Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where Have All The Tasks Gone?

Points to anyone who read that to the tune of that Paula Cole song.

Anyway, I know I haven't updated on my task progress in well over a month.  I do have good reasons!  If you recall I was planning that Anniversary party that was the end of last month, plus normal daily routines, illness, my children, and doctor appointments.  Sometimes life does force you to act like a responsible adult and not the child you would rather be who can wander off carefree and do as they please with no responsibilities or worries in the World.

Ah, fantasy, how I love thee!

Though I haven't been able to tackle some of the more involved tasks I have handled a few.  I have still been reading fanfictions, but I lost count on the number and will have to go back and tally them.  I did make another new recipe, it was this very tasty easy to make Alfredo sauce.  Unfortunately I can't share where I got it because the owner of the blog has changed it to private.  : /  Let me try and remember how to make it and I'll post it here in a later post and if the owner ever makes their blog public again I shall be sure to post the link!

As for my progress on learning First person Shooter games, I am still working on Third Person perspective games.  Right now I have started the Assassins Creed series.  Sean figured this would give me practice with different types of commands in video games and would also give me a better feel using a controller to play.  With Mass Effect since we PC game I used the keyboard and mouse because that was how those games were set up to be played.  Assassins Creed allows for a controller hook up.  I have clocked about five hours thus far in the first one, I'm hoping to work some more on it this weekend.  I'm hoping to eventually be able to play things like Fallout and Skyrim.

I remember playing the first couple of Fallouts years ago before they changed the setup on them.  I really like the storylines and everything so it would be nice to actually continue the series finally.  As they say practice makes perfect.

Now that we are passed both the actual Anniversary and the party I am sure y'all are wondering if I ever did complete the task for getting Sean something awesome?

Oh I have!

First off I gave him three things.

One was a planned surprise.

One was a spontaneous surprise.

One was mutually agreed upon.

The planned surprise was this really neat looking American Flag painted on a piece of barn tin.  Since I knew Sean liked tin signs and he is patriotic, I figured it was perfect.  He loves it and it is now hanging on our wall, here is a picture.

The mutually agreed upon gift was an iPad.  Sean and I both wanted iPads for some time but with the kind of budget we live on we weren't always able to justify the cost for one let alone two.  Since they have dropped the price some on the iPad 2s we felt it was time and what better reason then for our Ten Years!  I won't be sharing a picture because I imagine most everyone knows what an iPad looks like.

As for the spontaneous surprise, this was my grand finale present.  I had the thought one day that it would be cool do get someone with artistic abilites to paint a picture of Bettie Page (who Sean likes) on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise (because Sean also really likes Star Trek).  Then I remembered a friend from high school and how she has been doing really cool paintings and artwork and that perhaps she might have the time take on the commission.  When I told her about it she seemed really excited by the idea of it and I am ever so grateful that she took the commission.  Well she finally was able to complete the piece a couple days ago and here it is.  I believe she titled it "The Captain't Chair"

Isn't it awesome?  Well Sean and I think so and that is really what matters!  She said she modeled it after old movie posters.  Sean also has her working on a custom piece for me too, which I am excited about!

Now you honestly should go check out all of her work!  Her name is Kristin Frenzel, she does neat paintings like I said.  She also handles Illuminated Lion where she does etched glassware.  She has some Etsy stores where you can buy her items.

Anyway, she is very talented and an awesome lady so you ought to check her out.  The picture of Sean's piece above came from her too, she will be shipping it along with mine when she finishes it together, but I didn't think I could do a better picture to share.  It will be such fun getting a frame for this too and hanging it up!

Hopefully with Summer about to start I can start tackling a good bit of my tasks as many of them are with the children and what better time to do it then the Summer, right?

Friday, April 26, 2013

An Entertainment Tasks Update!

So, despite my lack of posts updating my progress lately, I have still been handling task business!

Before my break from writing I mentioned how I was getting started with my gaming skills in third person shooters in order to eventually work into first person shooters (task # 12).  My first game of choice being the Mass Effect Trilogy.

I have since completed the entire series with one play through and I am in the third one now with my second play through.  I literally have been on cloud nine since getting into the game!  I've always been intrigued by the story or at least by the bits and pieces I got from when Sean would play it.  Now that I can handle the combat, which Sean says I do very well with, the game is so much more exciting!  The reason I am in my second play through already is because while playing the first round I came up with ideas of how to play it differently again.

The multiplayer portion of ME3 I am still getting the hang of.  I'm not horrible but I always come out at the bottom of the ranking, however I do imagine I am playing with people who have played this game far longer than I.  It is much more fast paced and intense but still fun.  Plus the bonus is Sean and I can play that bit together!

Since I have been so immersed in the ME Universe lately I have taken to also reading Mass Effect Fanfiction.  I have managed to read thus far a total of 11 stories to add to my list (task # 23).  I love seeing the stories where they continue from where the games left off or the stories where they change up some of the settings.

Also for those wondering, when it comes to doing the romance part of the RPG my favorite person to pursue is Garrus, because well honestly I haven't seen where any of the other male choices for FemShep compare!

Moving on, I have also managed to start knocking out task # 18) Watch five new TV Shows.  Sean had gotten into watching Parks & Recreation a couple months back and kept saying how he thought I would enjoy it.  So, a few weeks back he and I started watching it together and he was right, I do enjoy it.  I find it very funny and just love seeing how goofy each character is!

I also started watching the BBC Robin Hood series that ran from 2006 - 2009.  I came across it after watching the movie North and South, which was a BBC mini-series based off a novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I had liked their previous rendition of her other novel Wives and Daughters so I figured I'd give North and South a try.  The main male character in it was in Robin Hood and so when I looked him up as I usually do when I watch new things and want to learn more about actors and such, my interest was peaked.

There were three seasons in total and I watched all of the first season so far.  I have enjoyed it, though filled with more drama the humor in it kind of catches you off guard.  When I get the time again to watch more I am very interested to see how it concludes.

For anyone who knows me will know that my Anniversary was three days ago, so you are probably wondering about task # 99) Giving my husband an awesome gift for our Anniversary.  Well I don't have it yet but it is being worked on.  He is aware though and once it is here in my hands then I shall share it with everyone else!  :D

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Taskmaster!

So, I spent this year's St. Patty's Day, not only with my family, but also being productive.  Well, at least as far as my Task list goes.

First and foremost, I added another two new recipes to my count for task #6, thus bringing the count tally to six out of 50 recipes!

Normally on St. Patty's Day I cook Potato Leek Soup along with Irish White Soda Bread.  This year I decided to do something different.  I still cooked my Potato Leek Soup because this potato soup loving gal just HAD to, but instead of the soda bread I made Beef and Potato Pasties to go along with it.   I snagged the recipe for them from here.  Now these pasties turned out absolutely delightful!  Plus pretty simple to do!  Definitely going to be added to the regular meal rotation.  Here is a picture of my yummy dinner from yesterday!

Oh man I wish there were leftovers!  Well, actually there is of the soup!  Woot!

Oh what was that?  Oh yes I did say I made two new recipes, you are right!  I decided to follow the oh so wonderful dinner with a yummy new dessert!

Irish Lemon Pudding!  I found this recipe at the following link.  Oh man did this turn out fantastic, it had a nice and light feel and went wonderfully with whipped cream!  And yes, of course I remembered to take a picture!  Here you go!

While I was in between cooking the meal I decided to take the time to finally sit down and get back to work on the purse I started to make a while back, which I made task #16.  Originally I was moving right along that I was sure I'd finish it last night but after a long day of cooking and sewing (Wow do I sound domestic or what?) I found I got hit in the face with a wave of exhaustion and ended up having to go to bed.  That was alright though as all I had left was the trim and snaps to add which I did this morning and now I shall introduce you to my new purse!

I am really proud of it, even with the flaws because doing that without a pattern, hand sewing, and being an amateur, I'd say that came out pretty well!  It's difficult to tell from the pics, but the trim is across the top of both sides, the bit of under fabric sticking out on the last picture there is actually the other side of the purse, it has a bit of sag, but I planned it that way!

Now while managing to tackle the above two tasks I decided to go ahead and throw a third task in the mix!  When I sew I love to watch something but I prefer movies and shows I have already seen since I prefer to give me full focus on new shows.  Thus I took advantage of the opportunity and began knocking out task #38) Re-watch the complete series' of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly, by getting started with some vampire slayage action!

So, there take that task list!  :D

Friday, March 8, 2013

Reading and Video Games

Since the World of fanfiction that I normally read has been rather "eh" lately I decided to move on to some books for a bit. Thanks to a friend who gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card for Christmas I was able to snag a few books without eating into my budget! Yay for gift cards! ~dances~

So, I grabbed three books for my Nook and started my tally for task #22) Read 50 new books.

The first one I read was Demon At My Door by Michelle A. Valentine. It was a pretty quick read and though it wasn't completely horrid, I was hoping for something a bit more intense for the plot description. If you want something for light reading that touches the Supernatural, it isn't a bad choice.

Now the second book I started on was much more interesting. I haven't finished it yet as I've had to set it aside to handle life, but I have read over two hundred of it's pages and I am greatly enjoying it. If you like Steampunk it is definitely a book for you! The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook, is the first in the Iron Seas Series and I just love the World and the characters in it!

Since I haven't made it to the third book yet I shall wait to mention which one it is until I have read it.

Since I have completed a few of my tasks already and many others are work in progresses as I need more time before they will be complete, I figured I might as well start progress on another.

Task #12) Learn to play a first person shooter video game.

I've always enjoyed playing video games, but I started out in a rather limited video game verse. I played a bit of the old Atari games, my favorite was Adventure, where you played this square that went through mazes, looking for keys to unlock doors, while fighting dragons that looked like sea horses with spears that looked like arrows, all while trying to avoid the damn bat that like to steal your stuff! If that description doesn't help here is a video of the first level. Though you won't see the bat, if I remember correctly that bastard was in the second level and up.

Anyway, I loved that game and it was also the start of my love for puzzle like games. I moved on from Atari to the Sega Genesis, never had a Nintendo of any manner, but I did play it some at friend's houses who did. That of course meant puzzle games and side scrollers. Oh and I did play Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter as well. (ABACABB <~~~ the internet for those who know what that was for!) My favorite game there was Columns. Similar to Tetris but you just matched jewels (Like in Bejeweled) as the jewels dropped down. Here is a video of Columns.

I was so good at Columns too! I could sit there for hours racking up my score and I played it so much I had memorized like the first 100 sets of jewels that came down so I already knew where to place everything ahead of time. I miss that game. :(

From there I moved on to PC games and PlayStation thanks to Sean who introduced them to me. That was where I began my love affair with the Diablo Series and Fallout, but only one and two because I suck at navigating multiple people and strategizing, so Tactics just made me cry.

This was also how I made the discovery that I absolutely cannot for whatever crazy reason understand or even grasp the ability to play a first person shooter style video game. I just suck. In fact to give you an idea of how much I suck let me tell you about my first experience with trying.

Sean was playing Half Life, remember that series? Same people who created Portal came up with that, but first. I use to watch him play it and think it was cool. So, he let me sit down one day to try it. I remember going around and having some trouble with the movement but figured I would catch on. Then I discovered I could use a crow bar for a weapon and I began to bash the ever living, well everything that came in my path with this crow bar because I thought it was so awesome. Keep in mind of the previous games I played, this type of game was completely new to me. Then I realized my problem, I was being eaten alive by the mobs. See, even though I would bash the stuff in front of me I wasn't actually paying any attention to my surroundings and thus getting swarmed. I had no understanding how to navigate the play style so I could keep from dying. The perspective made me feel blind because I didn't know the techniques to keep an eye on my surroundings. I knew then this type of game style wouldn't suite me. So, I've avoided them ever since.

Here's the rub though, many games that have come out since then have been so interesting that I have actually felt upset about the fact that I can't play them because I suck at that play style. I tried to distract myself with other cool games to not feel so bad that I can't play things like Skyrim, but no matter my love for World of Warcraft it can only take me so far. Then of course they created third person shooters and I still found I could not get the hang of it even with a bit more visual. So, when Mass Effect came out I just stood by and watched Sean play because I was interested in the story, but couldn't do the actual game play. Finally as a way of bonding we did a play through together of the entire series, I handled all the role playing and he handled all the fighting. It worked and was fun, but I found I wanted to go back and make other choices and so forth. Sean having already played all three of the games a thousand times wanted to play new games and so I just left it alone.

That is why when I created my task list I decided one of the things I wanted to learn was how to play these style of games so that I didn't have to be limited anymore. Sean was surprised that I had the interest, but he was more than happy to be my coach.

He decided to start me out with a third person shooter and we can work our way up to first person. So, as I write this the Mass Effect Trilogy is being downloaded to my computer for the purpose of my education in further gaming. I will finally be able to work on some of the other play throughs I wanted as long as I can get the hang of the play style. Sean feels confidant but all I can think about is crowbars and zombies eating my face.

Guess we'll see. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Overcoming Murloc Distaste, Organizing, and More Recipes!

Well, I figured I would provide another update on the progress of my 101 Tasks!

Anyone who is familiar with the Warcraft Verse knows what a murloc is. For those who don't allow me to direct here for a bit of murloc education. Back in January 2007 when I first began to play World of Warcraft I had no prior experience with any of the Warcraft verse. Sean had picked the game up for me because he thought I might enjoy it having enjoyed Blizzard's other game world Diablo. I created my very first character a human warlock named Eemiarolyat (~gasp~ I know I played Alliance! I switched to Horde a few weeks later and have been Horde since). I was so excited to have a game to play that I ventured out into the World of Azeroth and began questing away!

My first encounter with the murloc was in Elwynn Forest when I had to go investigate the disappearance of a couple of guards. I followed the river there until I saw a murloc village up ahead. I got lucky as there were other people in the area doing the same quest so what was suppose to be a ton of murlocs hanging out was actually only a few. No it wasn't until my second encounter with them that I really began to loathe their virtual existence!

It was in the next area of questing, Westfall. I got the quest to gather the ingredients to make Westfall Stew. It included murloc eyes. The local Westfall murlocs were along the coast and so I wandered over there and looked down. There was just a whole bunch of little mini murloc villages, each filled with their own grip of murlocs. Then there was an elite murloc that would walk up and down the beach too, which meant for little ol' me to keep an eye out cause whenever he showed up I would be killed quite quickly! So I would go down the cliff and try to pull one murloc at a time, but see that was the problem. There is no such thing as pulling one murloc at a time. You pull one you better expect more are going to follow. I spent a good amount of time playing murloc pile on Eemia. I can't even begin to explain the number of times my character died and I had to run back, resurrect, and try again. Plus if it wasn't me getting dog piled, it was me accidentally getting aggro from the elite one.

That day of constant frustration and virtual death was the beginning of my great distaste for the murloc.

I even wrote a poem about it, I called it the "Ode to the Dead Murloc" and here it is...

Oh silly murloc
lying down by my feet
with your tongue hanging out
you look so very weak

Your brothers and sisters
Lie dead by your side
No more "mrrgglll" noises
No more ganking heroes on sight

Your very simple life
Of wandering the coast
Has been taken from you
So you can be made into a roast

Your eye balls harvested
and your liver too
Pretty much all of your organs
will be made into a stew

The cruelty of your death
doesn't seem very fair
The way you were struck down
with one single tear

But you see silly murloc
your death was not in vain
For I'd been waiting for this moment
like a drought does the rain

For there was a day
So very long ago
This young girl was questing
All out on her own

So happy and free
She felt to be out
Questing for gold
and wandering about

When this horrible sound
began to fill her ears
You know that noise you make
Yes, you and your peers

It's that sound of incoming
Of not one but seven
Oh dear I was mistaken
There are actually eleven!

Murlocs from every corner
start chasing her down
She has no where to go
She can't see the local town

So struck with a notion
She knows she must fight
But her survival isn't likely
She won't make it to the night

Despite her sharp swings
With her mightiest sword
The murlocs strike her down
for they are a great horde

So, back to the present
and where that girl is today
well she is standing before you
I bet you're dismayed

For on that day
so very long ago
I vowed my vengeance
On my murloc foe

So, take your last breath
While I give one last swing
With a smile on my lips
I hear my sword begin to sing

The song of your end
For you cannot block
My vengence repaid
My ode to the dead murloc!

Written By Aimee L. Taylor

Now that we are five years into the future I thought perhaps it might be time to try and get past this distaste. If for nothing else then to get people to quit teasing me about it! :P So, to begin my journey towards this I not only made it #81 on my task list I decided I needed to be exposed to a murloc daily. Allow me to introduce you to Mmmrrrggglll the murloc, my new desk buddy.

It's a work in progress, he has been there for almost two weeks now. No, I haven't spoken to him yet, mostly I stare at him waiting for the ambush.

Anyway speaking of my desk, I managed to tackle #65 on my list, which was cleaning and organizing my desk. See?

I did that four days ago and it is still that way. Plus you see Mmmrrrggglll is there as well. So, that is four days of keeping my desk organized and clean, if I reach a month I'm calling it a win!

In other news I have added two new recipes to my countdown of 50. I made a side dish called Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes, the recipe of which I got here. Now mine weren't on the hot side too much as I only had plain old chili powder and plain old paprika, but they still tasted pretty awesome! I also had trouble with crushing them as they just wanted to fall apart no matter how gentle I was. After the first couple fell apart I left the rest whole. Here is a picture of mine.

The other recipe I tackled was a crockpot mac & cheese. Normally I make the sauce from scratch and cook it all up and then sometimes bake it as that was how my mom taught me. I was intrigued by the idea of using the crockpot, so I found a recipe for it here. It tasted pretty good, but I think I ended up using too much cheese because it didn't come out with that creamy smooth look I was expecting. It will take a bit of tweaking, but definitely worth giving it another shot! I didn't get a picture of that one though, sorry.

So, I have some other recipes I plan to try out for March and of course I am slowly working on many of the other tasks on my list as well. Keeping checking back for future updates! :D

Thursday, February 21, 2013

#15) Finish Writing My World of Warcraft Character's Story Poem.

So, I managed to complete yet another task! Last night I finished the poem I had been working on that gives the back story to three of my World of Warcraft characters. I was so excited about it too that I decided instead of just sharing it with you, I would read it!

That is right! I went ahead and recorded myself reading it and created a video that you can watch and read along with me! Pretty cool huh? :D

Without further ado, I present to you:

The Tale of the Three Sisters

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

#68) Make Ten Things I find Off Pinterest ~ 1 of 10

So, as Valentine's Day is coming up this week and as usual in schools parties are thrown and cards are handed out. I remember doing this back when I was in school. The past couple of years we bought cards and candy of my son's choosing and had him give those out. This year I found a project on Pinterest that I thought was cool so i showed it to my son. He liked it so we decided to do it!

The pin in question is this, Heart Shaped Crayon Valentines.

I figured it would be neat and different to do and help me with my ten tasks off Pinterest! Win, win, right?

Well I chose to use only the red, pink, purple, and white crayons to stay in the color theme of Valentine's Day. The children helped me at first with breaking the crayons and removing the paper, but it took much longer than expected and so I was up late finishing the project.

I'd say they came out great! Definitely a cool project and aside from the long drawn out process of prepping the crayons, real simple to do! I may do this again for Alyssa when she starts school and has one of her parties in the future.

Now of course the pictures!