I Have A New Home

I have a new home!  Well, my blog has a new home. While I do love WordPress.com I decided it was best to actually have my own domain and self-hosted blog (I am still using WordPress).  Thus, starting today, you can find me and my blog at my new home.

Divergent Musings

It is still under construction, but I am really liking it there so far.  I will definitely miss the simplicity of WordPress.com, but I love the customization level of having my own hosted blog.  I will no longer be making any posts here, but do not worry, I am still participating in Post A Week 2011, and I will stop by and comment on others’ posts.

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Truth Thursday: Week III

Board games, card games, video games.  I love games of all types.  So this week’s Truth Thursday is all about just that!

MY FIRST VIDEO GAME SYSTEM WAS A SEGA GENESIS

My mother and step-father bought it for the family one Christmas.  It was our “big” present for that year.  For the longest time we only had one game for it, Sonic the Hedgehog 2I think I was maybe nine at the time, my brother was four.  We played that game into the ground.  To this day when I hear the theme music I am filled with warm fuzzy feelings and fond memories of trying to beat my brother.  Even though he was 4 1/2 years younger than me, and only four years old, he was better at the game than me.  And now, at almost 21, he is still better at video games than me, even though I know work in the industry.

I BOUGHT MY COMPUTER FOR COLLEGE SPECIFICALLY SO I COULD PLAY VIDEO GAMES

Though I loved video games when I was younger, primarily console games, I didn’t really play them throughout high school as I was focused on my academics and athletics.  However, during my first year of college I discovered PC games, thanks to my boyfriend suggesting I check out The Sims.  I was instantly hooked.  After that first year, I decided my computer wasn’t quite good enough so I bought a new one that would be powerful enough to play all the games I wanted and gave my old one to my father.  I actually had that computer for the rest of college and a year after I graduated.  I upgraded the video card once or twice, but it was a good little computer that fed my hobby quite well.

MY FAVORITE BOARD GAME IS MONOPOLY

It is not just video games that I love, but board games as well.  Growing up I loved to play Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Clue, Risk, and, of course, Monopoly.  I actually got so competitive with Monopoly that most would refuse to play with me.  Nowadays when asked to play, I warn them that they probably will not enjoy it.  The majority of people end up choosing another game instead because of that.  In the past five years or so I have enjoyed board games such as Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Apples to Apples, Munchkin, and Trivial Pursuit (which I play with my family every Christmas).  I will give any board game, or even card game, a try at least once.

I PLAY MAGIC THE GATHERING

I admit it, I do.  And you know what, I am actually pretty good at it too.  I was first introduced to the game by some cousins when I was 11 or 12.  I played a little in middle school and even high school (though I didn’t tell anybody I did), but it wasn’t until I graduated college that I got really into it.  After a couple years of actively playing and collecting cards, it just got too expensive (especially if you wanted to be competitive), and real life, such as work, became too important.  I will go to a pre-release event every so often, but for now, this hobby is on the back-burner.

MANY OF MY CLOSEST FRIENDS I INITIALLY MET AS A RESULT OF VIDEO GAMES

I know a lot of people say that video games can be destructive, but for me, they are the exact opposite.  Through various games and their fandoms I have met some absolutely fantastic people who are now some of my best friends.  They are all over the world, and though we don’t get to hang out every weekend (tickets to Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are quite expensive), they mean the absolute world to me.  Additionally, some of my friends that I did have growing up in high school and college are now avid video game players, giving us another thing to do and talk about.

Truth Thursday: Week II

This week’s Truth Thursday is all about music.

I DIDN’T GO TO MY FIRST LIVE CONCERT UNTIL I WAS 19

I grew up in small town Vermont.  We don’t have a lot of musical venues there.  If you wanted to go to a concert you would have to either drive to NYC (6 hours) or Boston (2 1/2 hours).  Every once in a while a semi-famous artist would pop up at a venue in Manchester, NH (2 hours).  On a very rare occasion we would get a country artist or “oldies” artist at a state fair.  As a teenager, if I wanted to go to a concert, I would either have to get permission to go by myself (which would never happen) or have my parents drive me (also unlikely to happen).  Additionally, when I was young, large cities and big crowds made me uneasy, so I never really had an interest in seeing a concert.  It wasn’t until my sophomore year when roommates invited me to go with them to an O.A.R. concert at a small venue in Rhode Island.  No clue who O.A.R. was I said yes, simply so I would no longer be a “concert virgin”.  I ended up having tons of fun, loving the band, and even getting a girl thrown out of the club because she was drunk and trying to start a fight with my roommates and I.  Quite an interesting time.

MY FAVORITE BAND IS OF A REVOLUTION (O.A.R.)

After going to my first concert ever, played by this kick-butt band, I absolutely fell in love with O.A.R.  To his day I have only been to seven live concerts.  Four of those concerts were O.A.R. (Coldplay, Death Cab for Cutie and Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers were the others).  Anytime O.A.R. is near where I live (which is not often since they do not tour frequently) I make sure I get tickets.  If I had to describe their music I would say it is Dave Matthews Band meets Sublime meets Jazz Music.  It’s a sound all of their own and it is what makes them so fantastic.  It is not very often you find a band with a saxophone as a primary instrument.  Though their recorded CDs are great, where they really excel is in live concerts where they “jam” and change-up songs on a regular basis.  It is unlikely you will ever hear them play a song the same why multiple times.  Often their live songs last between 8-15 minutes.  Their last studio album was released in 2008, and frankly, I am itching for a new one.  But I may not have to wait long, as it is rumored they have a new one coming in February of this year.  Their older stuff continues to be my favorite (The Wanderer), but their new stuff is pretty great as well.

I WISH THAT *NSYNC WOULD REUNITE

Ok, I am not ashamed to admit it, as a young teeny-bopper I used listen to *NYSNC. I owned all of their albums and would listen to them on repeat quite often.  Unlike most girls, who loved J.C. Chasez and Justin Timberlake, my favorite was Lance Bass (I still love him to this day).  He didn’t get any solos, but without his bass voice the band would not have sounded the same.  When they went on “indefinite hiatus” so that certain members (yes, I am looking at you JT) could pursue solo projects I actually remember getting depressed.  Even though Justin Timberlake is obviously more successful now as a solo artist, I can’t help but wish they would get back together, even if it was just for a couple new songs and a reunion tour.  You can bet I would be there.  Maybe someday.  Hey if the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block can do it, why can’t they?  By the way Justin, you are a better singer than actor, so can you stick to that?

I DO NOT LIKE RAP MUSIC, EXCEPT FOR EMINEM

Most rap music makes my head hurt.  I admit that these artists have talent, but anytime rap music comes on, I immediately switch the station.  That is unless it is Eminem.  I don’t know what it is about him, but when his music comes on I can’t help but sing along.  I even enjoyed his movie 8 Mile.  I love his old stuff for the hilarity and satire.  His new stuff, however, is absolutely fantastic on an artistic and musical level.  And filled with honesty. I love that fact that he doesn’t rap only about “bitches and money”, like most rappers seem to do.  The first single of his new album, Not Afraid, was so moving and encouraging, I immediately felt a burst of energy whenever I heart it.  And when his collaboration with Rihanna came out, Love the Way You Lie, I listened to that song on repeat for nearly a week.  And the video, absolutely fantastic.  He is nominated for TEN awards at this years Grammy Awards.  I hope he wins them all.

I PREFER LISTENING TO MALE ARTISTS

There are female artists I do enjoy; Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kate Nash, Regina Spektor, Lily Allen, and Imogen Heap.  However, when I think about what music I prefer to listen to on a regular basis, it is tends to be male musicians and bands; O.A.R., Sublime, Death Cab for Cutie, Muse, Arcade Fire, Modest Mouse, and Kings of Leon (to name a few).  Perhaps it is the kind of music they make?  Overall I tend to prefer Alternative or Indie Rock, rather than Pop or straight up Indie music (though there are some Indie artists I love, like She & Him, Rilo Kiley, Tegan & Sara).  In general there aren’t very many female rock artists, and those that do exist tend to be more classical rock (though Feist is considered Alternative/Indie Rock, and I do love her).  By the way, this isn’t to say I wont listen to female artists, this is just to say overall my musical tastes gravitate towards male artists.

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What music genres do you love?  What are your favorite artists?  What was your first concert?

Writing Wednesday: Acceptance Speech

I was sitting here wondering what I should write about for Writing Wednesday when I received a message from my dear friend Nick.  He had a prompt for me!  One that he thought up last night.  When he gave it to me I knew right away, this is today’s topic.

If you were ever to become famous, and had a moment in the peak of your spotlight to thank a small number of people whom were instrumental in your development and or success, who would you thank?

Some of it would depend on what I was famous for.  Am I a well-known actress with an Oscar under my belt?  An activist who started a revolution?  A kick-butt game designer who sold 5 million copies?  An author who has now spent 12 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller List?  Regardless, I would definitely be thanking my agent and the folks involved in whatever project I am currently working on.  There are, however, a few key people I would need to thank, no matter what I was famous for.

My Mother – For always being there when I needed to whine, or cry, or had serious boy problems that only she could help me with.  And for being my best friend, even though she drives me crazy sometimes.

My Father – For motivating me to be the absolute best I can be.  For telling me to keep on trying and never give up.  And for telling me, on a regular basis, how proud of me he is.

My Alex – For the first time in a very long time I feel completely and utterly accepted by my partner, and that is a great feeling.  And for that wonderful feeling I am extremely thankful and it encourages me to want to be a better person and do everything I can to show him how thankful I am.

My Friends – Ok, this is a bit broad, but I do have a good number of friends that I would want to thank, nearly all of them met online, and each one of them means a great deal to me, has helped me become who I am today, and each one deserves to be recognized.  However, since there are so many of them, and I certainly wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, I would, unfortunately, lump them all together, and afterward, thank each of them individually.

Professor Stephen Prothero – This professor, who I had my freshman year of college, is the reason I chose to study what I did.  After taking his class, Death & Immortality, I fell in love with the study of religion and knew that this would be what I spent the remaining years of college studying.  And I am so glad I did.  My studies taught me to read, write, and think critically, not just about religion, but at world issues and life in general.  So thank you Professor Prothero.

Wandering Minds Theater Group – I joined this theater group at the beginning of my junior year at Boston University.  After that, my life was never the same.  Growing up I was a shy and anti-social girl.  Until Wandering Minds got a hold of me.  I broke out of my shell, discovered like-minded people, and finally became at ease with who I was.  Though I may not currently keep in touch with all of my fellow members, they know they hold a special place in my heart.

My Family – I have a large extended family (comes from my parents being divorced multiple times), and there is no way I could list them all, but they have all supported me, loved me, and let me become who I am, so for that, they deserve thanks.

Now I just need to become famous.  I will keep working on that.  Check back in a few more years, maybe a decade or two.

Who would you thank?

Truth Thursday: Week I

As an effort to allow my readers/followers to know me more, keep me writing regularly, and help me learn more about myself, each Thursday I will be posting a handful of “truths” about me.  My hope is that these truths will not only give you a little insight into who I am, but encourage you to take a look at yourself, the truths about you, and get you thinking on a more critical and deeper level.

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I MAY BE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH

When I was younger, about 9 or 10, my family cooked lobster.  I devoured it, soaked in butter.  Later that night I ended up violently ill.  I was shaking all night, sick to my stomach, unable to sleep.  We didn’t know why, but on a subconscious level I connected it to the lobster.  I didn’t eat any shellfish again, until two years ago.  I was having dinner with my then boyfriend’s family and they had made some grilled shrimp, and frankly, it looked delicious.  So I ate one.  And nothing happened.  That is until the next morning when I broke out a rash that would eventually cover my entire body, except for my stomach and my face.  It got so bad that I eventually went to the doctor and they gave me a cortisone shot and a ten day anti-histamine regiment.  I asked the doctor what could cause this and he said that it may have been something I ingested.  He then asked what I had eaten before this occurred.  I told him shrimp.  He said that it was likely I was having an allergic reaction to it.  I explained the lobster incident from when I was younger, and asked why I didn’t have the normal allergic reaction (hives and breathing issues).  He told me that some people react differently, and that if I wanted I could get an allergy test.  I decided I just won’t eat any shellfish ever again.  Problem averted.

MY FAVORITE FOOD IS RASPBERRIES

Seriously, I could eat a truckload of them and still want more.  When I was younger and my parents would take us berry picking in the summer, I would eat everything as I picked them.  We would leave the farm and I would be covered in berry juice from head to toe.  Anyone who is close to me knows that the way to cheer me up (if I happen to be in a bad mood) is by giving me a container of raspberries.  The only problems with this obsession?  Raspberries are quite high in sugar, and they are expensive.  During off-season they are $5 a container.  And since it takes me about 1 1/2 minutes to go through a container, it can get expensive quickly.

I USED TO PLAY THE CLARINET

Actually, I first played the saxophone, for a year, when I was in 5th grade.  Then my mother decided she hated the way it sounded (really I just think I wasn’t very good, as I was only 10), so she switched me to the “softer sounding” clarinet.  I played it all the way through 9th grade.  To be honest, I wasn’t very good.  I know the difference between good music and bad, but I don’t have any musical talent myself.  So in the 9th grade, after years of struggling to grasp the clarinet, and getting told by band mates that I would never be “first clarinet”, I quit.  I did briefly try playing the bass clarinet, in the 10th grade, but really, no musical talent.  So I left it behind.

I WORK IN THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY

It’s pretty awesome, but I can guarantee you it’s not as awesome as you think it is.  It’s a fairly competitive industry, difficult to break into, and it is highly male dominant.  For example, my company has 30 employees.  Only six of us are female, and two of those are in the “female dominated” HR division.  Most days I don’t notice that I am in such a small minority, but every once in awhile it does become fairly evident.  Beyond that though, it’s a pretty nifty job.  I have now been in the industry four years (wow, time flies) and have done everything from production, to marketing, to community.  Right now I work as a Community Manager & Marketing for MochiMedia.  I spend my day finding ways to grow the community, market the game, and make us look good.  Previously I worked for publishers of free-to-play MMOs, Aeria Games and Gala-Net/gPotato, as well as social games creator RockYou.

I HAVE A DEGREE IN RELIGIOUS STUDIES, BUT I AM NOT RELIGIOUS

Since graduating from college the question I get most often after I tell people what I studied is “So what religion are you?”.  I do not follow a religion.  Growing up I knew religion existed, but I was never personally exposed to it, until I was about 12.  My mother is spiritual and believes in things such as karma, reincarnation, and many pagan ideas.  My father was baptized Mormon and follows certain Mormon ideas, but you would never be able to point him out as a Mormon.  For me, neither my parents, nor anyone I knew, told me I should be a certain religion.  Perhaps it is because of this that I was so eager to study religion in college.  To clarify, what I studied was “Religious History”.  The development of monotheistic religions, Judaism and how it relates to the Holocaust, why people choose to be religious.  These were the kind of things I studied.  At the end my specialization ended up being in Judaism, as that was the religion whose history most intrigued me.  I did of course study all the other major religions including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but Judaism stuck with me most.  To repeat, I am not religious myself.  I do not believe in one religious ideal over the other.  For the longest time, I would not even answer the question “Do you believe in God?”.  To this day, I still prefer not to.  I understand and find value in why people are religious, but I am not, and will never be, a particular religion.  That being said, if you ever want to talk religion with me, whether you are religious or not, I would love to.  It is one of my favorite topics to discuss and I always want to learn more about it.  The only thing I ask, please do not push your religious beliefs onto me.

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