Minecraft: Diary of a Miner

The Minecraft deity known as Notch released update 1.6 recently which allows Nether Portals to work on Multiplayer Servers like the one I play on.

Since Minecraft itself doesn’t support multiple worlds, we all knew that something weird was going to happen when we built and went through a Nether Portal in another world. Maybe nothing would happen. Maybe each world would have it’s own Nether.

What really happens is a lot less exciting. Every portal in every world goes to the main world’s Nether. Then, if you go back through that gate, it spits you somewhere in the main world (Bunnies).

The first time I tried this, I went through a Nether Portal near the Floaty Stargate. Floaty is a world I spend a lot of time in. I found myself suspended high above some lava with little room to move somewhere in The Nether. Then I went back through before I fell or was killed by ghasts and ended up in the middle of the ground somewhere in Bunnies right by a monster spawner. I died a few times and repeated going back through. I cleaned out the area and Kiashien helped me make a Stargate called Bridge so that I could get out of wherever it was I’d ended up.

I’m pretty good at exploring The Nether. I practiced in our “psudo-nether” world (Stargates Nether1 and Glowstone). These were created using multi-world before the 1.6 update. In those days glowstone dropped less glowstone dust when harvested. I was pretty obsessed with finding a ‘prettier’ light source than torches, torches, and more torches to use in my bases and other creations. So, I did a lot of exploring and digging and building in The Nether. Ghasts were a huge problem because at that point, I couldn’t actually see the ghasts correctly. They would flicker across the screen as if they were in multiple spots at once and I couldn’t see their projectiles flying at me. So, dodging them and hitting them back at the ghasts was impossible. Killing ghasts was all guesswork.

So, when I was given a Nether Gate high above open lava with barely a platform to stand on and a lot of ghasts spawning, I said, “Challenge Accepted”.

I don’t die a lot in Minecraft, but here I died about a half dozen times trying to make a place to stand and walls around the portal.

Each time I died I’d end up in at the Bunnies spawn point by our main base Chuck. It didn’t matter that I’d slept in other beds in Bunnies, which is supposed to reset your spawn point to the bed. I spawned there every time. Each time I’d go into Chuck and hop the stargate to Floaty. Since the 1.6 update, Minecraft disconnects every time you transport to another world using a Stargate, accusing you of hacking. I’d reconnect, then go through the Nether Portal there and end up back in The Nether.

The last time I was there I actually made a lot of progress, but still messed up and fell to my doom. I was back at Chuck and made my way back to Floaty. This time, though, I didn’t end up at that same gate in The Nether. Instead I ended up coming out of a gate in the Nether that was fairly secure. I explored the tunnels for awhile and made the place a bit more homey. I mined some glowstone. I didn’t have a lot of supplies since I expected to end up back at the deathtrap and die again. Once I decided I needed to get some wood and other things, I went through the gate. I expected to come out at Bridge.

Instead I ended up under water at night somewhere. I swam up and looked around. It was a river. The banks had forested mountains. Our Other Places mod told me that I was closest to Bridge, but closest is a relative term since nothing familiar was anywhere in sight.

I didn’t have any supplies on me except netherrack, a shovel, and a flint and steel. Since I had no torches, I placed some blocks of nertherrack and lit them on fire to try to keep the bad mobs from spawning on top of me, then I waited in the water for morning. Things didn’t look any better in the morning. I was very, very lost. Kiashien decided it was okay to teleport me back to civilization since it seemed like the game had glitched.

Some people might decide to do something else at this point, but this just made me want to try again, and yes, possibly get stranded. However, this time I brought obsidian to make a stargate. That way if I was stranded, I could get myself out.

The Nether Gate went to the same place as before. After working for a short period of time, I stepped back into the Portal.

For the love of cheese, where am I now?

Oh, hey. It’s the netherrack beacons I made before! So I did come out at the same spot. It seems like last time the game fast forwarded to me falling and ending up below in the water. I had almost nowhere to stand, so it makes sense that I fell and, no, I didn’t think to look up.

So, now I’m here and I can build a Stargate, right? Actually, I need to build a place to stand first.

Watching night fall was pretty awesome. Since I was so high up I could see it fall on the lower elevations first and progress to other areas.

I worked through the night to build a platform around the Nether Portal. So, now I can build yet another Stargate.

The question still remains, what happened to the Nether Portal suspended over lava?

The better question is what happened to the Nether Portal at Bridge? Is it still there? What happens if I go through it?

I don’t know what happened to the Nether Portal suspended above lava and I kind of doubt I’ll ever find it again.

The Nether Portal at Bridge goes to this new, same spot in The Nether. When you go back through, it goes to this new little platform high in the sky.

This new Stargate, once it’s done, I think I’ll call it Pigeon because it’s kind of annoying and high up in the sky. That and this whole thing has been a pile of bird poop.

To be a useful place at all, there needs to be a way to get down, so I made a leap of faith into the river and started building a staircase…

As you can see, the rain is pooping on my head like a pigeon as I build away.

Spiral Book – The Chili Sauce Did Not Enhance the Flavor of Blueberries

Was Ernie Hemingway writing at the turn of the clock? The chili sauce did not enhance the flavor of blueberries. Don’t leave without saying a swear word.

Have you received a grade for your book report? The northeastern states and the southwestern parts of the country received heavy rainfall each year. The cross-country runner has never been shot before.

Lucy has always excelled in mathematics. The flowers and the trees in these areas depend in grapes for growth. The cowboy swung into the saddle and rode away.

Dramatics & Nightmares

Blaster Master NESThis post is brought to you by Blaster Master for the NES. When your pet frog jumps down a hole, you follow like Alice in Wonderland. The only difference, besides the frog, is that Alice didn’t get a tank at the bottom of the hole. :)

If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, or know me personally, you know that I am single and pretty stubborn about staying that way in recent times. Regardless, this doesn’t make me completely removed or foreign to the dramatics that forever follow on the heels of lovers, loves, more than friends, and even WTFs.

When that thing clenches your heart and you are pulled into what seems like an endlessly complicated swirl of events, you have to gain perspective. The only way to do that is spread your broken hearted cheer, because the subject (you) is always too close to the situation.

People who may be pretty bad at their own interpersonal relationships have surprising perspective when you go to them with the timeless situations that have transcended time and culture. I propose that the phrase ‘love is blind’ doesn’t just mean you don’t pick who you fall for, it also means that it blinds you to what is actually happening around you. You just don’t know what you can do to avoid as much heart ache and embarrassment as possible.

To anyone who is in this situation currently and hasn’t found that poor friend’s ear to snag I offer the following bits of perspective in no particular order…

1. You can’t logically argue your way into continuing a relationship with someone. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t tried. Even if you can stave off the inevitable for a bit longer, let’s consider that it took a lot for your other half to come to you with a proposal of breaking things off. I’ve known people to continue relationships they want out of for weeks, months, even years without letting the other half know about it. They may or may not have thought about it with your perspective, but it doesn’t matter. Whatever bond that kept you together can’t be repaired with Elmer’s glue. If they’ve considered it enough to say “We need to have a talk.” then it’s not worth trying to argue. They’ve found enough reasons, even if they won’t share those reasons, and even if they’re stupid. The issue is not yours and the battle is not yours to fight. Short of mind control, you can’t change how a person feels. You can’t argue a person out of the way they feel. If they are going to change their mind and come back, they have to do it on their own.

2. Only good things is a fairy tale. It’s not always this bad is a sign to get out. We’re talking about the L word, so I’m going to have to use some cliches. It has to rain sometimes, and when it rains, it pours. Every person has their rough spots. Every pairing doubly so. A better litmus test is how you deal with those moments when they come, and yes, how often they come. People resist change, including cutting off something that is no longer mostly a good thing. If you’re defending to your friends, “She/He/It’s not always this bad.” then it’s a sure sign you’re who I’m talking about. On the flip side, you can’t run at the first sign of bad weather. Rough spots can bring people closer as well, like all of this rain we’ve had this week has made things begin to bloom. (Okay, now I’m making myself gag.)

3. It’s never you. If you’re being broke up with, of course it isn’t you. The other person has identified reasons, be they irreparable problems with the relationship, or problems with their own feelings and position. At a stretch, we could say, it’s both of you. But really, it’s the one breaking up that can’t see you together beyond the present. The one breaking up is done trying. I’m not saying they are the bad guy necessarily, but I am saying that you can’t go down the path of “I should have”s. One more kiss or one less disagreement isn’t going to change a pattern, or like I said above, someone else’s feelings.

4. Chances are, they don’t know themselves. Of course we’re going to ask why. Of course you will be given reasons. But, really, if the reasons behind why we fall for people is so cryptic, organic, strange, and unexpected, would you expect no less from the loss of these feelings and the break up?

5. Life goes on. The worst, least helpful, most cruel cliche I’ve saved for last. As much pain as you get yourself into, it will fade from the forefront of your mind over time. You will find someone else better than the last, especially when your head clears and you realize they weren’t so amazing and you weren’t quite right for eachother anyways. More importantly, you can exist and thrive without that other person in your life and you will. What made you attractive to that person in the first place is how awesome and vibrant you are on your own.

None of these things I’m saying will get you through that darkness following a bad ending. That is really something you need to push through on your own, but it doesn’t help to be surrounded by sympathetic ears and distracting personalities.

So this dramatic scene passes, and the nightmare ends, and the world keeps spinning into a new day bringing with it another slew of possibilities.

Spring Means

Spring means change, but is also means a world of difference depending where in the world you are. When I lived in Maine, Spring had an uncertain start. You weren’t sure which window of warmth was ‘just another thaw’ and which one brought the final beginning. The top crust of the ice and snow would begin to melt. In false starts it refreezes that evening, making all the world a perilous sheet of ice- Winter’s way of giving us his swan song and saying he’d take us with him if he could. Each day is warm enough to chip at the almost perma-frost. The ice becomes a makeshift river, extra slick trickling down into still frozen grounds. Miniature lakes are made, and then finally, for which Mainers name their season, mud envelops the earth. The Spring rains add until the ground can hold no more.

Up north, I’m sure they’re enjoying Mudseason. Spring cleaning is ironic until the water finds some home in the air or beneath the ground.

Here in Southern Massachusetts, Spring is equally moody in her arrival. She brings us a cycle of days: rain, sun, cold, warm, rain, sun, cold… until finally, she decides to settle down for good. One day, when the snow has vanished and the yard is sprouting crocuses, you finally feel it is okay to open the windows.

I don’t like Spring very much, but this window, when I fist open my windows to breathe fresh air after being stuffed into indoors for so long, is my favorite. There is a window of time where the birds are barely beginning to wake up, and only a few may chirp in the morning. Besides the ladybugs who decided to hibernate in the cave of my apartment, the insects and arachnids are still safely skeptical and out of sight. Things are still very still and everything smells slightly of rain. The rivers and waterfalls make the bridges lively places to sit and stare and breathe it in, all coming down.

I feel the urge to walk about at night. Still and silent small towns that are finally enough to keep me warm as I explore my mind and the world. No one is out, not even a stray teen. It’s too early for mosquitoes. Nothing is open. Police are too busy patrolling the roads to take notice. To be the only thing moving…

All the worries of life will stay, but I will grace them with an asterisk* that if I were employed at this moment, I would likely be missing these moments. It doesn’t comfort everything, but it settles me a bit…

…into the season of spring.

Are you happy?

Happiness was the forecast one afternoon where the weather was more than whether or whether not work would drag today into dusk without a cry into the night.

The light at the end hovering in the doorway will be mine in less than five.

What are hours in the way of happiness when I am assured it waits for me behind the slapping red door- shadowy screen- sticky lock- dread when it opens with me still a prisoner and a person enters willingly.

They only enter because they enter with servants waiting and can leave at their leisure.

I will not let it conquer me today because I know outside that single grated window it’s sunny and today I will not drag myself to an empty, exhausted repeat of yesterday.

I never expected rain awaited me; sunlight was a wish through the window.

Happiness is fickle, as an expectation is a question we lie to.

Are you happy?