Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: The Year in Stats

2012 was a pretty big year.  We all survived the end of the world, I got my wisdom teeth out, I got Twitter and Pinterest, I accomplished some goals, and I gave my blog a new title and then it grew like crazy!

If you'd like to compare, last year's Year in Stats is here.

The most striking thing to me is that on the day last year with the most views ever, I got less views than I get on average now.  That really just blows my mind.

I actually don't know how I figured out which day had the most blog views last year, but I remember that one day this year I watched my stats page incredulously as I got more than 900 pageviews in a single day.

The month with the most blog views was December again, with 9,695 views. (That's four times as much as the highest month last year!) Also, IT'S OVER 9,000!  (Dragonball Z reference because I am a nerd and I have watched many many many seasons of that show.)

Post with the most views: this one

Most popular search keyword: galaxy wallpaper

At the end of this year, I have 131 followers!!! You guys, last year I was crazy excited to have 26 followers. I can't even wrap my mind around how much my blog has grown in the past year.  I am still amazed that anyone wants to take time out of their day to read about my life and my random thoughts.  I've told you guys this before, but I'll say it many more times because it's true; You guys who read my blog are amazing!  My blog has been viewed a total of 75,154 times.  Again mind-blowing.  My head has exploded now and there are brain fragments scattered all across the room.  Not really though.  Awkward post ending is awkward.  Maybe next year I'll figure out how to end posts in a way that makes sense.  Probably not though.  This is the Rabbit Hole and we're all mad here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Review: Seven Days in Berlin

Neil sent me a free copy of his new book and I adored it.  The comics are cute yet cause emotions at the same time.  Neil does an excellent job of making simple drawings really symbolic.  For example, there's a panel where the last leaf falls off a tree and it makes you feel really sad.  The book is so much more than an illustrated travelogue, because let's be honest here, I don't usually read travelogues.  And by I don't usually read travelogues, I mean that unless you count the Ancient History posts on Melbourne on My Mind, this is the first travelogue I've ever read.  This book made me laugh and cry numerous times.  I loved the part at the zoo and the abandoned themepark seemed so cool!  Did I mention that I loved this book?  I don't really review books, so that's the best I can do.  I would easily give this book 5 stars out of 5, and highly recommend it to everyone.  You can buy your own copy here for only $6.61 in U.S. dollars (4 pounds in British currency).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Things I Say When I Play Racing Games

I love playing video games but sometimes I'm not very good at them.  The two types of games that I am always bad at are racing games and first-person shooters.  The things I say while playing first-person shooters are either not very family-friendly or plain screaming every time I get shot (usually every 5 seconds to 1 minute), so here are the things that I say while playing racing games.

Obviously this isn't a screenshot of me playing because I am always in 8th place
1. Is this one of those games where your car repairs itself when you take enough damage?

2. I didn't go fast enough for that jump to help.

3. Wait, am I going backwards?!

4. How have I still not completed a full lap?!

5. I'm stuck against the wall.

6. How do I go in reverse?

7. Everybody just lapped me again.

8. Everybody already finished but I am almost done with my first lap now.

And these are the things that I say specifically while playing Mario Kart.

1. Yay, I'm in 7th place! Nope, 8th again.

2. I got a blue shell : )

3. I was too far behind everyone for the blue shell to actually help.

4. I fell off Rainbow Road again.

5. Stupid snowman!

So if you want to seriously beat someone at video games, play a racing game against me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sometimes You Just Have to Draw your Feelings

G and I broke up last night.  It was mutual.  My priorities in life aren't the same as the ones he thinks I should have.  For him, getting a degree should be the most important thing to me (after getting healthy again), even if it's in something I'm not interested in.  There are lots of other things too, but that is the only one I feel like sharing.  We dated for 15 and a half months.  We discussed getting married at some point in the future.  That's the part that's the hardest for me; whenever I pictured my future, I pictured us happily married and now that is never going to happen.  We had both been trying to ignore the fact that I'm not the girl he wants to be with.  If there was a checklist, I don't have the most important qualities on it.  I want him to be happy so I had to face the truth.  It really sucks.  This is my first real break-up ever (G and I broke up once before but that lasted for less than a day.)  This time it's for real.  We can still be friends but we'll probably hae to stop when he meets another girl.  I just won't be able to hang out with him and pretend that it doesn't bother me that someone else makes him as happy as I used to.  So I'm watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and devouring blog archives and drawing my feelings on Post-its.

My mom called when she noticed my single status on Facebook.  She said she's going to come get me and take me back home with her and my dad until I get better.  I asked her not to do that yet.  She said she doesn't want me to have to be alone on Christmas and I told her it would be even more depressing being around her delicious home-cooked food and not being able to eat any, which is true.

So on Christmas, I'll sit in my room alone with my cranberry citrus candle lit and open the Christmas gifts my dad brought me on Saturday.  I'll probably watch Buffy.  Maybe I'll try to put up my one strand of Christmas lights (these walls are really dense and very hard to put push pins in).  But I won't be with my family and I won't have Christmas dinner and I'm not looking forward to it.  I'm sad right now.  Half of the time I can keep it together and then the littlest thing turns me into a pile of snot and tears.  I won't post when I'm feeling the worst because I don't want people to be depressed by my posts.  I have a book review planned.  Spoiler alert: It's a really great book and I loved it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Help me Out or Just Chat

Hey lovely people, I think that you guys who read my blog are pretty cool people.  I would love to know you guys better.  I kind of love "meeting" people on the internet and I can't follow every single person who follows me anymore (Seriously, since when do I have over 100 blog followers?! Oh yeah, since this month.)  If I don't follow your blog through GFC, I might actually still follow it through Bloglovin', but I have so many blogs that I follow, I need to practice restraint and stop following more unless I see one and go, "Wow, we need to be virtual BFFs this instant!"  I can hardly keep up with all of the blogs I follow as it is.  That being said, I still find people fascinating and would love to email with you guys or at least chat in the comments section.  My email is, because I'm a Jedi (in case you didn't already know).  Feel free to email me about anything you want.

Second thing: I have started featuring a Blog of the Month and Shop of the Month now.  I have decided that the Blog of the Month will be a blog of any size that I am particularly in love with that month.  The shop will be an Etsy shop with amazing products and fewer than 50 sales.  I feel like this is a great way to help other Etsy sellers who haven't sold a lot yet and might be feeling less-than-thrilled-and-positive about that fact.  Each month the featured blog and shop will receive one month of free ad space on my blog, as well as a feature post about them.  The shop portion will include three of my favorite products from their shop.  I'll also include any social media links that the shop and blog owner would like to share.  I already picked out the blog and shop for next month, but I could use your help for the following months.  I would love it if you guys would share all of the lovely little Etsy shops you come across on your travels.  It could even be your own!  They don't have to have less than 50 sales.  I still do occasional Etsy Interviews and those will be with shops of any size.  Besides that, I also love Pinning like crazy all manner of wonderful Etsy products to my Etsy Pinterest boards.  I love to do everything I can to support handmade businesses of all sizes.  It's really my passion, so I would love your help with doing that.

To summarize, email me about anything your heart desires at, comment on my posts if you'd like (I don't even have annoying CAPTCHAs), and share all of the lovely Etsy shops with me.  Please and thank you and have a lovely day.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The First and Only Time I went Snowboarding

When I was either in middle school or early high school, my youth group went on a snowboarding trip to Mount Hood.  I had never been snowboarding before.  We rented our gear and rode the ski lift.  At the top, I surprisingly managed to get off the ski lift without falling flat on my face.  I followed my brother to the top of a very very very steep slope.  To me it seemed to be about an 85 degree angle, but it was probably more like 60 degrees which is still very steep.  My brother told me that all of the slopes are that steep so I started going down it.  (For the record, he had never been to Mount Hood before and he actually did think that they were all that steep.)  He was going to go after me.  I was doing great and going increasingly super fast when I realized that no idea how to stop or even slow down.  And then I fell while going really really way too ridiculously fast.  My glasses flew off and I couldn't find them so I sat there and waited for my brother and hoped he wouldn't run over my glasses.  I sat there for what seemed like 20 minutes, but was probably only 1 or 2.  It was enough time for two teenage boys to ride by and laugh at me.  Jerks.  My brother rode down and stopped and I asked him to find my glasses, which he did, and then told me how to slow down and stop before I took off again.  I rode down the remaining half of the slope without falling down again, by turning my board almost sidewise to slow down and then I stopped at the bottom.  I rode the ski lift back up with my best friend and we discovered the bunny slope, where we stayed for the rest of the day.  She was way worse at snowboarding than me and spent most of the day sliding down on her butt while I kind of got the hang of it and only fell occasionally.  At the end of the day, we all went back home and, wihtout the numbing effect of the freezing weather that had been present on the mountain, I realized that my neck hurt terribly.  I went to the doctor the next day and found out I had whiplash and got a super-stylish (sarcasm) neck brace that I had to wear for a week.  It turns out that I got whiplash on the first run when I crashed, then kept going the rest of the day with whiplash, because it was so cold that I didn't realize my neck hurt.  I was lucky that I didn't injure my neck worse.  And I have not gone snowboarding since.  I'll stick to sledding or making snowmen (and snow owls), snow angels, and having snowball fights.

There are no pictures from that trip, but here is a snow owl I made in January of this year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Indie Game Reviews: Story Nexus

You might remember me discussing Fallen London a while ago.  It is on a website called Story Nexus.  Since I shared Fallen London, the Story Nexus website has added the ability for anyone who wants to, to be able to create their own storygame.  Storygames are sort of like choose-your-own-adventure books, which you might have read as a child.  You read a story and then you get to choose what the main character does, which affects what happens in the story.  These games are like those books mixed with a traditional role playing game, where your choices affect your abilities and you develop specialized skill sets.  These games are made by different people.  Some are authors, some are game developers, and some are even scientists.  You can play all of the storygames other people made or you can make your own.  My favorite, and the most developed, storygame is Fallen London, which I discussed before.  In this game, your character lives in a seedy steampunky version of London, hence Fallen London.

Other storygames I have played on the site are Cabinet Noir and Zero Summer.  I didn't really enjoy Cabinet Noir.  In that storygame, your character is a French Detective.  It's just not the sort of book that I enjoy.  Surprisingly, I really enjoy Zero Summer.  It seems like more of a Western and takes place in Amarillo, Texas.  I think I enjoy it because the main character, who you play, is a man with amnesia who has to rediscover who he is.  Somehow that appeals to me.  The other game that I am the most excited about playing, but haven't yet, is called The Hour.  The premise is fairly simple; you have to live through the same hour over and over and over...forever.  It sounds like it should be very thought-provoking.

Update: It's not at all surprising that I really enjoy Zero Summer because now I learned that it is set in post-apocalyptic Amarillo, Texas.  I don't think I've told you, but you may have realized, that post-apocalyptic worlds are my favorite settings for both books and movies.  Insane asylums are a close second.  Reason 5,981 why I'm weird.

There is a storygame for everyone, humor, history, romance, scifi, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, educational, and quite a few that defy all labels.  Also be sure to check out the Winter 2012 World of the Season winners, Samsara (1st place, Zero Summer (2nd place), and Evolve (3rd place). (I forgot to mention that there's a competitive element involved in the world creation part.)  Click here to see all of the worlds and find one (or six) that you enjoy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The O of OCD

I have OCD.  I have talked about it a bit before.  I have mostly discussed the "C" portion, which stands for compulsive.  It means that you feel the overwhelming need to do a certain thing and if you don't do it, then you can't concentrate until you do or you just have to remove yourself from the situation completely.  For me, my stongest compulsion is straightening pictures.  If there is a crooked picture in the room, I have to straighten it, even if I am out to dinner and the picture is all the way on the other side of the room and I have to walk past numerous other diners to get to it.  If I don't straighten the picture, I have to stare at something else so I don't accidentally look at the crooked picture again.  It makes me feel uncomfortable when there are pictures that aren't hanging straight.  A compulsion that I had when I was youger, but outgrew, was much much worse.  When I put on my pajamas before going to bed, I had to put my dirty clothes into the hamper a total of three times.  I couldn't toss everything in at once.  I had to do it in three separate times.  For example, I would put in my socks, then pick up my shirt and put that in, then my shirt last.  It had to total three times, not four, not two, not one, three.  If I didn't do it in three, then I felt like something very very bad was going to happen.  If I was just putting my socks into the hamper and nothing else, I had to put them in one at a time, then take one out and put it in again, so that it totalled three.  My parents were not aware of this behavior and therefore I was not diagnosed with OCD until I was in high school.

But I am not talking about compulsions today; I am talking about obsessions.  I'm sure that everyone knows what an obsession is.  Maybe you're obsessed with a famous person or a band or a certain TV show.  An obsession is something that you are so fascinated with that you cannot get it out of your head and can easily devote a large amount of your time, and in some cases money, to it.  It is possible for anyone to become obsessed with something.  It is much much easier for a person with OCD to become obsessed.  I'm not sure if I told you this story before but if I have it was a long time ago so I'll tell it again. 

When I was about 12 years old, my brother and I shared a Game Boy.  Not a Game Boy Color, but an old black-and-white Game Boy which had no backlit screen.  This was old technology at that time but it was what my mother allowed us to have so we were happy with it.  We were each allowed to play it for 20 minutes a day and not a minute more.  My uncle hit a deer on his motorcyle and became very badly injured.  He was in the hospital for a very long time.  He has recovered now, aside from brain damage.  When he was in the hospital, my mother and my grandmother would go to Portland to visit him every single day.  Since it was during the summer, my mother would drop my brother and I off with my grandfather while they went to the hospital.  We were allowed to visit later, but at first his injuries were so awful that if a kid saw them, they would be scarred for life.  Of course my brother and I would bring the Game Boy when we went to our grandfather's house for the day.  Our grandfather would sit in the dining room and watch TV while my brother and I were in the living room.  He didn't really check on us that often, except for when he brought us our lunch.  He definitely didn't enforce the rules.  Our mother allowed us to play Game Boy for one hour each while we were at grandpa's house.  We always played for much longer than that, but took turns, because we knew how to share.  We got this game called Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle and it was one of those games where you couldn't save but you did get a password every time you beat a level.  My brother and I would each play until we died three times and then let the other one play.  We were trying really hard to beat this game, which must have had about 50 levels.  It took many days.  On the day that we would beat it, we played for a long time and then finally reached the last level, where the final boss was a big witch.  My brother tried again and again to defeat her, but couldn't figure out how.  He got frustrated and left me to defeating the final boss.  I tried and tried for hours and then I finally beat it!  Later our mom came and took us home.  I was in washing up for dinner and there were Bugs Bunny's floating in my vision as I washed my hands!  I was really frightened but my mom knew right away that I had played the Bugs Bunny game for too long.  The thing with the screen on the old Game Boy not being back-lit is that it causes much more eye strain than today's screens.  Bugs Bunny stayed in my vision for a few more hours and it was long enough that I never played longer than my time limit after that. 

The point of me telling this story is to illustrate how I can become obsessed with things fairly easily.  My brother quit when the game got frustrating but I had to keep playing until I beat it.  To this day, I get this way with computer games, which is why I can never ever start to play World of Warcraft.  I stick to Flash games like escape the room games and point and click games.  These games are shorter and can be beaten in the course of a day.  When I discover a TV show that I enjoy, I have to watch every single episode that exists all in a row until I'm done.  When I first started reading blogs and in fact up until the beginning of this year, when I discovered a new-to-me blog that I enjoyed I had to read all of it.  I would take days just reading through the archives and stopping only to eat, sleep, or take a bathroom break.  I don't do that with blogs any more.  I have managed to outgrow that obsession, but I do still love to read blogs.  Don't even get me started on websites where you earn achievements or badges.  I can stay on those for days until I earn all of the badges.  There is this really difficult Flash game called Achievement Unlocked.  Your character is an elephant and you have to traverse the small game area earning achievements.  You can see the names of the achievements but that is it.  There are over 100 different achievements.  You have to try things and push random keys on your keyboard until you figure out how to do things.  A random key will turn everything orange and you earn an achievement for that.  You earn an achievement for having your elephant hit the spikes 100 times.  I played that game for an entire day straight and most of the night until I earned all of the achievements.  By the end I was no longer having fun.  I even had to look up the walkthrough and then do everything it told me until I got the remaining achievements.  Most people would have been satisfied with just reading how in the walkthrough or even just quitting the game, but not me, I couldn't stop until I earned every last achievement.

The reason I share all of these personal things with you is to help you understand why I do some of the things that I do and also to be real.  I personally can't stand blogs where it's nothing but cute outfits and fun outings and yummy foods and nobody ever even gets a splinter.  I like to read about real people doing real things.  Real people make mistakes.  Real people don't have perfect lives.  Real people have things that make them weird and unique.  So this is me letting you all know that I am a real person, just in case you didn't already know that.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Princess Bride Band Names

You guys might remember that Princess Bride is one of my favorite movies ever.  You also might remember that when I have a fever my brain thinks strange things.  Well I woke up with a fever this morning and now I'm watching Princess Bride on TV.  There are certain phrases that I thought would make either really good or really bad band names, so I'm going to share them.

Good Band Names:
Shrieking Eels
Six-Fingered Man
Rodents of Unusual Size

So-So Band Names:
Unemployed in Greenland
Murdered by Pirates
Burned by Acid

Bad Band Names:
Get Used to Disappointment
Pit of Despair
Warthog-Faced Buffoon

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Movie Review: American Zombie

In case you're tired of everyone's Christmas posts, here's a zombie movie review.  American Zombie is a mockumentary.  It is about two people who have teamed up to film a documentary about the living dead population residing in the Los Angeles area.  They have jobs and "lives" just like ordinary people.  One works at a grocery store.  The documentarians are surprised to learn that zombies don't have refrigerators full of dead bodies to eat, and that they don't even eat people.  They eat normal human food.  Then the two documentarians convince the zombies to let them tag along to an event in the desert, similar to Burning Man or Coachella.  This event is normally zombies-only and the documentarians are the first humans to ever attend.  At the event they learn a surprising secret that changes everything.

This movie was kind of funny at the beginning but by the end it was really depressing.  One of my favorite quotes from this movie is on the poster, "We're here. We're dead. Get used to it."  I would not recommend this movie at all.  At the beginning I was thinking it was going to be really good but then it turned into a completely different movie, one that I didn't like at all.  I had high hopes for this movie, but it fell short.  I can only give this movie 1 star out of 5.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Album Design History at the EMP

You may remember that G and I went to the Experience Music Project in August.  Well I might have accidentally forgotten to share a lot of the pictures I took with you, including pictures of the sci fi exhibit and the horror exhibit.  Today I'm sharing a couple of my favorite pictures, the pictures of the design history pieces.  I wish there were more of them because they were so cool!

I really love looking at album designs.  It's especially cool to see how they did mockups back before they had computer software to use for them.  I wonder how many different designs they went through before they get to the final versions.  I wish that there was a famous album cover design history museum.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Blog and Shop of the Month 1

The first ever Blog of the Month is a blog that I discovered fairly recently.  It is called Eef Etc. and I discovered it through my discovery of Indie Gift Box on Twitter.  Erin is the mastermind behind Indie Gift Box, which I've blogged about recently.  She also shares my love of Supernatural and does amazing graphic design work.  She makes jewelry too.  She is a really nice person and has very good taste, so you should all pay her a visit.

BlogTwitter | Pinterest

My first ever Shop of the Month is Beejou Designs.  I discovered this shop last week and fell in love.  All of the jewelry is so beautiful and well-made while still being completely affordable.  It also makes me wish I had a place to hammer metal but alas, my neighbors would not appreciate all that racket.  Emily has only been on Etsy since November.  If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, you should definitely stop by her shop.  Even if you don't have money, you should at least look at her gorgeous jewelry.

Each month I will pick a different blog and shop to feature.  You can find them in the upper right sidebar.  I really like doing this because it allows me to appreciate and share people who I think do great things.  It also works better than just tweeting "You guys should check this out; It's really cool."  I hope that you all enjoy this new feature as much as I do.  Congratulations to my first featured people : )