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[personal profile] renegadefolkhero
The DAI replay feels have become intense (thanks a lot guys), and I am valiantly resisting because Dishonored and also, this is the sort of game I have to block out a month on my schedule.

It's been long enough that I'm kinda hazy on my strategy beyond knowing that I want to pick the templars because I like their storyline better. (Dutifully accepting this makes me a hideous monster who should be stoned but can settle for praying for death. At least I know my options.)

I have decided BioWare can do whatever they want with the romances in DA4 because Josephine and Cullen's romances are honestly a gift and from here on I will happily embrace whatever dramalama they wish to throw at me. I am really interested in Sera and Solas and it looks like the Multiple Romance Mod has made good progress, but I may end up making divergent saves just because I'm so paranoid about conflicts, especially in Trespasser, not to mention they probably both have very different approval gains. In the past waiting to trigger advisor romances just before Wicked Hearts was a good strategy, not just for the pacing but for limiting the amount of content to re-replay, but for party characters I think I actually have to target their approval early on. IIRC I tried to trigger Solas' my first PT but I think I did something to block it early in the game and that was annoying. Sometimes the Solasmancers on Tumblr circulate new interesting details about Solas using flycam and whatnot, and each time I see those posts I'm like I gotta play through it, man. Hurt me good.

For the dozenth time, I really wish this game had a story mode, because I'm genuinely interested in playing through Blackwall's romance as well but these games are so damn long. I have already [mostly] done a completionist playthrough, but even totally skipping collections and non-main areas, IDK. The maps are fun to explore and they're huge. 45 hours for a main storyline PT? There doesn't appear to be a mod that offers story mode unless you auto-level your characters so you can cut a swath through everything. Maybe the fly mod will help.
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

We'd take the final leg of the park, working our way back to front, to close out the night. This let us get back to some old favorite rides like Corkscrew, and also to discover the disappointing news that Iron Dragon had shut for the evening without us. We did get our ride on Cedar Downs, the quite fast carousel with the horses that move forward and back in their rows. That we rode in anticipation of future excitement, though. We had heard how Rye Playland, which runs their counterpart to this ride even faster than Cedar Point does, had finally got its front-and-back mechanism working after years of the mounts being locked in place. We weren't thinking wholly of what we'd do next, though. We were paying attention to what we were doing.

With the disappointment that we couldn't ride Iron Dragon we went off instead to Blue Streak, the remaining wooden roller coaster and Cedar Point's oldest roller coaster. Always a reliable old friend and ready for us to get a front-seat ride again. And delightful with its chaser lights going in the evening twilight, too.

Adjacent to Blue Streak is ValRavn, last year's new roller coaster and something we'd only gotten a couple rides on because the queues were too long for us. That evening, the queue was estimated at a half-hour and we figured that was the best offer we'd get for a long while. And it was a good offer. The wait wasn't even the promised half-hour. This might be because the ride operators were challenging the riders to get settled in their seats and locked in so they could dispatch in under a minute, and there's a monitor that shows who is locked in correctly and how long the train's been in the station. We failed once again to do whatever it took to get a front-seat ride, but we carried on courageously, riding that roller coaster in the evening and taking in great views of the illuminated park in the night.

We'd hoped to close out the night on the Midway Carousel, but something weird happened. They closed the queue, and before the official closing hour of 10:00. In the past Cedar Point has normally closed the queue at the park's closing time and let whoever was in line ride. It's a common amusement park operation scheme to close the queue early, in the hopes of getting the last riders done close to the park closing time, but this was never their practice. Has that changed? If so how will it mutate the closing hours of a park night? Or did maybe the ride operator just set her watch wrong and thought it was just past 10:00.

Anyway, this diverted us to the Sweet Shop instead, with the hope that we might get a couple pieces of fudge before that shop closed. And this time, hey, what do you know but we could? They have a bunch of varieties of fudge there, pricey but incredibly worth it. [profile] bunny_hugger carefully rationed it out and we were eating impossibly good pieces for a week to come. Long enough that we discovered our local hipster farmer's market, the one we use to get vegetables for our pet rabbit, has the same flavors. This is a world full of surprises.

We drove home, safe and sound, listening to podcasts and getting in around 3 am, in time to sleep to a decent hour the next day.

Trivia: Nickel was first extracted from a reddish-brown ore named kupfernickel, devil's copper (or, St Nicholas's copper); it was useful for nothing except coloring glass green. Source: Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide To The Elements, John Emsley.

Currently Reading: Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel.

I can haz vacation

Jul. 21st, 2017 10:43 am
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
Off to lake side cabin tomorrow. No net access for a week.

Reminder: I've moved to DW and am cross-posting to LJ, which I might peak in on maybe once a week.

You've got to trust in summer

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

What's there to show for another week of progress humor blogging and comic-strip explaining? The chance to tell you all about this:

Next, finally: my pictures from the closing day of Michigan Adventure's season last year, in early September, which is how far behind I'm running. Maybe I should pick up the pace some.

SAM_6310.jpg

Michigan Adventure's Mad Mouse roller coaster on a much more normal day, although at a pretty nice angle that makes it look as though it has a steep drop off the lift hill. (The ride is nearly horizontal at that point. The fun of a Mad Mouse ride is lots of sharp turns.)


SAM_6314.jpg

The front entrance of Michigan's Adventure as seen on its closing day for 2016. Cedar Point's front entrance got a major --- and fantastic --- renovation a few years ago when the GateKeeper roller coaster was put in, and we got to wondering if and when Michigan's Adventure would get a similar modification.


SAM_6315.jpg

And this is why an update to the entrance seemed likely: detail of the Snoopy figure on the Michigan's Adventure sign. That, must say, doesn't really look good. We somehow haven't been to the park yet this season so can't say if it's been replaced or repainted.


SAM_6317.jpg

And then to reinforce the thought of maybe new signs being a good idea: detail of the sign showing the same sort of wear and minor rust damage.


SAM_6320.jpg

The eternal frustration. Michigan's Adventure had put in a coffee stand, but we never saw it open all 2016. Peeking inside we could see the evidence of a stand maybe being in working order, but it was never a spot we could get coffee or any other hot drinks.


Trivia: When James A Pollack, of the Viking 1 imaging team, told a press conference on the 21st of July, 1976, that the Martian sky was pink and the wrongly-color-corrected images of the previous day were misleading, he got (friendly) boos and hisses. Source: On Mars: Exploration of the Red Planet 1958 - 1978, Edward Clinton Ezell, Linda Neuman Ezell. NASA SP-4212.

Currently Reading: Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel.

PS: Why Stuff Can Orbit, Part 12: How Fast Is An Orbit? and a scary bit of mathematics we dub approximations.

auronlu: (Bobblehead Night)
[personal profile] auronlu
[personal profile] aurenare reports that DeNa's last maintenance run just introduced a bug so that every single relic you pull with the Volume 2 Relic Draw is 5*s (a rainbow orb).

Some are boring — Shared Diamond Shield letting anyone cast Protect as a SB is of limited utility -- but others (Sentinel's Grimoire, Ramza's Shout relic, Terra's Maduin summoning relic and so on) are very nice.

No telling how long before they fix this bug, so I can't promise it's still in effect, but I just picked up a bunch of nice toys.

So I booked my seat

Jul. 20th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Cedar Point, like Michigan's Adventure, has a petting zoo. It's larger than the Michigan cousin, understandably, as Cedar Point's quite larger than Michigan's Adventure is. They're provided for by the same animal caretakers, though, and so there were some similarities in the animals there. The Cedar Point zoo is part of the Frontier Trail and purports itself to show something about what the farms of historic northwestern Ohio farming families might have had. It's the sort of light-educational self-promotion that amusement parks have always liked to use and it's a fine idea as long as you don't ask how many mid-19th century Ohio family farms kept emus. But this sort of touch of life is reliably nice, and you can't argue that goats and sheep and chickens and rabbits aren't credible farm animals, even if you can wonder about the particular breeds. The rabbit pen had a couple bunnies who'd worked out where they could flop out so they were near the bottles of cold water (it had been a hot day before the rains came) and be just out of reach for most of the smaller kids. Also where they could pile on each other.

We stopped in at the glasswares shop, and joined the audience for one of the glass-blowing demonstrations just as it started. They were making a glass goldfish, which is one of those things neat to see and done in exactly the right spot that all 90 pictures I took of it are obscured by a column. So it goes. We did also learn that the fearsomely expensive, elaborate glass sea serpent, with multiple arcs of back emerging from the glassy 'water' surface, was still on sale but was now locked in a display case where some well-meaning idiot like me couldn't accidentally break it. No; if we break it, it'll be with deliberate effort now.

As we got farther in back of the park we poked into the other arcade, a small untended one. We knew there wouldn't be pinball there, but what would it hurt to check? There wasn't pinball there, but we did see a redemption-ticket counting machine flashing on its LED screen the mysterious and alarming message, 'tEror'. So, you know, we have that going for us.

The back of the park gave us the chance to see how close we might get to the former Mean Streak, and to see what if anything we could work out about what it's being turned into. Cedar Point still hasn't announced what Vicious Streak will be, although right around our visit they did drop a teaser ad that made an ambiguous suggestion that it might be something plural. This is baffling, but there is probably enough support length in Mean Streak to produce two steel-tracked roller coasters. Converted roller coasters don't tend to be as long as the original wooden ones for reasons that [profile] bunny_hugger knows and I don't.

Anyway there wasn't much specific that could be made out from the accessible areas. We could see what looked like spiral twists added to the taller hills. It's conceivable that some of this might even be a full helix, turning the ride over, but it's so hard to tell what a thin track at that distance is doing, especially with all the visual noise of the wooden supports in the way. I did spot that the ride photo booth still has the Mean Streak logo on it, which probably reflects the ride photo booth somehow not being a top priority for the reconstruction work.

When we had explored this, and gotten a ride on Maverick --- still a top-draw roller coaster, and with a reasonable queue thanks surely to the rain --- we had the choice to walk back the way we'd come or to complete the loop around the point. I chose the loop around the point and this is why we were too late to ride Iron Dragon.

It did let us get on Gemini, though, and the racing coaster's always good fun. We also hoped to get on the blue train, the rarer of the rides lately, but we got there just as they were taking the train out of service. Because for some reason they'd rather run two trains on a single track instead of a single train on two tracks of the racing coaster. It cuts the number of ride operators needed, but is otherwise a dumb choice, especially for light-crowd days. It did mean we got to ``race'' an empty Blue train, a fun novelty that raises the question of why in previous Halloweekend nights we've been stopped just before the station, waiting for enough people to get on the other train because they couldn't send that out empty?

But this let us continue in a nice little arc, in the back of Cedar Point, to the Monster ride where once again we failed to get a really good spin going. We also got to ride Magnum XL-200, right up front because I forgot what that can do to your knees. This gave us the chance to see the big renovation done to the hotel gate, the entrance we use second-most, and changed beyond recognition by the park's ongoing rebuilding of the water park and building of a new tower for the Hotel Breakers where they'd torn down a tower of the Hotel Breakers like two years ago. We had guessed rightly that this entrance would be renovated in our final visit to the park last year. It looks sharp, as anyone would have expected. It also obliterated Magnum's old ride photo station. The replacement's all right, but lacks the obvious period-dating of the new station.

Still, it does mean that now three of Cedar Point's four entrances are 2010s-era Art Deco Revival style, with roller coasters that arch above them. This would raise questions about what they're going to do with the last entrance, the Oceana Gate, last renovated ... sometime after 1870 and quite possibly remembered to exist at some point. I haven't got any ideas. We've never used the gate ourselves.

Trivia: After landing on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin needed about an hour and a half of reconfiguring switches and setting systems so that in case of emergency the Lunar Module could manage a quick, orderly takeoff from the surface. Source: Where No Man Has Gone Before: A History of NASA's Lunar Explorations, William David Compton. NASA SP-4214

Currently Reading: Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel.

I had a break for a week

Jul. 19th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Our first trip to Cedar Point for the season began with the snooze alarm. We agreed we were just too tired to get up as early as we had figured, and traded an hour of time at the park for being better-rested while there. That was probably a wise decision. What makes it not clearly a wise decision is what happened as we got there: rain. We had wanted to get to either Michigan's Adventure or to Cedar Point, and the weather forecast for Michigan's Adventure put it at a higher chance of rain for more of the day. So we got to Cedar Point just as a downpour started.

This wasn't all bad news. We have been to Cedar Point often enough, and expect to return again enough, that there's little we feel we must ride there, and after the soaking cold horror of Roller Coaster Appreciation Night, when almost nothing was open, a rainy day in June can't look bad. We got cheeses on a stick and some soda --- using our new free-soda-when-we-want privileges on our season passes for the first (and so far, only) time --- and sat in the Casino, hoping to wait out the storm, or at least to find some pinball machines in decently working condition. The state of things was pretty dire. Travel Time, which spent all last year broken as far as we could tell, was till out. Abracadabra was also down. The giant yet boring Hercules tables were both working and taking slightly delighted looks from people and quashing them, at least. We also tried some of the older shooting-gallery or mechanical contraptions, such as this strength-testing machine, and found they were in similarly scattershot shape. It's great that these machines are there, and a testament to how well they were built that after decades of wear they're as usable as they are. But it's hard not to think that they could be better still, especially given how much effort the park has put into balancing their attractions and making for a better-rounded experience lately.

As the rain gradually let up and the rides started to turn again we got to the Kiddie Kingdom carousel for our first ride of the year if you forget the Six Flags Over Texas trip back in March. Which is easy to do since it was so early and so weird a thing to do it hardly seems real. Sparrows seemed to have made homes for themselves among the carousel's top. I'm hoping they get through the season without undue harm coming to them or to the ride. Then we could start to walk through the park and take in lots of scenes of crews squeegee-ing dry the amusement park.

Our first and lasting disappointment for the day is that Iron Dragon, the suspended roller coaster, wasn't running. It's an old favorite, the first really grown-up roller coaster that [profile] bunny_hugger was able to ride. And it's being subject to a Virtual Reality ride makeover this season. We were curious, certainly, and wanted to try the experience. But the ride was closed when we first approached, and then we learned it would close for an hour in the very early evening to switch over to Virtual Reality operations. We moved on and by the time we got back, it was near the end of the night and the ride was closed because the nearby Luminosity open-air performance show needs the roller coaster to close for some reason. While we'll get back to the park --- I pointed out we could, literally, drive back the next day if we wanted --- it's frustrating to miss the thing we wanted to see, especially since it was my pretty much arbitrary choice at one point about which path to go down that set us on course to miss Iron Dragon altogether.

So our first roller coaster of the year at Cedar Point would be Rougarou, surely the least-loved of the park's attractions. It used to be Mantis, a stand-up roller coaster, and was converted to a normal sitting-style ride a couple years ago in the hopes of drawing more people to it. There was a surprisingly long line for it, possibly caused by most other attractions being down. It's a fair ride, pretty gentle considering all the looping and banking it does. That's surely a reflection of its old status as a standing coaster: if people are standing in harness for the ride it can't jump about too drastically. But it's still not a completely pleasant ride, because the over-the-shoulder restraints have these hard plastic shells around the head. The latter half of the ride is best spent leaning far forward and anticipating curves, lest your ears get boxed repeatedly. It's disappointing they fixed one nasty flaw of the ride and let the other stand.

Trivia: The National League granted the Brooklyn Dodgers permission to move to Los Angeles in 1957, on the proviso that Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley convince the Horace Stoneham to relocate the New York Giants also. The Giants would eventually announce their relocation first. Source: Bottom Of The Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball From Itself, Michael Shapiro.

Currently Reading: Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, Steven Vogel.

Lut Health Update: Stable

Jul. 18th, 2017 02:53 pm
rowyn: (worried)
[personal profile] rowyn
Lut's siblings came in last weekend, all four of them. I suspect I appreciated this more than Lut did. Bone marrow cancer causes a lot of fatigue: it's not just "he's in pain so he doesn't sleep well so he's always tired", as I thought before I brought him to the hospital. He just doesn't have a lot of energy. Maybe five or six spoons total for the day. Interacting with someone for a few minutes takes a spoon. It's hard.

On Saturday, I asked them to look at skilled nursing facilities for me. They ran all over the city, looking at the ones on the printout the hospital had provided. They were kind of horrified by most of them. They got to the last one on the list too late for a tour, and they told me I should look at it because it looked nice based on its website.

I went to that one and it looked good in person too: clean, well-lit, cheerful, good facilities. I went to the one his siblings liked the best of the ones they saw, and thought it was pretty good too. It was a hard choice for me, because the facility the siblings hadn't toured was a newer, nicer building with better grounds, but the rooms were smaller and most of them were "semi-private": they'd share a bathroom and a little foyer-hall with an adjacent room, and only a curtain separated them from the little foyer. It wasn't as a bad a shared room: there was a real wall between the two rooms. But a curtain is not nearly as good as a door when it comes to blocking sound. The more run-down facility had larger rooms and they were all private.

I tried to consult Lut on it on Monday, but he was too exhausted to give an opinion and the hospital wanted one in the next few hours. So I picked the nicer facility. I can hope he'll luck into a private room? I don't know how this will work with insurance. They are crazy expensive without.

At the hospital, they moved him from the ICU back to the regular ward last night. He doesn't seem to me like he's ready to be discharged to anywhere, but he's off the IV and they've detached all of the other wires they've had him hooked up to. They didn't even have him on a heart monitor when I saw him this morning. The case manager in the ICU thought he might be discharged this week. I don't know how long he'll be at the skilled nursing facility, except that it is short-term care, not long-term. The idea is that he gets rehab there, and then he can come home.

He doesn't seem to be in as much pain now, but he is exhausted every time I see him. Even when we get him sitting upright in a chair, he dozes off in a matter of minutes. If the chemotherapy works, he'll regain some energy, but I don't think rehab on its own is going to get him any more spoons.

I don't know what to say. People keep asking me how he's doing and it is exhausting to try to answer. Badly, but stable? He's better than last week but not better than when I took him to the ER. The oncologist is optimistic about the chemotherapy. He gets his second treatment today.

Prayers and well-wishes still appreciated. Thank you all for the car advice, too. *hugs*
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

A bit over a year ago a new thing emerged in Grand Rapids: the pinball selfie league. The idea was you play qualifying games anytime during the month-long open time, taking pictures of your score (self not actually required) to prove in case there's some doubt. Then in the finals the score's used to seed your position for some kind of playoff. It's a lie to call this a league, really; it's more of a tournament with a long, open qualifying period. For a while these were popping up everywhere, quick ways to get International Flipper Pinball Association points, and we feared they'd drive out the real proper pinball leagues that meet at set times and put together groups of people to play one another.

Probably our fear was overblown: the one attempt at Marvin's Marvellous Mechanical Museum faded after a single month. The Grand Rapids one hung around a little while, although in ever-declining health. The owner of the bar where it ran was wary of letting it advertise, particularly, even though a poster on the six games of the month would probably have got at least some casual players in. [profile] bunny_hugger and I played a couple times, then withdrew lest we encourage selfie leagues at the cost of actual leagues. When that threat passed we started to play again, at least to put in scores, although it was iffy whether we'd attend the finals. Hurting here might be that the finals would be the first Monday of the month, nearly always two days before the first Wednesday of the month and the regular league's meeting, and it's a hassle getting out to Grand Rapids twice in a week.

So when the final Grand Rapids selfie league got announced we were kind of surprised, since we didn't realize that league runner ADM was so ready to give up on it, but also not surprised, since we'd passed the end of the month and heard nothing about what the new games would be. Finally he set the last Selfie Finals, for a Sunday. Counting ADM, five people showed up.

He recused himself, allowing us to make the tournament a five-game series of four players: me, [profile] bunny_hugger, MWS, and KEC. And somehow I was top seed in this: I'd get to pick two games for the set. I figured to try one that was treating me well in practice --- not always a wise procedure --- and put up a Creature from the Black Lagoon that beat everyone. Not crushed them: MWS had a decent rally going and I expected he was going to restart his multiball and beat me. But no, I got lucky.

MWS picked the second game, I think The Shadow, also turned out surprisingly well. That's a rough game, one prone to disastrous or outstanding scores, and this time I had that rare outstanding score.

The Pyramid Scheme, the bar where the Grand Rapids Pinball League takes place and the Selfie League took place, is across the street from another hipster bar named Stella's, and that place has two pinball games. One of them is FunHouse, always tantalizingly close but off-limits for league play. ADM gave [profile] bunny_hugger permission to step outside the Pyramid Scheme for her pick of the night. And so we did. Considering that FunHouse is a game that every competitive pinball player knows inside-out, and that three of the state's top 16 players were in this group of four, you would think at least one of us would have a blowout game. Not so. We all had mediocre games; I won by getting one jackpot in multiball and getting to eight million points, which ordinarily MWS could have crushed and [profile] bunny_hugger could fairly reliably beat. I was having an amazingly lucky string.

KEC's pick. She's got some favorite games, as do we all. Hers was The Walking Dead, a game [profile] bunny_hugger can always put up a decent twenty million points on. Not this day. Nobody has a really good game, but I have the best of the lot. Four wins out of five is better than I remember ever doing and [profile] bunny_hugger tells me that I've locked up first place for the tournament.

So we came around to my second pick and the last game and I chose something that's just fun, Batman 66. And I'm playing with that incredible ease that comes from knowing I don't have to do anything but enjoy it. I still crush it, though, getting one more first-place finish and completing my first-ever perfect night of anything, anywhere. I finish the last Grand Rapids Selfie League with a first-place finish, and only the second time I've finished anything in first place.

We searched out for dinner afterwards --- our sandwich place closes early Sundays --- and went to a different hipster bar than usual with ADM. The main point I remember discussing besides various bits of gossip is the bit of courtesy that says a man walks on the street-side of a sidewalk, sheltering the woman he's with, a bit of behavior [profile] bunny_hugger had never noticed I compulsively do. This has helped her understand why when we turn corners I will so often vanish behind her a bit to reappear out of her blind spot.

And so did this Grand Rapids Selfie League close its history.

Trivia: The English East India Company director's letter to its governors in India for October 1718 contains the note ``Enclosed we send you 2 declarations of war with Spain'' at the top of the 44th paragraph. This comes after a lengthy protest of the drinks bill for the public table at Fort St George. (``If you must have liquors at such prices [ 9 Pagodas, about 30 rupees, a dozen for Burton ale ], pray gratify your pallats at your own, not our, expence''. Source: The Honourable Company: A History of the English East India Company, John Keay. Not answered in the text: two declarations of war? I'm not sure if they just mean two copies of the declaration?

Currently Reading: Introvert Doodles, Maureen 'Marzi' Wilson. So, anyone else tired of Introvert Pride as an Internet talking-point?

rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
When I was in second or third grade, my teacher gave us an assignment: write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for someone who's never made one or even seen what one looks like.

After we turned in our assignments, my teacher then followed our instructions, one after another.

If you've never seen this lesson, it is mainly a lesson in assumed knowledge. The teacher's goal is "if there is any way to do it wrong, do it that way." If the instructions tell you to put peanut butter on one side, bear in mind that bread slices have six possible sides. If the instructions don't specify to take the bread out of the bag, try to make it with bread still in the bag. If they don't say to open the jars, put the entire jars in between bread slices. If they don't tell you to pick up a utensil, try using the utensil without picking it up. Etc.

The lesson works best if the person assembling the sandwiches is very creative about what they can imagine getting wrong. It is hard to cover all the possible ways one could get it wrong, because we are well-trained on how to do it right.

My workplace decided to do this as a team-building exercise: remote associates would write instructions, and those as a main location would assemble sandwiches. I wasn't going to participate: I remembered how hard it was to do when I was seven. But another associate asked to partner with me, so, okay.

I wrote instructions.

These are not perfect instructions. I could find ways to mess them up. (I really phoned in how to open a bag, sheesh. And I didn't explain how to hold a knife or spoon, although at least I specified 'in hand".) I was personally a little disappointed that partners in the exercise were not incentivized to screw up the directions. Anyway, I did win the contest with these. For maximum entertainment value, imagine what one could mess up following this anyway, or why I'd need to be this specific.

How to make a PB&J
  1. Make sure the following items are assembled within easy reach, on top of a counter. (If you do not have a counter available, substitute a table throughout these directions): Table knife, Spoon, Jelly in jar, Peanut butter in jar, Loaf of sliced bread, Dinner plate
  2. Set plate directly in front of you on counter.
  3. If bread is in a bag, open bag. How to open bag will depend on exact bag, but may, eg, involve untwisting a tie from one end and pulling the plastic apart at the top of that side so that it is open on one end.
  4. Remove two slices of bread from open bag.
  5. Place slices of bread on plate, side by side.
  6. Close bag for loaf of bread.
  7. Hold peanut butter jar by its body, cap-side-up, in your off hand.  (ie, in left hand if you are right-handed).  Your fingers should curve around the side of the jar and your thumb curve around the side in the other direction.
  8. With your free hand, take hold of cap.
  9. Unscrew cap from peanut butter jar by turning the cap counter-clockwise.
  10. Place peanut butter jar cap upside down on counter.
  11. Pick up knife by its handle in free hand.
  12. Insert blade of knife into through the opening in the peanut butter jar created when you removed cap.
  13. Use blade of knife to scoop out a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter jar.  Quantity does not need to be exact.
  14. Put peanut butter jar down on its bottom on counter.
  15. Pick up slice of bread in your free hand.
  16. Hold slice of bread so that one face is against your palm and the other side faces up.
  17. Place the side of the knife that has peanut butter on it against upper face of the bread slice in hand.
  18. Slide the side of the knife with the most peanut-butter on it over the bread in such a way that the peanut butter is spread over one face of the bread slice in hand.
  19. If there is significant peanut butter on other side of knife blade, repeat step 18 with the other side.
  20. Cover upper face of bread slice in hand evenly with peanut butter in a thin layer, 1/16th to 1/8th inch thick, depending on how you like your sandwich.
  21. When almost all peanut butter from knife is on bread face, place base of knife against edge of bread, with the rest of the blade above the face of bread that has peanut butter.
  22. Drag blade down along edge of bread, from base to tip of blade, to scrape off any remaining peanut butter onto the face of the bread that already has peanut butter.
  23. Repeat #22 for other side of knife blade if there's still peanut butter on it.
  24. Replace slice of bread in your hand in an empty space on the plate, with the peanut-butter-side up.
  25. Put knife in sink, dishwasher, or other spot appropriate for dirty utensils.
  26. Pick up peanut butter cap in your dominant hand.
  27. In your free hand, hold peanut butter jar by its body, cap-side-up, in your off hand.  (ie, in left hand if you are right-handed).  Your fingers should curve around the side of the jar and your thumb curve around the side in the other direction.
  28. Place cap right-side-up against top of peanut butter jar.
  29. Screw cap onto peanut butter jar by turning the cap clockwise.
  30. Place peanut butter jar bottom-side down on counter.
  31. Open jelly jar, using steps 7-10 but with jelly jar instead of peanut butter jar.
  32. Pick up spoon by its handle in free hand.
  33. Insert bowl of spoon into through the opening in the jelly jar created when you removed cap.
  34. Use bowl of spoon to scoop out a tablespoon of jelly from the jar.  Quantity does not need to be exact.
  35. Put jelly jar down on its bottom on counter.
  36. Pick up the empty slice of bread in your free hand.
  37. Hold slice of bread so that one face is against your palm and the other side faces up.
  38. Place the bowl of the spoon against upper face of the bread slice in hand, with the jelly in the bowl of spoon facing the bread.
  39. Slide the bowl of spoon over bread so that the jelly approximately covers the upper face of the bread slice in hand.
  40. Use back of spoon to finish spreading jelly neatly over upper face of bread slice in hand.
  41. When almost all jelly from spoon is on bread face, place base of spoon bowl against edge of bread, with the rest of the bowl above the face of bread that has jelly.
  42. Repeat 40 for back of spoon if there is significant jelly left on it.
  43. Put spoon in sink, dishwasher, or other spot appropriate for dirty utensils.
  44. With free hand, pick up slice of bread with peanut butter on it so that the empty face is against your palm and the peanut butter side faces up.
  45. Align slice of bread with jelly on it against the slice of bread with peanut butter on it, so that the sides covered in peanut butter and jelly face each other and the two pieces of bread are lined up into a single square. If the instructions worked, this is your PB&J.
  46. Put PB&J on clear section of dinner plate. 
  47. Follow steps 26-30, but with jelly jar instead of peanut butter jar.
  48. You are now done.

Work Venting

Jul. 16th, 2017 09:09 pm
rebelsheart: Text: Experience is the name we give our past mistakes. (Experience)
[personal profile] rebelsheart
So Friday at work, an hour and a half after I'd intended to leave, I finally finished everything that had to be done by Monday. So did FTE coworker H. So of course, we spent 30 minutes chatting about our manager having been a bit of a jerk earlier that day and then doing math that I can basically describe as stress validation.

During a call with our manager, H started to complain that we had a lot of work to get done, and was cut off by the manager, who asked if we thought if teams in the other divisions (notably, he referred to what used to be his only team, in South). We were both put off by this, and we weren't trying to compare our workload in relation to other divisions, only to the other two regions in our division.

While there is a restructure in progress on a national level, it's not expected to be done until sometime in the first quarter of 2018. In fact ,the last divisional team to incorporate into the national restructure will be ours.

We looked at active directory and tried to get an idea of how many users each regional team in our division had. H and I make up two thirds of field IT in the Mountain region, with contractor C in Salt Lake City being the other.

Mountain has 370 users and three field techs across three states.

California has 260 users and three field techs and a supervisor. Somewhat obviously, it is only one state.

Northwest has 168 users and three field techs and a supervisor across two states.

Apparently, back before H had a horrible car accident and missed a year of work, there were three field techs, a supervisor, and the divisional manager in Mountain. There was not a supervisor when I started in May 2016. The divisional manager left in march 2017 and his position was eliminated as part of the restructure.

The math we did was users per tech. We did the math two ways, as the supervisors do pick up tickets in addition to escalations.

Mountain: 123 users per tech.
California 65 per tech (87 if you ignore the supervisor).
Northwest has 42 users per tech (56 if you ignore the supervisor.)

That math alone validates our frustrations in our opinion, and I kind of wish we'd gone into the call with the manager with this knowledge.

Now here's the iffy math. Mountain is 3 states: Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. H and I are the primary support for all but 2 (extremely remote) users in Colorado. C, based from Salt Lake City, handles those 2, as well as all of Utah and New Mexico as his primary users.

C has maybe 70 users for whom he is primary support. I'm guessing half of those are in Salt Lake City. Our AD doesn't break users down that far in OUs, and we didn't really want to count.

Colorado has 4 outlying offices with maybe 30 people between them, and it might be as low as 20. The downtown Denver office has 70, half of whom will be moving to the largest office in the state at the end of August. That office hosts all of operations for the division, and serves as the base for several national teams.

Now you get the idea of just how stressed and frustrated H and I are.

And I can safely say that the stress is impacting my personal life as well. I rarely spend time in front of any sort of computer system anymore to relax. Guild Wars 2 I log in to for mostly missions. I didn't touch the Wii U for probably 2 months, having spent 6-8 hours a weekend playing Breath of the Wild since it launched. I don't even play the games on my phone often, other than to occasionally distract me from work when there's a moment or two to do so.

Once again, I'm burning out, and I don't know how much longer I can last. I've been a contractor ever since I moved to Colorado, and that will be 3 years in August. I started my first job here on October 20, 2014.

I'm looking forward not only to the Disney world trip in October, but the convention in December as well. And I'm barely two weeks back from the last one.

What Lies Beneath

Jul. 16th, 2017 02:17 pm
terrycloth: (evilsquirrel)
[personal profile] terrycloth
Yesterday was another session of Pathfinder, in which we continued investigating the goblin incursion in the glassworks.

Where was Ameiko? )

June was sent away because his player (Ed) showed up very very late (5pm, for a game that nominally started at 1:30 and actually started around 2). He was brought back just in time for the session to end... and then Ed revealed that he was missing the next session. SIGH.

last session

Parody: Fry Everything!

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:35 pm
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
With apologies to Shakira and Disney, though I bet Weird Al could do a much better job. This one has been rolling around in my head in snippets for over a year. But with state fair season upon us, I felt it was time to finish it, though it could use a lot more polish.

In case you don't know the original:


Fry Everything!

Verse 1
At the state fair tonight
Can’t eat another bite
I can’t believe everything they have
Battered and deep fried.
Don’t know how I’ll hold it down
But I’ve got to try and eat everything.
Oh god there’s more
Another row of stalls
I can’t quit until I try it all.


I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.
I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.


Fries, Oreos
Fry everything!
Corn dogs, pizza
Fry everything!
Mini donuts
Fry everything!
Twinkies and beer

Verse 2
How can I go on?
I’ve gorged on all this junk food.
Must slow down take some more Rolaids or Tumms.
I can’t eat so fast
It needs to settle down.
Otherwise, I won’t make it through the rest

I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.
I might throw-up, but I’ll keep eating
Till I try it all
And I’m round as a ball!
You won’t believe
They have fried everything
They fry everything that you can name.

I might be making a big mistake
I can feel my arteries hardening
But I don’t care!

Mini donuts
Fry everything!
Hot sausage subs
Fry everything!
(sickly sound) oh oh oh oh
Fry everything!
Barf barf barf barf
Fryyyyyyyyyyy everything… (fade out to the sound of a fryolator.)

June in Review

Jul. 15th, 2017 05:32 pm
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
My June update got overrun by July being completely awful. June itself actually wasn't bad, though.

Health & Fitness
I was visiting my parents for 9 days, and didn't get my normal exercise then. I did some walking with my father, though, when it wasn't too hot in the morning and/or I got up early enough. that it wasn't hot yet.

Writing
I wrote some new scenes for Scales and Birthright, but didn't work on any other new fiction. I kept my 4thewords streak going mostly with writing about my life, and mostly things dull enough that I didn't post them to LJ. I didn't keep a word count for anything for June.

Oh, I did write three Poll RPG installments in June. I forgot about those.

The Business of Writing
I finished editing Scales for betareaders and got most of the way through editing Birthright.

I also hired an artist to do the cover for Scales (I will hire her to do the cover for Birthright as well, but one thing at a time.). I am inordinately proud of myself for actually doing the Scary Thing and talking to artists I don't know. Alinsa helped a lot by looking at art for me and sharing the best stuff, and making some preliminary contacts. ♥ It was hard! But I did it, and the artist has since completed amazing preliminary sketches and I can't wait to see the color tests.

Art/Other
I don't think I did any drawing in June.

Gaming
I played Scrabble with my brother and his wife while all three of us were visiting my parents. My brother did not outscore us both combined, which is pretty much as close to victory as one gets against my brother in Scrabble.

Socializing
I went to NC for nine days. I spent the first weekend mostly visiting Kagetsume, Sophrani, and Boingdragon. We watched "Rogue One" in Kage's home theatre, which somehow none of us had seen yet, not even Kage who'd bought it on Blueray. It was as grim as I'd expected, but pretty good. We also went to see "Wonder Woman" in Imax 3D. I haven't seen a movie in 3D since "Avatar", but didn't mind giving it another try. I remain indifferent to 3D. It doesn't particularly bother me, but it doesn't enhance the experience at all, and the glasses are vaguely uncomfortable. I enjoyed "Wonder Woman", although not with the overwhelming love of most people. Maybe I'm just not good at overwhelming love for media any more. I dunno.

I spent Monday through Friday low-key visiting my parents. This mostly consisted of watching a little TV with my father, watching some tennis with my mother,, and playing with my mother's spare laptop in the recliner in her office while she played WoW at her desk. We went out to dinner a couple of times too. My father likes to go out to eat every three days. They stock up on leftovers at the restaurant, and my father will eat those for the next few days until they go out again.

On the last weekend, my brother and his wife C came to visit. This was my first time meeting C (they got married last year with a very small ceremony). She was delightful. My impression of her is no doubt bolstered by the fact that she has read and likes my books, but I'm sure I would love her anyway. ♥ On Sunday, we made strawberry shortcake with Bisquick shortcake and C's hand-whipped whip cream. I can report that this is still delicious. :9 I ate way too much on this trip.

I was worried about Lut while I was gone, and called him several times.. This was before I took him to the ER, but I was already concerned that his health had taken a turn for the worse. He had assured me before I left that he would be fine and I should go and he was not willing to go to a doctor. He seemed to be managing okay without me, although the power went out for 48 hours and that sucked a lot.

As a way of life, "stoic" really has its downsides, y'all.

Happiness
I think I was happy? I can't remember. I had a good vacation. It was so low-key that I felt like I should be getting more editing done and felt vaguely guilty about that, but it was still good.

Other
Card benefit services emailed that they'd settled with the rental car company over the minor accident back in March, and they were just waiting for the rental car company to send a letter acknowledging the matter was closed. Which they will then send to me, I think. Anyway, this is finally almost done so hopefully I can take "poke card benefits and rental car co to talk to each other until this over" off my list of goals in August. But it's not done yet.

The nadir of this experience hit when the rental car company mailed me a letter to complain that I had never responded to any of their attempts to contact me, and I needed to pay them for the damage in the next ten days.

I responded with "I guess you lost all of the emails I sent you about this, and also all of the emails that you sent me in response to my emails. And also the physical letter you sent me in response to one of my emails. HERE ARE COPIES OF EVERYTHING. Let me know if you need anything else that you lost!"

-_-

That was much more polite than I felt about the whole matter.

Goals for coming month
Help Lut get better
Look into buying car
Poke about insurance claim if necessary

If I finish anything else, great. If not, oh well. I have been doing a little editing this month, mostly because re-reading my books to look for typos is one of the few things I have sufficient brain for. I've been spending a lot of time at the hospital watching Trask doze, so I've had some time to do that.

Not dead yet

Jul. 15th, 2017 06:29 am
moxie_man: (Default)
[personal profile] moxie_man
Just very busy volunteering what little spare time I have when I'm not bringing home a paycheck. Every other night Sundays through Thursdays I've been at the local scout camp running the commercial dishwasher. Run home from work, change, run out to the scout camp.

Last Saturday, I was at the Matthews Museum in Union, 'cause they were short staffed due to the Moxie Festival in Lisbon that day. I'm on my way back out there today 'cause they need extra staff during Union's local festival, "Founders Day". The Museum is Stop #12 on this year's DownEast Magazine summer scavenger hunt. We had three participants stop by last Saturday. I wonder how many we'll get today.

Back to the Scout camp tomorrow, Tuesday and Thurs and then in-laws are up and we'll be at a lakeside camp without net access for the last full week of July.

I sure miss having a weekend to myself where I could do something, but at this point, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I had one. (chuckle)

One of my qualms with DW: I can't see a list of my journal tags while writing a journal entry.
chalcedony_px4: Two scribbled waveforms, one off-black and one off-white, overlapping, on a flat darkish purpleish background. (scribble twins)
[personal profile] chalcedony_px4

♪ hmm hm-hm hmm hmm hmm ♪

@desc #1=so wizbit. much administrative. wow

Can you guess why? Guesses in comments if you want to. (It's a patched ProtoMUCK.)

Lut Health Update: A Little Better

Jul. 13th, 2017 09:08 am
rowyn: (worried)
[personal profile] rowyn
I went through Lut's email and found some email addresses from 2009 for family members. I tried emailing, and reached one of his brothers and one of his sisters. They contacted the rest of his family for me, so his family knows now. Three of his siblings are going to come on Friday to see him.

He's looking better this morning. Still delusional, but he's calm, articulate, and willing to accept assistance. He's breathing better and when he dozes off it looks more like actual sleep. I don't know if this will be a sustained upwards trend, but I'm hopeful.

He started chemotherapy on Tuesday. He gets one treatment per week for two weeks, then one week off, then repeat. In 6-9 weeks we'll know if it's working. The chemotherapy includes a steroid, and he's on an antiviral because the chemotherapy weakens his immune system. He's also getting Halidol for his neurological issues. And an antibiotic because he was running a fever for a little while.

For my hospital-related transportation problem: I am thinking about buying a new car, rather than a used one. I can afford it: I only live like a poor person, I am not actually poor. I don't have enough ready cash to buy one, annoyingly. I may look into getting a loan against my 401(k), to avoid paying third-party interest or early withdrawal penalties. I don't know if this will qualify or not.

Recommendations on cars are welcome. Pretty much all I want is a good cost-per-mile figure and cheap to insure. I do not need or want any fancy extras, or a sporty car or an SUV or anything. I am perfectly happy with small, reliable and efficient. -_-

52 IN 52: Fall of the New Age felled

Jul. 12th, 2017 09:21 am
swordianmaster: (supernerdy)
[personal profile] swordianmaster
Sometimes I don't want a game that is a "good" or "enriching" gameplay experience, sometimes I just wanna poke at some casual Big Fish-style shovelware shit in an afternoon.

RiseFall of the New Age is the latter.

This was your standard "be a pixel-hunting kleptomaniac, rub objects against other objects, watch things explode" deal, with a few hidden object puzzles for assembling disguises or getting past puzzle locks that were just. Hidden object puzzles. (Who designs doors like that?) It's about a luddite cult trying to drive an industrialist country into the dark ages, your usual Dungeons & Dragons low-magic stuff. You play as Marla, the Master Of Unlocking. (no, seriously, there's no less than 15 lockpicking minigames here). The cult has kidnapped your brother, and you are a bad enough dudette to team up with some swashbuckling hobo to rescue him.

Honestly, this wasn't bad... or rather, it was increasingly bad, but in a good way. Somewhere around the 1/3rds mark, the quality control on the script went straight into the garbage disposal, subtitles didn't match voices, and voices got progressively more phoned in, culminating in a villain deadpanning out "mom. mommy." as he is defeated. Your main antagonist goes for most of the game by the pseudonym "Master Lame". There's also the fact that the game throws a fake ending at you, kicking you to the main menu and saying "CLEARED THE GAME, HERE'S SOME STUFF" without actually. You know, concluding the plot or anything.

That said, there was exactly one point that I screamed in frustration and used the game's in-game "I suck at this, let me cheat" option. THIS IS NOT HOW MACHINERY WORKS.

I think I got this for a buck off an IndieGala bundle. It's about worth that; it's your average shovelware quality adventure title. It's good for what it is, but I wouldn't expect the $7 worth of game Steam is asking you to pay on normal price.
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