Friday, January 31, 2014

This Month in Natiland (January in Review)


I still feel weird writing "2014," but here we are, the first month of it over! Sigh. Annnyway...I thought it might be fun to start recapping things I've been interested in/up to as each month goes by. I may or may not keep doing this all year? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

What I've been reading:
This month I read "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn. Basically, it's about this woman, Amy, that goes missing. It's narrated by both her (in journal entries) and her husband, Nick (in the present). Nick's storytelling doesn't quite add up to the reader, and the police are also starting to think he's to blame. So you spend the book wondering if this asshole Nick guy murdered his wife or not. This book has been very popular as of late, but I have to say I wasn't very impressed. I mean, it was ok, but the ending kind of sucked, and I didn't like any of the characters. If you're interested, save your money and borrow it from your library. The movie will be out later this year. I'll probably watch it when I can borrow the DVD, just because Neil Patrick Harris is in it. SPOILER: Everyone in this book is an asshole. Even the Neil Patrick Harris character (sad).


Gone Girl Gillian Flynn book cover


What I've been watching:
At the beginning of the month, Andrew and I started watching "Dexter." Yeah, late in the game, I know. Better late than never. Dexter has been around awhile now, so I'm going to assume you know what it's about. We've only made it through the first season and half of the second. So far, I think I like it. Dexter himself is a likable guy, aside from the killing thing. But just because he's likable doesn't make him or his actions ok. Honestly, I'm still conflicted about it. A story arc in season two was making me a little ragey (coughLILAcough), but I'm starting to have faith that it will turn out ok and I'll move on to season 3.


Dexter


Something new I did: Last Saturday I started using a fitness app called Noom Weight Loss Coach. This is the closest thing to a "diet" I've ever done, so that in and of itself is new. So yeah, I need to lose some weight. I'm not obese (yet) but I've definitely put my health on the back burner, and it shows. I have no experience with other fitness apps, but I assume it's similar. You use it to log everything you eat, and it keeps track of the calories along with your calorie allowance for the day. Your calorie allowance is based on your current weight and fitness level. You can also log your exercise, and your calorie allowance will adjust itself depending on what you did that day. It's incredibly simple to use, which I love. I know an embarrassingly small amount about reading and understanding food labels and portion sizes, but this makes it easier, and I'm learning lots of new things in the process. When I started, I vowed not to check my weight again until I consistently used Noom for a week, which will be tomorrow. I'm actually excited to weigh in tomorrow, though I'm not entirely confidant that the number will have dropped. Part of that is because I do alot of weight training - which is GREAT for your body (and important for weight loss), but muscle weighs more than fat so it can get a little confusing. Thinking back, I should have taken body measurements when I started. Guess I'll do that tomorrow, too.




What I'm playing: As you already know, I've been playing a lot of Saints Row IV. I'm happy to report that it is still awesome. Aside from that, I've also been playing "The Stanley Parable." This was a game my younger brother and I both wanted, so last month when he found it for sale on Steam (I'm telling you Steam is THE BEST), we decided to buy it for each other for Christmas. "The Stanley Parable" is an extremely bizarre game. I honestly don't know how to explain it. I suggest watching this trailer, although that doesn't do a great job explaining it, either. Playing this game is such a trip. I have literally felt like I was going crazy while playing because of some of the things that happen. Sorry this sounds cryptic but I just DON'T KNOW WHAT TO TELL YOU. If you have an account on Steam (winkwink) you can play a free demo. Lastly (I've had a weird amount of free time this month ok), I recently started playing "Diablo III." However, I'm still a noob with that, so I'll talk about it another time.


The Stanley Parable


I guess that wraps it up! Everything else of note that happened this month I've already written about, like when I went to the Star Wars exhibit, getting my windows punched out by some loser (they have since been fixed), and getting my awesome fake Jump From Paper bag.

Next time I write, it'll be February! See ya next month? Hah.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Gratuitous Pictures of my Lego Volkswagen Bus!


This was originally supposed to be a "Wordless Wednesday" post, which are obviously supposed to be wordless, but I took these pictures and I just COULD NOT because I LOVE LEGO'S way too much. So much I had to use all caps. I've been to Legoland twice, which I'm very proud of and like to gloat about. Then with the movie coming out next month I've just had Lego on the brain a lot lately. Then it kind of turned into a Lego appreciation post.

I got this little Volkswagen Lego set in my Christmas stocking. Thanks mom santa! I love that it has the little VW sticker on the front!

lego volkswagen van

The space man didn't come with the van, but I figured that someone has to be driving it (even if he isn't in the pictures, hahah). If I lived in a dream Natiland I would drive a sweet Volkswagen bus.

Volkswagen Lego Bus

Isn't it fun? There's another Volkswagen set that's way bigger, and it opens up and has what any Volkswagen should have inside. This one is way out of my price range, but it's pretty cool. As you can see, it looks similar to mine but 1000x fancier.


Volkswagen Lego Bus


...and before I go here's a LEGOLAND photo, because thinking about being there while writing the opening paragraph made me happy and nostalgic. This was during my first trip there (my hair hasn't been that short since - phew). I'm sorry Indiana Jones, but none of your Lego sets will ever be as great as Johnny Thunder.

Johnny Thunder Pippin Reed - Legoland




Friday, January 24, 2014

It's Time to Talk about Saints Row Again

 Yep!

Guess who finally has Saints Row IV? Happy happy. Saints Row IV was released back in the summer; but as much as I love Saints Row, I love not spending $60 on a game even more. The Yeti and I were able to pick this up during the Christmas Steam sales for $20, which is probably the lowest it'll get for quite awhile. Everyone already knows how much I loved Saints Row III, so how does this one hold up?

Saints Row IV
(My current desktop wallpaper #noshame)

This installment takes place five years after the previous game. You're still leader of the Third Street Saints, and uh...you're President of the United States, and have renamed the White House the White Crib (because obviously). What really separates this from the previous Saints Row is the sci-fi element. As you're on your way to a press conference, the party's interrupted by alien invaders blasting off the roof of the White Crib. Their leader, Zinyak captures you and all your homies (you'll recognize them all from the previous games - who were also promoted to cabinet members), and trapping you in a simulation he's created. Each of your homies are trapped in their own personal simulations, so it's your job to save your friends and escape the simulation. Thanks to Kinzie, you also have SUPERPOWERS! So that's cool.

Personal opinion time.

- The alien/superpower aspect of the game is fun, but it really sets it apart from the other games in the series. I used to see Saints Row as a better, funnier rival to Grand Theft Auto. Now, if I only compared it with this installment I'd find much less to compare. They're different. Obviously Saints Row is still better but you know.

- I think this game's a little harder than the previous one, not by much, but you'll notice. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that your health doesn't regenerate on its own anymore. I can't be the only one that'd have to run and hide behind a wall when my health was low, right? Right?!

- The character customization is exactly like it was in III, for the most part. I think they added a few more taunts to choose from. I wanted my character to look mostly the same as in III, but was a little disappointed to see that there wasn't really anything new.

- Lastly, this doesn't bother me too much, but I've noticed a lot of people are bothered by the car thing. You don't really need them in this one. Your speed run and superjump get you everywhere you need to go in half the time, and you don't need to worry about anything in your way. You can literally run and hop over buildings. Anyway, I guess some people liked collecting and customizing their cars. You can still do this in IV, but since you have no need for a car it kind of feels like a waste of time. My cars were never really important to me. I'd paint them a really obnoxious color so they'd be easier to find, and a tacky under glow because why not - but that's it. Listening to the car radio was fun, though - and those rare moments when a homie is in the car with you and you have a singalong were the best. That part I do miss. Buuut you do still have a radio which you can use all the time now, not just in a car.

That's all for now. The story is half the fun, and even though I'm 95% sure no one reading here cares about my Saints Row obsession, I'm not going to spoil the fun (just in case, I guess?) Also, I haven't finished the game yet.. I don't get to spend as much time playing it as I'd like. Anyway, here's my president. I modeled him after my Saints Row III character for continuities sake, but he wears a sweet purple suit since he's the president. Sorry it's dark; it's never daytime in the Steelport simulation!

Saints Row IV
I wear this sweet bandana because I'm on a RAMPAGE (like Rambo)

Saints Row IV Super Jump
Super jumpin' over Steelport.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A book survey!



A. Author You’ve Read The Most Books From: Lemony Snicket maybe. Series of Unfortunate Events was long.


B. Best Sequel Ever: My Friend Leonard OR Dreams of Joy. Buuut Fight Club 2 hasn't come out yet.

C. Currently Reading: Gone Girl...slowly.

D. Drink of Choice While Reading: Coffee until 4PM, after that tea.

E. E-Reader or Physical Books: I enjoy physical books more, but I like that I learned how to download the books I want for free on my e-reader. If I had all the monies I would probably buy alot more physical books.

F. Fictional Character You Would Have Dated In High School: Meh I was stupid in highschool so who knows.

G. Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: Hunger Games. They weren't awesome but they were fun to read and alot better than I thought they'd be. Movie still sucks though. 

H. Hidden Gem Book: ???

I. Important Moments of Your Reading Life: Probably when I started to actually like reading.

J. Just Finished: Ocean at the End of the Lane

K. Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: 90% of YA lit, most sci-fi, books about loving your dog or whatever.

L. Longest Book You’ve Read: Which is the longest Harry Potter book? Order of the Phoenix was pretty long. The last Ken Follett book I read was really long too. Anna Karenina was looong but I skimmed some chapters so I dunno if that counts. So I guess I don't know the answer to this question.

M. Major Book Hangover Because Of: Cloud Atlas - because everything else I tried to read after that just seemed so simple and bleh. And because that one thing and SIGH.

N. Number of Bookcases You Own: Well there's three in the apartment, and I have three more in my room at moms :) I hope to someday have them all in the same place.

O. One Book That You Have Read Multiple Times: I've read Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily maybe five times from start to finish. The entire Series of Unfortunate Events Series twice. A Long Way Down twice. Off topic - Long Way Down is being made into a movie this year, with Aaron Paul (swoon) and Pierce Brosnan. YAY. Oops, that wasn't just one book.

P. Preferred Place to Read: Bed or couch. If I read in bed there's a 98% chance I'll fall asleep, which is only nice sometimes.

Q. Quote From A Book That Inspires You/Gives You Feels: waaaahhhhhh

R. Reading Regret: Brave New World. TOO WEIRD.

S. Series You Started and Need to Finish: I didn't read the last two Harry Potter books. I guess I've never bothered because I've seen the movies so many times now.

T. Three Of Your All-Time Favorite Books: UGHHH

U. Unapologetic Fangirl For: Ken Follett books...trash or works of art? I may never decide.

W. Worst Bookish Habit: I have an irrational fear of putting books my purse, because I keep alot of shit in my purse and I don't like my books getting bent up.

V. Very Excited For This Release More Than Any Other: The Fight Club sequel!!!!!!!!

X. Marks The Spot (Start On Your Bookshelf And Count to the 27th Book): It's Kind of a Funny Story. Now I'm sad because it's a good book about depression and the author killed himself recently :(


Y. Your Latest Book Purchase: The last book I bought was Humans of New York, except it wasn't for me. It was for Alyssa for Christmas. It was really cool though.


Z. ZZZ-Snatcher (last book that kept you up WAY late): I work too early to stay up late. Although the other day I was reading Gone Girl at midnight and that's pretty ballsy for me. Livin' on the wild side.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination

Yesterday I got to check out Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, an exhibit currently at the Tech Museum in San Jose! I also had an awkward run-in with a furry convention, but I'll save that for another day. Warning - photo-heavy post ahead!


Star Wars: Science Meets Imagination is a traveling exhibition that features props, costumes and models used in the Star Wars films, but it heavily focuses on the science behind it all. There were a lot of hands-on things to play with, and even if you're not a huge Star Wars nerd (like my wonderful mother) I think you'd still find it pretty cool.

Instead of boring you with words I thought I'd let the pictures do most of the talking (however, they're rather dark - no flash allowed).

Here's Han Solo and Boba Fett's real costumes they wore int he movies! :)


Jawa's and Ewok's are the best, really. (But there weren't any Ewok's there!!)


Tusken Raiders are super tall IRL.


They kept the lights low, but it was pretty cool.


My handsome Star Wars nerd :)


Luke's prosthetic hand. Creepy/cool/both?


The yoda puppet! This was one of my favorite things we saw there. I took a puppetry class in college!


Wookie's are also pretty tall.


Lots of ship models! They were so intricate!


So there you have it. Not pictured are the work stations throughout the exhibit. I tried controlling robot legs - which I wasn't great at. I also learned that my imaginary Jawa camp would tragically fail, but that's ok, because turns out I'm a great moisture farmer.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

After Years of Want


...I bought this bag.

But first, a confession. Back in 2012, after seeing this bag in this outfit post on The Dainty Squid, I immediately fell in love and knew I had to have one someday. The bag featured (which she got for free; SO much blog envy!) is from a company called Jump From Paper and costs $99.00. Ouch. I can't afford to throw that much money at a bag, so I went to Ebay, and I saw it. What looked to be the exact same bag, for $8.00. Except it wasn't the exact same bag. It was a knockoff from China. I had a moral dilemma for a minute here, but ended up buying it anyway. The measurements on both bags are the same, but I'm sure the quality of mine is far below the original. When I can, I'll definitely buy an original. Until then, here we are...

2D bag
I had to use my webcam, and for that I am sorry.

Isn't it fun? In the picture it's laying almost flat against my leg. It's like I borrowed a bag from a cartoon character! The colors are brighter in person, but, you know, webcams. I thought I'd share some info on how it works and how much it holds, because I know I had those questions, too.

The dimensions are 12.5" width x 10.8 height x 0.8". So it's pretty slim. But then there's a zipper on the bottom, expanding it to a little over 3". Still not a LOT of room, but it's not bad. It'd make a nice laptop bag if your laptop is small, or a netbook.

I used a real camera for these!

If you plan on using it as a purse (like me), you'll have to play a little Tetris. It's not hard, and if you're into it then it's totally worth it. I fit a good amount of things inside. I emptied mine out to give you a legit visual, minus all the receipts and cough drop wrappers (can you BELIEVE I'm sick again?!)

Nook (with hardback case), wristlet wallet, keys, pen, cough drops, makeup bag, small planner, three lip thingies.

Not too bad, right? Pictured is more or less what I carry for normal days out, like running errands or whatever. For a day trip I'd probably bring a bag that's a bit roomier and easier to put things in/pull things out, though.

So there ya go. What do you think? I'm in love with it! The quality is good (but will someday be even better wink), and it's really fun to carry around. Haaappy happy happy.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Friends


I've spent alot of time this week with friends. Two of my oldest friends were back in town from their respective colleges, and it was nice having our little group back together. We've been friends since childhood, which also means they're the type of friends that might drive you the craziest, but you love them anyway. It was nice to spend some time relaxing and having some fun. I haven't been working much this week; my next show at the theatre doesn't start until later this month, and hours at Target have been few and far between (not that I mind).

Now you know what my naked face looks like.

Also, last Friday The Yeti and I went to a party. Parties aren't really our thing, so just writing it feels weird. We're really boring. But, it was someones birthday. There was an open bar (yes!), DJ, and photo booth. I hadn't been in a photo booth since I was 15 and still went to the mall.