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, July 30, 2014

Seiken Densetsu III - In Defense of the ROM

I want to talk in defense of the ROM and emulator. I don't mean using them to play current games, that I have some moral qualms with. But to play older games? Absolutely.

One of my favorite games, Seiken Densetsu III (or Secret of Mana 2), was never released in the US. It was in Japanese on the Super Famicom only. The one reason I know of this game and have played it is because of a Japan fanatic friend I had in junior high. I have no idea how her journey lead to ROMs, emulators, and Seiken Densetsu, but it did and she thought I would enjoy it as well.

seiken densetsu III secret of mana 2 game cartridge Start your game and choose three of the six players to carry you through the storyline, each with their own unique backstory!

As a result, I spent many happy hours on my computer loading up the Seiken Densetsu III ROM into the Super Nintendo emulator icon. Being 14 and aware of what 'illegal' meant, I sometimes did feel guilty. I would push this aside by insisting that the only legal way to play this game was to import the Super Famicom and the game, then learn Japanese. It seemed like an absurd amount of effort to put in for just a game, and why bother when some kind souls had already made a perfectly translated version that I had access to?

Over the course of my junior high and high school career I started a file three to four times. I would always reach a lapse in play, forget what I was doing and have to start over, or I would switch computers and lose my original save file. I haven't gone back to try and find a new emulator in years now, but I still look on those days fondly with the belief that I'll never get to finish the journey.

SD3screenshot Had I really resigned myself to never visiting another golden statue in my entire life?

That is, until a few weeks ago.

My birthday gift from Zach came in late, and it was a real doozy: a fan translated, Super Nintendo cartridge copy of Seiken Densetsu III, proudly displaying the label 'Secret of Mana 2.' When he handed it to me I had just finished an 11 hour journey from London back to Seattle and was in that loopy mental space that traveling across the world elicits. I blinked down at the cartridge, registered that it said 'Secret of Mana', then smiled and thanked him. My brain kept working though, rolling over the '2' in my mind like a tiny fascinating stone, and amid the sea of thoughts I realized, 'They never released a second one in the States. What am I holding?" It was then that I looked closer at the label and realized that I recognized the characters as being from Seiken Densetsu III. That's when everything came together, and I managed to spit out more enthusiasm toward him for the incredibly awesome and thoughtful gift.

Very soon I will be starting yet another journey into Seiken Densetsu III, a journey that began 14  years ago, and this time it will be on a console the way it was intended. I can't wait!

Sound off! Which amazing games did you get to play via ROM and emulator that you couldn't have experienced otherwise?


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Monday, July 28, 2014

Final Fantasy 8 Diary - Entry 17





Friday, July 25, 2014

Shiva Video - FF8 GF Sculpt Series

For the first time ever I'm playing through Final Fantasy 8 (and documenting it!) and I decided to do a paper sculpt piece of each Guardian Force in the game. Here's Shiva!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Eleven Reasons I Love the Eleventh Doctor

I know I usually do a list of ten things, but to go along with the theme, I thought I'd shake things up a bit and do eleven reasons I love the eleventh doctor. Oh, and, a friendly reminder:

Let me know in the comments below who your favorite Doctor is and a few reasons why!

1. His personality shines through immediately

One of the first moments you meet the eleventh doctor is incredibly memorable. The TARDIS has crashed in a cute little lass's backyard, and when she goes outside to take a peek, out pops the Doctor, all smiles.

"Can I have an apple?" He says to Amelia Pond, who is, of course, gawking at him.

This initial interaction between this newly-regenerated Doctor and Amelia had me smiling so hard my cheeks hurt. In this one tiny instance, you get to see what side of the Doctor he will portray (for the most part): silly, whimsical, curious, adventurous, funny, and apparently, very hungry.

2. He can be very, very frightening

So, as sweet and silly as he is, Eleven can also be terrifying. Most of the universe recognizes the Doctor as a hero, the good guy. But those who are mistaken see him as a tyrant, getting to decide what species survives and which must be sentenced to death. Who knows the real story? But I believe in the Doctor. I believe he is good and does what's right. I believe he gives second chances, always, and just wants everyone to live.

Eleven is a no-nonsense kind of fellow, however. If you see him as the enemy, and you don't take the peaceful way out, he will become so powerful, so intensely god-like, that your kneecaps will crumble to dust and you'll become a trembling pile of goo.

He will not hesitate to give references and credentials.

And he can be quite unpredictable.

3. Alternatively, he is a kind-hearted soul.

Unlike the previous Doctors, Eleven is naturally friendly. He's always dancing, saying hello, giving out hugs and kisses. He's just adorable. How could anyone not enjoy his company?

He has no trouble spreading his contagious smile around to anyone near.

He can fit right in to any crowd and makes sure everyone is having a good time.

4. He is arguably the silliest/funniest Doctor

I'm going to let these hand-picked gifs do all the talking for me here.

aaaand one more

5. He is happy to become part of a family

Just for the sake of reference, not because I want to "compare" Doctors, Nine and Ten have specifically stated that they "Don't do 'family'.". So I feel it's worth mentioning that to Eleven, family is something he's very willing to participate in. Of course we see him, Rory, and Amy forming their little trio, which will often feature River Song and even Rory's dad, Brian.

But don't forget about Craig and Stormageddon (aka Alfie).


6. He is clever in the most innovative fashion

Who else could deter a gang of newly-upgraded Daleks with a Jammie Dodger?

And of course, let's not forget when simply switching shoes with your doppelganger can solidify the loyalty of your companion.

7. He loves his companions intensely

Every Doctor to date has loved his companions. However, Eleven really focuses on friendship. As I mentioned before, his companions are his family, but they are also his very best friends. He would do anything for them. They are incredibly special to him, and he doesn't hesitate to let them know that.

He is always happy to see them.

He is always there for them when they need him.

8. He is adorably curious

The man just can't resist a good mystery.

Especially if there's a sign telling him not to investigate.

9. He is the oldest Doctor

Because Twelve is now the "oldest" version of the Doctor, the age I'm referencing here is the amount of years that occurred with just one incarnation. And, if we're going to get technical, any version of the Doctor could be "the oldest", because from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, time is like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, stuff, as we all know. So what I mean to say is, Eleven is the longest-living version of the Doctor, making him the oldest incarnation.

He aged quite a lot while watching over the small town of Christmas.

10. He will always protect Earth and Humanity

The Doctor has always respected all species. He even says himself:

But humans seem to be his very favorite.

So whenever anyone tries to mess with Earth, he is always right there to protect us.

I'd feel much safer if I knew the Doctor would always be around.

11. He is 100% himself, no apologies

He's got his own cool style.

He's not afraid to ask for what he wants.

He's not ashamed to geek out like the rest of us.

And sometimes he's much more honest with you than you want him to be.

Don't forget to tell me who your favorite Doctor is, and throw in a few reasons why!


header image credit

teaser image credit

Friday, July 18, 2014

'Outlander' Fandom Fueled Products

You've seen the Doctor Who lip balms, and you've checked out the Legend of Zelda temple candles*. Now, take a look at the newest, exciting fandom items from A Bit of Geek and Earthtastic!:


I don't mean this to sound so damn cheesy, but I'm incredibly excited! It's a blast to work with my sister (the one-woman wonder who runs Earthtastic!) to incorporate fandoms into her thriving, wonderful business. Together we get to dream up (and make!) items that neither of us could handle on our own.


Keep reading to learn about how these items came to be, or go ahead and jump to her etsy shop to check out their full contents and descriptions.

Unsure of what Outlander even is? Here's a brief description: a historical fiction, time-traveling, 18th-century-Scotland-romance/medical journal with war and adventure. The author frequently jokes that her books are impossible to categorize, with many book stores having no idea which section they belong in. It is a novel series spanning 8 books (so far), with a number of side novels involving secondary characters. If you're looking for a new book series to fall in love with, then this is it.

My sister and I are both huge fans of the Outlander book series, and we're ecstatic at the fact that it'll be making its way to Starz as a high production TV show starting next month (Saturday, August 9th). Our mother and grandmother, plus an aunt or two, enjoy the series as well, making it something of a family "thing" and therefore close to our hearts.

Months and months ago we began to discuss ideas for the next big fandom collection that we could release. We're both currently re-reading the series, and it was brought up that Claire, the protagonist, concocts many healing items to use in the throes of her dangerous, 18th century life. Seeing as my sister already makes a myriad of body care products, it seemed like the perfect alley for our pet project.

A sampling of Earthtastic!'s herb collection. A modern day apothecary.

We set to work noting specific creams and ointments that Claire makes (she being a 1940s combat nurse, and well practiced in medicine), jotting down their uses and components. This was no small feat; the books are enormous! I'm currently listening to the audio versions, while my sister is reading them in physical format. This resulted in texts flying back and forth, quoting characters and marking page numbers. Together, and slowly over time, my sister and I compiled a large list of amazing Outlander items to begin making.

I am incredibly proud to announce that the following items are now available for purchase: skin balm, marigold salve, camphorated goose grease, and Jamie's soap. The skin balm is effective for soothing rough, cracked, and sore areas. Marigold salve will heal broken, sore, and cut skin. Camphorated goose grease aids in clearing sinuses and easing internal congestion. Lastly, Jamie's soap is an intoxicating blend of smoke, musk, and sweetness, aimed to mimic the descriptions of Claire's husband, Jamie, while also cleaning the user (duh).

Loads of love and care have gone into these products. They're all made in small batches to preserve freshness, and are created entirely by hand by my sister, Cassidy. The labels were designed (from start to finish) by me, and we spent a few happy and giggly afternoons creating the perfect Jamie scent. Claire is such an inspirational character, which makes pretending to be her, via bringing her balms and ointments to life, that much more special and fun. We have many more ideas coming down the pipes, too!

Be sure to take a look at the products, which are legitimately wonderful (and effective) and not just flashy fandom items, and if you're curious to watch the premiere of Outlander on Starz but you don't have cable, then you're in luck! On Saturday, August 2nd, Starz will be simulcasting the first episode for free across multiple platforms, including their website. You can all get a taste of that magic that IS Outlander. I also encourage you to read the books! They're simply amazing.


*currently in a re-stocking phase, should be available for purchase again soon!

All photos property of Earthtastic!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Final Fantasy 8 Diary - Entry 16




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