No PS4 for Christmas

PS4

Well, I am a bit sad and disappointed tonight. My dream of getting a PlayStation 4 for Christmas has been squashed. It’s at its lowest price, $399 with FREE shipping on Amazon for Black Friday, but unfortunately, there is no money for it. I highly doubt it will be this cheap for the rest of the month, but it wouldn’t matter anyway because we just don’t have the money for it. I was considering putting it on my credit card, but I don’t want to end up having to pay for the interest. The credit card that I have doesn’t charge interest for 3 months. I could pay $100 off every month, but as it is I already have $200 charged and my limit is only $500. It was a nice dream, but it will have to be put on hold for another time. Perhaps next Christmas.

black friday couponIf for some reason people feel like buying some of my jewelry and/or keychains in My Etsy Shop, then perhaps I might be able to buy it. I have a coupon code for Black Friday for 35% off which is TGIBlackFriday with a minimum purchase of $10. I will have a new holiday coupon available soon.

I have some really good quality items and they are not too expensive. Everything I make is made with love and most everything is custom-made, so it is made however you want it to be made. Think of me as the crafter version of Burger King. Have it YOUR way! It’s not made until you order it, unless it’s already made, and in that case it will be easier for me.

So help a fellow gamer out. All of my shop items make great stocking stuffers, and there is something for everyone. My stud earrings are plastic, so anyone can wear them because plastic is hypoallergenic. My hook earrings (dangle or hoops) are surgical steel hypoallergenic. I’ve tested them out on myself to make absolutely 100% sure they are safe for everyone. I have really bad metal allergies, so if it doesn’t make me break out, then I feel comfortable selling them.

So for now, I will just continue playing with my PSP games. There are still a few I want to buy. I have my PSP Wish List on Amazon and I found out that the digital download versions are cheaper, and I don’t even have to wait for them. For anyone wondering, if I have a PSP, why would I want a PS4? Well, the PSP is nice for playing with on the bicycle trainer and for trips, but I would also love to play the games on my TV. I’ve never owned a TV console. I mean, I had an Atari 2600 in my bedroom when I was 13 in 1983, but that technically was a loan from my parents, and I didn’t have it for very long. I would love to have my very own TV console gaming system to play games in higher definition and to be able to play games with other people. I don’t need it, it’s just something that I wanted because it’s a cool thing.

PS4 for Christmas

ps4

My partner saw a commercial for Xbox One and asked if that’s what I want for Christmas. I told him I don’t want you to buy me an Xbox because they are way too expensive. He asked if I would play it and I said hell yes, but I don’t want you to buy it for me.

Up until that point it never even occurred to me that I might want a video game system for my TV. I mean, I’ve thought about it every now and then, but when I saw how expensive they were, the thoughts faded away. But now I can’t stop thinking about it.

This weekend is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They are at least 23% off, but even still, they are way too expensive for me. The regular price of a PS4 is $520 and right now they are on sale for $400. That’s a lot of money to save, but $400 is also a lot of money to spend.

And I settled on PlayStation 4 because I already have PSP and they have much different selection than Xbox. For example Xbox doesn’t have Little Big Planet. I have some games that I love for my PSP that they don’t have anywhere else, like Jak and Daxter & Ratchet and Clank. It’s a brand, like Nintendo has Mario and Zelda and you can’t play those anywhere else. This particular game system has the Little Big Planet and Lego Batman 3. I mean don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE either Xbox One or PS4. I would be more than happy with either one of them.

Another reason I settled on the PS4 rather than Xbox One is because of the camera. I checked and the Xbox Kinect is $100 to $200. The PS4 camera is only $40. Huge difference in price. The only reason I would want the camera is so that I could use it for the dance games, which burn calories because it is cardio exercise. The Xbox One Kinect is more than just for exercise, in fact you can control your TV from what I understand, but I would probably never use that. In fact, if I did have that, every time I talked, Chip would ask me who I was talking to, so it’s better that I don’t have a game to talk to lol.

It’s a nice thing to think about, and I even created a Amazon wishlist for PS4, but I highly doubt I will ever be able to buy anything from that wishlist. Maybe one day, but probably not this day, or any time soon. If Santa “made” one for me, and it happened to be under the tree on Christmas morning, then I would be the happiest 44 year-old child the world has ever seen, but I highly doubt that would happen.

Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

I love my Nook HD+.  I have been having so much fun with it since I got it for Christmas, actually the week before Christmas.  Yeah we don’t conform to the traditions of opening your presents on Christmas day, or even on birthdays.  We open presents the day we get them.  Screw tradition lol.

My Nook HD+ has a 9” screen, so it’s bigger than the Nook HD in the sense that it has 2 more inches, but I’m telling you that because there are certain apps that work with 7 inches, but don’t work with 9 inches.  Like The Sims FreePlay and Viggle for example.  The Sims FreePlay is downloadable, you just can’t play it because you get this warning when you try.

The Sims FreePlay

I am not sure if The Sims FreePlay will even work with a Nook HD 7” tablet.  I know it works with the Kindle Fire because I’ve seen people taking pictures and video of it on that device.  I’m pretty sure it was the 7”, so if it runs on the Kindle Fire 7”, then it probably runs on the Nook HD 7”.  If so or not, please let me know.

Viggle on the other hand doesn’t even show up in the Google Play Store, so they don’t even give you the option.  I know it works on 7” tablets because I installed it on my partner’s tablet to see if I could do trivia when trivia wasn’t giving me any points with my phone.  It installed and looked great too, but the trivia was not working on his tablet any better than it was on my phone.  Although, just because it installed on his tablet doesn’t mean I know if it will install on a Nook HD 7” tablet.

Facebook isn’t great on the Nook HD+ when you use the app.  Using the browser is so much better because you get the full website that you get on the computer, but the only problem I have is when I use another tab to visit another website, or even if I use an app, like if I go check my email, when I come back to the Facebook tab, it goes straight to the mobile version.  If I wanted to use Facebook mobile, I would just use the Facebook app.

The Twitter app that comes with the Nook HD+ from the Nook store isn’t updated, so it’s better to let Google Play update it.  It’s easy to use and if you have multiple twitter accounts, you can switch back and forth very easily.  It’s actually better on the Nook HD+ than it is on my phone.  When I am using @xanapus on my phone, then try to switch over to another twitter name, for some odd reason it switches me back to @xanapus.  It doesn’t do that on my Nook HD+.

I didn’t like the Google+ app on my phone and I rarely ever use it on my computer, but it is great on the Nook HD+.  That’s one of the social media websites that I wanted to start using more often.  It has a much better look than Facebook does in my opinion.  Google+ doesn’t force you to look at ads or suggested posts.

One annoying thing that I noticed is that when I am in my library, I scroll down to My Files and see there are 564 files.  How the heck am I supposed to weed through all of those files to get to the ebooks I have downloaded?  Well, I discovered that if you click the words My Files, it brings up a new window which shows folders.  They are in the Download folder.  I have 6 ebooks that I downloaded from the EverQuest Next website that are fiction based books based on EverQuest the game, but they are all in PDF format.  Ebooks that I’ve downloaded in ePub format will show up with my Nook books, but the PDF files don’t.  I did download an app called File Manager HD which allowed me to create a new folder in my download folder so I could keep the EQN ebooks in there to keep that folder more organized.

PicsArt Photo Studio is a good app that I use on my phone to add stickers and frames and text to my pictures, but it’s such a small screen that sometimes it’s difficult to see what I’m doing.  My Nook HD+ doesn’t have a camera, but I can use Google Drive to retrieve my files.  What I really like most is that I can write on the screen with this.  I can do that on my phone, but it’s too small.

Happy New Year 2014

Okay, so my handwriting isn’t the best, it’s even worse on paper lol.

ChromecastSome useful apps that come with the Nook HD+ include Netflix and Hulu+ and if you have a Google Chromecast, you can watch them on your TV.  You don’t even need to have the Google Chromecast app installed to use it.  I know this because I bought it for my partner and I couldn’t get it to connect to his tablet.  I connected it with my CR-48 aka Chromebook, then was able to connect it to his tablet.  I don’t have the app installed on my Nook HD+ or my phone, but the icon is visible on YouTube, Netflix and Hulu+.  I guess any Android or Apple device that is connected to my network will have that ability.

Of course, other good uses for the Nook HD+ is actually reading a book lol.  You aren’t limited to Nook books either, you can read your Kindle books plus your Google Play books.  In fact, if there is a service that sells ebooks, you can read the books you bought from them, including pdf files and ebooks.  Some writers only publish their ebook with Amazon KDP Select because they get more advertising, and if they chose KDP Select, they can only publish with Amazon for 3 months.  That’s why it’s good to use the Kindle on my Nook, because some ebooks aren’t available on the Nook.

One of the features that I do like is the Nook app “Your Highlights and Notes.”  If you do a lot of highlighting and like to add notes, this is a good thing.  It had all the highlights from the Nook for PC when I got it, but it didn’t show any text.  When I add new highlights, it shows the page number and the first couple of sentences that I highlighted, and if I left a note, it shows my note.  That makes it so much easier to find every highlight and every note on every ebook you own whether it’s downloaded or in the cloud.  Highlighting and leaving notes on my Nook WiFi was so difficult and as soon as I started reading another ebook, all of the highlights and notes disappeared, which was very frustrating.

There is also a Nook app called “Your Lookups” that shows you every word you ever had to find the definition for.  That does come in handy if you ever want to find that specific word again.  The list of words you looked up are on the left, and the word, the book you found it in, the page and the date and time you looked it up are on the right along with the definition of the word.  WOW!  Now you have a record of the date and time you learned a new word.

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts on the Nook HD+.  I like it a lot and I will get a ton of use out of it.  I still have my Nook WiFi and I don’t think I will use it as often for reading ebooks, but if the occasion ever arises when I go outside to read, I will be able to use it.

My Year In Review

my year in chalkboard

before and after morro bay 2013 was a very good year for me.  I started out not wanting to make a new years resolution out of fear of the disappointment that would always come from breaking it.  I decided to make one after a few days, and I stayed with it, well, until July anyway.  I said I wanted to lose weight and I did.  By July I had lost 70lbs with an android app called Noom, but then the weight stopped dropping and I gained 10lbs back, but fluctuated throughout the rest of the year.  I started out the year at 264lbs, went down to 194lbs and as of today I am 205lbs.  I will make another resolution to get back on my diet so I can get down to the weight that I wanted to get down to.  I know how to do it, I just need the willpower.

xray1 On March 16th I had an accident while riding the bicycle home from the grocery store at night and I broke my arm.  It was the ball of my left arm that fits into the shoulder socket.  I didn’t have a cast, instead all I was given was a sling from the emergency room.  By that time I had already lost 35lbs, and as you can already tell from the previous paragraph, the broken arm didn’t stop me from reaching my weight loss goal.

etsy banner While I was recovering from my broken arm, I decided that I wanted to start a new craft.  Well, it wasn’t really a new craft, it was an old craft that I learned when I was 9 and in the Cub Scouts.  I had some materials, so I wanted to use them up by making a couple of keychains.  I had so much fun that I decided that I wanted to learn a more complicated pattern.  I got so good at it and I was having so much fun that I ended up with about 40 keychains, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I started out with keychains, and I added dangle keychain style earrings, studs and hoops and I already have plans on making and selling dream catcher earrings.

On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled DOMA to be unconstitutional and Prop 8 was finally repealed.  HURRAY!  What a glorious day that was for the gay community in California.  In fact, 18 (or 19) states made gay marriage legal in 2013 and legal on a federal level.  The reason I said or 19 is because Wikipedia doesn’t include DC, but says eighteen states AND District of Columbia.  Whatever.  18 or 19, it’s still a huge victory for us.  Illinois is in that 18, but theirs isn’t legal until June 2014.

IMAG2002 In late July I started having pain in my parotid gland, which happens at least 2 or 3 times a year for I want to say the last 10 years, but I am not positive.  It’s been going on for a very long time.  The parotid gland is the saliva gland and for some reason the saliva doesn’t release into my mouth, instead something blocks the way and it swells up to the size of a golf ball or bigger.  I try to milk it so the saliva goes into my mouth, and that does work, but it hurts really bad.  The doctors usually give me an antibiotic and it clears up in a week, but this time it didn’t clear up.  My doctor sent me to an ear, nose throat doctor and to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone inside of my parotid gland.  The ENT doctor sent me to have a cat scan with contrast which showed that I had several stones in both of my parotid glands, but the ones on the right side were much bigger than the left.  I had surgery on November 20th to remove my parotid gland.  The area is still numb and I was told it will probably be numb for another couple or few months.  YAY!

My back has caused me tons of pain for so many years and this summer I finally found out what was causing it.  Apparently I have scoliosis in my spine.  I told my aunt about it and she told me that my great-grandmother was born with scoliosis and she lived her entire life with it.  I remember she had a hump on her back, that was the scoliosis.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy for a month and that halted the pain, but it didn’t correct anything.  I have an appointment in January to start treatment up again, and it’s a good thing too because the pain is already starting to come back.  My first treatment was a shock, no, seriously, they put these electrodes on my back and it shot electricity to my nerves to dull them.  They had me do exercises for half an hour and then they would give me a deep tissue massage. The electrode was only applied to me on the first visit, all the other appointments were just me laying on the table doing exercises and then massages.  The last couple appointments didn’t include a massage.

bread slicer pumpkin bread We went to a thrift store in October and I found a bread machine for only $6.  I can’t say I have ever had homemade bread before, like ever, so that was quite an experience.  I did learn that I was doing it wrong for a very long time when I had such a horrible stomachache which felt like I had a 10lb brick sitting in my stomach.  Apparently the bread was too dry.  I read the instructions.  It clearly stated that I was to use exact measurements, no more, no less, so I was only doing what I was told to do, but apparently rules are made to be broken.  Now the bread is light and fluffy and it actually tastes better than store bought bread.  My favorite bread to make is Spiced Pumpkin Bread with raisins.  Have you ever had a ham sandwich or a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with pumpkin bread with raisins?  It’s quite awesome.  Although I will have to cut back on the bread when I start my diet up again.

We also helped feed a couple of neighbors for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which frankly is what the holidays are all about.  It’s nice to receive presents, but it’s even nicer to do a good deed for someone.  I guess those were our good deeds for the year.

Of course we exchanged presents.  I got a Nook HD+ 32GB tablet from my partner, and I gave him a Google Chromecast so he can watch Netflix and YouTube from his tablet, plus I got him Netflix.

I don’t know what will happen in 2014, but I’m sure it will be as memorable as 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Google Chromecast

Chromecast

I didn’t know what to get my partner for Christmas because he doesn’t seem to show any interest to anything.  Everyone has a hobby of some sorts, but not him, so buying presents is difficult.  Last month he bought a new tablet from Verizon and I remember seeing the ads for Chromecast, so I figured this would make the perfect gift for him so he could watch Netflix and YouTube on his HDTV.

Chromecast Icon CircledOf course when it came, I couldn’t get it working.  I thought the setup would be easy, but it was anything but.  His tablet recognized it, but wouldn’t connect with it.  I decided that he could use my CR-48 (Chromebook) to watch Netflix, so I installed the extension and it recognized the Chromecast and connected instantly.  I went back to his tablet to the Chromecast app and it was already connected there too.  Despite the fact that I never even installed the Chromecast app on my Nook HD+, I see the Chromecast connect icon on Netflix and YouTube.

When I bought the Chromecast through the Google Play Store, I read the reviews and saw a couple of people bitching about the fact that you cannot watch home videos or pictures you have taken with your phone or tablet, but I found that to be false.  If you own a Chromecast, when you go to the Google Play Store on your device you will see a category with apps made specifically for Chromecast.  There is an app called avia which says you can share your personal photos, videos and music on the big screen.  The app is free, but it might be limited because it says “In-app purchase of $2.99  gives you Chromecast support, casting to DLNA enabled devices, access to Dropbox, support for themes and removes all ads.”  As with everything in life, read the reviews and decide for yourself.  There is only one app that will allow you to share your personal photos and videos… for now.

Loading the Chromecast is simple.  When you want to watch something, just click the Chromecast icon so it streams to your TV, then hit the play button and it will automatically switch to the Chromecast.  When you are done, you will have to get the remote control that came with your TV to switch the input back to the cable.  It’s actually very easy.

It’s a great device for those who don’t have an internet streaming device like the Apple TV, Roku or a Blu-ray player, it’s also cheaper at only $35.

Here are a couple of screenshots of YouTube and Netflix with the Chromecast icon.

Chromecast YouTube Chromecast Netflix

Nook HD+ for Christmas

desktop landscape

I was totally not expecting this, but my partner bought me a Nook HD+ 32GB for Christmas. I was saving money to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire because I thought it was better than a Nook tablet. I had no idea that the Nook tablet had the Google play store now. So I changed my mind, but was still saving the money and was expecting that I would finally have the money saved by my birthday in June. I told my partner what I was planning, and I think he took that as a hint. It wasn’t, but hey, I’m not complaining lol.

I have a Nook WiFi, which is still very nice to have for when I want to read a book in the sunlight. That doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen. You can’t see a tablet screen in sunlight which is what makes a e-ink screen superior than a tablet in that sense.

I was saving up for the 7″ screen with only 8GB, but when we were at the Barnes & Noble store he saw the two screens next to each other and decided for me that the 9″ screen was better, and that 32GB would also be way better than only 8GB which I highly agree with. The price however was a huge difference. The 7″ tablet was only $129 and the 9″ was $179. I agree that the one he bought me is better though, and I probably would have regretted not getting the bigger one.

library portrait There was a problem with my new Nook though. The first day was okay, but the second day wasn’t. The screen started freaking out on me. It would move side to side on its own and it would drop app icons onto the desktop from the carousel at the top. It also went into my library and started downloading books and magazines from the cloud. I saw it in the Nook store and freaked out that it would start making executive decisions on what it thought I should start reading.

I called the store and tried to explain to them what was happening, but the tech didn’t get it right away. She eventually understood and walked me through resetting it to factory and told me if I had any more problems to bring it in for another one. It did, and so we went in the very next day. It was a good thing too because they were on sale, so they gave my partner the difference, which was $32. Not bad eh? Instead of being $179, it was only $149.

So yeah, the Nook HD+ 32GB was a very good thing. I’ve been putting my computer in sleep mode while I use the Nook as a computer. No sense in using electricity if I’m going to use a tablet instead of a computer. I am disappointed that I can’t play the Sims FreePlay on it though. I’ve been playing that on my cell phone for a year now and it gets frustrating when it crashes constantly. I would love to free up some space on my phone and play it on a bigger screen.

landscape book

I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to read books on the screen because I much prefer either paper or e-ink, but it’s actually not that bad to read from. I’ve been reading in landscape mode and it reads just like a book, it even looks like a book when you turn the page. The reason I’m reading in landscape mode is because of the case I have. It’s much easier for me to read with the Nook sitting on my desk than it is to hold it on my hand.

I am very happy with my gift. I’m even happier that I didn’t have to save the money for it because I can’t save money very easily because it always goes into the groceries. I’m even happier that the replacement didn’t freak out like the first one lol.

We didn’t buy the case in the store because I thought they would be expensive, so I bought it on Amazon for $11 with free shipping.  Not a bad price.  I found out that the cases they have in the store are only $15, but I am very happy with the case that I have because it rotates so it can stand in portrait or landscape mode.

We don’t conform to the rules of opening your Christmas presents ON Christmas day.  Screw that noise lol.  We will open our presents when we gosh darn well please thank you very much.  The present I bought for him wasn’t quite as expensive though, it was the Google Chromecast for $35.  He can use it to watch Netflix or YouTube directly from his tablet.  My second gift for him was Netflix itself, which we both can enjoy from our tablets and the Blu-ray player.

Since when did saying “Happy Holidays” become offensive?

Christmas 2007-1

I have been saying “Happy Holidays” my entire life.  There have always been cards sold in stores that say “Happy Holidays” and nobody was ever offended before.  Now all of a sudden saying “Happy Holidays” seems to be more offensive because people believe there is a war on Christmas and that Atheists are trying to remove “Christ” from Christmas, so if I don’t say “Merry Christmas”, but say “Happy Holidays” instead, then I am part of the problem and get lectured by some religious person who is very upset.

This is how I see it.  I have friends who celebrate Hanukkah and friends who celebrate Christmas.  I also have friends and family who celebrate Christmas, but not specifically for religious reasons because they are Atheists.  So why can’t I say “Happy Holidays” to them without someone yelling at me for not saying “Merry Christmas”?  I wouldn’t say “Merry Christmas” to my Jewish friends and I wouldn’t say “Happy Hanukkah” to my Christian friends.  Happy Holidays is a happy medium.  It’s a way of saying, well, Happy Holidays lol.  It’s just words, so why is it so upsetting?  I don’t understand.

I am an Atheist and I have celebrated Christmas since I was a baby.  I wasn’t always an Atheist, I was baptized when I was a baby and I considered myself to be a Christian when I was growing up.  My parents took us to church when we were very young, and I have memories of that, but then they stopped and there is a very funny story of why.

My mother and step father went to my mother’s church which happened to be the Mormon church.  The first time he ever went there with her, they asked him to stand up and say his name.  He was afraid to say his own last name out of fear of her getting kicked out of the church because they were living together, but they weren’t married.  They knew her last name was McDonald, so he used her last name without really thinking it through.  The problem with that was, his first name was Ronald.  He was so beyond embarrassed when people laughed at him for proudly proclaiming to be Ronald McDonald that we never went to church again as a family.

I went with neighbors to the Salvation Army church when I was in the 6th and 7th grade.  I even went to the Salvation Army band camp the summer before I was in the 7th grade.  When we lived in Reseda when I was in the 9th grade we rejoined the Mormon Church because they helped us with food bank, but I don’t recall going to church every Sunday, but I do remember going to teen functions, one specific function stands out, it was a dance for the teenagers.

Anyway, I was very religious up until I came out of the closet at 17, well, I was pushed out, then kicked out.  People started quoting the bible to let me know I was going to hell for being gay and over the course of a year or two, I became an Atheist.  But I never stopped celebrating Christmas because I enjoy decorating the Christmas tree and looking at the lights and having a stocking hung by the fireplace.  I enjoy all of the Christmas movies and I love it when my favorite shows have a Christmas episode.

Just because I am an atheist and do not celebrate Christmas for “Christ” doesn’t mean I want Christ to be removed from Christmas.  I honestly don’t care what it’s called, I just want to have a happy holiday without being told that I am a part of the war on Christmas just because I am not religious.

So Happy Holidays to you all.  Deal with me saying Happy Holidays because it’s just words.  If me saying Happy Holidays offends you, get over it!

BTW, the cat in the picture above is our late cat Shanaynay.  She passed away in 2009.