Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Hardest Part of Moving is Giving Up Your House

I have to begin this post by saying that Cory and I love our house. Love, love, LOVE our house. The day we first set foot in it, we knew it was the house for us. It has an amazing open floor plan, hard wood floors, lots of built in fixtures, and a basement with serious man-cave potential. It's also an older house (built in the 1950s), and being someone who grew up in an old house, the quirks and imperfections made me feel right at home.

Our house in Iowa pictured after a heavy snow
It even has impractically large trees in the yard! I love this house!
Almost as soon as Ireland became a reality, Cory and I took a wistful look around our home and called our realtor to discuss putting it on the market. It was late February, and our hope was to have the house up for sale in mid-March, when we would be traveling to the Dominican Republic for Keri and Kent's wedding. I think Cory will agree with me when I say that going through the experience of prepping a house for sale is very educational. We had been so cozy in our house, that it was hard to see the flaws anymore. We learned quickly what small things we could do to make our house as attractive as possible.

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 14

...Now featuring bonus material!  Trevor and (worthless) Alucard have finally made it to the castle entrance! Inside, we see some familiar scenery if we've played Castlevania before.  The original CV game begins in this same castle entryway 100+ years after Trevor makes his way through.  Check out the bonus video of me playing through that same level.

Screenshot from Castlevania 3 depicting the boss fight between Trevor Belmont and Death

Monday, April 29, 2013

Taking Down the Basement

The basement is a special place in many homes.  There are many tales of gentlemen like me converting their uninhabitable under-space into more hangout-able dwellings.

Shot of the basement bar and back wall in full splendor.  Christmas lights glow and signs cover the walls
I smell multiple emotional, gushing posts coming here!
Just looking at one end of that room makes me misty.  The smell of cheap and free decor reaches out to me! Let's break down the above photo...

Friday, April 26, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 13


See below for the series of videos making up part 13.  When you hear my voice in a video, something good happened.  When you hear kids songs...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Dinosaur Smoking a Pipe

Ok, so I just needed an excuse to show this to the world.

A green dinosaur in a business suit smoking a pipe

This one the LAST thing to come down from everything hanging on the basement walls.  The reason should be quite clear.  Just look at it!  How much would you pay for this masterpiece?  Oil on canvas, totally sweet subject matter (a lizard head with a human hand!?), and a certain flare would go for major paper on the open market.

Wanna know how I got it?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 12

This level is unspeakable.  I sincerely hope it gets better from here, for all involved.  Because my commentary would show my support for this level's existence, I decline my regular commentary in favor of something worthwhile.

We all need to be exposed to more great literature, so today we read from the first chapter of Dracula...the book.  Without getting too much into literary criticism of Victorian repression and fantasy, the book is actually quite interesting.  It is told only in journal entries, telegrams, letters, newspaper clippings, and other media interactions between the characters.  The first chapter is all from the journal of Jonathan Harker, before he forms his vampire hunting alliance with the other characters in the book.

Hopefully, if the game gets back on the rails, we will return to our normal format... or maybe we'll just read the whole damn book together!

Book cover from an old edition of Dracula with some comic text added.  "To get to me, you must climb the blocks!  What?  It isn't this easy for you?"

As always, read, subscribe, comment, and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 9

Old Technology Sold for a Profit?  Hold on to Your Butts!

Sony two-deck cassette player on display before being sold on Craigslist

Like we learned in Jurassic Park (1993)...

...They said Earth Girls are Easy, but this Sattler
chick is a total cold, uh, fish!
If by life we mean kick-butt sales!  The above cassette player served me well, from a Dubuque Goodwill store to my high school bedroom to my college dorm to my first two adulthood homes.  Good thing I was able to sell it for more than I bought it after all that use...

Monday, April 22, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 11

More on home brewing!  More complaining about falling blocks!  More than you ever wanted to know about that cannabis cousin hops!

...And we're still not finished with level 7.  Hold on to your butts.

As always, read, subscribe, comment, and enjoy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Quick Update 4/21/13

It's been a busy day today.  You will read all about it in the posts to come, but we wanted to give a quick packing update for the day.

There has been a flurry of Craigslist action today, keep reading The Great Jettison series for those stories, like the following number...

Measurement shot of a white rug with random, curvy black bars
We've spent the week (and weekend) wrapping, packing, sorting, and doing all types of ill-awesome moving-related work.  Follow the jump for some teaser photos...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Blog is Public!

Welcome first time visitors!  Now that our moving is general knowledge, we have made this blog public.  It was kept private for the last few weeks while we built a blog archive.  Our plan is to use this space to tell our story from packing to moving to living and working in Dublin, Ireland.

Enjoy our series of posts on getting rid of our possessions, musing on moving, and our stress-relieving and time-killing hobbies.  Read, share, comment, and satisfy your voyeuristic internet cravings!

Posing on the river in Paris, France

Cory and Sara
The Narcissistic Expats

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 8

The Asian Guy at the Liquor Store

I seriously doubt the person mentioned in this story was a member of the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia), but if he is, I have a long list of questions for him.

The aforementioned Asian Guy at the Liquor Store was merely a pawn in the great game we all play on Craigslist every day.  See the following excerpt from my personal journal...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 10

...So we made progress in the last video.  Not the case in this one.  We have FULLY committed to showing you (The Internet, proper) the whole play through, even the horrible deaths.  This will give us a chance to talk about other stuff... A LOT of other stuff.

Today we begin to muse about putting the home brewing hobby on hold.  Maybe we'll finish the idea on the next video.  Maybe we'll beat a boss in the next video.  Maybe we'll be entertained at some point in this series.  Anything's possible I guess...

Screenshot from Castlevania 3 depicting Trevor Belmont fighting flying skeleton warriors

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 7

Sometimes, you can trust people...

We like to think of the internet as a rude, vile place populated with jerks, bigots, amateur pornographers, and scammers.  It is, of course, but we sometimes forget that, outside of the Web's Weirdest, there are still a few normals way out there...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 9

Thinking critically about 20-year-old Japanese video games?  Who does that?  Turns out, it's a LOT of people.  Today, the Ardent Gamer joins The Web's Weirdest to break down the design of these later levels. 

We also actually beat a boss!  The derivative classic Frankenstein's Monster has made his way from either the burning windmill (movie canon) or the ice floes of the North Atlantic (book canon) to Transylvania to stop Trevor and Company.

Screenshot comic from Castlevania 3 of Trevor Belmont fighting Frankenstein's Monster
Screenshot from vgmuseum.com
Obscure dialogue from me

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 6

...You Can't Win 'Em All

Hey!  Shut up!  Seriously!  Sometimes, despite one's best efforts, stuff just doesn't sell on Craigslist.

It might be out of date, but not quite so out of date to make it "retro" or, "desirable."  It might be totally kick-butt and awesome to only me.  It might just be really weird.  Whatever the reason, here we'll see a few things that made it to the internet with nary a sniff of interest from the web's weirdest huddled masses...

Friday, April 12, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 8

Level 6...  Even Game Genie can't help Trevor and (weak as all get-out) Alucard slide through this level.  We sincerely hope you all like to watch another person play an 8-Bit NES game and die over and over, only to NOT hand over the controller.

Holla if you hear me, those who had That-Friend-Who-Would-Never-Let-You-Play-His-Or-Her-Game-Even-When-He-Or-She-Would-Totally-Suck-At-It-And-Always-Die.  Why would that person even call you over to his or her house to play the game?  Just to show you what he/she had and you didn't?  

And to you, if you WERE That-Friend-Who-Would-Never-Let-Others-Play-Your-Game-Even-When-You-Would-Totally-Suck-At-It-And-Always-Die...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 5

...Cool Green Chair for a Buck!

Closeup shot of an olive green high-backed chair with a retro pattern on display before being sold on Craigslist
I wonder what this cost someone in 1964...
Were there three more like it in a set?

Free stuff sure is great, especially when it's this cool.  When one finds a piece on the curb such as this AND it is clean(ish), one ignores all other condition issues and picks it up.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 7

The Skull Knight King...  Watch as the Ardent Gamer trials, errors, and prevails!  Post-play commentary also allows us to talk about things happening in the real world!  Now we can focus on something OTHER than watching poor Trevor die.  Still haven't had much success with Alucard... Hope we won't be needing his services any time soon.

This guy gets beat the same way we used to beat 'em; let them win until you find a weakness!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 4

The Bottle Flat: The fun $5

A case of green Mountain Dew glass bottles on display before being sold on Craigslist
My parents will recognize this...
There are certain items that just don't seem to fit into...ANY category, but I thought deserved note here.  Craigslist has great advantages for selling many items.  The local, cash-only dealing has been very refreshing for a previous ebay/half buyer/seller.  Even with the frustrations of dealing with broken pickup appointments, (again, people not like me...) Craigslist has worked well for our larger, general-interest items.

When dealing with more specialty items, the Craigslist experience can be a little more scary interesting...

Monday, April 8, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 6

Today, Master Belmont quickly and easily negotiates and brief, straight-forward level segment...NOT!  The Ardent Gamer falls victim to the platforming genre's most hated enemy: platforms...and...infinitely re-spawning mummies...and...general incompetence...

That's right...freakin' mummies!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 3

...Some electronics, see voo play

Denon 5-Disc CD changer on display before being sold on Craigslist
I don't think the new owner of this listens to much King Diamond, but I know he'll enjoy it.

Electronics... Part of many homes, even a techno-Luddite, retro-tightwad like me has electronics, many of them functional!  In my history, I have had many pieces of old technology.  I remember the New York City trash pile find of the old turntable/stereo receiver that I used in my home bedroom and college dorm room until it fried itself out.  Among the other electronic detritus were some things of value.  First, our two 5-disc CD changers.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 5

Goodbye, Grant!  Here we make a jaunt through (most of) level 5.  So I left some out of the video due to a perfect combination of thoughtless boredom and shameless electronic cheating.  We do pick up a new friend after beating him in easy boss form.  Say "'Ello! HA HA HA!" to Alucard (That's D-R-A-C-U-L-A spelled backward!)

Prosess the power!

The Alucard Family Seal from Son of Dracula (1943)

Friday, April 5, 2013

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 4

We skip getting Syfa, praise the wonder that is Windows Movie Maker, have a few sips of Signor Expensivo's finest apple stuff, and beat a very easy boss with the power of...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 2

The Bike

Reclining exercise bike on display in the basement before being sold on Craigslist
The legend of The Bike

I love free stuff.  I'll take just about anything I think I can use.  Many things I take and later decide to ditch myself, but once in a while, I find a true gem.  See above for one of my favorites.

This I found on the curb across the street.  I believe the neighbors were moving out quickly and just couldn't take it with them.  I don't have the measurements, but this thing was a big, heavy hog.   I dragged this thing to the garage, cleaned all the dust and spider egg sacs (yeah) out of it, put in some new batteries, and it worked like a charm!  For two years it was in the basement in front of the gaming TV.  My workout motivation technique was to give myself video game time ONLY when I was on the bike.  It gave me a rebirth of interest in my old games AND helped me stay in shape.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Great Jettison: Part 1

If you're making an international move AND you're a total tightwad, this is the series for you! When we found out we were moving out of the country, we were faced with the same question that plagues every middle-class American moving family: "What do we do with all this...stuff?"

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 3

The low-grade fun continues...for someone!  Turns out a little patience goes a long way in this boss fight, and we meet Grant the climbing, jumping, knife-wielding man-thing!  Will he make it to the bottom of the Tower without falling to his death!?  No!

Maybe more moving news in the next video, I need to play some slower games so I can talk more about life and less about death (of my character, that is.)

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 2

I finally get brave enough to take on the second level of something...and pay the price in Belmont Blood.  I hereby pass those costs on to you, reader.  Someday I hope to talk about what is going on in our Life in Flux, but for now, I'm just trying to survive these levels!

Here we go up the Clock Tower in search of our friend, Grant Dynasty.  Watch Trevor whip and smash his way up the gears and stairs to the boss...and die.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Where It All Began...

We are so excited to start on this incredible next phase of our lives, and to share it with all of our friends and family! Since we are launching this blog to keep our nearest and dearest up to date on our lives while we are living so far from home, we thought it would be appropriate to share how it all began. 

I was anxiously awaiting the news hard at work on my thesis when I received my official job offer. I immediately called Cory (who was on his way home from work) and he somehow managed to decipher my excited jumble of words.

Celebrating the job offer to work in Dublin, Ireland with chinese food and homebrew beer
Celebratory dinner in Hanson style: Homebrew and Chinese

Sara and Cory smile after the job offer to move to Dublin, Ireland
When our move to Ireland was first made official, neither of us could keep smiles off of our faces. 
The following few days were a flurry of activity.  While we had already started to organize, pack, and sell our stuff (more on that later!), this put us into high gear.  We spent a good portion of the next few days getting in touch with friends and family to share the news; everyone has been wonderful and incredibly supportive. Now the details are all falling into place: our house will be sold in June and we fly out on our one-way tickets in July with a Homeless Vagabond Farewell to America Road Trip in between! 

From the Yarn Basket: Thesis Blanket

Since Cory has been very busy sharing his latest time-wasters, I thought I'd share my own. Between a job hunt, thesis writing, and selling our house, the year so far has held a notable amount of stress. Since I find nothing more soothing than the repetition and measurable progress of a yarn craft, I have spent much time the last few months with knitting needles or a crochet hook in my hand.

I am happy to report that from the fires and turmoil of graduation anxiety, I have completed my largest single project to date. I give you....Thesis Blanket:

Crochet project made during the writing of Sara's thesis

A closer look at the granny square pattern of the Thesis Blanket

Cory sits at the computer with the Thesis Blanket draped over a chair
Thesis Blanket in action: Keeping Cory comfortable while he writes a blog post
To create Thesis Blanket, I made basic granny squares with four yarn colors and used single crochet to join the squares together. Cory helped me block the color pattern, so credit goes out to him as well.

I have also completed several much smaller projects and have a couple in the works that I will share at a later date. Stay tuned!

I'll Play Monster Party Part 1

Horror! Terror! Blood!

Again, the impatient gamer skips the exposition in favor of high-flying-bat-swinging-laser-blasting platforming action!  Will he beat the giant bubble-blasting plant!?  Will he pick on the pumpkin-headed bedsheet child!?  What is the mystery dead beast!?

Find out in the chilling low-res beginning of... Monster Party!

I'll Play Adventure Island 3

The gaming fun continues with another first level (mostly) easily beaten!  I may have to keep playing first levels that I might stand a chance of beating to avoid showing you dozens of gruesome pixelated deaths... or maybe not.

Here we have a pretty rough run of the first world in Adventure Island 3, watch as Master Higgins runs, jumps, rides dinosaurs, and gets killed by a giant ant lion!

I'll Play Castlevania 3 Part 1

Ireland is world famous for its fine, (nope) sunny, (nuh-uh) warm (not on your life) weather.  To prepare for a lot of time sitting indoors, I'm starting a narrated video game series titled "I'll Play..."

Lovingly stolen from the "Let's Play..." videos currently infesting the internet, these less-than-polished recordings will feature me playing (and botching) old video games of my youth with commentary made during gameplay.  I may also talk about what's happening in my life while waiting for the game to reload after a death.

Join me on a trip to the distant past:  The late 80's and early 90's!

First, part one of Castlevania 3: Dracula's Curse (Don't get confused by the numbers)