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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cards...

Greetings again friends! It's been a while since I last posted on here and I thought I would share something a bit crafty with you! Christmas is a time of giving and cheer and for me giving something from the heart is what it's all about. I adore making gifts and cards and although this year I sent my parents a beautiful store bought card (I really loved the image and message inside, they were perfect) the only other card I've decided to give out I crafted myself. Sadly, I didn't take a photo of the actual card before sealing the envelope so I will have to ask my dear friend to allow me to photograph once opened so that you can see what I'm about to describe.

For the card I took a plain blank card I bought at the dollar store and chose two pages from a magazine that would mean something to the recipient, in this case a scene from London, England and a beach scene. I traced around the card on both images I had chosen and cut them out, pasted them on either side and with marker wrote a Christmas greeting on the front. Simple, right? Inside I wrote a personal message and was done!

The envelope was a plain beige cream color so I decided to add a little to it. Here's what I used:

Magazine page, for cut-outs
Elmer's Glue Stick, for pasting
Crayola Markers in Classic Colors
Scissors and holiday stickers 

Basically, I cut-out a few images from the page I had chosen and arranged them on the envelope pasting them down right away so as to know what kind of space I had to work with. Afterward I drew a little garland around the images on the edge of the front of the envelope and then decided to write "Merry Christmas" in several languages (this was a personal choice as I know my friend will greatly appreciate the gesture). Here's a close up of the front of the envelope:

For the back of the envelope I used a sticker in the middle and wrote out some lyrics of popular holiday songs all over the back, again, just a personal touch that would be appreciated by the recipient. One just needs to get creative and know the likes of the person being given the card or gift. Here is an image of the back of the envelope:

See how easy and personal that is? I'll let you know what he thought of it once I've given it to him! Just thought I would share that simple craft idea with you all. Please, don't forget to check out my personal crafting blog, Mes Petites Creations, for more crafting and decorating ideas. May your days be sunny and bright and may all your Christmases be white!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Nadia Marie

PS: I will post a photo of the card once it's been received! 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Traveling Notebooks & PenPalling

Traveling Notebooks
Whether you have heard about them or not, you can participate in the one that SandbookNet is organizing. The idea behind the Traveling Notebook is that you will receive a notebook in the post from someone (either the Sandbook.Net team or another player in the game) and you will have to:
1) Decorate two pages - you can either tell us something about your culture, country, customs or even your lifestyle, share inspirational thoughts or anything at all that you find worth sharing. You can use whatever your heart desires to decorate the pages - clippings, deco tape, ribbons, postcards, photos, glitter, etc.
2) Take a photo of your entry and send it to us at fun(at) so that we can keep track where the notebook is and if you have completed the first task.
3) Send it to the next person who have signed to join the game.
Once all the people have signed, the notebook will be returned to us and we'd make photos and upload them in our Traveling Notebook Section. We'd have them in picture formats and also available in pdf format so you can look through the whole notebook once it is complete.
To sign up for the "real" Traveling Notebook - you have to fill out the form on our website. Click here to do so: Participate in Real Traveling Notebook.

Virtual Traveling Notebook
(Traveling Sheets)
We realize that the project of the "Real" Traveling Notebook is very ambitious and that it might face certain difficulties in terms of getting lost in the mail or someone breaking off the chain of the Traveling Notebook.
Moreover the decorated Traveling Notebook will progressively get heavier and it might present unexpected postal fees/costs for the people later on in the list, so that's why we decided to come up with an alternative, called the Virtual Traveling Notebook. For this project you will need to: decorate any number of A5 sized sheets of paper (that is 6 x 9 inches). Again you can present your country, lifestyle, customs, or any message you want to pass along and send them to our SandbookNet's postal address. As soon as we receive the decorated sheets, we will make photos of them and then tag them with your name and country (and email if you choose so) and finally upload them on our website so anyone can view them. Also when we have more sheets together, we will be making "virtual notebooks" (by combining the sheets that we have received) and making them into pdf files that you will be able to download.
To participate in any of the traveling projects you will need to state your interest by filling out the application form on our pen pal site or click here: Participate in Real Traveling Notebook.

Friday, December 3, 2010

SandbookNet is updated!

Our New Look is out: Have you explored it? If not, head to Sandbook.Net and check it out! Then don't forget to voice out your opinion about our latest update!

You may be asking or already aware why such a change was needed and made. Ever since SandbookNet's birthday on Nov 11th, 2010, we have been having a new bubbly website layout. The new design was compact, but there were issues surrounding it.

Firstly, the mailing system was misbehaving and not working. For some reason it refused to work with our design. The problem was rather annoying, since we were relying on the mailing system to distribute the magazine. Our IT Specialist was working on the mailing system and he finally managed resolve the problem. However, the magazine's size did not allow us to send the first issue as an attachment to all of our subscribers. Instead, we used the mailing system to send out a link to our website so anyone can download their copy of the magazine.

Secondly, as we understood it the hard way, the design was prone to hackers attacks as there were some unresolved problems with the code towards the website. That might sound a bit abstract, but in short it meant that we had to start working on a new design and to write a new "code". As we were in the process of updating our website, it was sadly hacked. The site was down for several hours and later on restored. That made us speed up our work.

Finally, people complained about the navigation menu, so we decided to redo it. Our new website has easy to handle menu with less drop down menus. We also took in mind the suggestions that were coming in from our Survey, so we finalized the looks and gave the site a final brush. We are looking forward to your comments on our new look!

So to all of you, from all of us and of course our friends Gaya Designs: hope you will enjoy the new look and functionality of our website! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


November is Military Family Appreciation Month here in the States. I may not agree with all of my governments decisions, but I respect and support the American servicemen and women in the military, especially those of the National Guard. I wanted to serve, but could not due to medical reasons. My Grandfather was in the Air Force, my uncle was a Marine, and my little brother this past spring finished basic training for the National Guard, and could potentially be shipped out. No matter the politics, these men and women serve their country, their families, other folks the world over, for ideals higher than themselves. 

In the case of the National Guard, many choose to serve while maintaining their private/personal lives, rather than lengthier/full time service. No matter if it is the Guard or another branch, or here in America or elsewhere in the world, military personnel may have a great sacrifice not necessarily of their personal choosing, but one of duty and honor.

To honor these folks, I have created the OPERATION SOLDIER SWAP, to combine my interest in postcard swapping, and to offer something to those National Guards who are serving overseas. I have contacted the National Guard, via their Facebook page, asking if there are soldiers overseas who may be interested in corresponding once a month through postcard exchanges, as some may not get much in the way of mail. I have contacted friends on my Michigan Swappers group (Facebook), and those on the I love postcards :) page (Facebook) if they may have an interest in helping. I've yet to hear back from any soldiers, but the National Guard page responded that it was a wonderful and interesting idea!

I hope to correspond with some of those who are serving, and hope that this project in some way gives them something to make their duty a little better...

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Golf 101 & My Passion for the Fairways & Greens
By G.J.Lentz

Depending on the season and weather, I love to be out on the golf course! It is a sport/hobby I picked up just a year ago with my uncle, a sport I always thought was pretty silly and lame. Growing up I never cared for sports much, my father played with his work buddies, my grandfather was passionate about it, having visited many courses around the country, but I just didn't "get it". That is until one day my uncle invited me out to go with him, to drive the cart while he played. After a few holes I was intrigued and wanted to give it a whack myself! It was addicting, a lot of fun, good exercise, and it's a great way to have some fun an test your skills!

Here in Battle Creek, Michigan we have many wonderful courses to choose from, public and members only. It really isn't too costly to start and play, but it an be if you go nuts for it. However, if you're good and Tigeresque, you could make millions in the pros! Or at least become a local legend...

When the weather turns south, like now as winter comes, the courses close up until spring, unless your fortunate enough to live in laces like Florida, Arizona, or California, as an example, where the climate allows for year around golfing. Or if you have the time and money, you could always travel out of state and even out of country to experience great golfing anytime of the year. It is my dream to hit the courses of St. Andrew's in Scotland, as well as others around the world.

I am not a pro, and I am not particularly skilled, but in just a year I have come a long ways. I am not the most knowledgeable on the game, and I don't really follow the pro sport, but I like to catch some of it on the Golf channel now and again to see how the pros play and what courses they play, that I have "played" on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise for the PlayStation. If I'm low on cash or the weather is sucking, I always have my Tiger Woods on the PlayStation. And you know what? You can actually learn a lot from it, and I do believe it has helped my own game. Still, there is nothing to compare to real world experience. Practice makes perfect!

Courses locally and worldwide are designed with great beauty and challenges to the player. There is an element of skill, luck, and physics to the sport. One of my biggest challenges is learning to judge distance and striking the ball. It's not too hard on the PlayStation as there are a lot of aids, which has helped me to improve my real-world game, but out on the course it can be tricky. I just have a poor judge for distance, naturally, and judging the power of my stroke, and I have yet to learn how to strike the ball in different ways for spinning it left, right, forward, back...the game offers many challenges to players of all learning and mastery levels.

Basically in golf you are hitting a little ball with a stick! That is how the sport first was started back in the 15th century by sheep herders in Scotland. They knocked around a rock with a stick or their staff along natural trails and obstacles. Over the centuries it as evolved and science even plays a great role in the sport nowadays as courses and equipment are designed for optimal play and challenge.

The basic rule of golf is to hit the ball well, get it close to the hole, and to "putt" the ball into the hole with as few strokes as possible. Each course has 18 holes, that is standard, though smaller area courses may just be 9 holes, or larger courses may offer 2 or more courses, each with 18 holes, for beginners, amateurs, and the more experienced. Each "hole", which means from start to finish, has a scoring "par". Ever us or hear the term, "Par for the course"? Par means a definitive number or amount, equally no more or less than stated.

In golf, each hole has a par of strokes, the number of times you should hit the ball before getting it in the hole. There are Par 3's, Par 4s, and Par 5's, meaning respectively, on a Par 3 you should hit the ball no more than 3 times, making your hole on the 3rd hit...4 times for a Par 4, and 5 times for a Par 5. There are penalties for hitting it more than your "Par", and t be a better and great player, it is always good to make it "Under Par", that is making your hole in less strokes than required. Official course rules allows for a standard Par of 72 for an entire game of 18 holes. To make Par for the course, you should score exactly 72, making par every hole. Making Under Par throughout the course is great, while Over Par is not so much!

Golf s a game where you play against the course, against nature and the design of the course, against yourself, and you can also play against a friend or many others. You can team up, and there are variations to the rules to make for more challenging or fun games. As with many other games/sports there are handicaps for different levels of players and the courses. No 2 holes are exactly the same, as you have to take into count the levelness of the ground, the weather (wind, rain), the distance and design of each hole, and such things as obstacles (trees, rough ground, tall grass, sand bunkers...)

Courses all over the world are designed in many different ways, but with standards as dictated by the PGA, the Pro Golfers Association. Some courses have a PGA rating, because they meet or exceed certain pro sport standards for the course, but a course can be made and played by anyone, in any fashion.

A course is designed for aesthetics and challenge of the game. Many courses around the world, and even locally, are a showcase of the area's naturally beauty, and man's creativity. Great thought and care is taken to create and maintain a course, using special types of grass, elevations, and "routes" from the Tee position to the Green, where the Flag/Pin and Hole is. Each hole, and the course as a whole may use several different types of grass that hold up to wear and tear, and the seasons, and utilize the natural beauty and obstacles of trees, brush, rocks, or man made creeks, sand bunkers, etc...

Your basic equipment are clubs and balls, and there are many different brands designed to aid the player both amateur and pro, but knowledge, skill and luck are really more important. I have been playing with a cheap club set that cost about 100 dollars, and I generally buy a handful of used balls from the course I play, or a cheap box of balls from the local Meijer/Wal Mart. You will want "tees" which are wood or plastic like "picks" that you stick in the ground, they are like pedestals for the ball to sit on and be struck from. They come in a range of colors ad styles for player preference, some are designed for beginners to allow a "perfect" tee position for your drive. Gloves are also used, you need just one depending on whether your a righty or lefty, to aid in grip, some people prefer to use two. You can purchase your club set with a carrying bag, or choose individual clubs and buy the bag separately. You can walk the course with your bag, very good exercise, you may buy/rent a caddy which you can wheel your bag easier while still walking (club bags can be a bit weighty) or you may rent a golf cart and ride around (I'm lazy I always ride, lol). Besides, when you hit a bad ball it's much easier to ride about to find it, and I always feel (being an amateur) that I don't want to hold up someone else's game behind me as I am constantly searching for my vagabond balls.

You start your game at the Tee Box, or the Drive. You commonly use the Driver club, designed to really whack the hell out of that poor ball! Depending on distance, the Fairway, and obstacles, you may club-down to a 3 or 5 Wood, or a 1 or 2 Iron. Each club is designed, in principle, for different distances, height, and shot types, to be determined by the players skill, style, or the lie of their ball. This is what the Caddy does if you ever watch a game of golf, they too are good players, and help chose the right club for the occasion, for the player. This is one of my faults in the game, as I have yet to master knowing what club to use, and what my skill is for each club. A great way to test this is using a Driving Range, where you can practice striking the ball with each of your clubs, with varying power and distances, to get a feel for what you will use on the course. I go now and again, but I prefer the experience and practice on the course, myself.

Teeing off, or driving your ball is important, but not ALL important. Some players go for maximum distance, others for for a compliment of both. There is a great satisfaction in hitting that ball hard and well. To hear the whack of the club head against the ball...I love it! Even better is to see it soar sky high, and land in a very good position up on the Fairway. Your drive is determined by your power of the swing, your form of the swing, your speed of the is also is determined by wind speed and direction, the lie of the Fairway, and the elevation of the course. Many factors to learn and master, but it is fun, its a game of games within the game.

Players have different styles by which they an hold and strike the ball, it's important to try and learn them and practice them, to find what works best for you, and what is best for the condition of where your playing and what you want to achieve. Sometimes accuracy and laying-up is more important than taking out your frustrations by "killing" the ball. It just depends on what you want to achieve. My drives are generally pretty low and not too far, though I get some pretty good ones now and again. I practice to improve getting my ball higher, and further, but also straighter. I hate missing the Fairway to left or right, especially when I loose a ball to the woods, deep brush, or some creek, pond. Where your ball drops, rolls, and comes to lie will greatly determine your next shot, what club, and how easy to make par or better, or worse.

The Tee position often has at least 3 different positions, the furthest back from the fairway is the most experienced golfers position, allowing for a longer hole, and for those who are power hitters. Many courses have a map of each hole and tells you the distance from that tee to the flag/hole. The middle tee is for the average golfer, and the shorter tee, closest to the Fairway, commonly called the Woman's Tee, for beginners and those who do not hit very far. I have worked my way from the Women's Tee to the middle Tee! The Tee area is made of a different grass than the rest of the course, it is very short and hardy, as it is trampled and gouged by club swings, called divots. Good etiquette here is to replace the divot if you see the chunk of sod you drove with or instead of the ball, lol, but many places offer a bucket of dirt and seed that you can place and tap with your foot, to help maintain the course. After all, if maintenance prices increase, so does the cost of your game! Also, you should be quiet when someone is taking their stroke, be behind the player to not inhibit their drive, or for safety in-case of an errant ball flies back and to the side (it happens and could be lethal). You never drive a cart upon the tee grass, take a good look at it, you can see the difference.

After your Tee drive, you should be in the Fairway. The Fairway is made of one or more grass types, different from the Tee, the Green, and the Rough. The Fairway is the stretch of green grass, cut very short, like astro turf in baseball/football, by which you always want the ball to be landing. To be outside the Fairway is a bad shot, most often you would be in the Rough, which is longer, thicker grass, sometimes the natural grass of the area, other times designed, there may be rush, bushes, trees, or rocks...creeks, can be bad, but sometimes not too bad...but still it may cost you an extra stroke or a harder approach to get to the Green. I don't know what the official PGA standard is, and some courses offer their own standard, but a certain distance outside of the Fairway may be considered Out of Bonds, lie in football or baseball, and you will take an automatic 2 stroke penalty, OUCH! I know water shots, where you loose your ball to a creek, pond, is an automatic 2 stroke penalty. On a Drive, you commonly re-drive your ball from the Tee if it is out of bounds. On a water shot, you would either shoot again from your spot, or take a drop near where your ball went in the water. I usually strike again from wherever I am. On a drive, it is good etiquette that you take what ever shot you have, unless lost to deep woods/brush/water, then it is common to take a new shot. Courses don't like you playing "best ball", something I frequently do if no one is really behind me, because I don't want to take up someone else's time.

The Fairway may not always be flat land, it can have elevations and dips, it may carry the ball to the left or right, it mind wind its way to the Green like a snake...Many courses, if you look closely, and this is true on the PlayStation, the Fairway grass looks banded with lighter and darker you might see of some peoples lawns. This is done to show the direction of the Fairway, the ball will generally follow that line, but this isn't something all courses have, or that can be completely dependant on. Depending on your lie, the position of the ball, and the distance to the Green, your next shot will be the Approach shot, meaning you are approaching the Green, your goal to get it in the cup, the hole, or at least very close for a easy Putt. If your on a Par 4, this is your 2nd stroke, you should be able to make the Green or very close. On a Par 5 you will be taking a 3rd stroke to reach the Green, unless your very good. On Tiger Woods PGA for PlayStation I am THAT good. In real life? A Par 5 is like a Par 10 for me, lol!

Club choice depends on the wind, the lie, the distance, and your skill. At the very least you want to stay in the Fairway, if you can't make the Green. You may have to negotiate things like rough, brush, trees, rocks, sand bunkers or water hazards before getting to the green, it isn't always a straight shot. Your ball might be laying downhill, uphill...the wind may be blowing to your back, face, right, have to judge these things and make your call. Bunker shots, the sand traps, are not good. They are a harder shot, that's why they are called traps, lol. They are doable, but it takes skill and always luck. It's very, very good to just learn to avoid them, which sometimes means you should lay up, or hit the ball to land shorter than you would like, but safer. Better to be safer than sorry.

You should always be careful and aware of what is going on around you. A stray ball can be deadly. Don't strike if people are still on the fairway. It's usually okay to drive if folks are on the green, but better form to just wait. Most courses have these holes lying alongside one another, so a stray ball is always possible, you must yell out, FORE! as a warning, if it appears your ball may be heading in the general direction of others. This warns them to watch out, take cover! It happens, else there wouldn't be a word for it!

After your approach shot you may not be on the Green, but you could still gt the ball in the hole, or very close if you are skilled and lucky. I use my Pitching Wedge when I am this close, a firm shot, following through with my must gage distance, lie, wind, and your power of the stroke. I always try to not miss the hole by much, that is my goal. I am often on one side of the Green, and then on the other! Grrrrrrr! You have Chip shots, which a shorter bouncing shot, and you have shots like Pitch and Flop, which are higher and flop down.  You just have to learn them and practice them. If your in the sand, you would use a sand wedge. As with teeing off, you will want to rake the sand, to fix the marks you have left with your feet and stroke, because you may cause voids that another players ball may get stuck in. Usually there are sand rakes nearby the trap for you smooth out your mishaps. The same goes for the Fairway, if you create a divot, you should find that clump you displaced, and tap it back into the ground to help maintain the course.

The Green is where you want to end up, close to the hole if not already getting the ball in. Putting is where you're true test of the game is. There is a saying in golf, "Drive for show and putt for dough,". All your shots to the green have amounted to getting you to make Par, hopefully, but putting can really kill your game. Many courses offer a putting practice zone where you can practice. And don't think for a minute that Miniature Golf doesn't help. It actually can.

The Green is made of different grasses, it is very short like carpet. Some green may be soft, some ma be hard. This means your ball may plop down and lie down dead, it may bounce and roll away...The Green area may be elevated above the Fairway, it may lie down from the Fairway. The Green itself is a game unto itself. It may have twists and curves, you may be putting uphill or down, you don't always luck out with a straight even shot to the hole, or the cup. But that is your goal, to get it in with few shots, hopefully just one if it didn't skillfully or luckily roll in on your approach for a Birdie or Eagle, or a god-shot: the Albatross.

Par of course is getting the ball in the hole on the 3rd, 4th, or 5th shot depending on the requirement for that hole. A Birdie is getting it in one shot under the par: 2/3, 3/4, or 4/5. A Eagle, a very good scoring shot, is two under par: that is a Hole in One, or an Ace if it is a Par 3, or 2/4 and 3/5 respectively. An Albatross is one of those OH MY GOD moments...getting the shot in the whole as a Hole in One on a Par 4, or on your 2nd shot of a Par 5.

When putting you use the putter, a special club designed just for that. It all depends on the lie, the speed, your luck and skill. Taking more shots than par results in a bad score, Bogey for 1 Over Par, Double Bogey for 2 Over Par, Triple Bogey for 3 Over Par, and so on with a cut off of 10 strokes. You never really have to count or take a score past the tenth, if its not in, by that 10th shot, your taking a 10 over, which equals: 13 for a Par 3, 14 for a Par 4 and a 15 for Par 5. Playing outside of official games you should keep putting, if no one is waiting for you. This gives you practice with different lies and distances. My goal is to always get it to at least stop right next to the hole, if not going in. I hate, but commonly over shoot the hole.

On a Par three your ultimate goal and right of passage is to make the HOLE IN ONE, getting that ball in the cup/hole on your first swing. I have yet to do it, but my shot is getting better, I'm at least making more Greens than not. You at least want to try and get your ball on the Green, for a Birdie Putt, if not as close as possible, on any approach regardless of Par.

My uncle says it is a game you love to hate, and it is true. It can be very frustrating, but the challenges are also what makes it interesting. Your playing outside, under different and sometimes uncontrollable conditions to test your skill and luck. It's great way to spend a morning, afternoon, or evening on your own, with a friend, or a small group; fresh air, nature, friendship, exercise...FORE!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Yummy Egg Fried rice With Prawns

I love egg fried rice and I also love prawns so why not add them together to make a tastey dish.

Egg fried rice with prawns

Quick fried prawns


  • 1 tbsp oil 
  • 1 red pepper 
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional) 
  • 200g white rice 
  • 150g prawns 
  • 100g canned/frozen peas or sweetcorn 
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in wok or frying pan and add 1 diced red pepper, crushed clove of garlic and 1tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger and 1 finely chopped red chilli (optional). 
  2. Add 200g cooked white rice, 150g cooked peeled prawns and 100g canned or frozen peas or sweetcorn and cook for 5 minutes. 
  3. Beat 2 large eggs and add to the rice mixture and cook for 1 minute.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My life and pen palling

Hi there everybody.  My name is Sharon and I'm new to this blog.  I'll just introduce myself in this post.  I am 32 years old.  I live in Dallas, Texas with my darling husband and 7 month old baby boy.  I work full time at a 24 hour call center that handles calls for emergency roadside assistance/dispatch.  That is what we do, but there are many campaigns that are there.  I take calls for Avis/Budget rental car customers.  It's not too bad.  The pay is pretty good.  I am here for the same reason as you.  I am here to meet new people and have fun.  With the job I have, I unfortunately have no time for a social life.  There are many of us at this job that have that problem.  I did do my best to have a good time today with my husband and a new friend from work as we all hung out today and played Monopoly.  That was fun.  So I am trying, and when I am not socializing with anyone at work, I am online chatting or e-mailing or writing letters to people in my spare time, whether at work or here at home.  I do a lot of my writing at work in between calls.  I have been pen palling for many years off and on.  For the past few years I have been moving around and doing other things and was too busy to do any pen palling, let alone any swapping.  Now, I have settled down and am a happily married woman to a wonderful man and mother to a great kid.  The Lord has truly blessed me.  My parents are still alive, thank goodness.  I have a big brother who is also happily married to a great girl and together they have 4 children now.  They have a set of twin girls, a 2 year old girl and a baby boy who is 2 months older than mine.  Lately, I am doing what I can to meet people and get back into writing.  I usually like to write about what is going on in my life and the things that I have learned that interests me.  I usually write very long letters or e-mails.  I really enjoy social media web sites like facebook and myspace, and I just joined Cafe Mom the other night and am getting into that.  Things that I may be writing about are ways to improve our lives, diabetes as that is a big part of my life, and just anything else that is of interest to me.  I hope that you find what I write to be of interest to you.  Any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks!  :)          

Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to: Smoky Eyes

Here is a great step by step guid on how to get the smoky eyes look.

Too Faced Smoky Eye Kit

1. Apply a dark eyeshadow over your entire eyelid, blending it up and out towards outer edges (hint: a slightly shimmery texture looks sexier and will be easier to blend). For a true 'air-brushed' effect, use a cotton bud to soften hard edges.

Eye pencil: Bourjois Khol & Contour Eye Pencil in Noir Expert

2. Using a dark eyeliner pencil, thinly line eyes close to your upper and lower lashes, from the inner eye corner to the outer edge and back again for a smooth finish. For added drama, line the inside of your eyes with a dark pencil in black, grey or brown (if you find these colours too severe, try a dark blue or dark green).

Eye smudger: Ruby & Millie Eye Smudge<alt=

3. Smudge the pencil line and intensify if necessary by repeating step 2. For a slightly "slept in" look, use a smudger brush to soften the line.

Eyelash curler: Tweezerman Deluxe Eyelash Curler

4. Curl lashes and apply glossy black mascara, making sure you apply to the inner and outer lashes to really open up your eyes.

Spider Cake

Something to make this halloween tha everyone who comes round will love.

Spder Cake
225g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
To make the icing
100g butter, softened
450g icing sugar
100g chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled
3-4tbsp orange juice
Few drops of Black and Orange Food Colouring

  1. Grease two 20cm shallow round cake tins and line the bases. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Add the orange zest, butter, caster sugar and eggs and beat together.
  2. Divide between the tins and level the tops. Bake for about 25 minutes or 
until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  3. Beat the butter for the icing with 200g icing sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the chocolate, then sandwich the cakes with the chocolate butter icing.
  4. Sift the remaining sugar into a bowl and add enough juice to make an icing that will coat the cake. Put a little in a separate bowl, colour it black, put it in a small freezer bag and snip off a corner.
  5. Mix the orange colouring with the rest of the icing and pour over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Pipe four rings of black icing on top and draw a skewer through the icing to get a web effect.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

13 Facebook Parodies That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

13 Facebook Parodies That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

Steak, Guinness and cheese pie with a puff pastry lid

Steak, Guinness and cheese pie with a puff pastry lid

• olive oil
• 3 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
• 30g butter, plus extra for greasing
• 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
• 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped
• 4 field mushrooms, peeled and sliced
• 1kg brisket of beef or stewing beef, cut into 2cm cubes
• a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 x 440ml can of Guinness (no lager, please!)
• 2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
• 200g freshly grated Cheddar cheese
• 500g best-quality ready-made all-butter puff pastry
• 1 large free-range or organic egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5. In a large ovenproof pan, heat a glug of olive oil on a low heat. Add the onions and fry gently for about 10 minutes – try not to colour them too much. Turn the heat up, add the garlic, butter, carrots and celery and scatter in the mushrooms. Mix everything together before stirring in the beef, rosemary, a pinch of salt and a level teaspoon of pepper.

Fry fast for 3 or 4 minutes, then pour in the Guinness, stir in the flour and add just enough water to cover. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and place in the preheated oven for about 1½ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and give the stew a stir. Put it back into the oven and continue to cook it for another hour, or until the meat is very tender and the stew is rich, dark and thick. A perfect pie filling needs to be robust, so if it’s still quite liquidy, place the pan on the hob and reduce until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in half the cheese, then season carefully and leave to cool slightly.

Cut about a third of the pastry off the block. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll both pieces of pastry out evenly with a floured rolling pin to the thickness of a pound coin. Butter a deep pie dish, then line with the larger sheet, leaving the edges dangling over the side. Tip the stew into your lined dish and even it out before sprinkling over the remaining cheese. Brush the edges of the pastry with a little beaten egg.

Cut the other rolled sheet of pastry to fit the top of the pie dish and criss-cross it lightly with a sharp knife. Place it over the top of the pie and fold the overhanging pastry on to the pastry lid to make it look nice and rustic. Brush the top with beaten egg, then bake the pie directly on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked, puffed and golden. Delicious served simply with peas.

Granola Flapjacks

I know its hard to find some good healthy snacks to eat that also taste great so I have found an easy and quick way to have something you will love and it be healthy for you.

The beauty of this recipe (as with anything that you make yourself at home) is that you can alway change some ingredients that you dont like for things that you do like.


Granola Flapjacks

Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/ Gas 3. Line a shallow 28cm by 18cm and 3cm deep cake tin with non-stick baking paper. Put 175g butter, 3tbsp golden syrup, 100g soft brown sugar and 3tbsp lemon juice in a pan and stir over a low heat until melted. Mix 250g rolled oats (porridge oats), 25g flaked almonds, 2tbsp sesame seeds, 50g raisins and a pinch of cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine. Press into the cake tin and bake for 25 minutes. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and put it on top of the flapjack tin. Holding everything firmly, flip both tins over, so that the flapjack comes out on the flat tin. Remove the baking paper and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars and serve with yogurt and chopped dried apricots.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Facebook Endeavors

I, like 500+ Million others, am a Facebooker.

I have many, varied and evolving interests, that I like to share with the world, and I do so through Facebook. I have yet to see the movie, The Social Network, but it looks pretty interesting. I know who the "Zuck" is, but have never really had much of an interest in researching him or the history of this wonderful concept we know as Facebook.

I started using Facebook to reconnect with friends from the past, and family who I have not seen and live far away...I have used it to share my Likes and to pass time with fun applications like Farmville and Social City...but they grew tiring and mundane for me. Instead, I have recently started a few pages on Facebook to devote more time to my interests, and to share them with friends, family, and to broaden my online social network.

I first started getting involved with Facebook communities through a Facebook friend, Anna, who is from the U.K. She started a postcard swapping page, I Love Postcards :) where I have been sharing postcards and pen pal'n with new friends from all over the world. I also joined her Friendship Room on Facebook, where she promotes the culture of online social networking via Facebook, by providing a page to make new friends and share your lives and interests with others on Facebook.

So I created my own page of Facebook: Fan Fiction on Facebook w/ G.J. Lentz, to share my fan "fix" with others. I have an open invitation to all who like to write fan fiction of any genre, or for those who just like to read them. I have long had a passion for writing; I have joined many different writing groups all over the internet, from PBeM (play by email, a sort of role-playing fan fiction concept), to various fan fiction genre groups on places like Yahoo! Groups. I do love fan fiction; it is a culture of expanding upon the concepts of fan's favorite movies, books, or comics. I personally like science fiction and fantasy genres like Battlestar Galactica or George R.R. Martin's A Game of Thrones.

 I do have an interest in becoming a real writer; I would love to be published one day, but I would also be happy to make a living selling my ideas as a ghostwriter. I have an autobiography in the works, through WeBook, a resource/group I discovered on Facebook. I hope to catch the interest of an agent through the WeBook site once my manuscript is complete. I also have been working on a compilation of fantasy short stories based in a  realm of my own creation called Theara (pronounced Terra). My baby though "write-now", is a complex time-travel piece based on an element of String Theory, with inspirations from the novel/movie Timeline, and the t.v show Fringe.

I decided to create a "professional" writing page on Facebook to share my journey and the processes of writing and becoming published. Titling it after myself, G.J Lentz, I share my ideas and research/inspirational elements of creating characters, plots, and story themes, my aspirations and frustrations, and the process of trying to get published.

Another project of mine involves my love of photography, my interest of being a writer, and the desire to travel the world. I thought one day, in the frustrations of daily life, how great it would be were it I could just pack a bag and just go...anywhere...but to report back via Facebook, posting pictures, video, and blog notes about my travels and experiences. I have an interest in world cultures, histories, and current worldly issues, so I thought to combine all of this and with Facebook as a center piece, I created The Vicarious Vagabond Project on Facebook to try and realize this endeavor.

The "Project" is first and foremost a means to connect Facebook members in the spirit of cultural tolerance and education. One day, I hope to travel the world, and share the world with those who cannot through my Facebook Page. I hope to gain a million members who will share the idea, and through social networking via Facbook, garner the interest and support required to take that first worldly journey.

As a Vicarious Vagabond it is my goal to be able to fund an initial year long journey around the world, through support from the page, having forged an invested community on Facebook who would vicariously experience all the world has to offer as I post pictures, video, and articles of all things cultural. I want to have people involved in all ways, to educate and promote some goodwill. It is my hope that through this project I could earn a living reporting on all things cultural, volunteering where I may, to be an ambassador for peace and tolerance among our varied world cultures. Perhaps one day the Vicarious Vagabond Project could become an organization to help fund other Vagabonds to travel and continue to spread the education and understanding we need in this world to make it a better place...

Bathroom Issues for Law Enforcement - PoliceLink

Bathroom Issues for Law Enforcement - PoliceLink

Snyder builds run on business past | | The Detroit News

Snyder builds run on business past | | The Detroit News

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Next Level Blogs: Promote Your Blog Using Technorati I found this p...

Next Level Blogs: Promote Your Blog Using Technorati

I found this p...
: "Promote Your Blog Using Technorati I found this post to be especially helpful for those of you who want to pump up your blog through the us..."

Next Level Blogs: What To Do When You Get a Hater If you are any k...

Next Level Blogs:
What To Do When You Get a Hater

If you are any k...
: "What To Do When You Get a Hater If you are any kind of blogger, you voice your opinion. Whenever you do this, guess what? You will find ha..."

Friday, October 8, 2010

WANTED: Fan Fiction Writers & Readers...all genres

By G.J. Lentz
WANTED: Fan Fiction Writers & Readers for all genres on FB FAN-FIX w/ G.J. Lentz.

This Facebook Page was created by Moi, to share the fun and interesting world of fan fiction writing with the world via Facebook. While I have my own genres of interest that I like to write and read of, this Page invites writers & readers for all genres to join and share in their works and love for whatever genre suits them!

Currently I have started writing for the Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars genres, with ideas for others like Underworld, and the zombie/undead/end-of-the-world genres. I'd love to meet and discuss writing with new people, and to share and bounce ideas off one another. 

If you have never heard of fan fiction, here is the skinny:

Fan fiction is a genre of writing all of itself. In the writing world you have fiction and non-fiction, you have autobiographies, biographies, historical, you have horror, mystery, romance, young adult, science fiction, fantasy...Fan fiction is the writing of fiction by fans of an existing concept, be it a t.v. show, movie, comic book...

Many people get into fan fiction because they have a real love for a specific show, book, comic, or idea, and they want to write for it or read more of it. Simply they want to be more involved in that "world" than just what is offered from the original content. Like Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings; these genres have a huge cult following that have spawned such elements as role-playing games, online games, fan sites, and what has been coined as "expanded universes". Creative people want to continue what they love about these characters and worlds, some like to write stories about these characters and worlds, others like to read them. Often in fan fiction, fans will create their own plots and their own heroes & villains within that genre. They didn't create the worlds of Star Wars or Harry Potter, or the main characters, but they do create from their love and imagination unique and interesting characters and story lines inspired by the original content. 

The world of fan fiction is not just about "pretending", there is a market for it. The whole genre of role-playing games, traditional and online, are aimed at such people to create and act out adventures n the realms they have interest in. Just about any genre or concept seems to have a RPG. I for one eagerly await the new Star Wars MMO, and have in my youth played RPGs like Star Wars, Battletech, and  D&D.

In high school I came across a series of Star Wars novels by Timothy Zahn, which has spawned many series of Star Wars books over the years, continuing the adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han and Chewie, and the struggles of that galaxy far, far away. They are known as the Expanded Universe, tales sprung from the love and success of George Lucas' Star Wars saga. Until the new Prequelogy (I am coining that word, lol) came out, people couldn't get enough, a series of books have since been published by author who are fans and have a love for the science-fiction genre. The difference between them and people like me, they get paid and published. Maybe one day I could too. 

It's not just enough for me to create and talk about these worlds I love and extrapolate from, I want to share them, and I want to collaborate and discuss ideas. I want to see the group grow and branch off, I want to see people enjoy and share and having fun. 

Aside from the more well known and common genres of Star Wars and Harry Potter, for example, I have also made room for the genre of Alternate History. The alternate history genre is in many ways like Dr. Who, or Sliders, the realm of visiting different variations of the history and world we know and live in. Think 1984, or Harry Turtledoves' Confederate States of America. Any time-era or event of history that someone has an interest of, but has an idea of how things "could have been" different, is ripe for fiction. So being a fan of the American Civil War, and main characters like Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Presidents Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, fan fiction could be comprised of re-writing history. 

So come on over to FB FAN-FIX with G.J.Lentz and get your "fan fix" by joining and sharing. Even if your not into writing, but like to read new stories in the genres of your interest, join up and read the works, or leave comments asking us to write on a genre you have an interest or idea of...

Video Tutorial How to make nice and neat FBs (FriendshipBooks)

High Quality (or Nice and Neat) FBsHello, everyone! :)

I am working on a video tutorial on how to make nice and neat Fbs (yeah, those really cute Fbs with cover that we all love to swap). It's my attempt to make a quest against sloppy Fbs as I am sure that people would totally fall in love with the high quality FB's when they see them (and know to how to make them). That's why, I need your help!
I will be collecting photos/pictures of the FBs that you are making/have made to add in the video. That way, the video will contain various ideas about cute Fbs made worldwide, not only my own tips and decorative solutions. If you are as excited as I am, just send the photos to: fun@sandbook.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I will give the credit for your photos by placing your name and country (and facebook profile/email if you want to) and putting them in the video. Let's make the video as colorful and diverse as we know that high quality Fbs can be.
We will be collecting photos all October till early November, so you have time to make your creations! You will be given the credit for your photos - we will publish them with your name/country or your facebook account so others will know how creative and resourceful you are! Don't be surprised if many decide to swap with you seeing your cute Fbs.

The video will be released on Nov 11th, when our humble site will become 2 years old. We will also reveal our new website design then which will offer a lot of more interactive features.

So get crafty and creative! We are waiting to see your Fbs!
Happy crafting!
Raia at Team

Join us in our Facebook Event to keep tabs on how the Video Tutorial is Developing:!/event.php?eid=151846714852176&index=1

Free PenPal and Swappers Magazine hosted by the Team of www.Sandbook.Net

MagazineHello everyone!

Are you tired of placing your ads all over and over again so that they are in the most recent ads? From my personal experience I know how annoying and time consuming that can be! That's why Sandbook Net organizes a PenPal Magazine.

To place an ad to the magazine you will have to email magazine@sandbook.netThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it       
and send:

1) your name/age/country and email address
2) your message (telling us a bit about yourself like hobbies, interests, etc
3) the duration that you like us to run your ad 1-2 or 3 months... (if you don't specify - we will run it for this issue and choose if we wi...ll rerun it at later times)
That's all! You will receive the magazine in your email box!

If you want to receive the magazine WITHOUT placing an ad in it, you will  only need to send us an email stating that you want to receive the magazine without putting an ad (we'd use the name/email that are on the email account that you use to get in touch with us).

Ways to get even more involved:
- send an ad to promote your blog/website/small business if it deals with penpalling (you can send us your logo as well).
- if you want you can also write an article - the best will be published!

The ad and the digital copy of the magazine is for FREE.We are very hopeful to have our first issue in mid to late November 2010. So come on and email us!

From the Team
PS. Snail mail addresses won't be published since we don't want you to end up with tons of junk mail in your mail box. You will get the friendship requests in your email box and then choose yourself to whom to send your address to. Also if you insist on having your snail mail address publish, you will be disregarding this warning and you will have to send us an email UNDERLINING that you want to have the address published despite our warning.
Join us in our Facebook Event Page to know all the latest news surrounding the production of the magazine!/event.php?eid=164868790191942

Best online videos |

Best online videos |

Battlestar Galactica Fan Fiction

I've enjoyed reading and writing of various fan fiction genres for several years. I have started a fan-fiction page on Facebook to share my fan-fiction writing for others to join and share their own fan fiction fun. Currently I have been working on a series of Battlestar Galactica inspired fan fictions, called Battlstar Orion: Fall of the Colonies

Fall of the Colonies follows the crew of the Orion, an advanced training detachment of the fleet. In the first two parts, titled Homecoming, the Orion has docked in orbit around Picon after a long 6 month training exercise, the crew eagerly awaits a long deserved leave. Unfortunately for them though, in keeping with the BSG line of events, their homecoming and desires for leave will be met with disaster, as the Cylons have begun their attack on the Colonies.

Unlike the Galactica storyline, the Orion will be staying about the Colonies to search for survivors and battle their Cylon enemies. My fan fiction works in this genre will explore "the end of the world" scenarios, and explore the devastations of Cylon occupied worlds of the is a "special edition" posting of the first two parts of Homecoming, with added pictures from the web, which are- of course copyrighted- only used to add some visual element to the tales...

Battlestar Orion: Fall of the Colonies
Homecoming Part 1
By G.J. Lentz

The Battlestar Orion is the flagship of an advanced training detachment of the Colonial Fleet. The Orion has been on a long and arduous training exercise in deep space, its crew is due for a long deserved and awaited leave. However, their homecoming will prove to be anything but joyous...

...Colonel  Horatio Quinn...

Horatio traced the curves of her body with a feather. He watched the very fine hairs rise as slight goosebumps were raised from her flesh.

She shifted on the bed beside him. Having held in the urge to squirm all she could, Elannara curled into a ball and giggled. "Alright! Alright, I'm up already!" She turned to face him with a mischevious grin.

Horatio met hers with a grin of his own as he flicked the feather playfully, teasing her nose and lips, taking joy at the site of her exquisite face squishing comically from the tickling of the feather. She was beautiful, he thought as he gazed into her dark, almond shaped eyes. His heart skipped a beat as she locked her gaze to his own hazel eyes.

"Why won't you come to Virgon with me? You've nothing to be ashamed of," he whispered to her as he lightly brushed his lips to hers. "You would be accepted, it's different with my family, they would love you."

He sat up and pulled her close to him, embracing her. She smiled at the prospect, but he could still sense the reservation she held within as he held her close, but not tightly.

"We've been through this before Horatio," she said with a sigh, and he could feel her tension.  "It's complicated and I don't want to be brought into that aspect of your life until I am ready. I know they would be accepting, I just feel..."

"You feel an outsider because you have no family and think you have nothing to offer in return," Horatio said, finishing her sentence as they had been over and over the topic a thousand times. "You've nothing to feel less of Elennara," he tried to reassure her again for the thousandth time. "I understand your feelings, being alone without family ties, orphaned at such an early age. You feel the Fleet is your only home and family, well I am part of the fleet, part of your family. I just want to offer you another part, give you something more than what you have."

uh-oh, Elennara is a Sharon!?
"I know, I know...I just," she replied as she searched for the words. "You already have three wives, and they bring so much to your family: Kayla runs the ranch and her family helped you to start the conservation fund, Olivia is a teacher and will home-school your kids, and Tonya is a financial whiz...what do I have to offer, that they would want to share me with you? I'm just an average grunt in the Colonial Marines who helps you pass the time..."

"Stop it right there," he said with more annoyance than he wished he'd allowed, but he was growing very frustrated with same tirade everytime he tried to change her mind. "You know you're more than just that to me. Why else would I continually try to offer for you to meet my wives and kids, to offer you a place in my family, to give you a family life outside of the fleet?

Yes they all have family backgrounds and skills and educations that bring many great things to the family, but so do you. You're a fighter, a share with me an aspect of my life, my professional life that they don't. That is your place in my life, you would be a connection between the personal and professional, a part of my life they don't always understand and that is hard for me to share.

You're not just a means to pass time until I can be home. You would have your place just as they have theirs. In fact, they would be more than pleased to have someone like you as part of the family, someone that is up here with me sharing in that part of my life. They would accept and see you for the wonderful and caring person you are, and they would respect and appreciate you, having my back up here."

"You really think so?" she said with less reservation and a dash of hopefulness. "I wouldn't be a wedge...or a..."

"You would just be you, bringing and offering all that you are. You are a compliment to what I have and love of the others, not a hinderance, not a passing of time. I'm just asking that you give it a chance, try it'd be surprised."

"I know, Gods I'm so damned stubborn, really I don't see how you have kept interest in me."

what Horatio's quarters would look like
"I like your stubborness," Horatio said as he massaged the final tension from her bare shoulders. "I love you Elannara, and so will they, and you will love them to. We'll take things as they come, I'm not trying to rush you into anything, but if this is going to work I need you to try and be a part of my family life, and then you will see..."

"You're right, and I love you too," she said. "Its just so different, than the mainstream. I didn't grow up with the traditional family, but it was what I have always wanted and dreamed of. Joining the Marines and finding that filled that void, but I was still missing something...and with you...I've never felt this. I guess in some ways too I am apprehensive of sharing you...I don't know how I am supposed to act..."

"You have to relearn how you think about the family dynamic. And just be yourself as I have told you a thousand times over. One of the things that drew me to you was the fact that you grew up without a traditional family life, but at your core you yearn for that belonging that only a family has to offer. Not very many people who are not from Virgo, who didn't grow up like I did with more than one mother or father can really know or appreciate what it has to offer. You grew up without any...but you don't have to be alone anymore."

He sat with her, embraced for a long quite moment. It was peaceful and he felt he had finally broken through her many walls. He really did love her, and if she found her place with his other wives he would ask her to marry him, to be his new wife.

what Virgon might be like?
His culture was very open minded, very different from the mainstream of the 12 Colonies. Virgon was set apart from the other Colonies in many ways; they were greatly involved with nature preservation and education amidst a worlds-wide culture that was ever increasingly dominated by increased over-development and reliance on technology- often at the cost of depleting natural resources and wildlife. Virgon was a beautiful world whose people wished to maintain and protect its natural resources and wonder. During the Cylon War over 40 years ago the planet had seen great devastation at the hands of the techno-terrors the Colonials had created. They had been a means to make life easier o the Colonials so that they could put forth their energies and labors to greater things, but instead they had only wrought greater destruction. It took many years but Virgon was a leader among the Colonies in righting much of the wrong that was perpetrated by the machines. His world, his people, were a leader in bringing life back from the ashes of war. Five of the most prominent and leading of eco-management and naturalist technologies corporations were founded and based on Virgon.

Virgon was also known for its polygamist family values, only one other Colony, Geminon, had such an open and untraditional set of core family values. Geminons polygamy was rooted deep in spiritual values though, which made it more accepted. The cultures of Geminon had long been known for their faith, and to Horatio it was a great quality though he held little in regard to faith. His people weren't so much followers of religion of spirit, rather over generations Virgon transformed the dogma of faith into a more naturalist sort of religion. Where most believers of the Gods valued a pantheon of deities, Virgon saw each of the different Gods as a different face of facet of a more singular or monotheistic spirit. And rather than placing their hopes and dreams in the personified hands of the Lords of Kobal, they saw the Gods in the wonder of all nature and life. They saw the dynamics of family too in nature, like the lion prides of the vast Virgon Wild Plains, where there were more than just the standard union of couples, like the old saying went, it took a village.

"I'll go with you Horatio," Elennara said, breaking his deep thought.

Virgon from space?
He was pleased. He wanted to make much more of their relationship. He never felt like he was cheating on his other wives, and though he was brought up with such open values, he wanted the relationship to have meaning, and not just a "fling or passing of time" as Elennara had often described it. His wives knew of her, that she often shared his bed while he was away on duty. They were accepting of his seeking companionship while away for long and trying times of duty. His wives had their boyfriends, Kayla had even recently married again, bringing a 2nd husband into the fold. It was their way.

They were both due a lengthy and well deserved leave after a grueling six month long exercise in deep space. As a colonel aboard the Orion, his duties were near never ending, helping to command a battlestar was no easy task, nor was managing a family of multiple wives, husbands, children...his family life was not too unlike that of his military career. He relished them both. He looked forward to bringing her home to Virgon. He knew it would be bring them closer and that...

An explosion rocked the ship.

Horatio and Elennara were thrown from the bed as subsequent explosions rocked and vibrated violently through the ships hull.

"What the frack!?" they cursed in unison as alarms blared throughout the ship...

a battle scene pic from the t.v. series...

Homecoming Part 2 (By G.J. Lentz)

The Battlestar Orion has recently returned from a 6 month training exercise in deep space. Docked in orbit over the Picon Colony, the Fleet Headquarters, the Orion has been on twelve of a twenty-four hour mandatory lock-down prior to its crew being able to make leave...

...Major Maya Nguyen...

"12 more hours and we're home free people," Major Nguyen announced, a she had every hour, on the hour, since the Orion had dry docked in orbit around Picon.

"The Admiral sure scuttled off though didn't he," one of the Major's subordinates commented, a systems tech by the name of Phoebe.

Maya Nguyen was in charge of the ship and the finalization of docking procedures after a mission. Colonel Quinn was actually in-charge, but he had shared the 24 hour watch with Nguyen as the Admiral, being more a bureaucrat than officer, was able to make leave at once, while the rest of the ship had a mandatory 24 hour lock-down procedure before the crew were able to make leave.

"Knock it off ensign, when you're Admiral you can pretty much do as you please," Maya replied back sharply. Moral was rather low, but not dangerously so.

the Orion (actually the Pegasus from the t.v. series)
They had all been on an extended and arduous 6 month advanced training exercise; being docked with the beautiful watery world of Picon below them, and stuck on lock-down for another 24 hours before a long and well deserved leave took its toll to even the most seasoned of the enlisted. She understood her crews sentiment though, but as an officer in the Fleet, regardless of personal feelings, it was her duty to maintain standards and procedure.

Admiral Ororod did not garner the complete respect of those under him; he had connections, came from a well-to-do family with important political ties, more a bureaucrat with aspirations for a political career than a military career, he ran his detachment more like a business than the military unit it was. He may have been far from the most inspirational of fleet officers, but his politically minded motivations also helped to ensure that the Orion was one of the top training vessels in all the fleet.

"Keep on kissing ass until one day you get your Ass badge," Maya continued with a smirk to lighten the mood within the C.I.C. Numerous chuckles eased the tension, and the crew continued with their preparations.

"What's your plans for leave Major?" asked Captain Maeric. "I've been dreaming of the Atlas Peaks for weeks now, going to do some serious hiking and camping, nothing but nature and quiet time for me after this tour!"

"I hear you there," Maya replied with a smile. She never tired of Maeric's stories, especially after being cooped up in deep space aboard a Battlestar for months on end. His descriptive tales of his adventures exploring the natural wonders of all twelve Colonies were sometimes a blessing. "My little brother just graduated from the Colonial University of Libran, Social Sciences major. He wants to change the worlds you know. Looking forward to some quality time with the family planet side, nothing as exciting as your natural escapades, just good 'ol fashioned R&R."

Cpt. Maeric smiled, a warm and inviting smile that softened his rough- but not unpleasant features. He was a big-boy, having grown up on rugged Ares, he had first served in the Colonial Marines, looked every bit a Marine too: close cropped hair, bulky build with squared shoulders and jaw...for as much as he loved the physical endures of being a Marine, he decided to join the Fleet after his stint with the Marines was up- and fell in love with the stars as much as his love for all things of nature. Now he was Viper pilot, a squadron leader, and a damn fine one at that.

The C.I.C. 
"I've finished the report compilations, hopefully all the bugs will get worked out by time we are due to ship out again, this last tour sure was fubar, eh?" he said as he slapped the report file down on the table. They had endured many technical glitches with some of the newer systems being tested aboard the Orion, the ship was to receive an entire over haul while docked, and while they all took a well deserved leave to be overhauled themselves.

At that exact moment, the C.I.C. was rocked as the ship endured a massive explosion. Sparks shot out from multiple terminals, glass shattered and the lights flickered. Many of those serving in the Command Information Center were thrown from their posts or from where they had been standing. Bodies flew with debris as a succession of explosions rocked the ship.

Alarm claxons whaled as emergency lighting flashed an eery amber illumination within the C.I.C.

"My Gods!" Maya gasped as she regained her footing and wiped the blood from her nose. She had taken a pretty good smacking to her face with the first explosion, but she wasn't about to let a little blood and pain keep her from her duty.

Captain Maeric looked at the strewn files for a moment, shocked at the sudden event as he had slapped the file down on th table, almost as if he had somehow caused the event. It only took him a split second to recover. "Frak'n-A we're under attack!"

a battle scene from the t.v. series
"SIT-REP!" Maya bellowed, commanding a situation report. She gazed up at the Draedis array but it was nothing but snow, it offered her no intelligence.

"I've got multiple hull impacts aft and starboard," came a reply. "Definitely not from within...we were hit, systems are all screwed, having a hell of time getting anything from outside!"

"Com! I need to know what the frak is going on! Issue condition one throughout the ship, all quarters battle-stations!" Maya commanded as she turned to Major Maeric. "Get me some eyes in the skies Captain, Draedis is frakked and outside communications seem to be jammed. I need to know what is going on!"

Maeric gave a curt salute and ran off from C.I.C. to get a squad launched as ordered.

Maya turned to one of the Marines stationed at the C.I.C. hatch, "Marine! get Colonel Quinn to C.I.C. now!"

The marine, a young woman with fear in her eyes, nodded and ran out to fulfill her orders, training taking over her fears.

"Somebody tell me something for fraksake!" Maya said out of frustration more than for the lack of her people not being able to do their duties. They had been hit and hard, they were nearly blind and obviously caught unawares.

Cylon Basestar firing on a Colonial Battlestar

Maeric raced down the passage from C.I.C. to the squadron ready rooms, which would lead him to the Viper and Raptor bays. The ship was bustling with personnel like a disturbed hive of bees. They all knew their duties, nobody needed told what to do. They had a lot of raw recruits aboard, but they had some of the most well trained officers in the Fleet to take charge of any situation.

A handful of his pilots were already making for the launch bays. The C.A.G., Major Neesa "Artemis" Joone joined him.

"I was in C.I.C., all systems are frakked, any idea what just happened?" Maeric asked his C.O.

"I've got Nike launching now with Hellcat Squadron," Artemis replied. "Chief's got fire squads aft and starboard, whatever the hells hit us got us with our pants down. You're my wing Ares," Neesa commanded, using his call sign, "I've got Hellcat squad checking aft, Nike's going vertical, you and I are going starboard."

A Viper Mark vii
Both had reached the bay and split apart to their respective Viper fighters.


Nike launched out from the Orion's bay, her instrument panels were fuzzy, something was screwing with her systems. The Raptor was a specially designed and outfitted craft for intelligence gathering, it's systems were some of the most advanced in military craft but seemed worthless at the moment. She pounded her fists on the panel, cursing the Gods.

"I really don't think that's gonna help L.T." her co-pilot chided to his Lieutenant from the systems command consol behind the cockpit.

"Shut it up Glimmer," she said irritably as they were about to clear the hangar for space. "When I want your opinion I will tell you what it is."

The blue and white marbled orb of the world of Picon filled her viewport. The Orion was docked on the outside rung of docking stations that orbited the world. A sharp turn right and vertical would clear them of the Orion and the docking station for a birds-eye view of their surroundings.

Her systems were still garbled, patchy communications came intermittently. "C.I.C. this is Nike, do you copy?" she tried her comm, hoping that direct communications line with Orion wouldn't be a screwed as the rest of the Fleet wide bans. She couldn't very well do her job if she couldn't communicate to the Orion or her squadrons.

nuclear attack on the Colonies
"Oh for fraksake!" Nike cursed with a startling and uncharacteristic fear behind her words.

His systems array as much a mess as hers, Glimmer unbuckled and took two steps forward to see out the ship, and for once in his in being paired with Nike, he was speechless.


Maeric and Joone, call signs Ares and Artemis, both launched from the bay. Their sleek Mark VII Vipers shooting out from the belly of the massive Orion. They curved starboard in unison, as Nike and her Raptor headed for a higher vantage from the opposite side of the ship.

"Ares, CAG, you copy?" Neesa asked over the channel that was broad-casted between the squads and to the C.I.C.

"Copy CAG, Ares loud and clear. Orion?" Maeric asked. "You copy C.I.C.?"

Major Nguyen's voice came through clearly, "Copy that, what the frak do you see?"

Nike's message came in clear, as did her exclamation; "Oh for fraksake!"

Before either C.I.C. or Artemis could reply, she and her wingman, Ares, were of position forward of the Orion.

another battle scene from the BSG t.v. series
It was carnage. The entire docking platform was spewing debris, air, smoke, bodies, and explosions erupted from all over the platform and from over a dozen ships docked. Above the horrific view were the trails of incoming missiles, and the looming star shaped forms of their aggressors.

"Cylons," Neesa stated calmly and coolly amidst the destruction. She was often referred to as the Ice Queen, for she was rather cold and methodical, she cared not for the pretentiousness of emotions.

A well trained and season Marine, let alone Viper jock, even Maeric felt a chill down his spine as Neesa said Cylons over the comm. No hint of emotion, not even surprise, not even the barest spit of fear colored her word.

Neesa just stared out into space, taking in the view. She was mesmerized by the form of the Basestars, like sleek and monstrous starfish, the streaking plumes of hundreds of missiles, the explosions all about her...a symphony of destruction. Something in her found the terrible site to be satisfying.

"Artemis?" Maeric called. "Major!" Again with no response. "Neesa, for fraksake!"

A Raptor vessel
Nike's frantic but well trained voice took over the channel, "Uh we have multiple incomings, I've only got a visual, all systems are frakked, something is jamming us pretty damn good. I'm seeing maybe five enemy craft, big frakkers too, never seen anything like them, but they kinda resemble the old Basestars, who the frak-else would be attacking us?!"

Glimmer continued the situation report, "Orion the whole frakkin platform is taking heavy hits, got multiple friendlies under fire, get out of docking now!"

Lieutenant Guy "Phoenix"  Darson came in on the channel, he was in command of the Hellcat squadron. "Phoenix here, we have incoming enemy fighters, moving in to engage. All Viper's follow my lead!"
Cylon Raider


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