Today I am dying my hair.

I currently have bleach sitting in chosen bits of my hair. When that’s out I’ll add the purple and possibly some teal. I thought about going whole hog and dying my entire head but eventually decided against it.

This has been a long time coming. Those who have known me for awhile are most likely not shocked. Those who met me while I was on the road might be a little surprised.

The thing is, my hair has rarely been its natural color since I was in high school. Even when I had dreads I almost always had at least a couple purple or pink dreads mixed in there. Dying my hair bright colors is one of the joys of my life.

A sample of hair colors over the years.

Purple is my favorite, but pink has its charms. The orange was fun and the green quickly faded to a yucky yellowish but was nice while it was new. The blue on top of green was a fun mixture and very Sailor Neptune-y (it wasn’t quite as blue as the pic looks up there).

In contrast, this is what I looked like during my walk across America:

Clean hair on the trail = instant joy.

(Ha. I still remember the happiness of that day. It was in Indiana on a ridiculously hot and humid day, which truth be told they were all kind of ridiculously hot there in the middle of the walk. Anna was getting over heated, I was sweaty and gross and it had been too long since my last shower. I stopped at a gas station for some water and to ask around for info on the area. Two of the ladies that worked there were charmed with Anna and offered us a free sandwich, some water, and a ride to a nearby campground. The campground was run by a friendly Australian chap and had not only showers but laundry too! After cleaning up I was walking around the campground and was invited to dinner with some fellow campers. It was a good ending to a hot tiring day.)

See the thing is, when I decided I was going to walk across America and heavily depend on the kindness of strangers I decided that I would need to go au natural with the hair. First impressions are important. And like it or not, right or wrong, people have preconceived notions about (what they may see as) crazy hair. I wanted to make the best first impression I could. By Ohio I had also taken out my lip piercing.

But now I am free to do what I wish and when my sister sent me a gift card for my birthday I knew exactly what I’d gift myself with: fun colored hair dye.  I’ve had the dye waiting for awhile but haven’t had the energy to get up and do anything with it. I’ve been a tad depressed the last bit of my life and haven’t felt like doing much of anything. Period. At all. Today I realized that if I’m too depressed to even dye my hair fun colors…well that’s just a new level of sad for me. So I got up and decided to do something about it. Today is the day.

So as I said, I currently have bleach sitting in chosen bits of my hair. When that’s out I’ll add the purple and bits of teal. It will be glorious.

Possible pics later!

 

Update!

Sad news. The bleach did not take. But fear not! I will be going out soon to get more bleach and try again. I’m not giving up!

Around The Web: J.L Gould, and Boggle the owl

More awesome things from around the web! Two artists who always make me smile, if for different reasons.

 

This Woman Wanders

This Woman Wanders is the travel blog of nature photographer J.L. Gould.  Jen is a friend of mine and an awesome nature photographer. She captures the beauty of the world in amazing photographs, which you can view at her website, Photography of JL Gould. I was going to link to favorites but honestly I love them all, the landscapes in particular. There’s just something magical about the pictures she captures.

I met Jen via some other blogging site back in the day and was really happy to see her start her travel blog here at WordPress.  I always look forward to her heading off on another adventure because not only does that mean I get to read blog entries about her travels, but also see cool new photos she takes along the way.

You should definitely head over and Follow her blog. Not only will you then be able to join the fun in following her adventures and viewing her photography, but if you head over to the entry Reno! And who wants free stuff? you can, as the title suggests, enter a chance to win free stuff!  Here’s what she has to say:

I want an additional 50 followers in the next month.  I should be back home by then.  Should I reach that goal, I will pick two people (one person and the person they choose when entering) at random for a free 12×18 print (normally $54) of any print from this trip (see the On The Road gallery at www.jlgould.com).

So head on over and follow for a chance at some really spectacular photography! More details at the entry.

“Boggle is worried about you! Boggle is also an owl.”

Boggle Loves You

Boggle Loves You is a Tumblr about a little owl named Boggle that loves you and wants you to be happy. He offers support and advice for those who ask and those who just observe. Boggle is an awesome ray of sunshine in an otherwise sometimes negative internet and always makes me smile.

Boggle is the creation of Aria Heller and was originally just a one shot drawing to cheer up some friends. Heller says that she’s not really an experienced cartoonist, and you can see the artistic adventure it’s been from Boggle’s first appearance to today, which honestly is part of the charm in my opinion.  This is just one woman doing something to help cheer people up, and she’s learning as she goes.

 

Around The Web

I’ve decided to start a series of posts where I can share awesome people and things I find around the web. There’s so many people doing amazing things!

I thought about making these themed but decided that’d be a bit much, so these posts will be completely random. The only thing in common all of the Around The Web posts will have in common is that they’re full of fun things that caught my attention.  And without further ado, the first Around The Web post:

Grandmother’s Love by Kelli Nelson

1. Cheap Paper Art

Cheap Paper Art is the website of artist Kelli Nelson. Above is an example of one of her prints, which I’ve seen in person and is as beautiful in its physical form as it is on your computer screen. The thing about Kelli is that I just love her style of artwork no matter what the subject matter is.  It’s always fun and interesting to see what she’s working on next. She’s covered the geeky (Skeletor anyone?) to the intensely personal (The Egoist, the story of her parent’s divorce hearing) and all of it in her own unique style.

Full disclosure, Kelli is actually a friend of mine. She’s the reason I attended San Diego Comic Con, helping out at her booth a couple of years. She’s a pretty awesome person and a wonderful artist and if you have the time you should totally check out her work and make a stop at her store.

Plume by K. Lynn Smith

2. Plume

Plume is a beautiful and fun comic and the creation of K. Lynn Smith.  I love the entire thing, from the art work to the characters to the story.  Taken from the website:

Plume is a story set in the Old West about a girl named Vesper Grey and her supernatural companion, Corrick. On their quest to recover her father’s life work, they encounter new friends and new foes, and learn that the Wild West really does live up to its name.

If you enjoy stories with strong female leads, supernatural elements, humor, adventure, the Wild West, mystery, or beautiful artwork I really super highly suggest you check it out. Start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.

And if you find that you love Plume as much as I have, there’s currently a Kickstarter drive to help print a 5-issue miniseries. You can pledge and receive rewards and be able to hold copies of Plume right in your happy little hands!

3. BlogLabs

BlogLabs was created to bring bloggers together. It’s a place where you can find new bloggers to read, post your own entries, link to your own website, and be part of a happy blogging community.

You can Blog, Vlog, write reviews, share views, submit fiction, non fiction.  Anything you like really!  The purpose of blaglabs is to simply share your thoughts with other bloggers & writers.

It’s a little start-up website by Brad, a fellow geek who decided to jump into the blogging world. But it’s not just about blogging and sharing articles, it’s about being a community. You can private message other members, chat on the forums, and create friends.  It’s a really neat idea to not only hopefully gain more readers on your own blog, but to make new friends in the blogging world.

And that’s a wrap for the first ever Around The Web post. Hope you enjoyed – and feel free to share any nifty sites you’ve found around the web in the comments!

“Annas feet”

As I’ve looked over the search terms that land people at my blog I’ve noticed a certain term popping up repeatedly: “Annas feet”

Now, I’m pretty sure that my Anna’s feet are not what they’re looking for, but I’ll update you all just in case.  And because it amuses me.

Anna and her feet.

As some of you may recall, Anna developed some sores on her pads during our time walking across the desert and had to rest for part of the walk.  I’m happy to say that these days Anna and her feet are doing well. Other than some nails that need some clipping (a battle that is ongoing), she’s 100%.

A soothing mud bath for those aching paws.

Her injuries are completely healed up and have been for some time. She’s eager as ever to get out and go for walks and adventures in the woods or wherever. Of course, even when she did have injuries and was hopping about on 2 or 3 legs (depending) she was still eager to go walking and continue our adventure. Gotta keep an eye on that one.

All or Nothing

You ever notice things seem to come all at once or not at all?  The past week has been hectic for me – I feel like I went to not very busy to omg stuff to do all the time!

My child watching gig is increasing in hours (yay!) due to his mom starting college part time, then Guild Wars 2 came out, book writing is getting serious, and then I signed up for this Coursera course, Gamification, which started Monday.  Oh, and I’ve been working on resume/potential-job stuff too.

Seems like there’s not enough hours in the day suddenly.

Anna reminding me that no, we can’t just lounge in bed – it’s time to get up! Things to do! Babies to see! Dogs to walk! Go go go!

I’m sure it’ll settle down in a bit when I’m more used to the new additions to my schedule and work out the new balancing act.  Busy is good!

It honestly is – increased hours means increased money, book getting serious means it might actually get finished soon, Guild Wars 2 is a dream, and this Gamification course is really interesting stuff.  I’ll talk more about that at some point, but right now I’ve gotta dash to get ready for baby time.

Guild Wars 2 Is Here

And boy was it worth the wait.

Celebrating playing for keeps by dancing the traditional dance of our people.

When I was on my Walk one of the big things I was concerned about (other than bears and tornadoes and stray dogs and where to sleep each night) was that the open beta for Guild Wars 2 would start and I wouldn’t be able to participate. I was also worried they’d break the “when it’s ready” tradition and actually reveal that launch would magically be that summer or some time I’d still be out.  Nerdtastic, but I’m totally serious. Whenever I’d call and chat with my mother I’d get updates about the game. Did they release a new profession yet? How about races, any more info dropped? Any hints at a release date? Have betas been mentioned?

So yeah, I’ve been eager for this game for awhile, and now it’s finally here. And I am not the least bit disappointed.  Everything I loved from the first Guild Wars is here in the second, that and so much more.

That feeling of adventure and exploration I enjoyed so much in GW is back and multiplied in GW2.  This game, oh this game. It is simply stunning. The world is not only gorgeous, but filled to the brim with details big and small, and endless things to do.  The cities all feel truly alive, as you run down the streets and hear snips of conversations going on around you.  There are strangers to help out, missions to go on, personal stories to experience, and crafts to learn (which I have not dived into yet because omg overwhelming, but I’m looking forward to it).

I’ve seen a lot of my friends on Twitter chatting about climbing character levels and the fun tidbits they’ve found around the world. I…have not actually experienced that much.  As of right now I think my highest character is level 9. I’m slowing down and really taking in each area of the game, which means not one of my three characters has left their starter areas.  There’s so much to do! Vistas and Dynamic Events and Daily Achievements and hearts to fill up.  Grawl to trick, baby bears to feed, mosquitoes to kill,  golems to fix.  Fun everywhere you turn!

Honestly, I could go on forever on how much I love this game and the details that are my favorite (so many favorites!), but instead I’ll just share my characters with you.

You get five character slots to start off. I’m trying to restrain myself and not fill them up right away. So far I have three characters, and those took me a very long time to settle on. The norn wasn’t so tough, but the asura and the sylvari took forever. So many different skin tone and patterns to choose from.

Here’s what I settled on:

Jorn Alehound, norn elementalist

(Jorn = pronounced Yorn)

Jorn Alehound in all his bearded glory.

His skin is actually a shade darker than I had wanted, but oh well.

Jorn Alehound a big friendly goofball.  He is also, as his name would imply, a fan of the ale. Which is how I see all norn – as big cheerful boastful people who love their ale. I haven’t gotten too far in the personal story, but I’m looking forward to finding out what Jorn got up to during that blackout at his last party.

I’m really digging the elementalist – all the different element skills and weapon combos. Currently he’s going with Wand/Dagger set up. I’ve just today unlocked all of the skills with all the different weapons, so now I’ll venture out further and see what trouble Jorn can get up to.

Azriel M, asura engineer

Azriel M in her town clothes

“Azriel Mithros” was the name of my first and main character in Guild Wars. I wanted to carry on the name but wasn’t sure about how. There is a long ridiculously complicated line of reasoning behind this and all my other name/character choices, of which I won’t bore you with the details here but might go into in a separate post because….long and complicated.

Originally I wanted an asura with just the one name, but alas. The “M” is because someone was quicker than I in the headstart and snagged “Azriel”. :( Now I console myself thinking an asura would like the name because of nerdy M-theory references.

I love the idea of an asura engineer, always tinkering and inventing new turrets and mines and gizmos and gadgets. It just seemed very fitting, and I was very happy to find out during the betas that I actually enjoyed the engineer play.

As for the looks – if there are dreads as an option I will most likely be picking them. I really liked the look of these dreadlocks, with the little hair band and then paired with the kind of cranky looking face. I imagine Azriel as an older crankier and, of course, wiser asura.

Azriel M, ready for battle

I’ve actually made Azriel M a couple of times, having trouble getting her looks quite to my liking. The last time I thought I had it right until I grouped with a bunch of other asura during a Dynamic Event and realized I was ginormous (by asura standards) and had a freakishly large head. That just wouldn’t do.  I’m happy with her looks this time but unsure about my personal story selection. We shall see….

Rosetta Stohn, sylvari ranger

Rosetta Stohn in her heritage armor from the Hall of Monuments

I love her. I wasn’t quite sure about her, but as soon as I put on that heritage armor I fell in love. She’s the best.

“Rosetta Stohn” is another name carried over from Guild Wars. Long story short, I decided my sylvari was greatly influenced in the Dream by GW1 Rosetta Stohn’s adventures and legacy and thus took her name and followed her footsteps into being a ranger.

Here are some shots of her “town clothes”, which I really did not care for at first but after playing around with the dye I’m pretty happy with. Funny how that works.

Rosetta is totally ready for a fight in her fancy leaf bikini- go ahead, say something about her town clothes, she dares you.

I had the dye green to match the rest of her leafy body, but some party members said I looked naked and was indecent.

And then to really see the patterns and the glow (which is light blue):

Leaf butt!

Oh the sylvari. I had such a hard time making her. I think I spent over an hour trying to decide. I wasn’t sure between skin colors and hair colors and skin patterns and oh the choices! But in the end I went with the green and the hair that kind of falls in her face. I like to imagine it’s camouflage for her ranger skills – blending into the jungle and peeking out only to fire an arrow off at an enemy.

After that I have two character slots left, one of which will probably be going to a human mesmer:

my human mesmer from beta

I will most likely eventually make a charr. But I have a very hard time playing them because of my human story in GW1.  I know, I know, the charr were there first and the humans were the invaders and the charr were just taking their land back. But I’m all Gwen’d up and the hate is planted deep. Seeing what’s become of Ashford, Old Barradin’s Estate, Nolani….no, it might take me awhile to get over that.  Though I do really like the charr animations and looks, so there’s that going for them.

 

So fellow GW2 players, how have you been enjoying the game? Any super fantastico favorite experiences to share?

MicroAdventures

A little while ago I stumbled across  Alastair Humphreys and his idea of the “microadventure”:

Simple expeditions and challenges which are close to home, affordable and easy to organise. Ideas designed to encourage ordinary people to get Out There and Do Stuff for themselves, even in these tightened financial times.

 

I absolutely love this idea. It really stresses how Adventure is not a destination, but a state of mind.

You don’t need to be flying across the globe or walking across a continent to be having an adventure. Having an adventure is not limited to those that are rich or have the finest fanciest gear or even those who are at peak fitness. Adventures are for everyone, and the idea behind microadventures really highlights that fact.

A microadventure can be anything – any outing or expedition that is a challenge to you and an inspiration to yourself and others.  The main thing is your attitude and way of thinking. It’s not just a walk in the park, it’s an adventure – a microadventure! This could be tenting with the kids or friends in the yard for a weekend. Taking a hike up that mountain the town over. A roadtrip exploring new-to-you areas. Running a marathon.  Exploring the woods out back of your house.

Who knows where your next adventure might lead. This one lead to poor Koopa being stuck in a tree – but that’s okay, because it was surely a grand adventure getting up there!

The important part is getting up and out and challenging yourself.  Because that’s what adventuring is all about – challenging yourself and others to push beyond the norm.  As Mr Humphreys says,

“Adventure is stretching yourself; mentally, physically or culturally. It is about doing what you do not normally do, pushing yourself hard and doing it to the best of your ability.”

 

So what will your next microadventure be?

As for me, I’m off to continue my adventures in horse wrangling (aka there are new horses in the field and I’m going to go introduce myself to them, hoping that they’re as friendly as the others so that I continue Operation Horse Sense).