OK, here's a bit of trivia for you.  I've been watching a Let's Play of The Bouncer (Square Enix Does Beat 'Em Up), whose MCs are all bouncers at a club called Fate on Dog Street.  In KH2 (Square Enix Does Strange Things With Disney), Pence wears a basket ball shirt with Dog Street written on it.  Nice little nod to the past, I thought.

Yesterday was one of the strangest days I've ever had at work.  I had a 9.30am meeting and just couldn't get a handle on the day after that.  It wasn't a weird meeting in any way but the rest of the day was.  There was a point where I felt if someone had asked me my name I'd have struggled to answer them.  Anyway, the day passed super-quick which is no bad thing and I walked part of the way home with C who lives not far from me.  He paid me a rather sweet compliment, which I acknowledged without either making a big deal of it or reminding him that I'm almost old enough to be his mother (he's about 6 months older than my daughter).

I had a bit of a grumble to my line manager that every time I speak to anyone about the Random-Collection-Of-Things-Usually-Referred-To-As-The-Project I feel like I'm learning something new.  There's a task to be done that nobody has ever mentioned before, or Thing X isn't as far along as I thought, or Thing Y is done and nobody told me.  He said not to worry about it because he feels exactly the same.  He's also frustrated that we can't just leave people to get on with stuff they've agreed to do, but have to keep reminding them or even putting stuff in their diaries for them.  The big problem with this piece of work is that it's really nobody's priority, so nobody worries if it gets pushed out by something else.  But we WILL have it all done by Christmas this year, I swear.  I just want to get on with the rest of my life!

Having said that, I do think it's probably a good First Project.  It really is a case study in 'how not to do a project' and can only be good from a learning perspective.  When I start my First Real Project, everything will be different!

My thoughts on the Possible Nano 2017 are coming along.  Of course, I'm mostly thinking about the nice bits but I do have a sort of plan.  The first third will focus on the MC - the new Sultan - and his descent into horror and madness.  The second third will tell the same story from the point of view of his twin sister, who can only watch helplessly but who then tries to take matters into her own hands.  The last third will tell the story from the point of view of the genie, which will stitch the other two thirds together.  The genie is gender-neutral but appears female to the Sultan and male to the Princess.  It also exists outside our space-time but has interacted with humans for so long that it does understand conventional story structure.  Yay for literary devices!  The final chapter will draw the three strands together to the happy (at least, that's how it's planned at the moment!) ending.  I just need to work on the deep, dark and nasty things that I am going to have to dredge up...

'Liar' finished last night and I am left more than a little disappointed.  I don't know if I can bear to put myself through the second series.  It just got so improbable.  On the other hand, I am curious about who did the deed...

Well, time to get this day underway.  Hopefully, it'll make rather more sense than yesterday did!
 So, this year I had planned to use November as editing time rather than writing time (well, editing with a large chunk of writing, actually, since last year's Nano needs A LOT more words) to get last year's effort into some kind of shape.  Then, last night, I was watching X Factor (don't judge me!) and one of the contestants said that writing songs about his ex was a kind of therapy, and I asked myself why I'd never used my writing as therapy.  When have I ever delved into the dark, dank depths of my psyche?

I've got a bit of a story idea, I'm just worried it looks too much like a rehash of 'Frozen'.  Anyway...
  • MC wakes up one morning and is very excited because today is the day they are crowned as their father's successor AND they get married
  • there are two parts to father's legacy, a genie and a treasure guarded by a fearsome beast
  • the genie is locked away in a dungeon but the MC can draw on its power at will
  • when they can fully control the genie, they will be able to defeat the beast
  • using the genie's power is a double-edged sword because it feeds off anger; using its power repeatedly means getting angry, a lot
  • there is a character, Grand Vizier?, who encourages the MC to abuse their power, under the guise of controlling the genie
  • actually, the way to make use of the genie is to befriend it but the MC only realises this after almost destroying everything they love
  • the 'fearsome beast' is revealed to be something cute and fluffy that only appeared fearsome because of people's fear of it
My initial thought was for the MC to be a woman and to have a younger sister, but that's when I started thinking "this sounds like 'Frozen'...".  Then I thought it should be a man and his wife becomes the real hero.

But most of my stories have a female protagonist and, actually, it would be a departure for me to have the man as the hero.  So, the MC is a woman and it's her husband who helps her back to her senses.  Or is that playing into all the old fairy tales where the knight in shining armour rides to the rescue, even if he is saving her from herself?  Or am I just over-thinking this?

Anyway, the idea is to really WRITE.  To have a story that is ABOUT something, to explore real emotions like fear, anger, hate - even love.

I think it's worth doing as a way of really stretching myself as a writer, if for no other reason.  But I will have to get my skates on if I'm going to have something planned out by 1 November!
 I made a promise to myself to work on the novel this week.  I did that on Monday...  Yesterday I had work stuff to deal with and today I'm here...

So, I wouldn't normally spend my early mornings doing work stuff but I had the second session of my CPD course all morning and some stuff that HAD to be done as early as possible - which ended up being before breakfast.  If it hadn't been for the course, I would have done it around 10am.  And it isn't very often that kind of thing happens.

Today - well, it's been a while since I updated this with any regularity and writing is writing.

Tomorrow, we get back to the novel!

Sunday night I did something I don't think I've ever done before - I rage quit a game.  I've given up on games that were just too hard for my brain to process (shadowing that stupid car in LA Noir...; trying to fight multiple enemies behind crates when I and my sidekick are out in the open in Uncharted..., to name two) but I've never got to the point where I either quit the game or throw the controller out of the window before.  Until KH.

So, last post I was talking about how the final boss was a bit tricky and I needed to level up a bit more.  So, back to the coliseum I went and played several more rounds of the Phil Cup (with some Pegasus and Hercules - and even getting to the point where I was beaten to a pulp by Cerberus in Hades - oh, and getting sliced in two in a single hit by Sephiroth in Platinum) until I was level 59.  I returned to the boss and defeated the first Anselm and the stupidly easy shadow thing (why even put that in there?) and the very much tougher second Anselm - by which point I was level 60.  Then came ANOTHER Anselm, with extra heads and goodness knows what.  I did some damage but not enough - and from watching YouTube I was going after the wrong part of the monstrosity anyway.  So, I had a decision.  I COULD have done some MORE levelling and then done ALL of the previous forms AGAIN in the hopes that I would then be strong enough to defeat the final-final boss (and if not repeat the whole bloody cycle) - or I could watch the ending on YouTube and move on with my life.

I chose the latter.

I played KH on easy.  I played the whole game.  The only keyhole I didn't find was in the Hundred Acre Wood (DON'T get me started on those mini-games!).  This should have got me to a level where I could have a decent shot at the final boss.  In FF12, for example, playing the whole game without sidequesting AT ALL will get you to a point where the final boss is a challenge but definitely doable.  I did a little bit of level grinding and sidequesting, and he wasn't much of a struggle at all.  AND if I did want to level grind, there was a huge variety of things for me to do and different enemies to face.  KH is distinctly lacking in variety of that sort, probably not helped by my hack and slash approach to fighting - finesse is definitely not part of my arsenal :D - I must admit, but my point remains.  In thinking about the things I hadn't done - some chests I couldn't reach, for example - I really couldn't find anything that made me want to dive back in.

Oh, and the biggest problem I had with the whole thing?  Can anyone say 'rehash of FF8 plotline without even giving the girl any possibility of saving herself'?!?!

Sorry for the very long rant!  I have now moved on to KH2 and have a whole new load of irritants.  Why doesn't Fujin only speak in capitals?!  Why is Seifer dressed like Snow (although at least now I know how to pronounce his name!)?!  And where's his swagger and nobility - they've reduced him to being just a bully (although my gamer colleague assures me this will change).  I've got to the Struggle tournament but haven't taken part yet.  I'm set to 'Beginner', which means I only get the 'normal' ending but I can live with that. 

Oh, but Christopher Lee does the voice of the baddy.  I had a tear in my eye listening to him.  RIP, Saruman.

My new phone is proving useful for getting rid of emails that I don't need to read and/or reply to, and for skimming through facebook.

OK, that's all for now.  Bye DW!
 I think it's been more than a week...

So, the first news is that I have finally joined the 21st Century and got a smart phone.  I'm not a technophobe by any means, but I've never really wanted one.  But the SIM on my clamshell type one gave up the ghost and... well, here we are.  I'm still on pay as you go.  I've ordered a cover, screen protector and a cute charm.  New phone = whole new ways to accessorise!

The second is that I really, really want to finish KH1.5 but the end bosses are hard and are forcing me to level *sulky Rosa*

The third is that I'm listening to the FF8 OST and I really, really, REALLY want Square Enix to announce they're doing a remake *extra sulky Rosa*

The fourth is that I've finished watching NieR: Automata.  There is so much to process in that game that I really don't know where to start.  I understand J saying that he now sees games can be art.  Of course, I've always seen them as such but hey.  There also isn't really much to say that wouldn't count as a spoiler in some way.  Of course, it's gorgeous AND weird in about equal measure.  The player I was watching kept saying how much he loved the game but that everything it asked him to do hurt.  There are some incredible characters, not just 2B and 9S, who will stay with me for a while.  All I can say is play it or watch it.  I also understand J saying I should play it - the impact is strong enough from watching but playing...  That could be heart-breaking...

And lastly, I have spent far too much time looking at spreadsheets this week but I think I may have an answer (developed during a conversation with my line manager - credit where it's due) to the perennial problem of resource planning.

Well, that's all for now.  Toodles DW!
 So, in a couple of days I begin Editing In Earnest and I have a couple of things I want to make a note of so that I don't forget about them.

- the forenzi bot analysis is basically useless because Antonio ran an ice cream shop and there were hundreds of people of all sorts in and out all the time, so even when Langley does eventually get around to looking at it she can't use it
- the Ranzians should have a distinctive (but not TOO annoying - and not TOO much like Yoda) speech syntax that the universal translator (or whatever my version is called because UT is probably trademarked to the Star Trek universe :D) can't quite cope with
- Fletcher is a graduate but is currently undercover so is pretending to have a lower level of education; it might be cute if he slipped up because he's so comfortable with Langley
- McNeal is a pompous arse, even more so than the Chancellor
- Langley needs to convince herself that the wrong person is guilty, fitting the evidence to her theory rather than forming her theory from the evidence, AND despite telling Bloorth off for doing the same thing

I've realised that one of my writing issues is making each character's voice distinctive.  I may have a whole cast of characters roaming around in my head but, ultimately, they all sound like me.  I need to do something about this tendency!

OK, time to get on with the day.
 So, I'm committing myself to the following:
October - identify where the new/amended bits for DOAIS that are currently in note form belong in the ms
November - treat this as Nano; write new scenes, update scenes, don't worry too much about making it seamless
December - smooth out the rough edges

A lot of things are going to get neglected in November but my novel is not one of them!
 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.
 Took the grandson to get his hair cut ready for school on Wednesday.  Where did the holidays go?  Not that they affect us much but I'm still feeling a flutter of getting-ready-for-school butterflies.

I played a bit more of KH.  I've finished beating up helpless barrels in the Coliseum and moved on to Tarzan's jungle.  I'm trying to swing across some vines and, mostly, failing.  Why did nobody ever tell me this was basically a platformer?  I don't do platformers and this game is all the reasons why.  Jump from one ledge to another - oh, you were slightly off on that one, try again.  Ooops, not quite!  I know it LOOKS as though you need to be at that angle but actually you need to be at a slightly different one.  OK, you did the ledges - now you have to time your jumps between moving objects.  Oh, but now you have to turn around slightly...   Urrrggghhh!!!  The whole thing is an exercise in frustration with no warm fuzzy sense of achievement if I DO actually complete the stupid hopping about correctly AND without really enjoying the rest of the game because I'm still figuring it all out.

I did, however, return to Wonderland and Traverse Town to do some money (sorry - munny) farming.  And I'm getting better at the space ship game, so there's that.

We've also made the decision to watch this series of X Factor.  I gave up about 2/3 of the way through last year because Honey G (a white female rapper who can't rap) kept getting through.  I'm not a fan of rap myself but I can appreciate talent; rapping is a skill and, if it's well done, I can enjoy it at that level.  Honey G raps as well as I do.  I can also appreciate that rap music is important to a lot of people, Honey G included.  I am not even going to judge the fact that she comes from a comfortable, white middle class background, so what the fuck relevance rap music has to her life I don't know.  I love Johnny Cash's version of 'Hurt' and I've never self-harmed in my life.  And I seem to have a thing for drug-related songs (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Ride a White Swan, There She Goes) but have never done drugs.

Anyway, we're telling ourselves, 'maybe this year will be OK'.  Yeah, maybe...

And that was Saturday.  Bye for now, DW!
 On the face of it, most of the people at my church have it pretty much together.  We're largely white, straight, middle class professionals.  Typical church folk.  But all of us have some experience of living at the edge, of not quite fitting the white, straight, middle class professional Christian mould.  We are a gathered community, formed around an ideal - that everyone is just a person and that every person is loved by God, equally, unconditionally and passionately.  Anyone is welcome and we are welcoming to everyone.  Newbies often say that that's a reason they come back - because of the loving welcome they received the first time they came.

We look like your typical white, straight, middle class professional Christians but we aren't.  We come to church because we are aware of our brokenness, not because we smugly believe we are 'holy' or 'chosen'.  God doesn't choose who to love.  God is love.  And we are trying to live that out in a small way.

I have been heard to joke that St Bride's is a church formed in my image, and when people say the lovely things they say about the place I hear my ideal self reflected back to me and I am humbled.

Of course, I am only just coming to terms with what 'every person is loved by God, equally, unconditionally and passionately' actually means.  It means Donald Trump is loved by God as much as I am, and that I am loved as much as Theresa May.  All the people whose lives are fuelled by hate and fear are loved as much as those who are driven by love and acceptance.  If everyone could see that, understand that, live as if that were true (and I don't claim to have arrived at that point myself!), how would things be?

Yes, I'm a dreamer.  But I'm not the only one.
 Had my first 'proper' meeting with the new rector yesterday and gave her a potted history of my 'spiritual journey'.  And realised afterwards that I'd left out some pretty major chunks - but she said she expects to be around for at least the next 10 years so there should be an opportunity to fill in the gaps!

I have also just realised that I've done absolutely nothing to prepare for Monday's Core Community meeting - that's my job this lunch time!

I ran into my first OMG boss the other night on KH - something with very long pink legs that kept hitting me but I didn't make much of a dent in.  Goofy REALLY hurt him but then got knocked out.  I do like that KO'd characters can come back without a Phoenix Down!  Yay, something I like about this game!!!

Still looking forward to getting to Primal!

Last night, I watched Who Do You Think You Are with Noel Clarke (I know him best from Doctor Who) and then watched an old Doctor Who story and one of the special features - and didn't go to bed until 11.30pm!  Given that I'm normally asleep by 10.30pm this was definitely staying up late!

I'm thinking that I might end up buying the DVDs for Peter Davidson and Sylvester McCoy's doctors on ebay and selling them on when I've watched them.  Unless Netflix does have them hidden away somewhere.  We shall see.  But LoveFilm are trying to help - my package allows me to have two discs at home and they're sending out three or four at a time to get me through as many as possible before the service ends.

I've been watching a 'let's play' of Persona 1 on YouTube.  The player annoys me a bit, not least because he leaves in ALL the battles and ALL his shopping decisions but I'm finding the story interesting.

Well, time to get on with the day!
 So, three hours into FH1.5 and... I'm not 'in love' but I'm definitely looking forward to playing more.  I've arrived at Wonderland (after two attempts at the flying/shooting mini game - why did nobody tell me about that particular irritation?) and am looking for evidence of Alice's innocence.  I now have side-kicks but I have no idea what they actually do because I'm so focussed on hitting Heartless with my keyblade.  I have abilities but don't know how to use them (I suspect they're in the left-hand menu, which I have so far largely ignored).  Squall - sorry, Leon - beat me up so much that I had to grab a potion.

I also got so lost in the 'build a space ship tutorial' that I had to stop the game and restart it because I couldn't find another way out.  I don't think I'll be investigating that again any time soon.

For the record, I want to state that I have been a gamer for over 20 years and am reasonably competent at life in general.  But new battle/ability/menu systems take my brain some time to adjust to.

That's my excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking to it!

Anyway, the point of this post was to say that I am going to continue playing KH1.5.
 I played just under two hours of KH1.5 last night and... it's about what I expected.  I'm not loving it but I'm not hating it.  Donald has made me smile a few times.  I did get frustrated with the hunt for provisions, with myself and with the game.  SOME clue about the location of coconuts would have been nice - although I was quite pleased with myself that I worked it out.  And after I'd got it all together, we didn't even use the bloody raft!  So, yeah - a classic FF-style fetch-quest that actually serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

Rosa is not amused.

And why is the second bloke called Riku?!  And what happened to Wakka's voice?!  And the little black goblin things are annoying.  And I keep getting thrown by the fact that the sound effects remind me of FFX but the fight music reminds me of FFXV.  And the colours are too bright.

And I'm actually struggling to find something I actually like about it...  Oh, I have it on 'beginner' level, so the fights aren't a challenge.  Ummm...

I will keep going and see if it grows on me but, at the moment, I'm feeling a bit like I did with Dragon Age - I'm playing this on a friend's recommendation not my own inclination and my first thought (that this isn't 'really' my kind of game) is right.
*WARNING - FFXII:ZA SPOILERS AHEAD...  WARNING - FFXII:ZA SPOILERS AHEAD...  WARNING - FFXII:ZA SPOILERS AHEAD... *

Yeah - I'm too lazy to do the cut thingy.  Sorry...

Vayne is gone!  He was more of a challenge than I remember but I think I was ridiculously over-levelled last time I played.

I read a theory piece that said that Vayne is the real 'goody' of FFXII because he wants to take responsibility for history away from the Gods, but Ashe and co are following the Gods'/Occurias' wishes making them the 'baddies'.  But a) Ashe does make the decision to destroy the Sun Cryst (albeit late in the day - and she leaves the actual job to Reddas), and b) Venat is BAD - she tortures Vayne when she turns him into the The Undying, and has been corrupting both Vayne and Cid for years.  I agree that Vayne is committed to a noble cause but he's a bit like Seifer - he's backing the wrong side.

I sat through the credits because I thought there might be a little snippet of something at the end but there isn't - except for New Game+ and lots of nice concept art.  I was particularly struck by the picture of Cid holding baby Balthier.  The actual final bit of the game comes before the credits when the camera pans out to show Rabanastre in the middle of the desert.  Whoever developed that game is DEFINITELY a fan of Azure Dreams.  That person (or those people) also must also have worked on that tower-thing on the FFX/FFX-2 remaster.

A couple of things I really liked - Vaan's expression when he said, 'Larsa would definitely have said that' and the dialogue between Balthier and Fran when he picks her up - FRAN: I'd say you have more of a supporting role; BALTHIER: Fran, please.  Because, of course, he's the leading man!

But I digress.  I have completed the story element of FFXII:ZA and I love it more than ever.  I thank everyone at Square Enix who made it possible.

I have also found a couple of games that are coming out next year that look interesting.  Biomutant and Lost Sphear  They are now on my 'maybe' list behind Horizon: Zero Dawn.

Time to get this day underway"
 So, yesterday the daughter and I took the grandson shoe-shopping for school shoes.  Town was heaving (of course) but the shoe shops were all pretty quiet.  We had a list of criteria, some from the school, some from us.  The shoes couldn't be 'trainer type' (which crosses off at least 50% of those available - and ALL the ones he liked), or have coloured labels (goodbye Kickers), I don't like kids in slip ons (cross off about 10% of what's left), or anything too 'posh' (he's going to school not a wedding - lose at least another 20%) and I thought he should wear lace-ups rather than velcros (lose about 30%).  So, yeah, not much left.  Added to which, his trainers are a size 3 but all the size 3 school shoes fell off him - he has his mother's narrow feet.  Shoes below a size 3 tend to be velcros because they're for younger children.  Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from all three of us!

But we did manage to find a pair that met the criteria, that fitted and, most importantly, that he liked.  And they were a lot cheaper than I was expecting.  The daughter thought they wouldn't last long but I think there's a good chance his feet will grow soon anyway, so I'm happy to get another pair in the New Year.

I invested in some toothy tabs from Lush as an alternative to toothpaste in a plastic tube.  They seem OK, so far.  If they work out, I'm also going to get the mouthwash.

Today, I plan to hoover the upstairs and clean the bathroom and toilet.  And wash my clothes.  The grass is also getting VERY long - tomorrow's job, I think, if it stays dry.

Every time I sing 'Ordinary World' I get an urge to write a song fic.  I suppose I haven't said I'll NEVER write another but I am trying to focus on original stuff.  But the line 'what would you wish if you saw a shooting star' is just MADE for Rinoa...

And I am about to head into the final battle of FFXII:ZA.
 Had a horrible meeting in work, yesterday.  I have a colleague - let's call him Alan - who is REALLY lovely person.  On a personal level, I could spend all day with him.  But in meetings...  So, we're working on this thing where he's due to give some training on a particular system to a team who don't currently use it.  Before he gives the training, he wants to know what their process is.  So, I ask the team for their process and they send through some information.  I make sure Alan has this information and ask him, 'is this what you need?'.  Deafening silence, which I take for assent.  Yes, I know - one should NEVER assume.  Especially when it comes to Alan.  BTW - this all happened about 3 weeks ago.  Now, the last three weeks have been a busy time for Alan and his gang, but how hard is it to answer a straightforward question with 'yay' or 'nay'?  So, at the meeting yesterday, Alan says, 'no, that wasn't what I needed'.

A word about my mood at that point.  I was too hot, which always makes me a little cranky, I'm mid-period (after missing one - did anyone say menopause?), and another part of the meeting had irritated me slightly.  And now I have Alan saying he still doesn't understand the process despite all I've been able to do but in a time and place where I CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT!!!

Added to this, Alan is well known for this kind of behaviour but nobody has yet worked out a way to deal with it.  Well, next time I send him an email containing information and with a direct 'is this what you need?', I am going to follow it up by going to speak to him, now that we're in the same building and all.  I am then going to follow up the face-to-face with an email (because I am damned well going to have EVERYTHING in writing) summing up what we've just agreed.  THEN, if he goes running to our boss (because he also known for 'telling teacher' when things don't go his way), I have an audit trail.  I think it may also be worth meeting with him, even briefly, before the meeting so that I know where his thinking is.

I don't think it's going to cure the behaviour but at least I have a chance of not being fucking AMBUSHED in a meeting and feeling like a complete idiot in front of my line manager and assorted others.

I do have to put in a word for another colleague - let's call him Dennis - who actually spoke up for one of my suggestions earlier in the meeting but who is generally on my 'arse' list.  Credit where it's due.

The new PM post has been advertised.  I am not going to apply because it's a LOT of work when I know that I won't get an interview.  There would be a point in terms of protest/flagging up my ambition - but my line manager is already well aware of how I'm feeling and is VERY supportive of helping me to move forward, so I don't feel the need there, either.

I also have to say that my gamer colleague is in a much worse position than I am and I just want to wave a magic wand and make it all right for him but I can't sort my own shit out so how am I going to sort his?  *breathe*

Anyway, I came home, finished a bottle of wine and watched 'Born on the Fourth of July'.  Geez, Tom Cruise can act.

I am now on leave for two days and then there's a Bank Holiday on Monday, so I don't have to think about work until Tuesday.  Yay!!!
 I moved on a tiny bit with the story in FFXII:ZA (a thousand blessings on whoever wrote the guide book - navigating the Great Crystal was MUCH easier!), and now have Reddas in my party.  I am, therefore, knocking off some more hunts whilst I have the extra sword.  I've done the one in the Nabreaus Deadlands and the one in the Necrohol of Nabudis, which I think makes 31 all together.

I'm trying to rush my way through ST:DS9 series 7 because Lovefilm is being wound down by Amazon and they'll only be offering a streaming service from now on.  It looks as though, as well as paying for Amazon Prime (which I don't really want because I hardly ever order stuff from them) I'll have to pay to watch stuff I want to watch, like ST:Voyager.  Not happening.  I'm already paying for your service, thank you very much.  Time to investigate Netflix, I think - I shall ask J when we talk later.

Back at work for three days, then it's shoe-shopping with the grandson on Friday.  Yay...
 Well, fresh air, anyway.  The daughter invited the husband and myself to brunch at The Tavern in Allerton.  Husband, daughter and grandson all had cooked breakfast (bacon, sausage, black pudding, egg, beans, mushrooms, tomato, toast), I had lemon curd and raspberry pancakes with cream.  It felt weird to be having dessert for breakfast but they were GOOD.  I just about finished mine (with the help of three free cups of coffee) but the others struggled.  If/when we go again, I think I'll try the eggs benedict.  

Then we went into town so that the grandson could spend some more of his birthday money, which had been the original purpose of him and daughter going out yesterday.  They hadn't spent much time together over the summer holidays and she had promised him that they would go out.  Then she invited us to brunch and we tagged along into town!  But it was more a case of them doing what they needed to do and us being with them, rather than it being 'our' day.

We also tried to find the grandson some new school shoes but we didn't have much of a will for it at that point and the pair he really liked were too big.  So, that's a job for another day.  We still have three weekends to get it sorted.  I just don't want to wait until the last minute...

The husband found some really nice Liverpool FC-themed t-shirts, though, so it was worth going out!  And it was nice being out as a family.  It really is giving us the taste for going out more regularly.

Thursday's Team Meeting (church not work) was fun with M in the chair for the first time.  She is so full of energy and enthusiasm.  She gave us a couple of warnings about her style - when she says 'ooh, wouldn't X be a great idea?' she is just throwing out suggestions, she doesn't expect us to run around and make X happen if it ISN'T a good idea; and if she's getting ratty, we should ask if she needs to eat something.  I also realised it's the first time I've told her I've got a grandson who's 11.  It's so long since I first met her and we've been looking forward to her coming so much and I've met her a few times and felt like I've known her forever - but really, we barely know more than each other's names!

We are going to find a time when we can meet up for a coffee and I can give her the Potted History of Rosa.

She also said she and her family feel like they've lived in Liverpool forever and it's really only a few weeks.  People say that all the time about Liverpool.  It has a wonderful way of absorbing people.

And otherwise I've been gaming the hell out of FFXII:ZA.  I'm 60+ hours in, my characters are all at Level 49 (Penelo has just slipped over the line into 50), I have 4 espers, 28 hunts (up to and including all the Level 5s) and I am ready to go back to Giruvegan.  I've explored the whole of Zertinan Caverns because I forgot how to get to the extra bit where the Belito Hunt takes place; I don't have the map yet, because the urn is guarded by two VERY big nasties.  I have also cured the Dalmascan Patient, which is a sidequest i really like - it proves the value of the random kindness of strangers.  I have not yet tackled the floaty weedy thingies in Mosphoran Highwaste, or the fishing challenge (which I want to at least have a good go at, this time).  This game is SO enormous...

I'm going everywhere by foot to pick up license points, even though I know that I will have far more than I need.  I'm not learning many of the accessories because there are just too many to make sense of and they confuse me - Rose Corsage and Bangle are good to have, though.  I made Fran and Balthier ranged fighters and they should probably have been my Black and White Mages, too. I intended Basch and Ashe to be my tanks and they are - but Penelo kind of is, too, when I intended her and Vaan to be the melee fighters.  So, if I ever do a 'start from scratch' walkthrough, I will definitely rethink the job roles.  When I first began, I just got a bit bewildered by the whole Zodiac License Board thing.  But I do have two fairly well-balanced teams and am tackling all the enemies pretty well.  Of course, my standard 'strategy' of over-level and beat the bastards into a pulp ALWAYS helps!

Well, that's all for now, DW.  Toodles!

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