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My Other Interests
(This page last updated: 10 May, 2013)

This is not much more than a collection of links at the moment... all of which will open in a new window if clicked.

Open-source Software

Linux Mint - The Linux distribution I've just moved to, now that support for Ubuntu's 10.04 LTS release has finally ended. I've used other distros, including Red Hat (before they switched to being Fedora for non-commercial users) and the aforementioned Ubuntu, but after the whole Gnome 3/Unity debacle, I found myself forced to go in search of a distro which wasn't intent on shoehorning my daily computing experience into a touchscreen paradigm when I'm still on a standard keyboard-mouse-monitor setup. Granted, Ubuntu does produce an XFCE spin, and I even took it for a test run on my laptop and liked it well enough, but on Mint I can have MATE, which looks and functions more or less just like my beloved and eminently usable Gnome 2 desktop--sold!

The Mozilla Project - Home to the Firefox web browser, Thunderbird email client, and my personal favorite, the SeaMonkey suite (which has web, email, and an HTML editor all in one package, very like older versions of Netscape).

Libre Office - My preferred word processor. I rarely use the spreadsheet, presentation editor, etc. which come as part of the package, but the Writer application has had a LOT of miles put on it.

Runes Of Avalon - The first in a series of fun and visually beautiful puzzle games by Anawiki Games, all available in Linux-compatible versions. (Path of Magic and Runes of Avalon 2 are the other titles; they can all be purchased at Anawiki's main site.)

Frozen Bubble - A (very cute) Linux-based variation on the game Snood


Xeriscape - A reference page on the PlantTalk Colorado site maintained by the University of Colorado

Xeriscape Colorado - A subsidiary program of the larger Colorado Waterwise organization, this site promotes the use of landscaping which conserves our state's limited water resources

Video Games

Insomniac Games - Makers of the Spyro the Dragon series for the original PlayStation and the Ratchet & Clank games for the PS2 and PS3, both of which I adore. (Okay, they also did the Resistance series for PS3, but I haven't played those; first-person shooters aren't my thing.)

Psychonauts - One of the "best games that nobody played." Granted, it's a PS2 title and so a bit on the obsolete side by now (although I just found out they've ported it to the PS3 and it's now available as a download through the PlayStation Store, yay!) but I thought it was a terrific game with a really original concept, great gameplay mechanics, very individual and distinct levels, and plenty of humor.

Okami - Oh. My. Gods. Originally released in 2006 for the PS2 by Capcom and Clover Studios (and now also available in an HD version for the PS3, woot!) this is literally THE best game I have ever played on ANY platform. It's creative, innovative, gigantic (a full game takes AT LEAST 60-70 hours of play time, even when you know what you're doing and can keep backtracking to a minimum), gorgeous to look at, emotionally engaging (yeah, I cried during several of the final cutscenes) and generally just plain awesome. The graphics are done not in 3-D render, but in a flatter style which has the look of a Japanese watercolor, and it works beautifully with the overall mythological theme. The gameplay is really well-done and diverse, the levels are HUGE, and the Celestial Brush, which allows the player to alter reality (repair broken objects, make plants grow, harness energies of water, wind, fire, etc. for various tasks) is one of the neatest gaming concepts I've ever seen anywhere. And I can't speak for anyone else, but I personally can't help but love a game that not only gives you points for kicking monster butt, but also for feeding the local wildlife. grinning emoticon

Traveler's Tales - Makers of the various LEGO games, which include Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Carribean, Lord of the Rings, and assorted superheroes. Despite occasional bugs and crashes, these are still wonderful games, cute and funny with a very low frustration factor.

That Game Company - After playing two of their PSN exclusive titles (Flower and Journey) I will be picking up pretty much anything else this company produces from here on out, probably sight-unseen. In a gaming world full of interchangeable first-person shooters and other genres which just don't interest me at all (car racing, sports, etc.) it's so nice to encounter something that REALLY breaks with the usual formulas, and becomes more of an experience than "just a game."

Psychology and Personality Typing

Personality Pathways - A site devoted to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) system of personality typing. They have a free questionaire which can help you determine your own type and an extensive archive of articles.

The Keirsey Temperament Sorter - A slightly different take on MBTI. This site also has a type-determining test--you do have to pay to get the fully detailed and personalized report at the end, but the simple scoring is free, and they also have a large collection of articles to browse through if you're after more information.

Type Logic - There's not a great deal here except for profiles of the 16 MBTI types, so if you're unfamiliar with the system in general, you should probably take a look at one of the preceding two sites and do some reading before you venture over here.

HumanMetrics - One more free online MBTI test

The Introvertz Coach - A goodly collection of articles on introversion, including tips and advice on how to stay true to one's inward-directed nature in an extroverted world. Sadly, the original site seems to have been taken down, so I've instead linked to the last existing snapshot of it on the Internet Wayback Machine.

The Highly Sensitive Person - This is the website of Dr. Elaine Aron, the psychologist who originally identified and defined High Sensitivity as a trait, in part because she herself possesses it. She's written several books on the subject, and it's refreshing to see someone treating sensitivity as much more than a "weakness" or some sort of pathology that needs to be "cured" through drugs or therapy. The site also offers a self-test and a limited selection of articles, including advice for parents of HSP children.

Highly Sensitive Souls - Another collection of articles on High Sensitivity and empathy, and how to cope if you have them (or know/live with someone who does).

Alternative Medicine - The first place I go to research herbs and other supplements online

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