Saturday, October 10, 2015

The Sucktastics rise again!

I really do play with more than string! I also play with fake plastic instruments. :)

Initial Rock Band 4 thoughts. (Of /course/ we unpacked it right away, in spite of making more mess to be tidied by dinner time today. Duh.)

NB: This is not a 'new to the game' perspective. We've been obsessing on RB since the first one, so the basics are well familiar.

Off the top, the one thing that we both loved that's such a stupid little thing.. if there's a significant pause for your instrument, you now get a count down on how many bars 'til you come back in. No more 'surprise! You just took a bite of cookie, but now you're singing!' Love. It. Love it.

Game play feels about the same. I don't play guitar/bass much at all (makes my arm hurt very quickly), and for the sake of everyone, I don't play drums. So I'm back to being vocals only. I miss the keyboard, but as I'm probably amongst about 50 people worldwide who actually loved that damn keytar, I get why they dropped it. When we get the adapter to use 360 instruments on the XBox One, then I can at least use the keyboard to play bass.

There's a bit more wiggle room in vocals in some songs (not all) with vocal freestyle, but it'll take me a while to get the knack of that. My scores were about on par with what I expected for being wildly out of practice, so the grading engine for vocals at least is about the same on Expert. The new microphone is perfectly adequate and doesn't suck like the old wireless ones did. (This one, also wired. I'm telling ya, wired is the way to go for microphones.)

The voting system for party mode (or just building a set list) is brilliant and I really like that. We sent The Sucktastics (currently drum and vocals) off on tour to get the story side of the game going, and there's a few more choices, but its basically the same as ever. Which is fine, same as ever was enjoyable enough. (We've a van! Which has already broken down. But we've a whole 300 fans already! And a stylist!)

It seems that in story mode, you make money to buy your stupid outfits (stupid outfits are de rigur in this game, it's not a band unless someone is dressed like an idiot, usually Penn's char), and that money is shared amongst the band. The decision to buy the drummer a gas mask, or the vocalist a plague mask could also benefit from a voting system. (Seriously? How do you sing from under that! Still, it looks cool.)

We're still missing a lot of songs that we had in the old game.. we had just over 800 songs in RB3 and we've about 300 in RB4 currently. More are slowly trickling in (we gained a lot of songs in the last week, for example), as they work out licensing agreements and porting them over from the 360 marketplace. It will be disappointing if that doesn't change, there's a bunch of old songs from RB 1, 2 and 3 that were favourites and I miss them.

We currently only have 3 instruments (drums with no cymbals, vocals and a single guitar), but that will change when the adapter gets here next week.

It does feel a bit rushed out the door (Songs still in progress, adapters not quite ready), but all of the RB games have been a bit thin on release day and really grow into their own as time progresses.

It is good. There will be more rocking out again, and my voice is about to get back into shape (for values of 'in shape' that are comparable to too much singing in the car). Rock on!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Loved and well loved

A blog that I read touched on an excellent topic this morning. Laura Fry is a production weaver who noted in the post I linked to there about how her textiles are meant to be used. Tea towels and table clothes, designed to be used and loved, spilled on and used for wiping up.

I love to visit and find my knitting on a table, perhaps with a little stain, or a spot where something caught. To know that it's out, being admired and used every day rather than a hurried toss on the table when I'm coming to visit? It makes the hours worth while. My knitted socks too, my shawls. I use them. I wear them out, I shove them in my bag to have if there's a chill. They get /used/. Life's too short to keep for good. I need to remember this with some lovely glass and ceramic cups I have. Life's too short /not/ to use them, they're precious to be for sentimental reasons, but that same sentiment says I should appreciate the hell out of them even if they might break.

My creative life has been a smattering of scattered samples, testing and poking and not doing any projects, per se, but this that and the other. Some dye work, some knitting work.. alright a lot of knitting stuff. The big doily is done save for one seam.

Now I just need to decide what, if anything, I'm entering in Lady Mary (I've nothing wow.. samples are not wow), and then what is for QPT and what is for pent.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Slogging along

In every larger project, there is a spot where the novelty has worn off, you've still got a bazillion hours to go and it feels like you're getting nowhere.

The doily commission has firmly hit that state. With 560 stitches in every round, just getting through one round is a quest, let alone the next 30 that still remain to be done. (Every other round adds about 10 more stitches.. give or take a few, so it'll be more by the time I'm casting off.) It's finally gotten moved onto a 36" needle, so it looks a bit more like lace and less like a lot of squished cotton.

I didn't get nearly as much of it done at GenCon as I'd hoped. We spent more time walking and looking at things than sitting where I could knit. Which isn't a bad thing, over all, other than for my sore feet. :) Onwards and outwards!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fian challenge

So finally, after a couple of mis-starts, I've presented my challenge in court and it was accepted and all that good stuff, so I can start nattering about it here.

White Wolf Fian, for those who don't keep up on esoteric A&S groups in Ealdormere,  (And why don't you, really? ;)) is a challenge order who aims to basically prod folks into pushing their own artistic / craftsman boundaries. Self directed, about a year long project that is one of those that's just outside your reach when you start, or so the theory goes. (Sometimes the evaluation of what's a suitable challenge for someone gets a touch intimidating to read. Yow, but I digress.)

I'm a lacemaker, even if my lace of choice is not pre-17th century. (Yes, I still call myself a lacemaker, even for my first lace love being the red headed stepchild of the lacemaking world. Suck it, traditionalists!) Since turning up at the SCA, I went and bobbled around with bobbin lace (enjoyable, still in the learning queue, likely now and forever), and wanted to poke around at the other main early lace, needle lace. Which is a big broad term that means many things to many people, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

So I presented a challenge to look at two main needle lace techniques found commonly in Venice in the 16th century, Punto en Aria and Reticilla. The first has no fabric foundation, you build up from threads, and the second ostensibly starts with a linen base, but by the time you've done all the cutting away, you seriously just have threads and a lot of embroidery left.

The final aim for this, is to make myself a needle lace flag fan, inspired by this piece.

16th century flag fan in the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts

I am so not making an exact replica of this fan. Not even in a year do I think that my skills will be up to /that/. I hope to make something inspired by this fan, which doesn't suck. Not sucking is a high priority here. :)

I've started a punta en aria bookmark tutorial, so you can see where I'm starting from in trying to get towards that. Behold, I have a long long way to go:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Needle lace bookmark

I finally took the deep breath plunge and actually started a needle lace bookmark that I've been hauling around the directions (A handout by Mistress Meadhbh ni Dhubhthaigh, thank you!) for in my folder for months. MONTHS. Seriously brain, this is not that complicated or even all that exciting. It's string and some card and more string. If it's awful, you're going camping next week and can throw it in the fire.

It's a super beginner little bookmark, basically spending more time learning how to couch threads down onto a pricking, how to work over threads, how to hide ends. All the basics that one really needs to know. The pattern suggested starting with size 5 cotton, but as I'm already well familiar with small threads, I grabbed a scrap ball of size 30. (That and I have an entire ikea box of size 30 in stash and I'd have to go buy size 5. It's like ROPE to me. Size 30 seemed giant enough. Ahhh, perspective.)

I shrunk the pattern down a bit to be more pleasing to my eye (oh yeah, and cause I'm using smaller thread), and then couched down the border. Now its a never ending stream of button hole around said border. I had thought my tension on the border threads was pretty good, now that I'm working on it, it could have been tighter. I think it'll be fine in the end, but its fairly floppy before I get it covered. Also, I need to work on my button hole stitch consistency. Story of my life.