Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wandering a Winding Road

I think that I will make January the first month since I started PvPing that I will not kill anything. I find it very interesting to do. It is a bit of rebellion that means nothing to anyone but myself. I've spent a lot of time looking over my shoulder trying to be productive by various standards that are not my own.

There are a few reasons for it. One is that I am busy and the time needed to go out on a fleet is not time that I have at the moment. In a way, my time is ticking down. The new CSM comes into office in under two months. I need to finish some things up because there is always the chance that I will not be reelected. Then, there is the fact that I had the winter summit last week. Much of my time was spent prepping, travelling, and then doing. All in all, January has been a very busy Eve month.

I feel a bit guilty and a bit rebellious. Silly emotions but ones that are there. But, I'm tired and distracted and PvP has never relaxed me. It just wears me out and that is not what I am looking for at the moment. It is why I spend a lot of time debating what is contribution in Eve. So often I see it defined as ones participation in PvP. A lot of that is environmental. I do live in low sec which is a PvP environment and it stands to reason that many of those who live in the area would define everything by that.

But I am a great believer in Eve as a game with a lot of pieces. I have this vision of things where different types of people can create something. Silly, I know. But because of this I have lots of little things that I want to do. I've been spending a lot of time collecting my belongings and working on little projects that are not particularly large but are time consumptive. My blueprint collection is an example. I realize that I don't know a lot about where what is in the game. I have a general idea of things but as I've been slowly building my blueprint collection I'm learning where I can find rigs and drones and hull BPOs.

I also got the bright idea to get Chella involved in the research effort. She is heavily trained into industry. Not as much as my two capital ship builders but well enough. I was delighted with myself when I thought to use her. My other two have full research queues. One is copying capital blueprints as fast as she can. The other is researching my rigs and ships. That is slow going with it being a few weeks to a few months to research them to optimal. That means I was delighted when I undocked her and sent her to my research station. I transferred my huge stack of new blueprints and chortled to myself over how clever I was. Grandly, I switched to the material research tab and discovered that she could research exactly one thing. Oh.

Part two of my adventure was to go find a school station. I had a discussion earlier today on twitter about queuinga up skills and the general desire for it. I do agree but I also don't want to get rid of the concept of school stations. They are just one of those little experiences in life.

On my journey, I avoided the closest one. It was through one of the seemingly permanent gatecamps on a high sec to low sec system. I used to go on about how gatecamps were not a big deal. Then I moved to Sujarento. Gatecamps are a regional flavor but where they are camped its more like a campground with running water and electricity for the RV. And that is why Chella is currently training Laboratory skills and can proudly research three blueprints at the moment.

This is the other reason why I will never be able to train an optimal skill plan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

As Productive as Frozen Molasses

I logged into Eve Mentat and received a notification that it had been 11 days since I last updated it. Eep. I logged in my Jita alt and my cyno alts and got my jump freighter out of low sec and into high sec to stage. Next, I leaned over and peeped into the corporate wallet to find seven billion ISK sitting in there. Not bad, not bad. Seven billion worth of stuff sold over the last eleven days. I've been draining that wallet dry.

The good news is that both small Scorch and Dragoons were on this list. That decreases my massive small Scorch typoed to years ago pile further and takes the next step in sending my accidental Dragoon army out to battle. It means a lot of jumps and a lot of contracting. It is good activity for someone as tired as I am today and gives me a head start on gearing my activity levels back up.

I wound up failing at this. I was to damn tired. I started the task around 0900 and at 2100 I was just doing my first cyno jump. I'd been moving like molasses all day and letting other things distract me.

I often discuss that as seriously as I take things like my market, I consider myself to be a somewhat casual player by Eve standards. But casual does not fix. I'm not really a casual gamer when it comes to time and commitment. I'm also serious but I may not be serious by Eve standards. I feel the desire to make some new, useless hybrid of words to describe something that doesn't need to be described.

Mostly, I was thinking about this post over at Lost in Eve where he discusses being a completionest. I'm not a completionist. I've finished few games that I've started playing. I'll play for hours, months, years, and rarely ever finish a game because finishing the game has very little meaning to me. I can read the spoilers of a story or movie because my enjoyment comes from the reading or watching of something not the ending. It is one of the reasons that I struggle with the concept of an achievement system. I am not motivated by something just because its there or someone challenges me to do it. "Go fight three wolves with a cheese stick!" the game might command me. I'll just nod and go eat my cheese stick and walk down the road to admire the grass.

It was a good post and made me feel like a slacker. I've never opened my star map to see where I have been in the game. So, after I write this sentence I shall do so.

I don't have any resolutions about what I will do with said new knowledge. I've never been to the south of Eve. I just cut it off because it had nothing. Null sec is very much not my area of adventure and I am a home body.

A very tired homebody that accomplished very little today. I did get almost everything I needed jumped in at the end. Almost.

Darkness in Winter - Home Coming

Airplanes are good for watching bad movies. Robots was terrible. However I was glad to be watching it. After almost five hours of delays due to weather I was pathetically glad to be headed home.

 I woke up early on Sunday so that I could have breakfast with Corbexx who had to leave at 0930. We hung around and drank tea and talked until nine when he went to collect his things and I went back to my room. I had packed the previous night. I put those last things away, like a brush, and set everything together to go leave my room. It was 0930 and I didn't have to leave until noon so I did the reasonable thing and went and had a nap until just after 1100. My body clock has not adjusted fully and I spent a lot of time very, very tired.

With noon approaching and a late fee on the horizon, I gathered my stuff and went down to check out. This is an area where I struggle in Europe. I wait to be noticed and called to the desk so person after person just steps in front of me and catches the receptionists attention. Check out was simple and I gave them my bags to tend while I lugged my briefcase with me since it contains all of the important stuff.

I found Sion and we wandered in a few circles looking for lunch. The goal had been to go to the Laundromat which is actually a Laundromat as well as a cafe. It was full so we wound up at a place near by for some burgers. Sion owed me a meal so he grabbed a burger for me and I came across one of my deepest problems.

I forgot to ask him for no sauce. I forgot that sauce came on it. So, I receive this burger and it is dripping under the weight of their house 'sauce' on both buns and thickly coating the meat as well. This is not a squeeze bottle apply condiment situation but a generous ladle of horror. Sion got two burgers and dejectedly, I tried another place only to discover they were out of everything that I wanted.

Fine. I had honey nut Cheerios in my bag. I'd be fine. Progod surfaced from somewhere looking like a truck spent the night running him over. We idled in the hotel lobby and received an email saying our flights were delayed by an hour. That was frustrating but nothing tragic. Shit happens. Our ride came and we squeezed the four of us (for Ali was also heading out now) into the car and took the long ride to the airport.

Once there checkin was amusing. I had set up my suitcase so that I could pull weight. Indeed, I was 4 kilo over. I swiftly started pulling prepreared swag from the bag until I hit weight. I then readded a bit and found myself ridiculously pleased with my packing. Then I went to wander through the big shopping/food area that is before the terminals. They are redoing that area. I staggered through with my stuff and started the long walk down the endless coordinator towards my terminals.

The airport is long and slender with terminals at the end. The US bound flights are through a passport control area and down steps. There is another, smaller cafeteria down there and more shopping. To my surprise the customs area was taped off and it was closed. There were all sorts of people milling around, waiting. I found Ali, Sion, and Progod again and we just settled down into a pile on the floor and waited for about an hour for them to open up to let us go downstairs. The bathrooms down there are also weirdly cool and frustrating. Once in the 'Americas' section as I call it, you have to go down another flight of steps to the bathrooms which take up a full level under the terminals. The individual stalls are large, white rooms with Dyson dryers/taps so they wash and dry your hands in your little private softly lit white sanctuary room.

And then the delays kept going. We got downstairs and got delayed again. And again. High winds were the problem. You could hear them slamming into the building and rocking the equipment outside. Our gates were all cancelled and put on a to be announced. The area was filling up with people. I was getting hungry. I gave in to go buy something only to have the lady close the stand as I approached. Sigh. I called out of work and watched Ali play Magic the Gathering Online (no idea what was going on) finished a book, and finally around 1930 they announced a gate for my flight. I said buy to everyone and trundled over.

The original gate was 31. They moved it to 29 after the cancellation. Now it was 32. I got a good spot at the head of the line. The flight crew boarded. The winds had died down. Everyone cheered. Then the board over the gate flipped from Washington to Toronto. The line cried out. The lady checking us in said to wait! An announcement we couldn't hear happened. We waited while she talked rapidly in Icelandic to someone. Then the flight crew came back down and we had to go across the airport to another set og gates, this time 26.

My swag bag had started to rip earlier and now it was struggling. This is probably why you should not follow me on twitter because my twitter feed became a saga of my bags attempt to reach America full of its swag. The bag was just a cover. The actual swag was inside of three separate plastic bags so that if I lost control I'd be able to recover it.

Now we are in line for number 26. We had been in line for almost an hour at 32. It was another hour at 26 while I listened to the man behind me seduce the lady he was standing with. Finally we got to board. My bag was ripping with each step so I carried it in my arms as I climbed steps. For the first time ever leaving the airport there I used a jet-way. Normally they just open the doors and people stampede for the plane across the tarmac.

Once loaded and settled, I crammed into my seat and dreamed of ordering the curry chicken dish. Of course, once we were de-iced and took off and finally fed they were out of it. Sigh. I ate cereal and wished my shoulders were more narrow and watched a terrible movie, listened to my audiobook, and dozed badly and dehydrated while incredibly overheated. Miserable flight and we finally landed. I nursed my bag through the terminals and the bus ride, through global entry (which is amazing) and to baggage where I was able to get a cart and rest my swag bag, now in structure, on top of my baggage and go greet my husband sometime after midnight.

And thus ends this adventure. It will pick back up in seven weeks but I'll go back to writing about Eve stuff for a little bit. Thank you everyone who has followed along with my daily life.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

CSM9 - Day Iceland

The week has been a busy one and an interesting one. The Winter Summit sessions were held this week and a few dev blogs of interest have also been released. The Summit has been long days and short nights but it was productive and the minutes have been released.

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four

These are the minutes. There are no secondary set of minutes coming out.  It means we will be answering a lot of questions and fleshing out conversations that are condensed. Please remember that remote attendees did participate but their participation may not be equally represented because they mostly typed into the group chat vs spoke.

The ship skin dev blog was released and it discusses the future of ship skins. Someone mailed the CSM to express that they are displeased with the plans for skinning ships due to valuable, collectors ships. I think that topic was immediately raised by several people. The need to keep unique, rare, collectible hulls and their history intact is a topic that CCP is taking seriously. While making everything a skin would be easy, it would also be a mistake. They seem to understand the importance of the game history.

Next the stats for the Svipul have been released as well as its name. People are asking how it is pronounced seeing as that it is an Icelandic names. The pronunciation is, "Minmatar Tactical Destroyer." CCP Scarpia has taken pity on the Icelandic people's ears and put up a proper pronunciation on Soundcloud. It sounds very close to, "Minmatar Tactical Destroyer" in English if you ask me. The rest of the concept art has been released as well showing it to be a very flexible hull.

Inside of changes of the Minmatar Tactical Destroyer are small projectile weapon changes. Projectile weapons are one of those ugly and constant things floating about. This is, I hope, a first step in a broader look at projectiles.

I do not have a broad overview of the game for this week. I have spent very little time focusing on Eve stuff outside of the Summit. We had sessions during the day and I edited minutes at night and in the morning before the meetings for the day started. I am also walking away with a task list of things to do. Some developers asked for some feedback and projects to be done. Sion, Corbexx and I have discussed the need for more institutional knowledge inside of the CSM to smooth over communications issues and make the transition from CSM to CSM better so that they don't have such a long time when it comes to getting on board and productive. With the elections coming next month I want to get some of this done and other projects in a state that if I am not reelected these things will continue past me.

My last task here was to get Swag to give away at local meets. I accomplished this and walked away with a huge box of stuff that I am currently hoping I will get onto the airplane. I believe in my stuff. The local meets will have things handed out to them for many meets into the future. I just need to come up with a good distribution method that won't leave anyone feeling to disenfranchised for the bigger stuff.

Jet lag will be a terrible thing but it will be nice to be back home. At least, until Fanfest. 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Seven

Photo Album is updated.

Everything caught up to me and I missed out on writing about Friday because I got back to my room at 0330 and I was exhausted.

Day Three minutes.
Day Four minutes.

On Thursday night, Corbexx and I headed back early. We were tired and there was still another day of the Summit to go. I was a pile of nerves about having done my low session. The two of us had a nice dinner at a steakhouse that I enjoy and decided that we needed an early night. We both failed at going to bed early after working on Eve stuff and going back over minutes. I wound up working on sessions until midnight when I decided that I was to damn tired to be productive anymore.

Back up at seven and down to breakfast at seven thirty where I met up with Corbexx. We then headed into the office for nine although we didn't start stuff till later. That hour was good for going over the minutes again and comparing our notes from the previous day. My low sec session stresses me out. How did I do? Will people be pleased with my attempts? It is a session I ask CCP for and I pretty much lay information out to them. That is also rather intimidating but well received. Sometimes thou, this thing is over whelming. I just had to leave them alone and let fate takes its course.

Then day four started. There are some pictures and such done. I opted out. I have no fondness for cameras or video. I thought about it a lot. Some people may not feel that I have a right to opt out of being recorded in those ways but I decided that I'd take whatever negative publicity came to me. I've never been fond of being in front of a camera and if that is the thing that makes me bad in someones eyes I can accept it.

We ran through the rest of the day and tackled some bigger issues. The biggest one was the CSM itself. The discussion is there and it may be hard to follow because we are all over the place.

CCP Leeloo wants to remove permanent attendees. A lot of us would like to as well but there are several reasons why some do not think it is the best of ideas. Read the minutes if you are interested in the breakdown from the others. My issue is one of perception. I am told quite often about my Icelandic vacation. The CSM is also called CCP sympathizers and other such things. If CCP always picks CSM members the favoritism calls will be loud. There are some activities that do not translate well across the NDA and that is where things like the CSM holding itself accountable comes into play. There is such a goal of professionalism that people are being shielded when call outs need to be made. If people are happy with an inactive member or a member with poor activity levels that is fine but it should not be a guessing match as to who is and who is not active. We are elected by the players to function not by each other to be best friends.

And yes, we discussed ideas on how to remove inactive members. I believe that every CSM has had someone just go fully inactive after they joined. That is not the same as not being productive or having bad ideas, just never log in, never respond, never do a single thing after they collect their forum tag. I think that is a horrible situation. It is also a tough one because no one wants to disenfranchise the voters.

Areas such as removing Fanfest is to get more members over to the summits. Fanfest is a nice perk but it is a perk. It isn't like the summit with days and days of meetings and working over things. CCP is so busy preparing for fanfest that they could not if they wanted to. The goal is to get the most use out of the CSM and the budget for fanfest could instead be used for better summits or even longer summits.

Some have already come back and said that it is a reward and a cookie that may make people work harder. I don't think that is the point of the CSM and I say that as someone who is getting all of the trips. I want people to run for CSM because they want to run for the CSM and do the work and make the effort. Not to get a trip.

So that was a session... then the community team and their goals and plans. I asked for swag for my local meets and agreed to meet CCP Falcon the next day. Afterwards, we hung around the office because we were heading to dinner in an hour. Friday is a group dinner night. At the same time a group was touring the CCP office and having a conference after hours. No idea what it was about but it was fascinating.

So, off we go to the restaurant in cabs. Our reservation got confused so things got a bit messy but we had a good dinner, if long. Afterwards, it was onto the local bar. The development team had a group dinner as well so I walk into this bar and its full of people. Huge, bearded Icelandic developers grab Xander and start roaring at him and waving beer. I slink around to a somewhat clear spot and just stare at the noise which involved men singing R Kelley's "Ignition" in heavy accents. So weird. I did wind up chatting with CCP Masterplan for a while about stuff and when Corbexx said he was leaving I was ready to drop out as well. That was three thirty. I got back to my room, stared at my laptop, and dropped into the bed with the goal to sleep late.

I kind of did. Corbexx skyped me at like noon to go eat. So, I poured myself from the bed, found clothing, and went to have lunch. We then came back and spent a few hours working on the day four minutes with Sion. After that, I claimed them as pack mules and we trundled off to CCP to get my swag. I got a lot of swag. I am not sure how I'm getting it all home without going over my luggage weight right now but I think it can be done. I loaded Corbexx and Sion up with some for myself and we braved the howling winds and pelting snow to get back to the hotel.

From there, we started an adventure to find souvenirs and a bag. That didn't go as well as I might wish. I am used to just finding cheap duffle type bags around. I found bags costing a hundred USD that I might have spent thirty on at home. It was insane. So we kept walking. Sion got a magnet. I didn't settle on a shirt for my husband. I now need to do that in the morning.

The wind was blowing. Snow was blinding us, and CCP Leeloo had invited those interested to play Cards Against Humanity. We went looking for a soup shop that I had read about. We managed to pass it and only found it because Corbexx asked someone. I was busy hoping I'd just trip over it and looking for a large sign. Turns out the sign was more subtle and half covered in snow. Sion was blind from said snow and only the power of Corbexx saved us and got us amazing, hot, delicious soup.

The soup was described as chili soup with meat and tomatoes. It was in actuality a creamy slightly cheesy, chili pepper flavored, ground beef mixed, vegetable holding bowl of savoriness that looked like glop and tasted like heaven. It was in a bread bowl that was delicious. Corbexx has never seen a bread bowl somehow. The menu fascinated me. It was a very stylized black man. The decorations made me think someone had spent some time in Africa. And it was a tiny shop. Sion and Corbexx commented that the place was mostly full of locals which was a good sign. Whatever it was, delicious was part of it.

We headed back through the blowing, wind driven snow. I decided to stay in. Sion went to play cards. Corbexx went to pack and then play cards. I had this to write and swag to pack. I have no idea how I am going to do it but it will all make it home somehow in three bags. I have stuff to give out for months now. I'm so excited. I wont be taking this to one meet and tipping it all on the table for a frenzy. I'll have to figure out some type of distribution method. I have a lot of stuff so everyone will get something.

And its late and I'm tired. I've been listening to the minutes being gone over with Eve Radio. It is interesting listening to it.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Darkness in Winter - Day Five

It is early in the evening, just after 2100. I'm about to make some tea once my laptop charges a bit. The power in the room is keyed to the key-card which goes in a slot by the door. So, power is off when I am gone during the day. I'm in my pajamas and I decided that I was not going out. Today is day three of four and tomorrow is our group dinner with CCP which will be a long evening.

I am quite tired. Yesterday's minutes have been released.

The move from three days to four was good. We've pushed many sessions over time. We still have several more to go and long ones today.

I started with the low sec session so I dumped all of my energy into the morning. I was up on time and down to have breakfast with corbexx by 0730. We got to CCP's office early and then sat down and did another review of the minutes. The new format does not catch how long conversations can be. That means less for people to read but it makes some sessions short. But more on that later.

I started out the day and we had two sessions before lunch. Lunch was Fish and Chips and it seems that malt vinegar is not common in Iceland. It probably will not catch on if I continue to accidentally splash people with it. Sigh. It was quite good and it seems that fish and chips (french fries) is a very exciting thing. About as exciting as hot breakfast if one looks at the line.

Then we hit the evening meetings. I was not the star of these and had my most quiet afternoon. Which is a relief. I've talked a lot. The side effect is that I crashed a bit and got super, dooper tired. By the time we headed out for the evening (just before 1800) I was dragging. Some stayed to eat at CCP. They have dinner on Tuesday and Thursday. I convinced Corbexx to come find the restaurant I was looking for the other day and we changed out of dress clothing and wandered the streets until we found it.

So, I had a lovely steak. Corbexx had a pizza covered in rocket. I met rocket when I went to England in 2010 and I can't stand the stuff. Ugh. We talked and ate and decided to stagger back to the hotel for the evening and skip going out. The time zone changes are kicking my butt. Waking up in the morning is kicking Corbexx's. We tottered home like boring people. It's quite sad. We have minutes to edit and another day to make it through. That leaves me here, typing this as I work over sessions and add in my notes and details.

I took a few more night time shots with my phone. It does better with my phone but I doubt I will upload them tonight. I still have a few more sessions to read over and add to. I'm sorry that I don't have exciting adventures for you. I'm holed up in my hotel room, typing and whining that I'm tired.

Edit: It's midnight. I have to stop poking at things. And I messed up the numeric date for this blog post. I did the same yesterday.