Vacationing isn’t what it used to be (for me, anyway). When I was younger, my trips away from home were to the big cities: Kelowna, Vancouver, Seattle. Now that I’m older and I’ve moved away from my hometown, I find that any spare time I can find is in escaping to the smaller community of Kamloops (and my old home in Juniper) in order to get the hell away from the buzz of the city.

I find peace in travelling on the Coquihalla Highway through Merritt, as long as I’m not the one driving. And in spite of the hectic nature of the summer of 2008, I had some great memories travelling to Kamloops with my superhero of a sister-in-law, Jen. Late night drives to Culture Craze HQ from Kamloops usually left us exhausted but we left her car knowing one another so much better than when we got into it. Those are certainly memories I will always cherish.

Just like most folks beyond their teenage years, I find myself thinking about the old family vacations: driving in the Ford with five people crammed into the (non-Crew)cab, just so we can get to the Azanzas for Christmas; piling into Grandpa Marvin’s camper for one last family trip to Florida; speeding along near Merritt, just in time for my tiny mother to get a badass speeding ticket.

These days, my travelling is in the form of Greyhound, looking out at the frozen waterfalls, snow-covered conifers, and snowcapped mountainscape. Truly, British Columbia’s beauty is something to quell an uneasy heart.


Hot damn, folks, it’s been a while. Well, not that long of a while, but a while at that. I’ve been spending the majority of my downtime working on the next iteration of Instantiated. So far, so good: the editing process is a long and arduous one, but at least at the end of it, I’ll have a novel that someone might want to read.

I managed to find a literary agency that looks pretty promising as well. Just need to figure out how to write a query letter… oh wait, that’s what my education at UVic is for, right? Hopefully they accept me. 🙂

When I first moved to the Lower Mainland, I was fascinated with all of the different shopping options I had available to me. I’d never been to an H&M or American Eagle Outfitters before. Hell, I’d never been inside of a beautiful boutique, for that matter! Thrift shops with taste? They don’t exist in Kamloops.

But here? Here, all fashion was possible. I could delve into my inner punk (ala, the purple hair), or seek to follow a trend (the boots over skinny jeans thing), or even endeavour to create my old style of geek meets chic.

I’ve been in Burnaby now for eight months as of two days from now and I have yet to discover the inner workings of the fashionable twentysomething in the Lower Mainland. I stalk the halls of my university campus, peeking at the various trends: sweatpants from Lululemon, boots over skinny jeans, those legging things, tights under shorts with boots…


This is my brain on "FASHION OVERLOAD".

This is my brain on "FASHION OVERLOAD".

And to most that I end up asking, “Where did you get that?” I get a cold shoulder. No one will give up where they bought that cute bag or those earrings.


Okay, I give up on the fashion senses of this city. Clearly, I’ll never know where anything comes from unless it’s a recognizable label, and even then, why the hell would I want something that comes from a chain store? I’m tired of all of the UGG-boots, the Lululemon, Coach bags, and fake Chanel. Damn it, ladies, show me something I haven’t seen before!

Yes, I know: I complain now, but when I get back to Kamloops, it’ll be same ol’, same ol’, right? Hardly. At least my chicks in Kamloops are chic without trying.

Plugging "Sunken Treasure"

Plugging "Sunken Treasure"

This is usually the point in the post where I say, “____ is a great friend of mine and I’d like to take the time out of my day and plug his awesome work.”

Well, I can’t say that ’cause it wouldn’t be true. Instead, I’ll just plug his awesome book anyway ’cause that’s how I roll.

I actually picked up a copy of “Sunken Treasures” at the Penny Arcade Expo 2008, which Wil amusingly signed as “<3 Wil”. Apparently, he has +3 to Awkward Situations; I think he took the Feat. D&D randomosity aside, I read the book almost immediately after I bought it (yeah, in the car on the way back home to Canada) and I LOVED it. I’d read Wil’s stuff before but it didn’t feel special like “Sunken Treasure”, as it was only supposed to be a limited time offer for the summer Gaming Conventions. Due to popular demand, you can actually pick it up online for a small price, even if you didn’t attend any of the ’08 Gaming Conventions in the States (you lucky bastards).

There’s the US print edition, the World print edition, and a DRM-free PDF version (because Wil loves us nerds and hates him some DRM somethin’ fierce). Pick this shiz up, read it until it falls apart, and then buy another four copies to give to your friends and family. Yeah, it’s that good.

Note: If you buy the PDF, don’t be an asshole and distribute it on forums or massively share it. Wil works hard to bring us awesome writing goodies on Geekery and if you blow it, you’ll just piss off the rest of his online following. As Wil says, “Don’t be a dick.”

Last week, I decided that I was sick and tired of not having a portable means of communication outside the use of my loverly BlackBerry Curve 8330. My laptop was in the shop at Staples, getting its AC Adapter replaced and I was itching to get out of my house. Cabin fever is ever-present in a city where it’s either raining or raining, it would seem.

And so, I decided that because I work at Best Buy, they’d give me a good deal on getting one of those shiny new netbooks. And, since I work in the computer department, I knew exactly which one I wanted to get my blue-manicured hands on: HP MIni 1035NR. The keyboard is 92% the size of a regular laptop and the screen sits at a comfortable 10.1″. It’s got a webcam built right in, just like most of the other laptops out there these days.

HP Mini 1035NR

HP Mini 1035NR

I’ve been taking this netbook with me literally everwhere. I haul it to my classes, on the skytrain and bus, and even as far as the coffee shops downtown Vancouver (as they’re by far the nicest I’ve been to in the Greater Vancouver Area).

All in all, I’m really pleased with this netbook and, seeing as I’m such an HP fangirl, I’m even happier that I managed to support my favourite laptop brand.

So, if you’re looking to get a netbook, I’d recommend this one. It’s sleek, large enough to see without straining, and it’s got Bluetooth built right in.

Note: the Vivienne Tam edition is lovely to look at but it’s definitely not worth the additional $200, just for a red netbook. Get the black edition and save yourself some cash and a potential red-overload headache.

Happy shopping!

Welcome to the world of Warhammer 40,000 (40K), General; you’ve got some serious choices to make. The biggest choice is which army is going to suit your purposes as a new General. Listed are the various army choices that are available to you as of 5th Edition of Warhammer 40K. As you can see, there are twelve (12) armies to choose from and all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Space Marine - 5th Edition

Space Marine - 5th Edition

Keep in mind the lore, or “fluff”, of the army that you’re choosing. It’s often a great way to learn your army’s place in the universe and how you can use them to the advantage of your future opponents. That, and well, GW tells a great story. For more on their lore, check out the Black Library through Games Workshop.

Which Army is Right For You?

Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons (as well as the lore) behind each of the armies that you’re initially attracted to, you’re ready to begin collecting the pieces of your army. The best way to do this is to pick up a box-set army from your local Games Workshop. With it, you’ll receive everything you need to get started, including the models and the Codex of Rules for your particular army. You will also need to pick up a Warhammer 40K Rulebook for the basic rules of how the game itself works.

Finally, before jumping onto the battlefield, pick up a copy of ArmyBuilder, which is an excellent way to automatically compute point values of Wargear, Upgrades, and Army Composition without you having to do the math yourself. If you use ArmyBuilder or something similar, you’re going to find that you will have fewer mistakes and much shorter downtime before army builds.

I won’t go over the basics of how to play a game of Warhammer because GW is way better at that. If you’re looking for a guide for getting started on assembling and painting the army you’ve chosen, check out my article on Painting and Assembling War-Games Miniatures.

Happy playing, fellow Generals.

Author’s Note: Check out the original article on Helium!

Here you are, a newly recruited General for the armies of Warhammer Fantasy and/or Warhammer 40,000 and/or some other war-game that I haven’t mentioned, and you need to assemble your army for glorious battle. But, you don’t have the faintest ideas as to where to begin with all of your various sprues (unassembled plastic models) and metallic warriors.

First thing’s first, take a deep breath and remember that you are not required to have the best painted or best converted army right out of the gate. This will require three things from you: rudimentary knowledge of colour theory and lighting, as well as a lot of patience for both yourself (you’re learning) and the process (it takes a while). It will also require you to pick up the following materials from your local hobby store:

  • Plastic cutters, to separate the pieces from the sprues and to snip chunks of flash off of your metal miniatures
  • Super glue and/or plastic glue
  • Modelling putty aka. Green Stuff (use the GW (Games Workshop) stuff, if possible, as I’ve found it to be the most pliable)
  • Exacto knife with some extra blades (use with caution!)
  • A set of small files to get rid of flash and flash lines
  • Black Primer, from GW
  • ‘Ardcoat, from GW
  • Paintbrushes: one for base-coats, for medium detail, and fine detail
  • Paint (use Vallejo or GW)
  • Cup and saucer for the mixing of the paint

Find yourself a large table to set up shop and tell anyone and everyone in your house (including your pets) to stay away for fear of your wrath. I made the mistake of leaving my miniatures out around my dog when he was a puppy. He thought they were toys. I lost a squad of Space Marines to his tiny, gnawing teeth. Set out your shiny new tools and bust out the box that your army came in. You ready? Let’s get started.

Definitions You’ll Need to Continue

Sprue – all of your plastic and metal bits that are attached to one another, due to the crafting process

Flash – extra bits of model that are left over after you extract them from said sprues

Flash lines – ever present on your models, since no models are made in one piece. These lines really detract from the finished product, so make sure you get rid of them!

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Testing out Cellspin from my Blackberry. Wonder if it’ll work…

Update: Looks like it does!

Everything is on track with my husband’s RCMP application. We’ll have pass or fail status on his testing starting in March. So, as of now, I’m working under the assumption that he will be going to Depot and I will be fending for myself, at least physically.

I know, I know, I said I wasn’t fully behind his decision to become an RCMP officer, but I’m a good wife, at least in spirit.

June is fast approaching, and I have some decisions to make.

I’ve decided that in September, I’d like to go back to school. I applied to the University of Victoria, for their BFA in Writing. I’m in the midst of trying to determine whether or not I’m going to do it as a Major (Creative Writing) and a Minor (Professional Writing), or just a Major. However, in order to do that, I need to have money set aside for tuition and housing, neither are particularly cheap.

So, I’m planning on doing the good ol’ Walk of Shame and moving back in with my parents. At 22. And married. They’re really excited for it because I haven’t actually lived with them since I was 18 and never really had any issues with staying with them. It’s not that I don’t think it will be a good experience, it’s just that: a) I will not have a car; b) I will lack a sense of independence; c) Juniper is a lot farther away from civilization than I prefer.

Kamloops will be a good place for me to be while Mike is in Regina: surrounded by family and friends is better than being alone in a city that I barely know. I will, however, miss the excitement of living in the big city and being able to get anywhere in half an hour, even by transit. Transit in Kamloops is… lame. And time consuming.

At any rate, after Kamloops will be UVic. I hope.

Anyway, that’s about all I can think of tonight. I’d love to write more, but I’m way too ill. Time to sleep off the cold and hope to high hell that I’m better tomorrow.

Instantiated was my 2007 Nanowrimo novella that has been my only winner, to date. As an incentive to re-write the story with lack of plot bunnies, plot ninjas, and plot holes, I gave my husband the first draft of the novella. So far, so good. He seems to like it.

Tonight marked the first night of many that I plan to spend re-working Instantiated‘s contents and its story. I figured that I’d give a bit of a teaser for the re-write, for those of you who were actually interested.

This story is written in third person, told from multiple points of view, depending on the character. It’s a cyberpunk, highly dystopic narrative, set in the Greater Vancouver Area in the year 2063. Main character’s name is Raxi Fairwater, and yes, it’s a chick.

Read on, if you’d like.

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May 2018
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