Monthly Archives: March 2015

Sand gravel and a river.

Ever since starting the game, some part of my brain is constantly planning and plotting in Minecraft. Today, when I tune in, it’s thinking of ways to fit five distinct mods into one star shaped building, since we’ve added new people. It had been really bothering me, and while I don’t consider myself a control freak generally, aesthetics in this game DO get to me quite a bit. I was twitchely going mad over the state of our old compound (where I accidentally had my cottage facing the garden and not the center of the compound because I may plan but rarely do I THINK).

We talked about some options — putting a second star above the first at an angle (so, a compass rose) but the issue was overlap with the layers below, plus having points covering up the gardens seemed like a lesson in monster spawning misery.

And then like all great solutions it occurred to me: why not build down? Pluses: involves less building (HUGE PLUS) because we don’t need a basement for every level. Keeps my two mods together so I can easily switch between them. Minuses? I have to fill in a river. Ugh.

I could put my lab in the basement. It would suit. But, it suddenly occurred to me that I could create the night forest I think suits Thaumcraft by putting that on the lower level instead. I’ll need to get a hoe of growth or possibly open the lab floor until my trees grow. But, I LOVE the idea of my witches cottage being hidden away in a forest lit by fireflies in jars. I DO have to think of a way to keep mobs from spawning though, if I keep it dark and misty. Wrath lamps would do it but they’re bright and spendy as fuck. Half blocks could do it but my floor is forest, so …

Actually, if magnum torches exist in our version (and I think they do) that’s a perfect solution.


I forgot to post this last night so let me just take a moment to bitch: I spent 4 hours filling in a river last night. There were other solutions (could have used pumps or sponges) but making them for a one time use would have been a bit foolish since it would have taken the same amount of time and its not a setup I see us using a lot in the future. So, sand and gravel it was.


That said, tonight I get to do one of my very favorite things: build and decorate. Hooray.

Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

I consider the state of sleep to be delicate. I am a deep sleeper, but I suffer from occasional insomnia, and when more than one night passes with poor sleep I start getting worried that its about to flare up again.

She was already learning that if you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you.

One of my secret weapons in the fight for sleep is audiobooks. And one of my favorites is Terry Pratchett books. They’re perfect. They’re funny and familiar and kind and smart and point on satire. And I’ve read the series so many times that I can recite along with them till I fall asleep, comforted by Nobby Nobb’s lack of humanity or Granny Weatherwax’s excess of it.

Granny was an old-fashioned witch. She didn’t do good for people, she did right by them.

And now Terry’s gone, and I have tears in my eyes. Those books are an overwhelmingly detailed world, full of PEOPLE. Carrot comes the closest to being a perfect hero — but that doesn’t make him the most likable. I love Carrot, with his steady, simple outlook: arresting the head of the thieves guild for stealing, putting the city ahead of the woman he loves with the note that

Personal is not the same as important.

But given the choice between him and Vimes, I think Vimes is the better choice a thousand percent of the time. Carrot may be the perfect hero, but there are a lot of flawed ones. Moist Von Lipwig, an conman to his soul, rises up. Even Rincewind, eternal coward, is often threatened, bullied and manipulated by fate into being a hero. In Discworld, anyone can rise above.

And sin, young man, is when you treat people like things.

I mean, take Vimes. Sam Vimes is passed out in a gutter when he first appears. He’s depressed and alcoholic and stripped of all real power or authority because he won’t stop speaking his mind. The Night Watch is comprised of the dregs of humanity. And yet by the final books of the series (final — god, my heart) — he’s risen to Commander of the Watch and a Lordship. Part of that is his marriage to a very rich and powerful woman, but part of that is because of him. He rises because of who he is, despite myriad circumstances that won’t to pull him down.

Down there – he said – are people who will follow any dragon, worship any god, ignore any inequity. All out of a kind of humdrum, everyday badness. Not the really high, creative loathsomeness of the great sinners, but a sort of mass-produced darkness of the soul. Sin, you might say, without a trace of originality. They accept evil not because they say yes, but because they don’t say no.

And that’s the beauty of Discworld for me. There are HUMANS who are amazing and complicated and who COULD BE ME. I can be more like Granny Weatherwax, or Tiffany Aching, or Polly Perks. There’s such beauty and good will in these books, such a love for the madness that is being human (or dwarf, or troll — take your pick). And, such an understanding of what it is to be a person.

Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.

It’s satire that’s full of heart.

The enemy isn’t men, or women, it’s bloody stupid people and no one has the right to be stupid.

And mine is broken, because it’s the end.

Cook, make, build, repeat

It’s moving day in our little Minecraft world. Our current home was too small and too fragmented and I was having panic attacks just looking at it. Yoz suggested a kind of 8 pointed star to serve as our base (with nuclear power front and center, just for the deadly danger); since I’ve been specializing in two mods that means two of those arms are mine all mine.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.11.17 PMThis is my little cottage as it stands in our current base; it is ringed with blueberries and raspberries and lit by fireflies and overflowing with taint on the inside  totally safe and not at all dangerous.

Thanks to Chisel and its gorgeous blocks, I was able to give my new home an appropriately fairytale feel; imagine my little cottage transported and COVERED with trees (sakura, amaranth and silverwood) and firefly jars stolen from the twilight forest EVERYWHERE. It’ll look amazing.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.10.26 PM

For the AE2 wing, I chose temple block as being as close to lab like as I could get for the moment — but my floors are pure chiseled marble because DAMN. I wish I had a more up to date screenshot, but that will just have to wait.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 3.10.41 PM

But what I’ve mostly been doing is building. Building. Building. And chisel blocks, while lovely, require cooked stone. So mostly this has been my life.



And yet, despite the monotony, I can’t wait to get back to it.


Not tonight though. 3 hours of sleep mean that I can’t…function in an adult way anymore.


Remember Snood? I remember Snood.

I have a confession: the only game I’ve played on my computer for a week has been Minecraft. It’s so SATISFYING.

But I have been playing some other games on mobile. There’s Limbo which (despite all my big talk) I’ve been fighting through again and then there’s the other pick up as you go type games. You know, when you have ten minutes to spare in a waiting room and you can’t concentrate enough to read. It’s been Sparkle, which is an old game that feels very similar to Snood (in the shooting matching balls thing) or that PopCap game with the same mechanic.  I LOVED Snood just like everyone else in my age group. I played nonstop in college. It was our version of solitaire — mind clearing.

I need to play something more meaty, though. Here are the games actually loaded on my iPad, and I’m dithering on what to play next:


Limbo (need lengthy breaks)

Oceanhorn (Zelda for iOS, but missing some of the joy)

Monument (kept on in case of updates)

The Wolf Among Us

Knights of the Old Republic




The Silent Age

Year Walk

Lego Harry Potter 2 (I’m at Sirius’ death and I’m sad)

Tales From the Borderlands

Sometimes, I have to say, a mobile game is exactly what you need. Curled up in bed, distracted and happy and sleepy. I’m going to play Minecraft tonight but tomorrow give it a rest — overloading is bad — and settle in to one of these games. None of them are ten minute games — well, maybe Harry Potter — and I’m not allowed new ones until I finish the old ones, so I need to dive right in.

Also, I need to play Dragon Age again before I forget how to play! I’m desperate to know how the story plays out. Since I’m what, 40 hours into it? I think it’s a great investment for the money — 100hrs of gameplay for $70? Even if it is Origin, I can get into it.

Don’t talk about reasons why you don’t wanna talk.


Yesterday was awful for about thirty different reasons. It bumped a couple of other days out of the top ten awful days list. And then it snowed.


It happens, especially on the Cape where weather is hard to predict — they say you’ll get a foot and we’ll get 3″, they’ll say 1-3″ and bam, over a foot on the ground. It’s alright, although the fact that they stubbornly stuck to 2-4″ at 11 am when there was already 5″ on the ground and it was going to snow all day was annoying.

And then I got stuck in my driveway. And not just stuck, but STUCK. Stuck where no shovel was ever going to get me out. So there was a call to AAA this morning to winch me out of my own driveway.


All this is to say that I collapsed into bed at 8, feeling sorry for myself and unfit for company, and I sulked myself to sleep. Then I woke up at 3 am worrying about how I was going to get my car out (before I gave in on the whole AAA thing) and all the other 3am worries that descend at that hour of the day.

It’s Friday, though, and my car is free of snow and ice and they say it’ll be above 40 next week so we should see some melting and maybe someday I’ll be able to take my dogs for walks again.


In other news, we’re still playing the hell out of Minecraft. A combined effort by Yozzy and I got Choo to at least try it. I went the soft sell route, Yozzy went the “legos!” route, and he loves it. I knew it! My AE2 system is almost up and running — Yoz hooked it up to the nuclear station and now I just need to build some additional storage because those drives fill fast. But we’re going to take a vacation in the Twilight Forest (or possibly the End) first. You can’t build all the time instead of exploring. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see in this mod pack.

Tonight I have to try and be a server admin and play with turning mods on and off. They say its easy, but getting this far (a useable server with mods preinstalled) was horrifically hard for my poor little brain, so I’m terrified that I’m going to break everything. And if I break everything, Yoz will actually kill me. He’ll kill me dead. With knives.


Now, if only I could everyone ELSE to play. Stupid stubborn friends.

Uh oh, Scooby Doo!

Ok, so my new castle is pretty nice. In fact, check out my quarters! Thanks, Inquisition, this is all paying off.homeThat said, there are things to be done. First step is a quick trip back to the Storm Coast to finish stuff up there. Not a whole lot to say about the situation there; just some madness and a chance to negotiate that we didn’t take up.

next houseI did find my next irl house. Screw you Emer. I’ll take this one — and the rain, and the view.

legitEmer also stumbled upon this very odd place for a snack. The cheese is still there, as well, which is just WEIRD. This game is WEIRD. This is a cliff face about thirty feet up, slammed by wind and water. I mean, that’s where I’d have a picnic, right?

dorianWe also get another chance to see just how annoyed Dorian is — Blackwell’s asked him if the Elder One is “one of yours”. He doesn’t respond well.

Storm Coast as finished as it can be for the moment, it’s time for an extra depressing assignment: off to Crestwood.



Oh what a relief. Just when Emer was thinking she might have to go someplace bright and cheery, we find that we’re still in an AWFUL WORLD. Burn it all down.


We arrive in time to see the grey wardens fighting off a blight attack — we help, and then they skip town. Blackwell, your people are assholes. Just so you know. So, once upon a time there was a town (Old Crestwood) that got drowned by a dam burst. And now there’s a rift down there, so all the dead of Old Crestwood are coming back to life and attacking. Sounds like this is a job for The Inquisitor!



Someone doesn’t agree but Emer doesn’t take orders from signs! Actually, in this case she does — kills some bandits, establishes a base camp, and goes to drain the lake so she can get close enough to the rift to drain it.

Old Crestwood is pretty bleak.

warcrimesBodies just piled together, as the blight had hit already. We burn the bodies at the request of a chantry sister, so their souls can be freed.


There’s also this very odd scene of death. Was he betting with the cheese and cheating and was then murdered by a wedge of cheese? Just. What?

Still, weird stories are the least of our concerns. It’s off to close the rift; through the mining tunnels we go.


Correction: into the spider infested mining tunnels we go. Why. Just, why.

hauntedWe have some terribly worrisome companions in the form of red, miserable ghosts following us. (In the Sims, a red ghost indicates death by fire. Fun fact!)

ScreenshotWin32_0202_FinalThings aren’t so good down here. People died poor, painful deaths.

scratchesWhere hanging might be better than waiting for the water to claim you. No way out.

obviousClever observational skills from my team; we had already found about eight bodies by this point. Good job guys!

oldsAnd here he is, the pride … or rage, I can’t remember … demon. He’s guarding the dwarven halls that lead to the rift. “Oh, look, they’re still lit!” says someone in shock. True, but by WHAT? I can’t figure out what provides the lighting here.

dwarven mysteries

Think those are lanterns? Guess again! Just reflected lights. The dwarves are LOUSY MAGICIANS is what I’m getting at, and I don’t think we can trust them!

Well, another rift, another yawn later and we triumphantly return to town to let everyone know they’ve been saved. Only the mayor is missing! This feels like a Scooby Doo plot!
warcrimesredux“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you pesky Inquisition!”


I reverted to doing (and failing at) basic math yesterday.

Ok. In order to make a wireless terminal, I need a wireless access point, a dense energy cell and a calculation processor. And I need 4 of those terminals. And those dense energy cells are made up of 8 energy cells which need…

I eventually had to start a list. A pencil and paper list, clipboard in game wasn’t going to cut it. The mod I’m focusing on right now is Applied Energistics, which is the only possible way to tame our MESS of chests and storage. The place is a horror show of chests everywhere, and it stresses me out, so I’m doing the ME system. This involves a server bay, storage disks, and (because I want this to be wirelessly available to people — including me — don’t whine about having to go to the terminal) wireless access terminals. And boosters.

It’s super spendy — tons of redstone, certus, nether, fluix. And we don’t have stable power yet so I’ve been working through a vibration chamber and lava buckets which is about as inefficient as you can get. Yozzy’s been working on a power solution — nuclear, in this case, which will make my life easier. I’ll need to build us some additional storage as well. I need an inexhaustible supply of certus quartz — nether quartz and redstone aren’t much of an issue at the moment.

It’s lego for grownups

Is what Yoz says. I agree, to a certain point — I mean, I think legos are legos for grownups but this has the same texture to play. And despite a massive amount of grumbling as I look at the mats list for yet another finicky little piece, I’m still loving it.

Once I have our storage taken care of, I’m going to move back to Thaumcraft which will eventually give me very good things, once I get past the very early research options. Golems and cool gear and whoo.

I wish I could get more people to play. Modded Minecraft is heads and shoulders above xbox.


With a goat.


So Emer’s stuck wandering the snowy filled wastelands, and considering I’m currently living in the snowy filled wastelands it made me tired just watching her. Somewhere in the mountains, she figures, she’ll find her friends. Wandering through snowy wastes in the hopes of finding someone is just the sort of decision making I like to see in my video game characters. Christ.

Of course, this is a video game, so she collapses at exactly the same moment that her companions find her. All the escapees from Haven are huddling in this tiny camp in the mountains and they’re feeling pretty hopeless about things. A lot of people died, the inquisition leadership are fighting amongst themselves, and Emer’s pretty much had enough with the whole deal.


Mother Giselle, a chantry leader we met earlier in the hinterlands, has not given up hope though. She sings an old hymn that draws everyone together — and to their knees in front of Emer.



But lest Emer take this moment to feel good about herself or the progress of this story or even to smile, Solas comes in like SUCH a buzzkill.

Turns out the orb the elder one has was stolen from the elves. And when that particular fact comes out, the already keen elf hatred is going to explode — unless Emer somehow changes things. Basically the elves indirectly caused the breach. GREAT, that’s just GREAT. For fuck’s sake Solas, why not pile on some more.

dontwanttoWell, now that we’ve been thoroughly depressed, it’s time for some brighter news.

morninghasbrokenSolas brings us to Skyhold. You guys, you gave her a CASTLE. It’s cold comfort for the fact that apparently Emer’s turned into Atlas, the whole world on her shoulders, but you know. Castle. It helps.

youshouldnthaveIt’s a bit of a pit at first, although it improves rapidly between visits. On her first morning there, Emer leaves her bed to find her friends gossiping about her. Jerks.

talkingshitActually though it turns out they are offering her something quite big: the head of the inquisition.

imthebossFinally, some goddam recognition. Emer plays it cool, though, saying she’ll lead for faith. Solas and Sera are pissed — they want her to lead for the elves and change their standing, but all along people have said that Emer’s the herald of Andraste, and it feels cold to turn away from Andraste’s grace for more partisan matters. Once this is all over, she can be the example by which elves are judged; getting others to warm to her now is more important (although in truth almost no one approves of this call, whatever. At least she didn’t say: “I’ll do it for POWER!” which was literally one of the options).

It’s around this time that Emer sits on the throne for the first time. She’s not super psyched about it.


But she’s the leader, and so she has to. First up, ATTACKING. WITH A GOAT. Oh god I loved this guy; I basically let him escape without punishment.



Emer stops to chat with Cole.

stoppedlisteningI mean, that’s what I do when Solas starts lecturing, so I’m not surprised characters do as well. Cole’s an odd duck. If I had done the Templar quest I might understand a bit more, but from what he’s said — he’s not quite a demon, not quite a ghost, but something in between. He can feel and hear what people are thinking — helpful in the case of people who are dying. Still, he wants to put someone out of their misery, and I had a really hard time deciding what to do about that. On one hand, yes, suffering. On the other hand, the person wasn’t asking to die — although they were asking to make the suffering stop. Maybe the braver thing to do would have been to let Cole kill them, but Emer asked him not to — pointing out that no one knows the future and that any number of things could happen.

dorianmadShe also stops to chat with Dorian, who she’s very sad she can’t romance. Dorian’s awesome, and also VERY ANGRY because everyone blames his people for the blight and in fact for this breach since the Elder One is one of them. But like, Dorian, Emer’s an elf. People don’t even bother blaming them for things, they just hate them and kill them and also, remember Dragon Age Origins? They also rape them with impunity. So, you know. I feel your pain, but TONE IT DOWN a bit.

lessthanthreeNext, another attempt at romancing Bull. He has Emer put on a mage disguise and go with him around the camp; we have some invisible drinks with some new recruits, keeping Emer’s identity a secret. He explains afterward that although ideally she’d know every person in her army, it’s useful to at least know a few faces — to realize that these are actual humans, not just a army of people to be sacrificed on a whim. Oh, Bull. I love you. Why won’t you let me romance you.


Meanwhile, I’m getting romanced like mad by this fellow. I mean, check out that dialogue. I might have to give in if Bull doesn’t loosen up a little. He’s a good second bet.

somethingsomethingChecking in on the mission table. HAHAHA, oh scribes. You are the best.

Anyway, it’s time to leave the warm embrace of Skyhold and go out and save the world some more.



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