Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cloak of the Harvester..... 2 months later

So I've been lazy about posting. It's a bad habit.  Anyways I never did post the finished "Cloak of the Harvester."  I did enter the costume contest with it and was very shocked and delightfully surprised to come away with an honorable mention.  It's tough to compete against contestants with a full head to toe costume so to receive honorable was fantastic.

In other news, enjoying the new EQ2 expansion, Chains of Eternity.  There are some very frustrating times when I keep dying but that is because I am way behind the armor power curve.  Being able to experience the entire lore involved in the expansion is a nice touch.  The only drawback is that since the main quest arch is so encompassing there is very little side questing. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Much Ado About Lists

Only 45 days to SOE Live!  Time to start panicking!

 Every year at about this time there are a few of us that need to have extensive lists on what to bring with us to SOE Live.  It's not so much that we will forget that we need to pack certain stuff.  It's just that without the list or lists we will 100% for certain to forget the small important stuff. The reasons for needing lists has absolutely nothing to do with getting older!  It has to do with being busy.  Juggling friends, family, work, hobbies, unforeseen disasters, etc. easily takes its toll on the mind when it comes to packing.  You may think it's easy to remember to pack socks but trust me one trip I did just that and I stared at the suitcase seeing if I missed anything for a good 15 minutes.  Now my lists (yes, I used lists) come in two forms: what goes in the luggage and what comes with me on the plane.

The plane lists is by far the most complex of the lists.  It's the one that has all the electronics on it.  So not only do I need to remember the ipad but I had better bring along the charger and cord for it as well.  If I do forget any charger or cord, I can run down to the local CVS or Wallgreens that are on the Vegas Strip and get another but I really have no desire to miss any of the action. The plane lists also has the much needed blanket and tummy yummies on it.  No way this girl is freezing or going hungry on a plane!  It's only a 2 hour drive to the airport and another 2 hour flight but I will not starve!  The plane list does have a sub list called "What needs to be on the ipad, ipod, e-reader, etc." This is the spot where I remind myself to upgrade any apps and to download any additional music, movies, or apps.

The luggage list is somewhat simpler it has clothes and sundries on it.  Since I have a costume this year it also has a reminder to pack that as well.  Still haven't decided if I want to brave the contest yet or not.  The clothes list isn't simply bring 2 of this, 3 of those kind of lists.  Oh no.  It's much more.  If you have ever been to any gaming convention they you know that after you check in and drop your stuff off it is non-stop.  So to combat this busy schedule some I actually plan my wardrobe.  Yep, I plan what I am going to wear for each day.  When you are only going to get about 8 hours of sleep over 72 hours little things like this help.

Now it is time for me to get back to the lists finishing touches.  Only have 40 days left to complete them and pack.  With work there is no way I am packing the night before, disaster will strike if I do!

“Give me a laundry-list and I'll set it to music.”

 Gioacchino Rossini


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Anatomy of a Cloak

Okay so I didn't do any progress updates for the "Cloak of the Harvest".  Opppps. Me bad. It is now finished.

I will have to say for all the stuff that is on the cloak it wasn't too difficult to put together. With that being said onto the anatomy of a cloak!

1.)  Pick out a cloak
There are a wide variety of cloaks in everquest 2 and to recreate one you need to find one you like.  Now some of the cloaks may not translate well to the real world.  Anything that has moveable parts won't be easy to recreate.

2.) Make a pattern.
All patterns will start out with an in-game screenshot and a really big piece of paper.  Next you have to decide the actually size of the cloak you want to make.  Be prepared to break out the ruler and the calculator, and step back in time to school math/geometry.  Proportions are important!  After drawing out the basic outline for the cloak it is time for the details.  There is no one right way for this part just remember that the in-game cloak has a slight curve to it so adjust for it.  Of all the steps this one is by far the most important.  If it doesn't look right on paper it definitely will not look right when made of fabric.

3.) Buying fabric and any bling.

This is where you will have to be creative.  Artist have a pallet of millions of colors and shapes.  Fabric choices are far less diverse.  Take a high quality snapshot of the in-game cloak with you to the fabric stores.  At that point you will agonize over which fabrics are close enough or convey the image that is closest.  It took me about 6 months of searching to find enough exceptable fabrics.

4.) Stitching it all together. 

4 words make it sound easy but there is more to it. First, you have to determine what techniques you want to use.  For the "Cloak of the Harvester" I used 3 different quilting techniques (quick freezer paper piecing, applique, and what could be called standard).  There is also choosing between using a sewing machine or sewing by hand.  For this cloak I used the sewing machine and for the "Cloak of Clockwork Dreams" it was hand quilted.

5.) Sitting back and enjoy the finished project.
If you are planning to enter the costume contest, you will to create an outfit that showcases the cloak.

Sorry, not posting the finished cloak just yet.  May post it before I leave for SOE Live.

"Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties."
Gail Sheehy

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Geek Quilting

Only 150 days until SOE Live and I'm all ready semi-sidetracked on another project.  It sort of relates to SOE Live really it does. Honest! 

If  you have ever attended any type of convention, conference, big meeting, etc., then you already know they all have 1 major thing in common.  The venue is always freezing! The base temperature of any room is always a few degrees above freezing.  Anyways, how this all relates. I'm always freezing when I go to SOE Live. ALWAYS!  It's not uncommon to see me carrying around a sweater even though it's 100°F+ outside. So I've decided I need a small lap quilt to accompany me this year.  Now being the geeky gaming nerd that I am no ordinary quilt will do!

That's right a Star Wars lap quilt for cold me!  Even though Star Wars Galaxies is no longer, there is still Clone Wars Adventures so it will apply to one of the games in the SOE catalog.  The original plan was to do a Dr. Who quilt (still on the list for later), however, I have this great fear that I will be ambushed in the corridor by some assassin and never see it again.

The quilt is at the stage where the real fun begins.  Going to quilt the top with a motif of rebel and imperial symbols with some aurek-besh quotes on the side.  Will post a final pic when all is done.

Cloak of the Harvester update: 12 more pieces of fabric and will be ready to put it all together.

"May the Force be with you."

Monday, April 30, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Beta Impressions

Disclaimer:  The following are my personal thoughts and opinions.  I am not being compensated by N.C. Soft for this.

This  past weekend was the long awaited Guild Wars 2 open beta weekend and all I can say is WOW!  The graphics are even more spectacular then the original it really is mind blowing.  Beta being an open beta the game is well polished.  Very few bugs or problems from what I experienced.  Now for the details.

Character creation is fairly standard.  Pick a race, gender, tweak the character looks, etc, however, there is one slight difference. When creating your character you also create some back story for him/her.  It's nothing in depth just some basics like being from the nobility or commoner.  The game developers then take this elements and then interweave them into the overall storyline for the PvE portion of the game.  I find this approach refreshing plus it gives a uniqueness to your character.  Granted there will be countless others that make the same background choices as you but it won't be everyone. After signing the bio it's off to the tutorial and some story introduction.

Whenever I participate in a new beta the tutorial always flies by with me remembering very little.  From just ogling at the graphics to being swept away by the rest of the players the whole entire point of the tutorial goes by the way side.  What I do remember of it is the big bad baddie at the end that sends you off to the infirmary for some much need rest.  It's the first hint that there is something evil lurking in the world. 

When you wake-up from your little nap you are sent to the city of Divinity's Reach.  OMG!!!!  This is what I've always imagined a MMO city to be.  Huge, Massive, and Gorgeous!  I explored every square inch of the place and was amazed at every turn.  I also had to find all the exploration points and waypoints. (Exploration points are just that places to go find.  Waypoints are points for quick travel.  They do cost a little to use but it beats walking half way across the map.) You are sent into the main city to start on the overall storyline and of course to familiarize yourself with the city.  After finishing the story arc parts in the city it is time to go explore the region outside, Queensdale.  This is where you Guild Wars 2 differs from Guild Wars. There are people all over the place in contested areas.  No longer is it instances where the only time you see another soul is when you hit a town, outpost, city, etc.  Quests are also a little different.  No longer will they clutter a quest journal but instead will activate when you are in the area of the quest objectives and the rewards all come to you in the mail.  Now there is nothing earth shattering new in the quest variety just the stuff you all know and love.  Also something new this time around is the world events.  If you've played Rift these would be the equivalent of rifts or if you have played Everquest 2 these would be the equivalent of public quests.  The objectives for them range from kill, kill, kill, to escort and protect.  I found them to be delightfully fun especially the ones they mark as "group".  I did find that the objectives for the world event will scale depending on the number of players in the area. 

One note on the overall quest arc.  You get to make choices!  Granted in the end everyone will get to the same point but you get to decide on the next step on occasion, such as going to a party or searching a home.  This will bring some re-playability with additional characters since the next time around you can make the opposite choices.

Since I was concentrating on just the one area I really didn't venture past Queensdale.  I did take the portal to Lion's Arch and it most assuredly was no the Lion's Arch of my youth! 

All in all I can't wait for the this to go live!  I look forward to everything I didn't get to see.

Just WOW!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

And So It Begins

Yes, I am still alive!  Last few months has been dealing with sickness and a work schedule that has me working more hours.  Oh what fun!

And so it begins....

Great words when embarking on some grand adventure, project, scheme, etc.  It really sets the tone that something memorable will happen.  In this case it is referring to this years SOE Live (formally Fan Faire) cloak project.  I have been attending the event for the last several years and have always been impressed with the ingenuity and craftiness of those that decide to try their hands at costumes.  Last year I took my first stab at one.  I decided to recreate one of the cloaks found in game for Everquest 2.  It wasn't my original choice but with only 3 months to work with I went with option 2.  I chose a cloak entitled "The Cloak of Clockwork Dreams".  It was an experience to make and personally I think it came out looking gorgeous.  I didn't enter the contest with it.  It was just the cloak and really had no clothing to truly make it shine.  (Truth was I was too chicken to enter. :P)

This year I am creating the cloak I wanted to do last year.  This time around I have 6 months to finish it and an outfit to go with it. Even with the required procrastination time there should be enough time to accomplish everything.  This years cloak is entitled "The Cloak of the Harvester".  To obtain it requires a somewhat lengthy quest line where you go around harvesting a variety of fauna, rocks, and animals to get specimens for a delightful young boy named Qho, who is the quest giver.  (By the end every player is looking for an opportunity to have him take a long walk off a short pier.)

This years project:

To tackle something like this requires a great deal of reverse engineering with some creative liberties.  I don't believe game artist think "wonder if this can be recreated in reality" when designing clothing, armor, weapons, houses, etc.   Stay tuned for regular updates and whining!

"And so it begins..."
Babylon 5, Season 1, Episode "Chrysalis"  

Everquest 2 is the trademark and copyright of Sony Online Entertainment. In no way is it my original work.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Fun Thing Happened with No Chocolate

I survived!  
Godzilla did not destroy Tokyo and no limbs were lost.  What's the commotion all about you ask?  I made it 31 days without consuming a single drop of chocolate in any form.
I survived!

     The results were not what I was expecting.  Just figured would pick up where I left my chocolate addiction but with less intake. I was very, very wrong.  What I learned after a month of no chocolate is that I find it too sweet.  That's right too sweet.   Didn't have to consume large quantities to figure this out either.  Ate a few different varieties of some of the mini/fun size bars and found I didn't care for any of them as much as I once did.  This includes the all time favorite, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Next came the chocolate cake.  This was tolerate better because of the semi-sweet chocolate in it.  After two outings  back into the chocolate world I can honestly say that chocolate is no longer my addiction food.  No longer will I need to consume it daily!

      Some thing else I discovered during this adventure is that I really don't care for high sugary snacks at all.  Shockingly, I find them too sweet.  I gave up sugary sodas years ago so this really shouldn't have shocked me but it did.  I had figured that Skittles, Starburst, any non-chocolate candy would be a good substitute but in the end it was not.

      I won't be giving up chocolate completely.  It will now become the treat that it is suppose to be and no longer a necessity of life.

"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
Lucy Van Pelt (in Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA and Pipa

I normally wouldn't talk politics but every now and then an issue comes up that I have a strong reaction too.  SOPA and Pipa both fall into that category.  I see both as a pathetic attempt by big business to keep things the way they are and not to change.  Piracy has always been a problem and always will be but don't go crying to congress because you aren't willing to change your ways.  What has the movie or the music industry really done to make their products readily available? Not much really.  Still paying the same prices as before regardless of the format.  Correct me if I am wrong but how can any company justify the same prices for digital vs. hard copy.  Not sure what the price would be for them for 1gig of movie but I'm thinking it is still less then to burn the movie to a dvd (extra cost for the menus), create cover art, and package it. My real objection to the laws is that it would give a business the right to suppress you if they cry "copyright infringement". My response: "No one has the right to take my 1st amendment away!  No One!"  So being the good civic voting person that I am; I decided to let my Congressmen know how I feel about these 2 pieces of trash.

I strongly encourage everyone to email,snail mail, or call your respective Congresspeople and tell them a "yes" vote on these measures means a "no" vote on re-elcection from you.  Just remember when writing to have clear ideas and be respectful.  A well written argument is more persuasive.  If you need an example, here's what I wrote to them:

Honorable Congressperson,

            I am writing you to express my disapproval of H.R.3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act and S.968 - PROTECT IP Act of 2011.   A vote on your part on any of these measures means a vote of no-confidence and no support from me.  My voice and opinions are important to me.   It is my civic duty to let my thoughts be known.  Both measures would infringe upon my right to free speech.  Under these measures I feel that I would be unfairly prosecuted and targeted for stating an opinion if some business deems that I have “infringed” on their copyright in any form.  No company has the power under the Constitution to curtail my protected right to free speech, and you as a member of Congress do not have the authority to grant such power.  It is a power expressly denied to you under the first amendment which states “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”.  The tenants of both bills will do considerably harm to the first amendment.  Many supporters of the bills have stated that similar legislation has been implemented in China, a country notorious for its civil rights violation and its lack of freedoms.  I, for one, do not wish to see this country emulate China in any form or fashion.

As for the businesses supporting these bills, what have they done?  From where I sit they have done little to embrace technological advance to enhance their industries.  They are stuck in the past.  Their profits are decline for a multitude of reasons, just not copyright infringement, to include a poor economy and the stubbornness on the industries part to change.  Last time I looked when someone is unemployed they have no discretion income to attend a movie or buy a music cd. As of this letter unemployment is at 8.5%, with that I see very few people being able to comfortable afford to enjoy movies and/or music.

In closing, Thomas Jefferson once said “The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”  Please, send a strong message to big corporate business that the 1st amendment of the Constitution is not for sale just so they can have bigger profits. If you do feel the need to vote in favor of these legislations, please, understand that in my eyes it has undone any good you may have done in the past or the future.  I will not offer any support to your re-election campaigns if you so chose to seek another term and I will not vote for you.  I maybe just one voice but this one voice will speak out against you.



P.S. Please, do not respond with platitudes. Actions speak louder then words.

Here's how to contact any US elected official: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. "
Thomas Jefferson

Update:  I decided to write  the editor of our local paper.  This issue is too important to leave any stone unturned so I'm using every avenue available to get the word out.  What I wrote:

Dear Editor,
            I am writing today to talk about 2 disturbing bills currently before the US House and the US Senate, H.R.3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act and S.968 - PROTECT IP Act of 2011.  On paper both appear to help solve the problem of online piracy, however, the broad definitions would result in a stifling of ideas on the internet.  Under the definitions, one could conceivable see that an individual would no loner be allowed to post pictures of the latest family vacation to Disney World for fear of copyright infringement.  That is how broad these laws are.  I urge everyone to educate themselves about these bills and contact Congress if you do not agree with them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Godzilla Has Not Destroyed Tokyo.... Yet

First week of the year is now over and so far so good on the goals.  The weight lose has been the easiest so far since I actually started that goal right after Christmas.  The biggest shock has been how well I am handling a self imposed month of no chocolate. By no chocolate, I mean no chocolate. No candy bars, no chocolate flavored ice cream, no chocolate cake,  no brownies, no hot coco, etc.  Since chocolate is the go to food when I'm stressed it really is surprising that I have caused someone bodily harm by now.

Now why the self imposed month you ask?  Multiple reasons really.  First, I've done it before while the doctors where determining that my gallbladder had sent out a two weeks notice that it was quitting and wanted to be relocated ASAP.  Second, in moderation chocolate is good, however, since I eat it when stressed I have been going slightly overboard in the moderation department so it is time to cut back and treat it properly. Third, is a philosophical pursuit, give up something you enjoy for a month and see how not having it has impacted your life.

Just to let you know there are only 50 Mondays left in 2012.  Here's hoping they are declared illegal before the end of the year.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Beginning

Starting something with the New Year can be cliche but sometimes it just a convenient starting point.  My reasoning behind starting a blog is somewhat simple: Tell the universe and anyone who's watching what's on my mind.  Not whining per say just rambling thoughts that get stuck in the head and won't leave. 

Now those of you who may stumble upon this blog some day may wonder about the title.  It is a tad bit odd for a blog.  I've been a MMO gamer for the best part of the last decade and always seem to gravitate towards one class (ie, play style), that of the ranger. Now this isn't the ranger that first pops into your head if you have no familiarity with MMOS.  Think Robin Hood and his superior skill with bow and arrow and you have what a ranger is in any MMO.  In general, it is a very easy class to learn and as such has garnered something of a unique reputation.  Simply put if you play a ranger you will be picked on, mostly for dying a lot.  As I have said it is an easy class to learn but not as easy to master.  To master the class means to garner respect from your fellow players.  In my opinion, playing a ranger gives a glimpse into living.  You learn something, master it, encountering obstacles and nay says along the way but in the end you enjoy what you are doing. To summarize, "Roll a Ranger" means to embrace life to its fullest and enjoy the journey with the full knowledge that along the way there will be challenges and hardships that you will overcome.

Alright done with the sappy stuff. 

Next on the agenda. What I plan for the coming year. This is the part to be afraid, very afraid.  I've planned a few goals for the coming year.  Nothing exotic like go climb Mt. Everest just simple obtainable goals.
  • Obtain level -5 lbs. in 6 weeks  (will be updated in 6 weeks increments) 
  • 31 day countdown with no chocolate (this is the "be afraid" part)
  • Trek across the land in pursuit of a new job
  • Finish "that" crazy quilt project a month ahead of schedule (once I get a a schedule that is)