We're having a couple of grandson-free weekends due to him staying with his dad.  It works out particularly well today because we're getting a new bed delivered and it means we can get it all set up today rather than tomorrow.  I'm also planning on getting some proper cleaning done because it's been a while.  The windows, in particular, need doing - but they're pencilled in for next weekend due to the bed today.

The bed is due to arrive between 7am and 9am, so I've been watching some more Nier Automata at stupid o'clock.  But it is SO GORGEOUS.  I'm very glad I'm watching it, though, because I'd be terrible at playing it.  The story is...  I don't know... I have no words for how I feel about it.

And the husband has just brought me a surprise breakfast of bacon butties and coffee!  I love him <3

Last night I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  That thing is sooo long!  Due to LoveFilm shutting down, I've prioritised all the 'old' Star Trek films and they've sent 1 and 3.  What about 2?!

Yesterday, I got mildly excited about a YouTube video featuring Beyond Good and Evil 2, until I realised it's a multi-player.  Well, that's the current plan.  It's at least 2 years off by the look of it, so there's plenty of time for them to change their minds.  I was also mildly annoyed that the original game is available on PS3 but not 4.  Anyway, I did get a wave of nostalgia for the golden age of my PS2 when my 3 favourite games were Primal, BGAE and Pirates: Legend of Black Kat - all with female protagonists.  Also, non-turn-based, which meant I was fairly bad at them - still looking forward to seeing how I do with Primal now that my skill have improved!

Work continues to be busy but in a good way.  Another colleague is having a really rough time, though, because their line manager isn't supportive in the way she needs.  It sounds like a case of the LM just not getting what the report needs - but it's still a horrible situation.  I've been in similar places in the past.  Of course, now I'm super-smug because I have the best line manager I've ever had!

OK, stuff to do needs to get done.  Bye for now, DW.
 Work has just been manic this week.  However, I do feel I finally have a grip on the monster project portfolio spreadsheet.  I also know that I have to find a better way of managing it.  Logic says 'database' but whenever I go near Access I lose the will to live and think 'but SharePoint is a database and is easier to use'.  But presenting project timelines in SharePoint isn't as visually appealing as Excel.  No idea what it would look like as a report in Access - I've never got that far.  I have found a really nice on-line tool called Teamwork but that costs money.  I have looked at other on-line tools but none of them work as well for what I want.

And so I go around the loop again.  And I keep telling myself, I work in a department full of IT professionals - surely SOMEONE can help?  But I also know they're all super busy and building me a tool for managing the project portfolio isn't going to be anyone's priority except mine.  But it would make my life sooo much easier...

Anyway, my line manager and I met with one of the other managers to talk about resourcing and recognised the fact that you really need to wipe out August and September in terms of getting anything done; August because people are on leave and September because they're catching up with themselves after being on leave - and with other people who've been on leave.

I helped out with the scoring of applications for the new PM post - just 'person spec says we want A - do they have A'.  What a collection!  We had over 50 applications, which is almost unheard of.  No idea how we managed that because we've been struggling to recruit for any post recently.  Anyway, the shortlisters got the list down to 11, which will have to come down a bit further but they're leaving that to the boss.  One candidate looked absolutely terrifying to me, at least on paper - I'm not often intimidated but that person definitely intimidated me; talk about a high flyer!




On a lighter note, the husband's poncho is done and I've made a start on my lacy scarf.  It's too early to tell how it's going to look, though.

And I've arrived in Ariel's world in KH.  The Riku/Maleficent thing is giving me flashbacks to FF8, although I think it's better thought through.  But after all, what part of FF8 WAS thought through?

I only have one disc left of DS9.  Not sure how many episodes are left, but they have got so many story threads to tie off.  I'm not sure I like the whole Prophets v Pah Wraiths thing.  And I really don't like the Federation withholding the cure - feels like the creators of the series are struggling to like the organisation they've helped create.  But Julian has finally found love, so that's something!

Well, I need to get up and get this day started.  Bye for now, DW!
 First of all, a moment to remember that it is 9/11.  There is a talk at my church tonight about the life of Father Mychal Judge who was chaplain to the New York Fire Department and was killed at the Twin Towers.  It's one of those moments where everyone knows where they were when it happened.  I was at work and we ended up gathered around someone's transistor radio because the computer network had crashed due to the best part of 20,000 staff and students all trying to access it at the same time.

And now, to more trivial matters!

KH and I have clicked.  I can't pinpoint the moment when it happened but I can pinpoint the moment when I realised it had happened.  I was walking through the Dalmatian House looking at the cute cartoon puppies in the cute cartoon house and realised that I wanted to play more of this game, if only to rescue more cute cartoon puppies.  I am currently in the Dark Cavern outside Agrabad(sp?) trying to find Jafar and Jasmine.  Having to go around the city twenty times because everything was blocked off was annoying but I am getting better at jumping on things rather than off them.  A little...

I've also met Merlin and I gritted my teeth and agreed to help Pooh.  I have an abiding hatred of Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh, because I have such a deep-seated love for the original.  But it's still Pooh and he still needs my help.

Progress is also being made on the husband's poncho.  The back is done and half of the front.  I'm hoping to finish it in the next couple of days and then I can get going on my fancy scarf.

And my new morning routine has yielded words - not only here but also for the Write Practice.  Go me!

A week?

Sep. 9th, 2017 07:25 am
 So, my new morning routine leaves very little in the way of time for updating journals.  I'm getting in 20 minutes of meditation/contemplative prayer and 15 minutes of writing practice - as well as the essentials of washing, dressing, eating and spending time with the husband.  So far, I'm not sure I'm getting much from it.  The idea of the contemplative prayer is to bring you more in touch with God - but I feel I'm in constant contact already.  Also, meditation is supposed to calm the mind and, amongst other things, help with concentration - neither of which are really a problem for me.

I know - lucky me!  I know this stuff is a struggle for other people but it isn't for me.  I think devoting more time to writing, especially as I have Ideas for DOAICS, may be more productive.  I can practice my concentration by not getting distracted by the internet!  I do want to keep going with the Writing Practice exercises, though.  Doing the Lectio Divina in the evenings is also proving interesting.

I haven't played any KH for a couple of nights.  Watched telly (Who do you think you are and DS9) on Thursday and sat up with the husband going down memory lane last night.  The plan is to get out of the jungle at some point today, though.

I've also picked up knitting again.  I've found a gorgeous pattern for a lacy scarf that I want to make for my mother's birthday - but it's a bit involved in places, so I'm going to make myself one to practice!  And I'm making the husband a kind of poncho/cape type thing to keep his shoulders warm and, hopefully, help with the arthritis.  I find knitting very relaxing.

In work news, it was a long and busy week but productive.  There's a thing that I've been acting as PM on for over a year that usually feels like herding cats whilst wading through treacle - but this week (Thursday afternoon in particular) suddenly leapt forward.  Of course, it's all on hold for the next 4-6 weeks because the people who are going to do the training aspect, AND the people who are going to be trained, are all heading for their busiest time of the year - but progress has definitely been made.  It is a very nice feeling.

The grandson started his new school on Wednesday.  The daughter posted a picture of him looking suitably small in his slightly too large uniform.  Bless.  We shall get all the goss when they arrive in a couple of hours.

OK, I'm going to watch a bit of Persona 1, then get this day underway.
 Spent a lot of time last night getting beaten up by the Gil Snapper.  I'll have to come back when I'm stronger.  The REALLY frustrating thing was that I almost defeated it.  I did get the Feather of the Flock and the Ring of the Toad, though.  Will use those when I come back to Giza in the Dry.  I am really enjoying finding out just how much I remember from previous playthroughs.  I'm going to press on with the story for now, though.  Three characters are at Level 28 and the others are at Level 27.  By the time I get back to the Stilshrine, they'll all be at least 28.

It looks as though the plan is for the new PM to sort out the website.  The poor sucker will be buried in that particular black hole for at least 18 months.  To me, that suggests that there will still be stuff for me to pick up, perhaps even some odds and ends to do with the website.  Having someone in this post will also create pressure to employ a developer, tester and BA - at least this is the plan.

After today, I'm off work until 14 August.  The usual plan of 'gaming + cleaning + DS9' will be in operation - with three days in Cardiff thrown in for good measure.  Just hope the weather's a bit brighter down there!

OK, I'm really struggling to find stuff to say so I'm going to stop.  Bye, DW!
 Last night we defeated the Earth Tyrant (took a bit of doing but we got him in the end with a Cataclysm!) and the Lord Wyvern.  Going everywhere on foot takes so long - but we need those levels up a bit further.  Tonight, we go back to Giza in the wet to clear up a couple of hunts.  If we're all at Level 28 after that, we'll give up the unequal struggle of trying to get to Level 30 and just move on to the Stilshrine.  I'm working on my Licenses (got quite a few of the +HP ones last night) and Gambits - bringing down the Lord Wyvern with a combination of Oil and Fire was quite satisfying.

I'm steering clear of the Zertinan Caverns and the Mosphoran Highwaste for now.  Although I did pick up the hunt for that snake that lives in the caverns - you have to kill everything else in the cave and then wait for a ridiculous amount of time (like 5 minutes or something) for it to appear.  Who could ever work that out on their own?!  The Cluckatrice (kill all the other enemies, leave the area, come back with Fran on her own) you can probably piece together from the clues some of the NPCs give you - but this?

And that really is all my news for the moment.

Well, other than angst over whether or not we're actually going to make it to Cardiff - but I'll either rant about that on Monday (meaning we didn't go) or gush about it on Thursday (meaning we did).

Oh, and the work thing but I have a 1-1 today where I might learn more.

Oh, and I haven't done anything on Death of an Ice Cream Seller today because my brain just WON'T.  I did, however, have a little look around Scribbles of a Rose and 70 x 700 to remind myself what actual writing looks like!

That's all for now, DW.
 So, I've been watching a YouTuber known as PixiePoison90 do a Let's Play of a game I had on the PS2 called 'Pirates: the Legend of Black Kat', which I bought mainly because of the female protagonist.  It's a Western RPG, so battle is real time and you have a growing list of objectives to fulfil.  Also, the story is minimal.  Whilst I enjoyed elements of the game (the minimal story is still interesting and the graphics look pretty good even now), there were things I didn't like/were too far out of my comfort zone, the real time battles being the most obvious example.  I found some cheat codes on line and used them to upgrade to the best ship and to make myself and my ship invulnerable.  I did not indulge in the ones that dressed Kat in a bikini...  Anyway, for all these reasons, I only played the game once but it was nice to watch someone else playing it (much better than I did 10+ years ago!) and to feel a bit of nostalgia.

Then I discovered that Pixie also had a Let's Play for 'Primal' (not to be confused with 'Far Cry: Primal' or 'Primal Fear'!).  Again, a Western RPG, played before I understood the distinction or how to tackle real time battles.  This one I know I played more than once but it developed a glitch in one of the boss battles and I couldn't get past it.  I did also have a cheat code for invulnerability that I used in the final boss battle.  The story is pretty linear and the only sidequest I can remember is collecting Tarot cards but it has a lot of charm.  The relationship between the MC, Jen, and her sidekick, Scree the Gargoyle, the fact that it's a 'real' companion game where each character has their part to play, AND the fact that the MC is female.  So, imagine my delight when I found out it is available to buy on the PlayStation Store for the PS4!  If only I'd known that when I came to the end of Witcher 3.  Anyway, the plan is to buy it on pay day whilst it's still available (because I missed 'Legend of Dragoon' - ;( ) and play it when I finish FFXII:ZA.

Speaking of FFXII:ZA, I am about four hours in and rotting in Nalbina Dungeon.  So far, I've given Vaan Shikari, Penelo White Mage, Balthier Machinist, and Fran Archer.  I'm undecided about whether Ashe or Basch should get Knight, but I think it'll probably be the latter because I'll get the opportunity sooner.  I made Penelo a White Mage because she'd already learned Cure - but, of course, I hadn't bought it, so she couldn't use it. Duh!  I am just in awe of how beautiful - how even MORE beautiful - it is.  The texture on Old Dalan's rugs is ridiculous - they're the background for a (fairly) minor character but they look amazing.  It all feels a bit easier than I remember but maybe I'm just a better gamer, now!

Well, that's enough gamer-talk.  Time to check emails and then get this day underway.
 So, I woke up at the usual time, despite going to bed a little later than usual, but I have done some meditation and read through a chapter of DOAIS - so that has been a good use of my time.

I'm beginning to think about my talk for 2 July on 'my favourite Bible passage'.  One of the problems I have, and I'm going to say it, is that I get really annoyed by people taking verses out of context.  To my mind, the Bible has to be seen as a whole - you can't just take the bits you like or that 'prove' your pet theory. Of course, trying to read and understand the whole thing is more than a little daunting, which is why I hardly ever open the thing at all!  But my favourite passage is one of those that feels like a summary of the whole.  I want to try to get four people to read it - a line each.

I think I'll do a Lectio Divina with that passage sometime this week.  That would be another good use of time.

Today, my plans are to wash the bedding, cut the grass, pop into town, and play some more Blood & Wine.  I've looked at the main quest and it looks as though I'm about half way through - finishing it this week seems VERY possible.  I will definitely do some sidequesting.  Or maybe do some 'work' towards 100% on FFX-2...  It certainly isn't worth starting anything new, although my gaming colleague has offered to lend me KH3 - but the idea of fighting with Disney characters has never appealed to me...

Oh, but I do know what I want for Christmas - Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom.  I love NNK:WOTWW sooo much.  I had a conversation with J about waiting for the price to come down, and in general that's what I do.  DAI, for example, is ridiculously cheap, now, but I don't have the time, or enough inclination, to get it.  I am certainly taking that approach with Horizon: Zero Dawn - it looks like a great game but not enough to make me want it NOW.  I do want it - but not enough to pay £50 (although I did spot it for £30 the other day, so the process has started - but £30 still sounds like a LOT of money).  The new AC game is set in Ancient Egypt, which sets all sorts of reactions off for me - but I'm not even going to consider that at full price.

But there are some games - FFXV (even though it is slightly disappointing - but it was so long since I'd had a new FF game!), FFXII:ZA (*bounces around excitedly*), and NNK2:RK that I know will be worth the outlay, because I'll get my money's worth and then some!

OK, time for a bit of fb nonsense, then I need to get this day started.
 I am REALLY enjoying Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, much more than the main game. I'm actually seeking out sidequests and getting quite excited about my home improvements. And the Big Bad looks like a VERY interesting character. Of course, the home improvements require cash, so I'm back to looting everything and everyone to get stuff to sell.

Even on 'story only' (ie VERY easy) and with Geralt at level 40+ the battles are challenging. I've improved my swords but I haven't found any armour I like better than the stuff I got about 3/4 of the way through the main game. But I am using my potions and signs, and dodging. So, yeah, it's all good.

All of the sidequests in Witcher 3 have an interesting little story behind them and one of the ones in B&W (The Hunger Game) is actually heart breaking. Geralt is a true defender of the weak and I'm enjoying making those choices for him.

And another (Great Balls of Granite) was just silly. But hey, who doesn't like a bit of silly?

Enjoyed this week's Doctor Who, 'The Empress of Mars'. The actress playing the Ice Warrior Queen did a great job, considering most of her face was covered. And Ben Kingsley's son did an excellent job of playing a cad :D Partly it was an exploration of the British attitude of 'we see it, we like it, we take it', which has led to so many of the problems we face today. And partly it was about how getting to know someone very different to you can lead to co-operation. And boy do we need some of that!

OK, that'll do for now. Bye, DW.

 And it's raining. Yay... Although I was expecting rain this time last week (it ALWAYS rains on my birthday), so it's probably a good thing. Except that I have a day of moving between buildings today, so I'm going to get wet. Roll on Move to Exchange Station!

Finally got round to finishing FFXV last night. The camping scene made me cry this time. So much going on there. I picked the wedding dress picture for my certificate of completion. I am still VERY annoyed by the all male line up. There is a part of the story when Iris joins the group and you could go and do quite a lot of the sidequests with her. Her special move involves Gladio which is part sweet (awww, brother-sister team up!) and part annoying (why can't she do it on her own?!?!). And there's a convoluted way to get Aranaea on the team and she is as badass as it gets.

Doing the story-only playthrough really helped with understanding Luna's part in the whole thing, too. Previously, it was all too spread out and disjointed. But I did the whole thing in 15 hours (spread over three weeks - LOL). OK, partly that's because I was level 64-66 but I don't think it would take much more than that if you started from level 1. Battles would be a LOT harder, of course. In fact, I don't think it would be possible to do a story-only playthrough without doing some sidequests for levelling purposes.

I do expect to play again and when I do it'll be with a walkthrough and I'll do EVERYTHING, even the damned adamatoise! But the next few weeks are for W3 DLCs. I just need to make sure I get them finished before 11 July *faints with excitement*

My gamer colleague is due back today, so I'll get to geek out a bit in work - in between meetings.

Had a nice, quiet weekend. Looking forward to a busy week!
 So, the cast list for DOAICS is pretty long, even though the story only focusses on a few of them. But that's going to change now that Brad has such a pivotal role in the revised version. And Susaal seems to want in on the action - just not sure how to manage him. Hmmm... need to think about that.

Anyway, using the writing.com flash fiction prompts is really interesting. They are totally random (today's was 'write a story including the words window, whistle, pin') but the selection of the character isn't - it's just whoever is next in the list. Of course, the list was compiled rather randomly in the first place - it was just whichever character I thought of, rather than their importance to the plot! So, Susaal and his father appear before Brad, even though Brad was arguably more important to the story (certainly as far as Langley's state of mind went) even in the original version. But, Brad is now going to have a much more prominent role.

But I am finding out some interesting stuff about them. With flash fiction pieces, I don't usually have much of an idea of where the story is going. I pick a character, a location, and a bit of a scenario - and see where it goes. So far, they have all turned out pretty coherent and, as I say, interesting.

The plan is: finish the flash fiction pieces for each character; rewrite the plot sheet; insert the new words; smooth it all out; do a plot edit (does this REALLY make sense?); do an edit per character (or, at least, for each major character); possibly do a tech edit; do a final smoothing out edit. This is going to take a while!

Work-wise, I'm actually getting into this quality stuff. It is definitely 'what we do' but we aren't explicit about it. At the very least, tracking it for myself will a) give me something to do and b) boost my skill set.

It's Quantico on the telly tonight, so finishing FFXV will probably happen tomorrow. Then it's W3 DLCs, here I come!
So, if you're reading this and you haven't played FFXV, or haven't got to Chapter 13 of that game, STOP NOW.

The whole purpose of my current playthrough of FFXV was to review the changes to Chapter 13 - the chapter of DOOM. I have only got a tiny way in, playing as Noctis on Normal, rather than Gladiolus and Ignis on Easy, but I think I've spotted a change. There is a radio in the first dorm, which I don't remember being there before. It gives an update on the situation in the Imperial capital. I can also swap to playing as the boys at any dorm.

I've got a save file just before we set off to find Shiva. When I've completed the chapter as Noct, I will go back to that save (even though it means driving the damned car again *shudders in horror*) and play as the boys. Or I might keep this save file (in the first dorm) and swap to the boys from here. Yes - I'll do that and see where the alternate route starts; if it starts with them by the train, I'll go on from there - if it starts with them somewhere else, I'll go back to the other save.

One advantage of doing a replay is spotting all the foreshadowing that I missed last time. There's a sequence on the train where Noct is confronting Ardyn - but Ardyn's dialogue sounds like he's trying to imitate Prompto. It struck me that this is actually Ardyn already messing with Noct's head BEFORE he tricks him into pushing Prompto off the train. On the original playthrough, I thought he was just trying to 'be down with the kids'!

No gaming for the next two nights - meeting tonight and Quantico tomorrow. We shall pick up chapter 13 again on Friday!
Saturday could not have gone any better. The husband liked all of his prezzies, the daughter, grandson and I did some shopping together without falling out, and we got to the restaurant in plenty of time.

The food at Meet was really good. Everyone had what they wanted and came away replete. Everyone had a good time and there was no grumbling or falling out. And the bill was quite a bit smaller than I was expecting.

We finished off with a little stroll along the river, which blew away some cobwebs and livened us all up again. It wasn't warm but it wasn't really cold, either. Then daughter and grandson came back to ours for a bit before going home.

I then watched Doctor Who, which was brilliant (of course!). Slamming up against Bill's ethnicity was handled very well. I'm glad they're making something of it, because trying to ignore it in the case of Martha was, I think, a mistake.

Yesterday was supposed to be a 'chill out day', including some FFXV. I hadn't had a chance to play since Wednesday, so hadn't downloaded the update. It took HOURS! This gave me chance to watch a couple of things on the Tivo, but it wasn't what I had planned. I did eventually get to it (beating Leviathan and getting to the part where Ignis is blind), but it wasn't quite the day I had planned.

Today is the May Day Bank Holiday, so I shall be cleaning the bathroom, mowing the grass, and hoovering upstairs. And gaming.

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