Friday, March 26, 2010

Woggy #27: Guest Bath Floor

One of the earliest home improvement projects I took on after moving into my condo and getting married (which btw, was at least 7 years ago...) was decorating my guest bath, which in the case of my house is also the laundry room. If you don't count the flooring, the room itself has been complete for some very long time and must have been a success judged by the fact that whenever any of my guests who've been here before finds out that another one of my guests hasn't seen it, they always respond by jumping up and saying "Oh you've GOT to see the bath!!!" enthusiastically dragging said poor new guest, unawares and bewildered, down the hall. This is probably due to my unorthodox decor of "Space Station", inclusive of portholes with a view of Earth, a simulated sideways airlock, and a space monkey.

I can only hope everyone's enthusiasm for the space-like walls and ceiling have all these years kept everyone distracted away from the fact that the floors, which in general look pretty good, are nonetheless unfinished in just about every corner of the room, and have been practically permanently so for years now. Originally, I had tackled the flooring of both my bathrooms with a fervor to get rid of the boring white "builder's special" linoleum, constrained by the fact that I had read getting the bath floors redone was a pain due to various HOA regulations regarding something called a vapor barrier or something like that. I therefore decided that finding a flooring I could put on top of my existing flooring, one I could order in the mail and install myself, was obviously the ideal solution. And I was happy to find a nice industrial tiling that even came in the lovely space-station-y black I had been hoping for (seriously, only galvanized steel would have been more spiffy).

So began my flooring project, which I took on initially entirely without the assistance of my husband, since I not only had both the vision and the free time, I didn't want to have to wait for his available time nor did I relish the idea of working for hours in close quarters on such a project with another person.

I started with my master bath, and sturdy utility knife in hand, managed to customize the tiling in there to fit snugly from wall to wall, so that it is basically impossible to tell that the floor wasn't laid in the traditional fashion. The cutting was difficult work, requiring alot of brawn as well as precision, but it ended up being manageable in the small and relatively uniform space of that room.

By the time I was ready to move on to the guest bath, which was not only larger but shaped much more irregularly, I began to think it was probably necessary for me to get some assistance. I laid out all of the even, straight areas requiring minimal cutting, and then on an ambitious day I took on some of the tighter areas, still keeping things in the square-ish department, as the curved and skinny strips proved to be the most difficult parts to do. Once I got to this part, I talked it over with my husband and he agreed to help me with finishing off all of the corners and everything in time for the upcoming arrival of some house-guests (which always seems to work as a motivational factor when it comes to household projects).

However, time got away from us and the floor fell to the bottom of the list, until the guests were about to arrive and it became impossible to get it done in time. We just decided it would have to hold. Then when our guests didn't even seem to notice, we thought, hmm, maybe this isn't as urgent an issue as we thought? So it was put on the giant household to do list. And there it has sat ever since. Every year, when it's getting close to say, holiday time when there are many guests in the house, I always renew my hope that this project will actually get done, but really, it very stubbornly has years of inaction behind it that seem to work against any and all actual completion of this project.

This was a relatively neutral situation until we one day ended up needing a replacement of a fixture. Turns out the new one wasn't at all shaped like the old one, as can be clearly seen in the picture above. This, and the complete ridiculousness of how it looked I hoped would now work in favor of our quick completion, since we couldn't possibly let it sit looking that out of sorts, could we? (Turns out that yes, we could...) And thus my hope has faded with every year for any sort of easy solution.

Then this past holiday season, I received a robotic floor scrubber for a present. While it performed perfectly in all other rooms of the house, the first time I tried setting it on its own in the guest bath, the poor little guy valiantly did the best he could, but the traps laid in every other corner, not to mention the odd unevenness around our fixture, left it stopping and bleeping desperately for help at every fifth turn. In the end, it needed almost as much assistance from me if I had just cleaned the floor myself. At this, I resolved anew to get this floor completed, if for nothing else, for the peace of mind that I could let my Scooba clean the way it was meant to.

So I post this here now, hoping against dark hope that this project may someday (maybe even soon...) be completed, for the sake of happy Scoobas and content Space Monkeys alike.

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project
  • Find the stack of extra black floor tiles
  • Get some new sharp utility knives and work gloves
  • Find wax pencil or crayons for marking up tiles
  • Schedule a day or a weekend to complete this project
  • Recut and/or replace tiles around new fixture
  • Cut and place remaining tiles around other corners and fixtures
  • Stand back and contentedly look at lovely finished floor, victory beverage in hand

Friday, March 19, 2010

Woggy #26: Saga of Brave Mita

So I can't say I remember which came first, the fan website (of woggy #25 fame) or my fanfic, but sometime around the creation of one, the other soon followed and the two have been married ever since. Whatever its beginnings, the Animal Crossing fanfic called (in its entirety) The Heroic Epic Saga of Brave Mita is the first and only fanfiction I have ever written in my entire life. And following in the tradition of most fanfictions I have otherwise seen, as well as in fine woggy tradition, this story was earnestly begun with plans for the future and intends to someday have an ending but has not to this day actually ever been completed.

Somewhere around the time I began Hermita's fan website, I decided it had been so long since I had written anything that to write something less serious, just for fun, certainly wouldn't hurt even though in the past I might have thought of fanfiction as something that was beneath a serious, adult writer (which is probably why I had never tried it before). It turned out that unlocking my creativity unfettered into a fanfiction, with no serious purpose or hope of publication, was exactly the sort of thing I needed in my life to get my personal energies (specifically of the writing kind) flowing in a positive creative direction again after many years of extreme abandonment. Since it was a non-serious endeavor, I took to writing this story from the point of view of Hermita, an overly-serious and extremely earnest and self-important character I had created in the course of playing my favorite videogame. As such I wrote in a style I often had fun writing in the past but one I knew was a little over the top, a sort of 18th-century paid-by-the-letter over-wordiness, which I knew would be perfect for Hermita. This let me be as maudlin and overwrought as I wanted to be since, after all, the point was to be maudlin and overwrought. It was incredibly fun to write.

"Surely, I realized, Mother Nature was one kingdom where Nook held no court. Surely the trees would continue to provide their good graces without his interference. If bees were but the justice meted out for such dalliance, I agreed to the terms. I began to shake trees with abandon."

In addition to being fun to write, I also realized as my story was going along (and I started receiving really positive feedback from others, especially young others) that while this project was just something I had started for fun, and was, in the end, not a piece of writing I'd probably ever be able to even publish (being based on characters of a copyrighted game) it was still anyway something that felt important, with a dignity and quality and importance of its own that I had never expected. Through this fun endeavor I was able to not only tell the story of a videogame character and her adventures, but also found myself able to work through some personal demons of my own through the characters and their struggles, as well as being able to tap into, in a youth-friendly form, complicated struggles and issues that both individuals and societies have been dealing with since civilizations began. Things like slavery and political oppression, political and personal tyrants, overcoming difficulty and diversity with dignity, creativity and strength, and all sorts of other things I had really only jokingly imagined when I first began making a story and website of this character.

"Truth be told I wasn’t immune to the boiling of blood that my abuser was undoubtedly attempting to create within my personage, but I was with a great power of internal will able to hold such simmering to a temperature just below the point of conversion to steam and pleasingly, I was able to keep any visible signs of such agitation at bay via my studied concentration and genuine interest in the craft and manufacture of the incongruously exquisite timepiece. I assessed the facts of the situation, which were exactly that I was in no worse of a position than I was the last time Mr. Nook, so similarly rageful, had handed me the last shirt of similar type. He was, after all, entirely incapable of forcing me to wear the shirt, the same as he was utterly powerless to force me to un-agreed upon indentured servitude. "

After the first chapter or two was completed, alot of my Hermita-directed creative attention was diverted into the creation and upkeep of the website itself, as well as the occasional actual gameplay used as origin material for both the website and the story, I did for the most part make a pretty good effort to get out a new chapter of this story at the rate of about one new chapter per month or two. There were certainly longer breaks at times, but in general I had been pretty good at it.

However, it's probably been almost a year since I've written any new content for the actual story itself. I've written plenty of material for the rest of the website, alot of which will certainly be able to be used in future chapters of Hermita's story, should I actually allow the storyline to travel all the way through to its successful conclusion, but since you generally publish a fanfic in chronological order, and I had chosen to begin at the very beginning of her story, there are plenty of chapters in between that will need to be filled.

Now, since I am writing this story and updating it as if Hermita is writing it herself as her personal memoir, all of the stops and starts do make sense, since she is, fictionally speaking, a woman very busy with the duties of her revolutionary cause, not the least of which was her town getting bombed and having to go fugitive to escape to another land via hot air balloon, where she had to start reorganizing her cause and setting up a new home base in a new land. Storywise, she doesn't often have free time to just sit down and finish off her memoir. However, with my bringing both her cause and my (ahem, her...) website to a conclusion, both she and I will presumably have alot more free time to devote to the completion of her story.

While I did describe in woggy #25's entry that I plan to bring the site to a halt, I do plan to check up on it now and again to add any user-submitted content, but also to add chapters to her memoir, which is also housed right there on the site. Of course that means I've got to pick up the keyboard again and get going with her story. I do have the benefit of knowing already where her story is going, plot-wise. It's really all just a matter of spending the time to sit down and get it done.

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • complete woggy #25, at least in some reasonably conclusive fashion
  • begin writing Chapter 8
  • post chapter 8 to Hermita's site
  • write and post next chapter
  • repeat, repeat, repeat until the final chapter
  • decide what if anything to do with the completed story

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Woggy #25: Flower & Tree

As some of you may know, and others may be completely unaware, I have been running a fan website based on a character in the Nintendo game Animal Crossing for about three and a half years now. My upkeep of this site, as well as the population of my followers, has ebbed and flowed over that time, though until recently had been at a fairly slow and steady rate. I continued to provide content, and my most stalwart fans continued to follow me, with an occasional new fan showing up every now and then.

Round about August of last year, I decided that, while my site had served a pretty good run, and I still had a dedicated fan or two who was still following all my updates in earnest, it was probably time to retire from this endeavor. However, I resolved that I wasn't going to do it in the way I had often seen other sites come and go, which is to say that one day their creator just disappeared, leaving their site and any continuity it was following hanging in the air indefinitely for all internet eternity. Especially in the case of my site, where I had carefully laid out and been continuing to evolve a storyline of sorts. Specifically, I had created a pseudo political cause, with an archenemy and a rebellion which had been growing in its success and popularity. Certainly I couldn't just leave that hanging without some sort of positive, hopeful conclusion!

So, at that time, I wrote down specifically where I'd like things to head in terms of the storyline of my character and of the site itself. I broke things down to a manageable 2 or 3-phase update process, and initiated phase one. However, that's as far as I got, and my site has been sitting in limbo ever since.

I still have my notebook of bullet points sitting here, and a folder full of in-game photos I shot for use in my "last update". And I still intend to finish this someday soon, so as to give all of my fans a hopeful and inspiring ending, as well as creating a satisfactory point of stasis for the site, a position where it could sit frozen for all posterity and still seem like a complete "work" (if a website could at any point be said to be a "work" anyway). I feel it's the least I can do to all the years of effort I put towards this endeavor, and even more importantly, the least I can offer to all of the wonderful fans of my site who surfaced over the past couple of years, who supported me and my efforts more than I could have ever imagined.

So, with that in mind...

Things Left To Complete This Woggy Project:
  • archive all previously posted interior designs
  • add pdfs of all F&T blueprints to the ID page
  • remove all non-sustainable material from F&T supporter page
  • remove lyrics feature from music page, or replace w/ a Chad-made revolving widget
  • remove comment box from music page
  • compile all interesting comments from various pages, guestbook, etc. into a text file
  • remove guestbook
  • remove all shoutboxes & comment boxes
  • add a "comments" section with comments from the saved text file
  • create 2 FAQs for bottom of what's new page (1 for Pippi & 1 for Hermita)
  • remove all non-ageless polls
  • remove all non-ageless house ads
  • archive any remaining news updates
  • in place of news sections, put some more ageless text, including relevant links
  • create final news updates for all relevant pages, and upload photos (archive if neccessary)
  • post notices encouraging users to submit content and comments via ACC PT or gmail
  • update members & supporters list
  • Change home page to reflect changes
  • Update What's new page with the latest changes (remove after a month or 2)
  • Mail site members an update email, also explaining changes.