless you're the pilot, and you can't just get off any time you please. I've never been on a cruise and I don't much have any desire to - I would go if my friends were going, maybe, or something like that. Other than that, well, Rob's not interested either so I probably won't. It's a good thing for Carnival et al. that everybody's not like me.



(Also, speaking of Cruises of a different kind, we went to see the Mission: Impossible movie tonight. I am not Mr. Cruise's biggest fan, by any means, but it was pretty good.)

mellificent: (Xmas excess)
I know it's not the most important thing about Christmas, but the first thing I want to talk about is that my cousin shellaced my nails (shellacked? I dunno). I have been somewhat less nail-obsessed lately than I had been in a while, but this has woken that obsession up just a bit, apparently. For those of you - probably most of you - that don't know what that means, it's sort of the latest thing in nail polish. I think it was this color that she used (but she didn't pay that much for it because she's a licensed cosmetologist and all that stuff - but I think she said she paid $15 a bottle for it, which is still a lot, and it's not a very big bottle, either). Anyway, the deal is that you set it with a UV lamp and it goes on very thick and shiny and hard and it's supposed to last a long time, that's the idea, anyway. I am not entirely convinced about that, but it really looks good, at the very least. That's really why I let her do it, because I wanted to know if it really lasts long enough to be remotely worth it. It didn't really take any longer to do than a regular manicure, because the drying time is built in - and with somebody else doing the painting, you can paint one hand while the other one is stuck in the UV thing, so it goes even faster. (Although I am too cheap to pay for manicures, not to mention the fact that I just don't want anybody messing with my cuticles - little quirk of mine - so even if I bother to go out and buy all the stuff for it, I will still be doing it myself, anyway.) So that was my "unofficial" Christmas present from my cousin, and I'll try to remember to report back on how it lasts!

As far as the actual Christmas festivities... well, my cousins have children of various ages, and some of THEM have children, so there was a lot of coming and going between the various sets of parents and grandparents and such, and there was one pair of children I never did see at all, but at least I managed to see most of the extended family, anyway. (My aunt is now a great-grandmother, which I still find kind of freaky.) The children I did see all behaved very well, and it was quite a pleasant couple of days, overall.

I'm not really talking about presents, that much, because I already had most of mine - SWTOR was one, technically, because it was pretty expensive, and I also have a new printer which I haven't even hooked up yet. (And there's all that Stampin Up stuff I bought lately, which I would like to be able to count as a Christmas present because I feel guilty about it, but really it's not.) Rob got a couple of surprises for me - a Dr Who video (it was a Pertwee one, I forget the name), and "The King's Speech". His surprises are almost always either DVDs or jewelry, and this year it was videos. He's pretty good at picking both, really. I got him a t-shirt that I found on Etsy that said, "Danger ZOMBIES Run" which he really liked. (I think it's on my Pinterest account, if you know where that is, but otherwise I'm feeling too lazy to go look it up.) I'm glad he liked it because it was fairly expensive by the time I paid shipping and everything. And he got a whole bunch of comic book anthologies, and a couple of videos - one was an old Warner Archive movie that I can't remember the name of. (It had James Farentino in it, and it may have been an old Movie of the Week, I'm not sure. He loves those. -- And yes, as you may be able to infer from all that, he told me what to buy.) Oh, yeah, and the other one was Fright Night (this years' version - he of course already has the old one) - I said that one was really a present for both of us, because I liked that one too.

(Okay, I talked about presents more than I thought. Oh well.)


mellificent: (Xmas - pink aluminum)
It's officially winter. According to my phone (which seems to be fairly accurate as far as I can tell), it's 57F outside, and is supposed to be in the 40s at night for almost the whole next week, which is relatively chilly by our - admittedly wimpy - standards. We've had a lot of rain the past few days, so it's wet and chilly, yuck.

It hasn't been a good week, which is sort of typical for me for this time of year, really. I talked a week or so ago about having SAD, but then I also just tend to be sick this time of year - more often after Christmas than before, really. And of course it's really hard to sort those two things out - do you get depressed because you're sick, or vice versa? I really think it can work either way, and it's one of those things that's a complex interplay that people (being people, and impatient) have a tough time sorting out. 

Anyway, I haven't been to work since Monday. Monday I almost burst into tears at work - my boss was in a bad mood, and I was in a bad mood and/or sick and/or weepy... I cried through Hugo on Sunday, more than was really warranted, that was the first sign there, and then Monday in the Starbuck's drive-through the lady in front of my paid for me, and I barely got away from the window before I burst into tears again. I've been prone to that sort of hormonal-fueled (presumably) weepiness off and on the last couple of years. Who knows, I'm at menopause age and there's no telling what's going on with my hormones. I suspect I wasn't really needed at work for the most part, because there were things going on with the boat this week and I'm not involved with that. (I'm avoiding being specific about that, sorry.) I'm doing some work from home, in any case, more as the week has gone on, so it's not like I'm slacking off completely. And thank goodness, the tendency to weep at the drop of a hat seems to have slacked off a bit. I really do hate that.


------------------------------------------------------------------

I haven't played a lot of SWTOR except when Col is around - not because I don't enjoy it, but more because I am feeling the press of Other Things I Ought To Be Doing. I did get the last of the cards mailed the other day. I have some little bracelets I found to give my female aunts and cousins - they're cute, and they were inexpensive, and that may be all they get right now. I told my aunt that I was just doing token gifts for everybody anyway. Most of the rest of them ought to be doing the same thing - I know my cousins in particular don't have any money right now. So I need to quit stressing over that and just wrap the bracelets and get over it. I have the gift cards for the kids. I haven't gotten my dad and my sister (who I probably won't be seeing anyway) anything... which seems weird. Maybe I'll order my dad something off of Amazon. Actually, maybe I should do that now - it might not get there til after Christmas but oh well. In past years we have gone to see my dad and his wife sometime the week after Christmas, say, and hung out at their house for an afternoon. But we saw them at Thanksgiving (which is unusual) and I've got to work next week so nothing like that may happen. And my sister is in San Antonio (some 250 miles away) and we really have stopped exchanging gifts, anyway. I sent her a card, and I'll call both her and my dad on Christmas Eve (tomorrow, oy vey) or Christmas Day, but that's about all we do. P. works retail so she probably has to work all week next week as well.

Despite the tone of what I wrote above, I'm not particularly depressed. I've been enjoying the making and sending of cards this year - and receiving them, a lot of them (thank you, Weet and TUS exchanges for that!) - Rob comes in with the mail and says, "Another one for Mel" - that's how we know they're cards from the "online people". (I increasingly am wanting everybody to call me Mel rather than my real name, but that's another whole discussion. My cardmaking group does call me Mel, but they're the only real-life people who do.)

Anyway, I may or may not get updates in in the next few days but - I hope everybody is enjoying your holidays, whether it's Hannukah, Yule, Solstice, Christmas or whatever!


mellificent: (winter snowflake)
I am definitely in denial about it being the 21st of December. I wish the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas went as slowly as it did when you were a kid - I could use that time. Now it just flies by. I guess that's how it works, huh - when you want it to go fast it goes slow, and vice versa.

I've got plenty of stuff for Rob - every bit of it ordered online - and then I got (smallish) gift cards for all the kids - the little ones get so many gifts they go into overload, anyway, and the bigger ones are to that stage where they don't like anything picked out by a grownup. Actually, I just sent my nephew Parker some cash stuck inside a card, because I never see him at Christmas any more. And he's barely even a kid any more, anyway - he's 20, amazingly. He'll be 21 in February. In any case, I figured I'd give the gift cards for the little kids to their parents and tell them to get something later. I got the gift cards at Target, cause I figured that's a good all-purpose option. Better than Wal-Mart, at least. I thought about doing Old Navy or something for the bigger pair but that was too many stops, and I think they'll be just as happy, or maybe happier, with the Target ones.

I need to do a token something for the adults, which I guess will be jewelry, if I can get myself together enough to whip something up. I never did the watches I meant to do last Christmas, so if I can find the watch faces I had last year, I can do that. Or bracelets, which are almost as good. (People are always more impressed with watches, though - like you made the watch-face yourself or something.)

I did finish with the cards, more or less, although I still have some here that I need to go and mail. TODAY. If I don't do it today, they may not get there before Christmas. Not that that's really a tragedy, as far as I'm concerned - I think the holidays go until at least January 1st and maybe longer, but everybody doesn't seem to think that way. Many people who are extremely Christmas-centric seem to think things are over the minute the presents are opened. (I am tempted to segue into a rant about the Christmas-centric but I will refrain.)

And solstice is, what, tomorrow? I read something online that led me to think it was yesterday, but I know that wasn't right. I still haven't figured it out exactly, not that it really matters. The shortest day of the year is definitely either today or tomorrow, whatever. It's not like I'm going to go out and make a sacrifice to the spirit of Yule or anything.

(LJ says this is Bah Humbug! Day. I can see why.)


mellificent: (nothing to say)
(I'll shut up about SWTOR in a couple of days. Probably.)

SWTOR is officially open for business, as of a couple of hours ago. It wasn't even all that crowded when I went in. Juyo, where we were playing last week, was full, but they'd opened a lot of new servers and most of them weren't. I guess starting at midnight eastern means a lot of the kids have gone to bed, the east coast ones, anyway. It's hard to tell what the mix of people is for this game, although I commented early on that I'd heard more sort of vaguely (and occasionally not so vaguely) mysogynist talk in chat here and there than in most of the other games we've played. It's a more military-seeming game, it may get more of an FPS sort of crowd, I don't know. Some people definitely come from an MMO background - by which I mean WoW and Rift and the usual swords-and-sorcery kind of thing - but maybe not all of them.

I made a smuggler just now, because my bounty hunter was on the other server, the full one. (Smuggler is on the Republic side, bounty hunter is Imperial. They're practically the same, character-wise, really, except that they start on different planets and have different story lines - which makes them end up being not the same at all.) I am enjoying playing imperials, and especially the Sith, just because all the plots and the political machinations are so interesting. The Sith Warrior has a boss (or a "master") who seems like a nice enough guy - but then you are summoned to Darth somebody, who tells you to go kill the first guy, your master. And because I'm playing for dark points - I'm a Sith, after all - I do it. Actually, I suspect that even if you refuse - if you even can - you end up having to kill him, because he tries to kill you first. So if you kick about it, you just lose dark points. (And if you don't want dark points, why are you playing a Sith, really? Although it might be interesting to try to do a nice Sith, just for fun. I might try it sometimes. Col can tell you that I like starting new characters just for the fun of it, anyway - I have a long history of doing that.)
____________________________________

This is the first game I've played where you get a "companion" - meaning, an NPC who goes around with you. Well, GuildWars had henchmen and heroes, who you could take out with you on fights. Nightfall's "heroes" were probably pretty close to this, I guess. Anyway, I haven't played any game lately, let's say, that had anything like this system. It seems to be becoming fairly common, though, from what I've heard people saying about other games. So anyway...

A Sith Warrior gets a Twi'lek for a companion - you know, the ones with the long tail-like things growing from the back of their heads, like in Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi? This Twi'lek is a girl, and when you first see her, she has on a shock collar, and she's talking back to the jailer, just the same. Her name is Vette, and she's sort of a treasure-hunter sort of character. (In character for the Sith, who, remember, do have slaves - she is still a slave, more or less, and still has the collar on. I've even used it a couple of times when I had to for dark points, although that's of course not something I would ever do on my own. I've promised her if she "behaves" I'll remove it.) Col's Sith Inquisitor got a really big, really ugly guy of some unknown species for a companion (I can't remember his name, either) who you find in suspended animation in a tomb.

My bounty hunter hasn't gotten far enough to get assigned a companion yet, but I've already figured out who it's going to be. That one is another girl, named Mako. She's sort of a techie kind of person, but cute. (Some of those misogynistic comments I mentioned concerned what they'd like to do to Mako, as a matter of fact.) I also got far enough in beta to get one assigned to my Republic Trooper, and that one was sort of like getting your worst enemy attached to you - he was a guy named Aric who had been a real pain in the butt from the moment my character walked in the door. I actually successfully called it several levels before it happened - actually what I said was, "Please tell me he's not going to be my companion," and sure enough, stuff happens in the meantime, and the guy who was your boss is suddenly now your subordinate.

(To round out the other ones I've seen: smugglers get a sort of surfer-dude kind of guy, which annoyed Col no end when he was playing smuggler in beta, and Imperial agents get a tough-talking bald girl, who I only saw for a little while, because my lightsaber-wielding Sith turned out to be a bad combination with the IA, who can blast down everything in sight in what seemed like no time, and I was having trouble getting to fight anything. It made me really cranky.)

Q & A

Dec. 19th, 2011 07:05 pm
mellificent: (Xmas excess)
This little questionnaire was an optional part of Weetabix's card exchange, and since I sent all my cards for that exchange out a couple of weeks ago, and everybody has theoretically had time to read it by now, I can post it here, right? It's a good thing to do on a day like today (i.e., not really a good one).

If you could rewrite any holiday movie or song, what would you change?   I am not fond of It’s a Wonderful Life, because I think it’s utterly depressing throughout except for the cheery 10 minutes at the end. But I have no idea how I would rewrite it. (I suspect it would end up a much shorter movie.)

What is the one thing that absolutely makes or breaks the holidays for you?   I guess I would have to say the presence of my husband, sappy as that sounds! I could imagine getting through the holidays ok without seeing the family, although I would miss them. But getting through them without Rob would be hard.

What was the holiday gift that you always wanted but never received as a child?  A chemistry set. In Texas circa 1970, this was just not something a girl was allowed to get, apparently.

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2011?  The fun (although only part-time) and reasonably well-paying job that fell into my lap out of the blue – and the other part-time job that enabled me to afford to do the fun one!

Describe the ugliest Christmas sweater that you've ever seen.   Really, I think they’re all pretty ugly. I guess badly-knitted reindeer would be the worst, maybe. (Living in a warm climate happily keeps seasonal sweaters from being terribly common around here, anyway.)

If you could give any holiday gift to any person in the world, who would you give something to and what would it be?  Oh, you know, peace and good-will and all that. Seriously. Or maybe just the good will, for the people who are lacking in it. I think that might fix a lot of things. Short of that, just something wonderful for somebody who’s not expecting it.

What's your favorite holiday movie or television that must be watched every year? Bonus points if you have a tradition that also must accompany the watching of said show/movie.  I’d have to go with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” as the must-watch one. Nowadays I have it on iTunes, which means we don’t have to worry about figuring out when it’s on! (No particular traditions, darnit – I miss out on the bonus points.)

mellificent: (Xmas - pink aluminum)
(written yesterday - I think there was supposed to be more to it than this at the time, but this is as far as I got!)

I got my SWTOR early access. It came slightly earlier than I expected - I figured I would probably have it by the weekend, but I thought it might be tomorrow instead of today. As it happened, I woke up with an earache and sore throat, which unfortunately is not really unusual for me this time of year, so I stayed home today. (I called in before I looked to see whether I had it or not; it seemed like cheating to look, somehow! But I couldn't help but be aware that it was a possibility.) Happily, my symptoms have diminished somewhat - I don't exactly feel on top of the world, but I'm not in real pain any more, anyway, enough that I can enjoy my my game that I've been looking forward to so much.

I've been playing Imperials all day - a bounty hunter, and then my Sith. The Sith trainer says, when you talk to her, "You desire more power? Good." and then when you're finished she says, "Remember - peace is a lie." (In her very posh Alec Guinness-y accent.) I think that gives you a good feeling for what the Sith are all about. They're not portrayed as evil per se - they believe that pursuing power is a good thing, and so is following your passions. Even if those passions aren't noble ones, obviously. (Several of the male NPCs are quite stout, which I guess could be a side-effect of following one's passions, too! So far, I haven't seen a stout female one.)

A bounty hunter is different - you start on Hutta, a swampy backwater run by (naturally) the Hutts. They are not even the natives there, but have seemingly stolen the land from the native Evocii. It's the usual kind of thing - some fellow bounty hunters to kill, some visits with His Immenseness Nem'ro the Hutt, and some side quests where somebody wants you to save their relative and that sort of thing. It's pretty fun.
mellificent: (Xmas - purple star)
Hey, cool, look, glitchmas trees!
Glitchmas trees

Hmm, I hope that's not a ridiculously huge screenshot. But anyway, I thought it was fun. (Didn't make it, just stumbled across it.)

In other Glitch news, I am up to 8 of 11 of my pieces of DNA. (See yesterday if you want to know what the heck I'm talking about.) So yay me! (For what it's worth, I found three in Tamila and I'm not quite done yet. For me, anyway, Tamila was a hotbed of DNA.)

I haven't talked about the holidays much yet. We don't have a tree up - we don't really have a good place to put it at the moment - or much else in the way of decorations inside, but we have lights on the balcony and wreaths and such, and I have been sending out cards. Rather a lot of cards, as a matter of fact, and I'm not done yet. I may post pictures of some of them later, but I have been making cards as well as sending out some bought ones. I might yet make some more - I have new stamps (the rubbery kind, that is, not the ones that you buy from the Postal Service) and I kind of got on a roll with them again last night. I have been collecting bits and pieces of stamping stuff for a while now but I really just this year have really started doing much with them. I called myself a craft hoarder a while back, but I really do think that's for a reason: you kind of hit a critical mass of stuff where you have enough to assemble things. At least, that's how I work. It was true of quilting and I'm finding that it applies here too. I had snowflake stamps that I bought in previous years and I had some snowflake felt things that I bought on clearance last year, and I had blue cardstock that I acquired at some point and various colors (and brands) of blue ink... You pull all this stuff out and contemplate it and voila! Festive snowflake-themed cards start practically making themselves! My cardmaking skillz are not all I would like them to be yet, but that's something that takes practice, and hey, I'm practicing. (And I may still be sending cards out into the new year at this rate, but oh well.)
mellificent: (WoW - chicken)
(Sorry, another game-related entry!)

Columbine got his SWTOR early-access, and I haven't, yet - which is not a surprise, but I'm sort of bored with Rift and so I'm here writing an entry instead. I enjoy playing when he's around, but when he's not, well, I get interested some days and other days, not so much.


I seem to do better at getting interested in Glitch, at least if I don't overdo it. Glitch doesn't have quests like other games do - well, it has quests but they're all gathering and crafting rather than killing things, and there aren't many of them. They added a new achievement recently, which is to find pieces of your DNA, which can be almost anywhere - on 11 random streets throughout the world, and it's a pretty big world and constantly gets bigger. So that's a challenge, and I've been working on that off and on. (If you've played Glitch but not lately: the DNA thing is almost exactly like the ghost quest. The DNA pieces are easier to see than the ghosts but tend to be in rather inaccessible places. And there's a humming sound that alerts you that you're on the right street, which helps an awful lot!)

There are also some new skills, one of which requires herbs that I don't have, and which are going for a ridiculous amount of money in the auction house since everybody else just got the same new skill too. So I decided rather than do that, I would grow my own herbs - but that requires moving again, because you can only grow herbs in certain places. I like my house that I have now pretty well but eh, I'm not that attached to it. So I'm working on using up and/or getting rid of enough stuff that I can move without just giving up too much of it. I don't want to do that! - although one way I'm getting rid of some stuff is by playing santa and leaving bags of stuff around. If I'm going to give stuff away, I'd rather put it in random places where somebody who actually needs it get a shot at it, than give it to whoever buys my house - which is by definition somebody who has some currants to blow! (It's funny how quick game money starts feeling like something almost real. It happens to me in every game I've ever played.)

Hopefully I'll have Star Wars by this weekend, because I don't have to work, for once, so it'd be a good time. After Christmas we go on holiday hours and I'm working nearly every day that week.
mellificent: (Xmas - CB tree)
I was coming to write something about depression and I got sidetracked by [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda talking about her depression, and part of the zillion comments that follow it - I'm not normally a big reader of other people's comments but I occasionally make an exception for hers. And these were mostly along the yes! yes! yes! lines but in a good way - the "I recognize this" way. Not that this is news for most people nowadays, but I really think depression still gets overlooked a lot, and even when it doesn't there are still a lot of people who don't think it's a "real" disease.


What I was really going to write about was how the weather seems to be affecting me lately. I'm working part-time in an office with a lovely view of expensive boats, and that's great, but I don't seem to notice the boats, half the time - I notice the weather instead, and I seem to mirror it. If it's sunny so am I, and if it's gloomy, well, ditto. If it wasn't a place with some 300 days of sunshine a year, I suspect I'd be in trouble. Apparently I have some degree of seasonal affective disorder anyway, and we knew that, but as autumn has set in and we started having such a thing as non-sunny days, it's been amazing to watch myself react to them. And if the sun so much as peeks out, my gloom lifts, too. Amazing, and kind of scary, that my mood is that fragile.

The last couple of winters I've gone into a pretty bad depression along about February, so it's going to be interesting to see how I hold up as winter goes on, this year when I'm getting out a lot more... In theory, it should help. I mean, when I was unemployed I really didn't go out much, so at least I'm out and about and getting whatever sunlight there is. One way I approach all this is as a big experiment, have you noticed? Well, let's see how this works. On good days, at least, this is my entertainment; on bad days, not so much. But so far I'm hanging in there.


----------------------------------------


Oh lord, there's also this one which I found through Cleolinda's comments: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html
I like the part about the exoskeleton.

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