Monthly Archives: September 2014

How the Garden Grows

It is the last day of September and October blinks into existence tomorrow and I have produced my first, baby watermelon.

 

This little thing was not there at the start of the week. I’m quite delighted. I also have no idea if it will be able to grow fast enough to beat the fall. I’ll watch temperature and I’m loosely developing a plan to bring them indoors and have my cats not use the pots as litterboxes.

I also need to get fertilizer. The soil came fertilized for about three months and that was back in July. I’ve also had some nasty storms since then where I had to dump water to save my drowning baby plants. I added more soil to everyone when I did the transplants in August but I think its about time for some more food.

 

I lost two of my squash plants and my other two do not seem as healthy as I’d like. I learned that there is a Squash Moth and it lays its eggs on your squash plant. The larva burrow into the stalk and suck the juices dry. Basically, vampire squash moths. The plant one day just tips over and dies. It sucks. This one is doing okay. The other is struggling. I’m still learning as a gardener but I do feel a bit guilty.

 

My lettuce is quite happy with the cooler weather and behind them are the onions which I will pull up in another week or two. I think I will harvest the onions before my October trip.

I’m thinking of harvesting the lettuce pretty soon. it is bib lettuce. My romaine never sprouted. I wanted four heads and I got three with two smaller, later growers chugging along. I’ll plant them a bit denser next year and see how that works out.

The tomato plants look like crap yet they seem to be happy and producing. I’ll get them some more food as well.

And that is the garden update.

A Minecraft Mechanics Adventure

I’ve been devoting a lot of time to Eve Online due to my position on the Council of Stellar Management. My latest project is one of intense paperwork and sometimes I start to zone out and feel that I am at work. I use short stints in Minecraft to manage this. I have an unfocused project that involves building a lighthouse type of thing. I find myself staring at my screen tired of sorting and writing. I switch over, run around a bit, add a few more layers to the lighthouse or mine a few more bits of Sandstone and Nether Quartz for fifteen or thirty minutes and go back to writing.

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This is an underwater project that will eventually develop into who knows what? Some type of jungle town of something? I’m not creative enough in minecraft I keep building structures. I want to build something random and amazing and beautiful. I have an idea attached to this current project and we will see what I can create out of that but…

I was fixing a layer of tower. I had gone and gotten more Sandstone from Kaeda’s castle project which involves a run through the nether to get to the desert chunk he spawned from a nether portal. I had to much quartz and not enough sandstone. Armed with about six stacks of solid sandstone I went and hacked out the quartz in my tower to replace it.

The problem is I was using an efficiency pickaxe. It melts through quartz and sandstone like butter and a wad of precious sandstone descended into the depths. I screamed in agony and dove after it. I drifted down to the bottom and smugly noticed that it was there. I swam over to it, retrieved it and realized I had three bubbles of air left and I was about twenty blocks down.

Shit.

I swam hoping that my life bar would save me but nope. I died. I died with a huge wad of sandstone and quartz and all my enchanted armor.

Respawn?

If I respawn I am going to wind up in Kaeda’s palace. What will I do? My sandstone!

This is why I like playing Survival.

I logged out and leaned back in my chair. Losing all that sandstone would suck. I mean, there is more and all but still. I had pulled it from an area that Kaeda was terraforming. It worked nicely to help him and get me the mateiral that I needed. Once I sat back to think I did remember something important. Minecraft items do not despawn if no one is in the area. The chunks of land go inactive.

I now had a plan.

I logged back in and respawned. I arrived in Kaeda’s desert castle as I expected I would. This is far, far away from where I died. It is also accessible through the nether. What else is accessible through the nether is a series of nether roadways we have created that connects all of the various nether portals we have made. The nether is not the same as above ground. Back at my main home in the original town that we created I have a brewing station and puffer fish. Puffer fish mean water breathing potions.

I went into action.

I dove into the nether portal and ran to the crossroads that would take me back to our original town. A long sprint later I surfaced in Kenrin’s tower and got lost and started to die. I made my way out of that, somehow, and staggered to my house. From there I gathered some food, and went to brew a water breathing potion. I also had potions of swiftness available. I gathered some of them as well.

Now, I dove back into my nether portal which connects to the main one and charged back out to the portal Kaeda and GreatLich made near our various water projects. I drank my swiftness potion and ran out of that. I then sprinted to my water project, chugged a water breathing potion and dove down to discover all of my stuff on the sea bed.

All of my precious sandstone was recovered. Somehow, this overly complex and almost ridiculous plan worked.

I will no longer dive to the bottom of the ocean without a potion as well.  I’ve learned my lesson.

Our server is updated to 1.8 as of last night. We’re adding a white list so that I can share our overview map with everyone.

My First Squash – Also Tomatoes Past and Future

My garden has been doing okay. There have been ups and downs such as rain storms that flooded my little pots and the loss of my first crop of lettuce to something or another. They were just gone one day.

But, we’ve been thriving. I’ve gathered three tomatoes so far and my second tomato plant, which I thought was just going to die rallied and has produced its first tomato. I decided to prune my plants of their dying limbs. My mother had suggested against it but I figured that my plants were wasting energy on them so off the dying limbs came. Almost as soon as I did that the first tomato started to grow and the plant gained about three inches in as many days.

Today, I noticed my first squash is forming. I’m rather happy. The weather has been hot and dry and I am soaking everyone down twice a day which they seem to like. I assume they like it because they are growing and creating fruit.

The little lonely tomato is growing at an outrageous pace. I expect that I will miss the harvest for these guys because I will be out of town next week. That’s another three tomatoes which may not be very many but is quite exciting for me due to it being my first tomato crop ever.

My lettiuce is also doing well. I expect it to all be consumed by insects again. However, if that doesn’t happen I’ll have at least one good salad.

The onions I hope are doing well. One has all sorts of wild prickly things going on. I’ve resisted the urge to dig them up and look.

Shopping With My Husband

My husband likes to shop and I do not. I do not mean shop to spend money. I mean that he enjoys wandering through the isles of a store looking to see what he doesn’t know that he needs.

I, on the other hand, hate shopping. I walk in, scan my immediate area, look for a directory, and leave if I do not find what I am looking for. Within thirty minutes I am normally exhausted and within a few hours I have regressed to the state of a small, nap-deprived child.

This means, when I turned and asked him to go shopping with me he stared at me with wide eyes, got up from his desk and came to check my forehead in case I had developed a fever and was delirious. Finding my temperature normal and my general state of being to be cognizant and aware he said, “Uh, sure?”

I felt bad for him and explained that I wanted some dress shirts. I wanted button down dress shirts and I’d need to try them on due to the fact that woman’s sizing makes absolutely no sense to me. The sizes I used to be able to wear I can’t. The problem is the items still say sizes that no longer match what the store says. My normal method to bypass this is to wear men’s shirts. However, I needed dress clothing and my over-sized, graffiti shirts would not do. I was going for the professional gamer look and I wanted long sleeve dress shirts to wear over my jeans and a pair of low heeled pumps.

He asked if I wanted to go to dinner as well. I said sure.

Off we went. I had a general game plan for where to look for shoes. The ‘woman’s shoe stores’ would be my goal. These are vast, labyrinths of footwear that I don’t find attractive. However, normally in the depths I will find one or two items that I find appealing.

The only problem is that it was labor day and a lot of people had off from work. They had two and a half months to prepare their children for a new school year so the day before school was to start seemed to be a right time to prepare their children for the start of the school year which was all the way off into tomorrow.

A torrential downpour was followed by a clear, hot sky leaving the streets steaming and the sun searing ones flesh as we scuttled from the protection of the car to the front of the store. My husband, pale and prone to instant sunburn was quite miserable as we reached our first location and opened the door to the store.

Shoes. Shoes and women. Shoes, women, and children. Somewhere there were also spouses but mostly shoes, women, and children. We entered and slipped into the rows of shoes. My husbands eye was often pulled by high heels and platforms. He made random suggestions that I ignored as I gravitated towards the boots.

I’m a practical creature. I lack feminine frills and ways. I love tall boots and as my hand reached for a lovely, polished black pair my husband appeared as if a vengeful angel and swatted my hand away. “Dress shoes!” he said. “But these are fancy,” I exclaimed as he grabbed my hand and dragged me away from my previous boots. “Those are boots! You said you wanted dress shoes.” he announced and corralled me with the pumps.

What is it with fashion in this current day? Shoes are ether flat or heels so extreme that my calves cramped just looking at them. I padded past the shelves of lovely, tall, sweeping, painful looking products. My feet were soundless on the carpet tucked into my pair of black and day-glow green vibrams. My theory on vibrams is that if you are going to wear them, wear them. People are going to look and ask stupid questions so I might as well give them an actual reason to do so.

However, my years of wearing minimalist shoes have left me ill prepared for heels. I do love them but ugh. Ouch. My feet are wide and large. I didn’t get the fashion designer notice that woman’s feet are to be narrow and small. So, frustrated, I went to the clearance section where I discovered the shoe Apocalypse.

Fall is coming, today is a holiday, sales are in the air, and the clearance shoe section looked as if a hurricane and typhoon got together. I was chaos and disaster and we slowly backed away from the frenzy of shopping and fitting that we found. Defeated we retreated back into the sunlight to make our way to the next store. There we were confronted by even more terrors as the store was a mixture of clothing and shoes. The entire shoe isle looked as if someone had dumped all of the shoes out and rolled around in them while having a fight with a shoe fetishist octopus. My husband looked at me and said, “Someone has to fix that later. I feel bad for them.”

We slipped past the shoppers and again moved down the length of the store fronts. This time we came upon a woman’s store and we slipped inside. More shoes. More clothing. I also learned that button down long sleeve dresses shirts for women were not the fashion this year. I could find short sleeves, layers, slip tows, dips, nips, tucks, stripes, plaids, flowers, floras, and tights, but heaven forbid a dress shirt. It was with dejection that we stared off down the line of shops until we noticed a familiar name in woman’s sensible fashion and gave it a try.

Cool and quiet, I found simple shirts on sale. I tried them on and they fit. This is the one difference that I will admit to when you shop at a store vs picking up stuff at Walmart or Target. Pleased, I even tried them on and let my husband pick out a rich red-purple color that looked quite nice for me to try. Invigorated we left with our shirts and decided to go to one of the larger regional malls which was close to the Japanese Steakhouse that I wanted to have dinner at.

Ahh, the mall. That didn’t work out again. We, magically, got a parking spot right beside the entrance in the parking garage. I thought that it was a good omen but after I stared at the directrory and realized that the shoe stores were not labeled as shoe stores I knew I was in trouble. While daunted, we where there and we had to take advantage of our good parking spot. We grasped each others hands and forged through the milling stream of humanity. As we passed Barnes and Nobel I noticed that the childrens section which faced the mall front was a disaster zone of small children and exhausted looking parents. Perhaps this is what shopping is all of the time? No wonder sales people tire of their clients.

We tried a few stores and saw many, many types of shoes. I have a budget and no interest in spending money on shoes however. The deeper we went the higher the prices went. I put down one two hundred and fifty dollar pair, grabbed my husbands hand and headed out to dinner.

I do love Japanese Steakhouses. I understand they are a totally Americanized thing. I’ve been to the real deal in Japan. Still, it was a nice treat and a quiet meal before we headed back home.

I’m three shirts better off and never did find the perfect pair of shoes. I’ve made it through a shopping venture on a holiday and back home. It was a surprisingly long day but in general, productive. How people can do this every week or even multiple times a week? I will never know.