Friday, May 31, 2013

May Report Card

This month was great, but also really busy.  So much so that most of my resolutions slipped my mind. 

Work On My Novel Once a Week

I managed to remember to do this about twice, which means that nothing much was accomplished.  Better luck next time, I suppose.  

Grade: D

Yoga 4 Times a Week

Ten times in the entire month.  Oops.  

Grade: C

Read 4 Books

This one I managed.  I read True Devotion by Dee Henderson, By Darkness Hid and To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson and The Stolen Throne by David Gaider.  I've even started on From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson, the last in the Blood of Kings trilogy.  

Grade: A+

Come Up With a Summer Bucket List

This turned out well, also.  You can see what's on my list here.  If you come up with your own, let me know in the comments.  

Grade: A+

Watch My Spending

Not too bad here.  I didn't spend extravagantly, but I paid for what I needed (and some things I didn't necessarily need, such as hardcover copies of Star Wars books that I already own), making this goal an overall success.  

Grade: A

Overall Grade: B

Here's one of the reasons I've been so busy this month.  Meet our new goldendoodle puppy, Kirby.
 This post inspired by Kelli at She Learns As She Goes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kaylin's Summer Bucket List

Aerial Yoga- This looks like so much fun!  I can't wait to try it.

Finish My Novel- This might be a little ambitious, but we'll give it a go.

Date With Dad- It's been a while since I've gone out and gotten to spend time with my dad, so this is a must.  

Read Outside- Because I should really take advantage of the nice weather.

Go Hiking- I'm dying to try some of the trails in Spokane.

Homemade Popsicles- The ones with fruit in them look like fun to make.

Snap 50 Unique Photos- My poor camera needs some exercise this summer.

Iced Tea With A Friend- At least once.

Bubble Tea- Because it's delicious.  I get some almost every time I go to the mall.

Geocaching- This was so much fun last summer.

S'mores- What's summer without them?

Stargaze- Again, I should take advantage of the clear skies and do this at least once.

I Love Lucy Marathon- I still have half of season 7, season 8 and season 9 to watch before I'll have watched every one.  

Record Myself Playing Piano- I've been meaning to do this for some time, now.  

White Box Pies- This is a great restaurant/bakery in town that focuses on gluten-free menu items.  I'd love to go have lunch or dinner there again.

Flower Hair Clips- I think they're really cute and would like to see how they look on me.

Pedicure- I don't like painting my own toenails.  Plus, it makes me feel pampered.

Read A Jules Verne Novel- Probably Journey to the Center of the Earth. 

Visit The Buggy Barn- This is a quilt shop/museum nearby that I've never been to.  It looks interesting.

Phish Food- No, not "Fish Food".  This Ben & Jerry's flavor is my absolute favorite, but usually really expensive.  I'd like to treat myself to a pint sometime this summer.

Evening Walk- One of my favorite parts of summer is how lovely the temperatures are, even after the sun has set.  

Pirates of Penzance- One of my favorite movies that I want to watch again sometime.

Drive With the Windows Down- I'm still learning how to drive, but I'm starting to enjoy it more.  I always enjoy being able to do this during the summer.

Hair Trim- Already completed this one.  I'm such a cheater.

Be Thankful Every Day- Something different every day.  This could be challenging.

Sky High- A trampoline place in town that looks like a lot of fun.  

Portal 2 Co-op- It's been a while since I've played Portal, but I'm pretty excited to get back into it. 

What's on your summer to-do list?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review: The Stolen Throne

I've mentioned Dragon Age a few times on my blog, and when I found out that there was a book that served as a prequel to the game, I knew I had to read it.  I finally got around to it recently, and you can read my review here.

 Feel free to friend me on Goodreads!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Geeky Rant: It's Not As Good As You Remember

Dear fellow gamers, 

No game is perfect.  

I don't care how many high scores it got, how great the combat is, how many critics reviewed it or how many fans it has.  At the end of the day, no game, not even your favorite one, can reach the lofty state of absolute perfection.  

Be honest, how many games have you played that had no glitches whatsoever?  No typos, no plot holes, no loading errors, not even any crash to desktop moments.  Go on, I'll wait. 

Umm... Space Invaders?

...Yeah, I can't think of any, either.  

Chances are, you probably know all this and are wondering what my point is.  I'll tell you.  Have you ever had a game so widely praised that you went out and got it without question only to be disappointed?  I know I have.  Why do games that some people love so much end up failing to even interest others?  Not only do people have different tastes, but there's also a tendency to praise our favorite games more than they really deserve.  

Let's take Planescape: Torment as an example.  I've mentioned this game more than once here on my blog, and I even listed it as one of my favorites.  It's received many accolades from gamers as being one of the greatest games ever, but is it perfect?  Hardly.  The pace is slow, fight sequences are boring, the voice acting is largely mediocre, and puzzles (I use the term generously) are poorly integrated.  

Not to mention the terrible box art.

Why then, does a game with such obvious problems receive such praise?  Why do I consider such a game as one of my favorites?  

To be honest, it's because I'm biased.  I enjoy the story that Torment tells and choose to ignore its many problems and continue playing to try and find the answers to the questions it raises.  It's a bit like eating pumpkin pie even though you don't like the crust.  You put up with the things that you don't like because it's in the same package as the things you love.  Not that I don't like a nice gluten free crust on my pumpkin pie, but I digress.  

The problem arises when we haven't played the game in while, but recommend it to our friends.  Once we've put up with all these time-consuming fights and gotten to the end credits, the first thing we usually feel is satisfaction. (Unless we're talking about the ending to Mass Effect 3, but that's another topic entirely.)  We feel accomplished because we persevered through everything that was thrown at us and now we have some sense of closure to the story.    

We get off our computers or put down our controllers and suddenly, it's like there's two different games.  The first is the actual game, the second is the one that we fondly remember because we exaggerate its strengths and conveniently forget its issues.  

All this rambling is to remind you to be honest when it comes to telling your friends about a game you've played.  Yes, tell them all about the cool guns and funny moments, but don't forget to mention the parts that were annoying or shoddily done.  Trust me, it's better to be frank than to cause someone to nerdrage.  

"I thought you said this game was awesome!"

Until next time, 

--An Average Christian Geek 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Reading Questionnaire

This book questionnaire that Kelli found has been going around and looks like fun, so here goes.  

Do you snack while you read?  Not too often because I don't want to get food on my pages.  When I do snack, it's usually on a piece of dark chocolate or on some almonds.

What is your favorite drink while reading?  Tea or fruit juice spritzers.  

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?  I highlight passages in my Bible, but I don't normally write or mark anything in my novels. 

How do you keep your place while reading a book?  Bookmarks.  I have quite a few that I've gotten from my library and as gifts.

Are you the type of person who tends to read to the end of the chapter, or can you stop anywhere?  At the end of a chapter is my preference, but if I need to stop reading and go do something on short notice, I at least try to make sure that I end at a paragraph break or after a particularly memorable sentence.  

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or onto the floor if the author irritates you?  No, but I have been known to scowl at pages and/or roll my eyes.  

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you look it up right away?  Only if it's especially cool-sounding, then I want to know its definition so that I can use it in my own writing.  I also look up words more readily when I'm reading on my Kindle, because it makes it so easy.  

What are you currently reading?  True Devotion by Dee Henderson.

What is the last book you bought?  The Chicago Manual of Style.  I spent a lot more on it than I usually do on books, but it should be a really useful tool as I try to make my way in the editorial business.  Besides that, it's really pretty.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?  I like reading in the evenings the most because it kind of winds me down for the day.  It's also kind of a rule of mine to read at least a chapter right before I go to sleep.  As for where, mostly on my bed, but outside on the porch swing or on the hood of a car is nice, too.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?  Mostly series, but the problem is that when I read the first book, I feel bad if I don't finish the rest, so starting one is like a commitment for me.  In this respect, stand-alones give me more "freedom", so that can be a good thing.  

Is there specific book you find yourself recommending over and over?  Not particularly.  I like to make recommendations according to what the person I'm talking to already likes, so it depends. 

How do you organize your books?  I used to have them all in alphabetical order by author's last name, but since then my library has expanded and I no longer have that option.  Currently they're kinda-sorta arranged by genre.  Translation: they're in there in whatever ways they happen to fit.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Resolutions

Taken on my trip through Oregon.

May is here, and I'm pretty darn excited for it.  I'm going to one of my friends' wedding next weekend, this is my favorite kind of weather, I'm going to start teaching a friend of mine piano once a week, I have a bridal shower to help plan, and my brother's wedding is only a month away.  Basically, May is going to be busy, so I'm going to try and not overload myself with goals.  

Work On My Novel Once A Week

This goal was a complete failure last month, but I'm going to give it another try.  I would put a specific word-count goal, but I'm really not sure how many more I'll need to finish, so this will have to do.

Yoga 4 Times A Week

Even as my life gets busier, I'd like to keep this up.  For those of you looking for a yoga routine to do, here's some links to my favorite videos.  Element: Hatha and Flow Yoga for BeginnersRodney Yee's Yoga for Beginners, Element: Yoga for Stress Relief and Flexibility, and Crunch: Candlelight Yoga.

Read 4 Books

Once again, I'd like to stay on track with my goal of 50 books for the year.  As a side note, my long-term goal is to have read 500 books by the time I turn 21.  

Come Up With A Summer Bucket List

Kelli at She Learns As She Goes made one of these last year, inspiring me to make my own.  It was nice to remind myself to enjoy the warm weather and still get some things done, so I think I'll do the same for this summer.  

Watch My Spending

I recently got my first credit card, and since I was already a big online shopper, I realize how dangerous this can be.  The freedom of being able to buy things online without having to worry about owing my parents is nice, but I'd like to make sure that I don't go snatching up everything on my Amazon wish list.  

What's on your agenda for the month?  Any plans to make your own summer bucket list?  If so, what's going to be on it?