life-lately

Life Lately – April Edition

Life Captures

My desktop  Dezpresso as a Powerpuff Girl // Grandpa and his grandkids // Photographer Alexiel // Mother's Day flowers from Vincent
My desktop

Dezpresso as a Powerpuff Girl // Grandpa and his grandkids // Photographer Alexiel // Mother’s Day flowers from Vincent

Reading

april-books

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

It’s been a while since I read Night Broken (the book prior to this) so I felt a little lost when I started Fire Touched. After I recalled some of the previous events Fire Touched flowed a bit smoother for me. Patricia Briggs has a way of writing that really grabs my attention and I love Mercy. The story line on this one was quite good in my opinion. I love the growth that I’m seeing within the pack and character developments. I can’t wait for the next one!

Solarversia by Toby Downton

Solarversia is the story of an epic year-long game played by 100 million people inside a virtual world modelled on the real world Solar System. Given three lives, three vehicles, and told to master The Science of Solarversia to stand a chance of winning, players compete for the £10m grand prize, and the chance to help design the next game, starting in 2024.

Nova Negrahnu and her friends Burner and Sushi cannot wait to start playing. But when an international terrorist organisation sets its sights on the game and it’s creator, Nova finds her life turned upside down, as the line between simulation and reality blurs. Can she navigate between playing the game, coping with all the issues an eighteen-year-old girl faces and avoid the very real and present danger mounting outside Solaversia?

Mr. Downton contacted me after I tweeted my love for the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline to ask if I would want an advanced copy of his book to read. He said something to the effect that it was like Ready Player One in a way so I might enjoy it as well. Solarversia has similar elements as Ready Player One in the fact that the focal point of the books take place in a cyber world type universe and a reality like ours. Where using VR type headsets gets you into that world. There are also games that each book is trying to win for a prize in that world, and people who are trying to win for their own gain.

The first 20% of this book was a tough read for me. It just felt very slow and I found myself getting bored. After the 20% mark it seemed to pick up the pace a bit which was nice. There were a few points where I found it hard to put the book down because I wanted to know what happened to that character. I found myself feeling bad for one of the “bad guys”.

The idea for Solarversia and some of the elements it contained, such as the pets, the Solarversia world, Nova’s tattoo, the volleying between reality and the virtual world, and Soul Surfer ( a program where you could talk to your deceased loved ones), were amazing. I think that it could have been an awesome book with the story line, but it just fell flat.

It’s hard for me to say why without ruining the novel, but I think part of it was because the names of the items, characters, places, and nearly everything in the Solarversia. I get wanting to be unique but I couldn’t pronounce half of the names, and reading others just felt like gibberish. For example the emperor of the Solarversia world is named “Emperor Commissaire de Spielen Von Unglai D’Acheera Nakk-oo Mandlebrot”. Due to the names I often felt lost when a character would pop up that was supposed to be important in game because I couldn’t recall very much about them.

The ending of the book was clearly written in an open ended format with no closure, giving you the feeling that Mr. Downton was/is working on a sequel.

Gaming

sailormoondrops

Sailor Moon Drops was finally localized for Europe and North America in April. When it first came out in Japan it was said that it wouldn’t localize for the Americas, so I made a japanese itunes account and downloaded it. Typically I don’t get into Bejeweled type games, but I think this one is just so dang cute – probably because it’s Sailor Moon. I don’t quite understand the scoring, but it’s a fun way to kill a little time and relax.

Watching

Orphan Black has finally returned for Season 4! So far this season has been nothing short of amazing, and I think the FEELS are going to kill me. I loved that from the first episode we got to see more in to Elizabeth Child’s life. We’re introduced to two more clones from both Castor and Leda, which is AWESOME! I’m so curious as to where this season is going to take us. This series is just… guys, WATCH IT if you haven’t already.

SaveData

April 05, 2016

Me: “Did you just use a knife and a pizza cutter to get that out if the oven?”
Jeremy: “what else am I supposed to use?”
Me: ” A plate, or the pizza pan that’s in there…”

April 06, 2016 – Three years ago…

Timehop

Also April 06 – I had to drop off some letters at the post office before going home. It’s dark out. Vincent asks to go and I told him no he had to stay in the car. It would only take me a second. He says in a half cry “But I want to protect you!” *heart broke* such a sweet boy.

April 24, 2016 – Apparently my kids believe that I do not need sleep to function. They were up eight times in the course of six hours. I also wasn’t aware that I signed up for MMA Fighting. I got a powerful headbutt to the jaw from a 16 month old.

April 26, 2016 – I realized I wasn’t quite over the flood.

April 29, 2016 – Vincent’s class went to the local flower shop and they got to put together Mother’s Day flower arrangements. I posted a picture above of the one he game it. It melts my heart.

– GAME OVER –

anxietyfromtheaftermath

Anxiety from the Aftermath

Most people who talk to me about the flood say that I handled it with grace. That they were shocked at how upbeat I remained and how they would never be able to be as calm or positive as I have been. For the most part I have chosen to see the good that has come because of the flood, but there is so much bad too. Some of the bad I didn’t realize lurked in the darkness of my mind until the other night.

As I was sleeping my dreams began to fill with the sound of running water. My eyes snapped open as I realized it was coming from the baby monitor and my heart beat what felt like a million miles and hour. My not-quite-awake self had trouble breathing as my thoughts were focused on “The kids can’t swim!” I bolted down the stairs, which thankfully by that time I was more awake to realize that it was just the rain. The rain that had been pounding on the house when I went to bed. That it was just hitting the window in a funny way to make it sound weird through the baby monitor. How I missed hearing it when I checked the baby monitor before bed is beyond me. Apparently I still have some anxiety.

Spring and warm weather are arriving and as the kids want to play outside I find myself thinking about some of the items we lost in the flood and feeling angry. For example, we had a large play-set that I managed to get for free from someone. Jeremy said we could replace it, but when we looked to price it online we realized they were close to $600. There is no way we can replace that. Most of the other sets that are similar from Little Tikes and Step 2 are similar in price. It’s a huge bummer because Vincent loved playing on it. Luckily however the town built a small park with slides for the kids after the flood with some of the money they received. It’s not our back yard, but at least it’s an option.

It’s not just about stuff we lost either. The flood brought a lot of stress into our lives. Family stress, financial stress, marital stress, work stress, and just stress. As I’ve commented to someone close to us when they mentioned we “had nice things”, yes we do. We also have a large loan from the SBA as well. A loan we had to take out to rebuild our home, which included some items in it. We chose to sort of “do it right” and buy the items (like the TV stand, tile for the floor, kitchen cabinets) we wanted rather than settle for cheap versions because we don’t want to renovate in the future. We are so over it. So while we do have nice things, it’s things we are now back into debt for which causes stress.

I mentioned that I try to see the good that has come from the flood. Vincent wouldn’t have been able to get into preschool unless the flood happened because our yearly income was over their bracket limit. Looking at the house I joked that at least it got rid of the wood paneling, wagon-wheel ceiling light, and bright firetruck red cabinets in the kitchen that I hated. While we weren’t rid of them in a manner I would have chosen, at least they were gone. We were able to redesign elements of our home to better suit our family, such as a larger main bathroom and splitting our large kitchen/dining room into two rooms so that we had a room for Alexiel – who otherwise would have had to share a room with Vincent. I got the paint colors in the house that I liked. The kindness and generosity of others never once failed to amaze me. We met some awesome people whom I am super proud to call our friends.

It wasn’t all bad, but it could have been better. I know that Vincent still suffers some trauma as well because he often makes comments about the red car we had, how “when it rains the house again…”, and talks about fixing the house and such. My heart goes out to him because that’s so unfair. Waking up in that manner showed me that I’m not as okay as I thought I was either, but all I can do is take a breath and keep moving forward.

inside-the-theme

Play With Pixels

Each month on Geek Girl Pen Pals Club there is a segment titled “Inside the Theme” where the reader is encouraged to participate in responding to the same questions that staff answers about the theme they have chosen for that month. April’s theme is “Play with Pixels” and the questions seemed too good to pass up.

pixels-theme

Who is your favorite female video game character, and what makes her especially awesome?
I would have to say Alice from American McGee’s Alice story line. Despite every challenge thrown at her in the games, the madness she encounters, the whirlwind of feelings she goes through, she always comes out the victor. Her tongue and wit are as sharp as her vorpal blade.

Alice

MMORPG, sandbox, platformer, strategy, or story mode – What is your favorite game genre or type of game?
I really enjoy side-scroller platformer games and JRPGs. They are just easy and fun to play. Typically they contain a good story line without being too long as well.

What was the first video game and/or console you ever owned? (And would it hold up today?)
The first video game console I owned was a Super Nintendo that came with Super Mario World. I remember we got it for Christmas from my Dad. My parents were split up at the time, so when there was a knock on the door I pushed a heavy kitchen chair over to the door, climbed up, and looked in the peephole to see my Dad. I yelled out, “IT’S DADDY!” and tried to undo the chain lock. My Brother and I tore open the wrapping paper on the box to reveal the Super Nintendo.

Would the Super Nintendo hold up today? I think so, at least to someone who grew up playing the system. I own a lot of the same games I played back then on the virtual console and still enjoy playing them.

When did your family first get their own personal computer, what kind was it, and what do you remember using it for?
My Dad bought us a Gateway computer from a garage sale in 1999 or 2000 I think? I can’t quite recall. I just remember it was a Gateway computer with windows 95 and 800×600 resolution. He got us dial-up internet because that was available at the time.

I remember using it to look at Sailor Moon pictures and midi files. I remember my Dad had put some program on it to scan for porn and it highlighted some of my Black Lady from Sailor Moon file names and search history, so I had to highlight on the paper he printed out what files were mine and then show him them on the computer. I remember the following photo was one I had to show:

blacklady

My Brother’s highlighted results on the other hand weren’t as innocent as mine.

Show us your three favorite pictures shared on Instagram.
I have a lot of Instagram photos so I will show my favorite three that deal with the Play with Pixels theme.