Savvy Spork Gift Guide: fun cooking basics

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned cook (ha!) or a newb in the kitchen, these are some fun things that would make anyone’s cooking experience a little brighter.

Savvy Spork Holiday Gift Guide for the Kitchen

  1. Knife set. I’ve gone through a couple knife sets, definitely do your research. But good knives don’t need to be expensive. Or boring. I’ve got a 3-piece set, very colorful, and I love it. It’s got a chef’s knife, a utility knife, and a paring knife. And honestly, you don’t need 30+ knives unless you’re a pro and your job calls for it. These 3 knives are really all I need.
  2. Baking set. Ok. so not all of these need to be used for baking. But this adorable one from ModCloth (and yes, sorry, a lot of these can be purchased at ModCloth…) is pretty great. You will need a spatula, and a whisk, and most definitely measuring spoons. And like all things on this list, why not make them fun?
  3. Cookie cutters. Again, not always for baking. When I do a stream on eggs, I’ll show you how I use my fun cookie cutters for one of my favorite breakfast dishes. Again, yes, you can get these from ModCloth.
  4. Measuring cups. Again, another thing you’ll need. Now, cooking vs. baking doesn’t always need exact measurements. But these make things easier. Trust me. Especially if you’re a fan of boxed recipes. Here’s the cat ones from that same site.
  5. Oven mitts. Which can pair well with aprons. Who says you have to get “girly” ones or ones covered in roosters (which, yes, I do have rooster ones because they were a gift). I absolutely love these bear ones and will be getting them myself once they’re back in stock.
  6. Spice sets. You. Will. Need. Spices. And if you’ve seen my streams, you’ll know I’ve got a good spice collection. But, well, I lack a good way of storing it and displaying it. I love this one because cooking and baking is science. But of course the fact that these are fake science labels does sort of bug me. Guess where you can get these?
  7. Spork. Because everyone needs a titanium spork. (I have 3. And I want more.) REI has you covered on these.

Now, these are just super basic, but also super awesome. As I continue with the Savvy Spork stream, I plan on sharing some more wish lists (even outside of the holiday season!) of some of my favorite things in the kitchen.

I’ll have another recipe post from my latest stream (American Goulash) soon. And I’m planning out how we’ll continue the cooking streams in the future. I’m thinking maybe every other week? Or would you guys really be interested in watching me cook something (and then eat it, because that’s what we do on my streams), every week? Any days of the week or times that work better for watching these?

Practical, Yet Fun, Gifts for College Students

This year for my gift guides, it’s slightly less about what I want, but more trying to group things in themes that are relevant to my life. This first one, it’s a very big part of my life: the world of academia. These are all gifts that I think would be not only appropriate for any college student, but well welcomed.

2015 Gift Guide: College Student

Going from the top, left to right… (I should have numbered these, sorry…)

  1. Quirky shirts/sweaters. Look Human has you easily covered on this. Purrsonally, I would rock this “All you need is Books & Cats” raglan.
  2. Pillow books from Think Geek. Because your textbook are just not that comfy.
  3. Extra, and decorative, cell charger. I love ban.do and their florabunda line. This set comes with an AC adapter and a car one. Another awesome addition to this are the extra long cords, since you can’t always sit next to power outlets.
  4. Coffee tumbler. There are probably a handful of coffee shops on whatever campus. However, rather than wasting your precious money on overpriced lattes, start making your own. Or well, tell your student to make their own. Again, this is from ban.do, and clearly expresses the appropriate mode of thought.
  5. Board games! Especially beneficial when you have friends. Settlers of Catan is one of my absolute favorites, and something I first played at Goshen. It’s been on my wishlist since then…
  6. Another money saving accessory: adorable and functional lunch boxes! For the non-dorm dweller who spends a lot of time on campus, this can save quite a bit when you bring your own meals. My 10-ounce thermos has been amazing for having hot lunches on campus.
  7. Flash drives, non-boring ones preferred. Especially excellent for just in case you lose your paper and need to print another quickly.
  8. Moccasins. It’s like wearing slippers to class. I actually need a new pair because I’ve worn through my first.

What are some of your gift ideas for students in your life? Or if you are a student, what’s something you could really use??

Semester Home Stretch! (The one with skulls and prehistoric artifacts!)

We’re down to the final weeks of the semester. And really the final weeks of the year too. Why are we always surprised that time moves pretty quickly? It feels cliche to say that this semester was a whirlwind. But I do feel as though I did have a lot going on this semester.

This past spring I was just getting back in the swing of being in school again. Not to mention dealing with moving back to Indiana and everything that came with it. This semester, my academic confidence was up and I could just focus on getting my work done and really start thinking about moving forward. Which I tackled at in a big way. If you’re friends with me on facebook, you may have seen that announcement already. If you follow me on twitter, you may have seen the hints at it. Otherwise, I’ll catch the rest of you up soon.

This semester has also brought some new activities and things and such… Wow. That was a bad segue. Anyway. Here’s some things I’ve been up to…

AAL Labeling Materials

I started my volunteer hours in the Applied Anthropology Lab on campus. I’m pretty sure that taking pictures of the artifacts isn’t ok — or at least I’d rather not risk it. But, I figure a picture of my supplies is ok. Maybe. Probably. Anyway. I’m basically just labeling prehistoric rocks. Ok it’s a little more than that, but yes, that basically is it. They’re mostly lithic flakes and cores — evidence of tool making. It also involves writing very, very tinily on these said artifacts. Which means it also means erasing (with acetone) and rewriting a lot. Or at least my first day did. It also involved me accidentally adhering a number of artifacts to my fingers. That B-72 you see in the picture, that stuff is very sticky. Very sticky. Anyway, after I complete 20 hours in the lab, I’ll be able to start working there for real — as in, getting paid.

Next semester I should likely have an internship with the lab. This time not involving adhesives. Maybe. I applied for the Collections Management and Public Archaeology internships, and in talking with my soon-to-be boss we might do a mix of the two programs. It’s unpaid, but will be great experience. (This is one of those areas where it’s ok to be paid with experience. Or at least mostly ok, because I am getting credit for it.)

I’ve also just got access to work in another lab in the department (though this one is a lab in the “we only study” sense, not in the “we get uber amounts of grants to study stuff” sense like the AAL). It’s our biological anthropology lab. Aka where all the bones are! For my Human Variation class, we were given pretty big leeway for our term project. I’m looking at the craniofacial adaptations in regards to environment and culture. I want to tract these changes as human ancestors moved out of Africa and began populating the rest of the world — aka, why do we look the way we do. It’s got nothing to do with race. I could care less about that cultural construct in this study. I want to know what in our environment cause our noses to look certain ways or our jaws… and why we retained certain traits but lost others. This means I get to look at a lot skull samples.  They’re not actual bones, but models. I’m looking at individuals from 1.9 million years ago. It’s honestly one of the coolest things I’ve gotten to do on campus.

Early Hominin Samples

Meet Homo halibis and H. rudolfensis (and another H. habilis in the back left, same individual). I’m taking a few cranial measurements myself. Which was very intimidating since I have no training whatsoever in craniometrics. But ultimately it’s been a lot of fun. And I’m looking forward to continuing my work.

Lastly, I’ve felt more confident socially this semester. I’m starting to get to know my peers in my department, making friends. Not like, BFFs or anything, but people I feel ok walking up to and starting conversations and hanging out with at events within the department. That has been really great. It’s nice to have other people not just to talk about all this anthropological stuff, but just small talk about lives too. I’ve felt really at home in this department. BSU wasn’t my first choice, but it seems like it was the right choice for me.

And while I am gushing to tell you everything about this other big thing I’ve been working on. I just want to wait until a few more pieces are in order.

Anyway. Before I close out on this post, I just also want to remind you that I’ve been live streaming some of my gaming experience. You can catch me at 2pm EST on Thursdays, and then late morning/early afternoons on Sundays. Currently, I’m playing Don’t Starve. And it’s awesome and I’m addicted. I might also be streaming some of my skull studies (as like a hangout thing) and hopefully once a month on Sunday evenings some cooking! More details coming on that. Anyway: twitch.tv/adorkableme

Also, my host automatically upgraded everyone’s php, even if they didn’t want it. And I’m having some issues with my theme. Please let me know if my site ever loads weird for you.

Upping my gamer status. (aka my first livestream)

I have a weird relationship with videos on the internet. Not weird in a bad or gross way… more weird in the mixed feelings way. I enjoy some YouTube videos, but I’m not someone who really watches a lots or even really follows that many people. Even if they’re my friends. I kind of feel a little bad about it, but at the same time, I know not all my friends read my blog even if they know about it. And that’s ok.

Anyway. One of the video things on the internet I do actually enjoy and participate in is through Twitch — video game streaming. I’ve been watching my friend TJ stream games for a few years now. As he was playing SOMA, I started searching around for other streamers to watch. Not because SOMA was bad or anything. Quite the opposite. It was a really enjoyable game. It’s how I found the other relatively new streamer that I now follow.

Watching people play games about 5 days a week got me wanting to play more games. And it got me wanting to stream myself. I had set up my channel a while back, but hadn’t done anything with it because I don’t have a capture card. Without it, I can’t stream or record any of my Wii U game play. However, after a little bit of searching, I found some interesting games for Mac on Steam. Now, I still don’t have a capture card, but I could (and did) download a free streaming software like OBS.

And so.. well… Now I’m streaming. I still haven’t quite settled on my schedule. The best times for me are Tuesdays and/or Thursdays after my class (so around 1 or 2pm EST). And of course that will change next semester. Anyway.  I had my first stream over the weekend. I think I’ve been going a little stir crazy with being sick all week. I recorded one of my play throughs. Though I’m sort of regretting it because I most definitely sound sick. I’m just happy I don’t have my cam and green screen stuff set up so you guys can’t see how sick I actually am…

I’ve never really been a PC gamer. I guess I’m still really not, given that I’m using my MacBook Air for this. BUT. I am really enjoying it so far. It’s different being on this side of things. The delay between the stream and the chat is real. And definitely a challenge. But it’s fun having your friends join you as you play a game. (And as someone who’s been stuck in sickness isolation, it’s been nice having some company even if it’s virtual.)

I’m going to start a new game on Tuesday*, so if you want to swing by and say hi that would be super awesome.

*Assuming I’m feeling well enough and I don’t have too much going on school-wise.

Hold on to your butts! – LEGO Jurassic World review

If you’ll remember, LEGO City: Undercover holds a special place in my heart. It’s also one of the few games I’ve ever 100%-ed. Though, yeah, the 3DS version isn’t as good because you loose the witty banter. And the script really makes the game. Anyway. LCU is what sold me on the LEGO video games. I tried LEGO Lord of the Rings, and was really excited about it… but… well, it’s a Wii game and not a Wii U game and yes there is a difference. I’m not so fond of the Wii menu interface on the Wii U. So, well, I sort of gave up on the game pretty early into it.

There have been a number of LEGO games that have come out since LCU, ones that have definitely caught my eye… but I never budgeted for them. But when I heard that TT Games & LEGO were putting out a Jurassic World game? I knew I had to find a way to get my hands on it. I mean, just check out the trailer!

(Also, for an actual gameplay trailer, you should watch this one.)

Anyway. I’ve had the game for over a week, logged roughly 19.5 hours, and completed the entire storyline mode. I spent 11 hours just on the story — which covers all 4 Jurassic movies. And after completing all of them, I was just over 34% done with the game. My guess is that if you don’t accidentally miss stuff, you might be about 35-36% done after the storyline… but yeah. The scripted part following the plot of the movies is only a small part of the game.

Lego Jurassic World Storyline Complete

Now, after LCU, this was not surprising to me. I think after you finished the story in that you were only about 40% done with the game, so this was par for the course.

Ok. So the rest of this review will have spoilers. So if you want any sort of surprise with the game, just move along and come back when you finish. I won’t mind, I promise.

The games follow fairly well with the movies. Some things were cut for time, and others were changed for various other reasons. One of the things that had me curious was how to deal with this whole obvious “dinosaurs eat man” issue. If you’ve seen the movies — even just one — you know that the dinos chow down on a couple of people. LEGO games, however, are the opposite of this. There is no blood or death, really, in the LEGO world. Sure, things bust apart, but it’s a very kid-friendly universe. I think, if memory serves, there’s only once or twice in this game that it’s hinted that people are eaten. For the most part, they’ve reworked this so it still remains a very kid-friendly game. So maybe your kid or younger sibling isn’t ready for the big screen dinos, but still interested in playing around as one, this game would be a perfect fit.

While knowing the movies’ plots does help some — it mostly just lets you know what to sort of expect. However, I will say that I have actually not yet seen Jurassic World… I’ve been lazy when it comes to getting out to the theater. Rather than wait until I could finally see it, I decided to go ahead and play through that part of the game. It spoiled maybe a couple things for me, but by this point the internet’s done enough of that anyway.

Since you’re playing through 4 movies, there’s a pretty big cast of characters that you’re going to interact with. One thing that I was pleasantly surprised with was that a good number of the actors from the movies voiced their characters in the game. Some stuff was definitely taken directly from the movies, but in general it was a nice touch. As is typical with the LEGO games, the different characters have different skills. Only certain people can deal with bones, only certain others can do the acrobatics (which, omg gender stereotypes), and only certain ones can shoot or throw things. One nice thing, once you’re in the free play, you can take any character from any movie and play any level. So if you want Jurassic World’s Owen Grady with Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm (in his torn shirt “survivor” mode), then you can have it.

Lego Jurassic World Owen & Ian

If you noticed, there’s a hexagon up in the top right — local 2-player option. So you can play with a friend or just switch between the two on your own. I haven’t tried the 2-player mode, but apparently it does a split screen. Otherwise, what’s on the screen can be mirrored on the gamepad, which is typically how I prefer to play. Which also means a single player can do off-tv play and let someone else watch something on the tv while they’re playing — or you know, marathon the movies while you’re playing. If you want to double up on your dinosaur mania.

Lego Jurassic World TRex and Jeff Goldblum

And one thing that I found out… since some characters have different variations, you can make your playable characters all different variations of that one character. So, I mean, how could you not just make everyone Jeff Goldblum? Also, if you notice in that picture… you can play as dinosaurs. And like the people, each dinosaur has their own special traits. Like other LEGO games, you can customize your minifig people and also the dinosaurs. I’ve yet to reach this part of the game but I am super excited to play Henry Wu and make my own dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaur play in built into the storyline, the rest can be done whenever you want in free play — or almost whenever you want. Some dinosaurs can’t go into certain areas. That’s just how it is.

Anyway. I’m completely sold on this game. I can definitely tell that I’ll want to 100% this game. It’s just too much fun and I’ll be sad when it’s done. But that’s what other safe files are for, right?

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

(Maybe having too much fun making Firefly references…)

*Yes, the links to Amazon are affiliate links. Though I have (had?) an affiliation with Nintendo, I purchased this game myself and of course all view points are my own.

#ALLTHEPETS (or: a belated 5 Fandom Friday – Fictional Pets I’d Adopt)

Ok. So I sort of fell off the 5 Fandom Friday bandwagon a long while ago. There’s been an occasional one that I’ve thought about doing, but just never got around to it. But I’ve got time and I liked this past week’s… so here goes, a few days late but whatever:

Top 5 Fictional Pets I’d Like to Adopt

lying(ish) cat

1. Lying Cat — Ok, so I still need to desperately catch up on Saga. But Lying Cat has always been one of my favorites. I mean, who doesn’t want a giant sphinx cat who calls you out on your BS?

Barkleygreatwall

2. Barkley — Giant muppet dog? YES. I debated between him and the White Lion, but something about the lion’s voice doesn’t fit how I imagine the character… I had some other muppets in mind too (some of the creatures and monsters), but then I realized it was hard to distinguish between what’s an actual animal vs an autonomous being that’d be better suited as a BFF or roommate than to call a pet.*

mort

3. Mort — I mean, how could you resist this insanely adorable mouse lemur?

dug

4. Dug — Always loyal, very brave (ish), and definitely has that adorable factor. And with that spiffy collar I could actually tell what he wants. Sometimes I think I want one of those for my cats, but then again, I hear them enough as it is…

Aaaand now I’m having a hard time settling on a 5th. So because of that I’ll just do a quick list of my runners up:

buckbeak dragons pascal pizzadoglucky rexDirewolf LiloAndStitchWallpaper2800 Rajah

Buckbeak. Dragons. Pascal. Pizza Dog/Lucky. Rex. Direwolf. Stitch. Rajah.

Apparently I want ALL THE PETS. I’ll just go start setting up my home for fictional animals…

*I actually had that debate about pretty much ALL of these characters… But it’s for that reason that Snarf didn’t make the list. (Among others, of course.)

That time I thought I killed my cats

No, that title is not a hyperbole. I sincerely thought I had unintentionally poisoned my cats.

It all started when I notice some bug bites. On me. First I freaked out because OMG no. Here’s some background on me: I very rarely open my windows, and my cats are 100% indoor-only. I know bugs can find their way in regardless, but I try to be very careful. However, I live in a multi-unit building, and between new neighbors (who had a cat for at least one day) and other neighbors with a dog… bugs will definitely get in. I was just hoping they weren’t bed bugs. The last thing I wanted was to have to get a new mattress & topper. Or at least, that’s what I thought the last thing I would want.

Turns out they were fleas. And it wasn’t a major infestation, but enough that the cats and I were all pretty annoyed. So I did what any reasonable pet owner would do: bomb the hell out of the house. I got flea bombs for the rooms with carpet, a spray for the rest of the furniture and building entry carpet, and a spray for the cats. It sort of worked, but we were still miserable.

So I got the topical treatment for the cats. You know, the kind where you put the drops on the back of their neck and the fleas are supposed to magically disappear? Yeah, that. Well, the cats didn’t like it as soon as I put it on, but I sort of expected that. I mean, who wants some greasy medicine on your neck? But over the course of the day, I knew something was really wrong.

My once cuddly, sometimes annoyingly clingy, loving, purring little girls were now reclusive, sad, and not doing well. Both cats exhibited what’s called “leg flicking” — it’s where they shake their leg as if to get something off of it, but there’s nothing on it. Kaija had some muscle spasms. Tuija, my normally extremely needy one, was quite and turned into a loner. They were also both licking their mouths weirdly. So after enduring that torture for a good part of the day, and consulting Dr. Google… I panicked.

Of course, well all know, nothing good comes from Dr. Google. It’s all death, death, and more death with a side of death. Everything I was finding on flea medication poisoning was terrible. I immediately washed off as much of that medication as I could. That greasy stuff is tough, but with kitty wipes and kitten shampoo, I was able to get a lot of it. Hardest part was trying to do all of this squinting through tears. I called the vet the next morning, but they didn’t seem all that concerned. They said as long as it was the right dose, they should be fine. I hate being that pet parent, but money really is tight and trying to get two cats into one carrier… I decided to just give them another day and hope they would get better.

Each day I bathed them. I made sure I had 20 water bowls out so they wouldn’t dehydrate. I spent lunch breaks laying on the floor next to the bed they were hiding under. I brushed them. I even embraced my inner primate and picked some fleas off them by hand.

A week later, and I am very happy to report that the girls are doing a lot better. They were still fairly reclusive for the first part of the week. But they began eating more. They came out of hiding and began being more social. The spasms and flicking and weird licking has all stopped. Then they became increasingly cuddly. Outside of an extreme case of “the floor is lava” and basically avoiding my (carpeted) bedroom, I’ve pretty much got my cats back. Still a couple fleas hanging on, but I’ll get them. Every last one. This is the first time they’ve had flea while living with me. The first time they’ve received flea medication. And it’ll be the last.

Kaija and Tuija cuddling

I love my girls. I am so very, very, very happy that I trusted my gut and washed that stuff off. Now if anyone has some natural flea remedies, I will gladly take them.

Staaay Fresh! Understanding the hype that is Splatoon.

If you’re into gaming, there’s a good chance you’ve already heard of this game. Heck, you might even own it. It’s the quirky, and definitely addictive “shooter” game from Nintendo, Splatoon. It’s been out since late May, but during the birthday weekend (13th), I finally picked it up.

MKGL Splatoon They see me rollin'

I remember when I first heard about it, I was like “what the heck is this game?!” And not in a “OMG MUST HAVE DAY 1” sort of way. I seriously couldn’t wrap my head around it. Even after it came out, I was a little hesitant. I knew it looked fun, and some of the others in my gaming league were raving… but… I mean. Squid people?!

I’ve had the game for less than a week, and I can tell you, if you have a Wii U, you should definitely pick this up.

Ok. So here’s the background that you need to know: Yes, this gets labeled as a “shooter” game, but really it’s more than that. It almost feels like some sort of old school playground game mixed in with elements of shooting games. I’ve never played paintball, maybe it’s like that… but we did A LOT of variations on capture the flag style games at summer camp. And this brings back those memories.

Now, I don’t like traditional shooting games. Running around killing things doesn’t really get me going. Running around trying to paint the entire map, defending your area, and taking out the enemy? Yeah, I can get behind that. And that’s basically what you’re doing in Splatoon. Your kill count doesn’t effect the final score. It’s all about who got the most paint on the ground. The battles are quick, just 3-minutes. And it’s so, so easy to catch yourself saying “just one more” for a couple hours before you finally put it down.

There’s also a 1-player story mode. I haven’t really gotten into that much yet, mainly because I keep working on leveling up and increasing my rank in battles. But I’ve heard many awesome things about the story mode, and if you want to take a good look at it, TJ‘s started filming them and you can check out the first video here.

Here are some of my initial thoughts regarding Splatoon’s battle mode:

» This is a game of percentages. It’s all about how much of the map you covered. Sometimes you’ll win big, sometimes you’ll lost hard. (As you can see below.) You can have 25 kills, but it doesn’t mean your team is going to win. Focus on the map and take out other players defensively. Don’t be that dick who lies hiding by the other team’s base sniping people right after they’ve respawned. (Not cool… just not cool.)

Photo Jun 15, 5 45 16 PM Photo Jun 16, 4 53 16 PM

» Definitely experiment with the different weapons. Each work for a different kind of game play. After about 10 hours I think I’ve found what works best for me, but a lot of times winning just depends on team work. Sometimes you get teamed up with people who really know how to support others on a team. Other times you get people who just go solo and don’t assist.

» Watch the map when you can. You’ll be able to watch your teammates, super jump to them if need be, and see the opposing team’s activity. Obviously, if you’re in the thick of things you can’t always spare a moment to look down. You can get a general idea of how your team is doing from the top of the screen. If your squids are big, it means you’re in the lead. If any squids have an X over them, that means someone was splatted (aka killed). If you’re not keeping an eye on your map, you can lose major ground.

» This may seem obvious, but for the love of Judd, COVER THE MAP. Get your base and the areas near by. Last thing you want to do is spend the last minute scrambling to cover land you could have gotten in the first 15 seconds, and it leaves it open for the opposing team to nab it. Seriously, nothing frustrates me more than seeing rollers run out to the middle and get in tangles with the enemy while the area by the base is left bare.

» Getting away from tactics and such… This game is just fun. It’s all bright colors: neon green, yellow, pink, bright blue, dark blue, fuchsia-y purple, bright orange… And then you’ve got all the weapons. Giant paint rollers and brushes, various squirt guns, even an NES zapper. There are special weapons like a missile launcher that creates a paint tornado-waterspout. Or one that creates a sonic boom and knocks out enemies in range (called the Killer Wail). The arenas have a surprising amount of places to explore. Also, I actually really like the music. You have all these bright colors and cute characters doing a silly thing like painting everything, and there’s this pseudo-metal in the background. I love it.

Splatoon: Inkling Rini

And then there’s the inklings. At first you’re all like “squid people? really?” … But yeah, the inklings grow on you. I mean, check out my girl. So fresh! (And yes, I’m #TeamCats.)

#JurassicBirthday gift guide

As you may remember, or have deduced on your own, Jurassic World is opening the day before my 31st birthday. Thus: #JurassicBirthday.

I already got myself a pre-birthday treat of the Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy dvd set. It was on sale at Target, and I mean, how could I not? I get that not everyone is all excited about Jurassic World, and some of you might be completely over it due to all the hype. But for me, it represents a couple things. Firstly, I mean, dinosaurs are cool. They’re just fascinating. Secondly, Jurassic Park and the fictional character’s John Hammond’s dream — I mean, that’s the core of my love. Dreaming that anything can be possible — making your imagination a reality. And lastly, ok, yes, I’ll admit it’s campy and ridiculous and that just makes it so amazingly awesome. Especially the sequels. (And I’m hoping JW has this in appropriate measures — given the previews, and trained raptors, I’m sure I’ll get my wish.)

Anyway. I’m excited about Jurassic World AND my birthday. And so with that, here is my dinosaur-loaded #JurassicBirthday gift guide!

#JurassicBirthday gift guide

» View from the Triceratops figure from Modcloth (sold out)

» Fun for you Life wall decor from Modcloth

» LEGO Jurassic Park for Wii U

» LEGO Jurassic Park/World sets

» Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal phone case from LookHuman

» I dig it necklace from Modcloth
(I actually own 2 dinosaur necklaces, but this was the first one I had my eye on.)

» Dino Puns are Pteroble shirt from LookHuman

» Floral Dinosaur tank from LookHuman

» Object d’Artifact from Modcloth

» Purassic Park phone case from LookHuman

» Dino Skulls pillow from LookHuman

» “Dinosaurs eat man, woman inherits the earth” print from Etsy

» Dino my gosh dress in navy from Modcloth (sold out again! It always comes back in stock when I don’t have the cash for it.)

Now, I realize most of these are from the same place… but I knew if I spent any time on Etsy looking at awesome dinosaur stuff I’d be there for 5 weeks and never get this post out. The one print I’ve got listed is one I’d saved previously, so it was easy to grab. And also too awesome to leave off.

Aw Yeah: Meeting Brian K. Vaughan; or: Attempts to not completely embarrass myself

If you’ll remember, one of my trivial but valid concerns when I moved back to Indiana was where the heck am I going to get my comics (and, you know, not feel alienated at the store). I mean, I’d like to say that overall, most comic book stores are great and welcoming to any and all. But all it takes is one employee to ruin an amazing store and the experience one has there.

I had just gotten over my fear and found an amazing shop in Chicago — Third Coast Comics — and I wasn’t sure how welcoming any shops could be in small-town Indiana. Well, lo and behold, one of the local shops partnered with a well-known and respected shop from the greater Chicago area: Aw Yeah Comics. Interestingly enough, they’re both creator-owned shops. Nearly two years ago, Mark Waid (Daredevil, S.H.I.E.L.D.) became a co-owner of the local shop, Alter Ego, and Aw Yeah is the child of Art Baltazar and Franco (Tiny Titans, Itty Bitty Hellboy).

Anyway. I was excited to check out this shop. And what better time to do so than when writer Brian K. Vaughan is there! Ok. So. Brian K. Vaughan is one of my top three favorite comics writer ever. Like, ever ever. The first book I read of his was Pride of Baghdad, which is about a pride of lions at the Baghdad zoo when we bombed the city in 2003. And then, someone wisely introduced me to Y: The Last Man. I devoured that series. And I did it the most expensive way, buy buying each issue individually rather than getting trades. That’s was back when comiXology would let you purchase in-app on iOS. I’d finish one and immediately buy the next. From Y, I moved on to his newest endeavor, Saga.

Saga is, well, amazing. Warring planets (ok, one’s a moon). Two people who’ve fallen in love regardless, and now have a baby. And just so much more. And it’s totally not kid-appropriate, FYI. But it is definitely beautiful and you should go check it out right now.

One thing about these series though… I only had them digitally. Well, except for Pride of Baghdad, but I lost that who knows how long ago. And as amusing as it might be, it wasn’t really the best idea to have Vaughan sign my iPad mini. So I went and picked up some first volume trades. Voilà! Stuff to sign. All good, right?

Brian K Vaughan: Saga and Y: The Last Man

Ha.

So. Yeah. I was completely fine when I got in line. Even when my part of the line entered the store. And then suddenly I was 3 people away and OMG NERVES. And I start internally freaking out a little because what in the world am I going to say to this guy? It’d been a while since I read either of those series. And though Saga is current, I’m way behind on it.

So it’s finally my time, I get up there still sort of feeling majorly awkward… “Should I make it out to someone?” “Yeah, Erini. E-R-I-N-I.” “Wait, what was that?” “Erini. E-R-I-N-I.” “E-R-A… wait, one more time.” Basically, I should never worry about what to talk about at signings because 100% it will turn towards my name. (Tim Gunn was the cutest with that. “You’re my first Erini!”) So, all should be fine, right? But then… well, I’m a doofus and when he asked how I was, I made some comment about how the day’s going to get even better because I was going to hang out with my nieces… Which to me was just word vomit that came out. Flash forward to that night when I finally get home and am able to process everything… and then OMG I JUST TOLD ONE MY FAVORITE WRITERS THAT I WAS MORE EXCITED TO HANG OUT WITH BABIES THAN HIM. *facepalm* I’m likely overreacting. Because afterwards we talked about how kids are the best when you can give them back to their parents. But yeah. I felt dumb.

I’m just glad that slight didn’t seem to register with him. He was crazy nice to everyone in line. I over heard a couple people and this was the very first signing they’ve ever been on, and really the first series they’ve read. And outside of a car crash at the intersection near the comic book store, it was a really amazing day for all — or so I’m going to just make that assumption for everyone. And despite my weird moment, I had a really great day too. I meet a creative hero. I got comics for one of my nieces. And got to check out and feel safe about my local comic shop.

Brian K Vaughan and Rini - Aw Yeah Muncie signing

So. Have you ever acted awkward around a celebrity or a hero of significance?