Hercules Candy Company

Hercules logo

I have become addicted to watching a candy making family on YouTube. The channel is Hercules Candy and if you click that link, you can watch their intro video which tells the history of the company. The company is owned by Steve and his wife Terry Andrianos and their son Craig records all of the videos for the channel. He also has his own channel called NoEggCraig.

Why do I watch their videos you ask? Well, my life partner is quite curious to know as well. Every time he walks in my room and he sees them on the tv he says “OMG are you still watching them?” Well, here’s why I watch their videos. Because I want to. Don’t argue with me!

I honestly don’t need a reason. They are funny and more entertaining than any reality show on TV, and it’s educational. I mean, I don’t need to know how to temper chocolate, but just in case I ever want to make my own chocolate covered cherries, now I know how. If I ever wanted to make my own pretzel sticks covered with peanut butter and then covered in chocolate and then rolled in potato chips, now I know how. If I ever wanted to make chocolate covered potato chips or chocolate covered pretzels or chocolate covered nuts, now I know how.

They actually sell bags of different types and colors of chocolate at Michael’s and they even have chocolate molds, so all I need is a small enough double boiler, which I’m pretty sure I can get away with using a small saucepan for the hot water and a small glass bowl on top and let the chocolate heat up enough to melt. The chocolate has to be around 85-87 degrees to cover things then just cover it, put it on wax or parchment paper and put it in the fridge.

I would love to buy some of their candies and I hope that one of these days I might be able to afford a trip to New York because I’ve always wanted to visit. For now I can just watch their videos because they have so many.

Kenmore Sewing Machine

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I want to say about 10 years or so ago my partner and I were at Sears buying bags for our vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaners are with the microwaves and sewing machines, so while we were there, he decided I needed a sewing machine. I want to laugh because that sounded funny to me.

So he bought me this sewing machine and I used a piece of paper to check out what the patterns are that you could sew, but as far as me learning how to actually sew something, it was hopeless. The sewing machine basically just sat in the hallway closet until recently. I wrote a blog post about The Enchanted Cottage recently, and I shared some pictures of a Zafu cover and Zabuton that I made with the sewing machine.

I bought a box of 11 sewing machine feet from Wish, which you can see in the picture above next to the sewing machine, but here is a close up of those feet. They all fit my sewing machine with the exception of the 2nd from the left on the top row. That is a zipper foot, but the sewing machine came with a zipper foot so I didn’t really need this one.

Sewing machine feet

Now that I’ve made the Zafu and Zabuton, I’ve decided I wanted to make more things. My partner basically lives on the couch and he uses a bed sheet which I’m always seeing him adjust, so I would love to either cut up some of our old sheets that we never use to make him a fitted sheet, or buy some new fabric to make the fitted sheet. I also took an old dog shirt that never really fit our dog and took out the stitches so I can use as a template to make her some clothes from our old t-shirts. I can print some dog images on iron-on paper to decorate the shirts so they’re not plain. Of course I will start with our old t-shirts as practice, but I’d love to buy fleece or flannel fabric for winter clothing.

I figured while I’m learning to make clothing for the dog and fitted sheets, I might as well learn to make actual clothing that we can wear. They sell patterns at thrift stores that I can use to practice.

I attend YouTube University (heh a phrase my aunt used the other day) and I learn from watching videos. Today I learned how to make little bags with zippers and I also learned to make grocery bags for the store. I would love to learn to make wallets because my wallet is falling apart and my partner’s wallet is also falling apart. His wallet has a zipper on it and I would love if mine also had a zipper.

It took 10 years for me to get excited about using a sewing machine, but at least I got there. What’s funny is that I was excited about getting it until we actually got it and I realized I had no clue what I was doing, then I guess I rejected it. Well, that excitement has been renewed, and that’s good.

YouTube

So… have you been watching my YouTube videos? What? You didn’t know I was on YouTube? Well, better late than never, eh? Check me out. http://www.YouTube.com/DiaryofaGayNerd.  I’m a sensation! Ok, so I’m not a YouTube sensation, but I’m working on it lol.

I think as with anything, my personality is shy in the beginning, then I start coming out of my candy coated shell until eventually I’m singing and dancing with a lampshade on my head. I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I’m much more comfortable on camera, and I’m not even editing anymore. When I say editing, I mean editing out the parts where I start whining how I can’t do this and how I can’t think straight. Now I can literally talk for 20 minutes until I realize OMG I’ve been talking nonstop for 20 minutes! My first few dozen videos were about 10 minutes or less, now I’m like crap it’s going too long lol.

So check me out when you get the chance and see my personality in action. No, really, I need the views, likes and subs lol. PLEASE check me out lol.

PS Vita Borderlands 2 Bundle

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My partner didn’t know what to get me for Christmas, and I was dropping hints so big, I’m really shocked he didn’t get it lol. He finally did when I just blurted it out. A bit tacky, but whatever.

So he called Best Buy to find out if they had the PS Vita, and they said yes, so we got in the car to go and I told him that if truth be told, I honestly don’t want just the console, I’d rather have a bundle because it’s the same price, and you get a game AND a memory card. Best Buy only had the console, not the bundle. I looked on the Game Stop app and I thought they had the bundle, so we went to the mall and they said they didn’t have the bundle.

They said they just had the blue PS Vita, so we were just going to buy it on Amazon later, but I decided that I didn’t care about the bundle, I just want it, so we went back. They explained that I needed a memory card since the 1GB on board is used for the Vita OS, and it was too much for my partner, so we ordered the bundle to be shipped, and after shipping and the warranty, it came out to the same price lol. Oh well.

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The guy at Game Stop said Borderlands 2 will consume the 8GB memory card that comes in the bundle, so when we came home I bought a 32GB memory card for $62 and change, plus tax, plus shipping, and it will be here on Wednesday. The PS Vita will be here on Friday.

Today I went on the PlayStation app on my phone to see what games I already own that are compatible with the PS Vita, and it turns out I have quite a bit of games that will work. I listed them. I bought 2 extra games that I have many add-ons for that will work with the
PS Vita, so I figured I might as well have those games too. A lot of these games are on my PSP, but some of these games are only available for the PS Vita. I already own them, so now I can actually play them, and some of them I’ve played on my PSP, so I can play them again, but with an extra stick since my PSP only has the one stick on the left, and the PS Vita has the stick on the left and right.

PS Vita game list

I used to make PSP gameplay videos and post them on YouTube, and I was quite proud of them, but I stopped doing it because so many people made fun of the fact that my hands shake (I was born with a tremor in both hands, actually my entire body shakes). One or two people commented on how I was playing a game wrong since I wasn’t properly killing the monsters the way they would have killed the monsters. Talk about picking your battles. Dude, we all play games our own way, you play your way, I play mine. No one plays wrong. One person actually called me a pedophile. As if only children are allowed to play video games, give me a break. That was my deciding factor in quitting.

I discovered a device that you can plug your PSP into that will record your gameplay, which cuts out the need for a camcorder pointing at the screen, so no hands in the way, but I don’t know if it works with the PS Vita. If I can find out what other people use to record gameplay with the Vita, then I may consider doing that because I’d really love to record some videos again. I had so much fun doing that, and I love watching other people playing video games, so I want to do that again. If I need a device then I will buy one, but if you can do it directly from the Vita without the need for extra hardware, then I will do that instead.

So the 32GB memory card comes on Wednesday and the PS Vita comes on Friday. I wanted it so when I am in the living room, I will be able to play Destiny and Star Wars Battlefront using remote play, but I really want to play the other games like Borderlands 2 and some of these games I’ve listed. I will post again when it comes and after I’ve played around with it. Catch you on the flip side!

New PSP Games

Castlevania EyePet Jak & Daxter Secret Agent Clank

I’ve been having fun riding the bicycle in the patio with my new bicycle trainer. I’ve been listening to music with my Dell DJ, but it gets boring just sitting there in the same room looking at the same thing, which is a door and a bunch of junk lol. If the patio were cleaned up and there were furniture to look at then it might be more pleasant, but I’m sure I’d get bored of looking at that too.

Yesterday when I was riding on the bicycle, I decided I would bring out my PSP and play a new game that I recently bought at a pawn shop that was closing. I rode the bicycle for 36 minutes while playing and it seemed like time flew by. I would have kept going past 36 minutes if it weren’t for the fact that my butt became numb because of the way I was sitting. I have an Ergo bicycle seat, so I really should be holding on to the handlebars to stay upright. Playing with the PSP kind of moved me in an awkward position, so my butt became numb lol. I’m going to buy a new seat next time I go to Target. They have the beach cruiser seats which is probably more comfortable anyway.

I have a page on my website for all of my PSP games. These 4 games in particular are EyePet, which I bought specifically because I wanted the camera lol. I know it’s stupid because I have a good camera on my cell phone, and I have a good video camera that takes pictures, so why would I need a camera on my PSP? Well, considering it’s only $13 and it comes with a game, I thought it was worth the price, and I want to buy all of the accessories and games that I can before they stop selling them.

I bought Secret Agent Clank because I love the Ratchet and Clank games. I have one of them and I loved it, but I haven’t played it in such a long time that I have no idea what I’m doing. I bought Jak and Daxter because I love the Daxter game that came with my PSP. I have always wanted to play this one. Castlevania is a game I’ve wanted to play for a long time. It’s not the same as the other cool PSP games like the Daxter and Clank games, it’s like a side-scroller you would see with Nintendo and Sega games. I actually love side-scroller games.

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This is a PSP Real View V-Screen Depth Enhancer. It acts as a case for your PSP, and when you open it, you can pull down a magnifying glass that makes your game bigger, and it is supposed to add 3D to your 2D game. I watched a YouTube video to see how it works, but the reviews weren’t so great. I bought it anyway because like I said about the camera, I want to buy all the accessories and games that I can before they stop selling them. I want to experience everything I can before I can’t anymore.

I had something similar to this for my Game Boy, but it wasn’t a case, it just slid over the top of the game boy and you could see a bigger screen, it also had a light. It didn’t turn my 2D game into a 3D game, but from what the video reviews said on YouTube, neither does this lol. I really don’t care too much about that. It was only $5.29 with free shipping. You can’t beat that.

I have more games in my PSP Games Wishlist on Amazon. Of course, Sony Online Entertainment stopped making new games for the PSP because they are focusing more on the PS Vita which has a smaller game stick rather than a UMD Universal Media Disc. So much for it being universal. They also have downloadable games in the Playstation Store that I can buy, but unfortunately my new WiFi Cable Modem uses a specific security that my PSP cannot connect to, so that has totally screwed up my ability to ever connect to my WiFi again. No more browsing the PlayStation store for games and no more browsing websites, not that I needed to, and no more using Skype.

These games and the Real View V-Screen Depth Enhancer will arrive either this Friday or Saturday, or in the middle of next week. I really look forward to the Jak and Daxter game. I have so many games now, but I haven’t finished all of them because I get bored with them. Maybe I will put it on my bucket list to actually finish a game that I started to get some kind of closure on each game. That would be nice lol.

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!