Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Get Top Score in Bejeweled Blitz Every week

Bejeweled Blitz is one of the games in Facebook that has sustained its popularity since it has been introduced to the site last year by PopCap.  It is a fast paced puzzle game, a round lasts only 1 minute, and the goal is to out-score your friends every week because the scores are reset every Wednesday early morning.  Here are some tips on how you can out-rank your friends every week and be the talk of the town for your high scores in this game.  Our goal is to get 300,000+++ every week for a safe spot on top.
First, you should know how to recognize a good set from the first 5 seconds of the game.  If you find yourself struggling to find a match, then chances are, it’s not going to give you good results in the end.  Quit it and start a new game.  If you start a game and quickly find matches easily, then that’s a good round.  Halfway through the game, if you haven’t got any multiplier or you’re still at less than 50 thousand points, then it’s best if you quit the game and start again.  It’s important not to waste time on games that won’t put you on the leader board.

This is a so-so game.  You can find 3 matches in a glance so you can play this set but I've seen better combination so you can quit this and start a new one too.

This one's a good game.  You have possibilities for big scoring and multiple jewel matches.  You can play this game.

  This is a great game!  Do I need to explain why?  Just a few clicks and you'll have bonus items!

Speed is the key to this game and as soon as the game starts, you should have already found at least a couple of possible matches in the board.  And every time you successfully find some jewels to match, as your hand is leading the mouse to make the match, your eyes should already be looking for another one.  Think a step or 2 steps ahead of the game.  If you do this, you’ll start piling up Speed Bonus.  Speed Bonus gives additional points to every quick matches you make hereafter.  Speed bonus starts at 200 and increases to 1,000 points as long as you keep matching colors or jewels quickly.  You should not break the momentum or else you’ll lose the speed bonus and have to build it up again starting 200 points.  That’s a waste of a lot of points and time.  Also, once you max out the speed bonus, as long as you keep getting matches really fast, you’ll notice that the bonus (upper left corner of the game) is filling up with orange color.  Once it’s full, you’re going to have a few seconds of speed bonus explosion.  All the jewels that you create matches with will explode and break the other jewels around it, which is good because it means more points for every match.

Learn to prioritize matches that contain 4 or more jewels instead of just 3 jewels.  Simple reason behind this is that they give you more points and give you bonus items.  It’s important that if you see bonus items such “multiplier”, “flame gem”, “star gem” and “hypercube”, you should prioritize finding matches or using them, especially the multiplier.  If you can break the multiplier as soon as you see it, then it will start multiplying the points that you get for every match from the moment you break it.  Imagine if you have 1,000 speed bonus and you currently are at 7x (after matching a 7x multiplier gem), that 1,000 speed bonus gives you 7,000 points.

Start finding matches at the bottom of the board so that it shakes up the placement of the gems and gives you a lot more chance to find good set or balance of colors and matches.

If you have enough coins to buy boosts, make sure you can buy the maximum number of boosts which is 3.  Buying just 2 or 1 won’t do much good.  Here are my top 3 boosts that work absolutely great when used together; Mystery Gem (and pray it gives you a hypercube or a multiplier), +5 seconds (adding 5 seconds at the end of the game is crucial because this is when you have a big multiplier and you’re piling up speed bonuses at this point) and Free Multiplier.  Using boosts will give you easy 300,000+ points or as much as 500,000++ points.

All in all, practice makes perfect and as soon as you get the hang of applying all the tips in this article, then you’ll find yourself placing first every week with the least amount of time spent on the game.

I hope you find these tips useful! - Anne in Red

Friday, June 18, 2010

Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts

Oh my gosh!  Father’s day is just a couple of days away!!!  I hope everyone has ordered or started working on their father’s day gifts!  If not, well, here are a few suggestions for last minute Father’s Day gifts from ones that wouldn’t cost you anything to ones that need a little financial sacrifice:

If you’re musically inclined, then why not use the talents your dad has passed on to you?  Play the guitar and sing a song for him, like “Father and Son”, “Through the Years”, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”, “I’ll Stand By You” or, surprise him and have everyone sing “Happy Father’s Day To You” – tune of “Happy Birthday” – while bringing out a cake or some chips and beer.  ^_^  Even if the song wasn’t really intended for a Dad, you can change part of the lyrics to suit the occasion.

2) ART
If you’re into the arts and crafts, here are some great artistic last minute father’s day gift suggestions that small kids and moms can do together,  as well as artistic ideas for the big kids… ^_^

A.  Custom Made Greeting Card with Handwritten Message

Back to basics.  This is one of the easiest last minute Father’s Day gifts.  Just fold a regular bond paper twice to make your basic greeting card shape.  On the front part, draw whatever you want to draw for Dad, let mommy help you, and then for the inside of the card, write your message.  Nothing beats a handwritten message in this age of computers, texts, and emails.  You can use crayons, water-based paints/poster colors, cutouts, glue, a pair of scissors and anything else you want to use.   Be creative!  You can use harder, thicker special papers if you want.  Throw in a poem you've made to make it more special!

B.  Handmade Picture Frame with Family Photo or Scrapbook

Make a decorative picture frame by using craft materials like ready-made letterings you can buy from the arts/crafts (scrapbook) section of the bookstore, some buttons, lace, etc.  For the frame, you can use illustration board or any kind of board you want.  You can even recycle parts of the big balikbayan boxes.  Just use the side that doesn’t have any print or you can cover up the print with your art materials.

Mini-scrapbooks are also available.  You can put your baby pictures there or photos with you and your Dad together.  You don’t have to put photos on every page.  You can have family members sign or write a message in some of the pages.  Put photos of your Dad hard at work, photos of your Dad in the garage, family day pictures, etc.

C.  Powerpoint Presentation with Background Music and Family Photos

Be very creative here!  Mix some nice background music with your favorite photos with Dad and the whole family!  Easy last minute father’s day gift!  You can have funny captions for every photo, and have a theme and a title to tie up the whole presentation, something like “When I Grow Up…”  ^_^ Plus PCD soundtrack?  ^_^  Funny!   Then have your photos with Dad from babyhood upto your current age…  And towards the end of the presentation, switch to a more serious music and add some sincere and serious messages, something like, “And as the years have passed us by, the more I realized how much of a wonderful Dad you are.  I hope someday I could be half as wonderful as you are.  Happy Father’s Day!” 

After you finish the presentation, save it and send it via email, or post it on his Facebook wall, or sneak in and copy it to his laptop or the PC and trick him into opening the file.  Use a funny filename too if you want, or use a filename that goes like this, “Open this if you are (name of your dad).pptx”.

D.  Customized T-Shirt

This one, you can either do it yourself or have it printed by someone else.  T-shirts would cost around 150Php – 200Php depending on the size and brand of plain shirt.  If you’re going to design your own Father’s Day T-shirt gift and print it on the shirt yourself, it’s best to use cotton shirts although there are “Transfer papers” that are for semi-elastic shirts too.  The transfer papers cost around 100Php or less and they come in pairs or sometimes 5pcs, depending on what type you get.  You’ll have a choice of buying light transfer papers which are used for white T-shirts and dark transfer papers for colored shirts.  There are instructions on how to print and transfer the designs but it’s basically ironing the design into the shirt.

 If all that seem too complicated or inconvenient for you, malls have specialized shops or stalls that print designs you choose from their own album, into the T-shirt of your choice.  Easier!  You can choose to have letters and spell out a name or a message.  Each letter will cost around 5Php each.  Designs can cost from 20-100Php depending on the type and size of design.  This one’s fast and you’ll get the shirt in seconds after you finalize your design and layout on the shirt.

What Dad doesn’t want to be pampered by his kids or his wife?  Offer to be of service the whole day!  Everything he wants, you do!  Let's say... a massage?  Back rub?  Watch his favorite movies over and over again?  Sing videoke?  Play golf?  Or you can give him a gift certificate of his favorite store whether it’s a sport shop, a clothes shop or a massage parlor.

You can treat him to a dinner or lunch out at his favorite restaurant, or you can check out my food blog (http://thewanderingboots.wordpress.com) for restaurant reviews to find which restaurant is right for your celebration.  I recommend Lime 88 ^_^. 

These are just some of the last minute Father’s day gifts you can give your Dad, but since every Dad is special from all the Dads, I’m sure you know what the best gift is for your Dad.  It’s really the thought that counts and the effort or time your put into thinking about the gift or doing it.  This is just one day in a year that we honor our fathers, and I hope we honor them well and give them the proper respect and gratitude they deserve. 

Happy Father’s Day to my Papa! – from your little (well, not so little anymore) Letlet, now turned Anne in Red.

Here are some of our pictures from last year's Father's Day (2009)!  We were lucky enough to spend that day with him while he's in the Philippines!  He's such a funny Dad! Super Dad!

Reminiscing our Racks lunch at SM North EDSA with Papa some years back...  It's Racks again, MOA branch!

And here are some cute shots we took somewhere from several locations in MOA.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Papa, Itay, Ama out there! - From Anne in Red.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Wedding Preparations - Where to Start?

In the light of the anniversary of one of the best things that happened in my life, our wedding, I would like to give some wedding preparation tips to all bride-to-be’s out there as they’re planning for their wedding because I know that wedding preparations are one of the most daunting tasks any 2 persons (I assume the groom is going to help the bride) can take on.  I’ll break my posts down into parts because I’m sure it’s going to be a long series of tips.

Where to begin?  What are the first steps?

Once you’ve said yes to one of the most famous questions in the world, “Will you marry me?” or even if you skipped that and just decided you’ll tie the knot, you can start your wedding plans with either of the 2 options:

A. Choosing the Date

This is for couples who have set a date in stone and don’t ever want to change that wedding date for personal reasons like favorite number, favorite date, significant date, tradition or cultural beliefs.  This means, that everything else, like the venue availability and guest availability, will have to work around this.  So, set a date first before going forward.  This will be your guiding star throughout the planning stage.  The best preparation time is a year or more before the wedding so it’s best to set a date a year or more ahead.  Making reservations or services will be a lot cheaper, your guests will have more time to plan their trip if they will be coming from outside the country and you won’t have to rush things and get all tensed on the wedding day.

The Anne in Red Experience:

Personally, we had 2 years to plan for ours, and that’s just fine because we had a habit of relaxing a bit and getting side-tracked when planning.  ^_^  We originally wanted a Christmas season wedding because the hotels and the churches are wonderfully decorated at that time of the year.  But, due to other factors, specifically my dad’s availability, that didn’t happen.  So clearly, this wasn’t our guiding star.

B. Choose the Church (or Ceremony Venue) and/or Reception Venue

This is for couples who have a specific church or venue in mind and everything else will have to work around that venue.  That means, it’s more important for you to get that venue and you’re flexible with the date of the wedding.  Decide if it’s your dream church or a dream reception venue, either way, make sure that both locations, where you’re going to have your wedding rites and the reception, are close to each other.  This is going to be your North star, and your plans will generally revolve around this.

The Anne in Red Experience:

This is exactly the path we went on.  We, well, I had a church in mind and have wanted to get married in it since I was in high school, love at first sight.  When I was in high school, It was a church in the middle of a reclamation area in Pasay and it was the only structure there.  It was like a church disconnected from the city but still very close to it.  Fast forward 10 or so years after, one of the biggest malls in the Philippines (Mall of Asia) was right in front of it and soon many other huge structures around the area that turned it into a metropolis!  Well, I still wanted to get married there so I had to put up with all the buildings and the crowd from the mall.  Later on, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

 Here's The church from the outside.  Clean lines, really neat and just breathtaking in a simple elegant way.  I love how simple and clean it looks.  It's like all outlines and no rough lines.

  Here's the church from the inside.  I love it even if it's huge and really not ideal for small intimate weddings.  Our wedding was small with 100-150 guests, but still, I wanted this big church not for the prestige but because I've laid my eyes on it for a long long time, and I just wanted my dream to come true.  Love it!

And here's how it looked in December.  Yes, the lights change!:

There certainly are other ways you can start your wedding preparations.  It really depends on your priorities and your technique or style as a couple.  Wedding is a big project in which the bride and groom are the project managers.  Create your own style of approach but if you’re lost and find yourself not knowing where to start, you can choose from either one of the options I enumerated.  I know that when it comes to wedding preparations, you'll need all the help you can get!

Happy planning and don’t get stressed out!  Have fun while preparing for the big day!  A reminder from Anne in Red.

* By the way, you can find more details about our wedding on our wedsite that you might be able to get ideas from at http://www.mywedding.com/mariolovesanne/.  You can also create your own free wedsite account to document your wedding preparations!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Amateur Copy Artist - Katsa and Watercolor

I started a project in March to paint a full picture of an unknown anime.  I wanted to see how so many years of not drawing and painting has affected my skills (if I had any).  ^_^  I finished it 1st week of April after 2 weeks of on and off painting.

The materials I used were:

  • Cheesecloth or better known as "Katsa" - I used leftovers from the 4 or so meters I bought in Glorietta at 18php each meter (on sale in one of the stores - the rest were selling them for 30php).  I used them to make privacy curtains to hide the stuff under the stairs.  ^_^
  • Watercolor
  • water
  • tissue
  • a picture from the internet (the image I copied)
  • Pencil
  • extra paper or extra katsa to test out the colors

I sketched the outlines on the katsa using a mechanical pencil (the only pencil I had at that time) which I didn't think would really work, but it did!

Here's the sketch on the katsa in pencil.

And here it is side by side with the image I'm trying to copy.  I have a layer of paper covering the table because I expect the paint, being very watery, to seep through the katsa and just blot out the painting.  A paper or tissue at the back of the katsa will absorb the excess paint or water.

And here's the finish product!  Not bad, ei?

And here's the finish product side by side with the original image plus some of the materials I used.  I wasn't confident enough to add the sakura flowers on the yukata.  I might mess it up and it looks pretty ok even without them, so I left the flowers out.

I loved the whole experience and to actually finish the painting is just unbelievable!  It's like a personal breakthrough because I seem to always be good at starting things and never big on actually finishing them except if I really have to.  ^_^

If you want to see the painting as it progressed, here's a slideshow featuring shots I took throughout the painting process:

Why don't you start working on that project you've been putting aside for a long time now?  Whether it's learning to speak in a different language, taking up a hobby you always wanted to try or starting your own blog, there's no better time but NOW!  For we'll never know what tomorrow is going to be like for us.

A friendly reminder from Anne in Red.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Addicted to Free Online Games

I've been addicted to games all my life.  I think it's my brother's influence on me.  We started with the good ol' Family Computer, then Atari, PSX (the 1st playstation but shouldn't be confused with PS1 which was the more portable version and sometimes comes with an LCD monitor attachment), borrowed Dreamcast so we played a few games there too, PS2, PC games played over the internet and LAN like Counter-Strike, Starcraft and MMORPGs (Mass Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) like Ragnarok, and now... I can't stop playing free online games!

Free online games are free games (of course) created buy heaven sent game developers, which are often flash based or sometimes even java...  They have really quickly achievable end goals compared to long playing console games and almost goal-less MMORPGs.  They're often hosted on the developer's own site such as Girlgamesclub.com and Armorgames.com.  This means, these sites develop their own whole barrage of assorted types of games and host them on their own website (only their games are on their websites) but make it available for other websites to embed the games on their sites.  A sample of these "other websites" that host various games from different developers are Sugar-free-games.com and Freeworldgroup.com.

I check a whole lot of my own bookmarked sites everyday because there's sure to be a least 5 new games posted in a day.  But I don't play all of the games.  The games are categorized as (the most common categories) Strategy, Adventure/RPG, Skill/Simulation, Sport, Puzzle, Action, Shooting and Classic/Arcade.  The categories of games I love to play are Strategy (mostly tower defense games), Skill/Simulation (lots of cooking games, mostly mouse heavy games - use the mouse a lot) and RPG games (role-playing games).

Exactly how addicted am I?  Well, I did mention I check the sites everyday, right?  I guess that would make me an addict already, right?  And when I play, my goal is always to reach the end goal with the best statistics or with the most number of points.  Most of these games allow you to submit your scores online at the end of the game.  Then you'd be able to see how you ranked among all the other players around the world.  If you're playing with a Philippine IP, you get to see our flag beside your name!  I've ranked really high in some of the games and I'm proud of it.

Here are some of the tops scores I've landed:

This is from a game called "Cook Until Done" where you have to cook (mostly grill) sausages and stuff until they are perfectly done and serve them to your customers.  And yes, top score!  See the Philippine flag proudly on number 1?  This one's a cooking game, but some sites don't have a separate "cooking" category so they place these kinds of games under "skill".

The 2 pictures above are from "Parasite X" where you have to aid the parasite and stop the blood cells from killing it.  It's considered to be a strategy game and a skill game too.

If you're looking for something to do with your free time, well, I'm not saying this is the best and most productive activity you can do, but incase you want to give it a try, here are some of the sites I check everyday for new games:

Happy gaming and hope to see more Philippine flags on highscores, from Anne in Red!
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