My current obsession: The Twilight Saga

A slow start

Vampires, werewolves, and romance — and a heap of teen angst. A couple of my friends recommended Twilight to me last fall, and one even loaned me her copy of the book. I started reading it in October, but never got very far. It seemed slow, and too “young adult fiction” for me. It didn’t grab me like the Harry Potter stories had, so I set it aside.

Remember what it felt like to be seventeen?

Well, in April, I was convinced to try it again. I made it through the relatively slow first couple of chapters, getting to know the characters, and becoming accustomed to Stephenie Meyer’s writing style. Little by little, I became emotionally attached to the main character, Bella Swan, because Meyer does an excellent job of reminding me what it felt like to be seventeen. The self-consciousness, anxiety, emotion, and will-he-notice-me-today butterflies…

Impossibly in love

As Bella became entwined in the mysterious life of her crush, Edward Cullen (an irresistibly beautiful, and dangerous vampire), so did I. By the halfway point in Twilight, I was completely hooked on the story, and I couldn’t put the book down. Once the action started, it was genuinely exciting, and it didn’t stop until the end. It was like the first half had been a long, slow ascent on a roller coaster, and the second half was the screaming fast, twisty-loopy part. As soon as I was done, I wanted to go again! So I went right out and bought New Moon, the second book.

New Moon seemed to follow the same slow-start-fast-finish pattern that Twilight had. I finished that off in about a week, and I’m waiting for my favorite Man In Brown to deliver Eclipse today. I’m completely in love with Edward, the powerful, gentle, protective, beautiful vampire. And the way Meyer describes him, it seems to make perfect sense that Bella would want to be with him forever, no matter what…

The fourth and final book, Breaking Dawn, will be released in August, and I have already pre-ordered it.

Waiting impatiently for the movie

Edward and Bella from the movie TwilightTwilight, the movie, will be released in December 2008 November 21, 2008, and I am so excited! I can hardly wait to see the amazing story of vampires, werewolves, legend, and magic, come to life on the screen. This photo is of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, who play Edward (vampire) and Bella (human). Aren’t they gorgeous?!

You have all summer to get caught up if you start reading now… Cheers!

A “You’ve got to be kidding!” GeekMom rant

My kids love flexible bendy straws, and I brought home a package from Bed Bath & Beyond a couple of days ago. After I opened the package, I happened to read the “Use and Care Instructions” on the back, and this is what I saw…

bendy straw instructions

In case that’s too small for you to read, here is what it says.

Perfect for rootbeer floats, sodas, cocktails and more. Three fun colors. Handwash before use. (emphasis added)

You’ve got to be kidding me! Who has the time or inclination to wash a bunch of plastic straws before use?! Sorry, but the most I can manage is a quick rinse with tap water. What am I supposed to do? Get out the pipe cleaners to scrub the skinny tubes?

I guess I’ll be looking for Made in USA bendy straws from now on, and these will go into the craft bin.

Three days with Wii Fit: GeekMom’s review

I have been looking forward to getting my feet on the WiiFit balance board for months, and my early pre-order paid off when it was delivered on Wednesday. (Oh, how I love seeing that UPS man strolling up the sidewalk with a big Amazon box in his arms!)

I’ve been using it for three days, and here are my impressions so far…

Set-up is easy

From box to playtime, it took about 5 minutes. The hardest part (and it’s not really hard) is finding the sync buttons on the board and the Wii console. Once they start talking to each other, it’s just like playing any other game. Watch the screen and follow the instructions.

Don’t take it personally

My family knew how excited I was to finally get the WiiFit, and they gathered around while I took the first turn. We started up the “game,” and I got on the board to create my WiiFit profile. I didn’t know that the WiiFit was going to calculate my BMI and call me a fatty in front of my audience! Okay, it didn’t actually say “fatty,” but be warned that it will collect data including your height, age, and weight. It will calculate your BMI, and show you where that lands you on a scale from underweight to obese.

I was particularly sad when the WiiFit version of my mii went *poof* and became chubby, to match my BMI. Oh well… It’s not personal; it’s mathematical.

Exercise games are really fun

I’m not the kind of girl who enjoys going to a class and getting sweaty with lots of other people. I prefer going for walks by myself, especially in the cool morning or evening air. However, it’s hard for me to make time for that, I don’t always feel safe walking alone, and I hate mosquitoes.

The WiiFit exercises really are like games, and after just one 20 minute session, I could feel it in my muscles. I love that I don’t have to go anywhere to get a little exercise, and it’s more fun than our old treadmill. And no mosquitoes!

Ski racing, ski jumping, stability trials, yoga, calisthenics, jogging, and step-aerobics are some of the games we’ve played so far. There’s also hula-hooping — which is so far my best event! I knew these hips were good for something! Watch out for swiveling badunkadunk!

Seeing results after three days

I’ve been having so much fun doing the exercises, that it’s been effortless to accumulate 20 minutes of activity each day! I’ve recovered from my initial feelings of resentment toward my WiiFit (for calling me fat), and now love the built-in weight and BMI tracking features. My muscles feel good, and my weight and BMI are trending downhill on my WiiFit chart. Yippee!

Unlockable games and features keep it fresh

As you accumulate minutes in your WiiFit Bank (looks like a digital piggy bank), you unlock new games and features. My kids and I get really excited when we get new games! We’ve already unlocked a more advanced Super Hula Hoop game. 馃檪

Buy it if you can find it…

From what I’ve heard, the WiiFit is hard to find in stock anywhere, including online. If you find one, grab it!

Anybody need a little relaxation break?

You know I’m addicted to Squidoo. Well, I’m also addicted to breathing. I’ve just put together a page at Squidoo about my favorite way to chill out. It’s deep breathing, or abdominal breathing, and it really helps me! I’ve been using this simple breathing technique for years, and it helps me relax and stress less.

It’s been especially helpful when I’m going crazy over misbehaving children or computers, during medical crises, and the typical circus that is modern life!

You can do it wherever you are, without any equipment, and it only takes a minute. If you’re curious, I put the instructions here: Learn to relax and reduce stress just by breathing deeply.

Just think; if we all take one minute to breathe and relax, we can reduce the global stress level a bit, and the world will be a happier place! Shall I insert rainbows, butterflies, and singing birds here? 馃檪 Cheers!

photo credit: Fort Photo

My Wii Fit has been shipped!

Wii Fit YogaI just got a notification from Amazon that my Wii Fit is on its way! I can hardly wait until the dashing Man in Brown knocks on my door on Wednesday, to deliver this long-awaited prize! Can you tell I’m excited?! 馃檪

If you’re not familiar with the Wii Fit, you can check it out at the Nintendo site. I’ll let you know what I think after I’ve had a chance to use it. I’m really looking forward to trying the Yoga program. I’ve been wishing for some kind of Wii physical therapy ever since I started playing Wii Sports!

R2-D2 is as cold as Hoth

R2-D2 ice bucketHan Solo carbonite ice cube trayI love Star Wars, and R2-D2 is my favorite droid. Does anybody not love little R2? Anyway, you can get just about anything in the shape of R2-D2 these days, but this is a new one. It’s a talking R2-D2 ice bucket! But that’s not the best part! The thing I love most about this gadget is the ice cube tray that comes with it. You can make your very own “Han Solo in carbonite” ice cubes! How awesome is that?! I bet you could even use that tray to make carbonite-shaped chocolate bars. I might get this just for that tray. Seriously. (seen at GeekDad)

This BSG cake cures my case of the Mondays

battlestar galactica cakeI caught up on Battlestar Galactica over the weekend, and I am loving it! Some very exciting things are happening, but still no revelation on the identity of the final Cylon. I can hardly wait to see what happens next!

In the meantime, I’m dealing with the post-Mother’s Day housework, which is what happens when Mom takes the weekend “off.” Hubby and the kids made me relax, and they treated me like a queen, which was really wonderful! But, it makes for a very messy Monday…

If you’re a fellow BSG fan in need of a Monday pick-me-up, take a look at this fabulous cake! Those ships and explosions are edible! And if you look closely (click to view larger photo), you can see little sparkly silver dragees stuck to the chocolate buttercream, and they look like stars in space. This masterpiece is from Whipped Bakeshop, and here is the creator’s description:

This cake was created for a Battlestar Galactica party held at Independents Hall in Philadelphia. Chocolate devil’s food cake with raspberry jam and ganache filling, iced with chocolate buttercream and ganache, decorated with chocolate ships and explosions, silver dragees, silver and gold space dust. 100% edible!

Doesn’t that look and sound delicious? Chocolate buttercream and ganache? Edible gold space dust?! So say we all! Happy Monday, everybody!

Photo © Whipped Bakeshop, shown here by permission.

Pee-sensing toilet stickers improve piss-poor aim?

I have three children: two boys, and a girl. The boys have been using the toilet independently for a few years, and my daughter is just learning. As any parent can understand, I am really looking forward to the day when we are a diaper-free household!

Even though the boys can take care of their own business in the bathroom, there are still some improvements to be made. For one thing, I wish they would be more careful with their aim. I am so tired of cleaning up after them!

These nifty stickers are designed to help guys with piss-poor (ha ha) aim do a better job of hitting the mark. Of course, they’re from Japan, home to many toilet-related innovations. The stickers can be installed in toilets or urinals, and change color when peed upon.

I can imagine that a color-changing target in the pot would be irresistible for my boys, and would reduce the occurrence of stray drips and dribbles. I haven’t seen these in any stores yet, but if I do, I’m buying them!

Toilet Stickers from Japan
Via tokyomango.

Disney goes geek with new programmable robot toys

disney programmable robot toyDisney recently announced that it will begin selling a line of robotic toys, to coincide with the upcoming animated film, WALL路E. The robots will appeal to both boys and girls, with some based on characters from the movie, and even a flying Tinker Bell fairy bot.

One of the robots is the Ultimate WALL路E. According to the press release…

Ultimate WALL路E features 10 motors, giving it a high level of movement and animation. The remote control makes it easy for kids to program WALL路E’s movements. An innovative touch programming system lets kids direct WALL路E simply by making patterns on the remote’s touch pad. With voice activation and a follow-me mode, WALL路E can follow the sound of a human voice and detect someone entering a room. He also has several emotional states and an easy system for programming thousands of combinations of movements with the remote. Numerous sensors allow him to detect and respond to his environment, including infrared sensors that allow him to detect obstacles and steer around them, sonic ears that detect sound direction, and touch sensors. The Ultimate WALL路E is also MP3 compatible and features built-in speakers. USB cables and rechargeable batteries are included.

The toys were unveiled at last weekend’s MakerFaire (“the premier event for grassroots American innovation”). I’m looking forward to trying these robot toys. As a geek parent, I love toys that make science and technology fun and accessible for children. I’m not a fan of things that just eat batteries and make noise. If these robots are programmable and interactive (and safely non-sentient), I might bring one home!

Geek Craft: Handmade plush action figures

This makes my crafty geek heart go pitter patter! Have you ever seen a cuter Indiana Jones? This little yarn Indy was handmade by the folks at Geek Central Station. Check out the hat! And the whip! I don’t know what else to say, except that I want one!
amigurumi Indiana Jones doll

Oh, and GeekCentralStation has a shop! And look what I found there… Gandalf the Grey! He is cute in a dignified, wizardy sort of way, complete with hat, pipe, and staff. The details on these figures are amazing! See the little braided belt on his robe?
Gandalf the Grey handmade doll

If you’re in love with these guys, you should check out the other stuff in the shop. There are Star Wars figures, too!

Photos are ©GeekCentralStation, shown here by permission. Thank you!