January 22, 2016

My Latest Addiction

I've always enjoyed playing video games.  I remember fighting with my brothers for my fair share of playing time with our rather limited Atari collection.  I don't even remember the games.  PacMan, maybe.  Space Invaders.  Centipede.  Pong.

I don't quite remember the year we got the Atari system, but I'm thinking I had to have been anywhere between ten and thirteen.  In my memories, my brothers are young.   They're sitting in the dining room, chairs in front of the small tv my dad had let us hook the thing up to.  The big TV in the living room was reserved for his viewing pleasure.  

At least, these are what my rather diminished memories recall.  My brother, BJ, has an elephant's memory and can likely paint a more complete picture, but I'm not about to call him and ask.  We'll just go with I was young and we had a small collection of games we all like to play.

Not my photo.  Click here to go to original location on the web.
As we grew and technology advanced we were lucky enough to get a Nintendo.  Mostly, when I think of this console, I think of Duck Hunt. Oh, the hours we spent shooting that gun at the screen!

Not my photo.  Click here to go to the original location on the web. 
Eventually my parents replaced that original Nintendo with a Super Nintendo.  I think while I was away at college and not really paying much attention to games that didn't involve cards and/or alcohol, there may have been another upgrade to a Nintendo Cube.  

When Ken and I got married, we didn't worry about gaming consoles.  We had more important things to focus on, you know, like a mortgage and groceries.  If I played any electronic games during those years, it was limited to Mine Sweeper on the computer.  It wasn't until our boys came along that we decided to finally go next generation.  We started with a Wii, but soon enough had a Playstation and then a PS2 and now we've got a PS3.  I really want to upgrade to the latest and greatest, but the time isn't quite right for our household to deal with that distraction. 

Kids + school + new gaming console = disaster!  

I'm not too disappointed by this decision to keep the old and forego the new.  I still enjoy playing my PS3 games.  I have quite a few I haven't yet beat.  Final Fantasy XII-2, for example, is frustrating the hell out of me.  I know I'm at the final boss battle, but do you think I can figure out the maze my character is stuck in?  No.  No, I cannot!  

I must say, though, that my latest addition has nothing to do with our fancy and expensive console machines or their equally expensive games.  Nope.  That's not the case at all.  My latest obsession is on my phone and on my iPad.  It's an App Store freebie with in-game purchases available.  Really expensive in-game purchases that might make life easier, but likely won't because Com2us really does mean to make you work for a viable team. 

The game in question is Summoners War.  I started playing it a few months back and I must admit that I don't think I've missed a single day of game play.  I think this is because it does remind me a bit of the RPG games I tend to prefer.  You summon characters with different elemental abilities.  Each character has a main type: attack, defense, or support.  Their "moves" or skills can be leveled up. Even better, runes can buff your characters' basic stats giving them more health, attack power, defense, accuracy, resistance, speed, etc.  This is all very important because while there are scenerios you work through, the real challenge comes in guild and arena battles.  Your opponents in these two settings aren't just the basic form of the monster you're facing, as they would be in scenerio, instead these are runed and skill-up monsters other players around the world are building.  

So, there's a lot that appeals to me.  I like trying to figure out how to make my monster better.  I swap runes in order to experiment with skill variations.  Okay, and the graphics are pretty cool, too.  

January 13, 2016

In Which I Think I Might Join the Booktube Community

I think I do enough talking in the video that there's really no need for me to expound upon this decision any further.

January 6, 2016

Reading Goals for 2016

Yes, it's another post about books!

The only people who won't find this dreadfully boring are the other book lovers out there.  Although, let's be honest, they might be bored by this, too, because I'm going to be talking about my reading goals and not theirs.  

Oh well and onward...

I've got a couple of different reading goals this year that will all feed into meeting my overall Goodreads goal, which is to read 75 books in 2016.  I'm rather impressed with the fact that it's not even a full week into 2016 and I already have two books counted toward this goal (arguably four as one of the texts was a three-in-one deal that contained an entire trilogy, but whatever). 

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Krista has read 2 books toward her goal of 75 books.

So there's the overall goal.  Seventy-five books.

The other reading goals that I've set for myself this year will feed into collective pool.  The first is the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge that encourages readers to tackle the demon TBR shelf.  There doesn't seem to be any category restrictions or rules that must be followed.  The goal is simply to reduce the number of books that are sitting on your shelves, whether those shelves be tactile or virtual.

It should be noted my TBR record keeping is rather suspect.  I don't add the Kindle freebies that I buy to that Goodreads shelf.  However, if I pay for a Kindle book, I do try to add those. 

The next challenge is one that I shared with my hometown book club members.

I believe our first book will help me check off that very first box.  I picked up The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg in 2014 and was able to suggest it to our group this month as they drew my name out of the hat first.

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Trilogy, #1)

As I look at the rest of that challenge, I think it should be rather easy to accomplish.  I suspect the hardest one will be the one my mom recommends because I have the sneaking suspicion it will be the Bible; she knows I've tried and failed multiple times, including our most recent shared reading experience.

The final challenge that I've set for myself is to start actually taking advantage of all those Kindle freebies.  Each month my sister, my ex-step-mom (ah, families), and I will be rotating who gets to pick a book from the digital freebie pile.  We started the year off with my selection of A. W. Exley's Nefertiti's Heart.

Nefertiti's Heart (Artifact Hunters, #1)

As an added bonus, both of those books were already on my virtual TBR shelf, so the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks goal is also already working out well for me.


So...what are your reading goals this year and how are you hoping to accomplish them?

November 20, 2015

Life with Facebook

I both love and hate Facebook for what it brings into my life.

The Positives:
  • I've been able to reconnect with long-distance friends and family members.  There are the high school friends that I haven't seen since graduation.  Then there are the aunt and uncles, the cousins, that I might only see at sporadic family reunions, weddings, or funerals.   I really appreciate that I get to learn about their daily interests, their struggles and triumphs. It makes me feel connected to those I wish I did a better of job of interacting with on a daily (weekly?  monthly? yearly?) basis. 
  • I get to keep in daily contact with the people I do see on a regular basis. Apparently, I just can't get enough of them!  
  • Pictures.  Oh, how I love pictures! I get to see newborn babies, adorable pets, messy kids, sassy teenagers, sunsets, sunrises, beaches, mountains...oh, the list goes on and I am glad that it does. 
  • Silly memes.  Funny memes.  Goofy memes.  I'm all for it.  The memes my friends and family members share provide insight into their interests and personalities.  I know who the partiers are, the geeks, the nerds.  I always get a little thrill of pleasure when I realize a shared interest exists between me and someone else on my feed.   
  • The circulation of well-research and documented information.  I would not number myself among the most well-informed on any given subject.  There's always more to learn, whether its about space travel, advances in medicine or technology, or a new archaeological discovery.
  • Book recommendations.  Book reviews.  Book clubs.  It's all good and very much welcome in my feed.  I've added more than one title to my wishlist because of Facebook. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, Goodreads and Amazon truly feed the addiction. 
  • Writers.  I am fairly confident I follow more writers than movie stars or television programs.  In fact, I'm not certain that I follow any movie stars directly.  Writers, though, I follow with a great deal of interest.  While I find posts about their upcoming releases of interest, I am thrilled whenever they post something about their writing life.  The struggles and triumphs of words on a page fascinate me, most likely because I fancy myself a writer, too.  
  • Videos.  I visit YouTube a great deal, but it's a vast cyber-place and I'm not sure I'd ever find some of the videos my friends and family members post.  While I may not be a big fan of practical jokes, give me a video of a kitten scaring a bear away from it's sliding glass door any day.  Oh, and parodies.  I love a good parody! 
This brings me to the negatives.  The stuff I wish I could somehow erase from my mind and heart.

The Negatives:
  • Hatred is rampant on Facebook.  There are times when I consider not logging on because after certain world events I can anticipate with almost 100% accuracy that my feed will be filled with ugliness.  There will be Obama-bashing that passes beyond thoughtful commentary on policy to outright personal attacks related to race and his (perceived) religious affiliations. Truth usually has little to do with these attacks.  It's pure vitriol. 
  • The circulation of opinion and not fact.  I think everyone should be required to take a class on propaganda because so many fall prey to the media machine.  They don't research or read. They don't know how to assess a source and determine it's value.  I follow links that lead no where.  The author is merely spouting their own version of the truth without any factual data to back it up.  This makes me a little crazy. 
  • Christians who don't act like Christians but want to preach at everyone following their posts.  Please.  Stop.   I keep you on my feed because I love and care about you, but you're killing me with your gloom and doom rhetoric.  Frankly, every generation thinks the book of Revelation is being enacted upon the world stage.  However, doesn't the good book say something along the lines of "you do not know the day or the hour"?  Therefore, I'd like to propose that you leave the timing of Judgement Day to God and instead live in Christ's example of love and forgiveness while stuck in the here and now.   It's just a thought.
I am writing down these Facebook pros and cons because I find my feed this week has been rather disheartening.  In the wake of the Paris bombings, I have seen a lot of hostility, fear, apathy, and outright hatred.  I've seen it in the media and I've seen it in friends and family members.  It hurts my heart a little.  Sometimes, I think without FB, I'd still be blindly ignorant of how fundamentally different our values are and I'd be happier for it.  My rose-colored glasses make me think everyone is capable of empathy, but my feed tells me otherwise.   

So, while I scroll past the worst of the posts, I will seek out the things in my friends and family members that remind me that, while we may not see eye-to-eye on the debates these latest terrorists attacks have brought into the public forum, we still have a lot in common.  I will work hard to respect opinions that are different from mine and not engage in pointless arguments that will likely end in anger if not properly defused.

Oh, screw it.

Someone, please post a picture of a cat or an entertaining music video parody featuring Hogwart students.