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It’s been a little quiet around here since I’ve been pretty busy with work and school. Since I’ve been on the go so much, I’ve been trying to find games that I can play I’m in between meetings or interviews. I like games that I can play both on mobile devices, like my tablet and smartphone, and through web browsers. And I like games that I can play for short periods at a time and return to later.
Recently, I’ve been playing Temple Run 2, Angry Birds Star Wars and Zombie Smasher. Each of these games has cute, cartoony graphics. When I looked on Google for games with similar graphics, I also came across http://www.cheekybingo.com/. It looks pretty cute but I haven’t played around with it yet. Check it out here.
During the Steam sale, I also bought some new (well, new to me) video games–including the first two Bioshock games (for just $10. Oh yeah!). I still have to play through Deus Ex: Human Revolution… not to mention, a slew of Humble Indie Bundle Games! For now, though, I think I’ll focus on just leveling up in Angry Birds.
I found this photo on Tumblr and traced it back to here. I just love it. I can’t stop looking at it. It encompasses everything I’ve been trying to achieve lately.
The tones, the colors, the setting. The mix of industrial and natural textures. The framing, how the wall is blocking part of the table and the viewer doesn’t know who or what is around the corner.
The teapot. I love that damn teapot. I’ve been indulging in a lot of tea lately and it’s seriously been helping me balance my life. And I’m not much of a New Age-y person (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just much more of a skeptic) but the ritual of making, drinking and savoring tea has profoundly impacted my day-to-day life.
Places like these keep popping up in my imagination and then I find actual photos of real places and I know it’s possible to make this kind of space for myself.
I’ve never really understood the whole Tumblr and Pinterest phenomenons until recently. I didn’t really get how saving these images and GIFs from around the web were important. But both resources have been monumental in helping me see the potential for quality of life–improving it in simple ways, like putting a pretty teapot on a pretty table. It’s inspiring in a straight-forward, no-nonsense way, like, you’ll either find this beautiful or you won’t. I love going back to my profiles to find themes and connections between the images I find moving. Sometimes I don’t remember finding certain things and it’s like a nice note to myself. This image is one of those–I’d completely forgotten about it until this week. I love the internet and I love the many ways it inspires me often.
I’m not sure what compelled me to start watching Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles–I just really wanted a good quality sci-fi show to delve into and this fit the bill. And I’m so glad I gave this show a chance because I loved it. I’m also totally bummed it got cancelled so early on. Sigh. This comic I found on Tumblr sums it up pretty well.
This show, as suggested by the title, is part of the Terminator canon, although the producer notes that there are several discrepancies in the timeline. TSCC stars Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister, among other notable roles) as Sarah Connor, Thomas Dekker as John Connor and Summer Glau as Cameron, a T-800 model Terminator. There’s only two seasons but both are very well done.
The story revolves around Sarah Connor’s efforts to protect her son, John, so that he’ll eventually fulfill his role as the messiah of humanity. The two travel around through time to prevent Skynet from being built and eventually causing the apocalypse.
This show surprised me with how funny and quirky it was at times, particularly in the first season. There are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. I am a huge sci-fi fan but it’s a genre that takes itself pretty seriously most of the time, so it was nice to have some comedic relief. It helped me really connect with the characters.
I also have a much bigger appreciation for Summer Glau. Her character, Cameron, was incredibly interesting–especially her relation to a human version of herself (you’ll have to watch the show to understand what I’m talking about). She’s also hilarious! I think she’s great at deadpan humor.
I highly recommend this show, whether or not you’re a big sci-fi fan. It’s free on Amazon Prime, and it’s also on Netflix.
I’m just a sucker for a good manifesto. I was inspired by some of my favorites, including the cyberpunk manifesto and the self-repair manifesto, to write this one. I looked on the web for other EDC manifestos and didn’t really find one, so I’m hoping this will suffice for now.
In the spirit of open source and everything else I value, you are welcome to publish this manifesto on your blog/website/publication without credit to me (although it’s always appreciated ). You’re also welcome to edit, add, omit, etc. any of it. Like all writing, this is a work in progress. I hope to make a nice graphic for it, but if you have ideas for one, please feel free! I just ask that you send me a link to where you’ve shared it because I’m curious. Enjoy!
The Everyday Carry Manifesto
While a person’s everyday carry—EDC—may be first and foremost a collection of items, what we choose to carry every day signifies the way we choose to live our lives. An EDC represents a sense of ownership, personal responsibility, and the baggage we choose to maintain to improve and enrich our day-to-day existence. A proper EDC should be comprised of items with the following characteristics:
Each EDC item should be functional, and should serve a clear purpose, such as convenience, preparedness, or entertainment.
Selecting EDC items is not about materialism or consumerism. On the contrary, curating an EDC means to find items that will last for a lifetime. Quality includes aesthetic appeal, but should first and foremost mean that an item will be durable and reliable. Items that can be repaired easily by the owner should be encouraged to reduce unnecessary economic and environmental waste.
EDCs should aid in preparedness depending on the potential crises in one’s daily life. For some, this may mean preparation for large scale catastrophes like natural disasters; for others, this may mean having necessary tools to use for small occurrences at work or home.
Striving for minimalism means to weed out the unnecessary. An EDC should not cause burden, but rather, should aid in a feeling of completeness. Only essential items should be carried, and should be selected thoughtfully with the above purposes in mind.
Having a strong EDC is helpful in aiding an individual, but should also be evaluated by the ability to help others when needed. This does not mean loaning out sacred or beloved items, but should represent a desire to aid others in tasks or emergencies.
Ultimately, a person’s EDC is more than just a collection of items—it’s indicative of one’s personality, professions and priorities. Above all, an EDC should be chosen with the discretion of the person who will carry it.
I updated my EDC recently and I’m finally really happy with my lot. One of my goals was to minimalize. While I generally have a few extra items that aren’t pictured here, this really is an accurate representation of what I have in my bag at all times. (Now, if I could accomplish this in other aspects of my life, that would be great. )
Here’s what I have now:
- Leatherman carabiner accessory (I love this thing and use the bottle opener all the time.)
- Fiat 500 Sport key
- Swiss Army knife (I used to have these as a kid and was feeling nostalgic. I still use my Leatherman micra sometimes, too.)
- 4GB key USB
- Eos chapstick ball
- Spyderco Tenacious
- Reporter’s notebook (I get these free from work since I go through them like crazy. I love them.)
- Moleskine cahier (I got a pack of 3 and these are great little notebooks. I’ve been using them as my personal journals.)
- Gel pens
- Timex Weekender
- HTC EVO phone
- Timberland wallet
I feel like I’ve finally accomplished a streamlined EDC with sturdy, neutral gear and a few fun, colorful accessories. I especially love my new Timex which I’ve worn pretty much non-stop since I’ve gotten it.
Happy New Year! I’m excited about 2013. I love a new year–it always feels like a fresh start. Being the person I am–basically, one who likes to plan everything–I thrive on making new goals and resolutions. For the most part, I like to keep them simple and practical. Here’s what I have so far on the “agenda.”
- Write in a journal again. I have dozens of filled journals that I used to keep religiously. I miss having this kind of documentation of my life, and I think journaling is a healthy and creative mental activity. I even bought new journals and pens.
- Read consistently. I have a goal to read 50 new books this year. Normally, I don’t quantify my reading but it always feels good to reach a goal number.
- Play more games. My Steam list is getting mighty long. Time to make a dent in some of those unplayed games.
- Try a new athletic hobby. I was thinking some sort of martial arts or dancing. Or fencing. Something out of my element. (I’ve been watching too much Firefly.)
- Graduate from grad school. Hopefully, this will happen in May. And I might be applying to another program later this year. More on that another time.
- Develop a better personal style. I’m tired of not investing in good quality clothes and gear, and I want a style that helps convey my interests and personality.
- Go all open source. It’s about time I make this leap, and it will be a good chance to really understand the technology on which I rely.
One of my Christmas presents this year was a Raspberry Pi! A Raspberry Pi (also referred to as a RasPi) is a credit card-sized computer that costs around $35. It’s intended to inspire people around the world to learn programming, which I think is a great mission. The possibilities with computers like these are truly endless.
For the technical folks, here’s a diagram of the parts (from the official RasPi website).
I’m not sure exactly what I want to make with it yet. People have made some amazing projects. In fact, Wired just posted an article the other day about some new cool RasPi projects, including a musical instrument (using beets!), a voice-activated coffee maker and a media center, among other things. I’m thinking about making a really awesome mobile hackerbox, using my materials from my PirateBox, and getting a USB monitor and a wireless keyboard/mouse. I’d love to build it all into a cyberpunk book or something just to make it really 1337.
First, I’ll be putting Linux on it (the Raspbian distro seems like a logical first step). I need to make a prototype of my hackerbox before I start putting everything together. I’m looking forward to embarking on a new project!
Happy winter solstice! I’m not a religious person, but if I were, I’d probably be pagan. I live my life, somewhat informally, by the Wheel of the Year.
(<–I have that image hanging in my bedroom, actually.) I think paganism is a fascinating religion with beautiful rituals and values of womanhood, equality, balance, and harmony with nature and community.
One of my dreams is to go to Stonehenge for the winter solstice celebration. I got to go to Stonehenge in 2008 and it was amazing. Even though it’s a tourist attraction, it was very mellow and quiet when I went. And everything was so green–I was there in December, so it rained non-stop and the English country side was so lush. A huge change from the dry and brown winters we get here in Nevada–save for the occasional snow storm that blankets the whole city.
The older I get, the more I feel at peace during the winter. I love the fall, because Halloween is my favorite holiday (Samhain, another pagan holiday with interesting lore), but I’ve come to prefer the bleakness of winter. I love the snow-capped mountains, the blustery mornings, the grey skies. It makes me feel calm and more appreciative of warmth and comfort.
According to CircleSanctuary.org, the winter solstice is an event celebrated across religions with similar symbols, colors and traditions.
Also called: Yule, Jul, Saturnalia, Christmas, solar/secular New Year
Dates: Around December 21
Colors: Red, green, white
Tools: Mistletoe, evergreen wreath, lights, gifts, holly, Yule log, Yule tree
Energy: Regeneration and renewal
Goddesses: Great Mother, Isis, Mary, Tonazin, Lucina, Bona Dea
Gods: Sun Child, Horus, Jesus, Mithras, Santa/Odin, Saturn, Holly King
Rituals: Personal renewal, world peace, honoring family and friends
Customs: Wreaths, lights, gift-giving, singing, feasting, resolutions
Andrew and I exchanged gifts tonight, rather than on Christmas. We thought it’d be a fun tradition to start to celebrate the start of winter, and we have always given each other presents before holidays anyway. We happened to give each other almost all alcohol-related gifts, including some homebrewing kits! Homebrewing was one of the skills I wanted to develop this winter, so I’m looking forward to making our own beers and ciders. More on that this weekend!
I’m not a huge fan of Christmas music, but I do love making playlists to listen to while doing Christmas-related activities like baking or wrapping presents. The songs I’ve been listening are bittersweet, in the sense that some capture the playfulness of the season–the snow, the love–where others hint at the darker aspects of the winter–the coldness, the darkness. Enjoy!
[Click the image to listen to the playlist.]
1. Half A Week Before the Winter, Vanessa Carlton / 2. My Boots, Lights / 3. Falling, Emmy Rossum / 4. Coming Home, Marit Larsen / 5. Hiding Out, Sucré / 6. The Winter Song, Eisley / 7. Quiet, Lights / 8. Vanilla Twilight, Owl City / 9. Signs, Bloc Party
Once again, I’ve been needing to re-evaluate my EDC gear. Lately, my bag has been a disaster, and have discovered a need for particular items. Using everyday-carry.com and the Reddit EDC forums for inspiration, here are some items on my wishlist.
1. Moleskine Notebook. I’ve always loved how versatile, iconic and minimal Moleskine notebooks are. I always have a reporter’s notepad in my bag for work, but in an effort to rekindle my love for personal journaling, I really need a good quality but small book to keep with me at all times.
2. Gal Spanish Lip Balm. Currently I have a lip balm tin in my bag that I love, but the label wore off and I don’t remember where it was from because my grandmother gave it to me. I like having a tin rather than a tube of lip balm because I can use the tins once they’re empty. Also, I think this tin is really pretty and provides a pop of color in my otherwise uniform EDC.
3. Kaufmann Mercantile EDC Tool Kit. I really like this little tool kit because it means I don’t need to carry these items separately. Plus the titanium finish is a nice touch. I just really love titanium.
4. Pilot Choose Gel Ink Pen. These kinds of pens used to be really popular when I was a kid (is that weird?) and I’ve always liked them because they write well, they feel nice and they look pretty.
5. Super Talent 16 GB USB Drive. For a while I’ve wanted an external hard drive so that I have my work and school files with me on all times, but I think a flash drive is much easier to transport and just as effective. I like how small this one is because I could keep it on my keychain.
6. Vintage Revival Crossbody. I’ve been in need of a good, sturdy but small bag for a while. I love Fossil bags for their quality and their style (although they are often far out of my price range). I did find one at Marshall’s last week with a huge discount… buuut I didn’t buy it because I was getting Christmas presents for my family. Sigh.
7. Fossil Georgia Leather Watch. Since I have a smartphone, I use it to check the time, but I think there’s something classy and timeless (no pun intended) about wearing a watch. I love this watch from Fossil (can you tell I love that brand?) because it’s a little rugged but it’s very easy to dress up or dress down.
I can’t believe it’s been a year (and one month, to be exact) since Skyrim came out, and there’s still so much I haven’t played yet. I love this game. While Oblivion was the first Elder Scrolls game I played and will always be my favorite, Skyrim brought to life a huge, immersive fantasy world in a way I never thought possible. It’s really been my dream as a kid, and a life-long lover of fantasy, to have a creative outlet like this. So, hey, thanks Bethesda!
I recently started Dawnguard, a DLC released a few months ago. I’m very close to the final stage, but I wanted to reflect on it before I finished the storyline.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT DAWNGUARD
I chose to play as a Dawnguard this time around since it fits with my character’s personality. Since my character is a stealthy archer, having a new weapon–a crossbow–is awesome. The crossbow is fun because it requires a totally new approach to sniping–loading a bolt takes much longer than knocking an arrow, so I really have to be sure that my shot is going to kill an enemy before I launch it. Also, bolts are much harder to find than arrows, so I have to use them carefully. I feel like this has made me a better sniper.
Skyrim is already a beautiful game and I know there’s plenty I haven’t explored yet, but it’s fun to travel to new places. I found the Soul Cairn and Darkfall Cave to be interesting places, and of course, I love any chance to pick up new and exotic alchemical ingredients.
I do feel like the pacing of the storyline is a little weird, as I find myself spending a long time in particular realms, but it’s a nice break from the typical Skyrim landscape.
I always love new characters, and it’s great to have a new follower. Serana, the vampire princess, is definitely one of the best follower options in the whole game. She’s like a mix of Lydia and Karliah (from the Thieve’s Guild). She has a nice voice–which is important for a follower since you have to talk to them a lot–and uses magic, which is a nice balance to my character’s stealth. Plus, she’s pretty cute.
WHAT I DON’T LOVE ABOUT DAWNGUARD
I was a bit disappointed in the armor choices for Dawnguards. The vampires get some pretty sweet armor in several options, but the Dawnguard heavy and light armor look the same. It comes in two colors, which is something, I guess. Whenever I play in a particular faction, I always wear that faction’s armor for the duration of the story, so I’m sticking with it. I feel like the light armor looks a bit bulky–I wish it were more attuned for stealthy characters, like the Thieve’s Guild armor. Mostly, there just aren’t enough choices, so it doesn’t really feel like “special” armor.
C’mon, the vamp armor (left) is a bit cooler, right?
The Dawnguards are all a bunch of douchebags. Like, obviously, the vamps aren’t much better, but I expect them to be assholes. Everyone in the Dawnguard is kind of rude or self-involved. Why should I even be helping these people? They gave me a crossbow, but that’s about it. Also, I am a bit disappointed in the castle. I haven’t finished the storyline yet so I don’t know if it gets nicer, but right now, there isn’t much to the facility. I wanted my own room with some sweet gear, dammit!
I plan to finish the game tomorrow–I’m very close to finding Auriel’s Bow, so it should be Epic Battle Time shortly after. And can I just say that I’m freakin’ stoked about the newest DLC, Dragonborn? I wish I had an Xbox so I could play it now, but we all know PC gaming is superior.