Posts Tagged ‘games’

UK Vacation Day 7 Recap

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On day 7 of our grand UK adventure, Panda and I explored the streets of Edinburgh and found a bunch of museums. The morning started off with a silly moment, when Panda got my ring stuck on his finger… and we thought he might have to wear it around all day for me. 😛 I got a delicious treat at a cute bakehouse, we swung by the cafe where Harry Potter was written, and of course went to check out the castle (getting a few items in the gift shop but not actually going in). Along the way, we came across two Chinese ladies asking for directions and I regretted not helping. We wanted to also check out this place called The Mound, but I think they were closed so we skipped it. For dinner, we got Pizza Express and I discovered my new favorite pizza. Later at night we got hungry again so we went out to a Chinese place where they were very interested in chatting us up. I guess Chinese-Americans don’t come around that often.

[Don’t forget about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6 recaps.]

english breakfast at hilton edinburgh with fried eggs, baked beans, tomatoes, hash browns, tea, omelette, and fruit

We started the day off right with a hearty breakfast British style.

salt and pepper shaker in one unit with salt on top and pepper on bottom

I’ve never seen a salt and pepper shaker as one unit! I want.

princes street in edinburgh bustling with pedestrians

Off to the bustling Princes Street. There’s just a bit of blue sky out there.

rainbow colored columns of building in edinburgh

So bright and cheery against the other dull colors.

old building with clock tower in edinburgh

Classic building in these parts.

girl standing with hair blown in face on streets of edinburgh

Caught me chillin’ on these cute roads.

world's end painted on wall in edinburgh

We found the world’s end!

flodden campaign of 1513 sign in museum of edinburgh

We arrive at the Museum of Edinburgh to find we were there on exactly the 500th anniversary of the Flodden Campaign.

stone spiral staircase in museum of edinburgh

What a cool staircase.

painting in museum of edinburgh with midget man standing next to towering giant

Hehe, I was amused by the midget next to the giant.

pairs of old shoes on display at museum of edinburgh

Those shoes do NOT look comfy.

scottish ambulance driving down road in edinburgh

Ambulances here use blue and neon yellow.

large selection of dessert items on display at mimi's bakehouse in edinburgh

Stumbled upon Mimi’s Bakehouse, where I could hardly choose just one thing to try!

cute bird cage-themed light frame hanging in mimi's bakehouse in edinburgh

Such a fun light frame.

malteser bar with white chocolate and malteser balls

I decided to opt for the Malteser bar. Yummy yummy.

old stroller from long ago in museum of childhood in edinburgh

We made a quick stop at the Museum of Childhood. Strollers used to be so much simpler.

shoot the moon vintage game in museum of childhood in edinburgh

I’ve never heard to this shoot the moon game and I haven’t a clue how it works.

view of giant three story room in museum of scotland

Next up was the grandest museum of all: the Museum of Scotland! Gorgeous room.

girl standing on scale showing weights of various animals weighing in close to giant aneater

Weighing in against animals, I am right around the same as a giant anteater. Fun fact: Panda and I are almost exactly the same weight – sometimes 2 lbs off but often identical.

large cat display in museum showing only cat that can climb down trees

This is the only breed of cat in the world that can climb down trees, thanks to claws that go the other direction! If only household cats could get those claws…

girl sitting in museum using giant light to signal morse code

I spent all this effort sending a Morse code message to Panda only to discover he wasn’t paying attention! Men.

girl sitting on chair provided at museum for those with tired feet

So perfect for me! My feet and back get sore easily, so I happily grabbed a seat to rest on.

the elephant house in edinburgh's storefront

The fun little cafe with a view of Edinburgh Castle in the back, where JK Rowling did much of her earlier writing.

plaque detailing the elephant house in edinburgh's history of inspiring authors like jk rowling, ian rankin, and alexander mccall-smith

Apparently this place inspires plenty of writers!

view of sliver of ocean in distance from edinburgh

We can just make out the ocean out there. So cool! I wish we could have gone to visit but it’s far.

walking up hill towards edinburgh castle in scotland

Up, up, up to the Ednburgh Castle.

entrance to edinburgh castle atop hill with temporary bleachers set up

There was some sort of event there and they were taking down the bleachers they’d set up.

view of edinburgh from edinburgh castle

Spectacular place to live. We decided not to go into the castle but just enjoy the views and shop.

adorable brightly-colored sheep-shaped soap sold at edinburgh castle gift shop

Such cute soaps! I recorded the brand so I can remember to get these one day…

pizza express dough balls appetizer dish

Not quite what we imagined when we order dough balls, but they were good!

pizza express la reine and pomodoro pesto pizzas

Panda go La Reine and I go the Pomodoro Pesto in the back – FAB. I love thin crust, fresh tomatoes, mushroom, and pesto.

view of edinburgh castle from princes street

What a beautiful place Edinburgh is. So much greenery!

cobblestone path down to princes street gardens lined with multicolored roses

Such a quaint path down into the Princes Street Gardens.

windowsill in edinburgh with bright flowers growing against dull walls

Such a beautiful burst of color against the drab.

pile of red scottish print sherpa blankets

Seeing this inspired me to get one back when I was stateside!

red and white changed priorities ahead sign in edinburgh

Time to consider changing your priorities along with it?

singapore noodles dish at china star restaurant in edinburgh

Panda always loves his Singapore noodles.

365great Day 254: Trism

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , ,

365great challenge day 254: trismTrism is a pretty simple game, much like Bejeweled or Tetris. It makes uses of blocks of different colors arranged a certain way – you just manipulate those pieces to make your moves. Rather than swapping pieces or adding blocks to the screen, it makes use of sliding things around until you make matches of three or more. What I like about it is that it’s not just up and down, left and right. That third axis adds a whole new level of challenge, sometimes leaving empty spaces for you to have to work around. Plus, you tilt your device all different ways to make the new pieces “fall” the way you want them to. Triangular pieces are a pretty novel concept in these kinds of games and I’ve yet to see another game make use of it. It’s a great game that gets your mind thinking in a new way.

July Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s do a recap of the things I enjoyed in July!

collage of july 2013 favorites including julep products, alo drinks, mossimo flip flops, juice beauty skin clearing kit, mossimo bikini, pocket planes, closetmaid cubeicals, dr. scholl's for her insoles, and minnie mouse tank top

1. Julep products – Ok, so this is actually a picture of the trade in which I got a bunch of my most recent Julep products. I’ve actually yet to purchase any Julep products since I’ve gotten much of what I want through trades. Still, if they start selling the green tea blotting papers on their site, I might have to spring for it. I’ve yet to find someone willing to trade! At least I’ve gotten to try their gel top coat, multiples shades of polish, and the cool nail polish dispenser shown here. I’ll definitely continue to try to acquire their products and one of these days I might just subscribe.

2. ALO drinks – I first tried these when they came in my March Goodies box. I really enjoy the bits of aloe floating around, as well as the light fruity flavor of the drink. So when I saw them at Whole Foods, I was pretty happy. I waited until they went on sale and took advantage of the cheaper price, plus the box discount that Whole Foods offers, buying a dozen. I got a total of 5 different flavors to determine which ones I like the most. I’ve now narrowed it down to the original watermelon+peach I got from Goodies and the pomelo lemon+pink grapefruit. Depending on if I want a sweeter or more tart taste, I alternate between the two.

3. Mossimo flip flops – I eyed these at Target for just about two weeks before they went on sale! Of course I had to jump on that the moment Panda told me. The gold tips of these flip flops are so nice and the overall look is casual yet fancy. I love simple things that make you look good but don’t require upkeep – that’s why dressed up flip flops, tinted lip balms, and summer dresses are my friend. Each makes you look like you put in a lot more effort, but they’re pretty effortless. 🙂

4. Juice Beauty skin clearing system – I get emails from Juice Beauty since they’re a brand I wanted to try. When I saw an offer for a 30-day skin clearing kit, I couldn’t resist. I mean, my skin needs help, I’ve been wanting to try this brand (especially the green apple peel), and they have a money back guarantee! Might as well try it, right? I’ve got to admit that the bamboo face towel was a big draw too. I can’t get enough of cute little super soft towels! I got the box on the 10th and have been dutifully using the products as directed. I’ll be sharing my experience in another post.

5. Mossimo bikini – The last time I bought a bikini was in Thailand about four years ago and that set was quite worn! I finally decided to get a new set this summer so I could enjoy the pool without oddly droopy swimwear. I had hoped to use our Disney gift cards in Orlando to find a cute Minnie Mouse bikini, but apparently Disney’s adult swimwear consists of boring black and white pieces best fit for older generations. So, where else would I turn but Target? They had a ton of styles to choose from and I’m most picky about the shape of the bottom, so once I picked that out I just found a top that matched. This one was super cute with the little twist in the front. I also got a reversible triangle top that I can pair with the bottoms, since this top is better for lounging and not too much movement.

6. Pocket Planes – Many years ago, I started playing Pocket Frogs, where you grow and breed frogs in an effort to “collect them all.” Every now and then I get back into it and the last time this happened, they showed me an ad for another game from the same company. I decided to give it a try and now I’ve been playing Pocket Planes consistently. I’m not sure what the draw is, but I sure do want to conquer the world and build airplanes at every available location. As you can see I’ve done pretty well in North America, but have yet to venture far from that. And so the flying continues.

7. ClosetMaid Cubeicals organizer – When I “moved” out here to live with Panda last month, it was the first time I knew I’d be staying for a long time. I finally started to feel like I could make this place home, so my first order of business was to get a piece of furniture I’d wanted. I then found this perfect cube shelving solution that I can use to store my stuff and as a pseudo desk when I’m sitting on the bed. We moved it out to the living area when Panda’s dad came to visit and I’ve yet to decide where it will go in our new place, but no matter what it makes my clutter a little less crazy.

8. Dr. Scholl’s For Her – I got not only the high heel insoles pictured, but massaging gel insoles as well! Both were free – the high heel insoles came in my Sunkissed VoxBox from Influenster and the massaging gel insoles came from BzzAgent. I’ve enjoyed trying these out in my shoes and I found the high heel ones particularly helpful in my recent interview, when I wore those shoes. Not only did they make it less painful to walk in the heels, they helped my feet fill them in better. Without the insoles, my feet would have slipped in and out of the shoes as I walked since they’re more spacious than my feet require.

9. Minnie tank top – I found myself wearing this shirt quite a lot in July! It’s the perfect summer shirt – loose, light, soft. I also love the design that is cute without being too over-the-top. It was the very first item I knew I was going to buy with the Disney gift cards we had. As soon as we were down in Orlando, I made sure to track down my size in a store and claim it. I may not be a huge Disney fan, but I do enjoy my sweet tank!

Alright, that wraps up July for me. Have you tried any of these products? What would you have highlighted in your July favorites?

Water game at Legoland

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,

Squirt the frog with the water gun!

Air hockey spinning top

laelene Posted in video blog,Tags: , , , ,

We somehow decided to try spinning the air hockey paddles as tops and they turned out to be really good! Note how well they self-correct and save themselves from spinning out of control multiple times. Maybe top tips should be round instead of pointy.

stable top from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

I’m tempted to put some water in the center. Wouldn’t that be cool?

air hockey top from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Arcade win

laelene Posted in photo blog, video blog,Tags: , ,

Out one night with some friends and our group played Deal or No Deal, winning quite a bit!  Here are our tickets coming out:

arcade tickets dispensing out after a big win

And they just kept coming…

arcade tickets from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Finally, it was done and we were 500 tickets richer. 🙂

a pile of 500 arcade tickets

And what did we do with all those tickets?

playing air hockey with over-sized sunglasses on

Oh yes, we got ridiculously large sunglasses and then played air hockey until all our coins were gone. That is a sweet victory. 😛

Gaming skills

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , ,

There are a lot of games out there that are easy to get addicted to.  As a relaxant, I like to spend my nights playing games to wind down from busy days.  Recently the games of interest have been Trism and Doodle Jump, both of which are apparently hugely popular and have quite the following.  I played so much that the muscles I use to hold up my iPhone have gotten sore.  It makes me wonder if the skills I learn in these games help hone me for other areas of life.  Both physically and mentally, I have exercised myself in ways I don’t normally.

These two games require a lot of subtle wrist movements, which could either be good for more flexibility and agility, or create issues of range of motion and maybe even carpal tunnel-like syndrome.  They also work out your thumbs a lot, which has made mine sore and probably a bit swollen too.  Is it good for our hands, wrists, and fingers to get so much use?  Perhaps I have strengthened them in using them so much.  Plus, holding my hands vertically up puts them in a position they usually aren’t in.  I wonder if that helps with anything!

As for mental challenges, Trism forces me to think in three dimensions (versus two for Bejeweled).  Sometimes the angles throw you off from seeing easy combos, so it really makes you look at the big picture and recognize patterns better.  I like to play Infinism because you have plenty of time to strategize.  Playing Terminism puts the pressure on to find combinations quickly, forcing you to be quick on your feet.  Then Syllogism gives you fun puzzles to solve patiently, also practicing your critical thinking skills.  Doodle Jump makes you take in the big picture and quickly make important decisions on which way to go and what block to land on.  It forces you to learn how to do your best within a specific framework.

If you own an iPhone or iPod Touch and want some fun games, go check them out!  They’re not free, but for a dollar, it’s not a bad investment!  But beware, for they are fabulously addicting.

Legos, a mind challenge

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

photo credit:

I believe that Legos are one of the best toys that people (particularly kids) can play with.  They’re so wonderfully simple, yet combined together can be amazingly complex.  Kind of like how life works – you have all these microscopic cells that combine to create life.  The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, right?  When you start putting a lot of things together, it’s not as simple as addition – it’s more like multiplication, where things get more and more complex as there are more units of whatever that are interacting with each other.

Now Legos don’t get quite so complicated, but they certainly do lend themselves to an endless variety of structures!  Using these little building blocks, you can make robots and houses and animals and faces.  Really, whatever you are creative enough to conjure up in your imagination, you can find a way to represent it using Legos.  I love that they’re very plain and the beauty that arises from them can only be got through creative thinking.  It encourages people to think.

See, you’ve got these parameters.  You only have square and rectangular blocks.  They can only stack on each other.  The fewer circles you overlap to put them together, the less stable that connection.  There are only a handful of generally primary colors to work with.  That’s pretty much it.  Then you’re let loose into a world full of designs that can fill up your head.  These are the kind of toys that challenge kids while making it fun.  That’s why I believe in the earliest versions of these lovely toys.  The crazy designs that have come out since then take the creative fun out of the user’s side and puts it into the manufacturer’s side.  Now it’s people who work for the company that come up with cool things and shapes are made to fit that.  Not as exciting as finding out how to make something look like that with the given (limited) resources.  It has become more about aesthetic appeal than mental appeal now.

However, I will say that those new designs can still teach kids something.  I’ve often self-taught myself skills and I find that when that happens, you lose out on the “tricks of the trade.”  So rather than having to figure it out yourself, if you first follow instructions and build exactly what is mapped out for you, you can learn the methodologies behind how to create such a thing.  I can imagine if you got one of those pre-designed versions of Legos and tried to build it just by looking at the end result, you’d find yourself with pieces in the wrong place, missing pieces, or leftover pieces.  If you take that first time as a process-learning experience, then take that and start making your own things from that structural knowledge, I’d say that was still time and money well-spent.  I’m just afraid that nothing will be learned, except how to read and follow instructions.

Besides, there’s nothing quite like the mindless fun of putting blocks together without the pressure of creating something beautiful.  With plain blocks, there’s that freedom.  With strange ones that are meant to be something else, it’s not as fun to mess around and let your mind wander.  You never know what you may come up with and what you can learn in the process!

Scenes from a county fair

laelene Posted in photo blog,Tags: , , , ,

Hordes of people enjoying a beautiful day out.

Hordes of people enjoying a beautiful day out.

For those too lazy to walk...

For those too lazy to walk.

Oh the things to do!

Oh the things to do!

The games to play!

The games to play!

The prizes to win!

The prizes to win!

And the snacks to eat!

And the snacks to eat!

Some curious offers...

Some curious offers...

...and some strange selections.

...and some strange selections.

Brain farts

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , ,
Well gosh, if all brain farts are so pretty, maybe I wouldn't mind so much.  photo credit:

Well gosh, if all brain farts are so pretty, maybe I wouldn't mind so much. photo credit:

I’m sure we’ve all had them.  One moment you’re in the kitchen looking for something and then you stop suddenly.  What were you looking for?  It has escaped you and you stand there, bewildered and confused, trying to remember why you went there in the first place.  Or perhaps you sit down at your computer and all of a sudden forget how to type.  You start moving your fingers over the keyboard only to find a jumble of nonsensical letters coming out in streams.  Then there are the times when your mouth tries to move too fast for its own good, causing you to slur your words together and start babbling.

What went wrong?

It's not easy to get to Grand Master with 5 stars!  Now I've got to fight to make up for my brain fart.

It's not easy to get to Grand Master with 5 stars! Now I've got to fight to make up for my brain fart.

I guess part of human imperfection is these mistakes that we make, where a short-circuit in our neural synapses makes us lose our train of thought or forget an age-old habit.  Seems like some of our “mail” gets lost during delivery, or re-routed to the wrong address occasionally.  Such was an experience I had when I took a break from being glued to my computer too long, then returned only to find I’d forgotten how to use the controls associated with playing Tetris online.  I’ve been working on two-player levels, competing against other Tetris kings and queens around the world, so it certainly was not a good time to slow down my pace to try to regain the motor skill speed that I had managed to achieve.  It cost me a few losses, but after a few games I started to pick up on it again.  It was the most awkward sensation though, and reminded me of when you get all tongue-tied and sometimes your tongue just feels too big for your mouth.  You trip all over it attempting to pronounce some simple words and have to stop yourself, take a pause, and restart again.

Another time when your brain seems to shut down momentarily is when you into autopilot mode.  You’re doing something so familiar that you let your guard down, stop focusing, and suddenly you realize that’s not what you meant to do.  This can be quite common when navigating familiar streets around your home, where you park yourself in the lot of the local grocery store and start to get out only to realize that you meant to go to the bank instead.  Or maybe you’re typing and as your train of thought wanders, your typing starts to include terms similar to but not quite the ones you meant to.  It could have been a word spelled nearly the same, one that is typed out with similar fingers, or even one that you heard in a conversation near you that you picked up on.  Oh the silly mistakes we make when our brains get overloaded with information and stop processing at capacity.

It’s a humbling reminder that the world is full of its quirks that will never be completely fixed.  And neither should they be.  Many a happy accident has occurred and surely many more will continue to!  It’s not always a bad thing to be less than “perfect.”

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