The Phat Cave

Once upon a time there were two phat geeks. They met and fell in love in a magical way over a series of ensorcelled tubes before meeting face to face. Their life was filled with cats, birds and the Land of Internet. They lived humbly for a long time with their parents and dreamed simple dreams. When they were able to, they rented a small space away from their parents in a hot and treacherous jungle named BugLandia, occasionally called Florida. The space was fine at first, but then they found three little green and blue feathered souls that needed rescuing and then the space wasn’t so much space as it was living in a giant bird cage with bird cages within it.

They dreamed of a place of their own with just a little more space. Not much. Just a bit. They never ever in their wildest dreams thought they could afford anything really nice, like some of the other castles and fortresses in BugLandia, so when they began looking the looked at rustic little cottages that needed much roof-thatching and rebuilding.

They had an awfully hard time of it. Every choice was either too much expense to fix or missing important things like…toilets…entire kitchens. Walls.

It was a long journey on Sundays Untold for what seemed like forever–three–months and they kept saying, “Maybe,” to the magical lady who showed them these places but ultimately it turned into no.

And then one day the planets aligned an a unicorn came down from the misty heavens leaving a trail of sparkles and those little marshmallows from that cereal with the leprechaun that has a lot of issues with his charms.  The sun parted and harps played and they found The One. 

They found a place to call home. Something far beyond their wildest dreams and perfect for them.

With the enchantment of their own pudgy feet they moved from their tiny place to the castle.

And they called this land, “The Phat Cave.” There were no sudden or inevitable betrayals.

They lived weirdly and phatly ever after.

[box type=”info”] On April 25th 2013 we finalized an offer on a home and moved out of our apartment. I am so happy and tired and tirappy I could explode into glitter bombs. [/box]

 

Beautiful Gold Spam: Age of Wushu

Quick and Dirty, ladies and gents–a why and why for, about Age of Wushu: a free to play world PVP kung-fu MMORPG.
(Immature giggling goes here)

Does this dress make my flowers look big?

Does this dress make my flowers look big?

Why you should play Age of Wushu

  • If you are a fan of ancient china, chinese mythologies, the ancient kung-fu movies or wuxia dramas then you are going to enjoy looking at Age of Wushu.
  • Despite being run on a graphics engine a bit out of date enough to rely on bloom, it’s still gorgeous and many places feel as if they sprung out of painted scenes.
  • One of the better kung-fu/Martial arts F2P out there
  • World PVP (after a certain level) adding an edge to danger to everything
  • Crafting is a viable source of income and helpful to progress
  • Team Practice your Kung-Fu with fellow Kung-fu practicioneers to ‘speed’ the experience of your deadly arts
  • Belong to a school (Wudang, Emei, Shaolin, Beggars, Royal Guards and so on) and enjoy benefits from belonging to a group
  • Spy on enemy/different schools and earn rewards and experience.
  • Be evil: Kidnap people and sell them, all while maniacally laughing and stroking your whiskers.
  • Pay for being evil: repent your sins (if you are part of a good aligned school) at the temple or go to jail to pay for your crimes of PKing and kidnapping!
  • Pick up the arts: learn calligraphy, learn painting, learn chess, poetry or music
  • Protect and escort supplies between important families or individuals of import
  • Save the girl or guy
  • Win friends
  • Farm, mine, fish, chop wood, skin animals, cook food, make poisons, heal through herbs, weave clothe, make legendary weapons
  • Find a guild: go to war, make an alliance, group up and roll out
  • There is never nothing to do.
I could, like, sit here all day, man

I could, like, sit here all day, man

Why you shouldn’t play Age of Wushu

  • It’s a free to play game and so some of the unique issues that always seem to crop up in f2p’s do.
  • Gold spam everywhere. In all the channels so far except school channels (as far as I have observed). You can put them on ignore (add them to blacklist) but that gets full in a day. That solution isn’t viable.
  • Punks everywhere: f2p seems to bring out the best and the worst more so than anything else. You will get punked at sometime, anytime, especially by yourself. There will always be those guys that smell new player from a mile away and swoop in on their epics and kill you in one click thinking they all that and a bag of tea.
  • With that in mind: if you get upset easily by being pk’ed by kids or people having a bad day, right off the bat “open pvp world,” should turn you away.
  • The cash shop isn’t pay to win–it’s pay to level faster basically. Mounts, bags, extra warehouse, all of this isn’t permanent. Mounts and bags last a set amount of days (100, for example.) Bags currently are purchased from players or picked up from drops only, mounts are cash shop or random quest rewards (as far as I can tell), and the only current way to get extra warehouse space (bank space) is to pay Snail Games real cash money dollar bills for in game gold to become a VIP member to expand it. Plus, as a VIP member, you “cultivate,” your Kung-fu off line and faster than those who play free. (Cultivate = experience = level it up, pretty much.) Right now, there aren’t any pills, buffs, exp medicines or the like in the shop either. So like I said, it’s not so much pay-to-win as it is pay-to-get-to-win-faster. (I could be wrong! Feel free to let me know in comments!)
  • Solo play is going to be difficult. Without a guild to help you with instances or fighting off random player killing, the casual gamer or gamer who likes to explore all the areas and things might find it a challenge.
  • Grind fest. No matter how fun everything is–or how fun I find it–I know it’s going to be a grind to get it anywhere better. I know it, and the game doesn’t even bother to hide how many hours of repetition I’m gonna put into it to get it there. I guess it’s almost a positive the game doesn’t hide it?
  • Lost in translation: I believe that some of the better aspects of the game may have been lost in the translation from Chinese to English. Quest descriptions are abrupt and in some cases appear to have nothing to do with the quest they are giving you. Your quest tracker and the ability to click-auto-path is going to be awesome for some.
Within the school of Emei

Within the school of Emei

So should I try it or not?

It’s a free game that despite it’s very real and very obvious flaws to an American market; is trying its best to carry its weight. And it’s doing okay. I think that Age of Wushu is one of those free-to-play games that fits a niche market and not a broad one to appeal to everyone. And that’s okay, I think that there needs be more games happier to cater to a wildly loyal few than try and appeal to a broad mass and fail. Whether Age of Wushu will collapse under it’s gold spam and free to play is something we will have to see. As it stands, I think it’s a remarkable game for free to play and Martial Arts and one that it cannot hurt to be tried.

A Letter II

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Do you remember how many times you had to tell me to shut up? To be quiet? To shhhh? Do you remember the nights which you’d put me to bed as soon as the sunset and you’d tell me in your mommy-is-serious-voice, “No singing, no

talking, no getting out of bed, all right?” And you would tuck me in, kiss my brow and leave the door half shut. (Because I was afraid of the dark.) But your words never made it through my head as I lay down in the half-dark and began dreaming of things from other worlds and other places, or playing out scenes in my head of things I’d wished I’d said or had happened. I’d talk and tell a story with my hands barely seen before my face in the glow of the half open door and see magic, see ghosts, see lands–I would see stories.

I always had words. I had too many words. When I grew up to me a teen I learned the wrong words, too. I learned the hurting, the angering and the cutting words that broke a parent’s heart and scarred a fellow child for life with their cruelty and heartlessness. I learned bigger words and newer words to hand-write into a drawer full of plastic binders packed with stories that (thankfully) would never see the light. And, I had a lot of yelling words. Between us, there was a lot of crying words.

It wasn’t until I grew older that our words softened and we began to speak–if not the same words–words that pretty much meant the same. We spoke gently, with smiles on our lips and apologies in our eyes. We learned to use these words to know one another. Years later, there were no more cutting or yelling or hurting words. They were just noises meant for mother and daughter.

And then you died.

I lost my words then. I didn’t know where to find them anymore. I lost more than my words, actually, and did not think they were important in the face of losing you. At least, I didn’t think they were important until I tried to tell the wo

rld about you, about us, about the things we said and where we were and what had happened. I realized that I had lost the words when I lost you. They quietly took up their skirts and made a funeral line to the back of my head and sat. They would not move.

You were my words. You were the reason why I wrote them. Yes, I wanted the world to read them–but I wanted the world to read them and understand that my words were for you. For my mother. And I wanted you to be here to read them and love them and be proud of me. I wanted you to open a book and cry happily when you first read the words, “For my mother, for all the stories she told me and all the words we’ve shared.”

But you were gone. And so were the words.
For a very long time, at least.Now I hear them. They are buzzing quietly at the back of my head. They want me to hear them but I do nothing about them. I don’t write the things they say and I don’t capture the imagines I daydream about. What’s the point? I think. You cannot hear them.

At night, I always dream of you. You are always chiding me for something: I didn’t do something–fold the laundry, wake up in time for the bus, clean the floor right–every dream you are chiding me for not doing something and I wonder if these are your words. Your last words to me–to listen. To listen, and to write.

How to bribe a vet: Estates, houses, and grrrrl, is that a cherry blossom couch?

Seven years.

Seven years ago Shawn and I beta tested a little game called Everquest 2. Years before that, Shawn had beta tested a game called Everquest and said to me, “I liked it–but at the time I felt like the game and what it was trying to do was limited by technology at that time, and thought that in a couple of years it would really shine.”

Well. Then they made EQ2. And we were hooked.

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Purple angry unicorn with wings? HELL YEAH!

When we played, we were crafters by heart. Without a group, there was very little content that could be soloed for some of the classes–Of course, I was a Templar and he a conjurer. He had better luck at it than I would, so gathering and crafting called to us much stronger.  We played before there was imbuing, gems, and during the time that any crafting station–the stove, forge, engravers table and so on could kill you if you screwed up. Crafters were entirely dependent on one another too. A carpenter couldn’t make certain things without nails and metal parts. These were made by armor or weapon smiths. Nobody could make anything without the help of an Alchemist–which is what my husband was.

Then EQ II changed that. For a while there, being an alchemist was worthless. Everyone could now make all the parts they needed for themselves and no longer did they need to depend on one another. They were phasing out the being-ship-wrecked-on-an-island-everyone starting as either warrior-mage-priest thing, and it was painful for us. We stopped for a while.

Then, of course, with age? Things, in my humble opinion, got better. Yes, even moving to F2P seemed like an improvement–for even though general chat was always a lot like Barrens chat–there are still people everywhere in that game, seven years later.

And that’s how long we’ve been playing, off and on, too. Though EQ II sweetened the deal for me by handing me an entire Mistmoore Estate for my 7 year anniversary. Let me tell you, there is nothing better to bribe me into coming back, or playing a game forever, than giving me something I can decorate myself, make unique. Housing, mounts, clothing, decorations….this is the way to worm money out of me. Pay attention games! I logged in, looked at my vet rewards, squealed like I’d just been given a unicorn and ran to claim it. Now I have a huge estate with nothing in it. Now I have to run around the game trying to find the just right things I want in it. Some of it I will craft myself (being a carpenter), others I will have to level in order to get it from certain quests and or as drops from dungeons.

See what u did thar, EQ II.

And, it worked.

Mistmoore

Facing front door: Mistmoore Estate OH GOD HOW DO I DECORATE

I think that EQ2 finally found the perfect balance for all kinds of gamers finally. Do you want to craft? Great, go for it. Do you want to craft and solo adventure? No problem, there’s a quest for that. You want to ignore crafting and power level and just get All The Things? No problem. You want to do all of this, at any given time, and just spend a day collecting shiny things to play the market? Go for it. And now–you want to design your own in game object and earn real life cash money money dollar bills from it? Yep. Do that too.

So–I’ve been having fun with my Dirge, Ssinjin, and her guild since ’04 (Queens Guard, hoooo!) exploring new regions I never got around to, quests that are fun and frustrating. Gathering shinies and resources. And it’s funny, because, I have also had my time eaten up by searching for my own home. In real life. Yes–the husbanator 2000 (That’s Shawn, or bariguy, by the way) and I have finally decided that no better time than now to take advantage of things and try for a home. It is both awesome and frightening. Wish us luck.

P.S. If you know any epic quest lines that will help us furnish it….

A very merry 2phatgeeks Christmas and Happiest of New Years.

Let’s face it.

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Merry Chersumss. Herp Derp.

2012 sucked, my friends. And I’m not talking just me–oh no–I lurk on your blogs (I’m reading them right now), I visit your facebook profiles and I ogle my Google+ feed. I don’t have the brain function, time, nor elegant words to reply to everything (There are one thousand people following me on Google+. Seriously. WTF. 1000. Half of them have to be daleks, right?) But I do read. And what I have read has made me severely pissed at 2012 let me tell you.  If I could, I would pull that fucking 2012 van over and there would be NO icecream. Ever.

But I can’t.

There are a lot of things in life that do not have a rewind button.  They are horrible things, heart-breaking things, sad things and angry things, they are dispiriting things with a side of haunting, and sometimes, they are just hard things and depression things with a side of not-enough-money things. You can’t really go back…but you can go forward.

Listen, I’m not going to tell you all about resolutions and why you should make them and why you shouldn’t and the good or the bad of all that and blah blah blah blah–I’m just going to say: let’s go forward together.

Let’s just hope.
Even if it’s a silly thing for hope. Like, “Gosh I hope I get extra pickles on my sub today,” or, “I hope that person-I-really-like-and-fall-over-my-face-whenever-they-look-at-me smiles at me today,” or, “I hope I can afford a pack of ramen today because I am so god damn hungry I have been side eye-ballin’ my hamster.” or “I hope that I don’t hurt,” and “I hope I will be okay today.”

 

Christmas time is a time of puppy torture.

Christmas time is a time of puppy torture.

Hope is a deceptively easy thing to have when you look at it in little increments. Sometimes I think people get bogged down with looking at too big a picture. They look at things like: I WILL WIN THE LOTTERY AND THERE WILL BE PEACE ON EARTH AND BEARS WRESTLING WITH ELVES FIND TRUE LOVE AND MARRY THAT MOTHERFUCKER and REDO THE WHOLE HOUSE or REPAINT ALL THE STEPS or LEARN JAPANESE AND SPANISH AND CHINESE AND FRENCH CANADIAN WHILE BELLY-DANCING TO DUBSTEP and I think: whoa there, dub step? And also that maybe we set ourselves up to fall too far.

Maybe, just maybe, we should hope for the easier things. Take baby steps. Climb our way out of a horrible year and find a reason to smile in the new one.

So here’s a baby step for you, okay?

  • You’re beautiful. I love your face, because it is your face and it’s facing the monitor and it’s reading my shit right now–that is so cool–
  • That also makes you awesome.
  • You made it through today. That’s pretty sweet.
  • Some strange fat lady on the internet is virtually making you awkwardly uncomfortable hugging you into her bosoms right now, okay?
  • Tomorrow, you’ll face another day and you will make it because you can.

So here’s to 2013 my loves. Here’s to us and the little things: ramen noodles and cat purrs and not succumbing to 2012.
I hope. I hope for you, for me, and for all of us.

A Letter I

It’s been a year.

I have written that sentence all week more times than I care, staring at a blank wordpress post page and trying to culminate thirty three years of my mother in one post. This is the ultimate task which I feel a real writer can face down and conquer…Writing a life in words and having the world understand.

I can’t seem to do this. No matter how many times I have written it and deleted it and re-written it and stared at a little black line that blinked and blinked and blinked, demanding, I can’t.

There’s so much I want to say but no way for you to hear it.

I have my tree up. I have the tinsel. My apartment is decorated. I miss you and look for you sometimes but don’t even know it until it’s too late. I’ll stand in the middle of my living room and puzzle out the christmas cards, the tree, the lights and wonder what am I missing? And then I remember.

You.
All I am missing is you this year.

I have come so far this year and I wish I could show you. I wish I could tell you and talk to you and have you be even more proud than ever at all the leaps and bounds I have made just in 12 months alone. Sometimes I feel guilty–that I’ve done all this and you can’t see it, can’t experience it with me. You can’t share with me my excitement and hope about getting a new home (and I KNOW you loved house shopping.) You can’t see how much better I am now that I have admitted to my depression and am getting treatment. You don’t and won’t know how much sweeter my life has been thanks to the people I have met and known online; you won’t see how horrible my tree looks with it’s rainbow colored tinsel that seems as if christmas–like a big, over eating cat, came and horked up festiveness all over it. You can’t laugh at how crooked it is from all the times Isis crawled up it, and you can’t see the way I’ve covered my apartment in lights.

I’m always missing you, every day. It doesn’t get better and it doesn’t go away. I just…have learned to cope.
Is this what it’s like when someone loses a limb? I feel like you are here. I should call mom. I should tell mom about…I bet mom would love this…Mom would like to know..And then I remember.

You aren’t here.

You are the puzzle piece that I will be missing for the rest of my life.
You are the first puzzle piece of me that I have lost, too, and the hole that you have left is so wide and so vast some days I don’t know if I can cross it.

Other days, I throw a rope and climb because I have to. I don’t want to, but I do.

I try not to be too sad, though. It’s christmas and you would be so mad at me if I were. There’s lights, there’s tinsel, there’s ornaments, there’s christmas songs and peppermint and we haven’t gotten them yet but hopefully your favorite rainbow-cherry-flavored candy canes. There’s going to be a firepit at my mom in laws for Christmas eve and we’ll have cookies and coffee and drinks. Each hour of this month I have stood in the kitchen, stilled in the bedroom, paused in the shower, circled the living room and frowned at the kitchen– what am I missing? 

I cannot believe it’s been a whole year.
I miss you.

Darlene Mae Noseworthy
April 1st, 1956 ~ December 11th, 2011

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. 
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me. 

Kind woman, I give you my all, Kind woman, nothing more. 

Little drops of rain whisper of the pain, tears of loves lost in the days gone by. 
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong, 
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my. 
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look… see. 

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles, 
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one. 
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness….I’m glad. 
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you. 
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

What my favorite Qing Dynasty historical/fantasy dramas teach me about being female then.

I love anime. I love, also, Koren, Chinese and Japanese historical dramas or dramas set in long in the past with fantasy elements and generous re-writes of the original story. Sometimes the more ridiculous and over dramatic it is the more I love to watch it just because it is that ridiculous. Although they have also been very educating. I have learned these quality lessons from these historical dramas:

  • As a lady of high rank in Qing Dynasty your worth is only measured in how young you are, how pretty, and how many babies you can pop out. And not just any babies–sons. Sons are way, way more important than daughters.
  • If you can’t pop out babies, at least be pretty and murder everyone else’s babies or take them from them.
  • If you can’t pop out babies or are pretty, you’re so fucked.
  • If you can’t pop out babies, aren’t pretty, and old–you are super fucked. And you are probably the villain of the entire series.You should kill everyone younger than you because reasons. And the cat. God damn cat.
  • It doesn’t matter how strong you are as a female/woman in the series. You could have survived a war, killed other men, have the highest martial arts training–the moment your heterosexual love interest grabs your wrist you are 100% powerless to do anything and must be drug along, flailing and whining and looking terribly upset and innocent at the same time. The wrist-man-grab is not block-able  It sucks any will power and feminist strength you may have had on your own until you are powerless to fight the handsome lead pen–male.
  • You will faint constantly. Someone runs in? Faint. Someone runs out? Faint. Did you pass gas? STARTLING. You must faint.
  • Any emotional upset what-so-ever, regardless of your past, will a) make you faint, b) make you ill and fake-cough horribly, c) make you lose a baby, d) make you insane e) turn you evil or f: all of the above. SO DON’T EVER GET UPSET.
  • If people like you, no one will tell you anything. If they hate you, they will go out of their way to tell you things that make you upset.
  • Nobody hugs from the front. Husband going off to war? Lover leaving you for someone else? Love interest going to commit some really ridiculous act in the name of whatever? No front-hugs for you. You have to hug them from behind. And you have to run to them first, to do it, and then you have to soulfully gaze at the back of their head and deliver a soliloquy.
  • Dirt paths/roads/streets/perfectly flat, smooth patches of land will fuck your shit up.  If I were to dramatically run down a path with the male lead following I am going to fall and trip and twist my ankle. Every. Time.  Also, I will fall in super slow motion, possibly cut and rehashed from seven different angles with DWOMP DWOMP music in the background.
  • The male lead will then be ‘forced’ to carry me on his back. Despite he rode behind me on a horse earlier/some sort of litter/had six men around him with horses/screw sense.
  • If you are female and poor, you are innocent and do-gooding. If you are female and rich and innocent and do-gooding you will be poisoned in the first season. If you are female and rich and not do-gooding, you will scheme and plot and subtly kill everyone. Men never do such things and are completely helpess when asked to help with the scheming-plot-evil-rich-lady. Because breasts, that’s why.
  • Spending 66 episodes to build up an amazing, complicated plot with characters that have finally grown with one another and have great chemistry together needs to be ended by killing every. single. person. off. but the main character. In the most ridiculously horrendous, and our idiotic way possible that should leave any sane person mentally scarred for life. Leave no one–and I mean–no one alive. Kill their parents, sisters, brothers, children, and their entire country. Also the best way to do all that is in episode 67.  End series with main character looking soulfully off into the distance. Ignore the million WTFs of fans.

This is going to be so hard to apply to real life. I will have to start with fainting every time the phone rings.

In the midst I think of you, and how it used to be

Click to donate toward Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

Click to donate toward Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes

It is the last hour of my 24 blog-a-thon and I struggle to find the words to write. There are some memories (despite what you’ve read here,) that don’t or won’t make sense written. Secret things in the languages of families that only make sense to them, inside jokes with timing that’s only perfected when the one you love who knows you can remember what it stands for and laugh while the rest of the world quirks their eyebrows quizzically at you. My mother and I were a lot like that. We had our own strange language where I parroted a statement or commercial or sound, even, and she would understand what memory or amazingly stupid thing I did in the past and get it.

That doesn’t translate so well on a blog.

My mother was an amazing person. No less than you are amazing and no less than your mother being an amazing person–even if you never knew her, even if she wasn’t in your life, even if she screwed it all up in some way. Each one of us are unique in that we are all the same, struggling to love, live, laugh, learn and survive the day to day side by side, thinking no one understands one another or what they are going through.

A mistake I made with my own mother and parents when I was a teenager and young adult…believing they wouldn’t understand and had never been there, so never talking to them about what I was feeling or doing or thinking.

It’s so strange to look back on my younger self and face the horrible, awful truth that your parents and adults in your life were generally right. They may not have had iphones or ipods or even the internet as we know it; but they were kids once, too. They were and are human beings with the same failings, issues, problems and emotions as we had. They went through puberty, peer pressure, bullying, depression and more, too. They lived just as we did. Only now they are trying to tell us not to follow in their footsteps even as they watch helplessly as we do.

I guess what I am trying to say in closing is: all of those cliches about everything…about time and wishing you could do it all over again, about doing anything to get one minute more as well as about not appreciating what you have until it is gone is true.

I spoke to my mother last sometime in November. She was pale but she always was, I couldn’t tell if it was extra pale or the low quality camera on the laptop she was using. She stopped perming her hair to try and give it volume and thickness, as she had lost so much of it it wasn’t worth harming it anymore. She looked good with straight hair. I told her she looked really good with it and she didn’t believe me. She seemed surprised when I told her.

We talked about small things that didn’t matter. Dad’s loud guitar playing down in the living room. Family. My grandmother. My aunt. I talked about my cats and my birds and I promised her that I would call her again near Christmas and we’d talk on Skype again.

I never got that chance.

I made the mistake many children make. I believed my parents were immortal–grand figures from my childhood that blocked out the sun when it was too bright, carried me when I was too tired, kissed away my sadness when I asked for it, and sung me songs in the cradle of arms as they rocked away nightmares. I thought she would be here forever and that I would have more time to show her–to REALLY show her–that I get it. I got it. And if I could take it all back I would. And that every day is an apology and a hope to grow, to love more, to learn.

The thing is, none of us are immortal. We are little lanterns bobbing along at night. It only takes the slightest breeze or tiniest of waves sometimes to darken that light.

If you can–call your mother today. Call her and tell her you love her. Tell her you thought of her today for no reason and tell her thank you for all the things she’s done.

A HUGE THANK YOU GOES OUT TO ALL WHO DONATED!

  • My original goal was to have and to surpass $200 for Step out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. Today we have reached that goal and raised $292.00
  • My goal for my personal tattoo was anything at all. Today we raised $12.00

Much love to Kelly, Deanne, Troy, Kathleen, Sarah, Even, Britanya, Stephanie, Erin, Stephanie again, Lauren B, Elizabeth, Darrell, Hugh, Amy and Shannon.




Help pay for Mel's tattoo in memory of her mother
[box type=”bio”] Melissa Pence is wife to the husband and wife team here behind 2 phatgeeks. On December 11th, 2011, Melissa lost her mother to a long, difficult battle to diabetes. In her memory, Melissa is blogging 24 hours in order to raise funds for her through the organization: Step Out: End to Walk Diabetes, and for the personal goal to finish a humming bird tattoo on her right arm in memory of her mother. [/box]