Category Archives: Gaming

What I’m Lovin’ Lately

You know it’s been a really long time since you posted a blog when you’re faced with the log-in page as soon as you click over to Word Press.

Oops.

The thing is, life has been…well, lively, lately. And after all, the whole point of life is to be an active participant. Am I right? So that’s what I’ve been doing. Participatin’.

When I’m not working out, working, or out, there are a few things that have been tying up my extra attention the past week or two. And since those things have kept me so busy, I thought the least I could do would be share them with you. Then we can participate together, and I’ll stop feeling so guilty about my lack of blogging, because you’ll be enjoying life, too.

Here’s a list of things I’m lovin’ lately.

National Grammar Day
You may or may not have known this, but yesterday (March 4, 2014) was National Grammar Day. Now, as a writer, every day is Grammar Day for me. But…it’s nice to have a day set aside in the year to highlight something as important as proper grammar. And no one does it with the same grace and panache as my friends, Fafa and Mario. If you haven’t heard of Glove and Boots, then please, let me introduce you to the funniest video blog on the internet with my FAVORITE one, ever: “Fix Your Grammar.”

NKOTB reference, FTW.

New (To Me) Music
I know, I know. I’m a little late to the Bruno Mars party. Truthfully, I was actually familiar with a few of his songs before his amazing performance on this year’s Super Bowl–I just wasn’t really aware that it was Bruno singing. Ya dig?

Anyway, after witnessing my entire family (ages 26-65, respectively) bobbing their heads along to the music during Super Bowl halftime, Brian and I decided it was high time we downloaded some new tunes. And so, Bruno Mars has taken over our iPods, and we listen to him with an almost religious fervor.

My favorite song changes from day-to-day, but the one that always sends me into a dance frenzy is “The Lazy Song.” And so, I’m here to share it with you today, so you can dance, too.

Also, the monkeys kill me.

Exercise That I Actually ENJOY
I never thought it would happen. I’ve been trying to find a fun method of burning calories since I was in college. Step aerobics–not fun. Bike riding–not fun after the age of 10. Running drills on the elliptical–fun like a root canal is fun.

But a couple of weeks ago, my shiny new Weight Loss Buddy (WLB) and I discovered Werq classes at our local gym. Now we’d tried Zumba, and while it was sort of fun, it was a little more challenging than either of us were quite expecting. But Werq? It’s like Zumba’s favorite hip-hop cousin. And ZOMG, it is SO much fun. I’ve been doing 2-3 classes a week, and have managed to lose 14 pounds and 8.5 inches since Jan 7.

Just watch—it even LOOKS like fun!


The best part is the energy in the class. Everyone who shows up is really ready for a fun hour of dance. So. Much. FUN. And clearly, it’s working!

The Most Epic Song-Bomb, EVER.
You guys remember the video blog I did awhile ago about being song-bombed, right? No? Well click HERE and go watch it….I’ll wait.

Now, if you think THAT song is the most epic bomb, ever, then you haven’t seen the new Lego Movie yet. We saw it two weeks ago, and we’re still walking around singing “Everything is Awesome.” (It doesn’t help that it also runs rampant through the video game, which Brian and I are currently playing together.)

I am warning you now…if you don’t want this ridiculously catchy tune stuck in your head from now until the end of days, you won’t click the play button. But you really do want to hear it, don’t you?


Now, readers, I release you back into the wild, where you’ll inadvertently share your new favorite song with the world. Believe me, you will. You’ll be singing it at the grocery store, in the shower, at the post office, in line at Target….

Heeeee’s BAAAAACCK…
I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it…that it would be too painful after our very public breakup last year. I made a promise to myself to avoid the torture, especially when I learned that SHE would make guest appearances on the show centered around the Wahlberg’s new chain restaurant.

But when Wahlburgers started up a couple of weeks ago, I broke that promise to myself and DVR’d it.

And I hate to admit it, but the truth is…I’m utterly charmed.

It’s funny, it’s heart-warming, and Alma Wahlberg (Mother to Donnie and Mark) is just about the cutest thing in the world.

But I don’t watch it for Alma. Or Mark. Or Paul. Or the burgers.

Nay, I watch it for Donnie.

A bad habit is hard to break, ladies. Especially one that’s been practiced since childhood.

So…what’s been keeping you busy, readers? Got anything fun you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new forms of entertainment. Tell me all about it in the comments below. And remember…

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME….EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM…EVERYTHING IS AWESOME…WHEN YOU’RE LIVING YOUR DREAM!♪

Things I’m Loving Lately

After this weekend’s somber post, I decided to do something much happier to kick off the week. (I know you’re relieved. Truthfully, I used up half a box of tissues just writing Saturday’s post. I’m ready to move on to the happy stuff, too.) So, I’m turning to the blogging tool that has been so successful for me in the past. I’m sharing with you a list of the things that are making me smile lately. (If I use it as a tool to turn my frownies upside down, well, that’s just an added bonus. Right?)

Things I’m Loving Lately:
 
1. This house in Kansas:
 

As it turns out, it was purchased by activist Aaron Jackson, who bought this house just to send a message to their neighbors: the Westboro Baptist Church. A peaceful, and colorful, protest to all the hate speech—I’d say this is a must-visit location to any and all living and vacationing in Kansas. It makes me so happy, I’m not above declaring that if we buy a house with siding, it might just get the same treatment. (Somewhere in a hospital room far, far away, my husband the nurse just collapsed when he read that statement.) Visit CNN to read the entire story.
 
2. Smash.
I know, I know—I’ve gushed all about this show here on AbbyGabs before. But the new season started a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve got to tell you—-I’m just as addicted in season 2 as I was in season 1. I know I’m not supposed to like Ivy, but I absolutely adore Megan Hilty, and I’m excited for what’s coming up for her character in the episodes to come! For your viewing pleasure, here she is again. LOVE.
 
 

Sigh. My Broadway tendencies get tickled every time she performs. I really want to be her when I grow up.

3. Lego City: Undercover (for the Wii U)


This game has everything we love: Lego-themed puzzles, fun game play, and silly narration. We simply can’t stop playing. The only thing it doesn’t have is multi-player…but it’s only making us look forward to future Lego games on this new console that much more. My favorite mantra while playing Lego games? BREAK STUFF!!!!


4. Searching the internet for nerdy t-shirts to wear to Comic-Con in July.
Believe me when I say there are a treasure trove of them out there. I’ve got an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to the subject. Here are a few of my favorites, for your viewing pleasure.

Nyan Cat Meets Doctor Who
Star Trek Awesomeness

The Entire Buffy Gang–The Peanuts Version

 

 


5. Remix (I Like The)
Don’t throw stuff at me. I know I told you all about how much I love this new video by NKOTB in my last video blog. But someone happened to point out to me that I failed to leave a link to the video on that post, and so I’m sharing it with you here. (Remember–part of this blog is so I have something to look at to make me smile. And this video makes me smile. So there.)


It’s not just the hotness of the band in suits, or the fact that the lead in the video is a big girl like me, or the ADORABLENESS that is the dance sequence with Donnie Wahlberg near the end. It’s the WHOLE SONG, and the knowledge that I’ll get to see them perform it live in T-minus 2 1/2 months, that gets me all giddy and grinny. I can’t wait for the album release in April. Yay!!!

Ok that’s it. My list of happy things. I’ve got a few more, but I’m too busy rocking out to Remix and pretending I can sing like Megan Hilty to write any more. 

Munchkin Quest–Our Newest Obsession

This post is going to read a little like an advertisement. But that’s ok. Because Brian and I have a new nerdy obsession, and I absolutely must share it with you. 

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of Munchkin Quest!



***crickets***


Yeah, that’s ok. I’d never heard of it either. But in our eternal quest to reach “Nerdvana,” we stumbled upon this little board game in the vast reaches of the world wide web. And since it arrived at our door step a few days ago, we have been playing it non-stop.

Munchkin Quest is a dungeon-crawler board game, much like Dungeons and Dragons (so I’ve heard.) (Dungeon Crawler=Role-playing game where players explore a labyrinth, fighting monsters and using magic along the way.) (Still with me? Ok, good.)

Anywhoo, the purpose of this little game is to wander from room to room, defeating scary monsters, and leveling up your player. Sounds pretty simple, right?

WRONG.


This game has eleventy-billion rules. Seriously. It comes with a rule book 20-pages thick. There are numerous dice to be rolled, a mountain of cards to figure out, and rules upon rules to be memorized. 

But don’t let that information daunt you. There are SO many things I love about this game. 

*It is cutthroat. It is way too easy to pull the rug out from beneath your opponent’s feet. All it takes is the luck of the draw, and the guts to actually play the card when the time arises.

*It has a sense of humor. What other game do you know of that allows you to curse your opponent by tossing a chicken on his head, rendering him unable to fight with 100% accuracy?

*It is about luck, not skill. It doesn’t matter how awesome you think you are at this game, if the cards and the dice aren’t with you, then you will not win. (Unless the cards and the dice decide to join your team about halfway through—then it is entirely possible to win, even if you’ve been down by 5 or 6 levels the entire game.)

But my FAVORITE thing about Munchkin Quest are the cartoons on the cards. They are HILARIOUS, people. You’ll draw a weapon that is a Sword That Kills Everything (Except Squid.) You’ll fight monsters like the Leperchaun (a leprechaun with leprosy) or the Zombees (undead bumble bees). 

Just to give you a small taste of the Munchkin realm, here are a couple of illustrations depicting how Brian and I ended our most recent game.

Brian as an Elf Warrior, sporting Butt-Kicking Boots,
carrying a Step-Ladder (for those hard-to-reach monsters)
and cursed with an Evil Chicken.


Me as a Halfling Wizard,
wearing the Amulet of Fire-Breath,
with a Fire-Breathing Shoulder Dragon as my pet.

The hairy toes are my favorite part.

So if you’re looking for a board game to while away the hours while you slowly become the nerdiest person in your social group, I suggest you pick up Munchkin Quest. It’s a little on the pricey side, but it’s definitely worth the gold pieces you’ll throw down for it. Because I promise you–you’ll be speaking the lingo and tossing around the insults like a true Munchkin in no time.

The ABC’s of Happiness

I found this graphic while perusing Pinterest this morning:

Source



It’s pretty! It’s hopeful! It’s creative in its use of “xerox” and “zap.” And as I read through it, I thought to myself, “I’m pretty happy right now. Maybe I should write my own ABC’s of Happiness post.”


And thus, you have today’s blog topic.

Abby’s ABC’s of Happiness
A — Abby Gabs. I know, it’s silly, but the fact that I’m back from my writer’s block funk, and that the Gabs is back up and running, makes me slightly giddy. Yay for writing!
 
B Buffy. As in, I’ve been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer again. And it’s just as awesome now as it was 3 years ago, and 5 years ago, and 8 years ago….
 
C Crops. Despite the debilitating heat wave, my tomato plant is absolutely dripping with fruit. And OH BOY, does that ever make me (and my tummy) happy.
 

D — Dance TV. My summertime guilty pleasure is Fox’s dance show, So You Think You Can Dance. I love the leaps, the locking, and the lines. I grin from ear to ear for each of the 120 minutes it’s on each week. Dancers to watch this season? Daniel Baker and Eliana Girard. And since they’re choosing America’s favorite male AND female dancer this year, they could both win! *Abby flops over in a fit of giddiness*
 
E — Exercise. After a month of struggling with my laziness, I finally seem to be back in the groove of things. A new strength training program, combined with my regular Couch to 5K workouts, and I’m on the road back to weight loss. Yay, sweat!
 
F — Friends. The kind of friends who make me laugh, make me think, save me from evil sea monsters. I’m so lucky, and grateful, to be surrounded by the best kind of people in the world.
 
G — Godchildren. Bub and Baby Girl are growing each and every day. And Mom (best pal, Jenna) posts videos and pictures daily, so I can stay in the loop. I love them so much, I could just about pop.

 

H — Headbands. They help to tame the beast, as I’m growing out my hair. Thankfully, there’s no limit to the adorable hair accessories in the world. And I’m grabbing them up one by one.
 

IInstagram….as if you couldn’t already tell from this post.
 
J — Jordan Knight’s Old Navy Commercial. Because it’s Jordan Knight. And he’s a New Kid. Which means he knows Donnie Wahlberg. And all of that makes me very happy.

K — Kitty snuggles. Because I have 4 of them, and the whole purpose of having 4 cats is to pick each of them up and snuggle them daily. It might not make them happy, but it works for me.

 
LLego Batman 2. Our latest video game craze. We ♥ the Lego franchise, and this may be the best, yet. (Although we’re still holding out for The Avengers Lego game. Because Iron Man and Hulk and a million times cooler than Aquaman and Robin.)
 
M — My Man. He cooks, he cleans, he mows the grass and waters my plants. He makes me laugh and buys me presents. And best of all, he knows how to do the dance to Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It.” (Believe me when I say that if I could’ve gotten video evidence of this incident, you would be presented with it right now.)
 
N — Novels. I’ve been reading my head off this summer, and now that I’ve created my very own virtual book club (on Facebook, of all places), I’m ready to devour even more of the written word. I ♥ Books.
 
O — The Olympics!! I’m so excited!! I love the summer Olympics—the swimming and diving, gymnastics, beach volleyball. But most of all—-SOCCER!!!! I may be scarce once the games start. I’ll be busy painting my face red, white, and blue, and shouting “USA! USA! USA!” like Homer Simpson.


 
P — Panthers Preseason Chatter. Yes, I know it’s July. Yes, I know football season is still a couple of months away. But those of us crazy football fans already have our eyes glued to the online buzz all about our favorite teams. And the Panthers buzz is nothing but good this year. SO ready for Panthers Football Season 2012!!
 
Q — Quiet Moments. They are few and far between. But when it’s just me, a cup of coffee, and absolute silence? It’s a beautiful thing, ya’ll.
R — Reruns. Firefly, Doctor Who, The Big Bang Theory, Friends….if it weren’t for reruns, and television series on DVD, I don’t know what we’d do with our spare time.
 
S Spotify. This glowing little music-sharing gem is creating the soundtrack of my summer. It is also the app that is directly responsible for the Jiggy Incident I spoke about a few letters ago.
 
T — Thunderstorms. Nothing makes me happier, after a steamy summer day, than a big ol’ thunder-boomer. I love watching the clouds roll in, feeling the temperature drop, and witnessing the lighting as it splinters across the sky.
 
U — Undertaking New Hobbies. Like my book club, mentioned above. And learning new stitches for future crochet projects. And cheering my hubby on as he tries his hand at model-painting. (As in, Transformers, not Heidi Klum.)
 
V — Vino. Lots and lots of vino. I’m on a crisp, sweet, white kick right now. Pinot Grigio?  Yes, please. Chardonnay? If you insist. Moscato? Absolutely, and thank you very much.


W — Weekends. They’re filled with adventure, laughter, and fun. I just can’t get enough of them. I wish it could be Sunday every day of the week.

X — Xylophones. Because they’re happy. And also, I couldn’t think of anything else to go with  the letter X. Ooh, wait, Xanax! Ok, no, that’s just a bad joke.

YYouTube. Because who doesn’t get happy when filtering through gems such as this one?



Z
— Zee End. (*In order for this to work, you have to read that line in your best fake Italian voice. Think Mario (the plumber, not Batali.)

 
Like I said…it’s not all shiny and pinnable (I just created a word…definition: the act of pinning something interesting to Pinterest.) But, this list is a pretty decent representation of all the things in my life that are currently making me happy.
 
Oh wait. I forgot cheese. And new sheets. Ooh, ooh, and the little doo-dads that close up a the holes on notebook paper when they break. What do you call those things anyway?…

Summertime Fun: An Abby Gabs List Blog

It’s summertime. Isn’t summertime great? Forget about the 100+ degree heat, the monstrous thunderstorms that leave us without power for hours, and the crazy tourist-caused traffic. With summer comes awesome farm fresh produce, glorious beach days, and lots of frosty alcoholic beverages.

Ice cold beer, anyone?


But as wonderful as all those things are, the best thing about THIS summer is the fact that I have Brian home from school. That means plenty of free time to do the things we’ve been meaning to do since, oh, let’s say January of 2011. (Like purchasing an universal remote, going on vacation, and spending time with friends.) And when Brian packs up and heads off to work on weekends, I have plenty of time to obsess over a few little things of my own. Here’s my list of 


Things We Do When We Have 
Lots of Free Time (Especially 
When It’s Hot Outside.)

#1: Watch Doctor Who.
After plenty of prodding from fellow Geek Chic friends like Jenna and Tina, we finally broke down and started watching Doctor Who. (Thanks Netflix!) It took us about a month to watch all 6 seasons, and I can officially say we have earned our nerd cards. I can’t tell you much about the series, (because, you know, SPOILERS…) but let me just say this. WE LOVED IT. The cheese factor, combined with compelling story lines, terrific one-liners, and the ultimate nerdgasm that is time travel—well, it’s just the perfect show.
 
Those of you who are wise beyond your years and were already Doctor Who fans will probably want to know the answer to one burning question—who’s our favorite Doctor? Well, I just can’t choose. It’s a toss up.
 
How can one choose between David Tennant and Matt Smith??? (Source)

We shout “alons y” in our house as often as we randomly say “Bowties are cool.” But I’m really close to sporting a bowtie. And maybe even a fez.
 
Fezzes are cool, too.

#2: Play Plants Vs. Zombies.
Brian got me a Kindle Fire for my birthday.
 
See?

I could write an entire blog dedicated solely to my Kindle Fire, because it is, without a doubt, the coolest thing ever. However, there’s one app in particular that is currently holding me spellbound. And that app is Plants vs. Zombies.
It’s an OCD dream, this game. Planting pretty rows of plants to defend your home from zombies, mowing them down one by one…like I said…it’s video game heaven. The part of my brain that drives my OCD is always happy and well-rested after a rousing round of virtual zombie-maiming gardening.
 
Source

And as if that’s not enough to make a game great, then please let me introduce you to the in-house comedian of Plants vs. Zombies. It’s your crazy neighbor, Crazy Dave. And each time he makes an appearance to share his zombie-slaying tips, he makes me laugh out loud. While searching for a video so you could hear him talk, I came across this little gem. Enjoy.
 

#3: Obsess Over Potential Hairstyles.

Ok, so this is something I do without Brian. Not that he isn’t interested, he’s just…not interested.

So, let this serve as a warning to all my friends and family. I’ve decided to grow my hair out. Which means, for the next 3 to 5 months, you can expect me to look something like this:
 
Is that a goomba on your head, or are you just growing your hair out?

Thankfully, I have an awesome hairstylist (Hi Leeann!) who will laugh at my Super Mario Brothers’ jokes as much as she will help me grow out my locks without adopting the Billy Ray Cyrus ‘do. With this decision has come hours and hours of trolling the internet, looking for photos of what I might want my hair to look like next. (The giant walking mushroom with scraggly eyebrows look isn’t exactly on my list.)
 
I’d like to personally thank whoever invented Pinterest, because with it I’ve found my “how it will look when it starts to get some length back” hairdo:
 
Source

…and my “cutey cute cute finished product hairdo:”
 
Source

Note to readers: No, I’m not going blonde. It’s totally a coincidence that both hairstyles are sported by blondies. I’ll be sticking with my natural dark brown color, which I love. Sorry to those who hoped I’d go pink.

#4: Play Mexican Train Dominoes.

Don’t believe what you hear. Dominoes are so much cooler than you might believe. The game that changed my mind? Mexican Train Dominoes.

It may look simple. But when we play, it’s cutthroat.

This game turns my normally kindhearted family into vicious, smack-talking competitors. And it all stems from the frustration of Brian’s complete mastery of the game. 
 
You see, he always wins. Always. And this makes my brother, my Dad and I very, very, very angry. And then, when he walks away with another victory, he doesn’t something smarmy.
 
Like posting the score sheets on my parents’ fridge, taking a photo, posting it
to Facebook, and tagging the losers.
 
Even though I always lose, this game is a must-have for dinner parties, lazy Sundays, and most any other occasion. However, I suggest you put your game face on. We don’t mess around when it comes to dominoes. (Or Spitty-Outty-Sucky-Uppy Uno, for that matter.)
 
#5: Drink Margaritas.
 
Because tequila is a girl’s best friend.
 Thus comes the end of my list. And so, inquiring minds want to know. What’s going on at your house this summer? (If there’s tequila involved, can I come?)

Why I’m So Easily Lost In Appaloosa Heights

It has happened once again. Real life takes a back burner as Electronic Arts has just released a new Sims 3 expansion. And this one lets you have PETS.

Kittens and puppies and guinea pigs…Oh My!

I found myself coming up for air yesterday sometime around 4 pm. I’d been playing the game since 9:30 am. No shower, no meals, no breaks (except feed-the-cats and bathroom breaks). And I found myself beginning to wonder why this game has such a hold on me.

So I did the only natural thing (as far as Abby is concerned.) I took out my note pad and made a list.

How The Sims 3 Solves All of Life’s Problems with the Simple Click of a Mouse:
 
Problem #1: Weight loss
In real life, one has to diet and exercise and toil and whine and starve and cry in order to shed a few pounds.
In The Sims 3, all you have to do is hop on a treadmill and run for 6 hours. And voila—super model.
Give her some time, she just got started.
 
Problem #2: Lack of funds
In real life, one has to work and save and scrimp and abstain and cry in order to save up enough money to comfortably retire.
In the Sims 3, a simple key stroke and the cheat code “motherlode,” and you’re on your way to Paris to live in the lap of luxury for the rest of your Simlife. (Typically about 150 days, give or take.)
Ah, the Simoleon. So easy to come by, so easy to spend.
 
Problem #3: Boring job.
In real life, you wind up taking the job that will put food on the table and money in the bank. Even if that job means sitting behind a desk, answering the same 15 questions every single day, and wishing you were anywhere else but here.
In the Sims 3, you can have your DREAM job. Want to be a rock star? Go for it! Dream of becoming a professional businessman? You can do that, too! Always wanted to be just like Indiana Jones? DO IT! There are even outfits to compliment your optimal occupation!
Oh yeah. Watch out Temple of Doom. I’m coming for ya.
 
Problem 4: Infertility
In real life, getting knocked up isn’t always so easy. (Unless you have access to plenty of cheap beer and the backseat of a Chevy Impala…although that doesn’t always work, either.)
In the Sims 3, if you want a baby, just Woohoo with your partner and VOILA–instant morning sickness. Or, you may choose to adopt a baby. FOR FREE. But never fear, if neither traditional option works for you, there’s always the Wait-To-Meet-An-Alien-And-Get-Pregnant-With-A-Green-Baby avenue.
Aw, isn’t she/he/it darling?
 
And if all else fails…
You can always quit your Sim life and become a vampire. (Not a sparkly one, though. Sorry Team Edward.)
*PS: Appaloosa Heights is the latest town available with the Sims 3: Pets expansion. And since I’m having to explain this, I realize that the title of this blog is rather weak. Forgive me.

Our New Favorite Game

I was raised in a family of game players. From classics like chess and checkers to the always popular family-type board games–we were primed and ready to play.

Except for Sorry. Because my brother ALWAYS cheated at Sorry. Always.

Mmhmm. Cheater cheater pumpkin eater.
(The weird-face-making ability also runs in our family.)

As it turned out, I married into a family of game-players, as well. And one of their favorites was the all-American card game, Uno. We could sit around the kitchen table for hours playing hand after hand of this game without growing weary of it. (Note: alcohol makes it even more fun.)

A few months ago, Brian comes home with a look on his face that was something like a combination between pure evil and sheer delight. “I got us a prize,” he said.

And he unveiled “Uno Attack!

Except we don’t call it “Uno Attack.” We call it “Spitty-Outty Sucky-Uppy, CUTTHROAT Uno.”

As in:

Abby: “I’m bored. What do you guys want to do?”
Brian: “Let’s play Spitty-Outty Sucky-Uppy Cutthroat Uno!”
Adam: “YEAH! Let’s play Spitty-Outty Sucky-Uppy Cutthroat Uno!”
Dad: *Groan.*

Spitty-outty because, if you don’t have a card to play, you have to hit the button. And the machine will spit out cards in a glorious shower of “who’s winning now, b***h?”

Sucky-uppy because, sometimes the machine will spit out a series of cards, and before you can grab them, it will suck one or two back up, much to the chagrin of your challengers.

Cutthroat because it turns even my family–a family that consists of mostly normal, loving, well-adapted folk–into bloodthirsty, smack-talking card sharks.

With a series of new rules, and a few new cards you’ve never seen before, this game will leave you more frustrated (and more addicted) than any Uno game of the past.

Bust out the “trade card,” and you can swap hands with anyone at the table (including the person who just called Uno.) Use the Discard All card to rid yourself of every card in your hand of the same color. (Great way to lessen your personal deck. Also a great way to let your opponents know what color you DON’T have in your hand anymore.)

There are also a few new ways to whammy your neighbor. Did they just say Uno? Oh no they didn’t. Smack them with the Wild Hit-Fire card, and they have to hit the button until they get some new cards to add to their hand. Or you can hit them with a Draw Times Two card, which forced them to hit the button twice in a row, collecting cards as they go. (Unless they also have a Draw Times Two card…in which case THEIR neighbor now has to hit the button FOUR times.)

If you love the classic game of Uno, you’ll love this new twist on the old classic. But I warn you…some of us don’t deal too well with losing.

Oh…wait a MINUTE. OhNoYouDidn’t….

What? I’m competitive.

The Reason I’ve Been So Distracted Lately

It’s the last day of June. And reflecting upon this month’s posts, I realize that except for an exceptional few,  they seem disjointed, disconnected, and not-so-funny.

Don’t blame me too much. I’ve been relatively distracted. You see, it’s summertime and the beach has been beckoning me since it started getting hot outside. So I’ve been spending MOST of my free time by the seashore, soaking up the sunshine and swimming with the fishes.

Until my over-exposure caused a mega-huge, ultra-disgusting fever blister.

Brian has dubbed it my “Lip Monster.”

It’s been years since I last had one of these nasty little goobers–and I used to get them a lot when I spent hours and days in the sun. So, this fever blister has put me on the sidelines. No more beach trips until the little bugger is completely healed.

Also, no unnecessary trips out into the world until it’s completely healed.

Because making small children cry isn’t fun.

So, I’ve been lounging around the house lately, watching reruns of Dawson’s Creek, Game of Thrones, and America’s Got Talent. I wait patiently for Thursdays so I can have a So You Think You Can Dance marathon (Wednesday’s two-hour performance show, Thursday’s one-hour results show, all commercial free. Thank you, Baby Jesus, for DVR.)

But when the Netflix DVDs are en route, and my DVR queue is empty, I’ve been finding other ways to neglect my housework.

That same old addiction has come back yet again.

No, not Donnie Wahlberg. (That addiction never went away.)

The Sims 3.

The newest expansion pack, Generations, allows a whole new spectrum of game play for kid Sims, as well as teenagers. There are new playgrounds, new interactions, and new activities. Your child Sim can engage in after school activities, like ballet or drama or scouting. There’s the Prom, school pranks and hijinks, graduation, and the all-important teen party.

In short, it is awesome.

People who don’t play video games might not understand the appeal. And I’m not really that big into most video games, either (first person shooters make me nauseous, and zombie games scare me. That leaves The Sims and Mario.)

But when it comes to the Sims, there are so many things that are appealing to me. First and foremost: absolute, unrelenting control over your characters. Want them to lose weight quickly? Put them on the treadmill all day and try not to laugh as they fall off over and over again. Want to see what it feels like to be a Rock Star? Buy that guitar, learn the trait, and enjoy the groupies. Always wanted to grow up to be a Ghost Buster? Now you can…in Sim world.

I also love that I can create a character who is everything I want to be but am not.

She looks like me. She eats like me. She’s married to a Brian who looks like Brian. She tells a good joke and gets way too excited over things that normal people don’t get excited about.

But she’s also a published author. A mother. An immaculate house keeper. She’s a whiz in the kitchen.

And I actually have to WORK at keeping her fat. Seriously…18 meals a day or she naturally loses weight.

If I could figure out that diet plan, I’d have enough money for that private jet. And also, a yacht, a car, a house, a personal trainer, and my own publishing company that would publish anything I told it to, including my book.

But since I don’t think that will ever happen, I will keep playing the Sims 3 until my lip monster beats feet outta the neighborhood. Then I’ll go back to enjoying the sun. I’ll be more diligent about wearing a hat next time. And I’ll try to make July’s posts a little more exciting.

In the meantime, Brian will just have to enjoy being married to THIS Abby:

Our Christmas card photo for 2011.

My OCD Takes a New Form

I have a confession to make. For those who know me personally, this won’t be too much of a shock. For those who don’t, prepare yourselves because you probably won’t see this one coming.

My husband and I are gamers.

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. But, honestly, we’re not gamers like this (*per se):

*unless there’s a new Sims 3 expansion pack…

We’re gamers like this:

…minus the young, thin, hip part.

We have a Wii, a PS3, and an XBOX 360 with the Kinect. We also have volumes of games for our computer.

Now, there are gamers out there who make it their life’s ambition to make it to Lever 89 Mage. While we think that’s a perfectly entertaining way to spend an evening, we’re not members of the Blood Legion Guild.

We just want to beat the New Super Mario Brothers game.

Now, I told you all of that so I could tell you this:

It occurred to me just the other day that the way I play certain games only proves my theory that I have OCD.

(It also just occurred to me that you, reader, may not be a gamer. I *promise* this post will be funny if you just keep reading. If that’s not enough incentive, I *promise* I’ll give you Donnie Wahlberg’s phone number at the end of the post.)


So, we recently began playing Dragon Age 2, and once again, as I created my character, I chose the following attributes: 1) female, 2) dark, short hair with blue eyes (duh), 3) warrior class, 4) wields one large weapon requiring two hands.

HOW does this explain the OCD theory, you may ask? Simply this: when it comes to killing beasties, I prefer to take them down one at a time. It makes the game more satisfying to me than, say, casting spells that cause damage on every foe. I’d rather mow them down one at a time.

Sometimes while singing a little ditty.

This concept is similar to my complete enjoyment of opening Paint, filling the entire space with a single color, and spending the next 20 minutes happily erasing all the color. (I’m not crazy. It’s zit-popping, scab-picking, picture-straightening, odd-number-loving fun.)

Another game we’ve played in the past is a game for the Wii called Animal Crossing: City Folk. The concept of this game is not important. What you need to know is this: it takes place in real time, so if you start playing at 2 pm, it’s 2 pm on the game. Also, every single day there are fruit trees to be harvested, flowers to water, and most importantly, weeds to pick.

One little, two little, three little weeds to pick….

Some people play to collect all the stuff.  Some people play to maintain friendships with their neighbors. Some people play to harvest a ton of fruit.

I play to pick the weeds.

Serious. OCD. Contentment.

The game I’m most fanatical about is the Sims 3. I’ve been addicted to this franchise since college. Seriously addicted. As in, when the last expansion pack came out, I played so much I did this for my husband:

And an artist is born.

If you’ve never played the Sims, I’m so sorry. Surely, you’ve heard of it. If not, here’s how it works: you basically create a character, or a family of characters, and live out their lives. You order them around, deciding such things as whether or not they can go to the bathroom, or wet their britches.

Again. Fun.

The OCD aspect of this game for me: you can assign your Sims a certain number of traits. If you want to play as a slob, you can assign your Sim the “couch potato” trait. If you want to play as Charlie Sheen, you can assign your Sim the “insane” trait.

Regardless of how I plan to play the game, there is one trait that I never, ever go without.

The “Neat Freak” trait.

Why? Because it means I now have the ability to clean EVERYTHING. Who needs a maid when cleaning the toilets, taking out the trash, and wiping the counter tops is SO SATISFYING???

Oh wait…you missed a spot.

There is one game, though, that you’re probably thinking is the obvious choice for an obsessive-compulsive individual such as myself. But I just can’t play it. It drives me bonkers. Literally, I’ve been known to throw things.

Because leaving behind even one dot is NOT an option.



(I KNOW I *promised* to give you Donnie Wahlberg’s phone number at the end of this post, but, sadly, I don’t have it. Hence why I used asterisks. However, if YOU have his phone number, you’d be my new best friend if you’d send it to me. Thanks. Also, thanks for reading this post.)

Photo Sources:
Serious Gamer:  http://www.gamertell.com
Normal-Looking Gamers:  http://scrapetv.com
Female Warrior: http://www.platformnation.com
Weed Picker:  http://animalcrossing.wikia.com
Sims 3 House Wife: http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Cleaning 
Mrs. Pacman: http://www.mahalo.com