3011
09

Fish Eyes Are Not For Eating

Posted by under *like, Miscellany, Technology | Join The Discussion |

One of my many distractions over the years has been photography.   And not just in a professional manner, but before that.  I liked to take pictures.  Didn’t matter what the camera was, or how the image actually turned out, I liked to take pictures.  A few years ago I purchased my first Digital SLR camera.  The most exciting thing to me about this was the idea of being able to use different lenses.  For the first year I owned it, I had the two lenses that came with it.  Then I bought a used 50mm.  Meaningless to many of you I am sure.  But anyway….

Last Winter, while at a photography convention for work, I discovered the coolest toy on earth for my camera.  The LENSBABY.  No, seriously, this little contraption it great!  There was previously a fad in photography of Tilt-Shift Lenses.  That is not what a Lensbaby is.  And thank goodness, because that sounds complicated and hard to use.  The Lensbaby is more of just a tilt lens.  What the best part was, not only could I make images have an entirely different look, it had swappable optics and accessories to transform a standard lens into a macro, a wide angle, a zoom, a holga (plastic lens), or a pinhole.  The pinhole was one of the most fascinating to me since I had loved making my own pinhole cameras out of oatmeal containers and making prints in my photography class in college.  I had looked up how to make a pinhole cover for my camera at one point but chickened out.  The Lensbaby was truly my all in one solution for my new photography toy.  It was able to give me everything I wanted…..for the time being.

Over the past 9 months, the company introduced new toys to go along with my Lensbaby.  I had known a few of them were a possibility, so I was excited on each launch day, but waited patiently.  Today, a Lensbaby package came in the mail.  My awesome husband purchased all of the new toys for me as a birthday gift.  There are 4 new accessories for my Lensbaby and we have 4 days until we leave for San Diego.  So we will experiment with one new toy a day.

Tonight, the first, and the biggest…..the fisheye lens.  This is an optic for the Lensbaby that is really the entire lens itself and then clicks into the shell that attaches to the camera.  I have wanted a fisheye for a long time, and what better way to have one than to pair it with my Lensbaby.  Not only is it WAY more affordable, it is smaller, and I can do a bit more with it.  The only downside is that everything with the Lensbaby is manual focus, and since I can’t focus anything….my whole life is a blur :)  But alas, I love it!  And now, when we get the focus right, we can take arms-length shots of us with the Lensbaby!  Cannot wait to explore San Diego with my new toy.

20091130-_MG_1047

Tomorrow night…Super wide angle adapter.

2311
09

New Super Mario Bros. Wii is for Me!

Posted by under *like, Video Games | Join The Discussion |

This may be overdue, but I felt I needed all the facts before writing this review. No – I did not already beat the game, but we (ptb and I) are close. Overall, the NSMB Wii is awesome. Some great throwbacks to older Nintendo and Super Nintendo gaming.  And seriously – finally some great multiplayer options on a Mario side-scrolling adventure.  And not just two player….up to four players!  Play as Toads!!!  Sorry girls – you cannot play as Peach, you are trying to SAVE Peach.  You can’t save yourself.

MultiPlayer Game
Truly a new challenge in a Mario game.  Not only do you have to make sure you don’t die, you have to coordinate to make sure your partner does not die or worse yet, go so far ahead of you that you get pushed off a ledge and die.  This can be a challenge all on its own.  With four players however, this was kind of humorous.  There are 20 total lives among the four of you.  Really – does it matter if someone dies?

Back to two player.  Player One, you must be Mario.  Player Two, you have the choice of Luigi, Yellow Toad, or Blue Toad.  I personally think the Toads are the cutest, and once the Blue Toad has a propellorhead on, he kind of looks like me.  But alas, I am Player One in our game.  This game mode is a challenge to our marriage.  Coordinating jumps to achieve a common goal however, makes me think we are going to make it  :)

The maps in the Worlds – AWESOME.  What was it SMB3?  Those maps were my favorite.  Trying to get the best of the map to find warp zones, even better.  In our first hour of playing, we were able to warp to World 5.  After that, we didn’t manage to successfully find a warp until a week later.  And we have played non-stop for the past week….so it has been a lot of time.

The Mushroom Houses – PRIZES!  LOVE!  Enough said.  Starting a level at the halfway point with a Penguin suit….even better!

The Outfits – Yes – A Penguin Suit.  Walking perfectly on ice.  Swimming without tapping ’2′.  Oh and spitting ice!  It’s like the fireball of Captain Cold.  There is also an Iceman Mario that results from a blue flower.  You can use frozen enemies to attack more enemies, reach higher places, or just to ground pound a nasty enemy you wouldn’t be able to touch otherwise.  The Penguin is really an upgraded Iceman, but the little penguin suit that comes out of the ? block is so cute!  It even waddles!

Lastly – “BUBBLE!!!”  Fall off?  Your buddy is still safe?  Hit ‘A’ and you go into a bubble, shake and go towards your mate, and they can save you.  Both of you desperate?  If everyone bubbles, you exit the level…..and the music slows down to make you feel bad.

I am sure I have left out a TON but moving on…..

Free-For-All
This is pretty awesome.  You can select any level from a world you have beaten, or there is a selection of recommended levels.  The recommended levels can give you a fun sneak peek to worlds you may not have seen.  At first you just think this is going through a single level with no commitment, but don’t help your brother or toad comrade just yet.  You are competing!  WaHoooooo!

Coin Battle
Same as free for all, but there are also some special coin battle levels.  And you are only competing for coin points, not overall points.  This includes the giant star coins.  A little competition never hurt anyone.

Overall
I say this game is super.   We are going to play through it way too fast, but we also have 3 save files.  One that we play together, and one for each of us alone.  With so many things to explore, I am sure we will be playing beyond just trying to get to World 8-Castle.  We like things to be complete.  We are also really excited about the prospect of playing with our friends.  Once everyone gets used to having Nintendo Thumb again, there should be some fun nights.

Final Points

  • side-scrolling rules
  • I <3 Mario
  • I look like a Toad wearing a propellor hat
  • Way better than Mario Party 8
  • Still totally looking forward to Galaxy 2
  • When will we have Double Dash style racing again?
  • I could talk about this game all day and it wouldn’t resemble anything near a review
2011
09

Is something special happening in New Jersey?

Posted by under *ambivalent, Sports | Join The Discussion |

Now that baseball season has passed for another year, my attention has been drawn back to the NBA.  While my beloved Sixers will be in another battle for 4th place in the Eastern Conference, I couldn’t help but notice a remarkable statistic in their division: New Jersey Nets 0-12 to start the season.

The Nets are on pace to pass both their franchise losing streak of 16 games and the record for most losses to start an NBA season at 17 games (shared by the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers).  We may be seeing something special happening in New Jersey.

Keeping pace with the Nets in the Atlantic Division are the lowly New York Knicks (who were rumored to be interested in the recently available Allen Iverson).  Combined 2 and 21 for the season, these teams just really couldn’t be worse.  They meet for the first time this season Saturday at 1PM where the Nets may take one more step toward infamy.

0411
09

Final Marvel 70th Anniversary images

Posted by under *like, Comics | Join The Discussion |

As 2009 speeds to its conclusion, the final Marvel’s 70th Anniversary variant covers have been revealed.  These are part of a set of monthly covers we’ve posted about previously in January and June.  While they’ve been difficult to find, I still think these are amazing images that Marvel should have made more readily available.

09_Ms_Marvel_45_70th 10_Amazing_Spider_Man_608_70th11_Invincible_Iron_Man_20_70th12_Incredible_Hulk_605_70th

0411
09

FlashForward

Posted by under *mixed, Television | Leave a Comment |

After hearing a lot of good things about this show and Angie and I finally had some time to check it out last week using the magic of Hulu.

The first four episodes were great.  I really like the premise that the entire planet experienced a simultaneous vision of their future on a specific date at a specific time.  The repercussions of something like that make for great story opportunities.  The destruction caused by everyone losing consciousness for two minutes, the threat of it happening again, and the worldwide reaction to what they saw is really interesting.  Unfortunately, the emotional aspects of the story (the alcoholism, lesbianism, etc.) are really clunky and heavy handed.  To be honest, they take something away from the show.

Despite this, things were moving along nicely, and while I didn’t notice it in episodes 1-4, episodes 5 and 6 ended with ridiculous music accompaniment.  Episode 5 really moved the story along, but was effectively ruined for me by the music in the final minutes of the show.  It’s a shame too, because the closing scene featuring the attacks on the investigation team was great if not for the music taking me right out of the moment.

I’m planning to give this show a few more chances to hook me, but the rumors of rewrites and production delays do not bode well.  Flash Forward airs Thursdays on ABC for the time being.