Sunday, December 29, 2013

Finding Time

Of course
The year is almost over. I appreciate the time I've had recently to spend with my family, friends, crafts, and by myself.

It seems like nearly every day this month had some scheduled activity. Hopefully I'll feel like writing more about it later.

Just wanted to share a fun shot from this afternoon. Sitting in a sunny front room, listening to some great music* and sewing whatever the heck I felt like sewing.

Test blocks Sunday afternoon
My two current [active] projects are Elodie from the game Long Live The Queen and the scrap fabric quilt planned since Thanksgiving. Turns out my mother made me an amazing quilt for Christmas out of most of the fabric I was scrapping!

Satisfying work Potential!
I spent all Monday sipping tea, sniffling due to a cold, and cutting 2.5" x 2.5" squares. It was fabulously calming after such a hectic month. When my mother got home from work both eyebrows rose rather dramatically and she asked if I "saw anything I liked". This is amusing because I knew she had made aprons for both my sisters and my sister's roommate. I assumed perhaps I might have been getting an apron too. HA!
My mother made me a quilt!
I love that when the youngest sister arrived home she bee-lined to the fabric pile I was working with. "Wow! Am I getting something? This looks like my kind of fabric!" she exclaimed right away, picking out the crumpled backing fabric for her apron. It was this horrid print of off-white/vaguely yellow cotton with light blue stripes on it. Very prairie kitchen-esque. It's amusing to know what you love and to find out that others know it too. For the record, the quilt's colors are spot on for me. Muted browns and blues, rusty reds, a pinch of gold, and a dash of black.

Other things to cover soon: Christmas cookie swap! Top books & music from this year. Recently watched movie reviews. Shareable code from my last work hackday.

* Apparently everything Lorde does is amazing.

Also listened to:

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Season

Fabric Hopes
While I frequently get quite depressed before Spring comes around again, I love Fall and early Winter. Which is where we're at right now. Halloween, my birthday, and Thanksgiving always come around in a wave of goodness. Eating, costumes, celebrations with friends and family. I also am quite fond of American Christmas and "The Holidays". While I've no tolerance of any of that religious nonsense, I enjoy the decorations, special color schemes, beautiful gift wrapping, cut trees, and emphasis on lights that "The Holidays" bring.

Had a lovely Thanksgiving this year. PURPLE POTATOES! SO GOOD! (visually that is-- taste wise they were exactly the same as the white potatoes... aka DELICIOUS!) Am wondering how I can work purple potatoes in to some cookies some time soon... It was the first time Adam's mother met my parents, so there was that. I'm looking forward to Christmas, where the whole family (sadly without significant others) will be together again before being blown our separate ways for the rest of the year.

Through casual conversation I have now secured myself access to carve up my mother's fabric collection into tiny squares for quilting purposes (something that I'm not willing to do to *my* precious fabric collection) and I'm quite excited! Just three weeks, three holiday parties, two birthdays, two soccer games, two gingerbread bouts, one table top game, one cookie exchange, and one crab feast to go!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A lot has gone on this month. Some of it really good, some of it not great, and some of it just kinda' stressful without being good or bad. I don't think I want to dwell on this month. The good things are worth highlighting though:
I turned 30. It wasn't as horrible as I expected. Adam was super nice to me all weekend long. His breakfast making skills are superior to most restaurants. His gift selection skills are quite expertly honed as well. This year I received a machete and a Cintiq. Both things make me ridiculously pleased. Then we went out to a crazy nice dinner at Sons & Daughters.
Birthday Dinner Date
(a picture of me all dolled up for dinner w/ my awesome new machete)

Friends and games! Adam and I have picked up Race For The Galaxy again and it's still fanastic. Have been playing D&D with our South Bay friends and it has been great fun! I painted my first miniature! Have been playing The Academie of Magic with other friends- an excellent custom game with fantastic game mechanics. Played Trains with coworkers twice-- it's good to find something not beer or food related to socialize with.

Poked at D3 some through work. It remains awesome. Much like Knockout, I found every question/want I had was easily answered/solved with the library. Sadly I haven't spun apart any of the code to make it share-able since it's rather tightly tied to confidential information at the moment....
Skull reference
A really awesome market has opened around the corner! They have fresh local food of good quality that is relatively novel/is not available at the other local markets. We are now getting Straus milk and it is tasty!
Adam and I saw 12 Years a Slave. It's a good reminder of what a great film is like. Beautiful, well acted, great music... extremely depressing subject matter though. Still, I suggest you see it.
Misc Doodle
Drawing with my Cintiq is... fantastic. It just feels good. "Fun" doesn't really capture the feeling. It feels good, like I imagine how people who enjoy running feel when they run. It's hard- I'm so badly out of practice doodling I don't even remember how to idly doodle any more... but it feels good to hold the pen and sit at the screen and draw. My joy comes not from the fact that it makes things easier/better but because it just feels right... odd. I look forward to many years with it.
I've been making food things at work with much success! I've started making progress on the free-style cookie! (screw you 1/2/3 ratio! It's 1/1/1.2 sugar/fat/flour I say!) I recently made bacon/banana/oat/black sesame/molasses cookies that were tasty! Also oat/goat ricotta/molasses cookies! They didn't suck!
Face ref 1 | Face ref 2
My work soccer team finally won a game! First one since I joined!

In less awesome news: I've been working too much and letting work follow me home. This has interfered with my ability to fully embrace my Cintiq. There were layoffs at work- I still have a job however. The overall issue of women & engineering has been getting me really down recently. There are no good answers and there are actual problems. Similarly, women & the whole damn word. I lost a really great jacket sometime during the summer and wish I had it now. I couldn't find a skirt I wanted to wear the other morning and started crying. I failed to lose any weight these last couple months and now the holidays approach. I can't find anything I want to read. I will never be able to buy a house (where I want) in San Francisco. I got < 2k words into NaNoWriMo. I continue to feel like I'm on the verge of getting sick (damn tickle in the back of the throat!). I attended 2 great Dr. Sketchy's and still haven't scanned & posted the pictures


Monday, October 28, 2013


I greatly enjoy Halloween. I miss the massive box of decoration supplies we had at my parent's house and the time spent by my sisters and I going through it every year. To embrace the season, several friends packed into our tiny kitchen and participated in ritualistic seasonal gourd mutilation.

Carved Pumpkins

Turns out there's a really cute pumpkin patch spot in the city over on the other side of Twin Peaks that Adam found. A bit pricey, but they have a lovely selection and seeing all the kids running around was fun. Clancy's if anyone's interested. Next year I'm getting a novelty pumpkin (the sort of corpse blue/pink splotched ones)

Pre-Carved Pumpkins Dive on in!

My pumpkins is the Aperture Science logo one. Adam did the traditional pumpkin face, Katie did the creepy eye, Vince did the triforce, and Suko carved a bird & tree on the surface of a little one (though sadly it's not quite thin enough to see at night). (not pictured is the fantastic Owl Gripping Mouse one done by the Adam & Clair team, which was taken home)

Turns out good prep work makes things a lot easier. I should put sheets of paper down more often! I am saddened by the fact that the little dinky pumpkin knives you get in the kits actually cut better then my collection of steak knives. Nicely prepped work space!

p.s.- apparently there are such things as grease ants

Monday, October 21, 2013

Keyboard Hoodie Project part 1

So, I'm kinda' excited. I have a new project in the works and I'm already making good progress. Next month is NaNoWriMo, which every year I aspire to participate in and every year but one I've fallen flat on my face. What happened that one year? Well, I had a lovely commute every day on the light rail which was an enforced 30 min of writing (by hand). I find my thinking is clearest when I'm not just sitting on my computer at home-- when I'm not sitting at all in fact. That's why I've been inspired to do a keyboard hoodie. I've tried voice dictation stuff, and typing on a phone, but in the end my fingers on keys are like magic. Speed of thought, yo!

The basic idea is there's a hoodie I can shrug on (zipper down the middle), plug my phone into a sort of pocket on the right forearm, tuck my hands into the hoodie pockets, and BAM! I'm typing.

Years ago I picked up a cheap USB keyboard with the cute idea of removing the key covers and replacing them with some embroidered buttons... HORRIBLE idea in retrospect- high-use keyboards get super dirty around me. I can just imagine now how gross the smudged and worn embroidered D and J buttons would look. Ugh. BUT! The important thing is that I kept the keyboard. This Sunday I settled down with it and popped out each and every key. I tore it apart until I had access to the traces sheet, which I scanned and backwards engineered. Photoshop Flood Bucket FTW. (I had to set the tolerance to 20px to prevent leaking between the traces)

I'm only trying to grab the bare minumum of keys so numbers and functions and whatnot are out. Shift, enter, delete, space, and some punctuation [,.?"] are what I'm aiming for. Mapping it out on a sheet of paper I then plugged the bare board into the computer (about half the size of a cell phone at the end of a long usb cable) and then proceeded to short pairs of pins to ground. Thanks to this keyboard tester site, I found that my sample set of mappings proved to be correct! Go me! It's exhilarating to short some exposed pins with bits of wire and see "z" and "n" show up on screen as expected.

My initial joy was temporarily dampened by the prospect of breaking out the lines for the 27 pin connector.... Turns out that really thin connector style isn't called a "ribbon cable" but instead a "flat flex" connector, and hacking on the cable itself was a no go- too delecit and tiny. However! I found that soldering little lines to where the connector met the board turned out to be super easy. Yay for not having to lay down new solder myself.

I spent a lot of today thinking about how to make the buttons... Wikipedia helped me name my problem-- I wanted a switch that would let me ground 2 lines at the same time and it turns out what I wanted was a DPST (double pole, single throw) switch. But not just any switch, a really tiny push button switch... for which initial Googling did not yield any results. So I eventually abandoned the idea of buying something and turned my thoughts to constructing one myself.

I'm very excited with my initial solution. I'm going to be making ~40 buttons so something simple and cheap is nice, which this is. The idea comes from the original keyboard which has 2 sheets of plastic separated by a 3rd sheet. The button you press forces them to contact each other and a grounded metal plate in the back. My version is a segment of foam with a hole-punched circle taken out of the middle. I then run 3 lines of conductive thread through the foam at different levels such that they all cross. When I press with my finger, the lines touch and everything lights up.

Interestingly if I place a popped key atop it and press, the lines do no cross-- much like a real keyboard button the slightly convex shape of my finger is required to actually force contact (the keyboard has a nubben) . A flat surface bearing down on them is not enough (assuming the correct amount of tension remains on the conductive thread)

My next step is to acquire a hoodie and begin placing pieces. I've got new finer soldering irons tips in the mail, as well as a USB OTG adapter which will let the "keyboard" talk to the phone- a horribly vital piece that I pray just... works. I've also got to construct a set of buttons and ensure I can actually wire them up next to each other at close enough proximity... Praise be to my random purchasing habits! Having a hardly used spool of conductive thread on hand is super helpful!

Here's hoping I can get it done before Nov 1st...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Season of Dreams...

Not sure why, but every night this week I've had vivid, odd dreams. This, after several months of nothing particularly striking.... I blame the changing temperature.

Dream: Sandwich Super Heroes
The second dream:
My co-workers and I were super heroes, themed after different sandwiches. Someone was a ham sandwich hero, I think I was egg salad or peanut butter & jelly. I wake up. I tell one of my coworkers about this dream. I wake up.
After telling the same worker about the dream and the dream within the dream, I did not (sadly?) find out I was still dreaming. I'm happy that this dream did not leave me sad/scared/worried.

Dream : Lost Pet Goat
The first dream:
I'm somewhere near a river, in which I find a goat being slowly washed down stream. I retrieve the goat and decide to keep it as a pet. Time passes and I go somewhere else. I realize I forgot my goat and call my aunt Laurie to see if I left it at her place. Sadly, she doesn't know where it is. I am sad to have lost my pet goat, but on the other hand kind of relieved... Apparently adopting a goat would cost $250 and it occured to me that the backyard at our house doesn't really have any grass and I start to imagine the damage the goat would cause in the basement if we kept it indoors. None the less, I spend the rest of the dream frantically searching for my goat. I do not find it.
Despite the above sketch, the goat in my dream was very clearly a Anglo-Nubian goat. This dream left me very sad/worried.

I have not yet sketched the third dream.

In totally unrelated news I went to the San Francisco Superhero Street Fair and had a great time. It's not an epic event, but one I would casually recommend. Fun dancing time. I wore a sparkly mask, glow sticks, and a skimpy outfit. Someone asked if wearing a mask made dancing easier. It didn't make dancing easier (that went just fine) but it made going out in public in one's underwear a lot easier.

Have been playing with the NVD3 graph library at work (which sits atop D3) and been having a good time of that. I can't really chew on numbers with any sort of statistical skill, but I can make a mean graph. Sadly our hackday that was planned for tomorrow has been moved.... to some time in the future. Alas.

Related to work, I've really been enjoying this song for some reason:

Adam has been playing GTA V and I've really enjoyed watching him do so. I <3 Trevor (just like everyone else, I'm sure)

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Idea! New Idea!

I'm thrilled that I've been struck with a new idea for a themed dinner party. I've been scratching my head for ages trying to come up with something to top the Alien's theme party... and now I've got it! Table top gaming! The title? "Only the GM Knows What's For Dinner"! I'm giddy with glee.

The above image was made this weekend with a lazy susan, mirror, camera, remote shutter clicker, and a sweet 3D printed shape made by my friend Kyle. It's a castoff (there's a defect you can barely see) that he gave me and I hope to mod in the future into... something...

Dinner party idea is the product of a weekend spent making a new D&D character for a friend's campaign. I'm going to be playing a Warforged Fighter. Basically I'm a robot that will hit things. Am excited for that too.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Somehow September is half over...?

The August 27th Dr Sketchy's featured the most excellent model Danni Doll. She was really profession and held some amazingly ambitious poses perfectly. For one of the 20s she was twisted up like a pretzel with a leg over her shoulder and everything. It was crazy. Her costume/makeup was also spectacular. Also there was a turtle on stage with her. Good times.

Dr Sketchy's : Stare

I feel rather short of words for blogging these days. I've several projects recently started and now on hold for no good reason. Arduino project, quilt, stuffed monster. There are of course also the never-ending number of things that I think would be a good idea to start soon-- bottle cap monsters, more bullet bugs.

Dr Sketchy's : Collection

Fits of nostalgia for creative accomplishments in the past have been tormenting me, perhaps a symptom, perhaps a cause for my stalled progress. My sketches used to be so much more creative! And numerous! Also reminisced upon was my old writings, particularly those of my tabloid writer MUD character... which I frantically searched for an thankfully found a couple nights ago.

I collected all my glorious scribblings on this Blogger page, beautifully formatted to highlight their ASCII font-art glory. Too much game knowledge & context is probably required to enjoy or make sense of them... but it makes me extremely happy to read. I appreciate the alliteration and cadence my writing takes on when I fully embrace the low brow gossip columnist style-- which apparently is the only thing I'm fit for.

Dr Sketchy's : Sketches

Work at work continues... fitfully, with my mood being directly tied to the degree of forward project progress made every day. No one to blame for failure of progress except myself. This being somehow related to above mentioned creative block is not entirely impossible.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rolling along...

Just got back from visiting family in the Midwest. Both sides of the family, actually. I took a pile of photos and will at some point soon be sifting through them... In the mean time, here's today's Dr. Sketchy's doodles.

Dr Sketchy's : Hollywood

Have been very busy lately, sadly. Was in Seattle not too long ago and now this trip. Played my first outdoor soccer game on the Rdio team (8v8 coed) and look forward to future games. I didn't do that great, but I had fun.

I pulled out my Arduino stuff recently and poked at it some more but had to give up-- the weather is just turning nice again and San Francisco Second Summer is starting... who can stay inside and code on weekends like these?!? I look forward to the rainy season so that I can code contently in my home or at a coffee shop... but till then! Outside time!

Dr Sketchy's : Sketches
Adam and I enjoyed the ever-wonderful pancake breakfast on Mt Tam this month in the company of a co-worker. Yay for socializing and exercise. Remember, the last pancake breakfast of the year is Sunday, October 13th. Other fun outdoor things- this Saturday is both the Tour de Fat event in Golden Gate Park but also the Greek Food Festival.

Things thing things... I've been flying my kite a lot lately. Actually, I drag my kite around and then Adam flies it marvelously. Makes me want to try designing some novel kites... My knees hurt a lot these days, which is sad.

An looking forward to upcoming new D&D game with friends. Reminiscing lately about old MUD playing days. Not looking forward to turning 30 soon. Time goes on. I'll write a better blog post next time...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kaua'i 2013


Adam and I went to Kaua'i at the end of June/beginning of July this year. It was good. We've been to Maui together before and look forward to visiting other islands in the future.

Kaua'i : Bamboo BOO!

Where as our time in Maui was spent mostly in the water, we spent a lot of time hiking on this trip. I was delighted to see these huge bamboo groves at one of our trails. The cliffs were amazing, be they overlooking other cliffs or the ocean. Our room (acquired here through VRBO) was lovely and spacious with a view looking directly out onto the ocean. It was a little stuffy at night, having no A/C unit, but I didn't mind. The unit was super cheap- yet not gheto- and centrally located. I highly recommend staying there if you visit the island.

Kaua'i : Adam loves maps

Normally I say "if you want to know more, ask us in person!" but for some reason I seem to continuously fail to talk about it in depth, even when folks ask. It was a nice get away, it was green, I recommend it. I think I liked Maui a bit more but I enjoy snorkling & safe swimming over any degree of surf. Adam however loves boogie boarding (or whatever it's called) and was much happier with Kaua'i's water offerings. There were some low points- seeing a young girl's knee get fucked up by the surf, the death march of death, and getting beat up once pretty bad by some surf- but overall it was great and I maintain I prefer my Hawaii vacations over any international ones we've done so far.

Kaua'i : Victory!Kaua'i : Natural History Museum!

There was a Natural History Museum. I loves me some Natural History Museums! It was super old and crusty, but I liked it and found it informative. It's also in a super great location, in Kokee National Park.

In closing, we took well over 300 photos on the trip. Of those, we uploaded over 80 into a general Flickr gallery. Not many people want to actually dig through that so we then whittled it down to our top 18 picks. Also, the NHM has warranted it's only tiny gallery/view on Flickr.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

G.I. Joe

Dr Sketchy's : GI Joe & Transformer

Dr. Sketchy's is one of the best things in my life these days. Everyone is nice, the music is good, and I always am happy. At some point I'll feel guilty about placing in the contest so frequently... but for now my ego needs it.

Dr Sketchy's : GI Joe & Transformer

The sheer number of folks on the stage was overwhelming and fantastic. The poses were so much fun, none of my sketches did them justice.

Dr Sketchy's : GI Joe & TransformerDr Sketchy's : GI Joe & Transformer

There was an incredibly detailed Transformer on stage with them (with a good natured girl inside) but was not for me. I don't know how to.... "summarize" mechanical things (yet!) and so any doodle would have taken > 20 min... As it was, the military clothing will all their do-dads and patterns and folds was killing me. I'm trained on bustles, lace, ruffles, and lady curves. This was definitely outside my sketch comfort zone and I loved it. I am certain I will try to catch these guys (the Cobra 1st Legion) one of their other events for further sketching attempts.

Dr Sketchy's : GI Joe & TransformerDr Sketchy's : GI Joe & Transformer

I placed second with my Recondo G.I. Joe sketch (which in no way followed the contest theme- shame on me!) whose outfit was totally what I wished I had though of for Jaya.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Friday Evening

Just spending a nice and mellow evening at home with the boyfriend. We met over a game of Catan and it's still quite nice to just play some Race for the Galaxy together even if our overall boardgame playing has dramatically declined in recent years.

Denver Hackathon went well. Made something that I find useful-- haven't uploaded it yet anywhere. Will do so... "soon". Just ordered some more parts/accessories for my Arduino and plan on picking that project back up again... "soon".

Also I have a new quilt in the works. Most of the fabric cut, time to start sewing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not-Work at Work

Work, the location, should be somewhere you enjoy going. I find working at home to be too distracting (or rather, distraction to be too accessible) but a dull workspace makes me depressed. You can't control your coworkers (for good or bad) but as long as you don't work for crazy dictators *coughcoughAcuituscoughcough* you can make your space into what you need it. And I need it to be "interesting".

Teacup Monster

One of my coworkers was super awesome and ordered a box of 36 mixed succulents from Amazon. He then distributed one to each member of the team and then other random awesome devs around the office. This made me happy. My friend Suko was awesome and used her Google-fu to sleuth out that the plant I got was a gasteria disticha.

Boarding house for the teacup monster

It took me some time, but I eventually pulled together a teacup monster to house my new little green companion. I've named it Gretel after a book character I'm currently enjoying. Turns out Dremeling through cups is a bitch. Had to break it up over the course of several nights, so horrible was the sound and so tedious the grind/cooldown cycle. The legs didn't really turn out the way I wanted-- initially had hoped for a more realistic clay/resin type of leg... but I had to settle since I'm actually quite bad at sculpture. I'm not that dissatisfied with how these turned out. Adam pointed out they were rather elephant like, which makes me smile. I still have 2 more teacups so I might take another stab at it...eventually. Once my ears stop bleeding- ugh.

Teacup plant monster base

Another thing I do at work some times that makes me happy is bake. I think I've mentioned we have a fantastic oven there. Nice little well-stocked kitchen as well. The Friday before my vacation (you know, the day when it's near impossible to focus on work) I baked some bread at work that I made from scratch. In the office. Working somewhere that allows for such sillyness makes me extremely happy. I didn't waste *too* much time doing it and those who sampled the results seemed very pleased. It was one of the best loafs I've made in a long time.

Best bread ever

I chopped up some strawberries and mixed them in with a normal batch of bread... which resulted in ridiculously wet dough. It was quite difficult to work with, I had to keep adding flour, and took over half an hour to work into a reasonable state. After its first rise (which went perfectly) I spread it out, laid down more slices of strawberries, honey, and M&Ms, then rolled it up. Pushed it into a bread tin, waited for the second rise (also nice), and then into the oven. So good. SO GOOD.

Coding with the aroma of baked goods filling the office is a good way to spend an afternoon.

Teacup Monster

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Time Flies

Wow. It's already mid-July. Crazy. A lot of stuff has happened in the last month (though none of it all that important)

Dr. Sketchy's : Kill Bill : Bloody

There was a hack-a-thon at work early early June and I got *really* into my project. Picked up my first Arduino and made a Next & Start/Stop external button for Rdio using the Rdio JS API and Chrome's USB API for apps. I had an intense weekend of non-stop coding and yet didn't quite finish the project (input works, but I haven't gotten output yet). I mean to finish it yet! Soon...

Dr. Sketchy's : Kill Bill : Kneel

Adam's mother visited and we went to see The Tales of Hoffmann (an opera) which was quite fantastic. The Doll Song has always been one of my favorite pieces. Then Andreas visited and then we went way for a much needed vacation. Obnoxious vacation post to follow soon once we get our photos in sorted out.

Tonight was another fantastic Dr. Sketchy's. The dedicated Mercy Beaucoup posed as Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill. I appreciated Mercy's great outfits and ambitions/creative poses. I've sketched her before (as Wonder Woman) but the pictures were lost on my way home! Luckily I managed to hold onto them this time. I'm thankful that I won tonight's context with the below image. The prize was this super awesome book The Art of Sketch Theatre Volume 1 which I look forward to reading after this post is done.

Dr. Sketchy's : Kill Bill : Wedding

Speaking of reading, I've been doing a lot of that lately as well. Was horribly let down by Robin Hobb's Rain Wild Chronicles which I dropped mid-series. Am struggling not to be entirely consumed by the thrilling magic realism World War II series by Ian Tregillis. I accidentally staid up till 3am finishing the second book (on a work night no less! shame on me!) and I'm worried the third book will lead me to a similar fate. Bitter Seeds (Milkweed series) is the first book and I'd probably recommend it to most folks.

In less happy news I installed Minecraft for the first time this weekend and lost several hours of my life. I regret it and wont be doing so again. Sigh. Having re-read World War Z and watched the movie (and surprisingly not hated it) I've a strong hankering to play some Left For Dead again, which I will not regret. But there are better things to be doing with my time. Like sketching. Quilting. Finishing my hack day project. Writing letters. Cleaning.

Dr. Sketchy's : Kill Bill : Warmups

Pacific Rim was great. Not perfect, but what it delivered it delivered well. You should go see it. Now.