Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fun things to buy on the Internet

I was stumbling around the Internet this evening, and I found the following Awesome Nerdy Things on To give proper credit and in case you want these Awesome Nerdy Things for your very own, I will post links at the bottom of this post.

Translation: Haters gonna hate.

I can relate to this because, like Snow White, I am both trendy and pale as one who has never seen the Sun.

In case you don't know, this is a parody of a classic English poster.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Board Gaming

Over the past year, my comrades and I have become big fans of board games. I considered writing a blog post about that, but I figured it would be boring (there's a pun in there somewhere). Instead, I will share with you this video. Enjoy. And check out some of olilord's other videos on YouTube. He's pretty funny.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Harry Potter Land!

For my birthday last summer, my parents bought me a one-year pass to Universal Studios in Orlando, which, of course, meant a whole year of visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure. I've been meaning to report on what it's like since last August, but I got distracted. Lucky for me, I happen to know that many of my friends have not yet had a chance to see Harry Potter Land, so I hope they (and you, dear reader) will appreciate my account of this -- for lack of a better word -- magical amusement park.

Actually, magical is the best word. Harry Potter Land is like the dreams of my youth come to life. To be honest, I'm still waiting for an owl to arrive and tell me Hogwarts is a graduate school,* but until then, I can wander through a winter wonderland in 90-degree Florida weather. Now if that's not magic, what is?

The whole experience was fantastic (or fantastical, whichever you prefer). For one, I drank Butterbeer! Much as I suspected, it tastes like cream soda (though perhaps a bit sweeter), but what made it really special was the foam they added to the top like the head of a real beer. The foam tasted like butterscotch. Delightful. Oh, and unlike real beer foam, this foam doesn't dissipate over time.

They also have a frozen variety, but it's not that great. The foam doesn't mix as well when the soda part has the consistency of an Icee. So then you just get a mouth full of cream. If you ever get a chance, Butterbeer may or may not be even better if you add rum. Though, as far as I know, they don't sell rum in the park, so you're going to have to make your own chances. Proceed with that at your own risk.

In addition to the Butterbeer vendors, they have Ollivander's, Honeydukes', and Zonko's joke shop, all of which were extremely crowded.

To sum up my first experience with the shops, allow me to quote a mother I overheard calling out to her husband: (said in a vaguely New Jersey-ish accent) "We're standing in line for a store... A STORE!" Everything is an attraction, so everything had a line. I'm no huge fan of queuing, but I understand; they had to control crowding in the shops somehow. I mean, come on, there were chocolate frogs! People were falling all over themselves to pay $10 for one. Upon my second visit, the crowds had thinned a little, but you can still expect lots of people to be there. After all, you can buy wands! And robes! And Remembralls!

The park has two roller coasters, both of which are basically renamed versions of roller coasters that already existed at Islands of Adventure. The new names are "Flight of the Hippogriff" and "Dragon's Challenge." The former is, euphemistically, "family friendly." The latter is the big, scary one with loops and whatnot. If you like that sort of thing, which I do, you should definitely ride it twice. The Dragon's Challenge is actually two separate roller coasters intertwined, so it seems like you could crash into the other track. It's great. And each track is slightly different, hence why you should ride it twice.

But the main attraction of Harry Potter Land is, of course, Hogwarts Castle.

The last time I was there, the line to get into Hogwarts was between 60 and 90 minutes long, but you can't visit Harry Potter Land without touring Hogwarts, can you? First off, the line is slightly shorter if you don't bring your bags, so ditch those at Hogsmeade station (next to the Hogwarts Express) before you get to the Castle. Otherwise, you'll be forced to wait in line to use a locker. Once you've gotten through the front door, the real line begins.

Yeah, it's long, but I already told you that. And on the bright side, it is shaded from the blistering Florida heat AND you get to see the Hogwarts greenhouse. After the bulk of your wait is over, you get to see the inside of the Castle. Here a few of the wonders you can expect to see:

Sorting hat

Weird interpretation of the House hourglasses

Talking portraits!

Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom

A griffin door. Get it?

You think that's cool? Wait! There's more! At the end of the tour is a ride! (Note: you can save a lot of time by going in the single riders line, which is to the left of the regular line when you first enter the castle, but if you take that option, you miss the tour entirely, so you can't do that until you've done the tour at least once. This is Hogwarts, for goodness' sake!)

I don't have pictures of the ride because I was, well, riding, but even if I did, I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. You need to see it for yourself. This ride was unlike any other I've ever ridden, except maybe the Spiderman ride at the same park, but even though I can make that comparison, the Harry Potter ride was unique.

It was like a roller coaster, but it moved in every direction: up, down, sideways, backwards. It was the Universal Studios equivalent of Willy Wonka's elevator. Visually, it was an amazing mix of giant 3D screens and animatronic wonders. You get to run from a dragon, fly around the Quidditch pitch, brave the Forbidden Forest, and more! I recommend riding it over and over again. Unless you have motion sickness; in which case, that sucks for you. You can always take the tour and skip the ride. That's still pretty good.

Well, that's about all I've got. I hope you've enjoyed this advertisement, paid for by Universal Orlando.** If you decide to make a trip to Orlando sometime in the next couple months, let me know. Maybe I could show you around the Wizard World of Harry Potter myself.

*Now that I'm going to grad school in Scotland, maybe my wish will come true, but more on that another time.
**In my dreams. Hopefully someone over there is reading.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

write you back 9

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you probably know that I have a deep and abiding love of bad spam mail. I have been so vocal about this love, in fact, that one of my coworkers has taken to printing out her best spam emails for me. I have a real gem for you today, but first I want to encourage you to watch out if you have a Hotmail account.

I have one that I've been using since high school as a place where junk mail can be sent. It's probably not a surprise, then, that this fortress of internet security was hacked a couple of months ago. I was informed by several friends that they had received a spam message from "me" which sent me into a fevered rush of password changes. The following Monday, the coworker who prints out spam for me had also received this important message from "Kimber." Here's how it goes. See you if can tell that I didn't really write it.
Subject: write you back                                            9

I can not believe that it is so cheap and top quality.Why they have so many nice things.Please buy soon. [link]
For the record, the 9 was there exactly as I have typed it, spaces and all.

I don't think anyone I know was fooled into clicking the link. If you were, I'm sorry, but that's on you. To be fair, you were probably confused because "Why they have so many nice things" is one of my favorite things to say. I wonder if that was a question or an exclamation. Probably a question, but maybe I said it like, "Why, they have so many nice things!" Yeah, maybe it was a Polly Anna-esque indication of surprise. Anyway, that's all been cleared up, but be always vigilant, my friends. It could happen to you!

Now on to today's spam. This one comes from Nancy. Note that where I say "flower" there was actually a tiny picture of a flower in the email. I don't know how she did that. Nancy is very computer-savvy.
Greetings from Nancy (flower flower)
How are you today? and how about your health? hope fine and you are doing well, My Name is Nancy, I am looking for a very nice  who the meaning of love, caring, honest, matured, understanding, and of good character, then after going via this search i pick interest in you.

So i will like you to write me with my E-mail address which is as follow, for me to tell you more about me, and as well give you my pictures because thanks Your New Friend
Miss Nancy (flower flower flower)
My favorite part is when she says "because thanks." Nancy wants to give me her pictures; no explanation needed! Also note that she is looking for "a very nice." Man? Woman? Gullible patsy? She isn't picky. Nancy's just looking for love. And how lucky I am that she pick interest in me!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do not forget Wishing oh!

Last week, one of my coworkers came into the office with something her husband had brought home from his trip to New York. I'll tell you what it is at the end of this post, but first, I want to you to take a look at the packaging for it. Based solely on the instructions and pictures, would you ever be able to figure out what this is? And even if you already know what this is, would you ever figure out how to use it properly using these instructions? I did know what it was, thanks to recent attention paid to this thing in pop culture, but these beautifully-translated instructions threw me for a loop. Take a look:

1. After the distribution of fuel to packaging equipment Kong
Cross wire in the side of the field again deduction presses
The fuel-pressure lock firmly.

2. A person Xu Yuan light take up a Top:
Another person fuel ignited the four angle.

3. Wait for that the heat enough light, lanterns person lest loose
A top hand,changes grips under the light to encircle, Has when
the lifting force may let go releases for flying.

4. Xu Yuan light rose slowly the sky, do not forget Wishing oh

Notice item:

1. Should choose at the option open, calm environment released
for flight.No fire ban in areas,  the tall building the floor, and
so on have covers under the thing to release for flight, must leave
outside the airport 10 kilometers from flying.

2. Xu Yuan light can only be used for the distribution the
specal-purposeof fuel,prohibited by any burning Replace.

3. Xu Yuan light are on the rise, that of  the flying, cannot the long
time not put, and the Flight not to be append the foreign body.

4. Children must be under the eustody of the adults use.

Apparently, this is called a Xu Yuan Light. You may know it better as a Sky Lantern or Wishing Lantern. They were featured at the end of The Hangover 2 and were a major plot point in Disney's Tangled. The people in this scene must have had better instructions than the ones above or they never could have pulled that off. For the record, Tangled was pretty good. I just saw it for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised. I even have a couple of male friends who saw and enjoyed it, so maybe go check it out. Especially if you have free rentals from Blockbuster. And do not forget Wishing oh!

Monday, June 20, 2011

If you like Failbook and the Onion...

Then you'll love Literally Unbelievable. This is a whole website dedicated to ridiculing people who are fooled by The Onion. As an avid reader of America's Finest New Source, it delights and amuses me to see them taken seriously on Facebook by people with bad spelling. I bet it delights and amuses The Onion as well.

If you are a fan of this bastion of journalistic excellence, you might also be interested in The Onion's Pulitzer campaign, spearheaded by AFAJP (Americans for Fairness in Awarding Journalism Prizes). Too long has The Onion been snubbed by the Pulitzer committee, and now fans of the publication are taking a stand. You can join the movement by uploading your own testimonial and signing AFAJP's petition.

Let not injustice continue to thrive!

Friday, June 3, 2011

This does not strike me as a sound business model.

Now this is a business model: 

What does not strike me as entirely sound is the new promotion my local Blockbuster is running. Four days ago, I went in to rent The American starring George Clooney (for the record, I would not recommend it). At the register, they charged me $2 (or however much Blockbuster is charging for movies these days; I think it changes weekly).

They then informed me that every movie I rented from then until July 4 would be a one-day rental, due back by midnight the next day. If I didn't return it by then, I would be charged a $0.99 late fee. And, oh yeah, every movie until July 4 is also free. What?! The movies are free, you say? Yup, every day for a month I can stroll into Blockbuster, pick any movie off the shelf that doesn't have a blue sticker on it, and go home with it without spending a dime. (The blue sticker means the movie came out in the past 6 weeks.) I don't even have to give them my Blockbuster card. I just bring back the old movie, say "I'm exchanging this," they scan it, and I go on my merry way.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "But Kimber, surely there's a catch." Well if there is one, I haven't found it yet. Literally the only down side I can see is that if I don't get the movie back to the store in ~28 hours, I pay a dollar. One dollar. It's like Red Box prices, except freer, because I live 5 minutes from the Blockbuster and am capable of remembering to return a movie every day.

So basically I am being gifted approximately $60 in free movie rentals for the next month. And I'm not the only one. I'm pretty sure they're offering this to everyone in town! If they're hoping to make a living this way, I must say that [insert title of post here]. This sort of thing may be why they recently filed for bankruptcy and were bought at auction by Dish Network. 

Here's the thing, though: last night when I went in to rent Alien Resurrection (don't judge me, it was free), the place was packed. And while all those people were definitely cashing in on free rentals, they were also rifling through the 5-for-$20 movie bin and purchasing 1/2-price clearance toys. The free rentals got people into the store when Netflix and Red Box were keeping them away. And like me, they have to keep coming in every day until July to get the most for their non-money. And that new bin full of $0.99 movies is starting to look pretty attractive. So maybe it's not such a bad plan, after all.