Suffering from an Excess of Free Time? There’s an App for That.

Recently, I  was fortunate enough to receive a free piece of technology thanks to sheer luck, online procrastination, and a corporation that decided to trade off  iPad Minis for advertising.

Normally, I’d be super grateful– and don’t get me wrong, I am– but for once I feel legitimized in being a jerk because the corporation in question just happens to, ironically, be one that had kinda screwed me over in the past.

So Ha-Ha! In their FACES!!! The fates have smiled on me and struck them down, right?? I mean, after all the grief I went through with Verizon in the past, I’m definitely not signing back up with them,  so they’ve made no gains from their gamble with me. …Although maybe they were aiming wider. Maybe they counted on me spreading the word via blog. …

...Clever bastards.

…Clever bastards.

Now, I mostly jest. Mostly. I personally dislike Verizon still, and as long as I’ve hopped on the jerk train I’ll add that I never much liked Apple either. The layout always confused me, and I wasn’t good at navigating or using it. (“I don’t want to go on a safari, I want to open the internet, dammit!!”) Therefore the only logical, even-handed solution was to conclude that all Apple products were the devil and also stupid.

How wrong I was. (About Apple, anyways.)

I’ve recently learned that one difference between apple as a fruit and Apple as technology is that while I would quickly throw one out if I received it for free in the mail (or via old lady. Witches be tripping, yo), the other I would keep by my side daily until the end of time.

I’ve also recently learned that apps on the iPad Mini are kind of freaking amazing. I’ve also realized that they are dangerously entertaining and could easily suck the free time out of me with the speed and tenacity of mosquitoes at a swamp side nude beach.

So, in the fashion of old-fashion chain letters, I plan on ridding myself of this curse by sharing it with the world!

My Favorite iPad games (right now):

Kingdoms of Zenia: Dragon Wars: imageImagine if Farmville and Warcraft had a one night stand in Middle Earth… Sprinkle that with blue meth and stir in any friend that uses apple, and that might get you close to what this thing is like. Half civilization simulator, half rts, half rpg-esque grind machine, and all mind-numbing addiction. This is one of those online games that requires you check in a few times per day to harvest various materials and boost your friend’s productions. While you’re there, you might as well build up your kingdom, or complete a few challenges, maybe save the world by battle questing, or refuel your troop supply. Along with the typical civilization building rigamarole, the battle portion of the game employs some strategy as you recruit and arrange various melee and distance troops before battle. It also offers the option to engage in some PvP “raiding” as well. This game is easy to put down, but hard to leave alone.


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At least one minion is happy.

Pocket Minions 

I…I don’t even know what to call it besides cute. You control tiny little people and try to use your resources to build your castle higher and higher. You only have so many resources to build rooms. Certain rooms recruit certain minions. Certain minions make certain resources. All minions require certain things (like toilets and furnaces) to remain happy. That’s the short version of the rules, really. It involves limited strategy and a lot of free time. You have to collect resources from the cute tiny people manually though, and that cuts down on how addictive it actually is. I’m currently uninterested after completing two towers, but those two towers were a lot of fun to raise up.


Miku Flick & Miku Flick/02 image

So. Much. Love! This is a super addictive take on the usual rhythm games featuring songs and video from the Vocaloid series of synthetic singers. In the flick series, not only do you tap in rhythm, but you have to find the consonant in a 9 panel array and then flick in the direction of the vowel. Needless to say, this ups the ante on concentration and difficulty, but with fluid, intuitive gameplay it adds up to a really rewarding challenge. For those interested in improving hiragana recognition, it’s AMAZING as it has three modes for the phonetics: kana, roman alphabet, and a combination mode. Both titles cost money to play, but are well worth it. Flick/02 is my favorite at the moment, purely because it features characters like Luka, Meiko, Kaito, and the Kagamine twins rather than just Miku. Progression unlocks additional songs and modes, and there are song packs available for purchase if you get bored with what’s available. All the featured songs also have background music videos featuring the characters, as well as stand alone PVs and a karaoke mode you can access when you’re not in the mood to play! <33


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I’m just a little boy!!

Limbo

I remember the buzz when this game first hit Steam way back when, and was super excited when I saw that it was available on iOS. It’s everything I expected from the trailers– dark, highly stylized, haunting… An absolutely unique, puzzle based platformer that immerses you in the struggles of a young boy trapped in an ominous world. My only complaint is that the controls, especially the jump controls, can be a little sticky at times with the touch system. …There’s nothing more frustrating then having your poor little shadow boy brutally decapitated because your touch screen decided that you wanted to walk INTO the bear trap rather than jump OVER it. Other than that– absolutely gorgeous. (PS. Spiders are horrifying, and those other shadow kids are dicks. :P)


Infinity Blade

imageHoly crap…do you see that graphic? I saw that graphic. I saw that graphic and then bought this 5 dollar-ish game without knowing anything about it. I’m glad I did. Infinity Blade is dazzling visually and has one of the best shield and sword combat systems I’ve ever played with. Each battle calls on you to observe and react to your opponent’s attacks by either dodging, blocking, or parrying. Certain chains of these tactics will cause a break in your enemy’s defense and allow you to unleash chains of directional attacks, magic, and special moves. There’s a fruit ninja like quality once you do hit an opening, but it’s still very satisfying to unleash some furious slice and dicing. Infinity Blade also has a strong RPG element and an interesting storyline. The final boss appears relatively quickly, and the odds seem insurmountable…and are. Upon losing, you return to the opening screen 19-21 years later as your own progeny (fortunately, the new, youthful Swordy McSlash-Slash has kept all the armor and upgrades you had previously), and proceed to go forth in an attempt to avenge your father. Sure it sounds repetitive, but at Bloodline #4 the updated enemies and increasing familiarity with the game mechanics have continued to keep me entertained.


Paper 53

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  I’m not sure if this app appeals to the super artsy, but for the aspiring artsy type (like me!), it’s a really neat little utility.

Half fingerpaint, a quarter microsoft paint, and a quarter photoshop, Paper 53 acts as a fun, interactive toolbox and canvas combo with a lot of features and abilities that scale with talent and practice. The interface is straightforward, and there are multiple albums to help sort and store doodles, daydreams, and legitimate attempts at making something you might one day want to show another living being.

So yes- I dig this app. I use this app. I’m in awe of some of the things I’ve seen from really talented people using this app. …But I will make one caveat here– for a free app, this one sure isn’t. 

Yeah, yeah– you can download the bare bones for free, but see the picture? That’s what you get.

Background and a pencil.

… Have…fun?

As it comes, I think the app would hold my interest for about half a blink, but with upgrades it becomes much, much more. For under 15 dollars, you get markers, pencils, paint (my favorite~!), and a color blender…and even if you happen to be not-so-artistically inclined like me, it’s awesome enough to make you feel pretty alright about your imagineering made pixeled.


So at the moment, these are the titles I’ve chosen to while away my free time with~!

If you frequently find yourself beleaguered with an excess of free time, they might just be the tickets to blissful preoccupation (or even procrastination~!)

Game on~!

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Furbies are back! (2012 Tumblr post)

Furbies are back!

Do you remember 1998? I do.

Tamagotchi’s were headed out and the brand new toy that everyone had to have was the Furby. These toys were amazing! You could talk to them and they talked back! They moved and reacted to light and sound! They learned and developed based solely on your interactions with them! Who wouldn’t want one?!

furbyeyes2Of course, they lost their novelty quickly as we realized that no, they would not become sentient…or even close to it. Parrots, though smellier, were still way, way cooler. (Personally, I had been a bit concerned that they would lead to the whole ‘robot overlord’ thing, and was mildly disappointed when I discovered every bit of that worry unfounded). They didn’t walk, danced poorly, never shut up, and had no real ‘game’ of any sort to keep you engaged with them. They just…were, and eventually the shine of possessing one wore off. Eventually my Furby ended up in a corner with a blanket over its head just to keep it quiet. I know that several of my friends’ Furbies suffered a similar ‘cloak of eternal darkness’ fate.

newfurby

Now 5 years after the last batch of Furbies was pumped out and 14 years after their initial boom, Hasbro has decided that the time has come to unleash these chirping, wobbling, fuzzy fiends on a new generation. Of course, this go around there are fancier LCD eyes and a slew of apps to be used along with them. The ears are pretty cute, and apparently they have different personalities depending on how you interact with them…or something like that. *shrug*

Even with the bells and whistles, the gimmick still feels very samey. It talks? Awesome. I remember how eventually every odd noise and whistle and hoot made me want to run my ear over a cheese grater a few billion times with the first models. The talking is SO not a huge selling point for me.

newfurby3It moves? Yeah, okay. It moves more than the original did. It’s little giggle is actually cute looking, and the dance in the video is adorable. And oh. OH. I can feed it with my phone? I can use a dictionary to translate the Furbinese or whatever they want to call it? Novelty points there, I guess. It’s an interesting little addition if nothing else, and maybe an opportunity to keep the little gremlin engaging.

I feel that with the advent of things like webkins a few years back, this whole ‘toy with tech’ might have come a little late as a selling point for the kidlets that didn’t get to experience the furbies the first go around…leaving me to wonder who the target market really is. Maybe this is more of a nostalgic toy aimed at the older crowd as well? I suppose we’ll just have to see how they do.

For a more detailed look at Furby 2012, check out this review:

Posh Polishes: Nail Polish by Deborah Lippmann and butter London

I enjoy a manicure as much as the next girl, and am always happy to recieve new colors and brands in my monthly samplebox from beautybar.com.

nailpolish1The first comes from butter London, a company with a strange capitalization theme and a stylish bottle. The square lid actually slides upward to reveal a more convential cylindrical polish brush– a nice touch as it doesn’t sacrifice ease of application for aesthetics.
The color I have is “Old Bill,” a shimmering neutral bronze. The color goes on smoothly and dries in an average amount of time, leaving a nice glittering finish that can easily stand alone. The polish easily lasts the better part of a week without a top coat if you treat it gently, and wear and tear at the tips are easily patched with a swipe or two at night if you feel so inclined.

The color is classy and could literally go with anything so long as you’re alright with the glistening finish.

nailpolish3The second polish comes from Deborah Lippmann, and quickly became a favorite of mine. Unlike butter London, there’s not much to say about the bottle. The typography is nice and there are subtle indentations at the neck and base. The handle of the polish brush has a curved ergonomic grip that definitely makes it easier to hold onto– a real bonus in my book as I always struggle on my non-dominant hand.

The color I received is Private Dancer, a multifaceted shimmering purple with silver undertones. Although normally not a big fan of purple nails, I can’t stress enough how much love I have for this color. It changes personalities based on lighting and background with the agility of a chameleon and has enough sparkle to get noticed but not be obnoxious.
I love this color so hard, that I couldn’t just stop at my nails– any small project that needed a dash of color got a private dance!

Wear wise, this brand seems to be a titan. Even with far-from-gentle wear, my color lasted well over a week with only a touch-up here and there.

I like both brands, but Lippmann thoroughly thrashed butter in every area but shelf appeal for me in regard to these samples. I’d still recommend both though, because like it’s namesake, butter is certainly slick…just not my favorite color in this instance.

No Time for Paranoia. AKA! One Less Thing to Worry About.

It’s funny how quickly things move sometimes. I fell asleep the other night, too exhausted to finish the small article I was writing on superstition and paranoia.

You see, I’d been having nightmares. Nightmares about my hair falling out. My teeth falling out. That kind of thing.

I’d started finding hair on my pillow in the morning. My head felt like it was itchying. I was getting paranoid.

I developed some rituals. 5 strokes of the hairbrush and straight into a pony tail for the rest of the day,. No touching the hair before I went to bed. No showers after the second chemo.

Basically, don’t look at the hair. Don’t think about the hair. Don’t touch the hair.

ESPECIALLY don’t touch the hair.

That’s what I was writring about. Maybe in more detail.

The night after neulasta was AWFUL. I had some oxy/acetominaphin to help get me through it though, so after an hour or so, it became tolerable and I was able to get some on/off sleep in so long as my head wasn’t involved. (And yes, that is another article because I feel it’s important. Neulasta is NO JOKE.)

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up. I love spooky stuff. I wanted to participate. I planned on taking the max dose of oxy for the celebration. Dress up. Have fun. …A shower was needed.

I will summerize the shower: traumatic shower is traumatic.Image

That dream where you run your fingers through your hair and it comes out in clumps? And doesn’t stop? THAT.

I got so overwhelmed that through the tears, I started hanging it up on the towel rack. What else could I do? It wouldn’t stop!!

It was so much like my nightmares that I have expected my grit teeth to fall out of my head too! Maybe my arms would melt away and fall off next!!

Before I continue, I’ll tangent with a short story. I gave my hair an ultimatum. We could live together if it thinned. We could live together for a long time. I might get it cut a bit shorter, I might wear it up a lot more, but we’d deal. HOWEVER. If it clumped and came out? Done deal. It was getting shaved. I knew I couldn’t deal with it. Too much. Much too much.

So yeah, I got over the shock. I got over the horror. I got annoyed. Stupid fucking hair!!! It had ONE JOB, dammit!!! ONE!!

Cool thing though, the chemo left patterns. I saw two tulips and later on a heart. Maybe even the word “hi” if I looked hard enough. It was going to be okay. The hair stuff? If anything, it just showed that the chemo was doing it’s thing. Hunting shit down. Getting cancer dead.ImageImage

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I could dig it. I could deal with it. I don’t make idle threats, so at least I knew that I wouldn’t have to deal with the awful hair on my pillow much longer.

I’m blessed with wonderful friends. My housemate has worries of her own in the cancer department that make this lymphoma of mine look like a cupcake stand. She’s also lost her mother to cancer. There are all sorts of reasons that helping me with my hair issues probably made her uncomfortable or potentially brought back memories. Still, she’s the best make-you-bald barber I’ll ever had. Through the process we smiled and laughed…she made me forget everything I was worried about or afraid of.

I can’t even express my gratitude for her in general, let alone for her help with a difficult task. I really am SO blessed.

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So now I have a new haircut…and one less trouble. :)