No, I haven't mysteriously vanished. I'm afraid that my mind has been grabbed by the iron fist of Oolite, and for the moment I can't escape.
I've always been fascinated by space travel in its most mundane sense: getting from here to there. I just can't grasp the distances between planets, let alone solar systems, let alone GALAXIES. It amazes me that it's all unexplored, in the way that people must have been amazed by (and attracted to) "darkest Africa" and the poles, before we found out it was all pretty much normal, just harder to get to.
So give me a game where I can explore a "universe," and I'm happy. Make it a game where the travel is mind-numbingly dull -- watching your destination approach over half an hour while your fellow ships travel around you -- and I'm THRILLED. Give me the ability to ADD to the universe with custom MODs, and I widow my blog (and my cat) so I can study the modding language and create mysterious ghost ships and space-age Voyageurs.
As if this wasn't enough, Oolite's universe is also procedurally generated, a process that has obsessed my slightly-autistic mind since I was a child, watching computer-landscapes blossom from the union of a number seed and an algorithm. You needed to think about these things when you had only 64K to play with.
Once I've explored its boundaries and gotten frustrated by the scripting languages, I'll probably put aside Oolite and never play it again. I already can't believe that I'm willing to sit for ages watching a planet get slightly bigger, while my cat cries "love me!" from the floor. But sometimes I get hooked on these things, and since this weekend was a scheduled "no-bar" interval this is the perfect time to indulge myself.
So I'm sorry that the blog hasn't been updated. I'll make it up to you soon with ANOTHER new obsession, which is a surprise and infinitely more social.