Sunday, April 30, 2017

Star Stable: A MMO for Horse Lovers!!

Have you ever dreamt of going to a far off island where you ride horses, shop at malls, explore and uncover magic and island lore, and discover great mysteries? Have you ever dreamt of doing all of this in a Massive Multiplayer Online Game? Well, look no further! Star Stable is the MMO for you!

Simply create an in game avatar, and select what kind of starter horse you want, and away you go into the Island World of Jorvik. It's a place steeped in lore, mystery and lots of horseback riding. You begin at Moorland Stables, where you're instantly introduced to the game and swept up in a grand adventure. Now, I won't spoil anything for you, but there many things to do on the island. It's a pretty massive island too, so you can bide your time exploring if you'd like. In fact, that's encouraged. Not all of it will be open to you right away, but you'll unlock more and more of it as you explore and go through the story.

The best part about the game is that along the way, you can buy more horses! There are many different breeds to choose from. I have 5 horses right now. A snow white Tinker Horse named Diamond Dust, a cute little Jorvik Pony named Violetdawn, a gorgeous pale pearlescent gold Morgan named Everdawn, and my personal favorite, a pale Haflinger named  Honeydew (as seen in the picture above).

The game is incredibly detailed in that you have to take care of your horse properly in order to keep it happy and be able to get good times in races. You have 4 ways of taking care of your horse; feeding, watering, hoof picking, and brushing. Do all these at least once a day and your horse is happy and healthy and ready to ride. Don't, and your horse is going to be unhappy and sluggish and not easy to handle.

You can also do basic chores around each town's stables to earn extra in game currency, including feeding and watering the horses, and mucking out the stables. Yup, in this game you can actually scoop up digital poop with a digital shovel!

Anyways, here's my character in the Star Rider stables. That's the stables you get when you become a Star Rider, or member in the game. You can become one by buying a membership with real world currency. You can also get Star Coins, the coins you use to buy new horses, with real world currency.

Gabrielle Greenleaf
She is at level 10 as of now, same as Honeydew (yes horses in the game can be leveled up to be faster and more agile via training), and is wearing an assortment of purple riding gear. That's my favorite color if you didn't know. So of course, all my gear and tack has to be purple!!

Purple Power!!
So, if your interested in this game, follow the link I gave you at the beginning of this entry and join in the fun today!!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Venus Fly Traps!

It's been a long and winding road for me these past few weeks, and one that led me to find myself with not one, not two, but three small Venus Fly Trap plants. I tried a new setup, as my past ones have all failed me. This time I took an old wash basin lying around and drilled 3 holes on each side about an inch from the bottom, leaving enough room for water to sit. Then, when that was done, I tried a "sandwich" technique with the substrate. First, I added a very thin layer of Long Fibered Sphagnum moss (LFS) from Canada, and then a glopped in organic sphagnum peat moss until the container was almost full. After that, I planted the 3 Venus Fly Traps (all are "typicals" or of no known cultivars), and then added the rest of the LFS I had on top of that. Then I set it outside in direct sunlight. This is the result.

We three Flytraps sitting in a bog (container).
Thankfully, the weather was cloudy so the plants had a bit of time to adjust to being in light again after two days of being shipped in total darkness within the cardboard box. As I went outside yesterday at noon, I noticed one of the traps was slightly deformed.

A trap with a bit of a pucker on one side.
I'm guessing this trap won't be able to function properly and will die off without trapping anything. Such a shame, but that sometimes happens, whether from bugs, or from being shipped. Either way, the plant shouldn't be phased one bit. It has other traps to help it catch prey.

Venus Fly Traps are fascinating little predators. Since the Venus Fly Trap lives in nutrient poor peat bogs, it evolved to catch the nutrients it needed via insects, spiders, and other small critters that can easily fit inside of it's traps. The trap secretes an intoxicating aroma that draws in it's prey, and when the prey is walking about on the open trap, it'll brush against one of 4 trigger hairs. Brushing against these hairs twice will trigger the trap to close rapidly and encase it's prey. Once closed, the trap seals itself shut, and begins secreting digestive enzymes to break down the prey and suck out the nutrient rich slurry that results. The trap opens once it's done "digesting" it's prey and reveals only the mere dried husk of the body. The trap is then ready to lure in another victim. Traps can do this up to 2-3 times before finally dying off, as new ones grow to replace them.

Their native habitat are the coastal peat bogs of North Carolina, the state where I live right now, and a tiny bit of the adjoining bogs in South Carolina. This surprised me as I always thought they were from some far off jungle in Africa or something. Of course, I wasn't alone in this assumption, as many think that. Sadly though, their native peat bog habitats are shrinking in size as the land is cleared for development of rich coastal mansions and whatnot. Some homeowners do try and keep whatever Venus Fly Traps they find on their land alive, however most just see them as unwanted weeds interfering with their otherwise immaculate green lawns.

Then there are those who illegally dig these lovely plants up to sell. Those are the poachers who we in the business heavily frown upon. Some will dig up Venus Fly Traps by the hundreds to sell illegally and make a tidy little sum in doing so. It's a sad reality, but there is a ray of hope in all of this. Recently, the penalty for poaching Venus Fly Traps has gone up in some places, including paying hefty fines and even jail time. However, this doesn't deter poachers altogether.

If any of my readers are interested in keeping Venus Fly Traps themselves, I highly recommend starting with reading Peter D'Amato's "The Savage Garden". You can find it on Amazon. I purchased my "revised" edition, the most recent of the editions to be released, and according to D'Amato, his final one. Not only that, but I have it signed by Peter himself.

Does that read "Feed your plants"?

Anyways, I've written enough for now, I'll update you on my plants progress later on.


Monday, February 13, 2017

My valentine's Day Tradition

I am usually without a Valentine on Valentine's Day, so I usually just go about my own (sort of) tradition to make the day seem a little less lonely. I usually buy myself some special chocolates and either watch a favorite movie, or read a favorite book.
Such good chocolate!!

This year, I decided to go all out in treating myself. I bought a 48 count box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates (my absolute favorite) and that should arrive today. I also bought a novelization of the upcoming Tangled TV movie, "Tangled: Before Ever After" (Tangled is my favorite Disney movie, with "Brave" being a close second). I'm pretty excited for the new Tangled TV series, and it'll be kick started with this TV movie on Disney Channel come March 10th. The book should come tomorrow sometime.
Rapunzel, Eugene and all their pals return for more adventures in the Kingdom of  Corona!!

Sure, the holiday is kind of a glorified excuse for huge corporations to make money off of the emotion of love, but the way I see it, I'm practicing self love, so it works.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My new "Project". A purpose to my living.

I've decided that I am going to undertake a sort of project. I was inspired by Anne Frank and how she not only kept a private diary about her time hiding away from the Nazis, but also was writing a more public version of it that she had hoped to publish one day. She labeled her diaries "A" for the private one she used on a regular basis, and "B" for the one she was writing to be published. There was also a "C" version that Otto, her father, had made by omitting some entries he thought were a bit too personal and revealing of Anne and thus they didn't belong in a published book.

Anne Frank's actual diary.

I am going to start making a more public version of my dairy, not necessarily to be published, but maybe to be read by family and friends as a sort of legacy of my struggles with MI, or maybe just a peek into my inner mind. I don't really know what the purpose of the journal is at this point, I just know I want to write one as if it were a book of some sort.

Anyways, I have by my side right now a composition notebook, which will serve as my means of organizing my thoughts before I actually write in the journal, which I also have at my side. My thinking is that I'll use the composition notebook to take "notes" and make memos to myself about what I am writing in the actual journal.

I don't know if I'm being overly ambitious or not, but I want at least some sort of legacy, which I think, is something a lot of others can relate to. Now, I'm not implying in any sort of fashion that I'm planning on leaving this mortal coil any time soon. No. I'm just in the mindset that someday, in the not too present future, perhaps when I've gone old and grey and maybe not of sound mind anymore, or perhaps even after I've died of old age, that I'll have left something for those who cared about me to read, and feel a deep sense of connection to.

I also want to record some family stories and knowledge within it as well, so that they aren't lost to time. I know that my paternal grandparents aren't getting any younger, and that they might not have too many more years left on them (though with their combined stubbornness and tenacity who really knows how much life they've got left to live), and my maternal grandparents are no longer among the living. I'm pretty sure that when my maternal grandmother passed on, a chunk of the family history she knew that we, her children and grandchildren probably didn't, and thus it was lost when she passed on.

I want to preserve what family memories and history there is left to record before it all is lost to time.

I'm using a large pink 400 pg. C. R. Gibson "Markings" brand journal for this "project". I might go back and use previous entries from other journals, or maybe just write from memory. I don't know yet.

This is the journal I'm using. Nice, eh?

Well, that's all for now so...


Thursday, January 12, 2017

And that's why he's called 'Cliff Hanger' !!

There used to be a kids show on PBS during the weekdays called "Between the Lions". It was a show that focused on a family of lions (portrayed with puppets) who lived in a library. During the course of the show, there would be segments that taught the viewers about phonics, spelling, basic grammar and how to read. Yes, this show's target audience was basically young children who were learning to read.

Anyways, one of the segments dealt with the male lion cub, Lionel, reading a series of adventure books to the audience that starred a protagonist, named Cliff Hanger, who was out adventuring one day and fell off a cliff. He just barely managed to grab onto a branch jutting out halfway down, with said branch being precariously close to snapping. Each segment/book had a situation present itself to Cliff that could potentially help him to escape his predicament, during which he would grab his "trusty survival manual" out of his pack, read the advice dealing with said situation therein and act on said advice. However, something would inevitably fail and Cliff would wind back hanging from the same branch shouting, "Can't...hold...on...much...longer!!!" as the branch wobbled and cracked, essentially leaving the audience on a "cliff hanger" as to whether or not he'd fall down or escape in time.

I feel your pain Cliff...

I brought this up because I often feel like poor "Cliff Hanger" in that I'm hanging precariously from a wobbling cracking branch halfway down a cliff and no matter what I try to escape that situation, I feel like I always wind back on that same branch. I feel like I'm always on the edge of whether or not I'll escape the depression for good.

It's a good thing that, in the end of the series, Cliff managed to escape the branch once and for all, and wound up relaxing in a lounge chair that was beachside, on a tropical island resort. His signature "Cant..hang...on...much....longer!" was replaced with "Can't....stay....awake....much.....longer.", after which he fell asleep. So maybe if I keep at it like Cliff, I'll someday get off that branch. One can only hope.

Well, that's all for now.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Crayola Crayon Obsession

I've always been in love with my crayons. I can remember fondly of being excited whenever my mother bought me a new box of Crayola crayons to use at school when I was little. I couldn't wait to get to school, sit at my desk, and pull out that box of fresh new crayons, with all their unused tips glinting in light of the many halogen bulb fueled classroom fixtures, their colorful labels yet unblemished or torn from usage. To bring that open box close to my nose, and inhale that fresh and unused crayon scent. Pure childhood ecstasy! Not to mention how wonderful it felt to pull one of those brand new, completely unused crayons from it's place in the box, and to bring it to paper for the first time! It was an almost indescribable feeling, to be honest.

I would exclaim to my mother on the morning before going to school "I get to use my new crayons today!!" and literally be unable to contain my excitement as I prepared for the school day. I would do so as quickly as possible so I could hurry up and get to my classroom for the soul purpose of getting being able to use my new crayons. The bigger the box one would get, the more popular one would be in class. You know if you had more colors than the other kids, you'd be the one they'd all either envy in a teeth gritting silence, or walk up to, asking to use a color they didn't have. Either way, you'd be the talk of the classroom if you got the really big box, which, in my youth, was the 64 pack of crayons. It even had a built in sharpener, albeit one which was next to unusable, in the lower back side of the box. That was the big league of crayon boxes.

Unfortunately, my mother rarely, if ever bought me that huge box. She thought it was unnecessarily indulgent for what I needed, plus, it wouldn't really fit in my pencil box as nicely, not if I wanted some actual pens and pencils in there, that is. The biggest set she would agree to buy for me was the more modest 48 pack. Still a nice set, and it left plenty of room in my box for pencils and pens, but it just wasn't as attention getting as the 64 pack.

Then one day, Crayola rolled out their biggest yet package, the 96 pack of crayons, and that just blew my 10 year old mind. Of course, by then, my classes no longer required crayons as part of their supply list, so Mom stopped getting them for me. I settled for simply using the collection of my old crayons I had amassed over my childhood years and was placated for a while.
It wasn't until my mid teens when I was out shopping with my mother, that I saw that overly huge set of 96 crayons, and remembering how popular a big box of crayons made a kid in grade school, I had to have it. I asked my mother if I could have it, and she said yes. Once again I could enjoy the pleasures of a brand new box of crayons. Of course, by then, I had matured to be more gentle on my crayons, and cherished the 96 set box as if it were my baby. I stored them on a shelf in my closet when not in use, and kept the box as neat and pristine as possible. I also kept the crayons all sorted and when I did use them, I colored as softy as possible to keep the tips as long as I could.
All of this gentleness and tender care came crashing to a halt when my younger brother, of three years, came home one day and pulled the very much rumpled and dented box I worked so hard to keep so nice from out of his book bag. My crayons weren't as I had last left them, safely in my closet. The tips of many were broken off, and some were completely snapped in two, or three places!! I was irate. I demanded he replace them, but my mother just laughed and said "They're just a box of crayons." Not being able to argue my point, I hung my head in defeat, and flung myself into my room to mourn my broken crayons in peace.

I don't recall my brother ever replacing those crayons, he might have at some point, so it's no use to demand he buy me some now. After all, this happened over 15 years ago.
After yet another hiatus of having no access to crayons, and now being able to buy crayons for the first time for myself, I naturally went to the source,, and bought the biggest set money could buy, the Crayola Crayon Tower, with a whopping 150 different colors, with some in metallic and glittery shades. If the 96 set of crayons made me feel good, you can only imagine how elated I felt getting my hands on the 150 box set!! The clear container it came in was even cool as it telescoped upward with a twist to make a tall tower carousel type setup from which each crayon was highly visible and nestled next to the handle is sharpener (one that is actually worthwhile) in a cool clear turquoise-green color. I still have this set, and it's right next to me on my shelf as I type this blog entry. Here's a picture of it.

Crayola Crayon Tower with 150 different colors.
Of course, Crayola later released an even bigger set, with 152 different colors in it called the "Ultimate Crayon Collection". Naturally, I became somewhat enamored by this set as well, what with it's promise of two more unique colors than the "Crayon Tower" I had. However, when I compared it to tower, I felt the tower had more going for it with the container itself. I just placated myself with a possible future purchase of the smaller, but still impressive, 120 crayon box so I could have those two elusive colors, and an additional 118 duplicate colors to keep me happy for a long time.
So, there ends my Crayola crayon journey. Oh, and by the way, my favorite Crayola crayon color was always "Periwinkle", that purplish-blue crayon that seemed to stand out from the rest for me. I would always use it the least, to save it the longest. Now you know.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Welcome to My Blog!!

Hi all!!

It's a new year, so I decided to reboot my beloved blog here. I know it hasn't caught many people's attention but I guess that's mostly due to my neglecting it a bit. So, without further ado, I am going to start it up again. This blog is mainly just going to be a catchall for my emotions, and sometimes my struggles.

I wanted to start this reboot off with a real doozy of a topic. I'm a sufferer of clinical depression, I'll admit that right now. So when I see things in the world that deal with mental health and wellbeing, it strikes a very personal note within me. As anyone who's kept even the faintest eye on current events has probably noticed, the US has recently had one of it's most hotly debated and controversial electoral periods in a very long while. I was one of the many Americans who's choice for the next US President was a hotheaded, bullying, man-child who's many twitter tantrums just exhaust me, or a woman who's husband was most likely struggling with sex addiction, and the struggles with their foundation's corruption. Naturally, I voted for the woman. I sure hated the idea of a man-child as president.

Personal feelings and election results aside, I'm sure all of us in America are smart and observant to at least recognize something about Trump, even if some folks aren't quite ready to admit it yet. What is this "something", you ask? Well, it's that there just isn't something right about Trump's state of mental wellbeing. I could elaborately go on and on about each and every point I have regarding why I myself have observed this, but I think the recent Tweet from Keith Olbermann says it all:

Anyways, I guess I'll end this post here.