What I did this summer

I spent the entire summer learning the UDK and Blender 3D, and making my very own video game.

I'm immensely proud of everything I learned and accomplished. This was the most challenging, rewarding, and fun summer I've had in a very long time.

If you're interested, check out the game's website:

http://grandinvasion.com/

So what will I do for an encore? Make a new game. :) Just in the planning stages now.

Toilet-trained kitten!

Yep, she's really there, and has been for about a month now. Clever kitten!

I'm loving the "flush twice a day" model of cat-waste removal so much more than the scooping one. :)

I would post a pic or two, but she pretty much takes care of business privately; I rarely see her do it anymore.

I think I'm on my way

For the past, oh, several years, I've had some energy issues, which were complicated and aggravated by various ongoing medical crises in and around me. The fatigue got pretty bad recently, so I made some specific changes, based on some incremental past successes, including:

- Eating bigger and proteinier breakfasts
- Not eating chocolate
- Eating blueberries every day

And wouldn't you know it? I felt much, much better. Had sustained energy throughout the day for the first time in, well, I don't know how long, because fatigue affects memory.

I had a sneaking, sinking suspicion that the chocolate was the biggest issue, because I'm quite sensitive to caffeine. I went 5 days without it, and then had a chunk today. Now my brain is foggy and my muscles feel vague and weak.

Believe it or not, this is good news. Delightful as chocolate is, it's just a kind of food, and one in which I've indulged plentifully over the years. Knowledge is power. Avoiding chocolate can be tricky, but if I know it exhausts me, I can choose when to take that hit.

I'll keep playing with the other items on the list, but I'm guessing chocolate is the biggest culprit.

This means that I can expect lots of good, sustained-energy days now. I can't tell you how immeasurable a relief that is.

New story

I've just finished the second draft of my first new short story in years. And I can't tell about this one. I love the concept, but I'm too close to it to evaluate the execution. To be honest, I'm not even sure there's a fantasy element, though I hope so.

Regardless, I'm quite pleased.

What to think?

Apparently, all agencies that provide temp staff to Microsoft are passing along part or all of a brand-new 10% cut in the rates Microsoft is paying those agencies. Agency temps working at Microsoft (not agency representatives, recruiters, or management) are taking enforced pay cuts.

(Yes, this is probably legal. Essentially they're terminating existing contracts and creating new ones. But it stinks.)

There is, of course, much hue and cry. To me, it comes down to a fundamental question: Is Microsoft upper management taking advantage of dire economic times in the country to cut pay unnecessarily, secure in the assumption that people are too scared to leave and jobs are too scarce to find? If the answer is yes, then a protest is in order. See this website for more information about temps debating unionizing:

http://www.msratecuts.org/site/

If, however, the answer is no -- if, despite its riches, Microsoft really does need to cut these costs, just as many other companies have had to, then fighting these cuts could have the result of hurting Microsoft and the agencies, possibly even driving some under.

I don't blame the agencies for passing along some of the cuts; despite their taking 30-40% of bill rates, I do believe profit margins are already slim.

I honestly don't know what to think. I don't know if the fact that Microsoft (and agency) upper management aren't taking voluntary pay cuts means that times really aren't that dire.

Thoughts? (No flaming, please; I know this is inflammatory stuff, but flaming won't solve anything.)

Winter in Seattle

I can't remember the last time we had 10 inches of snow, with more still falling. (Yes, I measured with a ruler. It's what I do.)

I know I could be annoyed at the inconvenience of being snowed in, but the Buffalo girl in me just loves the snow. This is just like a respectable winter.

When I am old, I hope snowfall still affects me the same way. I never want to lose my childhood wonder at the way winter transforms the world.

ETA: It's up to more than 12 inches. The top of my ruler disappears below the surface of the snow.