Not worth the title "Update"

5 weeks until our baby is scheduled for arrival. So soon, and so not soon enough! Fingers crossed he keeps doing as well as he's been doing so far, which has been excellent. 1 day till we see The Hobbit (and I'm prepared to be somewhat disappointed, if need be, because, come on, 3!!!!! movies?..) Overall, some bad stuff, some really important good stuff, and in conclusion, life goes on and I don't post about it.

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Internet Spaceships: srs bsns

I'm currently taking a break from my break from my hobby known as Internet Spaceships or EVE Online. Haven't had much time to play for a few months, but now there's a little bit of free time available, and an expansion is out, and the expansion looked good, so there. Back to space.

Firstly, I'm happy with Crucible for a variety of reasons. I can spin my ships in stations again. The new nebulae look awesome. Even my aesthetically least favorite part of space--the formerly cold blue and depressing Gurista-populated systems now looks good enough for me to not hate ending up there. Engine trails are back. Warp effect looks better. Stars look better. New T2 modules. Caldari and Gallente ships got some texture updates which are generally for the better (the single largest exception is the Gallente shuttle... it used to be cool and yellow, now it's just meh). I'm somewhat displeased by the new paint job on the Crane, and the Onyx looks kind of weird to me now, but overall it's an improvement. I'm also quite happy about the new tier 3 battlecruisers. My main is happy with the pew pew capabilities, and my industry character is happy that large turrets are currently a hot item for invention and manufacturing since the new BC's are pretty much glass cannons that go boom rather often. The new player-owned customs offices are an interesting development. Importantly, Gallente ships got a fairly significant boost and so did hybrid weapon systems, which makes their gunboats suck less. Also, starbase management is now not quite as awful as it was: timers for anchoring/unanchoring modules and onlining them are now reduced for the most part. Now setting up a home away from home won't result in quite so many hours of hurr durr waiting (yes, the whole POS deal is still pretty painful and really needs an update). There's some stuff that works worse now, but there's more good stuff so I'd prefer to keep this paragraph optimistic.

So, with all the changes and fun new things, I'm determined to do things differently. Shortly after I started playing the game, through means I'm not quite sure of and against my preferences, somehow I ended up in various leadership positions in my corporation(s) (that's the same as a "guild", for reference). Having spent most of my EVE life as a CEO of a corporation that was kind of doomed from the start thanks to its previous CEO's and broken promises, I've decided that the next time I take on a similar role will be essentially never. Both in the real and the virtual worlds, I hate being at the top of the leadership pyramid, hate hate hate it, although somehow that's where I often end up. What else is there to do in a situation where *someone* needs to step up, and no one else does? Blargh, the guilt and responsibility complex is strong, why do I always feel personally responsible for everything around? Anyway, for the time being I've decided to remain unattached to any particular group of people, and roam the vastness of space on my own, doing whatever seems fun. Will probably start looking for a corp eventually, but right now I really need freedom. A game should be about doing things the way you want to, not being dragged down by srs bsns and stuff that's a little too similar to how RL usually works out. Being a free pilot feels nice. Quite the change from all the administrative crap I had to do before--spreadsheets, plans, assignments, logistics, budget, market analysis, more spreadsheets... It was a good day if I got to leave the station/starbase to farm NPC's or hunt players. No more, I say. I'll play the game the way I want to, not the way I feel the situation dictates I do, and I refuse to feel responsible for things that aren't strictly my responsibility.

So far, it's been good to be back in New Eden. I got rid of some less useful assets, bought a Loki, fit it for stealthy ninja travel and went into my favorite space of all--the mysterious unknown realm of Sleepers. Covert cloaking ships are my favorites because they fulfill my long time fantasy of having the power to turn invisible (not to do evil, but to be left alone), and wormhole space is the best space of all because it's very difficult to spot such a ship. Delicious stealth. I am off to have stealthy adventures harassing other wormhole dwellers and whatnot. Might get a Pilgrim for my alt and double-team the task, although to do that without a hot CPU I really need to update my graphics card.

Layout-breaking pictures tiem!

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Nommity

Another December, this one marks year #2 of successful ED-less life. I'm proud of myself for having done it on my own (with my husband's help, of course, but how can it be otherwise?), though it did take... several years. All in all, 12 years of my life I wish I could take back, but I suppose the old adage about not killing and making stronger still goes. Maybe I should have given professional help more chances than I did, but this is a whole other can of worms. Stubbornness and some sort of pride that resists help from anyone but those close to me, I'm an apple that didn't fall far from its tree. I suppose that the last vestiges of the time have something to do with my reluctance to cook most things that aren't salads or sandwiches, like I almost don't want to have a hand in making something I'll be eating. Or maybe I just don't like cooking :) Either way, it's something to get over at least somewhat. However, here's a good risotto recipe I like (although risotto is more fun to make without a recipe since so many things work well). Asparagus and lemon go together oh so well (no, asparagus is not "like green french fries", stfu TV mom).

Asparagus = ~1 lb
Lemon = 1
Butter = ~2 tbsp
Onion = 1 small/medium sized one
Rice = 1.5 cups (I just use whatever rice, Arborio or Carnaroli might be better)
Chicken broth = ~4-5 cups depending on the broth
White wine = 0.5 cups

Zest lemon, keep the zest. Juice the rest. Cut the asparagus spears, on the diagonal in ~1/4 inch slices works best. Finely dice the whole onion. Set the chicken broth to heat up, boiling is fine with the lid on.

Over medium heat, melt butter in a medium sized (~12 cups) saucepan, heavy bottom is best. Add onions, cook until soft and starting to go translucent. Add rice, stirring until translucent but before it browns (4-5 minutes). Stir the lemon zest into the rice, pour in the wine. Cook until the wine is absorbed, stirring. Add chicken broth to cover the rice. Cook until rice gets thick, don't forget to stir, add some salt (not too much now, best to add more later). Keep adding broth in this manner. After 12 or so minutes add asparagus. Keep the rice thick but not dry, may have to turn the heat down if the liquid is going away too quickly, otherwise the rice might turn out crunchy. Right before the rice is done, add half the lemon juice and butter, about 1 tablespoon. Stir vigorously to fluff up the rice, taste, add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Et voila.

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Sad times

Passing by the intersection of 110th and Lake City Way, I saw flowers people left in memory of a couple killed in a horrible car crash there last week. Heartbreaking to think about the way these young people's life ended, and terrifying to consider the situation that lead to it. I just really can't believe that a man who killed someone in a very similar way in 2009 was never given more than a slap on the wrist all because he allegedly had a psychotic episode that resulted in him causing a crash with a fatality. He didn't even lose his driving privileges... And now, two other deaths later, he will get a year in jail (and will likely get his license back after two years). Lives are cheap when they are packed inside a box we call a car.

Of course, driving a vehicle is inherently dangerous. You make a pact with death every time you get behind the wheel because you're operating what can easily become a weapon, in company of others wielding the same. One of the main reasons it took me so long to decide that I should learn to drive, risk and responsibility didn't outweigh the benefits. Yet, it is still shocking to me how blasé the law is about the fact that however you spin it, a life lost is a life lost. September 11th changed this country forever, a tragedy. And 40,000+ people die every year in motor vehicle collisions in the US. Oh, but of course, it's just collateral damage, the price paid so that every man, woman and child older teenager can have access to what makes us a beacon of civilization: the privilege of driving a car (seen by many as nothing less than a right). If I were to go out and say that the horror of September 11th is just collateral damage in America's fight to maintain control over the Middle East--... well, it's best to never say it. Not because I'd be afraid of backlash, but because I don't want to cheapen lives so. I know I'm a moral relativist and most of the world is gray to me, and I think more than I feel, but I try to remind myself that lives are not just numbers we hear on the news. After all, my loved ones aren't to me, and everyone who has someone they love can probably understand that...

Sad and disappointed.

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Bikes

Not bikes: I got my drivers license last week, hoorah. Now I'm a 26-year-old who can drive independently. Or so the government says. Passed the test on the first attempt with plenty of score room to spare, and even drove to work by myself once. Not very fun, freeway traffic is bad enough in the morning that I think I spent more time in first and second gear than in fifth. But a good option to have on days when the weather is terrible and when I need to run errands before or after work.

Bikes: yay, my new bike is finally here (well... almost). <3 my dad.

Here it is, Cannondale Flash 3 (in green, of course). This is a picture off the Cannondale site, going to be switching some components out. Replacing the cassette with one more geared (har har, "geared"...) toward city riding rather than mountain biking, and going to have different tires for the same reason (Armadillo).


I used to have a 2009 Cannondale F4 Caffeine. Alas, the fork on it gave out which apparently was not a surprise, only surprising that it took that long for it to do so. F3's don't seem to have that track record, the fork is a little different (and mine is a 2011 model so I'm hoping that Cannondale learned a thing or two about its own HeadShoks in the past 2 years...). I definitely prefer having more of a lightweight mountain bike type thing for riding around Seattle than a road bike. Our streets are pretty goddamn awful. Speed is something that's mostly dependent on the rider (and I'm not a great one... or even a good one, yet) :)

The bad thing about having a shiny pretty fancy bike is that I'm not so sure I want to be putting it on bus racks like I do with my old heavy hybrids. The racks themselves are quite safe when it comes to bikes staying on them, but I fear scratches. If not from racks themselves, then from other people's bikes. So, I figure that if I want to go somewhere that requires taking the bus part of the way (i.e. across the 520 bridge) I'll ride my old Peugeot, which currently needs some de-rusting...

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Bikings

It would be nice to have the Burke-Gillman trail open from 145th to Log Boom Park again (supposedly mid-December), but I must say, I kind of grew to like the detour (or my slightly modified version of the "official" one). The trail is, of course, a lot safer but it's also a bit boring in my opinion. Flat, similar scenery all along that stretch. By contrast, the detour is way hillier (which means some strenuous climbs, but also some fun descents!) and I quite like the portion that goes through Shoreline, especially the gorgeous view of the Cascades and Lake Washington from the east side of the hill near by the cemetery. I am thankful for the opportunity to find an alternative, fun route (if you think hills are fun and don't mind some riding in traffic) and I do think I'll use it quite often even after the trail is back to normal.

Continue reading

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Day of the living undead

Oh my, Internets and most of my life in general went on a break. Let's sum it up with "serious health issues", for me and some for mine. 20 years down the road it will not be likely that I'll remember this past year as anything other than a time of darkness, pain and nothingness, but I can categorize a whole lot of other times in my life as such as can plenty of other people. Being terrible at life is incurable. When things are bad we're told to reach out to those that are near us, but I do exactly the opposite and retreat into a cave. In my private bomb shelter I stay safe from imaginary nuclear apocalypses. Emerging, I expect to be surrounded by angry flesh-eating ew-covered ugly zombies, but instead, shielding my eyes from the surprisingly warm and harmless sun, I see nothing but good people. You'd think that after one or two emergency shelter vacations filled with stress and anxiety I'd learn that zombies are as unlikely to await me upon emergence as... well, zombies. And I know. But I am irrational and fully aware of it.

Stuff I do now:
* sleeping 8 hours every night, waking up early every morning.
* trying to put pieces back together and fix stuff
* remembering how to walk again
* brushing cobwebs out of my brain
* learning to drive
* biking everywhere even though my lovely Cannondale F4 died of HeadShok failure
* cooking stuff that's not pasta sometimes even though Brian is still the king of making good food
* working
* consuming medicine to stay alive.

All in all, nothing much worth noting. I have a goal this year and I mean to accomplish it. Sealed the doors to the emergency bomb shelter, will be facing the next doomsday above ground. Scrubbing clothes with a brush and soap high in alkalines. In case zombies do make an appearance--well, God bless the shotgun. Or just build simple elaborate traps.

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Random assortment of items

Blah blah blah long time no post blah.

The time has come for a change. A big one. I've decided to finally learn how to drive *and* get a license. Lucky for me, six years ago my grandpa spent a month teaching me how to drive his car, he was shocked that I didn't know how to drive :-( It was a stick shift that was brought back from the dead through his magical mechanic skills, the car was totaled by my dad many years prior. Maybe I still remember something. Brian is a very good, careful driver and he's a good instructor, and the car is also a stick shift. I just think it's a good idea to know how to drive a car even though I don't expect to be driving it often, bus+feet+bike suffice to get me around.

Also need to decide if I want to apply for US citizenship in the near future. Looks like my parents and brother will be applying soon, we were eligible starting last year or something like that. Eh, the only possible benefit I see is of the financial kind, green card renewal now costs a whole lot more than it used to. Which makes the paranoid X-Files-loving part of my brain wonder if there's a reason that the state would rather I become a citizen than continue being a green card holder by giving this financial incentive. By the time someone's green card expires they are usually eligible to apply for a US citizenship. I don't want to sound like an Alex Jones fan type person, but it's just a bit odd. Besides saving money, there's not really any reason for me to apply. It seems like this is a decision that should be backed by more than just simple financial considerations.

My health has been on a downturn since May, again, just like last year. I know that it's a long road ahead to getting well for real, but I just can't shake off this feeling of questioning the worth of the efforts. How emo. I try to stay positive in front of other people, and avoid all their questions about how I'm doing altogether. I don't want pity. I don't even want compassion. It bothers me when people say I'm "brave" and whatnot. There is no bravery involved, just a basic survival instinct my ancestors carried out of the primordial soup. Part of the protective survival mode appears to be the elimination of desire to engage in anything that is stressful for me, the biggest of which is being around other people. The downside of finally embracing my loner nature appears to be the desire to indulge it. In a world where I need other people to get things done this is a problem. Well, I am forever lucky to have a partner who is also a loner, we can be alone together, and there is happiness and love. Our three year wedding anniversary is coming up in just a couple months, hard to believe it.

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Yvette's Bridal and Formal

I'm just going to leave this here because this information needs to be spread. Don't look away. You must click.

http://yvettesbridalformal.com/

Oh wait. Don't click if you are on drugs, or under the influence of anything at all, or epileptic, or... Oh, whatever, just click. Please make sure to visit the following pages:

http://www.yvettesbridalformal.com/Psychological_Thriller_Horror_Success.html
http://www.yvettesbridalformal.com/aboutYvettesPortraitPainter1.html
http://www.yvettesbridalformal.com/links.htm

My personal favorite:

http://www.yvettesbridalformal.com/FineArtPanamaCity19.html

And some affiliates:
http://annelaplantine.free.fr/biggiesmartypants.php
http://annelaplantine.free.fr/sean.htm


Well, my job here is done. APPLE PIE! LOVE AND HAPPY ~~~***~*~*~

PS: Eye bleach? Not included with the purchase. I know, what a rip-off!

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Lantar lassi súrinen...

It feels rather sacrilegious to use words so poetic as means of titling so trite of a blog entry. They do, however, express my mood and perception of how things are going, also serving as a thin and weightless, but tangible strand of a web that connects me to the world where I go to find wisdom, courage and inspiration when I need it. And I currently need it.

I am having a really hard time staying afloat with classes right now (told ya it was going to be about boring things no one cares about!). My project group is having an issue with a member where said member is basically... absent. I don't mind doing extra work, not at all, but I have to plan for it instead of being stuck with the extra work at the last minute because, surprise surprise, I have other things going on. The third person in the group is also very busy and he is also having an issue with a partner in another class. We both sure did get lucky this quarter :/ Oh well. The only really bad thing is that I think I'm catching whatever seems to be going around. Feeling tired and throat is kind of sore. NO NO NO BAD BAD BAD WRONG TIME. Also, I really hate UW's quarter system sometimes. Why can't it be semesters? True, I love having quarters for some classes, but any class that involves projects that require tons of independent research and work--nope, quarters just don't work.

Must not get stressed too much... It will be over soon.

As some dude by the name of Seneca said, "Crudelius est quam mori semper timere mortem." I should be less cruel to myself and stop being so afraid of bad things, it really is the worst, this fear. Yes, thanks to bad luck I won't get a perfect 4.0 in either of my classes this quarter, but really, I have a near 4.0 cumulative GPA, at this point it's not really a big deal if I don't achieve my self-imposed goal of 3.8+ for every class, which I have achieved for most classes so far. I should start letting it go already, nothing good will come out of stressing too much right now. I must grow up and learn to deal with failure and rejection, fear of which have kept me from being happier than I probably should be given all the fortune and privilege I have in my life.

On an unrelated topic, days are still getting longer and many trees are still in spring bloom, or already have their summer blossoms. It rained this evening and the rain was peaceful. I wish I had a bay window so I could keep my reading chair there, and read surrounded by the outdoors without actually getting wet or cold. I think I need to bike more in the evenings, it clears my head better than running does and I get to go farther and see more.

I hope you are enjoying the season and life in general, whoever happens to stumble upon this. Life is hard, but it is worth the effort. Never give up.

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