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Cute, FF Sparks (Girly)

Reflections without DSL

Covad has finished their work on my line. Hallelujah, choir of angels, all that. We go to bring the DSL up... and discover a line flaw, this time on Qwest's side. John (yes, I am now on a first-name basis with the Speakeasy tech) offered a bit of comfort with the note, "You do realize, we're not going to charge you for the downtime, right?" I noted that was nice -- Earthlink would have charged me, and did in a similar situation -- but that I'd happily pay for the downtime if it could have meant I'd get my DSL back now. He laughed and admitted he'd be the same way.

So, supposedly, Qwest is sending a tech out to do their line maintenance tomorrow. We're not holding our breaths, though. It has, after all, now been more than a week without DSL. I finally gave in and got my Speakeasy dialup account set back up so that I could get online without having to use AOL. Though the Mac OS X version of AOL is not nearly as objectionable as the Windows one, for whatever reason. Probably because you can make all the windows go away so it acts like a normal dialup.

It's interesting, though; last week, I thought a lot of the reason I wanted my DSL back was to keep from brooding or moping over family stuff. But I've sort of reached my place of calm -- there's still grief, and I think I'll probably miss grandma's presence for the rest of my life, but it's no longer crushing me in its fist -- and no longer being broody or depressed about it. And I noticed wasn't nearly so twitchy over the weekend without DSL. I read, I worked on writing, and played Crimson Skies (which, by the way, is a really cool game). So I figured I'd not miss the DSL so much this week, though it'd be an inconvenience.

During the weekend, the lack of DSL was irritating but not more than a general bother. But as soon as the work-week started again, I became extremely twitchy and edgy. Jen's commented on it, even.

've finally run out of code I can do for work without having decent access, and I took a personal day yesterday since I did not feel I could, in good conscience, claim it was a productive work day. Today I'm doing some work, coordinating while on the dialup, but I'm still vastly limited in what I can do for remote development. And it's making me twitchy; I realized that's what got to me last week, in part. I feel crippled to perform my job properly without my Internet access, and so I start to feel edgy that I'm /not/ getting my actual work done.

At Quicksilver, I was the person who would be at my desk at 11pm, working away on a circuit simulation, or a tweak to the FPGA setup interface, or a new build of the Windows device driver for our testing board. I take my work seriously, and I don't like feeling like I'm not doing my work properly.

It's admittedly not helping my mood of telecommunications frustration that I woke up with a horrible sinus headache and a sore throat this morning; something within the past day or so has really set my allergies off, clogging my sinuses and generally mucking me up. Bleah! Nothing more than general discomfort, but I feel like I want to shove a vacuum-cleaner tube up my nose and just schlorp all the mucus out of my sinuses. Claritin is, for once, not helping decongest me. We have lots of water, at least. I love the filtered-water faucet in the kitchen. Preciousss, yes...

In family stuff, while the family as a whole is still grieving grandma's loss, we're all trying our best to move on. My grandmother's memorial service has been set for February 20th. It won't be a funeral -- I'm fairly certain she's already been cremated -- but rather a normal Quaker memorial. They had to hold it a month after her passing because so many people all around the country want to go; apparently Teacher Olive touched the lives of a number of people while teaching at Friends Select.

Mom, in the meantime, is helping sort through grandmother's things. Grandma's house is full of things. Antiques and miniatures from Japan, thousands upon thousands of books, grandpa's model ships, an old organ... there's even an old stable-house with a loft apartment behind the house, a holdover from the days of horse-drawn carriages. The stablehouse and the loft apartment are all still filled with great-grandmother's things, which have never been sorted through either.

So mom keeps calling me to ask if I want various things. I think she's rapidly realizing that things like grandma's antique Japanese doll mean less to me than the dog-eared old copies of the Baum Bugle that grandma and I used to read when we joined the Royal Oz Society together, or the set of every Pogo collection, which grandpa used to read to me when I would go back to Philadelphia as a kid. (Oz was grandma and my thing, Pogo was grandpa and my thing.)

As a side note to anyone in the Philadelphia area who needs furniture, mom and Aunt Sally are trying to get a lot of the furniture which doesn't have personal value, so that they have room in the house to sort through everything. They're pretty much ready to give away a bunch of the chairs and whatnot.

I've also been working on the Darénali lands, the setting of my new tabletop campaign, Slipstream. My software from ProFantasy finally all arrived from the UK, and I've been using it to do maps of the cities and overall lands. It's taking a little while to get back into the hang of using Campaign Cartographer Pro 2 and City Designer and all those things, but already I've made several useful draft maps, and have begun to remember the sheer power of these tools.

The maps will be part of the Slipstream Player's Handbook, a collection of maps, cultural notes, historical timelines and other bits of information. The handbook is already close to 40 pages long in the current draft, and is nowhere near done!

The problem I had with Othernight was that when the original group flagged a bit and a player's schedule no longer synched up, I had no easy way to bring a new player up-to-speed and get them on track with the rest of the group, so we never added new players. This handbook should make it much easier to bring a new member into the campaign when it's already underway.

I still have cultural summaries of two nations to finish up for this particular revision, and then I still have the maps to finish and put in, biographies of some of the prominent houses or specific well-known historical (or current) figures, and various other bits of information. I still also need to write up and put in a summary of the Riverdark Simple Dice System so that players have that as a reference as well, since Slipstream is using my simplified dice system.

When I finish this current revision, though, I may put a current edition of the handbook online for some friends to glance over and see if they find it interesting, and relatively easy to follow. I know there will be areas I need to clean up, but really, this isn't a professional handbook which would be published for anyone outside of my campaign, so I'm not as concerned with professional-level editing for it.

Back to writing...

Comments

A) I'm glad to see you're doing what you can. I was worried about you.

B) I love the idea of the 'Players Handbook' for the online tabletop. Bloody brilliant and it'll likely help avoid the problems that I know I was at least partially responsible for. *wry grin*

C) You managed, without doing anything, to utterly confuse and astound a friend of mine. She had been persuing a community (I think the Crucible City one you're on) and saw me it your friends list and was amused. Then she found out that you two share a name as well as a hometown and got minorly freaked out. I laughed.

Anyway, see you around more soon, I hope. Oh, and if you ever deal with a 'Chris Lee' or 'Callie Fultz' at Speakeasy, they used to work with me and are highly cool.
B) I wasn't gonna say anything, but... yeah. ;) And actually, I'm rather proud of this handbook so far... it may be just a draft, but it's even got illustrations that Brent's done, and little flavor text sidebars, and an index of topics and stuff. I think half of the reason I've poured so much effort into it, though, is because I'm stuck without being able to do all my work, so I need to feel like I'm achieving /something/, putting energy into /something/, or I will go stark raving nuts. :P

C) *laugh* Jen is the one who founded the Crucible City community. I've been horribly inactive on Crucible after an initial start...I should really leap back in there, I suppose, since I have no alts anywhere now and at some point the RP bug is going to bite me big time when I have my DSL back.

As for Speakeasy, cool, though John gave me his direct extension. Keeps re-explanation of the situation to a minimum, so I just dial him directly. I'll remember the names for if I bump into them.
*tongue stick out*
Biiiiiiiiidah!
Just FYI, if you have a laptop and a WiFi card, you can wander to most any King County library and suck semi-decent bandwidth there... I don't know if that will help your work situation or not, but thought I'd ask..

Note that it's wide-open, so be sure your outbound stuff is encrypted... which reminds me, even MD5-hashed LiveJournal logins (like, from clients, not the webpage) would be vulernable to replay attacks, no?

http://www.kcls.org/about/wireless.cfm
1) My laptop, and thus my mobile WiFi, be MacOS. Trillian, and thus my work, be Windows. Otherwise, I'd be camped out at any of the five zillion free wireless hotspots I know of.

2) I don't know the LiveJournal protocol off-hand, but I think the passwords use something like standard digest authentication; i.e., you get a seed, you make the appropriate response, and send it back. I might well be wrong.
1) But isn't that what VPC is for? Or does that not actually work as a development environment?
Let's be brutally honest: VPC is slow, even on a high-end machine.

Let's be further brutally honest: Dev Studio can occasionally make a high-end PC feel half its speed, if you have a large enough project open.

VPC + Dev Studio works, yes... for some very loose definition of 'works.' ;)