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Throw the TV If there's one invention that's had a HUGE impact on modern culture, it's tv Tv Emoticon.  However I noticed, based on things I heard happening in households after the 1950s, that the way people watch tv, and how they view it, has also changed with the times not just the shows themselves.  I remember talking about some of the classic shows with my parents Huggle (they were there when the shows were being broadcast at the time) and what they liked or disliked about them.  Sometimes I had not watched the show in question (with good reason Scared Emote) and had to hear from mom or dad how it was.  The biggest problem I have with some of these older tv shows, is the fact that I'm a 21st century person :sigh:, and the stuff that's on these shows doesn't have the same effect on me as they would a person that was living at the time such shows were popular.  I mean, I watched a little bit of I Love Lucy, for example, and I asked myself, "How on earth did people find this funny?" :baffled: Or I watched a little bit of Gilligan's Island (what little I could stand), and thought "Good GOD this show is dumb! Facepalm It took Gilligan FIVE MINUTES to figure out his ass was on fire!"  Again, I asked myself, "How could anyone have enjoyed such a show?" :shrug: rvmp I also took a look at the oldest sitcoms, and thought, "Wow, that show is really lame.  Remind me why this was popular again?"  -scratch head- 

There are a few exceptions to the old classics.  Some shows actually are still good, despite their age. Nod Some of the ones I watch from time to time include:

Star Trek (1960s)
I Dream of Jeannie
M*A*S*H
Kolchack: The Night Stalker
Battlestar Galactica
(1970s)

:confused: So I asked my parents, why would people watch the stupid, lame shows too?  I know for a fact that the same complaints people made decades ago about certain tv shows still are being made by anybody who watched them in today's generation.  Smartass/lecturing emote 

Mom's default answer was "They were CLASSICS!!!" :chastise That answer didn't really work for me. Shake Head No Emote It doesn't really explain anything, and really, what's she saying is, "I can't really explain it."  Dad's answer made more sense. Nod For one thing, tv was not available 24 hours a day until the 1970s.  Many channels had snow during the night, and the few stations available came on at certain hours of the morning, and went "off the air" after certain hours of the night.  Also, such shows were often the only thing on, and the concepts were new at the time.  Dad's explanation was, people watched the shows "because they were there."  It was also a family and friends affair :bestbuddies:, with everyone gathering around the set TVto watch some shows for fun and to hang out.  (This is something some families still do today grin wink).  It's a distant echo of what families used to do around the radio :radio: 3 or TURN IT UP between the 1920s and the end of WWII.  It was considered "cool" to watch some show, whether you liked it or not, and then talk about it with family, friends, classmates, and co-workers the next day or even all the next week after the new episode had aired.  If you hadn't watched it, you weren't in the loop, and either you weren't considered "cool," or a friend filled you in on what you'd missed. :date: rvmp 

It's a concept that's difficult for today's people to grasp (especially kids and teenagers) because we're so spoiled today by nearly 1,000 channels available on tv Throw the TV (and our computers for that matter), lots of things to pick and choose from, movies on demand, and streaming programs like Netflix, Acorn TV, and Hulu.  DVD's CD-ROM have also made it easy to just watch the show you want without commercials (YAY!!! w00t! )  Plus, you can watch shows that you missed out on parts of.  However, in taking a look at what tv's like today, I find it irritating Grump that we have over 900 channels (many of which we DON'T pay for, with good reason), and only 4 or 5 have anything good on.  So many things have changed over the past half century, with the internet being the biggest game-changer when it comes to tv shows.  Due to all the crap they have on tv today, I've become very picky as to what I watch, often falling back on the older stuff I enjoyed back in the 90s and early 2000s.  But once in a while, it's nice to go back to the classics (if they're any good) and enjoy them too. Happy cry (Tears of joy) 
  • Listening to: Peter & Evynn Hollens on YouTube
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Aven Colony (Beta)
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: grapefruit soda
Leprechaun Emoticon Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  I hope you're all enjoying the holiday as much as I am Happy St. Patricks Day.  Today was very special for me, because today, the live-action version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast came out in theaters!  I was so happy and excited--heck, I'm still feeling that way :happy:.  It was wonderful.  It was everything I hoped it would be, including the new stuff :happybounce:.  Emma Watson was especially good as Belle Beauty and the Beast - Belle Icon 7.  I knew she would be a good choice for the part.  Dan Stevens was phenomenal as the Beast Beauty and the Beast - Beast Icon 1, and I loved the computer animation use with the enchanted objects.  It followed the original cartoon very closely, with a few new things, like some extra songs Singing, character development, some minor story changes, and a slightly different look on characters.  There was also more magic Magic Wand.  When I saw the permanent winter snowfall Snowy around the Beast's castle, I came very close to asking, "Let me guess; it's always winter, and never Christmas?" Giggle 


My only real complaint Grump, really, was the fact that a bunch of idiot parents brought in kids that were pre-school age, and totally not ready to see a movie like this.  If it weren't for my extreme love Heart of the story itself, and concentrating really hard on the film, and some very hard-earned patience I've learned over the years, I would have come very close to yelling :Ahhhhhhhh:at those morons to get their kids out of there.  When are these people gonna learn that PG-rated Disney movies longer than an hour are not events you take little toddlers to?! :angry: Or babies Baby La for that matter?!  You wait 'till they are 6 years old (at minimum), for God's sake! :angry  We had kids going in and out with their parents, we had babies crying, and kids making a ruckus fair fight in various parts of the theater.  It's no wonder some people opt for child-free airplane rides. Angry I'm amazed we all didn't go stir-crazy Chainsaw.  I work with babies baby eager and toddlers at my job, and I know for a fact they are mentally not ready to sit through a two-and-a-half-hour movie Film and stay quiet.  Seriously. Impatient Best you can do is pop a pre-school DVD CD-ROM in the player at home or at the daycare center and let the story run in the background Tv Emoticon.   Either that, or get a GD baby-sitter and go without the danged kids!

The only thing worse was watching nearly FORTY MINUTES of previews! I think I've fainted. (Well, it felt like 40 minutes Oh Brother...).  It's like..."Did we come to see a movie?  Or an endless stream of commercials about movies we don't care about?"  (Though the new Wonder Woman, Power Rangers, and Transformers movies look interesting).  I ask you, do we really need another Smurfs or Despicable Me movie?  Hell, I wouldn't have watched those, even when I was a kid! Shiver There are times I have half a mind to take a short nap catnap while waiting for previews.  Problem is, I'd risk sleeping through part of the movie too Sad dummy.  Oh well. Shrug  

The family had wanted to go to the city Town Walk today, to see a museum, a park Day89 - Fireworks, and eat at a famous restaurant, but the problem was, some of us had stayed up late :sleepy: remake and were almost zombies Braaaaains... when we got up at 8 a.m.  To make matters worse, we realized that traffic cars cant fly would be difficult, due to all the St. Paddy's Day Happy St. Patricks Day parades going on, so we decided to do the day-trip next weekend.  Oh well Shrug.  I still liked seeing Beauty and the Beast instead. :shuffelin: 

Two weeks ago, the whole family teamed up to do some extreme gardening.  It's not as crazy as the ordeal our poor gardener has had to do, but he likes earning a living, so he is more than happy to do jobs that involve a chainsaw or hedge-trimmer on those monstrous plants in our backyard (I'll explain in a moment). 

See, we moved into this lovely new home House last summer that passed all the tests we had for house requirements:

- 1-story
- spacious
- under 20 years old
- 2 sinks in the master bathroom
- a powder room
- a large, fenced-in backyard with a high fence (for our doggy, Domino)
- a 3-car garage with an equally large driveway
- not too expensive
- an island in the kitchen
- decently-spaced-out rooms

However, as with any home you buy that's not new, you have to deal with the crap the previous owners left behind.  It turns out the wife of the previous house owner was totally nuts about the desert Cactus Blob environment she had left behind in her homeland.  So she chose to grow Agave, and other desert plants. Problem was, she refused to have them trimmed or kept up for 18 years, and now our backyard has these gigantic, monstrous-looking desert plants all over the place.  While they are artfully arranged, it still feels like walking into an alien landscape.  The two types of Agave look like tentacled monsters Slender Tentacles ready to lash out and eat you.  However, in measuring their heights, I got up close and personal (literally) with these beasties Cactus Blob, and thankfully, they will not eat you Impatient, but they do poke and scratch a lot.  They don't move unless you push on their leaves, or the wind Day132 - Outside blows through the yard.  We live at the top of a gently sloping hill, so the wind is a little stronger in our location when it blows. 

Mom tried advertising the plants for sale online, but nobody seemed interested.  Best we've been able to do is let friends dig up the baby plants that have been allowed to grow around the base of the giant Agave's.  Some people like or even love desert plants, and having them in your yard when living in the desert would be practical, due to the plants being natives of that environment, and not needing much water.  I have an aunt in Vegas who does that, Xeriscape gardening, it's called, to save on water.  However, my family doesn't like desert plants, and we really don't like having gravel and "ankle-breaker" rocks Pixel gemstones - Nephrite everywhere instead of grass, so the desert plants have to go.

I didn't want to leave Domino Rue Grin alone in the house or backyard during the job, so I locked the leash on its fullest length, looped it around the front banister of our front porch (we have a ridiculously large, deep, cavernous front porch), clipped the dog to it, and I brought out a bowl of water for him to drink from in case he got thirsty.  Wolf Attack Loop He liked being included, even though he didn't know what we were doing in the yard Giggle.  We've done it before with our dogs, so it was an easy setup.  Periodically we'd talk to Domino from where we were working, or go over to pet him.  When the job was done for the day, we brought him back into the house.  It's a nice way to keep your pet from being lonely, but you can also keep track of them too. Wink 

Like I said before, the whole family teamed up two days in a row (though dad had to work on the first day) and we cleared out a strip of dirt along the front of the two flowerbeds.  I cannot tell you how crazy it was, having to dig :spadethreaten: not only gravel, but big rocks out of the soil as well.  We threw :throw rock:all the large rocks into the side yard nearby, and they made loud crack! sounds when they landed.  They almost sounded like minor fireworks when they landed.  That area is supposed to lead to the west gate, but we locked that permanently when we moved in, so we don't care if nobody can reach it easily.  The soil was terrible.  It was like baked clay, and we had to break it up and fill in the holes with potting soil for each new flower :PeachBlossom: we planted.  Mom wants lilies and hyacinths.  I'm going to plant Stargazers eventually.  The potting soil technique was one we developed in Illinois, years back.  Same problem too, with crappy, baked clay soil (despite living in an area with rich sod for farming).  Stupid landscapers brought us cheap river-bottom clay instead of rich black soil :shakestick:, so we had to compensate for our gardens.  It works, I'm happy to say Phew!.  I think mom's eventually going to have the men in the family install that plastic landscaping border we got from the store.  It'll prevent the garden from being lost to the yard or the gravel we left behind.  Coincidentally, it rained :umbrella: the day after the second day of gardening.  Guess God wanted to water our plants too :lol:.  We have more work to do, but it's a good start, and our front garden looks better already.  Nod 

:floweraww: Spring is most definitely here.
  • Listening to: Celtic Woman
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: Star Trek Online
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: grapefruit soda
TF2 Engineer Smiley Before I get into this, I'll first say that I'm an engineer's daughter.  My dad has been a mechanical engineer for over 30 years, and has been good at his job :) (Smile).  He has to use his brain and all his skills :irmel: every day at his job, and for that, I am grateful.  He's also learned new things every year since he took on his most recent job.  Without hard-working people like him, we wouldn't have the electricity Emoticon - Electricity to power our homes, keep our houses cool in summer, keep them warm in winter, or be able to cook food on our stoves. 

One of the coolest parts of being an engineer is using your creativity and scientific knowledge to solve everyday problems :lag:.  Coincidentally, my grandpa :glasses: - NaNoEmo 8/30 (mom's side) was also an engineer and a genius.  He invented quite a few useful devices that various agencies still use today. 

It was because of dad that I was inspired to take a tech class Pixel: Laptop 4 in high school (the only one I ever took, really).  I was the ONLY girl in the whole class, and it was very awkward :awkwardsilence: revamp.  The sad part was, this was 2004-2005 when it happened.  You'd think this would be something that occurred in the 70s-80s, but nope.  It was the early 2000s (I absolutely refuse Stubborn Smiley to call them the "Naughties" or "Notties," or whatever the hell pop culture calls that decade these days).  It's sad, but true: the field for girls studying technology is still a very large, sparsely populated one.  Most of the time it's a boy's club, even today.  I tried to be polite to my classmates, but being teenage boys, it was not easy :sigh:.  Many clammed up when I got near, some were nice to me, some were just plain dumb, and some were assholes.  Some had no idea what to think of me, and it was hard trying to treat them as colleagues when all they wanted was boning material :sigh:.  Oh well.  I did my best to be polite to them and try to engage them in conversation about technology, especially regarding the computer stations we were studying.  I didn't get far, but at least I learned some things on my own :sigh:.

:content: I actually like the idea of alternative energy.  Being able to get electricity from the environment with no pollution sounds like a dream come true Happy Dreams - NaNoEmo Day 18.  But there's one problem: the technology to harness such power is extremely inefficient, and almost seems more trouble than its worth Oh Brother....  It's like trying to use coupons at your favorite store, only to find out you could have gotten everything cheaper without coupons at a different store, and that you hardly saved any money at the first store Facepalm.  It almost seems criminal that the technology to harness things like sunlight and wind have hardly changed at all since they were implemented 40-50 years ago Facepalm.  I'll provide some examples:

Day132 - Outside Wind: wind farms are not efficient because they are situated on the ground, and the wind does not blow steadily, even at the windiest places on earth. 

Sun Sunlight: Solar panels aren't efficient because they can only absorb visible light, and there are parts of the world that are almost never sunny for half the year, or there are places in the world that are notorious for their cloudy, stormy weather. 

Yeah, sure, your electricity bill is lower, but think about all the money Philip Fry (Just take my money) [V2]  you wasted, putting those pretty blue panels up on your roof in the first place.  And how much as it really helped in the long run?  The only reason solar panels are even partway feasible is because of batteries Battery for storing what they absorbed in the daytime.  Frankly, it's almost not worth your time. :sighs: 

I remember watching a futuristic tv show called The World in 2057.  It was made by Science Channel back in 2007, so we're looking at a possible future the world would have 50 years from then.  One of the hosts of the show pointed out that one way solar panels could become better, is if someone came up with a way for them to absorb more than just visible light Love The Sunshine.  If solar panels could absorb radiation from even one other part of the Electromagnetic Spectrum, or even all of them, imagine how much electricity they could produce! OMG! I can't contain my excitement!  If we had solar panels that could absorb infrared, and ultraviolet light, they would still be able to produce electricity, even at night! :excited: revamp... again. The problem is, nobody's cracked the code in how to do that, but I take comfort in the idea that someone, somewhere out there is studying that very thing. Huggle 

Another way to improve alternative energy was presented on another show.  This one suggested that a better way to harness wind power was through special balloons Balloons V4.  The balloon I saw looked interesting.  I'll be honest, in a funny way Giggle, it reminded me of those little crepe paper party decorations that you unfold, and they create what looks like a cute, crinkled flower or ball with "cells" in it.  The balloon in question was pill-shaped, white, and had "fins" built onto it.  The fins were designed to catch the wind and make the balloon spin.  The balloon had a hollow tube that had an axle inside, and the axle was attached to cables that came together below the balloon.  They then would act as both tether and a means of transporting the electricity Lightning Bolt Emoji generated by the balloon down to a transformer station on the ground.  The balloon would be floating high enough in the air that it would catch an almost constant air current.  The spinning of the balloon would generate electricity in its axle, and the power would flow to the transformer on the ground.  (No, we're not talking about Optimus Prime and his gang Giggle).  In power-plant-speak, transformers are stations that take a ton of electricity, and channel it into different venues for different needs.  If you ever see those pale gray, garbage-can things on electrical poles, those are very small transformers.  The electricity in the wires you see by the highway is often too high in volume and would overwhelm most houses in some nearby neighborhood.  The "garbage can" transformers allow the electricity to flow Stream at a lower level so that there's just enough for each house.  It's kind of like irrigating a farm field using a little bit of water, instead of the whole danged raging river nearby.  

Problem is, such a balloon might be a flight hazard for small, low-flying planes :happyjetbounce:.  The people building such wind-balloons :balloon: would have to set up flashing beacons around the balloon and have it give off a radio signal planes could pick up, like warning buoys they put in water that's dangerous to sail a boat through.  Still, even with the problems it presented, the wind-catching balloon generators would be much more efficient than crappy wind-farms stuck close to the ground Thumbs Up.  Seriously, the troposphere may be full of weather, but ground-based weather in general can be as fickle as fame or luck in gambling. 

One of the more interesting proposals I've heard for generating electricity came from a college student.  She proposed a special type of tile that could be used to pave sidewalks, walkways in malls, and even amusement parks.  Basically, areas where tons of people walk all the time.  The idea is, the tiles would go up and down from the vibrations of people walking on them all the time, and the vibrations could generate electricity.  Isn't that interesting?  People walking around, producing the very electricity that powers the lights above them!  I'd love to see that in action wink grin.  People in China and Japan would love that kind of technology, considering how many people walk in big groups around those two countries. 

So while I love Lovethe idea of alternative energy, I'm irritated that so little has been done to improve it. :sighs: 
  • Listening to: nothing
  • Reading: "Mirrored," by Alex Flynn
  • Watching: nothing
  • Playing: SWTOR
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: cherry lime-ade flavored water
Flag of the USA  I have waited 8 years for this day to finally come.  :flagofusa: We're free.  Thank you God in heaven :pray: remake, America is finally free. Cuddles: Fireworks 

"O America!" :flagus: wavy revision 

O, America you're calling
I can hear you calling me
You are calling me to be true to thee
True to thee... I will be

O, America you're weeping
Let me heal your wounded heart
I will keep you in my keeping
Till there be... a new start

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand
And lead you... to the sun
And I will stand by you...do all that I can do
And we will be... as one

O, America I hear you
From your prairies to the sea
From your mountains grand, and all through this land
You are beautiful to me

And... O, America you're calling
I can hear you calling me
You are calling me to be true to thee
True to thee... I will be

And I will answer you, and I will take your hand
And lead you... to the sun
And I will stand by you... do all that I can do
And we will be...as one

O, America you're calling
I will ever answer thee...
[Flag Hearts] Heart USA 
  • Listening to: "Oh America" performed by Celtic Woman
  • Reading: the news
  • Watching: nothing
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: strawberry flavored water
Moana - Moana I finally got to see Moana, and I loved it! :excited: It's so much fun to see a story taking place in the tropics palm tree icon TTOCI 1 GIF when it's so dreary  outside this holiday season.  The artwork and animation was gorgeous, the music was great, and I liked Moana and following her on her journey.  I didn't even care there was no romance.  Dad went with me, and he liked it too :happy:.  I was worried we wouldn't make it into the theater in time, so it's one of the few reasons I put up with 15-20 minutes of commercials (much as I loathe them Stubborn Smiley).  On the one hand, you can take advantage of the commercials to get in and get your seat, despite not quite making it to the auditorium before the showing time.  On the other hand, most of the previews they show don't really interest me :shakes head sadly:, make me want to cringe :cringe:, or a few times I've had to shut my eyes and wait for it to end.  The only previews I took an interest in this time around, were the new live-action Beauty and the Beast Beasts rose2 movie coming out next year, and this interesting true story drama about three women who went to  NASA NASA (1959-1975/1992-) Icon mid in 1961 to  work as engineers.  It's called Hidden Figures.  I could have lived without the little short cartoon they had before Moana called Inner Workings.  I've studied the human body for years, and the last thing I need is to see a silly and almost hideous cartoon representation of it; though it had a good message about enjoying life and taking risks once in a while.  Like with Brave, when the feature film finally came around after an eternity of commercials, I jokingly asked dad in whisper Gossips revamped, "You mean we're gonna actually see a movie?"  Someone next to me whispered something similar. Giggle 

Dad and I have teamed up to decorate the house House.  It's tough trying to find all the holiday stuff after a move.  We were only able to find like 1/3 of the things we usually use to spruce up the house.  We did find all 3 Christmas trees :xmas:, though something bad happened today Sad dummy.  The dog knocked over our big one :xmas: revamp 2, and the top part of the tree broke off.  On the one hand, I'm actually kinda glad I have been too lazy to decorate it so far (no broken ornaments or ruined lights), but on the other hand, our 30-year-old tree is in danger of being thrown out Worried.  Dad glued the central shaft on the top part of the tree, but the danged glue has to dry.  Rue Grin Domino is now on everyone's Shit Happens list but mine, since I wasn't there to find the tree in its broken state.  However, I'm not going out of my way to dote on him like usual right now. Stubborn Smiley

The outdoors are a different story.  Dad and I got some new decorations and extension cords (we really need to find a place to store those things so that we can FIND them each year Facepalm.  I have no idea why, but for some reason, our extension cords that we use for Christmas lights keep disappearing every year Shrug) for the outside.  It's our first year with candy-cane :candycane: lights (I don't care if mom doesn't like them), making the lights on our wreath Wreath functional, putting bows on the carriage lamps, and we took advantage of a "Star Shower" this year.  It is so cool!  Last year, in our last neighborhood, we noticed our next-door neighbors had this most peculiar device set up outside their home.  The dad had built a wooden "arm" onto the side of the porch eaves, and it had this little projector pointing at the front of his house.  It made the house sparkle at night, and we were amazed Wow! at how lovely it looked.  It's a growing trend in holiday decoration, where a quick way to get lights onto your home, is to get a special projector that can shine little lights stars all over the front of your home.  This year, in our new neighborhood, I saw at least two or three other homes that had such a device.  Mom and I planned ahead and got a Star Shower for cheap at a fabric store 4 or 5 months ago, and let it sit under the bar until December came up.  I knew dad would love to set it up, and I was right! :happybounce: It looks amazing!  And this one isn't static either!  That really surprised me when he set it up. Wow! This Star Shower is animated!  It's like we have little red and green fireflies playing on our house walls!  I love it!  :happy: 

I'm participating in a musical Music at our church.  The theme is "Christmas Around the World," and all the people involved are going to dress up in ethnic costumes.  I've chosen to wear a Celtic costume.  It's probably not really all that accurate, but I don't think anyone will mind.  It's just a long, loose green gown with long sleeves, a red cloak, a Celtic cross on a long cord around my neck, my hair will be down, and I'll be wearing a holly crown Ostr 1 and some simple flat shoes.  Other people have signed up for costumes from countries like Germany, the Philippines (we have quite a number of Filipino friends in choir wink grin), Russia, Africa, the Netherlands, England, Asia, and a few other countries.  Not everyone can sew, so our choir director brought out some stage costumes used in the past that some of our friends might be able to use. 

There was also a cute project that some of us took part in for the musical.  The centerpiece for the stage is going to be a huge Christmas tree :xmas: covered in a chain of 12" dolls made of muslin, all holding hands.  You sign up for a certain number of dolls, and put down what country you're going to dress them up for.  You then get a blank, white cloth doll, take it home, and dress it in some ethnic costume.  We were told not to put faces on them because the people putting up the tree are going to do that all at once.  If we were unhappy about the color of the doll, we could always dye it with tea.  Mom and I took home 3 dolls.  Mom decorated 2, I decorated one.  Mom dressed one of hers in an African men's robe, vest, and little hat; and the other was a Nez Perce Indian girl inspired by Kaya from American Girls.  I dressed mine up as a Dutch girl :flagofnetherlands:.  All three looked adorable! :happybounce: We dyed the Native American girl with tea so she looked like she had medium skin.  The African doll was a bit of a doozy.  Mom had me buy the darkest foundation makeup I could find, but after she painted his lower arms, his lower legs, his head, neck, and upper torso, he didn't dry out overnight!  So I took my portable heater :bademoticon:, set him up in the bathroom my brother and I share, and had him lie in front of the heater to dry out.  I'd rotate him from time to time, and test the "paint" with Kleenex.  I didn't realize makeup on muslin cloth didn't always mix at first.  But it worked.  Mom glued a little bit of doll hair on his head and got him dressed.  When I took him to church later on, people were amazed that we got his skintone right.  We were delighted to find little shoes just the right size for the girl dolls to wear (though I would have preferred little wooden Dutch shoes for my doll, but you can't always be picky when doing crafts).  Getting hair for the dolls was a pain.  You would be amazed at how hard it is to find a doll wig to fit a doll's head that's made of cloth and is about 2.5" wide.  Mom finally gave up on getting black hair and put black yarn on the Nez Perce doll's head.  We were lucky enough to get a blond wig for the Dutch doll, and I went to work, hot-gluing on all her accessories.  

Other people in the choir who had also signed up did an amazing job as well. Wow! When I brought the African one in (he was finished first) people were amazed that mom got his skintone right, and I explained how we did it.  I eventually got the girl dolls in.  I can't wait OMG! I can't contain my excitement! to see the finished product on the tree.  They are going to sew all the dolls' hands together, paint faces on, and carefully string them around the big tree.  I look forward to taking pictures. 
  • Listening to: Christmas music
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: Aven Colony (Beta)
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Blackberry Apple flavored water
:) (Smile) I've always had fun playing city-building games.  I have never played any of the Sim City games, but there are plenty of others out there.  My very first was Zeus Zeus: Master of Olympus, which I began to play in high school.  It was a historical fantasy game where you build cities in ancient Greece.  The fantasy part is where you have the various ancient Greek gods visiting and advertising to you, making offers should your people worship them.  I learned a great deal about the strategy Writing Emote - NaNo5 behind such games, so it was easy to take on the game's sequel, Poseidon.  It's very similar to Zeus, but you work with Atlanteans instead.  Both games were made by Sierra, and they also came out with this cool game I also enjoy, called Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.  That is where you build cities in ancient China.  Eventually I branched out and found other games to enjoy, such as Children of the Nile, and the Black and White 2 games.  Children of the Nile, is a lovely game where you can build cities in ancient Egypt :pharaohnoid:.  It's much better planned out than Pharaoh and Cleopatra.  Not as much in the way of fantasy, but it gives a much more realistic approach to what ancient Egypt might have been like Egypt, and I like how much better the graphics and virtual camera are in that.  Black and White 2 and Black and White 2: Battle of the Gods, were fantasy games where you played a god Oh Brother... that helps these little people in the world of Eden rebuild after a disaster.  I liked being able to use magic or train a giant creature (you had a choice of several in each game) to help the little people.  (I usually picked the wolf Rue Grin - he's my favorite).  It was actually a lot more cartoony than some of the city-building games I've played.  

I'm also a fan of science fiction Stars Orange, and it really bothered me that there were almost no sci-fi based city-building games out there.  At least, not made by the companies mentioned above.  The only one that came close was made by a British company back in '01 called Startopia.  In that one, you were an administrator who ran a space station Enter Space Station shaped like a torus (or doughnut, in Lehman's terms).  There were 9 alien Alien races that could visit, live, and work on your station, and you had various goals to shoot for.  In some of the sandbox scenarios, you could compete for space on the station with other computer-controlled players, which can be very challenging and a bit scary at times.  Again, very cartoony, but I love Love it.  In fact, I made some artwork based on the game a little while ago.  But still, it wasn't quite what I had in mind. 

Recently, I then heard of this fantastic game being made by Mothership UFO Entertainment that's going to be released next year.  It's called Aven Colony where you build cities on an alien world called Aven Prime, which is a large moon orbiting a gas giant in another solar system.  I was so excited :happybounce: .  This was exactly what I'd been hoping for, and even went as far as to buy the Beta and downloaded it to help test it.  So far, I've been impressed :happy:.  The graphics are gorgeous, and the developers really put some thought into this planet. 

Pink Planet Emoticon Aven Prime has a peculiar climate and biosphere.  From what I read, it has an atmosphere similar to Earth's but with a much lower oxygen content, and much lower air-pressure.  In fact, it's been compared to the environment at the top of Mount Everest RMountain.  Therefore, all the buildings in the colony have to be pressurized and connected with a closed system of walkways for colonists to use to get places.  You can see them walking about through the glass in the tunnels, and you can click on them to learn who they are.  The days are also very long, and each part of the day Sun has its own season.  In the morning, it's springtimecherry blossom, at noon it's summer Smiley soleil - Sun, in afternoon it's autumn Fall leaf - F2U, and at night, it's winter Snowy.  The game treats each "day" like a "year," though I don't think I'd go that far, considering a year on earth is not 36 hours long GiggleThe winters can have some violent weather, including lightning bolts :thunder: powerful enough to destroy buildings unless you set up lightning-rod towers.  There are other dangers, such as plague spores, floating aliens that mess up buildings, sand worms, toxic gas Rainbow Cloud Bullet - F2U! emissions from thermal vents, and other problems that I've seen before in other city-building games.  The different maps are interesting too.  Aven Prime has as diverse a set of climates as earth, with jungles, deserts, and snowy poles.  I thought it was cool how you can set up a Research Center and learn how to make food out of alien plants.  

I haven't seen many aliens, and they all appear to be "animals," non-sentients.  Personally, I think this is exactly how humans will meet the first aliens someday; as non-sentient "animals" living on another world we might colonize in the far future.  Everyone always thinks we'll meet intelligent aliens first, but that might not be the case. 

The graphics are amazing, and I think the developers put a lot of thought into this game.  They're still working on it, and I've been providing feedback for the game.  Their forum was closed for a while due to spam issues, but it's back up now.  I just hope that when the game is fully done, it'll be spectacular. Nod 
  • Listening to: "The Red Tower" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: Aven Colony (Beta)
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Mountain Mist
I've got better things to do than mope.  I want to get my family presents for Christmas, so I'm gonna go job-hunting (a bunch are opening up, due to the upcoming holiday season), and I have to memorize songs for our Christmas Musical coming up next month.  I also have to get ready to go back to college after the New Year. 

If there's anything I've learned from this whole bullshit fiasco, it's these important lessons:

1.) Never put your trust in people you don't know.
2.) Always have a clear understanding of who your real friends are.
3.) Never make assumptions about anything
4.) Never gloat when you think you have the upper hand in a situation. 
5.) Never spill your guts (your personal opinions or secrets) to people you don't even know personally.
6.) Temptation is a powerful thing, and more often than not, it can get you in trouble, no matter how innocuous it looks.
7.) Never piss off a computer whiz. 

I just hope God gives this bitch webmaster her "just desserts" before anyone else gets hurt. 
  • Listening to: "Battle Cry" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: The News
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: Aven Colony (Beta)
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Squirt soda
I'm an avid Sims 2 player.  I'm not a big fan of Sims 3 or 4 because they don't have the same appeal as Sims 2. 

I'm very unhappy over what happened to me this evening.  After four years of visiting, what I thought was one of the best medieval-themed Sims 2 websites ever, the evil webmaster who owns it banished me! 

It's called the Plumbob Keep.  I thought it was a wonderful place to visit, and a thriving community of other fans who love the game.  Things went fine until I made the mistake of trying to make friends on there this year and chatting away in the chat window over in the board index.  Unfortunately, at the start of this month, a friend of the webmaster banned me from the chat window, making me unable to speak to people I'd become friends with.  The despot, self-appointed "queen" apparently didn't like the way I talked, but what was really scary was, she had been keeping tallies on my behavior.  Who the hell does that?!  I would cite the First Amendment, but when it's a privately-run website, apparently there are different rules in how people conduct themselves.  It all makes me sick as to what kind of person not only appoints themselves leader, but lets the power go to their head based on a virtual "kingdom" they've built!  I knew there was a clique in the website.  Only people who knew how to make Sims 2 modifications got more respect than those who didn't.  I was too afraid to make mods because I was worried about destroying my computer.  I've been through 2 or 3 since I first started playing the game (though their demises didn't quite have to do with my game). 

I had a feeling I was in over my head when I figured out many of the modders on there are liberals.  In fact, I'm amazed they let me stay as long as they did, all things considered.  They didn't like hearing some ugly truths I had to tell about people from other countries and whatnot.  I let slip things I shouldn't have said, put my trust where it was unearned, and they were in no mood to hear my apologies later on.  These are the kind of people who hold grudges and never accept sorry from anyone.  They wouldn't know forgiveness if it walked up and introduced itself to them. 

After I was banned from the chat box, I should have known my days were numbered.  That's how it usually starts on there.  First the chatbox, then the website.  At first, I wasn't sure how long this ban would last, and asked around.  The other moderators either had no idea what was going on, or didn't want to get involved.  I thought things were going fine when the original moderator who banned me said it would only last for a month.  But apparently the others decided to complain to the webmaster about me "pestering" them, and finally the webmaster got off her royal ass and told me I was permanently banned from ever chatting again.  I thought that was very mean of her and wanted to slap her, or tell her off.  But I knew if I did that, she'd banish me for sure.  She's done it before, with at least 12 other people.  So I quietly accepted her declaration and went off to do some digging. 

Something was up, and I was getting very suspicious.  Back earlier in June, a new contest was being started, but nobody was jumping up to join.  Someone then posted an unhappy, very miserable-sounding topic about site participation.  The moment I read the first few lines, I backed away and went to other topics.  I didn't bother seeing who wrote the topic, but one of the people who responded said something nobody wanted to hear: that the Sims 2 Community was dying.  I was completely clueless as to the epic battle that ensued.  I wasn't even aware there had been one.  Not until I noticed some of my pins on Pinterest came up dry a month later.  It's like, "Wait a minute.  What happened to these lovely mods?  Why can't I access them?"  I then saw this nice person who had always been kind and supportive of everyone, and offered encouragement, had suddenly been banished.  That's odd, I thought, I assumed the webmaster would only banish trolls and trouble-makers.  Why on earth did she banish this kind and considerate person, along with her husband?  (Yep, sometimes even married couples older than 20 play Sims and get involved in this rather odd community). 

I sought out this person, and found she had built her own website and wore her banished status like a badge of honor.  What's up with that?  I asked myself, Why would she be happy to be banished from the Keep?  I would think most people would be horrified and deeply saddened at losing access to such a place.  For her site info, she wrote down why she had been banished, and what had happened, though it took a while.  Some of the information was rather garbled and based on message-board language.  In some ways, it read like an improvised Shakespearean tragedy.  You basically have to read the whole thing, interpret what these people are saying, and figure out what happened.  What I found horrified me. 

One of the rules of the Plumbob Keep is not to use the place as an emotional dumping ground for your feelings.  It's supposed to be a happy place where people who love Sims 2 come together to share ideas, stories, and modifications to the game.  And yet, a Moderator, of all people, someone the webmaster trusted with enforcing the site rules, was breaking that very rule.  She was bitching and moaning about how participation in the site had started to dwindle down more so than in past years, people who were good at making Sims 2 mods were leaving and moving on to other projects, and the site just wasn't what it used to be.  Some people even felt obligated to join the contests and this obligation drove others away.  It got so bad that the nice lady stepped in and tried toning the whole conversation down, but that just sparked more arguing.  Other people joined in, and an all-out war ensued.  Four different subjects were brought up, and there were several people arguing all at once.  It was a message board battle of epic proportions, and got so ugly that my friend's husband tried to step in and put out the "toxic" fires.  That only got him in trouble as well.   One conclusion my friend made about this, was that the "queen" was letting her minions get away with this, trying not only to get out of hosting another contest without making it look like it was her idea, but she was manipulating her thralls into baiting people.  My friend wasn't gonna let the webmaster get away with that.  She also figured out that the webmaster is getting tired and burdened with the site, and really wants to be rid of it, but she can't bring herself to hand over the reigns to someone else.  This person is a manipulative control freak, and a vicious one at that.  And lazy to boot.  She's been relying more and more on other talented people to "pick up the slack" on making Sims 2 mods while she goes off on her own projects, not wanting to have to deal with the site as a whole.  Sadly, that's not how it works in the real internet world.  My friend made the higher-ups look like immature fools, and the "queen" was forced to publicly banish my friend to save face.  However, the whole situation had already blown up in her face.  Dozens of other people who visited the site on a regular basis, including shy "lurkers" as they were called, took one look at this whole fiasco and said, "Screw this, I'm getting out of here!"  There were many witnesses and deserters that ensued. 

I only sensed something was up because things got quieter at the Keep.  Less people were talking, posting, or making stuff.  I thought it was odd, and didn't know what had happened.  Nobody spoke of it either.  A person I thought was my friend spoke to me in private and lied about the whole thing, claiming the banished one and her own husband had taken matters into their own hands about a problem and had tried solving the problem without going to the webmaster about it.  I'm starting to wonder just who these people are I had been hanging out with these four years.  It being the internet, you never know exactly who you're associating with until a disaster comes up.  It's worse than real life, because online, everyone is wearing virtual masks and personas that are often the complete opposite of who they really are.  But slowly, the dark side emerges over time. 

I made the mistake of pouring out my horror to someone who not only was not my friend like I thought she was, but she too was a moderator and a close friend of the "queen."  I was so angry that I wanted to download the despot's self-sim and slaughter it for being so cruel.  No doubt the spider let the despot see what I said, and she banished me this very evening. 

So if you are a Sims 2 player and love medieval-themed mods, stay as far away from the Plumbob Keep as you can.  You cannot trust the webmaster who runs it.  She is a cruel, selfish, manipulative, lazy leader, and will banish anyone for not being the perfect little peon she wants them to be.  I urge you to warn your friends as well.  This is not a place you want to visit, no matter how many tempting downloads it's got.  Do the smart thing and stay away. 
  • Listening to: nothing
  • Reading: The News
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: diet grapefruit soda
When I first made artwork celebrating 2016, I had no :shock: idea just how crazy this year was going to be.  Everything from then on was insane Sanity is Overrated.  The Rio Olympics :flame: didn't really interest me much, but the campaigning for the election was just nuts I think I've fainted..  The whole thing felt like a circus :juggle: revamp, or a reality show/soap opera that was written by people who made up the plot as they went along.  I think I'm gonna quote Quote emote - NaNo23 dad when he told me the phrase: "I've seen more organized Shit Happens fights in the monkey Monkey Dance house at the zoo." 

Not only was this election full of drama, it also was vicious and very childish on both sides :catfight:.  I saw things I thought only happened in fictional tv dramas and cartoons, not real life! Shock Emote  I've lived through 9 elections, though I didn't really take an interest in any of it until 2000, when Bush Jr. was elected the first time and Al Snore whined WhEeeEeeEeEE about losing.  I didn't actually get to vote until 2004, when I was old enough.  Most of those elections were nowhere near as insane as this one :shivering: v2.  It also revealed a lot of really ugly things that people had been muttering about for years, but we weren't really sure if the rumors were true until now.  Like:

- The Republican Party was full of traitorous fakes called RINOs
- Washington is full of a bunch of idiots who have absolutely NO idea what the American People truly feel anymore
- the media TV truly has become a propaganda arm for the Left, they don't report on real news anymore (thank goodness for the internet, I quit watching 98% of tv, let alone the news, years ago)
- the media is also good at manipulating idiots on the left into their way of thinking
- there really are people pushing for an ideal known as the New World Order, and are hoping to one day push for a One World Government,
which our world Deviant World fella (Universe) is really not ready for at this time, and nobody accounts for just how easy it would be for evil, power-hungry people to usurp such a government
- socialists have come closer to succeeding in brainwashing brainwash our children into following their ideals through our public school system
- Hillary Clinton is even more of a monster than we originally thought
- the Elites of the country truly underestimated the power of the people :finger: rvmp, something they secretly despise

Nod I took great satisfaction in watching the Silent Majority (as we're known) giving a huge middle finger I'm This Unexcited to Washington on Election Day.  Now all the crybabies Cry emote will know how the rest of us felt when that traitor in the White House was elected in '08 and '12.  It's nice to finally see the torture shoe of defeat on the other foot.  The only difference was, nobody hired Conservatives to riot after those elections. 

I feel really sorry for Canada Flag of Canada.  A bunch of slimy, Moon celebrities vowed to move out of the US (quite a number of them to Canada) if Trump was elected, though now they look like the stupid fools :jester: they are, and some are now having to backtrack and say they were joking or kidding.  I laughed Laughing when I heard the immigration site to move to Canada crashed on Election Day.  Siberia, Venus, or Io would be better places for them to go.  Nobody would hear from them again, and nobody lives on the latter two worlds (with good reason, I might add).  I'd say, "Good riddance, and don't let the door hit you on the way out!" :kick: 

:happy: I look forward to seeing America United States of America go back to being the great nation it was.  It's high time we saved it from the cesspool it's turned into. Nod 
  • Listening to: nothing
  • Reading: The News
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: diet grapefruit soda
:notsure: Well, this past weekend went partially well.  On the one hand, *Free Icon/Emote* Halloween Pusheen Halloween went great, and we did get kids at the door Dance!.  I was worried Worried we wouldn't, considering I didn't know how many families we had in this new place, nor if they would go to all the trouble of coming to our cul-de-sac.  But come they did, and in huge groups! :excited: Thank goodness we had enough candy!  Candy Corn 

I also learned a very important lesson about pumpkins Jack O Lantern, something I should have remembered as a kid: when carrying a pumpkin the size of a basketball, carry it by the body, not the stem Facepalm.  The stem popped off from the weight of the gourd, and I had to glue it back on so I could get the lid I later carved, on and off to light the candle inside.  (Tip: One of the best tools for getting the goop out is a large metal spoon with teeth on it The MOST UNDERATED utensil of all time, works great).  I really wanted to do a different carving this year, like a witch on a broomstick :witch:, or a werewolf Werewolf Howl, but frankly, I was too frazzled by everything else that had happened 2 days before, and just stuck to the classic Jack O' Lantern grin Pumpkin.  It's amazing how few people are into the old-school pumpkin carving these days :sigh:.  They think it's great just to carve a plastic pumpkin, though I have no idea how you do that Shrug.  One would think the plastic shell on artificial pumpkins would make the tools snap or something Scratch Head.  On the other hand, if you want to try an easier method, just painting the outside with a picture, or etching a face onto one of those little, itty bitty pumpkins :pumpkin: revamp (you know, the kind small enough you can hold them in your palm?) Pumpkin La  

Mom got my Rey Rey The Scavenger Emote costume done, and it worked out great!  It fits, it's comfy, and people actually recognized who I was supposed to be at the door! w00t! You know you've done the costume right when that happens.  I tried doing my hair like Rey did in The Force Awakens, but it turns out, her hairdo doesn't work so well with people who have long hair.  I didn't bother dyeing it dark brown (I'm not that gung ho when it comes to costumes), and frankly, I get the feeling that her hair is probably much shorter than mine, like shoulder-length or something Shrug.  When I got frustrated :frustrated: 'Revamp' with trying to make the little loops, I gave up and made three buns in a vertical row instead.  Those tendrils hanging in front of my ears were annoying, but at least people could tell what I was trying to do.  I tried borrowing my brother's lightsaber Green Lightsaber Emoticon , but I had nothing to attach it to my belt.  I also hadn't made that long, black, electrostaff she had, though I did borrow dad's bokken.  Didn't really need it, though. 

So Halloween went well.  I just wish I could say the same about last Friday :sighs:.  My poor brother had a disaster in his room.  I heard him yell "Ow!" and came to investigate.  Apparently the rain :thunder: we've been having leaked through his part of the roof, and has made the sheet rock on his ceiling soggy.  I mean, the poor guy was just doing his usual thing, playing WoW Night Elf - Female online, and all of a sudden, a panel of the ceiling swings down and smacks him in the shoulder.  He just barely dove out of the way before the avalanche Glomp Avalanche MSN ver. of broken sheet rock and gross brown insulation came raining down.  So when I saw the mess, I was mortified Shock Emote.  Had to call our parents over from various parts of the house.  It was pretty shocking.  I immediately went off to get trash bags Rubbish/trash bag, though our cleanup and damage control was slowed down by dad taking pictures Camera of the mess.  He wanted evidence of the disaster.  Then he helped the piece of sheet rock finish getting off the ceiling.  It's sitting in the garage as another piece of evidence.  So we all pitched in and cleaned up Chores.  I've cleaned up worse things than fluffy insulation and broken, soggy pieces of sheet rock, but it was still nasty.  You should have heard my dad, snarling and roaring like an angry papa bear Bb15 over what a fraud our home inspector had been when first looking over the house House.  The rest of us pointed out that the man had inspected the house on a dry, sunny Sun day in summer, not after weeks of rain in autumn Fall leaf - F2U.  There's no way he could have known about this.  Let's just say, the three roofers called the next day were not called Phonecall by dad, but mom.  She's actually the right kind of person to have in a crisis.  Many people stand around, looking for blame and starting fights Fight; she goes about fixing the problem first.  So now my brother's room has been cleaned (probably the first time in 3 months!) but he still has a hole in his ceiling :bademoticon:.  I'm hoping it won't give an encore performance in the near future. Worried  
  • Listening to: nothing
  • Reading: The News
  • Watching: Whose Line Is It Anyway? (reruns)
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: kiwi Strawberry-flavored water
Thinking... I often think about this time period.  The 90s was an exciting time because I was a kid :happybounce: during that decade, and many things happened; both to me, and out in the world Earth Globe.  Now looking back, the perspective can bring mixed emotions.  But then again, I think many people do that when they look back on a past decade, especially if they are older than 10 or 20.  I experienced the 90s between the ages of 3.5 and 13.5 (or 4 & 14 if you round off the numbers - danged New Year's Eve always falls at the halfway point between my actual age and my chronological age Stubborn Smiley). 

In retrospect, the first half of the 90s, especially the first 3 or 4 years, felt like a strong echo of the 80s, though with better technology.  Fashions unique to the decade didn't really take off until '95 or '96 (at least from an average Joe perspective.  I'm not one of those people who follows trends because trying to keep up always makes my head hurt Headache).  I was watching a show where these people were talking about well-known fashions from various decades of the last century, and when they talked about the 90s, I actually found it very irritating Oh Brother... that they mentioned fashions I only saw on tv Tv Emoticon.  Stuff like those sloppy baby-doll dresses, the nasty flower Sunflower Base Smile Test hats, and Doc Martins...it's like, when did people wear this crap? Shrug  Nobody in the town I lived in at the time wore that stuff.  (But then again, the people in Central IL are not known for their fashion sense, or keeping up with the times, electronically.  Don't kid yourselves Wag Finger, I was there, I saw it all).  I did, however, see variations of 80s clothing with 90s flairs worked in.  Frankly, I don't miss the big, sloppy sweaters, those silly, colorful vests the ladies wore over blouses, the fluffy 90s hair, or worst of all, those bubble-lens glasses. 

Technologically speaking, we had slightly better tech, like personal computers Writing Emote - NaNo5 with mice, message recorders for our phones that didn't require tapes, video tapes :vhs:, cordless phones, music CD's :cd: revision, CD-ROM computer games, and later on, the internet.  Heck, the internet has been the biggest game-changer, although when it first came around, none of us really knew what it was.  Took everyone a while to get used to it, and frankly, I really do NOT miss the phone line version :shakemonitor:.  Yes, that's right, our first internet connections were given similar tech to fax machines, and we used the exact same phone cord our corded phones Wait for Call  - NaNoEmo14 Day 20 needed for communication.  Not at all efficient Cutie Thumbs Down, but people loved their internet (as we do today) and they mostly put up with the slow loading times, that annoying fax machine sound Stop The Noise when you logged on, and learning how to navigate browsers.  What NOBODY liked was the fact that if someone was online, and someone else in the house (who was not aware of it) picked up the phone, their actions would break the signal the first person needed to stay online.  To make matters worse, if someone needed to call you, and you had only one phone line, and someone was using the internet at your home, that person calling couldn't get through :angry:.  Many people were forced to pay for an extra phone line, which was expensive in those days Grump.  Things got better over time...to some extent Shrug

:happybounce: A lot of awesome movies and tv shows came out in the 90s.  Heck, the cartoons were great too.  My brother and I saw the beginning of Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon was more fun in those days (though they still had gross stuff on some of their shows).  (We couldn't get Disney :mickey: Channel for quite a few years because it wasn't part of the basic cable package, and we were living on a budget).  We saw the beginnings of better CGI used in movie Film special-effects.  We also were there and at the right age to experience what is now being called, the "Disney Renaissance," where all those awesome featured movies with the Broadway style of musical were being produced.  A lot of good sci-fi UFO tv shows were broadcast in the 90s.  In fact, it was the time in which Sci-Fi Channel was broadcasting REAL science fiction shows and movies! Wow! (Nowadays it's but a mere shadow of what it used to be, and we often call it the "wrestling & horror" channel Flip Bird).  Heck, tv :gaming: - Loop in general was better in those days, partially due to writers Argh! Stupid writer's block. that actually wanted to think outside the cliche box, unlike today.  Some really good pop music Jammin' came from this decade too.  It wasn't really until the late 90s that fashions got more interesting, and started taking on what looks familiar now. 

There are other parts of the 90s people can look fondly on, at least in the US :flagus: wavy revision.  We weren't in a big war (though there was conflict in various parts of the world at the time) America was prospering, and things were okay for most people.  I'm not gonna pretend it was perfect.  We still had issues similar to the 2010s, it's just they weren't exactly the same as now.  You know what they are, I don't need to list them.  We still had crime, we still had political issues, and we still had disasters in those days, but it was not all bad either. 

The 90s was when I first started going to school, learned how to read :study:, got interested in science and art, and learned many things about myself as well as the people around me.  It felt as if my parents would take my older brother and I on vacations travel the world every summer when school let out.  We'd visit places like Pittsburgh, PA, where my grandparents lived at the time; Huntsville, AL; Disneyworld in Florida, Willamsburg and Norfolk in Virginia; Washington D.C, California (where my other relatives lived), Las Vegas, Wisconsin Dells, Minnesota, Mackinac Island in Michigan, Niagara Falls, Arizona, Philadelphia, Texas, and a few other places that I can't remember.  My fave trips were to California.  When we weren't visiting other states, we were at home and visiting the water parks swim or driving to Chicago to see the Adler Planetarium stars.  My parents deliberately tried making summer fun for my brother and I.  I don't even remember how hot Sweat Emoticon and humid it was during summer Sun in central IL during that time period, though I do now.  

There are some things I don't miss from the 90s.  I'll list them here:

- no cell phones unless you were rich or worked for a business that needed them
- floppy disks
- inaccurate tv guides in paper form (it seems they were only accurate for major cities)
- computers with huge, boxy monitors
- loud, dot matrix printers
- boxy, smaller cars
- doing EVERYTHING with paper, such as paying bills or applying for a job, or communication
- chalkboards
- VHS tapes (you were easy to record with, but I hated waiting through your commercials or rewinding you)
- being completely cut off from the world if you were somewhere without phones
- no digital cable (that was relatively new in the later 90s)
- hardly any space exploration, save for building the International Space Station and sending probes to Mars

So all in all, the 90s was an okay decade First Attempt at Emoticon, though many people really shrug it off and don't appreciate it for what it was.  I appreciate it because I was there, and it's hard to believe that decade is already 20 years behind us now. 
            
  • Listening to: "Shatter Me" by Lzzy Hale & Lindsey Sterling
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Strawberry-flavored water
In a few days, the new month will be here The Deadline is WHEN?.  Again, I'm not really a fan of the fall months Fall leaf - F2U, save for the fact that the weather is easier on some states than others.  In some parts of the US, October heralds the end of the 6-month Summer Heat Phew!.  In other states, it's a month of thunderstorms :thunder:, constant rain :raincloud: revamp, and even a herald for the first sprinkles of snow Snowflake in a few places.  Like September, it's also a major hurricane Tornado Shuriken month, though it's just a little bit less scary.  In some parts of the US, October is gorgeous, like in the Appalachian mountains, where the hills almost look like they're on fire from all the autumn leaves :autumn: .  People born Deep Autumn Cake with candles 50x50 icon in that month also get to wear opals Pixel gemstones - Adularia without experiencing bad luck. 

And of course, there's Halloween Halloween Pumpkin, Chuckle

Mom and I have been planning the costume I'm wearing to the door for trick-or-treaters *Free Icon/Emote* Halloween Pusheen.  See, I originally wanted one of those comfy skeleton Sans-20 costumes.  You know, the long-sleeved, black tees and pants that have a white skeleton printed on the front and back?  Mom was somewhat dubious about that.  I told her it was a Halloween staple costume, it's comfortable, and nobody has to ask who or what you are.  I'd even planned on wearing these cute, dangly pumpkin Jack O Lantern earrings with it that mom has (I seriously need to get my own pair).  Either that or dangly ghost Ghost Icon earrings would work too.  Black witchy cats :elsiela: wouldn't go over so well, seeing as nobody in my home but me likes cats :sigh:.  If I'd been really hardcore about it, I could have put on a black wig and painted my face to look like a skull skull emoticons wink with white contact lenses, but I didn't want to scare the living daylights out of my family ashamed emotihal GIF

Mom, on the other hand, had other ideas :lightbulb: revamp.  She had this crazy plan of making me a Rey Rey The Scavenger Emote costume from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  The thing was, I didn't object for several reasons.  A.) I don't mind Rey and I liked her costume.  B.) If mom's gonna go through all this effort, why stop her? Shrug  C.) We're gonna put our own tweaks to the costume.  D.) I have a lightsaber Blue Lightsaber Emoticon (not a real one Giggle) that I built in Disneyland :mickey: just three years ago, and I could just add it to the costume...if I can find it among all these danged boxes In search for answers

One thing we did try at first, was to go to the nearest Halloween Pumpkin La store to see if they had the original skeleton costume I was interested in.  I don't have much confidence Oh Brother... in store-bought costumes, to tell you the truth.  Often they are poorly, cheaply made (especially if it's a well-known character), and often the stores are severely lacking in good quality accessories to boot.  My opinion of such stores went down a great deal after that fool's errand Stubborn Smiley.  The one we went to had no customers except mom and me, the place looked like part of it was under construction, their crappy costumes were ridiculously expensive Dollar, and they don't really have any sizes larger than 14.  The only skeleton costumes they had catered to people who celebrated Day of the Dead.  Granted, I salute I salute you! diversity in this respect, but I'm not from Latin America Flag of Mexico.  I did, however, find a cool skeleton outfit that included leggings and a short, black tulle skirt, but it cost $50.00!!! Wow! $50.00 for that?! Wow!  Mom and I could have made that for $20.00!! :nuu: (Though I don't know how we would have gotten the skeleton print on).  Mom suggested I just wear the witch :witch: costume again.  I told her I was tired of that costume, after wearing it 5 years in a row.  A nice young lady was working at the store, and she helped us find their version of Rey's Rey The Scavenger Emote costume from Star Wars.  I shouldn't have been surprised, but in situations like this, it never hurts to have a backup plan for Halloween costumes.  Not only did the costume not fit, it wasn't even accurate Facepalm.  I was too embarrassed to let mom see me in it, so I changed out before she could peek into the dressing booth.

See, that's another reason why I despise store-bought costumes Stubborn Smiley.  They often are cheap knock-offs of the real deal, they use cheap, stretchy fabric that falls apart after a few uses, and are ridiculously over-priced to boot.  It also appears that Halloween stores cater to thin people who have more money than sense and have never touched a sewing machine in their lives. Grump 

In our quest to get a costume made, mom and I went to a fabric store to get some things, and I was not only surprised to find there was an actual costume pattern, but it apparently had been bought out ages ago at both this store and another in a nearby city.  We had to get it online Writing Emote - NaNo5, (thank goodness for smartphones) and thankfully, the Rey costume pattern wasn't sold out on there Happy cry (Tears of joy).  It only cost us $4.50, including tax.  Then, we went to Hobby Lobby and got some fabric for the future Rey costume. Just for kicks, I went to their pattern drawers to see if they had the pattern, though Hobby Lobby is a little more limited with sewing patterns.  They had it, but it was $17.95! Shocked  Mom was not interested in getting an expensive duplicate, so we're still waiting for it in the mail. Email  But I like the fact that we'll be able to tailor the costume so that it actually fits me.  We decided to add a few minor details that were not in the original Rey costume.  We're making it blue-gray, for example.  I'm also not dyeing my hair dark brown, but I will put my hair up like she did.  Yes, I'm not as skinny as Rey was :sigh:, but then again, I wasn't living on Jakkuu for years, surviving on bits of instant bread and gruel. 

One thing that bothers me about Rey's outfit, is the fact that the lower part is not really constructed for living in the desert F2U Cactus pixel.  I remember reading the Visual Dictionary for Episode I, and how everyone on Tattooine, [a famous desert world Pink Planet Emoticon in Star Wars Lore], wore long pants tucked into knee-high boots that were then bound up with cording or rags, to prevent sand from getting in.  Even if you were wearing a dress like Shmi Skywalker, you had this on underneath.  Rey, on the other hand, is wearing knickers (capris with draw-string or elastic hems), her lower legs are fully exposed, and she has little brown boots on that could easily fall off if she's not careful, and seem like magnets for getting full of sand every day.  Doesn't sound like a very practical fashion idea for a desert world Scratch Head, even if it's not Tattooine.  Either the costume designer was a moron who knew nothing about Star Wars fashions Scratch Head (especially the utilitarian ones), or they were trying too hard not to let Rey look like Luke Skywalker did in Episode IV.  (They failed, by the way). 
 
:thumbsup: revamp On the other hand, a great benefit to making your own costume from scratch is, you can choose what fabric to use, you can make it look accurate to the character you want to be (if it's someone from a movie or tv show), and you can tailor it to fit you properly, rather than having to conform to what's on the rack.  Even better, if you make the costume yourself, you can add your own personal touch. 

Either way, Halloween should be a fun occasion this year. Pumpkin La 
  • Listening to: "Shatter Me" by Lzzy Hale & Lindsey Sterling
  • Reading: nothing
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Strawberry-flavored water
Bored Not much has been happening since my parents came back from Alaska.  It's mostly been pretty quiet around here.  August isn't exactly a favorite month for a lot of people anyway.  For many states, it's the local "drought month," Cactus Emoji even in hot, humid places where rain is more common.  Plus, for kids, summer vacation is ending and often school Emoticons' math problem starts during that month, some of them starting as early as the first week of August.  Even the birthstone for August isn't all that pretty.  It's a Peridot Green Gem, which is a gross, ugly shade of green/yellow.  Some of my relatives were unfortunately born in that month.  They're [mostly] nice people, and I'm not sure how they feel about it Shrug, they just were not as lucky as all the relatives born other, more exciting months.  (On a tangential note, an odd thing I've found is rarely do I meet people born in January.  Isn't that weird? Scratch Head

September is an exciting month for some people, a not-so-nice month for others.  On the one hand, the weather is nice (unless you live in Hurricane Shuriken Galaxy country).  Also, anyone born this month has a Sapphire Pixel gemstones - Sapphire for their birthstone, which I've always thought was pretty :).  On the other hand, summer vacation has officially ended and the school year is starting :sigh:.  It's why I used to dread and hate September The Deadline is WHEN?.  (Some schools start as late as the first week of this month, whilst others are already in full swing).  But then again, I never liked school while growing up.  It wasn't really the material we studied Reading.  It was the kids IntimidationI went to school with, and the lack of material we studied.  (Word of advice, never send an intelligent kid to a public school in the Midwest.  You'll be doing them a favor).  It's why I could never understand Stubborn Smiley people who tell me their kids were excited about going back to the Giygas La snake pit--I mean school, to start the next year and be with their friends.  I didn't have many while growing up in the Midwest, and frankly, I'm starting to wish my parents had sent me to some Christian school for gifted kids.  Perhaps I would have actually found slightly smarter students to be friends with, and an actual mental challenge from the materials we were studying.  Public school, on the other hand, is something of a cruel joke here in the US :sad:.  It's also another reason I pity kids who have September birthdays Hide Birthday Emote, especially those who were born just before the school year started.  It's like mom saying, "Happy Birthday sweetie!" and the kid's got a very unhappy, unexcited look Oh yeah. Yay. Good for you. on their face when they say sarcastically, "Whoop-dee-doo!  I got school tomorrow."  It's yet another reason I find summer birthdays to be awesome :happybounce:.  You can have your big day and still have fun without school screwing it up.  

The September thing isn't an issue for me anymore, now that I've graduated :graduate: high school.  It's only significant anymore if you go to college or your job is that of a teacher in a school of any kind.  In the adult world, especially if you have a job that isn't teaching, it's just another month of the wage-earning slog. 

One of the more significant things that really improved my internet experience was being told about Ad-Blockers.  I'd never heard of such things, so I was forced to have to deal with tons of advertisements :lag: and banners on my favorite websites.  It was especially annoying trying to write anything on this site because the damned advertisements were constantly loading and re-loading, and screwing up my typing.  Or worse, I couldn't enjoy YouTube or my fave dress-up games without having to wait through the stupid advertising commercials CURSE YOU!.  It made me very irritated at all the hidden crap programs I had to have Spyware Search & Destroy scrub from my computer, and made me worried Worried that my PC was infected somehow.  Then a nice Dutch :flagofnetherlands: person told me about ad-blockers, and I'll tell you, they've changed EVERYTHING!! Seriously!  I was amazed Wow! at how clean and easy it was to visit my fave websites again.  No more fake "come see this," or "doctors hate this person's fake medical cure," no more stupid videos I don't care about, no more lewd pictures of scantily-clad women, no more fake stories about celebrities, no more videos I don't wanta watch having to load and slow down the site, and no more banners advertising things I don't care about!  It's almost like a miracle! My Dork Dance  It appears various web browsers have their own add-on app for this, though I was told that it's better if you have several layers of ad-blockers, so I added Ghostery Ghost Icon as well.  What horrifies me is what Ghostery has shown me so far, in how many trackers it has blocked Shield of Emoticonis.  Just this site alone has four! Shocked  Some have as many as 11! I think I've fainted.  Can you believe that?!  It's criminal! :shakefist:  I've told my parents about the ad-blockers so their PC's will be protected as well.  Funny how such information is not well-known out there.  Damned parasitical Headcrab advertisers count on people being stupid and ignorant about it, and I hate you all for that :angry:.  The worst offenders are websites that trick you into thinking your only choice for making the ads go away is subscribing and having to pay them, as if there was no other option.  Not falling for that anymore, thieves. :finger: rvmp 
  • Listening to: "Shatter Me" by Lzzy Hale & Lindsey Sterling
  • Reading: "Flight of the Horse" by Larry Niven
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: Sunkist Strawberry
:) (Smile) Well, the parents are back home again.  I had my very first empty, meaningless birthday :sigh:, but it was a true gift fella Gift (Party) just having my parents come home safe and sound Family - NaNoEmo 22/30.  My brother and I stayed up late Clock just to greet them at the door.  For the next few days, we got to hear about what Alaska was like.  All throughout their trip, dad had been sending my brother and I pictures Camera and little videos he had shot while up north.  But pictures Camera and texts aren't the same as hearing it from the actual traveler. 

While mom and dad did have fun, got a lot of souvenirs, and enjoyed Alaska, the state also has a lot of drawbacks.  (As if we didn't know them already!)  Dad made us laugh Laughing with all the gun Guns dont kill people; People kill people! jokes posters he kept taking pictures of.  I didn't realize how conservative Alaska truly was, though owning a gun up there is actually important.  Alaskans have to deal with a lot of wildlife, both good and bad, and often they have to scare away the more dangerous fauna.  They have a lot of moose Pixel Moose lick Animation up there, as well as bears .:Pedola:., wolves run run wolf, deer Deer icon, and a number of other furry, cold-weather animals.  Heck, I actually read an article very recently that talked about this poor mother Pixel Moose lick Animation moose who had to give birth in a Lowe's parking lot in Anchorage.  From what I read, she had intended to hurry over to the nearby woods, but the baby couldn't wait.  So the cops Policeman Emote helped keep people at a safe distance so as not to disturb the moose.  People did watch, however, and took videos and pictures (Alaskans seriously have very little to do up there, so even this sort of event is treated like a spectacle).  :ugh: 

I asked my parents why the sled dogs they visited didn't look like huskies or malamutes in the pictures.  It turns out that the really serious racers will do anything to win the Iditarod, included forsaking the traditional dog breeds that used to pull sleds.  (The prize includes a lot of money Dollar).  Based on what the people at the sled dog ranch said, huskies and malamutes don't quite have all the traits needed for racing.  So now the common trend up in Alaska is to breed new mixed dogs to get a better sled-puller.  The dogs my parents met were a mixture of Husky, Malamute, Chocolate Lab, and German Shepherd.  They didn't look at all like your typical sled dog.  They all had slender, hard, muscular bodies, smooth black fur with tan markings, semi-floppy ears, and heads that reminded me of a hunting dog rather than a wolf-dog.  They all make Domino Rue Grin look like an obese fluff-ball.  (Well he is, fluffy, but he's not unhealthily overweight.  In fact, we've never let our dogs get obese).  So now the ranch my parents visited produces dogs that are better racers than the original sled dogs.  What I found a little insulting Stubborn Smiley was hearing exactly which dogs got to pull the golf carts for tourists in the summertime.  Not all the dogs they breed are healthy, fine specimens.  Some have mental or physical problems that would make them unfit for racing.  So basically, my parents got their ride pulled by the retarded, loser dogs of the ranch.  How nice Stubborn Smiley.  The real racing dogs were all living in large wooden kennels, and apparently were very stupid when it came to knowing they were on a chain.  Dad said whenever visitors came, the dogs would come racing out of their little wooden houses, only to go somersaulting backwards on their leashes, and they did it over and over again, stupid woofers.  Guess being a dumb jock Super Bowl XLIX Emoticon  isn't limited to humans.  Incidentally, the few my parents got to meet really liked mom.  She claims it was because of the candy bar Hershey's Chocolate Bar Icon in her souvenir bag, but I know for a fact it's the family animal charm.  Domestic animals seem drawn to us for reasons we can't really explain Shrug.  What was cute was seeing mom holding one of the puppies. Puppy-love :DAww  

My parents got a lot of really nice souvenirs.  I got a state spoon Spoon (to go with my collection), and two very nice tops, mom got a beautiful fake fur coat that was white with black bears along the hem, my dad and brother got shirts, and my brother got a hunting knife in a case with a moose on it.  Mom got a bunch of adorable little Christmas Tree Christmas Tree ornaments of Alaskan animals.  She wants to put them on our little fiber-optic tree Christmas Tree (Small) this holiday season.  We also have a bunch of 3-D place-mats now, which are fun to look at.  Dad's got a miniature totem pole on his desk now.  I explained to him that Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest, western Canada, and Alaska all carve totem poles.  Each one is supposed to represent the family, with the patriarch (whether it be dad or grandpa) at the top, and the youngest child at the bottom.  Each person's totem is represented by an animal, and carving totem poles is a sacred and difficult art.  All the totems have to fit together like a puzzle, and sometimes it takes years to finish one.  Dad and mom each got their own coffee mugs, and we now have a new pair of salt-shakers Pepper Pelly and Salty Sam on the table.  They look like a white bear (salt) and a black bear (pepper), and both are very cute.  

Disappointed - NaNo27 Poor dad didn't get a chance to view the night sky because there was no night sky up north.  Not at this time of the year.  I'd forgotten that Alaska turns into the Land of the Midnight Sun Sun in summertime.  (In the places my parents visited, it was the land of the midnight twilight).  Dad showed me pictures of the sky in the various areas they visited.  Even at 7pm and midnight, the sky looked like it would at 5 pm down here in the lower 48.  Ridiculous!  It was the same out on the cruise ship.  The excess light at that latitude plays tricks Nem Blink... blink-blink... on people.  Alaskans (Russians, Scandinavians, and anyone else at that latitude too) have to force themselves to follow a 24-hour day/night schedule, and that includes using black-out curtains in their bedrooms and forcing themselves to sleep at "night," even though there isn't any outside at the usual hours.  (Russians call it the "White Nights" of summer).  From what mom says, it's worse in winter-time Snowy because there's hardly any day to speak of, and suicide rates are high in the dark loneliness of the north. 

What made me sad :unhappy: is the fact that Alaska is as much of a tourist trap as Hawai'i.  My parents spoke with a waitress on their last day of vacation, and she said living there was expensive Money Emoji and really not worth it.  A lot of things have to be imported up there during the four months of summer they get, and for the rest of the year, the bulk of your money :ShutUpandTakemyMoney: goes towards paying for propane to keep your home heated.  Gasoline is expensive up there too.  The natives don't quite have it so bad, since they can just hunt for food they need, and the US government pays them in reparations all the time.  Many don't work because they get paid more in welfare than actual working people get from their jobs. Stubborn Smiley  The natives get snowmobiles for free, and a common sight on an Eskimo or Inuit reservation is dozens of broken-down snowmobiles with one or two working that everyone uses.  Mom pointed out some of the old, crappy, 1-story houses we have around town, and said most houses in Alaska are like that because people don't have the money to build anything better.  Everything consists of lousy 1-story cabins that can hold up against the 8-month winter.  Rarely do you see a 2-story building in Alaska, and usually it's not a residence. 

I've actually known this for years, but I haven't mentioned it until now.  The male-to-female ratio :nuzzle: in Alaska is very disproportionate, and can be easily explained.  Basically there are 10 guys to every girl in that state, mostly due to what kind of jobs they have up there (oil-drilling, construction, doctor, miner, biologist, scientist).  The population of the state has always been sparse anyway.  The waitress actually told mom that if she had any single daughters, she should send them up to Alaska, because it's really easy to snag a husband Robin and Marian-Aniv Present with so many single men living up there.  While I am single, I'm not desperate enough to go to Alaska to go husband-hunting. Stubborn Smiley  I'll stay down in the lower 48, thank you.  Last thing I need is to freeze my butt off just to find a mate.  :cold: 

My parents also found out that the seasickness patches I think I am going to PUKE! came with a very heavy price.  Oh sure, they didn't feel ill from the cruise ship, but apparently the drug in the patches was so strong, that going cold turkey caused both of my parents to become ill :sick:-currently me after taking them off.  Mom even got low on her potassium and sodium electrolytes and had to go to the emergency room twice in the past week after coming home, which scared :scared: me.  Potassium and sodium ions are essential for our nerves to operate, and too low of levels can actually cause a heart-attack heart attack.  Luckily, mom was well taken care of :nurseamy: and did not need any huge treatments.  But none of us was pleased to find out from the ER doctors :DoctorGoogle: that our own doctor had prescribed a dosage of seasickness medicine for someone who weighed twice as much as mom.  She basically overdosed my parents. :grump: Dad's not feeling the effects nearly so bad, but then again, he doesn't have Crohn's disease like mom, and he's heavier than she is.  The instructions say you have to taper off the drug over time, but how do you do that with a patch? Shrug It's not the same as pills.  I think our doctor's gonna get an earful :berserk: from mom before too long.  Our doctor is good at what she does, which is why it makes absolutely no sense that she would screw up so bad with prescribing seasickness patches. 

Oh well, at least all the summer craziness is over with...for now. Stereo
  • Listening to: "The Red Tower" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: lemon-flavored water
My brother and I are house-sitting House while the parents are on a cruise to Alaska.  They've been planning this for 8 months, so it wasn't a sudden choice, believe me.  Much as I would have loved to go, I'm not really an Alaska person, even though the state is partially thawed out and green Tree Tree Tree at this time of year.  I would have preferred a Disney :mickey: cruise in the Caribbean instead :wink: rvmp.  One of the things that sucks about being on a cruise ship is, you can't really talk to anyone on your cell phone Phonecall.  Best you can do is an extremely expensive satellite call, and it's not worth it.  So whenever my parents are on the boat, they put their phones on airplane mode.  However, whenever they are in port and on land, they can call Phonecall or text me , so I'm not quite so annoyed about the radio silence on the ship. 

On the other hand, I suggested to dad that he go star-gazing a sparkle night while out at sea, considering there won't be much light-pollution other than what the ship has.  From what I've heard, the night sky from cruise liners is gorgeous (if it's not cloudy), and you can see the arm of the Milky Way very clearly out there. 

There's a surprising amount of things you can do in Alaska in summertime Sun.  It's the only time when the state isn't completely entombed in snow Snowy and super-freezing temperatures (save for people within the Arctic Circle, but they can't help that).  You can:

- go whale-watching --> the humpback whales :whalehuggle: are up there right now feeding on krill as part of their summer migration
- go zip-lining through the trees
- visit dog-sledding ranches --> at this time of year, the team owners use golf carts and wheeled sleds to train the doggies Rue Grinand keep them in shape
- visit national parks --> Denali is especially famous for its beautiful landscapes and mountains
- see glaciers
- visit the towns along the coast to go shopping and sight-seeing
- watch log-rolling shows

So there is a ton of stuff you can do, and I can't think of them all, but Alaska is well known for capitalizing on that sort of thing in summer.  Like Hawai'i, a large source of income for them is tourism Camera.  What bothered me though, is when my parents went to see the sled dogs, they were cute in the photos, but none of them actually looked like huskies! Wow! They looked more like Greyhound/Rottweiler hybrids!  Mom and dad still had fun petting the dogs, taking pictures, and riding in an un-powered golf cart cookiemagik's train project with other tourists while the dogs pulled on ahead.  I applaud Clap the ranchers for capitalizing on hybrid dogs for their sled teams, but my parents came to see actual SLED DOGS, not mutts! Stubborn Smiley Heck, Domino is a real husky Husky Emote Is Happy and he's way more handsome than the smelly woofers my parents visited!  Oh well Shrug.

I found it very amusing Giggle that my parents took along 5 giant suitcases for the cruise.  For years, they often made the whole family pack in a budgetary fashion.  Just this last vacation (if you could call it that) they forced us all (including themselves) to pack itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny suitcases because grandma's :granny: rewamp walker (and 90th birthday present) was taking up a lot of space in the trunk of the car.  (It was too expensive to ship to her house, so we had to bring it ourselves for free).  However, cruise ships Ship Emote are much more accommodating than airplanes or family cars.  So even if my parents needed to do laundry, they not only don't have to do much, but their cabin is near a laundromat on the ship.  Mom likes the fact that she gets to dine in style almost every night, something we rarely do at all at home. 

What's really nice is, another couple Well HI Thar - Emote from our church choir is also on the same trip, and mom planned it out where their cabin is right next to hers and dad's.  They're all friends anyway, so it's worked out great Thumbs Up.  I got a nice picture of them all smiling at the camera while waiting to board the ship :happy:

It turns out my parents really did need the anti-nausea patches while on the ship, because for some reason on the first day, it started listing and throwing their inner ears off-balance.  Sad part is, I think the patches have Dramamine in them too, because mom said they were feeling sleepy Sleepy after placing them behind their ears.  I'm hoping that Chinese ginger candy she bought is coming in handy too.  That at least doesn't knock you out.     

It's pretty quiet around home :sigh:.  Things are different when there are only two people and a dog at home.  Domino has abandonment issues, being a rescue dog and all, so he often pines after mom during the day.  Thankfully, he is now spending more time with me :relax: and I go out of my way to make sure he gets emotional care :cuddle: as well as the usual dog-care.  Other than that, there's not much to tell about what's going on here.  But I am looking forward to seeing my parents come back home safe and sound again. 
  • Listening to: "The Red Tower" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Mythbusters
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: lemon-flavored water
Day94 - FUR 'MURICA Happy Independence Day everyone! :happybounce: (At least for those of you who are Americans).  Today looks like a beautiful day Sun, and hopefully the sky will be clear Enjoying the Fireworks - NaNoEmo Day 7 for fireworks tonight.  I'm hoping Pray dad will take me to see The BFG today.  That would make this a perfect day content.  I haven't seen Independence Day 2: Resurgence yet, though my dad and brother did, and they said it was good.  It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the last one came out Phew!.  The 90s still feel like the decade of yesteryear to me, but I guess that's just because my childhood was around that time.  Oh well Shrug

At least today they have a good reason for shooting off fireworks Fireworks.  For the past two nights, the people in my town just couldn't wait for the 4th to come about, so they decided, "I'm gonna shoot off fireworks now!" :angry: So I kept hearing booms and bangs in the distance at night.  I appreciate their enthusiasm, but not their sense of timing. :shakes head sadly:  

I'm actually kinda wishing I lived in an area that had spectacular fireworks displays Cuddles: Fireworks.  Even if we could find a decent spot to watch any fireworks, I've actually never been to a truly spectacular show (save for that one time in Disneyworld back in '96).  The best we can get is a view of Washington D.C. on tv during that time.  When I was in my early teens, we lived right near an open field where people could go to watch the fireworks Cuddles: Fireworks in that particular town (it was one of several fireworks viewpoints).  So while it was easy for my family to just walk up to the north and cross the street there, our own street was often clogged with both cars and people carrying lawn furniture to come watch the show Grump.  In some cases it wasn't so bad, so long as we didn't need to drive anywhere that evening.  One of my earliest memories of the 4th of July involved playing with sparklers The Magician on our front porch.  Mom would show my brother and I how to "write" our names in the air with it.  Then when the sparkler got down to our fingers, we could drop it on the concrete porch and let it sputter out. 

Some states can unfortunately be very stingy about fireworks Annoyed.  Like in parts of the Midwest, they won't let you use anything other than party poppers, fountains, and other minor, namby pamby little yard items.  You try shooting off bottle rockets Fireworks, Piccolo Pete's (God I hate those horrible, shrieky things Stop The Noise), or firecrackers; the damned neighbors call the cops Police revamp on you, and you end up having to explain that you had to go all the way to another state 200 miles away to get any really fun fireworks to celebrate the holiday with.  That happened to my parents at least once when I was 10, and I fled Run Away into the house when I saw the cop car.  Now grandpa :glasses: - NaNoEmo 8/30 (on mom's side) really knew how to celebrate the 4th of July.  Once, he put a fiery pinwheel :rainbowpinwheel: on a tree outside his and grandma's house, and set it off while we were visiting.  It scared :bademoticon: the living daylights out of me.  I thought for sure it was gonna fly off the tree and burn us all alive.  (It didn't, but you know how it is when you're 4 or 5). 

There have been a few times when our holiday was canceled on account of bad weather.  Like thunderstorms :thunder: .  There were at least two occasions when we saw thunderstorms :bademoticon: threatening nearby during a fireworks show, and often you couldn't tell the thunder Storm from the booming fireworks.  In California, they have very different reasons for canceling fireworks shows.  Usually it's fear of wildfires I'm on fire! starting from the rockets (though I have yet to hear of a wildfire started that way).  Sadly, Independence Day falls during Wildfire Season there, and it's a much greater fear in the hot, dry southern part of CA.  At least with the coastal palm tree icon TTOCI 1 GIF towns, they will shoot off the fireworks Day89 - Fireworks over the ocean, so nothing will set on fire from the falling ashes.  But if there's a will there's a way.  
  • Listening to: "The Red Tower" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Batman: The Animated Series
  • Playing: The Sims 2
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: lime-flavored water
Writing Emote - NaNo5 My desktop computer tower had to go in for repairs two days ago sad.  I had it custom-built three years ago, and now the fans are acting up.  I mean, you know something's wrong when you turn on your machine, and it makes buzzing, hissing, screeching, and deep hums that shouldn't be there.  I looked up the sounds online, so it was definitely not my hard drive failing (every computer owner's worst nightmare).  So I took it to the store where it was built and the techs today confirmed what I thought: two of the fans are having trouble and need to be replaced.  I was most relieved Phew!.  Components like that are easy to replace and much cheaper than some parts of the machine. 

Computers and me have had a long, complicated history.  My parents bought our very first family computer in 1991 (kinda showing my age here Blush).  It was a '91 Dell, and very primitive by today's standards, but in those days, it was the best a middle-class family could afford.  Plus, mom needed it for college.  It was most certainly a step up from her electric typewriter Typewriter Emote, and way less noisy.  She told me how the most common thing college students in that time period would get with their grant money, (besides renting a Dorm room and getting classes), was buy a personal computer.  I believe we had laptops wooshback then, but they weren't as common or high-grade as they are now.  One huge difference between early 90s computer use and today is, they got the same treatment TVs did in the 50s: one per household.  Heck, you should have seen our printer!  It was a loud, screechy Dot Matrix, but it suited the purpose of printing the college papers :scroll: mom wrote for her classes.  It was also the very first time I ever saw a computer mouse.  It was small, gray, rectangular, had only two buttons, no roller button, came with a wire to attach it to the PC, and ran on a roller-ball underneath (it was very common to steal those from the library computers at school in the late 90s/early 2000s).  Plus, it was necessary to have a mouse pad, with the roller-ball setup.  Nowadays people get mouse pads just for wrist comfort or out of habit. 

I think we upgraded at least twice in the next 9 years, and by 2000s, we had two computers: one for dad, and one for mom.  Dad turned out to be the PC gamer :iconpsplagamerplz: in the house, while mom mostly just used her computer to write on, and she'd share hers with my brother and I.  Dad usually got the new computer first, with mom having the older machine.  Dad also did work on his computer, (he's a mechanical engineer, so I'm not sure what programs he would use, but it had to do with analyzing what he'd done at the power plant in recent history).  My brother and I would play games on mom's, and I would write my first few stories on there as well.  Sometimes my brother would play the same games as dad. 

Before I discovered I could save pictures in image folders, I took delight in my parents' color printers and would print out pictures to keep.  Incidentally, I would get in trouble for using up all the color ink Giggle

I inherited my very first computer in '07 when I was 21.  It was a Windows XP that was originally dad's, but he'd gotten a new PC and let me have it instead.  It was around that time I was introduced to Online Games and Sims 2 :happybounce:.  My brother and I had a blast, being able to communicate on our computers alone.  (My brother had his own PC by then too, though I think he bought it himself, rather than let our parents get it for him).  Sadly, the XP only lasted for a year before it finally bit it.  Not sure what it was; overheating, age, who knows Shrug.  The XP was already 3 or 4 years old when I got it, so the final breakdown wasn't unexpected.  I was unfortunately introduced to Windows Vista (or as we all like to call it, "Windows Shitsa") in '08 or '09, and it was quite an adjustment :angry.  I don't remember how I got my next computer, but it was a Windows 7, and I bought it with college money, in addition to this laptop.  That was about 2010 or 2011.  Two years later, however, we had a home invasion at our new house, and one of the perps messed with my computer, causing the motherboard to burn out.  (I still want to beat the crap out of whoever was responsible for that :angry:). 

So finally, when we went to get me a new PC, all they had was Windows 8 models, and I was happy with Windows 7 as an Operating System.  From what I heard and saw, Windows 8 was like Windows Shitsa all over again for users SMH.  So I had my very first custom-built computer made.  I think I mentioned it in one of these journals back then.  It's worked very well for the past three years, and I'll be grateful to have it back soon.

After a while I've started to notice a pattern in personal computers.  Typically, a good machine, if used properly, lasts on average about 5 years.  It goes faster if you overuse, neglect, or abuse it :bonk: revamp.  My grandpa once joked that computer technology was developing so fast, the moment you got your computer home from the store, it was out of date.  In actuality, new technology comes out on the market, on average, every 18 months.  Sometimes sooner, depending on what it is.  So rather than breaking the bank on a new computer every 18 months, it's more practical just to get the best machine you can afford at the time Nod, and upgrade it as well as keep it in good condition for as long as possible.  At least, that's why the textbook Bookdiva from my computer class says, and it sounds like good advice. 

I'm sure my PC will be back home within the next day or so, so I'm not worried. content 
  • Listening to: "Cannon in D Minor" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: nothing
  • Playing: Startopia
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: raspberry lemon-flavored water
Well, we're in our new house now :sigh:.  There are several difficult stages of moving:

1.) Having to leave your original House house/neighborhood/state/country.

2.) Getting everything packed in boxes and on a truck Llama Truck, as well as stuffing your car(s) cars cant fly to the brim.

3.) Having to possibly stay in a hotel for part of it.

4.) Getting all your crap into the new house House.

5.) Having to deal with said boxes for the first few weeks in the new house.

6.) Unpacking and memorizing a new map of roads in your new town/neighborhood/state/country.

We're in between stages 5 and 6 right now.  The new house House has its upsides and downsides.  Mom assures me that it'll all be much better when we unpack and get rid of all the boxes.  I keep forgetting how much trash Rubbish/trash bag moving generates.  I keep feeling like I'm drowning in all the packing paper whenever we unpack delicate, breakable stuff.  Then I feel better when it's all stuffed into trash bags Rubbish/trash bag and hauled out.  (The local recycling company's gonna love us for all the paper we're getting rid of). 

My room is smaller than the one I left behind, and it's stuffed to the gills with boxes.  I seriously Crazy cannot work like this, so I'm moving everything out into the hall and garage before setting up the place.  It's ridiculous, really. 

The last week and a half was hectic.  I really didn't want to go to my grandma's birthday party because of several reasons.  Most are personal, though the least of the worries included cutting into our time to pack before the moving truck showed up.  We stayed in a hotel because the house grandma shares with my aunt and uncle isn't very big.  Oh sure, it's near the ocean parasol and towel opn beach  TTOCI GIF 1, has a beautiful garden :floweraww:, and has lovely decor inside, but those are its only good qualities.  Pretty much, almost all our relatives from out of town (including us) stayed in hotels nearby.  What was super-annoying, however, was the fact that it was Memorial Day weekend :flagus: wavy revision, so our hotel was stuffed to the brim with other guests.  Seriously, every room was being used, and if mom hadn't called Phonecall ahead for reservations a few weeks in advance, we would have been S.O.L. for the weekend.  For the first two days, I was in a very foul mood Grumpred and angry over the whole trip (this was about as far from a fun trip as you can get), and the full hotel just aggravated my feelings.  I was this close to going postal :chainsaw: at breakfast our first day there because there were 60-some, noisy people in the continental breakfast room, and I had to wait in a line worthy of a Disneyworld ride to get a frickin' omelette Mirror the egg.  Even the cafeteria in my high school was quieter than that place!  No amount of threats, lectures, or demands of taking my medication from my parents could make me change my attitude Annoyed Eyebrow.  That is, until we dropped mom off at my aunt's house.  Then I started to feel better GiggleUp to No Good!.  Dad finally was able to cheer all of us up by taking us to his hometown nearby to see his mom and we went book-shopping Bookdiva (my fave activity). 

Thankfully, grandma's birthday party birthday cake went without a hitch.  I guess God was being kind and put us through a "best-case scenario" when it comes to a family gathering.  We took family pictures Camera, sang grandma's fave songs Singingin the old sanctuary of the church she goes to, regaled the audience with stories from her 4 grown children (mom had them riveted with the story of getting her first traffic ticket when she was 16), ate a delicious chocolate cake Birthday Cake  :D with pink flowers on top, and ate a yummy dinner at my aunt's house.  I got to see cousins I hadn't seen in years, and meet some of grandma's friends.  So that went well, at least. 

The day after grandma's birthday, we went to church, and our family and friends did not fill up one, but two pews, much to grandma's delight.  (She wanted us all to go to a church service with her like that).  We then surprised grandma by taking her to her favorite restaurant by the ocean palm tree icon TTOCI 1 GIF.  Their theme was sailboats, and we got to eat at a big table next to some huge windows overlooking the nearby warf Emoticon Map Project Entry and bay.  I love the ocean, so it was quite a treat.  It was especially fun seeing people doing water sports out in the warf, like kayaking Canoeing, boating, and standup paddle-boarding.  A few of my relatives claimed they saw dolphins Ralfie Scanner [CharBullet] leaping in the water, but I didn't see them.  I ate a seafood Cobb salad, and it was the first time I'd ever eaten scallop clam seashell, calamari, and shrimp fried Shrimp +Free Avatar+ all together.  (I think they slow-cooked the calamari, it was actually good and not super-rubbery like some people say it is).  One of my other uncles was sitting near me and ordered a casserole with mussels, and he didn't expect them to serve it with the mussels standing up in a crown around the plate.  I half-expected them to jump up and sing to him Giggle.  Grandma ordered a dessert Dessert Set: Chocolate Cake Button - Right, but it was so big that she ended up sharing it with all of us. 

We then drove home after that, though it was quite a drive back.  We didn't even have time to change, so we just drove home in our Sunday clothes.  What was great about this trip home was no giant traffic jam on the way out of the city Phew!.  (We've had that problem twice now when visiting grandma). 

Then for the next week we did nothing but pack boxes.  I'm amazed, after all the moves, that mom hasn't gotten a kit put together.  We've almost got it down to a science, much as we loathe the activity.  This is the 10th one I've done in my life.  Worst part is, it won't be my last.  Now there are benefits to packing your own stuff instead of hiring strangers to do it for you. 

1.) You save money doing so.

2.) You can do common-sense packing instead of just throwing random crap into a box.

3.) You get to label the danged thing accurately, rather than what's on top like a hired mover would. 
(Mover's tend to throw as many random items into a box, and then write that it's full of whatever is on top when you open it).  

4.) It's in your handwriting so you can actually read what the heck it says (unless you have crappy handwriting). 

We had a nice group of 6 young men help us out when the day came to move out of our rental home.  I liked them much better than the crew that helped us move from our last state back in 2012.  They spoke some of the filthiest Spanish Angry Emoticon you ever heard, should you have any knowledge of Spanish cuss words.  With this group, I didn't hear one "ch" word.  Heck, I didn't even hear any English cuss words, much less Spanish ones.  We told the crew how grateful we were about that :aww:

Domino didn't want to leave.  Our poor husky Husky Emote Is Happy has abandonment issues, and he didn't like the boxes around our house any more than we did.  We now suspect that one reason he became a stray back in 2014 was because the family that owned him moved out and left him behind.  I cannot imagine what kind of callous, cruel, selfishness it takes to do such a thing to a dog.  The least they could have done was take him to the SPCA before leaving.  All week Domino was very anxious and pacing the house, pestering all of us even after we fed, walked, and let him out each day.  Poor doggy Sad dummy.  So when I took him to my car to take him to the doggy hotel (we didn't want to give him the opportunity to run away with all the doors open) he didn't want to get in.  I had to lift him bodily into the front passenger seat so I could get us going.  When we got there, I gave him a pep talk, looking him right in the eye and telling him that we loved him far too much to abandon him.  I promised him we would come back and take him to his new home, and we kept that promise a day and a half later.  I'm not sure he understood my words, but I think he understood the gist of what I was telling him.  So then, mom and I retrieved him and took him to the new house the day after we got all the boxes in.  I said to him as we came through the front door, "Domino, welcome to your new home!"  He's much happier Husky Emote Is Happynow that he knows we're keeping him.  He's adapted well to the house and has had fun exploring our huge backyard.  However, he doesn't like the giant monster cactus Cactus Blob plants any more than we do, and like any sensible animal, has been avoiding them. 

So now we're settling in our new house, though it hasn't been easy.  It's always tough adjusting to a new home :sigh:, but we'll manage. 
  • Listening to: "Star Sky" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Batman: The Animated Series
  • Playing: Star Trek Online
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: strawberry kiwi-flavored water
:grump: I swear, this is the very first state I've ever lived in where we played "musical houses." House It drives me nuts and annoys me to no end! :angry:  My parents were approved for buying a house House once more (after 8 years of having to rent) and we've finally chosen one.  It's actually only 14 miles from our current home, so we wouldn't have to do a lot of the same things we did when we moved 1,600 miles across the country.  But I still hate moving all the same Grump.  Why can't we just get an RV and have it be done with?  I'd prefer a large spaceship :bademoticon: to live in, and we could just park it in the nearest neighborhood to dad's job, but they haven't invented such things yet. CURSE YOU! 

The family doesn't have that much re-packing to do, considering how unmotivated we were after being kicked out of our last rental only 10 months after moving in.  We did settle a little bit into this house, but for 3 years we've had boxes sitting around in every room and no real curtains were put up except in certain rooms.  Mom has declared Smartass/lecturing emote that she refuses to put up custom curtains unless we plan on staying somewhere longer than a few years.  Otherwise, there's no point to it. 

At least with this new house we won't have to answer to anybody if we want to put nails in the wall Manual labour :hammernails:, or handles on the cupboards in the kitchen, or build a skylight, or put grass in the backyard Butterflies, or re-paint Painter something.  It's all one floor too, so there's no need for mom to have to worry about arthritis in her hips or knees when visiting my brother or me.  When we first went to see it, I was astonished OMG ANOTHER SHOCK. at how much stuff there was in there.  The former owners are an older Mexican :mexican: couple that apparently had no idea when to stop when collecting Southwestern and Mexican-style decor on vacation.  Everywhere you looked there were Mexican blankets or Catholic art on the walls, desert-style rugs, silk desert flowers, Mayan and Aztec pottery in the form of various pagan gods, a few paintings of Jesus (I don't mind those), and a whole host of other stuff.  The backyard was completely devoid of grass and had gigantic cactus Cactus Blob and aloe plants scattered about, and tons of African daisies Pink Flower as well as a few trees.  Now granted, I have an aunt who lives in Vegas and uses Southwestern-style decor in her home too, but even she knows when to stop when it comes to clutter. 

However, the house passed all our tests.  We've found over the years that the houses we live in have to have certain elements for us to live comfortably in them.  One that might make any married couple laugh is the "2-sink" rule.  Mom and dad were always fighting over the sinks in our first few houses because dad wants to brush his teeth, wash his face, and shave in the mornings; and mom likes to put a towel filled with tons of cosmetics in the sink for her own use.  So when I was 9, we moved into a house with two sinks in the master bathroom, and my parents were soooo delighted at this that they swore never to move into another house without two sinks in the master bathroom again.  So far, we've done well finding houses with that.  Mom also likes kitchens with an island counter in the middle.  Don't ask me why Shrug, I've done just fine in kitchens without it, but I guess it's a matter of personal preference.  Also, ever since we got Aspen (our Alaskan Malamute, God rest her soulHusky Emote Is Happy) back in '97, we've made it our business to get houses with fenced-in backyards for our doggies.  We don't like staking our dogs, or putting them in dog-runs, or using an invisible fence.  We've always thought those three methods were cruel.  Every dog should have a safe yard they can run about in.  This house also comes with a feature mom has been dying to have for years: a room for her sewing Sewing Emote.  We haven't lived in a house with a special room mom could set up a sewing workshop in for 15 years.  She's had to improvise with all our past homes, including our current one.  There's a room off to the side of the entry hall in the new house that she wants to make into her sewing room.  The last owners were using it for an office.  It's technically a guest room with really wide doors.  We also had issues with the placement of our cars Driving. in our current neighborhood.  The Homeowner's Association is really strict and nasty towards anyone who doesn't conform to their idea of neighborhood rules (and you wonder why people have issues with gated communities of any kind).  It appears our current home sits in an area that's not friendly towards families Family - NaNoEmo 22/30 that have kids over the age of 16, and they make it very hard to park the cars of 2 adult kids nearby in addition to the parents' cars.  So one thing we looked for in our new house was a large garage with an equally large driveway.  The new home is more than accommodating.  It's been a long time since we lived on a cul-de-sac, much less one that was big enough to house parking spaces.  In fact, I haven't lived on one since I was 3 years old.

Our only real beefs Annoyed with the new house is the fact that a.) the former owners just lived in it and did minimal maintenance to the place.  So we're gonna have to have some repairs made to the place.  Frankly, I'm amazed this couple hasn't had their roof leak, or blown themselves up Explode la plz from the neglect they did to their heater and the gas lines.  And b.) we really don't like the setup of the backyard.  It has no grass to speak of, and while such a way of gardening would have been smart in a desert climate, we don't live in one like that.  Plus, Domino Rue Grin needs grass to walk on.  So mom plans on first having a gardener carefully dig up those gigantic aloe and Cactus Emoji cactus plants and sell them to anyone who might want one.  Last thing we need are monstrous plants in our yard that always present a risk of getting poked or scratched.  She also wants to pull up some of the pavement, set up a sprinkler system, and put down sod for our doggy.  She's even considered getting some new trees to add shade to the yard.  I'm interested in some lawn decorations out front.  Thankfully, the front yard is still green, though the garden is begging to be filled with flowers pullmonaria, a decorative flag, and maybe one of those cute, colorful, flower-shaped pinwheels :rainbowpinwheel:.  Mom is even interested in putting a flagpole out on the front porch so we can hang up some stars and stripes United States of America.  We haven't had one of those in years.  If anybody tells us to take it down, we can tell them to go stuff it Flip Bird

Actually, the real reasons mom and dad want to move also have to do with other problems we've had with our current house House.  Dad doesn't like the long commute to work, both he and mom don't like the noisy neighbors throwing loud parties PARTY HARD next door, and mom doesn't like how the houses are so close together, that strangers can see Peeping Tom into our back windows if we don't close the shades at night.  Plus there's that parking issue I mentioned earlier.  What's really odd is, I've actually kinda become attached to this house :homesick:.  I like how big and spacious it is, I like having a large bedroom with a big window I can see out of every day, my brother and I both like having our own little world upstairs, and we like having a park with a lake Sailing the seven seas within walking distance of the house.  But it's not our call. 

We have some other big things happening in the coming weeks for summer.  Grandma's 90th birthday birthday cake is coming up at the end of this month.  (Yep, she's turning 90 years old next Tuesday).  Believe it or not, grandma is the same age as the Queen of England Icee Queen Wave United Kingdom (they were born the same year, though not the same month; just like me and Lady Gaga).  We, along with several branches of the family, are driving Driving. over to her town to hold a big party Lily Wishing a Happy Birthday this coming weekend, and then driving home to pack. 

We're then gonna move into our new house, and mom insists that we not only put up curtains, but that we unpack as many boxes as possible.  In fact, she's bringing in another dumpster to clean out the garage soon before we go.  It'll be nice having a bigger garage in this new place. 

Then, in July, the parents are doing something many people put on their bucket lists: they are going on a cruise to Alaska.  Can you believe it? Wow!  My parents, going on a cruise!  This will be a first for both of them.  Mom's always wanted to go.  She's not much of a Caribbean-type.  She wants to see the glaciers, the humpback whales, the dog-sleds, the rugged mountains, the many towns along the coast, and some other beautiful things up north.  Dad's more than happy to go along with her.  Another couple they are friends with from choir are going along too.  Mom even set it up so that their cabins are right next door to each other.  She actually told me families have their cabins on a completely separate deck from everyone else, and I think many tourists who aren't in families are grateful for that.  (Now if only we could do that for airplanes).  Mom's worried about seasickness I think I am going to PUKE!, (I get my motion-sickness from her) but our friends from choir have told us that cruise ships move slowly, and you often can barely tell it's moving on the ocean.  Still, I'm gonna get her some ginger candy from that Chinese market I heard about.  For some reason, ginger medicine helps with nausea very well, better than even Dramamine.  Plus, I don't want mom to spend all her time on the ship in the bathroom, throwing up.  I've met people who suffered like that on boats, though usually the vessel in question was traveling through stormy, choppy waters.  I doubt mom and dad will run into any nasty storms (at least, I hope there won't be any) up along the Alaskan coast. 

My brother and I are house- and dog-sitting while they are gone for a week.  (It'll save money as far as dog-care Puppy-love :D is concerned).  I've insisted that mom and dad take a ton of pictures Camera and get postcards of their trip, especially when they ride with the sled dogs.  I also asked dad for an Alaska spoon, seeing as it's the only state I haven't gotten a spoon from, as well as Hawaii.  (I have a spoon collection that I've been putting together since Jr. High).  They will bring back other souvenirs, of course, but still, I was specific as to what I wanted from this trip.  My brother will probably get another t-shirt.  My parents are gonna be gone during my birthday Red Velvet Cake , so we've decided to combine dad's and my birthdays again.  We've done it before and it worked out ok.  Plus, I'm not really excited about this particular birthday NaNoEmo 29 - :glum:.  I'm gonna be 30 this year.  Please don't get mad, all you +30s out there.  It's a personal matter to me, nothing to do with anyone else turning 30.  It's not the worst kind of birthday to have, but I have my own issues to deal with regarding it.  :sigh: I sure don't feel 29 at this moment, and I definitely don't look 30.  But still.  I'm not looking forward to it. :sigh: 

So this summer's gonna be big for several reasons, and while my feelings are mixed about it, there's nothing I can do to stop any of the more negative aspects, so I'm just gonna take it a day at a time. :sighs: 
  • Listening to: "Cannon in D Minor" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Batman: The Animated Series
  • Playing: Star Trek Online
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: strawberry kiwi-flavored water
I swear, this is the very first state I've ever lived in where we played "musical houses."  It drives me nuts and annoys me to no end!  My parents were approved for buying a house once more (after 8 years of having to rent) and we've finally chosen a house.  It's actually only 14 miles from our current one, so we wouldn't have to do a lot of the same things we did when we moved 1,600 miles across the country.  But I still hate moving all the same.  Why can't we just get an RV and have it be done with?  I'd prefer a large spaceship to live in, and we could just park it in the nearest neighborhood to dad's job, but they haven't invented such things yet.

The family doesn't have that much re-packing to do, considering how unmotivated we were after being kicked out of our last rental only 10 months after moving in.  We did settle a little bit into this house, but for 3 years we've had boxes sitting around in every room and no real curtains were put up except in certain rooms.  Mom has declared that she refuses to put up custom curtains unless we plan on staying somewhere longer than a few years.  Otherwise, there's no point to it. 

At least with this new house we won't have to answer to anybody if we want to put nails in the wall, or handles on the cupboards in the kitchen, or build a skylight, or put grass in the backyard, or re-paint something.  It's all one floor too, so there's no need for mom to have to worry about arthritis in her hips or knees when visiting my brother or me.  When we first went to see it, I was astonished at how much stuff there was in there.  The former owners are an older Mexican couple that apparently had no idea when to stop when collecting Southwestern and Mexican-style decor on vacation.  Everywhere you looked there were Mexican blankets or Catholic art on the walls, desert-style rugs, silk desert flowers, Mayan and Aztec pottery in the form of various pagan gods, a few paintings of Jesus (I don't mind those), and a whole host of other stuff.  The backyard was completely devoid of grass and had gigantic cactus and aloe plants scattered about, and tons of African daisies as well as a few trees.  Now granted, I have an aunt who lives in Vegas and uses Southwestern-style decor in her home too, but even she knows when to stop when it comes to clutter. 

However, the house passed all our tests.  We've found over the years that the houses we live in have to have certain elements for us to live comfortably in them.  One that might make any married couple laugh is the "2-sink" rule.  Mom and dad were always fighting over the sinks in our first few houses because dad wants to brush his teeth, wash his face, and shave in the mornings; and mom likes to put a towel filled with tons of cosmetics in the sink for her own use.  So when I was 9, we moved into a house with two sinks in the master bathroom, and my parents were soooo delighted at this that they swore never to move into another house without two sinks in the master bathroom again.  So far, we've done well finding houses with that.  Mom also likes kitchens with an island counter in the middle.  Don't ask me why, I've done just fine in kitchens without it, but I guess it's a matter of personal preference.  Also, ever since we got Aspen (our Alaskan Malamute, God rest her soul) back in '97, we've made it our business to get houses with fenced-in backyards for our doggies.  We don't like staking our dogs, or putting them in dog-runs, or using an invisible fence.  We've always thought those three methods were cruel.  Every dog should have a safe yard they can run about in.  This house also comes with a feature mom has been dying to have for years: a room for her sewing.  We haven't lived in a house with a special room mom could set up a sewing workshop in for 15 years.  She's had to improvise with all our past homes, including our current one.  There's a room off to the side of the entry hall in the new house that she wants to make into her sewing room.  The last owners were using it for an office.  It's technically a guest room with really wide doors.  We also had issues with the placement of our cars in our current neighborhood.  The Homeowner's Association is really strict and nasty towards anyone who doesn't conform to their idea of neighborhood rules (and you wonder why people have issues with gated communities of any kind).  It appears our current home sits in an area that's not friendly towards families that have kids over the age of 16, and they make it very hard to park the cars of 2 adult kids nearby in addition to the parents' cars.  So one thing we looked for in our new house was a large garage with an equally large driveway.  The new home is more than accommodating.  It's been a long time since we lived on a cul-de-sac, much less one that was big enough to house parking spaces.  In fact, I haven't lived on one since I was 3 years old.

Our only real beefs with the new house is the fact that a.) the former owners just lived in it and did minimal maintenance to the place.  So we're gonna have to have some repairs made to the place.  Frankly, I'm amazed this couple hasn't had their roof leak, or blown themselves up from the neglect they did to their heater and the gas lines.  And b.) we really don't like the setup of the backyard.  It has no grass to speak of, and while such a way of gardening would have been smart in a desert climate, we don't live in one like that.  Plus, Domino needs grass to walk on.  So mom plans on first having a gardener carefully dig up those gigantic aloe and cactus plants and sell them to anyone who might want one.  Last thing we need are monstrous plants in our yard that always present a risk of getting poked or scratched.  She also wants to pull up some of the pavement, set up a sprinkler system, and put down sod for our doggy.  She's even considered getting some new trees to add shade to the yard.  I'm interested in some lawn decorations out front.  Thankfully, the front yard is still green, though the garden is begging to be filled with flowers, a decorative flag, and maybe one of those cute, colorful, flower-shaped pinwheels.  Mom is even interested in putting a flagpole out on the front porch so we can hang up some stars and stripes.  We haven't had one of those in years.  If anybody tells us to take it down, we can tell them to go stuff it. 

Actually, the real reasons mom and dad want to move also have to do with other problems we've had with our current house.  Dad doesn't like the long commute to work, both he and mom don't like the noisy neighbors throwing loud parties next door, and mom doesn't like how the houses are so close together, that strangers can see into our back windows if we don't close the shades at night.  Plus there's that parking issue I mentioned earlier.  What's really odd is, I've actually kinda become attached to this house.  I like how big and spacious it is, I like having a large bedroom with a big window I can see out of every day, my brother and I both like having our own little world upstairs, and we like having a park with a lake within walking distance of the house.  But it's not our call. 

We have some other big things happening in the coming weeks for summer.  Grandma's 90th birthday is coming up at the end of this month.  (Yep, she's turning 90 years old next Tuesday).  Believe it or not, grandma is the same age as the Queen of England (they were born the same year, though not the same month; just like me and Lady Gaga).  We, along with several branches of the family, are driving over to her town to hold a big party this coming weekend, and then driving home to pack. 

We're then gonna move into our new house, and mom insists that we not only put up curtains, but that we unpack as many boxes as possible.  In fact, she's bringing in another dumpster to clean out the garage soon before we go.  It'll be nice having a bigger garage in this new place. 

Then, in July, the parents are doing something many people put on their bucket lists: they are going on a cruise to Alaska.  Can you believe it?  My parents, going on a cruise!  This will be a first for both of them.  Mom's always wanted to go.  She's not much of a Caribbean-type.  She wants to see the glaciers, the humpback whales, the dog-sleds, the rugged mountains, the many towns along the coast, and some other beautiful things up north.  Dad's more than happy to go along with her.  Another couple they are friends with from choir are going along too.  Mom even set it up so that their cabins are right next door to each other.  She actually told me families have their cabins on a completely separate deck from everyone else, and I think many tourists who aren't in families are grateful for that.  (Now if only we could do that for airplanes).  Mom's worried about seasickness, (I get my motion-sickness from her) but our friends from choir have told us that cruise ships move slowly, and you often can barely tell it's moving on the ocean.  Still, I'm gonna get her some ginger candy from that Chinese market I heard about.  For some reason, ginger medicine helps with nausea very well, better than even Dramamine.  Plus, I don't want mom to spend all her time on the ship in the bathroom, throwing up.  I've met people who suffered like that on boats, though usually the vessel in question was traveling through stormy, choppy waters.  I doubt mom and dad will run into any nasty storms (at least, I hope there won't be any) up along the Alaskan coast. 

My brother and I are house- and dog-sitting while they are gone for a week.  (It'll save money as far as dog-care is concerned).  I've insisted that mom and dad take a ton of pictures and get postcards of their trip, especially when they ride with the sled dogs.  I also asked dad for an Alaska spoon, seeing as it's the only state I haven't gotten a spoon from, as well as Hawaii.  (I have a spoon collection that I've been putting together since Jr. High).  They will bring back other souvenirs, of course, but still, I was specific as to what I wanted from this trip.  My brother will probably get another t-shirt.  My parents are gonna be gone during my birthday, so we've decided to combine dad's and my birthdays again.  We've done it before and it worked out ok.  Plus, I'm not really excited about this particular birthday.  I'm gonna be 30 this year.  Please don't get mad, all you +30s out there.  It's a personal matter to me, nothing to do with anyone else turning 30.  It's not the worst kind of birthday to have, but I have my own issues to deal with regarding it.  I sure don't feel 29 at this moment, and I definitely don't look 30.  But still.  I'm not looking forward to it. 

So this summer's gonna be big for several reasons, and while my feelings are mixed about it, there's nothing I can do to stop any of the more negative aspects, so I'm just gonna take it a day at a time. 
  • Listening to: "Cannon in D Minor" by Two Steps from Hell
  • Reading: "Fire Margins" by Lisanne Norman
  • Watching: Batman: The Animated Series
  • Playing: Star Trek Online
  • Eating: nothing
  • Drinking: strawberry kiwi-flavored water