Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to get your mom to play MMOs

Disclaimer: This comes across as if your mom is a child that needs to be taught how to do every little thing, and this may not be the case at all. I tried to write it another way and keep the meaning, but found it very hard to do so. This post assumes your mother doesn't know anything about video games, and obviously if your mom knows some things about games, you can modify this to fit your (or her) level of knowledge.

So, you want your mom to understand why you need to be online at certain times? Why you're learning another language and can't leave the computer every time she calls on you? Look no further! This will be a short but comprehensive guide on how to slowly introduce your mother to MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft or Everquest without her even knowing you're doing it! The key to all of this is sneakiness. You don't want your mom to catch on to the fact that she's being set up. This means it may take over a year to get her to take up an MMO, but it may be well worth it.

Start with Facebook

Do NOT put this image into her head. This would take over a year of daily work, not just a 20 minute log in, and she will have a hard time stopping as it is.

Something little like a facebook game is a good place to start. These will show her the helpfulness of working with others. It also shows her a little about inventory, budgeting for that big item, and I know at some point or another she'll look up a guide or codes or something. This is the big first step, to get her into the games, you'll want to convince her it's a ton of fun, and it won't take much time a day. Start one yourself and play it with her for a while. Do not rush her into it. Take it really slow and if she doesn't bite at first, just talk about it with her and explain things. 

When she starts playing, make it super easy to start. Help her get everything, walk her through everything, and make sure you have time to spare because she's going to be confused. Your best bet here, to cut down on time, is to immediately have a good guide site ready to give to her, so you're not going to have to keep going to her computer and walking her through the same things. Show her how to find everything she needs on there. Now you can discuss the game with her when you two are together. If you're playing mafia wars, complain about the jerk who keeps putting a hit out on you, if you're playing cafe world, talk about when your pie is going to be ready. The big idea is to make it become a bigger part of her life. Already, facebook games are addictive, so this strategy helps to make it feel like a real MMO. A good idea here is to also bring other people into the mix, talking about how what they do helps her play or hurts her playing, as this will get her ready for the next step. To transition out of this step, you're going to want to start to get annoyed with the game. Tell her how the next site is so much better and how it's more complex and interesting. At first she will resist, and again don't push it. Just plant the seed and water it every day, and soon you'll start seeing sprouts.


They may look cute, but they will swallow your life whole if you're not careful.

This looks silly, and it is silly, but I swear it will work. Here are the comparisons you need to use with this:
  • It takes less time, you just need to do easy dailies and play a few fast games
  • You can make money while you're offline, just like in facebook games, but the amount is based on how good you are and strategy
  • You can make more money, and there's a wider variety of things to do if you have extra time
  • There's no win or lose, and nobody can take your items from you (other than the game itself, and that's a random event that nobody really controls)
  • It's a reputable company that won't be leading you to surveys that'll try to scam you
  • You don't need to pay money to get good at it
  • If you spend time on there, you immediately get 'cred.'
  • You're playing with a bunch of kids, so you're bound to do well
  • 'Trust me, it's awesome. Just try it for a couple days, if you don't like it I'll never bother you about it again.'
You need to have prepared for this event in advance. You should have an account with LOTS of extra money and a lab map and petpet lab map. The helpful part of neopets is that it's more interactive with other people. It has more moving parts, and more strategy, so she has a chance to think a lot more for herself. There are also a gazillion websites that'll help her excel, and there's an economy in neopets that'll help her understand the in-game economy on your MMO later. She'll also pick up the basics of a player shop, and rare item collecting, and neopets recently implemented fashion (most ftp MMOs have fashion for a price). Neopets also has a Cash Shop, which is a good comparison with ftp MMOs, and a messaging system between players. There are guilds, and quests, trading, auctions, and places to visit. There are events as well, and it has its own calender of days on which something interesting might happen... It really is very close to an MMO, just web-based and cutesy. Do NOT get her into the battledome. Not only is a terrible, but it's very far away from the battle system you're going to want her to adapt to, and she'll be comparing both of them when she's learning, and there really is almost no comparison, and if she likes that system she'll start discrediting your game for not using it. When your mom starts, pimp her out. Again, help her to get a good start and good understanding for the game. By now you should have an idea of what that means. Get her acquainted with the shop system and the dailies and talk her through the things you wish someone had talked you through. Get her a profile design, this will make her feel like originality is important, which will persist when she goes to make an in-game character in your MMO of choice. This step will take a long time to get over. You may even get a little absorbed in neopets (it's not as bad as people make it sound), but remember that you're playing with her not only for fun and bonding, but to teach her to play with others as a team and work together toward a goal. Make a big goal with her. Something like getting all the avatars and both maps for her or something of similar scale. When that's done, she'll feel a little less attached to the game with less focus on what she wants to do. She will begin to get bored with secondary goals, as she won't be able to make goals that big again, there just isn't enough exciting new content that often to support that. You'll want to plant the seeds while she's almost done with her goal.

Mention the game you've been playing and the similarities. Fill her in on things going on in your guild and start to get her familiar with the terms, even though she will most likely not want to hear it, or want to talk about neopets. Don't push her to get involved, but ask her to help you decide between this and that armor, defense or attack, this or that guild... Make it look like something that's just out of her reach, and if she felt like it should could reach out and grasp this game and everything that comes with it. Make frequent comparisons to neopets so she does understand it to a point. Show it to her sometimes, so she has an idea of what it looks like and plays like. 'Market' it as the next step up from neopets that's even more interactive and requires you to work more closely with others to do more exciting things. Do NOT make it sound like an interactive Indiana Jones movie, or she'll assume her age will make it so that she can't adapt to it because it's fast paced. The best comparison I can make here is the difference between having a birthday party at home, or having it at the neighbor's pool. It's more exciting, but it's not having a party on the top of a mountain during a snowstorm. Share your goals with your mom, and let her know how long it will take you to get them. She will identify with her goals on neopets and feel nostalgic for when she was working toward a big goal. Put a LOT of emphasis on new content when you talk about your goals. Tell her 'well, something new came out that does _______ and I have it on my list of things to get next. It's really neat!!!' Soon you will have her on your side. Offer to help her download it and help her get started, or even if you can get her into your guild, that would be a good start. People like to help new players, so she'll probably feel very good about starting the game.

By this time in the program, you will know how to deal with your mom starting a new game. Expect lots of questions, and more time spent explaining things than you had to do with the previous two steps, but if you played your cards right, you just got yourself a new party member and a closer relationship with your mom! Everybody wins!

This setup isn't uncommon when one tries to take screenshots in an MMO.

Let me know what you think of my guide, I'd love to discuss it with you!! Enjoy!

Lots of love,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hyperbole and a Half

Woof and I both agree that Hyperbole and a Half is awesome. It's a great blog, whose author is possibly the funniest person I've ever not known. That's right, in my opinion, she beats ALL of the comedians you know. And today, I went to go check the blog for the first time in a while. The author of Hyperbole and a Half is going to write a book! Please take some time to go look at her blog, it will keep you entertained for HOURS. I know I spent over a week reading old posts in my free time.

That's the book announcement, in case you think I'm lying or something.

Today is zoo day, so I need to go get ready. Bye bye!


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Today's Adventure

Today my family and I went to the flea market near our house. This place is a lot of fun because there's old and new things to buy really really cheap. I made some purchases for the shop, as well as finding some thing I made a while back to add to the shop next month. I've been productive! I want to show you guys some of the things I found at the flea market today! All of these pictures were texted to people I know. As you should have figured out yesterday, I am not a photographer and I probably never will be, but some of these pictures are good anyhow. I think it was an accident, but it happened anyhow. Here they are:

This will be available in our shop at some point in the future. It's a little big to be a necklace, but I think we'll offer it as one anyhow, though we'll have to take pictures of it as a keychain first. It's Bo Peep from Toy Story, but I didn't know that until I got it out of there. I just thought 'THREE HEADED SHEEP.'

Blue from Blue's Clues. This will be a keychain, necklace, or phone charm. It's kinda big for a necklace, but some people wouldn't mind how big it is. This picture is a stellar example of my bad photography. Woof will do better, I swear!

A cute little teddy bear. No clue where it's from or what it is, but it seems like it'll be a cute necklace/keychain/phone charm when we're done with it.

I'm sure you remember this character from Pocahantas. It's a little big for a necklace, but when we're done with him, he'll be very cute, and last FOREVER.

There's a pokemon lady at the flea market, and I always visit her booth. Woof and I discussed using a pokemon figure from her booth for a keychain. It's little enough to be a necklace, but I think my favorite use is the keychain. This is a buneary laying on its' stomach. I picked it because it was unusual.

I don't know who this is, but it was in this position before I picked it up. I didn't even notice until my sister pointed at it and stated: "derp."

My sister: "Mime Hitler and His Easy Bake Oven."

The 'Where's Waldo' of Graceland

What IS this??


So those are the pictures I took while I was there. Obviously, better pictures of the to-be charms will be taken, but for now that's the sneak peek! Tomorrow I hope to see Woof and hand over the knot scarves to her and the charms, too, since she has all the stuff we use to make charms and the ability to actually take good pictures! There are also two other new charms I put in the bag I'm giving Woof tomorrow, and two necklaces I made a few years ago that are very cute! I'd take pictures of them, but I'm sure Woof will just have to fix it anyhow.... Sniff.

Last thing. A preview of the description of the glass phone charms we're putting up soon (I swear!):

These charms were made a couple of years ago by Mew. They feature a very strong string that will last forever, strong glass beads (some are ceramic or plastic), and some even have silver pendants that say 'love.' The charms that Mew has given to friends and family out of this batch are all still around today, and often they take a beating from the people who own them. They work great on cell phones, Nintendo DS, as zipper pulls, and from various other places. We do not recommend hanging it on your keychain because the string has proven to get caught in the keys, causing a bit of trouble when one goes to open any sort of door. It doesn't hurt the charm, but it is a bit irritating. This charm will last you FOREVER. If you have any questions, please PM us with the question and we'll check it out for you!
So, that's it. I have nothing more to say to you.

Lots of Love,


What some of you may not know about is another very very popular blog online called Postsecret. I happened across it a couple of years ago, and the honesty of it is amazing to me. The idea behind it is to send this man a decorated postcard with your deepest secret on it. He picks the ones he wants to share and scans them onto his computer, then puts them up on his blog. This man is so dedicated to this project that he actually travels the country doing lectures where he encourages people to stand up and tell people their secrets. Some of these postcards from his blog really touch me, and I want to share some from this week:

This picture reminds me that some people live the life that I dreamed about in high school. I secretly wanted to have that high school sweetheart rest-of-your-life relationship, but it didn't work out that way.

It seems amazing to me that something good can come out of something so ugly.

Every time I'm at the doctor's office, I make a bee-line for the highlights....

If you want to check out the website, it's this-a-way. Be prepared for things that are NSFW and possibly really upsetting to you. Some of the secrets are very very personal, and some use pictures from adult sites or movies. I hope some of the secrets touch you like they do me and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

New Stuff

I titled this 'New Stuff' because it's not just one thing, and it's not something that can be easily explained in a couple of words. Or maybe it can: Fan page and knot scarves. Wow, that was easier than I thought!

On the fan page, since Woof is handling expenses and shipping, I felt like I should do a little extra for the etsy shop, so I thought about where we hadn't touched yet, and I created a facebook page! Part of the reason I did this was to bring a twitter-like functionality to a wider audience, and also I liked the idea of photos ahead of time, and people being able to vote on which products they'd like to have the ability to buy (you guys always know best with these things). It just seemed like an easy way to be more interactive with people who read our blog and enjoy our shop. Tonight I posted some advance pictures of the knot scarves that I've been making!

The knot scarves are neat, because they're made out of old t shirts. They're not strong enough to be hung from, but the tests I did on myself and my model in the photos were extensive enough to ensure they'll last a long while. I don't know how they will react to being put through the washer, so I'll have to try that in the next few days. I'm also going to take more pictures of the scarves close up and in good lighting so you can see the detail in them-- they're really very pretty!! Here are some of the pictures I took that are on our facebook page. The model is Nicole Brooks, and she put up with me for over an hour and several wardrobe changes and was a very good sport!

White knot scarf
There's only one white one, and it was made out of a really neat shirt that looked like really tight-knit lace... You'll know when you see it. I can't wait to take better, closer pictures! This one is also very fluffy, and it layers really really easily. I didn't have to play with it much at all on Nicole.

Baby blue knot scarf
This truck is not mine. I just love the way the scarf looks in this picture, and it looks like something that anyone would wear. Also, I feel the need to point out that the shirt in this picture was actually too low-cut, and the scarf helped to cover that up and downplay it. This is an outfit my Aunt Peggy would approve of, even though it's a tank top!

These scarves are also very soft, and they're big circles, not like your typical scarf that's just in one row. I love the way it looks on me and my model, and I was really excited to share it with you guys! If you have any questions, let me know! I don't mind testing the scarves further, and in fact plan on it.

I have plans to watch Get Him to the Greek with my family now, so I'm going to log off blogger and go do that. Enjoy your night!

- Mew

New facebook page (please like us!):

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Journey Home

This summer, I'm doing something different. I went to my boyfriend's house for about a week, then I'm going to be home for two weeks or so to see my littler sister (she goes to Notre Dame, and I don't get to see her often), then I'm going back to my boyfriend's house. Each journey takes about 12 hours, and right now I'm on the first leg of my journey to my mom's house. I'm on a bus speeding through NH at 60-65 mph on the highway. A traveling hotspot with 6 TVs, a refrigerator, Several headphone jacks that not only connect to the TVs but connect to the radio, and a bathroom. Oh, and the seats are leather. Am I cool yet? Somewhere deep in the heart of Pennsylvania, Woof is shaking her head 'no' and she doesn't know why.

This visit to my mom's house, I'm only using a hoodie bag to pack my things. Let me take this opportunity to tell you all that is in this very old hoodie bag: a heavy laptop, charger for my laptop, charger for my cell phone, 5 bags of pretzel crisps, 5 T-shirts, a bottle of tylenol, 4 ps2 games, chapstick, and two bottles of water. This thing is NOT light. On top of that, the best thing is that this bag is over 4 years old. It has seen so much, and I'm so glad that it's doing so well this trip, too. I was worried that I'd have to replace it soon, but I guess not!!

The bus is moving again, and I get really bad motion sickness, so for now... Adieu! Wish me luck on my trip! I'm sure I'll have stories when I get back.

Lots of love,

Monday, May 16, 2011

In Which Mew Talks About Eggplant And Other Things

For the past week, and until Thursday of this week, I'm at my boyfriend's house in NH. Woof is in PA this summer : ( we're far away! Woof agreed that if I took care of the blog, twitter, and other such stuff, she'd take care of getting the new hoodie bags and glass phone charms on etsy, but it's the first week of summer, and I do believe both of us were feeling really lazy. I know I slept A LOT.

I did do some healthy things with my boyfriend though! When I'm here, we always cook a lot of stuff from scratch, which is really healthy for you. So far, we've had tacos, nachos, pulled pork tostadas, lots of homemade refried beans, eggplant parmesan, and chicken sandwiches a couple of times. I can't describe these dishes well enough to do them justice, so I didn't try, but trust me when I say that any of them could be on any restaurant menu, and they would be very popular!

And I also started to grow some herbs at his house, too. They're sitting on the porch right now, waiting to sprout. I have them really far back, because apparently it's going to rain literally all week, and I don't want them to drown : ( I also bought a topsy turvy tomato planter, which did NOT come with a tomato plant, seeds, soil, or really anything you need other than the planter. So now I need to get more soil and a tomato plant : ( sniff.

Woof and I sold our first charm to someone outside the US yesterday! I'm trying to find something to put on the blog that'll let us put 'pins' on a map of the world to where our charms have gone. I just think that would be SO COOL. Maybe I'll have to link to it instead of actually putting it on the blog, I don't know yet.

Sorry for the random post, I was just writing to see what would be written, really. I'm still kinda sleepy, and it's only about 9:45 AM right now. I promise to write something interesting very very soon.

Lots and lots of love

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Best Breakfast Ever

I am not the type who eats eggs, toast, and bacon for breakfast every day, if I have the choice. I actually prefer breakfast for dinner. This morning, I made something that's awesome as a lunch dish, but not so awesome as a breakfast dish. I'm going to put what I made here, because I feel like it's awesome.

Corn Ranch Mashed Potatoes

1) About 2-3 cups of mashed potato flakes (because they were around, you can make the same amount of mashed potatoes as 2-3 cups of mashed potato flakes make and it should be even better)
2) One can of sweet whole kernel corn (fresh would be better, but a can was easier for me)
3) One teaspoon ranch dressing powder 
4) One tablespoon garlic salt
5) One teaspoon kosher salt (Lots of salt, but it's awesome, plus it adds texture)
6) A dollop of margarine (or butter, if you have it around.)

I threw everything but the margarine together in a big tupperware container, the potatoes were a little chunky for my taste, but i knew that once i heated it up in the microwave until it was really hot, I could melt a dollop of margarine into it and make it a little creamier. It should serve two people.

This was AWESOME this morning. I loved it. Now I'm a little sleepy. Maybe I'll carry my cat off to cuddle in bed while I sleep, since I won't see him for a couple of weeks.

Love always,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

This Can't Be The First Floor.....

Our Library is a large one. It's six floors, filled with scholarly references and DVDs and VHS and newspaper and magazines and vending machines and students. It's quiet. So very quiet; yet there are tons of students there.

I spent time today on the third floor, writing a lab report for my Social Statistics Class. Quite boring, really; it consisted of correlations and cross-tabs and chi-square tests. Roughly most of the morning and part of the afternoon, I was there - the third floor of the library - writing the report.

Now, I like music. I like music a lot. You don't even know. I own a pair of Skullcandy headphones. Don't laugh; I love them. In fact, I own a couple pairs. . .but that's beside the point. These headphones are those incredibly ginormous headphones. Because I like music, and I like my music loud; I also want to share with everyone in close proximity.

Anyway, it was time for a final, so I was leaving the library. I packed up and mumbled my way over to the elevator. Pressed the "down" arrow, and I waited. Music was playing (I'm a metal-head, so, you can only imagine the noise emitting from my phones), and I was messing with my iPod (which I may refer to as pIod in the future). The elevator dinged, indicating that the elevator had stopped, and the doors rolled open. Being the only one boarding the elevator, and not having to wait for anyone to get off, I stepped on, selected "1", watched the doors closed, and turned my attention back to my iPod. I knew that the distance from the third floor to the first floor would be two "dings" from the elevator, thus, I did not think I needed to pay attention to the small, electronic rectangular box which displayed the floor as the elevator moved.

Now, imagine your school or local library; they're a naturally quiet environment with some people roaming around. Thousands of books - so many books, the possibility of reading all of them is completely unfathomable.

Now that you've got an image of your local library, imagine its lobby. There's a checkout counter, with possibly older-aged women, but sometimes teenagers. Maybe some parents with their children, who are either eager to pick out a new book, or pouting because they're bored out of their minds. There may be some couches or chairs to sit on; in schools, perhaps some tables or desks for student work. There are advertisements, possibly large windows with appealing views of the outside world. There are old people, young people, students and teachers.

So, imagine my surprise as the elevator moved the expected two floors, dinged to let me know the doors were opening, and the first thing that I see is the complete opposite of all you expect a library to be.

The floors were non-existent. The walls? What walls? With a quick survey, I could see the halfway installed insulation. Two-by-fours lay in heaps in various places; sawdust had painted the not-a-floor so heavily it was like I was staring at a desert. Men in hard hats and heavy duty boots walked about.

I stood in the doorway of the elevator, completely dumbfounded. In my mind, over the course of two hours, the lobby of the Universities library had been completely demolished and was in the process of being remodeled, with no warning whatsoever.

I came to when I barely heard a voice saying "Excuse me". A construction worker boarded the elevator as I took a step back into the little metal box, dragging a cart full of plywood behind him. It was not until I stepped back into the elevator that I took the two seconds to look at the digital rectangle above my head, which did not display the number "1", but rather, "5".

The worker pressed "3" and the doors closed. Out of respect, I turned the volume down on my iPod. After a few seconds of awkward silence as the elevator once again began to move, I decided to speak up.

"I was so confused." I started. "The doors opened and I was like, 'This can't be the first floor...'"

The man chuckled. "Yeah, we do that sometimes. Kidnap unknowing students."

"Just to confuse us, huh?"

The elevator dinged, opening the door to "3". The man began to push his cart out of the elevator. "Yeah. Just for our own amusement. Gets a bit boring around here, ya know?"

With that, the doors closed. The elevator continued; this time, paranoid, I watched to make sure the next stop was the first floor. Expecting the doors to open into a jungle, or something, I waited anxiously. . .and finally got to step out into a much familiar lobby.

I don't know what's going on up there; typically, access to the fifth and sixth floors of the College library are restricted for students. You need a key to get the elevator up there. I don't know what's going on, but I'm on to you, library. . . . .I'm on to you.

Jumpin' in puddles,