Fashion / Beauty / Music / Art / Culture and Lifestyle blog by Aurelia. Located in and between D.C. & NYC.

Archive for the category “Miscellaneous”

How to Celebrate ‘Star Wars Day’ at the Last-minute!

It’s getting closer to the end of the week (thank goodness) and for Star Wars fans everywhere this is a very exciting time. This Friday, May 4, is what many have deemed international ‘Star Wars Day!’ Why May 4? Because what better way to pay homage to George Lucas’ continuously growing franchise than to say ‘May the fourth be with you!’

If you’re like me, than Star Wars Day is a date that just happens to creep up on you every year. With April finally coming to a close, and the spring weather rearing its head, it’s not always easy to remember May 4. Lucky for you, I have put together some tips, tricks and ideas on how to celebrate Star Wars Day, no matter if you remember on May 3, or the day of! Read more…

Google+’s ‘Personal Results': What it means for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There’s only one reason I wanted a Google account – so I could have a YouTube Channel. Other than that, I wasn’t really interested in having a Gmail or a Google+ account. However, thanks to Google’s ‘account integration’, signing up for YouTube means getting a Google account. My Google account has actually come in handy, and I’ve been able to utilize it’s many features such as Google Talk, Google Docs and more. I was even more impressed with Google+ than I thought I’d be – even if it’s nowhere near as popular as Facebook. However, there is one thing that irks me about my Google account, and that is Google’s ‘personal results’ feature.

‘Personal results’ works like this – if you are logged into a Google account, and you search for something (in Google), Google will then bring up your ‘personal results’. These results take up much of the first page, and are based on your Google+ account. Now, you can turn them off by pressing the little globe picture that shows up in the top right-hand corner of the search window…

But this still begs the question, “How does Google really determine its searches?” Even if you do turn off the ‘personal results’ if you close the browser window and open a new one, the ‘personal results’ will be turned back on and you have to turn them off again. It may be possible that even just having a Google account may give you better ‘search engine optimization,’ and make you more likely to appear early on in the Google search engine. This is really just more proof that social media is greatly influencing SEO (and the internet in general), so if you ever wondered if all the social media is truly necessary – this just goes to show you how important it really is. This is why people shouldn’t be so quick to throw Google+ under the bus. Having a Google+ account means you’re more likely to appear when people search for you (if you’re connected to them in some way, of course). Even if people can turn off their ‘personal results’, they’ll view that information at some point, because it is not possible to permanently turn off the ‘personal results’. People may get so annoyed with always having to remember to turn this setting off that they will either: Discontinue their Google account usage, or (the more likely scenario) just stop messing with the settings in general. This means that having a Google+ account could very well improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). That’s why Google+ is different than Facebook. Yes, Facebook results show up early on in Google search results, but are they highlighted like the Google+ results? No. Google+ is different because of Google’s power over what people see on the internet – even more so than Facebook. Facebook controls the results you seeinFacebook, but Google+ controls the information you see every time you use the Google search engine.

Still wondering if you should get a Google+ account? Unfortunately, Google+ is losing relevance quickly – which is unfortunate because of the many opportunities Google has presented with its new social network. The way I see it, Google+ is one more way to connect with people and it gives you another opportunity for successful SEO. Either way, it’s a win-win, and no harm should come of opening up an account and exploring ways to utilize the social network. When it comes to social media, there’s nothing wrong with exploring different networks and using them all. All social networks have their strengths and weaknesses – that’s why there are so many.

GeniusMods: A Company Specializing in Modded Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 Controllers

This morning, I was sent an article from BusinessWeek about the custom gaming technology company, GeniusMods. I suggest checking out their website here, because from what I can tell, the modded controllers are gorgeous. Featuring ‘rapid fire’, LED, and graphic controllers, I can tell you that I definitely plan on ordering from GeniusMods. I’ve already fallen in love with the ‘Clear Pink XCM LED Xbox 360 Modded Controller’ featured on the front page, and since I am a Gears of War (and shooter) fan, the ‘rapid fire’ controllers look excellent as well. One of the best parts about GeniusMods is the ability to custom design your own controller!

So, if you’re a gamer looking to express yourself with some custom, modded controllers (or you just want to impress your friends), be sure to check out GeniusMods and have a look at their selection!

My Xbox Withdrawal: How I coped with the loss of my Xbox (and how you can too!)

Original CC Image courtesy of Mylk Roventine on Flickr

4 months ago, (…for undisclosed reasons…) my Xbox was put in temporary storage. I now have my beloved console back, but those 4 months were some of the hardest times in my life. It was as if I had to re-learn how to go about my life. I couldn’t even read one of my favorite magazines, GameInformer, because just the mere mention of video games drove me into a state of (unproductive) mourning.

Now that my withdrawal has come to an end, I would like to impart knowledge to my fellow gamers. I actually learned a lot during those 4 months. But above all…I learned how to LIVE again! Nah, just kidding, a gamer’s life is nothing without their console. So, if you are an ‘addict’ gamer who is ever put in a similar situation as I was, I would like to give you some tips for coping with your loss.

1. Mobile Gaming. If you absolutely MUST play something, then mobile gaming (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) may be your saving grace. Don’t diss the power of Fruit Ninja. You’ll be surprised how desperate you become without a console. I was playing endless rounds of Temple Run on my iPhone, not because it was entertaining, but because it was mind numbing. I didn’t want to think about how I still needed to finish Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (after getting the Xbox back I finally finished the storyline) or that I was in the middle of Gears of War 2 and I couldn’t finish it in time for Gears of War 3 (this is still true, I haven’t finished GoW 2). I just wanted to play something so stupid, it would get my mind off of things. However, there are a few exceptional ‘mobile games’ out there that may curb your hunger for console gaming. For the RPG fan, Infinity Blade by Epic Games (the same people responsible for the Gears of War series) is the way to go. If you have an iPad 2 (I don’t…I’m waiting on the 3) you can play Infinity Blade 2 and continue the storyline. If you’re a shooter fan, the classics Doom and Castle Wolfenstein have both been converted to the iPad. It may not be Gears of War (or Halo), but they’re still fun.

2. Computer gaming. Since this article is purely about dealing with the loss of you’re console, I’m going to assume that you have other outlets to game with. If you’re dealing with total ‘gaming’ withdrawal (a HIGHLY unlikely scenario in the world today…at least where I live!) then the tips after this will apply to you. Now, I really didn’t use computer gaming much in my withdrawal. Why? Because I have a Mac. If you’re a Mac user, you know that Apple chooses to neglect it’s gaming community, and that the evil PCs have all the fun. I did try to find decent flash games on the internet, but nothing did it for me. However, if you have a PC, then you can pretty much forget about this article and just go have fun playing Mass Effect on your computer, while the rest of us Mac owners have to play it on our Xbox console.

(If you aren’t satisfied with mobile and computer gaming, but you have access to transportation, then continue to tip #3. If you are without transportation services and are bored with your life, continue to tip #4.)

3. Gaming Elsewhere. Yes, this means giving up the privacy that comes with gaming in your own home, and sharing your ‘mad’ skills in public. This means socializing, being around people, and gaming at the same time. If you’re a gaming social butterfly (like me!) than going to an arcade will definitely help you cope. I visited my local Dave & Busters 5 (…or 10) times during my withdrawal. No, they’re not as HUGE as I would like them to be, but there’s still something for everyone. Personally, I got addicted to the coin games. And through this experience, I was introduced to a whole new type of gaming: Casinos! No, I didn’t like the fact that the machine kept eating my hard earned coins, but it was SO addicting. I also won a huge Dave & Busters punching bag from the ‘Big Claw’ machine – on my first try. I got ‘mad’ claw machine skills, yo! Other than going to an arcade, I also went out for Laser Tag. What’s one thing that is just as awesome (or better) than playing a console game? Running around like you’re IN the game! What’s more fun than getting to run around and shoot lasers at complete strangers?

4. Board Games. Hopefully, you have some old-school board games laying around your house like Monopoly or Risk. You can even go out and buy the Gears of War Board Game or Halo Risk if you’re that much of an addict. If you’re a loner when it comes to your gaming, you might want to start actually playing with other people. If you’re a fan of multiplayer gaming on Xbox Live, all you have to do is play you’re old-fart board game with friends. And get this – you don’t need headphones to talk to your buddies during the game. You don’t even need a keyboard. All you have to do is open your mouth, and they’ll hear you. Magical, huh?

5. Reading. This may not work for everybody, but if you’re desperate it may not hurt to spend you’re time catching up on some books you never finished. You may be thinking that ‘reading’ should be your absolute last resort in life. However, the good news about books, is that just like how there are lots of video games to choose from, you’re selection of books is pretty infinite. And just like video games, new books are coming out all the time. Each book has a new storyline to explore, just like video games. Books have characters, just like video games. Books have conflict, just like video games. Hey, you could even say that video games came from books! Reading comics and graphic novels could help you as well, especially if they are based on you’re favorite video game. I also took the time to catch up on my Manga (Japanese comic books).

6. Explore your local ‘Geek’ Scene. Okay, so this another one where you need transportation. But I really don’t want to bore you with the average ‘books, music, movies’ approach that many people try to take. If you’re an isolated gamer, take this time without your console to get involved in your community – and I mean that in a non-cheesy, ‘hold hands around the campfire’ way. If you’re like me, than you see being without your Xbox or gaming console as a weakness. You may be surprised though, how this can actually earn you sympathy from fellow gamers. Think about it, it’s a great conversation starter!

“So, man, I was shooting up so many Locust and it was awesome but I don’t have my Xbox right now.”

“Aw, I feel your pain man. You should come over to my place and game with me and my buddies.”

See!? Conversation starter! There were also a few conventions happening in my area during my withdrawal (See my blog post on Katsucon 18) so if you have any events or conventions around you, this may be a good way to make friends and to have fun! If you have access to a computer (I’m trying to be politically correct, okay? It doesn’t hurt to ask!) than check out the website Meetup, where you can RSVP for get-togethers happening in you’re area!

7. Be an Active Internet Partcipant. Tweet about how much your life sucks at the moment. Blog about the horror you’re experiencing. Tweet @XboxSupport with random/obnoxious questions that you don’t actually need help with. Start an ‘Xbox Addicts’ forum thread. Vlog and get famous on YouTube. Tell you’re Facebook friends how they will never be as awesome as you’re fellow Xbox LIVE gamers. Relieve your stress on Pinterest. Imagine, you’ll gain a sympathetic internet following, (possible) internet fame, and stress relief worth more than your counselor. See what a great tool the internet is?


GMS stands for “Geek Menstrual Syndrome”. It is the feeling that one is having PMS, onset by experiencing the stupidities of society. While the symptoms of “PMS” can include feelings of tiredness, pain, and weight gain, GMS symptoms are typically less physical than the symptoms of PMS. Possible GMS symptoms include: feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety and a need to rant/voice your opinions strongly.

This week’s GMS is onset by – the lazy, copyright infringing author of a Star Trek comic.

This particular (GMS) ‘cramp’ was brought to my attention by my father. He had bought the (J.J. Abrams) Star Trek #1 comic, written by Mike Johnson and illustrated by Stephen Molnar. I haven’t actually read the comic, but I will when I get the chance, so you can expect a review on it hopefully soon. In fact, this GMS has nothing even to do with the plot of the comic (though my dad also let me know that the story is less than stellar)! This GMS is onset by a single image in the comic…

…can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

Hm…maybe we should take a closer look…

...and no, the problem is not Angelina Jolie's right leg.

…now, do you see what’s wrong?


Now, here was my first reaction to seeing the image (before I did some research!): I won’t be surprised if Dyson ends up suing the artist, Stephen Molnar, for this OBVIOUS infringement upon copyright. He’d might as well have colored the inside lining of the ‘hand dryer’ yellow and stuck a Dyson logo onto it. I’d rather endure some random product placement than know that I’m supporting a plagiarizing artist. This has got to be one of the MOST unoriginal things I have ever seen. Why? Because it’s just so damn obscure. It’s obvious that the author didn’t draw the ‘Airblade’ because he needed to stick a hand dryer on the wall, but because he didn’t know the story well enough to draw a more relevant piece of technology in the scene. And it’s not like the hand dryer is a microscopic dot in the background. NO – it’s the biggest hunk of junk in the picture other than the ‘bed’. And of all types of technology to you could choose to put on a spaceship, WHY ON EARTH, would you choose a hand dryer?!

Well, after I had experienced this awful bout of GMS I then actually did some research as to why the Dyson Airblade would be on the Enterprise. Here is my reaction after doing research: YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT J.J. ABRAMS PLACED THE DYSON AIRBLADE ON THE ENTERPRISE?! THE COMIC ARTIST WAS ACTUALLY REFERENCING THE MOVIE?! THIS IS WORSE THAN I THOUGHT!!!

Now, unfortunately I couldn’t find a ‘CC-licensed’ image of the Dyson Airblade found in the 2009 Star Trek film. However, all you have to do is search for ‘Star Trek Dyson Airblade’ and a single, tiny picture should come up in Google Images of the scene where it is shown.

Well, my first instinct is to apologize to the artist that he was left with drawing what seems to be a reference to the product placement of a hand dryer, inserted into a movie, in a comic. But then I realize that he actually drew the comic-version of the Dyson Airblade differently than the one in the film. So, I have come to a few conclusions: (1) J. J. Abrams is partly at fault for this lack of originality and creativity; (2) Either the illustrator of the comic was told to draw the hand dryer, or he decided to do it himself (which since the Airblade in the comic is not an exact match to the one found in the film, I still consider it an offense!); and (3) The artist was on a creativity retreat, and this could all be some kind of crazy coincidence.

Well there you have it. Now you know how the Enterprise crew dries their hands – with the Dyson Airblade. (Look out for comic #2, where the Enterprise crew wipes the ship’s poop deck with a Swiffer mop!)


CC Image (used in the picture) courtesy of Jeremy Bronson on Flickr.

GMS stands for “Geek Menstrual Syndrome”. It is the feeling that one is having PMS, onset by experiencing the stupidities of society. While the symptoms of “PMS” can include feelings of tiredness, pain, and weight gain, GMS symptoms are typically less physical than the symptoms of PMS. Possible GMS symptoms include: feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety and a need to rant/voice your opinions strongly.

This week’s GMS is onset by – spoilers on the internet.

Spoilers seem to be magnetically drawn to me. I don’t know where they come from, I don’t know how I found them, yet they always manage to find me at the worst possible time. Why is this? IT’S ALL BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET. When I was in 4th grade, basically the entire 6th Harry Potter book (the Half-Blood Prince) was spoiled for me. The first thing that I learned after this episode is that you can’t trust a 9 year old to be mature about, well, anything! — and that they rarely understand the importance of surprise plot twists (and keeping them secret).

Since I was young, I’ve always been respectful when it came to spoiling things for other people. You know the phrase, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”? Well if you don’t want something spoiled for you, don’t spoil it for me! I still remember being dumbstruck (in 4th grade!) when kids would do their book reports live in front of the class, and include CHARACTER DEATHS in their report. Again, what is this lack of respect for plot lines and story telling?

Now, you’re probably thinking, “Aurelia, you’re basing your opinion on 9 year olds! That’s ridicuous!”. *Sigh*…if only that where true.

As my peers matured and the people around me became less interested in blurting out major spoilers, I thought I had reached a point where I could finally read in peace. Well, that didn’t last long.

Thanks to things like fanfiction, wikipedia and forums, I discovered a whole new ‘spoiler paradise’ – INTERNET SPOILERS.

Books, video games, movies, television – You name it, the internet spoiled it for me. Now, that’s not to say that the spoilers I came across spoiled entire plot lines for me. I’ve still managed to enjoy many of the books, video games and media I’ve experienced. But still, THIS NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.

With that being said, I am not anti-spoiler. Back when I went through a soap opera phase (ahem…General Hospital) I did read the online spoiler sites and bought the ‘spoiler’ magazines. The only difference is, not only are spoilers part of the soap opera experience, but I was actually LOOKING for the spoilers. What I can’t stand, is harmlessly indulging in some internet trash about you’re favorite new video game or manga, and then suddenly someone decides to just write a major spoiler, WITHOUT A SPOILER WARNING. Even when I write reviews, I try to put spoiler warnings where necessary, or I don’t even include spoilers. Can these ‘spoiler’ people on the internet just show consideration for the many other people surfing the web, and put a WARNING. And when I mean warning, I mean an actual WARNING. Sometimes…ok, rarely…people on forums where put (excuse my french) half-ass spoiler warnings before their post. These lousy spoiler ‘tags’ are normally lowercase, and no effort is put in to make sure there is a gap between the spoilers and the spoiler warning. The best spoiler warnings I’ve seen? When someone types spoilers in all uppercase letters, and then the spoiler is hidden so that you have to highlight the text in order to see the spoiler. You want to see my example? Let me show you the proper format when dealing with spoilers –


I really love it when people comment.


Alright, maybe that was a bad example, but will someone please tell me how I can change the background color of the text in WordPress? I would really like to properly demonstrate this!

Anyways, I think you get the picture. I am proposing a proper STANDARD for spoilers across the internet. This is no different than something like MLA Format, because there is a need for this! I suggest this format be used for ANY type of spoiler ANYWHERE – articles (because yes, even article writers will occasionally spoil their readers!!), forums, blogs, YOUTUBE COMMENTS (yes, I’m looking at YOU, youtube) and more.


GMS stands for “Geek Menstrual Syndrome”. It is the feeling that one is having PMS, onset by experiencing the stupidities of society. While the symptoms of “PMS” can include feelings of tiredness, pain, and weight gain, GMS symptoms are typically less physical than the symptoms of PMS. Possible GMS symptoms include: feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety and a need to rant/voice your opinions strongly.

This week’s GMS is onset by – Angry Birds.

I’m going to be completely honest here, I still don’t understand the hype around this mobile game. This topic may seem a bit dated, but since Angry Birds has spinoff versions coming out all the time, I still feel the need to voice my frustrations about this over-rated game. Now, I did give Angry Birds a second chance before writing this post. I lasted 5 levels, and my opinion hasn’t changed. Angry Birds is BEYOND annoying. Maybe it’s just too simple of a game for me. But no matter how much of it I play, I never feel the least bit satisfied or engaged. I get it, the cartoon animals are cute (and they make great stuffed animals), but can someone please tell me how this game has spawned multiple spin-offs, a possible movie deal (?) and enough merchandise to decorate your bathroom? All we need now is an Angry Birds Smart Car…

Now, I do understand why Angry Birds would be considered a fun game for short-term entertainment (Okay, maybe I don’t quite understand…), but HOW ON EARTH is this game addictive? You know the last game I was unhealthily addicted to? Mass Effect 2. Why? Because unlike Angry Birds, it actually has a story that I can get attached to. I’m just not attached to Angry Birds as much as some of the “addicts” I’ve seen. I know nothing about the birds in the game, other than the fact that I can “slingshot” them to their deaths and hope to knock out some pigs. Woohoo.

"I believe I can fly...straight into that cheesy, self-promoting advertisement."

Like I mentioned earlier, I gave Angry Birds a second chance on the iPad before writing this post. Good thing I only downloaded the free version, because I could barely survive the first level. I turned the volume up in order to get the “full, gameplay experience”, in case there was some great aspect of the game that I wasn’t aware of. Well, it looks like there was something I was unaware of – how annoying the sound effects are. In Angry Birds, you want to destroy all of the pigs with the least amount of birds. Well, considering how unbearable the birds were, I wanted to really just toss all of them. Why just throw one bird, when you can watch all of them get beaten up? This game would be have been 10x better to me, if the whole purpose was just to throw these annoying birds around.

Anyways, I still don’t like Angry Birds. I doubt I ever will. However, differing opinions are welcome, as I really would like to know why the game is so appealing to people.

Tech on the Toilet: What your digital bathroom habits say about you

CC Image courtesy of cogdogblog on Flickr

In the digital age, everything is changing – from the way we keep in touch with friends to how we get work done. But as technology increasingly becomes apart of our daily life, it seems even the simplest activities can become “high-tech.” One of these daily activities is going to the bathroom. This isn’t a post about technologically advanced toilets (though I’m sure I’ll write about it at some point), but rather a post about how people use technology ON the toilet, and what that can mean about their personality and approach to life.

Below, I have identified the 6 “tech on the toilet” types of people:

1. The Social Pooper – You are the person that checks Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all while taking a dump. To put it lightly, your social life has no limits. You are open about who you are and you love letting people know exactly what you are doing all the time. You post about anything and everything, as long as it gets you more friends and more likes. You keep your profile(s) as public as a Porta-Potty, allowing friends, friends with friends, and friends of friends of friends to freely contribute to your dumpster…err, wall. The downside to your “no limits” approach to life – you may become too obsessessed with your social media profiles, to the point where you can be caught tweeting while driving. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? A LifeProof case for your iphone, so you can update your status anywhere, whether in the shower or a snow storm.

2. The Rear Reader – You are the person the likes to stay informed, both on and off the crapper. The innovation of smartphones has allowed you to get instant information, anywhere and everywhere. You love to read, and though bringing a book or newspaper into the bathroom seems easy enough, you know that reading your tech toy on the ol’ John is more socially acceptable. The downside to your love of digital literature? You easily get lost in what you are reading, resulting in long periods of time spent on the toilet. You may suffer from hemorrhoids and chronic butt pain. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? Since you already own 3 e-readers (one for each bathroom in the house), a simple e-book gift card will make you happy.

3. The Bowel Mover – You are the person that grabs for your iPod every time you feel the tingling of a BM ready to rock. Your headphones are in before you even sit down, and you turn the tunes up loud. You have a special playlist just for the bathroom, including all your favorite “toilet themes.” Whether dumping to dubstep, or peeing to pop, music is a part of your life no matter where you may be. You believe that music can make any day-to-day situation better, so why not enhance your bathroom experience too? The downside to your “bowel moving and grooving” – your frequent trips to the John may result in hearing loss later in life. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Bluetooth headphones (So you don’t have to worry about your headphone cord falling in the toilet…or worse).

4. The Gluteus Gamer – You are the person that likes to play games on the toilet. You believe that “taking a crap” means dropping all other responsibilities for your own enjoyment. Since you are too afraid to get caught playing “Words with Friends” in the workplace, you use your bathroom break as a way to “play it safe”. You like to have fun in every aspect of life, and technology allows you to do just that. For longer “log” sessions your go-to game is always an RPG like Infinity Blade. But if you are just taking a short tinkle, a level (or two) of Angry Birds satisfies you. The downside to your “fun on the rump” lifestyle? You may start to enjoy the bathroom more than your real-life responsibilities, rendering you a possibly less-efficient individual. However, you may just invent the next great mobile game inspired by your toilet-tastic lifestyle – Angry Turds, maybe? Your ideal tech toilet accessory? The iPhone Pinball Magic (Pinball Machine) accessory or the iPhone Jackpot Slots accessory, so you can mix things up.

5. The Thinking Turd – You are the person that takes notes while taking a crap. You are always generating new ideas, and you couldn’t live without your Evernote app. You love the portability of your smartphone, and enjoy having a place to always type ideas or thoughts. Some of your best work has come from inspiration thought out on the toilet, and you even liked the page “Thinking on the Toilet” on Facebook. Never before have you been able to ponder “the key to solving world peace” so eloquently on the pot, and you plan to thank Apple Inc. during your acceptance speech for your Nobel Prize. The downside to your “ponder and poop” lifestyle? Your brilliance extends far beyond your bowels, and sometimes you become so satisfied with just thinking that you forget to act on your great ideas. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? A stylus for your iPad (and iPhone), so you can allow for your thoughts to flow more freely by writing them out instead of typing.

6. The Ana-Log – You are a wise, well-balanced person with an immense amount of self-control. You don’t even think about using a digital device on the toilet, and you don’t understand the people that do. When it comes to the porcelain throne, you sit on it like a boss. You know how to do your business, and get it done well – the old-fashioned way. You are a hard worker that values simplicity and getting the job done right. The downside to your efficient lifestyle? Your lack of addiction to digital things will exclude you from certain social circles. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? None, you are satisfied with just a bowl, a hole, and two cheeks.

Of these 6 types of people, which are you? Are their any other “types” that you think should be mentioned in this post?

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