Friday, November 18, 2011

How many licks does it take?

I've tried to write this blog post half a dozen times, and yet somehow I've failed to finish a single one. So hopefully this time I will manage to finish a full thought, at least.

First: I'm writing this from my shiny new iPad! I love this thing. I barely have any apps on it yet - I've downloaded some, but for the most part, I don't really like them. The Facebook and Twitter apps suck; I can't find a blogspot app that doesn't suck. I don't like the Google chat app i found, either. I was hoping I could run the D&D character creator, but it runs on Silverlight, so that has been mostly futile. I did put Netflix on it, which has been absolutely ridiculously amazing. Other than that, I've mostly just been checking email and writing on it. The keyboard doesn't bother me at all - actually enjoy typing with it, though I'm obviously not as efficient as I am on a regular keyboard. For the most part, though, I really like it. It works for what I need it to do, and as I slowly get more acclimated to it, I like it more and more.

What else...there's just so much going on, I don't even know where to start. I guess I can start with real life. I had dinner with Michelle Pagnani a few weeks ago, and it was so fun! I hadn't seen her in years, but we had kept in touch, especially recently. We talked about everything, and mostly just realized how alike we are in so many ways. We want to plan a little happy hour with a bunch of the former English majors, which I would really love, if we could all find the time.

We saw Electric Six that same week. It was one of the most fun concerts I've ever been to! Anthony got me into them when we started dating, and I've been hooked ever since. We saw them at Johnny Brenda's with a bunch of people - Bailey, George, Kristin, Bill, BJ, and Aaron were all there. I spent most of the night drinking and dancing with Anthony. It was so...I don't even know. Liberating? It felt so good to dance and laugh and sing with Anthony, who is just so free and fun to be with. My words are failing me right now...which has been happening a lot lately.

Anyway, what else? Skeeball is a blast! We finished the regular season last night and remained undefeated! I rolled a 290 in our first game, and in the second game, during the mystery round, I scored a 190...rolling blindfolded with my left hand. It was a great moment. Finals are in two weeks. Registration has already opened for the next skeeson, and so far I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I could stick with my team, because we have a really great rapport, or I could make my own team with my friends, because so many people have expressed an interest in it. So I have to make a decision about it tonight.

I got my hair cut again, too, the day of the Geekadelphia Halloween party. It is shorter than my original cut, which grew way too fast into my eyes. Even now, three weeks later, my hair has grown so crazy quickly! I can't believe it. The party itself was ok - Ant and I were the two main characters from Breaking Bad, Walt and Jesse. Everyone loved our costumes. But I was feeling super fragile - I've been having some self-images issues recently, and dressing as a boy for Halloween drew out all kinds of anxiety. I ended up freaking out and Ant and I had a big fight that went on for most of the weekend. I did a lot of introspecting that weekend, but not before reigning destruction down around me. I know that I can't keep living my life like a bull in a china shop. I know I can't keep wrecking the feelings of the people around me. The people who stay are true friends who love me dearly and will stick with me no matter what, but knowing that doesn't always bring me comfort, because I cringe to think about the pain I've caused them.

In short: I'm lucky to have Ant, and Bailey, and Schneegas, and George. They've brought me through the awful haze that has been the last few weeks, and for that I am grateful. I'm lucky to have a lot of other people, too - Michelle and Veronica, and Chris and Ryan, and John and Holly, and Rachel and Vanessa, and Ian and Brian and Brett. There are too many people to name them all. I'm just a really lucky person who can't be grateful enough.

And I think I've reached my sap quota. I had taken off the week after the party, to work on my novel, which I didn't do. I did go the dentist, therapist, and Gastoenterolgoist; I did play and beat Uncharted 3; I did play a lot of Blood Bowl in our league at Redcap's; I did read a lot of 1Q84, the new Murakami book; I jdid play Skeeball; I did play three games of D&D. I had no cavities and my stomach doctor thinks things are getting better. My therapy appointment was a little therapist left the practice, and plans on retiring soon. So that was our last appointment together. I actually ended up crying at the end because I was so sad. She is the first person I've ever really completely opened up to - I told her things I've never said out loud before. I had never given details on any of the sexual abuse I've gone through, not until three months ago when I told her. I felt sad that she was leaving; I felt anxious thinking about starting all over again with a new therapist. She was sad, too - there were tears in both of our eyes when we said goodbye. She set me up with another therapist in the practice, though, and I've seen her twice so far. I like her, and I think that the slow pace we're taking is exactly what I need right now. Everything has been so intense lately, and dialing it down feels good.

Last week was similar to the week before it - I played two more Blood Bowl games at the shop, and played D&D encounters...our last encounter, followed by dim sum at New Harmony. It was lame going back to work, and I also skipped Skeeball to pack for MEPACon, which was the 11th to the 13th. MEPACon is a D&D convention held in Clark's Summit, PA. I was nervous about it,but it ended up being an absolute BLAST! I played 7 mods total, and leveled 2 of my characters - Genza, my ranger, went from 8th to 9th, and Emberyll, my bladesinger, went from 14th to 16th. I did have a minor freak out on the second night, but I talked it through with Anthony, and we got through it.

This past week has been a complete blur. Monday after work I had an appointment with my psychiatrist, then I had a conference call about GameLoop Philly, and then I basically just passed the hell out. I was exhausted. Tuesday I had work, then went to Redcap's for Blood Bowl and hung out with everyone all night. We went back to my place afterwards, which was really nice. Wednesday was work, then the character creation meeting for our new encounter, and then Ant and I went to his friend Gil's place for a board game night. We watched them finish up a game of Dixit, and then played Pandemic with the expansion, which made things even more complicated than usual! Yesterday I didn't have work because I had two doctor's appointments, so I went home in the morning, did some cleaning and food shopping, went to my appointments, did some laundry, then went to Skeeball, where we proceeded to win our final two games. After that, I took the bus to Ant's and he made us some dinner and we decided to try out Pandemic with just two players. It was really fun, and both times we came close to winning...but of course, we lost. I mean, come on. It's Pandemic!!

Work was boring today, and now I'm just chilling at Redcap's, watching Ant play Roland in Blood Bowl while writing this. I was supposed to have a game tonight, too, but Sam cancelled on me. On, and I'm also reading the Uncharted book, which is surprisingly not that bad. I need to review that and the game and a bunch of other stuff. Hopefully my writer's block will get thawed out a little by this giant blog post I'm writing right now :)

There is so much more I want to write about - my therapy appointment yesterday, which was the anniversary of Eric's death, as well. How my anxiety has been. How today is the first day I've felt normal in weeks. The crazy dreams I've been having. What's been going on with my novel. My thoughts on self-image, being invisible, and androgyny. The book of poetry I am putting together. The socks I want to buy. The music I've been listening to. The anime I've been watching. The handmade jewelry I just had commissioned. But I think this is enough writing for now.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween is awesome

Anthony and I were Walter White/Heisenberg and Jesse Pinkman for Halloween. Behold:

Blue meth and all.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Philadelphia Film Festival

This weekend, Anthony and I went to see two Philadelphia Film Festival movies with our friend Phineas. On Saturday, we saw a super weird trippy sci fi movie called Beyond the Black Rainbow, which was sort of scattered and strange but worth seeing. Last night's movie was amazing - it was a thriller called Headhunters and, much to my surprise, had Jaime Lannister in it! He was fantastic as the super sinister bad guy, which is unsurprising. There are a handful of other movies I want to see, including one on Thursday and one on Monday, but I'm not sure if we'll make it to all of them.

In other news, I joined a skeeball league! I am a freelancer (or freeballer, if you will) and I ended up on a team full of awesome people called the Alex Mac Daddies. We had two games on Thursday and we won both! My highest roll was a 250, hot damn. It's exciting and fun!

I also finished "Breaking Bad" - did I mention that? And Anthony and I have one more episode of "The IT Crowd," and not much left in "Better Off Ted." We've been playing a ton of Blood Bowl as well - the board game, as well as the PSP and computer games. I also finished the second Dresden Files book, Fool Moon, and I'm trying to decide which book to read next, though I've been carrying around the rulebook for Gamma World in the hopes that we start that campaign soon. I'm excited!

Speaking of excitement, I'm also going to my first ever Dungeons and Dragons convention! I've never done that before. I hope I don't get super burnt out! I'll probably end up using my high level Bladesinger all weekend, but that's ok - I really want to get her levelled up so I can start playing the higher mods anyway, and I'd love to see what she's capable of in the higher levels. She's pretty bad ass right now as it is!

What else has been going on... I did some cleaning and laundry yesterday, though I could really do some more. My two Halloween costumes are almost finished - well, one is completely done, but I still need one small piece for the other! We ended up having to get two because we had one all planned out and started buying stuff for it and then found out our other party was mustache-themed, so now we have two, which has actually been pretty fun to put together :). I'll take plenty of pictures, don't worry :) I'm still slogging through Resistance 3 and I finished up Ico and need to start Shadow of the Colossus. Mostly I'm just chomping at the bit for Uncharted 3!! I've also been taking lots of pictures lately, which has been really fun, and doing as much writing as I can. This week is packed with stuff as well...

  • tonight: dinner with Michelle Pagnani

  • tomorrow night: new Murakami comes out! plan to read all night :)

  • Wednesday night: dinner, D&D Encounters, Electric Six concert!

  • Thursday night: either Skeeball or PFF movie

  • Friday night: Indyhall/Geekadelphia Mustache party at Tattooed Mom's

  • Saturday: D&D all day, Halloween party at Brian's at night

  • Sunday: NOTHING all day so far, but PFF movie at night

I don't think I'll be sleeping much...

Oh, and also, I'm on a new medication - it's called Buspar. My anxiety has been flaring up pretty badly, so my psychiatrist added that to what I'm already taking. He forgot to mention I shouldn't drink on it, so Friday night at boardgame night at Kristen's I went from slightly wine tipsy to annihilated in three glasses. I will be sure to 1) eat dinner, 2) not drink so fast, and 3) not take Buspar with wine. Not a good idea.

Ok, off to dinner! Be sure to check out some of these amazing videos by my Skeeball teammate, Kristin:

Dirty Signs with Kristin

They are ridiculously awesome.

Nik out!

Monday, October 17, 2011

and i'm addicted to another book series

but at least it's an easy series to read - it's the dresden files. the books are like candy! i've already finished storm front and i'm nearly 100 pages into fool moon after picking it up earlier tonight. it's just sweet, sweet candy.

i'm exhausted right now. i didn't get much sleep last night - anthony and i were up late finishing up the last two episodes of "breaking bad" after we watched "the walking dead." i managed to make it through work, then headed to therapy, which got cancelled, then went home and ate and played some resistance 3, then took the bus to my psych appointment. it was there and back (and sitting in the waiting room) that i did the majority of my reading. and now i'm home, checking the internet for things of interest, and getting ready to go to bed early for a change. but i can't decide if i want to read, game, or watch a show once i get into bed. decisions, decisions...

this week isn't nearly as busy as last week, thankfully. here's hoping i get some much-needed down time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

mass confusion

Not that this comes as a surprise to anyone, but I am doing way too much stuff. It's at a point where I am massively stressed out over it. I really need to sort myself out, as they say.

In other news, new Walking Dead season tonight! I'm looking forward to that. I'm also really excited about the Philly Film Festival. I haven't gone in years, and, like the Fringe Festival, it's something I'm always interested in but never make it to.

Sigh. My life is in shambles. Will I ever learn?
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

yay hard drives!

i got an amazing hard drive reader off of new egg (per the recommendation of my good friend george) which came today. i checked out some old hard drives i had sitting around, and found tons and tons of old pictures, old writing, and ALL of my old music. it was a glorious evening. i sifted through them while watching episodes of "breaking bad" and taking some time to read more of the first dresden files book, storm front. i even did some writing! i've been quite productive.

yesterday, i watched breaking bad until i fell asleep, and took a nap. when i woke up, i headed to redcap's and played a game of blood bowl with gil. we're in the pre-season still, and that was my second game - i played nurgles and he played amazons. we tied, which was way better than my first game, when i lost to aaron (though i did beat his team up!). afterwards, anthony and i headed back to his place, and i watched more breaking bad while he worked on his blood bowl team. i passed out around two, and then when he got into bed at four, he woke me up, and neither of us could fall asleep. minus: didn't get much sleep, bonus: made it to work early because we got up just after six, so i actually started getting ready at a reasonable time. ha!

so now, i'm at episode 10 of season three, and i am going to finish this one up and then, if i'm still not tired (i think it's amazing i'm even coherent right now!) then i'll watch one more episode and go to bed. anthony has seen the first episode of season four, so i just have four more left before i'm caught up to him and we can start watching the latest season together. i just wish i had more time in a day...

tomorrow is work, then d&d encounters, which i'm really looking forward to. i also need to make some time to go to comcast to drop off my little cable box thingy... or maybe i'll just mail it to them. no time for thinking now. time only for walt, jesse, and sleep.

Monday, October 10, 2011

breaking bad

there's nothing like being sick and watching an entire show from start to finish. i've watched seasons 1 and 2 of "breaking bad" since friday, and today, i started season 3. i could just lay around sick all day and watch the entire season, but i'm so tempted to do so many other things. i also finished up the yiddish policeman's union (which i absolutely loved) for the book club that doesn't suck and now i'm back to storm front, the first book in the dresden files series. i am really enjoying it so far, and i would love to get into the dresden game some of the guys are running. there are video games i want to play, too, and really want to go over the gamma world rule books anthony lent me because we want to start a game of that as well, and i'd like to do some cleaning, but i've just really got so little energy right now from being sick and a lack of sleep and the rough therapy session i had this morning, which has me out of sorts and anxious. so i think i'll just spend the rest of the afternoon with walt, walter jr, jesse, and the rest of the gang. if i'm feeling better later, i might work on some of the stuff i mentioned... that or i'll head to redcap's and play some blood bowl with gil. but right now i've got a fever and a rapid heart rate and a cranky disposition, so we'll have to see. :P

so... many... things... i also want to write, but my laptop is so hot on my lap, and my brain is all fuzzy from this headache, and wahhhhhhhhh.

i also want to write about therapy, and the book she has me reading now, and my dietary changes, but that'll have to be later, when i'm hopefully far less whiny and anxious. <3

Sunday, October 9, 2011


when i take a hiatus, i take a serious hiatus. the whole point of a blog is to keep it updated, but i can't seem to keep up with it. i've been intensely busy lately with...

  • warp zoned
  • press one
  • geekadelphia
  • girl geek dinners
  • games in philly
  • the book club that doesn't suck
  • the video game club (that also doesn't suck, but we have no name for it yet)
  • two more clubs (one book club, which has me reading the girl with the dragon tattoo, and another club which has me primarily catching up on "breaking bad")
  • playing a lot of dungeons & dragons and board games
  • a blood bowl league (currently in pre-season)
  • work
  • doctor visits
  • writing a novel
  • getting a book of poetry together to get published
  • preparing for halloween
  • spending time with my amazing boyfriend

there's so, so much more than that, but that's all that has been taking up most of my time. therapy has also been going really well, and i've been working through things i never thought i'd untangle. i've been reading a lot and playing a lot of games and writing a ton and watching a lot of movies and shows and spending a lot of time with anthony, is what it all boils down to.

more later, but for now, my favorite photo of the two of us:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Time has Come, the Walrus said, to Talk of Many Things...

Wow - I got a huge outpouring of comments and messages about my last blog post! I can't believe how many people have, or know someone with, gastroparesis. It's intense! Thank you everyone for all of your kindness and concern! I truly appreciate it, and value all of my friends and family :) <3

What else has been going on... hmm. A lot of reading, that's for sure! I finished up A Storm of Swords, then re-read A Feast for Crows, and Amazon messed up and sent me my copy of A Dance with Dragons late - I didn't get it until Thursday! But I inhaled it so quickly that I was done it by Sunday. Whoops!!

There's been a lot going on other than that since my last update - I should probably start with Wednesday the 5th, when I met up with Mike and our friend Mike Castrovinci for some dinner, and then headed to Redcap's for D&D. It was fun! I feel almost like it gets better and better every week. The next day I came home and read after work, and Friday after work I headed to Mikey's and met up with some friends who worked at, or currently work at, our bookstore. Some I hadn't seen in almost a year! So it was really amazing to catch up with them. After that, I headed downtown to a Geekadelphia poetry reading called "Broetry," which was dedicated to poetry about... you guessed it... bros. It was held at National Mechanics, which is one of my favorite places to go. After the broetry was done, Mike showed up, and so did another writer at Geekadelphia and Warp Zoned, Chris Urie. We ended up chilling with him and our friend Jake most of the night, and afterwards Chris came over and we played some games and hung out until like 2 am. Friday was also when the doctor called to tell me about the gastroparesis, so I was a little shocked about that, for sure.

Saturday morning we woke up early, ate some food, and then grabbed a Philly Car Share car, picked up some Jimmy John's sandwiches, and headed to my sister Jenna's for the day to hang out with her, my nephew, and Jenna's family. It was an incredible time! My little nephew is getting sooooo big! He's so sweet and wonderful and affectionate. I had a great time with Jenna and her little sister, Rachael, too - we played some Just Dance, which I'd never played before (and have since bought!). It was nice catching up with her mom and stepdad, too - they are awesome people. They asked us to stay for dinner so we did, and it was delicious! We got home around 8 (after some minor drama with the car!) and hung out, played games, and read all night. Sunday we headed to my mom's to celebrate my stepdad's birthday. I wasn't feeling great, so I mostly just laid around and read some more.

Monday I was preparing for Dance with Dragons to come out, and trying to wrap up Feast for Crows as quickly as possible, but Tuesday came and went with no book! I bitched at Amazon, but they still didn't get it to me until Thursday. So Tuesday we recorded another podcast for Warp Zoned, Wednesday I met with my nutritionist to discuss my diet options, and afterwards I met the Mikes at my local diner and then we went to D&D. I was thrilled to get the book Thursday, and read the whole night at babysitting! And then again most of Friday night, after we went food shopping and picked up lots of food that I can actually eat. I ended up baking some awesome parmesan-encrusted chicken, which turned out amazingly well! I was excited about it.

Saturday I was very social! I started the day out doing some laundry, and then Mike and I went to Jersey to meet our friend Stacy, her boyfriend Ross, and her parents at PJ Whelihan's for lunch. Stacy and I met when we went to Ireland together for a wedding - I went with my friend Mike Cahill, and she went with her friend Carter Posey, and we ended up bonding and becoming instant friends. Our friendship has continued through the last three years! She and Ross are considering moving back up to this area from DC, which would be awesome, because we'd get to spend way more time with them. Afterwards, we went to Mike Castrovinci's and they played some video games while I read and napped, then we went to my mom's for dinner. She ended up dragging us to the mall to exchange her latest Pandora charm (I got her obsessed with Pandora!) and I stopped at H&M to get some new tank tops, then we headed home and read and gamed the rest of the night.

Sunday was the best. We sat around and did very little! Since we'd already gone food shopping, we didn't have to go anywhere. I did some stuff around the house, like some vacuuming, and we did head to GameStop so I could return a game, but other than that, it was just reading, gaming, and eating. It was so nice. I was kind of sad when I got to the end of the book, because I didn't want it to end, and who knows when Winds of Winter will be coming out!!

Yesterday afternoon we received a nasty shock at work - around 4:30, we got a phone call saying one of our faculty members died. It was very sudden. It's been a flurry of activity around the department since then, and many people are very sad. I didn't know the professor all that well, but it saddens me to see so many people hurting.

After work, we recorded our podcast, and then I played some more F.3.A.R., read more of Codependent No More, and did some writing. I've been trying to write as much as I can, but it's been tough. I wrote a preview of Catherine, as well as an article about my impressions of the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception beta, and I'm working on a review of F.3.A.R., and also started the new BioShock novel, BioShock: Rapture today, and I'll be reviewing that as well. Whew. Busy! I've been doing some other stuff, too, but it's getting late, and I need to go to bed.

OH AND ALSO! My very first paper proposal got accepted at a conference! I found that out today. And, on my way home from work, I walked by a few people standing around a car. I looked over and saw kittens inside the car! I couldn't stop myself - I was drawn to them! I walked over and squeed, and asked how old they were, and she asked if I wanted to hold one! So I got to hold TWO of them! They were so sweet, and only a month old, and they were panting in the heat! One of them was panting right in my face, and his breath smelled like cat food, and I thought of Ralph. They asked if I wanted one, and I said do I ever! But I couldn't help but think of my poor kitties, and how they would freak out if I brought home another critter. It was nice just to cuddle kittens randomly in the middle of the day and talk to nice people. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face!!

Tonight, I washed the dishes, had some dinner, playing some Modern Warfare online with Mike and our friend, Ryan Littlefield, played more F.3.A.R., and read more of BioShock: Rapture. And now I think it's time to cuddle up with my 'tarns and go to bed.

Much turtle love! <3

Monday, July 18, 2011

In Which I Talk about Gastroparesis

So remember all those medical problems I've been having? It all started last June. I was in the ER last year four times with tachychardia, which the doctors attributed to acid reflux, which they blamed on anxiety. I started seeing a nutritionist because I lost so much weight (all told: 30 pounds), went to a cardiologist (wore a heart monitor twice, and was given beta blockers which I never took), saw my family doctor a few times between ER visits (and was put on a proton pump inhibitor for the reflux), started seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist (who put me on anxiety medication), and then finally started seeing a gastroenterologist, who gave me an endoscopy and a gastric emptying scan. I changed my diet once I was diagnosed with acid reflux, and changed it back (partly, anyway) when I went on meds. All told, it's been 13 months, lots of tests and medications (most of which I haven't even touched), and A LOT of time spent in waiting rooms.

The results of all of my tests were exactly the same: everything is fine, no one knows what the problem is, here's a possible medication to help, go see another doctor... until the gastric emptying scan. My doctor called me a week and a half ago and said, "The results from your gastric emptying scan were very, very abnormal. It takes you 239 minutes to digest food, and it takes a normal person 90-120 minutes. You'll have to come in for another appointment - we'll meet and discuss a specific diet for you, as well as medication options."

I was floored. I wasn't expecting to hear that. I had assumed we'd gotten to the bottom of the problem - I was stressed out and anxious, and it was messing with my digestive system, and dealing with my anxiety would get rid of my acid reflux. But instead, it was something completely different - gastroparesis is ideopathic, which basically just means that doctors have no idea what causes it.

Anyway, I'll back up a little here - after I got off the phone with my doctor, I called his front desk to make an appointment. The soonest he can see me is September 9th. Oi vey! So I went online and did some searching on Google, which was how I found out more details about gastroparesis - which is actually what my nutritionist has thought I've had all along. So I looked at all the dietary restrictions and decided I'd start as soon as possible. I had an appointment coming up with my nutritionist anyway, so I got a head start on everything.

By the time I met with my nutritionist, I was already feeling better. Much of the problem was being caused by two things: foods I was eating that were high in fat (ice cream, chocolate, regular hamburgers, etc) and foods that were high in fiber (fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and things like nuts and granola). Well, you'll never be able to guess what most of my diet was before this all happened. Let me give you a list:

breakfast - yogurt with granola and a banana
lunch - some sort of sandwich (usually with cheese) and some trail mix that I make myself (almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, wasabi soybeans, and dried cranberries)
dinner - usually something breaded (chicken fingers and tater tots) or high in fat (hamburgers or hot dogs) with a vegetable (usually broccoli)
dessert - ice cream or something equally fattening

Now, in all fairness, I did cut out a lot of high-fat foods - I don't eat cheesecake at all anymore, and I try to avoid stuff that's excessively high in fat. But I didn't realize that so many things I was eating - like fruits, vegetables, and nuts - were hurting me! It's no wonder I was always in pain and bloated. Here I was thinking that I was helping my acid reflux, when all I was doing was making it worse!

On Friday, armed with my new list from my nutritionist, I went to the grocery store to pick up all Nicole-friendly foods. The key is that the foods must be 5g of fat or less and 4g of fiber or less. One of the most difficult things to find was butter, because even some of the low fat sticks and the 'I can't believe it's not' stuff was high in fat. It was also tough finding anything to eat sandwiches on that isn't just straight up white bread (which I don't mind). So, now, my diet has changed considerably:

breakfast - smoothie (Starbucks Vivannos, but I just got a blender today, so I'm going to start making my own!)
snack - crackers or yogurt, or crackers and yogurt
lunch - sandwich (today it was tuna fish with low fat mayonnaise on a bagel flat or thin or whatever they're called)
snack - crackers or yogurt, or crackers and yogurt, or crackers and a Laughing Cow wedge
dinner - rice with frozen veggies, or stir fry I make myself, or lean burgers with baked french fries, or pasta, or baked chicken (just made some awesome baked chicken the other night!)
snack - Skinny Cow

Let me just say that Skinny Cow stuff is AMAZING. I bought the cookies 'n cream ice cream sandwiches, and holy CRAP. They're delicious! They're low in fat, fiber, and calories, and they taste like heaven. They're especially awesome in this hot hot heat!

So, the goal right now is to stick to this new diet and see how everything works out. After a month doing this, hopefully we'll be able to tell whether or not this is really what I have, and if it's helping the problem. My nutritionist thinks that I lost all the weight because my body wasn't digesting the food and I wasn't getting the nutrients, so this should stop my weight loss, which has still been going down. And I'm trying to get in some regular exercise to regulate everything - I just bought Just Dance for the Wii, which I blame on my sister, since I was playing the sequel to it at her house. It's SO fun!

So that's my update! Lots more is going on, but I wanted to write about all that health stuff. If anyone wants to see a copy of my diet, feel free to email me or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter or just leave a comment here and I'd be glad to share it. The one majorly bad thing is that I can't have popcorn, which is like on my top 5 list of favorite foods! But it's just too hard for my body to break it down, and it explains why I've been having such horrible pain every time I eat it. So looks like reduced fat Cheez-Its at the movie theater for me!

Hopefully more tomorrow. Much turtle love <3

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

F.3.A.R. multiplayer = yes

So I finally dug into the F.3.A.R. multiplayer tonight. I am officially impressed! The modes are great, the maps are awesome, the pacing is perfect, and I love how smooth the gameplay is (which I'd noticed when I was playing single player as well). It doesn't hurt that I jumped into a random game with some awesome dudes who are now on my friends list. I love when that happens!

So yeah, after work I headed home, played more of the Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception beta, headed to Mike's, did another podcast for Warp Zoned, and then played F.3.A.R. the rest of the night. We're going to try to get into the habit of having a podcast every week instead of every other week, which I think will cut down on the length and the tangents. Tonight's went really well! Hopefully we can keep it going.

I need to do some editing, but right now I just want to curl into bed with A Storm of Swords and go to sleep. Tomorrow night is D&D (woo!) and Thursday I'm not babysitting, so Mike and I might go see a movie. Friday I'm meeting some friends for drinks and then going to the Geekadelphia Broetry event, and Saturday I'm going to see my sister and my nephew, yay! Hopefully somewhere over the weekend I'll be doing some cleaning and some laundry because I really, really need to.

Also: 51.14:11:32 until PAX ZOMG!! <3

sooo late!

whew, here i go again - staying up too late the day before i have to go back to work! whoops! anyway, yesterday, mike and i played a lot of call of duty: black ops, then got showered and ready and packed up all of our stuff and headed to his grandparents' house for some lunch. his dad, his dad's girlfriend angela, and his brother keith picked us up after that, and we headed out to grab some dinner and a drink with them. after that, they dropped us off at the train station, and we had a nice ride back to philadelphia. i read more of a storm of swords and played more of link's awakening which i am in love with! we got back here and played codblops and read all night.

this morning, i woke up early after having some crazy dreams again. i swear i've been having them a lot lately! it's soooo strange. i finally got out of bed, washed the dishes, made some breakfast, and mike and i took turns playing codblop and reading. we watched more "24" while we were eating, though - it's been a few days since we've seen it. i can't believe we're on the last season! i hope jack doesn't die, but i'm guessing he probably will D:. anyway, after a while, we got showered and dressed and headed to superfresh to get some food, then came back here, had some snacks, took turns playing codblops and reading and writing and stuff, and just had a generally chill afternoon. i finished up my review of dream trigger 3d, worked on my feature about the uncharted 3: drake's deception beta, read more of codependent no more and a storm of swords, and did a little surfing around the internet, which i hadn't done in a few days. i also worked on some editing for warp zoned and oh yeah - i won an awesome t-shirt from one of the awesomest chicks on the internet, girl gone geek! she is totally amazing and i <3 her. i won this awesome mario kart league shirt:

:D! i can't wait to wear it! it's so adorable. mike said this morning that i have a knack for winning shirts online - this is the fourth one i've won. the other three were two behemoth shirts i won on twitter, and a lost planet shirt i won on twitter. and oh yeah, i won an awesome ninjatown contest as well! that one and one of the behemoth ones were both haikus. w00t! keep having contests, people! i'll keep entering them :D

ok, off to bed. i was hoping to have my u3 piece finished tonight, but the whole vacation vibe has been sapping me of motivation, so instead of being responsible, i read more martin and got more double xp. sorry, life. i promise i'll be more responsible tomorrow.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

at the beach!

so thursday was crazy busy, but i still managed to make it down the shore. i had work til 5, rushed home quick as i could, packed for the beach, headed to my babysitting gig, finished up around 9, stopped at the corner store to get cat food and cat litter, dropped it off at home, headed to varga for a meeting tristin and i had with flyclops, and then rushed back home to finish up the final packing, cat food- and water-ing, and last minute double checking of everything. i made it to patco in time for the train, which got me to lindenwold in time for the nj transit train, which was super late leaving anyway because they were waiting for the cops to get there to take some girl off. it was a strange night! i was working on homework most of the night, and then read a lot of clash of kings. we got back to mike's mom's after 1 and set up my ps3 so mike could check out the uncharted 3: drake's deception beta. i passed out shortly after that :).

friday was busy, busy, busy. we woke up early, got showered and dressed, and headed over to mike's grandparents. his mom is out of town for a month, and she lives across the street from his grandparents, so we've spent the last few days between the two houses, for the most part. we had breakfast, hung out with them, checked out the pool (i got burnt on my thighs in the half hour we spent there!), and then took their car to go pick up mike's glasses, get his brother keith from the train station, and stop at gamestop so i could see if i could find some of the games i've been looking for (which i couldn't). we did run into mike's friend, edd, who is super cool - i'd never met him before but i'd heard lots of stories! after that, we stopped back at mike's grandparents, then headed to his dad's to hang out with him and his girlfriend angela, as well as keith and his girlfriend karla, who just moved next door to willy and angela. we chilled, had an awesome meal - rib-eye steak, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, salad, and a dessert of cappuccino pie, brownies, and ice cream - OMG, and then walked around the boardwalk. i think i may have been to that boardwalk before - seaside heights - when i was 19. i remember parts of it - it's so familiar. i think it's where i bought my crazy platform van sneakers and one of my favorite pairs of board shorts... which i can't find now. hopefully this summer's searches will yield them up! afterwards, we drove back to mike's grandparents, walked over to his mom's, played some call of duty: black ops, and went to bed. i also read a lot more clash of kings as well as the rest of my homework throughout the day, and played more of link's awakening, which i'm really enjoying.

yesterday was much more relaxing. we woke up, went to his grandparents' to eat, and headed to kohl's so mike could get some new sneakers. i found some amazing chuck taylor's - they were black and covered in little tiny studs, and they were only $16!! but they only had them in size 6, and my feet aren't quite that tiny :P. we headed back here, got changed into our bathing suits, and spent the day at the pool. it was soooo nice. we read by the poolside, then hopped in the water and swam a bit, then spent the rest of the afternoon reading in the sun. it felt soooo nice. around dinnertime, we headed back to mike's mom's, got showers, got dressed and ready, and headed back over to his grandparents' for dinner. they grilled for us - cheeseburgers and hamburgers, with corn on the cob and home-grown string beans, followed by blue bunny ice cream cones. it was all so delicious! i even had some wine, and i drink so ridiculously infrequently now that i got tipsy. whoops! we headed back to mike's mom's, and i played a ton more of link's awakening and finished reading clash of kings. i was tempted to start storm of swords but i was so happy and comfortable that i just drifted off to sleep.

aaand now i'm wide awake, and just feeling so pleasant and well-rested. i made the decision this morning to drop my class, because we've had such sporadic connection to the internet these last few days, and everything i need to do is online. the only reason the choice was difficult is because the class is so interesting. but with the project i'm working on with tristin, girl geek dinners philadelphia, geekadelphia, warp zoned, press one, and the fact that there are so many other things i want to do this summer - like clean out and re-arrange my apartment, as well as start working on that book i keep talking about - i just don't have the time for this class. it's time i made a decision on what i want to do, and as much as i love my coursework and want to get my degree, i love what i'm doing with the video game journalism stuff, and i would really love to start making actual money from it. and for once, i don't feel guilty about dropping the class. i feel like i'm really working in a good direction mentally and emotionally, and i haven't been this happy in a really, really long time.

the only other thing i wanted to mention is that i've been having some CRAZY dreams!! like beyond anything close to the realm of normalcy. a lot of people i've talked to have said they've been having weird dreams, too, so maybe it's the moon or something. but wow, have they been extra strange!!

ok, time to get in some more nuketown 24/7. i love double xp weekends! will post some pictures and more stuff later. happy fourth of july weekend, all :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

forgot to mention...

I had a pretty rough anxiety attack last night. The research I've done, plus what I've discussed in therapy, added to my reflections on what has sparked these attacks before, have lead me to believe that I understand what caused it. Mike is down the shore - has been since Tuesday. I'm joining him tonight or tomorrow. But in the meantime, I have (previously inexplicable) anxiety, which I now think is because I hold my idea of safety closely tied to the person I'm dating. It also explains some of why my relationships move so fast.

This is all just speculation, but it feels like I'm unravelling a complex knot.
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so that post i just published said it went up last night at 10:47...because that's when i opened a window to write a blog post. i think i am officially too darn busy :P

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


d&d last night was awesome! my friend mike and i got there late but everyone was late setting up so it worked out perfectly. we had a really fun time. anthony was jumping through windows again, which earned him the nickname "reverse defenestrator," until he later pointed out that a reverse defenestrator would be someone who threw windows through people. LOL!! good times.

afterwards i played tons more of the uncharted 3 beta - the patch has really helped it a lot. i played some uncharted 2 after that for some comparison. i think i've gotten wayyy too acclimated to FPS... i keep getting my ass handed to me in TPS. blergh!

ok, time for work, and then stopping into the girl geek dinners happy hour, then babysitting, then a meeting with another local game developer (flyclops tonight!), and then either heading down the shore tonight or sometime tomorrow. i have no time to pack, so most likely tomorrow, but i'd really really really love to get there tonight...

so much to do, always! and i really just want to lay around all day and finish reading clash of kings...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

uncharted 3 beta!!

i am so exhausted, but wanted to make a quick post about the uncharted 3 beta. it's here, and it's amazing so far! it's buggy and freezes a lot, but i was ready for that to happen. i like the multiplayer modes so far, the guns feel different but i'm enjoying using them, a lot of it is the same but so much is different. i'm writing up a piece for warp zoned, so i'll link that to here later.

what else...yesterday and today were busy days at work, for sure. last night after work, i met with some friends and local game developers to talk about a project we're working on, which went really well. afterwards i went home, grabbed some stuff, and headed to mike's. we watched "24," i read more clash of kings, and then we passed out. tonight i played tons and tons of uncharted 3 and recorded our podcast with ryan and adam. it was so fun! i hope we start doing a weekly podcast - it's such a blast.

time to get at least some sleep - tomorrow's another long day!! going to read some more of my book and pass out. :D

ps - i had some STRANGE dreams last night. i might write about them later, but wow. they are surely bizarre!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday, Sunday...

Oh, Sunday! You bring in the end of the weekend, and for that I am usually so sad. But I was in a good mood all day today! I woke up in a good mood, with Spot cuddling up to me in bed. I took care of the kitties, made breakfast burritos for Mike and me, and then we got all showered and ready to go to our book club meeting. We stopped at Whole Foods first and I picked up a fruit tart. I'll use pretty much any excuse possible to buy a fruit tart! We headed to the station and hung out waiting for the train - Mike was reading the final pages of A Storm of Swords, and I was leveling my characters in Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness.

We got to Lansdale and Sheila picked us up, and we met our friend Bill back at her place. We ate a delicious brunch and then went out on her balcony and discussed Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, which I was pleased to hear everyone loved! It was my first book pick, so I was a little nervous, but the book is just so easy to talk about because it's amazing. We had a great time discussing it! I hope they all read the second book, too, so we can discuss that as well, because I liked it but didn't love it. I wouldn't say I was disappointed, but I feel like the first book was a hard act to follow. After that, we planned out the next three months' worth of material, ate some fruit tart, and then Bill dropped us off at the station and we headed back home.

I had charged my 3DS at Sheila's, so I played a bunch of Dream Trigger 3D and unlocked a lot more stuff, and Mike wrapped up the rest of his book. He's obsessed! I kind of love it. We got home and chilled out a little while before I had my Skype meeting with Tristin and Patrick confirming all of our meetings for this week - I'm nervous and excited! Hopefully everything goes smoothly and I can start talking about this project soon. When we were done, Mike hopped into CoDBlOps with me, and I finally prestiged for the first time! It felt good, haha. I also started re-reading A Clash of Kings, downloaded and started Link's Awakening, and finished up the rest of my homework. I was going to do some editing but it looks like most of it is done, so I'm going to save the rest for tomorrow night and go wash the dishes and make my lunch for tomorrow. Whew! Sunday, you are so busy sometimes...

Ok, I best be off. Just wanted to share one more thing - these ridiculous glasses. They're the deal of the day in the Amazon video game section, and they are crazy. At first I just thought they were super overpriced glasses, but they are specially made so that you don't have to blink as much while you're playing, which absolutely blew my mind. Major League Gaming is a strange and interesting thing!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


So today we took the kitties to the vet. I haven't taken Spot in a long time - probably a few years, come to think of it. It might have been as far back as 2006. Anyway, I also haven't taken her anywhere since I moved here, so she's been in my apartment - other than the time I spent in Japan, when she was at my mom's - since 2007. The Pup is a different story. He was diagnosed last year with toxoplasmosis, after having a series of seizures. I had to take him to the vet a few times, and we had him on medication a few times, and it was really sad. But he's been ok for a while. He had two more seizures, and Spot is really fat, so we thought it would be a good time to take them both to the vet.

Normally, Pup is not pleased about being in the car, but he gets over it pretty quickly... so long as he's not in a carrier. But this new vet that I've been using the last year has a strict policy on that, so we borrow a dog carrier from my mom and put him in there. It's been a long time - since 2008 - since I've put them both in there at the same time, but I didn't think it would be that big of a problem. I knew they'd be miserable, but I had no IDEA what we were in for.

We got them both into the cage without much of a problem. To my surprise, Spot started freaking out almost immediately. The Pup was his normal spazzy self, but she cried and cried and cried. We got them to the vet quickly, brought them in, and put the carrier down. Another woman had come in with her cat, and Pup noticed and started growling. I turned the cage towards the other cat so they could see her, which was the stupidest thing I could have done. Mike was like "I'm not sure if that's a good idea..." There was also a cat loose who lives there, a sweet tuxedo cat named Diamond. Well, he started heading towards them, and the Pup went completely insane and started attacking Spot! It was like a crazy cougar battle inside a tiny cage. We had to rush them to an examining room and let Spot out and put the Pup back in the other room in the cage. Even after that, Spot still just sat in a corner and hissed most of the time, and when it came time for her exam, JFC. She was FREAKING OUT. She screamed so loud through most of it that they could hear her in the waiting room! I was near tears through the entire thing. Pup was an angel during his exam, but he always is. He just purrs and purrs with the doctor and her assistant like a cute little flirt.

The verdicts were at least good for both cats - Spot is fine, other than being really overweight. We need to put her on a diet starting now. Pup is a little skinny and we have to watch for his seizures. We got them back home and had to keep them separated for a little while because they were still hissing at each other, but they're doing ok now.

I was exhausted all day. I finished up most of my homework for the week, did some writing, started reading Codependent No More (which is really good and insightful), started F.3.A.R. (which I love so far), watched Lost Boys with Mike, and now I'm playing some Call of Duty: Black Ops with some friends online. I've got more writing to do, which I might get done before I go to bed. Tomorrow we're off to our friend Sheila's for our book club to talk about Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, which I'm hoping will be fun. I get to lead this time, so I'm a little nervous! And last night we had Mike's roommate's engagement party, which was SO fun! I really like his roommate Mark, and his fiance Chelsea, and their friend Dave, and all of their other friends were really nice, too.

All right, back to Blops. I'm about to prestige for the first time...finally! I'm so close. And I need to do more writing...and cuddle my kitties...and read more...and sleep.

Pup & Spot >^..^<

Friday, June 24, 2011

Animals Being Dicks

This is, by far, one of the funniest websites I've ever seen:

Damn. I laughed myself silly last night over the squirrel one!

I'm heading to work soon, but I'm feeling pretty awake and wanted to write in here for a moment. Tonight, after work, Mike and i are meeting his roommate Mark and his fiance and their friends to celebrate their engagement! I'm so excited. Mark and Chelsea are wonderful people. Tomorrow, we're taking both of my kitties to the vet - the Pup is still having seizures, so we're hoping they can run more tests and find out what's going on. Spot... well... Spot is really overweight, so we're going to ask them what we can do about that. Sunday we have our Book Club That Doesn't Suck meeting, to discuss Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, which I'm very excited about! And then Sunday night I'm meeting up with Tristin and Patrick via Skype to discuss a project we're working on that isn't quite public yet... but I think will be soon. In between all of that, I'll be doing homework, trying to wrap up A Game of Thrones and possibly start A Clash of Kings, working on Disgaea and Dream Trigger 3D some more, and watching some more "24." We're in the last season, and it's strange how many "big" actors are in it! Mike also wants to see Lost Boys and Flatliners to compare and contrast young Keifer with older Keifer. Ha! :)

Ok, time to finish getting ready. It's Friday, yay! Random picture spam:

Thursday, June 23, 2011


The last few weeks have been very busy! Mike and I (and recently our other friend Mike) have been going to Dungeons & Dragons encounters at a local game store, and it has been amazing! It's every Wednesday night, and the people we play with are terrific. I'm enjoying it so much! We also had Wizard World Philadelphia this weekend, which was a blast. I'm still recovering from it, and this weekend will be just as busy! It's been kind of rough at work lately - first week of the term always is! - but rice + Ramune for dinner made it all better:

I've also been doing an unbelievable amount of writing, and I'm taking a class this term which means I've been doing homework, and I finished up inFAMOUS and I'm more than halfway through Dream Trigger 3D and Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, and I finished Johannes Cabal the Detective and started re-reading A Game of Thrones, and the show ended already but! I did just pre-order it today on blu-ray, the minute Amazon sent me the email to let me know it was available. Whew! I've been a busy lady. I also had a major breakthrough in therapy this week, which feels strange to say but feels good to say and think about. I think I might actually be able to work through all the negative (and previously unexplainable) thoughts and feelings I have. It feels suspiciously like progress, as Ryan Littlefield would say :)

More details - and pictures! - this weekend. For now, I'm going to hang out with the Starks and then head to bed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

empty promises

I keep saying I'll write everyday and post pictures everyday and blah blah blah. But the truth is, I'm really busy most days and nights, and having a theme kind of makes blogging seem like a chore. I don't want to do something just so I can blog about it. It starts to take all the fun out.

Speaking of being out of fun, I've got a gastric emptying scan tomorrow. I'm a bit nervous about it, but I'm guessing that's a normal reaction. More details later...for now, sleep.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

way too late for me to be awake!

i should definitely be in bed already, but i feel like this sunday got away from me. friday we had my cousin erin's wedding, which was BEAUTIFUL! and i had such a great time with my family. it was mike's first time meeting that part of my family - my stepdad's side, who i've known almost my whole life and i love very much. i don't get to see them often, but when i do, i'm reminded as to why they mean so much to me.

saturday we woke up late and i spent most of the day going through stuff in my mom's basement. i've lost 30 pounds since last summer, so i pulled out all my old shorts, cropped pants, and bathing suits. i also grabbed some shirts and a few pairs of flip flops, along with some awesome platform sneakers. i can't wait for summer!

we celebrated mike's birthday early with a good dinner and a cake, and then my mom and fran drove us home. i spent the rest of the night beating bioshock 2, which wasn't as bad as i thought it would be.

today we woke up, ate breakfast, watched some 24, then headed to my friend brian's for the bike race, which we completely missed. whoops! we hung out with his friends and family, and after they left, we re-watched the first two episodes of a game of thrones. mike read the book last weekend, so it would awesome to watch it with his and brian's commentary (brian's "re-reading" the books right now by listening to the audio books). brian was the one who got me into a song of ice and fire, so it's really awesome to watch the episodes with him (we saw the first one at a special screening in a movie theater - it was amazing!).

afterwards, we headed home, and ended up stopping and taking some pictures around the city. we so often forget what an amazing place we live in, and it feels so good sometimes when we stop to appreciate it. when we got home, i wanted to clean up a little, but it was so late by the time we got here that i just started up infamous. i'm actually kind of upset i didn't start it sooner! it's crazy amounts of fun...and why it's after 1 am and i'm still not in bed. whoops...

i have pictures of the t-shirts i've been wearing, but they're not readily accessible, so instead i'll post this one mike took of me on friday in the dress i wore to erin's wedding:

i need to stay on top of pictures more. i just uploaded the ones from mike's brother's graduation dinner, and i've got tons on my hard drive, camera, and phone - and now on mike's phone, too. and i just found a ton more in my mom's basement... i would love to start scanning them in and uploading those to facebook, but people would probably choke me, haha. :)

ok, really, time for bed! which means time to get into bed and read some more of johannes cabal the detective. sunday nights are the worst... i mess my sleep up too bad to be of any use at all monday. also, i can't believe e3 is this week!! it's so hard to believe that this time last year i was sitting at microsoft's kinect even, wearing a white poncho and bracing myself for all of the excitement to come.

more tomorrow. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

another three-day weekend!

whew. i made it through the week, and i've got another three-day weekend that started about 8 hours ago. my cousin is getting married tomorrow, so mike and i are headed to my mom's and then we're going to the wedding. mike's never met this part of my family before - it's my stepdad's family. i haven't seen them in ages (probably since the last wedding in 2007) so i'm very excited to see them all! i had to pick out a dress tonight - i narrowed it down to two, and i'm just going to bring them both. whatever, i'm allowed.

after work, we headed to mike's to grab our stuff, and then headed to my place. we had some dinner, watched another episode of 24, and then mike read more clash of kings while i played disgaea and bioshock 2. it was a nice, relaxing evening.

tomorrow i'm going to attempt to get up early so i can get some laundry and writing done before we head to my mom's. this weekend is packed - wedding tomorrow, celebrating mike's birthday at my mom's saturday, and brian's annual bike race party on sunday. hopefully i'll get a chance to game and write a bit as well, and maybe stop by and play some pokemon with chris.

oh, and today's t-shirt was another behemoth twitter contest win! it's another one from PAX East, though this one is from last year's expo.

whew. that is all. time to play more disgaea or read more johannes cabal the detective or maybe just sleep.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

fresh cake!

Today was nuts! Mike and I went to dinner when I was done work and then headed over to Redcap's for some D&D, which is awesome. I'm really getting into it! I think I'm going to try to make my own character this weekend. We walked back to Mike's after that and I played some Pokemon Black while he played Metal Gear Online, then I played more BioShock 2 while he read more of A Clash of Kings. Now we're just wrapping up and getting ready to pass out.

I started Johannes Cabal the Detective the other night, which I may have mentioned. It's surprisingly good so far! Not that I didn't think the author could pull it off... it's just that the first one was SO good, that it's hard to imagine him equaling that again. I hope he did! So far I'm feeling optimistic. And my book club is reading Johannes Cabal the Necromancer right now, meaning I'm going to get to read it for a third time :D

So much on my mind... hopefully will have time for a proper post discussing all the reviewing I've been doing! But I'm so tired now... zzz...

Oh! Today's t-shirt is called "Fresh Cake." It might just be the best t-shirt ever created!

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Today's t-shirt is Dr. Droidberg from Tee Fury! It was the second daily shirt I got (and the first mashup).

Yesterday, I did some cleaning, ran some errands, then Mike and I went to our friend Chris' place and hung out with him, his brother Ryan, his girlfriend Jess, and his friend Nate. We got a pizza and then went to Rita's for frozen treats! Yum. In between, we talked about books and played a shitload of Pokemon.

We got home late and I played more BioShock 2 and then we read in bed. Mike started A Clash of Kings and I started Johannes Cabal the Detective. We fell asleep late and it was a little rough at work with so little sleep. It's the last week of classes so it's busy!

Tonight we caught up on the latest episode of A Game of Thrones. That show is really well done! But Mike is starting to get why I've been so worried about the show and how they're going to portray certain things. They seem to be pretty good at it, but some of what happens to the characters is so gruesome that I'm kind of afraid to see it! Though I think my imagination might be worse... it was with the golden crown scene.

Other than that, we played some video games and chilled out. Tomorrow is another busy day. At least another three-day weekend is coming up for me - my cousin Erin is getting married Friday! So that should be a blast.

More tomorrow. Oyasumi-nasai!
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Monday, May 30, 2011

relaxing 3-day weekend

thursday night was our first official girl geek dinner happy hour, and it was a smashing success. we met up with some ladies (and one guy - mike g!) at philadelphia bar and restaurant and discussed the scene as it stands in philadelphia for women of the geek persuasion. the food was delicious, the conversation was excellent, and it was just an all-around good time. i'm looking forward to more happy hours as well as our next quarterly event!

friday was a busy day at work, as the week of writing came to a close and everyone was running around for the writing awards. after work, i met up with mike at his place and we headed over to my place and then did A LOT of food shopping, after which he cooked us a feast. we watched some more 24 - we're in season 7 now - and i wrapped up l.a. noire while mike read more of a game of thrones. my final moments with l.a. noire were tearful ones - it's a beautifully crafted game, and has so many outstanding features. my review should be up at warp zoned sometime this week - maybe even today.

saturday and sunday were both spent largely lounging around. mike was completely obsessed with - and finished reading - a game of thrones, and today started a clash of kings. i wrote my l.a. noire review and some other stuff for warp zoned, finished reading the rise of endymion, played tons more disgaea: afternoon of darkness, and started bioshock 2. today i also did some cleaning up, moved some stuff around the apartment and threw away some things, unpacked from PAX East (finally!!), and now we're going to run some errands and then head to our friend chris' place. i really want to bake but it is waaayyyy too hot outside to do that, and i've been fighting turning the air conditioning on...though it looks like i'm going to lose that battle soon. as it is, i'm already wearing shorts (nooooo!).

so...yeah. we didn't quite make it down the shore for a few reasons - we were actually supposed to spend most of the weekend down there, but plans fell through with mike's family and with mine, so we just stayed here. i'm glad, because i had so much to do...and still didn't even do half of it. i'd like to get some laundry done, and do some more writing, and...well...unpack from PAX Prime. yeah, i still haven't unpacked from the trip we took to seattle in september. i got so much free stuff that i still have an entire suitcase full of it. PAX East was just clothes i hadn't unpacked freebies are in another, much smaller bag, because there weren't many to be had. but i think i got roughly 26 shirts at PAX Prime. oi vey!

anyway, time to get dressed and head out. and don't worry, i haven't forgotten about my "t-shirt a day" idea...i think i might start it on june 1st, considering i spent practically this entire weekend lounging around in a pink robe covered in turtles. probably not something that can be considered a daily t-shirt. :D

Thursday, May 26, 2011

yesterday's t-shirt!

Behemoth Battle Blocks shirt from PAX East that I won on Twitter. :D
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testing from my phone

as is already painfully obvious, I'm not great at keeping up with a daily blog. perhaps using an app on my phone will help. we'll see :)

off to tonight's girl geek dinner happy hour! <3
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.8

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

good intentions something something

so the last few days have been really busy, in and out of work. monday after work i washed a huge pile of dishes and did a major run at the grocery store. yesterday after work i stopped at kmart to buy a giant thingy of cat litter and then came home to do laundry. at least, that was my plan...

laundry is sort of a !ZEN experience for me. i don't put any of my clothes in the dryer - only my towels and sheets. everything else gets hung up around my apartment, mainly because i hate failing elastic, faded and cracked t-shirts, and when anything shrinks. i haven't washed any of my clothes in a LONG time (yes, i have about 2 months' worth of socks and underwear), so i did a load of that stuff first. then i brought down my sheets and towels. i had a few minutes left on the cycle, so i turned to the dryer to empty the lint tray, only to see that the lint tray was filled to the brim with water.

it's rare that i gasp out loud, but i did when i saw that.

i brought my stuff back upstairs and pondered calling the laundry company, but instead waited and told one of the neighbors when i was outside waiting for chris, the newest writer over at warp zoned, who was stopping by to pick up a game to review. by that time i'd eaten and played some l.a. noire, and when he said he was close, i went out on the stoop and played some more disgaea (which is devouring any free moments i might have). i lent him brink, which i hope doesn't make him want to jump off a roof, and then went back inside and played more l.a. noire all night, until i crawled into bed with more disgaea and passed out.

today, it's more errands after work - i have to pick up my contacts (which i should have done yesterday but didn't get there in time) and make it home in time for the UPS delivery, which is bringing a new pair of shoes, woo! hopefully i can also finish up l.a. noire tonight so i can get that review written. spoiler alert: i love that game.

i also bought two w00t shirts yesterday. writing the daily scoop is making me go broke! i need to start posting daily t-shirt pics again, as daily shirt sites, video game companies, twitter contests, and expos have made my amazing t-shirt collection grow into something completely unstoppable with a mind all its own.

ok, time to get ready for work. more later - hopefully with pictures, and a detailed account of why people need to stop planning everything in the universe on wednesdays after work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

conscious effort

it's time i made a conscious effort to start doing things the right way. i'm trying to lately - i've been eating three meals a day, sleeping somewhere between six and eight hours a night, and starting yesterday, i've been trying to catch up on chores and things around the house. i did some cleaning yesterday and grocery shopped and washed a mountain of dishes today. tomorrow i tackle the laundry - something i'm not looking forward to. i think what i need to do is get back into a pattern - eating, sleeping, exercising, and then taking the rest of my time and managing it better - dividing it up between gaming/writing and leisure.

not that gaming and writing aren't leisure activities, but i'm referring to more reading and watching movies and shows. i'm almost done the hyperion series - i'm on the rise of endymion - and i've been watching 24, a game of thrones, highschool of the dead, panty and stocking with garterbelt, and, just recently, i started re-watching dexter from the beginning. they're all really excellent but also time-consuming (not to mention watching a game of thrones is making me really want to re-read the books, which i haven't read since 2005/2006). there's so much other stuff i want to read and watch, and so many games i want to play, too. i made the mistake of starting final fantasy vi and disgaea right before l.a. noire came out, so i've been rotating between the three of those - but mostly i've been playing l.a. noire, which is excellent. too much media...

anyway, i know i said i'd have links and pics, but i'm laying in bed and all i want to do is level a bit in disgaea and then pass out. i am going to try to write in here every day though, so hopefully i'll be able to keep that up. it's been too long, blog. and not that i think anyone's actually reading it, but it's still nice to organize all of my thoughts in one place.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

beyond busy

my life has been beyond busy these last few months. i was one of the co-organizers of gameloop philly, an unconference for local video game developers. we had it yesterday, and it was a smashing success! afterwards, everyone got just plain smashed at national mechanics during the after party, and i've been paying for it all day. i've also been cleaning, throwing things out, playing l.a. noire, and writing my recap of the event (which will be up later this week on geekadelphia).

writing-wise, i'm still writing and editing at warp zoned, and i've got a new column up at press 1. i'm also putting a lot of serious thought into writing that book i've been saying i would write since i was in first grade. i think with a little time management, i'll be able to actually do it.

i haven't been in school the last two terms, but i'm registered for one class next term. i haven't been watching many movies - or, really, any at all - but i have been reading (almost done the hyperion series) and playing a lot of video games. i've started dexter again from the beginning as well, and i'm almost done with all of 24. i've also started to get back into anime again, whenever i have some free time. and i want to get pierced again, and get another tattoo.

so much going on...tomorrow i'll put up links to everything, but right now i'm tired and i want to get in one more case before i go to bed.

goal tomorrow:
-more information

for now, sleuthing and sleep.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Belated Valentine's Day!

I've been too busy to write lately (no surprise there), but I wanted to write a quick blurb about Valentine's Day in case I am too busy later to comment on it. Mike and I had a wonderful time yesterday - we took the day off and just spent it together. I found a great recipe for mac and cheese and we had a romantic time making it together, and spent most of the day relaxing and watching tv and doing a few chores together. It was wonderful and beautiful and relaxing and fun. We took some pics, but I'll just share my favorite one for now:

More later, hopefully. I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day! :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Surrendered to Winter Already

I don't get why winter won't just let up - I already surrendered! I waved a white flag from under a mound of snow. Yet today it was 12 degrees when I woke up. Now it's just being cruel and unusual.

After work today, I had to run some errands, but only ended up running one - dashing off to KMart to get a hand mixer and some cat litter. I'm super psyched about the hand mixer because now I can take on some baking projects that are more ambitious. Mike and I stopped at my place to check on the cats and take out the trash and clean up a little, then came back to his place to eat dinner, watch some "24," and chill out. I had to work on some boring paperwork and write some news for the site (just one, but it's got me drooling). There's so much more I wanted to get done but now I'm utterly exhausted and I think it's time for bed.

I will say one thing briefly - I'm glad that I'm taking the time in 2011 to hang out with the people who matter to me. I had a great lunch today with my friends Dave and Kate at work, and I'm meeting up with my friend Sheila tomorrow after work. I also just made some plans with my best friend Krissy, and I've been trying to solidify a date to see my sister and her family for weeks now with no success. Hopefully that'll get cleared up soon! We're also supposed to go to NYC to spend some time this weekend with some other Warp Zoned writers - which reminds me, I have to buy those tickets as well tonight. No rest for the wicked...

OH! And I started reading The Fall of Hyperion, which is better than I expected. One chapter in and I'm already hooked.

OK, I'm fading fast. Hopefully more tomorrow...

My fortune was right - good books are BFFs.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It's Only Tuesday?

I am sooooo tired, and I have been all day. This winter is so cold and draining! And there's so much more of it left. Sigh...

So last night, I wrote that blog post about cooking and baking, and it felt pretty good to get it all in one place! It's so gratifying to write about the goals I want to achieve and to think about the road I've taken so far. I also uploaded a ton of pictures to Facebook - I take so many with my Droid and then never do anything with them, so I wanted to put them all somewhere. I got the first folder's worth of pictures up, and then we went to bed.

Today, after work, Mike and I went to Gamestop so I could try to order some games, but we failed miserably. The selection at ours is so hit or miss - they either have everything I want and it's A+ #1 awesome, or they don't have anything and nothing is in order and the whole place is a mess and the cashier can't even answer a simple question. We came home and ate some leftovers from this weekend and watched some more "24," which has been our latest show. We've watched seasons 1 and 2 so far, and now we're at the beginning of season 3. It's been terrific. When we were done, Mike went to bed - he wasn't feeling well - so I took the opportunity to finish up my review of Dead Space: Extraction and upload some more pictures to Facebook. I haven't tagged them all yet, but I'll work on that tomorrow. Right now I need to wash my hair and then get my butt to bed!

First, I wanted to comment on what we've been watching and reading and all that jazz:

-over Christmas break, we watched 4 seasons of "Dexter," and we watched the 5th season the week after. We were obsessed.
-we've fallen behind on "30 Rock" and "The Office," but I did catch an episode of "Outsourced" and thought it was hilarious, and we watched the first episode of "Eli Stone," which I also really liked.
-Zombieland was fantastic! And I watched Scott Pilgrim...again.
-I belong to a book club for the first time in my whole life. We read The Graveyard Book. It was excellent. I'm still reading Monster Nation - I have to get back to it. I am deciding on either The Fall of Hyperion or Johannes Cabal: The Detective for my next book.
-I've been listening to The Dismemberment Plan pretty much non-stop the last few weeks, and we saw them on their reunion tour when they stopped in Philadelphia. It was incredible. I'm also listening to the Giant Bombcast and the Warp Zoned podcast, as vain as that sounds.
-I beat four games (and reviewed three!) in January - Lost in Shadow, LittleBigPlanet 2, Picross 3D, and Dead Space 2. I've beaten one in February so far - Dead Space: Extraction.

I'm also reading Kill Screen and trying to find more time for webcomics but it's so hard. I've got so much going on that it's really tough to stay on track of anything! Right now, I'm currently playing:
-Valkyria Chronicles II on the PSP
-Pokemon SoulSilver on the DS
-about to start Dead Space: Ignition on the PS3 and Return All Robots for the PC

There's more going on, but that's all I've got time for today. Random picture:

From when Mike and I got back together. :)

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have more time and some inspiration to do another blog post like last night's. For now...shower...then sleep. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

In Which I Talk about Baking and Cooking

So, free time has been really hard to come by around here. Between working full time, being the Senior Editor at Warp Zoned, writing for Geekadelphia, spending as many Wednesdays as I can at Indyhall and trying to do as many IGDA events as I can (neither of which I have done satisfactorily enough, if you ask me), being on hand for much of Global Game Jam, going to MAGFest, trying to clean and reorganize my apartment, and attempting to keep up on things like eating food and sleeping and doing laundry...well, let's just say I don't get any of those last three things done very consistently. Add in there the fact that the doctors are still trying to figure out what's going on with my heart and my stomach, and I've spent an inordinate amount of time these last few months at the gastroenterologist, the nutritionist, the cardiologist, and then my regular yearly check-up with the gyno and monthly drop-ins with my family doctor to keep her apprised of my situation. I've also started seeing a therapist to see if treating the anxiety itself will help with the other issues, and they seem to think that treating that directly will end all the other problems. I've even considered going to an acupuncturist, as some of my friends have had some good luck with that. The good news is that I haven't been in the ER since November. The bad news is that I've given up caffeine (with the exception of the occasional chocolate) and alcohol completely, and that I'm still having breakthrough acid reflux, even with the Prilosec. But as a result of the no caffeine and no alcohol, I've lost 30 pounds, and can now fit into ALL of my old clothes, which means I haven't spent any money on clothes lately. So...there's good, and there's bad, and I'm dealing with all of it the best I can.

Since I haven't been able to regularly write in here with anything, I decided I'm going to try to make my writing a little more structured here in order to give myself a more creative outlet. I've been wanting to really get into baking and cooking recently, so I thought that might be a good place to start.

Baking and cooking are things I've wanted to get into for a very, very long time now. My current living situation prohibits getting really creative - or, in many cases, doing even the most simple tasks - because I live in a very small apartment and, frankly, I just don't have the proper tools to get a lot done. For the most part, I just kind of go without and make something else if I don't have what I need to get it done. This weekend, I decided to change that attitude.

First, let me give some background. I started baking when I was very young, probably about six years old. I would help my grandmother bake at Christmas and Easter every year, mixing up the cookie dough, putting on the frosting, eating the batter - whatever I could do, I did. That went on until I was about 11, and then only sporadically until I was 18, and then, sadly, never again. When they moved, my grandmom gave up her tradition of baking Christmas cookies and Easter bread. For the most part, she also stopped cooking. She used to cook every meal for us (except Sunday breakfast - that was my grandpop's job), but since they moved out of the house I grew up in, there's been no serious cooking or baking other than those done for family gatherings.

My own experiences - solo, that is - have been sporadic at best. I moved out when I was 18 but didn't really start cooking for myself until I had my first apartment in Reading, PA...and even then, it was nothing more complicated than macaroni and cheese. My roommate, Rachel, did most of the cooking, and I did most of the cleaning up. Of my next roommates, Patrick and James, I was spoiled by Patrick's cooking, or ended up with take out, or got leftovers from my mom's house. (It's no surprise that at this time in my life, I was my heaviest.) I allowed all of my next roommates to cook as well, as I had little to no interest in learning. I dabbled here and there, but for the most part, I just wasn't into it. I made Irish Potatoes, and I made some awesome mashed potatoes, but in between, there wasn't much.

The true test came when I moved into an apartment alone in 2007. Would I die? Would I subsist entirely off of cereal and macaroni and cheese, as I so often had in Reading? I was really into Japanese culture, so the first thing I bought for myself was a rice cooker, and taught myself the fine art of making onigiri and tried to get into creating mythical bentos. I loved making rice, and made so many different things in my rice cooker - I learned how to make risotto, tried to perfect orzo, and oftentimes made a concoction of a can of soup mixed with a cup of rice and some fresh vegetables. I also loved using the steamer, and used it often.

I also did something else I'd always wanted to try: I made my own Chex mix, which was amazing. I would often make a ton of it and include it in my lunch every day as a snack. I made a few different varieties - sometimes I'd make it salty, and other times I'd make it sweet. But every time, I loved it. It's always been one of my favorite snacks to buy at the store, and learning how to make it was a joy.

When Mike moved in, I got a slow cooker, and became even more daring. I made chili, lasagna, teriyaki chicken, and even pizza in it. It was difficult at first, because I really had no idea what I was doing. Recipes that looked so simple would take me two hours because I had to time browning the meat and cutting all of the vegetables and getting everything opened and drained and mix it all together. At first, I was overwhelmed, but after a few times, I really got the hang of it and started to love it. I haven't used it in a while now, mainly because we haven't had the time, but we've had some ideas, and once we have a free weekend, I plan on diving back in and making some chili again, or maybe some more lasagna (which is Mike's favorite).

Using the slow cooker, and learning how to do other things with food, opened me up to different ideas. I've gotten more daring with the rice cooker (we had to get a new one last year because the cheap one I got when I first moved in ended up breaking), and I have more tools for bento now than ever before, with a few more on my wish list.

Another thing I got really into was making guacamole. I'd never really been all that into guacamole until I tried my aunt's recipe a few years ago. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever had in my life, and I HAD to know how she made it. So I got her recipe and started making it myself whenever avocados were readily available. It's a delicious and healthy snack that I try to have on hand, especially in the summer. I also really want to get into making my own hummus, but that will have to wait until I get a food processor.

Baking had still eluded me, for the most part. Over the summer, I bought an awesome Mini Cupcake Factory from Thinkgeek, which makes approximately a billion cupcakes per box of cake mix. I haven't made anything daring yet - just used boxes of mix and used store-bought frosting. I don't have a hand mixer, so making anything more complicated than that would be an anxiety-inducing nightmare. For now, I love having a billion tiny cupcakes everywhere, slathering on some icing, and covering them in sprinkles.

But this weekend changed everything for me. I decided that, for my grandfather's birthday, I was going to make some food. I'd made my cupcakes for everyone a few months before and they were impressed, but I wanted to do something that took a little more effort, and I guess finesse as well. So I decided to make some really cool dessert bars. I went to the store and purchased all of the ingredients, including the 9X13 baking dish that I needed (I got a really cool Pyrex one with a lid). The main ingredients were graham crackers, walnuts, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut, and they're amazing. I had sort of hoped they would be like the ones I got at Picnic, which have more of a brownie-like consistently to them, but these were more like candy bars. They turned out really well, though, so my next goal is to either find the recipe for the bars I'm thinking of...or branch out and try to make my own.

The truth is, I would really love to start making some more ambitious projects, including cupcakes, but without a real mixer, I can't do a whole lot. So one of the next purchases I want to make is for a hand mixer and maybe one of those baking bags to apply icing to the cupcakes. I've been shopping around the last few days, so once I'm comfortable with something, I'm going to pick it up.

This weekend, I also made some buffalo chicken dip, which was super hot but super awesome. I went with canned chicken because I didn't think I'd have enough time to boil and shred the chicken breasts, but this was a mistake - the canned chicken had the consistently of tuna fish, which made it less appetizing. But mixed with all the cheese and hot sauce, it was less easy to tell that it was from a can. All in all, it was a successful endeavor into baking, and I definitely want to try some more - possibly this weekend when we go to my sister's, if they don't mind being guinea pigs for another project.

All in all, right now, I'm feeling pretty confident. The only major things standing in the way of me really learning how to bake and cook are space issues as well as major time constraints. I'm busier now than ever before, but I feel like learning how to bake and cook will help me to deal with my stress, especially because I feel like it will help me make healthier choices. OK, maybe more with the cooking than the baking, but you know what I mean.

And now, time for some pictures. :)

Me doing some prep for the dessert bars :)

The ingredients!

Adding the final layer

The pup was waiting patiently.

The final product was slightly burnt but totally delicious.

Laying down the chicken layer of the buffalo chicken dip...and yes, those are my pajamas. :)

After adding more cheese than I'm comfortable admitting and baking it, this was the awesome result

Time for me to get some editing and writing done before I pass out. Hopefully someone out there is reading this and enjoyed this post and the pictures. :) I want to try to do some more of these, so look out for some as soon as the end of this week - if I have the time. Ah, that phrase, as always...