Thursday, 24 September 2015

Decluttering is Hard!

Some of My Best Portraits
As my visa to the USA is progressing nicely now, it's long past due for me to start clearing out all my stuff ready for the big move. I wouldn't call myself a hoarder as such - not in the over the top obsessive way but after years of living away from my parents when all my prized possessions fitted in one bedroom, I have definitely accumulated a lot of items as keepsakes and 'oh, that will be useful one day' type stuff!

The last week or two have been ok as I've just been sorting the more recent things but now I'm delving into boxes I haven't unpacked since I left my ex-husband and those are the boxes full of memories all the way back to my childhood. It's heartbreaking to just throw it all away but I can't afford to ship it, there's nowhere to really put it in Cold's apartment and I definitely can't justify storing it here either!

I might keep this set!
I also didn't realise quite how much camera and photography related gear that I've hung on to. Not only do I have a full studio lighting system but cables, props and additional lenses all add up to a lot of weight & space! I used to be a member of a camera club with monthly competitions. I was the only digital photographer there at the time so I also have loads of CD's full of photos as well as mounted photos from all the competitions!

So today, I have stripped all the camera club prize labels from the back of the mount boards and taken all the photos out of the mounts so I can try & sell the boards on ebay or maybe at a boot sale. For my American friends, it's kind of like a yard sale except you load up the car and take it to a field with loads of other sellers & hope someone buys your bits and pieces.

I have 2 boxes of books to go as well - some of which I've had since I was a teenager. The urge to keep a few is very strong but so far my 'to keep & take with me' pile is very small. I'm working on taking only 2 large suitcases with me and one of those will definitely be clothes.

My first sale went well I think and now my Mum is digging out stuff for me to sell too! I'm like 'Mum, noooo!' but I haven't the heart to tell her that.

So if any Brits want some camera gear going cheap, let me know & I'll send you a list of what I'm selling.

I need to sell as much as I can because this visa process isn't cheap! The medical is £250 (about $375) and the visa itself is £150 ($225) too so although I'm never going to do a gofundme thing, if you feel like helping out a little, maybe you could use one of my Amazon links next time you go Amazon shopping? Or, if you're into photography, you could always buy my book - Improve Your Flower Photography - every little bit helps after all!


Sunday, 6 September 2015

One Minute Gaming #62 - Blokshock Revolution

This week, I've been playing a skill based arcade style game called Blokshock Revolution. You control a blob that spins around a central point by tapping and holding the screen. It releases a fireball when you release your hold but it's kind of hard to control the direction!

Large and small squares are coming towards you from the top of the screen and you can earn boosts by hitting 2 with one shot or hitting several in a row. You can also bounce your fireballs off the sidewalls and control the speed of them by how long you hold down your finger to make your blob spin.

There is a goal line running out from each side of your central blob - once the squares pass that line, you have only a few seconds to shoot them. You can shoot behind you if you're good but the only time I manage to shoot behind that line is by accident!

It's a pretty straightforward game to learn but it takes skill and speedy reactions to release your fireball at just the right point! Not a skill I've gained yet but I'm getting there.

The graphics are clear and simple, the control is one finger touch and the music is an EDM trance style track. There isn't a cash shop but you can pay to get rid of the adverts and get more music tracks too.

I'd give Blokshock a 7 out of 10 - it's fun for a while but it's frustrating too.

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


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Sunday, 30 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #61 - Endless Pacman 256

Endless Pacman

This week, I've been playing a game called Endless Pacman. It's the old Pacman game but with a twist - instead of individual maps to beat, this one just keeps scrolling and disintegrates behind you.

This makes it really difficult to clear a whole area of dots but the good thing is that the ghosts disappear too if they are in that part of the board.

There are all the original power ups and bonus items but in Endless Pacman, you also earn weapons and other useful power ups. The first one you earn is a laser so when you eat a laser dot, you shoot everything in a straight line in front of you. It's great fun seeing a whole line of ghosts die to your laser!

The graphics are true to the old game and so are the sound effects. It took me a little while to remember how to even move - I was trying to drag my Pacman around but of course, it doesn't work like that! You have to swipe a direction and he will take the next turn in that direction when he gets there.

I enjoyed it for the first 10 minutes or so but then it all came back to me why I never really liked the original game! I probably won't be playing this one regularly but for fans of old school games it's a definite 8 out of 10 at least. It's also a great way to show your kids some of the origins of video games too.

If you have a game you'd like me to try, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or you can leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


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Blaugust Day 30 - Wrapping Up Early

Almost Made It To The End of Blaugust!
Last weekend, I did a whole bunch of posts to catch up with the days I had missed the week before but this last week was even busier than the previous one so here we are on Sunday morning and I haven't posted for a week. I think it's safe to say I didn't quite manage to post every day but I'm not disappointed.

I knew the timing wasn't great, with my job kicking my butt as I'm flying solo there now (after just 4 weeks training!) and I'm sorting out all my stuff, ready to emmigrate to the USA. I've taken 2 bags of junk to the dump already but it doesn't look like I've touched anything! I guess I'm more of a hoarder than I realised!

The thing that has hit me most about Blaugust is the traffic boost. My best month ever here on She Rides Dragons was in April last year when I did the A to Z Challenge but Blaugust was on track to beat that. I'm about 6 days short of my best month ever which means that if I had kept up last week, going by average daily visits, this would have been best month ever.

But although that's great, it has made me realise that writing regularly for the sake of posting because my traffic is down is not a great reason to be writing. When I do my sporadic posts, it's usually because I think I have something to say on a topic or something I find interesting to share.  I started this blog as a side place for WoW stuff that wasn't gold making related like AH Addict but even that blog has suffered this mental block I have currently.

Having said all that, I'm not going to stop writing, this is just a bit of a brain dump today as I realise that when I'm in the right frame of mind, I can write for hours, just like I can talk for hours, given half the chance! I'm quite pleased with myself for writing 6 posts last weekend even if that isn't the idea behind Blaugust! I felt good getting them out and I didn't feel like I was waffling on.

Next time I talk about starting one of these writing/blogging challenges, someone please kick me - hard! I have enough going on anyway, I really don't need to be adding more stuff to my to-do list! lol

Big congratulations to all those bloggers who managed the whole month of Blaugust. I've found some interesting new blogs to read, followed a few new people on Twitter and I enjoyed the whole process - up to the point where I got snowed under anyway!

Image © Tim Norris under Creative Commons licence


Saturday, 22 August 2015

What If I Fall?

My Spitfire image, Erin's words.

What If I Fall? - Blaugust Day 22

I've seen this quote a few times now and it inspired me to dig out some of my flying related photos. I was going to put the quote on them and sell digital inspirational quote images in my Etsy shop so I thought I'd better check out the source first.

It turns out, it's from a short poem by Erin Hanson. I checked out her website The Poetic Underground and spent hours reading her poems. What an amazing talent this young lady has. Strong, heartfelt and pretty deep thoughts from a 21 year old!

I guess I'll need to find other quotes for my inspirational posters range but in the meantime check out her website. I still made a poster pic but I won't be selling it on Etsy! I'm hoping she won't mind me using that little bit of her poem for my image on this post as I'm pretty much advertising her stuff!

The other thing I like about Erin's site is that she has made her poems into images like the one above. Each is just a bit different from the previous one and makes for great pinnable images on Pinterest. So not only is she young and talented but she's got her brain working too!

I'm playing catch-up on my Blaugust posts but there are plenty of other bloggers still on schedule so pop along to the Blaugust nook if you'd like to check out a whole bunch of blogs & maybe find some new favorites.


Friday, 21 August 2015

One Minute Gaming #60 - Brawl of Cthulhu

Brawl of Cthulhu - Blaugust Day 21

This week, I've been playing a fun new game called Brawl of Cthulhu. It's a modern take on the old side scrolling platform games but with great graphics and a cool soundtrack.

You play a cute Cthulhu who is awakened from the deep ocean and comes to land to rain death and destruction on civilisation. You have to collect stars, keys, power gems and star maps as you run around punching things to death. If you collect the right power-up, you also get a cool tentacle whip to play with!

It's not just a side scroller though - the wonders of modern technology mean that it has more depth and you can move to the back or front of the screen too. That actually makes it kind of hard to control with the on screen joystick controller.

There's a shop full of power ups which you pay for with the stars you collect but there's also lots of fun hats available too. The hats are very expensive in stars so of course, you can buy star packs for real money. You can also get rid of the adds for 99 cents but I haven't actually seen any so don't waste your money there!

I found it fun but frustrating so I'll give Brawl of Cthulhu a 7 out of 10. Younger kids might love it but my fat fingers just can't handle the controls.

If you have a game you'd like to suggest, you can contact me on Twitter @NevAHAddict or leave a comment below.

So until next time, have fun!


Thursday, 20 August 2015

iPad Games I'm Playing

iPad Games I Play - Blaugust Day 20

Nonmail often asks how many of the games I review on One Minute Gaming am I still playing - well, here's a screenshot of my iPad just this morning. I had a big clear out a couple of weeks ago when I removed about 20 other games that I still played but not very often.

My morning routine is fairly simple - wake up, stagger to kitchen to start the coffee then PC on and head to the bathroom. Once I have my coffee in hand, I open my Twitter feed and whilst scrolling back to the previous evening, I open Clash of Clans to collect my resources, start a new build if I can & catch up with clan mates chat. Next, I open my Cooking Fever as there's a daily bonus of 2 gems - woo hoo! It's not much but it adds up over a few days to the next upgrade for whichever restaurant I'm playing at the moment.

Then it's on to my Mini Warriors - this one I've started playing a lot more recently. I find that I can gain almost a full level of XP in the time it takes me to catch up on my overnight Twitter feed. I only need to start each battle and leave the rest on automatic - I'm grinding levels a bit to get the upgrade materials for my army.

My Fallout Shelter is still a bit temperamental - crashing regularly but not so often as before. I'll probably be deleting this one soon - it just hasn't grabbed me like some of the others.

The game I'm playing the most right now is Twenty - I hit a high score of 20 about a month ago and I'm still trying to beat it! It's taking about 20-25 minutes for each match now though so I'm trying to cut back - I get dead legs after about 15 minutes (yeah sorry, maybe too much info there huh?), 1010 and 2048 are all games I can play while hanging out on Skype with Cold or on the telephone with my Dad - they don't take too much concentration so I can still hold a conversation.

I haven't reviewed the Mahjong Free game yet - I actually paid for the expansion pack when I first got the iPad so this is a game I've played for a couple of years now. I don't play it regularly but when I do, I tend to get hooked for a week or two then just stop playing it again.

The next tab on my iPad is full of games I haven't played yet but want to for my One Minute Gaming segment on Eviscerated Gaming Podcast. You can check out reviews for all the above games and loads more too by clicking the tab in the menu bar.

If you have a free iPad or iPhone game you think I should try, you can leave a comment below or link me on Twitter @NevAHAddict.