Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Things I Forgot to Mention Last Night

The first: Super Effective. It's one of the funniest webcomics I've ever read. This one makes me crack up laughing every time I see it:

It's an awesome mashup of two things I adore: Pokemon and Gurren Lagann.

The second: at game night this weekend, we listened to a lot of Weezer, and decided it would be ok if the apocalypse happened, so long as the Blue Album was playing. It brought me back to teenage years and simpler times. They also played some Foo Fighters, which always makes me smile. I need to get my finger back on the pulse of all this music I like. I heard something about Incubus having a new album. When did that happen?

Ok, time to get to work! These evaluations aren't going to scan themselves.

It's Monday Again Already?

Damn! And to make matters worse, it's 1 am on a Monday, and I have to be at work in 7 hours, and I'm pretty much wide awake. D'oh!

The last week in review...

-As I mentioned in the previous post, we watched the VGAs last Saturday night, the 11th. It was pretty good, but there weren't really too many games that came out this year that I was absolutely in love with. Next year, though...that's another story. Next year is going to be completely crazy, and the premieres at the VGAs made that even clearer than ever before. For me, personally, January is going to be crazy - Lost in Shadow, LittleBigPlanet 2, and Dead Space 2 all drop that month. In March, F.3.A.R. and Crysis 2 come out on the same day (!!!). Killzone 3, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3...the list just goes on and on. It's going to be some year. I can't wait :)

Also, Mike gave me one of my Christmas presents early - an HDMI cable for my new tv!

-Sunday was Drexel's Holiday party. I've gone pretty much every year since I started working at Drexel, but this year we just had too much going on. Mike was studying his ass off for his exams, and I was trying to finish Final Fantasy: the 4 Heroes of Light, so we chilled at my place and then headed to his place.

-Monday I went to work, rushed home, had some dinner, and then went to IndyHall for a meeting with the OCMFers, which was awesome. Mike came, too! Afterwards we went home and watched Inception again. We were going to head to Movie Monday to see it at the Troc, but we had sort of an emergency meeting in which we had to take care of some serious business, so we just watched it at home instead on my nice new tv. It was awesome, even the 6th time around.

Oh, and also, I got a special package in the mail:

-Tuesday I went to work, came home, watched some 30 Rock with Mike, and then worked on 4 Heroes of Light all night. Also I bought a bunch of games on sale Monday and Tuesday - Modern Warfare 1&2, Bayonetta, Dante's Inferno, and Darksiders for 80 bucks total. Amazon needs to STOP having sales immediately :P.

Did I mention these cookies are freaking awesome?

-Wednesday was Mike's last final for the term, so after I was done work, we headed to Landmark and celebrated - not just him being done his last final, but also him being halfway through law school :) it was awesome. We head to his place afterwards and passed out super early.

-Thursday I went to work and then afterwards I was feeling super crampy and horrendous so we headed back to my place, watched 30 Rock, and I played 4 Heroes of Light for the rest of night, mixed in with some codblops.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, about two weeks ago I discovered one of our local food marts sells Ramune, an amazing Japanese soda. We usually stock up when we go to Maido, but lately I've just been grabbing a few there. They're SO good! This one is definitely one of my favorites, Lychee:

-Friday I called out of work because I was still feeling absolutely horrible. I vegged around all day and did nothing. We got an awesome package in the mail - our friend Ryan sent us some video games for Christmas! I got Picross for the DS (WOO!) and Mike got White Knight Chronicles.

We met up with the OCMFers for a little while to discuss more options about the event we're planning, and then I headed right back to bed. I played some more 4 Heroes of Light and codblops, and we watched some 30 Rock.

-Saturday we had to run some errands but I was still feeling mega-sluggish. We did end up running to Kmart and striking out for nearly everything I wanted to get, so we got some essentials like cat litter and some random food items and then escaped. I was feeling delirious around so many people. We went home, got ready, and then headed to Kristen and Dave's for game night with them and Chris and his friend Jen. I forgot my heart monitor and wanted to punch myself in the head because I was afraid to have any alcohol at all without it D:. Stupid, stupid mistake. We got home pretty late and I was up late playing more 4 Heroes of Light. Oh, and we took some cute pictures while bundled up waiting for the train to go home:

-Today was really nice - we woke up, had breakfast, watched more 30 Rock, and did some stuff around the house - I did a lot of cleaning and Mike went food shopping. We've been using Hulu Plus on the PlayStation which is pretty cool. We're up to season 5 of 30 Rock - we're almost caught up completely. When we're done, we're going to watch this season of the Office, and then I'm not sure what - maybe Dexter. Who knows! We did a lot of stuff all day, interspersed with some FF and codblops, and Mike's been playing a lot of WKC and Dante's Inferno. We've also been skyping with Ryan and his girlfriend Bri the last few days as well, which has been kind of fun, too :) After we did a lot around the house, we packed up some stuff and headed to Mike's place for the night. I got a shower and now I'm doing to a little writing and then we're going to head to bed.

Weekly wrap-up:

Currently playing:
PS3 - CoDBlOps, Dead Nation, Scott Pilgrim
DSi - FF:t4HoL, Crazy Sudoku

Currently reading:
Kill Screen, Volume 1
Moby Dick

Currently watching:
30 Rock

Current favorite t-shirt:
tie between my two new Kill Screen t-shirts - both pictured above!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

VGAs Tonight!

Tonight is the VGAs (Video Game Awards) on Spike TV. This has become something of a tradition for Mike and me. We watched it in 2008 and had a drinking game where we took shots whenever we were disappointed. Last year, we went to a bar to watch it because I'd cancelled Comcast and we didn't have cable anymore. This year, we have cable again, but didn't realize we didn't have Spike until this afternoon. Luckily, we just got the new digital box, and were able to call and upgrade our channels easily.

I'm really looking forward to the awards this year, mainly because I am excited about world premiere trailers (like whatever craziness Naughty Dog is going to have on hand for Uncharted 3!) and also because Neil Patrick Harris is going to be the host. That's when you can tell something has gotten totally and completely mainstream - when NPH himself is hosting it, haha. But really, Mike and I always have a great time watching it, and I'm really excited about it tonight. Right now our biggest decision is: should we order out, or make dinner? I'm leaning towards making dinner just so we don't have to spend money, but ordering pizza is sooo easy and delicious. Durp. But yeah, I'm really excited to see what the VGAs have in store tonight...especially Uncharted 3, Resistance 3, and Arkham City...along with whatever secret surprises they're going to drop on us.

In other news, Thursday I worked and went to a nice appreciation reception in the afternoon for schedulers. The food was omg so good - scallops wrapped in bacon, coconut chicken, some sort of parmesan risotto fried balls of amazing, etc.

Afterwards I headed to Mike's place and chilled out and mostly watched 30 Rock, played some codblops together, and played more of 4 Heroes of Light. Friday I worked all day, then came home and got ready to put on my heart monitor. I'd had plans all night but ended up cancelling them all - my friend Tina was having a happy hour at 4:30 but I knew I couldn't make it home in time. Cardionet was supposed to call at 6, so I made sure to have all the prep stuff done by about 5:45. I had to set up the wires and pads and start charging the monitor itself. I waited...and waited...and waited, but by 6:30 still had no call. I called the number and they said they were running behind. By the time they called me, it was after 7. It took a little while to get it all set up, and I was so frazzled by the end that I didn't feel like leaving the house to go to Eric's book release party (for his awesome book - Textual Healing. Go buy it!). We ended up vegging in, watching 30 Rock, playing more codblops and 4HoL. Mike made an awesome dinner that was delicious <3 and we even went to bed at a reasonable time.

Here is what part of the heart monitor looks like (and no, I can't update my heart's statuses to Twitter, unfortunately - Jake and I tried today):

I got up pretty early this morning and washed the giant mountain of dishes and made us some breakfast. We had our typical Saturday morning, eating breakfast and playing more blops and watching 30 Rock. I had to cut it a little short to get ready for my meeting with Jake and Tristin and Grant at UArts at 1. We're trying to get a gaming event together for May, and the location is finally falling into place (no pun intended). After we looked at some rooms, we chilled in Grant's car and talked for ages, laughing our asses off about random shit while talking about logistics for our event. During that time his battery died :P. Whoops. Some nice woman randomly gave us a jump, and then we all went our separate ways. I came back here and worked on 4HoL, taking a break to go to the store for some food for dinner tonight, but came back here still wanting to order a pizza. I'm really hungry though, so I think I'm just going to start working on cooking us up some dinner right now :)

I'm not sure what's going on tomorrow - Mike might have some family coming into the city, and Drexel's also having their holiday party, which we've gone to the last two years. I could also stand to do some laundry and get some cleaning done around here, but I feel like I'm saving most of that for the 10 days we have off over the break. I'm still reeling from this term. Oh, and I found out my grade - I got an A+! My numerical grade was a 97, hot damn. All that hard work paid off. 4 courses down, 11 more to go! I'm feeling pretty great about it all right now, even though I'm not sure if LIS is what I want to do, or if I want to switch to IST or something else that might be more lucrative. As always, there are so many decisions...

Also, I've started to already thinking about my New Years' resolutions. I don't usually have any, or I make a weak last-minute attempt at it, but this year I think I'm going to really try to stick to it. One important thing is that I want to get back out of debt. It seems that every year I either find myself climbing out of it, or at the bottom of it. This year is the latter. So I think that one sure resolution is going to be that I won't buy any additional games, books, or movies until I've played, read, and watched all the ones I already have. And I have enough to keep me occupied for well beyond a year...possibly an entire decade. Also, I don't think I should ever buy another t-shirt. I STILL have yet to unpack from PAX. Last year, I got 23 t-shirts (21 of them free); this year, I beat that record - I can't remember the number, but as soon as I unpack, I'll post about it. That's another thing to save for the break...

Ok, time to get some dinner done! Look at me, two blog posts in a week! Also I think I'll keep a log in here of all the stuff I'm playing, reading, and watching as well...

Currently playing:
PS3 - CoDBlOps, Dead Nation
DSi - FF:t4HoL, Crazy Sudoku
Wii - New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Currently reading:
Kill Screen, Volume 1
Moby Dick

Currently watching:
Inception <3
30 Rock

Current favorite t-shirt:
Candy Corn Vampire <3

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Another Month Bites the Dust

To say I've been busy in the last month would be an egregious understatement.

Highlights include:

-Mike and I had our 2-year anniversary dinner on November 5th, and it was lovely. We got dressed up and went around the corner to a nice Chinese food place we love.
-The next day, we went to the annual Amblers Halloween party, which was a blast. We had good beer (some of which Brian made), won some beer pong, ate delicious foods, and hung out with awesome people.
-I pre-ordered Scott Pilgrim on blu-ray. We watched the shit out of it.
-that Friday, the 12th, we met up with my friend Stacy and some of her friends at Mad Mex for happy hour. I hadn't seen her in a few months, and it was awesome to catch up. I love her. <3
-we skipped Barcamp on the 13th - too much homework and other crap to do - but we did make it to the kickin' afterparty, where we celebrated my friend Ray's birthday and generally had an awesome time with Ray, Mel, Jake, Amanda, Tristin, and Renae.
-we saw Aqueduct at the Trocadero on the 14th, and David hung out with us afterwards, because he is the coolest dude ever. <3
-on Monday the 15th, we went to the Geekadelphia Scott Pilgrim Movie Monday at the Troc. I dressed as Envy Adams. Edgar Wright later tweeted our pictures. It was a pretty epic time.
-later that night/early the next morning, I woke up with heart palpitations - the worst yet - and went to the ER, AGAIN. It was horrendous. I haven't had a sip of alcohol since.
-I laid low until Thursday the 18th, when I attended TEDxPhilly for Geekadelphia. It was a beautiful and unique experience. It wore me OUT. I was supposed to do a lot that weekend but cancelled to try to catch my breath and get some homework done.
-Thanksgiving week was just how I like it: low key, quiet, and full of food. I played a lot of video games, too. I also finally caved and purchased a Wii - the red collector's edition that comes with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It was $199 with a $50 gift card on Amazon. It was totally worth it.
-Monday the 29th I gave myself a pep talk. I'd been feeling sort of down and depressed about the health stuff and also about homework and video game reviews piling up. I told myself everyone gets into funks, and that I should probably just start chipping away at my to-do list. I started that day and began to feel better immediately.
-On 11/30, Dead Nation came out. I played A TON of it. It is awesome.
-Wednesday, December 1st, we had a Philly game devs meeting (the OCMFers). It was the longest meeting we had, and the most beers drank. We had a lot of great ideas. It was just what I needed.
-Thursday was the department holiday party, which was relaxing and fun.
-Friday night and all day Saturday were spent finishing up my homework and doing my final. I was successful in both endeavors, which cut my term by a week. I was THRILLED. No more school 'til January 3rd. :D
-on Sunday, we went to my mom's - she and my stepdad wanted to give me my Christmas gift early. It was a television - the exact one I wanted. We brought it home and set it up and it's. GORGEOUS.
-On Monday, I left work early to see my doctor to talk about the heart monitor she had me wear in October, my recent ER trip, and what my options were. She encouraged me to still see the cardiologist, and also to listen to my nutritionist's advice and get tested for celiacs.
-Last night, Mike and I watched the Inception blu-ray, which I pre-ordered so long ago I had to go to the "6 months or older" orders tab in my Amazon account. It was my fifth time seeing it, but my first time with the wedding band knowledge. It was beautiful, elegant, and subtle. It was perfect.
-Today, I left work early and went to the cardiologist and talked to him about my options. He thinks it's stress related. They did an echocardiogram and want me to wear a heart monitor for 2 weeks just to be on the safe side. I also went to the lab and got the bloodwork done. I came home, did the dishes, made some dinner, and set up my new Wii. When Mike got here, we ate dinner and watched 30 Rock, and then played some CoDBlOps, and then I played some NSMB Wii and then more Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, which I'm reviewing for Gaming Target.

General stuff:

-The Walking Dead is so worth watching. I've loved the comic for years and I'm so glad it's getting so much attention.
-We're tearing through 30 Rock - we finished season 3 tonight. I can't wait to be caught up, but we're not sure what we're watching next - maybe Dexter?
-We've been playing a lot of CoDBlOps. 'Nuff said.
-I'm trying to finish up Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, but it's proving to be tedious. I'm hoping I can get through it.
-I re-read the Scott Pilgrim books as well as Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer. I also finished up The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Excellent books all.

Writings you can read:

For Gaming Target:
-I reviewed God of War: Ghost of Sparta for the PSP, and
-I also reviewed the FANTASTIC Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

For Geekadelphia:
-I loved TEDxPhilly;
-I interviewed Alison Haislip from G4TV; and
-I wrote about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' viral marketing campaign.

I think that might be most of what's been happening. I'm so relieved that school is done - I can't even adequately explain it. But the stress is at a point where I need to re-evaluate everything. I've also been doing a lot of cleaning up in the apartment, and I think i'm going to get some new furniture to try to fit everything better. And hang up my posters. know...unpack from PAX. It's only been 3 months.

OK, time to play some video games. I will try to update this more frequently - I do still want to post some pictures. Stay tuned. :)

PS - I just hit platinum status in my Club Nintendo account. Shit. Yes.
PPS - I also started knitting again.
PPPS - I am slowly getting to all the things I've pre-ordered in the last few months. I finally played Katamari Forever...and beat it in two days. I also beat CoDBlOps quickly and I'm addicted to Dead Ops Arcade. Pokemon's on hold until FF is done, though I've been sneaking in Crazy Sudoku here and there.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


highlights of the busy-ness:

-finished up disney sing it: party hits and wrote my review;
-had a fun time tuesday night at a friend's birthday celebration at fox & hound, where i think i may have joined my first ever book club;
-went to the game devs meeting last night and celebrated good news all around;
-am nearly done with god of war: ghost of sparta already (!!!);
-signed up for nano but haven't even written word one - haven't even narrowed down my topic yet, though i do have several;
-celebrated our two-year anniversary yesterday with mike by having a nice lunch at ajia, which will be followed up tomorrow with dinner and a movie. :)

i really need to read the library books i took out ages ago and just keep renewing, and also i must get to all the things i've pre-ordered, which include video games, movies, and books. i am bad at keeping up with everything!

also, did i mention mike and i started watching 30 rock? like we needed another addiction...

ok, time to go to work! more later. hopefully (really!!) with pictures :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

for anyone who wants to see our costumes...

mike as ash:

me as lyra:

whew. almost too much to keep up with...

so there was a lot i've been meaning to write about the last few days...let me see if i can remember it all!

first and foremost, i forgot to mention that last saturday night, mike and i watched kick-ass, which i thought was fantastic! i'd been meaning to see it for ages, and had the netflix disc for about a month and a half. i love mark millar - i haven't read kick-ass but i read wanted and i thought it was really over the top and terrific. that movie was awful, but i knew this movie was being directed by matthew vaughn (hell YES!), so i went into it with higher expectations, and i was NOT disappointed. i'm really looking forward to reading the comic as soon as i get my hands on a copy! and monday night, we ended up watching the mortal kombat movie, which i hadn't seen in years. it's such a fun movie! i love it. i wanted to watch the second one but it's not on netflix streaming, so we'll have to get the disc. how barbaric :P

also, i've been trying to get back into the daily debate, something i've been involved with for a long time on twitter. it was started by will powers, the winner of the sony playstation show the tester last year. he would just have hour-long debates about video game topics. it turned into kind of a big thing, with a lot of people getting involved. through it i started interacting with amanda brockman, who was also on the tester, and we became friends, and even got to hang out at this year's PAX prime, which was incredible!! will has gotten really busy, so a few of us took over - really mainly amanda, our friend alicia royer, and me. we try to divide the week up, but lately i'd been so busy that i wasn't even able to participate, let alone moderate. i've been getting back into it more lately. feel free to check us out at 7pm eastern standard time with the hashtag #dailydebate on twitter :).

what else? tuesday matthew quick was on campus, and i was also very impressed with him. our department has a writer come every year - well, they pick out a book, and the entire incoming freshman class reads it over the summer, and then the author comes in the fall term and gives a presentation and has a master class with a select group of students. i've never seen so many students so into a writer before him, though! the book was called the silver linings playbook. i didn't get a chance to read it beforehand - we've been doing this for seven years, and i've only had time to read the books of three of the authors beforehand - but i really wish i had. it's set in collingswood, and mentions the town i grew up in, westmont, more than a few times. i'm going to try to get a copy and read it when i have some free time. i got a chance to talk to matthew, who is a brilliant writer with tons of great advice and stories. he's very open and honest and caring. i'm very glad i got to meet him! that night i just crashed in and did homework - i was so tired and still feeling sick and worn out from the weekend. i also got some stuff done on my to-do list, but never enough :P. also matt, my editor at gaming target, was in town, so mike and chris met up with him and mike brought back god of war: ghost of sparta for me to review early. w00t!

wednesday i had work, and then after work, i rushed home to get some stuff done, then headed over to indyhall for a meeting. it was very productive! and a lot of fun. afterwards, mike and i finished up pixeljunk shooter (i beat it when it first came out, but we played it through together this time and it was even more fun!), and then we went to bed.

thursday after work we had some dinner and watched another episode of 30 rock, which we started watching recently. everyone has always told me how hysterical that show is, and i'm glad it's living up to the expectations!! it's hilarious. i did some more homework and then passed out really early. i was SO exhausted!

friday after work i picked up my copy of final fantasy: 4 heroes of light from the local fedex place, and squeeeeeed all the way home. mike and i had some dinner, then got changed into our costumes - we're pokemon trainers, ash and lyra. no one has recognized me, but EVERYONE recognizes him, which is cute for me, and kind of embarrassing for him, haha. we went to the geekadelphia/indyhall party at tattooed mom's and had an AMAZING time. i've only been writing for geekadelphia for a little while, so i hadn't met anyone in person yet, and it was really fun to meet people for the first time. also, jake from indyhall was there with his wife, and their costumes were so clever i didn't even recognize them until the swedish chef yelled "NICOLE!" across the room and i looked at him and said, "oh my god, jake???" hahaha. my friend olivia came as well, and my friend brett showed up, so we all ended up having a really amazing time!

today we woke up pretty early and had some breakfast. weekend breakfast is one of my favorite things in the entire universe. after that, we lollygagged around a bit and played some more of the killzone 3 beta, which i have to admit is pretty rad. then we headed to kmart to get a new litter box because our old one was beat. we ended up wandering around, looking at household appliances (i totally want an electric griddle) and ended up in the electronics section, where i somehow managed to escape without buying any games or systems or accessories or dvds or blu rays. go me! we came back home and i went through the fridge and gathered up all the stuff that had to be thrown away and we took out the trash and i put a big box of books outside with a sign that says "free books!" on it in the hopes that people would happily oblige. then we did our most traumatizing chore: giving the cats a bath. they've been stinky lately and i can't remember the last time i bathed them, so we dove in. they were NOT pleased, but at least now they smell and look much nicer! and hopefully it'll help with mike's allergies as well.

tonight we have another halloween party - we're going to the 6th annual vampires and vixens at tavern on broad. i've wanted to go but always dropped the ball. luckily, this year some of our friends are going and invited us. woo! we'll be wearing our pokemon trainer costumes again, so we can geek out, haha. we also have cute little "pop and play" pokeballs which actually pop open. they're pretty awesome! right now, i think i'm going to try to finish up this week's homework so there's less hanging over my head for tomorrow. tomorrow night we're going to a halloween party at yakitori boy, and depending on how fun it is, we may be leaving early to go back to mike's and watch the premiere of the walking dead on amc. i'm pretty excited about it - i've been waiting for this moment for about 3 years now! those comics are amazing, and i've heard nothing but good stuff about the show. i've been trying not to watch anything but i couldn't stop myself from watching the trailer, and now i'm excited for it. i know zombies are saturating the market right now, but i love that comic so much that i can't help but be excited to see it so accurately brought to life...err...undeath? right now i think i might play a few rounds of either call of duty 4 or killzone 3 or medal of honor...too many choices! i've really been feeling modern warfare, surprisingly...i even had a 10 kill streak last night. hot damn!

to anyone who made it through all those words: congratulations! you've earned a trophy: caught up with nik. :) happy halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

busy day

There's so much to write about, but it's nearly midnight and I'm exhausted. I spent a lot of tonight doing homework, which was less grueling after finding out this morning that I got a 96 on my midterm. That felt pretty good. Matthew Quick was on campus today as well, which was awesome. I got some other stuff out of the way tonight, too. There's more - there's always so much more to do all the time - but at least I chipped away at it a bit. And at least I got to play some of the Killzone 3 beta, which is awesome.

More tomorrow - hopefully with pictures.

Monday, October 25, 2010

delightful packages + onigiri = hearts

I forgot to mention that we got some awesome packages last week - our pokeballs came for our costumes (Mike is being Ash and I'm being Lyra/Kotone from Pokemon). My package from J-List came as well, filled with snacks (some awesome KitKats, Ramune, some crazy beef-wrapped onigiri corn puffs) and lots more cute bento stuff. Very fun! I also got more of my Lyra/Kotone costume from a place called Sock Dreams, one of the most amazing websites I've ever visited in my life. I got a pair of white thigh high socks and some grey sock garters (I wanted black but they were sold out and they said they weren't sure if they'd get them in time for Halloween), as well as some really cute soccer-player-inspired white over the knee socks with purple stripes at the top, some black leggings, knee-high socks covered in ice cream cones, and my first pair of Tabbisocks, adorable Japanese socks with the split toe - I got a pair with an all-over sakura print. Kawaii!

This is all in addition to some other great packages we've gotten the last few weeks - I got a cute prize pack from the Behemoth with some stickers and other adorableness. I also splurged and got the special edition GBA SP that looks like a Nintendo controller (<3). And finally, we got some review copies - Mike got John Daly ProStroke Golf, and I got Disney Sing It Party Hits and Valkyria Chronicles II. I'm addicted to both of them, strangely :P. Coming in the mail right now is Final Fantasy: 4 Heroes of Light, which I have to pick up tomorrow. I'm very excited about it! I played it for about half an hour at E3 and I loved every second.

Right now, I'm making some sushi rice with dumplings and edamame, and I'm going to practice some more with my bento stuff. I can't wait! Lunch is the hardest meal for me to plan for, especially since I've been trying to cut out processed foods (bye-bye, easy sandwich lunches). Anyway, time to get some stuff done around the house before the food finishes. I've been feeling pretty sick still, so I'm going to take it easy, but there's still always so much to do...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

weekends are too short.

So, Thursday night we played some games and went to bed at a pretty reasonable time, around 11 or so. I woke up Friday feeling pretty terrible - I wasn't sure if it was just a lack of sleep, or what, but I didn't get up until close to 7, so that felt like it should have been enough sleep. I was dragging and aching all day. After work I took the train home because I had a bunch of stuff with me, and then we had to rush to Mike's place. I packed up my costume for the party and all my stuff for the wedding the next day in my small suitcase and we headed over. We got dressed and ready and headed to the bar the party was being held at. It was for the law school students, so I just assumed I wouldn't know anyone there...except we ended up seeing Antonio, one of my ex-boyfriends. He and I had dated for four years, from 1999-2003, and I knew he was dating a girl in Mike's law school class, but I didn't think we'd ever actually run into them. I saw a guy staring at me and was a little confused about it, but when I saw his girlfriend walk up, I realized I hadn't recognized him...which is odd, because he was wearing the same costume he'd worn with me on Halloween years earlier. The last interaction we'd had was not a positive one - we had a hostile e-mail exchange in 2006. Well, my e-mails weren't hostile, but the last one he sent was one of the angriest things I'd ever seen, so I just let it go and didn't reply. I felt bad that he was still harboring so much anger after so much time had already passed - and he'd already been dating the girl he was still with now. So I didn't think replying would be at all productive, nor did I have any desire to approach him at the party (though people have been asking me how he's doing. Sorry, everyone - I don't know!). I hope he's doing well, but I assume that part of what keeps him doing well is avoiding me, and I'm more than happy to oblige.

Anyway, we stayed at the party a little while, then headed back to Mike's and passed out. I still wasn't feeling great. We woke up Saturday and I was feeling worse and now I was even feeling feverish, which sucked. I ended up not going to my friend's wedding, which was really disappointing. I just couldn't even manage to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. We had some breakfast and I just laid around all day playing some games and reading a book. Mike ran back to my apartment for me to check on the cats, because he is the sweetest boyfriend in the universe <3. We also FINALLY got a chance to watch the Netflix movie I'd had for a month and a half - Kick Ass. It was AMAZING!! I was blown away, and I really want to read the book now, because I loved Wanted so much and I hope it's just as good, if not better. We also broke in the new slider machine I bought for Mike - it's like a George Forman grill, but it makes mini burgers. It was pretty much the awesomest thing ever. We went to bed at a reasonable time, and woke up pretty early today because we had a family thing at my cousin's. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it or not - I still wasn't feeling 100% - but we packed up my stuff and headed to my place. I had to make some cupcakes, so I fired up my mini cupcake machine, made about a million, got a shower, and got dressed, and I was feeling pretty ok. We headed into the jerz and my mom picked us up and we spent the day with my family. I wasn't sure how everyone was going to react to Mike, but it ended up being overwhelmingly good - my family really adores him, and they were all glad to see him - and to see him so happy. Everyone was beaming and hugging him, and we got to catch up with them all, which was sweet and wonderful. The occasion was that one of our Australian relatives was visiting and wanted to meet everyone, so we got to meet her as well, and hang out with all the other members of my family we hadn't seen - and we also got to watch the Steelers win, which was great because my Uncle Amos is the assistant special teams coach. So, all in all, it was a very family-oriented day. My mom dropped us off at the speedline with a bag of goodies (including some new sandwich containers!) and we headed back here. Mike went back to his place to work on some homework, and I played more Medal of Honor until he came back. I'm trying to get some more of the multiplayer trophies, and it sucked me right back into how much I love that game.

So, I didn't get much done on my massive to-do list, but there's still tomorrow after work. Tuesday we have free tickets to a movie screening; Wednesday I have a meeting at Indyhall; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we have...Halloween parties! So tomorrow and Thursday will just have to be my catch-up days. We'll see! I also need some time to do homework and laundry...sigh. As always, the fall is the busiest term...

And now it's time for bed. Hopefully more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maybe updating every other day would be smarter...

So yesterday, after work, I got home, exercised, did some yoga, made dinner, and ended up chilling out all night playing video games with Mike. I got a copy of Disney Sing It Party Hits to review for Gaming Target, and I actually really enjoyed playing it! Afterwards, we played some Sports Champions, and joked about how we've turned into casual gamers. I also played some Valkyria Chronicles II, as I'm reviewing that as well. We went to bed at a decent hour.

Today, after work, I had to stop at the bank and at Walgreen's (I should just live there, seriously). We also stopped at a costume shop because our costumes are still in the mail and we got invited to another Halloween party tomorrow (that's 7 total). I'm thrilled to have the chance to wear what we wore last year, but we had to get some extra stuff for them as my tights ripped and Mike didn't have any additional makeup for his. We got home, I cleaned up and made us a quick dinner, and Mike's been working on his homework while I've done some stuff I've been meaning to do - I submitted my midterm for class and typed up the notes from one of the meetings I had with the local game dev folks. I also played some more Sports Champions and Valkyria Chronicles II. Mostly I am just tired, though - I think my allergies are acting up, or something! I don't know what's going on.

I'm going to try to play a little more Disney Sing it and get this review started. I also need to order train tickets, reply to some emails, do some writing...and maybe sleep. This weekend is going to be busy - Halloween party tomorrow night, then Tim and Durda's wedding Saturday night, and a party at my cousin's on Sunday to meet one of our Australian relatives. Good times :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have returned!

So, things have been busy, to say the least. Mike and I started talking again in August and got back together at the end of that month, culminating in him spontaneously - as in, that morning on the train taking me to the airport - coming with me to PAX and having the most incredible weekend of our lives. Things have been wonderful since, and I have never been happier!

Life has been crazy:


I've been doing a lot of it. I'm still doing the Senior Editor gig at Gaming Target, and I've been busy doing a lot of writing and editing there, as well as continuing my column at Press 1 and writing for Geekadelphia. It's been awesome. My latest piece at GT, a review of Medal of Honor, has garnered a lot of attention around the internet. The next day, I was quoted in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about a game called Hipster City Cycle made by a local game developer. And later that week, Valerie Fox gave me a copy of her new book, and I'm in the acknowledgements for helping her edit. I also discovered that a quote from my review of 3D Dot Game Heroes is on the product page. All in all, a pretty rad week. This week, I've got a nice piece up at Geekadelphia on Space Whale Studios, with another piece set to go up hopefully this week. And I have another column up at Press 1 - this one's about E3.


Also been gaming a lot. Mike and I have been playing a ton together - he just helped me beat Final Fantasy V (I didn't even know the PS1 version supported co-op) and we're also playing Diablo 2 and Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks. I'm playing Valkyria Chronicles II on the PSP for Gaming Target (love it!) and I just got the first Modern Warfare which I've been playing whenever I have spare time. There's also Pokemon Soulsilver, which I'm playing with Mike - we restarted our games when we got back together. (It's much more fun this time around. :D)

I'm also still meeting with those game developers, and I went to my first IGDA meeting and hope to make that a regular occurrence. We've got some awesome things in the works.


I'm taking another Library and Information Sciences master class this term after taking two terms off, so I haven't been doing much leisure reading, unfortunately. I read Never Let Me Go, which depressed me, and Hyperion, which I LOVED. I want to re-read Johannes Cabal: the Necromancer now that the second book came out, and I've been reading the Sherlock Holmes books on my Droid (with the handy Kindle app that I adore). I also inhaled all the Scott Pilgrim books over the summer, which were absolutely amazing. I'm trying to finish up the Monster Island/Nation/Planet books, and catch up on webcomics, but I haven't had the time. I've got a pile of books I got from Amazon and another pile from the library that are all collecting dust.


This is another disappointing area. Though I did get Netflix again, I've had the same movie sitting on my tv from them for over a month now, and there's no hope that I'm going to watch it anytime soon. It's Kickass, which I've really wanted to see, too. Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend. The last four times I've been to the theater I've seen Inception every time. I regret nothing. I do wish I'd had the time to see Scott Pilgrim, and I am hoping to catch Never Let Me Go if it's still at the Ritz.


My health has been sort of crazy - the rapid heart rate issue is still there, so I had to wear a heart monitor for a few days. And the doctors gave me Prilosec for the acid reflux, which was working but for some reason yesterday I was sick again, so it's been back to bland food today. Also, the pup had another seizure, so he's been on meds the last month as well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

It dawned on me that I've been knitting on and off for almost 9 years. I really want to get back into it. I have Ideas.

I'm loving steampunk - from books to anime to video games to fashion, I'm falling for it harder than before. There are some cool local events I'd really like to get into if we have the time and the money.

I've been cooking and baking a lot more these days. Cooking has been fun, and I'm really getting into the bento thing - right now I'm just waiting on some supplies to do another round of practicing. It's very fun! And I got a mini cupcake machine, which makes 7 cupcakes in 5 minutes. I love filling my kitchen with tiny cupcakes!

I've always loved stockings and socks, and with the discovery of an amazing website, my passion has resurfaced. Pictures and details to come when my second package arrives, for certain.

Mike and I went to Maido this weekend to stock up on Japanese goodies, from sushi rice to Ramune (delicious and fun Japanese soda) to snacks and bags of gyoza and shumai. Eating okonomiyaki at the counter really made me want to get back into Japanese again - I really miss my classes and my teachers! And Japan, of course. :) I finished Gurren Lagann a few weeks ago. So wonderful! I really want to play the DS game but without more practice, I'd never last!

We have some trips planned in the next few months - I'm very excited. We're going to MAGfest and PAX East so far, with a few more ideas slowly starting to bloom. Mostly we're just having an awesome time together, even when we just sit around all weekend and do nothing but play games. It's been truly magical. I'm working on a piece right now about PAX Prime and how perfect it was.

That's all for now! It's very late; I just finished up my midterm and wanted to start writing in here again because too many exciting things have been happening. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with it every night again :) with pictures as well, because I have many to share!


Friday, August 13, 2010


So this has been a crazy week!

Monday I worked, then came home, did tons of laundry and washed the dishes and cleaned, and played some Uncharted 2 online.

Tuesday I worked, came home and did more cleaning, then had an excellent sushi dinner at Haru with a friend.

Wednesday I worked, went to the philosophy club for a little while, came home, played some LittleBigPlanet (yay Marvel DLC!!), then played more Uncharted 2.

Yesterday I worked, came home, went to make dinner and be productive, saw my friends were online playing Uncharted 2, and proceeded to play it from 7pm until 5:30 am.


This morning I woke up early to call my doctor's office when they opened to make a follow-up appointment for tomorrow, then slept a little longer, got up, did some editing for Gaming Target, and met my friend Andrew for lunch at Midtown II. Now Christina is coming over to play video games for the rest of the day :D Yay!

Also, it is BEAUTIFUL outside. I can't remember a day this beautiful. I am sitting here with the puppycat purring on my lap, enjoying a lovely breeze. Tonight I'm going to do a lot of writing. But for now, it's relaxation time.


Monday, August 9, 2010

I Did Get One Thing Right

I did A LOT of gaming this weekend.

All the other stuff...not so much. Especially the eating and sleeping part.

I played lots of Critter Crunch and Borderlands with Anthony, and then last night played another 4 hours of Uncharted 2 multiplayer with my Canucks (and some new friends, including a very interesting guy from Moscow).

Tonight, I really need to play games I'm reviewing (oooh, I should review Critter Crunch! More like Critter CRACK), and do some writing. Also laundry. Also...sleep.

Off to work.

PS - My laptop finally broke yesterday :( the hinge gave way at long last with a gut-tearing snap. I am sad.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Inception, Evil Cats, Cupcakes *heart*

So Myke, Eric, and I went to get some food, and then saw Inception on the Imax at King of Prussia. While not as amazing as the Franklin Institute, it felt great to see it again. I can't wait to own that movie so I can watch it whenever I want. It's just so good.

Afterwards I came back here and played more Uncharted 2...I'm close to the end. Well, I'm way more than halfway done, but set on Hard makes some of the firefights a little difficult. This morning I made it to my favorite chapter, "Heart of Ice," and then hopped in for some multiplayer. I caved and bought the DLC, mostly because I want those trophies and didn't realize they were exclusive to the DLC pack.

Also, my Nintendo DSi wasn't holding a charge - I tried to charge it yesterday and when I busted it out for some Pokemon, it wouldn't go on. Blzzzzzooop! On and off, on and off. This morning I scrutinized it, looking at the charger, Googled it and looked at some images, and went so far as to try to troubleshoot on Nintendo's site when I realized the damn wire had been chewed through. Thanks a lot, pup. With the application of some kitten tears, I was able to get it to work, and my DSi is charging in the kitchen.

In other, unrelated news, anyone want a cat?

Anthony is headed over today to play some Borderlands. Woo! It's been too long. I'm looking forward to getting back into it. I have to do lots of other things today, including finish this article I started this morning (well, technically, I started it ages ago in a notebook I can't find, so today I just wrote the intro and I'm hoping I'll be able to find the paper copy I wrote. I know - how barbaric!). I also need to take care of some physical mail, do some laundry, and get some groceries. (I was made fun of last night because I write hearts on my grocery list next to the food I like. :P) Oh, and I want to finally break in my cupcake factory and see how great these mini-cupcakes really are.

Hopefully when I return, I will be filled with icing and success.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Naps, Trophies, Dinner

I napped after work last night, which is always a death knell for productivity. Afterwards I did play some of one of the games I'm trying to review (the Soldner-x games), then tired of it and re-started the Uncharted 2 campaign for the fourth time. I got a handful of trophies and made it pretty far into the story. I was interrupted by text messages, instant messages, and drunken phone calls. I feel myself becoming less certain of things and more confused by them, but I just think that my plan of going with the flow is the best one I have right now. I woke up about two hours ago, fed the cats, and have just been reading more of this crazy book Hyperion. It is very good.

It seems that I have lost the fine art of dinner inside the apartment, and even outside, I generally order breakfast or some other strangely alien food I must learn to consume in my post-acid-refluxalyptic stomach. Last night, I mixed some Cheez-its with cashews and almonds in an attempt at making an instant party mix in a bowl. It was good, but neither satisfying nor filling; here I am, awake and hungry and unsure even of what I want to eat. Well, I know what i want to eat, but I can't - a bowl of cereal with milk and a glass of orange juice. How I miss orange juice. And to hear the coffee maker's purr as it fills the apartment with that sweet aroma...

I think I'll make pancakes and try to see if I can have Vitamin Water. If not - Nicole 0, Acid Reflux - 350.

We're seeing Inception again today in a few hours. I plan to do yoga, make breakfast, play at least another hour or so of Uncharted 2, get a shower, and then after the movie, perhaps try to finish the Soldner-x games, as unforgiving as they are. Easy discouragement does not a good reviewer make.

EDIT: Vitamin Water - the one with the guarana in it - is another thing I cannot have. Acid reflux rearing its ugly head, heart pounding out of control. Hopefully a shower will slow this down.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can I Get A Wha Wha?

My life is full of distractions and bottlenecks.

Translation: I want to spend the next 2 hours playing Double Dash.

This weekend is going to be full of catching up on some major things: sleeping, eating, gaming, cleaning, and writing. At least, I hope that's what's going to happen. I have no plans tonight (other than to play some more Uncharted 2 with my Canadians) or Sunday (other than possibly catching up on Borderlands with Anthony). Tomorrow Myke and I are going to see Inception AGAIN because it deserves another viewing (and we have free tickets to the King of Prussia Imax).

Today, however, I need to go to work. Sorry, Mario Kart. But our princess has to go to another castle.

More later.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How Could I Forget?

I forgot a very important game from the list I made the other day, and that is BORDERLANDS. I beat the game when it first came out - playing as the Siren by myself - but now, my friend Anthony and I are playing it together, split-screen co-op once a week at my apartment. It's been fantastic! I forgot how much I really love that game.

After work, my friend Myke and I had dinner, and then we headed to meet with a group of local, independent game developers. They have a meetup once a month. This was our second time in attendance. I was really nervous the first time - I have no experience with development, and I was worried I'd feel out of place. But the group is incredible, very open and awesome, and exchanging ideas with so many like-minded people was exhilarating. This meeting was even better, and I look forward to working with them on many projects in the months to come.

Myke and I walked home and continued many of the discussions started at the meeting, which went on in my head even longer after we separated. I would love to get into video game creation and be a writer. For now, though, I do love working for Gaming Target and writing about games. I don't know what I'm going to do about school right now - I feel like I'm at a strange and wonderful crossroad. I got home, played some Uncharted 2, did some editing, and now it's definitely time for me to sleep...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shutter Island = SOB

So I didn't hook up that router last night, but I was determined to do it when I got home. I decided to watch Shutter Island first - without making dinner - and proceeded to get completely obliterated by it. I sobbed for the entire ending. It destroyed me! I then fought with the router for half an hour, and when I finally bashed it into submission, played some more Uncharted 2 with some new Canadian friends - and an old one! Good times. Right now I've got a terrible headache, so I'm off to bed.

Also, I'm reading a terrific book right now that my friend Dave lent me - it's called Hyperion by Dan Simmons. (I re-read Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World last week - another one that made me cry. What's with me??) Hyperion is really amazing so far - definitely recommend it. I'm also reading Monster Nation, an online zombie novel by David Wellington, and I'm working on getting back into The Walking Dead. So many games/movies/novels...sigh.

Ah well. Off to dream :)

Games I'm Playing

Well, I had an entire blog post mapped out in my head for this evening detailing all the games I've been playing for fun, but instead I played Uncharted 2 multiplayer for 4 hours with a bunch of Canadian kids, so I'll give a brief list with comments instead:

Medal of Honor Beta: sadly over now, but was a blast! Very looking forward to the game in October.

Metal Gear Solid: downloaded it on the PSN and I've been playing it on my PSP. I enjoy it, but don't have enough time to play it.

Pokemon Soul Silver: first game I bought with my DSi - played it quite a bit at first but now only play it here and there. MGS has taken over my portable gaming time.

Uncharted 2: recently got back into the multiplayer which, on nights like tonight, reduces my productivity greatly :P

I am also nearly finished Final Fantasy V, which I put down when XIII came out, and I'm about halfway through the original F.E.A.R., which I picked up ages ago when I first bought it on the cheap at Gamestop and haven't gone back to since. And let's not forget Resistance: Retribution, which I still haven't finished (or Death, Jr!). It seems my portables are the most neglected lately...

Add to that the three games I'm playing to review, the demo I'm previewing, and the fact that in the break-up, my ex got our PSN account, so I want to re-play all of my PS3 games to rebuild my trophy collection, and...yeah. Let's just say I'm having a lot of fun with gaming right now :) I'm actually sort of overwhelmed by the choices, and seem lately to default directly to Uncharted 2.

But ok, it's VERY late, I was supposed to set up a a router, so I'm going to do that and then get to bed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Long-Overdue Update/Shadow of the Colossus

So, I've been absent from this blog for quite some time. Grad school was kicking my butt, and in February, I started working at a site called Gaming Target, which has been amazing. I took a break in the spring from school and got really into writing at Gaming Target and Press 1, where I still have a column. In March, I went to PAX East, and in June, I got to go to E3, which was AMAZING!! I had an incredible time out there. After that, I broke up with my boyfriend, I was in the hospital twice for tachychardia (from stress), I've been diagnosed with acid reflux (from stress), I had a (VERY) brief love affair, and I've finished tons of games, books, and movies, and I'm very nearly at the end of Gurren Lagann, which I've been watching for ages. I do plan on writing a lot more in here - especially about my experiences at E3, which I think are worth writing down on a personal level as much as they were on a professional one. I was also promoted to Senior Editor at Gaming Target, which is pretty awesome! I tried to write about everything I saw at E3 but only managed to scratch the surface. There are tons of reviews I need to get back to, and a lot of games I want to play as well.

Which brings me to the second part of this post...

I just beat Shadow of the Colossus.

Backtrack: when I saw the trailer for the Last Guardian last year, I became obsessed with Fumito Ueda:

I went out and found a copy of Ico (pronounced EEE-CO, not III-CO), his first game, after reading all about it, played it, and promptly fell head over heels in love with it. Ico is a beautiful story of a boy, born with horns and cursed to be sacrificed, who escapes from his fate and helps a ghostly girl escape from hers. (It's more complicated than that, but I don't want to spoil anything.)

I bought Shadow of the Colossus after but I was afraid to start it with all the things I'd heard about it. Having gone through a break-up and then what was basically another heartbreak at the hands of the brief love affair boy, I decided maybe it was time to exercise some catharsis in a depressing game. Normal girls would probably just watch The Notebook; I wanted to play a game in which my moral choices to brutally murder beautiful creatures would make me sob into my cat.

Shadow of the Colossus is the tender tale of a horse and his boy, similar to the Neverending Story, except instead of riding on Falcor to save the girl, you stab him in the fucking head, repeatedly and mercilessly. (Did I need to curse there? Have you PLAYED this game? If you have, then you understand expletives can be necessary in this description.) You are Wander, and you want to bring a dead girl back to life, so you go to the End of the World and appeal to the powers there. The powers that be see that you've got the magic sword needed for just a certain little job he needs done, so he sets you to it - you must kill the embodiments of the 16 colossi that line the walls, and then he will grant your wish.

You go out, get on your trusty steed, Agro, hold your sword up in the sunlight to pinpoint the location of the Colossus, and ride off to find it, your bird soaring high above your head. You find the Colossus and discover very quickly that things are not what they seem. There's no impersonal swordplay, or grenade-lobbing. There's no Quicktime events, or RPG battle systems. You plain and simply find the symbol on the beast, climb up the beast, and then stab it to death. And you must do this 16 times. 16 times!!

I stopped crying after the 4th, but at the 14th, my weeping started anew (how couldn't it, with his tiny little body that moved like a sweet dog?). But it was the end that I couldn't bear.

SPOILERS AHEAD!! WARNING!! Please be warned!!

It was one thing to lose my precious horse - watching as Agro fell, listening as Wander screamed his name. It was another to be judged by my townspeople, taken over by a demon, and then turned into a baby - just as my love awakened! Will he ever atone for his sins? But at least Agro turned out to be alive, and now we can all be together as a happy family - right?

However, I've heard people say that this is supposed to be the spiritual predecessor to Ico - that this boy born with horns is a sign. Is he Ico? I thought Ico was born in a town in which every generation, a boy was born with horns and had to be sacrificed to the castle? Or, perhaps, is this where it all begins? Does the beautiful girl grow bitter towards the townspeople and grow evil, causing a boy to be born each generation with horns, forcing them to sacrifice them to her? Does she change the castle - is this really the castle from Ico thousands of years in the past? Already the end of the world seems so old, and yet perhaps it is far older.

That is all for today - I have some more editing work to do. Tomorrow I am going to comment on all the games I'm playing (and the ones I was playing that have since gone stale), and perhaps comment on some other things.