Thursday, January 31, 2013

I love the Internet. And I re-made crafts.

I've been participating in the THANKATHON with Hannah Hart (@harto). I love Hannah. I love My Drunk  Kitchen. I love grilled cheeses (even though I burned it and used nasty cheese). I sent a picture in for the world record count! You can also see my awesome Classic Game Room glass!

Hello, Harto! The glass says "Input Beer, Output Fun"
Since I'm not going to be lame and update just with a picture of some grilled cheese, here are some updated craft projects. Namely, I've altered the Silver Doe Patronus Plaque and the Hunger Games Bracelet. Yay! I think they look much nicer. I hope you do, too. I also have a picture of a NEW painting I did. I like it a lot. It's at the end. 

Here is the Silver Doe Patronus Plaque! I re-pained the silver outlines with a "whiter" silver, which made it stand out better. I also bought silver mug hooks at Wal-Mart, so I can hang my gaming headset on it. You can't really tell, but I shortened the hanging chain. 

Here's the updated Hunger Games Bracelet! I looped brown suede around the Mockingjay pendent, and I put silver foldover cord ends in order to attach it to the bracelet closure. Doesn't it look a lot nicer?

Finally, here is a look at my newest wall art! It's a quote from Q from the Star Trek: TNG episode "Q Who?" The background is a metallic silver, and I love the colors I used for the words. Maybe someday I will put up pictures of all the awesome stuff in my apartment. I love my apartment, there's a plethora of geekiness. Sometimes I feel more like a 17-year-old than an (almost) 25-year-old in my decorating.

That's all I can do tonight! I My Drunk Kitchened over the internet with the world, so too much blogging is not a good thing. <3

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hints for Gaming on a Budget

If you're a regular reader here at Geekphoria, you'll know that I'm a graduate student. The decision to dedicate your life to that noble pursuit means that you have to make some sacrifices--and after free time, your level of income is the most drastically affected.

I know, I know. No free time and no money makes it difficult to be a gamer. That's why you just need to be dedicated. And also, be really awesome at procrastination.

It's hard to game on a budget, though. Things are especially difficult if you're a fan of a play-to-play MMO, or if you want to be informed and up-to-date with the latest conversations on IGN. It is in solidarity that I've decided to share my (definitely not secret) tips for gaming on a budget.

1) Rent or borrow a game before you decide to purchase it for yourself.
      You may not know if you'll enjoy a certain game before you get your hands on it, so it's not practical to shovel out $60 unless you're sure you'll enjoy it. If you rent it (from somewhere like Family Video, Redbox, or Gamefly) or borrow it from a friend, you have a chance to play it before you decide to commit. If your opinion on the game runs somewhere in the middle, you can even decide to forego buying it and just play the rented/borrowed copy.

2) Plan in advance.
      Every year, IGN publishes a couple lists of the games that are expected to be released that year (here are some links to lists for 2013). I use these to decide which games I'm willing to pay for "new", and which ones I'm willing to wait to buy. Last year, I decided that I would pre-order Lego: Lord of the Rings (Wii), Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360), and Assassin's Creed 3 (Xbox 360). I would wait for reviews before I decided to buy other games, and I would be able to plan the expenses by month (and spread out purchases, if possible). This year, I'm eyeing Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider, Bioshock: Infinite and Star Trek: The Game for pre-order purchases. (That is, if Star Trek: The Game ever decides to be released. Each year it's becoming more and more of a "maybe" for a new purchase). The first three are released close together, though, so I will probably prune the list down to two.
      I've also found that it's "safer" to purchase new games if 1) there's a lot of hype over the game and the pre-release reviews are glowing, and 2) if it's part of a series. While it may not live up to the first (or best) game in the series, I always enjoy the nostalgia (see RE6).

3) Buy local.
     This goes for both new and used games. Many record stores will sell new and used games, and I've found that these are some of the best places to buy games--especially when it comes to the classics. They also tend to mark down used games like they mark down used movies--they usually run between $10 and $20, no matter how recently they were released. Since the games are so inexpensive, I usually buy several games. Then I get to support local businesses and get my game fix.

4) Buy on Ebay.
       This is kind of the opposite of the last suggestion, but it also works (and works the best when you want games for old systems--I buy all my Dreamcast and N64 games off of Ebay). The fact that there are usually many sellers means that you can shop around for something in your price range. Video games are usually listed as "Buy it Now"--unless they're games that are worth a lot of money.

5) Wait for sales.
       I often buy up a lot of games during Black Friday sales (I also do pretty much all my DVD shopping on that one day a year). I also keep an eye on Steam and Xbox Live sales (though I know some people don't like digital copies, I don't mind getting a digital copy of a game if I can get it at a great discount). These sales can be good when they're highlight popular, good games. However, these sales can also promote some awful games. Use discretion.

These are my key suggestions. Let me know if I've missed anything important in the comments! I'll see you all in a few days, with new craftiness.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Etsy Tuesday: Prints

Hey everyone! Today's Etsy Tuesday is inspired by the prints I bought from CaptainLaserBeam last week! I purchased two of her cult classics art nouveau prints, and can't wait to receive them! I'm going to frame them next to each other and put them up...somewhere. Not sure yet. It depends on where I decide to put the Lord of the Rings trilogy posters that I just framed the other day. 

Here are the prints I bought:
I went with gown!Lili instead of dark!Lili so that the print "goes" better with this Sarah print:

Both Labyrinth and Legend were huge influences during my formative geek years, and I can't wait to have these preciouses in my clutches!

Anyway, thusly inspired, today's Etsy Tuesday is all prints!

I found this first print through Jen Yates's Epbot blog. Like most geeks who grew up during the 90s, I'm a big Harry Potter fan. Adam Rabalais, owner of the shop named after him, has a movie poster for each of the Harry Potter books (so, in other words, only one poster for Deathly Hallows). I chose to feature the Deathly Hallows poster because the quote gives me the feels. Also, feast your eyes on the Chamber of Secrets poster.
24x36in, $45.00 USD
27x40in, $50.00 USD
There are a lot of other geeky prints there (Batman, Firefly, etc), so I'd wholeheartedly suggest that you take a look at the shop. Mr. Rabalais offers deals when you order more than one product, so you should snatch these posters up. I know that I, for one, am going to order a few after my next payday.

Speaking of Batman, I'm really a fan of minimalist designs based on Bats. That's why this piece caught my eye (and will probably most definitely be purchased. I have a pretty good idea of where to put it).

11x17 in, $19.00
The print is from the shop Harshness (its owner goes by the same alias), which also has some pretty cool Game of Thrones, X-Men, and Avengers prints. I especially covet the AT-AT print, and the LoTR locations prints.
11x17 in, $19.00 USD

11x17 in, $19.00 USD

I'm starting to think that I'm really drawn to minimalist posters. The art in the following prints is definitely not minimalist, but the monochromatic coloring really makes it look cool. These Avengers prints are sold at the shop FashionArtStudio, run by Terry Minucci. This shop also runs a multiple-quantities discount.

11.5x16.5 in, $50.00 USD
They come in other colors, as well.

Also, look at the Andy Warhol-esque Batman print. Awesome.

11.5x16.5 in, $19.00

That's all for today! I'm currently switching off between homework and playing The Walking Dead video game. I'm really enjoying the game--the homework, not so much. I'll let you all know my final opinion in an edition of Gamer Drama. Speaking of Gamer Drama, either a Gamer Drama or a post on gaming on a budget will be up by the end of this week. See you all then!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

DIY: Silver Doe Harry Potter Plaque

My first project using my new Dremel (my aunt gave it to me for Christmas) was partially inspired by Jen Yates's Harry Potter Wand Display, in that it's 1) made of wood, 2) Harry Potter-themed, and 3) a functional plaque. Of course, it's not nearly as well-made, detailed, and awesome, but I don't think it's bad for my first Dremel craft.

I began by buying a plaque from Hobby Lobby, a nice chocolatey-brown stain from Home Depot, and some silver paint from Jo-Ann Fabric. The first step was to sketch out the design on the plaque. I used a font reference and a deer silhouette reference as I sketched, but I did the design free-hand.  And--this is important--I did it lightly. I found that this type of wood wanted to cling to my pencil lines, so those few darker lines didn't come out once I finished carving. Luckily, though, the stain covered it well.

From here, I started to carve into the wood. I used the 1/4in High-Speed Cutter tool, followed by the 1/32in Engraving Cutter. I found that I was having issues using the cutter, even though it was designed for wood. It kept bouncing against the grain, leaving uneven lines. Luckily, they're not too obvious. Still, it meant that I didn't give this project as a gift, like I initially intended. 

Once I finished carving, I stained the wood. This is only one coat of the stain, and it covers very well. I really like the color, as well. The smudge on the bottom is where I tried to sand some of the rough edges from the carving. It did not go well--reason number two as to why I didn't give it as a gift. 

Then I used a small paintbrush to outline the Patronus doe and the words. The paintbrush was the perfect size for the engraving, although it did smudge a little in some areas. 

Next I used some silver screw hooks to attach a hanging chain to the top of the plaque. I used needle-nose pliers to bend the hooks into circles, and some jump rings to attach the chain to the hooks. I also screwed two of the hooks into the bottom of the plaque, though I wasn't entirely sure what I would hang there. I initially went with some comic con lanyard IDs, but it hangs too close to my whiteboard.

Here's a picture of the plaque in action. I hung it near my desk (you can see part if it in the bottom right-hand corner).

And here's a close-up. Overall, I'm happy with the way it looks. I'm looking forward to making the results of my next Dremel carving adventure a greater success, though. 

Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should hang on here? I've been considering switching out the bottom screw hooks for larger ones, so that I can hang my gaming headset on it. 

See you next week! I have an Etsy Tuesday and a Gamer Drama planned!

Edit: Hello! I have since updated the plaque! Here's a link to the new blog, with the pictures! And here's a picture! I put larger hooks on the bottom, brightened the silver paint (I used a whiter silver), and shortened the chain. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

How I Waste My Time

I'm working on a research paper with four other co-authors (I know! WHYYY?), so for once I do not feel like the world's biggest procrastinator.

Which is amazing, because I'm an awesome procrastinator. Seriously. One of the best. If procrastinating was a sport, I'd have the world record and a gold medal. And probably some awesome sponsorship deals.

And, of course, my key tool in procrastination is the internet. I often start working on papers, and then find myself on the internet three hours later wondering how I got there. Here are the places I spend my time online:

On this list are four blogs that I check every day (or multiple times a day), and one blog that I check once a week (it's not updated frequently). I actually often find myself looking through the archives of these blogs, even though I'm pretty sure I've read the entire blog already. So, in nor particular order, here are five blogs that you should check out:

Epbot is run by the amazing Jen Yates, who is basically my idol. Jen posts some of the greatest things, and always has awesome crafts and DIYs. She also posts great geeky art, and a lot of the art (and jewelry) I've bought comes from artists and etsy stores she's featured. I find Epbot inspirational, hilarious, and I still look forward to each new blog (even after reading it since the beginning).

The Geeky Hostess
The Geeky Hostess is run by Tara, who features awesome things every day. These things include products, recipes, and awesome party ideas. The Geeky Hostess is the blog that introduced me to Espionage Cosmetics, among other things, and is one of my favorite things to read.

The Mary Sue
The Mary Sue is the only blog I've listed that is run by an editorial staff. The rest are run by one or two people. The Mary Sue is primarily a geeky news site, though it does have special features (such as the Power Grid lists). My favorite thing that they do is the "Things We Saw Today" post. At the end of each day, they make a post that gathers the best things they've seen online that day. It has a mix of news, memes, photos, and DIYs. It's pretty sweet.

Being Geek Chic
Being Geek Chic is run by Liz Giorgi, another Midwesterner. She just opened a shop on her blog, which has a ton of really cool things. I always like her "Geeky At Work" segments, which she runs every Wednesday--in fact, GaW has informed a lot of my fashion choices lately (though at a pathetic, grad student budget).

Pinstrosity is one of two blogs (the other being Epbot) that makes me laugh out loud. Pinstrosity shows failed pin replications, but goes a step further--Emilee and Marquette (the bloggers) then determine what the issues were that caused the pin to fail. They will also test pins, and show their own attempts at replicating pins for parties and other events.


Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto
Girls with Slingshots is a comedy (as are most of the comics listed here) that centers on two best friends. Over the years, the core cast of characters has expanded a bit. It (like Questionable Content and Something Positive below) are the comics that I'm the most emotionally invested in.

Hijinks Ensue by Joel Watson 
Hijinks Ensue is the most directly geeky comic listed here. Most comics have a direct (and hilarious) reference to something in the geek culture. I have a couple prints of these comics hanging in my office.

Piled Higher and Deeper  by Jorge Cham
PHD is a comic about grad school. Not only is it funny, it also keeps you from going insane (if you're a grad student).

Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques
Questionable Content chronicles the exploits of a group of hipsters. Who also have sentient robot friends. Click on it.

Romantically Apocalyptic
I really, honestly can't describe what's going on in this comic. All I know is that it's funny, though-provoking, and absolutely beautiful.

Something Positive by Randy Milholland
I love this because I have the same dark sense of humor. Everything cracks me up, in a way that sometimes makes me feel guilty.

You-Tube/Internet Shows

The Vlog Brothers
NERDFIGHTERS! (That is all).

My Drunk Kitchen
Hannah Hart gets drunk and cooks (and makes puns). I love it. I love Hannah. Also, she's planning to go on tour, and I desperately hope she comes to Chicago (the "kickstarter" is here).

The Guild
The Guild just finished its sixth season (the end of which looks like a series finale, but there's no confirmation of this. Wondering whether or not I need to freak out is the only thing keeping me from freaking out). The show follows Codex and her guild on the MMORPG "The Game" as they have wacky adventures in the real world. The Guild (and the next two shows) are part of Geek and Sundry.

Wil Wheaton hosts this show, where three other people join him to play a tabletop game. This show has done horrible things to my bank account (I bought five games in the past month because of it), but it's hilarious.

The Flog
Felicia Day hosts this talk show, and it's a lot of fun. My favorite is the Trio Mio segment, where Felicia highlights new things that viewers have sent her. She also has segments where she does cool things (most recently, she made a hat, hung out with a koala, and milked a goat).

Time-Wasters/Comedy Sites

I Waste So Much Time



That's the end of my list for now, but maybe I'll put some more things up later (if I think of them). Take it from me, though--if you want to waste some time, these sites should occupy you for most of the year.

Look! Two posts in one week! I'm doing very well. Remember to vote on the next Gamer Drama game here!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DIY: Hunger Games Bracelet

     The Hunger Games is one of my favorite book trilogies. I also enjoyed the movie, but not as much as I enjoyed the novels (you can read my review of it here). My boyfriend often tells me that I'm just like Katniss (though, weirdly enough, it's not always a compliment). When I bought the DVD the first day it was released, I also received a free mockingjay necklace. However, it was strung on one of those plastic-y leather cords, so I never wore it. It was uncomfortable, and not really made for a 24-year-old. So I set the necklace aside, thinking I'd do something with it later.
      Then, for Christmas, my aunt gave me a beginner's jewelry-making kit (specifically, this one). Yesterday, I went to Jo-Ann Fabric and bought a few more colors of chain and a leather cord I thought would work well. When I got home, though, I realized it was the same type of cord that came with the necklace. I made it work for now, though I might replace it in the future with a suede cord.
     In case you've never seen Katniss's mockingjay pin, here is the pendant I started out with.

       From here, I measured out three links of chain for each side, along with one long cord of leather to string through the pendant (when I change to the suede I will probably add another cord). I used jump rings to attach the chains to the pendant, and then added clasps to the end of the leather. Here is a picture of the bracelet arranged after these steps.

     From here, I used jump ring at each end to connect the chain and cord to the bracelet clasp (do you call these types of closures clasps? Someone should let me know in the comments.) And that was the last step--I know! It was that easy. The whole project took me about an hour and a half, and that's only because I measured my wrist incorrectly and the chains were initially way too long. I cut them down, and re-attached the closure. Here's the final product!

     I really like the mixture of metals and the combination of metal and leather (and I'm looking forward to improving that aspect). I feel like the different colors and textures really make it look like something that could come from District 12. 

     Here is is on. The leather cord sits a little strangely, but that should be fixed when it's replaced by the suede.

    Let me know what you think in the comments! Also, go back to last week's edition of Gamer Drama and vote on which game I should play and review next!
    Look at me! I'm updating with some frequency! Yay!
    Edit: I updated the bracelet late last week. Here are a couple pictures! I did end up switching the leather out for suede. Here's a link to the blog entry--I also updated the silver doe Harry Potter plaque.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Gamer Drama: A Story Critique of Red Dead Redemption

       I’m going to begin this edition of Gamer Drama with a quote from the IGN review of Red Dead Redemption, written by Erik Brudvig (you can find the full review here).

"It's tempting to say that Red Dead Redemption is ahead of its time, but the reality is that this is a game of and for the times. Rockstar shows an uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to society and remind us that present day hot button issues like racism, immigration, federal government power and personal freedoms are not only nothing new, they are deeply ingrained in American society. They are forces that helped to shape America into what is is, and their inclusion in Red Dead Redemption gives it a sense of authenticity that videogames in general lack."

       This is a grandiose statement, to be sure. I enjoyed my time playing Red Dead Redemption, but I wouldn’t say that Rockstar produced a social commentary. I think that it’s difficult to say that when the game is an RPG, where the options are so broad and you could play the character in any way. Games are better at being social commentaries when the player’s actions are more restricted. It’s not that I didn’t see the “presence of racism, immigration, government power, and personal freedoms” in the game—it’s that I didn’t see the game make any grand statements about these hot-button issues. However, that could possibly be the result of the fact that my moral compass in games tends to point toward “amoral” in the first play-through—the good and the bad that I do cancel each other out, meaning that the game’s reactions to me will lean toward neutrality. I’m not convinced that is the case, though I don’t think it makes the game any less enjoyable.


       John Marston was once an outlaw, until his friends left him for dead and he decided to settle down with his wife. But the law has finally come for him, in a way. His former gang partners, the ones who left him bleeding to death, are causing quite the disturbance in the American West. The Bureau of Investigation takes Marston’s family into custody, in order to ensure his cooperation in capturing the men who were once his friends. He travels between the American Southwest and Mexico in an attempt to track down Bill Williamson, Javier Escuella, and Dutch van der Linde (the leader of the gang), and bring them to justice. Along the way, Marston meets a variety of people and helps or hurts them through quests, earning allies and making enemies.

The Setting

       As stated above, Red Dead Redemption takes place across the border of the American Southwest and Mexico (in an area inspired by the Rio Grande basin). Marston travels through deserts and woodlands, spending time in small towns, growing cities, and ranches. Rockstar Games did an excellent job of presenting the vastness and promise of the American West through the open-world setting of the game. While on your horse, you can travel from one end of the map to the other, with no breaks in the gameplay. You can get lost, you can travel for periods without seeing another person (or NPC), and you can approach a destination from almost any angle.
       While the setting in Red Dead Redemption is nuanced and detailed, it does not really act as a constraint on the character or (like in the last edition of Gamer Drama) as an entity itself. However, it does provide challenges to the character and the gamer—even if it doesn’t really mold the gameplay itself, it still manages to contribute to the atmosphere. Also, it was obviously crafted with passion, which makes it that much easier to appreciate.
        How does a great (though not excellent) setting contribute to the storyline? The wide, open spaces of Marston’s story reinforce the fact that Marston is alone in his quest—although he makes some allies, few stay with him for long and few provide support that go beyond their desire to achieve their own goals. Marston has few friends, and riding through the desert between quests makes this highly apparent.

The Characters

       John Marston is the main character. He has turned from a life of crime and wants nothing more than to create a thriving ranch with his family. However, his family was taken away from him and he was forced to return to a life where people are constantly trying to kill him. He wants to finish the task of reigning in his former gang partners, and get back to his family and farmstead. Which he tells us again and again. And again. Marston lets us know that he’s a changed man. However, because of the player’s ability to choose between moral and immoral actions, he does not always show that he has changed. Marston makes many decisions that show that this change may not be that deep. He is willing to do “bad” things to reach his goal—and often puts the blame on others. He chooses to associate with people who are doing amoral things (and do these things alongside them). I know that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a bad person. I know that the game is written so that he really has no choice. However, it would be better if he acknowledged these misdeeds and stopped asserting how he has changed. I could shoot an entire street of innocent people, and in the next cut scene John would bemoan the fact that he had changed and the government won’t leave him alone.
        There is another issue related to John Marston’s character—because the choices that the player makes determine Marston’s moral alignment, there really isn’t any sort of character development for him. (Most of the other characters remain underdeveloped, as well). This conflicts with the idea of “redemption”—do Marston’s actions truly redeem him, when he can act as immoral as the player desires? Has he changed at all? There’s another possible argument for the “redemption” aspect of the game—that Marston isn’t redeemed in his own eyes or the eyes of the law, but in the eyes of his son. Of course, the interactions between John and Jack are limited in the story. You see his son warm up to John after his return to his family, but there’s not a lot to indicate that he has truly been redeemed.
        Outside of John Marston, Red Dead Redemption has a very large cast of characters. Few of them are redeemable or likable, as you’d expect from a Western. Still, they are all interesting and intriguing (which you can’t really say for the protagonist). It is these minor characters that drive the story. Marston’s first attempt to capture one of the members of his old gang leaves him bleeding by the side of the road. This leads him to depend on others to get him near his targets—which also means that he must work for their goals before he can ultimately pursue his. While there is little character development for these individuals, this isn’t a problem—many of them only last two or three quests, and then disappear (or are killed). Each of these characters plays an important role in helping Marston’s story to progress—I cannot think of one that seemed extraneous. Overall, the minor characters were more intriguing than the main characters (Marston or any of his former gang partners).

The Payoff

       Is John Marston redeemed at the end of the game? As I mentioned before, you could argue that he’s been redeemed in the eyes of his son, but not in the eyes of the government. Some people have argued that the lack of redemption related to the government meant that he was trying for redemption, but wasn’t able to achieve it. I think that people who argue this are ignoring a vital part of the story. However, fearing spoilers, I’m unable to elaborate on this (the internet hates spoilers).
       Did I feel like the ending repaid my efforts in playing the game? I’m not sure. It feels like the main storyline ended abruptly, then the game dragged out until it finally ended. For the last half hour or so of gameplay, I kept hoping that the game would end after current quest. I felt like one of those people who complained about the ending of Return of the King.   

Grins and Gripes

  • I probably had a lot more fun playing at being a ranch owner in the last chapter of the game than I should have. I remain unashamed, however.
  • Despite the fact that the game was released in 2010, it was still very glitchy (and I downloaded a few patches for the game).
  • I was extremely annoyed by the character Luisa. She’s a smart and passionate young Mexican freedom fighter, dedicated to the revolution. When she meets John Marston, she tells him about her fiancĂ©—Abraham Reyes, the leader of the local rebellion. When Marston meets Reyes, it becomes obvious that Reyes is only using Luisa. I felt that Luisa’s character would be smarter than that—however, she remains completely faithful to him and the rebellion.
  • A particularly good female character is Bonnie MacFarlane. She is helping her ailing father, but basically runs the family’s ranch herself. Bonnie is strong and passionate about her life’s work. Although it becomes apparent that she has feelings for John, her character doesn’t become secondary to these feelings (she doesn’t even allow John to see them).
  • The graphics in this game are excellent—especially the animation. As someone who has spent a lot of my life around horses, I appreciated the attention to detail and lifelike movements.
  • Don’t play the game on an old television set. I mostly played this game on a hand-me-down tube TV (though it was an older set, it didn’t have that poor of a picture). I rode my horses off cliffs more often than I would like to admit. However, I bought a Plasma TV over the summer and picked up the game again (I was frustrated with trying to play it on the old television and stopped for a while). I didn’t have any problems with the graphics once I started playing on the plasma.

Rating: 7/10

For the upcoming edition of Gamer Drama, I'm going to review the Ghostbusters Wii game. Spoiler alert: I loved it. However, I want your help in choosing the next next game. Here's the poll--I'll announce the winner at the end of the next edition of Gamer Drama (due in two weeks).

Which game should I play and review for the next Gamer Drama? free polls 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Insert Obligatory New Years Post Here

I've never been much of a New Year's person. I never make resolutions. Except for the last three years, I never left the house on New Year's Eve. This year, however, I have been spending a lot of time reading my favorite blogs, and each of them have had an article on resolutions for 2013 or their favorite things about 2012. Or both. Or several blog entries on New Year goodiness.

So I thought to myself, "Self, maybe you should act like the New Year is something worth doing right." I have several goals (geeky and not geeky) for the next year, so I decided that I would share my New Year goals with you. (I don't call them resolutions because that word's so pretentious it makes me want to break them).

I don't have any New Year pictures, or anything, so here are some
Pac-Man cookies I made for my boyfriend last year.

So here are Amanda's New Year goals, both geeky and not.

1. Post a blog at least once a week.

2. Write a political science article that is publication-worthy, and start on that path. It's never too early to think about the future.

3. Create a costume for Chicago Comic Con or C2E2 that uses a new and challenging type of fabric (maybe lycra or spandex?). I'm thinking Sheik or Huntress.

4. Participate more in class discussions. My extreme social anxiety disorder makes my class participation abysmal. I need to work on that. A lot.

5. Watch Battlestar Galactica. All of it. I've never seen it. 

6. Finish editing my first novel by the end of the school year. Finish writing my second by the end of 2013.

7. Finally finish reading The Deed of Paksenarrion. I got the compilation edition of the book when I was in middle school and started reading it a couple times, but always gave up because the book was so difficult to hold (lame excuse, I know). 

8. Lose weight but, more importantly, get into better shape.

9. Get my first geeky tattoo. 

10. Be awesome when I run the Warrior Dash in June. And by awesome, I mean just complete the course :).  Preferably in an awesome costume.

11. Get to the point where I can sell some of my geeky crafts.

12. Get a summer FLAS fellowship so that I can support myself as an academic over the summer, instead of as a nanny.

13. Write for another blog, alongside my work here at Geekphoria. 

14. Have an idea for my dissertation topic by November 2013. Be ready to take my first prelim during Winter Break of 2013.

I feel like I need more pictures, but nothing really fits.
So here's a picture of my cat. Awwww.

I almost left my goals at thirteen, but then I was a little paranoid that I would be jinxing myself. So I tacked on number 14. It's probably too lofty of a goal, but it's certainly one worth working towards.

This doesn't count as the "one blog entry a week" goal for this week. So I will see you all before Saturday (most likely with a DIY, but maybe with the second edition of Gamer Drama).