6 Ways to Keep Yourself Entertained on a Plane (That DON’T Involve Tapping Your Boyfriend on the Shoulder Asking “Are We There Yet?”)

I fucking love flying. Air travel makes me ridiculously happy. There’s some mix of “I’m going somewhere exciting or new or just somewhere ELSE” that makes it magical. And at the end of the trip it’s all: “I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight!”

You can get almost anywhere in less than a day. At least anywhere I’ve been. Which is awesome. I’ve only flown on my own a few times, but Brian and I have been trying to travel somewhere twice a year for the last few years. Florida in the dead of winter and some place else in the summer or fall. It’s a good system. When we fly, I try to make it as easy to get on the plane as humanly possible. I used to try to bring an emergency set of everything in my carry on – toiletries, clean underwear, an outfit, etc. But now? I’m VERY selective as to what I bring on board. Of course, we almost always fly Southwest – where bags (two per person) fly free, so it’s pretty easy to check everything (including that empty suitcase to fill with seashells, wine, Christmas ornaments or other souvenir crap on the way back).

But even packing super light (did I ever tell you how much the TSA hates me? They MANHANDLED my cheese. Probably because of my letter to TSA.), I need to make sure that I have enough valid ways to entertain myself without bothering Brian TOO much. Because he does not love flying as much as I do. Something about people and lines and crowds or something.

Here are just a few ways that you can occupy your time on the flight.

6 Ways

How to entertain yourself on a plane full of people without being a jerk…mostly

Read

I mean…this one’s a given. But when you’re packing light, I highly recommend an e-reader. I was always against them until Brian insisted on buying me one. And I haven’t looked back. I can take FIFTY books on a plane with me…and my bag weighs less than it would with a single regular book. It’s fucking magical. Just be cautious, because the funnier the book, the more you’re likely to become a jerk and irritate all the people on the plane.

Watch a movie

In addition to the possibility of an in-flight movie…If you have some sort of tool that allows you to copy your DVDs to memory cards or tablets (I think that iTunes sells your favorite movies and TV shows too, but since I’m not really an Apple girl, I’ll have to assume maybe?), you can plan in advance and bring about a movie or two that you want to watch (I’ve watched Bridget Jones even though Helen Fielding is dead to me and some other beloved favorites). Just for the love of all things – WEAR EARBUDS.

Watch TV

Along the same lines as watching a movie, you can catch the newest released season on DVD of your favorite show (This last trip, Brian and I used an ear bud splitter to watch Person of Interest because we were binge watching to catch up to the current season). If you have Wi-Fi on the plane, you can Netflix Kimmy Schmidt or Grey’s Anatomy or Hulu Plus your current shows. Some flights even offer free (or paid) in-flight TV. Again, headphones are a necessity.

Play games

Whether you bring one of those fancy handheld gaming consoles (I haven’t had one since I got my Sega Game Gear in 1991), you carry on your travel version of Scrabble in order to whip your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife’s ass, or you pay for the Wi-Fi to play some games on your phone (Hello Simpson’s Tapped Out, I’m looking at you…), you can keep yourself entertained and occupied while enjoying that competitive thing you’ve got going for you. Of course, if you have the sound on while you’re playing these games, someone is going jump across the seat and wring your neck or throw your device. I’m just saying. I’ve thought about it. Several times. Turn the notification sounds off. No one wants to hear you rocking out to the Candy Crush greatest hits.

Snack

I don’t know about you, but I love a good snack pack. Brian and I have an excellent flying/packing system. I carry…well…almost nothing in my purse (a few bandaids, necessary drugs like Midol, Dramamine, Gas-X, Zantac, Pepto, and Sudafed to help us survive the airport time and 2-5 hour plane ride, and my travel pillow). And Brian carries the power cords, backup batteries and snacks in his backpack. It’s a really good system. I recommend trying it. So snacking is a great way to kill time. If you travel during dinner time and bring a meal on board, that’s a good 10-20 minutes of snacking depending on how fast you eat and what you grabbed at the airport. You could also play with your food – you know get like some animal crackers and play with them Ben Affleck style. Just remember if you’re sitting next to strangers that you don’t need to share. Especially when it comes to your crumbs. Be kind, my friends. Be kind.

Social Media/Blog/Internet Time Suck

You can live blog about the crazy lady on the plane or the kid that keeps kicking you…or continuously share on Facebook pictures of your kid’s first flight or humblebrag on Instagram how you can’t wait to be somewhere warm. People eat that shit up. You’ll have fun and so will I. Get lost down the internet rabbit hole and you’ll be at your destination in no time. Just you know…don’t BE the crazy lady or the mom that doesn’t tell her kid to stop kicking (you totally get full points for trying. I won’t judge. I was kicked on a plane once. They mom tried to keep the little guy at bay, but he fell asleep and apparently kicks in his sleep. She apologized several times and kept trying to move him. The effort was acknowledged and I was fine…albeit a little bruised.)

Okay blog friends, your turn. What do YOU do to occupy yourself when you travel? Even if you don’t fly – how do you keep yourself entertained on the train or in the car?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Nerds!

Good afternoon Blog Friends!

I have returned from Indianapolis with about 10% of the games and things that I wanted to purchase (while still finding a few gems and winning a few sweet freebies.)

Gen Con Games

The Spoils

I can’t wait to pop these babies, ESPECIALLY the Firefly expansion. Of course, I also can’t wait to have a house to display my ridiculous game collection in one beautiful game library so I’ve decided this is the week we’re going to find our house.

All that aside, it’s time for the Gen Con recap.

We, along with 50,000 or so other nerds, geeks, and gamers, descended upon Indianapolis for 4 days of unadulterated gaming.

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What I wore to Gen Con

As with most nerd cons, it’s important to show off your finest geekery. I opted for two days of total geek chic and two days of comfort. Yoga pants dominated on the days that involved driving. But I’m pretty proud of the two full days’ ensembles.

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Spreadshirt Sloth Tee

On Friday, I busted out my brand new sloth tee from Spreadshirt. This shirt was sent to me so that I could tell you how awesome they are. I was actually super impressed with several things that Spreadshirt printed shirts had to offer. First, the collection of tees and designs are pretty vast. I went to the site looking for the perfect shirt to wear to Gen Con. I knew I found it when I saw the big happy sloth who definitely doesn’t run.

Sloth t-shirt

Ironically, Brian really did want to nap instead…and I wanted to get to Gen Con OMGASAPNEEDNEEDNEED.

The shirt took just a few days to ship – two to be exact. Unlike other make-your-own printed stuff sites, I received this shirt in less than a week from the shipping date. Just in time for Gen Con.

The best part about Spreadshirt was the customer service. Each step of the process came with an e-mail letting me know when my shirt would arrive and I received a final feedback request that felt personalized. It was a great experience.

As far as the shirt? I ordered a woman’s V-neck XL. I would order a different style/size next time, as I felt the shirt was a little short for me. Otherwise it was comfy and soft. And got a TON of compliments from other gamers.

TARDIS dress

As I scoured the mall looking for another tee to wear, I stumbled across this dress that pretty much made my day. And FIT ME.

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Upon entering the con that day, I immediately found my Dalek foe and went to wreak havoc on him for existing. Unfortunately, there was no chatting with a Dalek this year.

I did think it was super interesting, as I had never been in one place where so many people were wearing the exact same thing as me (and I went to Cheer Camp!).

On Wil Wheaton

Man! How cool would it be to be as cool as Wil Wheaton?! These are just a few things I saw:

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I failed to purposely accidentally run into him again, but I think I’d be so nervous if I did, I wouldn’t say anything at all.

The Games

I love demoing games. I love demoing games at Gen Con. I didn’t get to play nearly as many games as I would have liked, but here are a few that really stood out to me.

Alpha Bandits

Alpha BanditsThis game from Wiggity Bang Games  was just funded on Kickstarter last month. I love the colors of the tiles, but the play of the game is really fun. It relies on creating words for points, but also sneakily changing up your opponents’ words and ending the round to garner the most points. It’s a really great word game for anyone who loves them some Scrabble/Words With Friends. I actually have a demo print and play version of the game already, but it’s still on my list of to-buy games when it comes out in a few months. Especially since this wordsmith kicked the game designer’s butt in a demo game!

Of course, because I beat the designer, I won a different game from Wiggity Bang games, Mad Quao (which I also got signed by the designer). I’ll let you know how it goes.

Seven Wonders with the upcoming expansion

I love this game as a stand-alone game or with its current expansions, and I really enjoyed playing one part of the new expansion. Each of the add-ons in this expansion offer help and hindrances depending on how you play your game. The one we played added a group card that everyone needed to work together to achieve. With a success, everyone who helped received a sweet bonus and with a fail, anyone who didn’t help was punished (in the game people!)

Run for Your Life Candyman!

Oh. My. God. You should probably own this game. The premise is Candyland. But with the added slogan of Smirk & Dagger Games, “Games are a lot more fun when you can stab a friend in the back.” And it’s amazing. We played in a 2-hour tournament game at 11:00 pm. What made this especially fantastic was the gingerbread cookies and food coloring gel.

You can watch as my cookie, Taunty, slowly loses every part of himself. Playing this with a group of strangers was surprisingly awesome. We had a fantastic group and Smirk & Dagger makes this an amazing experience with their enthusiasm and super fun game.

We spent most of the game in a candy cage match where we basically just ripped at each other until everyone had someone else’s candy limbs. It was fantastic.

There was SO much more, but I figured all you needed was a small glimpse into this year’s Gen Con experience.

Have you ever been to a game or comic con? What’s your favorite board or card game?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

How to Make House Hunting Less Like Dating

For the last couple of months, instead of estate sailing and garage sailing for vintage board games, Brian and I have been adventuring out with our realtor (who is hilarious and awesome), but you knew that already. Because we almost bought a house. And then we didn’t, and we were heartbroken. It was like a bad breakup. I even ate Sbarro pizza…in CHICAGO. Home to the best pizza known to man. But I ate Sbarro. And inadvertently paused my DietBet(I didn’t gain anything, but I didn’t lose much, either.) I’m not making excuses, just telling it like it is.

Much like dating, the best way to get over one house is to jump right into the next. But that never works out. We needed something fast and easy. We went and saw 5 houses just a few days later. We compared them all to The House. The one we had just broken up with.

Now, we’re much pickier…only seeing 1 to 2 houses at a time…and we go in ready to shoot down a perfectly good house for whatever reason…because we’re afraid of losing it…or it really doesn’t hold a flame to our first.

Is this starting to sound familiar?

House hunting is COMPLETELY like dating. And then I remember how long it took me to find Brian. And I don’t want to wait 27 years to find the right house!
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So I’ve decided to make house hunting less like dating…and more like a game.

Step 1: Create a list of all the criteria that you’re looking for in a house.

Step 2: Assign point values to each feature, based on how important it is to your search.

Step 3: Create a list of the most ridiculous things you can think of and make every house visit a scavenger hunt. Note: This is a mini-game and doesn’t coubt toward win conditions.

Step 4: Visit the house. Check off items on the criteria list to find out if you have enough victory points to buy the house.

Step 5: Without snooping in places you shouldn’t be snooping (furniture pieces like dressers and desks are off limits. Would you want someone going through your things?), take note of items on your scavenger hunt list. Shelves, closets, and items that would stay if you moved in are fair game, but again, dont rifle through anything. Be considerate and think about if it was your house. Besides, people leave enough weird shit out in the open when they know someone is coming to look (remind me to tell you about that time they were showing my college apartment).

Step 6: Another mini-game. If there are pictures of the people currently living in said house, make up a story about them. Feel free to use items on the scavenger hunt as props.

Step 7: Tally up the victory points and determine if it’s your house. Do the pros out-weigh the cons? If so, it may be your house.

I hope this helps you avoid heartbreak while searching for your new home…but if it doesn’t, the mini-games will at least keep you spirits high and your sense of humor actively engaged.

Have you bought a house? Do you want to buy a house? Do you have tips for house hunting?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Life-Gaming: Trolly Want a Cracker?

I’ve finally arrived.

This past weekend was my birthday weekend, as well as my two-year blogiversary, and the blog was overloaded with visitors. Particularly visits skyrocketed to my copyright notice page. When I say overloaded, I mean it was a serious birthday gift of JOY to discover thousands of page views on my little ole blog.

Someone on Reddit came across pictures of me playing around in a cardboard box like a kid. Because it was fun. Apparently, that person thought that my blog was SO BAD that it wasn’t worthy of a copyright notice. I made it into the “delusional artists” subreddit. For those of you who don’t know what Reddit is, it’s kind of like…a message board version of Pinterest.

I chatted with some of my friends immediately upon noticing my recently-discovered infamy, and I realized quickly that being targeted as a “delusional artist,” put me in an excellent position to meta game the fuck out of Reddit and the trolls who think it’s worth their time to talk about how crappy they think I am. Oh, feel free to read about why I’m a delusional artist. If you agree, go ahead and join them. I won’t mind.

As you can imagine, with comments like, “You are not good enough” and I have never met this person and I already hate her on a deeply personal level,” I began my journey through Reddit in a state of confusion. 

I'm sorry, what?

I’m sorry, what?

Trolls are kind of like bullies, but they don’t have the balls to say shit to your face, using their real names. Wait, so you’re saying that strangers who are so proud of their work they hide behind screen names like “nilleftw,” “stormchaser” and (my favorite) “bangwhimper?”

Then I thought to myself, REALLY? Really? 

Are you kidding me?

Are you kidding me?

They couldn’t even find anything valuable to criticize. I could have done a better job of talking shit about my blog. Bangwhimper went to the trouble of creating an Imgur picture with a screen shot of my goal to read 16 books this year, commenting on my “gargantuan cultural appetite.” I, of course, had it removed from Imgur shortly thereafter for…wait for it…copyright violation.

At this point, I started to laugh.

Laughing at trolls

And laugh.

More laughing at trolls

And laugh some more.

Laughter is the best medicine

I was getting well over my norm for blog traffic, and 15 of the several THOUSAND people who came to my site could think of something negative to say…and even those comments made little to no sense.

Screenshot 2014-06-01 20.47.37

I especially liked the comments that talked about how weird I am…or that I’m chubby. I don’t think there has been a post on this blog in which I make any claims that I’m not weird or chubby. In fact, I’m pretty sure I own the fuck out of weird and chubby. That’s a part of who I am. I’m not offended, but I’m certainly baffled.

Oh, and then there was that one guy (or gal) who thought that commenting on my blog would be fun. He must not have realized that I had the power to edit anything he said and turn it into a lovely message.

I’m pretty sure that in the world of trolls and internets, I won this round. But you know, in case you ever want to feed the trolls, here are a few pointers to really get them going.

I was the victim of Reddit bullying. This is how I combatted them. Sort of. Really, it was just a way to poke them with a stick and get more views. They were mean and I cried...but poke poke poke.

How Trolls Win on the Internet

  1. Trolls make you sad. They want to feel better about themselves, so they aim to tear you down and make you cry the ugly cry.  And who’s crying the ugly cry? You. Who’s laughing? Trolls. They’ve won.
Cry the ugly cry

You don’t want them to see you like this, do you?

  1. Trolls make you angry. They want to start something. If you get angry and fight back, they think to themselves, “oooh, this is fun. Look at you squirm!” And then they have more to play with. They’ve won.
Angry Face

This might make you look bad ass, but does it really work?

  1. Trolls trick you into trying to please them. They want you to want them to love you, but they’ll keep moving the goal posts. Fix what they’re criticizing and try to chase their approval? Boom! They’ve won.
Trolls trick you into trying to please them

Please love me… (no, really…don’t love me. I don’t need your trolly love.)

How You Win on the Internet

Keep on keepin’ on. Ignore what some pimply kid or 40-year-old virgin on Reddit thinks. You’re the only you that will ever be. Whether you’ve got 2 followers or 20,000, there is someone out there who gets it. And gets you. Make friends and have fun. Forget about people who aren’t or don’t like you. They’re never going to be your target audience, and you don’t want them anyways. Continue doing what you’re doing and own it. You win.

Of course, if you ever have problems with trolls, feel free to repeat the following:

“So, this is what I say to fucking trolls. Fuck you. Douchebags.”

Then smile. Because you're fucking awesome.

Then smile. Because you’re fucking awesome. Even when you want to fuck around with a cardboard box.

Have you ever had problems with bullies? Cyber or real life? How did you handle it?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

In Which My Boyfriend Is “Cooler” Than Your Boyfriend

I, along with a couple of our friends received the following e-mail last week.

From my boyfriend.

Yes, yes…He IS sometimes more creative than me. One day, I’ll show you the first e-mail he ever sent me. Maybe.

<knock><knock>
 
Good, you’re all here.
It was getting pretty late and the night watch has a price on all of our heads. Yes, Yes… BananaMan… the price on your head is still the highest. What? No! We have to continue using our code-names so they can’t track us down. Did you bring the map?
 
The Map
 
Good… good…. wait! No… that’s USELESS, BananaMan! Get your head in the game! That’s a map of the whole city. We need more specific intel about our targets.
 
NaughtyNurse, what kind of information did you get from the guards you cavorted with last night?
 
Gen Con Website
 
That’s better! Good job NaughtyNurse!
 
Gen Con Hotel Info
 
Hmmm…. Yes… we’ll need to regroup near the target but our “Investor” has backed out. We’ll have to fund this operation on our own, but I think the payout may be well worth the investment.
 
What’s that? No! You CAN’T change your codename to “QuirkyChrissy”, CheeseWiz. Yes…. yes… we all know how much you hate cheese-wiz… you’ve been complaining about it ever since you were assigned that code-name… you KNOW its short for “Cheese Wizard”. Fine… Fine. Ok.ok.ok.ok…. pick another type of cheese then.
 
OK.
 
Oh. you have some scouting information for our basecamp? You think that close proximity to the target may be expensive and that one of your “contacts” may be able to stash us away for the duration of the caper? Do you trust them, though?
 
Travel Site 1
 
Travel Site 2
 
Well… that’s a start at least.
What? No I didn’t actually have an assignment.
I’m the team leader!
What?
No. No one voted for me…. well, see, there was this chick in a lake that handed me a sword…
 

But…you’re probably asking yourself…WHAT does it all mean?

We’ll be spending the entire 4 glorious gaming days in August at Gen Con. At a hotel that doesn’t have bedbugs. AND I need a new code name.

Pictures from Gen Con 2012.

Gen Con Gen Con Gen Con

I’ve got LOTS of questions for you guys!

So what should my code name be? Do you go to any cons? Which one(s)? Would you participate in Cos-play (dressing up in nerdy costumes at conventions)? Should I? I’m thinking about live blogging while I’m there. What are your thoughts on that?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Nerdy Things I Do When I’m Not Here

Sometimes, I get writer’s block. And I’m not really sure what to write about for this here little blog of mine. So I back off. I reflect. I do real life things that have nothing to do with blogging. Today, I’m going to tell you about some of the awesome things that I do when I’m not blogging.

  • I play mindless games. Bejeweled. Tetris. Bloons. I am a mindless game master.
  • I play board games. Nerdy ones. Arkham Horror. Settlers of Catan. Dominion. Munchkin. 7 Wonders.
  • I watch Doctor Who. And LOVE it.
  • I cuddle with my boyfriend. Is that nerdy? Did you just throw up a little bit in your mouth? That’s okay; me too.
  • I read books. You should too. They make you smarter. S-M-R-T.
  • I talk about sciency things with Brian. Okay. Brian talks about sciency things and I listen. And sometimes fall asleep. But that’s okay. Because he still loves me.
  • I plan vacations in my head. Especially to places that begin with Disney and end with World.
  • I eat cheese. Like, a lot of it. Fancy stuff. None of that plastic wrap Kraft BS.
  • I daydream about my future fame. That’s probably not nerdy either. But I do it. You bet your ass I do it.
  • I research things I want to buy. I didn’t always do this. I used to just buy things that I wanted. Now I research them first. I blame Brian.
  • I listen to Disney music and show tunes. A lot.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!