Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tomorrow is the day!

The April A to Z Challenge sign up starts tomorrow! Last year was stressful, at times painful, annoying, tiring, and I loved every minute of it because I spent my Challenge analyzing the world that is Walt Disney World!

This year is going to be quite different, on a completely different subject I'm more than a little bit passionate about (but it's still a secret for now, so no spoilers...only one person knows and she's sworn to secrecy for fear of death). I may be a total Disney geek, but I don't talk about it ALL the time, especially when I just get back from a trip and am going through Post-Disney Depression (which is still lingering from October).

For those that don't know, the A to Z Challenge is a month of daily blog posts (well, every day except Sunday), each day represents a letter of the alphabet. You don't necessarily have to go in alphabetical order (although for me it would be impossible to go willy-nilly), but you do have to cover each letter of the alphabet. You also don't have to write every single day (as long as you post daily), which I tried at first, but it was just too tiring and time wasting, so I eventually started doing them in batches and it got better. I didn't think I was gonna make it through at first, but it was amazingly satisfying to finish!

Everyone approaches the challenge different. Some people just do a single word of the day (but I don't understand this and don't read those...you seriously think it's "challenging" to come up with a single word and expect others to enjoy it?). Some people pick books, or movies, or bands, or songs, or memories. There were photos, poems, and tons of hilarious posts! There were quite a few Disney-related posts, one of my favorites gave up around "G", which was too bad, it was a really good one...Disney Characters. A lot of the ones I started off really enjoyed ended up stopping mid stream, which was a real shame.

I ended up following more sites than getting followed, but I've never been too concerned with all that anyway, so it wasn't a problem. And most of the followers I picked up have dropped off since anyway. I tend to be more attracted to the actual writing and how quickly they suck me in versus the actual subject matter (which might explain why I didn't keep many followers since I'm nothing like that...my grammar sucks, I typically can't shut up so I have long posts, and I've never claimed to be a good writer).

There were thousands of blogs to read through (another part of the challenge is to read as many of the blogs as you can). If I liked one, I followed them, not just because they followed me. And nothing turned me off quicker than a comment that read "you're blog is great! I think you'll really like mine! Here's my link...). Adding your link to your signature is one thing (my blog address is tacked onto the bottom of my emails, and that's fine IMO), but I don't watch commercials on television (thank god for DVR), I sure as heck don't want to see them on my blog, and some people where downright shameful about it, just commenting on every single blog so they could plug their own. UGH. The Challenge organizers did actually encourage this under the guise that it gets you more followers, but that wasn't the purpose for me anyway. For me it was the nature of a challenge plus, again, a chance to share Disney World with those that maybe have never been there, or to stir memories in those that had.

For anyone who is interested in how it works (or, for some reason, has an interest in my A to Z posts), my last year's Challenge posts have their own page here, but muddle through at your own risk, it's complete Disney saturation on a "War and Peace" scale! I'm going to try to make the effort not to be so verbose this year, but I ain't promising nothing!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Re-introduce Myself Blogfest

Today is the Re-introduce Myself Blogfest, a chance for new followers to discover the madness that is me!

I've told parts of my story a lot, so most of you aren't strangers to it. I started this blog after my withdraw from Facebook, as a way to still be social, but without having to read about the lives of people I went to high school with (who I didn't care about then, much less now). I wanted to share my stitching progress, brag about my pup, mercilessly plug Walt Disney World and pretty much all things Disney, as well as describe what it's like as an adult with Asperger's, OCD, and Social Anxiety Disorder. I think I've pretty much managed to beat all those topics into the ground with vigor, but that's what an Asper-girl does...I don't love much, but what I do love gets 200% of my heart and soul!

Not long after starting my blog, it was discovered I have a left temporal lobe meningioma (a benign brain tumor). I named the tumor after my two least favorite bosses and, upon occasion, you will see mention of Ferg-id and his evil plot to make my brain explode! I've been able to share my experiences with Ferg-id as well as my constant struggle with severe migraines (well, actually, I just whine a lot about not being able to stitch or blog because my head hurts or because I'm doped to the hilt).

I do participate in a couple of different blogging events, most of which are stitch related, but I'm very selective about the kinds of blogging events I join. I am, after all, a social-phobe, and every "public" event I join has consequences with my psyche. I'd like to say that blogging has helped me socially, but it really hasn't. I force social interaction because I know it's "good" for me, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. At least with blogging it's all about me versus Facebook which was all about everyone else. I have, however, made a couple of really good friends who I hope will stick with me long after my blogging career has ended!

I mainly post about stitching, but every once in a while I jump on my extremely high soapbox and mouth until I feel better. I wish I could say I regret a lot of my soapbox rants because I have been known to hurt the occasional friend, but that would be a lie (when the powers that be were giving out empathy and compassion, I must have either been in another line or on a plane to Disney). I have been known to do the occasional review or two about a favorite British television show or a band, but those are typically few and far between.

That's basically all there is to me and my blog! I'm extremely opinionated, offensive at times, self-absorbed, passionate to a fault, but immensely loyal and dedicated to the things that matter most to me as long as they are loyal back. I just realized...I'm a female Mr. Darcy (well, without the fortune, I'm as poor as a mouse). "My good opinion once lost is lost forever" pretty much sums me up in a nutshell!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jan 2013 WIPocalypse

I started this year with A Walk Through The Highlands here:

Here she is in full:

And ended here, a whole row down and starting my very last row of this incredible journey:

All in all, a fair amount of work I'd say! But the same can't be said for my other two. A Summer Ball started here:

And only made it to here:

And 35th Anniversary started here:

And just made it to here, with a bit more of Widowmaker's mane:

I've pulled out the "secret" project out as well as Tanglewood. Whether or not I start them in the next month is anybody's guess!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Zachariah Bumble-Pants

It's been a while since I posted a pic of my kid and it's a rare occasion that the little bugger lets me take his picture, but some-puppy got a haircut and I couldn't help myself! I missed a couple of spots on his head, so it kind of looks like he's got horns...

He kind of looks more like a puppy than a 12 year old!

He finally realized what was happening and hid in his bed, but Mommy is all-seeing!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I'm so bad!

Ok, I look at them a lot, but I have only ever posted on the HAED forums twice. Both posts consisted of a request for a cross stitch pattern to be made of Jasmine Becket-Griffith's Strangely Lonely, which I absolutely adore (and to this day, my requests have gone unnoticed). But when her newest in the Alice series came out, I was practically jumping up and down and having kittens! No, I'm definitely not an Alice In Wonderland fan (it's a bit like Pink Floyd to me, it really only makes sense if you're under the influence of some sort of substance - which is probably why I don't get it. But then again, next time I have a headache and have to hit the Stadol, maybe I should watch Alice...I might end up loving it!). I'm digressing.

For those that don't know, Jasmine is the artist behind my little Highland girl (and a very large chuck of my HAED stash). Jasmine is no stranger to Disney, she lives in Celebration, Florida (the town that Disney built - and then sold in defeat), she displays at the Art Gallery at Downtown Disney all the time, and she's even done some commissioned pieces directly for Disney. HAED has translated some of her Disney-inspired works to stitch in the past, but none of them really hit home like her newest works. So, hoping that third times the charm, I posted another request and I got half my wish (which I purchased this morning), Alice And The Bouguereau Princesses!! All my favorite Disney princesses in one place in Jasmine's style! Heaven!
Alice And The Bouguereau Princesses_1
It's really making me rethink my next "post Highland girl" project.

Now, if they would do The Princess And The Pea, I could go on without ever buying stash again (OK, so THAT's a bold face lie!). It's a running joke in my family that I have Princess and the Pea disease, since even a speck of lint in my bed can drive me batty (which is somewhat complicated with a dog who likes to hide his crunchy food in the bed). I really wanted Pea more than the Bouguereau's, but I guess beggers can't be choosers, and maybe someday Pea will make an appearance (yep, that was a blatent attempt at getting Pea turned to stitch, so if anyone out there has an "in" with the HAED people, help a sister out, will ya?).

Monday, January 21, 2013

The importance of a backup

First off, I'd like to say this will be a short post, but when have my soapboxes ever been short! Some things just need length to get your point across (OK, so maybe they don't, but I gotta get it out somehow, Zachary didn't have too much sympathy for me when I tried to explain the situation to him this weekend, but he is, afterall, a puppy). But alas, on with the show...

We take a lot of things for granted when it comes to computers; they will never get viruses, they will always do what their told, they will always work correctly until we decide to replace them, etc (hey, am I talking about computers or humans here?). We all have a love/hate relationship with our computers most times leaning heavily toward one of the spectrum or the other.

Most of us (and I'm probably being kind here) take care of our computers with virus software, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs, and we run cleanup programs occasionally with deep cleaning once every quarter or so (if you're not, don't tell me, or I'll jump on another soapbox). But it always surprises me the number of people who don't perform routine backups (or even random ones).

One of my bosses got his rude awakening last week. His Macbook Pro crashed completely and, as per usual, it comes to me with the explicit instruction of "fix it". "Fixing it" is not always possible. Sometimes you can repair an operating system and all will be well again. Sometimes you just have to reformat the entire puppy and restore their files from their backup. Sometimes the hard drive has to be replaced, but again, files can be retrieved from a backup. The worst possible scenario is that you'll just have to get a new computer, in which case, having your files backed up means you can just transfer them to your new one.

The first question I asked was, "Is your backup handy?". He didn't have one, never had done one. He knew he should have been doing one, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet (the laptop is two years old). Ugh.

I first explained he might want to take it to the Apple store to see if they can retrieve his files. He didn't want to do that since the store is about an hour away. So I explained that there is a good possibility that I would have to reformat his computer which basically means it will be restored back to the original factory settings and he would loose everything, but I would try my best to get what I could off, no promises. I also explained the importance of backups in situations such as these and the simple act of doing one could have saved his files. "Just do what you have to do"...never trust your boss when he says this.

The more I dinked with it, the worse it got. It definitely wasn't a hard drive issue, but the OS repair wasn't working and it was becoming more and more apparent the only option available was reformatting and factory restore. Since I'm relatively new to Macs, I did call Apple Care and had them talk me through a couple of additional steps, but they soon came to the same conclusion as me, it was a lost cause and nothing could be done. Even they couldn't get me to the files so I could maybe pull them off a different way and the tech assured me the store could do no better.

I reformatted the computer. It is a heck of a lot easier to do with Mac than a PC, that's for sure (it also helped that he had Snow Leopard, so he had his disks - I hate the fact that computer manufacturers no longer ship disks, easier for them maybe, but a heck of a lot harder on us - but that's another soapbox for another day). So, within an hour, he had a base system all up and completely updated (which I did out of the kindness of my little black heart, I could have left that for him to do).

Since I had the all-clear from the get-go (remember "just do what you have to do"?, Yeah, this is where it bites me in the butt). I called the boss, told him the bad news and what I had to do, to which I get "Well can you still get my files off?, Can you still save my emails?, What about my music?". Dude, seriously? Look up screwed in the dictionary and there is your pic (OK, I didn't say this to him, but if looks could talk and be seen through a phone line...).

The moral of this little story is this: go to Amazon or Wal-Mart or wherever and buy a backup hard drive. It might cost you $100, but how much are your family photos worth? Or your entire music library you spent months creating from your CD's? Or that email from a friend you've saved for years because she died not long after sending it?

There are plenty of free software programs out there and the newer version of Windows comes with its own backup program (as well as the fact that most new hard drives come with their own software-even though they mainly all suck).

I go one step beyond (well several actually), I have an actual copy of Picture, Music, Document, and Video files dragged and dropped to my backup drive (I actually have two separate backup drives and alternate them as well, the power of OCD), just in case the backup fails. I have actually had this happen, so all I had to do was reformat and dragged and dropped the files back into their proper location. Plus, if you had a virus, chances are your backup was infected as well and all you would be doing is restoring your infected files back on and you could end up going through the whole process again.

It's also always easier to transfer specific files you know you want to a new computer versus transferring from machine to machine or from an old backup. With transfer or backup you are just dumping junk over as well, clogging up your new machine.

If you have a PC, most backup hard drives will accommodate them just fine, Macs need a drive that is Mac compatible (some drives will handle both on the same drive, but don't count on this). And don't worry about how much room they take up on your already overcrowded desk, they are not the external drives of old and can be quite small now.

Make sure you get one several sizes larger than the actual used space on your computer (i.e., if you've used 200GB, a 1TB hard drive would be a good size, whereas, if you've used about 30GB, a 250GB would be more than enough, but allow room for growth since the size of your used hard drive space will grow over the life of your computer. Don't splurge on a 3TB drive because your computer might have a 1TB drive in it unless you are using every bit of that 1TB (which the general population doesn't).

You don't have backup constantly unless you are doing important work 24/7 (and not doing it constantly prevents infections getting embedded in the backups). I only do one every month, or sooner if I do a major project. Plus, I also use USB Flash Drives for short-term storage (since these aren't reliable). Some programs do incremental backups every day (meaning it only alters the files that changed from the last backup). I'm not a big fan of this since incrementals can be corrupted easily. I just do a full manual backup whenever I feel the need. Some people may need the structure of "scheduled backups" and that's fine, just make sure you actually let them run when scheduled.

You'll also want to remember that, depending on the amount of used space you have on your computers, backups could take quite a while. I use about 500GB of my home drive and a full backup takes about 4 hours with another few hours for verification (I use EaseUS at home, it's free and easy). So make the time to let it run without bother. And you will also want to temporarily disable sleep mode or hard drive shut down after a certain amount of time (and I also stop the screen saver because it slows down the backup). Most backups will stop when the computer goes into sleep mode or will slow down considerably due to a screensaver. The problem with this is you come back after 8 hours expecting it to be done only to discover it's barely started because it went to sleep.

Backups are as important as running virus scans, in my opinion. Most of us can't afford to go out and buy a new computer because we got a virus, or because our hard drive crashes. So why not take that little extra step of backing up? Think of it as life insurance for your personal files! Don't whine or cry about what you lost to the techs trying to help you, after all, it is YOUR fault you didn't do backups even if it may not be your fault your computer isn't working. Their job is to try to get your files back, but if it can't be done, their job is to get you running again. Be thankful if they can achieve that much!

Soapbox dismount.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jan 2013 IHSW results

I didn't get as far as I wanted due to a surprise headache Thursday night, but I still got pretty far!

Here is where I ended Thursday night:

And here is where I stopped tonight:

I've been thinking alot about how I was going to finish the last two rows, if I should work the full row then the short, or do the two together. But when I looked hard at the last row, I realized that it only consists of two lines. I could have sworn it was a full block, so that was a nice surprise! So the final two rows will be done together and my little Highland girl will be finished...hopefully earlier than expected!

Monday, January 14, 2013

First IHSW of 2013

It's that time again! I'm planning to take every Friday of this years IHSW off (well, every Friday but February and that vacation day has already been planned by someone else). Hopefully it will help me meet my WIPocalypse goals, clear my overloaded vacation days, and generally help with my mental well-being!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stitch progress

I really can't believe how much I'm moving on this. I may just make my deadline of February!

From the first stage past the last post:

To today:

Like her face and hair, I was worried about the color of the sword, it's basically all blue shades when you'd think it would be predominantly gray. But the colors melded so well together, a proper metal sword is emerging! I'm saving the black to the last. It's a really hard color to do for some reason.

The goal for next week's IHSW is to finish this row and start on my last full set of pages. The final set of pages only consists of 5 little rows.

TUSAL Jan 2013

Here we are, TUSAL time again! I decided to place my ORT jar yet again in my little world of Figment.

ORT1 01-13

ORT2 01-13

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Suddenly Kate Show-A Blog Response

I only have two besties in the world...one of which is Kate over at The Suddenly Kate Show and Momuboocrea Island. On her Suddenly blog today, she wrote an essay on blogging here. Her post today threw me back a bit. I felt guilty (an almost unheard of emotion for me) for not commenting more since I'm there all the time. I also felt angry that such an amazing talent is questioning her stories over the lack of comments she is getting. I started to respond with a comment, but soon realized that it was getting way too long, so I decided to post a blog response instead. So, sorry Katy, this won't be pleasant for either of us, but has to be done. You ARE loved immensely and must be told in the harshest terms possible since I know no other way. If I misunderstood the meaning of your post, forgive me and cease reading any further.

Most of you are aware of my social issues and my Asperger's, I am selfish, self-centered, egotistical, extremely opinionated, yet clinically shy and extremely social-phobic at the same time...basically, there is no gray in my world, only black and white speckles of mush. I like few and love even less.

I started blogging from a disillusionment with Facebook. I didn't want to read random bible verses from people who I knew didn't have a religious bone in their body and I sure as heck didn't care that so-and-so is eating breakfast. After Facebook tried to steal my credit card info, I dropped it and haven't looked back since.

My friend Vickie at Reading and Stitching had a blog and I liked the thought of spilling my guts in my own personal world. On a blog you can give your opinion freely, anonymously if you so choose, without having to listen to that of others. You want another opinion, go to another blog and read one, it's not forced into your world unless you want it to be. When it's no longer fun, you can stop. If you don't want to post, then don't. Your blog will still be there (even if your followers aren't) whenever you're ready to return.

I've had followers come and go, some only come to look at my stitching progress, some come out of a sense of duty (which is totally not necessary), others come out of sheer curiosity at what rant I'm blubbering this week. Few people comment, most don't. Sometimes I comment back, sometimes I don't. It's that simple.

One would never know I grew up as a graphic artist. Artists are generally the worlds worst at needing validation and praise. After all, a true artist puts their heart and soul into their work. They ARE their work and therefore validation is not only praising the work, but the artist themselves. People need validation and I often forget that, since I'm not built that way. My heart and soul lives on my outsides, no need for me to rip them out, they are there for all to see (even if they are covered with an impenetrable shell of pure adamantium).

Enough about me ('bout time, right?)...Katy is my polar opposite. She's kind and caring, goes to extremes to not offend and writes to make others happy, not just herself. She is the type of person that gets noticed when she enters a room and makes a point to leave a smile on every face she passes. It causes her distress to upset others and she often suppresses her opinion because of it. People don't impress me in general, but she impresses the hell out of me and probably always will! I want to be her when I grow up (except stitching, and sorry Kate, that privilege is reserved for Joysze).

Kate's post today kicked my teeth in and made me realize that I suck as a friend because I know that I should be commenting on her stories. I take it for granted that she doesn't know I'm on her blog(s) all the time and reading every little inch. Most times I read her stories on the fly, get pulled away, and never make it back to comment, or I'm basically just too lazy to comment. Besides, how many times can you say, "great job!", "loved it!" without looking like a total knob-head? Saying it too many times just makes it seem like I'm not really paying attention or doing it out of loyalty (aka, her mum point).

But at the same time, I seriously wanted to slap her silly for caring about the opinions of others in the first place! Have I taught you nothing, my dearest? Write for the love of writing, write because you have something to say, write because you simply need to get it out, write because you are extremely talented! The opinion of others means nothing in the overall scheme of "you" and your artistry. Who cares if someone likes or doesn't like your stories, what matters is that you have stories to tell and your blog is your way to get them out(and thank goodness for the rest of us that you choose to bless us with them!).

Maybe there are others like me (*gasp*) who read and love you, but who just as lazy and self-centered? Is it my fault you can't see the ginormous smile on my face after being swept away to your world through my monitor screen? Maybe I should be pissed that you don't think you should be writing for MY sheer enjoyment!

So no more questioning your amazing talent Katy...don't make me come across the pond and slap you...I'll do it!! Even worse, I'll bring Zachary with me and have him give you the four paw slap! Merge your blogs, keep them separate, start a new one, just don't stop because you can't feel the love, it's there, trust me!

Love Ya Katy, Mean It. Soapbox dismount.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tablets, phones, and app reviews

I have two different formats for apps (well, technically three if I count my work Macbook, but I haven't had a chance to play with it much). I have a Sony S Tablet (which is an android) and an iPhone. My phone is mainly used for texting and talking. I'm not one of these people who store their life on their phone...that's what a tablet is for (besides, I'm blind as a bat and have trouble seeing that little screen on my phone). I chose an android tablet because I wanted a flash-based system to watch videos and TV shows and such.

I also should point out, I worship Sony. When I need something electronic, Sony is the first place I go and most everything I have is a Sony. Granted, it doesn't always work out, things like DVD recorders, my all-region DVD player, etc, but even my speakers on my work computer are Sony. Yeah, I'm that dedicated...call it the Disney of the electronics world.

I also have to admit that I am an app snob. I don't just download every single new app that comes out, I'm very picky about the apps I choose and I don't just have apps for every single human function like some. I listen to peer comments and reviews, I read the online reviews, I demo the free version first...yeah, just a bit OCD (so what else is new). But when I find a good one, I pretty much use it almost everyday!

Some apps I love so much they live in both worlds, tablet and phone, but not all apps are available in both formats. Typically, apps just work better on my tablet, especially games. I will usually pay for tablet apps and just use the free version on my phone, since it doesn't see as much action. Paid apps usually mean no ads, but some you have to pay to get more functions.

If I would have known when I bought the tablet I would mainly use it to play games and watch TV, I probably wouldn't have spent the money, but now I can't live without it (or at least I think I can't). It is so much easier to pull my tablet out of my purse versus lugging the laptop out (Sony as well, in case you were wondering). But anyway, on to the app reviews.

First up, let's start with security. Yes, you need security on not only your computers, but your tablets and phones as well. Malware is everywhere and unfortunately, it's a product of our thieving society. I tried several apps from the get-go, AVG and Norton both kept crashing. Webroot completely drained my battery in 20 minutes flat! But in the end I ended up with Lookout Mobile Security and used it for a long time, but eventually started to feel like it wasn't doing anything, so I switched to Avast. It scans everything, doesn't harass me about getting the paid version (like Lookout), and I feel a bit safer.

Next up is the Kindle app. Yes, you don't have to have a Kindle to download Kindle books! There are hundreds of books you can get for free and thankfully for me they are mainly all classics - Austen, Gaskell, Bronte, Poe, Radcliff, Chaucer, Byron...well you get the point. And the good thing about the Kindle app versus a real Kindle...the screen is bigger on a tablet for us blind-folk. I don't have the Kindle app for my phone...can you imagine reading on a phone? Ugh! I also still prefer a real book (preferably a hardback..I hate paperback books!). I did try the Nook app, but I found the Kindle easier in both reading and shopping (LOVE the Amazon app store).

Then we have Hoops & Yoyo Sound The Alarm. This is quite possibly my favorite app on my phone (there is no android version as of yet). I've loved Hoops & Yoyo for years (and I'm always surprised when people don't know who they are). I'm a horrible morning person and it takes an act of the heavens to get me out of bed, but this app at least curbs the grumpys a bit more than your average clock alarm! GET UP! GET UP! GET UP! Hilarious!

Now on to the rest, which are games, of course! There are two things which I have always loved...sudoku and puzzles, and, as with everything else on the planet, there's an app for both. The sudoku's were the first apps I went on the hunt for and I tried many many different ones. I still haven't found a good one for my phone yet, but as far as my tablet goes...Andoku Sudoku 2 gets the prize! They have finally released a paid version and it was nice to have more options.

Magic Puzzles comes in many different variations, there is a general free version that is a bit glitchy, but you can also buy packs that tend to be a bit more stable. The 2000+ is a bit misleading because barely any of them are free. One thing you need to know about puzzle apps, not all are actual puzzles. Some, even labeled "jigsaw" are actually those slider puzzles where you move them around until they form a picture. I hate those. I want a real, honest to goodness jigsaw like you get from a box and Magic Puzzles delivers!

Angry Birds...no who doesn't love Angry Birds! There is regular, Space, Seasons, Rio, and even Star Wars! I am so bad at starting a short little game and playing for hours! I don't care for Space or Star Wars much, the bird functions are just weird, I think the original will always be my favorite. Bad Piggies...an Angry Birds sequel is also not on my favorite list. As a side note, Zachary absolutely loves the Angry Birds dog toys! Like me, the bomb bird is his favorite!

The Haunt...basically just a walk-through with a series of puzzles along the way (and even a real jigsaw hidden), but the creepy music will end up causing you to sleep with the lights on if you play it at night! The graphics are really amazing considering it's not a full video-type game. There is a Haunt 2, and I have it, but have yet to play it. This is not the kind of game you play for a couple of minutes and then stop...plan to spend hours on it like a video game.

The only Disney game on my list (although I have a lot of them) is Temple Run-Brave. I got it before I got the original Temple Run, and I thought I'd love the original just as much, but boy was I wrong there! They are two very different games. Brave is also really the only game that I play on both devices...tablet and phone!

Smule...it's a music game, similar to a piano (but without the piano). You download songs and tap the screen where the dots are to play them. This app has glitches though...to get most songs, you have to have Smoola, and to get Smoola you either have to buy them (which I refuse to do), or download other games and demo them for points. I have also had issues with songs I worked hard to buy disappearing from my list which makes me doubly glad I didn't purchase them with money. Most "good" songs are 75 Smoola and it takes forever to get that many points. But that's the only downside. It's also not as easy as you would think because you have to hit the dots in the right places, most times using more than one finger!

Last, but not least, 94 Seconds. This is the only game I downloaded to get Smoola that I actually ended up keeping (and upgrading to the paid version)! There is a series of categories and you are given the first letter of a word from that category and you have 94 seconds to finish the word in each category. A category might be chemical and the letter is x (which was easy for me, considering I work in a lab...xylene!). I have yet to finish all categories, but it doesn't stop me from trying! Sometimes my brain just freezes and I end up typing xxxx to be able to move on.

And that's it for my favorite apps. Do you have apps you love? Tell me about them and I'll check them out. Coming up next...crappy apps not worth your money!

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Ok, I so hate fan recorded video, but this one had me glued the entire time! It may have been Markie in his bow tie (which surprisingly made him even sexier than normal) or the fact that I can listen to Shine in just about any incarnation, but I think it's the fact that you can tell he's honestly happy now and that makes him just radiate! So enjoy, my little Markie and Gaz singing Shine - a good end to a crappy day!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

WIPocalypse 2013

After admiring the progress of others over the past year, I decided to sign up myself! WIPocalypse is a Stitch Along (SAL). You basically set your goals and try your hardest to complete them. Once a month on the full moon you post your progress. So without further ado, here's where I'm at and where I want to be:

A Walk Through The Highlands - I would like to be completely finished with this by the end of February, and at my current rate, I should hit my goal.

A Summer Ball - This will be a harder finish, but I want it done by the end of the year.

35th Anniversary Celebration - Another end of the year finish (hopefully), and well past due considering Disney World had their 40th Anniversary last year!

Now on to the "plan to start" projects:

Sleepy Hollow Mural
Sleepy Hollow Mural - It's been hard enough not starting this already, but I would like to finish A Walk Through The Highlands First before I start another HAED.

QS angel in lilac
My first HAED Quick Stitch: Angel In Lilac - I absolutely love Jasmine Beckett-Griffith's work now and I have several of the JBG HAED's to do. Considering this is a Quick Stitch, hopefully it will go much faster (although the detail level isn't near as good as a full version).

Tanglewood - I've had this for quite a while, but watching someone else's progress got me in the mood to start again. I also would like to complete this one by the end of the year. This will also be my first real project on non-evenweave linen (I don't count The Ribbon Topiary).

Last but certainly not least, Abigail Patecleaver - My first attempt at actually stitching my own design. It's incredibly large with about 200 colors, so it's gonna be the hardest thing I've ever done. If I don't start the stretching portraits soon though, I'll be long dead before I ever get to finish them. Hopefully since Abigail is my favorite Stretching Portrait, it will help me work on it more, now Alexander Nitrokoff will be an entirely different story!

Oh, and there is one project (which I can't post a picture of because it's a gift for someone) that I will be finishing this year as well.

And that's it, my WIPocalypse goals for 2013!

New Years Ressies 2013

I didn't post a stitch update this weekend, but I'll do it tonight. I have pretty much been off-line the past few days. I've been off work and the more I stay home, the more withdrawn from society I become. It's a shame I can't be independently wealthy so I never have to leave my house or talk to another soul! Ah, the joys of Aspergers!

But as far as New Years Resolutions go, last year I made a half-hearted attempt at them so this year, I'm all in! I'm gonna limit myself to 5 and hopefully putting them down in writing will help me stick to them.

1. LOSE 50 MORE POUNDS - I've been a bit up and down since getting back from Disney, but I know it can be done if I put my mind to it. My top weight for my height and bone structure is 164, and 50 more lbs will put me about 16lbs overweight, which will be fine. I'm a big-boned girl and am not built to be skinny (nor would I want to be).

2. FINISH CURRENT STITCH PROJECTS - If I stay dedicated, I should be done with my little Highland girl in February and the Disney project and A Summer Ball shouldn't take long if I focus on them. I have a massive stash that I just have to get down to an acceptable level.

3. GET OUT MORE - This might be the hardest. I am not a social person, nor do I want to be. My mood suffers greatly when I don't have the very basic of socializations (as evidenced by this weekend) and I have to keep myself at an acceptable level for working purposes. I think the only way to re-train myself is to force the issue of going out, the far extreme of social interaction (at least for me), to make the little socials not seem so bad.

4. GET OUT OF DEBT - OK, so I'm not THAT bad off, but being out of debt for so many years and all of a sudden being in it again, isn't comfortable. There was a time I wouldn't think twice about having 30 credit cards maxed out, but now I'm reeling at having two close to the limit. Disney makes me spend happy and it's hard to control the urge once I'm home. I have to make it a point to control the urge. Maybe I need a spend-free Disney trip to fix the problem (but then again, Disney costs money, annual pass or not, spend-free or not, so it might not be much of a fix). Besides, I already know I have to get a new vehicle, and if something should happen, I know I can't get one right now and that makes me nervous.

5. MAKE MUCH NEEDED REPAIRS TO THE HOUSE - My trailer is now 17 years old (gosh, can't believe I've lived in the same place for 17 years!) and it's getting well-worn. I need a plumber and an electrician to come out, faucets need to be replaced, carpet needs to be replaced, siding needs to be replaced, roof needs to be replaced, need areas of the walls patched, maybe even painted, caulking needs to be done, I need some new furniture (and get rid of some old), etc, etc. It's a never-ending list, but if I keep avoiding problems, they are only gonna get worse (and more expensive). Shame I can't just pay it off and get a new one!

That's it...my New Years Resolutions for 2013! Here's hoping I can stick to them! And I hope, not only does everyone have a great 2013, but that you also are able to stick to your resolutions as well!