Games I’m Playing: Stardew Valley

 

Recently I got into Stardew Valley. If you don’t know what it is, it’s like Harvest Moon upgraded and better. If you don’t know what Harvest Moon is, it’s basically a farming/rural life RPG. It started at the beginning of July when I decided to give it a whirl via Steam Family Sharing; my husband had a copy and I didn’t.

I quickly became very addicted, so at the beginning of August when we had a little extra money, I bought the game for myself so I could stop stealing my husband’s copy. This is beneficial, because with Steam Family Sharing you can only use someone else’s games if they’re not using any of their games — which meant I could only play when my husband wasn’t home, and that started a bad spiral of MUST CRAM IN AS MANY HOURS AS POSSIBLE BEFORE HE RETURNS FROM WORK.

Now that I own the game, I can play whenever I want and not worry about kicking him off his games.

I don’t know why Stardew Valley is so addictive. Maybe it’s the peaceful music, or the simulation of rural life in a small village where everyone knows your name. Maybe it’s because life is easy in Stardew Valley; so much easier than adult life in the real world.

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Thoughts on the Robocop Remake

I’d call it disappointing if I’d had any hopes for it in the first place.

There are no spoilers in this post — nothing you wouldn’t know from watching the trailers. But, I’ll put part of it behind a cut anyway.

Our brother in law took us out to see Robocop last night. We weren’t going to see it otherwise; it was definitely something we didn’t want to pay money for.

It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be. It wasn’t terrible.

It wasn’t awesome, either.

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The Finished Scarf!

It looks amazing, and I will likely do this pattern again.

I mentioned the other day I was working on a knitting project that involved Endless Stockinette. Well, I finally finished the bloody thing.

Word to the wise: just because a pattern is simple, does not mean it is easy or quick. I should have chosen something quicker to knit on deadline. As it is, I wanted to finish it yesterday; I finished it today. Oh well.

That said — it looks amazing, and I will likely do this pattern again, possibly as an actual shawl. (This one is a scarf, because I messed up about 2 rows into it the first time I did it and had to frog and start again. I decided to cast on 39 stitches instead of 79; this turned out to be a good thing, as I wouldn’t have had enough yarn for a 79 stitch shawl.) Whenever I do, however, I will make sure I have plenty of time to finish the thing. It’s the sort of project you can pick up whenever you have something else to do and you need to occupy your hands with something that requires little brain power; something that can be finished over a long period of time. It’s not a power-through-and-do-in-two-days project. Not for me, at least.

Here is picture one, of the scarf before I finished dropping the stitches. This is what the stockinette looked like with the multi-colored yarn. (I used Patons Classic Wool: Harvest.)

The almost-done scarf. Still need to drop stitches. #knittingI really liked the pattern the yarn created when knit into stockinette and was happy to see that pattern more or less remained when I dropped the stitches.

The finished scarf with dropped stitches. #knittingAnd a better look at the laddering the dropped stitches created:

A better look at the laddering. #knittingI’m pretty satisfied with this project. All I need to do is weave in the ends and it’ll be totally complete. There’s not really any need for blocking it.

Next: turning the remaining yarn from this project into a hexipuff or two. BEGIN THE HEXIPUFFALYPSE.

Lazy Sunday

I spent most of the day knitting.

I did basically nothing today. It was gray and rainy outside and I woke up late, and tired, dealing with low levels of pain from the moment I got up. (Wisdom teeth problems like these are not something I would wish on my worst enemy.) I’m alive, though. I have an arsenal of painkillers to get me through the day.

I spent most of the day knitting. I’m working on this currently; the pattern calls for endless stockinette until one binds off, at which point the exciting bit happens. (I’m not sure if you need to log into Ravelry or not to see the pattern. It’s a drop stitch pattern, which means when you bind off, you drop stitches to create a laddered look. I’ll post pictures when I’m done.)

While knitting, I watched things on Netflix. Stockinette is tedious as hell; it helps to do something else with your brain. I tried to watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I managed to start up one of the less racially sensitive episodes and just decided…nope. Not watching a retelling of the conflict between settlers and aboriginal people told via ponies and buffalo. Not after watching the clusterfrack that was the “Voodoo zebra!” episode.

So I switched to Torchwood, which mom heard a bit of while it was on — she’s intrigued! I have another show to make her watch, when we’re done with Grey’s Anatomy.

We’ve been watching a lot of Grey’s since I got here. Got her all the way through season 4; now working on season 5. She loves the show. I love watching it with her. It’s a good time.

Tonight mom is out at the movies. I am knitting some more and getting my word count down, though I might not hit 411 words today. That’s okay. I hit my monthly goal of 15,000 words yesterday. I can take it easy today (but not take a day off), and tomorrow I’ll be back up to speed.

So, with that, I’m off to knit some more and possibly eat dinner. When mom gets home, we’re watching more of Grey’s.

Tomorrow we’ll actually get things done. I swear.

Into Darkness? Methinks it was an apt title

I’m not being literal with that observation. There was plenty of lens flare.

Overall I found the latest NewTrek film disappointing. For various reasons. What follows is an elaboration and refinement of my original, raw review, posted to Google+ soon after seeing the film.

MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Star Trek: Into Darkness. I’ll put them after the “Read more” jump so you can easily avoid them.

Nate took me to see Star Trek: Into Darkness Monday night. (We also saw Iron Man 3. It was a Double Feature Date Night; something that’s always a lot of fun because we can only afford it something like once a year.)

Star Trek and Philosophy

I am a huge Star Trek fan. I’ve not seen every episode of every series or every movie, but I grew up on The Next Generation as and when I was allowed or able to watch TV. I have yet to finish my complete viewing of TNG. I’ve seen almost all of Voyager (my favourite series, so far; there were a few episodes I had to skip because they were awful). DS9 and TOS are still on my to-watch list in their entirety, but I’ve seen enough episodes (or movies) of either to consider myself a fan of both. Enterprise I will likely never watch unless I get really, really bored. Or drunk.

I’m also a fan of philosophical science-fiction in general. Growing up on Star Trek likely awakened that love in me. Not every episode nor every movie succeeds in really tackling the hard questions, but I would definitely say Star Trek as a whole is philosophical. I don’t think that every episode or every movie should strive to tackle those questions — philosophy needs to be balanced with mindless entertainment, I think, especially for those of us who like to marathon episodes. Furthermore, the first goal of a movie will generally be bums in seats. Philosophical sci-fi is a gamble in that respect. It could work really well, or it could bomb. What does consistently work well is the promise of a lot of action and high-stakes, tension-filled scenes.

Often this is why filmmakers will do those sorts of blockbuster hits in great numbers — to make enough money to fund artsier, more philosophical, and less commercially viable projects. Banking on a sure thing in order to make sure the other thing that may or may not make a lot of money actually gets to production stage.

(Writers often do this too, for what it’s worth. I’m not knocking the practice at all. It works.)

To that end, it’s a bit easier to get philosophy into long-running TV shows. So long as the action and tension are still tight, the characters well developed, the world engaging, and the plot convincing and well-moving, you can afford to tackle philosophical issues in an episodic plot structure.

Of course, too much philosophy — too many questions about life and the nature of humanity and the morality of law and not enough explosions, kidnapping, or other high-tension situations — and you run the risk of being canceled. (See: Caprica.)

My point is, while I think philosophy is important to the sci-fi medium (it’s not really sci-fi if you’re not asking questions about the nature of humanity), I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of philosophy in the new Star Trek films and that’s okay with me. There’s plenty to be had in the extant films and series, and newly-made fans who go back to watch those things will either love said philosophy, or they won’t.

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The Unorthodox Hat

I’m making a hat. I’m knitting a hat.

It’s my first, so kind of a big deal. Firsts in knitting are always big, even if they’re not that complex. Same for crochet.

But I’m not a patterns person. It’s nigh impossible for me to follow a knitting pattern and stick to it. I like making things up. I like improvising. I detest making gauge swatches. (I know. Bad Katje.)

I bought this gorgeous purple merino yarn a while ago, with the intent to make a hat from it. But I couldn’t find a pattern I liked. I couldn’t find a pattern that held my attention long enough. The yarn sat unused in a box. I tried to make something else out of it, and quickly became bored with that project and frogged it.

On Thursday, I had an inspiration.

I figured out how to knit a hat without having to make a gauge swatch.

Knit it from the top down.

6. I'm thankful for... #knitting #fmsphotoaday

So I cast on 12 stitches to three needles, and started knitting, increasing every other round. When I got to 60 stitches I added a needle. I think it looks pretty good so far.

Of course, if you don’t want a circle in the top of your hat, you’ll have to cast on three stitches, probably. It’ll be a bit more difficult.

But it’s worth it to avoid the gauge swatch, in my totally-not-humble-at-all opinion. (Also, you could theoretically cover the little hole at the top with a pom-pom, or something. I personally want a hole in the top of my hat so I can have a place for the extra crazy to escape from my brain.)

I’ll post more pictures when it’s done. I may actually have a knit hat that I made to wear this fall and winter.

SyFy Original TV Movies: possibly worse than syphilis

Last night we drove for far too long and finally staggered into a room at a Hampton Inn & Suites in West Sacramento, CA. At first, there was good TV — The Daily Show and The Colbert Report — but then I turned off the satan-box for some downtime. Mom complained, saying she needed some mindless background chatter to make her mindless paperwork seem bearable. So I turned it on and went to the SyFy channel.

Phantom Racer was on. What ensued was my drunk liveblogging of it on Twitter.

Some choice tweets:

Above is a literal transcription of her lines in that scene.

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30 in 30: Day 13 (in which I talk about ducks and how Chris Weitz is a complete fucking ass and should suffer for destroying The Golden Compass)

Favorite childhood book OR current favorite YA book (or both!)

My favorite book as a child was Drakestail, which is an old French folk tale. Mom would read it with me, and we’d sing out the repeating chorus of Quack! Quack! Quack! When shall I get my money back? together with great relish and glee. I especially liked that the duck was dating the river. Seemed rather apropos.

The Golden Compass is my current favorite YA book. I haven’t yet read the rest of the trilogy, but the first book is top notch. It is a response to The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the not-so-subtle Christianity embedded in that story and world. (Seriously, re-reading it as an adult I’m like “Oh, so THAT’S where all those dominant Christian tropes in my brain that I’ve had to train myself out of came from! The obvious sexism in Narnia (“War is ugly when women fight!” um dude war is usually ugly, and tell that to the Morrigan JUST SAYIN), and that children’s Bible some neighbour gave to me when I was a kid which is honestly pretty creepy now that I think about it.” I mean, in general I don’t have a problem with Christianity OR the Bible, but there are very strong tropes of misogyny, racism, etc, within both book (especially when it’s been simplified for kids, like in my children’s Bible) and Church and it takes a thinking Christian to put aside the “This is how things were back then” and see it as an interesting look at history/a repository of facts, myth, religious meaning, etc. Like, it’s possible to read the Bible and take beauty and meaning from it and not hatred and bigotry (especially internalized self-hatred), just like it’s possible to be a Christian and not be racist/misogynist/classist/etc. I’ve seen it happen. Anyway, I digress.)

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30 in 30: Day 05 (in which I rag upon Eragon so hard I make him bleed from inappropriate places)

A book or series you hate

Oh man. This one is almost too easy. (I say ‘almost’ because there is a book/series that I actually hate more than the one I’m writing about now…but as I haven’t actually been able to bring myself to read the whole thing, and as there’s a lot of virulent hate for it already, I figured I’d go with the lesser-hated series.)

Eragon. Or the Inheritance saga, whatever the fuck. Has to be the worst writing I’ve ever read in my life. After I finished the first chapter I felt like someone had hit my head with a sledgehammer, repeatedly. Paolini was in high school when he finished the book, and you know what?

It shows.

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