Friday, December 4, 2015

Hats of the Old Republic Part IV

Oh, it has been ages since I did a Hats of the Old Republic post!  My sweetie and I are still playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.  Four years later and we have still have ugly headgear, but new and improved.  We now have Legacy gear that we can pass to any of our alts.

This first one is a nice, basic helmet.  Not too bad.
Imperial Battle Ace pilot helmet

The second one is the other Imperial pilot helmet.  Not bad looking but it looks heavy and overwhelming.

Imperial Covert pilot helmet
Number three on today's list gives Sa'die a "lich" look, especially since I have the head slot color coordinated with the chest piece she is wearing.  The pinkish color makes it look like the skin has been peeled away.  Now, that makes me think "Ewww".

Remnant Yavin Inquisitor's Headgear
This last one on today's blog is my favorite out of this bunch.  This look is reminiscent of the original 1980's terminator.  I like the violet lighting feature on the side.

Remnant Yavin Warrior

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Just Wanted an Appointment

I have never liked going to the doctor and over the years it has gotten worse.  I get so anxious that when I finally get in the doctor’s office, my mind goes blank and my response to questions is either “Things are okay” or “I am fine”.  I am great at delaying and putting things off.  But I finally found a primary care doctor that I really like and trust so I decided to quit procrastinating and seek medical treatment for a condition that bothers me.  I had an appointment with him yesterday and he took a lot of extra time to discuss things with me.  My doctor wants me to get an ultrasound done, then go see two specialists, and then we will discuss the next step.

So, today I was determined!  My motto was “Get it done!”  I picked up the phone to call and schedule the diagnostic study.  I paused the TV and called the phone number on the referral.  A polite man answers the phone and gets all my information: full name, birthdate, complete address, phone number and insurance carrier.  Then he tells me they don’t schedule that particular procedure and he would have to transfer me.  I got his name and the number he was transferring me to “just in case… ”, and shortly thereafter I was speaking to polite woman.  We go through the whole routine again (name, birthdate, etc.) and once more I am informed that I have the wrong number, they don’t schedule that study, and I will have to be transferred.  This process happened again and again.  Sometimes I was able to get the person’s name.  Sometimes I was able to get the number they were transferring me to.  Some of the people I spoke with were great – polite and very helpful.  But some of them were rude and not the least bit obliging.  Usually, the transfer went just fine but several times I was disconnected from the system.

After thirty minutes and two rude people in a row, I started to get upset (one person insisted I was not in the system and the other said she couldn’t schedule the ultrasound without the order number even though I told her I had it on my copy and I could read it to her).  I was transferred one more time and the woman who I spoke with was polite and helpful but she would have to transfer me again!  “Just in case” I got the phone number and it was the same one I started with!  I lost it.  My hands started shaking and my voice got all quivery, and I told her I was really upset.  I told her that I had already called that number and they just transferred me.  I told her that all I wanted to do was get the diagnostic study scheduled.

She apologized profusely but had to put me on hold.  When she got back on the phone she told me that even though she didn’t handle the scheduling of the requested procedure, she would take care of it.  Once again I give all my information and, ta-da, I am scheduled for next week!  Now that was a great example of good customer service.  When I finally hung up the DVR on my TV said 40 minutes and 39 seconds had passed!  No wonder dealing with the medical community causes anxiety!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kickstarter and Koji Igarashi and Bloodstained

By temperment, I am calm and even keeled.  I don't get overly enthusiastic or excited by many things.  In many ways I regret that, I feel that I miss out on something by not being more enthusiastic.  But a little more than four weeks ago, I got excited by a video game my sister-in-law saw on Kickstarter, "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night", being designed by Koji Igarashi.  Koji Igarashi, better known as Iga, spent twenty years at Konami designing video games.  His most well known works are Castlevania games, 2D side-scrolling exploration/action games.
According to an interview Iga gave Polygon last year, several years ago Konami moved him away from 2D Castlevania games to social games.  Iga freely admitted that he was unable to transition from the hardcore games he was good at to the social games for the casual market.  After several of his games were canceled, he quit Konami and decided to start his own company.  He wanted to make a gothic, exploration-focused action platformer in the style of Castlevania.
Iga went from publisher to publisher and was told "No" every time.  He finally found some financial backers but they would only fund him if he could prove there was still interest in his style of game.  Hence, Iga went on Kickstarter campaigning for $500,000 for "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night".  The campaign was to end June 12th.  My sweetie and I were excited and contributed on the first day.  Apparently, we weren't the only ones because Koji Igarashi reached his goal that first day.
As the campaign progressed, stretch goals kept getting met so new goals were added.  My sweetie and I checked the Kickstarter page several times a day over the four weeks of fundraising, monitoring Bloodstained's progress.  As the amount of pledges kept growing, so did my excitement, so much so that I insisted that we watch final four hours of the campaign streamed live on Twitch!  After $5,000,000 were donated, one last stretch goal was made during the live stream and that goal was more than met by the end of the campaign.  We had so much fun!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Crochet Patterns

Been doing tons of googling but not much that has inspired a blog post.  Mainly, I have been searching for crochet patterns.  I recently got back into crocheting after a 20-year absence but it feels like I never stopped!  My first project was a shawl using Lion Brand Homespun. 
My goodness, is that a challenging yarn to use!  The stitches end up not being very well defined and it was difficult to keep track of where I was on the pattern.  Also, the yarn kept getting "stuck" on the crochet hook.  In addition to the problems I was having with the yarn, the end of my crochet hook kept poking my hand and it was getting so sore I had to limit the amount of time spent crocheting.
I thought I would see if there were padded crochet hooks and I came across the Clover brand.  They were more expensive than other hooks but I decided to treat myself.  They are amazing!  Definitely worth the extra price.  The handles are nicely padded, color-coded, and most amazing of all they made crocheting with the Homespun yarn so much easier!  The yarn didn't get "stuck" and I was able to work must faster.  I love them and ended up getting about seventeen Clover crochet hooks!

Anyway, after completing my shawl I decided to make some dishcloths.  My biggest complaint about dishcloths is that they can end up smelling rather quickly so I wanted to make quite a few so they could be switched out often.  I got some cotton yarn and then I searched for crochet patterns.  I found several that were okay but... I don't know... they just didn't seem right.  So, I ended up with my own designs!  Below are my two favorites.

The blue one on the left was my first attempt and I decided to just make a simple square.  I skipped every other stitch in order to make an open weave so it would dry out quicker.  I also decided to use a strand of size 10 crochet thread with the strand of cotton yarn in order to increase its "scrubability".  This one has been used and laundered a couple of times already and works exactly as I wanted.  I went fancier with the one on the right.  I used two colors and made a more open weave.  I again used a strand of crochet thread throughout the dishcloth but this time I added an edging of picot stitches using three strands of crochet thread.  It makes for a great scrubby!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Crochet, A Personal History

Boy, it has been a long time since I posted any new blog!  Well, time to rectify that!
I was taught to crochet in the fifth grade by my German grandmother.  She used the perfect technique to teach a shy, introverted perfectionist.  My grandmother told me I couldn't make a mistake in crochet.  If I didn't like something, all I had to do was rip it out!  She taught me how to start, a chain stitch, and how easy it was to undo.  She told me to make a chain then rip it out and start over.  My grandmother told me to try different sizes and tensions, and when I had a chain I liked to come get her and we would go to the next step.
Then she taught me the most basic stitch, a single crochet, and how turn at the end of a row.  Again, she told me to practice and whenever I didn't like what I had, rip it out and start over.  She left but she would check in on me occasionally to answer any questions I had.  My grandmother would look over what I had done and instead of critiquing my work, she would explain.  For example, when my rectangle started looking much more like a trapezoid, she told me it was because I had changed the tension.  But it wasn't a mistake.  If I didn't like it, I could rip it out and start over or I could use what I had.  I didn't have a potholder, just add stings and I had an apron for my doll!  My grandmother taught me different stitches, how to decrease and increase, and then she set me loose!
This is one of my fondest childhood memories.  I even remember the yarn we used - a small ball of yarn left over from one of her knitting projects, dusty mauve in color.  I still have that first project around here somewhere - a combination doll hat/basket!   I learned how versatile crocheting. You can start crocheting anywhere you can get a loop.  Start crocheting in the middle of a completed piece to add a handle or get a three dimensional project.  Add crochet to a piece of fabric for a different texture or for a pretty edge.  Use yarn with a larger hook and you have an afghan, use thread with a small hook and you have a doily.
I crocheted for many years but then I suddenly stopped.  Recently, I was inspired and started crocheting again!  I feel like I am reunited with an old friend.  My first new project, a shawl, is done and I have several other projects beckoning.