Mass Effect 2, Pt 1

All righty then, this is not a blog post for those not even remotely interested in Video Games. If you fall in that category and continue reading, you do so at your own peril. For the rest of you, especially those of you who have not gotten as far or have finished the game yet, there will be spoilers lurking at every corner and I make no apologies after this warning.

That having been said, my apologies to everyone for my very fangirlish moment: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Just a few of the races from the games...

Yes, I am really enjoying the game. I haven’t finished it yet, but I have gotten to the second disc and my mind is constantly being blown away. You certainly learn a lot more from what you learned in the first one and it seriously expands on the universe initially introduced. I do have a few quibbles about it, but they are outweighed by rest of the game. Now, Hubby and I are playing the game at the same time basically (which has made us both wish we had a 2nd HD TV and a 2nd copy of the game), so I will be surprised if the 360 does not Red Ring in the near future. It better not. We’ve had a helluva time with getting the game and then getting certain pieces to work right. You all know about us getting the game. What is new to you is getting certain pieces to work right.

Every BRAND new copy of the game comes with a free Cerebus Network card that gives you access to Free DLC, info and upcoming things, etc. Pretty cool, really. I had no problem in setting it up, linking it up through my EA account (which I’ve had for years and years thanks to Sims), and then moving along in the game. Now, we have not really experienced any problems in the past with using DLC on the same console but with different user profiles. We do it all the time with Rock Band, and many other games. We do have two consoles, one used to be Hubby’s road console when he was trucking, and then we have the house 360 which is used for everybody, especially when it’s a game more than one person wants to play, that way and downloadable content can be used across all profiles. Well, with Dragon Age: Origins, Hubby has to load my profile in game first, log me out and then log himself in in order to use the DLC. A pain, but workable. When he tried to use the Cerebus Network on his profile it became clear that families sharing the same console and playing the same games would not be able to use this function. So he did a lot of research, got in contact with this one dude via a friend of ours (thank you, again HB!) and we were given the following offer after our issue was explained; he could send us a new copy of the game, or he could send us the code for the Cerebus Network. Our other options were not satisfactory, and we certainly were not fishing for another copy of the game. So Hubby opted for the code, but even that wasn’t what we were looking for. I mean, with the amount of money I’ve spent on EA alone, we shouldn’t run into problems like these. And add in the money Hubby has spent, then I begin to wonder if EA/BioWare ever thought of things like this happening. I know as a spouse, I don’t feel it needed for me to spend money on something I’ve already spent for the same thing in the first place. And as a parent, if my kids were old enough to play this game, I’d feel the exact same way. If everybody had their own console, and I had the money, it’d be different. I know Hubby and I are a rarity in that both parties in the relationship are gamers, but there have to be more out there like us that face these same problems. We know enough Gaming Couples.

Anyway, that was the only hiccup in getting the game to play and it’s a relatively minor one, that possibly one day could be a bigger one, depending on how EA/BioWare deal with it. It remains to be seen.

Ok, gameplay. Overall, I like the game play. Took me a little while and help from Hubby to figure out where the grenades were. BEST IMPROVMENT EVER. Thank you BioWare! The Back Button in the previous game was an inconvenient spot for it. Now, it’s on the RB and works really well. Especially since they track enemies now :). The weapons system is much improved and more realistic. Easier to control the other squad members too. Though I’d still love to have a four member squad instead of the three, but hey, not really complaining. I do have a complaint about how they just took the inventory system out and replaced it with a mess. I don’t like the fact I can’t sell my unused equipment. I don’t miss the complicated mess it was with upgrades, etc, but I liked the different types of armor for everybody, that I could use Medi-Gels on demand (well, kinda) and that I could SELL my stuff. I hate how unity is locked into the Medi-Gels. I never liked that in shooter games where if you took cover you would heal. Do you know how many times I have died because I am lousy at shooters? Main reason I don’t play them. Halo is about the only exception there. I don’t mind the shooter like quality of the game, but that is one part of the game I outright hate. Well, gameplay wise. And did I mention I miss selling my old shit for new shit? The barter/market system is instrumental to any RPG, in any setting, on any platform, whether its books, PC, console, space, fantasy, etc. And I am sorry BioWare, you fucked that one up. Yeah, getting fish for your ship, plus models, etc is nice. BUT I like being able to sell my stuff I don’t use or don’t want. Hell, I like looking at it! I can’t even really do that. Although I like the upgrade researching and then actually getting the upgrades. I like that different NPCs offer different upgrades. Nice touch there. I like the fact that there are more romance options (more on that later), and there is much more that I like. This game shows that they listened to the fans and tried to do things to make everybody happy. But that is where some of the problem lies. You can’t make everybody happy. But thankfully I’m not going to let a few things ruin my enjoyment of the game. Can’t say the same for a few morons out there *sigh*.

Planet exploration. I bitched about the Mako in the last game almost as much as where the grenade button was. I miss the Mako. I don’t really care for the scan and probe concept. Rather tedious and boring. Some really like it, and that’s fine. Me personally, I think if they could have found a way to combine the two, then it would work. The Normandy could scan and probe the areas that are hard for the Mako to get to and you could still do actual planet explorations and meet up with pirates and enemies and gain more experience that way. Not enough planetary quests, that I’ve found anyway. I’m not done with the game yet, so that last little statement might change.

Never thought I'd miss this thing!

Joker. Best NPC ever. Haven’t gotten tot he point where you actually control him, but I can’t wait. I love Seth Green’s voice acting here. He does a wonderful job and it adds to the character. I love that BioWare gave him an expanded role in this game as he was a huge fan fav from the first one. His quips and jokes, and over all help is the best. Plus, who else would be crazy enough to pilot for Commander Sheppard??? I agree with a few that have said they would have liked to see him as a romance option. *sigh*

The pic says it all 🙂

Speaking of romance options: WTF Kaidan?!?!?!?! Do you know how pissed I was when I found out I couldn’t romance my romantic interest in the first game and then couldn’t even get him to join my team! Pissed does not cover it. I was furious! I can’t blame Kaidan, as it stays with his character and how betrayed he’d feel at finding out Sheppard is still a live, and then working with Cerebus. But still, I miss him! I tired romancing Jacob in revenge and I think I messed that one up. So I think for this character, she is going to stay loyal to Kaidan and see what happens in the thrid game. But there are certainly more romance options this time around. Tali is now an option and apparently so is Garrus, though I have seen conflicting reports on that one. May have to try a create a character to find out. Let’s see, we have Miranda and Kelly and they round out the known human romance options. Then you have your aliens: Thane and Samara. I think that covers everybody… You all can correct me :). Oh and for the record, it is my understanding that the sex scene in this game is just like in the previous one, and it is still an option. So, FOX News, as much as I love you, Fuck off :P.

Can I please have my Kaidan back????

The story. Holy gods. It’s amazing. I love how when you import your save from the first game that it picks up ALL the little details, even things you forgot about. You run into people who seemed minor in that game and are now bigger players in this one. You meet up with old friends and get thank you notes (or hate mail) depending on what you did before. That fact that BioWare accomplished this makes me feel better for the thrid game. They succeeded at making the gameplay and story more immersive and enjoyable. They’ve always created games that the ending is based on your actions in the current game. Well, now your endings are based off not only your current actions, but the ones from the previous game as well! Talk about having a chance to have a different experience in each play through! I love it.

And they build on the story beautifully. You learn more about the organization of Cerebus, about who the Protheans were and how the history of everything is tied in together! I haven’t finished it yet, but I can’t wait so I can add more to the story part of this blog. It’s all done so well and so seemless. This is where they make up for the shortcomings.

I guess that’s it for this part of my Mass Effect 2 ramblings. As I get further into the game and finally finish it, I’ll write-up more about it. But this was all that I had in my itty bitty head this afternoon. Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and then hope that the road will allow me to get the car out in the morning with all the ice we’ve had last night and today so I can go to work tomorrow. Hopefully at most I’ll be a little late, but we’ll see. Going to call them tonight and let them know I might be a little late depending on all that. Hope those that got the snow are enjoying it!

 General disclaimer: Mass Effect is owned by EA/BioWare and protected by the copyright laws. Any images and info used in thsi blog post are not meant to infringe on those rights, only to allow this fan a postive outlet and to share her thoughts about a game she loves and adores :).

A quick update

Ok, I might have lied. I actually started this Monday night before watching Heroes and then heading out to the Mass Effect 2 Launch Party at Game Stop, but ran out of time. So I am now editing this and finishing it up. Rant on Heroes and full Mass Effect 2 review will show up on this blog at a later date.

First, Girl Scout update: It may not seem like much, but considering where we live and the fact that between work, school and other obligations we haven’t had a lot of time to get the Youngest out there, she’s managed to sell 85 boxes of cookies! A few people are telling me that they may add more to their order so I think I need to invest in some white out. But I am proud of her. Hubby took the form with him up to the campus and sold more than he thought. Yes, she wasn’t there with him, but unlike my job where I work the weekends and will sometimes be there after she’s done with school, we don’t want her missing school just to go up there, and unfortunately, the majority of the time, all his teachers and classmates are gone when the Youngest is done. And his etiquette teacher insisted she wanted to buy cookies. The others were a pleasant surprise :-). May see about taking the Youngest up there one day when he has classes but she doesn’t, in her uniform, to thank everybody. I think we might have such a day coming up this next month. Will need to double check (Will be doing that on the 15th of next month, just before the cookies come in for distribution and booth sales!). Haven’t heard a lot from the other girls in her troop yet, but at the last meeting, several were near the 100 mark with one over it! Seeing as how this is the first time being in Girl Scouts for many of them, as well as being a newly formed troop, I think that’s wonderful. I cannot wait for the booth sales to start. I’ve already worked it out with the Bossman for the troop to set up a booth at the store (note to self- let Troop Leaders know!), besides the other places we’re signed up at. I imagine what we didn’t corner with the door-to-door sales, we’ll more than make up for it with the booth sales. But regardless, I am proud of all the girls.

Filed the taxes Monday night. I think this is the earliest I’ve ever filed them. I figured since Hubby was laid off last year, that it would take forever for him to get his W-2 from that job. We managed to get that last week. And Monday we got the last of what we needed and I spent a little while working on them, and was happy to discover, that even though we made about 1/2 of what we did last year, our refund is larger than expected. Very happy about that. Between that and the Financial Aid Hubby will be getting in about three or so weeks, we should be set on not only paying up several bills, but also getting another car for Hubby to go back and forth to school in, which will make things MUCH easier on all of us. We have other plans for the money, but I think rent and the car(s) will be THE priorities. I know I’ll be looking into getting Vader fixed (don’t want to, but we have to :(.) and then paying off a few other  bills and getting a few things for the house, as well as a few wants.

For those of you that have known me for years and years, you know Neil Gaiman is one of my all time favorite authors. When I discovered him on Twitter, that was the push I needed to go ahead and sign up for my own account (Sorry, Hubby. Love you, but I see you and talk to you every day :P). Recently though, a man who has brought his wonderful stories (Stardust, Coraline, American Gods, Mr. Punch, Sandman, etc) to all of us, has recently had a mixed time of it. First he became engaged to a wonderful woman that I think makes him very happy. She is Amanada Fucking Palmer :)! She’s a singer and performer, and though her stuff is not really my thing, I love reading her Tweets and see how happy she makes Neil. Then he got a bit of bad news. A long time resident of his home, 14 yr. old Zoe was sick and was not going to last long. I have never met Mr. Gaiman, nor anyone attached to him, but reading his blogs about Zoe and the effect she had on him and others, it tore my heart apart. Doesn’t matter if you are a cat person or not, I have a feeling her story will touch you. She passed away recently, in the company of loved ones. I wont be posting the individual links to the blog posts, as there are many, but you can go to his blog and go back to January 21st when it all started. It still makes me want to cry.

Monday night, Tuesday morning. I’d be a miss if I didn’t say anything about it. As you all may have guessed, I’m an avid gamer. I love playing Role Playing Games (RPGs) more than anything and Bioware is the god of RPGs. These people know how to construct a worthy video game, to make it feel almost as if I were sitting back at the table in the Green Dragon with pen, paper, dice and books, with lots of friends. I prefer that to the video games, but since I can’t be there right now, I’ll take what I can get! Anyway, this last Tuesday was the official release for Mass Effect 2. The first one had to use Hubby to win me over, as I’m not a huge fan of Space RPGs. But after watching him play, I was hooked. Then came Dragon Age: Origins. Then came Tuesday. But I’m going to confuse you. Let me back track to a little while ago.

Once Mass Effect 2 was mentioned, Hubby and I were excited and we wanted it. We normally preorder our games at GameStop, that way we can pay a little here and a little there so we can make sure we can get our games without breaking the bank. Also they let us take trade ins to use towards the preorders. Since I liked the first one so much I wanted to get the Collector’s Edition of the game. Most Collector’s Editions will include little extras that are not included in the standard release. Ever Since the Fable 2 Collector’s Edition debacle, I’ve shied away from them on the whole, but this is Mass Effect! So I convinced Hubby, yes we want that version of it. Wasn’t a hard sell :). So, we kept pestering the poor guys at Game Stop. Finally, we went ahead and preordered the standard edition since the collector’s one hadn’t ‘opened’ in the system yet. Well, about two/three weeks ago we started getting worried. Hubby made phone calls to Game Stop to see if we would actually be able to get the copy we wanted, to find out they were not taking anymore preorders for the collector’s. Fuck. I about shot somebody over that one. *grumble*  We were told that the preorders were only open for 2 days and they certainly did not advertise it. Needless to say the last few weeks were spent trying to hunt down a copy that I didn’t have to buy off of eBay for $500 or more. I was pissed at Bioware. I sent Tweets, notes, and even bugged them when they had their Live Stream show Sunday night during the football game.

Guess what? This past Monday, we heard from the manager at the store. He managed to find one for us :)! I wont go into details, as my time is running short anyway, and I have more to share, but he made me a very happy person when I went to the launch party that night at 10PM. I hung out with the guys there and a few others (missed an XBL friend of mine that was there, and neither one of us knew the other was there!) and managed to also get the Collector’s Edition of the first Mass Effect for free. It was a gift, and perhaps my most fav. Granted it didn’t have the game disc, but I didn’t care. I still had that one, so it was no problem. I got the nice pretty case, with all the hidden goodies inside. Will have to take pictures of these two to share with you all later. I was happy. So happy I stayed up till 3 AM playing! Go me!

We’re expecting some Wintery weather tonight. I’ve got the phones, mp3 players, Kindle and DS all charged and waiting for the power to go. The little camp stove, heater and gas cans are all ready to go. The animals have plenty of food, and us humans will live :p. As long as the animals have food, the rest of us will live! Our outdoor kitties, who have wormed their way into our hearts (as if I need more mouths to feed!), should be fine. We’ve been checking on Zombie and Bob all day and will keep an eye on them tonight. If it gets really bad we *might* set them up in the bathroom for the night. Mainly because Hubby is quite attached to Zombie in particular, and we get Bob by proxy. Will have the camera at the ready so you should see pictures of Vader, The Snow Puppy, having a blast! The Youngest has been keeping an eye on what the weather is doing outside and was so mad when the snow stopped. Not sure what it’s doing out there now, but it doesn’t sound like rain, thankfully. Hopefully we’ll just get some snow and not the ice they say we are supposed to get. I don’t want it.

Ok, time to edit this one and then post it. Almost time for Caprica to start and Hubby is torn between that one and Kitchen Nightmares. Think we might watch Caprica and then catch Kitchen Nightmares on Hulu. We both miss the DVR and this is one of those times. We could be recording both of them and then gaming at the same time! Oh well. Hope my friends and family that are in this nasty weather stay warm and safe!

I really should learn to use the phone…

Got up at 4-ish this morning. Took care of animals, ate, got Hubby up, got ready for work, got Youngest up. At bus stop by 7-ish. Rushed Hubby up to campus, even though his class didn’t start till 8:30. Then I rushed through slow moving rush hour traffic to get to work by 8. I get there, start getting myself set up, and see the schedule. I didn’t have to be in at all today. Yup. But I do work the rest of the week (minus Saturday). So, I sold some cookies for the Youngest (she was there in spirit and our tech guy who never knows when he is going to be there was there so I had to grab him). Then I left and grabbed some groceries, and now I’m home. I figure since I was so productive yesterday, I might continue on. I might go ahead and make up a few things to help with dinner for the rest of the week so we don’t have to rush and rush. And there’s some left over laundry to do, as well as some writing to do. I think that is what I will do.

Yup, I got really motivated yesterday (I stole it from a friend!), and managed to get quite a bit done. I had help, so it didn’t take that long, especially since it took me a while to get to that point. But the kids’ room is done, with a few minor things that can be done easily later on. You can move around in the room now and we found a few things that the Oldest forgot to take with her, so we have a box started for her with that stuff, as well as other things we have picked up for her. After the bedroom was done, we got a lot of other chores done, so the rest of this week should be pretty light chore wise. On Sunday I did one thing to help our Bathroom remodel along. It’s a work-in-progress, and I don’t expect to be done till maybe next month sometime. We did rip the carpet out of there and put up some new fixtures and hooks. Well, I went and put up the paper on the one wall in there, and it looks 100% better. I didn’t have enough paper to do the whole room, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of picking up some paint to finish it off with and some for the kitchen as well. We did decide we are going to get the tiles to do the kitchen floor as well. So, since it looks like we might be stuck here a little longer than we want to be, we can make this place more livable and more presentable. Might snap some pics later of the work done in the bathroom so you all can see it. It does look a lot better in there and it’s been easier to keep it cleaner since we rid ourselves of the carpet. Why people put carpet in the bathroom I’ll never know.

I touched on this a little when I finally updated my Rooster Teeth Journal, but I’ll share it here too. So the following is a copy and paste (with maybe an interjection here and there):

Started playing the trial version of Guild Wars last night (Actually it was Sunday night) … and it hasn’t sold me yet. The pretty art work and the fact that Felicia Day will be in the second one kind of pulled me in. That and the fact that I only have to pay for the damn game once instead of over and over again. That’s why I don’t do MMO’s. I don’t want to keep paying for a game just to play it. With Xbox it’s a little different. The Gold Membership allows me to play more than one game ONLINE with multiplayer modes, as well as allows me to do things and get things that Silver members can’t. That and if you work it right you can be paying maybe $2 a month for the membership, or less. That I don’t mind. And I’m not required to shell out the money per game! I do mind paying the $40-60 for a game and then having to shell out a monthly fee to keep playing it, per game. I wanted to play City of Heroes. BUT, monthly fee. I want to play the upcoming Star Wars game… But unless they go way of Guild Wars I don’t see that happening.

Anyway, I’ll give Guild Wars until the trial runs out before I make a final call. It is interesting, and I like the fact that I can team up with people if I want, but there is no major rush for it. I don’t always like playing with others.

Youngest has been doing pretty well with Cookie Sales so far. I have her Troop leaders on my Face Book, so I catch the occasional good word on how the other girls are doing, so I have high hopes for all of them to do well. So far she’s sold about 20 boxes. She went with me when I went to pay a bill, and we left one of the little order sheets that came with the main form since not everybody that wanted to buy cookies was there, so we should have a few more orders there. She wants to sell 2010 boxes so we can go to Wolf Lodge up in North Carolina. I don’t see that happening, but I’m glad she is feeling industrious about this! It would be a nice prize though… And she is excited for the meeting tonight. It’s good to see her excited about something. I was talking with two of my managers this morning and they were talking about how she seems to be doing really well with the Girl Scouts, which they are right. The Oldest really prospered with the Marching Band, and now her sister is doing the same with the Girl Scouts. Now if we can keep them both with it, and see just how far they go and the experiences they both have with them.

Dec2009.1 023 A rarity- Tux and Ryoko playing.

Ok, going to edit through one last time and then get some stuff done. Might squeeze in some time to play Mass Effect, since the second one is due out next Tuesday. Might see if the Boosman would let me off that day ;).

Heroes is on tonight…

And what is sad I’m sure it will not be as exciting for me as it should be. I love Heroes. When it first aired I was so happy. Here was a show about super powered people, trying to lead normal lives, but were unable to with the great responsibility given to them via their abilities. Then cam season 2 and the Writer’s Strike. Bastards. And here we are in season 4 and I see them trying to recover, but everybody is pretty much acting out of character (except for maybe Parkman) that it’s ridiculous. Sylar isn’t the same anymore, and that’s sad. When he should be going to the ALL YOU CAN EAT SUPER POWERED BUFFET, he allows Simon to mess with him some more. Yup, that’s not Sylar. He has no reason to do this. In season 2 when he sided with Bennett he was messing with him and using Angela. And he did have Elle on the side. That made sense. This doesn’t and it sucks. I’m not even going to start on what they did to Nathan and how Claire and Peter are pretty much screwing the pooch w/ the inability to wake up and start acting again! Parkman, Hiro, Ando and Mohinder saved the show for me last week. Not sure what will save it for me tonight. I’m agreeing with the Hubby, they’ve jumped the shark via Happy Days. *sigh*

In other news, this blog post comes to you by Windows Live Writer. Was looking for an easier way to post the blog entries for here and for Live Journal. Haven’t fully explored the program yet, so if you see a bunch non-related wacky things here and over at Live Journal you know why. But apparently I can do everything I could directly from the website and more. We’ll see…

p_00044

How I wish my ‘garden’ looked now.

Ok, so I guess no captions, so they lied, unless somehow Word Press puts caps in there for me…

Today is my last day of my mini vacation and I overslept. Yup. Had a lot I wanted to do today before going back to work tomorrow and now, well, I just don’t want to. Have an errand to run which will hopefully result in a few cookie sales for the Youngest, then chores (the big one is FINALLY stepping foot in the kids room), and then maybe some writing. Though frankly if I could figure out a way to not work right now and still be able to support my family, I’d be doing it. I have enjoyed these last few days, as I’ve been less stressed and more happy. Hopefully I can keep that attitude while at work. Hopefully Bossman hasn’t scheduled me horrendous hours this week. And I’m not talking about a lot of hours, I’m just talking wonky hours. I don’t want a ten to two day or an eight to five day. Those are pains. eight to two or three are just fine, especially if I can do them five times during a week. I get hours, but I don’t feel the urge to kill all the time.

On the writing front. The map making has been very helpful in actually writing the story. Though I haven’t done much actual writing, the ideas are formulating better in my head and I should be able to get them out soon. Which is good as it’s driving me up the wall. Also thinking of the different ways to get this thing published when I’m ready for it. Really can’t do the traditional routes as they cost a lot of money, and I will still do the self-publishing, but they cost the readers a lot of money. So I was thinking along the lines of a combination of self-publishing and electronic reader plus a website. I’m still mulling over it, but it would be the cheapest route for me and for the readers and still allow me to 1- make money (not a lot but a start) and 2- get my stuff out to the readers. And I know what you are thinking, self-publishing should cost me more than the readers. Nope, not the way how it’s done via the Internet. A lot of companies, one of them is partnered with Amazon, only prints the books to order, so there is next to no cost for me, but the books are like $20 a piece for paperback and no hardcover is offered. I could order in bulk and get a discount to hand over to a local bookstore, etc, but right now I don’t have that kind of money. And the traditional way costs a pretty penny, unless you strike it rich. You have to have a Literary agent, and they cost money. It cost money out of your pocket when you have to travel to the publisher (unless you happen to be well known and a star of theirs, then in a lot of cases they foot the bill), and you have to do a lot of self-promoting out of your pocket and it can get very pricy. If you have the money then that’s the way to go. I don’t and I have a family to think about. The ideas I’ve got will allow me to start making some money off of my writing and at the same time allow me to continue to work and support my family. One day I’d like to get a big publisher interested in my stuff, and it’d be nice now, but I have to be realistic here. Now, if you are a Lit Agent willing to work for free or for the potential future, then drop me a line ;).

All right. Need to get off of here and get going. Need to force myself to get motivated and stay motivated. Want all this stuff done today and not tomorrow.

Third one in a row

Ok, this is becoming a habit. Haven’t updated the blog like this in ages… Not since April of last year I think. But then again I am not quite awake so this could be me dreaming or this could get very interesting, very fast :). I promise to keep it as close to PG-13 as possible, folks, but no guarantee! Heehee.

Yesterday turned out to be a very pleasant day. It was spent with my Youngest and two of my nieces I hadn’t seen in months. it was a lot of fun. We met up at Build-A-Bear at the mall and the Youngest proceeded to go nuts there. Out of pocket the whole thing cost 21 cents. Can’t get any better than that! And she walked out with a Bear for her (her first one, though she’s gotten a trillion other animals from there) and one for her sister. They both were dressed up and each were given an accessory. So I can’t wait to see the Oldest’s face when she gets it this next weekend when we go and visit. It will be nice. After build-A-Bear we grabbed lunch at the food court and took up one of the tables (with the bar chairs that you have to climb up on! Thanks to my kid!) for a few hours just shooting the breeze and catching up. Then we went and got some cookies and checked out Boarders, which was closing down. It was sad, because even though I didn’t always get the chance to go there, they always had great sales and I could find things a lot easier than the other places. My oldest niece found a Warrior’s Manga for the Youngest and it was even cheaper than we figured. I figured 4 bucks. It was 2.97, so that was a nice addition to her day. Then sadly we had to depart. But we planned on another outing for next month and maybe we can turn this into a monthly thing. That would be nice. I have some stuff form them for the Oldest (Youngest got a bunch too!) that I need to remember to put in with the stuff that is going with us next Saturday for the visit.

The rest of the day was spent with me making a few trips out after I got home, but it was what I wanted to do anyway. That and it would mean I wouldn’t have to go out today. If we do go out today, I might take the Youngest to a few neighbor’s to sell some cookies. Which we did sell a few yesterday, as my nieces were all excited they had a direct line to the Girl Scout Cookies now. Of course, several people are. Now if I can get them to make good on their word to buy a lot, we’ll be golden! 

Vader was mad at me yesterday. Poor puppy (put in here just for the Hubby :P!) had to spend the day without me and was very insistent I was not going to leave him again. Had it not been raining last night I probably would have taken him with me to the store and to get dinner, but I don’t like muddy paw prints all over the place, so he had to stay behind. There was much pouting.

I didn’t accomplish much writing yesterday (again) BUT, I did manage to do something productive for it. You see, I write a lot of Fantasy based things that take place over huge tracks of land, and it makes it easier if I can map things out for the various places so I can keep better track of it all. So I spent a good chunk of time last night using Google to find reference points and what not, so I could create the map for this wonderful world of mine. It was much easier doing it that way than the way I used to it, which was with mountains of reference books and map books and trips to the library and banging my head against the wall. I used to have this work mapped out, but since it had been written for a gaming company, and I have to re-write the whole thing, I cannot use those maps anymore. So new ones need to be created. It was fun and it was neat to see just what Google could find for me! And I am surprised at myself that I recalled as much as I did about map making. Yup. I’m such a nerd and a dweeb all rolled up in one!

No workout yesterday. Will be doing one today. Other than that, I think working on the kids room and doing some more laundry will be about all we accomplish today. None of us are really feeling well, and didn’t get much sleep last night (this is why I don’t like metal rooks and cannot understand why people want them- it rains and you can hear EVERY little rain drop ), so I don’t think we’re going to do a lot. I think I’ll make some meatloaf for dinner tonight. And maybe some cookies, if I have the eggs. Don’t really want to leave the house, unless it’s to go up the street for a few minutes and that’s it. When it rains, the legs normally don’t like me and this morning they hate me and are getting the hands to join in. hence why I am going to make myself workout. I know I will feel better afterwords.

Ok, time to try and get the day started.

Before I go! A hearty congratulations to Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on their engagement! It had been rumored for a few days due to certain pics he’d posted on Twitter, but he confirmed it yesterday I believe. They are such a cute couple and she has been good for him. Very happy for them!

Second update in a row- neat!

Lately I have been enjoying the wonderful website Good Reads. There you can see what friends are reading, what books they recommend and you can keep track of what you are reading and let others know what you think of them. My stats so far on this site are:

 Books I’ve read: 259

Currently Reading: 1

Books I want to read: 146

 And the list gets bigger everyday. I think out of the books listed as being read I’ve marked about 165 as books I own and I haven’t even really scratched the surface of the entire collection we have here. Yes, we have a lot of books. If I feel so inclined I may one day take pictures of the bookshelves and then the boxes that we still have books stored in. I’m a book addict. I’ll admit it. Hubby’s not too far behind either. And the kids are following suit. It’s not unusual to see one of us with our noses in a book. Of course lately for me, it’s been the Kindle. Though I still do prefer the feel of a book. And you may think this odd, but the smell. I love libraries and Barnes and Nobles because they smell like books. The other book stores (unless they are the little shops) just don’t have the same scent. It’s weird. Oh well. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’m glad it looks like I’ve passed it on to my youngin’s. Go me!

 Anyway, go and check out the site if you are at a loss at what to read. Lots of good stuff.

 I really did not accomplish much of anything yesterday. The sink is full of dishes (where’s my dishwasher!), laundry still needs to be finished, and the kids’ room still looks the same. I did do a few things, but just decided to spend some time with Hubby, since it’s rare for us to get any time without a kid or animal being right there. So I went with him to get the refund taken care of for that Microsoft Office debacle. Got the stove cleaned, which needed it. I did workout. I did the Fitness Evaluation on Yourself Fitness and then worked out for 30 minutes. It hurt! But I felt better and still kind of do. I have the workout schedule set up so I workout each night, except Tuesday and Thursdays. They are my long days due to playing taxi to get everyone and then Girl Scouts and the occasional kids’ night at work. So I’ve left those days free, unless I happen to have the day off, in which case I’ll be putting the disc into the 360. Definitely lost some muscle mass. I could feel it in the legs and arms, which is not good. So those are my target areas besides losing some fat. I found (while cleaning!) an elastic band Hubby used to have in the Truck to help him exercise a bit, so I figure maybe while I play Sims or have a reading marathon at my desk, I can pull that out and start working on the arms and legs. There a few things I remember from physical therapy I can do with it to build up the strength.

 Wanted to write last night and only was able to jot down a few notes. I have the ideas and they want out and I can form the words in my head and see the scenes and everything… But nothing wants to come out. Argh! I think I may sneak up to the library at some point with my trusty notebook, pen and MP3 player and see what I can accomplish. Only problem with that is I will get distracted very easily. I would just like to get beyond the whole outline and character study stage and write something tangible. If only my job didn’t get in the way, huh ;)? I think what I might do, is after each workout I do, I will spend 30 minutes writing. It might work, as I need to get my rear end in gear. I’m not getting any younger and would like to get this book series done. At least the majority of it is written, only it’s not the beginning. Later books in the set are written (ok, one and a half are), and I believe I have the final mapping out showing a total of five books, with a possible sixth one, depending on the recent changes I made. A surge of inspiration hit me while at work, and I had to make a lot of changes, but it fit in nicely.

 Going to Build-A-Bear with Youngest today and will be meeting up with one, maybe two of my nieces there. Haven’t seen them in forever and I miss them. But we’re going to meet up and then hang out for a while, grab lunch and have fun. There is a Cookie Rally for the Girl Scouts, but I don’t think we’ll be going. I don’t get to see my side of the family that often, so when I can I try to make sure we get a decent amount of time. I already told the Troop leaders that we had made plans before knowing about it. They were cool about it since it’s optional. Just something for the girls to do with their moms to learn more about safety and just have fun while selling the cookies. Wouldn’t mind going, but like I said, I don’t often get the chance to see my side of the family.

 TV shows. On Netflix we’re still watching Farscape, taking a break from Angel. We’ll probably be picking that back up soon though. On Cable we’ve been watching Fringe (damn JJ!), Heroes and Leverage. Spoilers Ho!

 Fringe was confusing this week. Monday they played an episode that apparently was supposed to have been a first season eppy, just never aired it. Hubby and I were scratching our heads wondering why Charlie was still around and at first I thought it was a dream or AU thing. But thanks to the wonderful world of Twitter, someone confirmed it had just been an un-aired episode. Then Thursday night wasn’t too bad with the regular episode airing. It wasn’t the best one, but made for decent filler. I heart Walter a lot and Peter and Olivia just need to get it over with and get a hotel room! I mean, come on! So much UST it’s unreal!

  Heroes is touch and go. I am trying. I love this show. I really do, but they have yet to recover form season 2. Every time I think they are, they crash and burn. Where did the passion go? Where did the shock value go? We need Nikki back (not Tracy, but Nikki) so we can have her and Jessica kicking the crap outta everybody! But no! Sylar has somehow become tamer. Where did he go? Was being trapped in Parkman’s mind too much for him? I love my Sylar. Since we no longer have Nathan, I need somebody! Pete just isn’t doing it anymore. And Claire needs to die. Can they kill her off and bring back Adam, so we have our immortal character? I mean seriously. Hayden is not that great of an actress and it’s rare she shines on the screen. Only memorable scene with her this season was Thanksgiving when she cut herself in front of her mom’s new boyfriend at the dinner table and asked him if that was normal when she healed. DO NOT get me started on the Carnival. I lost interest in that when Edgar (aka Ray Park) left it. It really serves no purpose. Nice idea at first, but now… where are they going with it? Nothing is making sense. Hiro… We have him, Ando and Mohinder back together again! Yay!

 Leverage. What can I say? I’m Elliot’s bitch J. He’s my man, followed closely by Hardison. The first episode of the year was a bit weak, but then again they are trying to get Jeri Ryan’s character to get comfy in her new digs. Not the same as having Sophie around, as the whole cast had great charisma. I just don’t know if Ms. Ryan will be able to create what they had or give us something believable. I do like the way she and Christian Kane work together. They seem to draw off of one another, which is cool. Then again, he can do that with almost anyone. Mr. Kane seems to be one of those actors that is easy to work with and makes it really comfortable to be around him, so he then brings out the best in whoever he shares the screen with. I’ve seen a few that can do it, and I’ve enjoyed their performances immensely. Not always what they’ve been in, but always the good job they do. Just really glad to have this show back.

 An upcoming show I cannot wait for is the new Survivor. It’s a Heroes vs. Villains thing and several of my favs from past seasons are going to be in it. I had a hard time getting into this last one, and only barely kept up with it due to Hubby. But it will be good to see James, Rupert, Colby and several others from the past come in. I think it starts right after the Super Bowl, if they follow the same formula from the past.

 Let’s see, anything else? Not sure. Need to get ready to head out. Will workout and get chores done when get back. And console Vader, as mommy will be leaving him for a bit today. Poor dear!

And the lower lip starts...

Mini-vacation here I come…

Pandora Radio rocks. Yes it does. About the only artist I adore it does not have is Namie Amuro, my all time fav from Japan. But they have Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, TYR and several others that you normally wont be able to listen to on a regular radio, or even satellite radio. So, yup, I have it on right now. Listening to Moondance by Nightwish. Makes me want to get up and dance :).

The ceremony table, complete with the insignias and candles.

We had the Girl Scout Pinning Ceremony last night and the Youngest was ecstatic. She is really getting along with the other girls and wants to go hang out with them now and do things with them! Even more so than her friends at school. She took her camera with her and took a lot of pictures of them all having fun. I will be creating a separate folder on my FaceBook page for her pictures. But the troop will be working on a scrap-book later on and so I told her to go ahead and take her camera and she can get shots that us adults wont be able to get (the really candid ones where they are more themselves).  And the girls all did a wonderful job last night and it was great seeing more parents there. Of course besides the pinning ceremony there was the cookie meeting. Yes, as of today, the Girl Scouts are starting their Door-to-Door sale of cookies. We cannot do direct internet sales of them, the only way we can is if my Youngest can deliver them to you herself. So, no, unless you live within a four-hour radius of us (mainly because of the Charleston folks, or I wouldn’t even bother with that far!) we cannot sell you cookies. However, I do encourage you to buy some anyway. The money goes to benefit ALL Girl Scouts, so if you want to support my daughter, feel free to do that. And if you are unable to eat them for whatever reason there are two things you can do: 1- Buy them as a gift for someone you know that loves them or 2- Buy a ‘Cookies for Soilders’ card. The last one is my favorite as we have several friends and family members in the military and I know they would love to get some cookies. You pay the same price for the box of cookies, but instead of you getting them, you get a card and then the Girl Scouts send the cookies to the military for our guys and gals to enjoy them. I may go ahead and do that besides buying a box or two. Now, as far as those people on restricted diets (self-imposed or not), different regions offer different cookies that may or may not fit your needs. In our region we have a reduced fat cookie that actually is healthy. I haven’t tried it yet (as I haven’t had the chance too), but I read up on the Nutrition Info and yes, it really is reduced fat and low in a lot of other nasty things that cookies harbor. They’re called Daisy Go Rounds. And they can be diabetic friendly, but that depends on how your body handles sugar. It’s 8 grams of sugar per serving and a whole serving is one box of the cookies. 2 grams of fat and only 60mg of sodium, I just hope it tastes good. If anybody out there has had them, let me know. In other regions they offer other variations of this cookie that are more diabetic friendly. Not sure of their names, but if you know of them, let me know. I like sharing this type of info if you can guess ;).

Ok, enough cookie talk!

We will be heading out to see the Oldest next weekend. Been keeping in touch with her via phone and MySpace. Hey, I have a reason to use it now. I’ve been sharing pictures and links to various with her on it, so if you have me as a friend on there and have noticed a flurry of activity, now you know why. It’s still too quiet around here w/o her, but it will be good to see her next weekend. Oh, the links I’ve been sharing with her, have been of Neil Gaiman’s pets, just pictures he’s posted on his own blog and shared with us all. She loves German Shepards (I dare say they are her favorite dogs period) and he has a white one that is beautiful and we like sitting down and looking at the new pictures he shares of Cabal. He also has some cats that oddly remind me of my own, with their personalities. Oh, and he is one of my all time favorite authors :).

Hubby started school back this week. And it’s been a learning experience for him, poor dear. Well, ok, that’s a little dramatic, but he’s gotten frustrated a few times with the way how things work with schools. Trust me, no one really cares for the way how they want things as opposed to the simple and less $$$ consuming ways we like and prefer. He is taking a required computer class for his Culinary Degree (one he could sleep through the majority and still pass) and since he is taking it online instead of in the classroom (to help save on gas since I believe it’s at the main campus), so he had to get the required program to go along with it. Now, most campus’ will carry a student version of most programs, or at the least offer the programs you need at a discounted price. In theory. He had to get Microsoft Office 2007. He has 2003 and I have 2002. They wont work as things have changed in the programs, etc., even though they are the same damn thing. And no, downloading Open Office (which we both have) wont work. It has to be Microsoft. They were out of copies of the Student Version at the NorthWest Campus, so off to the main one we went yesterday afternoon. He was told they had the Student Version for $99, which was perfect. We got there to discover they didn’t sell the Student version and we had to get the $199 version which is the Professional Copy, but still. Then a friend of his points him to a Microsoft website that offers the Ultimate Edition for $60. *headdesk* Yup. He’s going to see if he can return this one to the bookstore and then get the one from the website. We doubt it’ll happen as they are VERY picky about their software returns (in most cases classes have to be canceled), but it would be nice to be able to get the Ultimate Edition for that amount. Other than that, he’s getting in to the swing of the new semester and seems to be enjoying himself. Which is good.

I have a min-vacation this weekend, where I have today through next Monday off. I needed it. I’ve been getting burnt out at work, and there are so many things that need to be done here at home it isn’t funny. Have been working on that master To Do list for the house cleaning even of the year, but I’m hoping to get a few things done this weekend so they either don’t make their way on to that list or I can take them off. I will be starting with the kids’ room today and then on Sunday have the Youngest help me finish it off. I have a few home improvement projects that I would like to do that I will have to discuss with Hubby before I go forward with them (mainly because I will need to use more than a few dollars on them, but not a lot of money if I have my way). I think he’ll be agreeable to them though since it will require minimal work from everybody and will make the house look nicer. On the inside at least. The outside is a lost cause, unless I can get a major discount on the amount of paint we would need and get free lumber to redo the deck. That would just be too much in money and man power. The inside things I’m thinking of will only need a day to get done, especially if everybody helps out.

Trouble, the best supervisor anyone could ask for!

I might get some writing done this weekend too, not sure though. I’ve got it pretty packed with stuff to do, but hopefully if I can get all this done it will free up some time during a regular work week and I will be able to find more time to write.

And yes, I have a major push to get a lot of this stuff done, besides the fact it needs to be done. I have a few relatives that may be stopping by for a visit, and I want the place looking better than it does now when they get here. It’s tiny and cramped here, and I want to make it less so by doing the major decluttering throughout the place. Hopefully I will get that accomplished. I have six of the best supervisors the world ahs to offer, so I might be able to do it. Unless of course it’s time to walk them, or feed them, or they insist it’s nap or bedtime.

And wow, I had the most visitors to my blog ever with my last entry. If I were out to get a million people to read this thing I’d probably do that more often, but, no. I can’t. My blog does not mix well with Religion and Politics. Perhaps one day I will start a blog exclusively for that purpose, but for now, I’m content to leave this mainly as a way for family and friends to see what I’ve been up to. If you were wondering, the number of visitors in the past few days has pushed me up to nearly 3000 visits on this blog, with a grand total of 39 the first day and nearly 20 the next day. I know compared to other blogs out there, that’s not a lot, but to me it is. I imagine on my LiveJournal, when I did update that regularly and was more active in their communities, I had more views, but they didn’t have a way to keep track of it. Here at WordPress they do, so every once in a while I look it up and get amazed.

Let’s see, what else? Oh, I will make an attempt to begin working out today. The body has been upset with me, and I need to do something about it. I’ve almost totally wiped out soda from my diet, and have drunk a lot more water now. I am feeling better for it, but now I need to get back to increasing my activity levels. It did help when I did the flexibility work outs with my pain management, and since the pain is becoming more noticable now I figure now would be as good time as any to start-up again. Somehow I have managed to not put on a lot of weight though since I did stop working out. I think out of all that weight I lost before I gained two of them back, which is amazing. I think I did lose some muscle mass though. Some clothes feel a bit tighter and I don’t feel as strong in some cases. So I need to get that back. I’ve always had a good muscle base and don’t want to lose that. Yeah, it means I’m a bit heavier than the rest my age, height, etc, but I can do a lot more they can’t :p. Yourself Fitness, here I come back. Think I’ll delete the old profile on it though, because the trainer on that game will be yelling at me since I think the last time I worked out was last July. Yup, I missed several days there.

Dragon Age: Origins. Bioware. EA. I love and hate all three. They have given me so much joy but at the same time an incredible amount of frustration. Alistair is still my man. ❤ him a lot. I have to finish up this one play through I’m on and then do one more and then I should have all the achievements for the game. Except maybe one where you have to set foot in all areas in the game in one play through, which is BS as far as I am concerned. It should be cumulative. But that’s just me. Mass Effect 2 comes out soon. Can’t wait for that one. I haven’t finished up the play through for I wanted to from the first game, but that’s ok. I have about three or four others I can use to have a blast with it. I just want to se how Kaiden fits into the story now. They haven’t given much, if any info on him or Ashley, since depending on what you did in the first one, only one makes it to the second game. They haven’t said anything on Wrex either, I think for the same reason. Tali and Garuus, along with Liara have been all over the place. Which is good, but what about Kaiden????

Ok, Puppy is telling me its time to go back out. So I will take him and Cujo out for their walk and then get on to my work out and then the kids’ room. Wish me luck!

Vader telling me he's ready to go for his walk with Cujo.