Category Archives: Tech

My Geek Side Is Showing Blog Series: Crafty Geek Corner

Crafty Geek Corner: Super Mario Bros. (NES) DIY – Pet Edition

In this new blog series, Crafty Geek Corner, I will highlight my favorite pins each Monday. This will hopefully accomplish two of my goals: 1) continue time management & blog consistency, & 2) share more ways to geek out over fandoms with all of you!

This week’s installment is all about classic Super Mario Bros. NES nostalgia! Retrogamers rejoice in crafts!

Super Mario Bros. (NES) DIY – Pet Edition

Nintendo NES Controller DIY Crafty Geek Corner

To continue my reminiscing all things NES Super Mario Bros. from my latest Defining My Childhood post, this week’s Crafty Corner takes me to the crafty depths of my childhood nostalgia. While preparing this post, I found myself drawn to all of the crafts related to integrating our pets into our fandoms & so the result is today’s Pet Edition post!

Super Mario Bros. Cat Condo

If you have a cat, then you know a cat must climb! Why not have you cat enjoy your childhood nostalgia along with you. This Super Mario Bros. themed cat condo add-on is genius. Check out the walk-through on TheMarySue.com.

Super Mario Bros. Themed Aquarium

What an absolutely enchanting idea: to recreate a portion of a level from Super Mario Bros. for your fishes! I guess, if it works for cats, why not fish? This picture just makes me smile. Check out more at Gizmodo.com.

Bowser Inspired Turtle Sweater DIY

Isn’t this the best & cutest idea ever for any turtle owners?! I love it, I just can’t stand the cuteness. This is the most appropriate incorporation of Super Mario Bros lore into pet living. Thank you Pets Lady for bringing this into my life!

Super Mario Bros Dog Costume DIY

This great store, Young Urban Puppy, on Etsy has these wonderful dog costumes that are simply adorable. Can you imagine having a Princess Peach & Mario pair? Adorable.


Well, that is all for today! In the meantime, feel free to share links to your own Super Mario Bros NES inspired DIY posts in the comments.  I’ll gladly pin them to my Crafty Geek Pinterest board!

Join me next week for a look at more crafts!  Don’t forget to check out my previous Crafty Geek Corner posts, for other great DIY pins.

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined My Childhood: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

I was born in the early ‘80s, so the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) was a HUGE deal. It permeated American culture. There were toll numbers to call for gaming tips, which of course died off after emergence of the internet. There was the famous NES specific troubleshooting technique if your cartridge wouldn’t load: blow on the cartridge opening, insert into NES & push down, then slightly slide cartridge to the left & then right, finally turn on NES. Nintendo Entertainment System NEW controller drawingOf course, there were other tricks of the trade, such as control combinations during the loading screen. I have many memories of playing for hours on end, mostly because we didn’t have the luxury of save points. But some of my fondest memories came from swarming around a small TV with friends as we played in multiplayer co-op or against each other, or even working together as a team by taking turns to beat a single player game.

This console, much more than the ATARI, really became a thing I had in common with other kids, creating a sense of instant community. It was right up there with the latest cartoon episodes as far as go-to conversation starters. Be it in the spirit of sharing the latest cheat code or boasting that you had defeated a certain level boss, you were all of the sudden in a very intense conversation with someone who a second ago was probably a perfect stranger.nintendo heart

I LOVED my NES. I played it for hours for years, even after I got other console systems! I was lucky enough to have had a couple accessories: the NES Zapper (light gun) & the Power Pad. I discovered I am a sharp-shooter with the Zapper, as I am sure many of my generation also learned. However, the Power Pad was the precursor to the foot pad controller of games such as Dance Dance Revolution & then onto Kinect for the Xbox 360 & the Wii’s Balance Board. I’ll go into more detail regarding the game that my brother & I played obsessively using this Power Pad in a later post. The fact is that my brother, who does not like video games, loved playing with this controller is a testament to how it reached new players. It helped bring kids who would not normally want to play, into the fold. This controller didn’t convert my brother, but he still lights up whenever I remind him of the game we used to play with it. (Spoilers.)

My NES allowed me to enter new worlds & become immersed in each’s story & history. It etched sights & sounds into my being. It helped me live epic tales of heroism, while honing my eye-hand coordination & learning to cope with my dyslexia through thousands of hours of practice.  I am indebted to my mom for buying me this machine, especially since we were on a tight budget.

Radar image of Hurricane Andrew 24 August 1992

via wikimedia.org

There is another way this console system defined my childhood. I grew up in Miami, FL & so I lived through the unimaginable destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. My family & I had to evacuate our house & I could only take the essentials. I had to make the hard choice of leaving my NES behind. I can personally vouch for how amazingly well that machine was built: not only did it survive the eye of the Category 4 hurricane (which would have been the equivalent of a Category 5 today), but after I found my NES stuffed with pink insulation in the rubble under the fallen staircase of what used to be my house, my NES worked! It started right up & continued working for many years!  It may seem silly to most, but having lost everything so jarringly, this small bit of normalcy helped me cope with the unimaginable shock of the destruction and mayhem left in the wake of Andrew.

Did you have an NES growing up?  What is your fondest NES moment?

Check out other posts in this series!

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Continuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Pac-Man on the ATARI 2600.

Pac-Man (ATARI 2600)

Who born post-1980 hasn’t been fascinated with Pac-Man at one point or another?  Hell, who born post-1970?  Granted the Pac-Man port to the ATARI 2600 was pretty much not a good idea on a plethora of levels given that ATARI completely overestimated demand by a 7 million & the 2600 didn’t have enough memory to support the game, causing the distinctive flicker of the ghosts (seen in the video above).  But as a child, I didn’t know the difference nor did it make much to me. I remember falling in love with Pac-Man & playing innumerable times.  How I managed to do that without it going into an epileptic seizure from the flickering (see video inserted above), I have no idea.

Pac-Man definitely faired better on other platforms & continues to find success in version after version, no matter the platform.  The arcade version remains one of the most memorable & still relevant games of all time.  Two years ago, I came across Pac-Man Battle Royale in a Hong Kong arcade.    Pac-Man Battle Royale four player arcade game

This past week, Google even placed a playable version of Pac-Man superimposed on actual roads in Google Maps.  Pac-Man is burned into our society’s core, especially Western society.


Do you have any memorable Pac-Man experiences?

Defined my childhood: console video games

Defined my Childhood: Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

Space Invaders retro video gameContinuing my exploration into the home console video games that Defined My Childhood, starting in chronological order with my ATARI 800 & 2600, I dedicate this post to Space Invaders on the ATARI 2600.

Space Invaders (ATARI 2600)

In preparation for this series, I asked my mom what games she remembered me playing often as a child, & one of the first games she mentioned was Space Invaders.  I remember Space Invaders fondly, but she emphatically stated I played it almost every single day for hours at a time as a very young child.  The game came out for the ATARI 2600 in 1980, but I’m not sure if we got it right away.  My mom says she remembers me playing this game at a very early age.

I’m sure that many of you have seen this game in an arcade at some point, but my first exposure was in my home on the ATARI 2600.  This is probably where my fondness for Galaga and shooters originated.  But funnily enough, I don’t think I played Galaga on our ATARIs at home nor did I play Space Invaders at the arcade.  I’m just weird like that, I guess.  This game laid the groundwork for my taste in, & definitely for my love for, video games.  Looking back at this game, it was also probably extremely helpful in mastering my left/right dyslexia, honing my eye-hand coordination, as well as timing in general.  Hours of fun, over countless days of my childhood.


Do you have any ATARI memories?  Or any Space Invaders memories?  Which home console video games helped define your childhood?

Blog series: Defined my childhood video games

How I became a video game sniper

If you have been reading my blog to any extent, you know I have loved & played video games since possibly the womb.  Video game play has gotten a bad rap, but I definitely attribute my stellar hand-eye coordination to my countless hours playing, & in particular shooting.  Three years or so ago, I had an epiphany while playing MAG on my PS3: I am a video game sniper.  So, how did I get here?

In the beginning  …

On my ATARI, I remember shooting up a storm on Space Invaders, but it all really began with my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  When we got the NES, we also got the Zapper light gun controller & Duck Hunt.

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Duck Hunt

via Wikimedia.org

Firstly, who didn’t technically cheat by holding the gun right up to the screen & still somehow miss?!  Secondly, who didn’t hate that condescending dog after playing for more than 20 minutes?

Screen shot of NES's Duck Hunt.

via wikimedia.org

So, that is my first memory of using guns.  My dad taught me how to shoot an air pellet gun in real life, but I never really went beyond that for me … except in video games that is!  I remember playing Contra & loving it.  There was also the Mega Man series: the android with a heart of gold & a gun for an arm!  And of course, Metroid!  For the NES, that is all I can remember as far as shooters.

Next gen shooting

On my Sega Genesis, there wasn’t any shooting going on, unless you count Earthworm Jim.  We then got the Nintendo 64 & while it wasn’t a gun that I was shooting, I was shooting the hell out of my bow & slingshot in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  Then, Goldeneye was released.

Screenshot of gameplay from N64's Goldeneye.

via wikia.com

Goldeneye multiplayer was everything at the time.  First, ground rules for multiplayer: no one can pick Oddjob nor the Golden Gun. Second, don’t look at my screen!  I spent countless hours playing multiplayer matches of Goldeneye with my friends.  Definitely a COD precursor.  Playing this game, I first heard of the complaint of “camping”.

Shooting up a storm in the arcade

I won’t delve too deeply into this medium, because I already discussed it in previous posts, but Time Crisis II & Silent Scope were big favorites of mine whenever I saw either machine in an arcade.  Certain portions of Sega’s masterful Star Wars Trilogy, also had blaster action that was performed using the joystick.

Games come on discs?! (Next next gen)

The first time I played Metal Gear Solid, it was on the PS1. Two words: Sniper Wolf.  Enough said.

Sniper Wolf (Julie Monroe) from Metal Gear Solid 2 on the Playstation

via photobucket.com

While Halo: Combat Evolved has a lot of shooting on the Xbox, I don’t really remember getting much sniping done while playing it.  On to the PS2, I returned to the Metal Gear Solid series with MGS 3: Snake Eater.  Talk about sneaking & waiting for the perfect shot.

Next next next gen

I never did buy a Xbox 360, so I can’t comment on the rest of the Halo series.  I did, however,  have a PS3 & Wii.  I played a lot of first person shooters (FPS) on the PS3 including the three Uncharted games, & Valkyria Chronicles (which is a beautiful combo turn-based shooter that you should check out if haven’t already), but the three games that really solidified my sniper leanings were: Starhawk, Fallout 3, & MAG.

Starhawk (PS3)
images gathered via google.com

images gathered via google.com

This game had everything I enjoy: the ability to snipe, teamwork, strategizing, building/deconstructing, & capture the flag!  Sniping from within a bunker was always fun & frustrating (the good kind).  I hope that a version of this fun online game makes its way to the PS4.  I am sure this is the reason I enjoy Destiny on my PS4 so much.

Fallout 3 (PS3)
via google images

via google images

This game had a really disappointing regular sniper rifle that, at first, truly frustrated me.  But, then, I came across the Drifter & everything changed.  Basically, my primarily thought while playing Fallout 3 was, “I hope you aren’t important for the storyline, because I really want your gun.”  A post-Apocolyptic world will do that to your thinking.  The Drifter did not need to live & so I acquired the Reservist’s Rifle, which by far is the most durable sniper rifle in the game.  Durable is as important as impact/damage in this game, since you are constantly scavenging to find parts in order to repair, mod, etc.

MAG (PS3)
MAG (PS3) Sniper and Marksman

Compilation via images google.com

This game was insanely fun.  It was so large in its scope, with 256 simultaneous online players in Domination, & a wide array of customization and skill set building that it stayed fresh over countless replays. I had different sniper load outs, depending on what role I was going to play in my platoon & what game mode I was playing.  I also enjoyed the ability to change your load out before you respawned in order to adapt to changing conditions of attack/defend.  While sniping didn’t lead to astronomical kills, it did lead to amazing kill-to-death ratios! I cannot say enough about this game.

Current gen

As of right now, I only own a PS4.  The games I currently play the most are Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (COD:AW) & Destiny.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)

I remember playing through COD: Ghost Recon on my PS3, but not really enjoying the online multiplayer aspect of it, especially not in comparison to MAG & Starhawk.  I’m still getting the hang of it, trying out different sensitivity settings, & figuring out which weapons work best for my style, etc.  I”ve been looking at Youtube videos to help orient me on how to successfully snipe in COD:AW & found this sniper class video from Anonymous Player:Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sniper class

I’ve recent joined up with a clan, The Purgers, & I can definitely state that playing COD:AW with friends is what makes the experience for me.  We participated in the latest Clan Wars & won 1st place! If you are interested in joining our clan, send us a tweet!Purgers-collage

Destiny (PS4)

Destiny is online only & reminds me of what I enjoyed from Starhawk.  From the moment I began playing, I have met countless fellow guardians that have been helpful & welcoming.  I have been lucky enough to create an unofficial crew/clan with a few fellow Guardians with whom I play whenever any of us is online.  They are very welcoming and helpful.  Team chat is the great on Destiny because you don’t have to hear anyone else while playing the game, unless you are on the same fire team or Crucible team & elect to turn on the audio.

As with COD:AW, I have recently joined an official clan on Destiny for the PS4, Dames of Destiny.  I look forward to meeting fellow gamers in this clan!Destiny-collage

The first exotic weapon that I purchased from Xur was Ice Breaker, the sniper rifle.  Thanks t the handy-dandy Destiny app on my iPhone ,I can swap this little baby between both of my Guardians with ease.   It holds 6 bullets that regenerate, has great range, plus one of the perks is highlighted in my tweet shown below: victims spontaneously combust, dealing damage to others nearby.  How can I not love this weapon?  I’ve used to with great success in the Vault of Glass & Crota.

 

via Twitter @GeekSideShowing


So, do you play first-person shooters?  What kind of video game gun &/or style do you prefer?

Back in the saddle again!

So, I pretty much fell off the face of the blogsphere for a couple of months, due to life.  But one of my goals this year is to be more consistent on here & share what I’m geeking out over, not just on Pinterest (which I love!), Twitter (which I am getting better at), & Instagram.  I’m not hugely active on FB yet in regards to my blog, but it is also in the works.

Anyway, this is a quick recap of what has been keeping me for posting over the last months:

I went to FanExpo Canada & lucked out by getting a last minute resale ticket to the Doctor Who panel with Matt Smith & Arthru Darvill!

Doctor Who Matt Smith Arthur Darvilll FanExpo Canada

Doctor Who panel at FanExpo Canada August 30, 2014

Got to attend my first Masquerade at a Con while at FanExpo (check out more images on my Instagram feed!):

Masquerade cosplay lego anime 300 Edge of tomorrow

Just a few of the sights I was privy to during & after the FanExpo Canada 2014 Masquerade.

I bought myself a PS4 as a birthday present! Yay! But I didn’t really get a chance to start playing until a couple months later.  Started playing Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag & Destiny, while I have Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes waiting in the wings for a bit down the line when I have more time.  I’ll post on my gaming adventures in a future post.

I also lucked out & was able to go to Hawaii with a really great friend to celebrate both of our birthdays!  A first-time to Hawaii for both of us & it was spectacular!

Hawaii Oahu Big Island sunset beaches volcanoes nature

Sights from my amazing experiences while visiting Oahu & the Big Island of Hawaii.

My brother & I went zip-lining while in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for our half-brother’s wedding (picture forthcoming)

Then, high season began at work & that has been a bit all-consuming of my time & mental energy.  But now that things have settled into a more constant groove, I have decided to get beck into blogging, since it was very fulfilling last year.

What I will focus on this year will range from travel, to gaming, to learning … I guess to being adventurous in all the wonderfully complex & unexpected ways life presents itself to me.  All the while, not letting my sneakily perfectionist tendencies get the better of me & prevent me from publishing my posts because I don’t have ALL of the pictures or images I want to include (see how I was able to post this without including the zip-lining picture, even though I really wanted to do it!).  Sometimes, enough is good enough.  Maybe a mantra I should repeat in order to progress & keep from allowing myself to stagnate.

Defined My Childhood: Console Video Games

#tbt: Console games that defined my childhood

So, apparently I have yet to master the art of scheduling a post to auto-publish at a predetermined time & date!  What was supposed to be Thursday’s post is now Friday’s!
Cie la vie!

I have been thinking a lot about video games lately, & I decided I would go back down memory lane to consider which games I love, potentially which games I disliked/hated, & ultimately, what gaming has meant to me.  My childhood was filled with enriching video game experiences.  I already started by looking at my favorite multiplayer arcade video games in a previous post, but this post will start a series consisting of the consoles games that defined my childhood.

Generations of kids have shared experiences, and therefore connection, because of video games: shared frustrations with a boss, the NES cartridge troubleshoot, or taking the “secret” shortcut.  It united us, albeit in some ways superficially. But, this bit of shared escapism was no different than the shared reading experiences of generations before.  It created communities through the simple connection of that shared experience.  A lot of criticism is levied towards the video game community for creating isolated or anti-social individuals that do not go “outside & play” with other kids.  But, I have found that gamers will find each other in a crowd & can become instant friends.  It is not rare to instantly decide you like/dislike someone based on what was/is that person’s favorite game.

“Do you like Zelda? … I do, too!  Well, I already know I am going to like you & we are going to be fast friends!”

For me, video games have greatly honed my eye-hand coordination & helped me learn to cope with my dyslexia in a fun way.  They taught me to plan, but be flexible & make necessary adjustments on the fly.

So, I invite you to also think about your most memorable childhood console video games.  Have you too bonded with a stranger over your mutual love or dislike of a video game?  What did gaming mean to you then & how has that affected you today?

 

Showing my geekiness via my iPhone 4S

So, I love my tech!  Video games, computers, gadgets, cellphones, & more.  I’ve been jailbreaking my iPhone since back when I had a 3G!  I just love having control of my iPhone.  One of the ways I like to express my geek side is by adding tweaks & themes to my handy iPhone.  Currently, I am sporting a mix of fandoms on my lock screen that I wanted to share:

iphone lockscreen

I’m sporting Doctor Who logo in place of my carrier name thanks to Zeppelin & Doctor Who Mega carrier pack, changed my slider to include MegaMan, & instead of the stock camera grabber icon I have Star Wars Rebel Logo.

I like to switch the look up, so I am probably going to mix it up again in a week.  I figured I should take not of what I had already chosen & what had motivated me to choose each item in the first place. This way I can have guidelines when looking for replacements.  There is no shortage of tweaks & themes, so without an idea it can be quite daunting.  I used to have my wifi signal strength themed with Super Mario Bros. mushrooms: red was weak, orange was good, & green was excellent.  Haven’t been able to find a replacement compatible with iOS7, but I am constantly checking for something like that.

On top of the visual expression of my geekiness, I also have ringtones & alert sounds from Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Level 1, Super Mario Bros., Doctor Who, Chuck, & Assassin’s Creed.  One lesson I learned the hard way: the TARDIS sound is awesome when you are expecting it, but out of no where it can be pretty jarring & a bit freaky.


How do you express your geek side via your tech: computers, smartphones, video game consoles, & more?