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This is actually just the backup of my old LJ. All of it is old, most of it is nonsense. It's definitely proof I'm under-treated for my issues. All my current stuff is at NiennaNir.com.
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Prelude: I've lost 5 lbs since Christmas. This is something of an accomplishment seeing as I haven't lost any weight in about 6 months. My Wii wants to take all the credit. Unless I don't lose any weight in February I'll probably let it.


The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
I'm going to start off by saying I positively drooled when I discovered this little gem from Santa. I love broadsword fighting. Yes I do actually own folded steel and I do stand in the back yard and swing it around. Before you say anything the average broadsword is between 8 and 10 pounds and requires two hands to heft, you try swinging one of those babies around and tell me what free weights have on that.

But on to the gaming. If you're gaming for the potential health benefits (and why else would you be reading this) Prince Caspian is a definite win. After 45min of play my heart is pounding, my legs are sore (I actually doge the Telmaraines.... and yes I know it doesn't do any good) and there's a burn running up my right bicep and across my shoulder blades.

The story is exciting enough, If you've read the book or seen the movie you know what's going on. The game features cut scenes taken largely from the movie's cutting room floor and you can unlock additional deleted scenes. There's a practical logical flow and most things in the game make sense though hardly any of them actually appear in the movie.

The controls are intuitive with one prominent exception; The grappling hook. You swing your remote like a sword, when you switch to bow you aim that in a similar fashion... but the grappling hook, Aslan save me, is about as intuitive as DOS. I actually groan inwardly when the hook hint icon appears on the screen because I know it will take me at least 3 tries to get the hook working properly. I've gotten very good at dying while trying to escape from enemy soldiers by climbing up a wall.

Having said that, the game has some very good points. Among my favorites are the bonus levels which you unlock through the course of the game. For the most part these have been combat brawls that give you a hefty workout in a short timeframe. I'll often pop Caspian in after my regular workout just to take a couple of goes at these and then I lay on the sofa panting. It's a very fulfilling feeling actually to know you've saved Narnia and probably burned off all that meatloaf you had for dinner in the process.

Next time we'll be reviewing the elusive Wii Fit (Yes I got one... and on sale too)
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I come from a long line of geeks, which explains my pride in my technophile obsessions. After me the geekiest one in the the family has to be my great uncle Harold, he's 87, got internet in his house right after I did in the 90's was the first person within 50 miles to have a home movie camera (in the 50's... he still shows the reels) and drools obsessively on my iPhone. He and I aren't alone though, my mom, despite all appearances is quite the geek herself. She's beaten me consistently at Space Ranger Spin and Toy Story Mania (interactive game rides at WDW for those who don't know) and she was an absolute wizard at Froger... don't get me started about space invaders. So she has her geek moments too. One of these moment's was this Christmas.

About 6 months back we happened to be in the mall while they were demoing Wii Sport. A half dozen sticky, sweaty, happy children were giggling and swinging their virtual tennis rackets and baseball bats while outside it was pouring rain and 98 degrees in the shade.

"It's a good thing the line's too long for me to get in it." I stated observing the queue that stretched half way to Nordstrom's "I'd make an idiot of myself."

"It does look like fun!" Mom agreed.

"It looks like my hips in a size 11," I stated. "I swear if they weren't so expensive I'd get one."

"Your last game system was an Atari 2600," Mother observed. She should know, of course, she bought it. Where do you think she learned to whip my arse at froger?

"That would be why it's a good thing I can't get in the line." I answered. "And a better thing that they're not previewing something with swords in it."

"Ooo, I could charge admission to watch that!"

I promptly forgot about the Wii... as much as you can forget about that kind of thing when there are commercials on every channel. But I was determined that I would spend my mad money on things that at least resembled a social life, I don't have one of those and I do have a heated pool and Fit TV. I don't need a game system, Right? Right.

Mother, bless her geeky little heart, determined otherwise and Christmas morning under my tree was a brand new Wii with the Wii Sport bundle. (along with Prince Caspian but I'll get to that in a later post) Along with it came the statement. "It probably needs things... but I wouldn't know what they are so just get them." I just love statements like that. So begins my chronicle of one woman's quest for size 11 hips. Before I had it out of the box I promised myself I would at the very least attempt to limit myself to games that work up a sweat, I would only play standing, not vegging on the couch, I would research games for the best use of the controller. Each and every game I review will be judged on only one hit or miss criteria; How much skinnier I'm likely to get by playing it.



Wii Sports
Bundled in the Wii box was Wii Sports. Now I've never been a fan of sports video games, the ones I played as a child were blocky and one dimensional and existed solely to console my brother who's afternoon flag football game in the front yard had been called on account of hurricane. But being determined to be both open-minded and several sizes smaller, I popped it in.

I was actually surprised at what I found fun and what I found frustrating. Golf; I'm not a fan of golf in real life but I love mini golf, was a borderline disaster. 4 days later and I still spend the majority of my time in the rough. Boxing; I positively detest boxing but Wii Boxing is quite exhilerating. Bowling; It's always been a take it or leave it activity in my book but in this case I can definitely leave it. Tennis and Baseball were surprises for different reasons. I expected to do much better at baseball than I did and can't fathom why I'm so good at Wii Tennis. I played both when I was younger and clearly my estimate of my skill level in both is a bit off.

The games themselves play well, the controls are intuitive, for the most part, and I like the simplicity of not having buttons to push most of the time. The game also comes with a Wii Fitness feature, a daily 15 min workout that gauges your overall improvement. (80 is the worst score, 20 the best) I'm down 27 points in 4 days.

Wii Sports - Skinny Mii rating:
(1=Am I awake? 10= where's my towel?)
Tennis: 8
Baseball: 8.7
Boxing: 9.3
Bowling: 5
Golf: 4
Overall: 8

Wii Sports is well worth it for the first 3 games alone. I've actually put some muscle strain on one of my shoulders and I think I might finally one day soon say goodbye to my flabby old lady arms!

In my next edition of Skinny Mii I'll be covering The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Remember, fencing is a sport!
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On Friday I will have officially been single for a month now. The truth of the matter is, I expected to be feeling a little better by now. I engaged in all the traditional 'get over it' coping mechanisms; I ate chocolate and went through several boxes of kleenex, I drank a lot of rum drinks with umbrellas in them and went dancing. I fragged orcs for an entire weekend and ate food you have peel out of a cellophane wrapper. (Ok, maybe not that traditional) I even went on a veggie diet and increased my workouts by 3 hours a week. The rub of it all is that while I've finally made myself sick of 3 Musketeers, increased my 3 drink threshold, maxed out the level on my AQ char and lost 3 lbs, I'm not really feeling any better.

I still wake up every morning to a somewhat gray and dingy world. I can see the colors and the vibrancy but I don't really feel them any more. For a creative type it's a bit like being near sighted and losing your glasses. Inspiration is out there.... somewhere, too bad you can't see it.

I had an interesting conversation with my butcher today.

Me: You look beat.
Tom: I'm telling you, I'm getting too old for this. I've closed 4 nights this week. You should tell the manager I'm too tired to cut your pork chops and I'm going to slice my fingers off.
Me: *Snort* I can't get him to carry the dry goods I want, I'm pretty sure he's not going to hear me when I complain about the state of my butcher.
Tom: You could threaten him! *laughs*
Me: Oh yeah *wiggles fingers* I'm scary.
Tom: Tell him your boyfriend will be back in town soon and he's going to be unhappy if he can't get his steaks cut properly.
Me: Yeah.... well... my boyfriend broke it off last month so he isn't going to be too worried about how you cut my steaks.
Tom: *blank stare* You got to be kidding me! what happened with him? (you know it's a small town when your butcher has no issue asking you that question and actually knows your boyfriend)
Me: He got a really great job offer in Gainesville and I didn't want to move to Gainesville.
Tom: Nobody wants to move to Gainesville. *long pause while cubing chicken* I just don't know, he looked.... smarter.

I did laugh even if it was unfair. I don't have much excuse to laugh lately so I take what I can get. I've been met with more than a fair bit of disbelief lately when I've had to tell people I'm single again. A lot of blank stares and WTF? expressions. It would be hysterical if it weren't so sad. The reactions are all similar in opinion and unique in articulation. Apparently everyone else is even more stunned to find me here than I am. I thought about photo-blogging it at first but it seemed wrong somehow.

I hate generalizing about any group of people but let's face it, there are traits that are gender inherent. Prejudice isn't recognizing those differences, it's vilifying them. I know that men place a lot of value and self worth into their careers, a heck of a lot more than I could even begin to imagine allotting to something whose sole purpose is to make money and keep me from spending time with the people who are important to me.

I'm not faulting guys for the value they place on their careers. I'm faulting the idea that it's ok to say 'I love you' if you wouldn't sacrifice those career goals for the person you're saying it to. The only girls I've known who wouldn't mind being less important than career are the sort who marry for money, and frankly they're probably happy to take a back seat to a fellow's job, provided of course that he forks over the credit cards before he goes to work overtime. Most of us would much rather be unexpendable.

Don't mistake it as an accusation of insincerity. I'm just starting to think there might be some gender discrepancies in the definition of the word 'love'. It rather reminds me of Ingio Montoya in the Princess Bride; "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means." Somewhere in that whole male/female communication thing is a serious difference in the context.

Maybe I just need a male perspective on the practical application. In my reality 'love' is something you say to the people you can't do without. Right now I'm feeling more like a security officer on the Enterprise.

I'll sort it out eventually. Meanwhile I'll don my red shirt, make myself a drink and frag some orcs, right after I get in another 30 minute work out.
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I've been amusing myself this summer beta testing a new browser based MMO. First off I've never really been into MMO's but the quirky personality of this one kind of grew on me. Well today Adventure Quest Worlds went into live Gamma phase. This basically means that the game is nearly finished and they're just buffing out the paint job.

The big news (as far as I'm concerned) is the nifty gift extended to all of us alpha/beta testers.
The Alpha Pirate Armor


Is that cool or what?

If you'd like to check out the fun they do have a free membership option available.
www.aq.com
They don't have the friend feature active yet but if you need a tour guide drop me a message and I'll log in and show you around.

Geek Joy

Jul. 21st, 2008 08:32 pm
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I play DragonFable. If you're at all into the whole RPG thing you should really check it out, especially if you're like me and your gaming gets squashed into those rare breaks in the daily grind.

DragonFable is the brain child of Artix Entertainment. They have this novel idea that really great games should be available online for free and, of all the wonderment, play in your browser. They offer a game upgrade for each of their games for a one time fee of $20 that opens up new quests and new weapons. The game are 100% playable for free however. Like all it's counterpart games DragonFable has a crisp, anime like feel that makes me nostalgic for those childhood days of watching Robotech and Vlotron. The characters are engaging with a somewhat twisted sense of humor that routinely brings a well appreciated chuckle to my day. I've paid very good money for more than one box containing a disk who's gameplay wasn't nearly so well developed.

After playing DragonFable during my compiling breaks for about 6 months, now I decided that I really owed it to the dev team to put a crowbar in my wallet. They've saved my sanity amid numerous code malfunctions... and more than that I really wanted my own giant dragon and a bank vault.

My shiny new Dragon Amulet (the virtual symbol of the pay to play code) came with a truly awesome bonus. The right to be on the beta test team of Artix Entertainment's newest game. Adventure Quest Worlds.

Up until a couple of months ago I'd never really played an MMO. I'd seen my share of them, I have geek pals who play almost religiously but I'd never really found one that I could become attached to. That being said, I was a little excited when I logged in at lunch today for the last alpha test of AQ Worlds before they officially go to Beta. I knew I would find characters from DragonFable there that I'd already grown fond of... and one or two that I love to hate so I was counting on it at the very least feeling familiar.

Now I have a long history in beta testing, for professional and open source software alike. This was probably the most clean and easy alpha test I've ever experienced. The controls were intuitive (I confess, I logged in without reading the directions, I wanted to see if I could figure it out on my own.) And the few errors I encountered were easy to circumvent. If the final game turns out like I think it will it's going to be a heck of a way to observe site updates.

And now, the fun!



That's me, kicking some monster arse!
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PlaneShift-y

I'm normally very enthusiastic about the open source community and the free exchange of ideas so to start off I don't want anyone who does or has participated in an OS development project to be at all slighted. It is, in fact, my previous positive experiences in this area that make me feel so disgruntled at the moment.

A friend of mine sent me a link and asked me to check out an MMO and 'see how it is'. (I'm withholding the name so as not to be incriminating, my poor friend had no idea what they were getting me into) I love problem solving games and I love giving out my opinion so when I canvassed the PlaneShift site I was delighted. Here was an MMO that wasn't based in the accumulation of wealth and the death of less intelligent life forms (like goblins, ex boyfriends and GM's) And as if that weren't enough the screen shots were absolutely breathtaking. My inner artist was doing cartwheels. To say I was enthralled would be an understatement.

So I downloaded, I installed, I wasted a perfectly good friday night... but what did I care. Ok, the game is still in Beta, ok it's a little buggy... but, OMG lookie!! (I bounced a lot) and if I wasn't having a squeeing fangirl moment I was deeply entrenched in solving the more than complex quests. I was challenged, I was in heaven. I burned up most of saturday morning and forgot to go to bed Saturday night until my dogs got sick of it and whined until I finally turned out the light.

It was like crack, only better because I wasn't paying for my fix.

Sunday dawned and without even realizing it I burned up 2 hours searching for a secret garden and a mushroom. And then the inevitable happened in any beta testing. I hit a bug. I hit a -huge- bug.

Now I actually enjoy bugs, I especially like the lil squishy sound they make when you squelch them. I was undaunted, having beta tested in the past I knew what I was in for. I hit the forums and ran every search I could think of relating to the error I had just observed. There were a few that were close but none that were exact, but in Beta we take the 'close enough is good enough' approach. So I tried all the fixes in the forum.

Only they didn't work.

For most people this would be annoying. To me it's like Indiana Jones uncovering a new ancient tomb. I looked for the most closely related thread I could find and added all the details of my problem, thrilled that I might have uncovered something never before seen.

It only took a mod a few minutes to respond... with a statement that made it clear she didn't think I could read. I was a little deflated. Ok, I'm new to the game and I hadn't read the entire forum but I'm confident in my search abilities. (not to mention my precise english and trouble shooting skills) I replied with the insistence that I'd already properly run all the updates and that there was no documented reason that I could find for my error. And I wasn't alone.

While I was attempting to see if I could get out of the error on my own someone else posted on the thread with a problem identical to mine. The same mod insulted their intelligence in the same way and when he defended himself as I had.... the thread was deleted.

I'm feeling a bit betrayed right now. This was a legitimate error, and though it was clearly only affecting a limited configuration, in an open source community that shouldn't matter. I can understand the need to prune laziness out of a board, there will always be people who would rather gripe than hunt for a solution. But this was not griping, this was 3 users with similar errors who were dismissed by the dev team out of hand because the problem wasn't wide spread.

I'm disenchanted now. I don't think I'll be tempted to go back to PlaneShift soon if ever. If my clear and well researched bug report written in proper english can't be taken seriously then I don't think their dev community is deserving of either my time or loyalty.

I'll be searching for a new opiate now... I guess I'll have to go back to the bookstore, I can always get my fix there.
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I broke the leg off my studio sofa. Anyone who's actually been forced to spend a night on my studio sofa-bed is probably cheering right now. The sofa has been at death's door for some time now, it was only a matter of waiting the final death knell. I'm not disgruntled, mind you. I got the sofa-bed from a garage sale for $10 and it has served me well these 5 years. It does mean, however, that I had to embark on another adventure with my tools.

Wal-Mart is clearing out all their furniture... this is good for me because it means I got a new futon for under $200. This is bad for me because... well, I'm lazy and I wanted someone else to do all the work for me. It didn't go too badly though.

neatly ordered parts )

How hard can it be really? It looks like everything is here.

sweat equity )

I had to learn contortionism... it makes me look grumpy

Tada! )

Looks pretty spiff, doesn't it? Now I need a nap.... good thing it folds out into a bed.
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I just got off the phone with my aunt. It's been over a year since my cousin died and today was the pre trial hearing. apparently the young man who got wasted and then ran a red light and plowed over my cousin doesn't believe he's done anything wrong. He's pleading not guilty

I'm most angry that now my cousin's poor boyfriend will have to testify. He was in the car behind her and saw everything. I'd really like to be angry and get it out of my system but I can't. The worst of it is that if he had just pled guilty everyone in my family would have gladly agreed to any sort of plea deal, no matter how lenient, just to have some closure.

Likely as not the press will turn up and I'm probably going to be the designated paparazzi wrangler. If he'd pled 'no contest' at least I wouldn't have such a hard time behaving myself. As it is I'm going to have to bite off my tongue to keep from telling the media I'd like to run him through with my favorite sword.

He's 19 years old and before today I thought of him as selfish and stupid. Now I have to think of him as cruel and heartless as well. He was driving on a suspended license. He'd had 2 prior drunk driving arrests and he was well over the legal limit that night. He lied to investigators and the prosecution has a long laundry list of witnesses to prove the facts. He, apparently, has a number of people from his parents church who are going to talk about what a nice boy he is. I guess in his mind that makes up for all the pain he's caused.

It's times like these when I lose faith in humanity
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I spotted this guy on my way home from the market today. Nothing says cool like pirates standing on the corner in front of the pizza hut.

You got a little Captain in your town?


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My humblest and most abject apologies for the delay, life has been a bit mad lately and I'm only now recovering from it all.

________________

"Well," Mother began, savoring her tale with the relish of a true bard as we boarded the elevator. "Well I decided to look through all the luggage. I checked my bag and your carry-on and then I opened the suitcase and checked that. Finally I decided I'd close the trunk and come check on you."

"Bloody hell, the trunk." I gaped at her as she started to giggle.

"The keys were still happily dangling in lock," She said with an affirming nod as I slowly bumped my head against the wall of the lift.

"I'm never going to live this down," I sighed as we emerged once more on the forth floor.

"Just don't tell anyone," Mother suggested practically.

"Well feel free to inform the officer all about it when I get pulled over for erratic driving," I stated as we headed home. "because the state I'm in I'd never pass a field sobriety test."
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The following is a True Account, The mystery will be posted in two parts. Please feel free to offer your solution in this post, the real solution will appear in the next blog.

_______

It was in the early fall of 2007 Mother and I had waited patiently in Dallas for over an hour to catch the 6:15 flight to Tampa only to be delayed an additional hour due to weather.

"We're going to be up all night," Mother sighed irritably, glaring a bit at the crew who were finally disembarking behind the last straggling passengers.

"Do try not to remind me," I requested, scowling at my iPhone. "I'm the one who will have to drive us home at One in the morning."

"One?" Mother scoffed, "We're not in the air yet, try Three." I tilted my phone as my scowl deepened.

"The bloody DFW wifi network has hijacked my iPhone," I stated staring at the screen in surprise. "And they're trying to force me to buy air time."

"That's rich," Mother's glare deepened and several of the maintenance crew scurried down the ramp as if her eyes were scalding them. "Strand you here and then charge you $10 to get your email. Who is it that rated this place the best airport in America?"

"The tourist board of Texas," I replied without missing a beat. I tapped several more keys and then gave a malicious smile. "No worries, I hacked my way out of it." Mother let out a slightly evil laugh.

It was another twenty minutes before we boarded, settled into our seats with our respective, well loved, copies of harry Potter and taxied away from the gate at five after seven, our seat belts securely fastened and the plan quite well full.

"What time did we board?" Mother asked, her scowl returning as she glanced at her cell phone.

"A quarter to seven," I replied, not looking up from chapter thirteen where I was once more developing a cold hatred of Delores Umbridge.

"We've been sitting here an hour," she stated flatly. I blinked several times and then looked up, shifting so that I could see past her out the window. A long line of planes stretched along the tarmac side by side, disappearing into the gathering darkness. Though whether they were ahead of us or behind was anyone's guess.

"This is very bad," I stated. My face crinkling in a mixture of disgust and horror.

"How long do you suppose they can keep us trapped here like rats in leashes?" she asked with a slightly terrified expression, tugging at the end of her seatbelt. I ignored the question, mine had suddenly begun to feel terribly uncomfortable and I didn't really want to tell her that to my knowledge the record for being stranded on the tarmac was nine hours.

After idling for over an hour the captain, who had remained suspiciously silent since leaving the gate ordered the flight attendants to strap in and, much to our collective relief we were off.

"My phone says 10:20," Mother stated, smiling just a little at the grin on my face as I craned my neck to look out across the Bay toward St Petersburg.

"It's so good to be home," I sighed.

"It'll be 11:30 before we get off," she said warily.

"There's nothing for it," I sighed. "We can't sleep in the car and I'm not staying at the Marriot, even if there were likely to be a room. It's not that late."

"Compared to what?" Mother asked incredulously.

"Compared to London," I answered brightly, "It's Four in the morning there." Mother shook her head.

"You've lost it,"

"I think we previously established that madness runs in the family dear," I announced, bounding to my feet as the fasten seatbelts light extinguished. we grabbed our luggage and headed for the ladies room where I rummaged through my overhead carryon before finally locating and extracting my keys from their spot in the bottom of the bag and we set off.

As with all things in Tampa the rail from concourse A was uneventful, as was baggage claim and at twenty to twelve we were already seated on the shuttle to long term parking. The shuttle seemed dreary, though, no doubt because most of its passengers had arrived on our flight and now were, like us, heading home nearly two hours later than they had planned.

"You're not falling asleep?" Mother asked anxiously. I was, but she seemed quite stressed enough.

"That's why I quit reading and started doing the Sodoku puzzles in the magazine." I replied reassuringly. "They keep my brain from shutting down."

"In pen?" she asked, to witch I nodded. "They didn't help much did they?"

"No," I admitted grudgingly.

"Gold section!" The shuttle driver announces as we ground to a halt.

"We have sections?" Mother asked with renewed worry. "How do we know what section we're in."

"Haven't the foggiest," I replied with forced cheerfulness, taking the bags down from the rack. "But that's our elevator over there. I recognize the travel posters." Mother shook her head again. Navigation by pictures of New York is not one of her preferred methods.

We barely managed to catch an elevator to the fourth floor and we extracted ourselves from the other passengers to find that I could indeed navigate via images of the Statue of Liberty. I loaded the bags into the trunk and went around to the drivers door.

"My keys," I looked down at my empty hands. "I don't have my keys."

"I thought you got them out in the lady's room." Mother said fretfully.

"I did," I insisted. "You still have yours?"

"Yes, in the bottom of my carryon," She replied. "But your emergency credit card was on your keys."

"I must have left them on the bus," I said taking off for the elevators at a jog. "I'll try to catch the driver!" I jammed the button violently, bouncing on the balls o my feet as I waited for the lift that seemed to move painfully slowly. In what was surely only a few moments I was back at the station and the shuttle, much to my chagrin, was gone, replaced by a new one.

"I think I left my keys on the bus." The young man driving the newly arriving shuttle gave me a sympathetic look.

"Can you describe the driver?" he asked, reaching for his radio.

"At the moment I can't describe much of anything," I admitted. "But he can't be more than five minutes ahead of you."

"Check the guys coming back." he suggested, pointing at two returning busses. I darted across the drive while he called into his operator, arriving at the first one in time to hear the order to check all shuttles for a lost set of keys.

"Do you recognize me?" The driver of the second shuttle asked me, with a rather charming smile.

"I'm not sure I could recognize my own reflection," I stated miserably, as he indicated I should have a look. "I'm completely exhausted."

"No one's found anything," he stated, checking his radio. I sighed miserably as I stepped back onto the curb before the elevators. The nearest one opened, and Mother stepped out, my keys dangling from her outstretched hand.

"You forgot your phone," She stated as I groaned in relief.

"I know," I replied with a sigh. "I figured you could find me. Where were they?" Her lips curled in an odd sort of smile.

TBC
______________

Ok, all of the information of how the keys had gone missing and where they actually were is all there. And all quite obvious if it's not a quarter to midnight. Brownie points for anyone who can uncover the mystery before I post the end.
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I'm going to Kansas City for my brother's wedding next week. Now let me begin by saying that I adore my future sister-in-law. A lot more, in fact, than I actually like my brother. She's sweet and charming and just too adorable for words and there had been, prior to the engagement, a lot of talk between my mother and I as to whether my brother would actually have the good sense to propose to her.

It turns out he's not as stupid as we feared and a week from Saturday he will leave the ranks of bachelorhood to marry far better than he deserves. So one would think that I was really looking forward to this wedding.

One would be wrong.

I was really happy right up until the night I met her parents, whom, it turns out, I'm also rather fond of. Apart from the fact that they think my brother is wonderful I can't find a thing wrong with them. But his ability to pull the wool over their eyes is none of my concern. No, my dear, beloved Daniel decided to take us all out to the Columbia and between the main course and desert ask if I wouldn't sing at the wedding.

I've been retired as a singer for close to 7 years. A fact I couldn't point out in front of his ecstatic future mother-in-law. You see I'd planned on buying myself a really hot little sun dress and a nice jacket for this wedding, something that would pass reasonably that I could recycle later to go to a picnic. But no, if I'm singing at the wedding I have to coordinate, I can't clash with the bridesmaids. I have to buy an actual cocktail dress and, heaven help me, nylons.

If you don't live in Florida, particularly this part of Florida, you might not understand the problem. You see, nylons have been out of vogue here for about 20 years. I don't even know anyone who owns pantyhose. As a matter of fact I'm pretty sure most of the nylons here belong to female impersonators, exotic dancers and the guys who do the Lion King stage show at Disney World.

The last nylons I wore were fishnets that went with a pirate costume. And even that was at a point that could be labeled 'A long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away.' I think the ones I wore before that were for a Shakespeare Symposium in college.

This presents a problem. The largest being the limited selection of nylons due to lack of demand. The second being that most of them are support stockings worn by the retirees who moved here from Wisconsin. I don't get that. If I was moving to a warmer climate the last think I would do is wear an article of clothing designed to super heat your body.

Suffice it to say that I had to go to 5 stores before I found a pair of nylons that fit and were the proper color.... that didn't come with seams up the back or cost $20. I categorically refuse to spend that much money on an article of clothing that I hope to never wear again for as long as I live.

I swear, if my brother does anything stupid before or after the wedding that upsets his wife I'm going to take the darn things off and strangle him with them.
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I'm well aware I've been missing since the premiere of HP 7 and with very very good reason (and no, I haven't spent all this time reading! I finished the book in 18 hours thank you very much.)

I had a lovely time at the Hallows Ball, which I had meant to comment on before my life spiraled into a morass of chaos. I fought Voldy!!



I tried to get a pic of the dementor but he scurried off when I used the patronus charm on him... it didn't work on the TV crew from SNN, they're apparently impervious to magic.

So after all this wonderfulness (and the out and out lie I told my clients about the 'huge conference' I would be at that weekend *blush*) I woke up monday morning with a cranky water heater. I've had cranky water heaters before. no biggie.... usually. This one was so far gone I couldn't get it fixed, ouch $500 for a new water heater and a week with only warm water.

It gets better!

On Tuesday (while trying to find parts to fix said water heater) my internet goes out. After a half hour of troubleshooting I discover it's my wireless router. Pulled out the wireless router and plugged in an old iMac I have in the studio, set it up as a server and broadcast a signal so we could have internet. Wednesday had to make a pilgrimage out to get a new bas station, owie $99

But wait! there's more.

Monday, week 2, very nice plumber is installing my $500 idol to the gods of hot water when my 2 year old HP printer conks out. I hit it.... then I hacked it... its current life expectancy is just long enough to use up about half of it's current ink cartridge. Another week, maybe I'm not getting one until hitting it fails to get it to restart. future replacement cost $75

It's just getting good,

New heater, new router, new printer picked out at Circuit City (which I refuse to buy until mine catches fire, thank you) My credit card company calls, someone swiped my credit card number and ran up $3000 worth of charges. It's ok, I'm platinum and insured... except that to stop them we have to void the credit card and I have to fill out 3 pages of paperwork so I can keep the plan tickets to my brother's wedding in October. Cost: the last shreds of my sanity.

Don't stop now, you're so close to the end.

I finally get a replacement credit card and I've been assured that no one is going to cancel my plane tickets to Kansas when my beloved *harumph* brother calls, laying on his own personal brand of guilt that always reminds me of Gilderoy Lockheart. Won't I be coming to KC for the Bachelorette party? His Fiance want's me there so badly. (I like his fiance a lot better than I like him but the dear sweet girl hardly knows me!) second set of tickets to KC for the expressed of getting plastered; $200

This is the kicker!

My neighbors, dear old souls that they are, hired some guys to cut down their oak tree that shades my yard *cries* they take over a week, they make a lot of noise, they leave debris in my yard that I end up having to clean up and yesterday as they're taking out the last of the insanity.... they backed their bobcat over my fence. When I hurried outside to ask them when they planned to fix it (they were trying to prop it up and hide the evidence) the guy acted like I was making a big deal out of something that wasn't even broken and called me 'snippy'.

Yeah, I love my fence laying in my yard it looks great.

I called Mr Snippy's boss this morning, who promised to come out today and figure out what he needed to get to fix it. It's now 4:45 and he hasn't turned up yet, clearly I will have to call him tomorrow.

I think the thing I find the most disturbing is that I'm not nearly as upset as I should be. I think I've probably cracked. I got out a big ugly orange bungie cord and bungied the cross bar back to the top of the stake. I'm going to replace the bush they killed with the bobcat and and then I won't have to look at it. I realize I could take three days and fix it but my rainy day fund is all rained out and I'm not dipping into my clothes money, I need shoes for the wedding.

And that's where I went... go back and look at me fighting Voldy, it's the only cheerful thing I have to talk about at the moment.
niennanir: (Default)
In which Nienna finds a new Insurance Agent and we say goodbye to calamari

(And if you don't get that reference, well, you had a sad childhood)

I got really pissed at my insurance agent last week. (once I have it all settled I'm going to post 'another dissatisfied customer' episode.) So I set out on Friday to find a new one. There are 3 State Farm offices in my neighborhood so I figured I at least had choices. I stopped at the first office, the agent was out playing golf and the only person actually in the office said that she didn't take my part of the alphabet, that girl was on vacation, and took my business card. (they never did call me.) I thought about stopping at office #2 but decided to run into wal-mart first and then hit 2 and 3 on my way home. 3 was closer to wally world so I pulled in there. Much to my surprise there were actual humans there.

Blonde chick- Hi! what can I do for you?
me- I'm in the market for a new agent.
Blonde - Come on in and have a seat *plunks in chair with a grin* are you a new or existing state farm customer?
me- I've been with State Farm since 93.
Blonde - lucky you! (long term customers get breaks on their homeowners which costs a fortune here) Did you just move here?
me - I moved from Sarasota and kept my old agent but I'm not getting quality customer service.
Brunette at next desk - *dead pan comedy face* Well you're not likely to get it here either!
Blonde - *laughing* stop it! she just got in here.
Brunette - *ignores her* We'll just take your money and give you a cheap pen. (I bust out laughing, this is pretty much the level of service I get from my old office)
Blonde - *giggling* Did anyone tell you how to start the transfer procedure?
me - *still snickering* nope, you two are the most helpful lot I've met so far.
Brunette - *shakes head* what a tragic commentary on our times
Blonde - let me get you a cheap pen and the information you'll need. *while blonde looks for stuff I take stock of the room. Brunette has Captain Jack all over her desk*
Me- Pirates! Excellent! You can't be all bad.
Brunette - Damn he's hot.
Blonde - You'll have to go look and see what she did to the lady's room. *giggle*

I peep in the door and there is a huge poster of Jonny Depp. It was all I could do to keep from laughing hysterically. I collected my cheap pen and my information and went home. I didn't see any reason to stop at office #2... it's not going to get any better than that. I didn't meet the actual agent but how bad can he be if he lets the office assistants paste pirates all over the place?

And in honor of my weekend of piracy I posted a short fanfic. It's a comedy piece but think of it as a proper ending to POTC3... I'm still lamenting that.
http://www.scribeoz.com/fanfic/story.php?no=3501
Major spoilers, you've been warned.

And I'm officially down to a size 14. I managed to squish into a 12 while I was out dress shopping (I would have bought the durn thing too if the zipper wasn't broken. *sigh* This means I will now -have- to have a new corset before Pirate Fest in November.
niennanir: (Default)
you don't have to wear a suit!

I went to the Plaza today to hunt a dress for my brother's wedding... and look who got an outfit instead! Claris is now my official First Mate and says she wants to go to Pirate Fest next year.


Yeah... that's my life and it's a little strange. For other Build-a-Bear parents; The shirt and bandana are $6 for the set. The shorts come from another outfit I had.
niennanir: (Default)
I'm calling in dead next week. It's the only way I'm getting time off because I'm certainly not going to get it for good behavior.

There's a hole in my rose garden. That's not such an odd thing, seems like there's a hole in my garden every third week to plant a new rose bush. This one is over the septic tank though... specifically over the drain line junction that I'm going to have to pay the septic guy $800 to fix next week. Don't think I'm bellyaching about my repair bills, it costs the average home owner $5000 a year to maintain their home and so far this year I'm barely up to $280. I'm in a wind because I'm doing my laundry in a dish pan and my shower time is down to 4 minutes.

And the Night Heron who was hunting in my yard a few months back returned this week. Every night so far he's stood in the back garden and watched me though the kitchen wondow. Last night he hung around on the patio. I've named him 'Mr Knightly' He's tall, handsome, gentile, he hangs around my house for no apparent reason and his entire personality is a riddle.

In the midst of all this adventure and excitement... and detergent. I forgot to let everyone know I updated my fanfic.
http://www.scribeoz.com/fanfic/story.php?no=1655&chap=9

Yeah, I know, I'm lazy. If you're standing there anyway you can dry the dishes. Just don't chip them when you put them away.
niennanir: (Default)
I'm a big fan of the sort of new Finding Nemo ride at Epcot's 'Seas' pavilion. Yes, I know it's just a bunch of glorified anamatronics and digital projection but let's not lose sight of the important part here.

It's really cute anamatronics and digital projection.

So my clam shell had just passed the little star fish asking if I'd take him with me because he didn't want to listen to the song again and I clambered out onto the belt and what did I see directly across from the egress but a big tropical fish tank.

"Ooo," I said to mom with glittering eyes. "That's new" She nodded in agreement. For a Disney Passholder anything 'new' in a Disney park, even something as insignificant as a new topiary, must be inspected with the most due haste. God forbid we should ever be stopped by an average tourist and asked a question to which we did not know the answer. (I know the names of all the fountains in Adventure Land... but that's another story)

If anyone's curious, I found Nemo... and Dori... and a few fish who's names I don't know. While I had my face pasted to the glass adoring the very cute sea horses I happened to spy something else across the concourse.

Turtle Talk with Crush has pretty much been closed ever since it opened. Some people find that odd but whether it's just bad timing on my part or my inability to stand in a line longer than 20 min I'll leave open for debate. Suffice it to say that I hadn't had a chance to see the show yet, and low and behold there was no line.

I've been a passholder for 7 years now. I've chatted with the trash can, ticked of the talking well, drowned the drinking fountain. I even hugged a palm tree once just because he asked me to. No, it wasn't my medication, these things are fairly normal at Disney World. I was expecting an animated turtle and a guy back stage with a microphone.

I was totally unprepared for what I got.

Crush swam up to the screen... and his lips moved with what he said. Not puppet motions mind you, real lip syncing. Then he proceeded to point at one of the kids.

"Little dude with the blue shell, you've got a question?" He made eye contact, his body language matched his tone of voice. He even had a WTF? look when one of the little girls asked him a question that didn't make any sense.

The kids were rolling on the floor. We adults were cracking up too

"Offspring with the pink shell, who are you here with?" Crush asked.

"Mummy and daddy," the little girl with pigtails in the pink dress answered.

"Oh!" Crush held his fin up to shade his eyes "Where are the parental units at? Are you the dad dude?"

"Yeah," dad answered.

"Dude, I know what you're thinking," Crush stated, giving the dad in question a meaningful look. "You're totally thinking you were not going to talk to a turtle today dude."

I'm pretty sure Crush was right if dad's expression was any indication.

"How long do turtles live?" A little guy about seven asked.

"Dude that is an excellent question," Crush nodded happily "My friends here at the research center tell me that the average sea turtle lives to be about 80 years old. Now I'm 150 so I'm -really- old dude.... But I'm still fit! Check out the six pack!"

Mom and I were still cracking up when we walked out 10 minutes later.

"That's even better than the ride." she snickered.

"Yeah," I agreed as we passed the manatee tank "And I thought that was cool."

I'm thinking I have some friends that just -have- to see this. But what do you expect, dude? It's Disney.
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