Saturday, March 31, 2012

Victoria Day Picnic & Hat

Guys, I trimmed a hat! (like forever ago, but it seems I've been a bit busy moving to Australia, so you are getting this post a touch delayed)

I picked up this riding helmet at a flea market (because why not?) and actually got around to adding some ribbon to it for our Victoria Day Picnic on Victoria Island with the Ottawa Steampunks (we were kindly invited along by the Ottawa Goth Syndicate). You will notice I also added a brooch which I bought for I believe 50cents at either a garage sale or one of those work jewellery charity things. 

Add some goggles (Dear Girl Genius, thank you for your lovely goggles, they can jazz up almost anything [please note that I don't think they are for sale anymore, which is a shame]) and voila!

Okay, so I added a couple of extra elements, but really I am just pleased that I finally started in on the DIY part of Steampunk. Much as I love delving into my costume wardrobe and putting together random outfits out of pieces I've acquired over the years, it is also very satisfying to actually do something requiring a needle and thread. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

World of Australia: Where driving is hard

So I think I might be tackling quests slightly above my level.

I accepted DRIVE TO SYDNEY because I am an adult and can drive a car and this way my boyfriend can do some remote laptop work while we drive and BAM double productivity. However, let's take a look at my stats.

Level 5 Pedestrian
Never owned a car of her own
"Walk through winter bus strike" badge
Metro experience - Toronto, New York, London, Montreal
Excellent bus map ability
Feats in "find ride" and "navigation/excellent company"
Disadvantage: Carsick

Five years worth of experience points have gone directly into pedestrian stats. Now let's take a look at the quest I accepted.

Highways with speed limits in Kilometers (I'm used to it in miles)
Roundabouts (Look at the cars to the right! But not to the left! FOCUS! DON'T DIE!)
Driving on the left (Don't go in the wrong lane. Don't go in the wrong lane. Oh god, how far right in the lane am I supposed to be? It feels like I am driving too far to the right, but it turns out I am too far to the left and I am now obsessively checking my mirrors)
Hills (Watch your speed! In Kilometers!)
and that convertible we got? Yeah, it is a manual.

Now yes, I wouldn't have been able to accept the quest if I didn't already know how to drive a stick-shift. But here's the thing: I learnt to drive manual in my dad's Fiat Spider for Prom. And since my ten year high school reunion is coming up this year (I would say this summer, but I'm now in Australian Autumn and it makes talking about the seasons like they are a sensible time mark very confusing. Also, no, I'm not going back to the states for it. ) that makes it a solid decade since I regularly had to change gears. And there are hill starts here. A lot of hill starts. Which means there is a lot of cursing on my part. And stalls.

I successfully got us to Sydney, but seriously? Why do I manage to pick the absolute hardest way to do a thing? Roundabouts in an unfamiliar manual car on the lefthand side of the road as my reintroduction to driving?  >.<

Thursday, March 15, 2012

World of Australia (WOA!)

Moving to another country makes life feel remarkably like an elaborate MMORPG (which seriously, always sounds ridiculous when people say it. mehmorphg. Acronyms, why they gotta be that way?).

First there's the training grounds while you are trying to work you way up to level 10.

Choose your destination location - DING!
Inform landlord of departure - DING!
Give notice of leave to work
         Tell supervisor
         Tell big boss
         Fill-out Paperwork
         DING! Level UP!
Pack all material possessions
         Find group
         Pack all the things
         DING! Shared exp AND give prizes to group members because you have too much loot to carry
Sell couch - DING!
Move piano - DING!
Pack remaining items and get on plane - Yes, you totally rock at this game, look at you and your bad self, those rats did NOT see you coming.

Optional SIDE QUEST - LAS VEGAS - You will also rock at this side quest, where everything is pretty and awesome and seriously, you are just happy to not be dealing with that same tiny town hall anymore and there's a Combination Starbucks/Margaritaville and this game is AWESOME.

Now you have to try and get to the city. You're a big kid now, and suddenly that nice, totally at your level, training ground is gone and you have NO IDEA where you are or where you are supposed to be going. Also, the chat line is completely baffling or WORSE the damn FIJI airline PA system doesn't work so you don't know what time it is or why there are no soft drinks, and if you get the Ginger ale, be warned that it turns out it is more like ginger beer and will not do the nice hydrating job you were hoping it would. Be confused and also tired. Also, have no idea what time it is and be unable to find a clock. Maybe it is two am? How long have you been playing this anyway? Is it supposed to take this long, or have you frozen on the back of a flying thing?

So now the quests are trickier. The first one, your big introductory quest, the one you know you have to finish to open up all the other quests, is

Somewhere in this region is an apartment you want. Go and try to find it.
         Inspect apartments - Yes, totally killed attended 5 apartment inspections. Hmm, pretty minimal exp.
         Find the RIGHT apartments - Okay, so I killed inspected some apartments which were not the right ones, but look, some of them actually dropped the item I am looking for. YES, TOTALLY BEAT THIS QUEST.
        Get apartment - NO! You've brought the item back and had it appraised and it turns out that this is NOT the item that the quest guy wants, or you are not the person they wanted to bring it or something stupid.
         Go inspect more apartments - Really? More of them? I mean, okay, but pretty sure you looked at a lot of them already.
         More dropped items - Not as many as you'd like, honestly, what is with that, but okay fine, you will now run around this new area trying to match up the items with the person who is asking for it, because they are all different and want different applications and arcane rituals to even see if you get to complete this quest.
        Get apartment! -- NO!! More inspections and item running. By this point, the inspections aren't really getting you ANY exp and you are super worried that the item you are looking for just straight up doesn't exist. Also you aren't getting exp for discovering new areas because you were here LAST week and also getting discouraged because the chat lines are all filled with the same people competing with you for that lovely dropped item who are also getting discouraged and DEAR LORD YOU ARE GOING TO BE HOMELESS AND NEVER GET TO PLAY THE REST OF THE GAME SWEET JESUS WHAT HAVE YOU DONE??
       Get apartment - Ding!

wait what? oh, thank the lord, we actually have a place to live.

Begin awesome game playing... no wait, now you get to move in.

Okay, that's okay, this was part of the game you were looking forward to and dreaming of while running around doing inspections this will be fine. Unfortunately, you aren't at the health levels you were hoping for because a) this quest took WAY LONGER THAN IT SHOULD HAVE and b)

You have an annoying illness! Have fun with this, sometimes you will be miserable and uncomfortable! Everything will be harder! That's fun, right?
        See if it will just go away on its own. Things have a time limit, right? No.
        Be glad you got that health insurance but still wait for it to kick in. Health level damage begins to also eat into your emotional mana bar thing. This is worrisome.
        Find doctor. -DING!
        Get antibiotics. -DING!
        Get antibiotics. - DING!
        Leech damage returns!
        This quest is still ongoing. Maybe I need to find some type of scroll? :(

        Move boxes into apartment - Ding!
        Get bed - Ding!
        Buy awesome vanity table from garage sale - Ding! Also, emotional bonus of being referred to as "the young couple". Make sappy faces.
Take ongoing emotional damage from unpacked/crazy mess.

SIDE-QUEST - Australian Customs be Crazy
You successfully completed "Pack all the things". You selected "Pack imitation firearm" (guys, it is an old costume flintlock pistol.)
         Realize you totally should not have selected "pack imitation firearm" because Australia Customs be Crazy and you have to fill out a form.
         Too late now - Fill out form. DING!
         Get to Australia, be contacted by customs.
         Fill out another form. - Ding!
         Deliver form. - Ding!
         Deliver other form - Ding!
         Go back to that other person with another form who totally could have told you to do that in the first place and also seriously, you don't think you should need a firearm importation license from the police for you firearm but okay, fine, here, it is now three months later, take it- Ding!
         Go to the docks IN SYDNEY and get item. No, you don't get anything else. Just your item. Which was yours in the first place. Quest complete! The only bonus here is that you can now clear that goddamn thing out of your quest log, which was frankly getting a little crowded, because you also have

        You have an apartment, now you can get the good internet! Yes! No....
        Get rare drop of NO LANDLINE. Apartment should have landline. Agent said there was a landline. What the hell? Also should have a working oven, but it turns out that quest was super easy and was just because you didn't notice that the item to complete that quest was there the whole time and really you are a little embarrassed that you had to ask for help on that one, but look, you didn't know that you needed to turn on THE TIMER as well as two other knobs to make it work. Right, back to the internet.
         Call internet.
         Find out no landline. Find out that possibly there is no AVAILABLE landline to you unit and you are doomed. But maybe not?
         Have guy come out to look at landline. Gonna get this quest done, booyeah, or at least find out what is wrong.
         Missing item, can not complete quest without key to phone box thing. Oh sweet little fishies, seriously?        
         Complain to agent/landlord.
         Told to contact property manager.
         Property manager needs agent to organize.
         Call agent.
         Follow-up with property manager.
         Go to pick up key and wait for landline guy.
         IS WRONG KEY!!!
         Call the goddamn locksmith.
         Get landline. DING!
         Call internet - told to wait.
         Call internet and fix problem in system.
         Restart waiting period.
         INTERNET! DING!! (yesterday guys, it showed up YESTERDAY)
         Try to get locksmith reimbursement. (I don't even want to LOOK at this quest yet.)

Ongoing health damage from massive amounts of dust
         Learn skill - obsessive vacuuming.

Outdoor sitting area - DING!
Outside plants/herbs - DING!
Hang pictures - DING!
Make buddy with whom to study japanese - DING!

Accept quest to organize Newcastle Steampunk Society
Accept quest to find out more about ZigZag Steam train trip awesomesauce thing.

Attend St. Vincent concert in Sydney - DING! Inspiration boost!

Live by Ocean - DING! Receive general stat bonus of awesomeness
       buy new swimsuit - EPIC DING! On sale, adorable, meets ability to not fall off in massive wave requirements, good quality
       Accept Plans to Go Surfing

Accepted - Plans to walk along coast in mornings so that you don't just lounge in bed until eleven.
         Woke up and walked at 7AM- DING
         DID IT AGAIN! - Ding.

So things are finally moving along. The graphics in Australia are fantastic, and the worldbuilding awesome (possum! On my fence! Last night! And evidently there are marsupial rats??). Wish me luck that I don't get another horrible quest until I've managed to replenish all my health bars.