a general life update

So much going on. And here I thought December would be my month to catch my breath!

  • The theme of the week is video games! We had Assassin’s Creed 3 yesterday, and another game review (geared towards kids & young at heart) tomorrow!
  • I also won my very own copy of Epic Mickey 2 (with Oswald’s ears!) from Babble.com for the Wii U!
  • I had a great night this past Friday with Paige over at Baume & Brix. Great drinks, interesting food, and hey, Jim Belushi was even there! (No joke!)
  • For some reason this week, I’ve been failing at cooking. Three meals in the trash in two days. All I want for Christmas is a real kitchen. Not this 5-foot kitchenette thing I’ve got.
  • I’m interviewing a few people today for an opening at work. It’s not my first time to interview people, but it’s still very nerve-racking on this side of it as it was to be on the other.
  • I finished my holiday cards last week, but haven’t had a chance to get them printed (I’ve got a couple different designs)… so I think I’ll be printing them myself and sending them out next week. (Hopefully!)
  • For the past for days, at least, my endo has been acting up. Just a lot of bloating and pain and nausea and uncomfortableness (sexy, right?). I’ll be talking with my doctor soon about finding a new specialist and hopefully getting this all sorted out once my insurance covers it in January.
  • Also, one last set of blood work to do before I can, hopefully, start my new treatment. I want to say it’s not serious, but well, it’s treatable and that’s the good thing. It’s related to the paresthesia.
  • I’ve been growing my hair out since June (unintentionally at first). I haven’t had hair past my shoulders in about 7 years, so I want to see if I can make it that long without going crazy. I will probably go get it slightly trimmed or styled or something because I’m getting annoyed with the part and my giant Scandinavian forehead.
  • Every time I unplug the Christmas tree, Tuija (my black cat) thinks I’ve killed it.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know, I’m using the Adorkable Me facebook page for game updates, random happenings around Chicago, and just smaller life stuff that doesn’t necessarily need its own post. (Sort of like all those bullet points up there.)

a family that games together…

Growing up, the only time I could really get a chance at our gaming systems was when my brother was off running through the neighborhood. Luckily he was a really active kid.

In case you were curious, I played a lot of Super Mario World, F-Zero, and ChessMaster on our SNES. (The Playstation was basically only Tim’s, but I was still allowed to play my Spyro games every so often. Okay, my brother wasn’t that stingy, he just played a lot.)

The gaming gene didn’t stop with just my brother and I. It seems my younger sisters have it too (even though the 16 year old might deny it). My little cousin? Mario Kart addict–he’s 7. And my beautiful niece? Yep. She’s definitely my brother’s girl. She has a DS lite now, and rumor has it she’s might be getting a 3DS as well as her own games for daddy’s xbox.

But what’s really awesome is that a year or so ago, I brought my Wii home for the holidays, and was pretty surprised with the outcome! For one, that year I found out I could beat my brother at one game at least–Wii Bowling. Also, we found out that my grandmother was more skilled than any of us knew. She took home the Wii Bowling championship on dad’s side. Even with all the cousins in, no one could be grandma. That wasn’t the last time we had a Wii Bowling tournament. While I was living with my dad, we had one as part of our family game night. I got creamed.

This year I’m looking forward to more holiday gaming memories. Dance parties with my niece (and hopefully my mom too!) on the kinect. Inevitably getting beat in Mario Kart by a 7 year old. And our own family Wii Olympics with Mario & Sonic. I still expect that our family will continue to play our traditional games: phase 10 and skip-bo (where Grandpa and I were the unbeatable team for years and years)… and now Apples to Apples and Rummikube (and hopefully one day Settlers of Catan, because that will always be one of my favorite board games). But I’m glad to see what was just something Timmy and I did, is now also a family favorite. … Now if only I could succeed at getting my mom to play Beatles Rockband with me…

Does your family have any traditional games? Any new ones you’d like to see added? I want to hear fun family game stories!

My sisters only get 30 minutes to either play Wii or be online each day (as long as their school work is done), and so each takes their 30 minutes and they don’t play together. (Because this means they can sit and watch their sisters play.) But during the holiday time we can actually get them into cooperative play–which to me is important. And setting up various family tournaments is even better. Though I generally find most of my dad’s rules a bit too limiting, I do agree with their limitations on using the TV/playing the Wii. I love the Wii, but I think it should be a reward not a right. I love that my sisters read a lot, or spend a lot of time with imaginative play inside and out. (On the reverse side, by brother and I had free range to do what we wanted, and I think we turned out pretty well.)

(review) Petz Bunnyz Bunch

Easter is coming up, and I’ve decided to continue my streak of being the coolest Aunt ever.

In fact, I got to be the coolest big sister ever for a bit too.  You all know that I’m a huge Nintendo fan.  Love it.  Well, I’m not the only one in my family.  In the past week, myself and my two youngest sisters got to try out one of Ubisoft’s latest: Petz Bunnyz Bunch.

I’ll admit, this isn’t the first title I’d run out and get for myself.  But the Petz games are on the top of my list for the younger ones in my family.  I’d gotten their Catz game for my niece for Christmas — and she quickly named her first virtual kitty after one of my own cats.

When I told my two youngest sisters — A., age 10, and L., now 8 — that they were going to get to play a bunny game and then get to teach me how to do it… Well, I should have had my camera ready to capture those smiles.  This game incorporates two things they love: video games and pets.  L. is going crazy asking for her very first pet — a gold fish — and so she was more than ready to show how responsible she could be with her virtual bunnies.

Because I wanted my sisters to work on their writing skills some, I had them write out their own little reviews of the game…

A. (10): “What I like about the game is that you get to own bunnies, Play with the bunnies, and do games with the bunnys. What I dislike about the game is you can only have one account.”

L. (8): “Everything was fun. The part I don’t like is you have to unlock the last 3 bunnyz.”

So, like the other games in the Petz series, you pick out your pet, name it, and then take care of it.  You make sure your pet has enough food and water, you can groom the pet, and — the part the girls like the best — you can play games with the pets.  My sisters loved showing me how they got their bunnies through the obstacle course.  The better you do, the more coins you get, and the more stuff you can buy (another thing my sisters really liked).  The controls are all fairly simple.  Most of it is all easy stylus gestures.

While the game isn’t for me, I do want to say that like many other Ubisoft games, it’s still good.  My sisters main complaint was since they were sharing my DSi XL, they couldn’t create two different accounts.  Thus, L. got all the girl bunnies and A. got all the boy ones.  And each set had matching names, like Lolly and Lollie or Lion and Roar, even Cutey and Cutie.  They teamed up pretty well to play this game.

As a group, my sisters and I have decided that we’re going to send this one to our niece, G.  As I mentioned, she absolutely LOVED Ubisoft’s Petz Catz game, so I know this one will be a winner too.  (If my sisters had their own DS’s I probably would have let them keep it, but they’re supposed to save up if they want their own systems.)

While Ubisoft provided me with this game to review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. UbisoftClever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

and the nerdiness continues: how the 3DS blew my mind

Okay, so the Nintendo 3DS event was amazing.  Getting to see friends that I’ve missed and meet a TON of seriously awesome other Brand Ambassadors totally made the trip for me.  (Read more here.)  Icing on the cake: a complete mass of nerdiness. The Nintendo 3DS is absolutely incredible.

look how cute I am in Mii form!

One of my favorite commercials for the 3DS?  This one:

This? It’s a game changer, and quite literally.  I was very interested in just how this would work.  It’s 3D without glasses.  That’s huge.  I hate 3D glasses — there has never in the history of ever been a pair that has played nice with real prescription glasses.  Thus, watching movies in 3D is not my first pick.  Playing the 3DS was quite awesome.  (I’m going to run out of positive adjectives soon…)  It really is 3D without glasses.  Games and pictures — yes, you can take pictures — in 3D.

The best way to experience this is the AR Games.  AR is Augmented Reality.  It brings the 3D games into your world.  Those cards you see in the commercial, point the 3D cameras at them and BAM, you’re playing in your world.  The same with the Face Raders game — and both of these are included.  Between this and Street Pass, you can keep yourself entertained for a while without actually purchasing another game.  Street Pass was a favorite for us Ambassadors.  As you pass someone with a 3DS, if you have this activated, you collect their Mii, which will in turn you can collect puzzle pieces as well as play a game called Find Mii.  In this game, you’re the ruler of your kingdom — which, thank you Nintendo for recognizing my royalty — but you’re trapped in a cage.  You need heros — other Miis — to set you free from the ghosts.

As I mentioned, Street Pass only works when you have it activated.  This is something really awesome with the 3DS; it has built in parental controls.  You set the passcode and you can block the ability to share and receive information from other 3DS’.  Also, you can control your little one’s ability to use the 3DS.  You can control the amount of 3DS with the depth slider on the right side of the top screen, but with the parental controls you can just turn it off.  Now, why do this?  Well viewing 3D images is not recommended for children under 6.  But with all these controls, Nintendo is putting the ball in your court.  Do your own research and decide what’s best for your kids.  That’s the only way to do it.

Now, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a new game since we were getting a gift card.  Originally, I heard good things about Pilot Wings.  So I was really tempted to get this.  By the time I got to the store, I’d only done half of the game demos — so I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted.  But in the end, I went with Combat of Giants – Dinosaurs 3D.

Rini picking a Dinosaur game? Never…. Yeah, hard to pass this one up.  I’ve read a little bit about it and even asked some of the Nintendo employees about it.  At the point of where I was when we shopped, of the games I’d tried I really liked Street Fighter IV and Steel Diver.  But I wasn’t sure I’d dedicate hours to them.  And after trying Pilot Wings, I’m glad I went with this game instead.  Pilot Wings is still fun and challenging, but just not quite my scene.  With this game I’m able to get the SMASH & KILL that I enjoy as well as OMG DINOSAURS.

It’s not an overly complicated game.  A tyrant dinosaur has overtaken the world as an evil overlord, you must defeat him and his minions.  You have a variety of dinos to pick from, and yes, you can customize them.  I haven’t unlocked it just yet, but trust me, I will be playing with a pink t-rex very soon.  You name your giant, you customize how it looks (including making it a skeleton), you equip it with various tools and resources.  As you roam around you come across the minions you’ve got to destroy.  It’s not “memorize all these combos” strategy, but there is strategy to defeat your opponent.  But, in saying that, it’s a game that I can indeed spend hours on, or I can step back and just play casually.  It’s just what I want in a game.  (Video trailer here.)

Now, after a while, my eyes do tire.  As one employee from Nintendo put it, it’s like wearing new glasses, your eyes need to adjust.  But overall, I’m absolutely sold on this device.  It’s going to push other game makers to take big steps too.  Hell, this will make all technology and gadgets have to step up.  But in saying that…  I don’t know how responsible it would be to make a 3D TV with technology like the 3DS unless there’s a lot more education about it out there.  (Basically, I’m saying it might be risky letting people watch 3D images for that long, because let’s face it, people will — at the same time, what’s stopping us from doing that with the 3DS?)  … either way, whatever.  I love my 3DS and that’s that.  I’m a little sad that NO ONE in Chicago that I’ve been near has one so I can collect more Miis in Street Pass.  Go out and get one now so we can play.  Please and thanks.

Enough of me rambling.  Go out and try one for yourself.  It’s freaking amazing.

While Nintendo and Brand About Town did pay for my flight and hotel out to Seattle, and I did receive the Nintendo 3DS as a gift, and a gift card for the store… I was in no way paid to write about it.  These opinions are purely my own.

my social life has dysentery

First: NO.  No no no no no I do not in any way have dysentery.  Except maybe virtually.  I’ve been obsessed with playing Oregon Trail lately.  A lot.

How did I get my hands on this blessed gem?  Thanks to the DSiware shop, I was able to download it on my lovely little DSi.  And then proceed to forget about all other things going on around me.  Well, other than tweeting about the fact that I’ve been playing Oregon TrailA lot.

It’s an updated version of the game for sure.  And the features of the DSi have given it a new feel.  As is typical with a lot of DS/DSi games, you use the stylus for everything.  Definitely makes hunting easier — though that didn’t save me from a few bears and buffalo.  Anyway.  It’s my new craze.  Totally worth the 800 points and the small bit of memory on your DSi.

So.  For a little bonus, I decided to name all of my wagon’s party after blogging friends of mine.  The first group: Seb, Rachel, Awesome Face/Jenn, Pham and myself.  Being that it’d been a while since I’d last played, and the main character is always male, I gave Sebby that title.  This meant that outside of a few boots to the head while fishing and a few maulings during hunting, nothing really happened to him.  Now, this isn’t fair.  So this new trip is being led by Gustuv.  A random immigrant farmer who has nothing better to do than lead a (virtual) group of 20-something bloggers out west.

Last trip’s highlights: Rachel was kidnapped by an eagle, and later found in a tree; Pham was attacked by at least 2-3 snakes; Awesome Face came down with every type of sickness, and often; and I was attacked by a bear.  But we all made it to Oregon.  And on time.

This trip, Gustuv is leading myself, Nico, Chrissy, and the other Jenn B.  So far just a couple broken arms and maybe some cholera.  I may or may not post results of this and future games on Pink Dinosaurs.

I'm trying…

This past year, as you may have noticed, I’ve gone on this sometimes exciting, sometimes painful ride of relationships…  I believe the phrase I used was an “endless cycle of doom and woe“…

Also, as you may have noticed, I’ve recently developed this… fondness… for a certain fellow.  So, obviously I’ve been excited — still am.  However, as I mentioned at least once, I’m just slightly aggressive when it come to pursuing guys…  I’m not all that shy about showing a guy that I’m interested.

Frank and I have gotten through the “I like you, you like me” part.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome.  But um, now — now I’m just trying not to overwhelm him with that fact.  (I’m sorry if I have, Frank.)  It’s hard, though, because the pink fluffy brain goo is convinced that Frank is the most awesomest person in the world right now.  And the pink fluffy brain goo can be loud sometimes.

So far, I’ve tried to distracted myself with these:

  • The Guild
  • Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog
  • Firefly
  • Farmville on Facebook (already bored of it)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean (just started #1, will continue on to 2 & 3)
  • My journal (you know, bound, with paper…)

Soon… I think I might move on to video games… Yoshi’s Island, Super Paper Mario, Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Party and maybe a little Guitar Hero too…. (Notice a trend in my games?  Feel free to donate others for the cause.)  Anyway.

I like him, and I want to see where this can go.

you should buy me a wii (part 1)

I’ve been craving a Wii for a while now, but for financial reasons didn’t really think too much about it. I had friends with Wiis, so I played every once in a while, plus for a while I just didn’t have time for video games (I know, blasphemy).

But now… This is the time.  I need a Wii.  In fact, the original plan was for me to buy one tomorrow.  … However, due to some unfortunate events I missed 3 days of work unpaid… so I’m not sure if a Wii is in the budget this time.  And well, I’m freaking impatient — so waiting two more weeks for the next paycheck is going to be torture.  Plus, I also feel odd buying myself some of these really awesome, and pricey, things just before the holidays — when my family can purchase these things for me.  Again, impatient.

Buying my DS Lite has really reminded me how much I miss and enjoy video games.  If I could, I would own all the major platforms — though I’m really just excited about the Wii and an Xbox 360.  (No offense to Sony — the PS3 is awesome, I just haven’t had a push for that over the Xbox.)  If I could, I think I would spend all of my time at Zach’s (Libby’s boyfriend)… He and his roommate Morgan have more than enough video games to keep me occupied until I can buy my own.  And well, it’s from gaming at his place that as pushed me over the edge in my desires to own a Wii….

true rockstar
true rockstar

Why?
Guitar Hero III.

As silly as I think the game is, it’s incredibly addicting and I’m simply hooked.  There was only two ways I could go with this game: either I was going to love it and be mildly decent at it or I was going to have an epic fail.  But following my true awesome nature, I indeed rocked (as the game told me many times).

My biggest issue is that I tend to skip over songs that I either don’t quite care for aurally, or just simply don’t know.  Obviously I realize they can’t tailor the game to my musical fixations… but from what I’ve seen of World Tour… I don’t think I’ll be terribly disappointed.  I even noticed one of my ringtones on there (Modest Mouse – Float On; Psapp and John Lennon also grace my phone — and, only when the MennoJerk calls, the Super Mario Bros Theme).

.. Anyway.  Since I’m familiar with Guitar Hero, I’m starting off with that.  It means I can easily join up with others — aka Zach and Morgan — and not have to worry about buying a lot of extras.  I will, at some point, purchase Rock Band.  I’ve looked over their playlist and am please.  Plus, a bonus, they’ll be adding Beatles songs (or so my mother has informed me).

Well… At this point, I’m just going to conclude with some visuals for you…. there will be video in part 2.

showing how it's done.
showing how it's done
a blurry ball of awesomeness
a blurry ball of awesomeness