Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Further PAX

Sorry for the hiatus - onto the further escapades of PAX awesomeness!

Friday was the start of PAX, and it thankfully began at 10:00 AM. I needed extra sleep due to jet lag. We walked to a Subway shop for breakfast, and continued on to enter the expo. We went an awkward way that first day and ended up in the building, well,  before we should have. Realizing the place would be way more crowded if they were open, we discreetly exited and went around to enter with everyone else.

It was loud, it was crazy. We checked out booths left and right and center. I bought a panda beanie hat. Kawaii! Soon after, my hubby spotted someone of whom he was a fan. Kris Straub, creator of the completely awesome Starslip Crisis. Of course, hubs didn't want to go talk to him because it was KRIS STRAUB! So, like the good wife that I am, I insisted and poked and prodded until he was able to go up and introduce himself, and give him a thumbs up. I was very happy that he was so happy, and I got to meet Kris.

Afterward, we hoofed it to a nearby theater, for the Penny Arcade Q&A. It was super exciting to see Mike and Jerry, so we were feeling pretty nerd-happy, when the SO leaned over and said, "You should go ask Jerry what he's been reading lately." So I did. I stood in line to ask a question and got to talk to Mike and Jerry! Squeeeeee! Sadly, Jerry didn't have any suggestions, but Mike had recently read The Sparrow. Yay!

Then it was onto the Swag!!! Yay free stuff! We got Magic: The Gathering bags and coloring books, drawn by none other than Mike himself!, and a magazine and a few brochures and a pack of Magic cards. I grabbed the red, because I prefer the color: the way it plays, the spells, etc. My own deck is completely red, and say what you want, but I love it.

After checking out all the booths showing off the newest console and computer games, we had dinner, at the same Subway we'd had for breakfast. By this time we were exhausted. We felt bad about not enjoying the expo til 2 AM, but we were both practically dead on our feet. Nothing a good night's sleep didn't fix.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

12 PAX Series - Day 1


My husband and I have been waiting for what feels like forever in order to go to the Penny-Arcade Expo (PAX), and this past weekend was our chance! Thursday morning we finished packing and took our dog to the Pets Hotel. She loves it there and the employees love her back. I always feel like she is well-loved and taken care of there.
   
After dropping her off, we headed to the airport. Parking was mostly pain-less, and getting through the lines and security didn't take long at all. We were on a flight to Dallas, which took about 3 hours. And then on to Seattle, Washington! That flight was actually uncomfortable, crowded, and way too long. However, the view as we began our descent was breath-taking.


Seattle, Washington was a first for both my husband and me. When we stepped out of the airport, I took a deep breath of cool evening air. Having just come from Texas, where the temperature had not fallen under 90 degrees, the cooler weather was much appreciated. At first. We took a cab to our hotel in downtown Seattle.

The cab ride was a first for me, as well. Despite living in a big city, I've never had the need to utilize a taxi. It was interesting and exciting, and I enjoyed looking out the windows at everything we passed by. $42 later, we were at our hotel, which was very small but comfortable. A coffee shop took up the bottom floor of the place, filling it with the amazingly wonderful scent of brewing coffee. We asked the hotel manager for suggestions regarding a place to eat that was also within walking distance. He pointed us to Jasmine, which was literally right around the corner.

Jasmine was a chic Japanese lounge, where we enjoyed delicious sushi and an easy-going atmosphere. The waiter was originally from Arlington, Texas. We're everywhere!


After sushi, we headed back to our hotel, where we relaxed and slept, excited for the first big PAX day to come!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What I've Been Up To (Mostly)

I'm reading a book that I am having a surprising time getting into - Empress of the Seven Hills, by Kate Quinn. Considering how much I enjoyed her previous novels, I can't place why I can't get into this one. It might be the kind of modern vernacular, given the actual setting of the novel.

Listening to many songs, but at this moment, I've got my "On the Radio" playlist going:
Folding Chair - Regina Spektor
On the Radio
Little Boxes
Consequence of Sound
Eet
Fidelity
Eyes - Kaskade
The Bomb - New Young Pony Club
Good Life - OneRepublic
Where Is My Mind - Yoav
Runaway - Yeahyeahyeahs
You're Gonna Go Far, Kid - Offspring
Half-Truism
Bad Day - Daniel Powter

I've wandered away from my usual easy, neutral colors and fallen in love with turquoise! Green, however, will always be in my heart.

I am always craving dim sum lately

particularly the steamed buns with delicious fillings. These yummies inspired me to try my own hand at steaming buns. I'm gonna leave it to the experts, I think. ;)

I actually don't have any current favorite shows, except for Dirty Jobs, Family Guy and American Dad. Not exactly Dancing With the Stars - Lol

Right now I need a good day at the beach, preferably with a good book and people that I like to hang out with. Barring that, a really great storm, lots of rain, (less thunder because my dog hates thunder).


The GRE is looming particularly large in my mind. I'm studying for it, and stressing over it, and putting it off, and I really wish I could just go in and do it because it's been torture. Unfortunately, I have a high perfection model. . . translation: I must ACE it. :(

So if you haven't found the string that ties this all together yet, it's a list of "Currents," what's going on in my little world today. And currently, I have a celebrity crush on - Alison Haislip. A little someone on Battleground, an original Hulu show. She's pretty much awesome. I want to be just like her. 

I'm blessed everyday - I love my family.

So, my current outfit, right this moment, is a pair of jeans and a grey Aeropostale T-shirt. I'll slip on my Kelly-green flip-flops before leaving for my mother-in-law's in a little while for Memorial Day. 

I'm currently feeling pretty good, actually. I just had this feeling and idea that I had a really hard time going through middle school and high school, and if I could go back to that Geek Girl and tell her that it's all going to be OK because I'm awesome, God loves me, and my dreams will come true, I would tell her to hold her head up because it only gets better. And that brings me a lot of peace.

A favorite quote of mine - hmm. You would think I had these things floating in my big, book-soaked brain, but it's gotta be this one! Amen, Insanity Wolf!

What do I want right now? A wishlist item, if you will. A smaller XBOX controller for little ol' me. It would be a lot easier to pwn with this little gem!

And last but not least - my current favorite product. It's gotta be my cherry blossom body creme. MMM!

Friday, May 4, 2012

99 Things

Thanks to my lovely sister, over at her blog, I get to see how many things I've been BOLD about in my life. It's fun to look back on what I've done, and to see how much more I have to do.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


I have been BOLD with life, and could bold 34 of these things. Of course, there's so much more I've done (jumped over a fence into a cow pasture, been on a road trip for 2 whole weeks) and so much more I'd love to do! 

What have YOU done?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Guide to Cleaning

I decided to tidy my house up this morning, which is always a depressing thing to think about. I hate cleaning. But hey, it's good for you (burn those calories!) and for your home, as well as those that might have to come into contact with your home. Here's what I do to make a boring task better.

1. Make an epic, wake-me-up, take-on-the-world soundtrack. It took me the better part of an evening to achieve this task, so you should do it before you actually really plan on getting down to it.

2. Blast your soundtrack. Sing to it. Dance to it. Do whatever you need to do to get into the right frame of mind, energized and ready to bust that dust.

3. I start in one place, but I go about my tasks sort of randomly. I'll do a load of dishes, organize my coffee table, clean my counters and sinks. I finish each task, but I mix it up so I don't feel burnt out after one room.

4. Breaks are always good. I tend to clean until it's done, but if you're the type that needs breaks, go for it. Just don't let your "break" be the stopping point of cleaning.

5. Use cleaning products that you can enjoy. I use an all-purpose cleaning solution for all of the surfaces in my house, and it literally smells like "clean" to me. It's lemony and herbaceous. For my floors, I use a lavender wash, which is one of my favorite scents.

6. Do not overwhelm yourself with tools and scrubs and such. I use a well-rinsed sponge for the kitchen, a cloth for the bathroom, one broom and one mop. I use only a few cleaners because I get ones that multitask. Something for surfaces, something for floors, a brush and wash for the toilet. Not a ton of stuff.

And that's how I do it. I'm somewhere between a perfectionist and a unmotivated. There are two points that I'm OK with, and that's spotless, and/or "this level of clean is acceptable." It's why it's hard for me to start. That's why the soundtrack is so important!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Naturally Delicious

I am a new believer in herbal teas! I tried a few at earlier times in my life and just couldn't find out what made them so great. I figured it out- something to sweeten them! I have my favorites, and new ones to try and right now my kitchen counter looks like a natural pharmacy!


Honey Chamomile tea - This tea has a wonderful aromatic flavor that reminds me of just baked bread. I love drinking it right before bed. It's a great tea to relax over. 

Tension Tamer - This tea is not one of my favorites, but I do drink it on occasion. It is supposed to relieve tension, but it's so hard to tell whether it's the tea or me just relaxing with a hot drink, as I tend to do. I guess it's a little of both.

Sleepy Time Wellness tea - another relaxing tea for just before bed. It has Valerian, a root herb that has a sedative and anti-anxiety effect, to help ease you into sleep. It seems to help when I'm having an off night.

Orange Spice tea - I need to give this tea another chance, but currently I do not like it! I guess I'm not a fruit tea kind of person.

Rooibos tea - This tea is made from the red tea leaf. It is currently hubbies choice tea.

Ginger tea - My mother bought me some ginger tea because I'd been having nausea and heartburn. It's said to aid the digestive system. I'm trying it for the first time right now, and I have to say it's interesting. It's spicy and aromatic!

Kava tea - A tea that I just purchased to try it's proposed "stress relieving" properties. I have high hopes for it, and am looking forward to trying more delicious teas!
  

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Style

Every once in a century, my sense of style takes a curve away from my current trend. At this moment, a T-shirt, jeans, and a pair of cute flats is all I need to feel put together. But I can feel my likes moving away from the standard t-shirts, you know the ones where there's some sort of vintage picture or word splayed across it or just a plain crew neck. Right now I'm starting to feel . . .bohemian.

I did the bohemian look when I was younger, and my brother-in-law said I "liked to dress like Pocahontas". I take no offense from that. But I'm starting to swing back to it again. I would really love one of those maxi skirts in an earthy tone, and I would pair it with coral or turquoise, and my new brown and bronze metallic sandals. My husband has no idea how to handle this sudden style change. I found the cutest pair of turquoise sandals, and he was aghast with horror that I would wear something so "garish." Sometimes, husbands are just too funny.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Currently


  • Book I Just Finished: Wither, by Lauren DeStefano.

  • Book I just Picked Up: Girl with A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier

  • Song I'm Loving: Consequence of Sounds, by Regina Spektor.

  • Show I'm Watching: The River and Supernatural.

  • Current beverage of choice: Diet Coke 

  • Loving: Vanilla Almond lip balm; Cherry Blossom Body Creme

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

In the early 1900's, a young man by the name of P. H. Fawcett began to explore what was still the great unexplored - the Amazon rain forest. Although only an amateur explorer, he became one of the biggest successes in mapping out parts of the Amazon, and becoming friends with the hostile native Indians along the way.

Because of stories of ancient cities told to him from the natives, as well as pottery he found, and other clues along the way, Fawcett believed there was once a great and ancient civilization, living in an El Dorado-like city, which he dubbed "Z," and he devoted his life to finding it. In 1925, he disappeared for the last time into the Amazon, taking with him his younger son, 21-year-old Jack, and Jack's best friend Raleigh Rimmel. 

Hundreds of people became obsessed, not simply with the idea of Z, but with what may have happened to Fawcett, a man who, for so long, had seemed invincible. Expeditions to follow Fawcett's footsteps also disappeared into the great unknown. 

David Grann, a journalist, delves into this story with a gripping narration. Using documents from the Royal Geographical Society, as well as correspondence to his wife, and even Fawcett's very own logs and journals, which he finds when visiting a remaining family member, Grann paints a portrait of a fascinating man, at once strong and very much alive, with a personality perfect for exploration - gung-ho and a little bit crazy.

While Grann doesn't quite answer the question "What happened to Fawcett?", he does give the readers so much information to consider on their own, as well as some new findings that suggest that the idea of the lost city isn't so out there after all.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cleopatra: A Life

I've lately become interested in many different genres, including historical fiction and non-fiction. So when I came across Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, I knew I had to give it a good reading.


In an effort to shed light on a life told and re-told a million times over, Cleopatra tells of Queen Cleopatra VII, beginning when she was merely a teen smuggling herself into Caesar's camp in a rug. While the author seems to think that Cleopatra has a story that should be told all on its own, without the omnipresent screen of sexuality, I found that telling Cleopatra's story, at least in this novel, was impossible without heavy leanings on the lives of both Caesar and Mark Antony.

Cleopatra came across as a smart, pragmatic queen of a wealthy, powerful and colorful kingdom, but I felt that often times the narration would meander off toward Caesar and his life, and later into Mark Antony's. No doubt these men had a huge impact in her own life story, but the narration seemed less focused on them together and more on just the men.

In all, I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars: fascinating and insightful, but I felt I should have known Cleopatra better once I finished this historical biography.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grave Encounters

I've recently become really fascinated with the "found footage" movies that have been coming out lately. I've always been someone interested in the paranormal, the unexplained and I've found a niche that caters to that bent. I suppose my first "found footage" film was "The Blair Witch Project," and although that one didn't scare me in particular (I would love to watch it again, in hopes of really being able to appreciate it this time around), for some reason these "real" movies get me interested. Most notably of late, of course is "Paranormal Activity" both 1 and 2 and I am seriously wishing I could see the third one in such a trilogy.
My husband is not a fan of scary movies in the slightest. He thinks the paranormal is bunk. So I haven't been able to convince him to take me to theaters for the third installment. Instead, I find little known gems on Netflix. This is where "Grave Encounters" comes in, and also the point of this post.
"Grave Encounters" is "found footage" of a paranormal investigation team who locked themselves into an insane asylum to investigate the paranormal. Of course, they build things up in the beginning, which is really an art - get that tension just right. But then they threw it all away with really in your face scares and bizarre asides. The team saw real people, they tried to escape the premises but somehow discovered there was no way out. Faces shifted, blood splattered, and people began to disappear. One investigator got lost in the dark, was picked up by some unseen force, and choked. Very in your face. But what sealed my opinion of this film was what happened when whatever demon from Hades dropped him on the floor. He lay gasping for breath, and then A BOLT OF LIGHTNING THREW HIM ACROSS THE HALL.
I really hate in your face stuff like that. It fails to be scary, except for the initial jump factor. The real art of these films is in building great tension, slowly and simply placing the antagonist in the film. I want unsettled scared, not jump-out-at-you scared, and this movie failed to deliver it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Super Scribblenauts

Recently, my hubby and I went to Best Buy, and after awhile we finally decided that a Nintendo DSi was a nice little treat for me (I made him buy something for himself, too). Along with the DSi, we got the game Super Scribblenauts! Hubs was afraid it might be a little bit beneath my intellect, but I've found it a lot of fun and sometimes I even need hints.

The game revolves around Maxwell, and your handy stylus. By using Maxwell's notebook, you can spell out any item you need to complete a level. If Maxwell needs to fly over shark infested waters, you can give him WINGS. If a warlock is too intent on your destruction, a nice SLEEPING POTION comes in handy. You might have to give someone who loves rainbows a RAINBOW FLOWER. With each level successfully won, a STARITE appears, which you gather for Maxwell. So far, I've only hit level 8, but it's been a fun ride, and I believe there are at least ten levels. It's been a few hours of entertainment, and you can go back and solve levels a different way to earn the golden crown of each.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hiding Fugitive

When I was younger, say 19 or 20, I played an awesome game of hide and seek with friends. We called it "Fugitive" and our playing grounds were the yards and streets of our city at night. Two searchers would stay in a car, while the rest of us ran for cover. We'd be given coordinates, how far we could actually go in a given street grid, and then it was every man for himself.

Hiding places included bushes, trees, the walls of fences. We'd keep an eye on the searchers, who drove about with a flashlight. If they yelled, "Caught you" then your position was compromised and you had to join the searchers. Of course, if you were a hider first, the whereabouts of team members was known to you. Would you become one of the searchers or hope the hiders made it to the designated safe zone?

The best part of this game was the absolute feeling of being followed. The sheer adrenaline of staying one step ahead. Climbing a tree quick like a monkey or darting behind a wall just before the flashlight beam hit your retreating sneakers. My biggest downfall was my very pale skin, quite visible in the dark, but I made up for it with my long hair, practically black. Hidden in a copse of trees, I would crouch with my head tilted down, my sheet of hair covering my face, completely quiet and unmoving. The searchers vehicle would turn the corner, and I was off like a shot, closer to the safe point, but out in the open. I stuck to trees and bushes, mainly; ran when I could and hid when I needed to.

I've just come over with a ridiculous desire to play that game just now. Ah, the joys of youth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Big Kitties

Hubs and I are going to visit his parents and my mother for Christmas. I thought I'd share some holiday cheer while I'm at it. Enjoy this adorable video as much as I did. If you don't watch this with a big, stupid grin on your face, or at least a warm in your heart, you have no soul.



Apparently, even wild kitties love teh boxes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Eclectic = Me

A little after I earned my degree, I began to read as ravenously as I had before. In the time it took to get my degree, I was more or less relinquishing personal reading time for studying, labs, and group work, and right as I finished my degree, I was so burned out on words, I couldn't think of what I could possibly want to do with any sort of book. Thankfully, I'm back to my old self again, and reading like crazy.

One of two that I have finished today: Queen By Right, by Anne Easter Smith. The story of one King Edward, who had rights to King Henry's throne after his father was killed, because his father was heir apparent on the non-Lancastrian side. The story is told in his mother's words, revealing a strong, intelligent voice. Very good, but I cannot help but be a little curious: what of a book depicting an every day woman, perhaps intelligent, but having to pretend otherwise in such a time as those?

 Book Two: Belly Laughs, by Jenny McCarthy. A book written from the viewpoint of a mother who bares all when it comes to pregnancy, from weight gain to cravings, Psycho Chick to Blue Twinkies, all of it for our reading pleasure. Personally, I'm glad I read it, because when I finally do become a mother, there will be far less indignation. I mean, COME ON! EVERY PREGNANT WOMAN KNOWS THESE THINGS AND YET NO ONE WARNS THE NEWBIES!?!?!?!11!!


Last but not least, my newest acquisition: Just Friends, by Robyn Sisman. Good so far!