Murren’s Mountain

Holy crap you guys!

When I posted about my Landmark build, I never expected that people would like it so much. I have had a few people stop by to take a look while I was playing (building), and yesterday Noobzilla posted a walk through of my claim on YouTube! Check it out!

I’m grateful for all of the positive feedback, and in shock a bit.

My silly Qho floor, before I placed it in the tower. (Click for full size)

I created a crappy mosaic for the floor on the first level of the tower in honor of everyone’s favorite EQ2 trade skill quest giver, Qho AugrenIt is actually fairly ugly, but it amuses me. I expect that I’ll replace the floor with prettier tiles in the long run.This past week was super busy, so I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked, but here are some updates.

I also finished placing the latticework in the walls of the tower, and I love how it looks. The next step (which I will start on this afternoon) will be to do some smoothing on the latticework to open the sides up a bit more. I hope that it ends up letting in more light! Since the lamps were dimmed, it doesn’t get bright enough in the tower.  

I’m a little worried that I’ll end up disliking it when the lattices are smoothed. To be safe I’m taking screenshots of the different wall configurations to work from in case I need to redo anything (since my templates are too full to hold the walls). 

For now, I’ve called my claim “Murren’s Mountain” (because I’m no good at creative names). I’m trying to come up with a better name to use long-term, and leaning toward something like “Shin Tower” (since it is inspired by the Village of Shin in EQ2 and Shinto architecture).

Latticework walls are placed!

Latticework walls are placed! (Click for full size)

Show and Tell – Landmark

I’ve been playing a lot of EverQuest Next Landmark recently. Even though it is still early in alpha, the game is great. In fact, I have hardly played any Minecraft (my most recent gaming obsession) since Landmark alpha started.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Me, Hubby, and our long time Aussie friend, just hanging out.

Landmark has so much potential, and the entire process that they (SOE) are taking with the open communication, no NDA, pay-to-play Alpha is refreshing. And also super fascinating to the business systems analyst and project manager in me. I’ll probably share my thoughts on that later.

Landmark is a sandbox game that is heavily focused on exploration and building the world. The pieces that have been released to the alpha group so far consist almost entirely of resource gathering, crafting, and building tools. So in essence, you go into the world and a piece of land plant your flag in it (almost literally) and build. You gather the resources that you need to make and upgrade tools, and to build everything that you want to build on your land. And you explore what others have built. There are some very talented people playing this game.

But now to the point. Today I want to share what I have made so far. (Click to view full size!)

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

The view from the bottom of the path up the mountain.

I don’t consider any of this done at this point.

I really wanted to build a traditional Shinto arch, but I need to practice with the tools more before I can make one that looks right.

View from above, with Hubby's place down in the valley.

View from above, with Hubby’s place down in the valley.

Neighbors dotting the mountain tops.

Other settlers dotting the mountain tops.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

I have three other neighbors near by. One at the base of my hill (almost looks like part of my claim) and two out in the desert valley.

For the building, I am still working on the latticework in the walls, and haven’t done much work on the interior. I plan to use the smoothing tool on all of it (or at least parts) to make the edges softer, and maybe make the pillars round. The arch is pretty, but not what I wanted.

Sunset!

I love how it looks at night!

I love how it looks at night!

Another night view.

Another night view.

If the images don’t load properly here, you can also view them on imgur.

For those of you out there that are playing landmark, if you have questions about how I did anything, let me know! I’m happy to share. If you want to take a look in person, I’m on Liberation/Dell in the SW corner of the jungle (coordinates:  -1340.40, 1340.60, 1647.60).

Where did that 15 minutes go?

Open browser to look something up on intranet.

See something funny in Helpdesk system.

Think about tweeting to a friend about it.

Open twitter.

Get distracted by shinies.

Realize you haven’t checked Facebook today.

Open Facebook.

Look at a cute picture.

Realize that you’re not getting work done.

Close browser.

Open email.

Remember why you were looking at intranet.

Open browser.

Notice funny ticket in queue.

Remember why you got distracted in the first place.

Compose tweet about it.

Tweet is too long.

Consider deleting it and getting back to work.

Make blog post instead.

What a week!

Last week was quite a week. Good and bad. Downs and ups.

I spent most of the week sick with some sort of stomach bug. And that was crappy (heh heh). I’m usually one of those horrible people who goes to work when sick because when I stay home sick I feel useless. And I hate feeling useless. But my nephew was due to come into the world on Monday and I didn’t want to miss it, so I actually took care of myself.

Mid-week I got news that my nana’s fast growing lung growth was definitely cancer, and that it had spread to her lymphatic system. Terrible is an understatement. Her health has been bad for a while, so she’s not a surgery candidate. If the tests that they’re doing tomorrow don’t show anything bad, then she’ll start radiation and chemo soon, but even so the prognosis isn’t great.

I was still sick when my sister-in-law went into labor Thursday morning. I was working (making myself feel useful) at home and anxiously reading texts from my mom and brother and hoping for pictures. It was disappointing as hell (I’d planned to stay at the hospital with them and snuggle my new nephew as quickly as I could), but I’d rather delay the baby cuddles than make baby and mom sick!

Friday morning, my nephew finally emerged. I got to see him for a minute (but no longer, because I was still sick). He is adorable and strong and healthy, and my sister-in-law is recovering well.

This weekend I’ll get to see my nana and my nephew and give them both hugs wishing Nana speedy recovery and my nephew a happy healthy childhood.

 

My boring morning

It is moving day. My baby brother is moving into his first apartment, and I took the day off to help him move. It shouldn’t take long and it is his only day off work this week, so we decided to get a late start so he can sleep in and spend time with our brother before we get started.
I tried to sleep in as well, but it didn’t work. I’m too much a morning person to sleep in. And I wish I’d remember that when I decide to stay up late!
Instead of sleeping in, I’ve checked my work email, my personal email, facebook, g+, pinterest, etc. (and even written a short blog post that I will actually publish!) and still have 2 hours to kill.
I’ve been debating between starting a new book (the second in the Dresden series), taking down the rest of the Christmas decor, or starting to reorganize the office/craft room (winner!)
Yep, that’s it. Just a post about my boring morning.

Reboot

Some days I’m glad I’m not my own boss.

Back when I was responsible for a team, I was a total pushover. Until I wasn’t. When I wasn’t, they hated me. In retrospect I know that what they hated was the inconsistency. But that’s another story.

What isn’t inconsistent is that I’m always hard on myself. I finish something a little late, and I’m sure that I’m walking on thin ice. Something goes the smallest bit haywire in one of my projects, and I’m sure I’m going to get fired. Even if it’s not within my control.

Usually this works to my advantage. It drives me to always improve. My boss appreciates that he never has to tell me what to do better. And eventually I find myself looking back and not really understanding how my professional growth happened.

Last year was incredibly abnormal for me in this respect. I was burned out, unmotivated, had lost focus on any career goal, and had turned into the type of worker that I would be happy to see fired. At least from my perspective. I have colleagues who assure me that I haven’t been a bad employee, I just haven’t lived up to my standard.

I took a lot of vacation in November and December. Perhaps that is why I feel like they were the two least productive months of my career. When I returned to work with the new year, I was apprehensive.

And then I surprised myself.

I accomplished more on January second than I expected. And again on the third.

Somehow with all the time I took off between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, I managed to shake off the horrible habits I’d picked up in 2013 and reestablish the great habits that I hold myself to.

As I have been writing this, I’ve been trying to determine why I’ve improved, and several things have come to the front of my mind.

First, I for the majority of my vacation worked my ass off. Not work work, but work nonetheless. Hubby and I hosted Christmas at our house this year. That meant cleaning house, rearranging, Christmas shopping, cooking, decorating, cooking more, and then doing even more house work. I made myself a huge list of everything that needed to be done, prioritized, set deadlines, and executed. Sound familiar? I essentially project managed my pre-Christmas to-do list (and right up through the weekend after Christmas since we continued the celebration through New Year’s Eve).

Second, even though I was working my ass off I made time to relax. This is a big deal for me. When something big has to be done I typically go all in until I get so burned out that I’m no longer productive. Hubby and I set aside a couple of days before Christmas on which we did a bit from my gigantic task list and then spent time together relaxing and having fun. Saints Row V, Minecraft, and Team Fortress 2 all got their fair share of attention, as did my Netflix queue and my crochet project (which was good, since it was a Christmas present).

Third, I delegated. There is no end to the kudos that Hubby gets for being so incredibly helpful with everything that I wanted to get done for Christmas. When Hubby asked what he could do to help, I looked at the list and gave him a task. I left my list of work that needed to be done on the coffee table, and when he wanted to help without being a distraction, he picked up the list and took the initiative.

Finally, I said no. I said no to myself (in the form of not starting a craft project for my elder niece’s Christmas present, and not making candies), and I said no to friends who wanted to get together right after Christmas (when I really needed some down time).

Leading up to my vacation I was struggling to make progress, like a computer that is bogged down by a hung process or a memory leak. My vacation was the reboot I needed to reestablish the old habits that I expect from myself at work (and at home), but hadn’t been living up to in quite a while.

Here’s to 2014 and carrying the momentum forward!

Minecraft coloring sheets

Minecraft coloring sheets

So I was looking at the various coloring patterns for horses today, and came across this fantastic site with print-your-own Minecraft coloring pages. I might have to find my crayons!

 

A different type of dream.

A week ago, my alarm woke me in the middle of one of the most vivid dreams I’ve had in a long time. It was brief but so real. I was on a train. Hubby and my brother were there. My brother was introducing us to his girlfriend. We were talking and hugging, and I was so excited to finally meet her.

Then I realized we were in the Philippines. I don’t recall what we were talking about. The train was running along side the water and everything was very bright.

Then the door opened and an old friend/former coworker walked in. He was as shocked to see us as we were to see him. We hugged and asked each other what we were doing there. He was there for work, naturally (which is silly because his new job requires very little travel).

Then my alarm went off, and it was over.

It was very easy for me to place why I had this particular dream. I had woken up in the middle of the night with back pain and moved to the couch so I wouldn’t disturb Hubby. While I was stretching my back to make the pain go away, I’d noticed that I’d received some new pictures of my brother and his girlfriend. Was is actually in the Philippines at the time meeting her in person for the first time. I must have fallen asleep thinking of the two of them in her brightly lit home and in my dream joined them.

I need some blogging advice…

Hello to my patient long time readers and random new readers!

I have want to start a separate personal journal sort of blog which will focus on some sensitive subjects. There have been a couple times that I’ve started, but then realized that I had something that needed to be sorted before I published anything and ended up not actually publishing anything.

I want it to either be not tied to me or to be private (invite only), and this is where I need some advice. I have already set up a private blog here on WordPress, which will work well if I keep it private. But if I decide to publish anonymously, the blog that I’ve set up here won’t work because it is tied to my WordPress account (and thus my Gravatar account and anything else related).

I need to make a decision between public/anonymous or private/invite only. Do you have any experience with private or anonymous blogging? What are your thoughts on bloggers who don’t link their blog to their true identity? Do you have any advice or anything I should think about before I decide to start journaling on an anonymous or private blog?

This is why I’m tired today…

My dad’s parents, if they were still alive, would have about sixty grandchildren and I have no idea how many great-grandchildren. Dad was one of thirteen kids. I say “was” because three of my uncles are no longer with us.

I’ve met almost all of these cousins and some of their kids  at least once. Some I spent a lot of time with some of the younger ones when I was a teenager, but they were young enough that they don’t remember.

They were VERY cold when the float was done.

They were VERY cold when the float was done. That is the reflection of the moon on the water.

One of those younger cousins (and her mom) are visiting my dad for a few days while they check out colleges in the Seattle area, so yesterday I drove down to visit.

Since I had to work and it is a long drive to my dad’s house, the rest of the family was going to kill some time by tubing on the Snohomish River. They got a bit of a late start (they got in the river at about the time they’d planned to get out), but it meant I had more time to visit with my dad (which I am very grateful for since I see him so rarely).

Mmmm, dinner: YUMMY pork roast, salad, grilled zucchini, and bread.

Dinner: YUMMY pork roast, salad, grilled zucchini, and bread.

After we retrieved the wet river-goers, we went back to Dad’s to finish preparing dinner and visit. We ended up having dinner at around 11:00, and I decided to stay the night at my sister’s place. Better to drive to work in the morning after almost enough sleep than to drive home way too tired.

I had a nice evening, but wish I’d had more time to visit with my cousin. Fortunately, rather than waiting ten years before our next visit, we’ll see each other at another cousin’s wedding in a few weeks.

Sunset over the Snohomish River