Category Archives: Announcements!

Serious stuff!

New Goals, But Not For The Blog…

Howdy folks,

So my new year resolution to blog once a month failed quite terribly, didn’t it? Making any goals was a bad idea; I also haven’t written much in general, or exercised…or done anything other than work, play gears and sleep. In fact, I’m only posting this now to announce that, instead of maintaining this facade/effort to post regularly, I’m putting the blog on an indefinite hiatus for the unforeseeable future.

Yep, basically a big, undetermined length of time break. Admittedly, this can’t be much of a surprise given the rarity of my posts, but it was difficult to say this.  A small part of me constantly nags at my subconscious that I haven’t followed up on topics as I had planned, and that I should put in more effort to get a post uploaded here. After all, the things I’ve referenced or alluded to in previous posts continue to be things I want to talk about; I just simply haven’t been able to muster up the time nor the energy to do so. And as I can’t see that changing any time soon, with a heavy heart, I concede defeat.

Now, what does this mean going forward? In truth, nothing much will really change. The blog will continue to exist on the internet and I will post infrequently; not to reveal too much, but there are big events happening this year and I hope to discuss them at length. I’m only making this announcement so you don’t expect anything from me (assuming that is, you haven’t already moved on to other matters). By announcing this hiatus, I essentially don’t feel so guilty for not posting every month.

Also, and most importantly, my priorities have changed since 2016. Writing continues to be the long-term goal, obviously, but my big target is to get into the competitive gaming scene for Gears of War 4.  I’ve wanted to be part of the Gears pro scene for a long time, and right now I’m in a team that has the potential to make it happen. This is realistically my last chance, so everything else has to be put on the back burner while I put 100% towards this goal. Then, if I fail, I can at least say I did everything I could. And if I don’t fail, well then it was worth it, no?

Besides, I have all my adult life to write. I will never forget about my book – I think of it often – and I will finish it at some point. But for now, my thoughts are focused entirely all on Gears. Let’s get it!


Oh, before I go, I would like to say that I really do appreciate all of you who have read my posts, either now, in the past, or in the future. I’m glad you were here with me when I shared my first experiences in the US, plus my life in the UK, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed my musings during this epic journey. It’s been a fun 6 years, guys.

Until next time.





A New Year, A New Start (Coming Soon)

Howdy folks,
So we’ve been back from the UK for a week now and I am already counting down the days until summer! I thought the nosebleeds due to the dry air were bad enough (after using my hands to stem the flow while hurrying to the bathroom, I now know what I’d look like if I feasted straight from the flesh of a warm animal corpse. Haunting, I tell you, very haunting…also sort of badass), but then we drove home and were greeted by snow, freezing temperatures and horrible road conditions. Thanks Minnesota for that lovely welcome, we missed you too. Yep, after almost three weeks of a moderate English winter where the worst we experienced was a few blustery days that caused us to entertain the idea of wearing a second layer, we really needed that reality check the first day back in the US. The worst part is that the weather we have now isn’t even that bad. Oh the joys of living in the north.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! Although the celebratory closing of 2016 was rather uneventful for us (sadly I was too ill and too miserable to go anywhere), we had a wonderful time visiting my homeland.  Seeing family and old friends after over two years was awesome. Although we didn’t explore as much as we perhaps could have, Vanna and I did what we set out to do – visit as many people as possible. And on top of that, we did have a fantastic experience in Edinburgh near the end of our trip too. Saying goodbye again wasn’t much fun, of course, and the flight home was fairly arduous (not to mention the horribly abrupt return to work and responsibilities)…but it was all worth it. I don’t regret a single moment. Except for my decision not to bring more food with us. I do regret buying only the two boxes of wine gums. They did not last long at all.
Other than that, it was a truly great holiday. BUT, as much as I would like to tell you about everything we did, there isn’t actually that much to share other than our aforementioned trip to the Scottish capital, so I’ll spare you the details (what really can I say? We went and saw my family, ate British food, watched British TV and went to a few places that I’ve already blogged about before, such as Seaham and Hardwick Hall. Interesting to us, but to you? Not so much). Regarding Edinburgh, however that story will be uploaded soon; I’m still waiting on the pictures (Vanna went overboard) but I should be posting sometime within the next week. Our day in Edinburgh was the tourist/blog highlight to the trip, so please come back for that.
Beyond that, both Vanna and I are really focused on getting back to normal life. Her studies are going well, my work is fine (actually attended our Christmas party last night) and I’m slowly finding a balance to my waking hours. I mentioned in my last post about my goals for the future, including a minimum monthly post on the blog, and I still intend to achieve that goal. It probably wont result in the blog reaching the dizzying heights it had back when I had the freedom to post almost daily, but I think it will benefit me, and if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s doing things that benefit me.
And on that wonderful note, I’ll end this post. Only a quick announcement I know, but I have three weeks of no Xboxing to catch up with. And there will be pictures and more coming soon, so I reckon I can get away with a 600 word catch up.
All the best guys,

Just Let Me Blow Away The Cobwebs…

Howdy folks,

Well…it has been a long time since this blog was active, hasn’t it? I don’t even want to check when I last published something. I know it was after I purchased my tickets to the UK, and that was a long time ago now; after all, I’ve been working for what seems like years and my trip was planned shortly after I was employed at the lab. Yeah…it’s been a long time.

Anyway, I apologize for that. Despite the lack of activity on this site, the blog isn’t officially dead. It’s just that between work, sleep and Gears of War 4, I haven’t had the time or energy to do anything else. This past month has been especially exhausting because we’ve been working at least an hour overtime every day. Urgh. Busy doesn’t cover it. I blame the holidays. Thanks, Thanksgiving, for being a turkey paradise. You’re the reason I don’t get home until nine o’clock. Grr.

Oh well. On the plus side, despite my hectic schedule, things are going to change for the blog in the future. Or at least I’m hoping they will. Coming up fast is my aforementioned trip to the UK, which is less than a week away now, and wow, I can’t believe that it’s going to happen, I’m practically on the plane and it still hasn’t sunk in yet.

Ahem. Well, in addition to giving me the glorious opportunity to see my family for the first time in 2 ½ years, it’s also good news for the blog as both Vanna and I intend to take a lot of pictures! Most of our plans are TBD, but there is a trip to Edinburgh which we’re both excited for, so that should result in some fantastic pictures.

That’s only a short-term solution, however. Going forward, I have a goal for 2017 (New Year’s resolutions and all that), to write something for the blog at least once a month. I’m not sure what I’ll write about, but I want it to be something that takes more than a few minutes to write (i.e. not this post), something which will spark my creativity. After all, part of my reasoning for taking a hiatus from the blog was because I wanted to spend my free time working on my book. Well, that isn’t exactly working, so why don’t I change it up? Maybe blogging will become a catalyst to my writing. It can’t hurt, can it? And I miss writing about all of my complaints, like I used to in the old days (you know, pre-marriage, because now everything is perfect).

So yeah. Let’s see how that goes. I’ll uh, speak to you again soon…hopefully from the UK!


A New Countdown Begins…

After months of waiting and planning, I can finally confirm my biggest news of the year – Vanna and I will be heading back to England this Christmas!

Very, very excited to be sharing this news, as I’m sure you can imagine! This will be the first time I’ve seen my family since I left the UK in July 2014. It’s been a long time, and even though it is only going to be for a few weeks, I can’t wait to visit friends and family, see my favourite sights and eat my favourite foods…it’s going to be awesome.

No concrete plans beyond the flights have been made yet, but if you shift your attention to the right, you can at least track the countdown to our arrival in the UK. 113 days until the flight, 114 until we land in Newcastle. We’re practically only a few weeks away!

Anyway, once I have more details on what we hope to do, I’ll provide a follow up post with dates etc. Until then, have a great weekend everybody! I’ll be working Saturday through Monday which sucks, but hey, more money in the bank is always a good thing. Need to save up for the trip, after all.

Bye for now,





A Very Subdued 4th of July…

Happy Independence Day America! Speaking as a Brit, I’m not sure you made the right decision (it isn’t too late to come back!) but you’ve stuck to it, so fair enough.

Unlike all the other 4th of Julys I’ve spent in America, this one is going to be spent doing…nothing at all. No special t-shirts, no parades, no food indulgence; just me, my Xbox, and the cats. Where’s Vanna? Well unfortunately she had to work this weekend, which is why this year’s holiday is such a non-event. Had she been available we may have gone up north and celebrated the day with family. But she’s not, so we’re not. Lame, right?

But hey, don’t let my boredom stop you from having a fun time! Oh no. Despite our residual feelings of bitterness, Frankie,

(currently sleeping)


(also sleeping)

And I all hope you have a great day, even if you aren’t American and it is just an ordinary Monday.

Until next time.


P.S. Speaking of cats, no escapes since my last post. The catio has been kiboshed for now as it isn’t stable enough for a roof, and without it, Frankie keeps jumping out. We’ve accepted Anya will remain an outdoors cat, at least for now. Once it gets closer to winter, however, we’ll have to really work on catifying the apartment so they can be stimulated whilst staying indoors. Urgh. Effort.


Another Cat Incident…But The Catio Is Good To Go!

So after the kitten drama last weekend, we were hoping for a calm, uneventful week. What we got on Wednesday, however, was another night of worry and panic. Why did it happen again? Well, we were foolish enough to let Anya go unattended for a few hours. Big mistake. Escape number 2 was worse than when she disappeared for 24 hours though, because this time both she and Frankie got out.


We’d left one window open. Didn’t think too much about it; Anya had never shown any interest in using that window, so we thought it would be okay. Nope. Evidently she was luring us into a false sense of security, playing dumb while she waited for her opportunity to take advantage.

It took us a few hours before we realized what she had done. To be honest, it could have been even longer were it not for the insects swarming us. We’re used to having beetles or fruit flies, but not mosquitoes. Or moths. Initially I called out Vanna for leaving the door open too long when she came in from work. But then she went into the bedroom and found a big hole where the screen frame once was.

usually, Anya picks at the corner of the mesh and sneaks through the small gap…which is at least considerate. This time, she didn’t have time for that. This time she just shoved her fat head at the screen until it popped out. With the light on, the bugs swarmed in. This bad situation was then made worse when Frankie, presumably concerned about kitten heading out into the night, followed her.

As soon as we discovered both cats were out, we rushed out there and started calling their names. No response. Vanna was worried but I was freaking out. Anya would probably make her way back when it suited her, but Frankie? He would want to return, but he would be too scared. He’s a skittish little kitty. He would hear a noise, run, hear another noise, and then run some more, on and on until he ended up so far away he wouldn’t be able to find his way home. This was not good, people.

Fortunately Frankie didn’t have a complete freak out, and I found him in the bushes across from our apartment. This didn’t mean he was an easy catch, however; though both Vanna and I tried calling him out (I even went back there in the hopes he would come to me if I was sitting in his safety zone), he was too scared to approach us. Instead he would run as soon as we approached him. Worried we’d push him further away, we headed back inside in the hopes he’d return on his own.

Well, around 4am kitten came to the window. Vanna went outside on a hunch and heard little Frankie crying. Even so, it took a good thirty minutes to coax him out into the open. Vanna had to sit down on the grass, say his name over and over, and then shake one of his toy mice until he eventually felt brave enough to approach her. She did a great job. Had it just been me, Frankie would still be outside now, crying and crying…

But he’s safe now, and that’s all that matters. Jump forward to Friday then, and the catio assembly. It took a while (the connectors that snapped the wire squares together had a tendency to fall out; it was only when we gave up on the roof did it stay together) but we eventually formed a neat rectangle to put outside the window. It isn’t a big space (any bigger and it would become too unstable to be trusted) but Frankie likes it. Not sure kitten is impressed though.  She likes to venture further afield, act all independent and do things on her own terms.  But she lost that right when she knocked the screen out, so she’ll have to accept the catio is her future, at least until we can trust her to come home on time (she’s like an unruly teenager, it’s ridiculous).

Anyway, we’re starting to catify the place finally. Here’s some pictures of Frankie enjoying his outside area from the bedroom (had I gone outside, Frankie would have freaked out). Is the cage strong enough to keep them from escaping? We’re not sure. Being the dopey cat that he is, Frankie might try to climb it, while kitten will be no doubt doing her hardest to pick her way out. It’s a work in progress. Not too bad, eh?

He was rather tentative initially.
But quickly got comfortable, sniffing the area and rolling around.
Still somewhat skittish though. We won’t trust him alone in case he decides to scale the fence, but I think it’ll really help with his pent-up energy.

I’ll try to do another update soon.  Have a great Sunday!


I’ve Never Been So Grateful For Air Conditioning…

Howdy folks,

So it has been unbearably hot in Willmar for the past few days. How hot? Weather advisory hot (that means stay inside folks!) Seriously, we’re talking about 90+F (around 36c) weather since Wednesday, with awful humidity to match (I stepped outside earlier to check the mail, felt like I’d been assaulted by a hot, damp cloth). Thankfully our new apartment has an air conditioning unit, so we haven’t suffered too badly, but wow, it has not been a fun week.

As a result of this extreme heat, our attempts to fix up the apartment have been delayed somewhat; between Vanna working and me breaking into sweat simply picking up after Frankie (I’m blaming the heat for this; I’m unfit but not that unfit!), we haven’t been able to achieve as much as we’d planned. In other words, no photos of our apartment just yet. Sorry.

Hopefully it’ll be cooler tomorrow so we can assemble the bookcase we bought from IKEA. Once that has been put together, we’ll be much closer to showing our new home to the world. If tomorrow maintains this horrible trend, we may have to postpone til next weekend. Urgh. Very frustrating.

On the plus side, while you wait for the grand unveiling, here are a few pictures of Frankie enjoying one of the toys we bought him last week (more on our efforts to catify the apartment in due time) as well as a short video.

Otherwise, expect another update soon regardless of how far we progress…unless, of course, I die of heat exhaustion working on the bookshelf. Though that would be noteworthy enough to merit an announcement, I imagine Vanna would be too grief-stricken to post pictures of my final achievement.


Here’s a shot prior to the storms and the humidity and the horrible heat.
The Catit Circuit toy. Essentially there is a ball that the cat pushes around. It took Frankie a while to understand this…
Especially as he preferred to play in the box it came in…
…which admittedly was rather cute.
But after a while, he discovered the actual toy.