Handbook for the Recently Diseased

handbook 1

Deceased.”

Hey, so check out this awesome Christmas gift I got from Mr. Finger Candy!  As the little (removable) sticker in the top right-hand corner states, this is a set of note cards and other stationary-type items (oh, how I love paper products!) housed in a box designed to look like the battered Handbook for the Recently Deceased from my favourite movie, Beetlejuice.

handbook collage 1

Inside there’s a mess of Beetlejuice-themed goodies, including cards, envelopes, stickers and a cute little notebook with an MC Escher-esque Sandworm on the cover swallowing its own tail.  Careful, buddy – I’ve got it on good authority that you’re 100 percent non-natural polymer clay, so you might want to take smaller bites.

handbook collage 3

And because this is me, I just had to do some inspired-by, matching nail art.  I’m not sure how successful I was at capturing the very retro design on the cover of the Handbook; things got quite muddled once I added the matte topcoat.  It *did* lend the manicure that sort of undone, shaggy appearance that cloth-bound books begin to take on after a millennium or so of sitting about, but it’s not a look I deliberately set out to create – just one of those random moments of nail art kismet.

handbook collage 2

I’m so delighted with this present!  I actually wasn’t expecting anything this Christmas, because my husband and I decided pretty early on in the season that we’d instead put our earmarked funds towards another trip to Disney in the new year.  But if he’s not as big a Beetlejuice nerd as I am (he’s not) then he’s definitely just your garden variety nerd (he is) because I think this awesome gift speaks to him as well – who wouldn’t want this sitting all nonchalantly on an end table?!  My man knows me – us – so well. 🙂

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Slime Rancher!

Slime Rancher 1

A blogger friend and I recently fell down a comment section hole with regards to the post-apocalyptic, pre-apocalyptic and intra-apocalyptic literature we’ve both been gravitating towards the last number of years, concluding at the end that we were just bloody tired of it all – tired of the dire and tired of the bleak.  It can’t all be zombies and geo-political crises and environmental disaster all the time, or at least it shouldn’t be.  Not if you’d like to stay reasonably sane in today’s geo-political atmosphere.

And that’s precisely what makes Slime Rancher, a sweet, colourful, gentle little game, so very, very special and unlike anything else on the games market today – it’s adorably innocent, and completely unconcerned with anything other than being cute and making its players contentedly happy.  And that’s the kind of media philosophy I think we could all stand to pay a bit more attention to these days – the simple pleasures of a thing designed just to bring you joy.  What a novel idea!

The Slime sitch plays out thusly: You are Beatrix LeBeau, first person Slime farmer on a planet far, far away.  As Beatrix, you explore the area around your ranch, collecting resources and rounding up free range Slimes, which are round, squashy, bouncy little balls of mischievous glee.  The Slime on my thumb here is a Pink Slime, the most common of the Slimes.  Slimes come in all shapes (Tabby Slimes!) and sizes (Giant Golden Gordos!) and need quite a bit of managing – each type has a structured diet, and some even come with musical preferences (Rock Slimes are, quite unsurprisingly, total metalheads.)  Slimes require fencing and feeding and all manner of other tending, and it’s all rather expensive.  And so financial consideration is provided by Plorts, little diamond-shaped trinkets the Slimes spit out (or at least I hope it’s spit!) which act as a kind of currency ’round the ranch.

Slime Rancher 2

My favourite thing about the game, besides tending my large pen of grey striped Tabby Slimes, is just heading out into the nighttime desert to stand beneath the gently twinkling night sky as a cluster of Pink Slimes bounce daffily about, emitting goofy “Woo hoo!” noises with every sproing and brroing (something I tried to capture with this manicure.)  With the gentle, cheerful music tinkling about merrily in the background, it’s more relaxing than staring at a computer screen should ever possibly be.  It’s just a ton of fun, with no shooting, no killing and no misery.  Armed with a kind of vacuum canister gun, you, Beatrix, suck up any Slimes that catch your eye and then deposit them safely back on your ranch.  And that’s the extent of the “weaponry,” delightfully enough.  And the worse you can do to the lone bad guys of the game, Tarr Slimes – giant black blobs shot through with rainbow veins who hypnotize other Slimes and subsume them – is suck them up with your vacuum gun and then shoot them out over the sea.  Even then, if it’s between the hours of sundown and sunup, the Tarr Slimes’ prime huntin’ hours, they’ll just come back, no harm, no foul.  It’s seriously such a gentle, sweet little game – I actually fear for it on the playground; the other video games will surely pick on its gentle naivete, won’t they?

Slime Rancher 3

Anyhow, if you’d like to check out a game that won’t have you contemplating either the end of times OR throwing your controller across the room in maximum difficulty frustration, I’d implore you to check out Slime Rancher.  It’s currently available on Steam for $21.99 Canadian, and it’s a real sweetheart – well worth the very reasonable price, and a ton of fun, woo hoo!

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Fingers

Raspberry Pi circuitry nails, for the major nerd in your life.

The major nerd in MY life (Mr. Finger Candy) has been messing about with the Raspberry Pi (basically a super stripped down, build-your-own-computer system) for years now. One Saturday morning three or four years ago I sleepily stumbled out to the livingroom to find my him gone, save for one tiny, computerized, rainbow-flashing display blipping away on the coffee table, repeatedly informing me that my husband was out procuring breakfast and would be back shortly.  It was super cute.  His nerdery is really quite adorable, even if three-quarters of the time I have no freaking idea what he’s talking about! 🙂

Dressed Up, Ready to Roll (31DC2016)

ready-to-roll

Not that it would change a thing, but I married Mr. Finger Candy (12 years ago this Halloween!) without fully appreciating exactly how much of a nerd he truly is.  I mean, I knew, but I didn’t know, you know?  And not the pop culture-spewing, “I’d DIE for (insert fandom here)” kind of geek either.  Naw, he’s THIS type of nerd:

nerd

Okay, yes, there’s a handful of VHS tapes in there, as well as an inexplicable assortment of cassette tapes (The Cult?), Sims guidebooks and one very large coffee table book about Ottawa that I have space for nowhere else in the house, but the overwhelming majority of the real estate in that cupboard is occupied by RPG manuals, ranging from old school favourites like Earthdawn and Dungeons and Dragons (enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment thanks to Stranger Things) to newer entries like the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, which he bought shortly after we were married, so hey, it’s not like I’m not at least a little bit complicit in this madness.

But whatever makes him happy, and once upon a time, what made him very happy was Dungeons and Dragons.  I know the series – indeed, the entire realm of fantasy RPGs – took a big hit in the late ’80s and ’90s after a handful of violent crimes were committed supposedly with the game as their inspiration, but I’ve always found the entire idea – a choose-your-own-adventure-type game where you build a playable world from the graph paper up – to be a wonderfully creative one.  The sweet stories my husband tells of huddling around a paper-strewn table with his friends, quarreling with the DM, scratching out stats equations on graph paper and pounding back the Jolt Cola until three in the morning are utterly charming.  It makes me sad to think there were some people in his life (PARENTS, IT WAS TOTALLY HIS PARENTS) who couldn’t see the creativity and social engagement behind the “bad fantasy” label.  Flashlight Brown totally gets it.

And as weird as I think it is, I also get it, and so I put it on my nails, this time for day 16’s theme of geometrics in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge.  I also found a way to work in yet another nod to Stranger Things, this time a polyhedral design (nestled among an index and a pinkie finger’s worth of The Upside Down) referencing the 14 Will needed to roll, versus the 7 he did, which ultimately landed him in (cold, dark) water with that damn, dirty Demogorgon.  Hmm, so maybe Mr. Finger Candy’s parents were on to something…?  Just be careful what you roll, kids.

PlayStation

PS Nails

Don’t tell anyone, but one of the things I love most about Mr. Finger Candy is that he is an unabashed Sony fanboy.  This is a man I once watched break into a delighted happy dance in the middle of Best Buy because they had an unexpected shipment of impossible-to-find PS3s.  Our 3D TV is a Sony.  Our sound system is Sony. You can count the number of PlayStations and Vitas and PSPs (a whoozit?) we’ve owned in plurals.  I respect brand loyalty, and my husband’s got that in spades.

The flip-side to that devotion, of course, is that those consoles – today a PS3 and a PS4 – have very nearly achieved “other woman” status; they monopolize a lot of time and brain cells (his AND mine; I love my video games, too, although let’s not kid ourselves – the consoles are his.  I’m more of a PC gamer.)

Although these pink, framed-in PlayStation nails are clearly all about me, because I’m the one with the frosted pink controller.  His is red.  And white.  And blue, and about five in basic black (GTA is murder on the old thumb toggles.  And any innocent pedestrians standing around if I’m behind the virtual wheel.)

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario 1

So 1 is the gold standard, 2 is the acid flashback, 3 is the one everyone loves, 4 (or World) is the one with Yoshi and then I stopped playing the Super Mario games.  But some things stick with you forever, and it was high time I gave the nail art treatment to one of my favourite childhood video game franchises (bested only by the Donkey Kong Country games, which are a nail art subject for another day!)

Super Mario 2

The Division

The Division Hand

I’ve been coming at you all hot and heavy lately with the quasi-serious metaphysical discussions.  Death, the afterlife, precognition – none of these are your usual topics of conversation in a nail blog.  So after that hopefully interesting diversion, let’s take a moment and go back to what we do best around here, nerd nails!

This manicure is for my husband, King of the Nerds (King of the Dipshits, in the parlance of Sixteen Candles.) As of some 325 playable hours ago, my husband became quite enamoured with Ubisoft’s latest Tom Clancy-branded video game, The Division.  In it, you run around a nearly deserted, pandemic-stricken New York City as one of a team of random badasses handing out supplies to ill stragglers whilst gunning down enemies and former allies-turned-enemies (also known as rogues; also also known as asshole 12-year-olds who just play video games to f**k shit up.)

Fans (Mr. Finger Candy included) will insist that they play this game because of its online tactical first person shooter open world RPG and blah diddy blah, blah, blah.  That’s the smokescreen they throw up to hide the real thing they love about this game – collecting. Oh yeah, The Division is a collector game all right.  Clothes, mostly (“I got a Sentry Call Backpack last night!” was the first thing my husband said to me this morning, by way of greeting) but also weaponry and parts of weaponry, and probably one day very soon some household/base items as well (the nesting instinct is strong among the agents of The Division.)  It’s the Sims if they offered a Post-Apocalyptic Stuff Pack.

Don’t say I don’t love you, man (never any question, particularly if you look back at that 325-hour number.)

The Division Fingers