BlogGlue

Greetings!

Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Newest paper sculpt project!

Sonic Screwdriver trio for my friend's birthday.

An interview with Adam Harum of Transolar Galactica.

They achieved their Kickstarter goal, and now the world gets more of their award winning sci-fi comedy!

Doctor Who themed lip balm!

Brought to you from Earthtastic! and A Bit of Geek.

Minecraft paper sculpt!

My submission to the Mojang community art contest. Watch the video!

A TARDIS desk lamp!

Instructions and babbling on how to make a TARDIS lamp from foam core!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Buffy and Whedon - the power of talented writing.

When I was much younger, my sister and I really enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The movie. I'll pause a moment for you to unleash a comedic snort, because whenever I tell that to people in person they need a moment to recover.

After all these years, I'm finally watching the series.
Willow is telling the world for me. Source.

Full disclosure: it makes me cry. I start to tear up almost every time Buffy cries about Angel, and whenever Willow cries. Also, I love Willow far too much. This show makes me insanely emotional and exhausted. I've watched through Season three and when all that nonsense with Faith and Angel happened I wanted to scream and stop watching the show.

Whedon yanks around the audience so hard that I want to write him a stern letter regarding the consequences of playing with my heart. And in the moments where I feel so fed up with all of the emotion that I want to rage-quit the show, I have to take a moment to appreciate just how brilliant the writing is.

I wouldn't be nearly so wound up if it weren't for the amazing character development and the writing. Whenever the opening credits say that Whedon wrote the story, then I know I am in for some seriously crazy happenings.

This, for example. Are you looking at it? You'd better be, because this image
was terrifying to look at during my Google image search. *shudder* Source.

As I become introduced to more of Joss Whedon's work I am faced with irrefutable proof of incredibly intelligent storytelling. Whenever I've tried to write my own stories I run into a pretty serious problem: I cannot hurt my characters. I want nothing more than for them to be happy, content imagined beings. I'm sure it's easy to realize that this makes for uninteresting characters and a non-existent story.

Whedon tortures me though. He tortures me as he tortures his characters and I want to thank him for that. He has opened my eyes to a better world of storytelling and I feel so disgusted with all of the poorly written books I've read and movies I've watched.

Once I'm finished with Buffy I'll be excitedly moving on to Dollhouse and Firefly. I incur shame from all of my Whedonite friends whenever I admit that I haven't watched Firefly, but I believe it'll make things that much more exciting when I finally watch the series and then Serenity! Gosh I'm so pumped just thinking about it. His predilection for strong female characters is a huge draw as well.

The lady on the left looks pretty strong. I hope I won't be disappointed! Source.

This world has a serious shortage of brilliant writing. What's more is that when brilliant writing comes along it is so often cut short. It makes me incredibly sad and frustrated that true creativity is stifled in the mainstream because it's not, well, mainstream enough. Damn the mainstream; creativity and boldness is important!

As a final note to this completely all over the place write-up on how fantastic Joss Whedon is, I want to say that The Avengers was -amazing-. So many comic book movies completely tank because whoever is in charge of translating them from print to screen doesn't understand how to take the hyperbole of comic books and make the movie both slightly realistic and incredibly interesting.

Aside from Whedon, does anyone out there have any writers whose work they really love?

-MJ

P.S. I want to note that although I love his writing, it can sometimes be too smart for its own good. Most people simply aren't that snappy, smart, or fast when they're talking. I continue to be amused by it though! Maybe one day I'll have an amazing back and forth with someone the way Cordelia and Xandre do.

Someday...

Monday, May 28, 2012

50 years of Spider-man.

I didn't realize it, but this August Spider-man turns fifty! While I was at WonderCon I attended a Marvel presentation about upcoming projects and story arcs, and there was a brief interlude where audience members asked tons of questions regarding Spider-man's half-a-century celebration.

spider-man 50th anniversary
He looks great for his age, don't you think?

The panel members couldn't give out any specifics, but they heavily hinted at many exciting projects. They did show off some intriguing teaser posters for Spider-men, though! My mind was definitely reeling. Who would the other spider-man be? Would it involve Peter Parker? Would it be set in the Amazing or the Ultimate universe? Was the use of "men" a trick, meaning the second person would be female? Would we all be completely blown away and discover that the second spider-man was a real spider?!

Fortunately for me, the announcement didn't include giant spiders. Spider-men will feature Peter Parker and Miles Morales teaming up together! Color me pleased about a universe cross-over! Spider-men will be a five issue mini-series starting this summer. It looks as though there will be a few other special releases as well. Time to celebrate!

spider-men promo
Those costumes look great together. Source.

Is anyone planning their own Spider-man parties?

Should I should plan a Spider-man party?!

What kind of things could I do to make it decidedly Spider-man-y? Could I make cupcakes with the Spider-man mask? Maybe buy a lot of silly string? How about a marathon reading of Ultimate Spider-man?!

This sounds like a great party so far. Does anyone want to come? No? Well, I understand, you're all pretty far away, I wouldn't want to drive that far either! And with gas prices so high? No no, we'll just webcam instead. Make sure you have something Spider-man related going on on your end, though.

spider-man cupcake decoration ideas
The planning has started.

In the meantime, I'll be figuring out where I left off in Ultimate Spider-man, looking up cupcake decorating tips (because there's no way I could pull off my wicked awesome ideas), and counting down the days until Amazing Spider-man is released in theatres. Who else is excited?!

-MJ




Friday, May 25, 2012

A Bit of Geek TV Episode 6!!

a bit of geek tv episode 6
A screenshot, for your pleasure.

It's video time!! Are you watching it yet? :D


-MJ

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Archery - the baddest of asses.

When I was twelve I played Ocarina of Time for the first of many, many times. Some of my fondest memories involve Link, Epona, our trusty bow and arrow, and the shooting range in Gerudo Valley. I felt inexplicably awesome in those moments, and I daydreamed of eventually learning archery myself. Maybe even some horseback riding! But that's a different story.
I feel more inspired already. Source.

When I was fifteen I read Fellowship of the Rings, then saw the movie later that year, and fell in enamored fascination with Legolas and his unrivaled archery skills. I remembered how I felt three years prior playing Ocarina of Time, and I shoveled even more resolve into learning the ancient skill myself.

On a smaller scale, The Princess Diaries played a brief interlude in my ongoing interest in archery. You remember that scene where she has to shoot the flaming arrow through the hoop to represent love? Yeah, that was cool.

This past year has presented a huge push, and by huge push I mean my 'learn archery' buttons are being rapidly jammed on like a twelve year old with a new drum set, with the presence of Katniss and now Merida.

I hope that learning archery will make me look more intense and 
deranged in addition to totally awesome. Source.

So, to make sure we're all keeping count, that makes two strong male representatives, and now two strong female representatives encouraging me to go after a fourteen year long aspiration.

How does everyone feel about the archery push? Does it feel overplayed? Is it under-represented? Is anyone upset that I didn't bring up Hawkeye? Does anyone out there practice archery themselves?

A few weeks ago I saw a video from the professional archery people, I forget what they're called and I can't remember where to find the video. This is some grade A journalism, right? Anyway, the representative mentioned that there had been a huge spike in popularity and it was largely attributed to The Hunger Games. This I find pretty awesome! Katniss is, comparatively speaking, a really great role model for young women. She's strong, she has her own set of issues. She's determined and amazing with a bow and arrow. Katniss is not without fault, of course, but this is about her archery skills, not her personality.

She just looks so intense and distorted. I hear that means she has good form! Source.

It's made me wonder if the spike will continue... spiking, or if there will be an even larger spike once Brave hits theatres. Merida looks to be another phenomenal bow toting character and I am really excited to see how her story plays out. I find it fantastic that there are more and more powerful female leads to choose from. And to me I think it's even better that they use bows and not guns. Guns don't seem as badass as archery. Perhaps it's because archery is so much older... I'll think on this and get back to you.

It's unfortunate that I've never had lessons myself, but there weren't exactly places to learn where I grew up. But! Apparently there is an amazing archery range in Santa Monica that offers lessons, and there are even days where I can go and practice for free!

I've seen a few places online that are a bit grumbly toward the "hunger games/brave" crowd for mucking up their beloved archery. I can sympathize with half-hearted interests threatening to engulf a true love, but some people will develop legitimate, life-long interests from Hunger Games and Brave. I hope that, when the day comes that I finally learn archery, I will be met with bows not drawn.

-MJ

Monday, May 21, 2012

NBC replaces Harmon as showrunner of 'Community'

You've all heard the news that NBC has replaced Harmon, yes? What gives NBC the right? How can they think that replacing Dan Harmon makes sense? What, they just looked at the success of Community, saw that Dan Harmon did the writing, renewed for season four and then went, "Hey, we don't need this guy. It already has a following now! WE can make the show from here on out!"


A creative asset isn't something that is easily replaced. Harmon isn't some register biscuit, desk jockey, fresh-out-of-high-school game store employee. He's a force all his own, and his unique brain is what drove Community into the hearts of the viewers.

Where will it go without him? What will happen to the universe and characters without his loving, eccentric hands at the helm? What's going to happen when the cocky big wigs who think that their suits give them all-encompassing powers drive the show straight into the ground? They are the replaceable ones. The world is chock full of arrogant, over-confident douche-canoes who believe that creative heads aren't necessary. It's nauseating.

And what is with them not even telling Harmon? Is there no such thing as consideration or courtesy in the television world? Are basic human kindnesses non-existent in there? Why are contracts written without polite clauses? The more questions that I ask, the more I want nothing to do with the business world.

OK OK, business contracts probably don't say this. And if they do, then
it's that stupid tricky language. Either way, I don't like it!

Community is an amazing show. It's wacky, ridiculous, over-the-top, hilarious, realistic, UNrealistic, poignant, relatable, clever... so, so very clever. That all comes from the writing, which Harmon was responsible for.

Dear NBC,

How the hell do you think you're going to write with Harmon's brain without Harmon? You're not. You're not going to have the same show. The characters will not continue to develop. You've completely shot yourself in the foot. Congratulations, you are complete jackasses.

Dear Mr. Harmon,

You're insanely clever, and it sucks what NBC has done to you. I have my fingers crossed that you'll have Community back in your ever capable hands in the very near future.

TELEVISION STATIONS, please stop ruining everything!

-MJ

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why can't technology just get along?

Dearest readers, I have a gripe.

No no, not a grape, a gripe. Source.

It's a candid one, one that tosses aside worldly problems, one that ignores the greater issues. Its focus is intent and fierce, and in order for it to be understood it must have full attention.

It dives into a specific sort of problem, one that has currently overridden my mind. Let it be known that I do gripe over much larger and more important things, but in this moment I have a one track mind.

Why isn't there an official Google Drive, formerly Google Docs, application for the iPad?

Oh there are plenty of paid ones, to be sure. Plenty of $4.99 situations that offer what Google could offer for free. These slaps in the face run rampant in the App store. What's worse is that any applications that are free that offer a Google Docs service don't let you edit the documents, only view them.

What use is that?!

Noooo, not five dollars!! 

Now it is true that I could simply use Google Drive from DiigoBrowser, but I've realized that the lack of a Google Drive app isn't really what's making me irritable.

It's this Apple 'pushing out other brands' thing.

I feel like this is a battle against Microsoft, but Google has been pulled into the mix! The App store has other official Google offerings, but it is extremely limited. Is Apple really aiming for an eventual technological monopoly? Do they want to edge out Google? I was under the impression that healthy competition was a good thing.

Exceedingly limited selection compared to my Nexus S! 

There's a good chance that I don't understand something in this mix. Or perhaps I understand it and I simply don't like it.

Yeah, that's more like it. I don't like it. Boo.

OK, gripe over. If anyone has more information or input about this situation then I'd really like to hear it! I have very little real information about this subject. Who doesn't love learning opportunities?

-MJ


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

200 posts! *party horn*

Hello and a very happy Wednesday to you all! Today marks my 200th post here at A Bit of Geek, and I am just so pleased about that.


I love this website. I am dedicated to it, I think about it a lot, and I'm regularly pondering over ways to improve it. I'm always so happy when a post that I've written has struck a chord with readers; to see comments and views on an article that I've put a lot of effort into is such an immense payoff.

It's a pleasure to cruise the internet and find things that interest not only me, but things that I believe will interest you and the masses at large (if they choose to wander my way!). It's becoming increasingly important to me to provide more original content as well. The largest implementation of this, so far, has been my A Bit of Geek videos. I also showcased the Spriggan Mask, and I'm looking to do a lot more of that.

I hope that you all will stick around for another 200 posts and beyond, because there is a lot of exciting stuff in the works. I wish I could share it all, but that would spoil the surprise! You can know this much: expect more videos, more reviews, and a lot of fan dedication.

If there's anything you'd like to see here, please let me know! My ears, eyes, and mailbox are always open.

Also, if I may make a small request in honor of this most momentous occasion: if you like the content that I'm posting, then feel free to give it a +1 on Google, or a 'like' on Facebook, or a honk on ClownGeeks (I made that last one up. I think...)

My point is, in addition to it meaning a lot to me, those little 'likes', +1s, etc. really help me to stand out on the great, wide internet.

Your support means the world to me!

-MJ

Monday, May 14, 2012

Classroom MMOs to aid learning!

Who all has heard of Class Realm? It's a great Kickstarter project (that's awaiting full monetary backing) to build an MMO style game to put in classrooms. Just replace "quests" with "lesson plans"!

class realm kickstarter
From the Class Realm Kickstarter page.

You can get the full rundown over here, but I'll put in a few key points:

- lesson plans created by teachers
- custom characters for students
- login privileges for parents to monitor their children's work
- XP distributed by teachers
- computer, tablet, and phone functionality plans

I am all for this! Considering the number of high school, junior high, and even elementary school students that have smart phones, tablets or their own computers, this is a feasible plan. Research has shown that the reward incentives present in games is the largest factor to the success of a game. More simply: rewards keep people playing. Think Farmville, specifically, but also World of Warcraft.

Tons of reward ribbons, plus tiers of ribbons. It's an unending cycle! Source.

In addition, learning is always a lot more fun when it feels like a game. (Mad Libs, anyone?) I recall the vocabulary portion of the day in Kindergarten: Word Muncher for those old fashioned DOS based computers; moving that little green guy around the screen to find other words that rhymed with "kite", priceless!

But back to my original point.

Class Realm is hoping to revolutionize the way students learn and interact while in school. If you like the program, it's super easy to donate to the cause in hopes of its success. I know many sources like to blame television and video games for a decrease in kids attention, and I certainly haven't done any of my own research, but if that's the case then why hasn't someone incorporated games sooner?

Although, I can't possibly neglect my appreciation for games such as Mario Teaches Typing and Math Blasters, but those weren't exactly immersive. If my homework hub had been an online game where I could play with friends, classmates, and earn the digital equivalent of tons of Gold Stars, I think I may have worked harder on assignments.

ALL the gold stars! Source.

What do you all think of this? Would you even want your elementary school child to have a smart phone or a tablet? Would you be interested in monitoring their progress online? Would you support their homework existing in a gaming realm? I'd really love to see this pan out!

-MJ

Friday, May 11, 2012

Would you like a fully automated life?

So I read this article about a practice perfect city in New Mexico. It sounds pretty cool, all perfect streets with self-driving cars and what-not. A city where water turns on, toilets flush, and technology communicates device to device, all without human interference.
This almost sounds like The Jetsons! Who else is fond of the moving platforms in airports? They really speed up all of that pesky walking we have to do. Why aren't all sidewalks like this?

Oh, right, it's because people are lazy and just stand there. Source.

But seriously, I think this perfect town is cool. It opens the door to the question that I always have regarding technological advancement: how will it work in conjunction with our current city structure? 

It's not feasible to tear down and reconstruct whole towns and cities, is it? And what about the Old World, the amazing first-person account of life before the modern age over in Europe? It would be an absolute travesty to demolish the cobblestone streets in order to make way for a self-driving car. 

Meanwhile there are plenty of these throughout the US, so feel free to demolish.
I'm joking. Kind of. Source.

I don't imagine anyone over there would take any issue with improved water pipes. Everyone can use fresher, more delicious water. Also, too many people forget to flush the toilet, so I believe that is a no-brainer.

Back to those self-driving cars!

Sounds to me like the cars need to just be incredibly smart. It looks like Google has things under control though, considering that they just approved the first automated vehicle in Nevada.

The self-driving car situation is pretty exciting to me. I mean, it would really make road trips a lot shorter, right? Just drive until you're tired, make sure your GPS is set, and then take a little snooze! I guess Google doesn't intend for the automated aspect to replace drivers though, simply help them. But I know the car can drive on its own.

Given the funds, I would totally be first in line for a Google car! Especially since it's an apparatus that would work with any car, well, then I get to keep my currently awesome car and add more functionality. 

Strap this bad boy to my car and I'll never side-swipe another telephone poll again.
What? I was sixteen, give me a break! Source.

This sounds like an exciting win to me.

Are you excited?

-MJ

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I'm back, and I missed you!

My brain feels all spongy and my fingers are flopping all over this keyboard. You’d think that using technology would be like riding a bike, but after two and a half weeks I’m feeling very out of touch. The first few days were great: open space, no technology, and freedom. 

Pretty, but completely unhelpful in terms of technological wonderings.

Then I started to wonder what everyone else in the world was doing. Had anyone posted new cat pictures to Instagram? Was I missing any exciting updates in the video game world? How many new Doctor Who gifs had appeared on Tumblr?

The open night sky and brightly burning stars couldn’t answer these questions. Instead, I learned the answers to a whole new set of questions that I didn’t realize I had.

-I learned that bees won’t investigate empty soda cans on overcast days or cloudy days, but on sunny ones a whole swarm will appear. Just so you know, they really do hate smoke and will fairly promptly leave an area once said area is filled with campfire smoke.

-I learned that a rattlesnake can totally look like a discarded bungee cord. And in conjunction with this, I learned that I am completely OK with running over bungee cords. No, I didn’t run over the snake, but I totally almost did since I thought it was a bungee cord, and we've already established that I don't mind running those things over.


Hyper zoomed in, for proof reasons!

-I finally figured out how to pee in the wilderness without ruining my pants. This is something I’ve been working on for about eighteen years.

-I learned that running (or rather, wildly scrambling away) from a bee while on a decline of boulders is easily in the top ten stupid ways to die. I sat for a long time afterward and had a serious conversation with myself about the pain of a bee sting versus falling down a hill of giant rocks.

Pro tip: falling down this will not be better than a bee sting.

-I learned that not all oasises (oasi?) have water. That was disappointing. 

-I learned that road runners are teeny, tiny birds. They are fast though!

-I learned that every single thing in the desert is out to kill us. Did you know that some cacti even jump at innocent passers-by? Lock up your children and pets, people.


 These may look pretty, but they will mess you up. Go talk to some scientists about 
this enormous static electricity problem, and then get back to me.

Also? This looks incredibly painful.

-I learned that even while in the desert, I’ll still find a tree to run into while drunk. The only tree at the campsite, mind you.

If you’re ever thinking about camping in the desert, just don’t. It is a harsh, unrelenting environment. You’ll be on sand covered granite, there will be no cover from the sun. Your nose? It will burn! If you incur a wound and use a band aid, you’ll end up with a weird tan line. 

Kind of like I ran out of band aids, so I put a slug on it.

While romping about in Joshua Tree I discovered the origins for Voldemort's face.

"Skull Rock"? More like "Voldemort Nose"
I'm so clever.

Also, how long has it been since you’ve gone five days without a shower? I have to say that this camping trip was a first for me and wow, people get shockingly filthy after five days with no shower. I ended up clipping off my nails to try and keep the dirt out from under them (I can't stand dirty fingernails), but it didn’t help. I ended up with a tan, but after I finally bathed it turned out that I wasn’t quite as tan as I initially thought. How gross is that?

For good measure, here's a coyote!

And lastly, proof that I was actually out in the desert.

Now that I'm home and have regular access to showering facilities, which after camping don't seem as dirty as I remember, I'm really happy to be back to my website and scouring the internet for data to share with you all!

Thanks for your patience while I was on vacation, and I hope that my throw-back posts were of sufficient entertainment value :D

-MJ

Monday, May 7, 2012

Completing New Super Mario Bros. Wii was an enormous triumph.

This is the last post for my strangely long vacation. Please tell me that I didn't lose readers in the mean time. You all mean so much to me! Don't leave!! I really love this post for today, just so you know. Have you read it before? It's all about playing New Super Mario Bros for the Wii!


-------------------

August 2011


Our house of many mushrooms.

Before I left for Washington in the middle of June, Andrew and I were on a steady schedule of playing New Super Mario Bros. Wii and/or watching an episode of True Blood every night before we went to bed. I quite enjoyed this seeing as it was fun and fulfilling and best of all he and I are excellent cooperative players at Mario.

With all of the insane hopping, jumping, flying, floating and stomping that goes on in a multiplayer side scroller, it is unfortunately easy to accidentally take all of the items out of the classic question mark block, or to bump into your co-pilot and send them screaming into a pit of lava. Some even call it 'marriage poison'.

It would appear that some relationship duos don't play quite as
harmoniously as Andrew and I do. I consider us very lucky!

When I first brought up playing Mario together, he had some reservations. Apparently he wasn't terribly well versed in the Mario universe while he was growing up, and as a result felt that he possessed inadequate experience to be able to play alongside me, Mario lover extraordinaire* since age five.

I quelled this concern, stating I didn't care how good or bad he was and that I simply wanted us to play together. I am sorely lacking in the co-op/multiplayer gaming department, seeing as I rarely had anyone to play with. I have a sister who greatly enjoyed gaming when she was younger (and does now again many years later) but that's really another subject. The point here is that when I have had a multiplayer game (that was co-op!) I always enjoyed the experience and I wished that I had more. So anyway, he finally agreed to play with me.

It has been a truly fantastic experience to play alongside him and watch him improve. He started out like anyone else did as a new player; uncertain, overly-cautious and accident prone. It was like watching myself so many years ago, and it was great. I've never been present for someone's first experience with Mario (other than my own, of course). I recall my sister being great at Mario and I repeatedly died, feeling forever like an extremely poor player. Andrew is now really quite skilled!

Currently, I am very pleased to say, we are at Bowser's castle at the end of the game! This is insanely thrilling to me because, and don't judge me here, I've never been able to finish any of the traditional side-scrolling Mario games! I know I know, it's absolutely shameful! And it certainly isn't for lack of trying. I have played Mario and Mario 3 so many times, but my goodness are they difficult. The original one I've warped to World 8 with all the tanks and just, no. No no no. As for Mario 3 I always always always get stuck on World 5 in the clouds. I simply cannot get past the cloud portion. Someday I would love to complete them both.

To my delight, the cloud levels in New Super Mario Bros. Wii are
actually extremely fun! I wonder what the creatures are called...

The level designs are absolutely superb. It's very much a 'just right' situation for me. The worlds follow the classic pattern of grass, sand, ocean/ice, etc. It is completely nostalgic while being very new at the same time. The presence of Blooper swimming dangerously in the ocean thrills me to no end and I personally believe that he doesn't have a strong enough showing in the series. 

One aspect of gaming that I've never quite indulged in is the secrets/side quests. I'm not sure if I've just never noticed them before, or if I didn't care, or if I thought the main story was too time-consuming or what. I've become aware, however, that I am missing out on a huge portion of the great gaming experience! To my good fortune, Andrew is very into secrets and side quests. This has made it a very easy transition. 

Between jaw-clenching, hand-cramping, eye-twitching sessions of the later levels that brought me dangerously close to screaming, we've been going back to previous worlds and collecting the star coins that are hiding in each level. It eases the tension of the more difficult stages and allows us to continue playing and keep having fun! Good on Nintendo for that feature. Of course the star coins are actually used for unlocking helpful hint content, but they keep me playing even when I'm feeling fed up so I'm happy for their existence. 

I can't wait to complete the final battle. What we've seen of it so far has been nothing short of epic. Nintendo pulled out all the stops to make it an enjoyable and exciting experience, even including some hyper satisfying throw-backs to the original final Mario-Bowser battle. The presence of real-time destructible environments really piqued Andrew's involvement levels and, quite frankly, made me feel 100% panicked and frantic.

I don't do well in the event of being chased by something that takes up half of the 
screen. I keep dying from jumping erratically. I wouldn't recommend this tactic.

Hopefully next week I'll have some screenshots of my own and an accompanying 'Success!' post to inform you all that we've finally finished the game. And to anyone that owns a Wii and hasn't played it yet, I strongly urge you to pick up a copy! It's so much fun but really does require patience and understanding, especially when your co-player butt-bounces you into oblivion right next to the flagpole. You have to accept that that sort of thing is just going to happen.

-MJ


*I kid. I love Mario very much but I'm definitely not an extraordinary player :)

(Comic strip from Penny Arcade, cloud stage image taken from Nintendo's NSMB website and final Bowser screenshot borrowed with love from Gamespot)

Friday, May 4, 2012

An unending love for Harry Potter.

This is one of my favorite entries. It's sappy, it doesn't have any pictures, and I wish that more people had seen it. Harry Potter was and is a huge part of my life. I love it. So much.


-------------------------


July 15th, 2011


The Story That Lives

Harry Potter.

Book releases. Movie premieres. Friends, chats, dressing up. Speculation, anticipation, discussion. Age thirteen to twenty-five.

I've been up at 4am to line up at 6am to get bracelets to be first in line for midnight book releases. I know well staying up into the next day, reading frantically with a group of fellow Potter fans. Gasping, crying, laughing; eating up every word and remaining famished for the next installment. Waking up early and staring out my bedroom window waiting for the mail to deliver the newest book. Intriguing to remember a time when I couldn't attend a midnight release and I was at the mercy of the post office.

I've spent a total of twenty-five hours in theatres just waiting for midnight to roll around. Starting with the fourth release I have arrived at 7pm, plopping myself down with company and entertainment, anxious to be first in line, a dedicated fan, and to get a good seat in the theatre.

Each release has seen many things. Goblet of Fire spurred my highest ever test score in a biology class; I spent my five hours of waiting in the theatre studying. Order of the Phoenix involved intense discussions with my Grandmother, while Half-Blood Prince saw lengthy video game sessions in the hallways. Deathly Hallows part 1 included adamant talk about the pros and cons of a two part release, and July 14th 2011 left me silent, nervous and patient.

Through Deathly Hallows part 2 I played with my wand the entire time. Twirling, rolling, touching the detailing with my fingertips. I fidgeted and shifted, flipping it end over end. While waiting in line in the hallway I spun my time-turner restlessly, separating the layers and rotating the hourglass over and over again. It was hot in the theatre, so many people at rapt attention, hearts and bodies overflowing with emotion and tears; I kept my Gryffindor scarf on, checking it frequently to make sure it was straight.

Before I left the house for this final venture, I unbuckled and re-buckled the clasps on my Harry Potter leather bag, repeatedly checking that my wand was safe against my usual assembly of wallet and phone. I carried it carefully, admiring the Hogwarts Crest inset on the front. It's the nicest bag that I own.

I remember dressing up for the Deathly Hallows book release; I donned scarf, wand and time-turner, as well as a white shirt/dark skirt uniform. I recall the excitement and dread mingled together, the looming sense of something huge and important coming to a close as I milled around the bookstore with friends. And then suddenly it was midnight. I had the book. I was driving home. All of that waiting and I had the final book. It was like that at Deathly Hallows part 2: sudden, wonderful, startling in its peculiar yet incomplete finality. Even though it is finished it will never be over. It's a strange feeling.

All of this time. Memories, friends I've shared with, time I've waited, speculation and fan fiction that I've read; concluded but not done. I left the theatre feeling full but not satisfied. Or perhaps satisfied but not full. A respectable close. Magnificent and carefully done. I am pleased. And yet I have room for more. I will always have room for more Harry Potter.

-MJ

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The day finally came when I hated Farmville.

Is it Wednesday? I think I'm still away from computers and internet. Are you worried about me yet? Are you enjoying my mean-time posts? Have I lost all my readers? I promise some really exciting stuff when I get back, really! Will this post about me disliking Farmville make up for it?


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August 10th, 2010


The infatuation has ended and now it's just stupid.

I think I may be finished with facebook games. I still accept and "return the favor" with regards to Farmville gifts, but I haven't tended to my farm in well over a month. I was enthusiastically playing Frontierville for about two months and now I just feel irritated every time I check on my land. Is it really necessary for five new trees to sprout in a two hour period? Is that really fair? Oh right, they don't want their players to have an semblance of a life.

Every time I check on my frontier lately I heave a deep sigh and think "what's the point? I'm not actually making any sort of progress". Unless I am on that game every hour (which I can't do, nor do I want to do it) then I am literally chopping down the same tree every single day. It's like the Greek king that has to roll the boulder up the hill for eternity. Just depressing.

I read an interesting article on cracked.com the other day about how and why Farmville (and other facebook games like it) is so successful. Reading the secrets unraveled the whole experience for me, which is a good thing. It gave me that extra push to realize I don't even enjoy playing those "games".

They were certainly addictive and fun at first, especially Farmville. You leveled up so easily, it was exciting. Saving money to expand your farm and finally getting that last nail to complete your barn. Now your horses have a place to life! Great. Well, I have reached the cap. My farm is just bursting with livestock and tilled land. It became mundane internet labor to harvest crops and animals. I'd log in after tending to my real life for a few days and I'd see all those freaking pink icons and feel stressed about how long it would take me to click on each horse, chicken, pig, etc. No thank you.

In a way I'm very proud of myself. I have a tendency to create some very serious emotional attachments to inanimate objects, virtual ones included. Those sheep can stay there, ready to be shaved, I don't even care anymore.

So now what do I do with my free internet time? I could be enriching myself, researching and learning. I was doing that a bit the other day, cruising through wikipedia and learning some new things on a basic level. My issue seems to be I don't know what to search for! A wealth of knowledge at my fingertips and I can't even type a word into the search box. Somebody help me! Any topics that are particularly good to read about when you're feeling bored? Or just looking for some mental enrichment?

I have also taken to listening to music on youtube. Had never even thought of this as a viable option before, but turns out it's a good one. I like to read though. Suggestions are welcome.

-MJ

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