MacGyver of the Day

So what do you do when you’ve dropped a spoon down a heating vent (that was open for various reasons)? Take a piece of scrap yarn, the magnet from a hard drive, a robotic claw gripping toy from your husband’s childhood, and start fishing.

Hey, I got the spoon. I’m also motivated to replace the vent cover now, as well! XD

Completionism is overrated

Just so you know, it takes forever to get 100% on Lego Harry Potter. Still at only 80%, and I’ve nearly completed my second pass through of II. D:


Deathspank (Steam/PC)


Copyright of Hothead Games


Steam (PC)

Story Rating: 3/5 + bonus point for being a parody of traditional fantasy = 4/5

Environment Rating: 5/5 (I love 2D/3D environments like Paper Mario)

Game Play Rating: Whee!


In Deathspank you play a not-so-bright hero who is questing The Artifact (because some cute redhead told you to a long time ago). While searching for The Artifact you travel around the world, helping the helpless as a true hero should. Along the way you get to literally knock the poop out of demons (a farmer wants it for fertilizer), fight Sabretooth Donkeys (although you’ll need at least one alive), and steal from Leprechans (that is not their orphan). Ron Gilbert’s twisted humor shines through and helps to create a game that will leave you sniggering.

Note: I was having trouble getting into the game until I tried it with an XBox controller hooked up to my PC. It made all the difference.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

The Tale of the Frog(s)

At the beginning of December, pogle informs me that a green tree frog is loose in his office. Apparently, it hitched a ride in on a Poinsetta, and no one there knew what to do for it. So, naturally, he brought it home.

He was named Dratsab Elttil (which is an entirely different story):

Dratsab Elttil, a green tree frog.

We didn’t want to set him free because the temperatures were below zero and he’d die, so I set him up a temporary home and we arranged with family to get an aquarium for him. Sadly, he died after only 3 days (and after I’d spent a bunch of money on him), so pogle decided we’d go ahead and get another frog. And then he came home with two of them. Isn’t that how it usually goes when it comes to pets?

Meet Houdini and Hwinn:

Houdini & Hwinn: two green tree frogs

Houdini is sleeping up top, while I just missed a photo of Hwinn being a ninja while walking across the corner.

They don’t do much, to be honest, although it was cool to accidentally see Hwinn catch a cricket. They’ll probably be more trouble than they’re worth (crickets are a pain in the butt), but it’s absurdly fun to try and find them in the terrarium.

That’s pretty much the tale of how we ended up with two green tree frogs living in our office. Not that exciting, eh?


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Watching Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory today (apparently pogle has several of the songs stuck in his head today). Even better than I remember. I probably haven’t seen the film for a decade or so.

  • I love that science teacher! Class dismissed!
  • Veruca Salt is hilarious. A demon child to haunt the dreams of all adults.
  • Gene. Freaking. Wilder.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Limbo (Xbox Arcade)

Copyright of Playdead Games


Xbox 360 (Arcade)

Story Rating: 2/5

Environment Rating: 5/5

Game Play Rating: Thumb Buster


Dark and innovative, Limbo is a very unique game. There is no dialogue, written or heard, throughout the entire game. Instead, you wake up in a dark wood and must find your way as best as you can with no knowledge of WHY (unless you’ve read all of the other reviews out there, as I had). At first, the game seems easy and fun. Even dying (especially dying) becomes a source of amusement, as our hero with no name inevitably meets a gruesome end with every mistake we make. There are no lives, though; no penalty. You just dust yourself off and try again. With autosaving after every puzzle, I’m perfectly happy with this gameplay approach. The puzzles needed to progress become much more challenging, so that towards then end I was almost wholly dependent on pogle’s assistance to finish. Certain puzzles become so frustrating that, the minute you realize you’ve messed up yet again, you’ll find yourself running the hero into the nearest source of death with some satisfaction. Sweet ending, I guess, albeit truncated.


Fun, in its own way. Unique environment. Little forgiveness in the later puzzles. Morbid. Bleeping sawblades.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

2010: A Retrospective

Michele’s Favorites of 2010


Video Game



  • The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger
  • Jane Jameson Series by Molly Harper


  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • World War Z by Max Brooks

Steampunk (or Magic/Supernatural & Technology)

  • Burton & Swinburne in the Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
  • Leviathan & Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
  • Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero by Dan Abnett
  • The Parasol Protectorate Series by Gail Carriger


  • The Warrior’s Apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde
  • Skulduggery Pleasant Series by Derek Landy

Graphic Novels

  • Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson Horror
  • Blacksad by Juan Diaz Canales Noir
  • Tribes: The Dog Years by Michael Geszel & Inaki Miranda Post-Apocalyptic
  • Castle Waiting (Collection #1) by Linda Medley Humor
  • Gunnerkrigg Court (Volume 1) by Tom Siddell (available online @ Steampunk
  • Fullmetal Alchemist Series by Hiromu Arakawa Steampunk

»Read More

Back to the Future I & II

I had not seen the Back to the future movies since I was a young child, so except for a few scenes (lightning and the DeLorean, Biff marrying Marty’s mom) I really didn’t remember much. I was pleasantly surprised when, while watching Back to the Future, I could not stop laughing. Being older now, I finally got all those jokes that went right over my head when I first watched it. I loved it and I can sort of see why pogle was so astounded that I wasn’t more into the films than I was.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Back to the Future II was okay, but not nearly as enjoyable as the first. Elizabeth Shue’s acting at the start does not help set the mood for the film, and Marty’s idiot actions are mostly just frustrating (no wonder he has the chance to have a kid like Marty Jr). The main highlights were the parallels they created with the first film (which is why pogle made me watch the two side by side).

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Toy Story 3

Once again, Pixar has managed to amaze me (and make me cry). Somehow they have made each Toy Story be as good as, and in this case better than, the last. An enjoyable film geared more towards an adult audience simply because children, while they’ll enjoy the action, will not have yet experienced the bittersweetness of growing up.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

How to Train Your Dragon & 9

How to Train Your Dragon

Excellent movie. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the original books, but from what I remember the movie definitely followed at least the spirit of the books. I love how natural Toothless appears: you can definitely tell that they studied animals to get his movements down (he reminded me of a cat and our ferrets in his mannerisms). We promptly went and purchased the movie (on sale) as well the first few books in the series to read and share with the family.

Rating: ★★★★★ 


We made sure to watch the original short (included on the DVD) before watching the film. They certainly took inspiration from it, but the extended film was in the end much happier than the original short. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t have to watch it ever again.

Rating: ★★★☆☆