The Auralgasm


 Auralgasm:a state of temporary heightened excitement as a reaction to hearing a sound.

I coigned this term a while ago, but apparently never wrote about it.  Auralgasms are most commonly associated with music, and I think the most common auralgasm people would recognize is the bass drop.

It’s a sound, or a break/hit in a song that just makes you go OOOH!  Or possibly squee.  Or even scream.  The sound just hits your nerve endings, like BAM!

 

Although most auralgasms are produced by music, there are other sounds that may have the same effect.  For example, when playing Quake 3, I would have an auralgasm every time the guy said EXCELLENT!  This happened when you made 2 kills within 2 seconds.  I liked to make him say that a lot.  Like, 35 times in 10 minutes.  :X

I was also addicted to the sound the quad power made the weapons have.  Some kind of echo-y reverb bass boost something or other.  Anyway, I would often run around the map yelling, “Must Have Shiny Blue Thing!”  And, if anyone else got the quad, I would hunt them down in a berserker frenzy to kill them and take it away from them.  Didn’t matter if I only had a shotgun, and they had a rocket launcher.  I really, really wanted that sound!  ::cough::

 

Different people will respond to different types of sounds and music.  I can post some links to songs I find have auralgasm-inducing parts.  Let’s see…

PelleK:  many of PelleK’s songs have auralgasms, because his voice is SO clear, SO pure.  (This is Power Metal, by the way.  Unless you go to his Disneyification of Metal songs section :X)  My favorite is at about 1:18 of “Gentlemen.”  The song starts out with a really strong belted out note, but the best part is just after a really long extended note.  That WAH! is just the right pitch and power….

“Can You Hear Me Now” by Savatage:  John Oliva had a truly amazing voice; he could growl, he could rasp, he could sing so crystal clear.  But this particular auralgasm isn’t from the lyrics, it comes from a break about 2/3 of the way through the song.  The chunky guitar and the power bass start jamming, and then they crash into the cellos and strings like two ocean waves hitting each other in a truly magnificent splash…!  Then the whole thing just runs away like a freight train.

“Turn Me Loose” by Loverboy:  okay, if you don’t like Metal (hey, it happens :X), this is some straight-up rock.  Um… this whole song is just about one big, five-minute long auralgasm.  It starts with a simple tone, doesn’t seem to be much.  Then it runs up your spine to a higher pitch.  And the bass starts in, nice and slow, but strong.  Then the guitar comes in, growling like a panther.
3/4 of the way through the song, it hammers out a power-anthem version of the chorus.  Just vocal, bass drum, and ride cymbal.  The guitar comes back in, and then… I don’t know if it’s technically a bass drop or a breakbeat or what, but the whole band just STOPS for one heart-stopping moment before BAM!  They slam back into gear.  Whoa…

 

Was it good for you, too?


Bloodsong’s (Cheap) No Bake Fruit Pie


 

This is based on Bernice’s No Bake Strawberry Pie recipe from Hobby Farm Homes.  But I couldn’t afford 4 cups of chopped fresh strawberries, so I… improvised!  I created a Strawberry/Cherry/Pineapple pie, and an Orange/Cherry/Pineapple pie.

They are sooooooo delicious!  Not too sweet, very light, nice and cool for summer…  So I had to share the recipe!  (And, you know… write it down so I don’t forget!  Somewhere permanent, like the internet… :X )

 

*NOTE*  If you’re substituting fresh fruit for my cheap canned stuff,  be aware that there’s an enzyme in pineapple (and other potential ingredients) that makes gelatin fail to set.   This only applies to FRESH foods.  Cooked (and canned) fruit have the enzyme nullified.


 

Ingredients: (makes one pie)

  • 1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 3oz package of fruit-flavored gelatin dessert (strawberry or orange)
  • 3/4 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/2 Can cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 Can pineapple chunks or mandarin oranges
  • Non-Dairy Whipped Topping (optional)

Recipe:

  1. Combine water, sugar, cornstarch, and half of the juice in the pineapple (or mandarin orange) can.  Boil on Med-Low heat, stirring until the mixture is clear.  Add the gelatin and stir until fully dissolved.  Remove from heat.  Mix in half a can of cherry pie filling.
  2. Arrange pineapple chunks (and/or mandarin orange slices) in the pie crust.  Pour the warm filling mixture over them to fill the pie crust.*
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours, until the pie is firmed up.
  4. Serve with non-dairy whipped topping!

 

*TIP*  If you have too much filling for the pie, you can dump it out in a glass or mug or tea cups and create miniature gelatinous dessert cups.  Chill or freeze, then eat right from the cup with a spoon.  It will be sweeter than your typical Jell-O(tm) or Knox(tm) Blocks.


 

Shopping List:

I shop at ALDI’s, so prices are super low.  Since the recipe only calls for half cans of stuff, here’s the base cost for two Bloodsong’s (Cheap) No Bake Fruit Pies (should I ™ it?)

  • 2x 9″ Graham Cracker Pie Crust (@.95)                1.90
  • 2x 3oz Strawberry/Orange gelatin mix (@.35)     0.70
  • 1x  Can Cherry Pie Filling                                          1.69
  • 1x  Can Pineapple Chunks                                         0.99
  • 1x  Can Mandarin Orange Slices                               0.89
  • Cornstarch  (negligible)
  • Sugar (negligible)
  • TOTAL=============================$6.17
  • 1x Lite NonDairy Whipped Topping (optional)      0.89
  • GRAND TOTAL=======================$7.06

or $3.53 per pie!  Yum!

 


Manga Studio Fill Pen


This is for all the folks I told to go run and buy Manga Studio, and how cool it was, and about the amazing fill pen!  Which, oddly doesn’t come as a standard tool in this amazing graphics program.  That’s okay, you can just download my version here.

This is the raw SUT file.  Save it, then use Manga Studio to import the Sub Tool.   To do that, go to your Pen SubTool palette, right click on any existing pen subtool, and choose “Import SubTool”.  Navigate to where you saved the file and click on it!

New!  Also see my quickie video on using vector layers and how to use the fill pen. Click here.

Using the Fill Pen:

First, draw your line art on a new vector layer.  (For how cool it is to draw on a vector layer, check out this video by John the Geek!)  Set this layer as a reference layer.  (To do that, click the Lighthouse icon on the layer palette while the layer is selected.)

Next, create a new raster layer (non-vector).  You can’t colour on a vector layer.  Well, you can, but only with brushstrokes that are all vectorized.  With the fill tool, you’ll want to be on a raster layer, trust me.  (See this video by Merry Calliope for more detail on coloring in using a reference layer.)

Now, the fill tool (and the select tool) can use multiple reference layers, and can close gaps so that you don’t need to have all your shapes perfectly enclosed.  But a lot of times, it still leaves a lot to be desired.  Sometimes even if you have ‘close gap’ cranked to maximum, the fill gets outside the lines.  Or sometimes the fill/selection doesn’t go far enough, and you have to click multiple times inside one shape….  The Fill Pen is your friend in this case!

it's a quickie pink pony for demonstration :X

it’s a quickie pink pony for demonstration :X

Select the Fill Pen, pick your colour, then, on the raster layer, plonk the brush tip inside your lines and start drawing.  As long as the center of your pen is inside the line, the ink coming from it will not jump over.  But once your center does jump over, your ink will be on the other side of the line!

To avoid this, try to use the largest size pen you can, to keep the center inside the line, and have the outside of the brush outside the line.  Also: turn on the one-pixel center dot for the brush cursor, that will help you see how close you are to jumping the line.  (This little gem is hidden in your Preferences: Cursor: Pen Type Cursor.  Select Brush Size & Dot (or Single Pixel Dot, as you like) for your Pen tools.  Or your Brush tools, if you’re creating a brush-type fill tool.)

Also, draw from the inside, and push out against the lines in shorter strokes.

If your lines do not form fully closed shapes, you will have a bit of trouble.  The Fill Pen doesn’t have an close gap option, sadly.  The larger brush shapes will bleed out of little gaps.

To fix this, make the brush shape very small, and ease it along the line towards the gap.  For bigger gaps, you will actually have to draw the fill ink where you want it to go until it gets to the next line.

Once you have drawn your fill colour around the edges of your outline, you can turn off the vector ink layer, and use the fill tool to fill in the center.  Because the Fill Pen is drawing to the center of the vector line (and the fill tool/marquee only go up to the line), this will result in a fill with cleaner edges.

One slight annoyance (at least to me) is that the inside lines are not filled with the Fill Pen.  The fill tool should take care of those.  Click once in the center of your fill, and then click again on the same spot, to have the fill bleed over those annoying anti-aliased edges it insists on having.

But!  What if you use the fill tool and keep refilling to leach into those anti-aliased lines and end up making your fill go outside the outlines?  Or what if you were sloppy and drew outside the lines with the Fill Pen?  Oh noes!  But wait!  The Fill Pen does even more!

Switch to transparent as your ‘colour’ for the Fill Pen.  Now, go along the outside of the outlines.  Ta-da!  The Fill Pen will erase any colour that is bleeding over!  How awesome is that?

Creating & Editing the Fill Pen:

You can turn any drawing tool into a filling tool.  Yes, even the crayons can be made to stay inside the lines!  Start with the tool you want your Fill version to emulate.  (To create the Fill Pen, I copied the Turnip Pen.)  Right click the tool in the SubTool palette and Duplicate it.  Give it a new name.

13T Fill Pen

Click the wrench icon on the lower corner of your tool.  The section of the Tool Settings you want is down at the bottom: Anti-overflow.

Turn on visibility for ‘do not exceed line of reference layer’ and ‘stop filling at center line of vector.’  Turn on the ‘color margin’ control too, if you like.

That first setting makes the tool colour inside the line only.  The second setting will cause the tool to draw a little bit under the outlines, which results in a more solid fill, and no anti-aliased edging.  (You may want to turn that part off when you are doing the transparency trick on the outside of the outlines.)

Register all the settings as initial settings for your tool, by pressing the button labeled just that.  And there you have it.

Enjoy!


Bloodsong’s Writing Method


(Reposted from my (not so) Live Journal.)

I always get a kick out of answering questions about writing methods, because mine are so… bizarre.  ;D

I don’t actually write the stories, per se.  I’ll be here, in my mundane real world existence, bored to tears, and my Brain will start telling me stories.  Doing scenes, that sort of thing.  The whole thing plays out on the inner cinema of my mind.  So, actually, I’m the first member of the audience, and sometimes I don’t know where the story is going any more than you do when you start reading it.

But I do actually do some work!  I mean, if it were just as easy as writing down what my Brain dictated to me, I’d be a heck of a lot faster at this.  :X  The problem is, the parts I do are so much harder and (in my opinion) clunkier than the parts my Brain does.

“Green & Black” is a perfect example of the various processes.  Here’s how the whole thing came to be….

I had actually forgotten (!!) to watch Arrow one week.  (That’s okay; if I get too excited about a show, it always gets cancelled.)  So I watched “Darkness at the Edge of Town” and got to The Cliffhanger!  And I could have just gone straight on to the finale.  However, I didn’t.  I was basking in the “Argh, Cliffhanger!” glow.  ::shrug::

The next morning, I asked my Brain, “Brain, why do you think Malcolm said ‘Oh no’ at the end there?”  and “What do you think will happen next?”  My Brain said, “They’re going to sit down and have a rational conversation about their similar goals.”  Interesting, I thought.  I wonder how that would go.

Well, that was turning the key to Pandora’s Box, there.  The next thing I know, I’m watching Malcolm and Oliver having this intense conversation.  Then I wondered what Diggle would say.  Yep, then I saw Oliver and Diggle talking.  That did not go well.  What about Felicity?  Here’s what happened to her.  Wait… what would Moira think!?

My plan had been to watch the finale the next night.  Instead, I deferred watching it until after the weekend.  During that weekend, nearly the whole two seasons of “Green & Black” were mapped out.  Many, many conversations were written.

In fact, if you look at “Green & Black,” the first half dozen or more chapters are made up almost entirely of two characters sitting somewhere talking to each other.

Once the character interactions and conflicts reach a critical mass (Malcolm & Oliver team up in an Enemy Mine Trope! Hooyah!), the story Must Be Written.

At that point, I need to step in and clear some things up.  Adjust the plot, fix some inconsistencies, fill some holes.  And… try to develop an actual plot.

I have to confess, I suck at plotting.  No, really.

Example Number One:  Malcolm and Oliver team up, Felicity is being held prisoner (and causing her own problems), Diggle is still held on suspicion of theft.  There should be a little mini-mission where the two go out together, before the others return to make a full team.  What should they do?

Brain is no help.  Bloodsong has no  idea what sort of white collar crimes could fit the bill related to The List.  Bloodsong watches some episodes of White Collar, which is no help whatsoever, because they all deal with counterfeiters and jewel heists.

Finally, Bloodsong decides to just swipe a typical ponzi scheme, sorta like was already done on Arrow.  Bloodsong sticks a guy in an apartment and places the Vigilante and the Dark Archer on a roof across the way.  Brain says, “Let’s make it like that episode of Sledge Hammer, where Sledge busts in on the Satanic cult leader who is in the shower.”  Yeah, that should be fun!  Bloodsong adds some dashes of real life experience with police activity in the neighborhood.

The whole thing was a boatload of work!  And that was SMALL!

Example Number Two:  Next, Diggle is released (Felicity is still being stubborn).  Aha, they should go on a three man mission.  Any ideas, Brain?  Of course not!  Bloodsong has a brilliant idea:  Diggle hates Deadshot; Deadshot shot Malcolm… let’s do a Deadshot mission!

Boom!  Brain comes up with this highly dramatic escapade on a rooftop with Malcolm and Diggle struggling with Deadshot who has a bomb strapped to his chest.  Awesome.  (Brain has no flipping idea how that scene ends, or what they’re going to do with a wired-up Deadshot.  Brain let’s me bang my head on the wall trying to figure all that out!)

I say, “Let’s do the briefing.”  Each mission comes in four parts: the setup, the plan/briefing, the action, and the aftermath/debriefing.  Brain starts rolling the mind cinema film, where Oliver, Diggle, and Malcolm are being snippy with each other.  Suddenly, Felicity is there, also being snippy with Malcolm.  Wow, this is Good Stuff!  But, Brain… Felicity isn’t there yet.  This was supposed to be a 3-man mission!

Brain:  “Too bad!  I’m stealing it for a stand-alone four-person mission!”
Bloodsong:  “Wait!  What am I supposed to do for the 3-man mission?”
Brain:  “Dunno.  Bye!”

So now I’m stuck in the middle of G&B season one, with no mission!  No ideas.  I had to make it up all my myself!  Argh!  You don’t think I suck at plotting?  I need an idea!

Well, certainly not another white collar crime from The List.  That was lame.  Diggle’s right, let’s fight regular crime!  Or semi-regular crime.  I decided a kidnapping would be fun.  Kidnapping a kid.  Then I got the idea to put in one of those little girl beauty pageant things.  Spiced it up with some real-life plots.  Cobbled it together with some half-baked backstory, glued it together loosely with some Rule of Cool…..

(Seriously, look at that plot.  How much money can an upper-middle-class couple front for a kidnapping?  And how many ways are the kidnappers going to divide it?  Did you see how many guards they had for one little girl?  SIX!  Those guys were not making enough money!)

Example Number Three:  All right, the end of season one needed the full on four-person-mission.  Brain, what do you have for that?  Brain:  “…..”  Right.  The only thing we had down for that was the code-name bits, and Felicity’s male-slash comment.  Well, so at least I knew part of the mission had to be Oliver and Malcolm sneaking somewhere….

I had been watching Sliders on Netflix.  One episode took place in a chemical plant.  Aha, I thought, I will steal this idea and have the G&B finale in a chemical plant.  Doing what?  I dunno.  But, hey, chemical plant.  Environmental disasters!  Toxic waste dumping!  Yeah!

Still no actual plot.  Time was running out.  I was desperate!  So, I asked for some advice from StarKayak.  Star has some really great stories about Jack Harkness and the Doctor’s Daughter off in the future.  Amazing plots!  Unique characters, interesting stuff, cool aliens….  I wish I could plot as well as Star!

So Star gets this PM from me, saying I have no clue what the dip I am doing.  All I have is this setting of a chemical plant, and some vague idea that there should be military trucks there for some reason.  And possibly Malcolm getting on a truck as they escape, and the others telling him to do an Indiana Jones thing, and him complaining about Indy getting old and not making the rope swing… :X!  And I asked for some advice.  A hint.  An inkling of an idea?

Star wrote back, and I kid you not, sent like the outline for an entire Action/Adventure movie!  I was like, Holy Crap!  It was practically Die Hard in Starling City!  Wow!

It was great, but I ended up not quite exactly using it.  ;)  Star gave me some great tips, like figure out what I wanted to say with the writing, what theme to explore.  For G&B it was the conflict between Malcolm and his ideas of how things should be done, and Oliver’s.

In Star’s plot, the villain was going to turn out not to be the villain!  Instead, the guy’s boss was going to be forcing him to do the toxic dumping.  When this got revealed, it would show how Oliver’s method of talking to people and giving them a chance to make good worked better than being judge, jury, and executioner, like Malcolm wanted to.

That was awesome.  But… well, I couldn’t figure out why this guy kept working for this evil boss.  Why he didn’t turn the guy over to the authorities.  So then I thought, wait!  What if… it wasn’t the guy’s boss, but his trusty second in command, the plant manager?

The plot thickens!  Especially when I made her a woman, and gave them a backstory of how they had met in college and become good friends, and worked together for years.  Then it turns out this woman he trusted totally betrayed him!  (See, that’s a kind of theme, there.  :X)

Next, Star’s plot involved Malcolm getting unmasked.  Actually, he got surrounded, beat up severely, and captured.  The evil bad boss was planning to blackmail him, and they took him away on one of those trucks I had mentioned….  Then Oliver found the Dark Archer’s hood, and realized what happened.  Diggle encouraged him to cut Malcolm loose, but… no.

So Oliver catches up to the bad guys, and kills them.  He frees Malcolm and, without a word, hands him back his black hood.  Oh, man!  That was gonna be sooooo GOOD!

Sadly, it was not to be.  :/

I’m sitting there thinking… ‘Malcolm gets beat up’?  How is that going to work, exactly.  The guy is Bruce Lee!  (Oh, you don’t think so?  Let me tell you something.  I’ll believe that somebody can train intensively in the League of Assassins for two years and become an elite ninja.  But somebody train for two years that long ago and never again, and still be as good as Merlyn is?  Nope.  He’s been keeping up with his training — either with some trips back to Nanda Parbat as I envisioned, or by taking up Judo, Aikido, Hop Gar….  So yes, he’s been training for twenty years.  He’s freaking Bruce Lee!)

But again, I got some good ideas from the whole thing.  Some themes, as it were.  Malcolm takes on the whole ‘army’ there in the G&B mission and pretty much holds his own.  But the villain has an advantage he doesn’t expect, and he is in deep trouble!  Diggle, of course, is all for cutting Merlyn loose.  Oliver disagrees.

There’s the Mother Of All Cliffhangers in that mission.  (Ah, I still love that!)  And some lessons learned all around.

So, yeah… for the plotistically-challenged, my recommendation… is to ask for advice from a really good plotter!  ;D  Star, you rule!  I won’t ever forget your help, and I hope people realize how valuable it was from the credit given.  Or… if they don’t, maybe they’ll read this post and see.  :)

 


My Superpowers


I have only recently become aware that I have superpowers.  It keeps astounding me.  I really need to get used to it.

 

Let me start this story with the first revelation I had.  It took me over 20 years, but I finally did realize that normal human beings cannot tell the difference between a fork and a spoon — unless they pull the utensil out and look at it  to see if it has tines or a bowl!

Seriously!  I nearly fell over in absolute shock as I realized this.  I can just grab a fork or spoon by the handle, and usually I can tell by the weight and balance, or how it slides against other utensils in a drainer, which one it is.  I didn’t think this was anything special!

So it drove me absolutely nuts when… let’s say a particular housemate of once upon a time kept yanking open a (very loud and old) silverware drawer, pulling out utensils, and throwing them back in.  When I figured this whole thing out, it was a simple matter to go to the silverware drawer and turn all the utensil piles so that the working ends were at the front of the drawer.  (Yeah, apparently it’s difficult for normal humans to also remember which slot is for forks and which slot is for which type of spoon…)

From then on out, the silverware drawer only had to be opened a little bit and it was instantly clear which utensils were in which slot.  Ah, relief!

 

 

My second revelation wasn’t that much of a shock, but it was certainly a game-changer.  Well, life-changer.  I had always complained about being plagued by stupid people.  Why?  Why couldn’t I be surrounded by smart people?  How did all the idiots of the world seem to end up in my immediate vicinity?

Then I realized… OMG!  They aren’t stupid people!  These are all people of average intelligence!

Dopey me, I expected humans to be as smart as I am.  It’s a shock, I tell you.  I mean, I’ve always known I was smart, duh.  Just not… how much of an impact that really had on my life.  And how really above average I was.  :X

But it helped me with my anger.  I don’t get so mad at people being stupid.  I just go, “Well, they’re of average intelligence.  That’s about the best they can do.”  Lowered my expectations right down to normal levels.

 

 

Now, my biggest superpower to date…!  People tell me things.   And I remember them!

(SHOCK!)

No, seriously.  I could never, ever  understand why everyone thought school was so hard!  I mean… the teacher told you something — like, I dunno… ‘In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue’ or whatever.   Then like ten minutes later, the teacher would ask, “Okay, class, what happened in 1492?”

And everybody would be like… No, no, don’t pick me!  I don’t know!   And I was like… um… you just told us this TEN MINUTES AGO.  Duh?

Then at the end of the week, or the end of the lesson segment, and/or at the end of the year, you’d get a test.  And this was a little piece of paper that asked about stuff the teacher told you previously.  You write down what they told you, or what you read.  Kids would go nuts over these things!  Oh no!  I have to study!  This is so hard!  I’m going to fail!   I was constantly like… WTF?

My parents were ecstatic and would tell me I was doing so well in school, and blah blah blah huzzah.  And I was bewildered, because… uh?  What was so hard about it?

 

Just recently, I was telling my mom about something she had told me.  (Within the past 7 years, not when I was a kid.)  And she was like, ‘Where did you hear that?’

I said, ‘YOU told me!’

‘I did??’

So… not only can’t people remember what other people told them… they can’t remember what they told other people!

Oh, I’ve had that happen to me on more than one occassion!  Someone will tell me something, something I could do or make use of… a while later I will act on what I’ve been told.  And then this person will yell at me for doing what they told me I could do!  Like I made it up and did it on my own.  Without permission!

So, screw that.  When people offer me stuff, or offer to be there to support me, I’m like, Yeah, right, sure.  Ignored!

 

On the other side… I tend to not want to harp on things, or get in people’s face.  I will tell my friends something.  Like “I’m doing this.  If you want to see some WIPs, you can look here.”  One time.  That’s it.  They don’t want to bother with it, they don’t want to look, they don’t want to comment.  That’s fine.  They don’t care.

But apparently, it’s also quite possible that I say something, and they forget it soon afterward.

 

 

Lastly, yes, there is one person I know who is jumping up and down and waving arms and making faces…. I will admit it!  My superpower is NOT infallible.

Sometimes, people tell me things.  And sometimes I don’t remember them!  (GASP!)  Well, hell, I didn’t say I remember EVERY SINGLE THING anyone has ever said.  Or that I’ve ever read.  But I’m starting to have the sneaking suspicion that this is what’s going on.

If I figure this out… I’ll better be able to cope with humans as a species.

(Cause it has been quite clear all along that I am NOT one of them!)

 

 


A Plea for the Retention of the Special Case of the Word “Hanged”


When I was a young’n, like you whippersnappers today, the word ‘hang’ had a special past tense case. When used as a word to describe being executed by having a rope noose tied around your neck and letting your body weight strangle you (or break your neck), the past tense was ‘hanged.’ Not ‘hung.’

I’m not asking the word ‘hung’ be stricken from the dictionary in favor of ‘hanged.’ I’m just asking that we continue to use the special case of ‘hanged’ as the past tense of hang when referring to the above method of execution.

Because, I swear, if you write something like this:

“Why yes,” the old cowboy drawled, “I know of ol’ Black Bart. That boy was hung!”

then I am going to start laughing like a juvenile Beavis Butthead.

“Uh… he was?”

“Yessirree!”

“And you know this how, exactly?”

“Everybody in town knows that, stranger!  We all done seen it.  Why when the boys got him up on Boot Hill, he was swingin’ in the breeze!  Coulda seen that from miles around.”

!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Seriously, people.  Hanged.  He was hanged!  PLEASE!

 

Adventures in Knitting: Cowl

After making a hat with a brim that my Mom requested for Christmas… I had some really soft ‘chunky’ yarn left over, that would feel really nice as a neck warmer.  But instead of JUST a neck warmer, I thought it would be really awesome if it came down to cover the shoulders like a yoke kind of deal….

So I poked around looking at those Fairport Isle sweaters?  You know, the ones with the goofy mooses and patterns going around the yoke.  I deconstructed a panel from one for stitch counts, and designed my own one-colour pattern.

I wanted to do cable patern deals, since that was the big new thing I learned doing the hat.  But I wanted them to go in a spiral, so I worked out this three cable spiral pattern for the front 3 panels, and then a plain line and diamond pattern for the back panels.

I got to the part where I was supposed to do the next cable cross-over at the start of a panel, but the yarn wasn’t over far enough yet….  And then I was looking at the slanted cable, and I have to tell you… cables don’t work on a diagonal!

cowl2

The diagonal-running tracks looked nice, but the supposed ‘twist’ looked like a lump of messed-up yarn.

Since I was also kinda unhappy with my back pattern and wanted it more, well, patterny, and I had been thinking the spirals need to go all the way around, not stop… I decided to pull the whole thing out and start over.

It’s a good thing I did.  :X

I took it off the circular needles and tried it on, to see how the sizing was going.  Um….

cowl1

I discovered I could fit a few other people in it with me!  Oops.   I wrapped it around my shoulders and counted how many panels it took.  It seems I should be using 5 instead of 15.

No wonder it was taking up so many skeins and I had to order more yarn!  I was almost at the end of another skein, so I took it out and started wrapping a ball.

And, yes, ended up with a ball of yarn bigger than my head.

cowl3

Well.  At least I’ll end up with something that looks nicer than this!  (I hope!)

(And now watch, Awen will yell at me for not checking gauge!  Well, I made up the whole pattern, how would I know what the gauge is?  Besides, I checked gauge for the hat and found out I had to use the biggest needles I had to get the right 4×4 swatch.  Then I started the hat and it was practically a yoked neck warmer!  :P )

Lined Nautilus Hat

Return of the Nautilus Hat.

 

Finally, I got this done!  I thought it was going to look like an absolute mess, because I KNOW the pattern is messed up soooo many different ways.

 

Anyway, in our last episode, the Nautilus Spiral Hat was too thin with holes in it for winter outdoor use.  (Yes, I wear it indoors.)  So I decided to make one with a lining.  And, brilliant me, I thought, “Hey, if it had a bright pink lining, that would show through the holes.  COOL!”

 

So I followed the top-down pattern by Marnie McLean, but didn’t put in holes.  Then I switched to purple for the brim, because… why not?  I like purple, too!  (In case you couldn’t tell. :X)  These are in Caron Simply Soft yarn, my favorite!

 

 

Then I followed the bottom-up pattern on the outside.  I thought I would like the ridges and holes spiral better than the just-holes one, buuuut…  turns out I don’t.

 

LinedNautilusHat-Outside

 

And the holes are too small to see the pink through!  :/  I need a pattern with bigger holes.  Or, I guess, bigger needles.  (This is done on a size 7, I think.)

 

LinedNautilusHat-Standing

 

Below, I tried turning the hat inside out and putting the original one over the pink.  Which works a little better.

 

LinedNautilusHat-OtherVersion

 

 

At any rate, the hat is DONE, and I don’t imagine I’ll tear it out and try to start over :X   And it is very snug and warm!  :)

If I make another one, I’ll do the top-down nautilus and then go up the lining.

 

Meanwhile, I have a design for a neck warmer that has a yoke so it drapes over the shoulders and chest.  That’s in soft chunky wool that is even softer than Caron Simply Soft yarn!

 

The Good Week, part 2


the week is not over, people!!!  it’s barely thursday morning and…. THE SAGA CONTINUES!

wednesday night update:

i go to log into star stable, to feed my horses.  i decided not to play it much this week, as my left hand is swelling up from the repetetive stress.  anyway, i go to the site, star stable is down.

they tried to post a big christmas update, and something went screwy, and they were there in sweden past midnight trying to fix it.  :X

oh, so then i finished downloading the game tera, and i spent 2 hours playing that.  yeah, with my hand i’m supposed to be resting!  ARGH!

thursday morning:

i call…  well, i was going to be nice and not mention any company names but… TRACFONE support again.  i skip all the rigamarole and go directly ( so i thought) to the tech support.  no, they have a robot gatekeeper too.  first, i try to ‘check the status of your ticket.’  please enter the ticket number.  well, yeah, the guy didn’t give me one.   i try putting in the serial number.  it gets confused.  i try to find out how to go back on the menu.  finally i say screw it, and hang up to dial again from the start.

none of that nonsense, i go to the robot gatekeeper for the actual person assistance.  it wants my phone number.  i give it.  it goes, ‘that’s not a tracfone number.  enter the phone number of the tracfone.’  i give it.  ‘no, that’s not a tracfone number.’  and then i get into an argument with the robot voice and yell, ‘yes it is!’

the robot voice goes… ‘okay!  i will connect you to customer service.’  and flees.

i get a real person.  he wants the phone number, i give him that, but then explain what’s going on, and i’m supposed to give him my old serial number so he can look at the case notes and finish transferring my minutes.

those don’t exist.

well, what’s the serial number of the new phone?  that exists at least.  then he goes, ‘did you mean to transfer your phone number when you did the transfer of service?’  well, yeah, DUH.  apparently, that wasn’t done.

he needs to futz with the system.  fine.
meanwhile, i go onto the web site and try to log into my account.  at first, it doesn’t know me, but i might have typed in my password wrong, one-handed.

on my account i see my old phone serial number.  see, it DOES exist!  it’s status is deactivated.
where’s my new phone?  not there.  well why not?  it was the other day when i tried to switch service online, and input the serial number and a nickname.

is your phone not showing up?  click here.  i click here.  i enter the serial number.  it tells me i’m not allowed to use the serial number of my current phone.  wtf?  it’s not my current phone, it’s my new phone.  and if it IS my current phone, then where the hell is it on my account?

after 20 minutes of talking with somebody, the CS guy on the phone comes back.  he says we can’t finish transferring the rest of your minutes.  i say, ‘when can you do it?’  he says, ‘we can’t do it.  those were on the old phone when it was deactivated, so those were bonus minutes.’

BONUS MINUTES!?!?!

bonus minutes, my butt!  i had the effing phone for like ten freaking years, i bought…  okay, i had the occassional bonus 40 minutes here and there.  but seriously!?!?  so i tell the guy, okay, can you just reactivate my old phone that has all the minutes on it?  ‘sure,’ he says.

two minutes later he goes, ‘you need an airtime card to finish reactivating this phone.’  wtf!?  oh HELL no.  i just bought a flipping one year service card!  he goes, ‘well, you can get the cheapest one, which is ten bucks.’

i can’t deal with this.  i just go, ‘know what, i’ll call you back.’  and then i hang up.  not angrily, but i hang up.  just… NO.

not today, pal!

ah, and the day is young!!
 


The Good Week


 

for your entertainment…

sunday night i said to myself: “i’m going to have a good week this week.”  the power of positive thinking and all that.

the universe said: “HAHAHAHHAHA!  you THINK that’s what’s going to happen… you poor, sad, deluded fool.”

monday:  nothing too bad, too onerous, too disasterous.  i just keep dropping things.  misplacing things.  fumbling things.  tripping.  just enough to ANNOY THE HELL OUT OF ME ALL DAY.

i get a bill from the vet.  i think, oh no!  i thought i paid for all the tests there at the office when i was there.  but… why are they charging me for my cat’s “cardiac BNP – canine”?  i can’t deal with that right now, i have stuff to do in second life.

in second life, i’m setting all my vendors for a 20% off december sale.  i select all the ones to apply this to, to mass edit them.  only… it already says there’s a 20% discount on… well, at least ONE that i’m editing.  :X  how long has THAT been there?!?!

well, i get that done.  then i go to switch my cell phone service to this new phone i got on amazon.  i punch in all the numbers on the web site.  i punch in the codes on my phone.  i input mystic code numbers that spit out.  everything works!  then it tells me it is going to transfer 1090 minutes and 297 days of service to my new phone.  do i agree?  oh HELL no.  i want ALL of my three thousand and twenty-one minutes, thank you very much!

i call customer service.  i get put on hold, naturally.  then it wants me to see if i am eligible for a great deal!  am i over 50?  no!  gimme a CS rep.
hold music.
then it is telling me i can get a rebate coupon!  a 100 dollar rebate coupon!  get out my credit card, because this marvelous rebate coupon only costs $1.98!  wtf?  rebate coupon?  pfft.  i spent like 17 dollars on this fool phone on amazon, they ain’t gonna give me no 100 dollar rebate!!
then it gets off the hold music and tells me that if i’m having trouble with my search, i should press star and hang up, and someone will call me.  wait.  what???  search?  what search?  my search for a CS rep?  my search for a new phone?

i look at the phone number i wrote down.  i look at the phone number on the screen.  oops. :X

OKAY.

i call customer service. i get put on hold, naturally.  no wait!  first… the little robot guy is going to walk me through transferring my phone service, if i punch in all the numbers and yadda yadda like i already did on the site.  which i do.  little robot guy is actually pretty good, he doesn’t sound like a robot reading off numbers back to me.  except he can’t understand me saying ‘yes.’
meanwhile, we get to the end of this procedure, it says, hang on a moment while i look up information on your phone….
la la la…
then he comes back and says, ‘you need to talk to a representative.’  well no duh?  ah well, i could have HOPED.

now i’m on hold.  i’m at my job.  i put the hold on hold to answer 3 phone calls.  (actually, i put robot guy on hold. good thing he is patient and was repeating the step we were on when i got back to him…)  then after 20 minutes, i said, this is ridiculous.  i’ll call on wednesday.

tuesday:  now tuesday was good!  i painted snow!  (and it actually looks good this time!)  i painted gems.  i fixed a helmet.  i was so happy!

i finished the second try of the first part of my mom’s hat i’m knitting for christmas.  since the first one was SO huge, i thought the regular one probably wouldn’t really need a lower back hem, so i left it off.  i had to knit backwards a while, but eventually, i got to the end.  of the first part.  the next part is knitting a brim onto this sucker…  anyway, so i put it on my head.  gee, it was a bit small… :/  didn’t cover my ears, really.  argh.

well, there’s no help for it, i will have to carry on.  and if it’s too small, do it again with needles sized between the ones i first used and the ones i used this time.

i decided not to play star stable too long — in fact, not at all this week, because my left hand is swelling up a bit.  too much video gaming.  :X  so i was bored.  watched some tv on netflix.  yawned my face off.  i went to bed at 8:30.

well, sometime after 8:30, since i had to run up and down the stairs for umpteen things i forgot….

wednesday:  the power was out overnight for 3-4 hours or so.  no, i use a travel alarm, so it went off on time.  i was TOTALLY zonked and still tired even after going to bed early!

my router is finicky, and it hates being without power.  but it appeared to be working all right….  i unplugged it to make sure it reset after the modem was on. (which is the wrong order, which i will find out a few hours later…)

i could’t remember the IP address of the thing to get to the control panel.  it was no longer in my browsing history.  (it’s been THAT long since i’ve had any trouble with it!)  i turned on my downstairs computer, where i had actually bookmarked that.  that computer doesn’t like to do anything when it can’t connect to the network.

i gave up and turned it off.

i did something upstairs to make it work.  or so i thought.  i came back downstairs and turned the computer back on.  there is my router, why doesn’t it auto connect?  i press connect.  i connects.  yay!  i go to my router IP bookmark to read the router info…  wait…  why does it say: encrpytion: none?  why does it say some android something or other is connected to my network!?  ARGH!

i go back upstairs, turn that machine back on.  i try to get into the admin tab of the router.  it doesn’t know me.  it doesn’t like any or all iterations of my username and/or password.  @#($*&#$%!!!

i go downstairs, where i can google how to reset the mofo.  30/30/30.  yes, i know what that means.

i go upstairs and do that.  yeah, while everything is still turned on and connected, so sue me.  :X  i THINK i do it.
i go to the admin with the root password.  that works.  whew!  and I’M SMART!  i have a backup file of all the router settings, all i have to do is load it.

if i can remember what it’s called…
if i can remember where it is…
uhm… i know!  i will press this ‘backup’ button, and it will give me a hint as to where it may have tried to put this backup and what it might be called.  pale moon pops up and says, ‘you’re trying to run a bin file.  how do you want to do that?’  well hell!  if you dont know, i don’t know!

i open editpad to go searching around for only txt files.  or only all files.  wait, my brain suddenly flashes!  not in ‘notes’ look in the ‘term’ directory!  whew!
i load the restore in form there and restore it.  YES!  reboot the router!

no.

reboot the computer.

no.

reboot the router after rebooting the computer.

no.

peer at the router and wonder WTF?  wait… that light…. it’s… blinking.  on.  off.  on. off.
I KNOW THIS!  yes, i have a blog post exactly about this and what to do about it, and it is SO SIMPLE to fix!

presuming i could remember what the simple fix is.
it’s on the… something tab.
i poke through tabs.  no, not that one.  no, too complicated.  no… i’m sure it will jump out at me?  okay, no.

so.
all i have to do is get to my blog post where i will tell my future self what the SIMPLE TRICK is to fix this thing.  to do that, i need to get online.  :X

fortunately, i have a work computer!  and wordpress wasn’t blocked by the corporates software :X
YES!  go to wireless: basic; hit apply.  how easy is THAT?
boom!
light stops blinking.

but.

my orange light is not on.
the router is not working.
i press the orange light button.  noooo.  no, that never works.

i press the button on the modem to make it stop modeming.  then restart.
no orange light on the router.
should i unplug the router and plug it back in?  NOOOO, the router HATES losing power.

i can’t get it.  i turn the computer off and hope the light will come on later.
meanwhile, i have to call the vet about this bill, and the phone people about this transfer.

i go back downstairs, and hmmm…  on my ‘blinking WLAN light’ post are links to related posts.  out of curiosity, i lookat the one about how to fix ‘slow loading web pages.’
YOU MORON!
you turn on the router FIRST,  *then* the modem!  THEN the computer!

back upstairs… good excercise!
i unplug the modem, i plug it back in.
blink blink blink.
blink blink blink blink.
blink blink blink blink blink.
BOOM BABY!

the modem connects, and my orange light comes on!

i turn that computer off again.  (which is stupid, i wanted to leave it on all day and download tera.)
i turn on the downstairs one.
my day is off.

yeah, way off.

good news!
the vet thinks that just MAYBE this canine cardiologist charge on my cat’s vet bill MIGHT be in error….!
they’ll get back to me.
meanwhile,
back to the robot on the phone switching thing.  back on hold. (on the right CS number this time. :X )  i get a person!  we do all kinds of number punching.
for a long time.  he asks me how many minutes i have. i  tell him.  he doesn’t laugh.  hmm.  hey, i’m going for a guiness book of world records here.  most unused minutes on a phone, okay?

now i KNOW this is going to work.  it worked on the site, just it didn’t transfer my minutes.  come on, work, work; universe, you can’t screw this up!  finally, he tells me he can’t transfer all the minutes at once, but he can do it in like 2 or 3 goes.  okay.  he sends over the first 1100 minutes.  my new phone is activated!  it pops right up and tells me so!

then he says the new phone activated, but on the system it is still ‘in transfer.’  so i will have to call back to get the rest of the minutes sent over.  well, wish me luck with that.  he put a note on my file, and says i just have to call and give the old serial number, and the tech will see the note and know that minutes still need to be transferred.

i can call back in an hour.

yeah.  maybe tomorrow.

i’m exhausted.