on video games, or this is my strange life

hey there.  yeah, you there.  can we talk about video games for a few minutes?

well, it’s my blog, so i’m going to no matter what you just said.

so, when i was a super little kid, our house had a nintendo entertainment system, and it was sort of the best thing ever.  we also, at some point in time, had an atari system and a commodore 64 and, well, our household embraced game technology like mad.  always have.

when i was a tiny wee one, though, i had no idea where i would be now.

hell, even when i was in high school, i had no idea.  i thought i would grow up to be a scientist (copper salts burn blue, iron is orange, and magnesium is blindingly white), or a writer (working on that one, still), or any number of slightly more practical things (though not anything to do with medicine, because hell no).

today, i am sitting here writing, as my lovely partner in crime plays some assassin’s creed: black flag.  i marvel at how great, but still silly, it looks.  i mean, the people have smooshy dog-like faces, but so much attention has been paid to how clothes move, and water textures, and you know, all the extraneous detail stuff.

and across the room, i have my nes that he got me about a year ago, for my birthday.  how far we’ve come, right?

with these things around me, i think on where i am in life.  i’m in my 30s.  my kid is heavily into the modding communities for minecraft, and sir is helping to program a minecraft server in such a way that their version of the game is different from anyone else’s version (it’s modding but a bit more fundamental, i guess, involving coding and all sorts of crazy things).

and then there’s me.  i’ve come up from general customer support, to technical support, and now i’m floating around in the world of quality assurance.  i’ve gone from beta testing for wb games and microsoft (and some others), to handling first and second tier issues for popcap, ea games, and firemonkeys studios (hello, australia, i love you!), and then there’s the qa i’ve been doing for the company that will not be named.

looking back, i’d have never seen me where i am now.  surrounded by games (and russians), i wonder if there is any other way things could have gone.

no.  that answer is no.



on being a zombie, at least for a few minutes

the following was originally posted on random and curious, a blog project that is now closed.


maybe a month or two back, i got invited to try something new and different: voice acting.

it was a very simple set up: several mics in a small office.  it was probably a little more technical than i make it sound, but it wasn’t a full blown studio like i’d been in before, for music.

i suppose there’s far less equipment when there’s only one instrument?

so, i came in, and was given a set of phrases to work with.  i was super nervous, even with just a few words!  i like to talk and sing, but not in front of others, and especially not in front of people i don’t even know, so i had quite a bit of anxiety at first.

i said my few words, over and over, in different tones and paces.  it probably lasted all of 15 minutes, and was incredibly fun!

i don’t have any photos, of course (though i am sure i could have asked to take some).  but i do have an actual credit in a video game now:)

i know the coding got a little messed up, but my name is in there!

a year in colour

i’ve been colouring my hair for years, pretty much since high school.  there’ve been large gaps where i kept one colour for a while or went back to my ‘natural’ colour (which usually meant adding something close to what it actually is, and then leaving it alone for a while to even itself out).

this past year has been full of a lot of wild colours, and several folks who know me are now on a sort of colour watch, if you will.  i’ve even had people ask me to alert them when i make changes.  i thought maybe a mini-retrospective of the past year would be of interest to some of you.

for those who work with me, keep in mind that we’ve known each other for 8 months now, so you’ll have seen most of this before.

in early march of 2015, i was working at popcap games, here in seattle.  i’m pretty sure i’d done some wacky stuff with my hair, before this point, but i’d been wanting to do rainbow hair for quite some time, and decided to finally just do the thing.  i thought i was a really patient person, but i learned a lot more about patience when i did this.  with bleaching time, this probably took me about 5 hours or so (yes, i do all my own hair colour).

DSC_0073 yes, my eyebrows match.  no, they’re just drawn on, not dyed.DSC_0227_1

some time after that, i had an interview for my current employer.  i thought it would maybe not be best first impression to show up with extremely faded rainbows in my hair, so i did my best to get the colour out.  pravana makes some incredibly durable red, let me tell you.  i ended up with what you see below.


i got the job.

shortly after starting, i asked what the policy was on ‘unnatural’ hair colours.  i’ve learned to do this, after having a boss say it was fine if i had purple hair, and then changing his mind, and being told to dye it to a normal colour again.  i had the last laugh there, because the purple was not permanent, and dying over it just led to it fading and taking the other colour with it, leaving a weird surreal pink.

so, armed with permission from two managers, i managed to create the oddly appropriate-to-my-current-workplace look seen here:

DSC_0470it is grey on the underneath layer, yep.20150920_130849DSC_0473this is what it looked like when braided.  very awesome.

once it started growing out, i decided i needed something completely different.


i figured i’d give my hair a little tiny bit of a break, and didn’t bleach it out in between these two.  i kept the bottom layer grey, and added a couple stunning purple and teal shades.  all the colours used so far in this post were pravana (except the pink – i think that brand was called one and only…the pravana pink i tried did absolutely nothing).


the next two photos are from around and on halloween.  the first shot is a product shot for hair falls i created (in roughly the same colour as the purple in my actual hair).


this second shot is from about 6am the day of the halloween party at work.  some of my coworkers were extremely confused, because i had just changed to purple and teal…why did i re-do it in red?  i had to explain, a few times, that it was just a wig!


and then, a few months later, i did this:


yep, that’s a fork.  if you get the reference, you rock.  these colours are from sparks.  i think i originally tried sparks because they were less expensive than pravana.  they turned out really well, as you can see.


as time went on, the sparks faded, leaving me with what one coworker described as ‘sunset’ hair.  i don’t seem to have any photos of this, but it really looked pretty neat.  sparks is a self-described ‘semi-permanent’ colourant, so i had expected it to fade, and i was pretty pleased with how it did so.

so now, a year later, i have used the sparks line to return to the rainbow.  the blue i used this time is much darker than the pravana i used last year, but i expect it will fade to something much better than the weird lime green i was left with last time.  i’ll try to get more photos this time around, and maybe post an update in a few weeks.


the everyday perils of being a crafter

the following was originally posted on random and curious, a blog project that is now closed.


so, i’ve spent two days home sick from work (running a fever, coughing a lot, etc).  i hate being unproductive, so i’ve been whittling away at my piles of craftiness, and trying to get a few things done.

well, one thing i have discovered is that i just can’t find my roll of contact paper.  so i am sitting here with 50-60 cups and glasses, and no way to put designs on them for etching.  that many cups, in their respective packaging, takes up a LOT of space.  the champagne flutes are in two giant costco and ikea bags.  that’s how much space they take up.  plus, the shipping box of mugs, and a box somewhere with more glasses in them.

it’s not a small thing.

and i can’t find the contact paper, to make the designs, to etch the damned glasses, so i can do my giveaways and sell the f’ers.

and i need to order more soap base.

luckily, the soap supplies have their own permanent designated space, and aren’t just taking up my freaking living room willy nilly.

as my new co-worker, dude, would say, ‘the struggle is real.’

(update:  i did eventually find the contact paper.  i’ve been considering using it to make a decal for my new work laptop.  and by decal, i mean ‘covering for a printout, to turn it into a sticker and add glitter to’.  yep.)


catventures in audio

the following was originally posted on random and curious, a blog project that is now closed.


on monday, i headed into work like usual, and sat down, like usual, and put on my headset like usual.

and i turned on my music like usual.

except, something was wrong.  my trusty headset, which i’d had forever (well, a few years), was no longer working like usual.  the sound was tinny and distorted and just way weird.  it was like being in an echo chamber made of flimsy metal sheets.

no big deal, they’re under lifetime warranty, thanks to skullcandy.  i try to log into my account, and am greeted with a note about how i need to change up my password if my account was created before 2014, something something, okay.  so i do that, and there’s no record of my account.

well, okay, maybe i just have had these headphones waaaaay too long.  i write in to their support, and support tells me that i didn’t buy the headphones from them, so there’s no account.

but…(it’s a long story, let’s move on for now).

so, i order new headphones from a company on amazon.

they arrive on thursday.  they look like this:


so blue!

well, as i was charging them and getting my laptop and phone set up to work with them, i held them up around my cat’s ears and let her have a listen.  mercedes has proven herself to be remarkably musical in the past, so i figured she’d enjoy hearing music in a new way, and i wasn’t disappointed this time, either.

she perked right up, looking a little confused at first.  then she settled right in, with a very thoughtful look on  her face.  she was obviously a fan, as i played a few imogen heap songs for her, in short bursts.

i took the new headset in to work today, so i can have something better than the cheap $10 earbuds i’d run out and gotten on monday during my lunch break.

when i came home, merce greeted me like she always does, trying to zip out the door into the rest of the building before i notice her wily self.  she didn’t get far, and i opened my bag to empty out all my gadgets and gear.

and, as i took the headset out of its pouch and folded it open, she ran over and tried to pop her head in between the speakers to listen for the magic music.

i had to get my laptop booted fast!  we listened to some gotye and fun, and so far she is loving every note.

little slipknots (updated)

the following was originally posted on random and curious, a blog project that is now closed.


i am trying to re-teach myself how to crochet.

first, i lost my set of hooks.

then i got a huge box of yarn in via trading (this is a big thing i do, in person, and over the internet on facebook and etsy).

managed to get a ton of knitting needles…but no one has ever successfully gotten my weird brain to figure out how knitting works.  luckily, there were two crochet hooks bundled in with all the needles!  two BIG FAT crochet hooks.

now, normally, for the past few years, i have used much smaller crochet hooks, to make straight lines of metal crochet (which then can be bent into loops for jewelry).

well, these two fat hooks actually are just perfect, because the yarn i received is all very very fluffy!  in fact, as you can see in the photo, i think i am stitching too small still!


it’s fine though; no one will be able to tell when i make mistakes, and i’ve finally figured out how to do turns again (after doing it right but not realizing it, about 5 times)!

not sure what this project is yet, but it will probably end up being a scarf.  might as well start super simple, with lots and lots of turns for practice.  then, maybe, i will feel comfortable enough to try some more complicated stitches.


updates:  i am constantly losing and re-finding my crochet hooks.  i just saw one earlier tonight.

i haven’t done a lot of crocheting since this post, as i have been focusing on other projects.  the fluffy thing in the photo ended up becoming a tiny cat blanket, which mercedes loves to sleep on.

i’ve had ideas for new wire crochet projects, which might move forward soon.  we shall see.


sometimes the most mundane things really throw you.

i had about a bazillion things to write about recently, but today has just kind of popped me flat on my ass with bizarreness, so that’s what you get to read about.

of course, it’s a monday and leap day combined, and it’s really been that kind of day.  first of all, first thing this morning, as i was waiting for my bus, i noticed the weirdest thing.  across the water, there was a gigantic boat.


normally when i see boats in the morning, they’re more this size (this is a standard inter-island ferry):


my friend kat, ever curious, found out that the behemoth of a boat i saw at 6 this morning is actually the cma gcm benjamin franklin, the largest container ship to ever dock in north america, and it’s about 3 standard ferries long, coming in at about 1300 feet.  here’s an article all about it.

once i got to work, about half my mini team (and quite a few others, from what i understand) called out sick for the day.

then, on my way home, sir messaged me to say a huge box had arrived for me.  i’d been ordering things off amazon, of course, but nothing really big.  so, when i got home, i was kind of surprised to see a box about half the size of a large refrigerator.  i opened it to find a much smaller box (about a fifth the size of the outer box), a strip of kraft paper, and a small tin of coffee.  it was kind of like sticking a standard ferry and a baketball in the cma gcm benjamin franklin.

and now, it’s time to wind down on this weird day.