Friday, June 24, 2011

KAPOW! Coloud’s Marvel Headphones

A while back, I posted a Buzz post about wanting a pair of Marvel headphones that I randomly spotted on a site called Coloud. I’m a huge comics fan, so of course, I was salivating at the mouth to have these, but I didn’t see me owning a pair in the immediate future. However, what’s that old saying, “Ask and ye shall receive”? Well, I asked—technically posted about them—and I received a pair, the exact pair that I wanted, from a friend. I knew there was a reason that I wasn’t a recluse. Having friends is AWESOME!

They have a few different models ranging from earbuds to over-the-ear headphones. My particular pair is the C22 model with the KAPOW! design. I liked the look of the others, but that pair was my favorite. I didn’t specify that they were my favorite (I only mentioned I wanted an over-the-ears pair), but I think this friend knows me well enough to know those were the ones that I specifically wanted. I liked them better because they had a universal meaning in the comics world. 

My actual pair
They’re loud. I can take them off and use them sort of like mini-speakers on full volume. When I first used them, I forgot to turn the volume down on my iPod and nearly lost my head. I’m sure some of my brain melted on this first try. They’re a little snug, but not uncomfortably so for me. They seem like the type of headphones that you can’t stretch out to fit better. They snap right back into their tight form, but we’ll see what happens after a few months of wear. They'll be a nice secondary to my in-ear buds that I purchased from Skullcandy.

Do I love them? You’re darn right I do.
Continue Reading…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

[Review] The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Rating: 2 (out of 5)


Mary doesn’t know a life that doesn’t involve the Unconsecrated (read: zombies). Mary doesn’t even know if there’s more life outside of her dreary existence in her village, but her heart tells her it’s so. She lives her life in a caged community run by a group of women called the Sisterhood, who only tell them that man’s hubris and his attempts to outwit God led to his downfall, but that they—the survivors—were spared to repopulate the earth. Then, the walls of the compound are breached by the Unconsecrated, forcing Mary and a few other survivors to move beyond their walls.

This story is told through Mary’s eyes. It’s well-written, but it took me forever to read this and not because I was busy. For me, this is the sort of book that can be depressing to read through. It’s just a knot of darkness. The religious oppression along with the situation they’re in just didn’t leave me feeling very hopeful for the characters.
Continue Reading…

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Flight and My First AirBnB experience

Arrived safely in New York at around 2am Sunday morning, a two hour difference from my original 11:59pm arrival. The weather in the southeast had been pretty terrible those last few days leading up to my flight with storms coming and going faster than you could blink. One minute you'd be soaking up the sunshine, and the next torrential downpour would be beating you into submission.

Fortunately, I wasn't one of those people who'd been delayed for days. Some people had even boarded their flights only to be turned around due to the weather. I can only imagine their frustrations with the situation, especially when you have no one to blame except Mother Nature. And who gon' check Mother Nature?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I used AirBnB to book a room for one night from someone. To recap, I learned about AirBnB through an article on Learnvest about saving on travel costs. AirBnB allows people to post their spaces to rent out to others. This could be a room or a whole house. Since I was arriving a day earlier than I intended and didn't want to pay for an extra night in the hotel I'd book, I gave a user on AirBnB a try, going with a person who has an excellent track record among users. And the price was good as well. It turned out to be an easy experience.

During the delay, I called to let my host know that I would be later than I expected. He was in Seattle, but he did a great job of helping me out. His other boarders knew I was coming and he gave me the phone numbers to use to contact them. He made sure the public transportation route I had was the most convenient.

His place was clean and has a fun, open vibe. There's not a lot of space, but that's okay. All I needed was somewhere to sleep and plug up my gadgets. I'm not picky about where I'm staying as long as it's safe and clean. And I felt secure, relaxed there. The other guests were friendly as well. Felt almost like I was in a dorm again. The experience was positive enough that I will definitely try AirBnB again, and I'm kind of sad that I had to leave there.

I recommend checking out the site and using its services if you don't mind staying in someone else's space.
Continue Reading…

Thursday, June 16, 2011

[Review] Hitman: A Rage in Arkham by Garth Ennis

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)

Does every hero, quasi-hero, antihero, and villain that resides in Gotham find themselves in Batman’s bad graces at least once in their career? It sure seems like it. Okay, I guess that’s a stupid question. I just find it highly amusing how self-righteous a man who puts people in traction, eagerly so might I add, can be about other people doing something alike (and sometimes worse, but mostly alike) to the same people. That’s just me, though.

This review is full of spoilers from previous arcs featuring Hitman that lead up to this one, so I’ll cut it here.
Continue Reading…

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

[Mini-mix] Platinum Blonde Life

There's a knock on the door
But I'm not gonna open it
I want a platinum blonde life
So I can bleach another color
♫ Platinum Blonde Life, No Doubt

My name is Anne
I got a plan
I may lack virtue
But I'm peninent
♫ Anne, Santogold

I'll be
More than lover
More than a woman
More than a lover
♫ More Than a Woman, Aaliyah

And in the crash of the dark
I'll be your light in the mist
I can see you burning for a kiss
Psychobabble all upon your lips
♫ Tigerlily, La Roux

And when I set it free
Like a feather it will be
And when I rise to see it done
Like whatever it will be
♫ Like a Feather, Nikka Costa
Continue Reading…

Monday, June 13, 2011

I was having a bit of a dilemma this past week...

But this is more of a recommendation post than a “bitch and moan” post since I fixed my own problem.

I have a rooted Nook Color. Why?

Short answer: it does exactly what I want from a “tablet.”

Long answer: I’d been in the market for an iPad/tablet since the iPad was originally announced. However, I wasn’t willing to spend the money on something that would probably be a glorified comics reader for me with light productivity and gaming here and there. When the Nook Color was first released, I didn’t buy it because I already owned an original Nook and a Kindle 2, so I was definitely not getting another eBook reader. I wasn’t aware at the time what the Nook Color was working with, though. As I learned more about it and how it was being rooted to be a viable table alternative, I bided my time and waited for the right time to purchase it.

I ended up waiting a little longer than I intended due to some personal circumstances that hindered me from buying it, but in early-mid April, I became the proud owner of a Nook Color, which was promptly rooted and customized to my needs. I haven’t looked back since, and I love it. Reading comics on it is amazing using Perfect Viewer, and a myriad of productivity apps, such as Documents To Go, make me feel super productive, especially on days I can’t lug my laptop around with me and need to do things.

But that’s all beside the point. I upgraded my Nook Color to the latest Phiremod ROM, and in the post, TetherGPS was mentioned for sharing the GPS signal with the Nook Color. At first, this didn’t seem like such a big deal, but considering that I like to use Navigation, I realized that it would be much easier to use on a larger device than my phone. (I own a Samsung Fascinate powered by Verizon, which is also rooted.)

I’d recently updated my Fascinate to Froyo, which I have to admit I’m not enjoying all that much. It’s giving me way too many problems, but that’s a post for another time. One thing I noticed was that I couldn’t stop the screen on my phone from timing out in the update. When my screen timed out, the GPS tether was lost between my devices, which was starting to get on my nerves more than a little bit. It took me a week to ask Google if there were any apps that would keep my screen from timing out.

Google quickly responded, but the gem I found in this was KeepScreen. Unlike other apps that seem to be aimed at just generally keeping your screen from timing out, KeepScreen allows you to specify which apps you want to keep your screen active, and when they are no longer active, KeepScreen doesn’t continue to keep your screen from timing out. That way if you forget you won’t have a nasty dead phone waiting for you when you look at it again.

This thing just keeps bringing me more and more joy. Now, I need to find a good car mount for my Nook. I guess that will be this week’s task.
Continue Reading…

Sunday, June 12, 2011

All the Single Ladies

Charity Shea, Stacey Dash, and LisaRaye McCoy
VH1 just debuted a new show a couple weeks ago called Single Ladies. The show stars Stacey Dash as Val, LisaRaye McCoy as Keisha, Charity Shea as April, and Travis Winfrey as the sassy gay male friend, Omar. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this was probably VH1’s attempt at a Sex in the City type show with a multiracial cast of characters that was supposed be funny, thoughtful, and intelligent that dealt with issues such as race and dating, breakups, marital infidelity, online dating, and “love ‘em and leave ‘em” mentalities.

Unfortunately, they strike out.

Val is undoubtedly the main protagonist of the show. Val started the show in a relationship with a pro basketball player who ended the relationship after she started an argument because they weren’t married after five years of togetherness. She goes on to tell him that she didn’t know how to explain to her family and friends why they weren’t married. She whines that she gave up her career as a traveling stylist to the stars for him, that she compromised for him, so they could have a life together.

I couldn’t help wincing through this whole argument. I’m aware that there are women out there that think these things. I know some of them, but really? Your basis for wanting to be married is so that your family won’t think you’re a pariah? You give up your career because you want to compromise when he gave up nothing and even pointed out this was YOUR decision? Not once did love and wanting to be with this person come up in the conversation. Everything she said was shallow, the kind of reasoning you expect to come out of a child’s mouth, not an established, smart woman.

Then, there’s April. April is a white woman married to a black man. That means her race comes up often and usually in context with “humorous” quips like her friends joking, “Save some black men for us.” April is also sleeping with the mayor of Atlanta, a powerful, married black man. She claims that they’re only having fun and often uses his status to get things that she wants. The police department and other judicial types are aware of her affair with the mayor and “protect” them in a way.

April’s husband seems to be a good man from the two episodes I’ve watched. He’s aware of the distance between them and appears to be making an effort to mend whatever is wrong with their marriage. April comes off as selfish. She uses her friends as a cover without telling them. She blabs her friends’ business, but not her own. Then, she expects them to be loving and understanding that she made a mistake. Of course, they are.

Last, we have Keisha, a video vixen whose claim to fame is having a big ass. Something that is mentioned in just about every scene that she’s in. Keisha doesn’t believe in love and relationships. She sleeps with men, but doesn’t allow them to stay over. However, she’s met her match in man who knows how to play her games just as well as she does. It’s a constant war of wills with these two.

However, an ex-video vixen who “found Jesus” that Keisha worked with in the past threatens to expose her in a tell-all book for stealing on shoots they used to do back in the day. Keisha justifies her actions by saying that she stole from people who didn’t pay her and fenced the items. She tells Keisha if she wants to stay out of her book she needs to do one last job for her.

This show is a trainwreck. The scenarios presented for each character aren’t so bad. Many of them are a great setup to helping these characters evolve, but this show is riddled with terrible clichés that often aren’t addressed—such as the black women and weave thing and the black women in the show are so tolerant of these attacks. Then, there is issue after issue presented  when there needs to be focus on some issues instead of jumping around half-cocked with all these problems.

Then, the acting… I know that much of this probably isn’t the cast's fault. They have some great actors in the fray, but the dialogue they have to work with is dreadful and childish. You get tired of hearing about Keisha’s ass and Val’s fairytale beliefs about love and romance.  And this is all around Omar’s sassy witticism that neither adds nor subtracts from most scenes. That’s about the only time you realize he’s still there.

You can tell they wanted this to be hip and brilliant, but it’s a complete mess. But will I continue to watch it? Probably.
Continue Reading…

Friday, June 10, 2011

You’re a Criminal in Gotham

Work with me here. I’m a geek.

Anyhow… You’re a criminal in Gotham, a petty criminal at that. You have no real skills other than being someone else’s peon. You’re not the best fighter, and you probably can’t shoot a gun to save your life. You can barely do this criminal thing right. Going up against Batman is an unthinkable scenario because it will probably end with him leaving only three teeth in your mouth. You just so happen to like your teeth and don’t wish to part with them.

But suddenly, you find yourself in a situation where you’re not only face to face with Batman, but you’re also in a position that gives you the upper hand. By some strange twist of fate, you have a gun in Batman’s mouth and a twitchy trigger finger. What do you do?
  • A.)   Finish him. Sure, Batman’s not going to kill you because that’s not his thing, but he’ll put you in traction for the rest of your life. So, it’s best to get him before he gets you.
  • B.)    Fatally wound him. See how well he can chase you and break all your bones if you take out his kneecaps and get the hell out of town.
  • C.)    Put the gun in his mouth and talk about how you’re going to kill him and sell his head to the highest bidder. But not before you have a little “fun” with him—giving him enough time to snatch the gun… with his teeth.
If you chose “C,” congratulations, you would be the perfect Gotham denizen.  Unfortunately, this would also mean that you fail at life… wholly.

This is not worthy of comment.
Lately, I’ve been reading more Batman comics or comics where Batman is heavily featured. And while most of what I’ve read is excellent, in some stories, Batman seems to be more of a lucky asshole because he resides in a town with the world’s stupidest criminals. Gotham PD is the only group that might be stupider than the criminals. Even in the well-written stories, the criminals are still stupid.  I’ll give you an example of a well-written story with a stupid criminal. Batman R.I.P.

Translation: "Bitch, get yo' mind right. I'm the goddamned Batman."
Because of course Bruce wouldn’t know NOT to trust a woman named Jezebel Jet (a woman who runs her own country) or do any research on her. I guess Batman has all that detective stuff in his cave for the LOLs. Well, she did know all his secrets and even saw his Batcave. Ordinarily, I'd say that made him stupid. But if Batman took me back to the Batcave and I wasn't part of the Bat family, I would know that certain death was imminent after them panties dropped quick.

And it’s not Batman’s fault, neither is it exclusive to him. Other heroes in Gotham deal with the same stupidity day in and day out, and most of them have no freaking super powers. I guess being RICH BITCH could be Batman’s superpower. Sounds legit to me, anyway. It actually might be a pretty sweet setup most of the time. Easy work.

But man, I need a theory on why Gotham has so many dumb criminals in one place. What caused this? Inbreeding? Magic? Nuclear fallout? Aliens? It kind of sucks the joy out of reading Batman sometimes, especially when you have a great story marred with a stupid villain. The only thing worse than the dumb criminals is the “OMG, we got Batman in a pickle we can’t solve. What do we do?” Answer: Superman, the ultimate deus ex machina. J'accuse, Batman. J'accuse!

Yes, I realize that Batman can't lose in the end, but seriously, they can't do any better with these criminals?

Continue Reading…

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Should Have Been a Nomad

Statue of Liberty, October 2010



And I’m convinced that I probably was a nomad in another life.  I have always loved to travel and grew up traveling a lot with my family. That didn’t change much when I married. My husband and I traveled frequently before the kids and have plans to do more traveling with them when they’re older. I want them to experience as many cultures and regions as they can--just like my family did when I was young. I still have the traveling bug and travel fairly regularly. In the past year, I’ve taken about six trips—including my first trip to NYC.

I wish I’d gotten back into blogging when I was taking these trips, especially when I took the trip to New York, but I have plenty of memories in the form of pictures from those trips. New York was a real treat for me. I got a chance to hang out with one of my best friends since my early college days, and I got a chance to meet another friend that lives in the area. They showed me a good time, taking me around to the sites including the Statue of Liberty and Midtown Comics among many places. There's so much to do and see there. I love bustling cities.

Midtown Comics, October 2010
I loved it so much that I’ll be going back again in a couple of weeks. Now, I’m something of a deal hound, so I like to get the best deal for my buck. I tend to join rewards clubs and take advantage of deals and coupons that I come by. I actually enjoy trip planning most of the time, and my friends have often joked that I should probably be a travel agent. Maybe when I retire that will give me something to do with my time.

As much as I love to travel, it can be expensive. I thought I was all set for my trip. I’d gotten a great deal on airfare using Kayak. And I get pretty good deal being part of the rewards program for the Lexington, so that’s where I planned to stay. I’m leaving one night earlier than my check-in for the hotel, but was directed to a bed and breakfast that was very reasonable and very nice. And many pro travelers told me it was a great place to stay.

However, I still have to scour deals to make sure that I really got the best one. As mentioned in another post, I’ve been reading some finance related websites and was pleasantly surprised when one of the articles featured on Learnvest.com was about saving on travel, specifically I was turned on to a site called Airbnb.com, which is for people looking to rent everything from shared rooms to whole houses/apartments for reasonable rates.

Through that site, I found a much more reasonable rate for just an overnight stay with someone who rents out their rooms. The person had fabulous reviews from over 100 people ranging from couples to singles, so I booked. I’m still waiting on his final response about my stay, but it seems reasonably safe. They don’t release the funds until you’ve actually gotten to the destinations to dissuade scammers from using the site.

St. Peter's Church, October 2010
All of the destinations have pictures of the accommodations (many of them “verified” pictures) as well as street view pictures courtesy of Google Maps to give you a glimpse of the neighborhood that you’re staying in. So, you could get a nice apartment to yourself for the price of a hotel room. Now, it’s making me consider testing it out over the hotel to see how I like the experience.  It’s an addictive site that had me searching many future destinations. If all goes well, I think I’ll have a new favorite site.

This time I will make certain to blog the experience. 
Continue Reading…

Monday, June 6, 2011

Just started Eternal Sonata


I am loving it.

I would be lying if I said that my reasoning for picking up Eternal Sonata had nothing to do with the musical themed world that it presented. I didn’t care if the reviews for it were good or not. I didn’t care if the story itself actually turns out to be good or not. What drew me to it was that an entire world was built around music and musical terms. The nostalgia factor is what made me buy this game. Most of my childhood revolved around music. I started piano lessons when I was in Kindergarten and progressed to trumpet when I was a preteen.  The only thing that rivals my love of gaming, and even reading, is music.

The characters all have music inspired names like Beat, Allegretto (a quick beat between moderato and allegro)—affectionately called Retto by the other characters—and Polka, and even the cities have names from various musical terms like Ritardando (“to slow down”). So, I’ve been having a bit of a music geek moment shouting out definitions to the musical terms that I’ve encountered so far, telling my kids what they mean. My son is actually showing interest in the music terms.

However, this game is really a gem in disguise. I’ve gone into it not knowing what to really expect. My mother-in-law played it and loved, but she’s been mum on what the story is about.  (And yes, I’m a gamer who married into a family of gamers.) I’m only about an hour into the game at this point. Have fought my first big battle using the brothers, Retto and Beat, and the opening credits just rolled. There’s been some beautiful opening scenes that have showed a world that is vibrant and colorful, but touched with a bit of melancholy as the players learn a bit about Polka’s fate.

Retto has been the breakout character for me thus far. I love using the character because he suits my typical style of play. I like to take the alpha strike rather than being support. But I also like how the character’s personality (and this goes for all of them) is emerging early. Retto and Beat steal bread to feed children in the town of Ritardando. At this point in the game, you don’t know where their parents are—whether they’re orphans, abandoned, or runaways.  

Beat is the typical whimsical little brother, but Retto, while compassionate, has a touch of cynicism in him despite his age (early teens). Polka is already proving to be gentle, if not a bit longsuffering, but there’s always one female character that fits this archetype in your classic fantasy-themed roleplaying game. I call it the Aeris Syndrome. I’m looking forward to seeing if a stronger, more abrasive female character is introduced as there typically is—which also has a syndrome that I call the Tifa Complex.

A teenage Federic Chopin is also a character in the game. He's new, so I haven't really gotten a chance to see what his deal is, but I'm starting to get an idea of how this is shaping up, even though the obvious is put out there (this world being a product of his doing), but there are still many questions. The story is already proving to be very entertaining, giving small snatches of this world without being overwhelming or too clichéd. I see many hours of game play in my future. 
Continue Reading…

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mo' money! Mo' Money! Mo' Money!

Lately, I’ve been concerned with my finances, but not really because I want more money. I mean, I do, but I’m financially secure right now. I love my current job and know there’s plenty of room for growth here (in fact, I just go a promotion), and I’m not struggling where money is concerned. Sure, I’ve been looking into ways to save more money and stretch a dollar, but that’s because I want to be practical with my money and spend responsibly.

So, what caused this need to examine my finances? One word. Kids.

I want to have something saved up for my kids when they get older, specifically where their post-secondary education is concerned, to give them a great start in life. They don’t care much about that thing right now. My son is five-years-old and superhero obsessed, and my daughter is a rough and tough two-year-old tomboy. Right now, the concept of college means absolutely nothing to them when pitted against Superman and the Justice League.

So, the hard work is left to their parents. I figured that we’d better start thinking about different ways to save up for their future now while they’re still very young. I’ve been reading various books about money and making smart investments. Talk about information overload, so I’m taking it one step at a time using Learnvest’s bootcamp—starting with their “Personal Finance Basics” bootcamp. The first step is to evaluate my current spending situation and eliminating unnecessary bills, find out where my money is going, before investing.

Thursday’s email from Learnvest talked about getting organized and going mostly, if not completely, paperless. They recommend creating an account with your financial institutions online site and setting up bill pay for most of your bills. Friday’s email said set up calendar alerts for upcoming bills. I’m already ahead of the pack on those since I have always done those things being the tech-obsessed geek that I am.  

The only thing left for me to do is go through past statements and find out which ones I need to keep and what can be chunked. That shouldn’t be too hard either. I don’t like to have a lot of paper floating around, so I’m sure that most of what needs to be destroyed has already met its death.  I’m also about to start reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, which I’ve been told is good for people who are financially sound and those who may be a bit troubled in the money department.

Expect some rambling here as I go down this path. I never thought I’d see the day where I was interested in learning about and genuinely interested in investing, and it’s never too early to school the children on being smart with money.
Continue Reading…

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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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Email: digitaltempest82@gmail.com


PSN: DigitalTempest | XBL: DigitalTempest | Steam: DigitalTempest | Raptr: DigitalTempest


2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

goodreads.com

Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

goodreads.com

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