My favorite game store in the whole world has been nominated for America’s Favorite Game Store at Goodman Games. Please click here and then click on the image that looks like the one below to cast your vote for Game Depot (Tempe, AZ).

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Hello stalkers,

I write all the time, but never hear from you. I’m sure you’ve all seen this sort of thing circulating the internet in some form or another. Here are 25 Things about me. Now let me know 25 Things about you. No, I won’t force you to come up with 25 New Things if you’ve already done this elsewhere. I’m OK with you cutting and pasting.

1. I’m a gamer. I like to play at Game Depot especially. It’s my Happy Place.

2. I have a green spot in my right eye that comes and goes.

3. I have a green spot on my right ankle that’s not going anywhere–my shamrock tattoo.

4. I recently discovered blogging. It’s more fun than I thought it would be.

5. Movies! I love movies! I’ll see anything but horror, and if the story looks good enough I’ll probably see horror too.

6. Reading is my favorite alone time activity. I’m a sci-fi/fantasy kind of girl, but I like a lot of New Age stuff too.

7. I really dislike job hunting.

8. Pizza is my default food. If I don’t want to make a decision pepperoni pizza it is.

9. Watching TV is almost a full time job for me.

10. If I can’t be a Jedi or a wizard/witch, I want to be a vampire.

11. I decided just now to send my resume to someone in Forks WA.

12. You know when you are just falling asleep and you suddenly have that spasm and wake up? I hear most people were dreaming of falling. I was dreaming of spiders. I’m phobic about them.

13. I love dark chocolate. Always have. I have a love/hate relationship with South Beach. On one hand I love that there is a dark chocolate alternative to nearly every candy bar because they told the world dark chocolate is good for you. On the other hand I was really enjoying being the only one in the office who ate dark chocolate when vendors brought it in and everyone automatically brought me their share. No one’s sharing anymore!

14. I’m the person shuffling cards behind Sarah on the plane. Ok, so that never happened but Bobby and I usually play Cribbage when we go out to dinner.

15. My license plate says PADAWAN.

16. There are people in the world that only know me as Duff, my college nickname.

17. I love pears. There is a pear gelato at Arlecchino Gelateria in Phoenix that makes my knees buckle.

18. John Williams is my hero. He pretty much wrote the soundtrack to my life.

19. Borders is my favorite book store.

20. I have three cats: Guinness, Sam Adams, and Zima. I know what you’re thinking, but Sam was named after a football player. If I were that big of a lush he would have been named Captain Morgan.

21. I apparently don’t have issues with self-disclosure.

22. I want to be a foster Mom.

23. I didn’t get my ears pierced until I was 22.

24. My three favorite TV shows right now are Grey’s Anatomy, Heroes, and Chuck.

25. I’m writing a book. I’m very excited about the ideas I came up with yesterday.

    

The Macy’s Parade is over. The cheeseball is chilling in the fridge. The turkey is in the oven. The Holidays are officially upon us. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I for one have much to be thankful for. Highest on the list is my Uncle J. He made it through his surgery beautifully yesterday and is on the mend. They will have him up and walking around today–amazing!

I am thankful for my friends and family. They are fun, loving, and best of all supportive. I know I can count on you, and I hope you know you can count on me. I love you all.

I am thankful for my job. Sure, I complain a lot about it, but it’s hard work, so I suppose that is to be expected. I really am thankful to have a job, especially with today’s economy being what it is.

I am thankful for my hobbies. Gaming, writing, reading, and movies, have done their best to keep me sane, especially the last couple of years. That leads me to thank a few authors in particular, who have given me the means to escape when needed in the last few years: JK Rowling, the writers of such recent Star Wars novel series as the New Jedi Order Era and the Legacy of the Force Era, Andrew Davidson, and of course Stephenie Meyer. A special Thank You to the folks at The Game Depot, Arizona, my FLGS. If anyone has kept me sane (Yes, I know. I use the term lightly.) these last few years, it has been you. Thanks for keeping my hands busy and my mind occupied.

I know I have a lot more to be thankful for, but time is running short. There is dinner to be made. I’ll close with Old Man Bobby. I cannot say Thank You enough, for everything. For more Date Nights than I can count. For dealing with my many neuroses and putting up with my crap in general. For backrubs I never have to ask for. For endless games of Ask Me About My Book. For doing my bidding. And of course for all the stuff I shouldn’t mention in polite company. Thank you. I’m a lucky woman to have a “boyfiend” like you. Don’t tell anyone I said that though.

 

A friend of mine from The Game Depot introduced me to National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, which is celebrating, as they put it, “10 years of Literary Abandon.” I’m in, my friend! I’ve officially signed up as of tonight. I figure if I don’t do it I’ll always wonder. To my family, this is my GarveyStrong moment of the year. I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November. My friend assures me this is approximately 3 pages a day. A few of you are writing books of your own. If you’d like to join me, check out the FAQ.

My Twilight Chronicles begin in LA, in the beginning of July. I was on my Pacesetter Award trip for work, and my friend Bryan kept pulling out this book called New Moon. I would not have pegged him as a reader. Turns out I was wrong about that, but the fact remains that this mohawked, pierced, tattooed gentleman with the chain on his pants was pulling out a book every chance he got just to read even two pages. Being a reader, I understand that when someone pulls out a book in public it’s a sign that their mind is really elsewhere right now, and they shouldn’t be disturbed. It could be dangerous, like waking a sleep-walker. As the days passed, I couldn’t contain my curiosity any longer. Besides, I was hot and miserable on our broken-down tour bus, and really needed a distraction. I crossed the line and asked what it was that had so captured his attention. He told me a little bit about it and I thought it sounded like something I’d like to read someday. He clearly had to get back to it, so that was that. I again wondered at the obsessive manner of his reading. Not even during the height of my Harry Potter Haze did I get that obsessed about reading.

Let me restate that. I have been obsessed about a great many writers’ universes over the years. I’m a geek with every fiber of my being. I’ve always been a reader, but a slow one. My attention span is quirky enough that I can’t sit and read for hours and hours. Four hours is about my limit, and I’ll probably break to get something to eat and move around a bit. I’ll think about the book obsessively in the meantime, even worrying about the characters as if they could somehow get into more trouble while I’m not looking, but to actually sit and read for hours and hours can be painful for me no matter how amazing and enthralling the story. So, while reading Harry Potter, and even the Star Wars: New Jedi Order series, I’d read for extended periods when I could, but life went on, albeit with me pondering the mysteries of the books like the obsessive fangirl I am.

So, vampires, werewolves, high school drama…Yeah, I’d be reading that. I just had to finish with my Boba Fettish first, and it would have to wait until after my extended vacation. Pacesetter first, then the family reunion. So fast forward to the family reunion. I had watched Bryan tear through New Moon and Eclipse on our three day trip, and what’s one of the first things cousin Anna says to me when we meet to go see Hancock? “So you’ve read Twilight, right?” The tone of her question stuck with me. It said to me that it was expected that I would have read this already, that it would be old news to me. Anna seemed very excited that she would be the one bringing this joy into my life. She started describing it and I said, “Hey wait, is one of the books called New Moon.” She said, “Yes, that’s it. Read it. You’re going to love Edward.” That was all that was said. I think she didn’t want to ruin anything for me. Anna, thank you for the introduction, but why, oh why, did you wait so long? I’d be mad at you, but I had an amazing time reading then books when I did…almost magical. In the future don’t assume I’ve already read something. I get obsessed with things and lose track of what’s going on in the outside world.

When I got home from vacation, I was still reading the Boba Fett books. I finished the day I got back actually, and resolved that I’d go get Twilight Friday. When I finish something I need a little time to “mourn the book”. Odd, I know, but I find I enjoy books much more if I get over the previous book first. So Friday, I had a date with Old Man Bobby, and he graciously agreed to take me to my favorite Borders. I had an inkling of what was to come, so I grabbed the first two books which were out in paperback. I didn’t see a paperback for Eclipse so I waited on that one until I found out when it was coming out. What? I like my books to match.

I was tired after a hard day’s work, so Bobby and I called it a night early in hopes that I’d make it out to Game Depot to game on time for once. When he was gone I thought, “I’ll read a few pages before bed.” A few pages turned into 60. How did I get to page 60 already? I gotta get to bed. I’m pretty sure I dreamed of a certain beautiful, bronze-haired vampire that night, but I’m not sure. I woke up in plenty of time to have a nice leisurely morning before going gaming. That might have been a mistake. I should have slept in until I had to shower and bolt out the door. Having time, I couldn’t resist picking up Twilight. I didn’t even turn on the TV. My TV is always on when I am home, except when I’m sleeping. I need the background noise. At noon, when I was already supposed to be at the store, I wrenched the book out of my hands and went to shower. Late again.

I was restless during the day. Gaming was fun, but my thoughts strayed, even though I’d had two solid weeks of no gaming and had been suffering withdrawals. Suddenly I had a new addiction. It turns out Twilight is exactly my brand of heroin. Twilighters, Twerds, Fanpires, and Twihards alike will know just what I mean. The next week was more of the same.

I’m not allowed to read at work no matter how slow the phones are, so I generally don’t bring a book. I couldn’t help myself though. I brought it and found that now I was the one sneaking a page or two whenever possible. When I couldn’t read, the book sat next to me as I sat there looking at it hungrily, leg bouncing. My co-workers were highly amused. Jo got the gist that I was obsessing about a book but hadn’t heard anything more than that. Knowing me, she stood up and asked, “Harry Potter or Twilight?” I answered. She smiled and said, “Ok so let me ask you a question.” As an out-of-the-closet-geek, I get nervous when people say that. It’s generally like a pop quiz. I just knew I was about to be stumped. It’s a constant fear, a hazard of the company I keep, I suppose. So I took a breath and said OK, and Jo asked, “Edward, or Jacob?” By this point it was about Wednesday and I was already, starting Eclipse. Even though I’d only just begun, I was almost finished with the saga as the world new it then, so I knew all about Edward VS Jacob. I blushed and found myself unable to answer quickly enough. Crystal giggled behind me and said, “Edward! She loves him!” More blushing. Turns out Jo is a Twilighter of the Team Jacob variety. Jacob’s a fine person. I can’t hold it against her. She doesn’t even like Edward though, so clearly she must be crazy.

At this point I think I must go back to previous statements about my obsessive fangirl nature. I discovered Fantasy and Sci-Fi early on in life. It started when I first saw the play Camelot. From then on I loved all things medieval. Knights, quests, damsels. It’s only a small hop from there to Unicorns and Dragons, and from there it’s all fantasy all the time. When I got over my fear of “big books”  and series (always the slow reader, they were too much pressure), I found Piers Anthony. The man’s prolific. I occupied me through my high school years, and most of college for that matter. Throughout college I kept hearing about Anne Rice and her vampires. They were on my list, if Piers would ever slow down. When the movie Interview with the Vampire came out, I left Piers and never looked back. You see, Edward is not my first vampire. Louis and I go way back. I was quite obsessed with Anne Rice’s vampires, especially Louis. Louis and I were together for a few years, but Anne decided to go in another direction, and he left me. No matter, a fangirl’s gotta do what a fangirl’s gotta do. I turned to Anne’s witch series, and from there slowly read everything she’d written (yes, everything, even those). I had other dalliances, which I’ve mentioned. Although, out of respect, I don’t count Harry Potter a dalliance. He saved me like Jacob saved Bella, truth be told (Thanks JK!). But that’s another story which I won’t tell here.

Back to the matter at hand. I could hardly believe how I was devouring these books. I could certainly relate to Edward’s reaction to Bella, as I wondered if somehow the pages of my books were impregnated with heroin. Nothing had ever effected me quite this way. I’d spent hours upon hours talking about and writing about my theories on what would happen to Harry Potter, but I could put the books down. I wasn’t staying up intil 1am when I had to be up at 5am. Sure Harry Potter is the first book I ever read a second time (well four times now), so that should give you an idea of how I felt about it, but I could put it down. I could not make myself put the Twilight books down!

I knew a new book was coming out, but I didn’t know when until I snuck online at work and checked it out. No, we’re not supposed to be on the internet either. So there you go, more evidence of my obsession. I was sneaking pages at work and willfully going online. It started innocently enough at first. We’re allowed to visit travel-related sites, being that we’re travel agents. I checked out Forks. Linda was more than happy to help me out, asking me questions. You’ll be happy to know that the population in Forks went up between 2000 and 2005, so the vampire population isn’t having a negative effect there. Anyway, I found out that Breaking Dawn was coming out that very Saturday! I’d broken down and bought the hardcover Eclipse, knowing I couldn’t hold out until April for the paperback. Would I finish in time for the release? I didn’t have a whole lot of time to read late in the week, so I wasn’t confident. I knew I’d pick up the book Saturday anyway.

Friday night I went out with my friend Erika to see The Dark Knight. We got out about 10pm, and she said, “Ok, come on, let’s check out Barnes & Noble. I know you want to.” She was with me at the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book. I think she was as curious about the spectacle, too. This was the first time I saw who my fellow fans were. I expected Team Jacob and Team Edward shirts. I expected to be raising the mean age by about 20 years, but I did not expect…emo. I definitely wasn’t expecting all that glitter and black eyeliner. I was a little disturbed at the thought of me as a 15-year-old Twerd, but I shook it off. I didn’t stay to get the book. I hadn’t finished Eclipse and was afraid of spoilers. Erika and I called it a night, and I went home…by way of my favorite Borders. I just had to see how their party was shaping up. It wasn’t any more crowded than B&N, neither party holding a candle to the Potter release. The t-shirt score was 8-2 in Edward’s favor by the end of the night, by the way.

The next day I was back, and buying Breaking Dawn. My favorite Borders cashier chatted me up as usual. He doesn’t remember from visit to visit, I’m sure. I think he just flirts with every geek girl he can. “Breaking Dawn,” he said, “I think I’ve heard of this one…wait, yes, I’ve sold 2000 copies today.” He went on to tell me about a shirt from the night before. A husband of a Twilighter was wearing a t-shirt that said “Team Jacob” on the front. On the back it said, “Because Edward stole my wife’s heart.” I laughed about that until Old Man Bobby asked me how much houses were going for in Forks. I answered too quickly, “There are four houses for sale, ranging from $125,000 to about $325,000.” Busted. He fully expects me to move to Forks any day now.

Old Man Bobby and I had had dinner and gone to a movie before getting the book, but it was early for a Saturday. We we got to the car he asked what I wanted to do now. I thought for a moment, not wanting to say it. He said, “I can just take you home so you can read. You are coming over tomorrow. Frankly I’m surprised you let me take you to a movie.” I thought he’d be mad, but he was really amused. Turns out he’s loving this. Well, of course, he is. He has something to tease me about. So take me home, he did, and did I ever read. I finished Eclipse at dawn. Naturally I couldn’t resist beginning Breaking Dawn at breaking dawn. Magic.

Once again, I’ve put off the real word in favor of Twilight. I need to get a move on. Old Man Bobby is one his way, and I’m not showered yet. I’ll write more about what I think of the actually story, characters, and writing later I imagine. I wasn’t ready to give Twilight up. I was completely obsessed and yet suddenly done with the books in a week and a half. What else could I do but start them over? I started Eclipse last night. Between reading this morning and this entry this afternoon, I’ve completely forgotten myself.

Thursday I was at my FLGS, The Game Depot AZ. I’m there so often visiting my friends, the owners of the store, that the Thursday crowd seems quite convinced that I work there. Common mistake I guess, as I you will often find me behind the counter, but I honestly am not employed there. I’ve had offers, but I prefer to keep The Game Depot my place of entertainment, rather than employment. We joke about me being their intern, as I will often grab Cokes for customers, answer questions about games when I can, and help stock the new shipments. I get paid with good conversation, and an air-conditioned environment in which to play games with my meeps.

But I digress. Thursday, I jokingly said to my friends Patty and Dave, “Let’s play a game!” knowing the great irony is that they don’t get to play when they work, even though it’s a game store. Just a few moments later a couple of guys came in trying to find a “Mom game” for one of their mothers for, you guessed it, Mother’s Day. Patty and I set about trying to find the perfect game. It had to be fun, light, but not too light. There had to be some substance, but you still wanted to be able to socialize, so it couldn’t be too thinky.

In honor of the experience, and of course Mother’s Day, I thought I’d post a list of what we came up with and maybe even add a few of my own if I become inspired at some point in the next few minutes.

Parlay – This is a card game that’s a cross between Scrabble and Poker. Your have a standard playing card deck. Each card has the added bonus of having a letter on it.  Not only do you have to come up with the best possible Poker hand, but also the highest possible point-value word. You can’t rely too heavily on either the word or the Poker hand, so neither the card sharks nor the Scrabble players are at an advantage. This, I believe, is what makes it safe for the whole family, and would keep the Moms happy.

Apples to Apples – This is a popular party game. There are two types of cards: red apples and green apples. You have a hand of red apples that have random nouns on them. The Judge plays a green card, which is a description. You try to win green apples by cleverly playing your red apples. Everyone plays the red apple card from their hand (face down) that they think the the Judge will proclaim best describes the green apple in play. For example, the Judge plays “Corrupt”. The players throw in their cards. The Judge shuffles them up and lays them out. We giggle over the crazy selection: Milk, Gym Socks, The Dalai Lama, Killer Bees, and Canada. Maybe the Judge is a Mom with a teenage boy. Gym Socks is the clear winner. The player who threw in Gym Socks wins the green apple. Whatever the Judge says goes. You can try to convince the Judge for and against certain cards. If someone else had been the Judge, and they were lactose intolerant, Milk may have won. Knowing your judge is key. The next player then becomes the Judge, and the game continues.

Qwirkle – This has been described as “Caveman Scrabble”. It’s an apt description. You have tiles with six colors and six shapes on them. High score wins. Players take turns laying tiles to earn points. To lay down tiles they must match either in color or in shape, with no duplicates. The playing area ends up looking a lot like a crossword puzzle made of colorful, geometric shapes, hense “Caveman Scrabble”.

Pickomino – More tiles to lay. These have pictures of worms on them. Cute little cartoon worms. I know, Mom, they can’t be cute enough to get you to play, but other Moms might like them. Everyone takes turns rolling dice, and trying to get the most worms. Each tile has a number on it, as well as a number of worms. The higher the number, the more worms. You begin by rolling all your dice. You choose one number and “freeze” all dice of that number. You then roll the remaining number of dice again, repeating the process until you can add up all the frozen dice to get what you think is the highest numbered tile you can take. You may end up not being able to take anything if the dice are working against you, or you may roll the exact number one someone else’s tile, and choose to steal it from them. It’s a press-your-luck sort of game. It’s fun, especially if yo Mama is a trash-talker.

Snatch – You know I had to mention my Snatch. My game boys love my Snatch. What can I say? ( See Item 4 to bring yourself up to speed ) Snatch is another tile-laying game. This one is all letters. Player take turns flipping tiles face up. When someone spots a word they call it out and take the tiles. Don’t get too attached to your words (which are your points, BTW). As soon as another player can spot another word they can turn your word or words into by adding at least one new letter, they can and will snatch your word. That’s right, I’ll take your Cud and pull her Leg to make my own Cudgel. If I’d spotted the S in on the table, too, I would have said so and made it Cudgels, but I didn’t and it’s too late now, because you can’t simply pluralize a word or add a prefix or suffix. You have to change the root of the word. Really, it’s good clean fun, unless you have dirty-minded people snatching words left and right.

If you’re interested, Parlay, Qwirkle, and Apples to Apples were three games we suggested. Qwirkle won. There’s a store copy of Qwirkle so Patty and I got to play…I mean we demo’d the game for the two gentlemen. They had fun and approved of the game as Mom-worthy. Oh and they also got LCR, a fancy version of it, which we didn’t need to “demo” because they’d already played that one.

Happy Mother’s Day!