Kindle Highlights from Packing for Mars – Mary Roach

This book was both informative and hilarious! It touched on all those things about space travel that the average person doesn’t think about. Then, when you do, you’re like..wait. How does..whaaaat. It was awesome!

I had the pleasure to meet Mary Roach and get my book signed, years ago. You got it.. I re-purchased the Kindle edition, and finished the book. OOPS. Well, better late than never!

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

You have 73 highlighted passages. Last annotated on October 15, 2014

  • Welcome to space. Not the parts you see on TV, the triumphs and the tragedies, but the stuff in between—the small comedies and everyday victories. – Location 113
  • Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much normalcy can people forgo? For how long, and what does it do to them? – Location 124
  • According to more than one astronaut memoir, one of the most beautiful sights in space is that of a sun-illumined flurry of flash-frozen waste-water droplets. – Location 131
  • Space doesn’t just encompass the sublime and the ridiculous. It erases the line between. – Location 132
  • “One thousand cranes.” JAXA’s chief medical officer, Shoichi Tachibana, introduces himself. He’s been standing quietly behind us. Tachibana came up with the test. A Japanese tradition holds that a person who folds a thousand cranes will be granted health and longevity. – Location 167
  • “Deterioration of accuracy shows impatience under stress,” – Location 179
  • Trying to work the tether is like dealing cards with oven mitts on. – Location 185
  • The directions show a tiny puff beside an arrow pointing at the bird. It makes sense if you already know what to do. Otherwise, it’s wonderfully surreal: Put a cloud inside a bird. – Location 191
  • America’s first astronauts were selected by balls and charisma. – Location 194
  • Up through Apollo 11, every mission included a major NASA first. First trip to space, first orbit, first spacewalk, first docking maneuver, first lunar landing. Seriously hairy shit was going down on a regular basis. – Location 196
  • (Antarctica is a useful analog for space, and people who thrive there are thought to be psychologically well equipped for the isolation and confinement of space travel.) – Location 245
  • All through the space station era, the ideal astronaut has been an exceptionally high-achieving adult who takes direction and follows rules like an exceptionally well-behaved child. – Location 324
  • If you want the Russian volunteers to do a good job with your research, he says, you “better pack vodka and a salami with your experiment.” – Location 436
  • “it’s nothing” (Gushin’s words) for a Russian man to kiss a woman at a party. And that if you want him to stop, you slap him. That “no” means “maybe.” And that when Russian men bloody each other’s noses, it’s “a friendly fight.” – Location 447
  • He takes issue with the way space agencies portray astronauts as superhuman. “As if they don’t have any hormones, they don’t have any feelings for anybody.” It comes back yet again to a fear of negative publicity and diminished funding. – Location 455
  • A SPACE STATION is a rangy monstrosity, a giant Erector Set assembled by a madman. – Location 476
  • Psychologists use the term “irrational antagonism” to describe what happens between people isolated together for more than about six weeks. – Location 492
  • Sometime around the sixth week of a mission, says University of California, San Francisco, space psychiatrist Nick Kanas, astronauts begin to withdraw from their crewmates, become territorial, and displace their hostility for each other onto Mission Control. – Location 520
  • space agencies tend to use astronauts as “cap coms”—capsule communicators.) – Location 534
  • It’s a bar. In Russia you can buy a desk with a built-in bar! – Location 550
  • “Only in space do you understand what incredible happiness it is just to walk. To walk on Earth.” – Location 569
  • To find out what would happen to a man alone in the cosmos, at some point you just had to lob one up there. – Location 625
  • White makes a move toward the hatch, saying, “This is the saddest moment of my life.” – Location 689
  • (As brain cells die from oxygen starvation, euphoria sets in, and one last, grand erection.) – Location 699
  • ‘Boris, there are people who are your relatives due to blood connection. But there are also people who are your relatives due to things you do together. Now you are closer to me than your brother or sister. We landed. We are alive. The prize is life.’” – Location 778
  • Gravity is why there are suns and planets in the first place. It is practically God. In the beginning, the cosmos was nothing but empty space and vast clouds of gases. Eventually the gases cooled to the point where tiny grains coalesced. These grains would have spent eternity moving through space, ignoring each other, had gravitational attraction not brought them together. Gravitation is the lust of the cosmos. – Location 858
  • The sign on the front is as evocative and preposterous as the engraved brass one that says Ministry of Silly Walks in the Monty Python sketch of the same name. This sign says REDUCED GRAVITY OFFICE. – Location 981
  • It is for rescuing someone who is being electrocuted in such a manner that the electricity has contracted his hand muscles, making him grip the very object that is killing him. If you try to pull him away by grabbing his arm, then your hand muscles too will contract, and now you both need rescuing. The pole is nonconductive, enabling the savvy rescuer to save a life without joining the growing conga line of electrocution victims. – Location 996
  • The colon uses the uterus as a beanbag chair. – Location 1060
  • (When I get back to my room to review my notes, I find that I’ve written nothing of substance. I wasn’t so much taking notes as testing my Fisher Space Pen. My notes say: “WOO” and “yippee.”) – Location 1068
  • It’s like the Rapture in here every thirty seconds. Weightlessness is like heroin, or how I imagine heroin must be. You try it once, and when it’s over, all you can think about is how much you want to do it again. – Location 1083
  • Human machinery tends to overheat for the same reason. Without fans, all the heat that exercising astronauts generate would hang around their body in a tropical miasma. As would exhaled breath. Crew members who hang their sleeping sacks in poorly ventilated spots get carbon dioxide headaches. – Location 1101
  • Motion sickness drugs don’t make you immune; they simply raise the threshold for sickness. – Location 1176
  • The whale’s diaphragm and rib muscles aren’t strong enough to expand its lungs and raise the now far heavier blubber and bone that press in on them, and the animal suffocates. – Location 1324
  • Coming down is as scary as going up. – Location 1358
  • Apollo astronauts had to be between 5 feet 5 and 5 feet 10. It was a simple, inflexible cutoff, the governmental version of the sign by the amusement park ride: MUST BE THIS TALL TO RIDE. – Location 1449
  • Think of wrestling a comatose drunk into a taxicab. – Location 1474
  • My favorite line of the day so far has been Bolte’s: “Is he leaking badly from anything major?” – Location 1479
  • Ham’s much-publicized flight made it clear to all: The astronaut doesn’t fly the capsule; the capsule flies the astronaut. – Location 1572
  • The careers of Ham and Enos—the chimpanzees who, in 1961, flew the dress rehearsals for the first U.S. suborbital (January) and orbital (November) flights were in some respects not all that far off from the careers of Alan Shepard and John Glenn. – Location 1588
  • I used to hear about Glenn’s historic flight and think, “Man, what was that like—being the first NASA astronaut to orbit the Earth?” Now I know. It was like visiting the eye doctor. – Location 1609
  • “He was a mean one,” Fineg recalled when we spoke. Staff nicknamed him Enos the Penis. “Because he was just a son of a gun.” “Meaning he was a dick.” “Yeah.” – Location 1652
  • They played a vital role in the country’s space efforts, but I would not use the term “heroes.” For the simple reason that no bravery was involved in what they did. A courageous feat is one undertaken with an understanding of the dangers involved. – Location 1736
  • Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, said in a 2007 interview that reaching Mars was the dream of the early cosmonauts and that she would love, at seventy-two, to realize that dream: “I am ready to fly without coming back.” – Location 1785
  • Unlike on the Earth, where the planet’s magnetic field wards off charged particles of solar wind, these particles bombard the moon’s surface and impart an electrostatic charge. Moon dust clings like dryer socks. – Location 1900
  • (One of the less heroic aspects of a spacewalk: Someone will have to help you pull up your pants.)* – Location 1915
  • Apollo astronauts were not allowed to drive farther from the safety of the Lunar Module than the distance they could walk without running out of oxygen, in case the rover broke down. – Location 1956
  • Staff at NASA Ames, in California, can dial a four-digit extension and reach Lee, a couple hundred miles from the magnetic North Pole, on an in-house call. – Location 1989
  • The safety manager of the eighth Apollo mission once famously pointed out: “Apollo 8 has 5,600,000 parts…. Even if all functioned with 99.9 percent reliability, we could expect 5,600 defects.” – Location 2020
  • Some people* are genetically unable to smell (i.e., they’re anosmic to) one or both of the two BO heavies: 3-methyl-2-hexanoic acid and androstenone. – Location 2102
  • Most Americans don’t wash often enough to cause skin problems, but they certainly wash more than necessary. In the words of some academic I can’t name because I’ve lost the first page of his paper, “Personal hygiene as practiced in the U.S. today is largely a cultural fetish, actively promoted by those with commercial interests.” – Location 2160
  • Dandruff is caused by an inflammatory skin response to oleic acid, which the scalp fungus Malassezia globosa excretes after dining on your scalp oils. – Location 2203
  • For years, Lovell recalls, his son would tell friends, “Dad orbited the Earth in his underwear!” – Location 2224
  • The human body is a frugal contractor. It keeps the muscles and skeleton as strong as they need to be, no more and no less. “Use it or lose it” is a basic mantra of the human body. – Location 2250
  • According to a 2003 article in Joint Bone Spine,* regardless of what ails you, it is almost always a good idea to get out of bed as soon as you can. – Location 2286
  • Tim received an autographed photo of Peggy Whitson. (“A total BAMF* astronaut,” he called her.) – Location 2321
  • I didn’t know whether to say something, or what that something would or should be. The moment passed, – Location 2782
  • It is probably not the first time that a bunch of guys got together and installed a closed-circuit video camera in a toilet bowl at a government agency. It is surely the first time it has happened with the blessings and financial backing of the agency. – Location 2872
  • The space toilet’s air flow is more than an alternate flushing method. It facilitates the Holy Grail of zero-gravity elimination: good separation. Air drag serves to pull the material away from its source. – Location 2922
  • A kitchen table makes little sense without gravity, but all long-duration spacecraft have them. Crews want to sit around the kitchen table at the end of the day to eat and talk and feel normal and forget for a moment that they’re hurtling utterly alone through the blackness of a deadly vacuum. – Location 2930
  • A spoon and an open container will work fine in zero gravity as long as the food possesses, to quote the adorable May O’Hara, “stick-to-it-ive-ness or whatever.” – Location 3215
  • (The Soviet space agency did not traditionally give cosmonauts steak and eggs before launch; it gave them a one-liter enema.) – Location 3297
  • (Methane is what utility companies sell, under the rubric “natural gas.”) – Location 3337
  • One hears tell of astronauts using intestinal gas like rocket propellant to “launch themselves across the middeck,” as astronaut Roger Crouch put it. He had heard the claims and was dubious. “The mass and velocity of the expelled gas,” he told me in an email that has forevermore endeared him to me, “is very small compared to the mass of the human body.” Thus it was unlikely that it could accelerate a 180-pound astronaut. – Location 3352
  • “My genes have blessed me with an extraordinary ability to expel some of the byproducts of digestion,” wrote Crouch. “So given that, I thought that it should be tested. In what I thought was a real voluminous and rapidly expelled purge, I failed to move noticeably.” – Location 3357
  • One of the things I love about manned space exploration is that it forces people to unlace certain notions of what is and isn’t acceptable. And possible. – Location 3446
  • It’s amazing what sometimes gets accomplished via an initially jarring but ultimately harmless shift in thinking. – Location 3448
  • The tougher question is not “Is Mars possible?” but “Is Mars worth it?” – Location 3456
  • I defer to the sentiments of Benjamin Franklin. Upon the occasion of history’s first manned flights—in the 1780s, aboard the Montgolfier brothers’ hot-air balloons—someone asked Franklin what use he saw in such frivolity. “What use,” he replied, “is a newborn baby?” – Location 3460
  • It was inspiring, what these men and women had done. They flew a delicate scientific instrument more than 400 million miles to Mars and set it down as gently as a baby, exactly where they wanted it. – Location 3473
  • No one goes out to play anymore. Simulation is becoming reality. – Location 3478
  • Ask an astronaut whether taking part in a space simulation is anything like being in space. What’s different? Sweat, risk, uncertainty, inconvenience. But also, awe. Pride. Something ineffably splendid and stirring. – Location 3480
  • Give me a chunk of asphalt and some shoe polish and I can make you a simulated Mars meteorite. What I can’t possibly simulate for you is the feeling of holding a 20-pound divot of Mars in your hands. – Location 3487

A Really Quick Weekend in San Diego

Last weekend, I visited San Diego with the JBuddy (@rabbd). I guess I’ve been once, but that was for a few hours for dinner and walking at Belmont Park back in 2008. After this experience, those few hours pretty much don’t count anymore ;)

Airport Park ThingAfter landing, we found a little park thing right across the street from the airport that we were able to walk around and catch our first glimpse at a pretty sweet harbor view while we waited for the bus. Now, I haven’t been to *too* many airports to know whether or not this is a normal thing, but having a place like this to just walk across the street to was quite a treat for me.

For that Friday night, we chose to stay in a hostel just a bus ride away so we could jump right into San Diego things on Saturday, then high tail it to Carlsbad to spend time with my auntie and uncle. It was great to see them and spend some time with em! They made perfectly lovely hosts (Rusty, too!) Thank you!!!

Transportation was super easy and reasonably priced via bus, trolley and train! We walked a lot, too, but I have zero issue with that..yay!

Point Loma Hostel

The only other hostels I’ve been to were different places throughout Europe. Maybe it was the summer heat and mosquitoes in Italy that has me biased, but the one in Point Loma was awesomely clean, super adorable, staff and volunteers were involved and it had a full kitchen for guest use. And DIY pancakes for breakfast. You guessed it! Mine had an excess amount of chocolate chips :D

I love hostels because of the total diversity of the other guests. Anyone you talk to is most likely from some distant place, doing some crazy thing and have awesome stories. Conversations over spaghetti dinner, once again, had me itching to run off and visit every possible place I can. The prospect of travel always feels so out of reach, but when I think about it, I realize I have been to quite a few places. Many of them earlier this year. Perhaps now I’ve realized that my visits aren’t at the depth that I’d like them to be.

Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens at Liberty Station

On Friday night, we walked down to Stone. It was located in one of the restored barracks buildings at Liberty Station.

It was a lot larger than I expected, and there were so many hidden areas and wings that you don’t see at first. I love that :)

But Liberty Station was just awesome to walk around! They were beautifully renovated, but it still had the unified feel to it. There were large grassy areas, too. It was nearly 11pm and the sprinklers were on. Warm, San Diego weather…sprinklers. You bet we ran through a bunch of them!

There was also a building for the Commander! That night, I was Commander Mew Shepard so it was only appropriate that I take a photo.

Commander

It was a pretty neat place to see and I wish I had more time (and light) to wander more

Petco Park

I like baseball. I also really like that baseball stadiums have those little unique things about them. I’d always seen the Western Metal Supply Co. building seating area when the Giants played down in San Diego.
Petco Park
Without knowing anything else about the park, we wandered over to see if there was a tour or something that would allow us to see the inside of the park. Turns out, that wasn’t even necessary! There’s a little area that’s open each day called Park at the Park where, on non-game days, you can just wander on up to the back fence of the park, no ticket required! There are some seats and even sand over there! It had a perfect view of the Western Metal Supply Co. portion. And look, there’s meee!

Of course we also visited Tony Gywnn Plaza and took some fun photos with the statue.

Tony Gwynn statue

Coronado / Star Park / beach!!

Coronado appeared very well-kept and upscale. Easily million-dollar homes. BUT THEY WERE SO PRETTY!!! The shops around were the same. It felt quaint, except new at the same time.

Star ParkStar Park was actually a stumble as we were walking from a bus stop to the beach by the Hotel del Coronado. The park itself was surrounded by a circular street, Star Park Circle, and it had a few streets branching off. Yep, like a star. See it on Google Maps.

At its center was a star with a flagpole and plaques for each branch of the U.S. Military. That was really great to see :)

Only later, I had found that L. Frank Baum, author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz had lived on Star Park Circle!

Distracted by heat and the prospect of jumping in the ocean, we kinda skipped The Del and headed straight for the water! It’d been a good while since I splashed around in the ocean, and it was just as fun as I remember. It wasn’t as warm as I was expecting, but it was definitely do-able (obviously). We could have been more post-water prepared, but it was warm enough that being a little wet didn’t really matter in any way other than my skirt having a giant wet spot on the butt for a few hours ;)

Birch Aquarium at Scripps (UCSD)

Now, the only other aquariums I’ve been to are the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey and the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

In comparison, Birch Aquarium was pretty small, but it had all kinds of fun things like a giant octopus and lots of seahorses. There were leopard sharks! I love leopard sharks. (And San Jose Sharks) Though it wasn’t a leopard shark, I was rescued from a shark that day, as depicted here. My hero *Insert emoji smiley with heart eyes* (haha)SharkRescue

The cafe located right outside was surprisingly really good and the view out the back of the aquarium was just stunning! This photo doesn’t do it as much justice as I’d like it to.

Check out that view!

Since it was the first full weekend of the month, admission was free by showing our Bank of America cards. It was still worth way more than free! More info on the BofA Museums on Us program. Unfortunately, the Museum of Photographic Arts was closed for renovation during our visit. That was my top choice of the three, but you can’t beat free, even if it’s your second choice!

Carlsbad Village

I just have to say that Carlsbad Village area is extremely adorable and a great place to wander around!! Coyote Bar & Grill pretty much had live music at the three times we wandered past it.

The village area is a ~10 minute walk to the beach, too. We watched the sunset here and it was soooo gorgeous! We only played in the water a little before dinner time. By this time, the trip was in its wind-down mode and I can’t think of a more relaxing place to spend that outside time.

Carlsbad

Turn your Achievement Medals into Coasters – REALLY EASY!

I just finished moving. I had only lived in my previous place for 2.5 years, and somehow still felt like I’d accumulated so much STUFF. (Most of it is coming in handy, however, so now I don’t feel so bad, haha)

There’s one thing that I still didn’t know what to do with until last week!

Medal coaster

Medals. The kind you get for actually winning and placing is pretty awesome, but I’m in possession of three generic, congrats-you-finished-and-we-don’t-care-about-your-time medals from two 5k’s and a mud run. I don’t need these hanging on a wall or bulletin board. So they just sat.

But last week, I observed that my coworker’s coaster (< a href=”http://www.twitter.com/bumblethunder”>@bumblethunder) was, in fact, a marathon medal! He said it came that way, with a foam ring on the backside and everything. I expressed interest in recreating it, so we discussed a bit.

I mean, you could just take the ribbon off and put it on the table, but it’d totally scuff and scratch the surface. Isn’t the point of a coaster to protect your surfaces? So, a little editing would be needed! Still, there’s no way it could be difficult.

Hey guess what! IT WAS REALLY REALLY EASY! You could do things a lot less crudely (like fill and cover the medal with a resin to make it all pretty and smooth) and come up with some super sweet results, but I’m just going to lay down the basics :)

Things you’ll need:

  • Your medal
  • Self-stick furniture felt pads
  • (OR felt or kiddy crafty foam sheet thing + hot glue/some other adhesive)
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Pencil (optional)

Step 1: Prepare your medal – Take only the medal

You’ll have to take off the sweet ribbon it came with, as well as any connecting metal rings. Most rings will have an opening that was squeezed shut. Use pliers to open up the ring and remove your medal.

Step 2: Prepare your felt pads – End up with three felt pads per medal

My coworker actually gave me some felt furniture pads he found lying around his house. They’re from Ikea (called FIXA). The small ones look to be about 3/4″ in diameter, which is pretty big for this project, so I used only one and cut it into thirds.

If you’re using craft foam or regular felt with an adhesive, cut three small squares or circles or rectangles or triangles or trapezoids or whatever’s easiest that is fairly substantial. Not teeny strips, you want a little support here! The width to aim for is just a little over 1/4″. They don’t have to be pretty.

Cut your feet

Mark your lines with a pencil if you’d like. Cutting something into thirds took my brain a second to figure out ;) Think peace sign.

You can go a little larger for larger medals, too. Remember, you’re going for support, but not too much to make the bottom uneven.

Step 3: Secure the felt pads to the back of the medal

Place your feet

Spread out the pads as evenly as possible near the edge of the medal, leaving only a little room at the edge. You don’t want it to show too much, but more importantly, you don’t want the weight of a cup to tip it over, either!

Make sure the medal is clean to get the best stickage. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, glue ‘em down, or if using the self-stick kind, simply peel and stick!

Let your adhesive dry according to its instructions.

Turn over, test it out with a cup, slide it around the table and observe how it doesn’t make that awful scratchy sound or scuff up your surfaces! Yay!

Now, you can show off your accomplishments in a smooth and productive way!

*Achievement unlocked* I should get a medal for this ;)

What I Did Before PAX (Omega Story Part 2 of 4)

In Omega Story Part 1, I described my experience finding out I had been randomly selected for the PAX Prime 2014 Omegathon.

These are the things I did before heading out to Seattle:

As the weeks passed, I grew more and more anxious for the game list for this year’s competition. There was nothing I could practice to help hone skills for like every game ever because the games for each round were not announced.

It was the best advice from everyone on the forums and in the Facebook group to NOT stress about the games or practicing or anticipating. Knowing a thing or two about stress and how awful it is for a person, I took this advice to heart.

So what if I didn’t win? Being chosen is already a win. The absolute last thing that I wanted to do was ruin PAX for myself, despite its overall awesomenss. Stress could easily do this and I was determined to prevent it.

Again, there was literally NOTHING I could do to prepare until I had the game list. So I just kept doing what I was doing. Regular life, regular PAXcitement building, with the addition of Omegacitement!

-Insert more weeks here-

The Release of the Game List

It was about 2.5 weeks before PAX and the games were announced…

  • Round 1: Get Bit. A card/tabletop game where your strategy depends on what you think the other players are doing.
  • Round 2: Towerfall. A fast-paced 4-player close-quarters side-scroller where you shoot each other with arrows and jump on their heads.
  • Round 3: Super Avalanche 2. Blocks fall from the sky and stack upon one another. Jump on top of them, don’t get smooched, watch out because the lava is rising from below.
  • Round 4: JS Joust. Keep your motion controller as still as possible while physically engaging your opponents to make them wiggle theirs.
  • Round 5: Mario Kart: Double-Dash. Super Mario themed kart racing. Set traps for opponents, get boosts for yourself, don’t fall off the map.
  • Final Round: A mystery until the final two Omeganauts are on the stage! :O

Honestly? I had only heard of JS Joust and Mario Kart, but only played Mario Kart. I did some preliminary research on all of the games and I was most worried about Towerfall and Super Avalanche 2. Yes. Worried. Something I did NOT want to do.

This is what I decided on: It’s impossible to master any of these games, let alone five of them, within two weeks. The attainable was basic familiarity with the gameplay, and a feel for what is expected in each game.

I shifted my focus to Get Bit. This is the only game I was guaranteed to play. Jusin (@rabbd) bought it for me as an early berfday gift (taaank you!!) so we could train a bit! It’s a cute game with a silly concept. Simple rules, but the strategy was dependent on your opponents, even the number of opponents could change it all.

I purchased Towerfall on Steam, but to my dismay, found that it was not an online game so I could only practice with single players and stationary dummy enemies. Even still, Youtube videos and this single player was enough to achieve the level of proficiency I set for myself.

For Super Avalanche 2, I used the browser-based Super Avalanche demo available at the developer’s website. The controls were difficult on a keyboard. Over time, I’ve become more of a console gamer rather than PC (don’t even start. I know.) I had heard rumor that, generally, controllers were used, so I hoped for this.

JS Joust was something I did not have the means to practice. It was a Playstation Move game. I’m not even sure I know anyone with a PS and Move controllers. My PAX friends from Prime 2013 John (@pandaradox) and Noah (@Pojo_King) had talked about the game last year, so I asked them for advice. Practice with a full glass of water! What I didn’t have was a feel for the sensitivity, and this what made me nervous.

Mario Kart? The only one I already knew how to play. I didn’t even begin to think about practicing it. And I didn’t play it at all. Oooops.

And just like that, it was time to fly up to Seattle with Justin and get our PAX on.

How I Became a PAX Prime 2014 Omeganaut (Omega Story Part 1 of 4)

This year, I was one of the 19 chosen in the random draw to be an Omeganaut at PAX Prime 2014. This is my story. In four parts!

I had only purchased PAX badges twice before, but I recognized that the Omegathon opt-in was different this year in that it simply didn’t exist in the badge-buying checkout. Instead, a Google form went out later to opt into random draw.

Of course I was interested! I filled out the form accordingly.

-Insert some number of weeks here-

*Wake up from nap*
*Play on phone while still in bed*
*Receive phone call from blocked number*
*Shrug* “Hello?”

Lo and behold, Robert Khoo (@rkhoo) from Penny Arcade was on the phone. After verifying that he was talking to me, Melissa, he asked, “Are you awake?” To which I responded, “Haha… I think so?” Random. He proceeded to remind me that I like sleep. Turns out, in the when’s-the-best-time-to-contact-you? box, I had written late afternoon because “I like sleep.” Well, yep, I do!

After a series of questions, one of which being something along the lines of “Do you want to be an Omeganaut?” …. UM OF COURSE THE ANSWER IS YES!!

Was I actually awake? Was I dreaming? Did I wake up from my nap only to be still dreaming? You know, Inception style.

Even with that uncertainty, I messaged my game and PAX friends and told the internet what had just happened.

I was met with overwhelming congratulations and support!! Through all of the excitement, it still hadn’t sunk in what being an Omeganaut really meant in full.

To my delight, I received the congratulating and informatory email from Angela (SmallLady) a few hours later. It was real, and I was awake.

Let the gaming…BEGIN!

[EDIT: Part 2 is up n ready.]

Kindle Highlights from Warbreaker – Brandon Sanderson

This was a fun fantasy, not difficult read. I liked that it didn’t just give away everything to the reader at once. We learned about things WITH the characters instead of cringing at their actions and cursing them for not seeing the signs just because we know about them. Of course, since we’re reading multiple sides of the story, we know. But I think Sanderson does a decent job keeping readers holding on ;)

I’ll probably go for Mistborn sometime in the nearish future!

Check it out on Amazon

Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

You have 61 highlighted passages. Last annotated on January 17, 2014

  • Make a note to have my imagination flogged for its insolence in showing me that particular sight. – Location 996
  • flowing hair is favored by many of the women—particularly the goddesses. – Location 1171
  • She wanted time to experience more of life before she was forced into the responsibilities of childbearing. – Location 1182
  • Blushweaver the Beautiful, goddess of honesty. – Location 1335
  • “If I’m stunned, dazzled, and breathless, then how the hell am I supposed to greet you? – Location 1356
  • “Mocking a woman is like drinking too much wine. It may be fun for a short time, but the hangover is hell. – Location 1367
  • “I try to avoid having thoughts. They lead to other thoughts, and—if you’re not careful—those lead to actions. Actions make you tired. – Location 1401
  • “You avoid thinking, you avoid me, you avoid effort…is there anything you don’t avoid?” ” – Location 1403
  • It was an orgy of color and motion. – Location 1692
  • Did no one understand that a man could be both likable and useless? Not every quick-tongued fool was a hero in disguise. – Location 2089
  • “I am what the universe made me to be, my dear. – Location 2383
  • “fight with everything, force the universe to bow to you instead. – Location 2385
  • “And how exactly did we get onto this tangent, anyway?” Lightsong said. “I swear, my dear. Sometimes our conversations remind me of a broken sword.” She raised an eyebrow. “Sharp as hell,” Lightsong said, “but lacking a point. – Location 2403
  • “first you imply that I should join with you, now you won’t tell me what you want me to do? I swear, woman. Someday, your ridiculous sense of drama is going to cause cataclysmic problems—like, for instance, boredom in your companions. – Location 2409
  • because everyone tries so hard to look distinctive, nobody does! – Location 2494
  • But he’d found that imaginary things were often the only items of real substance in people’s lives. – Location 2571
  • Things in Hallandren were a whole lot less terrible than she had been taught. – Location 2647
  • You’re a very difficult person to manipulate, you know. – Location 2706
  • “You just have to promise me that I won’t have to do a thing, and then I’ll do anything you want. – Location 2707
  • She was not the confident, competent woman she’d assumed herself to be. – Location 2880
  • Tantrums were useless displays of arrogance. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Don’t set yourself above others. He who makes himself high will be cast down low. – Location 2952
  • It’s not so uncommon for others to have more faith in someone than he has in himself. – Location 3102
  • “Perhaps she’d rather we buy puppies for all of her enemies, then send them with nice apologetic notes, asking them to stop being so mean.” “And then,” Tonk Fah said, “when they don’t stop, we could kill the puppies! – Location 3216
  • Corpses cause more trouble than men who get knocked out. – Location 3513
  • Why should I have so much, when she has nothing? It was the worst kind of ostentation. – Location 3878
  • work is like fertilizer in that I’m glad it exists; I just don’t ever want to get stuck in it. – Location 4085
  • “I positively love people who do as they should. ‘Should’ being defined as – Location 4150
  • whatever I think is best. – Location 4151
  • “You don’t have to believe in my miracles. You can call them accidents or coincidences, if you must. But don’t pity me for my faith. And don’t presume that you’re better, just because you believe something different. – Location 4503
  • all of the people they represented, with all their different beliefs, different ways of thinking, different contradictions. Perhaps she wasn’t the only one who struggled to believe two seemingly opposing things at the same time. – Location 4558
  • “Haven’t believed much,” he said. “Not in a long time.” – Location 4562
  • Unknowing ignorance is preferable to informed stupidity. – Location 4980
  • Sometimes, although you can’t disguise who you are and how you really feel, you can make use of who you are. – Location 5080
  • This is who I am. However, I make certain that people never forget it. – Location 5086
  • “World’s a confusing place,” Denth said. “That’s what makes it fun. – Location 5173
  • that you don’t understand a man until you understand what makes him do what – Location 5180
  • he does. Every man is a hero in his own story, – Location 5181
  • The truth is, most people who do what you’d call ‘wrong’ do it for what they call ‘right’ reasons. – Location 5184
  • “But time burns away behind us, leaving only ash and memory. – Location 6080
  • “I thought I was stronger than I am. I thought I’d rather die than use it. That was a lie. In that moment, I would have done anything to survive. – Location 6188
  • I am now proposing to believe that God—or the universe, or time, or whatever you think controls all of this—is all really just a drunk monkey. – Location 6360
  • “My dear, did you just try to prove the existence of God with your cleavage? – Location 6363
  • “You’d be surprised what a good wriggle of the chest can accomplish. – Location 6364
  • You’ve got color on the inside, so much of it that it bursts out and colors everything around you. – Location 6781
  • Sometimes, you can’t have everything you want, since the wants contradict each other. – Location 6790
  • In a way, it’s the absolute value of emotion that is important, rather than the positive or negative nature of that emotion. – Location 7014
  • lust is one of the most honest of all emotions. – Location 7024
  • the only way to learn was to do. – Location 7266
  • Didn’t you ever stop to think that maybe you were on the wrong side? – Location 7615
  • Yet she was beginning to think that she—along with many others—had taken this belief too far, letting her desire to seem humble become a form of pride itself. She now saw that when her faith had become about clothing instead of people, it had taken a wrong turn. – Location 7956
  • She wanted as much information as she could, and wanted to be prepared for the problems that might come at her. – Location 7963
  • They’re called gods here in Hallandren, but I’d rather call them Spontaneous Sentient BioChromatic Manifestations in a Deceased Host. – Location 8056
  • she had no arrogance of presumed superiority. Real kindness. Real love. Real mercy. – Location 8160
  • had to stop judging people. But was that possible? Wasn’t interaction based, in – Location 8400
  • part, on judgments? A person’s background and attitudes influenced how she responded to them. The answer, then, wasn’t to stop judging. It was to hold those judgments as mutable. – Location 8401
  • Amazing, how good she looks in something like that, he found himself thinking, when she takes the time to respect herself. – Location 8626
  • have you ever known me to make an inflammatorily ridiculous statement without providing an equally ridiculous explanation to substantiate it?” “Of course not, – Location 8658
  • “One could also say that my feet smell like guava fruit,” he said. “Just because one could say it doesn’t mean it’s relevant. – Location 8672
  • By choosing to act, she might fail—and that was so daunting that doing nothing seemed preferable. – Location 9281
  • You want to be competent? she thought. You want to learn to be in control of what goes on around you, rather than just being pushed around? Then you’ll have to learn to deal with failure. – Location 9283
  • He met Lightsong’s eyes. “You are a god. To me, at least. It doesn’t matter how easily you can be killed, how much Breath you have, or how you look. It has to do with who you are and what you mean. – Location 9519

Kindle Highlights from The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Earlier, I mentioned that I kinda wanted to post up the highlights I make in Kindle books. I finished reading The Alchemist a little over a month ago. It was an easy read with a lot of little reminders to not get down on yourself about life, live your dreams and maintain a positive outlook. I liked it and would recommend it for those things :)

Here are my highlights!

The Alchemist – 10th Anniversary Edition by Paulo Coelho

You have 32 highlighted passages Last annotated on June 1, 2014

  • when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Location 322
  • people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of. – Location 328
  • “If you start out by promising what you don’t even have yet, you’ll lose your desire to work toward getting it. – Location 353
  • He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have. – Location 384
  • when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises. – Location 387
  • every blessing ignored becomes a curse. – Location 710
  • It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired. – Location 763
  • When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. – Location 830
  • I want each and every one of you to swear by the God you believe in – Location 873
  • intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there. – Location 904
  • word of Allah: people need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want. – Location 928
  • “Everyone has his or her own way of learning things,” he said to himself. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that. – Location 1020
  • “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now. – Location 1031
  • when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning. – Location 1133
  • The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. That’s the way it will be with our love for each other. – Location 1184
  • Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years. – Location 1201
  • If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. – Location 1253
  • Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.” – Location 1255
  • Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. You’ve got to find the treasure, so that everything you have learned along the way can make sense. – Location 1409
  • love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love … the love that speaks the Language of the World. – Location 1463
  • “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. – Location 1483
  • I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you. – Location 1485
  • Your heart is alive. Keep listening to what it has to say. – Location 1565
  • “You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow. – Location 1578
  • There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. – Location 1729
  • “Usually the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives. – Location 1735
  • “When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, – Location 1804
  • we contemplate each other, and we want each other, and I give it life and warmth, and it gives me my reason for living. – Location 1826
  • “That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. – Location 1841
  • when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. – Location 1848
  • ‘Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time. – Location 1910
  • “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it. – Location 1943

Why I Use the Kindle App More than the Actual Kindle

I own a Kindle, but I keep finding that it’s waaaay more convenient to be reading using the Kindle app on my iPhone. The small screen doesn’t bother me, especially now with the retina display. I’ll find myself reading in places that I normally wouldn’t and thus, reading more. For instance, when in a long line at an amusement park. Or PAX! Not exactly times I could imagine carrying my actual Kindle with me, nor should I.

There are two things I absolutely adore about the Kindle (apps or device). One is the dictionary function. Highlight a word, get definition. Donez.

The second is the ability to highlight lines, paragraphs, words, whatever.

You know when you’re reading a book and you come across a great quote? And you want to recall and use it or show it to someone later? I love that the highlight function allows me to do so with so much ease!

Not only can you simply highlight things, but you can color-code them with the app. I use yellow for general quotes I like or want to remember and red for terms or names and their descriptions that will be useful to recall should I need to. And there’s like 4 other colors if I find another category! These can be pulled up on the Notes page directly within the app!

But wait! There’s more! [Insert Billy Maze meme here]

If your chosen reading material was purchased directly from Amazon, you can –wait for it– *GASP* see them all on your Kindle page on Amazon’s website!! There’s no apparent way to export, but you can very easily copy and paste, and even reformat to make it look nicer if you want. I think I’m going to start doing that when I finish books and post the quotes that I liked and/or found meaningful.

So far, the one downside of attempting to use both the app and the actual Kindle is that the highlights don’t seem to sync up. Say I begin a book on my phone, continue it on my Kindle, then go back to my phone. The highlights seem to stay on their respective devices only. Note that I haven’t actually tried this with two -apps- (iPhone/iPad combo). But this was a little disheartening as I wanted to have a complete collection. It’s also another reason that I prefer the app over the kindle itself.

Now don’t get me wrong! I LOVE the Kindle device, and I do wish I could say I use it more. For me, it feels better for dedicated comfy reading time. Like walking to the park or beach and relaxing or out on the couch (when I had an accessible one). But dat app. Annnnywherrrrrrre! And… my highlights!

Snapshots

Thursday looks behind her. Blinded by the wasn’ts and did-nots of yesterday, the dids are left in the shadows. Not gone, just unrecognized, out of focus.

She twists the lens and the unseen becomes visible. The rest blurs into the background. Satisfied, she captures the frame.

Everything is there and nothing is forgotten. The choice of focal point is always at the hands of the artist.