Since beating the main story line of Lego Lord of the Rings, Richard and I have started more avidly playing War in the North. We originally started working on this game in October, but only recently have been putting in some serious hours. The game allows you to play as 3 different heros, Farin the Dwarf, Eradan the Human, and Andriel the Elf. Richard is playing as Eradan and I am playing as Andriel. As a group (Farin accompanies us as well played by the PS3) we travel to various towns in the Lord of the Rings storylines and complete various quests. This game is considered more of a background story to the main LOTR lines, and we encounter the regular cast of characters such as Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Aragorn, etc. throughout our travels.
Eradan is a ranger and Richard usually equips him with dual blades, and I am a mage and usually have a staff equipped and prefer ranged combat vs. hand to hand. Farin is slightly helpful, but mostly just gets in the way and pulls way too much agro and dies often. Your armor in the game is constantly being changed and upgraded by wares that you find during quests and in various towns. It also degrades as you fight, so it is important to repair your items or carry back-up gear in case your items break. So far, I have not had the latter happen, fingers crossed. As a mage I pick up various herbs and craft potions and edibles, Richard’s ranger abilities allow him to follow various side paths that only rangers can see. Some of the battles have been exceptionally hard and we have died countless times, but luckily we have been able to apply different strategies to our approach and have been able to keep the story going instead of rage quitting (which we have done as well).
We are currently in Mirkwood fighting the last portion of the quest. So far I have really enjoyed this game, now that I have got a handle on the various menus for my learned skills.
● ● ● ● ●
December NaBloPoMo Topic:
Do you think you’re yourself at work, or do you think your co-workers don’t know the “real” you?
I like to think that my co-workers know the real me. I make no effort to hide my interests and hobbies, as some of them are tattooed right on me for everyone to see. For the most part, I tend to try to not talk religion or politics because it usually ends up with peoples feelings hurt. I always try to bring a nice mix of professionalism and my nerdy quirky self to work – and hope that my co-workers are not putting up a front to me.
Back to school, hope that I don’t look like a fool. It has been quite some time since I set foot into a classroom. Longer than I would like to admit actually. On of my main goals for next year is to be back in school. I’m not getting any younger, time is passing quicker and I’m still not a nurse yet. Until then, I have signed up for a few classes with Coursera. If you have not heard of Coursera it is a free online “college” that allows you take classes taught by real professors from real schools, catch is that currently they don’t offer credits for the classes they teach. I, personally am OK with this, as it has been a nice refresher to getting back into the swing of school, not to mention I am taking a class that I would never have the opportunity to take at a school in this area. Coursera is constantly adding new classes with different subjects to study, so if you have some free time, check it out! Here is what I am currently taking and what I am signed up for in the future:
Drugs & The Brain : What happens in the body when a person smokes a cigarette? After several weeks of smoking? When a person takes antidepressant or antipsychotic medication? A drug for pain or migraine? A recreational drug? Neuroscientists are beginning to understand these processes. You’ll learn how drugs enter the brain, how they act on receptors and ion channels, and how “molecular relay races” lead to changes in nerve cells and neural circuits that far outlast the drugs themselves. “Drugs and the Brain” also describes how scientists are gathering the knowledge required for the next steps in preventing or alleviating Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and drug abuse. [Currently Enrolled]
The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness : This course is an opportunity to explore how social practices and ideas contribute to the ways in which society, families and individuals are affected by mental health and mental illness. We will look at issues like why some people think mental illness is a myth, how people think about mental health and illness in different cultures, who gets mentally ill and why, how families are affected by mental illness and what interventions are available to treat mental illness and promote mental health. [Starts January 2013]
A Beginners Guide to Irrational Behavior : Behavioral economics and the closely related field of behavioral finance couple scientific research on the psychology of decision making with economic theory to better understand what motivates investors, employees, and consumers. This course will be based heavily on my own research. We will examine topics such as how emotion rather than cognition determines economic decisions, “irrational” patterns of thinking about money and investments, how expectations shape perceptions, economic and psychological analyses of dishonesty by presumably honest people, and how social and financial incentives combine to motivate labor by everyday workers and CEOs alike. This highly interdisciplinary course will be relevant to students with interests in General Management, Behavioral Finance, Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Marketing. [Starts March 2013]
Introduction to Pharmacy : This course will answer these questions and provide a comprehensive introduction to this profession. We will explore the history of pharmacy and its evolving scope of practice; examine educational and career pathways; tackle issues relating to medication safety and adverse drug events; gain insight into the regulatory and ethical considerations in pharmacy practice; and more. [Starts September 2013]
Cardiac Arrest, Hypothermia, and Resuscitation Science : This course will explore new breakthroughs in the treatment of patients during cardiac arrest and after successful resuscitation, including new approaches to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and post-arrest care. Topics will include: (1) the underlying challenges of cardiac arrest in public health, (2) the important role of chest compressions and ventilations, and new thinking about how to improve these approaches in resuscitation care, (3) the role of defibrillation and the exciting growth of automatic external defibrillation (AED) programs, and (4) the new science of targeted temperature management, also known as therapeutic hypothermia, to improve brain function after circulation is restored. This course is designed for a broad audience including the lay public, emergency medical personnel and other health care providers. [Date to be announced]
Not all of the classes that they offer are as heavy as the ones that I am taking, they just happen to interest me. Today I spent about 5 hours camped out at my local Starbucks, chugging Chai and studying for my first test for Drugs & the Brain. It has been an exceptionally long time since I have had to take massive notes, let alone study for a test. This class is a bit over my head, but since it is not impacting a GPA, I figure even if I don’t do well, I will have still learned something. Wish me luck on my test tomorrow!
Have you taken any classes with Coursera? How was your experience?
● ● ● ● ●
December NaBloPoMo Topic:
Are you happier when you’re working or when you’re relaxing?
I think the answer to this question is a little bit of both. Working of course nets you money, which allows you to do fun things while relaxing. But working also allows you to learn new skills and meet new people that enrich your life. Both of these things can bring happiness. Relaxing is always great because you can explore new things and meet people as well.
(photo taken by yours truly in San Francisco, CA.)
You guys, I must confess, I am a huge nerd. Okay, that probably didn’t shock anyone if you have read more than 1 entry on my blog. But there are a few things that I do that take nerdiness to a new level. One of those is geocaching. What the heck is geocaching you may be asking yourself?
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
My friends Dawn & Jack introduced me to geocaching in 2008, but I did not officially start caching until April of 2009. Since then I have found over 600 caches in the Northern California area and have attended various geocaching events. This evening I attended a 12-12-12 event and had a wonderful time. It was amazing to spend time with my lovely friend Dawn and her parents as well as catch up with old caching buddies and meet a few new people. I was honestly surprised by the turn out for a Wednesday night but I guess we know how to party.
One of my most bragworthy accomplishments as a geocacher has been finding 100 geocaches in a day. This was no easy feat. We started at 5 AM and cached through the entire day before calling it quits at 6PM. For good measure we picked up some extra caches along the way for the people in the group that had already found a few on the list selected to find that day. This brought me to 103 for the day. I have cached with my friends, my mom, and in another state. It is exceptionally fun and something that you can do anywhere in the world! You also don’t need a fancy GPS to play, as I cache right on my iPhone (previously my BlackBerry).
Do you geocache? What is your cacher name?
● ● ● ● ●
December NaBloPoMo Topic:
What do you think would be the hardest job for you to do?
I think the hardest job for me to do would be to either have to notify families that their loved one or pet had passed away. Or any job that would require me to deal with foul smells, as I tend to gag pretty easily when it comes to certain odors.
Looking for a little something different to listen to this holiday season? Years of retail have left me jaded of the traditional Christmas music and it’s always nice to stumble on something new, especially when performed by some of my favorite artists.
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
If I could have any job in the world, it would be a tie between two things. First I would want to be a trauma nurse. Nursing is something that I am extremely passionate about and an adrenaline rush like you would not believe. The satisfaction of helping others in their most desperate time of need is exceptionally fulfilling. Second I would want to be a full time artist. I often day dream about spending my days creating. As my of you can relate to, creativity does not always come easy, so it would be nice to be in a position that would allow me to create whenever I feel inspired, and work without time constraints.
There are a few types of people that I am envious of in this world. People who find enjoyment in reading are one of them. I never really found the joy of losing myself in a book, and I am envious of those who can read for hours on end. BUT – I have been trying to change that. I think my enjoyment of reading never came to fruition because I was forced to read a lot of books that I had no interest in when I was in school. I have been focusing on trying to find authors that I really enjoy as well as delving into the realm of comic books & graphic novels (thanks to Richard). Here is a glimpse of what I have been reading lately:
Damned by Chuck Palahniuk – The novel opens with Madison “Maddy” Spencer waking in Hell, unsure of the details surrounding her death (she believes she has died of a marijuana overdose). Maddy quickly gets to know her nearby cellmates. The group (loosely modeled on the character traits in “The Breakfast Club,” i.e., a rocker, a nerd, a beauty and a jock) take Maddy on a tour of Hell.In Hell, Madison works as a telemarketer, calling the living during mealtimes and asking them to answer inane survey questions. Throughout the novel, we see Madison’s interactions with the living as well as the dead as she tries to piece together the events surrounding her death, and figure out how best to cope with the idea of spending the rest of eternity in Hell.
Gloomcookie, The Final Curtain by Serena Valentino – Wrapping up the long-running Gloom Cookie series, The Final Curtain brings us to a brief resting point for all of the characters as the goth soap opera brings everything to a boil, with plots, twists and turns in the relationships and the storylines.
Various Comics – This includes (but is not limited to): Adventure Time, Marceline & The Scream Queens, Robyn Hood, Damsels, Ghost, and Alice In Wonderland.
● ● ● ● ●
Today was also my first day unemployed. Talk about a really weird experience. I had an interview this morning, so fingers crossed on that. I felt like I did a decent job, but possibly bombed the assessment. I am exceptionally rusty when it comes to math. I really hope something pans out, but I don’t want to get my hopes up in case it turns out that I am not the right fit. I also applied for unemployment before I left, so hears hoping that either A) I don’t end up needing it or B) that it is processed quickly, because you know, Christmas and all.
● ● ● ● ●
December NaBloPoMo Topic:
Do you enjoy your current job (or your last job)?
I definitely enjoyed my previous job. Working for a friend is a double edged sword. On one hand, you are working for a friend! You feel like your work has a direct impact on the business vs. working for a large company where you often feel like just a number or warm body. On the other hand, it is hard not to take conversations that are not always the best, in a professional manner, and not in a personal way. I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new skills, especially Quickbooks. I am sad that things have come to an end – but look forward to new opportunities.