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SkylinePigeon Blog

Well just when you think things are getting back to normal...

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My parents' house burned on Tuesday, about two weeks after I had moved in for the summer. We are very thankful that no one was hurt... all the losses are just stuff, and the important part is that everyone, pets included, was safe. My room was mostly unsalvageable, and I lost most of my clothes, shoes, books, games (did get my copy of Twin Snakes out though! and my DS and games!), etc. Same with my sister's room. The rest of the house didn't burn, but smoke damage is nasty and we're unsure what will be saved. Most of our stuff is boxed up and will be treated for smoke, we'll see what comes back! The good news is that we have great insurance that will pay for all our losses, has set us up in a suite, will pay for the apartment until my parents can move back in (about 6 months we think), etc.

It's one of those weird ironies that I had just come back to GS and was getting back into things when the fire happened. I was watching the GS E3 coverage when we heard about the fire. BUT now that things are getting back to a little more normal, I do want to be around. And now I don't even have my xbox to distract me. :P Totally upgrading to the 250 GB with Kinect once we get reimbursed by our insurance. Dance Central here I come!!!

Some pics of my room:

Hi...!

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Long time no see. :)

I graduated university! Summa cum laude! And got in to law school at Tulane, my first choice! It's been good times. :)

Last we spoke I was super excited about Dragon Age 2. I liked it, a lot, but I think we have all moved on at this point. :P DLC announcement at E3?

Anyway, missed you all. Hope you're all doing well and I'm glad to be back around this summer!

(also, currently watching the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. Thanks GS community for that recommendation all those years ago! :) )

Dragon Age II and my commitment to positivity

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Dragon Age: Origins compelled me in a way I'm not sure a game ever really had before. Sure, plenty of games have had me playing until late in the night, loving every minute, but Dragon Age was different. On my first run through the game, I'd play for hours at a time. When I didn't have hours, I'd take the minutes, coming home during lunch to cram in 15 minutes of play time. When I finally arrived at the Landsmeet, I agonized over choices before deciding anything, and I found the game's ending completely surprising and really sad--I was emotionally unprepared for it. I loved the characters, particularly Alistair (yeah, I'm one of those fangirls). Even though I could sit here and list the game's many flaws, despite all that to me it's the perfect gaming experience. Over Christmas, I picked it back up, finishing my second playthrough (Queen of Ferelden!) and starting a third.

Dragon Age II comes out soon. I was reading an interview about the game with David Gaider, the lead writer, and this quote stuck out to me:

"We could do something similar, or maybe revisit that in the future. However, the idea is about finding that happy medium between fans, especially ones who are the biggest fans of DA:O. They have that conflicting desire, which is they want everything to stay exactly the same, nothing change, but they want it to be new. You've got to find a line to walk in between there, and no matter which way you go they're probably going to react negatively. However, you've got to sort of forge your path."

David Gaider, lead writer for Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, in this interview.

I'm trying really, really hard not to do that. I reacted negatively to the idea that the protagonist is now voiced, because part of the fun for me was creating my own characters in DA:O with my own inflections and my own personality. I'm playing the first Mass Effect now… Shepard is a good character, and I like the game, but Shepard's not my character, not really. I'm hoping that it is as Gaider said, that the voice is more of a template and that your Hawke is still yours. I'm just trying really hard to be nonjudgmental and optimistic.

Because let's face it, I've played the hell out of Origins. Two full playthroughs, all the origin stories, a good bit of the DLC. No matter what Dragon Age II is like, Origins will be the same. It's good that they're trying something new. It's probably going to be great. If it's not the same, well, I can always play Origins again. Haven't gotten sick of it yet. Changes in the sequel don't change everything that was right with the first game. It will still be right, and fun, and I can still go back. So, dear David, I promise I am trying my best NOT to be one of those big fans who just gets pissed about everything. :) Allow me to try and break the cycle.

What are your thoughts on Dragon Age II? 43 days!

Something for the ladies.

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A couple of years ago my female gaming sistren and I used to love to complain about the objectification of women in video games. Big boobs, cameras focusing on the ass, scant clothing (who can forget the metal thong?), and few strong female roles to speak of. Since then, things have changed somewhat, and we could make a nice list of games with realistic female characters.

This blog is not about that.

This blog is to thank game developers for finally giving something to the ladies. In the past year, I've noticed women are now being given the same treat that men have had for years: unrealistic but delightful portrayals they can fawn over! So thank you, developers, for Alistair, who I can describe in no other phrase than "porn for girls." And thank you for Ezio and his snazzy clothes. It's about time you began perpetrating unrealistic stereotypes for the benefit of ladies everywhere. You have my sincere appreciation.

Yes I did play Dragon Age for about four hours today. :P

Also, hi! Happy Thanksgiving!

(this blog is ridiculous)

The Moon (I've been tagged!)

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I've been tagged by my dear friend gbrading, so here it goes! Welcome to the random world of my iPod. :P

You've been tagged, here are the rules:

1. Put Your iTunes (or other music player [WMP!]) on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Tag at least 10 friends. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus.


1. If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say...

Crushes - Andy Shauf (I don't know if this means I have a crush on the person talking to me, or if I'm going to crush them for talking to me. SkylinePigeon SMASH!)

2. How would you describe yourself?

Julianne - Ben Folds Five (ugh I hope not! The girl in this song is really annoying and trashy haha)

3. What do you like in a guy/girl?

Blue Skies Over Guardia - DarkeSword (this is an OC Remix song from ther Chrono Symphonic album. The title can work--I like postive, happy people--people that see the blue skies :))

4. How do you feel today?

Loretta - Josh Ritter (Townes Van Zandt cover)

5. What is your life's purpose?

Walking the Dog - fun. (I hope my life amounts to more than being a dog walker. :P but the lyrics are ok in places! "All the days were not wasted, I guess there are some things I'll never know." :))

6. What is your motto?

Harper Valley PTA - Dolly Parton (hell yeah Dolly! Well, the moral of this song is don't be a hypocrite, and don't judge other people. I guess that's a good motto. :P)

7. What do your friends think of you?

Something to Believe In - FM Static (:))

8. What do you think of your parents?

Melissa - the Allman Brothers Band (this is entirely too sexual for me to be comfortable putting it with my parents... haha!)

9. What do you think about very often?

Sinfonia for Strings in C, R. 111a: I. Allegro - Andrea Marcon (apparently I think about classical music a lot? :P)

10. What is 2 + 2?

Platform 9 3/4 - Harry and the Potters (1. my math is a little off, obviously, and 2. yes this is wizard rock. Music about Harry Potter. I know you're jealous of how cool I am right now. It's ok, I understand.)

11. What do you think of your best friend?

Plane Crash in C - Rilo Kiley (there are two ways to look at this: 1. I hope I do not think my friend is like a plane crash, but 2. equating my friends to anything that involves Jenny Lewis is wonderful because I am obsessed with her. So it's flattering, haha)

12. What do you think of the person you like?

Light My Fire - The Doors (oooh I like this one. ;))

13. What is your life story?

Stacking Up Reasons - Buildings Breeding

14. What do you want to be when you grow up?

The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie (I hope not! I don't want to be the person that settles!)

15. What do you think of when you see the person you like?

Be Your Man - De Novo Dahl (haha I wish! :P "I got a craving for your flavor babe so don't leave me hungry"!)

16. What will you dance to at your wedding?

Winnie the Pooh - the Disney Chorus (HAHAHAHA no. I actually plan to have the Swell Season cover of "Into the Mystic" played during the ceremony, and I want my father-daughter dance to be to R.E.M.'s "Find the River." SkylinePigeon fun facts!)

17, What will they play at your funeral?

Can't Keep It In - Cat Stevens (like it! "the world's got to see all the love that's in me"... I hope that can be a good reflection on my life after I've died. :) Also, I think it's hilarious that gbrading and I both had Cat Stevens songs here... bahaha).

18. What is your hobby/interest?

Ask About Me - Girl Talk (gossip and self absorption? I hope not :?)

19. What is your biggest fear?

I'm Glad I Hitched My Apple Wagon to Your Star - The Boy Least Likely To (well I guess this would involve being high up if you're hitched to a star, so that could fit? :P That's a stretch, you say?)

20. What is your biggest secret?

FlagOfEveryColor - Devvyn Murphy (Mario Kart OC song. There you go, that's my secret--I've never been able to get the gold on the all cup tour on Mario Kart Double Dash. Oh how I've tried!)

21. What do you think of your friends?

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher - Audio Adrenaline (awwww yeah!)

22. What will you put as the title?

The Moon - Cat Power

Well there ya go! Pretty representative I think... managed to get Jenny and Josh in there, plus some wizard rock. I have wayyyy too much wizard rock.

Rragnaar, t3hrubikscube, and Sandpiper, I choose you!

and speaking of "I choose you," I'm going to a 90s themed birthday party in about a week. My costume? Pokemon trainer! I'll take pics :D

The HPA won $250,000! THANK YOU!

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Hey everyone! I am DELIGHTED to tell you that the Harry Potter Alliance, the charity I work for, won $250,000 from the Chase Community Giving campaign! Infinitus, a Harry Potter con, is currently taking place in Orlando, Florida. Chase chose to present us the check there, today, where our Executive Director and many members of our board were in attendance. So very exciting!

To all of you from Gamespot that voted, THANK YOU. It means a lot that you would take your time out for this cause I've put so much into. Our plans span multiple areas including continuing our efforts for literacy and LGBT equality, plus strengthening the AHA! coalition which raised $123,000 for Haiti in February and March. This organization has been run on a shoestring budget for years, and for the first time we have substantial funding--wow! As a staff member of this organization, I promise that your faith and time will be well-served. We will make you proud with what we do! I'll keep you periodically updated.

The randomly selected winner of one of my games is bbkkristian. Congrats!

Thanks again Gamespot. You guys are awesome. :)

11 hours

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http://bit.ly/hpaftw GO HERE NOW (if you haven't already, that is :) )

Hey everyone. Whoa.

There are 11 hours left until the chase contest is over.

Don't know what that is? Check my previous blog post.

It has been quite a week. One of my best friends came out to visit on Tuesday-Thursday, which was the best. :) The whole time he was here I was juggling him with HPA stuff and work. The past five days have been little else than working at Toys R Us and then coming home and working on HPA stuff. I faciliated translating messages about us into 3 different languages so foreign Harry Potter sites could post about us. I've contacted other fan sites. I've written blog after blog on our main site and our tumblr. I've been contacting all my friends. It's been crazy... I've literally run myself into the ground. I'm sick, huge bags under my eyes, and a lot of nights I've forgotten to eat dinner, haha. But it's all worth it--when we win that money, every minute of time I put into this will be so justified.

I know many of you have already voted in the Chase Competition. I am extraordinarily thankful to you because of that. Much love to all of you. :) But some of you haven't, so I'm putting out a last call. Check my previous blog, where I'm giving away a video game to a voter, if you need that motivation. ;) It takes 30 seconds and will make a huge difference for our organization. Vote at http://bit.ly/hpaftw. We are currently in first place but it's neck and neck and that could change at any second. We need all the support we can get. Ask your roommates/friends/EVERYONE to vote, haha.

I know I've been absent from here this past week--it's been ridiculously busy. 11 hours and I'll be back!

The weapon we have is love!
-Heather

You can (really) save the world in 30 seconds. AND GET FREE STUFF FROM ME!

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The short version: go to http://bit.ly/hpaftw and vote for the Harry Potter Alliance to win $250,000. It takes about 30 seconds. PLEASE PLEASE VOTE I WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND FOREVER.

If you vote, post in the comments of my blog. I can see how many clicks I've gotten on that link, so I will know if you're telling the truth, don't be sneaky. :P I will randomly select someone and then send them one of my Xbox 360 games. For free. Just vote! Voting ends on the 12th, and this contest does, too!

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LONG VERSION! I am on staff at this awesome charity called the Harry Potter Alliance. NO, we do not go around trying to make more people read Harry Potter! :P It is a movement from inside the Harry Potter fan community that works for social justice. We call ourselves "Dumbledore's Army for the real world," and we use the virtues of friendship, courage, and love found in the world of the Harry Potter books to fight for good in our world. JK Rowling herself is a huge supporter and even wrote us a letter recently, which you can see here. Awesome things we have done in the past includes raising $11.000 for civilian protection in Darfur and Burma, registering thousands of people to vote, making hundreds of calls for marriage equality in Maine, and collecting 55,000 books and donating them to people without access to literature, and raising $123,000 for victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Chase Community Giving is a contest on facebook where Chase is splitting 5 million dollars among 200 charities. The first place winner will recieve $250,000, 2-5 get $100,000, and the rest all get $20,000. Each person gets 20 votes, and you can vote for each charity once. Please support the HPA, but you can support lots of other charities, too! It's a great contest. :)

Voting is easy. Go to http://bit.ly/hpaftw, click the green "get started to vote" button in the top right corner. "Like" Chase Community Giving, and then give the application access. The "get started" button will have turned into "click here to vote for this charity." Hit that button! :D Then you will have the opportunity to tweet it and post it to your facebook. Please share it with your friends!

Voting and commenting on my blog gets you one entry into my contest. Sharing it will get you multiple entries. If you have twitter, tweet the link to my blog and/or the bit.ly link that takes you to the HPA page. Post that link in the comments and that's another entry. If you share it on facebook, comment with a screen cap and that's another entry. Post it to your GS blog, that's an entry. Anywhere you share it is an entry into the contest, just let me know!

As I am a poor college student I don't have that many games, but every 360 one I've got is up for grabs. The games are Mass Effect, Gears of War, Rainbow Six Vegas, Assassin's Creed, Rock Band 2, Viva Pinata & Viva Pinata Trouble in Paradise, Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts, Grand Theft Auto 4, Left 4 Dead 1 & 2, Dragon Age Origins, Guitar Hero World Tour, Bioshock, Beautiful Katamari, and The Orange Box. If you don't have a 360, we can look at my PS2 and DS games and see about that. Fair warning if you take Dragon Age from me I'll probably hate you forever but it's an option. :P

Thanks for the support! Vote and share!

Updates and E3 Awards

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Hey everyone! It hasn't been that long since my last blog post, but oh so many things have happened!

First thing's first, Josh Ritter concerts were incredible. :D Good times were had by all. Front row both nights, whoop whoop!

And E3! E3 has now come and gone! It was an exciting show again this year, memorable not really because of the games, but for the incredible technology on display. I think Kinect looks really great. Dance Central is definitely my game of E3. Lame and girly? Maybe, but I know I will play the hell out of it and have a godo time. So whateva! Haha! Sony's move looks pretty cool, but God is that an awful controller design. For a company that's so concerned with being "hip," I can't believe their final design looks like a cross between a barber pole and a lolipop. It's just bad. And I cannot wait to play the 3DS for myself. Everyone says it looks great, but I'm dying to get my hands on it and test it for myself! I had trouble getting into the chat after the second day of the show, so that made it a little less fun than usual, but it was still a great show.

Unfortunately, right after E3 things took a turn for the worse for me. On Monday, my dad went to the hospital with chest pains. Turns out it wasn't a heart attack. He was kept overnight and went back for testing throughout the week. The doctors still weren't quite sure what caused it (it may have been something as inconsequential as really bad indigestion), but we are all thankful that it didn't turn out as bad as we thought it might have. And there was even some good news--he quit smoking after, and wants to get healthy! We couldn't have asked for a better outcome, really. :)

Still, it was an utterly terrifying few days. I really love my dad, after all we've been through, and the thought of losing him was terrifying. I can say that I never felt guilt or regret like so many do when faced with death; there's nothing about my relationship with my dad that I would change right now. That's a good feeling, at least.

Every year after E3 I do a funny E3 awards blog, giving out random awards to do with the chat, the stage show, and other random goings-on. I planned on doing another one this year, but after what happened with my dad E3 pretty much went out of my mind entirely. Unfortunately I won't be doing an awards blog this year. Nintendo probably had the best conference, followed by Sony, and then Microsoft would trail far far far behind. Assassin's Creed Brotherhood was another game I was very impressed with, and damn is that trailer incredible. And the Portal 2 trailer! Totally floored me; can't wait for that game.

One final update: I got a job! I now work at Toys R Us, and it's going pretty well! Thank God the unemployment situation has been solved. :P

I leave this blog with a plea. I'll be doing an entire blog dedicated to this next week! You all probably know I'm a huge Harry Potter nerd. I work for a charity called the Harry Potter Alliance that is based in the Harry Potter fandom. Awesome things we've done in just the past four months include rasing $123,000 for Haiti and donating 41,000 books in members' local communities and the Mississippi Delta. It is a great organization that I am so proud to be a part of. We are trying to win some funding from Chase's Community Giving Challenge, and WE NEED VOTES! Voting takes about 30 seconds, and all you need is a facebook account. You can vote here: http://bit.ly/hpaftw. Thank you so much for supporting us! :D

Going to see Josh Ritter.... twice!

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YEP.

Birmingham and Baton Rouge this weekend. You guys should know how ridiculously excited this makes me. He is only the most talented songwriter of our generation and all.

See ya later!

(relevance to last post, Baton Rouge will be my fifth Josh Ritter show, officially eclipsing Anathallo as my most seen band!)