I picked up the latest Humble Indie Bundle, which just happened to be DRM-free audiobooks. The biggest selling point to me in the bundle was On A Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony. I haven't read anything by Anthony in ages, but when I was little I really loved the Xanth series as a kid.

So far On A Pale Horse is what I expected - full of puns, lighthearted with a dark subject. I'm looking forward to checking out the other audiobooks as well.

There are some mashups that can't be ignored. Mostly anything involving Maleficent, or the Powerpuff Girls.

What better way to stay warm in the winter than to read a book (all about ice) while being gaped at by the cat.

I don't know that it's much warmer today, but I couldn't take another day of not getting out and walking around. So I walked over to the skyw

It was so cold outside today I decided to not leave at lunch, which means I didn't really take any photos for the day. So enjoy this photo Chris took outside a window at his work!

A lot of my attempts to read today have been thwarted by Leki's chest or butt. He gets very jealous of paper.

We woke up to more snow today. A lot more snow. So I bundled up on the couch, read, and took a nap that lasted half the day. A perfect way to spend a snowy Saturday.

This month's Loot Crate came with a Minecraft 2014 calendar. And I had just the blank wall space at work for it.

This month's Loot Crate is pretty awesome. I mean, Star Wars phase book and travel guide plus a NASA patch? Yes please.

Plus Chris makes out pretty well. I mean, that Domo Superman totally has his name written on it.

More Snow. Bleh.

Earlier this month Chris saw this awesome shirt for sale at Ript Apparel. Given that I absolutely adore Trigun (I mean, I once had a dog named Vash!), I had to buy this shirt. Now I wish I had bought two, for the eventual day that this one wears out.

Anyway, the shirt arrived today, and it is every bit as awesome as I imagined it could be.

I almost feel like re-reading the manga now.

While I was out on lunch it started to snow downtown every so lightly. At least it stopped pretty soon after it started. The last thing anyone wants at this point is more snow (except maybe small children hoping for more days off school).

My first sushi attempt from a few weeks ago went relatively well, except for adding way too much sushi vinegar to the rice. The sushi was hard to eat after a few bites.

So I thought I'd try it again, this time with much less vinegar. I used about quarter of what the recipe I'd used earlier called for. So far things taste better - so I consider that success. Though these rolls aren't as tight as the ones I made the first time. Oh well.

Still, here's to having lunch pre-made for the next several days!

Saturday has been a great day. Some reading, some exercising, and lots of gaming. Chris even printed me a little Assassin's Creed emblem on the 3D printer while he was messing around printing other things.

I spent pretty much the whole evening playing Assassin's Creed 4 this evening. I'm barely into the story line and I've spent 5+ hours in the game. Mostly I'm just wandering around, plundering and assassinating things.

I'd show you a nice screenshot of the game, because it does look gorgeous, but the xbox doesn't do screenshots. So take my word for it that it's beautiful. Or look up some PS4 screenshots, because that system lets you do screenshots...

Tonight is the State of the State address! So Chris made me this pseudo-foam finger to wave around while we watching.

We went to see Her tonight. I really don't care for romantic movies, but I enjoyed this one. Maybe because it wasn't gushy and over the top, like all the previews they played before the film. Ugh.

Anyway, the film was pretty good. I'd recommend seeing it if you have any interest based on the previews.

These days you can buy a lot of music digitally, which means no need to store CDs somewhere once you've ripped the files onto your hard drive. Unless, of course, the music you want is only available digitally in another country. Then you have to either wait for someone in the US to distribute the music, or you buy an import CD.

The cost on import CDs seem much cheaper than they did years ago, and in this particular case, this Mary Epworth CD cost as much as the digital files would, if they were available to someone in the US.

I still not sure why, in this day in age, distributors have such artificial barriers to digital media. It's the same way with books, although I have heard that in some cases if you set your Kindle to the UK (or whatever country) you can purchase an ebook and then set your region back to the US. Either way, I just opted to buy the CD and rip it myself as opposed to wait for a US company to "distribute" the mp3s.

The Kinect requires a lot of room. It was an issue in our apartment and it's an issue in the house. It's great for basements that have been converted to entertainment rooms or large living rooms, but since we have neither a little improvising is required.

In order to use the Kinect for Xbox Fitness, I have to upend the couch and move the ottomans out of the room. Only then do I have enough room for the majority of things. This system works out alright so far, but I do wish there was a way to get the Kinect to register people much closer to the sensor.

Chris bought Assassin's Creed 4 for me today, so I decided to give the game's companion app a try. Basically you use a tablet or a smart phone to run a quest hub and mini-map on a second screen (the map on the screen on the bottom-middle of the photo). This saves you from having to open the large map in-game, I guess.

It's a neat idea, and I enjoy watching my character move around on the tablet while I'm playing the game. I suspect it will be more useful when I have my own ship and am out and about searching for treasure.

Chris suggested making some chocolate chip cookies today and I couldn't just ignore such a delicious request. We were supposed to make them together, but I made them while he wasn't looking, mostly because I was bored and he was busy with stuff.
I also played a little in Just Dance 2014. I don't like dancing in public, I never liked going to clubs, and Chris can attest to how against I was at having anything involving dancing at our wedding (which is why we did not). So that makes it all the more strange that I don't mind this game. I'm sure part of it is because no one can see me (unless I accidentally upload something) and partially because the game shows you moves. Concentrating on the moves distracts me from the fact that I'm moving to music, I guess.

So I logged into a worldwide Dance Floor thing they have running, where various people can compete with you to do aerobic-type moves for various songs. I'm happy to report that I consistently ranked at the bottom after each song.

If people have uploaded videos of them dancing, you can see them when you hover over their names. You also see what country they're playing from, and their online level, which I assume is just your dancing cred.

The whole thing is interesting, and I'm sure I'll play with it more. I know Leki enjoyed it, mostly because he could sprawl out on his back in the laziest way possible and just enjoy being in the same room as me.

Leki likes to hang out and make sure any book I'm reading doesn't get too much attention.

I made these oatmeal raisin cookie granola bites a few days ago and I've been munching on them at work. I indifferent to oatmeal raisin cookies, so I was leery of this recipe, but it's turned out pretty tasty. For starters, the almond butter gives it an odd flavor. That's probably because I'm not used to it. But I like it. And the honey really comes through as well.

Overall, I'm impressed with these little things. Plus they're no bake, so they took hardly any time to put together.

The roads are getting better, but it's still snowy out there.

Since I've had sushi rice in the pantry for months, I thought today was as good a day as any to try some home made sushi.

So after returning from the grocery store with fresh vegetables and nori (seafood wrap), I decided to get wrapping. I'm not a huge fish fan, and I've always shied away from sushi involving raw fish. I've mostly just stuck to California and cucumber rolls, so all I planned on making was veggie sushi.

There was a bit of preparation that went into the sushi rice, and I'm pretty sure I used too much rice vinegar when making the sushi vinegar.
But, even if the rice is a little too vinegar tasting to me, I decided to use it anyway. Anyway, I placed some cucumber, carrots and cabbage on my first roll.

As you can see, I didn't have a bamboo mat, so I made do with cling wrap and a towel.
By the third roll I decided to add in some tofu I'd baked. I like my tofu very firm and over baked. But for this recipe I thought I'd make it how you're supposed to.
The sushi turned out alright. It is a little strong on the vinegar, so I'll know to adjust the next time. But I have some rolls to take with me the next several days for lunch, so I consider this mission accomplished!

This is what we woke up to this morning. I sincerely hope that most people did not have to go to work. Snow kept coming down and the wind was (and probably still is) brutal.
So I decided to make something warm and tasty. I'm all out of fresh fruit, so I decided to make the baked oatmeal recipe I like that only needs dried fruit. It will certainly come in handy the next several days, once we go back to work.
Later in the afternoon I went and helped Chris shovel, in my badass kitty hat. Chris still did most of the shoveling, but I pushed stuff around with the tiny shovel!
And, while we are getting low on supplies, we did have enough to make chicken and dumpling in the slow cooker. I modified the recipe a little (home made dumpling dough instead of a can of dough) and it tasted alright. I probably put way too many dumplings in it. To be honest, I prefer pretty thick soup, so I didn't mind.

We only have one more day of vacation left. Hopefully tomorrow is better, weather wise, and we can pick up some fresh provisions.

It is continuing to snow outside, and we're not in the middle of winter advisory thanks to a polar vortex. Chris has done the vast majority of the shoveling since too much of the repetitive movement irritates my wrist and elbow. 
But because it's been so cold, I haven't been able to get out and do my normal walking around exercise. So I've bee playing with the Xbox Fitness app instead (yes, they call it an app on the Xbox One). For a year several workouts are free with an Xbox Live gold membership (which Chris convinced me to try). Basically they've taken existing workouts and overlaid some Xbox-specific features.

In addition to the normal video, you now have sidebar with various pieces of information.

The upper right box tracks movement. It will tell you if you're in the right position, moving too fast/slow, and highlight muscle groups that are being used. It will also give you your heart rate. I have no idea how accurate that is since I don't wear anything when exercising to track it. As you can see above, I'm taking a photo instead of whirling my arms around like a crazy person.

in the middle is a circle that tells you how accurately you're matching the instructor on the video. The five bars around the circle light up so the more you have lit up, the more "correct" your moves are. It also gives you a handy countdown of how long until the next part of the exercise video.

And finally the bottom of the right sidebar gives you fitness points. It's a way of scoring how well you're doing on each exercise move. The program also uses past performance or performance of others in your age bracket to "challenge" you to work harder.

I've been slowly working through some videos and trying them out. There are several free ones to try and then, of course, if you want the whole workout you need to purchase the extra videos. We'll see how well I stick to these exercise routines. It's easy to carve out time when you're not working, but once I come back from vacation I'll probably be too exhausted to do much else in the evening.
Speaking of exhausted...Leki needed to curl up for a nice, deep nap to rest after his intense afternoon nap on the couch. He's a good cat, even if he does try to curl around my neck.

A winter storm warning is supposed to be in effect from 7pm tonight to 1am Monday, but the snow started mid-afternoon and didn't stop. I'm happy I had breakfast with a friend instead of lunch.

The weather is colder and that means I'm staying indoors more. So I've turned on the 360 and decided I should complete some of the games I left off on early last year - like Mass Effect 3.

It's been several years since I've been to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. I've been told several times over the years that their Christmas Tree displays for their Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World event are pretty nice to see. So since we both have the day off, we popped in to check things out.

The trees were pretty nice, and I was happy to see a Swedish tree, complete with Dala horses and a string of Swedish flags. The visit was a nice breakup in the middle of the day. I suppose we could have wandered a bit outside, but it was pretty windy and cold out, so we just toured in indoor portion of the gardens.

I spent a large chunk of today doing two things I love - reading a book and playing lots of video games.