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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Slot Machines in LEGO Form

In this age of rapidly evolving technological advances, certain devices and applications can seem to get lost in the shuffle and taken for granted. Take, for instance, the rise in popularity of online slot machines. Once the exclusive domain of neon-lit, sensory overload-inducing casinos, these gaudy, perpetually clinking slot machines have now been ported over to the realm of high-definition pixels. And with the inevitable proliferation of iPhones, iPads, and Android phones to the general populace, online slot machines became even more accessible as a younger (not to mention, more technologically savvy) generation of adult players were introduced to the sublime wonders of playing slots on state-of-the-art mobile devices. 

While mobile slot machines are definitely fun and engaging in their own right, these casino mainstays have also been a favorite of an altogether different market: LEGO MOC (My Own Creation) builders. Yes, the introduction of LEGO Mindstorms kits – containing hardware and software that can be freely customized and programmed to create impressive robotic entities – has allowed MOC builders to put together fully functional slot machines that are deceptively simple in their execution. 

It’s highly encouraging to see the humble slot machine take on new and interesting forms as technology continues to evolve and expand beyond anybody’s wildest dreams. InterCasino, historically the world’s first online casino that opened to the public about two decades ago, hosts a successful array of slots that feature amazing, up-to-date graphics and stellar sound design that positively enhance the overall playing experience. And, of course, for the curious and inquisitive hobbyist, Youtube is practically teeming with videos dating back from 2008 on the many different ways to configure and program a fully operational, honest-to-goodness LEGO-themed slot machine. 

All of this is to say that while actual slot machines (and the land-based casinos that house them) will never go away, technology has allowed the simple pleasures of playing slots to be enjoyed by a wider audience. 

**This article is a guest post, written by Andrew Wilson


Short Bio:

Andrew Wilson

Andrew is a self-proclaimed hardcore gamer and a die-hard comic book collector. He loves traveling the world to attend cons and meet fellow enthusiasts of video games and action heroes. When he's not doing his usual hobbies, he can usually be seen in front of his laptop doing freelance writing jobs for companies all over the world. 



Monday, November 24, 2014

How do you Measure Success

image from

How do you measure success? I don't think there is an all around, cookie cutter way to describe success. I think it's different for every person. We all have challenges, setbacks and obstacles to get over. And what looks like improvement to me, may not be the same for you. Often times we get so caught up in comparing our progression with others, that we lose sight of how far we have come ourselves. I know that I have a hard time not comparing myself to other people. Sometimes its bad.  I compare myself to other people way too much. I need to stop, I know. When you compare yourself a lot of the time, you get worn out and stressed out. I don't need that right now. I'm working on it, but its hard.

My biggest stresses are from crafting and roller derby. Let me explain:

1) Crafting: I love crafting.I love sewing, painting, making jewelry, everything. But I don't know if other people like the things I make as much as I do. I love the different things I make, and I want other people to love them as much as me. When I create something, I don't do it with other people in mind, I make it because I like it. I don't know if that's good or bad or what, hehe. When I go to list things in my shop, I have a mini panic attack. "What if nobody likes it?" I almost cripple myself with the fear of rejection. Then I think of other people who make both similar and completely different items, I see how much they sell, I see their fan base, and then I begin doubting myself. I second guess my own creativity, my own ability, and then it spirals into crazy town.

But I have to remind myself that The world is a big place, sometimes people will like you (or your creations) and sometimes they wont. You cant get a huge following right off the bat. It takes time to develop your business, hone your skills, and get customers. Patience, dedication and persistence is key. These are the things I remind myself of every day. I check my stats, but I don't get down if I don't see as many views as I'd like. every day I do something beneficial for my business and I am proud of the progress I am making. Yes I can always make improvements, but I have done a lot of things that I am proud of. I don't plan to give this up, I plan to keep pressing, keep working, and keep crafting. I WILL achieve my goals!

2) Roller Derby: When I first started with my team, I was the definition of Fresh Meat. I was wobbly, uncoordinated, and fell all the time. Seriously, I fell all the time. My helmet appropriately had the sticker "BOOM" on it...I think my max for one practice was like 10 or so. But I felt like I was making a bit of progress and then I broke my leg. Words cannot express how frustrated I was. I wanted to skate so bad, I wanted to feel a part of my team. I went to practices, watched them skate, watched them scrimmage, and got more upset with myself.

I continued to go to practices to be around my derby family. Being there, showing my support made me feel like I'm still a part of the team. Once I was in my boot, I would do as much of the off skate endurance and exercises as I could. Baby steps. I worked on things like my derby stance and crossovers and balance and stability at home. I wanted to do everything I could to be ready when the time came. After getting my boot off, I was doing physical therapy and slowly was able to reintegrate with my team. Now that I have been cleared for skating, I am so happy! I still have to work on a few things like falls and stops, but surprisingly I didn't have to start all over. My body remembered a lot and I feel very comfortable and stable back on my skates! Tiny victory by getting back on my skates. Next goal is to play in a bout. I am working my way up the success ladder with derby but I'm enjoying the climb, and not getting down about it.

Success, progress, however you look at it, it will come. But its not the same for everyone. We have to take what we've got, not get down about it, figure out what we can do, and make it happen!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Easy Scratch Made Pot Stickers Recipe

Before learning how to make my own pot stickers, I don't believe I ever had them before. So this recipe miraculously worked itself out because I'd never made pot stickers, or dumplings, or anything of the sort before!

Your basic ingredients for pot stickers are going to be:

  • ground beef (1lb)
  • soy sauce (3tbsp)
  • sesame oil (2tbsp)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • lemon or lime juice (2-3 tsp)
  • garlic powder (2tsp)
  • brown sugar (2tbsp)
  • wonton/pot sticker wrappers

Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, salt & pepper, lemon/lime juice, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Stir into ground beef and cook.

Brown the ground beef in your pan, making sure that all the liquid ingredients are incorporated well. Sit aside once it is all cooked so that it can cool down a little.

Lay out wonton wrappers and spoon a small amount in the center of each wrapper. A teaspoon should do it.

Wet the wrappers along the edges, fold up and press closed. Now repeat that until you're out of wrappers or meat!

 This recipe seems to make a lot. So not only will you have enough for three hungry people, you have enough to freeze and save for a later time.

Now either use 1 &1/2 cup of chicken stock, or dissolve two chicken bullion cubes in 1 &1/2 cup of water. Set aside.

Coat the bottom of a heavy sauce pan with sesame oil, and turn your burner to medium.

Brown each side of your pot stickers. These got a little bit darker than I wanted them to, but they still turned out fine.

Now comes the fun part! Remember that chicken broth/chicken bullion & water you set aside? Well you need to pour it into the pan with your pot stickers. Quickly. It will be loud, it will be hot, but you have to pour the liquid into the pan, and cover it as quickly as you can (while also being safe!) After a few minutes, you can totally lift the top up and take a peek!

You want to let the chicken stock/broth cook the pot stickers until the outsides are slightly transparent and ooey looking (I know that's not the best description, but that's all I have right now, hehe!) The only thing left to do now is eat! Enjoy!


Friday, November 21, 2014

Homemade Tater Tot Recipe

This recipe is super easy. There are less than five ingredients and it doesn't take much work at all! First, you need some potatoes! You need to peel them and boil them in salted water for approximately 20 minutes.  Make sure you don't over cook them! If they are mushy, you won't be able to shred them.

I just grabbed 7
Taters are boiling away!
 After they are done, let them cool down a little. You want them to still be warm when you shred them, but you still want to be able to handle them without burning your fingers!
lettin' them cool down
Shred those bad boys into a bowl. Sprinkle in salt and pepper, and one and a half tablespoons of all purpose flour. Lightly mix, but be careful not to mush up your taters.

Tater Shreds!
 Form them into small cylinders and line them up on a greased baking sheet. I greased my cookie sheet with vegetable oil.
lined up in rows
Brush the top of your tots lightly with oil and sit in your oven. Cook approximately 20 minutes. (Personally, I started with my cookie sheet in the middle and then put it on the bottom rack).
checked at the 10 minute mark and switched racks

Flip each tot, and then cook for another 20 minutes!
super golden
 Now you're done with your homemade tater tots! If you make a bunch, you can freeze some as well!

 All you have to do now is chow down. You're hungry now, right?!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TTTattoo: The Temporary Tattoo Store

I'm excited to tell you guys about TTTattoos! They are a company based in Barcelona, Spain and they specialize in temporary tattoos. On  their website, you have the option of purchasing one of their pre-made designs, or designing your very own. How cool is that? If you've been thinking about getting a tattoo but aren't ready to commit 100% this is a great option for you! They have tons of designs to choose from and it's really easy to navigate their website.

Recently I had the opportunity to try out some of their products and I have to say I was impressed. Although they came all the way from Barcelona, the shipping was pretty fast! It came in a cute little package, neatly laid out with instructions.

My package

Pictured above, my package consisted of two ice cream cone designs, a question mark, and a pair of glasses. My son got one ice cream cone and the question mark.

The glasses were my favorite. Aren't they cute?? the following pictures show the glasses on two different days. The picture on the left was immediately after applying the tattoo. The one on the right was 5 days later. I was really surprised that it stayed on for so long. I am always sewing, crafting, and washing my hands. This tattoo help up to me washing my hands about 4 times a day as well as everyday wear and tear. Unfortunately my son was unable to keep his on (no temporary tattoos allowed at school. BOOO!!) but if he were, I'm sure that they would have held up a while too. Like I said earlier, I was extremely impressed with the quality of these tattoos! I am really thinking about designing my own tattoo and trying that out next. Once I do, I will definitely update you guys on how that one goes as well

I really enjoyed trying these TTTattoo temporary tattoos out. It was a fin change that isn't permanent. So when I change my mind (which i usually do often) I'm able to try out something new. I think you guys should definitely check them out. I have included a link to their website on my sidebar. Give them a look, and try them out! Design your own temporary tattoo!

This article has been sponsored by TTTattoos.