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Merry Christmas To Someone In Need – #LovesVoice

Posted December 20, 2012 By LadyJai

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know I never intended to have a Facebook account. By chance, someone else signed me up with MY email address. When I went to delete the account, I was curious and found some connections with some very old high school friends. So I kept it.

I’ve always thought that I never made enough of an impression on anyone, and you know how relationships go with time and distance. All I have are “remembrances” rather than friends on Facebook.

Merry ChristmasWell, at the beginning of December, I received a Facebook message from one of those long ago friends, a “friend” I was always afraid of and thought she hated me. She reached out to me and a couple of others asking us to pray for a Christmas miracle. She’d been having a rough year, financially and with her youngest girl medically. I sat there reading that email, praying and crying. It touched my heart on so many different levels. Maybe I was wrong in thinking I never made an impression. I don’t know.

TheHubs remembers one year not being able to have a Christmas and having the Salvation Army show up on his doorstep with presents. That is what sticks with him. I never had to go with out. I was lucky. But over the years, I’ve (we’ve) given so much to people only to wonder if it’s ever been appreciated. From such a young age, I’ve always felt taken advantage of. TheHubs too. I even had a dream about this being nothing but a big “hoax” and it made me very anxious, especially after the other “premonitory dream” I had last week.

But I have to focus on the positive, see that not everyone is like that, and that what we are doing is the right thing to do. When all is said and done, it’s the action of giving that matters.

But to give to someone we know (despite the time and distance that separates the actual knowing part) who desperately needs a Christmas for their children, well, we never had the opportunity. No child should wake up on Christmas morning without something under the tree. I just wish I were rich so I could do that for everyone! But for now, we do it one at a time, when we can, and sometimes when it strains us. No matter how much we can’t afford it, we look around and realize we have so much, when others need.

I wanted so much to help her, but I didn’t know how. All the girls asked for were a couple of dolls, bikes, and a Kindle Fire to share. Being a writer, and an avid reader, I wanted to get the Kindle Fire. But, well, I didn’t think finances could allow me.

But something happened during my Christmas shopping. I managed to secure a Nook for free. It wasn’t a Kindle Fire. But it was an eReader. I brought it up to my family what I wanted to do with the Nook. Seeing as we already had 3 older eReaders already, they went for it, and more.  We packaged up the Nook, a cover and a light along with a gift card to B&N for books, and another one for Toys R Us. It won’t give them everything they asked for. But they WILL have a Christmas this year.

I just realized I spent money on books, but not for me. At least someone will be reading. I still have a couple of back logged books I still need to read, so I’m not too worried about it. I know what I did was a good thing and it makes me happy to help others, even when we have other obligations for our finances.

I remember a time where we had about $100 until my next payday. We had to fill the gas tank so we stopped at the gas station. Now, I am sure you all have been approached by someone asking for a few bucks, or they’ve said they’ve been on vacation and they need a few dollars to fill up their tank because they ran out of money (or maybe that’s just because I live in a tourist state). Well, we knew this wasn’t a scam like the previous ones. There was a couple sitting in their car with their gas cap off and doors open. The lady sitting in the passenger seat was VERY pregnant. The man was just looking dejected, worried, and desperate. He asked us if he could have a couple of dollars to get a few gallons of gas so he could get his wife to her OB appointment. We swiped our debit card and told him to fill it up. He looked like he wanted to cry. His wife did. He kept asking us what our address was so he could pay us back. We said, there’s no paying back. What you do is when you find someone in desperate need like you were, we don’t care how much money you have left in your account, you do the same as we did. Pay it forward. And he promised.

We continue to keep doing good, and believing others will “pay it forward” too. Random acts of kindness. Every bit, no matter how small, shows love. And love trumps all evil. It’s how we live with this world. My friend Andrew wrote about this in the wake of the Sandy Hook travesty. He said,

THERE IS MORE LOVE IN THE WORLD THAN HATE. HATE JUST HAS A LOUDER VOICE.

I tried to get this out to people. Asking for people to retweet the message that we need to make love’s voice louder. It won’t end hatred, but it can make love’s voice louder, so that when hatred roars, love sings above it.

So, I ask you to do the same. Get the word out. Pay it forward. Do your own random act of kindness. And let love sing louder than evil!

LadyJai

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I became fast friends with a dear, wonderful, and talented lady — KT Hanna. She kept me motivated and encouraged me to keep writing when I wasn’t sure of myself, or my talent. When she told me she was expecting, I wanted to do something extra special, something that I hope the whole family will treasure for decades to come. I decided the perfect gift, one I hope no one else gave her, was a way to express my love. I’ve been quilting on and off for twenty-three years. And a homemade gift is always something meaningful, at least to me. So I decided to  make her little one a quilt to cherish for a long time to come. I’ve put together a slideshow for everyone to enjoy the process.

<3

(Mouse over the images to see their description)

 LadyJai

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An Open Christmas Letter to Our Heroes

Posted December 10, 2012 By LadyJai
Christmas Army Boots

Yes, my husband still has his boots.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately, both at home and at work. This is my life. I have not been writing on my novel because of it. I feel sad, tired, and just downright horrible. But when I got a break at work the other day, I managed to put together a blog post about my son turning ten. While this was not any progress on my novel, it was writing. And it felt good.

With things getting more and more stressful in my life, I needed a release of some sort. I’ve managed, again, to write. This time, I’ve composed a Christmas letter to our heroes and plan on sending it out to them. (I didn’t plan my time very well.) While it may not make it to the Red Cross on time, I wanted to post it here for anyone happens upon it and needs a little encouragement.

My Dearest Service Member,

Today I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

I know you may not feel like you could enjoy this time of year right now. In fact, you are probably struggling with your recovery each and every day. You have a long road ahead of you and you don’t think it will get better.

You will have your ups and downs. And right now, you may be having more downs than anything. But please remember, everything happens for a reason. I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but He has a plan. If you don’t believe, then there is always a reason why things are as they are. You may not realize it now. Or a month from now. Or even a year.

Remember to look for the positive in all of it. No matter how small. The positives are what will get you through. Even if it’s just that the sun is shining and you are breathing. That is always a positive. Tomorrow is another day.

Being negative is easy. It is what brings us down, and keeps us there. When we are down, there are no amount of positives that seem to bring us back up. That is why I charge you, no matter what, to put on a smile (even if it is fake) every day. Look at the world and find the smallest of the smallest of positives. It will only take you two weeks to form a habit of this, and you will eventually start to SEE the positives for just that, positive. And you will find that smile is no longer fake.

Every day, I want to thank you for being a hero! You may not think of yourself as such. But there are plenty of people who look at you that way.

My husband is also a disabled vet. I try to remind him he is a hero, just as I’ve told you. But he refuses to believe it. He feels that he’s never gone to war, sacrificed a part of himself, or come home draped in a flag. He thinks THAT is what a hero is. You may have over visions of what a hero is. Everyone has their idea. Do not brush it away. Accept it as a compliment. You are a hero. Selflessly giving up your time, your family, and even a part of you, to protect our freedom, to fight for America, to keep us all safe.

My husband’s dream since he was five was to be a soldier. He achieved that dream and served for thirteen and a half years. During his time in the service, there were several accidents with the last one being in Kosovo, which left him broken, internally. He suffers chronic migraines, chronic neck pain, depression, and PTSD. It’s all cyclic, and each feeds the other. There is not a day he goes without pain and sadness. He struggles daily. But I am there to remind him to look for the positive, no matter how small.

Visible disabilities are easier for the masses to sympathize with. It’s those disabilities that are hidden, buried inside us, that the world cannot understand. Please do not think you are ever alone in this. Whether you are physically or emotionally disabled, it’s a struggle just the same. Never feel less than human because of it.

The pain is what keeps us human.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THERE IS HOPE, HELP, LOVE, AND SUPPORT. Even if you can’t see it. Remember that tiny bit of positive you find every day. Cling to it. And it will get you through.

If you falter, because some days will be harder than others, let this letter be your guide to finding something positive, if nothing else.

You’ve given so much for your country, for our freedoms, for me. Thank you and God Speed.

Merry Christmas

LadyJai

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Premonitory Dreams & A Decade of Awesome!

Posted December 4, 2012 By LadyJai

TheBoy had his 10th birthday party this weekend.

10!

OMG I can’t believe how much he’s grown, how much time has passed, and how little time with the best thing I’ve ever created I have left.

 

Minecraft Creeper Cake

Minecraft Creeper Cake

I had been stressing about this party since Wednesday–since I woke up at 3am freaking. There I was sitting at Jump!Zone with NO CAKE. I couldn’t go back to sleep. But I tried to shake it off. Didn’t think much about it until Saturday morning when I went to go pick up the cake from my friend who was making it. She was falling behind because she spent half the night with her dog in the emergency ER. Poor baby broke her toe. And I felt really horrible.

All day Friday I asked if there was anything I could do to help out. But she said no. But no one knew an accident would happen.

Here I was 10:30am with NO CAKE. I had to get my son to his party. And there I sat, at Jump!Zone with NO CAKE!

And yes, I was freaking out.

TheHubs stayed behind to help out our friend get the finishing touches on it. It was a surprise for TheBoy. All he knew was Ms. Liz was making his cake. But we had no cake.

They started the party and within a few minutes, TheHubs shows up with the cake! YAY! And OMG was it the best looking cake as well as the best tasting cake! Not from a box. Homemade. It was a total hit!

Out of the 15 kids, plus adults, we ate the whole head. We still had the body and feet to go. And I thought we would be eating cake for weeks to come.

Not with TheHubs’ sweet tooth. We now only have the feet to eat.

Stupid premonitory dreams! TheHubs kept reassuring me that it wasn’t my fault. Accidents happen. But I still freaked. I felt bad for making Ms. Liz make the cake. I felt bad that I couldn’t help. I felt bad she missed her Vet appointment because she was finishing up my cake. I just felt really horrible all around. I just can’t help it. And I am still struggling to control it.

Have you ever had a premonitory dream?

LadyJai

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About a year or two ago, someone used my Gmail address to sign up for Facebook.

My GMail address had been my go-to spam email. (since I got my Google phone, it’s become my primary email and my domain email has fallen by the wayside. I still use it, but only for official/important emails).

I never wanted Facebook, or any other social media anything back then. When I got the confirmation email, I ignored it. I first thought it was nothing more than spam. Then I kept getting emails for friends requests and messages on Facebook. I decided to see if I could log in and delete the account. I know I didn’t have the password, but the “forgot password” option sent me the link (or password, I can’t remember anymore) to my Gmail and I was able to gain access to the account.

I logged in and started deleting all the info off the page. It offered to “import your friends from Gmail” and I was curious. So I clicked it. And O.M.G! I found friends I hadn’t had contact with in 20 years. I found friends from my high school. And they remembered me! WOW!

So, that’s how I got my Facebook account. And that was the last I heard about someone using my email address.

Or so I thought.

It started back up again about 9 months ago. I now have a Pandora account. I have a bunch of service accounts, online gaming accounts, and accounts for children’s education as well as gaming accounts. All of which I’ve changed the password to.

I started off deleting the accounts, but the person would re-sign up with MY email address over again. So, to stop that, I just kept the account, changed the password on it, and left it alone. Eventually, they will delete it. Hopefully, she’s re-registered with her PROPER email address.

I wonder, how many times does it take for someone to realize they are using the WRONG email address and to be more careful? Really. How long?

When I first got hired into IT Security field, I dealt with this thing called PKI, Public Key Infrastructure. It’s a neat little tool that places authentication and encryption on your email based off something called PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). No need to go into the details of it as most of you would be bored to tears. 🙂

At that time, it was only a pilot program. Now, it’s required for all military and government emails. So, when I got into this PKI program, I learned of an awesome website called ThinkGeek. They operated out of a small closet back then. But I got my “I READ YOUR EMAIL” T-shirt from them back in 2000 (they don’t sell it anymore, but other places do).

That T-shirt is so appropriate now.

So, now I have all these accounts, with my email address tied to them. Spam is at an all time high. Even Gmail’s spam filter can’t capture them all. It’s annoying and frustrating to say the least. I have to take time out of my life to go “fix” all these accounts so I don’t continue to deal with even more unwanted email that I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR!

Last month became even more troublesome. There were continued emails from Microsoft Account Team. At first, I thought it was a phishing scam. I searched everywhere for something about it. Nothing.

 

It happened once or twice in two weeks. No big deal. But then, I kept getting them back to back, over and over again. I started to freak out about this time, because I just read a couple of articles on Kotaku about people hacking xBox Live accounts and selling them on the internet.

I’ve had 2-step security on my Gmail account ever since I noticed someone attempting to log into my Gmail account from another country….I’ve never lived in. This 2-step verification is relatively new for Microsoft but I’ve had it implemented for some time now.

I logged into http://account.live.com and the links were legitimate. I’ve been changing my Live password each time I got these emails. But they still kept coming.

I tested the 2-step verification process myself. When I went to the “Billing” menu, that’s when I would get the 2-step email verification. So, either someone has access to my account, regardless how many times I change my password, or someone set up their Live account with the wrong email address. My guess is the latter.

So friggin’ frustrating!!! This could very easily be considered cyber harassment.  Not in the sense of bullying. But the fact that I continually get emails like this, have to change the passwords, contact the service to have them stop sending me emails, change my password, all takes time away from what I need or want, to do.

So, now that I THINK I have this under control….for now…I get an email the other day, setting up yet another account for a service I don’t want. But this time, the account verification email sent me her full name, username, and password.

I went to change the password on this account, like I always do, and when I logged in, I found out her work email, mailing address, and phone number. I’m like WHOA! In the wrong hands, this could be absolutely dangerous. Identity theft, stalking, even death. You just don’t know what people will do with personal information like this.

Because I work in the IT Security field, I am naturally paranoid. I’m not worried so much for me, as I am for the person who’s too stupid to remember their own email address! If left un-addressed, what will I get next? What other information is she carelessly throwing around to other strangers out there? I shudder to think of the possibilities. 

I’m not mean. I’m not manipulative. I’m not a bad person. But I could ooooh soooo be one with this information.

I dubbed this “Reverse Social Engineering” because it is personal information freely given to someone else, but I didn’t ask for it. However, this is not the proper definition of Reverse Social Engineering. Symantec defines it as “when the hacker creates a persona that appears to be in a position of authority so that employees will ask him for information, rather than the other way around.”

This is hardly the case here. But it is appropriate. Like I said, it’s information, given freely, to an unsuspecting stranger–Me. But lucky for her, I’m not malicious.

Now I’m going back and forth with myself. Do I contact her? Or do I leave it alone? If I contact her, will she take it the wrong way? Will I be in the wrong? Would I be considered the stalker? The harasser? The cyberbully?

The use of a wrong email address is not a legal issue. Having someone else’s personal information is not illegal. It’s how you use it. I’ve been trying to locate any information of someone else having this type of problem, information regarding how to stop this, how to safely contact the individual to inform/educate her. I’m torn. I want to help her, but fear the reprisal if she takes it the wrong way.

What do I do? What would you do?

LadyJai

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I’ve been almost non-existent lately. Not sure anyone really noticed, but I wanted to explain why. Things have been very stressful lately, so much so I became overwhelmed and my strength faltered. I needed to ask for help. I never ask for help. But I’m SLOWLY learning that it’s ok, that it’s not a sign of weakness, and that I’m not burdening anyone.

****

Growing up, I was known as “Cry Baby Jamie.”

Yes, it hurt.

Yes, it affect me emotionally as a child.

Did it change me then? No. I couldn’t help myself. When my feelings were hurt, I cried. And when they called me “Cry Baby,” I cried.

I wore my heart on my sleeve, so to speak.  I still do.

Does it affect me as an adult? Yes, it still does. I think it’s why I don’t like to share my problems with anyone. I think it’s why I cry in private now. I think it’s why I don’t want to cry on anyone’s shoulders, despite the fact that I DESPERATELY want a hug from someone who will tell me everything’s going to be fine.

I do my best to keep it inside. Be strong. When you cry, you’re not strong, right?!

Most people don’t know the situation of my home life (that could require a book, or at the very least, another blog post, if you’re interested). I don’t talk about it much. Because, really, when you say the word “disabled vet” the majority of people need to SEE that disability in order to understand and feel empathy. In our lives, that disability is PAIN, DEPRESSION, amongst many other things that spur from the PAIN. When I tell people we can’t do something because of it, they just look at him and I see the sarcasm in their eyes, “He looks fine to me.” 

We just carry on, ignore that look, and that’s why we tend to have no friends, I guess. They either don’t understand the complexity of it, or just don’t want to. So, I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems. My problems are nothing compared to everyone else’s. Besides, I’d much rather help people than make them think I can’t help by dumping on them. And another thing, they either wouldn’t understand, or maybe even care.

I used to think this way. Seriously. I still do, even. I’m trying to break myself of this nasty habit. But it’s so hard.

See, I’ve had problems with friends all my life. It’s not that I don’t want them. God knows how much I crave friendship. I’ve just never really quite fit in any circle of people growing up. Making them. Having them. Keeping them. I meandered through my school years from groups to groups, never really having one group, or even one person that was considered THE one. I don’t know how to approach people and be the conversation starter. But if someone approaches me, I jump all over it. It was always me who wanted to please, wanted to give 200% to the relationship, hoping they would return in kind, or even just half that. But it never happened. I was always there for them, their shoulder, their pillar. I brought them up from the pit of despair. But when I needed them, they were never around, or told me to suck it up. It felt like they wanted to keep me down, which made them feel better about themselves, so I gladly welcomed it.

I guess.

(St. Paul Pioneer Press | Brandi Jade Thomas)

Even the strongest support beam can hold only so much weight before it buckles. It’s not all at once. Over time, the steel cracks and buckles. Eventually the whole thing fails. And your life tumbles out of control.

This has been me over the last month. I can only support the weight of two people for a few years before I crumble.

I am recovering, rebuilding those steel support beams. Getting myself back up to keep strong for myself and my husband.

Slowly.

Everything always goes slowly. Doesn’t it?

But this time, I did what I’ve never been able to do before. I reached out.

I asked for help from my friends. Over the past year, I’ve met a quite a few wonderful people and some I’ve connected with on a much deeper level than just writing. I’m very thankful for that. Even though the only friends I have are online friends, I cherish that friendship. Even though they aren’t here to give me a hug, they still tell me everything’s going to be alright. Their positive attitude, their prayers, the way they listened. They weren’t like the “friends” I ever had before.

courtesy: pixdaus.com

What is a table with only one leg? The more support pillars you have, the sturdier you become, right?

I want to thank them for allowing me to lean on them when I need it. It gives me the strength I need to continue to be my husband’s pillar.

I also want them to keep reminding me that it’s OK to do so.  Because I tend to fall into my old way of thinking if I am not constantly re-enforced. Does that make me needy? I sure hope not, because then I WILL go back to bottling it all inside and never letting it out.

Quietly crumbling until I can’t pick up all the pieces.

Alone.

Because I am supposed to be the strong one.

LadyJai

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Breaking the Speed of Sound – 1947 & 2012!

Posted October 15, 2012 By LadyJai

Yesterday, I spent a good majority of the day watching the live stream of the Red Bull Stratos project.  I was so excited about this. I’ve been fascinated with jet airplanes since, I don’t know, I was born!! I mean, come on, my dad is retired US Air Force. I grew up with tactical fighter jets all the time! In fact, I didn’t have posters of teenage heartthrobs on my wall. No, I had pictures of the sweetest, most sexiest of all aircraft, EVER! The SR-71 Blackbird!

I call “jet noise” home. I sure do miss it. I now live near, and work on, a Navy base. Luckily, airplanes are a part of this one. But, the lack of jet engine noise is very disheartening. When they do come around, I get goosebumps! Really! I do!

Because of my exposure to jets, the Air Force, and everything revolving around it, I fell in love. One of my dreams had been to go into the Air Force, as a jet pilot and officer. However, fate saw other things for my life. I tried for 2 years to go into the AF. They had 4 Officer selection boards during that time, and out of them, they only accepted 2 people from Virginia–both Aeronautical Engineers. I blame the downsizing that happened after the first Gulf war for this misfortune. And by the time I tried again, I was too old for commission, and I didn’t want to go enlisted. So, I settle for working FOR the military. I’ve been doing it for the last 15+ years now.

Along with my love for all things “jet”, came the love for the Space program. Seeing as the SR-71 is the highest flying aircraft, capable of going up into near-space, (read stratosphere), and even to this day, its top speed is still CLASSIFIED, I find anything related to the Air Force, jet airplanes, space/NASA fascinating!

My Love of RedBullMy love of Redbull helps as well. I probably would have found this project after the fact, rather than following it for the last couple of months, had it not been for Redbull.

Austria’s Felix Baumgartner earned his place in the history books on Sunday after overcoming concerns with the power for his visor heater that impaired his vision and nearly jeopardized the mission. Baumgartner reached an estimated speed of 1,342.8 km (Mach 1.24) jumping from the stratosphere, which when certified will make him the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall and set several other records while delivering valuable data for future space exploration. — Redbull

This was monumental, on so many levels.

Photo courtesy of A.P.

24 miles, 4 minutes, 834MPH, 1 jump!

Not only did he break the sound barrier, he also broke several other records:
  • the highest altitude skydive ( 128,100 feet or 39,045 metres) previously held by Joe Kittinger
  • longest freefall without a parachute (119,846 feet or 36,529 metres)
  • fastest fall achieved during a skydive (reaching 833.9 mph or 1,342 kph), previously held by Joe Kittinger.

Balazs Gardi/Red Bull Stratos, via A.P

 

Yes, I’m a true geek, but damn proud of it.

If you didn’t see the jump, you can watch the highlights below! So awesome! My heart started pounding as soon as the door swept open!!

LadyJai

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Borderlands 2 QR Code Easter Eggs

Posted September 25, 2012 By LadyJai

Borderlands 2

Currently a Work in Progress!

We managed to snag the Ultimate Loot Chest Collector’s edition, a FULL WEEK after it’s release. Gamestop had one no one picked up. The manager tried every day to contact the person, and finally, after a week with no contact, she released it to us! YAY!

Ultimate Vault Hunter Collector's Edition of Borderlands 2

Ultimate Loot Chest Collector’s Edition of Borderlands 2

***

In the first Borderlands, they had little easter eggs throughout the maps of Pandora. Before QR Codes were popular, 2K & Gearbox threw them in the first Borderlands. And sure enough, we’ve found our first one in Borderlands 2.

We are now on a hunt to document all the QR codes we can find.

Is it too late to do this?
Or even do this for Borderlands 1?
Most of the time for B1, we had a hard time getting the code to catch with the reader.
So, be prepared, even in B2, our first one took us about an hour, even with our HD TV, several different gun zooms, and 4 QR Code catching devices.

To find out what they say, all you have to do is download/install a QR Code reader on your smartphone or tablet. If you are doing this directly off your TV, you will need to make sure you have a pretty good display and zoom in on the code. I’ve grabbed the QR Code for you from my history once it’s been scanned on my phone. You can also go to Online QR Code Decoder and decode it there.

Good luck.

1) Moxxi’s Pizza Box — located inside Moxxxi’s Place in Sanctuary

Moxxxie's Pizza QR Code

Moxxi’s Pizza Box
Click image for full size QR Code
TEXT: Wiseman say, forgiveness is divine but never pay full price for late pizza. –Captain Picard

2) Postcards from the Edge…of Sanctuary — Located just outside the city walls, where you place the power cell to gain entry into the city.
Postcards From The Edge...of Sanctuary QR Code

Postcards From The Edge…of Sanctuary
Click image for full size QR Code
TEXT:Nick Wilson
Ho Oh

3) Zedd’s Pharmacy— Located in Sanctuary, in Zedd’s Pharmacy, inside the open refrigerator door directly across from the entry door to the pharmacy.
Zedd's Pharmacy QR Code

Zedd’s Pharmacy QR Code
TEXT: Thank you so much for playing our game, now I’m rich with love AND money! !!Nick Wilson!! Ditto!!!

I’m still waiting on the contact information, or the winning sweepstakes one! I know you’re in there. *looks glaringly at Gearbox Software*

Have you found any?

LadyJai

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That Which Consumes My Life & #WriteMotivation Update #4

Posted September 24, 2012 By LadyJai

Borderlands 2

So, Borderlands 2 came out on September 18, 2012. The Hubs went to the midnight release. Unlike some, we are the responsible parents. I stayed home with our son (who had school the next day) while The Hubs went to Gamestop. What he saw was both full of awesome, yet kind of sad at the same time–a whole family dressed up in cosplay for Borderlands. We had Dr. Zed, Moxie, and a Midget Psycho. The poor baby was up WAY passed his bedtime, and was probably cold, since The Hubs said the AC was cranked and even he was cold. Still, the best Borderlands cosplay I ever saw, but felt sad for the baby.

When I’m not at work, I’ve been playing this. It’s been nearly a week, and I now have 3 characters between level 8 and 12 and I STILL can’t figure out who I like best! Unlike Borderlands.

In Borderlands, Mordecai was my absolute favorite. His bird was the fashizzle. And damn, I can snipe! 🙂 I started out with Lilith, the Siren, but she got boring really quick. Her awesome powers didn’t kick in until she was higher level and you could get the skill points for the skill tree you wanted. But before I could do that, I switched over to Mordecai and I was hooked. I played with my husband who loved Roland, and we made a wonderful team, as usual.

Before Borderlands 2 came out, Game Informer released some preliminary information on the story and characters and I decided I was going with the new Assassin class, Zero, who was Mordecai’s equivalent. When E3 hit, and PAX, and all the video multiplayer game play Gearbox and 2K games released, I was torn between Maya (Lilith’s equivalent) and Zero. By the time the game came out, I still couldn’t choose.

I’m not an up-close-and-personal player. I like to snipe. I like distance kills. And there are some enemies you NEED to kill as far away as you possibly can. I never liked Brick (The Berzerker) in the first one, and Salvador (The Gunzerker) in the second one is his equivalent. I highly doubt I will play as him as I never made a Brick character in the first.

I started with Zero. He’s awesome. But the, I tried out Maya. She’s awesome! Oh, and while playing with my son, I started Axton, the Commando, and he’s awesome! So, I cannot choose. I have 3 characters now, and I am playing all three at the same time…well, as at the same time as I possibly can.

Also, in the first Borderlands, they had little easter eggs throughout the maps of Pandora. Before QR Codes were popular, 2K & Gearbox threw them in the first Borderlands. And sure enough, we’ve found our first one in Borderlands 2.

Moxxxie's Pizza QR Code

Located at Moxxxie’s in Sanctuary
The Pizza Box QR Code
Click image for full size QR Code

We are now on a hunt to document all the QR codes we can find. Is it too late to do this? Or even do this for Borderlands 1? Most of the time for B1, we had a hard time getting the code to catch with the reader. So, be prepared, even in B2, this took us about an hour, even with out HD TV, several different gun zooms, and 4 QR Code catching devices. Good luck.

So, as for my #writemotivation update.

1) PROGRESS: I’ve got words! I’ve got progress. And on Friday of last week, I met a goal I never, EVER, thought I would reach.

Sept 21, 2012
After a little over 9 months, I made it to 50,000 words!
Never thought this would be possible
Definitely would never be able to do this in 30 days! 😀

I know, I know, it’s numbers…but hey! It’s a goal I never thought I would ever reach!

2) Complete blog posts for #writemotivation and hopefully have a few extras in there as I’m all dried up lately. I’ve managed this along with a few more.
3) Complete Crit in a timely manner. I’ve managed to complete this last week! YAY! Due to some life issues, the beginning of the week had been very un-creative. So, rather than waste it, I put full effort into escaping reading.
4) Read another book for pleasureMay be able to start, but not complete.
5) And always, ALWAYS, provide unending support, cheering, and cookie flinging, to anyone who needs it. I’m back, I think 🙂

LadyJai

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My friend (@DyadicEchoes) thought it would be funny to tag me in some Blog chain mail letter.
He blames a mutual friend (@MichellePierce). He said she started it. Sounds real mature doesn’t it?
So, I have my own comeback for the Beautiful Blogger Award.
I’m supposed to provide the following:
The last 7 lines I wrote (in first draft glory) <–I’m far too paranoid to put words from WIP#1 up on a blog.
The last 7 songs listened to
The last 7 books I read <–You can always check out my Book Reviews for this!
Seven favorite movies
Seven favorite authors
Seven songs that are significant to my stories
And seven more people upon whom I will bestow this “award”! <–I don’t like to tag, but if you are interested, go ahead and answer, link back to this post, and shoot me an email so I can read them. 🙂

Honestly, I don’t think I can answer these questions! I don’t write to music. Heck, I don’t even listen to much at all! And even if I did, I am horrible at remembering names of bands and songs! Coming up with 7 favorite movies…well, I have too many to name! And authors….see bands/song names. Besides, I like way too many to constitute making them my “favorite”. When I was younger, I never had a favorite rock band, never had a favorite teenage heart-throb, never had a favorite anything.

I never discriminated!
Still don’t!
hehe

In response though, I’ve commissioned the Stealth Ninja Assassin T-Rex Dino–Cheerleader T-Rex Dino’s undercover brother. Born out of necessity, he will serve only to “motivate” the most down-trodden of them all. And, for special occasions, such as this. You’ll never see him. You’ll never know he’s coming. He comes bearing “cookies”. And you will only feel the effects of his presence. 🙂

Stealth Ninja Assassin T-Rex Dino

Stealth Ninja Assassin T-Rex Dino

LadyJai

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Geek Tuesday: Curiosity, The Mars Rover

Posted August 7, 2012 By LadyJai

George Takei's perspective: From: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=504332439596214&set=a.223098324386295.105971.205344452828349&type=1&theater

I wanted to stay up for the landing of the new Mars Rover, Curiosity. Really, I did.

But I couldn’t.

1:30am is just a tad too little sleep for me when I have to get up at 5am. And no amount of Redbull will send those grumpies away!

So, I slept through the 7 minutes of terror (1).

But, just as I thought it would, Curiosity landed safely on the surface of Mars.

*does the happy dance* a little late joining the happy dance with the NASA folks.

“Over the next two years, Curiosity will drive over to a mountain rising from the crater floor, poke into rocks and scoop up rust-tinted soil to see if the region ever had the right environment for microscopic organisms to thrive. It’s the latest chapter in the long-running quest to find out whether primitive life arose early in the planet’s history.” (2)

The hardest part of this whole project is not traversing the 155 million miles, not the 8 months of travel. No, it’s the landing. Having to go from around 13,000 mph to absolutely nothing in less than 10 minutes, could you even imagine?

It took brains! Lots and lots of BRAINS! (Do Zombies work for NASA? That’d be awesome!) Brains, and science, oh and Math!! they all helped compose the landing for Curiosity: several breaking tricks, a heat shield, and a supersonic parachute….and I’m sure a whole lot of praying! (Wonder if anyone turned blue, or passed out from holding their breath for 7 minutes!!)

I’m so proud of, and happy for, NASA!

I’m not going to go into too much science here, just wanted to touch base on it and congratulate them. No need to make your head hurt! 😀

LadyJai

Footnotes:
(1) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/news/msl20120803.html
(2) http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/08/06/nasa-rover-curiosity-lands-on-mars-after-plummet/#ixzz22meSjV5n

 

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Elevensies & #WriteMotivation Update

Posted July 23, 2012 By LadyJai

My friend Valerie thought she’d be cute kind and tag me to answer some odd, strange, weird, completely senseless questions. I figured, hell, why not? I’m odd, right?! 😀 If you want to participate, go ahead, I don’t tag. 🙂

The questions if you want to do your own post:

  1. What are your five favorite movies? Too many to name. But I will ALWAYS watch Die Hard, 5th Element, HP, LotR, Star Wars, Star Trek, and the list goes on and on….
  2. Would you rather go without makeup for a year, or without shaving your legs for a year? HA! well, um, I don’t wear makeup so, that’s an obvious.
  3. What book have you read recently that you really loved?Check out my Book Reviews and see for yourself. 😛 (cheesy plug? well, I don’t want to really give anything away, hehe)
  4. What book have you read recently that you really hated? (see above)
  5. If you had to eat one food for one meal every day for a year, which would you choose? well, let’s see. Pizza….ah….oh, Tacos! Yes!! Oooooooo!! Stir Fry!  I know! I know! RedBull! Oh, wait, can’t survive off RedBull alone, no matter how much I try! 😛

    RedBull Cheers

    Cheers!

  6. What was the best part of your senior year of high school? Graduation? I mean, had you asked which year you enjoyed most, I’d say my freshman year. It was the best High School I ever attended…and it was in ENGLAND!!! And besides, what the hell kind of mascot is a crab!! Give me the little devils any day (Hadites ALL THE WAY!)  I seemed to have blocked out Virginia….

  7. What piece of electronic equipment do you think you could easily live without? The alarm clock would be one invention I wish we never had!
  8. Do you prefer your beverages through a straw, from a bottle or from another container? If it’s caffeine, sometimes I wish I could snort it, or have an IV Drip. Other than that, RedBull straight from the can! 🙂
  9. Would you rather have glow in the dark skin or squishy teeth? GLOW IN THE DARK SKIN! who wouldn’t?? I just had glow in the dark nails! 😀 Squishy teeth, that’s just ew!
  10. Who would win in a fight between Gandalf and Dumbledore?
    Um, aren’t they one in the same? I mean, come on. Look:
    dumbledore-totally-looks-like-gandalfYeah, ok, that’s the first Dumbledore. But, seriously, can’t you look at the second Dumbledore:
    gandalf-totally-looks-like-dumbledore
  11. Do you consider pushup bras to be a form of dishonesty? Do you consider clothes a form of dishonesty?

 

So much for that weird interlude. Now for my #writemotivation update:

July Goals:

1) Complete the necessary blog posts for #WriteMotivation, maybe throw in a few “others” as well. — Currently On Task
2)Word count goal, not really…Every day is different in my life. So let’s just leave it at “make forward momentum!” Progress is always good! — Work still has been stressful, but I have managed progress, no matter how little, on my WIP#1.
3) Provide unending support, cheering, and cookie flinging, to anyone who needs it. — Dino got lost last week, but I think I’ve finally found him! 
4)Line edits/critique for B’s 2nd book. YAY! — Complete! YAY!
5) Read another book for pleasure. — I’ve made it to the halfway point! Here’s hoping I can make it to the end by August 3rd, its due date!

LadyJai

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DebbyRainfall.JUNE2012

Debby’s Rainfall in the last 48hrs

Tropical weather is not abnormal around here. We moved to Florida, we expect these things to happen. It is inevitable.

We lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia many years. That area had been prone to direct hits by tropical storms/hurricanes, even the effects of those hitting the US coast line further south. We are used to this type of weather.

However, when we moved to the Jacksonville area back in 2003, we became familiar with the fact Jacksonville is usually not in the direct path of tropical storms/hurricanes. In fact, the last direct hit had been in 1964 when Hurricane Dora came through.

Until this year.

TS Beryl came through on Memorial Day. A direct hit. She was quick and left with very little damage. (You can see my previous post on this here.)

Debby Projections 2012

TS Debby formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012. Her projected track was all over the place. She was so undecided she hung out in the Gulf for days. She began creeping towards the Florida coast, but because her bands were so far-reaching, it started raining on Saturday. It wasn’t much, at first. But Sunday brought heavier rain. And all through the night is dumped on us.

Monday’s drive into work took double the time because of the heavy rain and the flooding in the streets. I should have taken the truck. 😛

Monday Debby barely moved. The deluge of rain continued. The rivers and creeks rose. And the streets flooded. Not just the streets. Houses. Businesses. They even closed off parts of the Interstate. Now we have sinkholes forming and people are stuck in their neighborhoods.

The last time we had a slew of tropical storms/hurricanes come over top of us in one season was back in 2004. The eye did not come directly over Jacksonville, but the effects are far-reaching. Bonnie, Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne all came through that year. We had lots of rain, a bit of flooding and lots of downed trees. People went without power for days, sometimes weeks in some parts of the area.

2004 Hurricane Tracker

My 2004 Hurricane Tracker

If these two storms (one BEFORE the official start of Hurricane Season, and this one so early in the season) is any indication of what’s to come, we’ve got our year cut out for us.

Here’s some other pictures from around the area.

OrangeParkMall.Debby2012.byChrisMack

Our local Mall
photo by Chris Mack

I10Cassat.Debby2012

I-10 and Cassat Avenue
DOT camera

GatorsOut.Debby2012.byLisaCruse

The rains bring out all kinds of critters
photo by Lisa Cruse

17thGreenAtTPCSawgrass.Debby2012

17th Green at TPC Sawgrass

US218inClayHillwestMiddleburg.byDonShaver.Debby2012

US-218 just west of Middleburg
photo by Don Shaver

AnotherSinkhole218.Debby2012

Waterfalls are beautiful, but not when they aren’t supposed to be there!

We had been suffering a severe drought with loads of wildfires. Now, I think we’ve fixed that problem. And then some.

Wish we could take some of that 20 inches of rainfall and give it to our friends out in Colorado!

After Debby

The skies finally cleared!

LadyJai

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Well, after the Friday I had, Saturday turned out pretty ok. Although, I did turn into a bit of a girly girl. Half of it worked, the other half…not so much.

Friday, I went to bed in a very foul mood. Saturday, I did not get to sleep in, like I normally do (if you can call sleeping until 7am sleeping in). The Hubs woke me up at 6am with a Redbull in hand. <3 All in all, my foul mood from the day before had disappeared. YAY!

Not sure if any of you are familiar with my geeky nail polish I just HAD to get?! Well, it’s BLUE and it has bits of iron filings in it. The bottle came with its own magnet, an arcing design. The first go around I didn’t do it right and I thought it would wasn’t worth the money. The second “practice” session, I got this and was pretty pleased:

Arc Magnet Nails

Magnetic Nail Polish with the Arcing design

Not bad, right? I had better luck this time.

Since The Hubs LOVES magnets, and has several of his own, he wanted to play with them and my nails. He just had to try his own magnets out. Unfortunately, the lines of flux were not in any shape/design, and all we got was the iron filings being drawn to the surface. All it looked like was a blob of two-tone nails.

We found a really cool set of design magnets from Sally’s Beauty Supply. They had the Arc, Straight Lines, and a Star pattern. I wanted to try the star pattern. Wished they had it so you could buy the magnetic paddles individually, but noooooo.

So I tried the star design yesterday. The Hubs thought it geeky enough to help. Did I say he loves magnets?? He was the one who held the magnet over my nails to create the design. And OMG did the come out AWESOME!

Magnetic Nails with Star Magnet

Magnetic Nails with the star magnet
By far my FAVORITE nail polish to date! 😀

I’ve also been considering a change with my hair. Been going back and forth trying to decide if I want to cut it or streak it blue. (I really, really want to streak it blue, but that requires bleaching parts of my hair, then dying it blue, and then HOPE my bosses don’t fire me) Cutting my hair, well, I’ve had some very bad experiences that left me scarred for life. I opted for a perm instead.

I’ve been searching long and hard for an easy, perfect curl. When I was little, my hair was curly, curly. My mom would put my hair up in piggy tails and wrap each around her finger and pull it through. The coils would stay.

Now, not so much. Either the longer my hair gets, the curl gets pulled out. Pregnancy has removed the curl. Or just plain old age. Or a combination of all three. I don’t know. But, I WANT MY CURLS BACK! And I’ve been searching for a perm that would give me those curls back. Still looking….

A while back, though, I did find some awesome curlers! They are called CurlFormers. These curlers resemble the coils I wrap my computer wires in. GENIUS! Now why didn’t I think of that?

Just after pulling the Curlformers from my hair

Just after pulling the Curlformers from my hair

finger combed curls from curlformers

Finger combed curls from Curlformers

Extra Long & Wide Curlformers starter pack

You need these with a wand. I picked these up at Sally’s Beauty Supply for $14 + $5 for the wand. I use 24 curlers. So, it was a bit expensive. But no more than say a good set of hot rollers. 🙂

Me in my Curlformers

I was skeptical at first, but after the first try with these, I was hooked. They really aren’t that hard to put in, though you may want to work with a friend to get the back of your head. 🙂 With my hair being so long, the drying time is really long. I usually end up sleeping in these. If you pull them out before your hair is completely dry, the curl will undoubtedly pull out. At least mine did. So, rather than try and blow dry it for hours, I just sleep in them.

These curlers provide the perfect ringlet. (See above pictures.)

CurlFormers’ website FAQ says you can perm your hair with these. I’ve been scouring the internet trying to find any information on anyone who has ever done this. Unfortunately, to no avail. So, this weekend, I took the curlers to my salon and asked if they could do the perm if we put them in. They had never seen these curlers before and were curious so they agreed to do it for $40. Not a bad price for an experiment I guess.

After the Perm with CurlFormers

After the Perm with CurlFormers

So I walked in looking like the picture above. Got a lot of strange looks. But everyone was anxious to see how they would work.

I must have had high expectations. I seriously thought they would come out looking like the spirals I get when I pull them out in the morning. Unfortunately, I did not get my beautiful spiral ringlets. 🙁 But I did get a wave. So it wasn’t a total loss.

Dry, it reminds me when I was little and I put small braids in my hair and slept in it overnight. A crinkled wave is more like it. And kind of frizzy. I will have to put some additional leave in conditioner in my hair for a while. And I haven’t put a brush to it since I had this done. I know better…brush = fizz!

If only I could find those perfect ringlet curls I desire so much. I’m wondering if it’s called a “piggyback spiral perm”. And how long do I give my hair before I do it all over again? 🙂

 

LadyJai
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Caturday: Portal Cat

Posted June 16, 2012 By LadyJai

Feeding my gamer geek cat loving girl on one picture. 🙂

Yes, I love Portal as well! 😀

LadyJai
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