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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Closed Beta

6 Dec

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Oh frabjous day! I got selected to play the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft closed beta for the Americas!

Not gonna lie, when I saw “Blizzard Entertainment” in my inbox, I had the knee-jerk reaction of any World of Warcraft / Starcraft / Diablo gamer – “Awww crap. I’ve been hacked. SON OF A…!!” Seriously, even with an authenticator my account is apparently highly hackable. For any of you looking for an easy target.

Anyways, if Sword Art Online has taught me anything, it’s that you never turn down a closed beta invite, as it could mean life or death if any WoW head honchos decide to go rogue. I mean, Greg Street just resigned… coincidence? I THINK NOT. But I digress.

So invite in hand, I spent the morning neglecting my housework and wasting more time than I care to admit puttering around with this new toy.

First off, I love the imagery. I love the soundtrack. And as always, the voice acting is superb. (Millhouse Manastorm sounds like half a dozen card players I knew back in my Young Jedi Star Wars gaming days.) “Ohhhh, just you wait! When I have enough mana….!”

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Overall, the game is insanely simple and frighteningly addicting. It’s basically just a digital version of a collectable card game, very much like Magic: The Gathering. You draw cards from your deck, each with a mana cost and attack power / spell / action, and you get to play them based on your mana level which increases with each turn. The cards either directly attack the opponent, summon minions to attack the opponent or performs a unique function, like allowing you to draw more cards or get more health. The deck of cards you work through is designed by the player, which gives this frighteningly simple game a great degree of strategy… and potential to be very costly if my husband starts playing. Cuz when you awaken Freeman gaming rage, card games ain’t cheap, lemme tell you.

What it boils down to is your ability to design a deck and your tactical choices during the game with the cards that turn up in your hand. Again. It’s crazy simple, and loads of fun.

Anyone else had a chance to play the closed beta? (Or plan to play the open beta when it releases later this month?)

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Kaito from Vocaloid Cosplay Photoshoot

3 Dec

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On Sunday, my husband and I picked up our good friend Diego for a fun cosplay photoshoot on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

Diego is a cosplay buddy from California (in fact, the last time I saw this guy, he was cosplaying as Hugh Maes from Fullmetal Alchemist at Ani-Me Con in Fresno, California), but as luck would have it, he moved here to Pensacola, Florida to attend Pensacola’s Christian College around the same month we moved here!

I’ve been itching to do a cosplay shoot with Diego for ages now, and I never fathomed we would eventually get around to it… on the Gulf of Mexico. Haha! Life sure is a twisty, turny, never-know-whats-coming-next thrill ride, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, check out the shots we got of Diego’s Kaito cosplay from Vocaloid. He made it from scratch with his mum. Whatcha think? ^_^

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DIY Baby Pixie Hats from Old Sweaters

2 Dec

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It’s starting to get a bit nippy out here in the sunshine state, and baby Tessa is in need of hats, having outgrown her little infant beenies. But even when they fit it, I’ve discovered I don’t really like baby beenies. They are awkward, they slip off tiny heads, and I spend more time adjusting them and keeping them from slipping than they actually spend on her head keeping her baby ears warm.

I finally decided to make Tessa a couple of bonnet style hats that tie under the chin and completely cover her ears and cheeks to keep her warm on family outings. I was ruing the fact that I am still far too impatient to learn the art of crochet or knitting, and then the lightbulb went off. Just buy some old sweaters at the thrift store and turn them into pixie bonnets! Brilliant! I could even use the finished edges and hemlines of the sweaters for decorative trim! Woohoo!

So, as with every “original idea” I have, I ran online to find that… well, it’s already been done. Many times, in fact. *shakes fist at the internet heavens* So rather than reinvent the wheel, let me point you to a few good tutorials on turning an old sweater into a do it yourself baby pixie hat.

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Ella Bella blog has a great no sew tutorial on upcycling sweaters into pixie caps. The only warning I have with this method is that the fuzzier and looser knit the sweater is, the more likely it is that the “steam a seam” or “stitch witchery” won’t hold. Likewise, some knits don’t do as well and the no-sew method works better. (We’ve used BOTH sew and no-sew methods in making our pixie hats.) Also, this tutorial leaves raw edges on the bottom of the cap, which will cause your hat to unravel and not be machine washable. So do whatever works for you!

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar has a great tutorial that involves using bias tape to edge the hat so it is machine washable. I personally prefer not adding any accents to the hats, but this is definitely a good sturdy tutorial. If you’re looking for a long term keepsake hat, I’d recommend this method.

Sew Liberated also has a sewn pixie hat tutorial, this one from scratch in case you’re itching to use some fabric you had no idea what to do with up till now.

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For my pixie hats, I used the basic outline of Ella Bellas pattern, only I lengthened the points to various legnths to get more of an exaggerated tail and to change it up a bit (I also found that the 6 by 7 inch measurement was spot on for Tessa’s 3 month old head). Then I sewed the seams. For the neckline, I gave it an inward curve so it fit Tessa’s head more snugly. I also turned the raw corners in and hemmed them with very light interfacing so the hat won’t flap around on her when it’s tied, and so there’d be no loose edges for machine washing.

And voila! The husband and I cranked out 6 hats out of 3 different sweaters in about 1 hour on Thanksgiving. (Yes, we have odd date nights, I know.)

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Anyhoo, if you make one of these, post some pix and share! I think they’re crazy adorable!

10 Geeky Songs to Sing Your Baby To Sleep To

25 Nov

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I know I’ve been spamming my blog with “4 Things To…” and “Top 10 Ways…” and “30 Things I’d Like To..” lists, BUT!

1) I’ve got an unhealthy attachment to lists.

2) Lists help me gather my thoughts.

3) Lists remind me to stop talking. If I didn’t limit myself with “Top 10’s” I just wouldn’t stop typing. Ever.

And see what I there? I even listed my reasons for making lists. I’ve got a real problem, I know.

Anyway, when I was in the hospital with Tessa – just hours after having her – I held this newborn baby creature in my hands, watched her slowly blinking off to sleep and thought, “Quick! Sing her a lullabye! Be all maternal and junk!” And I kid you not, the first thing to pop into my head and pop out of my mouth was, “Link.. he come to town.. come to save the Princess Zelda!”

Now, I’ve since expanded to, ya know, normal songs. Things like, “Oh You Beautiful Doll” and “Dream A Little Dream Of Me” and other sweet songs slightly more in line with conventional parenting bedtime ballads. But I got to thinking. There are SO MANY songs out there that would transition perfectly for the living-with-parents nerd that has become a nerd-turned-parent cooing into a baby bassinet.

Besides. You gotta raise that child right. A baby without nerd cred is just, well, just another kid. That will probably grow up to like sports. *shudder* I kid, I kid!

But anyway, here’s my list of 10 Geeky Songs to Sings Your Baby To Sleep To. Let me know which geeky lullabies you would recommend. ^_^

1. Biblo Baggins by Leonard Nemoy

2. Legend of Zelda by System of a Down

3. Star Wars Song by Chatting Kids Space Camp

4. Momiji Song from Fruits Basket

5. Everybody to the Limit by Strong Bad

6. The Ultimate Showdown by Lemon Demon

7. Ballad of the Noob by Stone Falcon Productions

8. His Cheeseburger from Veggie Tales

9. The Galaxy Song from Monty Python

10. Guten Tag Hop Clop from The Producers

Product Review of the MamaRoo, aka “Robot Mom”

18 Nov

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I’ve been meaning to write about this awesome super futuristic gizmo for some time now. It’s a cutting edge, state of the art, robotic baby swing created by 4moms…. Or as we like to call it here in the Freeman household, “Robot Mom”.

At around two weeks old, Tessa had her first encounter with gas, and she was convinced a demon was attempting to escape her innards. Her pitiful wails – more from fear than from pain it seemed – would only be alleviated if she was safe in momma’s arms, being rocked and cooed at. I would pace the floor, singing to her, soothing her, and feeling like an awesome super mom. She was especially soothed by being held tight in the ring sling, pressed up against my chest.

But then I’d have to shower. Or use the restroom. Or make dinner. Or do something best accomplished whilst not holding an infant clinging to you like an adorably gassy koala. So I’d set her down…. and the wails would start up again.

Now, a baby swing was filed in our B list of “things to get baby”. As long as she’s content in my arms, or the ring sling, or sleeping snugly in her bassinet, we saw no need for a swing. But after a couple of days with floor pacing – often going well into the night – I finally decided we needed to get a swing.

We were browsing the aisle at our local Babies R Us, eying the various swaying chairs and buggies that were all pretty much the same thing with only slight variations in color and size and yadda yadda yadda – when we suddenly saw it.

The MamaRoo. AKA, Robot Mom.

The MamaRoo, I imagine, is what would happen if Ikea and Apple products made a baby. It is a smooth – almost creepily smooth – gliding robotic swing that offers 5 motion patterns: Kangaroo, Car Ride, Tree Swing, Rock-A-Bye and Ocean Wave. The manufacturer basically studied how parents move while holding their baby, and created the MamaRoo to move in the same ways.

If you know me, you know I am fascinated and slightly fearful of advancing robotics. Remember when I freaked out for days over those Japanese dancing robots? First it’s dancing robots grooving to da music like so many fancy geishas, next it’s robotic baby swings violating the three laws of robotics and enslaving mankind. But I digress.

We ended up buying our potential robot overlord, even though it was way out of our price range, and even though we had a broken TV, Xbox, PS3 and camera lens to fix / replace. I’m sensing the dawn of a new age of never having new toys for ourselves. All our things are belong to Tessa now.

So! This chair! It reclines to any position along the curve underneath the seat, it takes up FAR LESS space than just about every other swing on the market, and it was laughably easy to assemble. Seriously. I decided to take a couple of pictures of Jon putting it together, and by the time I snapped a few, it was already done. Oh! and it plugs into the wall, so there’s no need to worry about batteries. With how often we run this thing, that’s a win.

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While there are nature sounds built in to the base (crickets, running water, waves, white noise, etc.) they all suck so I don’t really care for those. But what is awesome is that is has an MP3 dock with speakers! So I can play all the classic Baby Einstein music to my sweetly slumbering genius, just like I did when she was in the womb!

The only, only, ONLY downside to this swing is that is would be significantly more effective if it moved just a tad faster. Tessa is a bit of a motion junkie and the MamaRoo doesn’t move fast enough to soothe her out of a full on hissy fit. Of course, I have never owned any other swing, nor tried to soothe any other babies with a moving piece of plastic, so I’m not even really sure if it works like that. Besides, when she is upset, I firmly believe she needs her MOM, not a chair. So the chairs inability to soothe her when she’s frantic is really a moot point with me.

But I can say that I can put her in it when she’s already asleep and she’ll stay that way. And if she’s drowsy she’s happy to doze off with her robot mom. And if she’s calm and awake, she’ll be happy in the chair long enough for me to get some simple chores done.

It seems the older she gets, the more she is content with her Robot Mom. For instance, when we first got the chair I thought the mobile was really lame. It doesn’t move. It’s just some oval balls with funky designs. Big whoop. But now, Tessa LOVES those things. Seriously, they’re her first genuinely loved toys. We’ve actually taken to calling them, “Her friends.”

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She’ll stare at them, coo at them, talk to them, bust up laughing in squealing giggles as if they are just the most clever, entertaining companions on the planet. Jon and I will watch her hold actual 2 month old babbling conversations with these things, and more than once I’ve found myself genuinely asking, “What are they saying to her?!” Her imagination is already so active, and I’m immensely grateful for the stimulation those static cloth balls provide her.

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Another unexpected plus? My cats love the chair. As I type out this blog post, little miss Fae Fae is curled up it. The chair is LITERALLY never empty. Ever. I’ll barely pull Tessa out, and one of the cats will jump in as it’s still moving. I’ve found that the cats are partial to “Car Ride”, but aren’t overly fond of “Kangaroo”. Hm. The more you know.

So overall, would I recommend this chair to new moms? Abso-freaking-lutely. It’s awesome. I want one for myself. And I hate to say it, but after Tessa and any future kids are done with this chair, I’ll probably keep it as a bed for the cats. Yes. Crazy cat lady just got taken to a whole new level.

The Sunshine Blog Award

15 Nov

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Well, when it rains, it pours! I got a flurry of blogging awards from fellow bloggers all at once… but in this case it’s not raining OR pouring because I just got awarded The Sunshine Award from The Lonely Lion! Do check out her blog when you get a chance, she’s a doll! Totally made my day! I’m loving decorating my blog with these award blings. It makes me feel like occasionally, sometimes, perhaps, just maybe people actually read what I write here. ^_^

I’m going to be brief with this blog award post, because, well, TV. Distracting. Distracting TV. Zac Efronnnnnnn. 

The Rules for the The Sunshine Award:

– Proudly post your sunshiney new award

– Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you

– Nominate 11 wonderful bloggers

– Write 11 questions for them to answer

– Let the nominated blogger know you have nominated them

 My Answers to The Lonely Lions Questions:

1. Where is the one place you want to visit before you die?

There are far too many places! But I guess, Egypt? I want to see the pyramids!

2. What stops you sleeping at night?

Recently? My hungry baby. Sleep deprivation has never been so cute.

3. How long have you been blogging for?

I’ve been blogging off and on since I was a teen, but Domestic Geek Girl has been around since May of this year. I started it to keep myself busy when my hubby was in boot camp, but it kind of grew on me.. (and grew over 1,200 followers.. woot!)

4. Do your friends and family read your blog?

I sure hope so!

5. What was the last song you listened to?

What I’ve Been Looking For from High School Musical. (I sent the lyrics of this song to Jonathan while he was in boot camp so he’d get the song stuck in his head. Mwahahahahahahaha!!!!)

6. Do you have any interesting hobbies?

I think cosplay is pretty darn interesting!

7. One fact nearly no one knows about you?

I’m a certified massage therapist. I keep that on the down low so I don’t get bugged for massages… ALL. THE. TIME.

8. Quick, tell us a joke!

A monk once walked into a bar… and you’d think he would have seen it and ducked!

9. What is on your mind right now? (Wow, I sound like 2012 facebook!)

Well, I’m writing this while watching High School Musical, so I’m mostly thinking, “Zac Efron is yummy. Yummy yummy tickles in my tummy. Yum yum. Wow, this acting is terrible. WILDCATS, EVERYWHERE, WAVE YOUR HANDS UP IN THE AIR!!! I wonder if I could get Jon to cosplay as Troy Bolton? Zac Efronnnnnn.”

10. Whats the view from your bedroom window?

Our apartment complex’s parking lot and the lawn area, with the trash can for pet owners to drop off poop. So usually the view from my bedroom window is a dog pooping.

11. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

The Bible.

 The Eleven Bloggers I Nominate (In no particular order):

Tales of a Mom

The Creative Cortex

My Family Stew

Iamstacey’s Blog

Life In The Question Marks

Joy to the World

Screenkicker

Ed Mooney Photography

Organic Catholic Mom

Blackmailers Don’t Shoot

Adoption Love

My questions for you!

  1. Who’s your favorite actor? (Say Zac Efron. SAY IT!!)
  2. What’s your favorite Disney movie?
  3. Can you dance?
  4. Do you like wearing hats?
  5. Do you have any nicknames?
  6. Does might make right?
  7. What are your thoughts on body glitter?
  8. Your deepest darkest fear?
  9. What makes you swoon?
  10. The most prominent truth in your life?
  11. What are the lyrics to your favorite song?

Lord of the Rings Artwork from Exile Into Imagination

14 Nov

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So the annoying skin tag on my finger from me stabbing myself with a screwdriver whilst hanging up some art FINALLY fell off. Then I thought – I didn’t tell my blogging friends all about our newest wall art! So… SHOW AND TELL TIME!!! Wheeeeee!!! *runs around in circles*

When we were at FANdom Con here in Pensacola, Florida a few weeks ago we gave in and bought a sketch of Gollum printed out over Lord of the Rings sheet music from Exile Into Imagination. No, it’s not original artwork. Yes, it’s just a copy. No, it’s not autographed. But we just couldn’t help ourselves. Lord of the Rings is just SO underrepresented in our home!

Jonathan and I have a huge autographed wall art collection. I mean HUGE. A combination of our mutual desire to collect rarities – and our love of conventions where autographs from nerdy idols abound – has resulted in our literally having too many framed art pieces to fit our walls. Most of our collection is sitting in storage back in California collecting dust till we can have a place with enough wall space to display them without it looking jumbled and tacky.

While I am an anime / sci-fi / fantasy / video game / pop culture nerd, I’m also a sucker for order and interior design. I try to walk that fine line between fine art display and nerdy man cave exploding on the walls.

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Just a sampling of some of our framed artwork:

Autographed Chris McGrath Dresden Files cover art, autographed Star Wars poster, autographed Hatsune Miku Vocaloid poster, autographed Captain EO poster, autographed Tron: Legacy limited edition art, autographed limited edition Brian Froud Labyrinth concept art, limited edition Blizzard World of Warcraft art, autographed MST3K poster, autographed original Mickey Mouse drawing from Disney animation, autographed Firefly artwork, autographed Rurouni Kenshin art from Nobuhiro Watsuki… so on and so on and so on…

Because of our growing pile of autographed swag, we’ve decided to limit our artwork purchases to only original and extremely rare pieces of art.

For instance, one of the last art purchases we made were some original hand drawn Fruits Basket artwork and painted backdrops from the original FUNimation anime. Whenever you see the Sohma kitchen scenes.. yeah, I OWN the kitchen. It’s hung up in my dining room. (This is seriously my most prized possession, wall-wise.)

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So while we’ve laid down the “no more prints, copies, or unoriginal art purchases” rule, we caved when it came to Gollum leering out at us from sheet music. How could we say no?! Now we just need to get it autographed by Andy Serkis (voice of Gollum) the next time he’s stateside for San Diego Comic Con.

Okay, that’s it for show and tell. Gonna go drown myself in some more coffee. Seriously guys, I have a problem. I need a coffee intervention or something….