A Festivus Miracle!

I know it’s not normal to write about Festivus in June. But, I didn’t get my 2013 Festivus gift’s until just this week! It’s been quite the wait, but in the end I think it was all worth it!

So what was so miraculous about Festivus last/this year? I got two of them!? I know, crazy right? I thought the person who was assigned to get me a gift had bailed or forgot or was overwhelmed with their own life and so I was not going to be receiving a gift. But my good friend, Nich, decided that people not getting Festivus gifts would not stand! And he went out of his way to make sure that I, and many other people, all got Festivus gifts.

But it gets better! Shortly after Nich had sent me a gift my original gift giver contacted me to let me know that my festivus gift was finally on its way! That’s right, two festivuses, festivii? Truly a miracle! Thanks to Nich and Stiv for the wonderful presents!

You can see all the loot below. Continue reading “A Festivus Miracle!”

Designer Diary: De-making King’s Quest: Difficulties

I bet you thought I’d forgotten all about this, hadn’t you? Well, you’re only mostly right! I hadn’t forgotten! I just got really busy and then the de-make got really hard. As easy as it is to create rooms and items in Inform 7 it isn’t so easy programming for how said objects, and people are supposed to interact with the player.

My first hang up was not having all the items the player can pick up in each room simply be listed whenever they typed ‘look.’ Then it was getting a Character to reply to the player when the player talked to him. Next, I realized I needed to explicitly tell the game that some items couldn’t be picked up and carried away by the player (like trees, rocks, rivers, etc…) It dawned on me that I might need, no I definitely needed some help.

I did some research and this book: Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 kept popping up. So, I ordered it. I’d taken myself to the limits of winging it with Inform 7, I have the map, I have the various items, and I even have some characters in the code. But, none of it works together.

I hope to fix that soon! Barring that. I might put the de-make on the back burner and try something a little simpler, and original first. You wouldn’t think a 20+ year old game would be such a complicated beast. And, I’m sure for coders and designers it might not be. For me, though this has been quite the challenge! I’m dedicated to seeing it through to the end though!

Mind Sweep: Tools/Things I find Helpful

Still using the Hipster PDA

I feel dirty even writing this post. I don’t make any money off of selling strangers crap they don’t need to get organized in life. There are whole sectors of the internet that do that and do it really well. I don’t think they’re helping you. As the old saying goes, “your wallet doesn’t make you money.” So, doesn’t matter how many great apps or tools there are to help you keep organized buying them isn’t going to make you anymore organized. All you really need to do is want to be organized, if that is the case you’ll be organized even if all you have is some scraps of paper and a pencil to help you. So, before you go to check out anything I talk about here, and certainly before you go and spend your hard earned money on anything. Actually, if I think about it everything I use is free, except for the index cards and the binder clip; those will cost you around 65¢.

Analog Capture/Task List: Hipster PDA

Electronics are great. Computers, laptops, and smart phones are all fantastic ways to assist you in staying organized. They do run out of batteries though, and they’re not always the easiest thing to use. This is where the Hipster PDA comes in. A few index cards clipped together and a pen. The cards can be used for all sorts of things; click the link to see quite a few of them. I generally use them to do mind sweeps, idea capture, and to do lists. If you take anything away from this post take away the Hipster PDA.

Digital Task List: Wunderlist

Wunderlist is on everything (iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Blackberry, Web) Whatever and wherever you use Wunderlist it syncs up with the web and all your other devices that have Wunderlist. You can tag tasks, give them priority and dead lines. It’s nearly perfect for my purposes as soon as its makers integrate it with Wunderkit, the next item on this list

Project Planning: Wunderkit

My Wunderkit Projects Page (click to embiggen)

Wunderlist works well for simple to-do lists or task, but when you’re organizing projects that have multiple tasks, multiple goals, and multiple levels you need something a little more robust. That is what Wunderkit is for.  It allows me to track all my projects and all my next tasks. The makers have said Wunderkit/Wunderlist integration is on the way and as soon as it is I’ll be set.

Deadlines: GCal

The last thing I use for this sort of thing is Google Calendar (you can find it on-line and on your smart phone.) I’m still just beginning to start scheduling my days but blocking out hours for tasks in GCal helps for me to make them real and to sit down and do them when it is time.

I’m always interested in seeing and hearing what other people use to get through their tasks. Leave a comment below and tell me how your system works and what works best for you.

Follow these links for the other posts in this series: Mind Sweeps, Winnowing Tasks, Actions

Spring Garden 2012: Planted!

Seedlings!

The weather is still all wonky but D and I decided that we didn’t want to wait any longer to put the garden or else it would be too late. I’m a little worried that the non-existent then late winter is going to lead into a too warm summer but that is a completely different topic. We went to the Ace today and picked up some compost, manure, and some tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant. We had some seedlings of those but they are still very young, as you can see above, and we wanted to have some back up. Back at the house I turned the garden bed over, put in all the compost we had produced ourselves (from the composter and the worm bin) and then turned it all over.

All the plants
All the poops!

Once it was turned over we laid out where we were going to be putting everything, put in some beer plants and then planted the store bought seedlings. We left a lot of room in the bed for the seedlings still in their planters (bush beans, Japanese cucumbers, edamame, and some heirloom tomatoes). Once the plants were in we watered it all down, soaking the garden. Then we filled up the beer traps with the King of Beers, and spread out the Sluggo (damn slugs are still the biggest problem we have with the garden.)

All done! Sorta...
Zucchini!
Basil!
Lemon Cucumbers!
Our tiny, precious seedlings! Protected from birds and slugs (it's on the roof of a shed.)

This is going to be our last garden here in Davis and we’re both crossing our fingers hoping it will be our best yet!