Talking about my love for video games has always been a little challenging for me (probably because means admitting I have a problem). It may sound funny, but when it comes to video games, I completely lack self-control. They’re one of the few things in my life that takes me completely out of the present, transporting me to this magical world where time has no meaning. Sounds wonderful until I snap back to reality and realize that HOURS of my time have slipped by.
“That happens to everyone,” you say, and you’d mostly be right, but I think I’m more of an extreme case. (See examples below.)
In 2001, my dad gifted me with Final Fantasy X for PlayStation 2, my first foray into the Final Fantasy Series and into RPGs in general. That day, I accidentally logged 16 hours. I was elated by the gift, but horrified that I’d managed to lose track of 16 hours! (I still swear to this day that it only felt like three or so at most.)
In 2002, Bank of America had their annual family festival which was hosted that year at Adventure Landing. I’d recently begun playing Dance Dance Revolution at home, and was thrilled at the opportunity to play at an arcade without ponying up $1 per game. A little while later, my dad was physically dragging me off the game and insisting I eat something.
“I just had breakfast, Dad. I’m not hungry.” was my retort.
“That was eight HOURS ago.” his strained reply.
When what he said sunk in, my legs gave out (although I’m sure 8 hours of competitive dancing might’ve played a teeny role as well.)
Hmmm…let’s just call it World of Warcraft and leave it at that, okay? (And mention that all my last minute studying, and paper-writing in college may have had more to do with my growing video game addiction and less with the fact that I was a procrastinator as most people assumed.)
So where am I going with this? Video games are one of my FAVORITE things in the world, but because of how easily my attention is ensnared by their endless characters, quests and challenges, I usually try to keep them at arm’s length. Ratchet and Clank was the first video game I ever finished from beginning to end (Chris and I played this together in fall of last year.)
Thanks a gift from the Easter Bunny (Okami HD), I’ve been staying up even later than usual. According to Chris, I’m pretty late to the Okami fandom, but I guess better late than never. Here’s to adding another game to my “completed” list and renewing the struggle of time management while being pulled into a great story.
My mom-in-law loves Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (as in LOVES), so when she heard they were playing in Jacksonville, she was DYING to go. This gave Chris and I the opportunity to become the heroes of Christmas day by presenting her with two tickets to the show. It ended up being a pretty amazing arrangement because it resulted in a girls’ night out as neither of the guys were really interested in catching the show. (Their loss. Our gain.) The concert was amazing, and I left feeling pretty lucky to have a mom-in-law who enjoys a lot of the same music I do. We some quality mother-daughter bonding time and an incredible evening dancing and singing out hearts out at the top of our lungs.
Not only were the bands amazing (although I will admit I’m biased as I love all three of them), the visual effects from each set were pretty incredible. I’ve posted some of my favorite moments from the show below. Hope you like them!
I’ve been hooked on Owl City since the first time I heard, “Fireflies.” There’s just something about Adam Young‘s ability to pair images and phrases with melodies that leaves me feeling uplifted and inspired, so being able to see them in concert last night was a pretty amazing experience.
One of my favorite moments from their set was Adam asking us all to break out our phones, and light up the arena with the lights from our electronics. With the house lights dimmed, the arena looked like it was filled with thousands of blue fireflies, and the entire arena sang our collective hearts out to “Fireflies.”
Their set list last night included the following:
Speed of Love
“Gold” was a song I hadn’t heard before, but I think it’s a new favorite. (Hooray for new music!) I also thought that it was really cool that the last image they displayed was a number you could text for an Owl City music sampler which is just smart POP marketing to potential new fans, which made the advertising professional in me smile. (Yes, yes – I have work/life balance issues.) ^_^
Ziggy Stardust meets ballet, jazz and Michael Jackson – that pretty much sums up my first experience catching Neon Trees live. I’m not sure what it was about their set (I think it might’ve been an overabundant supply of feedback/distortion) but it was REALLY difficult to interpret the words (even to the songs I knew forwards and backwards).
That being said, I still enjoyed their set if only because Tyler’s energy is catching and Elaine’s vocals are AMAZING (not to mention her mad skills on the drums).
Unfortunately I can’t remember every song from their setlist last night, but I’m positive about the following:
Moving the Dark
Don’t You Want Me
As much as I love Owl City and Neon Trees, it came as no surprise that Maroon 5 were the ones to bring the house down (they were the ones headlining after all). But wow…I had no idea they could put on such an amazingly fun, energy-ridden, feel good, rock out show. When I think back to all the songs they managed to squeeze in and of how many of my favorites they managed to play, it blows me away. Their energy last night seemed inexhaustible.
After catching Adam on The Voice, I wasn’t really sure what to expect in how he addressed all his adoring fans (myself included). I guess in the back of my mind, I was worried that he’d do something last night that would put him solidly in my “don’t like after all” list like Christina Aguilera did after her ridiculous outbursts on the show. Rest assured though, Maroon 5 fans – Adam loves us. He appreciates us. And he lives to perform for us.
And perform he did. Here’s a run down of all the songs I remember them playing list night. There may have been a couple I missed, so if you were at the show and can fill in any of the gaps, that’d be awesome!
Makes Me Wonder
If I Never See Your Face Again
Wipe Your Eyes
Won’t Go Home Without You
Harder to Breathe
Wake Up Call
One More Night
Stereo Hearts (Encore)
Moves Like Jagger (Encore)
I’ve posted some of my favorite pics that I managed to take last night from the show below, but I have an entire album of 40+ more on Facebook if you just can’t get enough.
Chris and I decided to enjoy the wonderful weather this afternoon by taking the puppies on a hike. We normally trek out to the beach or hit a regional park, but today’s we decided to head out toward Fort Caroline to find an old favorite of mine that I used to hike during my childhood – the Willie Browne trail.
It took a little bit of patience, as the Fort Caroline area looks a little different after fifteen years – but we eventually found the entrance to Theodore Roosevelt area of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, and from there, finding the Willie Browne trail head was easy. Once Jackie and Aries realized we weren’t going to the vet, it’s was pretty difficult to contain their excitement as we unloaded them from the car.
The views we had on the trail today didn’t disappoint – the sun was shining, the wind was gentle and the pups were appreciative of the chance to romp and stretch their legs.
Aries couldn’t decide what excited her most about the trail – the smells, the people or all the creatures that kept out of sight, but made soft rustlings through the underbrush.
When we hit a break in the tree line, Jackie ran out with me onto the salt marshes, not realizing in her exuberance that low tide meant that the “ground” was really soft mud. She was halfway across one of the flats, when she sunk in deeper than she wanted to and made a mad scramble to get back to packed earth. It was ridiculously awkward and adorable.
One of the coolest parts of the Willie Browne trail (in addition to the diversity of the landscape and the historic foundations of Willie Browne’s cabin and his family cemetery) is the observation deck the looks out over the salt marshes. It ended up being a great place to take a break, grab some water and just take in the natural beauty that north Florida has to offer.
All said and done, we wandered about 2.5 miles (or roughly an hour) through the trails – and the puppies were pooped by the time we made it back to the car. Chris and I are planning another trip soon, just the two of us, so we can make it through the connecting trail that crosses over the Spanish Pond and Fort Caroline. Definitely couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Have any hiking spots in North Florida you’d recommend us checking out for our next outdoor adventure? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
It’s human nature to challenge change, so I’m not surprised by the vocal horde of fans and non-fans alike who have weighed in against the new Jacksonville Jaguars logo and found that it doesn’t suit their tastes.
“The ears are too pointy.”
“It looks too cartoonish.”
“I don’t like typeface…”
“Looks like Cheetara from Thundercats.”
“Looks too Disney.”
Some of the comments are tame and humorous, such as the ones posted above, but unfortunately a lot are too inappropriate, ignorant or racist to repeat. Then I recall my own reaction, and am even less surprised by the resistance. I believe my first comment to coworkers was a critique about the pattern of the spots looking too cheetah-y and not jaguar-y. Especially when looking at the “old” and “new” logos side-by-side. But with that critique voiced, I took a step back and reexamined the logo and realized that it corrected a lot of issues I’d had with our “old” logo.
The old logo always struck me as unproportional when not offset by the paw with claw marks (which wasn’t often) or the full body shot to offset its heavy head. The movement and expression of the old logo is also very two-dimensonal, especially when viewed next to the new design.
There’s a dimensionality and a fierceness to the new logo that resonates with me – especially as I think on what it means to be a Jaguars fan. Our team is in its teens, and mirrors that angst of adolescence, that frustration of being caught between what we want and know we can become and who we are perceived to be. I look at the new logo, and feel as though I hear the jaguar’s growl of impatience to prove he is ready to vanquish any foe.
Then you have the call-to-arms to “StandUnited” - a simple statement that serves as poignant reminder of the ridicule and ignorance we’ve endured at the hands of reporters and self-claimed “experts” alike who talk of black-outs and ticket sales and Tebow, as though our team can be reduced to nothing more than those three ideas.
And so though it’s taken a little time, I’ve found that I’ve grown rather fond already of the new face of the Jaguars, and it is with renewed hope (and fierceness) that I face the new season.
I’m lucky to have several friends who appreciate my love for wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, echo my fear of weeping angels, know why it’s important to count the shadows, understand the appeal of fish fingers and custard, and get that “Bad Wolf” isn’t a reference to Little Red Riding Hood or the Three Little Pigs.
If the above paragraph sounds like gibberish and you feel lost, chances are you’ve never watched the delightful show, Doctor Who. If I’ve just described you, please stop reading this post IMMEDIATELY, and sign on to Netflix to remedy the situation. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
For those few brave and glorious souls who hung on to every phrase, read on…I’m about to share something with you that you may never forgot. I’ve stumbled upon a Gallifreyan Translator (and circular, no less). This discovery is thanks to one of my Facebook friends, and now I share it with you. Cherish it.
You should follow that link up there right now to download the program for yourself. It has endless possibilities – I’ve already thought about including the image below on a Valentines card for that special guy in my life (yes Chris, I mean YOU).
There’s also been discussion about Chris and I putting a Gallifreyan version of our surname on display somewhere in our home. If that happens, I’ll post an update. In the meantime, I’d love to hear what my fellow Whovians plan to do with this wonderful gift! (I’d also jump at the chance to talk with you guys about your favorite Doctor Who moments.) Share your ideas in the comments below!
As I’ve probably mentioned more times than it matters, I’m a pretty avid reader and always on the lookout for new authors and series (otherwise I just end up reading the same hundred books or so). This past Friday morning, I reached out to Scholastic on Twitter and asked if they had any new YA fiction authors or series they’d recommend. Instead of just responding with a couple of quick recommendations, they did me one better by retweeting my question to their followers and asking them to help me out. The response was overwhelming in a good way, and reaffirmed not only my love for Scholastic, but also my love for Twitter.
Because it was such an awesome list, I figured I’d share it with you as well. Stay tuned for my reactions and reviews as I work through the list this Spring!
If you’re interested in learning more about the authors listed above, I’ve added hyperlinks to their various Twitter accounts, or to make it easy on yourself, you can just follow my YA Author list here. I’m always looking for more authors and series to add to the list, so if you have any recommendations of your own, please feel free to add them in the comments below!
When people think of New Year’s Resolutions, I feel like the connotation is always negative. It’s a list of chores you feel obligated to add to your to-do list in order to be a responsible member of society, even though the common perception is that those resolutions will never actually be upheld. (Seems a little ridiculous, am I right?)
Rather than put together such a frustrating list, I thought it’d be more fun to put together a list of some of the fun activities I’m planning to accomplish during the year instead (minus number 3, which is kind of a chore, but one I’m looking forward to and have already made plans to get scratched off the list). I guess it’s more of a bucket list, and I’m not ashamed to say I stole generously from my “30 Under 30″ list to make it. Have a list of your own? I’d love to hear more in the comments below!
2012 was a pretty amazing year, so I’ve captured twelve of my favorite moments to share with you all. Because each of these could probably be a blog post in and of themselves (and some are), I’ll keep it simple with a list and pictures.
If you make it through all the photos (sometimes it was hard to settle on just one), I’d love to hear what you loved most about 2012 in the comments! ^_^
1. Atlanta Vacation with Chris: Early in 2012, Chris and I decided to do a little exploring in Atlanta, and used the City Pass to check out the Atlanta Zoo, the Georgia Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Factory along with some sights off the beaten path like Stone Mountain. We also took advantage of our proximity to my Aunt Susan and my cousins and spent some time with them too!
2. Being a Foster Mom for Katniss & Sandy: So it seems every year that I end up fostering at least one lost soul, and this year was no exception. When my coworker Tim rescued a little kitten (later dubbed “Sandy”) by the side of the road, I nursed her back to health and then his sister adopted her. Later this year, while Chris and I were out jogging, we came across another poor stray, helped her get back on her feet, and then my aunt fell in love with her and brought her home.
3. Father’s Day in Savannah: To celebrate Father’s Day this year, we took dad up to Savannah for a day trip. After brunch at the Pirate’s House, and checking out one of the walking Civil War tours, we explored on our own. Hard to believe that this year was the first time I’d ever made it up to Savannah. It’s an amazing town!
4. Director of Social Media: In 2011, I became a Daltonite and never looked back! 2012 proved to be another exciting year, and I was honored to be named the Director of Social Media in August.
5. Sean & Bianca are expecting! I’m not exaggerating when I say that I was so excited I was brought to tears when Sean called to tell me the news. I’m going to be an aunt in 2013!!!
6. AAF Jax Board Retreat: I’ve met some INCREDIBLE people this year through the American Advertising Federation, and one of my favorite moments with them was when we were planning the 2012-2013 year during our board retreat. Kayaking, a low country boil, and a meeting of the minds with some of the best folks in the advertising/marketing field that Jacksonville has to offer!
7. Girls’ Weekend in Savannah: In September, my friends Katie and Steph, road tripped with me to Savannah. While there, we put together a list of things we’d like to tackle in the new year, starting with a craft night. Details on what we make, when it happens!
8. Uncle David Comes to Visit: I don’t get a chance to see my Uncle David very often, so when he came down to Jacksonville for a week, it was great to take advantage of the opportunity to get caught up.
9. Meeting Ryan Penagos: If you’re not a comic book geek or Marvel fan, you may have no idea who I’m talking about…but if you’re someone who does meet the previous qualifications, you’ll recognize Ryan as theAgent M!!! He spoke at one of AAF Jacksonville’s programs this fall, and some of the board (as well as a couple of Daltonites) got a chance to have dinner with him beforehand. So AWESOME!
10. New York City Trip: Had a great in New York City with my Mom. We explored Central Park, the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library, caught BIGBANG’s concert in New Jersey, hung out at the Top of the Rock and several museums. It was a blast!
11. Dalton Agency Holiday Party: This year I was part of the holiday planning committee and had a blast! The theme this year was to dress up as anything or anyone that starts with, “D.” I went as a Dalek and Chris went as Doctor Who. (We’re a match made in heaven!)
12. Seattle Trip: Highlights included Snoqualmie Falls, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, hanging out with family, exploring Anacortes Island and the Seattle Aquarium.
In keeping with the theme of the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I’d share a short list of some of the things I’ve been especially grateful for this year.
My husband. So I’m sure many of you might write this one off as a given, but I think that our relationships with our loved ones are often some of the more obvious and thus overlooked blessings we have. One of the things that I’ve really come to appreciate about my relationship with the Chris is the fact that he encourages me to embrace my inner child. As a self-diagnosed workaholic, I’m often absorbed in my projects of the moment. Thankfully, I have a friend and partner who understands my special brand of OCD, supports my neuroses, but also finds playful ways to level the playing field on that elusive state known as work/life balance.
My siblings. 2012 has been a VERY exciting year filled with special milestones for each of my siblings. Rhiannon turned 16, can drive and started her first job (at Moe’s Southwest Grill, in case you were wondering). David turned 21 (hooray beer!), is enjoying college life and has a better idea of what he’d like to do with the rest of his life. Sean has probably the most exciting news of all – he and Bianca are expecting! He’ll be the first of us to have a little one. Current anticipated due date is late March/early April. I CAN’T WAIT to be an aunt!
My job & my coworkers. Remember how I mentioned I’m a workaholic? That’s only the case because I happen to LOVE what I do. I’ve been with the Dalton Agency for nearly two years, and the time has flown by incredibly fast. (Our agency mantra, “Work Hard. Play Hard.” isn’t just lip service.) Our social media department has grown tremendously this year, and I feel blessed by the fact that I’m surrounding by such a talented team.
New friends. This year, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people on the board of the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. We’ve had some pretty incredible adventures this year. In addition to our monthly meetings, we’ve traveled to district conferences, gone kayaking, enjoyed a low country boil, participated in the Color Me Rad 5K, celebrated house warmings, socials and more. What started out as an opportunity to network with like-minded professionals has really blossomed into priceless friendships with passionate, creative people that I have the privilege of calling my friends.
Good stories. As a child, someone told me that the only things that really change a person from year-to-year are the people they meet and the books they read. For some reason, that statement has always resonated with me, perhaps because those are probably my two favorite things in life – meeting new people and discovering new stories. While I love to read, I have to expand that statement to include compelling story lines in general in order to encompass my other passions: movies, music, comics, manga, anime and video games. ^_^ There’s nothing quite like the relationship between a storyteller and their audience; that meeting of minds, where imaginations collide.
What are some of the things you’re especially grateful for this year?