Guild Wars 2 comes out in a few weeks and I've been trying to cram in as much as I can in the way of acheivements in Guild Wars so that they will translate into Guild Wars 2. They're cosmetic items, but seriously - who doesn't want an orange tabby (that looks like Leki) following them around when they quest across Tyria?

So I forgot to take a photo of anything else I did today (which wasn't much) and ended up with this single screenshot from completing Nightfall. This is the first Guild Wars campaign I've completed, despite having an account for almost six years.

I'm kind of terrible with finishing things.

But at least now I get my orange tabby. Yay for a virtual companion that looks like the orange one who sits on my lap when I game!

So three years. I know for a lot of you reading this that's not really a long time. A lot of you have been married for much longer than that. Heck, three years in the scheme of things really isn't that long.

But three years being really happy with someone who you enjoy spending time with? I'll take that.

So maybe maybe this three year posts isn't as mushy as the first year (I didn't appear to even acknowledge it last year) but I still feel the same. I'm happy to have met Chris and have someone who is cool with all my strange habits (like how I will binge on something to the point of ignoring everything else).

We may not have had the most romantic of dinners (it is Monday after all), but there isn't anyone else I'd rather share a meal with day after day.

Usually when Chris and I go out to eat we each get water, which means a small 12 ounce cup. So when we stopped for lunch while we were out today I was a little taken aback by how big a small is. It's like 22 ounces of liquid.

Also, the fries look big.

I thought when you became an adult things from your childhood looked smaller, not larger.

On a lighter note Chris and I caught a good movie today called Safety Not Guaranteed. He did a nice write-up on his blog that you should check out.

We headed out early in the morning to Dearborn for the annual Detroit Maker Faire. This is the first year either of us have ever attended a maker faire, and with my recent foray into the world of Arduino, I was really excited to see what there would be.

The event is hosted at the Henry Ford Museum. The event uses both the parking lot and the museum to stage tables with various groups and vendors throughout.

As you can see, they even had a Life Size Moustrap set up. Now THAT is awesome.

We met up with Chris's dad, who regularly goes to the Maker Faire and several different meetups. 

There was something for everyone. They had lots of robots set up both indoors and out demonstrating various things (like Robot Fight Club by i3 Detroit pictured above). They even had a whole craft section with tutorials on knitting, crochet, spinning and more. I even did a little weaving!

My favorite by far was the power wheel racing, which Chris has photos of on his blog. He has a lot of good photos so you should check out his blogpost.

Next time I go I wont forget my SLR, that's for sure.

Since we were passing right by it, we decided to swing by Ikea. With the shopping pit stop we ended up back home around 11.

A long day but worth it.

Night after night he just sits there, waiting for company.

Thursday night Grand Rapids Public Library and Fountain Street Church teamed up to host An Evening with Michael Moore.

Because I work downtown Chris and I decided to stay downtown as opposed to drive home and come back out. It was a good decision. We got over there around 5:30pm (the event started at 7pm) and the Church was already 1/3 full and steadily filling up. 

Despite the heat it was a fun event. Michael Moore told some good stories and read a bit from his new book Here Comes Trouble. He is a lot more amusing to watch live than on TV, so it was definitely worth sitting in the non-airconditioned church for several hours.

Chris has a nice recap of the event.

For those nights where its just too much effort to make dinner after work.

Rain or shine Leki absolutely needs us in the kitchen no later than 6pm every night. And, someone better be willing to spend some time with him while he eats, because he hates to eat alone.

A weekend of Guild Wars 2 meant I was up to playing some regular Guild Wars. Plus Monday was kind of a rough day so what better way to wind down than running around with my pink flamingo companion?

We're seeing Batman: The Dark Knight Rises today with Comfort and Adam and Chris asked me to make some brownies.

I went a little crazy and made brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and mini-cheesecakes. The cheesecake recipe was really to fill the void while Chris ran out to get more butter for the chocolate chip cookies.

I keep trying to find a good home made brownie recipe and I'm still not there yet. This recipe is fantastic - don't get me wrong. But it is almost too rich (that doesn't even seem possible, does it?). I'm sure that's due in part to the four eggs it calls for in a small 8x8 pan recipe.
We met up with Comfort and Adam in the afternoon for the movie. It was not bad. If you're a fan of the others in the Nolan series then you'll like this one.

As usual we took an awesome long walk through Palmer Park. It's great to walk and talk with them.

And when we got back there were tasty desserts ready to be devoured.

Yes, I absolutely did spend more time than I probably should have playing Guild Wars 2 in their last beta weekend. It comes out next month and I wanted to squeeze in a little bit more trial before finalizing on a character.

Besides, it's fun to find bugs and report them!
I also had a wonderful time at dinner with Lori. Delicious Chinese food, good company? What's not to enjoy? 

All in all a low key day. 

This weekend is the last Guild Wars 2 beta weekend and they've opened up the last two races to players: the Sylvari and Asura

So naturally I created one of each.
I created a Mesmer Sylvari, which basically means I'm a plant-person that creates illusions. Yay for having multiple me's!
I also created an adorable little Asura thief. Watching her flop around is a real treat.
Who, because she's Asura, is cocky as all get out.

Both starter areas are a lot of fun and offer different quests tailored to the strengths of the respective races. I'm still not sure what I want to play when the game launches next month, but I do know I'll be playing a lot of whatever I create.

A co-worker brought me in a bottle of tasty MOO-ville chocolate milk. We'd swapped stories about delicious chocolate milk. I had babbled on about Shelter Dairy's delicious products but that they're not available locally and she mentioned MOO-ville. Who knew such tastiness was here?

While not as thick and rich (and likely not as heart-attack inducing) as Shelter Dairy's chocolate milk, it was delicious. I downed that bottle pretty quickly in the afternoon and I'm going to have to go pick some up.
To add further awesomeness to a wonderful afternoon, the two cat-themed items I purchased recently from Woot! arrived. A new kitty-themed apron plus a tote bag with a group of kitties playing Settlers of Catan.

Now to go bake something and use that apron.

I've seen a fair number of recipes that involve fruit, chocolate and toppings, so when I stumbled across this Chocolate-Dipped Frozen Banana Bites I saved it.

Of course it didn't take me too long to break down and make it.

With the heat lately it's been too warm to bake anything indoors. Sure I've used the grill to make cherry cobbler and other food, but this was an opportunity to make something tasty indoors. Where there is air conditioning!
So I sliced everything up, melted some chocolate, and rolled around the tasty chocolate-coated banana bits in various toppings. Coconut, sprinkles, vanilla wafers - I grabbed everything I could find.

While making them was a little messy (I blame my lack of experience working with melted chocolate), it was certainly worth it. This is definitely a delicious cool treat that I will be making again!

It was nearly 95 degrees outside when I took a lunch, so I decided to chow down in the Skywalk instead of bake out in the heat. It was still warm in there, but the high 70s (or maybe it was 80 degrees) was a much better choice than baking in the heat.

I'm not looking forward to the rest of this week.

Yup. It's one of those kinds of days.

Pizza on the grill again.

I love that thing.

Today is my younger cousin (first cousin, once removed) Ashlyn's wedding day over in Linwood.

I didn't snap any photos of the wedding ceremony, but I did get a few of the reception. As you can see, it was a setup for a large crowd.
It was great to see my grandmother and aunts and uncles, as well as several cousins I haven't seen in ages. Plus the food was tasty and they had an awesome photobooth they rented.
All in all it was a great time. I'm glad I got to see my family and enjoy an evening with them. I wish we got together more often (and that it didn't take 3 hours to drive to visit them).

Yes, it is very hot outside. But I couldn't resist my craving for home-made chocolate chip cookies.

Unfortunately I was out of regular chocolate chips so I settled on mini M&Ms. For the record they are not as tasty as full blown chocolate chips. 

I got to wander the halls of the local community college downtown while looking for my credit union branch (which is located in the school). Being there brought back memories of hanging out in school classrooms without air conditioning. It was so warm!

One of the fun parts about working downtown is getting to hang out at Rosa Parks circle after work. I actually enjoy hanging out there quite a bit. It's not as scenic as walking along the river, but it's a pretty peaceful place to hang out and read a book when you have some downtime.

Sometimes the most peaceful thing is just listening to leaves blowing in the wind.

It was nicer out today so we decided to enjoy our last day of vacation at the park. It is a weird day when I say the weather is nice and it's 80 degrees, but I suppose compared 100+ degrees, it is.

We walked over to the park by us and enjoyed a tasty lunch. Palmer Park is almost always peaceful and quiet, no matter what day we are there (I'm not even sure people know that park is there).
One of the great things about the park is the boardwalk and all the cool things you can see, like this adorable fawn. It's not a very good photo, but promise me, it was adorable.

Now I wish I had taken my SLR with me on the walk....

Next time.

Early in the afternoon Chris and I headed out to a theater in Lansing to meet Adam and Comfort. Since the live in Flint and we live in Grand Rapids, we've been trying to meet halfway so neither of us has to drive four hours round trip.
After the movie, which I thought would be ok for anyone who was under 17 and had not seen the Toby Maguire films, we hung out for several hours eating and chatting.

After awhile the sun started to set and we decided we should all head home. We migrated from the restaurant to the parking lot where we promptly hung out awhile longer to internet videos, which is kind of awesome.

Sometimes it's hard to catch up on everything in an afternoon, but we tried!

If you're interested, Chis has a spoiler-laden rant here which hits most of the major issue I had with the film.

 It's really hot outside.... I tried to avoid going out too much. I did go out in the morning to pick up a package from the post office  (and it was totally worth going into the heat to have dinner and drinks with Lori)

Adorable tiny routers I ordered arrived and were ready for modification. My intent is to take this small little box and use it as a wireless repeater so we can get wifi on the deck. So installed OpenWrt and got working.
Chris and I messed around with the solar lights a little as well. Chris did most of the work shaving off the plastic with the dremel and trying to free the solar panel from it's enclosure.

We still haven't embedded it into anything yet, so  wasn't able to test the newly freed solar panel on the newly painted jars from yesterday.
Instead I just used the existing cap I have just to see how it looked. They're alright, but not as colorful as I'd hoped. Maybe the larger jar needs another coat.

We kicked off our Thursday vacation day with a trip to the vet for Leki (he's due for his shots). As he was the last time several years ago, the cat was a holy terror (despite what he looks like in the photo).

As he gets older and older he's less and less tolerant to things. As a kitten he handled car trips to Traverse City as well as new houses and people very well. With out much travel the last few years this cat has gotten less and less tolerant of change.
I have some cherries that are super ripe and bordering on going bad so I decided to make some cherry cobbler this afternoon.

Of course, it's really hot outside (about 100 Fahrenheit) so I didn't really want to turn on the oven... instead I used the grill. I used the basics of this recipe, but just doubled the cherry amount instead of using blueberries and cherries.
I did slightly overcook it on the grill. I suppose 100+ degrees will help the cooking process along. I even shaved about 10 minutes off the cooking time too.

It was still delicious.
I'm still trying to figure out the perfect solar light and this afternoon seemed like a perfect opportunity to work on it. I found a few more cheap solar lights for a dollar and snagged them. My plan is to strip away the majority of the plastic and install the sensor directly on top of the jar lid.

While we were out went and hit a local craft store to pick up some outdoor mod podge (glue, essentially) and some cheap canning jars. Unfortunately they didn't have any outdoor mod podge so we picked up some super glossy stuff and hopefully that's good enough.
I added some food coloring to the mod podge and coated the glass jars in orange paste.

Now to to wait for them to dry and see how they look in the dark. I'd like to create something similar to this blogpost, but the solar lights I have are much smaller and, frankly, uglier (also probably why they were only a dollar).

Ok, it's really hot outside. Part of me would love to go out and check out some 4th of July festivities but that would be fun for about five minutes and then I'd be miserable in the heat. So instead I stayed indoors and worked on my Arduino projects.
I really like the potential of the LCD and the buttons, so spent several hours integrating the snail mail notifier code into the LCD code. That way you can push a button and get a notification on whether mail has been delivered (I'm still working on a text message/email notification as well, but that's proved tricky with the setup I have). Unfortunately there's a conflict between the two sensors, I think, so the code isn't working right.

But I've made progress! It's just not working 100%.

I also decided that today would be an excellent day to grill. Tasty home made pizza with none of the heating-up-the-house-with-the-oven side effects.
The trick with grilling pizza is to cook both sides of the dough before layering on toppings. All in all I'd say it came out very tasty - but then I'm partial to virtually anything that's grilled. Heck, I kind of want to grill watermelon.