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.

mellificent: (WoW - shiny)

OK, well, the first thing I have to say in my first Holidailies post for the year is a link. Most of you have probably seen it by now but if you haven't, go read it, it's funny and it's not very long. There are 9 entries, currently, and I'm linking to the first one. (Warning: cat-related. If you hate cats you will possibly not be amused.)
LOUIS VS RICK
(Also, if you're like me, and you've seen people saying, "CAPS LOCK IS HOW I FEEL INSIDE" all week, this is evidently where it came from.)


I'm not doing an introductory-update thing, at least not today. We'll be doing good for me to get any entry at all up right now, even if it's links and stuff about games. I suppose I could post the link and the paragraph above it and call it an entry, but I'm not going to. Instead I'll keep writing whatever it is that comes into my head next, which tends to be my M.O. in any case. (This is probably not any surprise to most of the Holidailies regulars by now.)

I am pleased that the new guys* managed to get Holidailies up and running in the old format. Reddit just did not cut it for me. Actually the current front page format is still missing my main motivator: the list of who's "above the line" (i.e., actually posting an entry a day) and who's not. If you look back over the years, I am right under the line, if not above it, pretty consistently. I don't know why that works to get me to post, but it does. But anyway, I missed the regular format last year and I'm glad to see it back. So thanks, Richard and Jennifer!! (And thanks to Jette and Chip, too, for finding somebody to hand it over to! as well as for running it all these years.)


* "New guys" who I've known in an online way for years and even sent cards to and such, but still, they're new in this role. Not to mention that one of them is a girl.


...so, games. Let's talk about games. We are currently in sort of a transition between games, that's the thing. We are waiting for SWTOR (that's Star Wars: The Old Republic) to start - I started to write about that the other day (here: http://mellificent.livejournal.com/334777.html) and I got to talking about Star Wars the movies and never really got around to talking about the game, much. [livejournal.com profile] columbina and I are both still sort of playing Rift, and sort of playing Glitch, but we aren't synching up very well with either of those. Occasionally we do sync up in Rift, and once in a while we chat while we both play Glitch, but that's it. We probably are managing sort of 2 nights a week in Rift, for a couple of hours, and once in a while on the weekend. He plays some on the weekends without me and I play some late at night without him. This is probably not going to particularly improve when we start playing SWTOR (which possibly will be as soon as Tuesday, although more likely it will be later in the week).

The schedule problem is because I am neither (a) working 8-5 M-F like I used to nor (b) unemployed, like I was more recently. Nowadays I work two out of three weekends and unless something happens to change that, the game scheduling is going to continue to be an issue. I don't like that part but quite honestly, I don't miss the aforesaid days of working 8-5 M-F, either. I miss the money and it'd be nice to have the bennies back, but really, unless something happens to force my hand, that's not about to happen. So that's that.

Columbine bought SWTOR months ago. I bought it - or so I thought - around Halloween, and then figured out only this past week (I wasn't paying near enough attention, obviously) that the transaction didn't go through the first time and so I repurchased it again. (EA/Origin has it set up really stupidly - you put in your credit card and hit submit, and it gives you a confirmation number, but after that there's a box you have to check and it's down at the bottom of the screen where you can't see it unless you scroll down, and apparently it's not REALLY confirmed until you check the box and hit submit again. So that appears to be what I failed to do the first time.)

We played in the SWTOR beta Thanksgiving weekend, thanks to Col, and then we both got invited to the last, smaller beta last weekend - we figured that was a thank-you present for giving lots of feedback. Col filed lots of bug reports and I did fill out all the surveys and stuff, but I also did a lot of complaining about lag, which presumably they also like to know about, and then I wrote another long note when I figured out how to fix the lag problem, telling them what I changed - and it was much improved last weekend and the graphics choices had been changed, too, so I like to think I helped a tiny bit with that! We both played several different characters and classes at one time or another, including playing on both sides - Republic and Empire. Playing the "dark side" is very entertaining, but it turned out that we both liked playing the classes that use a blaster more than the lightsaber ones - those classes are called trooper and smuggler on the Republic side, and Bounty Hunter and Stormtrooper, I guess, on the Imperial side. With lightsabers you are of course a Jedi or a Sith, and there are a couple of classes for them also - something like a "knight" (of the light or dark persuasion, respectively) and a mage for each side. They have obviously put a lot of thought into the quests and the respective storylines, and also you get Light or Dark points for various choices you make, and that affects what choices you are offered later on, although we didn't really get far enough to see too much of that. So anyway, we liked it and we are looking forward to more, that's what it comes down to. If MMOs and Star Wars are your kind of thing, then this one comes highly recommended.

Points

Dec. 14th, 2010 02:44 am
mellificent: (Mel - snow)
I'm not doing all that well with Holidailies - I think that little number on the front page was what usually kept me going, and that's not there this year to prod me. Still, I haven't given up yet.

I've been watching Doctor Who season 2, most of which I haven't seen but once or twice - and I've finally hit an episode I haven't seen ("The Idiot's Lantern"). Rob and I were watching "Love and Monsters" which I had seen but he hadn't, and then we watched the rest of the disk ("The Impossible Planet" - which I might not have seen before either, come to think of it, but I had seen "The Satan Pit"). Rob was not really a Doctor Who fan until recently, but he seems to be getting more interested now. I knew he'd like "Love and Monsters" because of all the ELO, if nothing else. Rob loves him some ELO.

I'm trying to do Weight Watchers again. If you follow these things (hey, it was in the New York Times), you know that WW has changed their program lately, and that it's somewhat controversial. Well, not really controversial unless you're part of the Cult of Points (aka the old system). I didn't realize how freakishly attached some people were to the whole point system until this happened, even though I've been going to meetings off and on for years. There's still a point system, it's just changed some. They're making an attempt to keep up with all the latest in food science. The old system calculated points by the calories/fat/fiber in a food. The new system throws calories out the window and goes by fat/carbs/protein/fiber. It seems to make a good bit of difference - some carb-heavy foods, in particular, seem to have gone up a lot. Still, it seems workable. You can now eat all the fruit you want, and I like fruit, so that makes a big difference to me. We'll see how it goes. My history has been that I can stay on WW in the short term but not the long term, so I don't know if unlimited fruit is enough to make a difference.


The color of the year for 2011 is "honeysuckle", according to Pantone. Which is a dark pink - not the color that the honeysuckle around here is (as the WSJ article notes - ours is the yellowish kind) so I'm kind of thrown by the name. But I really like that color, whatever it's called. I'm a fan of pink, in general - I've been threatening for ages to make an all-pink quilt - but I particularly like that dark almost-red pink. I've been seeing it around the last few years and I didn't know what to call it. Now I guess I know!


Anybody make icons? I really feel the need for an icon that says, "You're an elf. You go Keeble!" (from here) - I do have Elements so I suppose I could figure out how to do it myself if I tried, though.


mellificent: (Potter - bits & bobs)
I am just home from DallasIrving (I think it was Irving, anyway - I'm never sure, around there). I went for a coding seminar, which didn't end until about 4:50, and then I had to wend my way through "Metroplex"-area traffic and then the 250 or so miles home. I'm tired, but I'm listening to more of the same Dexter audiobook that I was listening to in the car, and unwinding, so I think I can manage to write a bit before I collapse. And I wasn't here to write an introductory thing for Holidailies yesterday, so I guess I'll take a stab at that rather than talk about my little trip - I can always do that tomorrow.

So, hey, welcome to anybody new who wanders by! (Incidentally, Jette - who has an LJ name but I don't remember what it is and I'm too lazy to go look it up - has posted a fun entry about how Holidailies got started.) And if you're new, and wondering what all this rambling is about, I should probably just tell you now that it doesn't get all that much better. I ramble. And I don't really try to to control the rambling, particularly, beyond making it fit (mostly) into complete sentences, and sometimes into actual purposeful paragraphs. But don't count on it. (I suppose that anybody who's too too bothered by that hasn't even read this far, so oh well.)

I always hate writing about myself, and at the moment it's even worse than usual, with my life all up in the air. I'm Mel, and I'm verging on middle-aged, and I'm unemployed. I live in the general vicinity of Houston. I got laid off two years ago and I've been working towards a new career (the abovementioned coding - which means the medical kind, not the computer kind) without too much in the way of concrete results so far - meaning that while I have an official certificate and everything, I still don't have a job. I have one rather stressed-out husband, and no children. I'm spending my time applying for jobs, and reading too much, and studying for yet another certification test. I dabble around with various crafts (jewelry, quilts, papercrafts).

I've been doing Holidailies since 2003, the same year I started my journal. I named my journal "Catchy Name Needed" intending to change it later, and then decided it was sort of funny, and sort of appropriate, and just kept it. I started out on Diary-X and then moved here to LJ, where I've been ever since. I haven't written too much this year - there's not too much that's appropriate to say in public about job-hunting and such. So I'm trying to get back in the swing of things. And that'll have to do, for now.


(Incidentally, the icon is from the Rifftrax to "Sorceror's Stone".)

Ikea love

Dec. 1st, 2010 09:54 pm
mellificent: (Default)
I got Twitter-mocked a bit yesterday for saying that going to Ikea puts me in the holiday spirit, but it sorta does, ok? Don't judge. Possibly it's true that practically any shopping at all does the same thing - but anyway, I did go to Ikea. I didn't buy much that had anything to do with Christmas, but still, Ikea has cute holiday stuff and it did sort of help put me in the mood.

It occurs to me that some people may think of Ikea differently than I do - i.e., you may think of it as a furniture store. And while I do buy furniture there from time to time, it's the non-furniture part of Ikea that I'm fond of. I think of it more as a really big housewares store, I guess you'd say. I came out of there today with batteries and spoons (for some reason we're always short on spoons) and toys - and frozen meatballs, because I love those darn things, and a couple of other things that I don't recall right now. (Also, Tuesday is apparently a good day to go to Ikea, because they were as close to not being busy as the Houston Ikea ever gets - meaning, near as I could tell, that there were several hundred people there instead of the usual several thousand.)


Let's see, we had a nice Thanksgiving but I don't have all that much to say about it. Nobody got on anybody's nerves to speak of, or got into a fight or anything, and that's what usually makes for a more memorable day, let's face it, so it's a good thing when it's not memorable. I love my relatives, but it's a pretty rare holiday when nobody's fighting.

I'm signed up for the new-version Holidailies, so I should be posting regularly in December. That doesn't start officially until next week, though. (And like last year, I'm going to be in Dallas the day it starts, so whether I'll actually be able to post that day is iffy.)


mellificent: (winter trees)
(Middle of the night, last night) I need to go to bed, because I have to get up relatively early, but I can't quite make myself go to bed. We are having lunch with my dad tomorrow - I haven't seen him in nearly a year, I think. I talk to him on the phone occasionally but that's about it. So I'm simultaneously sort of looking forward to and dreading this lunch, all at once.


(Later) I got to bed and got a reasonable amount of sleep but I feel sort of crappy, still. But then I have felt sort of crappy for days on end. I think I have sort of a low-level sinus infection going, or something like that. I've had earaches and sore throats sort of sporadically - they come and they go. I've been through most of a monster Sam's-Club size bag of cough drops already. But I think it's gradually getting better.

It's almost noon and I'm waiting for Rob to get back from the gym so we can leave. It's raining outside, again - it's been raining or raining with sleet and snow mixed in (that was in Bryan on Christmas Eve) or something of the sort off and on for days. (The kids were excited about the snow even if it WAS mixed with rain - it was funny.)


(Even later) I did feel better this afternoon, and to balance out the karma, or something, my voice disappeared. Well, not completely, but everything came out as a croak all day. Still, it's better than feeling bad.

The afternoon didn't go too badly. We had Chinese food and watched a movie, which is much preferable to attempting to have a conversation with my dad. (The problem there being that my dad doesn't really have conversations, at least not for more than a couple of minutes at a time. After that, he gets excited about some subject or other and he stops hearing you, and just orates. It never fails.) The movie was 8 Below, which is about sled dogs; it's a Disney movie, but not one of those ones where the dogs talk. I had actually heard halfway decent things about it, so I was happy to watch it. (Spoilery thoughts about the movie below.) I don't know if Rob really wanted to stay and see a movie, but considering, as I said, that we hadn't seen my dad and his wife in a year, I felt obliged to stay a while. So we watched the movie and played with their dog - who, probably not coincidentally, is a husky - and whiled away the afternoon. It was well after dark before we left.

I didn't have a very good present for my stepmother, and I felt bad because she made us a really nice afghan in very pretty colors that I really like. (And it's not too heavy, which is the problem I have with many afghans.) I'm gonna have to attempt to make up for that at some point, although we have the excuse of my unemployment for bad gifts, this year. Come to think of it, I don't even know when her birthday is, and they've been married for years now. Which probably tells you a lot about my relationship with my dad, right there. I had a couple of books from Half-Price for my dad, which he seemed to like. I always buy my dad the same sort of books - stuff from the history section, about WWII or the Alamo, mostly, or sometimes about the space program. If he's tired of them he's very good at hiding it!



spoilers, seriously )
mellificent: (winter berries)
This entry - or maybe the next one - should get me "above the line" in Holidailies, meaning averaging one entry a day. Jette and Chip have the site set up where you can only post to the portal so often, and this year it seems like you can't get above that average of one a day. So currently it's day 23, and there are a couple of people who already have 23 entries, and quite a few more with 22, and then there is the dreaded line between 22 and 21. I am mostly joking about the "dreaded" part, but I know I'm not the only person who tries to stay above that line, because I've heard other people talk about it. I should probably value quality over quantity, but let's face it, I'm not ever going to be the next Joan Didion, so I mostly settle for quantity. It's not really that hard for me to write an entry a day - when I get a blank page, I usually can ramble along and find something to say fairly easily. If I tried to demand of myself that I write a really quality entry, I would probably freeze up and never get anything written at all. Low expectations apparently help keep you from getting writer's block.

I have pictures from Christmas but I'm still working on those. I took a lot of pictures of wiggly small children and I have to sort out the good ones from the blurry ones!

We saw two movies yesterday, although they weren't the same two. Rob apparently watched Burn After Reading (is that the right name?) before I got up; then we went to see the Sherlock Holmes movie, then after he went to bed I fired up On Demand again and watched Adventureland. Adventureland was better than SH, although I liked them both. I went through an entire viewing of Adventureland without realizing that the girl love interest was Kristin Stewart, of Twilight Fame. I did know she looked familiar, but I didn't snap to who she was. Good movie, anyway. Sherlock Holmes... I dunno, I liked a lot of it, but I felt like it lagged in the middle. Good comedy bits, though - in fact they both did.

I just watched another movie, actually, because I installed Windows 7 and I needed something to distract me while it was doing its thing - it took it the whole length of the movie to install, too. So I watched "Wimbledon" which I had picked up at Tuesday Morning or someplace for really really cheap. But it turned out not to be a bad movie. I'm sort of a sucker for romantic comedies, if they're reasonably smart ones, and this one was. (Reasonably so.) It's actually a romantic comedy/sports movie, which is sort of different. And I adore Paul Bettany.

Windows 7 is so far so good - I really can't tell that much difference from Vista. I need to try out LOTRO and see how it runs - rumor is that it runs faster. I've felt like my computer was dragging lately so I'm hoping maybe it'll fix that.
mellificent: (winter trees)
We are back to playing LOTRO again (Lord of the Rings Online, that is), since we finally exhausted the available quests in WoW. (Come to think of it, I need to go into WoW and cancel my monthly billing plan, before I forget again, or I'm going to keep getting charged $15 a month indefinitely!) While we were gone, they did a big update in LOTRO and changed a bunch of stuff. There's a new expansion, which is Mirkwood, but we're not likely to see it any time soon since it's a high-level area and we don't have any characters that high. Actually they raised the level cap, too, from 60 to 65. My highest character is 45, and actually we haven't even been playing the highest ones since we got back, we've been playing my "champion" (like a warrior), who is an elf, and Col's minstrel (LOTRO's version of a healer). I can't even remember for sure if Col's minstrel (who is named Loere) is an elf or a human - I think elf. Elves and humans look awfully much alike in LOTRO, except elves are a bit taller and have pointy ears which you can't see half the time anyway. I think they should have made them look a bit more different!

Anyway, those characters were around level 30 when we got back and have gone up several levels since then. Col has another character who he plays when I'm not around, who is one or another of the warrior-ish classes which I never can tell apart, and who is progressing even faster since I was gone for two whole days and Ceir got to play a lot while I was gone, apparently! Col and I both are given to more or less inventing our own names, if you're wondering where all these names come from. He has Loere and Noere and Ceir and Cleia - that one he's used in other games - aaaand one more that is escaping me right now. I have Anerulias the elf-warrior (who I usually just refer to as Ana) and Ceinnwyn the minstrel (she's human) and Zaina the hunter, who is a hobbit, and then I have two more I rarely play - Meleuriel, another elf, and Fineldir, a male human. I hardly ever do male characters and Col never does, but once in a while I do get the urge to try one out.

I usually just make up names by combining bits of things, like, well, Ceinnwyn is supposed to be from Rohan so she gets the "-wyn" suffix like Eowyn, and I think I just thought the "Cein" part sounded sort of generally Celtic. "Meleuriel" was because I usually have a character named Mel-something, and the '-riel" part is another bit of Tolkien-ish name. And so forth.

There are actually four races in LOTRO - elves, humans, hobbits and dwarves. Dwarves are male exclusively - I'm guessing that's because Tolkien was coy about what female dwarves look like. The joke that's in the Two Towers movie about female dwarves looking just like male ones, beards included, is straight out of canon, but it's in an appendix somewhere, as I recall, and it's just given as sort of a rumor - Tolkien just kinda says "nobody really knows." Which is kind of annoying, really, but what can you do. So anyway, Col won't try dwarves out at all, and I did try one once, but I never played mine and I finally deleted him after he stayed stuck at level 6 for a couple of months, because looking at him was annoying me, for whatever reason.

Another new thing that came in with the expansion was "starter horses" or what we refer to as "poky horses" because they're very very slow. But they're faster than walking and you can get them a lot earlier than you can get a regular (non-poky) horse, and they're not all that expensive, either, so I've been getting them for all my lower-level characters (which is all of them except Ceinnwyn, who is the level 45 one). Horses also have names, which they didn't have before - apparently starter horses default to being named Barley, and Zaina's starter pony was named Silver. (Ceinnwyn's horse had a different name which I can't recall at the moment, but it was something botanical.) I didn't think much of Barley as a name, so in a fit of silliness I changed Ana's horse's name to Malt, at least until I get a better idea.

(Interestingly, I actually had an Uncle Barley, although he died when I was little and I don't remember him too well. He was an uncle, or actually great-uncle, by marriage - he was married to my grandmother's sister Ethel. An awful lot of those old-fashioned names have been coming back into style, but I haven't heard of anybody naming their child Barley just yet!)

Profile

mellificent: (Default)
mellificent

December 2012

S M T W T F S
       1
2 3 4 5 67 8
9 10 11 1213 14 15
16 1718 19 20 2122
23242526272829
3031     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 27th, 2017 06:34 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios