Archive by Author

I <3 The Mighty Boosh

10 Sep

The arctic is no respecter of fashion.

The Mighty Boosh takes place in a zoo. Except for when it takes place in a flat. Or in a shop. Or in the arctic. Or on a beach with talking coconuts. It changes every season (and sometimes within a season) following the adventures of Howard Moon (with his very memorable face) and Vince Noir (who understands animals).

If you like silly and clever comedy, check this show out. I’d seen small clips of it before I decided to watch it (and blew through the all the episodes in weeks) and had felt kind of baffled. They were odd, they were ridiculous, they were just plain weird. In the context of an episode, the scenes are brilliant. Every show has a running theme where it feels like you sort of know it’s there until the end, when it hits you like a ton of hilarious bricks. The Mighty Boosh is written and acted by Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt, with most episodes featuring music written by Barratt. You might think it’s strange, you might feel confused, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll also laugh your ass off.

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Necessary Vulnerability

2 Aug

Long video but worth it, please watch!

“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to really be seen.”

We’re all vulnerable. I am scared of things all the time. What if my financial aid falls apart and I have to drop out of school? What if I meet someone and they don’t like me? What if I tell someone I love them and they walk away?
The problem is, if I run from the scary parts of life then I stop living. I could be so scared of losing my financial aid that I drop out of school and don’t complete my dream of becoming a librarian. I could be so scared of people not liking me that I don’t meet anyone. I could be so scared of rejection that I don’t love.

Every time I’ve embraced vulnerability, my life has been better. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life, and it wasn’t medication or therapy that ended up helping me. It was explaining to people that I had this problem, and could I please just talk to them for a bit if I felt depressed? I admitted its existence, and continue to do so every time I go down that road, and it is better. In one part of my life, I had the courage to be imperfect.
It has taught me to be compassionate with myself. I’m screwed up and I’ll never be perfect, and neither will anyone else. We are all doing the best we can with what we have.

Love is a scary thing. When you love someone wholeheartedly, you are giving that person permission to hurt you. They can lie, they can cheat, they can leave you. But what if they don’t? What if you are vulnerable enough to say I love you and they take that and love you too?

It’s the best feeling ever. I’m still trying to understand how to be compassionate with myself, how to lean into vulnerability, how to love wholeheartedly, and how to be enough. And every time I can, it’s the greatest thing in the world. It’s hard and scary and also beautiful and joyous.

So please don’t forget, you are enough.

So you wanna learn how to knit?

28 Jul

Knitting is a mystical activity invented by ancient druids. Just kidding, knitting was probably invented by illiterate peasants. So just remember – if they invented it, you can do it! It’s really easy, it just takes a bit of practice to get it down. My mom taught me how to knit when I was seven years old, and I’ve knitted off and on ever since. I even worked at a yarn store for a long time, where I taught classes. I learn best visually, so my how to knit comes to you in video form.

First we’ll learn how to cast on!

Then the knit stitch:

And the final masterpiece, the purl stitch:

To get yourself going, go down to your local yarn or craft store and pick out some yarn that you really like. I’d recommend something simple to start with (plain old wool still rocks the casbah to me). The size needles you’ll need will be on the ball of yarn, and I’m sure if you go down to a yarn store the nice people working there will help you if you get confused. Make a scarf or a potholder, and you’ll be ready to move onto a hat. I’m a member at ravelry.com, a free knitting/crochet site, and my username is katerdee. Feel free to add me as a friend! Ravelry is full of helpful hints, free patterns, and forums to ask questions. Have fun knitting!

Hounded, Hexed and Hammered

17 Jul

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Druids kick ass; or at least, they do in the Iron Druid chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Atticus O’Sullivan is our intrepid hero, a 2100 year old Druid living in modern Arizona. He fights Faeries, ancient Gods, and the occasional Demon, bringing up the question of whether or not Angels have assholes.

“If Basasael ate my dumb Druid ass, would the Morrigan be able to bring me back fully functional, resurrected from – what? Angel poop? That raised another question, at once metaphysical and profane: Do angels, fallen or otherwise, have assholes?”
-Hexed by Kevin Hearne

Atticus is occasionally assisted by his Irish Wolfhound Oberon (he loves sausage). Ever wondered what dogs think about? Atticus can communicate telepathically with his dog, who sometimes thinks about being Genghis Khan and having his own harem of standard poodle ladies. The dialogue between the two is both adorable and funny, and they like to go hunting together, especially when Atticus uses his druid powers to turn into a hound.

Atticus runs a new age style bookstore by day, and plays the part of a dumb 20-something kid when he’s not out slaying paranormal baddies. He has lawyers to help him out of legal trouble; they just happen to be werewolves and a vampire. Lawyers really can be bloodsucking. Of course, Oberon doesn’t approve of the citrus scented air freshener in Hal Hauk’s car. What self respecting werewolf lawyer doesn’t have a sausage scented air freshener?

For fans of Urban Fantasy, this is a series you don’t want to miss. Hearne keeps up fast paced action, and has a brilliant sense of humor. I blame him for the odd looks I’ve received for laughing out loud on public transportation. Hounded, Hexed, and Hammered are currently available, and the fourth book in the series, Tricked, is scheduled for an April 2012 release date. I won’t be waiting to pick it up!

Summer Reads

8 Jul

Looking for a few good books to read this summer? Here’s some damn good books I’ve read this year:

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by NK Jemisin
I read through this in about two days. Not because it was short, mind you, but because it had an incredible narrative style and a plot that grabbed me by the shoulders and didn’t let me go. Amazing book for a first-time author, don’t pass it up!

Looking For Alaska by John Green
This is a YA book, but could easily belong on any adult’s shelf. John Green has a brilliant grasp on what teenagers are like (from what I can remember of my teenage years, back in the stone age). The story was beautiful, and (warning) it made me cry. If you like Looking for Alaska, do read Paper Towns, also by John Green.

Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick
Is there honor among thieves? Hulick crafts a fascinating world of thieves guilds, swordsmanship, and magic. As someone who practices martial arts and weapons combat, I loved the fight scenes, really well done.

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Bacigalupi explores what can happen when bio-technology forces humanity both towards extinction and further evolution. This novel had some amazing concepts in it, and is a brilliant debut novel in exploratory sci-fi.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
Moist von Lipwig is by far my favorite character in discworld. Pratchett frequently makes me laugh out loud, and this book was no exception. Moist is a clever and warm-hearted crook, and if you like Going Postal, go check out Making Money!

Storm Front by Jim Butcher
As I mentioned in a previous post, the Dresden Files is one of the best series I’ve been introduced to this year. My life would be so much duller now without Harry Dresden in it.

Feed by Mira Grant
I honestly felt frustrated with this book for quite awhile (yeah I get it that Georgia has retinal KA, SHEESH), but it turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read all year. Click the link above to get all the goodness on this book from Falconesse.

What are the best things you’ve read so far this year? I have a stack of to-read books nearly as tall as me, and I’m always happy to add more!

Bust a Move

30 Jun

I love to spend a whole day slouched over in my computer chair playing video games. Years ago it was practically all I did outside of work. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t in good shape either. I was thin with zero muscle tone. Exercise just seemed like a lot of work, especially after a full day at work. Then I started walking; I was going through a tough time in my life and those thirty minute to an hour walks every day helped me clear my head. In the meantime I discovered that getting exercise every day, even after a long day at work, actually made me feel a lot better physically. I wasn’t tired; I had more energy. After a few months of long walks I decided to kick it up a notch and I started taking martial arts classes. I was sore, sweaty, and sometimes felt exhausted. But really? I felt amazing, and I still do.

Exercise isn’t really that hard to budget into a day. I know sometimes it can seem like we have no time for it, but when that happens to me I think about all the time I budget for other things. There’s TV, internet FOREVER, video games, and fixing my pedicure after it gets fucked up at Aikido every week. If it’s a really busy day and I’m swamped with work and school, it’s a good bet I can find at least fifteen minutes and just take a walk. If I have more time, that’s a bonus!

Here are some easy ways to get your butt off that computer chair.

Walking/Biking/Running
Walking is one of my personal favorite activities. You don’t have to powerwalk (I kind of think it looks ridiculous), just take a stroll. I’m lucky enough to live near a nature trail, but if you’re in a larger city look for parks and bike paths, or just take a walk down the street. Need a few things at the grocery store? Google maps will tell you the best walking route and about how long it will take you to get there. Walking is also free! Sometimes on my walks I even see neat things like cool bugs or deer, or one time a giant mound of bear poop (I turned around and went back home).

The Gym
Gyms offer a lot of options. Standard work out machines typically have a place to rest a book or a magazine, and there’s always blasting your mp3 player. Some gyms have year-round heated pools for swimming, great if you have injuries and need low-impact exercise. My cousin loves to play Tennis and belongs to a gym that caters to Tennis lovers, with matches going on every day. If you want to get buff like the dudes in 300, you can go check out a CrossFit gym. A lot of gyms offer classes which brings us to…

Group Fitness
Tons of options here. Always wanted to be a ballerina? Look up local ballet schools, I’ll bet you anything they have beginning adult classes, and ballet is hard exercise. Love to shake your booty in a non-classical manner? Sign up for a salsa dance class.

Martial Arts is another exercise option, with tons of different styles. I go to an Aikido dojo a few times a week where I get thrown around and throw other people around. It’s great exercise and getting to know people at my dojo gives me incentive to show up. Martial Arts has also been great exercise for my mind, which people also say is a benefit of…

Yoga. There are a lot of different types of yoga as well, with varying levels of physical impact. In my town there’s a yoga studio around every corner, so I wouldn’t even have to look far if I wanted to check it out!

Not sure where to start or what you’d like? Go visit your local YMCA. Mine has tons of different options for group fitness, and costs very little compared to a gym. It even has scholarships for people with financial difficulties.

Gaming Consoles
Own a console? The Wii, Xbox360, and PS3 all offer fitness games. PS2’s are very cheap now and you can play DanceDanceRevolution, my favorite way to shake my booty in front of a TV.

Netflix/Hulu
You’re using the internet right now. Did you know that Netflix and Hulu have free streaming fitness programs? How difficult is that to turn on?

This is nowhere near the all the awesome things that also happen to contain exercise. There’s swimming, rock climbing, group sports, and rowing among a few. Don’t like one type of exercise? Try something else. It’s a good bet there’s an activity out there that you’ll enjoy.

Last, but not least, take it easy on yourself. If you don’t exercise at all right now, deciding to run a half hour a day won’t do you any favors. You’ll feel frustrated and discouraged, and can easily get injured by pushing yourself too far too fast. Work with your body’s limits. I have knee problems, and there are some things I can’t do. I can’t run or ride a bike on a regular basis, but if I remember to ice my knees and be gentle with them, I can walk on a regular basis and go to Aikido at least two to three times a week. Getting motivated to exercise is awesome; hurting yourself is not. Take good care of your body and be careful with it, because your body will be with you for a long time.

I’m starting a new series here on the Divas on easy fitness. Like it and want to read some more? Please let me know!

Rift Warfronts 101: The Codex

24 Jun

The Codex is a 15 versus 15 player warfront, designed around holding resources. There are four control points placed at the north, east, south, and west. Guardians spawn in the south west corner of the map, and Defiants spawn in the south east. Your team accumulates points 30 seconds after tapping a control point (this can be disrupted with aoe), and the first team to 1000 points wins.

There are some tips and tricks that can help make or break this warfront for your team. Like the Black Garden, points are earned on a per tick basis and from killing members of the opposite team, but the Codex generates nearly twice the amount of points as any other control point. Can you win this game with only the Codex? No. Can you win this game with the Codex and one other control point? Absolutely. If your team manages to snag the Codex in the beginning, keeping it is of utmost importance. If your team doesn’t snag the Codex, you can win the game by maintaining control of the other three points. It’s rare, but it happens.

The Codex has two rock cliffs facing each other that ranged dps can use to harass the other team while staying out of the way of melee. It’s great for ranged rogues and offensive mages, but if you’re a healer it can be dangerous. Being a great spot for picking people off means if the other team figures out you’re a healer and you’re up there, it’s easy for ranged to pick you off too.

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I like to hide underneath the other team’s rock cliffs. It means you can keep an easy eye on your entire team while staying out of the way of ranged dps. You can run into problems with getting attacked by melee standing in this spot – I’ve found the best thing to do is to run them out towards the melee on your team. If your team is smart, they’ll protect you and pick the offender off!

Aside from defending Codex, the most important thing in this warfront is the art of the Control Point Ninja. Oftentimes after people take a control point, they simply run off for sunnier pastures. Wait ten to fifteen seconds, then go scope out a control point that’s been recently taken by the other team. If you’re squishy, you may want to take a buddy in case of hiding rogues (they are tricky and sneaky). If you’re a rogue, watch people take a control point then run off, and snag it right back for your team. If the battle around the Codex is tough around, you can successfully ninja a control point and maintain it for quite awhile.

Have fun and beat up those Guardians! I mean Defiants. But I really mean Guardians…damn switching factions.