Unboxing my ROG Asus Strix GT503 ❤️

I was so excited to get my gaming laptop and then life got in the way…so it’s been sitting in my bedroom in a box for a week. It was so worth the wait. I’m pretty pumped to get this baby up and running!

Geek’s Guide to Seattle during PAX West

So you’ve bought your passes, packed your suitcase, and you’re ready for PAX West! But while you’re in Seattle, what else are you gonna do?

One of the largest U.S. gaming events, PAX West is something you’ve probably looked forward to for months…if not years. Personally I’m pretty pumped for the event and I’m a Seattle native. I can’t imagine how much excitement there would be if you’re riding, flying, or driving into town for this event. The good is that the wait is almost over! And even better, you’re coming to one of the nerdiest cities this country has to offer. Even beyond PAX West there’s a whole ton to do here while in between events, or if you just want to get away from the crowds for a bit. Here are some of my favorites!

MoPop Museum

Right now the Marvel exhibit is being shown at the Museum of Pop Culture and it is absolutely to die for. Not only does it feature first edition comics and original costumes from all of your favorite Marvel movies, but it’s more extensive than you might think. Another feature of the MoPop is their Indie video games lab and sci-fi/fantasy exhibits. I’m actually a member of this museum I go so often. It really is the best.

Add-a-Ball Arcade

This gem can be found a block away from the Lenin statue and across the street from Theo Chocolate (which gives chocolate factory tours FYI). The spot is jam-packed with arcade games, pinball machines and all kinds of nerd goodness. It is a bar, so this is not a kid friendly establishment, but if you’re looking for one of those you can try out Full Tilt in Ballard.

Pink Gorilla

This retro game spot has drained quite a bit of my savings on their rad retro games and gaming systems. They have just about everything you could wish for with retro gaming and even some newer games/gaming systems. Word on the street is that they might have a booth at PAX West but, just in case, you can find them in the University District.

Pinball Museum

Still looking for some fun? Check out the Pinball Museum on on the south side of downtown with the Pinball Museum! With systems dating back to 1934, the Pinball museum is a great way to keep the nerdom alive in between events.

Archie McPhee

This is a joke…shop. This store is packed to the brim with practical joke merchandise, and is a fun spot to grab a souvenir more impactful than a magnet. You’ll find this haha spot in Wallingford.

Columbia Tower

While most may point you in the direction of the Space Needle, you can save your dough and get some pretty spectacular (weather permitting) views from the Columbia Tower. Hop in and take the elevator to the 73rd floor for the observation deck! You won’t regret it.

Outsider Comics and Boutique

This little shop is pretty awesome and you’ll find them at a lot of geek events around Seattle. You can find all of your fav comics and game pieces here as well as jewelry, clothing and events.

Food place

Since there a are quite a few food places that you could/should stop by in Seattle I’ve added some great ones here with links to their pages. Pick your poison.

Happy Con, everyone!

 

5 Games E3 Got Me Pumped About

I wasn’t able to make it to E3 this year, but that didn’t keep me from staying glued to my computer checking updates and watching trailers. What did keep me a little bit farther than I would have liked was getting a kitten last Tuesday. So this list is a little bit later than I would have liked, but life happens. And kittens are worth the slight delay. After finally getting caught up, here’s what I’m super pumped to play:

1. Ori and the Will of the Whips

This game really has everything I want in a game. The fantasy heavy design, the soundtrack, and the overall gameplay is just definitively me. I’ve just started playing Ori and the Blind Forest so I know the second installment is going to be just fantastic. I can’t wait!

2. Dreams

So usually I’m not really a Playstation girl, but when I heard about this game I had to check it out. I really love the possibilities of being able to create your own animated game or short…or really anything you want, with the swing of a game controller. I love this demo because it shows you just how much you can do in 20 minutes. It really is amazing. As an artist, I think this tool is great both for people who are already creatively inclined and also for people who aren’t so much. There are endless possibilities and I just love the creativity of this existing!

3. Cuphead DLC

This is kind of my wildcard because I’m usually really particular about the graphics that I like and what I don’t like. I either like fantasy heavy illustrations or IRL-type graphics. BUT Cuphead taps into another side of my personality that I honestly didn’t think I needed. But I do. And yes I know there is already a Cuphead game out, and I plan on tapping into that one before the release of the newest version. I just love the vintage feel and the overall idea that this game not only exists but is a thriving part of the gaming community.

4. Cyberpunk 2077

My initial reaction to this trailer: “AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!” I’ve watched some demo videos from E3 and I’m pretty excited for getting my hands on this game. Take my money. Not only does this game have amazing visuals, and what appears to be a badass storyline, but there’s car-racing and we all know how I feel about that *swoon*. Also, I want this trailer soundtrack. Okay, thanks.

5. Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey

I’ve been a fan of Assassin’s Creed for a few years now and I’m super excited for the latest installation coming out. Right now I’m playing through Origins and the storytelling and gameplay are just so great that I can’t wait for what’s next. A couple things that stand out about this trailer are the graphics, which look crisp and delicious. I’m also really jazzed about the underwater capabilities and how they’re going to potentially build that out.

What E3 games are you excited about? Let me know in the comments! 

Why Fitness And Gaming Go Hand In Hand

It’s been a while since I was in the workout mindset for a few different reasons. Life was terrible, then hectic, then confusing, and now I’ve landed somewhere in the territory of crazy…in a good way. In my life, there’s pretty much zero reasons for me to ever be physically active. I write all day in an office, then sit on a bus to get home, then sit and paint or game. My legs pretty much never need to be used. BUT. A few months ago I started having really extreme pain in my knees and lower back. The culprit? You guessed it – sitting all damn day.

Getting back support in my chair started helping with the back problems, but my knees were pretty much in constant pain and I couldn’t figure out why. I tried changing my shoes and tried to walk more, but I needed a serious change to stop feeling like a 73-year-old woman. So my partner in crime suggested that I started working out. Like actual cardio working out. I called a friend who honestly was the sweetest EVER about getting me onboard with Beachbody and then another friend suggested ClassPass. With the two programs combined, I started out on a two-week journey to getting fit. I figured if I could just make it two weeks I’d be good.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy to start. But with the help of some cat stickers, and a hand-drawn sticker chart I started working out every other day and I finally started to feel more like myself. I’ve always been a pretty healthy eater, but working out started making me more conscious of how important a balanced diet was. I switched from white rice to brown. I started stocking up on healthy snacks like dried mango and mixed nuts. I started upping my protein intake and drinking way more water. And guess what? After two weeks my knees started feeling so. much. better. I will say, for the first week and a half they were still hurting and I did a lot of modifications on workouts because I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t further injuring my knee in the process of trying to heal it.

The awesome thing is that by taking this time to honor my body I had more energy to do things that I loved, and I wasn’t as sluggish. Do I now have the body of a bodybuilder, no. But that was never the goal here. I started working out because I want this body to be as healthy as it can be for as long as possible. I want to have the energy to enjoy the things I love, not be walking around in some kind of coma going from one sitting posture to the next.

I’ve never considered myself a gymrat, or someone obsessed with getting their body perfectly toned, but I love having the option of going to a yoga or cardio class whenever it works in my schedule and being able to easily turn on a workout when I’m feeling sluggish when I get home after work. Usually, this only takes an hour out of my day to workout/shower and I can already feel the results. And it makes me that much more alert for when I’m playing or painting fanart, or blogging!

It’s not about perfection, it’s about taking steps toward being healthier and happier. For me, it started a month ago. For you, maybe it starts today. Join me?

PAX West: A N00B’s Predictions

It surprises a lot of people that I’ve never been to PAX West. I mean, I live in Seattle. It’s basically down the street. But here’s a fun fact: I’ve actually only been going to conventions for four years. I started going when I lived in France because conventions were some of the few places I felt like I belonged. It’s always fascinated me that no matter what language you speak you can connect with others based off of your nerd knowledge. Fandom is a lot like music in that it connects with so many different kinds of people.

When I eventually moved back to Seattle in 2015 I was determined to keep attending conventions…and to cosplay. That was the first time I went to Geek Girl Con, and then I went to Emerald City Comic Con for the first time. It was bliss. Last year I would have loved to go to PAX but I completely missed the train on tickets. This year I had a ticket buddy who let me know as soon as they went on sale and FINALLY, I’m going. PAX is pretty expensive, so I’m only going 2/4 days but I’m still so excited!

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but here’s what I have a feeling PAX will be like:

1. The lines are going to be insane

Image result for waiting in line gif

One thing everyone has confirmed is that the game lines at PAX West are worst than a school’s-out day at Disneyland. Knowing that I’m kind of okay with the fact that I’m going on two of the less popular days. Being around people can also be extremely draining for my little introvert soul, so it’s probably for the best that I’m going for only a couple of days.

2. The people are going to be awesome

Image result for instant friends gif

Something I really love is the people I meet at conventions. It’s one of the best feelings to be around people who are of the same mindset. People who don’t think gaming is for 40-year-old men who still live in their parent’s basement. People who own just as many Funko POP figurines as you do…and don’t judge you for buying more. Since the other two conventions I go to are later in the year it’s going to be super fun to have something coming up sooner. I can’t wait until September.

3. There’s going to be some insane cosplay happening

Okay, so I have no idea if this is a thing at PAX as much as it is at Comic Con but I sure as hell hope that I’m going to see some jaw-dropping cosplay happening. I need it for my soul. I will be cosplaying for PAX…but I’m not quite sure what I’m going to go as, yet. Since I really like Overwatch I’m thinking I’m going to do a gender bend of one of those characters, but who knows!?

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4. I’ll buy too much merch

Related imageThis is pretty much a given because my self-control for spending gets thrown out the window when I walk into a convention. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure of so many people being around or just a comfortability in the space, but I love finding merch that I would never have otherwise known existed (AND BUYING IT ALL). Since I’m actually not sure about the setup of PAX I don’t know if there will be as much from local artists etc. but I’m looking forward to finding out!

5. I’ll make some new friends

Related imageI’m not an extremely social person. I like the people I like, and I’m pretty good with that handful of people. Conventions are awesome because they’re usually a safe space where people can connect easier. I’ve met some of my best friends at conventions and I’m pretty excited to be back in that space again! Cheers to making nerdy friends who connect with you on what you’re passionate about!

Have you been to PAX West (or any other PAX for that matter)? What was it like? What was your favorite part? Let me know in the comments! 

Why Gamers Dye their Hair and other Universal Mysteries

You may have noticed that a lot of gamers have less than natural looking hair. Hell, I have less than natural looking hair. And by that I mean blonde. Which is actually a perfectly natural hair color, but the polar opposite of my own naturally almost-black colored hair. The question of why people dye their hair has stumped scientists and horrified parents for time immemorial. I mean seriously, can’t you just imagine a teenage Egyptian getting yelled at for using henna to dye their hair? Okay, that’s not historically based at all, but stick with me.

There are obviously as many reasons for dying one’s hair as there are for people who have dyed hair, but I’ve put together this little list based off of personal experience and complete nonsense I’ve construed in my own mind…also shit from people I’ve talked to who have hair that’s different from their natural color. Reminder when reading: It’s not the color of hair that makes a gamer…unless you’re Ninja. In which case it very well might be.

1. We want to look like someone we admire

girl pink GIF

I like to think of option number one as parallel to why people cosplay. I cosplay because the characters I dress up as are bad-ass and share attributes that I admire. It’s not about putting on a costume. Cosplay is about embodying some part of yourself that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to express. That’s also why cosplayers are so much more intense than buying a costume off Amazon. It really is a passion project. Think of hair in the same way, it’s a love of something you weren’t born with that you still want to embody as a part of your identity.

2. We don’t feel like we belong anyway

the sword in the stone disney GIF

A lot of people in the sci-fi/fantasy/gaming communities feel an “otherness” and that’s why they connect so deeply to these genres. I can definitely relate on this front because I was raised in a community where I never saw anyone who looked like me. I seriously felt like some kind of alien, and I distinctly remember seeing Spock for the first time and relating so deeply. I was like him. We both were a part of two different cultures and felt torn between them. I felt like I identified more with a fictional character than I ever did with a real-life person. I’m not saying this to be sad, but to emphasize how important these communities are. If we’re going to stand out, why not change our hair color? I think people who have never felt like they fit in (even when they’re ‘normal’) have a lot fewer shits to give when they’re thinking about changing something like hair color.

3. It’s personal expression

green hair model GIF
Now here’s a crazy thought. What if it’s just self-expression plain and simple? Hair, like any other kind of body art, is just that …art. Hair stylists are artists. Whether you’re going all pink or getting a glorious rainbow dye job, hair is just another way of telling people who you are and who you want to be. It’s a way of building out an internal identity that you identify with. It’s a way of making you, more you.

4. Yes, it actually is about rebelling

hair rainbow GIF

Hands up if you were raised conservatively! I happen to know that a lot of people with dyed hair would have probably been disowned if they had come within 5 miles of their hair with dye, before their 18th birthday. So when it came time to “grow up” we did exactly what we were never allowed to do when we were kids. It’s kind of like buying all the toys you never were allowed to get when you were a kid. Now we’re the boss and we’ve got 18 years worth of rebellion to make up for.

5. Absolutely no reason.

21 Annoying Things You’ll Only Understand If You Have A Crazy Hair Color

You know, some people dye their hair for absolutely no reason. True story. It just seems like a good idea, and that’s it. I would venture to say that usually, these are one-timers, not people who keep up with their hair dying, but there are exceptions to every rule, so you really never know!

In the end, it really doesn’t matter why people dye their hair. For a lot of gamers, it’s a way to feel more in touch with a personal identity and a community they love. And you know what? I think that’s beautiful and amazing. Keep being yourself, lovelies.