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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Never too old for video games!

So at the ripe young age of 29, I received a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas from my in-laws. 

Yes, the Game Boy to end all Game Boys.  It's really quite a treat to be able to play Mario in 3D without wearing 3D glasses.  Which leads me to this: I recently finished playing Paper Mario: Sticker Star. 

I've had a lifelong love affair with Mario.  I mean, the NES came out in 1983 or 1985 or something along those lines.  Basically, Mario has been around my entire life, and I was naturally drawn to video games.  My parents didn't exactly encourage the hobby, but treated us to a console only after it was dirt cheap (meaning it was one or two generations behind). 

My first experience with the Paper Mario franchise was Paper Mario: Thousand Year Door on the GameCube system.  I thought it was rather hokey at first, but then really got into it once I realized how challenging it actually was.  Is it just me, or are they making these games for much older children?  I mean, I remember games being relatively hard when I was a kid, but not like this. 

This game has plenty of secrets and tricks that take a guide (at least for this gal) to complete.  The game is set up to coax the player into completing it 100%.  It's not just about powering through and beating Bowser, it's about finding all of the secret doors and special stickers to complete your collection.  Which leads me to this question: is it considered cheating to consult a game guide?

I've used game guides quite a bit throughout my years as a gamer.  Here's my take:  if you need to read the game guide to beat the game, then you're cheating.  If you're reading the game guide to supplement or augment your game (such as finding special items), then it's okay.  What do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

There's Always a First for Everything

And I just finished my first Stephen King novel. 

Being new to Stephen King, it really took me a while to get used to his writing style.  It's not that I mind gruesome detail, but I found some details to be unnecessary and out of place.  I mean, what's the use of describing the mush of your own brains' gray matter while it's still intact?  By all means, if someone's brains are splattered across a wall,  describe them to me. 

Then there's the language.  I'm not really sure why so much profanity is warranted.  Sure, these people are trapped under an impenetrable dome, but please.  Someone tell me, is this normal?  Is this how people talk up north?  Down here in the South, we mind our tongues.  I think King realizes this to an extent and includes characters who don't swear at all, but I couldn't quite figure out if he does to poke fun at those of us who do, or those of us who don't.

Anyhow, while I was entertained by the novel, I found it rather lacking.  I guess King doesn't shy away from the whole alien thing, but geez.  I kept getting the feeling that he wrote this with a screen adaptation in mind with all of the flashes and visions and hallucinations the town residents kept experiencing.  If you're going to have aliens, bring 'em on, don't skirt around them and only kinda-sorta explain them.  In the end, I was disappointed with the explanation for the dome.  I guess in a sense it's a scary possibility, but just not very evil or sinister or conspiratorial. 

I listened to the audiobook performed by Raul Esparza.  Wow, he did a bang-up job.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I'd be writing a did-not-finish review had I attempted to read the print version of this novel instead of listening to Mr. Esparza's fantastic voice acting.  I might have to search for other novels read by him. 

I placed a hold on the TV show DVDs at the library, so we'll see if that catches my interest at all.  Despite this mediocre review, I'm already on the list for The Stand.  We'll see how I like that one. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finally Fine

I've been having a little trouble moving around the last two days because a coworker and I decided to join a Zumba toning class:

I've been slacking off on my exercise routing for the last few months, but then I had a pleasant surprise: I had stellar routine check-up with my primary care physician.  So much so, he called me a "model patient."  Wait, what?  Moi?  So the guilt hit me right away--if the lifestyle changes I made six months ago improved all of my numbers despite slacking off towards the end, then maybe I should step it up a notch.  Hence, the Zumba class. 

First week was a blast.  It's kinda cool to bond with a coworker in a non-work setting like that, and it was genuinely fun.  Today has been the first day that I can move my legs without pain, though.  Our instructor Sol kicked our butts, but we will definitely be coming back for more! 

Monday, May 12, 2014

And for my first trick...

It's not a trick at all, but a book review!  Now, I'm a big fan of the website Goodreads.  The nice people there do book giveaways and I've won my first advance reader's edition of a book: That Night, by Chevy Stevens. 

I'm not a stranger to Ms. Steven's writing: I read her first book, Still Missing, and loved it.  I'm actually a bit bummed to realize how long ago I read that book--so much so, I missed a few in between.  Now the folks at St. Martin's Press were kind enough to send me the advance reader's edition of this book, and I loved it! 

Here's the basic premise: a young lady is wrongly convicted of her sister's murder.  The book starts off with her release from prison on parole--she's angry and wants to find out what really happened the night her sister was murdered.  I've read some other reviews of Ms. Steven's novels, and think that some are unbelievably harsh.  Don't get me wrong--if there's something I don't like about a book, I'll put it out there so people with similar interests and preferences know ahead of time.  Nothing against Ms. Stevens, but don't go into this expecting fine literature.  I mean, we read out of necessity and for entertainment, no?  And that's what Stevens does.  She entertains.  I read this book in two sittings.  Two sittings!  That's pretty much unheard of from me nowadays, but this novel was just utterly compelling.  I could not stop. 

I'm no writer, so don't judge me for my lack of knowledge of literary terms, but this novel is not written in chronological order.  It bounces back and forth between the 90's (when the murder happened) and the present (well, 2013).  I thought Ms. Stevens did an excellent job handling it.  Normally, I have a hard time following that type of narrative (I'm reading for pleasure, for crying out loud!), but this was a piece of cake.

She also did a pretty good job of developing some of the characters, but I felt like a disproportionate amount of time might have been spent on character development versus plot development.  Maybe that's the formula for a good thriller, I don't know, but I didn't find myself rushing through them.  She created a sympathetic enough protagonist that I found myself wanting to know more about her.  That being said, the conclusion felt a bit rushed.  Granted, I was probably determined to read through it that fast anyway, but it could have lingered on a little longer, fleshed out a little bit thicker.  I didn't enjoy it any less, though. 

I'll have to go back and read the novels I missed now.  Ms. Stevens, I hope you keep writing--I know the subject is dark, but I want to keep getting lost in your Canadian world. 

Hello World!

Well, here we go at another blogging attempt.  My name is Nicolle, I'm an attorney in Polk County, Florida, and my life is rather boring, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  You see, I put up with a lot of drama in other people's lives.  My family, my friends, my job--just loaded up with exciting stuff.  But me, I like to keep it simple, so this is what this blog will be about.  Stuff that keeps my boring life boring, but makes it fulfilling at the same time.  Let's see how long this lasts.