I always love the way sunlight comes through rippled curtains – the slow gradients broken by straight lines at the crest of each wave. I stopped to take this as I got out of bed this morning, and was a bit frustrated at how difficult it was to fit the shapes nicely into a frame. I don’t think I managed it, but you are looking at it anyway. Try to imagine it a little dreamier.
Here’s Anton and Pearce, sitting on our injured couch and trying to get through one of my Super Mario Maker stages.
Level design is a surprisingly difficult art, and the process of building something fun and interesting takes a lot of thought and iteration, building ideas and scrapping them for new ones. It’s not a skill I”m ever going to master, but it’s fun to dabble in with this game. Creating a good level requires placing yourself in another’s mental state; players will know nothing about what thought went into your design, so you have to build it in a way such that it teaches them as they go.
That is to say: it’s very interesting to watch people play levels I make, since they will miss things I thought were obvious, make mistakes I didn’t expect, take shortcuts that I thought were impossible; my mind creates a shape and theirs digests it by an entirely different process, and the discrepancy is so fascinating.
This particular level, though, was maybe a little cruel. Anton fell off the angry caterpillar onto the spikes below many times before giving up, and that’s entirely my fault. There’s plenty to learn here, as in all things.
the great wiggler robbery
Jeff interviewed for a position at my workplace yesterday. He worked through the challenge problems with a language that he’s just learning – a bit of a risk, though it was more fun for him than to use plain old Java.
It didn’t work out for him, unfortunately, and afterwards he went back and solved the problem on his own as elegantly as he could. Today at lunch, as we sat by the water, he explained to me how his algorithm works. It’s written in Clojure, which I’m told is very much like Lisp, and the style of language is so very different from any other language I’ve seen in common use. At first glance I could barely understand any of it, and that was a little bewildering; I’ve gotten used to a particular family of languages that all work similarly. It’s good to be reminded how much there is left to learn.
Jeff will not be joining me at work, sadly, but he seemed to take the whole experience in good stride. He’s a brilliant sort, and soon someone with money to throw at him will appreciate that.
We are trying to ease Zinky into his exploration of the neighborhood. Laurel stayed home yesterday, leaving the door open so Zinky could come in and out; today I worked at home, closing the door now and then, letting him in occasionally. Tomorrow he’ll be on his own.
Zinky experienced his first rain today. The earlier showers didn’t seem to faze him, but when it began to pour I saw him running back and forth outside the window, totally at a loss of what to do. I let him in, toweled him off, and when the rain eased off he went out again.
He likes getting into shrubbery, it seems, and keeps coming back covered in leaves and bits of spiderweb. Eventually I stepped out and found that he had somehow reached the other side of the fence; he walked back and forth a bit, unsure how to get back, until I lifted a bit of the chain link at one point and he slipped back through.
Let’s hope for some good adventures tomorrow.
bells of civilization
Pearce came by for just a few moments tonight between work and rehearsal. He has been keeping busy quite a bit lately, which is not a bad way to be; it was nice to see him, if only for a brief hello.
Laurel stayed home today, letting Zinky take some brave steps into the outdoors, hoping he would burn off some steam. He came back in on his own, napped hard, and so far hasn’t harmed the furniture any further. Perhaps he just needs some freedom to adventure.
Look at our living room, finally coalescing into a real place! We are nearly done with the whole moving ordeal, and tonight I was able to take some time to do some work for Jacob that I’ve been putting off for far too long.
While I was out helping Anton move yesterday, Zinky peed on two of the couch cushions, crossing a line he never had before. We’d trusted him to leave the couch alone, even after wetting the bed, the new chair, a towel and a bag full of laundry; he’d always been safe in the living room.
So Laurel arranged a vet appointment and I left work early to take him there, wondering if a urinary tract infection might be responsible for this behavior. He rested on the scale there very obediently, and only complained a little when the doctors pulled out their instruments to inspect him.
They didn’t find anything, but recommended a pheromone spray and some pills to help him with the stress from our move to the new apartment.
When we got home I sprayed the spray in the living room, and when Laurel arrived we gave the couch cushions a second treatment with the anti-stink enzyme spray. The room smelled of urine and pheromone and chemistry, so we opened the doors and windows, which let in the smoke from a neighbor’s barbecue. There was nowhere for us to sit together, so we spent the evening at our separate desks working on our own things.
Tonight, just moments after Laurel had been playing with Zinky, he wandered over to the couch – now exposed, since the cushions needed airing out – and left another puddle in it. We hadn’t had time to recover from the last incident; it felt like having a sandcastle kicked down halfway through repairs.
I wish we could communicate with him.
The way things are going, Zinky is making our place unlivable. He’s such a sweet cat most of the time, but we can’t keep covering the entire apartment in chemical sprays and hiding in our room.
Perhaps this isn’t the best home for him. I wonder if we can find someplace better.
Anton starts his new job in a few days, and part of the transition to this new chapter for him is a new apartment – the first home that he has to himself. Mitch and I helped him pack some things into his parents’ minivan (his mother provided fresh apple cake), his whole family came out to send him off, and we drove across the city to see what would become his new home.
As we took turns carrying furniture up the four flights of stairs, we could hear the sound of some unfamiliar stringed instrument – a guzheng, perhaps? – drifting over a neighbor’s fence. That on its own made it seem like a lovely place to live, a neighborhood full of color.
We finished, finally, and some rather fantastical pizza arrived to congratulate us. I can’t quite appreciate the flavor of mushrooms but they did fit a remarkable variety on one pie, and the other was so intensely flavorful – gorgonzola, roasted pear, unnamable greens and spices. Each slice almost collapsed under the weight of the toppings, so we had to take big bites to start each one off.
I think Anton will like it here.