Busy, busy, busy

June 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I hope this post can serve as a sincere apology to our faithful readers, who must be wondering WTH is up with the lack of posting.

Sam and I both have had lots of extra work lately coming in from some new clients, for which we and our checking account are very thankful. While that’s great news for us, it hasn’t been so great for the poor blog. No time to think, let alone write witty and incisive blogs. (I’m probably kidding myself that I ever actually do this, but leave a girl her illusions, k?)

I would say we’ll be back on the horse soon but the work just seems to keep coming. This summer is shaping up to be absolutely nothing like last year’s slow, lazy days… And I thought we were busy last summer! Or maybe I am remembering a fictional summer of long ago that was not busy. The best I can say is, we’ll try to keep posting now and then.

In the meantime, if you really must have some of our writing to peruse, you can always find it at the various Second Waves:

Upper Peninsula Second Wave

Northwest Michigan Second Wave

Mid Michigan Second Wave

And in other fine publications like the Marquette Monthly, the Saginaw News, Northeast Hunting and True North.

(This is really not a complete client list; I can’t provide the whole list here, but if you could see it you would so understand why we work All The Time.) But far be it from me to complain about the blessing of too much work. There are too many people out there struggling for any work at all; we can’t count ourselves anything but phenomenally lucky.

Thanks for reading and understanding. Lots of love to you all!

Categories: Uncategorized

Finding roots

May 24, 2011 2 comments

Some of you may know that Sam and I are getting married this summer; in fact, it’s coming up pretty soon, at the end of July.

The whole uniting-our-families thing has been on both of our minds lately, and it’s brought up yet another subject: genealogy.

I have the good fortune of being in a family where both my dad and mom’s sides have excellent genealogist family members and a well-mapped family tree.

I remember poring through records and trees on both sides as a kid, and finding it wildly fascinating, the lives of these people, like something from a history book, except that they were related to me. How cool!

My interest in genealogy has waxed and waned over the years, as I’ve undertaken a bit of research here and there for friends, or for an article on something historical. But no-one among the Coffeys (my mom’s side) or the Hortons (my dad’s) needed me to work on the family trees, as they were pretty well taken care of.

So I think, once I officially become part of Sam’s family (the Egglestons), I am going to approach them about tracking down their family tree. It’s something both Sam and I are interested in finding out about, and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot about genealogy and researching it in the process.

There are several generations still alive, so that will be helpful in tracking the most recent family members. I hope to find out the rest through records and online research, and it should help that Sam’s family is in at least the fourth generation to live here in Marquette County, so the county records office will be very useful.

I’ve been excited about the possibilities for quite some time, but I wanted to wait until I was legally an Eggleston before delving into the history books, just out of respect.

I think while I’m at it, I will ask my family members for copies of my own genealogy. It’ll be nice to have all that information in one place, and who knows what connections I can find.

Do any of our readers do genealogy? I’ll be a relative newbie; beyond census and local records, I’ll be out of my depth. So if you have any great suggestions or useful tools, let me know.

Feeling super

The OLD Fantastic Four cast... really.

I’d be a liar if I told you I didn’t love comic books. I still collect a few, actually, though not nearly at the break-neck, wallet-deflating pace I used to in my teenage years. Of course, that reduction in the collection was simply due to the local comic shop closing when I was younger, and the cost of comics skyrocketing until I needed a full-time job just to support the habit.

Nowadays, I’m not quite so quick to drop my money on the counter. I’m not picking up comics to collect them with hopes they will fund my retirement in the future. Nor does a scantily-clad lady on the cover even get my attention anymore. Now I am mostly about storyline, and characters I really like. Doctor Who gets purchased for the lovely Kimberly, while I have a standing order for any and all Moon Knight comics.

But, what does get my attention these days isn’t on the paper inside those comic covers, but rather on the big screen. Super hero movies are coming out in droves, and I’m there buying tickets to each and every one of them. Some aren’t as good as others, but some are really great. So why do I go to all of them? Because I want them to keep making them. More and more, please. Read more…

Trip planning

May 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Author’s Note: This is the latest post on my new travel blog, There and Back Again 🙂 Go here to read more of them!

Sam & I are starting to look at routes and stops for our two-week, round-the-U.S. honeymoon this summer, so exciting! We’re using the AAA trip advisor site along with some other travel sites we usually go to. How do you plan long trips? Any great ideas on how to plot out such a long road trip?

Jeanne d’Arc for PSP ~ Game Review

April 27, 2011 2 comments

Hi guys! It’s been a little while, and a lot of my most recent posts have been video game related, but I can’t help it — that’s just what I do in my free time. Obviously, I’ve been playing more than I’ve been posting here, anyway 🙂

One of the games that has really caught my attention isn’t new, it’s from 2007, and it’s called Jeanne d’Arc. The new thing about it for me is that we just recently added a PSP to our gaming platform collection, making it pretty dang complete now. (Xbox 360, PS3, DS, DSi, Wii and PSP, what else do I really need to buy?…) Anyway. Jeanne d'Arc for PSP is well worth exploring for RPG and strategy fans.

So everyone in the household has been trying out various new and old games on the PSP, and Jeanne d’Arc is among the most awesome I’ve come across so far. It’s a hybrid of a strategy and RPG game, and I probably don’t need to tell you who the heroine & main character is. In case you for some reason have not heard of Joan of Arc (as we Americans usually say), well. I can’t think of a good reason why you wouldn’t have.

Moving on. After an English attack on Jeanne’s French village, she rallies together a group of would-be warriors against the English (who are ruled by a demonic-child King Henry VI, and his evil sorcerer adviser). You lead the party as Jeanne, and it’s pretty typical party-style play, with an interesting element of strategy when it comes to who to position where during an attack. Some party members’ motions are limited, as are some actions, like healing, where you have to be within a square of the person you’re healing. One team member, armed with a lance, can throw it ahead farther than a sword fighter can attack, which reminded me just a little of a chess game.

So what could have turned out to be a standard RPG gets that extra layer of battle strategy and just drives the game forward with continued challenges. The fighting would have been too easy without the strategic elements, and too boring without the RPG interactions. Together, it’s a great little game that can easily keep you up too late as you forge ahead to the next encounter with demons led by English officers.

Jeanne d’Arc was made by Level-5 Games (better known for their Professor Layton games for the DS) and apparently was their first RPG as well as their first PSP game, which is downright impressive. The only thing I don’t quite get about the game is the useless chirping frog that tags along with the party in between battles. Still, I am holding out hope it has some purpose, since I haven’t finished the game yet.

A blog sibling

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve been derelict over here, mostly because I was working on an idea for a new blog, which, as inaccurate as it may be, I am going to call this blog’s younger sibling. That’s because it is made up of a whole category of things that Sam and I haven’t posted on here — namely, our personal travels.

If only I had a cool suitcase like this 🙂

Traveling is such a different kind of thing to write about. You’re out of your element, on a laptop somewhere, looking at things from an outsider’s perspective. For us, living up here in the rural North, it usually means driving many hours away. It didn’t seem like something that fit on the pages of this blog.  But we’re traveling more and more, and finding really neat things wherever we go, and I’d really like to share them!

So this weekend I put up the first posts on the new travel blog, which is hopefully-not-too-cliched in its name; There and Back Again.  I won’t take up too much more room here about it, but I’d love if you come over, read, maybe subscribe (hint, hint), share your own travel ideas and comments, and hopefully have some fun.

Dragon Age 2 review

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

We don’t play through games as fast as we used to — the demands of work and family make it hard to devote a ton of time to the latest game. But last night, we finally made it through Dragon Age 2, using a warrior character and importing decisions made in one of Sam’s Dragon Age Origins playthroughs.

I should take a minute to explain: I’m saying “we” because with games that we both like, such as Dragon Age, Fable, Mass Effect, Oblivion, etc., Sam & I have our own tag-team method of getting through a playthrough. He does the majority of the fighting, while I do the majority of the conversations, treasure spotting, upgrading characters and comparing equipment, and running around to all the stores. Works for us.

Anyway, we made it to the end, and it feels oddly incomplete. There have been two previous Dragon Age games, Origins and Awakening. The first was pretty stand-alone, while the second was a continuation along the same timeline from the first, and could almost be considered an expansion. The decisions you made in Origins mattered in Awakening, and you could use the same character in both, if you didn’t die as part of the plot.

In this one, you have an entirely different character and setting, although you start out involved in the same events that shaped Origins. Instead of hanging around Ferelden, you cross the seas to the city of Kirkwall as a refugee, and climb your way up to the status of champion of the city. As the game goes on, years pass, and the events of Origins in Ferelden (if you played it and choose to include that information in the DA2 story) indirectly influence Kirkwall. Some of the characters from Origins and Awakening also can be found along the way.

The fighting seemed less challenging this time, although in some ways, more fun. The ability to use various items across classes was really helpful, as that was no fun in Origins. The facial and detail rendering on the characters also was vastly improved and quite realistic. I don’t think I saw a single graphics glitch, as opposed to Origins and Awakening, which sometimes had weapons sticking through hair strangely, or rough edges showing in cutscenes. On the other hand, they changed some faces of familiar characters so much they didn’t even look the same, like the mage Anders and the Qunari people.

Most of the world in DA2 was good, with interesting new settings and plenty of cultural depth to explore in the optional codex entries. The gameplay was really similar to the other two, so hardly bears mentioning. One change I wasn’t sure about, however, was armor for companions. The outfits they played in were unchangeable except for upgrades you can acquire that give specific abilities, like rune slots or defense bonuses. All the armor you find in the game is strictly for the main character, Hawke, so you end up not using most of it. But, for all I know, that was the key to the awesome graphics, since they didn’t have to be drawn out in a hundred different armor sets.

The strange thing about Dragon Age 2, when you’re done, is that it leaves the story ending so wide open. It feels a lot like the middle book in a trilogy; nothing major is resolved, and the future possibilities for the characters, even whole countries, are left with more questions than answers.

The champion of Kirkwall turns out to be a major instigator of social upheaval, at least with the decisions we made while playing, and maybe that’s why it feels so unfinished. We went from one chaotic setting to another. I guess there’s one thing for certain to be said: We’ll be looking forward to playing Dragon Age 3 when it arrives, and carries the story onward.

For now, I’m planning to replay DA2 with my favorite class, the rogue, and trying out a few different story decisions to see how the game changes.

Categories: Games Tags: , ,