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Below are 13 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Alunissage's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
11:20 pm
[knitting] Hitting a snag.
This past weekend I continued work on Sis's top. Right up to when I discovered I'd added a stitch, oh, 20 rows back. And my hands were a bit rough (snagging the microfiber ribbon way too often for comfort) so after fiddling fruitlessly with the extra stitch in the vain hope of getting out of ripping back (called frogging, incidentally) I stuffed the project back in its back and pulled out the wool and mohair oddball sweater I've been working on for myself. When my mental alertness is up to dealing with the fiddly process of unravelling only as far as the error rather than the whole thing (a nontrivial problem with yarn this slippery) I'll get back to the one I'm actually under deadline on...have to have it ready by mid-May when I'll be visiting home (that sounds odd) for the Uematsu concert. And I still need to figure out how I'll do the straps, too. Well, I have a pretty good idea, I'm just not sure how it'll pan out. I'll find out eventually, assuming I manage to get past this stage in the front.

And I still want to write up my last two hats. Not because any knitters that I know of read this but to write it down before I forget it all. I did some rather nifty stuff for those last two hats, and can see myself squinting at it in a few years and wondering how. This would be a lot more effective if I had pictures to go with them, but I haven't put in the time to figure out a good way to get images up anywhere, even if I'd taken any. Since one hat was given to my mother about ten minutes after I finished it I don't have it available to take pictures of anyway, though she took a few and emailed them to me.
11:07 pm
[gaming] More FF1.
My initial enthusiasm for FF got rather dampened when I couldn't find the next dungeon I was supposed to go to. I went everywhere else I could, and got the clear idea of the name of where I had to go, but I just couldn't find it. I think three separate play sessions were required before I stumbled on it (while eating at a restaurant, no less). I suppose it got me good and levelled up, though.

I can see the appeal of playing again with a different combination of classes. For one thing, it seems like 80% of the equipment I find or can buy can only be used by one party member, which is a bit annoying.

Looks like the precedent for having a vehicle is clearly established in the start, too, with the boat being abruptly dropped on one in only the second town, and strong hints about levitation in the future. At present it's not as convenient as it sounds, since all the important sites have to be reached on agonizingly slow foot.

My tolerance for random encounters has also greatly decreased, especially when there's no auto or tactics command to hurry things up. Argh. In some of these places the encounter rate is truly insane, with only a step or two between battles for a particular stretch of dungeon hallway. And I'm facing that agony of decision again with the spells, when all four of a given level seem desirable and I can only have three. So I compromise by only buying two, and now I have to walk back and get a third.

I'm a bit annoyed that I forgot my headphones this morning and had to do all of today's playing with the volume turned off. I wonder what music I missed. I'm tempted to load up and find out, but too sleepy. I really should make myself go to bed; I'll never adjust adequately for daylight savings at this rate...
Sunday, April 3rd, 2005
6:08 pm
[games] Beginning of an odyssey?
I started FF I today, from the Dawn of Souls GBA cart. Aside from Mystic Quest and the beginning of VII several years ago, this is the first FF I’ve played myself, although I’ve watched bits of several other games in the series played. I wanted to play the entire series through from the beginning, so I could see how conventions evolved, and since I have a considerable commute this version seemed a good place to start. At this rate III will be out in English by the time I get to it, too.

I only played as far as getting into the first dungeon. I’ve really only played a few RPGs, and so things which probably seem really old to everyone else in this game are new and interesting to me, like buying spells, having limits on equipping them, classes, and so on. I wasn’t too happy about having to choose the party at the beginning, though; I hate decisions that could potentially be the wrong ones. It’s really very stressful. The only change I made from the starting ones was to substitute a monk for the thief. I went through almost as much agony trying to equip my party, not knowing whether costs in agility were worth gains in attack and similar concerns.

It’s really rather weird to have the game start what seems halfway through the story; I’m so used to a party slowly coalescing and then marching off together to do whatever it takes to fix things. Other than that it seems normal enough and I look forward to continuing; I rarely object to game cliches.

I like the graphics, though I assume they’re considerably upgraded from the original, and the music is fine. I did get my white mage killed off early on because I wasn’t paying attention to her HP and so now she’s a level behind everyone else, annoyingly. When I returned to the first dungeon I was about to use a potion to heal her and I was asked why I wasn’t using magic instead. Well, I tend to be conservative about MP, especially when I have no way of recovering it. Still, I suppose if I have only one person capable of using healing spells I ought to conserve the items that everyone can use. I just wish it had been phrased as a suggestion instead of a reprimand. I'm undoubtedly being oversensitive, with that fear of the Wrong Decision coloring my reception of the advice.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2005
11:44 pm
Last night I made a long post at a messageboard to rip apart someone's idea for a game derived from the series the board is about. I don't feel too conscience-stricken...I waited until the thread was nine pages long, and throughout the person kept insisting that his ideas were really great and all people had to do was just use a little imagination to see it. They read like a bad fanfic -- there was almost no actual game design, just descriptions of ever-more-powerful weapons and such wielded by some hitherto unknown cousin of the series' protagonist -- and I said so.

As always, after making a post that could make someone potentially very angry and arouse ire against me, I felt very nervous and a bit ill when I next went to look at the thread. Before doing so I found myself preparing some defensive response as to why I'd been so blunt, and potentially softening my response to mention that lots of people go through this stage of fanfic, of taking some story setting one really likes and making up some improbable all-powerful character to put in it. I did it myself, although mercifully I can only think of one or two instances when anything actually got written down. I detest this sort of fanfic but on remembering this earlier today (for the first time in years) I understood a little more of why people...kids, really...come up with this stuff.

Several years ago I learned a little bit about child development in the course of my student job as a childcare assistant. I knew people developed thinking skills and such as they grew, of course, but it was then that an example of the scale of this kind of development was given me -- how three-year-olds (give or take, of course) don't really have the concept of cause and effect then, or counterfactual reasoning, while a year later they do. Later on I found a suggestion that the tendency of teenage/young adult recklessness could be another developmental stage...the idea that bad things won't really happen to them. One could even consider this a survival trait, in that being too aware of how easy it is to die or suffer and that bad consequences could result from action could seriously hinder certain necessary behaviors - how many young soldiers would march off if they truly felt that they could and likely would die? I've never had much patience with the "it won't happen to me" attitude, even though I surely had it at least subconsciously (nowadays I tend to be the opposite, totally too imaginative about possible disasters to the point of being paralyzed with fear) but the idea that it's a mental stage similar to the child pre-reasoning stages we go through makes sense. We tend to think that by the time we're physically matured we're also mentally matured (emotionally being another matter), but there's no particular reason to assume so just because we're starting to look adult.

Likewise, today it occurred to me that what I generally lump together as bad fanfic (because it is) may well be a developmental stage. It certainly seems that I see it more with young teens than elsewhere, although since I try to avoid fanfic it's not really a representative sample. As to why, I'm not sure. I would hazard that part of it at least initially has to do with escapism and immersion, although I'm thinking more of daydreaming and putting oneself in the story (which didn't appear to be the case with the person whose idea prompted this). Another part is presumably the desire to create without knowing how to go about it, and hence piggybacking off of what someone else created...I want to be cool, this is cool, so I'll change enough of it to call it mine and then I'll be cool too, because I know this works and I don't know how to be cool from scratch. (Sorry for the overuse of "cool" but the example which prompted this musing used it rather a lot.)

I was going to try to analyze it more but my brain is shutting down for the night. Last thought on this is that it's not just fiction; there's surely a lot of fanart that would go into this category, though I'm inclined to put tracing/copying of official art in rather than original poses, clothing, etc.

P.S. My post so far has garnered only agreement, no flames yet. Probably because the idea person hasn't seen it yet...
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
9:57 pm
It’s been quite a while since I’ve thought to write anything, since my impulses to update hardly ever coincide with my being at a computer with the time to do anything. However, I’m now propped up on the couch in just such a way to hold the homemade hot pad against the very painful spot on my back which has been plaguing me lately, and I can’t easily move yet have the laptop in position to type. So I suppose now’s the time.

The long weekend was pretty nice. I-Gene (zqfmbg) made a comment or two about it in his journal which is part of what impelled me to update.

Saturday (theme: gaming)Collapse )

Sunday (theme: knitting)Collapse )

Monday (theme: Monterey)Collapse )

This morning I quickly wound up my multicolored Manos, happily anticipating knitting with it on my way to work. Except that I discovered about thirty stitches in (with a different yarn) that stitch counts in the eight equal sections of my sweater varied quite a bit. I had to frog six rows (that’s ripping it back) to correct my mistakes. And, of course, just before doing this stitch counting I’d cut the yarns I was no longer using for that part of the sweater, so now when I reknit those rows I’ll need to make about six more stitches with the yarn that only had three extra inches at the end. Argh.
Monday, January 31st, 2005
8:13 am
I'm dying.

I'm so sick I want to cry.

Well, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I was up all night seemingly from coughing. Even the Nyquil and the codeine-laced cough syrup I took at 4:30 weren't enough to keep me asleep. And when I was asleep I was dreaming that I was being kept awake from coughing, or even dreaming that I'd been dreaming about it. I suspect I never got any really deep sleep at all; certainly the alarm going off at 7:30 wasn't much of a shock. But now that I'm up I'm still achy and shaking and, of course, coughing.

:(
Tuesday, January 25th, 2005
8:05 am
[knitting] Pinwheel berets, part 2
(singsong) My new year’s resolution is to finish what I sta...

Not really. I gave up on that long ago. Still, I do feel rather sheepish having just one part of a projected 4 up, even if my only interested audience is myself. Talk about an overactive guilt complex. I want to catch up to hat 2 in this one, so these cuts will be quite long.

First completed hat - Canadiana (part 2)Collapse )

After all that, can I squeeze in hat 2? Well, it doesn’t need nearly the detail. Or if it does I’ve forgotten most of it anyway.

Second completed hat - Wool-EaseCollapse )

Things I've learned from this entry: if composing in Word before c/p'ing, make sure to change curved/angled quotes to straight. At first my cuts were labelled "first and "second, then when I only corrected the first one the entire entry became the label. D'oh.
Saturday, January 22nd, 2005
11:29 pm
[knitting] Done!
I finished my latest hat! It's the fourth pinwheel beret (I don't actually like this term much, but it seems the easiest way to indicate the construction) I've done. The first two were done in the first two months I knitted, and the last two were done...in the last two months. And I have a really elegant bit of finishing on it too, in my unbiased opinion. And so far it's succeeding in not itching, which was the motivation behind its specific construction.

AND I managed to successfully hard-boil eggs (well, I-Gene did most of it) and make my very own egg salad sandwich! What a triumphant night this is.
Monday, January 17th, 2005
7:30 pm
[knitting] Pinwheel berets, part 1+pi
As I sit here Kitchener-grafting/tubular casting-off/whatever you want to call it my most recent hat, the Manos red/green/yellow-orange one, I realize that it might have been an advantage to do the final row of p1, sl1 wyif with the purls being done backward, that is, bringing the yarn up under the needle instead of wrapping it over it. This would both make the stitches smaller (an advantage with this stretchy silk/alpaca I'm using) and make all the stitches twisted, which I think would be a distinct advantage during the tubular casting-off process since all stitches are still on the original knitting needle and it would be easier to access the appropriate loop of the "back" stitches.

This will mean nothing to pretty much everyone but me, and of course doesn't go here chronologically, but I was afraid I'd forget if I didn't write it down soon. And I do like the general principle and look of doing the ribbing this way even though I still have some issues to work out with it, so I want to be able to keep this in mind for next time. Or this time if I end up having to unravel that last row, which I sincerely hope will not be the case.

(n.b., 1+pi is not just being silly. This is the fourth hat I've done [in this style] and it's a short addendum...never mind that part 4 hasn't actually been written yet. Or that part one is actually taking two parts so far, the second one of which hasn't been written yet either. There, has that been amusingly stupid enough for you non-knitters to laugh at and therefore not consider this a waste of your reading time?)
2:24 pm
Compulsiveness
Every time I feel like writing something the site is down or I'm nowhere near a computer (or am near one but have more vital things to do, like work or sleep). Fortunately, as both my readers have figured out, I'm currently seeing this as a place to semi-archive my knitting projects so I don't have to unravel them to figure out what the heck I did. As such my time limit is merely whenever I forget what I've done...which in most cases has happened immediately or isn't going to happen. Which kind of makes that whole initial premise moot.

From an offhand comment in another LJ I was impelled to look for something, I don't even remember what, in the Internet Archive. Thanks to a certain amount of compulsiveness and a fear of being left out or missing something I've consequently spent most of my weekend reading through four years of archived copies of the site I was looking at...actually, no, I'm still only about halfway in. Groan. The earlier stuff is perhaps more interesting to me, though, as I didn't start reading the site itself regularly until a couple of years ago. What prompted me to make this particular update is the realization that I was reading updates originally posted before I knew the Internet existed. Well, more or less; I'd been using email since 1991-2 but somehow the only knowledge I had in May 1999 of the 'net's existence came from Cliff Stoll's The Cuckoo's Egg.

long digression regarding glacially dropping ignorance levels as measured in sequential readings of the bookCollapse )

Which reminds me of my initial topic, which I've pretty much already gone through. Besides, I have something else to do now. When I started I was also attempting to make breakfast without burning the house down, with a first-quarter score of Oatmeal 1, Robin 0. However, the oatmeal which didn't boil over is now done and reasonably tasty, so I should get to it before I start meditating on the incongruity of my personal use of a sports metaphor for anything. Besides, I have two more years of archive to read.
Thursday, January 6th, 2005
1:01 am
[knitting] Pinwheel berets, part 1

After the previous entry's high-minded closing about traveling new roads or whatever I said, it's somewhat embarrassing to admit that my current and most recently finished projects are both variations on essentially the same construction as the very first project I ever made. And that first one, while it could be called my first design, is "mine" only by accident...I'd been trying to make a hat in the style of the ones my mother knit when I was about seven and misunderstood the directions she gave me over the phone -- I didn't even know how to cast on at the time, and had not one single page of any printed material.  Although I've made at least three and a half hats based on that general construction since then, not one has ever managed to exactly follow the original simple design, even when I started out intending to do so.

First completed hat - Canadiana (part 1)Collapse )

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005
11:53 pm
[knitting] Philosophy, part 1: design, online?
One potential purpose for this journal is to write up my knitting projects. I've been meaning to do this for a while...and since pretty much everything I knit is worked out by myself in advance or in progress, documenting it is important, especially during the process, so that reproducibility is possible.

(Is it obvious that I heard a lecture today on the importance to science of maintaining good lab notebooks? The other reason, besides reproducibility, is proving that one came up with a given idea, approach, etc. at a given time, namely, before someone else did.)

By working it out by myself, I mean at least at the stitch level. There are projects of mine that are based on designs I've seen elsewhere, inevitably, but I've never followed anyone's stitch-for-stitch pattern, and have certainly never used the same yarns as any specific published pattern I see. A sort-of exception is my very first sweater project, which essentially followed the directions in a Threads article, but the closest it came to being a specific pattern was in the number of stitches to cast on. It's possible that one reason I stopped work on it was that even with that it was too much like following someone else's idea, which I just don't like much.

Therein lies the problem. If it's reproducible it may not be mine so much any more. On the one hand, I want to document what I did so I can show what I saw as the problem and how I solved it (this is how I think of all of these, as puzzles or problems: how to turn this yarn into something neat, preferably in a way I haven't done before?) -- and not incidentally show that I do not blindly follow patterns by other people, taking inspiration but ultimately thinking of things myself. I'm convinced that I sometimes come up with cool stuff, and it'd be nice if other people thought so too. On the other hand, I don't want my stuff copied blindly either, or worse, attributed to someone else. It's unlikely that I'll ever sell or place sweater patterns, being somewhat opposed in principle (and practice) to the idea of knitting a garment that was not planned to the wearer's specific measurements, but you never know. And the internet makes it impossible to guarantee this.

For that matter, someone may well decide that I'm copying some garment I've never seen. I avoid looking at the online knitting world too much, largely because it's too geared to the idea of following patterns -- I'd rather just see galleries and some commentary on construction than those hated lines and lines of stitch-by-stitch instructions -- but would anyone believe me if I said I came up with something by myself? Several times I've had the experience of thinking of something that was interesting and starting to do some legwork on the idea, only to find a multipage article in the next mag I pick up devoted to it. This is maddening, because it seems all too likely that another knitter would assume that I'd read about it rather than thinking of it myself.

I undoubtedly worry way too much about this. Even besides the fact that this is currently an extremely low-key journal -- only one person has me on her Friends list, for heaven's sake, and she's my sister -- as a (RL) friend of mine said once, no one who knows me personally will ever doubt that I came up with something by myself. Possibly the best compliment I've ever gotten.

But one of the first things I read on the only knitting site/blog I read regularly, girlfromauntie.com, talked about the willingness of a few example knitting communities to assume that the high-profile, big-name knitter came up with technique X first and the humble person (not me, obviously) who mentions doing the same thing for years is copying/lying. And while no one knows me now, this may change someday.

The best I can do, then, to establish that I do do my own thinking, is to follow the lab-notebook model: document the process, beginning to end. What did I start with? Why did I choose this? Did I try something else first? What kind of effect did it have? How many times did I unravel that piece of yarn? (Usually at least five.) We'll see if I can manage it. Well, I'll see, anyway.

(Lest I sound too full of myself, I must clarify that I do definitely use other people's designs as starting points. Maybe it's just a change in texture or use of color. But even in the one pattern I tried to follow, the Diamond Patch blouse from Just One More Row or whatever it is, I changed the patch a bit, adjusted the number of patches, and planned different sleeves. And actually I plan to unravel the whole three patches I managed and do something else with the yarn....I just don't have much interest in following the known path.)
8:55 pm
first post!

I got this account solely to reply to entries by users who had disabled anonymous posting, but didn't feel much need to get into the blogging thing myself.  And I still don't, much.  But once in a while I have something to say that doesn't fit into my usual outlets of messageboards, emails, or IMs, and it may as well go here. 

At this time I only know two or three people who are likely to read this regularly and post replies, but in the event that people down the line decide to read my earlier posts, it is not my intent that they "expire".  That is, replies to old posts are probably fine.  I do have a very low tolerance for what I consider inappropriate language and will censor or delete if I feel it is necessary, however.  If I can...I'm still figuring all this stuff out.

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