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Moving to a New Blog

Hey guys! :)  Just wanna let you know that I'm back, and I'm posting over here now.  Happy New Year! ^_^

1000 Stuffed Toys ...#2

Yegads.  It feels like it's been forever, but I've finally finished #2.  What an adventure, let me tell you.
Seriously, it's kind of a long story.Collapse )

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1000 Stuffed Toys ...#1

It started while Mom and Dad were in Florida.  I had some material, some time, and a desire to be productive, so I made a little stuffed cat out of blue polyester.  After the parents came back, Mom and I got to talking, and she challenged me to make 1,000 (one thousand) stuffed toys.
Challenge.  Accepted.
I'm starting with the cat as #1, and currently working on the second.  I plan to share my progress here. :)
So....#1. 

Since the camera cord was left in Florida, I popped her in the scanner and threw a cloth over her in lieu of the scanner lid.
Isn't She Cute?
She's 100% polyester (cloth, thread, & stuffing); the eyes and nose are cut from cloth.  I looked up how to sew a sphere here: http://g42.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main/HowToSewASphere .  The chart wasn't much use to me, but I got the part about drawing a basic almond shape for the pattern and sewing as shown.  For the body, I drew another almond, moving the wide part from the middle to closer to the bottom.  Add features, limbs and tail, and bada-bing: one adorable,  blue cat.

1 down, 999 to go. :)

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Hi Again --Oh, and Happy 4th!

 Augh, my head. X_X  Despite living up north, these past couple days have done a great job reminding me of Florida.  It's been so hot that I couldn't sleep, and now my sinuses have been hijacked. -__-   Oh, and I have work tonight.  Oy.

What I'm Working On:

Fanfic:
I still want to do something with that Bumpy Ride fanfic, so I've been reviewing Wendy's Green Card.  Now I have to stop so that I don't end up stealing all of her ideas. XD  
 
If you're curious, one of the premises on my list of 40+ fanfic ideas (many of which are dumb, but I can't bring myself to delete them outright) is "Lois Lane is married to Superman, and accused of having an affair with Clark Kent."  At the time, I thought it to be an interesting reversal of the old scenario, but impossible to justify.  Why on Earth would Superman marry Lois Lane if he could do so as Clark instead and save a world of headache?  Suddenly, the answer fell on me like a ton of bricks: The Green Card fic.  
 
Now, I just need to decide whether to incorporate the teaser into the larger project as part 1, or start from scratch...
 
Computer Games:
I've made some progress on Renpy, though I have mixed feelings about the latest developments:
 
For some time now, I've wanted to do a stat-based raising sim kind of like Princess Maker.  For that kind of game, the core of gameplay is schedule planning.  I would need a way to determine what week I was scheduling, select a type of activity (work school, rest, etc), and have that selection open a menu with either the available classes, available jobs, or whathaveyou based on the selection.
 
It was difficult, because while I had gotten the hang of some of Renpy's system, I was still having problems with a few somwhat-basic concepts.  I'd posted questions to the help forum, but got no replies.  After several days of frustration, I finally, *finally* managed to get a setup that did some of what I wanted.  Just as I was trying to figure out how to make it do a little more, someone on the forums posted a perfect code recipe for the whole thing.
 
Just like that.
 
I don't know what to feel, here.  On the one hand, I'm grateful to finally have code that does what I want; but on the other hand...I put a lot of work into my own shoddy attempt, and this comes just as I made progress.  It's like when you've been walking for miles and can finally see your house, only for a friend to pull up in his sports car and offer to drive you the rest of the way.

Other:
Since I have a lot of time off coming up soon, I plan to get some drawing done.  I've been getting distracted too much, and it's time I just got my paper and pencils and locked myself away from---Oh, Hey, Webcomics!  TTYL, guys.
 

Yes, I'm Still Alive

Well, I found myself blessed with a five day weekend.  I thought to myself, "Yay!  At last, I shall have time to get things done!"

Several hours of Sims, Dwarf Fortress, and fanfic later, I found myself having to re-evaluate my definition of "get things done".

What I'm Working On:

At least I managed to write a couple of things: I wrote and posted a couple quick-and-shorties called Like A Brother and It's Gonna Be A Bumpy Ride.  Both are tiny snippets based on ideas that could've been done much bigger.  I dunno; lately I feel like my brain has dried.  I still get a lot of ideas for premises, but the words themselves just aren't coming together.  Everything feels....dull, dry, forced...I'm not sure how to describe it.  It's like...I can get the facts across, but I find myself using far too many repetitive phrases and simple words; as if the story were written by a grade-schooler.  Nothing feels like it's naturally flowing anymore; the ideas themselves come, but the words themselves are forced.  I'm not used to this feeling, and it scares me.

Also, tomorrow will mark...yet another week without an update for my game review blog.  I've been searching for something to analyze, but lately, it seems like all I can find are demos for commercial games, and that---well, I hate that.  I've been considering finding something from a different format, like a text game, but I'm not really sure what to go for.  Is "female protagonist" the same thing as "girl game"?  I don't think so; I'll have to do some searching for something that fits.
 
The lack of games to review has been tickling my programmer-itch, and I've been trying to toy with making games myself on Renpy.  Unfortunately, my parched creativity and ineptitude with Python have teamed up to drive that idea into the ground.  Maybe I should try focusing on simpler projects;  Renpy is essentially a "Visual Novel" program that can be made to do other things, and I have been focusing on those other things despite my lack of experience with Python.
 
I'm tired.  
 
Also, I realized while blogging that I was supposed to be drawing masked hamburgers for a friend, and I haven't gotten that done yet either.
 
Well, there's still tomorrow; hopefully I can finally get *something* done.
 
In the meantime, off to read more fanfic!

Rant: The Math and Change Email

 Well, this blog is ostensibly for ranting as well as raving, and there's one thing I've been wanting to rant about for a little while:

There's an email floating around the internet, one of those FWD: FWD: FWD things.  It gives an account of a guy who makes a purchase, and when the young whippersnapper at the register starts counting out his change (an odd number), he suddenly surprises her with an additional 8 or so cents (to make the number an even 50).  The poor young whippersnapper doesn't know that she should now give him 50 cents!  Oh Noes! LOL.  Why are young kids today so dumb?  Clearly this is the fault of a declining educational system!

 The email then proceeds to illustrate this decline using an example problem that gets progressively simpler and less practical as the decades roll on.  It starts out something like "1900: Bill the lumberjack cuts 758 logs at a production cost of 3 cents an hour.  If he trades all of them for their equal volume in bushels of corn, what time will the passing train arrive in Cleveland?"  and ends with "2000:  The lumberjack has cut down all the lovely trees.  How do the animals feel about this?  (There's no wrong answer)."  Some versions kick it up a notch by having the last example be the first one in Spanish, but that is a separate rant.

My main qualm with that email is this: Let's assume that our schools are still teaching us in the style of example #1, and we know how to calculate the profit of logs and corn and whatever.  You know what?  That won't prepare the above cashier for the problem she faced.  You know what would?

"1.A)You Have A Drawer containing tokens worth 1, 5, 10, 25, and 100 cents.  During a transaction worth 4.42, your customer hands you a 10.00.  What combination of tokens will give you the difference?  
B) The customer suddenly gives you another 8 cents.  What is the new combination? You cannot use a calculator for this part and must answer within 1 minute."

The point of word problems is that they require you to first figure out *what* operations you'll be using, and what positions the numbers will be plugged into.  It's one thing to say "How much paint will cover a 4-foot by 5-foot wall?" and another to just say "What is 4 x 5?".
 
I've been in that hypothetical cashier's position, and met another fellow retail worker who has also.  The problem is not that we can't do math.  Granted, I often claim that math and I do not get along; the mere mention of angles makes my eyes glaze over.  But I can figure out 4.42 +.0 8.  
 
The problem is, new cashiers don't know it's 4.42 + .08.  The cashier's brain is processing (10.00 - 4.42  = 5.00 + 1.00 +  .25 + .05 +.10 +.02), and suddenly an 0.08 appears.  Where does it go?!   What side of the equation does it fit into, and how does it affect it?  Am I adding or subtracting?  To top it off, your cashier is likely in a hurry; we are taught that speed is a must, even more-so if there's a line, and when you try to do math *fast*, you're more likely to screw up.  Sometimes the brain shuts down.  It gets better when you're experienced enough to know what must be done and how, but for a new worker (and most young people *are* new at that job; come on!) it's an unprecedented problem demanding a fast answer done in your head, on the spot, and you can't afford to get it wrong.
 
So yeah, the education system failed us:  It taught us how to find the roots of triangles and whatnot, but didn't prepare us for the world of retail.

In the meantime, if you're buying something, and the cashier is young-looking, and the change due back is not a nice round number.... please leave the 8 cents in your pocket.  Thank you.
 

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Hmm, What Was The Saying, Now?

 ...Oh Yeah:

Passach Sameach! 

=D

Happy Passover, everyone!

Lethargic Lass Returns!!!

 Well, my New Year's resolution to blog regularly not only fell through, it somehow smashed into a million pieces and caught fire in the process. :(

I really have no excuse, and can't think of anything to say.  I've thought more than once that maybe I should only blog when I actually do something, but again, part of the point of the Monday Update was to kick me in the pants so that I actually work on my projects.  Lately, though, I just...haven't been.  Part of it is simply poor time management skills, but mainly, these past couple weeks I've been preoccupied with that computer project which will likely never see the light of day anyway.

I don't know.  I think I've given up on the computery thing (mostly), and hopefully I'll get into some better work habits that actually result in things getting done...

What I've Been Working On Ocassionally When Not Loafing:

OF:
I've been doing more reading on Schizophrenia, from various books.  After pouring through several references, I think I finally understand *one* *thing*.  You might recall me saying that there's a difference between reading a factoid and understanding it?  (At least, I think I mentioned something along those lines).  The case in point, which I hereby hold up as an example, is this bit of trivia: 
 
People with Paranoid Schizophrenia often believe that their thoughts are being broadcast aloud.
 
There it is, plain and simple, more or less as it's presented in countless texts.  After reading it, I had mentally filed it under "random crap your brain will sometimes believe for no explicable reason."  I even referred to it in my fic Listen, which had the voice in the kid's head tell him this was happening.
 
Then, many moons and several books later, I came across something interesting: during some of those brain-imaging sessions that scientists have, they found out that auditory hallucinations cause the speech center of the brain to light up; not the hearing center.
 
Fascinating, I thought, and didn't consider the fact to be anything more than an intriguing bit of trivia for a while, until another book referred, with slightly different  wording, to the factoid above:  Patients complain that their thoughts "come aloud".
 
....
 
Aloud...speech center...EUREKA.
 
I could be wrong; I could be way off base; but for once, I feel like I finally have a measure of understanding that isn't simply reciting a sentence from a textbook.
 
My current understanding, my theory, is this:  Because of the illness, your thoughts are running through the Speech part of your brain.  This makes your brain think that you must be talking...Except...your lips aren't moving or anything.  But surely you must be talking, right?  Since that's the part that's lighting up.  All those thoughts are in the speech center, therefore they are being speeched, and if your face is not doing any of the necessary talking activities, then the only possible explanation (to the brain) is that they are being directly sent out, i.e. broadcast.
 
I have no idea if that paragraph makes sense to anyone else.  Even if it does, I don't know if it's right; but for once, I can imagine what such an event must feel like, how it must seem to both the person experiencing it and to anyone observing the person.  I can picture it as something other than words on a page.
 
It'll likely be quite some time before I understand enough to feel secure about publishing a story, but this is a significant step up.
 
 
Other:
I played the game I want to review in my next GGR installment.  I know mostly what I want to say.  I just hope I don't get too sidetracked tomorrow, and please don't shoot me if I do. =p
 
That's all for now, guys.  Hasta La Next Week.

Lethargic Lass! With the power of LAZINESS!

 Well, I did it again: another week went by with nothing done. :p  Not much, anyway.

What I'm Working On:

OF:
Maybe I've said this before, but I have a real push-pull thing going on with the Valor idea.  It's like, the more ideas I get and the more research I do, the less qualified I feel to write this story.  Like it's not mine to tell.  Like the best I can hope for is to not cause any harm.  And yet, the idea doesn't go away, and the desire to see it manifest in some form never fully goes away.  I sometimes wish I could just find someone more qualified than I am, and just foist it off on them.  

Fanfic:
The good news is, I've been getting some decent ideas regarding Kal-El's motivations in the Concubine story!  The bad news is, I've been too distracted to write anything.  Neither of my betas seem to have noticed this, and I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.  Hopefully, though, I'll get something done this week.

Other:
I finally got around to playing that game.  Well, half of it.  I got two endings, and may or may not play for one more before I sit down to write the review.  I feel like I've already gotten the gist of what its parts are like, but there is a dangling plot thread in the intro that may or may not get closed up in a character's path.  (I suspect not, but just in case...)

Also, I've still been dabbling with computer programming.  I used to be confident that my gift for languages could give me an edge in these things ("Computer *Languages*, so of course!") but now, I'm not so sure.  It's just...so much of it is just so boring!  All the little bits and bops and parentheses just kind of run together, and its like learning Japanese by reading a tax form.  Or something.   The analogy I've decided on is that computer game designing is like interior decorating, and programming is more like construction.  The decorator says "I have a fabulous idea for a house!  It shall have thirty rooms, each with gold-plated wallpaper and elephant shaped-fountains in the center!  There will be many sofas, and the doorways shall be wrought of ivory and decked with pictures of Marylin Monroe in gold leaf!"  So the constructor says "Okay.  Step 1: we dig a giant hole in the ground to lay the foundation.  Now we need to decide what material to use for the support beams..."

Frankly, I wouldn't ever hire that decorator, but you hopefully get my point.

Well, that's all I feel like saying at the moment.  I'm gonna get back to work reviewing that game, and hope I don't get waylaid by Tv Tropes.  Again. <_<

So Tired

 Hey, guys.  I was working today, and I'm reeeeeally tired.  This'll prolly be a really short post.

What's New With Me:

I recently got hooked on that new Young Justice show.  Man, it is awesome!  I don't have cable, but I managed to find all the current episodes on the interwebs.  It's very well done, and I'm at the edge of my seat hoping Clark warms up to Superboy.

What I'm Working On:

Somehow, I managed to get nothing done.  Well, not much, anyway.

OF:
Nothing to report, except that I've been learning the value of doing research via books rather than the internet.  It's weird, but I feel like I absorb the information better.

Fanfic:
I got in contact with my betas again, and now I have to start writing.

Other:
Ugh.  I waited til the last minute to play that game, and then found out that I was scheduled to work on that minute. -__-   Looks like I'll be having a good old-fashioned schedule slip this week. =(  Sorry guys.

Not much else to say, really.  I've got to sit up for the wash, so I'm gonna watch the Nostalgia Critic's review of Fern Gully 2.  Ciao!