Yearly Archive: 2010

When did you last …. ?

I don’t know about yours, but my life is busy.  Busy busy busy.  And, while I still listen to music every day (where would I be without it?  Life just wouldn’t be the same), I don’t listen like I did in high school.

In high school, I remember countless afternoons, evenings, mornings, whatever, sitting on the floor next to my turntable.  And I would sit there just sketching, scribbling, and listening to the music.  Sometimes I didn’t even do something THAT productive.  Sometimes, in fact OFTEN, I would just sit there fingering my album covers.  Reading the lyrics, looking at the artwork, deciding what I would play next, and LISTENING.  Living it.  Letting the music totally fill me.

This afternoon, my first non-working Monday in 3 years that hasn’t been off because of a child’s or my own illness, I have been listening.  Really listening.  And oh! how good it feels!!!

Give yourself a present this holiday season.  Take an hour to listen to a whole album (there ARE still such things out there, even if you have to get nostalgic to find them!), or listen to your favorites playlist while doing nothing but something mindless that lets you still listen.

Soul nourishing stuff.

Personally, I am listening to Crystal Bowersox’s new album “Farmer’s Daughter, but I’m pretty sure yo can pick your own stuff!

Happy 5th Birthday to Toulouse!

Without Toulouse, my life would be harsh.

I’ve loved all the cats I’ve owned, and they all have a special place in my heart. But Toulouse is my Cat. The Man. My Toodles.

Since I first picked him out nearly 5 years ago today (he was a 6 weeks old when I chose him from his litter, and 12 weeks when I picked him up), he has been special. He’s kind of crazy, slightly cross-eyed, and super super super soft.

Life would be harsh without my Toodles.

Happy Birthday Toulouse!

My favorite couch corner


Desk 365.98
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

It’s been a tough week. Having hubbie gone in Argentina since last Saturday has been harsh. It’s been a long time since we’ve been apart more than a night or two. We’ve got 3 sleeps to go now – which still feels like a really long time!

I have to say I feel even more sorry for hubbie though – he really is very very ready to get home. He’s had it with the Spanish, the hugs, the kiss on the cheeks and the full-on with the client for a whole week. And he’s lonely in a stupid hotel room. At least I have the boys and the cats and the dog here.

Anyway, I have taken advantage of my evenings at home to watch Battlestar Galactica marathon style – something I couldn’t get away with to the same extent if he WAS here. AND I’ve finished signing and addressing all our Christmas cards. So early! At least I made good use of my evenings!

Three more sleeps!

Managing My Online Layers

This morning, I took stock of all my email addresses.  I saw my sister post that she had 4 accounts linked to her GMail, and I thought, “Hm? How many do *I *have?”
I got slightly panicky when I realized that I had to make a list, since I hadn’t kept a record of them all.  
Why do I have so many email addresses?  
  • Well, there’s one for money stuff.  If you don’t have a separate email address for anyone who gives you money or takes from you money, I strongly encourage you to get one right away.  It’s a very very simple thing to set up – and a simple way to protect yourself.
  • Then there’s my Battle.Net email address.  I made a separate one specifically for this, so that I could give the address to people I wanted to share my RealID with – this is a World of Warcraft thing – simply put it’s a separate one for World of Warcraft.  Again, a simple way to get a bit of security.
  • There’s strumpet101 – which is my ‘online persona’ account.  This used to be the email address I used for absolutely everything, but, lately, as I have been more and more ‘out there’ in the Meta, I have started separating things out from there.
  • There’s StrumpetsLife, which is the one I use on Strumpet’s Voice blog.  Not sure why.  It was a slip of the tongue while setting up my GoGo Daddy site.  I’m sure it can be fixed, but I’m not sure I can be bothered.
  • There are others, including a photography one, for more private reasons.
Then, today, I decided that it’s really time to stop embarrassing my children.  When they tell people their mother’s email address, they shouldn’t have to say strumpet.  So, I made a new one, to go with my ‘mom’ hat.  And probably for some other places too.
The question is: Where is the line between Strumpet101 and my ‘real’ self?  Who wants which email address?  I think if I send out a ‘change of address’ notice to my family and school friends, it will just cause mass confusion.  I will just have to try to keep the line as clear as possible – knowing that it will be blurry as hell.

The X-Box Card

I was never going to be that Mom.  I was never going to be the Mom who took her kids’ X-Box hostage to achieve desired results.  
As a matter of fact, I believe I have, in the past, agreed vigorously with this gaming article on MMO family.   Today, this had to change.  When I announced on Twitter that I have indeed, withheld the X-Box to achieve desired results, @emused replied, referring me to point 3 in that article:

Manage game time as a logical consequence of available time. Don’t position gaming a “reward” for good performance, and don’t make the suspension of gaming privileges a “punishment” for failing to comply with rules. This may seem like semantics, but you’re setting attitudes that will last a lifetime. Like any other recreational activity, access to gaming should be a function of available free time. If grades are slipping, for example, more study time = less gaming time.

I find myself needing to explain why I have veered from this principle.  

Normally, I would completely agree.  And, normally, this is the principle that works really well in our family.  And it has always worked for the other son.  Lately, however, we have found that it is just not enough for my second son.  When it is not grades that are slipping, but assignments that are not being handed in, and ‘fibs’ that are told about ‘having done them’, ‘having asked’, ‘not having any homework’ – then more drastic measures have to be taken.  

The transition from elementary to middle school has been hard for the youngest.  He has never had to work for a good grade before now.  Until his 9-week progress report, I really don’t think he realized how much a zero would bring down his grade.  But that was 3 weeks ago.  We handled that by being understanding, and trying to teach him what needed to be done in order to fix it – and he did MOST of it.  But not all. And there continue to be issues with incomplete and missing work.

I am sick of Call of Duty being his number one priority.  Until he shows that fixing his school work is his number one priority, there will be consequences. So, every missing assignment on Parent Portal (handy stalking device for parents to see grades etc), he will miss one day of access to his x-box.  Other gaming is still allowed, and TV is still allowed.  

I don’t know why I feel the need to justify myself.  We are good parents, but we are also taking to desperate measures.  I refuse to let him fall now.  So, please don’t judge me.  I know of many parents who would have taken a far more strict approach.

Phew! I feel better now!

Learning to “Let it Go”

I have a problem with tension. 

I carry tension around in me throughout my body, but it is particularly bad between my shoulder blades and through my hips.  I also have been told my pedicurists that I carry a lot of tension in my calves, but this never seems to bother me as much as the tension I naturally carry in my back.

Believe me, I know this is not a good thing.  And it’s not like I don’t try to do something about it.  I go for massages regularly.  Good ones too.  I also make it a point to go for facials – not necessarily just for the good it does my face, but also because it is one of the few times I really feel myself ‘letting go’ for want of a better phrase.

I wish the feeling of tension release that I get after a 90 minute massage or facial would be easier/cheaper for me to come by – but usually, by the next day, the tension is back. 

I really don’t think I am getting this tension solely from the way I sit at the computer. I do my best to be ergonomically ‘correct’.  I think I carry my stress in my body more than anything else.  Which is probably why I get physically exhausted and totally worn out when I am under extra stress.

I tried yoga once.  But I really think I might actually need some sort of relaxation hypnotherapy to force myself to release and let go.  Any recommendations of podcasts or other medium for this purpose would be GREATLY appreciated.  

The MetaTalks NaPodPoMo


Desk 365.66
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

So, it’s National Podcaster’s Podcast Month, or something equally tongue twisting like that.

And Massive Big Ups to my friends Alachia and Jeppy over at my favorite podcast: MetaTalks.. They are attempting to podcast every day of November this year!

I find their effort even more exciting because it is collaboration themed! They are encouraging listener participation and collaboration in many ways. They want listeners reading poetry, listeners’ top ten lists, and dun dun duh!: duets!! (There’s lots of other stuff too; you should check out their schedule).

The thing is, I have been duped into performing a duet with Alachia. I think we kind of bluffed and called each others’ bluff into this. And now, it’s been talked about on the podcast, tweeted about, and generally been made so public that I don’t think we can back out.

I am terrified. The recording is scheduled for tomorrow night. Here I am, trying to get the lyrics sorted out. I’ll let you know when the podcast goes live. Listen at your own peril.

The Daily Post it Group Coffee Table Book

I added this topic to my Daily Daily Post It Flickr Group discussion board today.

Let me know what you guys think:

I would like to suggest a collaborative coffee table book. I am volunteering to do the work to put this together, but I will need your help and approval, obviously.

I am for a book, because there are a lot of awesome photos, and a calendar limits it to only about 12 photos. I have a couple of ideas of how I would like this to work. 
1.) I would start a new group – the Daily Post It Coffee Table Book
2) You would have a month to submit your favorite daily post it photos to that group.
3) I would take suggestions of other photos to be added to the group, and then invite that photo to the group with an explanation
4) I would also go through the group and invite photos I think should be in there to the group if they haven’t been added/suggested already.
5) I would then put together a book on Blurb
6) I would give you the link so you can buy your very own copy (with no profit to me of course :D)

What do you guys all think?

I got this idea after watching this:
www.zefrank.com/zesblog/archives/2010/10/ted_talk_emotio….

And listening to @Alachia and @eljeppy on metatalks.blogspot.com. I decided it was time to take collaborative action. 

Final Fantasy – First Week Impressions

What keeps me from loving FFXIV?

– interface … HOW many clicks to get what I want?

– impossibility of crafting ANYTHING – I do not mean levels 1-5; they’re easy.  but anything that requires a wind shard? Impossible.  I tried leveling my Alchemy so I could make them myself, but got stuck at level 6.  Needed level 8.  I couldn’t BUY them – I checked every damned retainer in the bazaar.  I ran to a different area, and it didn’t drop there either.  I changed my elemental point allocation, as suggested by someone, and couldn’t get them to drop that way either.

– crafting/gathering mini-game.  This was incredibly fun the first 10 times.  Then, I just wanted to chop the tree and get it the hell over with.  It’s not like it changed with skill. Same with synthesis. Really, HOW many times do you want me to click to make some distilled water?

– Lack of an auction house.  Try getting wind shards, and you’ll wish you had an AH.  It’s also next to impossible to know what to price things – there’s no price-comparison that’s in any way practical to complete.

– No abandoning quests.  I picked up some quests in a different area, and realized I didn’t actually want them.  But I was stuck with them, and couldn’t pick up new ones because I had reached my daily quota.

– I have been playing for over a week – not day in and day out, but at least a couple of hours every day.  And I STILL don’t have ANY upgrades.  Frustrating.  I’ve spent so much money trying to level my professions, that I cannot buy anything on offer in the market ward.  And it’s not like I haven’t tried to CRAFT my own stuff.  See the wind shard thing again.

What makes me want to absolutely LOVE FFXIV?

– It is soooo beautiful.  The graphics are astonishing.  The scenery is gorgeous.

– Character customization: oh my god – so amazing.  And gorgeous.

– The emphasis on crafting.  I have always LOVED crafting, and I love that FFXIV puts an emphasis on it.  It is just not implemented well yet. I hope it improves.

– The leveling/class changing system.  I think it’s awesome that you can be so many different classes on one character.  And I really like the point allocation system.

– Once you get used to it, the macro system is great.  It really is.

– Local/regional leve quests.  Awesome.

– The story-line quests have been amazing.

– The spell animations and spell selections based on points are really well done.

– Instanced mobs for the quest you are on – makes it easy to find what you need and they’re not in short supply.

– Crafting is cool – I just wish it wasn’t a mini-game EVERY time you make something.  Maybe the first time you make distilled water it takes a bit to learn, but EVERY time?  Gets repetitive and not challenging – oops I snuck a criticism in there.

IN CONCLUSION:

There is so much to love about this game – if it had been implemented well.  I really hope it improves.  I am taking a break for a day, because I just became so frustrated last night.  I’ll try again tomorrow.  Maybe I will overcome the wind shard issue.  But I think the game will need a lot of polish and tweaking.  Hopefully, I can see past the implementations issues, and they will gradually change.

But today, I’m playing WoW.  Because it works.

Ute Trail – Silly tourists


Ute Trail
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

Over the weekend, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park for some hiking and general sight seeing. The Nikon, of course, came along 🙂

We decided to drive around the long way. If you’re into looking at maps, that means we went West on the I-70, turned on to the CO Highway 40 at Empire, and drove over Berthoud Pass. Then we continued past Winter Park (awesome skiing in winter), and past Lake Granby. I just could not believe the sight of a MARINA with sailboats at 8000ft/2500m above sea level. It’s a bizarre sight, and an awe inspiring one. From there, we headed over the Trail Ridge Road into Rocky Mountain National Park. the views from the Trail Ridge Road are astonishing. Astonishing. You will have to have a look at my Flickr stream to see them all. The highest point of the highway is at 12183 ft / 3713 m – not a lot of oxygen up there!

At one of the highest points, there is an opportunity to get out and climb up even further to see the mushroom rocks at the top of the alpine tundra.

All along the paved, clearly marked nature trail, there are signs that describe the fragility of the alpine tundra. The plants there have approximately 40 days a year when they can grow. If they are trampled on, it can take 500-700 years for the flora to regrow. Witness the still clearly visible trail several hundred years later.

Of course, the many, many tourists driving across the Trail Ridge Highway on Saturday didn’t seem to care.  There are signs saying do not cross, rehabilitation area, do not step on the tundra, ALL along the paved tourist nature trail.  And people JUST ignore it.  They wander all over the place, climbing on rocks, running and chasing children over the fragile tundra vegetation.  It just makes me angry.  People can be such morons. No respect for the nature they are so lucky to enjoy.

Anyway, after I was done shaking my head at idiots, we enjoyed the gorgeous view, and continued on to Estes Park and rested up for our hike on Sunday morning.  Which was gorgeous! What an awesome weekend!