Sunday, November 23, 2008

NP: Mission UK - Wasteland

Thought I'd post my progress on the Dragon Quest god bird:

Assuming I decide to shut down my store on etsy, this may be the last needlework I do for a while. I was looking at my 43 things today and I realized how much stuff I've had up there for ages and haven't even started pursuing because I spend so much time on these things.

I'm sure I'll be aching to decorate my Wisconsin apartment with them, but until then, I need to do some other things.

Friday, November 21, 2008

NP: Wire - Mr Suit

I managed to finish this today:

It'll go up on etsy in the next few days if the person who requested it no longer wants it (it's been a while, so that's a distinct possibility).

While I'm at it, I should note that I'm also seriously considering shutting down my shop. I enjoy the idea of these things floating around strangers' houses and the extra income is nice, but running the shop and having a full time job is starting to take its toll. Then again, I've had a rough couple of days, so it may just be my bad mood talking. I'll have to mull it over.

Oh, and an update on that giant chicken:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NP: Psychedelic Furs - Midnight to Midnight

I played another round of Arkham Horror tonight, and while the game is supposed to take 2-4 hours (according to the box top), I have found I can lose much more quickly than that.

While playing, I took some notes - yes, seriously - just to illustrate how ridiculous the game is. That's assuming I am literate and understood the rules correctly, which isn't really a safe assumption.

10:10 pm - I choose Amanda Sharpe, the student, at random to be my investigator and Nyarlathotep to be the villain I'm not so secretly rooting for.

Amanda, like all the investigator choices, gets a certain amount of items drawn at random at the beginning of the game, but I won't bother to recount them here since I never once used any of them.

Now the point of this game is basically to not let things get too fucked up and let Nyarlathotep wake up. Gates to other worlds are opening and spawning monsters almost every turn and, as a solo investigator, I can't allow 1) the number of open gates to reach 8, 2) the town to get too freaked out and overrun with monsters (measured by "the terror track" which goes to 10), 3) myself to take too long (measured by Nyarlathotep's "doom counter"). There's a few other official ways to wake up Nyarlathotep, but they are of no concern to me right now because I will have already lost before they're even remotely a possibility.

If Nyarlathotep wakes up, and he will, I can still fight him, but as you will see, that method doesn't work out too well.

10:15 - The game opens with a gate leading to the City of the Great Race opening up in the graveyard and it spits out a Star Spawn monster. Because a gate opened up, the doom counter moves to 1 (Nyarlothotep's doom counter goes to 11).

10:18 - Because of some movement limitations, I can't make it over to the graveyard so I bum around my side of the board and try to collect tokens I'll technically need but never have a chance to use. While I'm doing this, not only does another gate to the Plateau of Leng open up, but something bites me and I lose some stamina and sanity. Sigh. Doom Counter is now at 2.

10:24 - I manage to make it through the dimensional gate and into the Plateau. The Plateau turns out to be a quiet place to rest for now, and I gain back one of my stamina points. This is the only good thing that has ever happened to me during this game.

While I'm exploring the plateau, another gate opens up back in Arkham. Doom count = 3.

10:27 - I'm still exploring the Plateau (you must spend 2 turns exploring in order to have a chance of closing the gate afterwards). While I'm exploring, the humidity gets to me and I lose that stamina point that I got back the last turn. Sigh.

Back in Arkham, another gate opens up to Celeano while I'm dying of heat in the plateau. Doom Count - 4.

10:30 - This is a good turn...I get through the gate and back into Arkham and manage to close the gate. And another gate doesn't open up, although there's a sudden surge of monsters in town.

10:33 - Again, I can't manage to reach anymore gates so I have to bum around and pretend like I'm not wasting valuable time. I find out something horrible about my family tree and lose some more sanity.

A gate to R'lyeh opens up. Doom Count - 5.

And this is where the kiss of death comes: Miskatonic University starts doing experiments on monsters, and if I don't kill the monsters off, they will multiply and break out into the streets.

10:36 - I try to make my way to Miskatonic U, but can't quite make it.

No gate opens up this time, but a monster surge fills up the outskirts and the terror track makes its first advance from 0 to 1.

10:42 - I try to kill off one of the easier monsters in Miskatonic University and fail.

No gate opens up again, but that just means there's another monster surge.

10:45 - I fail to kill the Miskatonic University monster again, and all hell breaks loose. The streets fill up with monsters, the terror track instantly goes to 10, its highest setting, and because there is so much shit going on, Nyarlathotep wakes up.

Now I've been avoiding going into stat mechanics, but it's kind of important here. My maximum fight stat is 4, which usually means I can roll 4 dice and hope one of them hits 5 or 6 for a successful attack. But I have to temper this against Nyarlothotep's combat rating, which happens to be -4, which happens to mean I have 0 dice to roll to get the 5 or 6 that I need. See the issue here?

Of course, I got a magic spell in the beginning of the game that would let make 9 additional dice rolls (at the cost of my sanity, however), but wouldn't you know, Nyarlathotep is resistant to magic.

He takes about 3 turns to devour me.

10:55 - I've now managed to efficiently and thoroughly lose a 2-4 hour game in just under 45 minutes. And I actually did relatively well this game. I never once lost a turn or got booted to the "lost in space and time" square, which is where I spent the majority of my time the last few games.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NP: The Jam - Away from the Numbers

I have to wake up in about 6 hours, so I need another quick post. Looks like I'm going to have to showcase another bookcase...I'll do two, since one of these bookcases is admittedly pretty boring.

The boring one: top shelf holds my poker books, bottom shelf holds my occult books on the right and a healthy mix on the left, the stuff on the floor is holding the broken bottom shelf up.

My graphic novels shelf - a few favorites include: Scott Pilgrim, The Sandman series (missing volume 3 due to the cat knocking shit over), Hellblazer, Fables, Daniel Clowes stuff, Will Eisner stuff, EC Comics Collections.

The Hexen 2039 book on the top shelf is pretty intriguing. An artist created a time travelling alter ego who makes diagrams and illustrations to construct all these connections between things like the Wizard of Oz, nazis, and US military experiments.

England's Dreaming focuses on the Sex Pistols, mostly, but its discography in the back pretty much laid the foundation for my musical taste.

There's also an Exploding Dog book on the same shelf. I've always liked using Exploding Dog pictures and their titles for mix tapes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

NP: The Smiths - Vicar in a Tutu

Truth be told, I sometimes get a little emo making stuff with the intention of selling it. And since I ran out of Megaman blue today and was too sick to make my daily trip to the craft store anyway, I decided to use the downtime to start making something specifically for me.

I settled on the god bird from the Dragon Quest series; it's always ridiculously hard for me to pick a Dragon Quest character because I go into this "They're all so cute!" mode usually reserved for pet stores. She has a couple of different names throughout the games she's in, but the one I remember is Ramia. My mom calls her "that giant chicken".

I'm hoping to finish her before I move to Wisconsin.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NP: Talking Heads - Girlfriend is Better

Aside from mailing a few things out, I took the day off from videogame fancraft and instead played the Arkham Horror game as promised. I played it twice and, as promised, the game tore me a new one each time. It took me about 4 hours as Dexter Drake, the magician, to finally lose to Azathoth and only about an hour before Cthulhu destroyed Ashcan Pete, the "drifter". Ashcan Pete probably shouldn't have tried to steal $8 from a Miskatonic University student, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Now I have to stop my futile attempts to save the misguided citizens of Arkham and get back to videogame stuff....I'm planning on trying some pendant experiments as well as making some stained glass triforce suncatchers. I've also had a couple of requests for more megaman needlepoints, so I'll have to get on that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NP: Adam and the Ants - Ants Invasion

I don't know if it's the Thomas Ligotti stories I've been reading lately, the recent e-mail I got from Chaosium, or if the stars are just right, but I have been jonesing for some great old ones. So, armed with a 15% off Barnes and Noble coupon, I finally gave in and bought this Lovecraft-based board game.

According to one amazon reviewer, the point of the game is not to win; the point of the game is to see just how badly you lose. Sounds great to me. And what's its other main selling point? It's meant for 1 to 8 players. The days of playing Monopoly against myself are over.

Unfortunately I won't be playing it tonight, as it apparently requires 5 hours and a PhD just to play a game get through the rulebook. I probably won't be playing it tomorrow either, as I have a job that frowns on people calling in sick in order to play board games. But Sunday...Sunday I will be taking on Azathoth. You guys can place your bets now. I'd go with Azathoth for the win.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NP: The Editors - Someone Says

I finished this tonight:

Not sure how I feel about it - I used white plastic canvas this time instead of my usual clear, and it's not very forgiving.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NP: The Dickies - You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)

For those of you who remember the big Megaman in perler beads that I was working on: I threw him out in a fit of rage after an ill fated ironing attempt.

But I'm trying again - this time using a technique that Doctor Octoroc devised. Instead of making one big fat sprite, you divide them up into sections and construct a pretty intimidating layered base out of foamcore. Honestly, I'm not sure I have faith in my abilities to make the foamcore base. Maybe I should have stuck with ironing.

It's probably going to be a while before I get to test my foamcore finesse, as I'm about to run out of a shade of blue. Here's what I have so far:

Just lying the pieces on top of each other for now:

NP: Comsat Angels - Red Planet Revisited

Now for sale on etsy:

$12 + shipping & handling

Check out my neat background. I've seen a lot of etsy sellers using what looks like scrapbook paper for their backdrops, so I thought I would give it a go myself.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NP: Public Image Ltd - Rise

I don't know if it's just me, but I like shifting through people's bookcases the first, second, third time I'm invited over (I'm not usually invited over more than that).

Now I intended to put some new coasters up on etsy and take some Work in Progress photos of, uh, some works in progress. But I am so tired and lazy and I really just want to sleep or die. So, instead I'm going to make this relatively easy on me and post some pictures of one of my bookcases. The rest of my bookcases will be posted on later dates, to avoid another irritating (for me and you!) gigantic, image heavy post.

Let me also point out I haven't read a lot of these books. I work in a used bookstore where the inventory is unpredictable and the employee discount is amazing. I have a bad habit of using my discount to buy books with the "I'll never be able to get them this cheap again" excuse.

Note: I was hoping to get some flickr-like notes added to them, but I don't know how to do it outside of flickr and figuring it out would destroy the point of this fuss-free post. I'll post some short notes here as well as keep the links to flickr operational, in case you can't wait to see the rest of my books.

Notes: Far left book is a Mark Twain book containing his "dark writings". While 'The Mysterious Stranger' isn't included in the volume, I'd recommend reading it, or at least checking out this youtube excerpt from a Mark Twain-based claymation movie.

The green book to the right is called "Me in My Bag" - a neat book where a photographer goes around London asking 100 people what's in their bag/purse/backpack and taking photos of the contents. Unfortunately, most people are boring and they carry boring things.

My Tiny Life by Julian Dibbell - all about life in LambdaMOO. I like to wander around the now mostly empty MOO every once in a while; it's like walking through cyber ruins.

Notes: Far left is a collection of modern day retellings of Dante's Divine Comedy, complete with modern day illustrations.

Next to that is perhaps the coolest book I own. I will get around to making automata one day.

And next to that is one of my second life handbooks. I like wandering around Second Life from time to time, but I don't think I'll ever "get it". I will say the goth in me really likes having the name Switchblade Constantine.

Notes: The orange book is Sniffin Glue, a compendium of one of the most famous punk zines from back when punk was still interesting.

On the right is my ever-growing collection of Chaosium Call of Cthulhu RPG books.

And that's that.

I also have post titles now. Imagine that! I mostly listen to my Pandora station while posting, so unless I can come up with a particularly clever post title (Magic 8 ball says: Outlook Not So Good), I'll be abrasively announcing whatever's playing when I start the post. I mostly just feel I need a clear cut divider between posts.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I love stoopidgerl's photostream so much that it hurts. It makes me want to take up photography (again) and strive to make every picture I take look vibrant and awesome, rather than perfunctory and "well, you get the idea"-ish.
Now for sale in my etsy shop:

$12 + shipping

Some one contacted me and suggested I try making Chrono Trigger coasters - a very good idea, I think - and this is what I managed.

I might try making another set of these, only including as much of the body as I can fit. I find something unsettling about their disembodied faces staring at me. But I will put these up in my shop for now and see if they garner any interest or not.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A few weeks ago, my friend Joe - who generally has no creative inclination of any kind...who really has no inclinations other than to drink beer and play poker - told me he wanted to learn how to make soap. And so I made fun of him, as you do.

There is still a part of me that balks at crafts as being for grandmothers and hippies. It was only in the past few years that I realized the carte blanche aspect of crafting allows for almost all of them to be used to make something "cool". But, at least when Joe mentioned it, soap-making was one of those rare exceptions where I saw no potential - unless there's a way to make your own soap molds, in which case I'd make a Dragon Warrior slime shaped one (note to self: find out if this is possible).

Then, during an etsy browsing session, I clicked on a thumbnail for what I thought was a piece of cake (in retrospect, this may have been a stupid the time I assumed that orange stuff on sushi was cheese) but was actually a piece of soap. That got me to start reading all the descriptions of handmade soaps and I was impressed with the variety of scents, nutrients, molds, etc.

So then I decided I wanted to make soap too, and I finally got around to trying it for the first time tonight. I bought an opaque soap base, which I assume is the soap-making equivalent of a cake mix. You basically just melt it in the microwave, throw in some drops of scents and coloring and pour into a mold and let it sit there for about an hour.

One of the soaps I found most intriguing on etsy was an orange creamsicle soap, so I dug up this recipe and got to work. And while I was waiting for the vanilla part to harden, I went ahead and made a peppermint scented soap as well. The verdict in poorly taken photographs:

Top of the soap

Bottom of the soap

I should definitely work on getting the bottom more even and not so jagged. And, more obviously, I should learn how to swirl colors throughout the entire bar and not just the bottom.

I took a shower (shocker, I know - maybe this will be an upside to this new hobby) and used a creamsicle bar. It worked fine, I think, and smelled good - but I don't think the scent "stuck" to me as much as I would have hoped. Then again, there's no one around for me to shove my arm into their face and ask if it smells like a popsicle.

I'm not sure I will ever get interested enough in soap to start making it from scratch, nor am I sure I will ever try to sell it - but I will keep messing around with it. People who know me can probably expect some of it for christmas.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Now for sale in my etsy shop:

Last day for free shipping on needlepoint in my etsy shop

So it is official: I am moving to Wisconsin. I am not moving as soon as I thought I would be, which has its pros (I can save more money) and cons (I am not moving as soon as I thought I would be), but I should be knee deep in cheese by February.

So, in the meantime, I will continue to work on this blog, my flickr, my etsy shop, and I may even attempt to get some one - anyone - to look at my deviant art page, which I have neglected to do in the past.

I will also be attempting to make this blog more than just some place to compile my etsy shop updates, since that's kind of redundant. This means I'm going to have to write about myself and what I am doing, which is kind of foreign to me.

Here's a few ideas for the future:
- posting a pictoral tour of my apartment (you know you want it)
- posting more "Works in Progress" posts
- posting more tutorials
- maybe start some massive project like benjibot's quest to cross stitch all of the original dragon warrior monsters
- take up some new crafts and post pictures, failures and all, of the progress
- maybe I'll do another survey or two, but let's face it: they're kind of stupid

Also I'll be refining the blog in more mundane ways: adding widgets, adding tags, changing the layout, networking, etc.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Last day for free shipping and handling is tomorrow

Now for sale on etsy:

$40 + shipping and handling

Sunday, November 02, 2008

So I spent most of Halloween night building a cheap, DIY lightbox and re-taking photographs of all items to give my shop a more professional "I didn't just throw this on my floor and snap a picture because I would never do that" look.

I still think it needs some tweaking, but it's coming along. I'm also planning on changing this blog around as soon as I can get a spare minute to sit down and figure out the code.

Anyway, now for sale on etsy:


The free shipping and handling deal is still on until Thursday.