Fallout 4! Gamestop Bundle Unboxing, A “Let’s Play,” Screen Shots

Fallout 4 Intro, Nuclear cloud
From Fallout 4 Intro, Nuclear cloud

Hello gamers!  So have you taken some time out from playing Fallout 4, which just came out today, or are you visiting here because you’re curious about it?  Well, my family looked very much forward to playing it, and now it’s here!   We ordered a Fallout 4 bundle from Gamestop because we knew we could use a new XBOX and controller, and Gamestop’s bundle came with an exclusive Fallout faceplate.  (We made an unboxing video of it, posted at our Youtube channel, Lingering Trees.)

I must say, we were quite disappointed with the “faceplate,” which is only a skin (a sticker)!  I tried to find out what the “faceplate” was beforehand, and people thought it was a plastic snap-on faceplate, which “faceplate” indeed implies.  Stickers are “skins.”  So should we complain to Gamestop?  My son thinks we should complain big time, and I agree (the non-lazy part of me, at any rate), especially since we could’ve ordered a different bundle that came with an additional game and controller instead of this Fallout 4 bundle.

OK, besides that, we started having fun playing the game.  Our first Fallout 4 Let’s Play will be up shortly, and below are some cool screen shots from early parts of the game.  The game introduction is first rate, and much of the game’s graphics are just fine–despite what some detractors claim.

Besides the quality-of-graphics issue, some other detractors have also puffed about this new Fallout being a cut-and-paste affair.  Previews of the game certainly made it seem like this was not the case, and after having watched my son play it for hours now (and considering my own more limited time playing it), I can say that Fallout 4 is not a cut-and-paste from previous games in the series.  In fact, I’m having a bit of a hard time enjoying the new interaction menus.

Building and maintaining a community is certainly a completely new element, and I’m curious to see the fan base’s overall reaction to this new social aspect of the game (the “lone wanderer” is more typically what Fallout games seem to have exemplified).  One quick note on naming your character.  Your in-game Mr Handy can call you by name if you pick one that is in the game’s database.  Sadly, Bethesda included some juvenile humor names while excluding common real names.  Not sure why they did this, especially in light of the upcoming inclusion of mods from fan modders.  Otherwise, it may be good to know that you can have a two- or three-word name, and if one or more of those words is in the data base, Codsworth will use it for your name.

Fallout 4 Mr Handy maintining shrubs
Fallout 4 Mr Handy maintaining shrubs


Fallout 4, first Pipboy model
Fallout 4, first Pipboy model


Fallout 4, warheads transported past church
Fallout 4, warheads transported past church. In the introduction film this is from, the vehicle rolls by and the whole church can be seen . . . sans its cross.


Fallout 4, character formation
My “Let’s Play” character in Fallout 4. The level of character customization is astounding, and the detail is first rate.


Fallout 4 pre-war home, kitchen
Fallout 4 pre-war home, kitchen and dining area.


Fallout 4 pre-war home, living room
Fallout 4 pre-war home, living room


Fallout 4, ascending into vault during nuclear strike
Fallout 4, ascending into vault during nuclear strike.


Fallout 4 Red Menace
Fallout 4 has a PC game in the Vault 111, the Red Menace.


Fallout 4, "Extermination is Everyone's Job"
Fallout 4, “Extermination is Everyone’s Job”


Thanks for stopping by!  See you in the wasteland.

We Made It! Cross-Country Trip, Richfield Cemetery, . . . (Post 2)

Richfield City Cemetery, Utah (c) Vicki Priest
A modded view of Richfield City Cemetery, Utah, October 2015 (c) Vicki Priest

First,  a big Thank You to those bloggers who liked my first cross-country road trip post!  Second, for those who don’t know, I’ll repeat the series intro here:

Hello from A MUCH BETTER PLACE than where I, and my family, had lived!  I wrote earlier about our experience in trying to buy a home from thousands of miles away, but now we’ve arrived (in Michigan from Southern California, if you must know)!  I’m not here today to discuss our property or the process in obtaining it, but to relay some photos and comments about our trip as well as a bit about the area we now live in.  This is the first post in a series, and I promise, I’ll try not to be long-winded.  I simply hope you enjoy the photos and any funny or interesting things that I can share.

Our first day out, we left California (hey, by the way, don’t stay in the Travel Lodge on Katella in Anaheim . . . that place has too little parking and is in its death throes), drove up through Primm and Las Vegas, and ended up in St. George, Utah.   We then traveled through Utah, heading to our destination for the day, Grand Junction, Colorado.  Here are a few photos from that 2nd day trek!  The photos from the car didn’t come out that great, but even when photos are “good,” there’s no way the person viewing it can get anywhere near the experience of seeing it in person.  Still, this one from a Utah turn-out (Salt Wash) might give an impression:

Utah Scenic Turnoff One

Continue reading We Made It! Cross-Country Trip, Richfield Cemetery, . . . (Post 2)

We Made It! Cross-Country Trip, Fallout New Vegas, . . . (Post 1)

Utah road trip
Road trip photo, Utah, from a freeway turn-out. Oct 2015.  Taken with a phone camera and slightly edited.

Hello from A MUCH BETTER PLACE than where I, and my family, had lived!  I wrote earlier about our experience in trying to buy a home from thousands of miles away, but now we’ve arrived (in Michigan from Southern California, if you must know)!  I’m not here today to discuss our property or the process in obtaining it, but to relay some photos and comments about our trip as well as a bit about the area we now live in.  This is the first post in a series, and I promise, I’ll try not to be long-winded.  I simply hope you enjoy the photos and any funny or interesting things that I can share.

The route we took out of California would take us through Primm, so we were excited to be able to compare the contemporary town to the dilapidated version of it in Fallout New Vegas (a post-apocalyptic video game).   Once there, we found it to be a touristy place — pricey and not much there (we were in a hurry and didn’t feel like strolling in that odd layout-of-a-place).  In any case, below are photos from real Primm and Fallout Primm.

Continue reading We Made It! Cross-Country Trip, Fallout New Vegas, . . . (Post 1)

Rent or Own? Some Considerations from Experience

Hello Everyone.  I have been quite absent from my blog of late.  Well, not absent, since I’ve moderated comments and made comments, but I’ve been too entwined with our cross-country move preparations to write anything.

Some people may have the good fortune to be energetic toward organization (have OCD), or the income to hire maids and other help, or live in a house with room to move, store, and . . . be organized.  But us, no.  We live in a small apartment (although I used to live in a bigger house).  I would like to sincerely and vehemently correct anyone who says that living in an apartment can be better than living in a house (a house that you own).  Some reasons as to why we have known for some time, but other reasons we have just learned because of the major move we’re making.  Let me list them, but first let me say that I hope this helps some people out there.  Even at my age, some costly things regarding living in an apartment have taken me by surprise.  I wish I had known about them earlier, before we rented this particular apartment.


Very basic apartments.
Very basic apartments (though they look nice and maintained).

Paying rent vs paying a mortgage.  Financially speaking, I think this depends on a lot of different things.  When you pay rent, you’ll never see that money again.  When you pay all that interest on a mortgage–most of which is during the early years of the loan–you will never see that money again (for example, on a $100,000 mortgage you will easily pay $70,000 more in interest over the course of 30 years).  So, whether paying rent or paying a huge amount in interest is better depends on many factors.  I’m not going over all the ones I can think of here, but hopefully you get the idea.  Also, quality of life considerations are a big factor for most people (including us).

There are other financial considerations when considering renting vs buying.   Where we live, renting has many negative financial consequences:

  • Money and time spent just on doing laundry is significant.  It is frustrating and annoying trying to do laundry here, or having to leave to do it somewhere else (because there are only a small number of machines here, and they aren’t always working).  And no matter where we do laundry, the machines are never as good as using a home machine usually is (I can’t really soak clothes before washing, and we can’t use fabric softener).
  • We don’t have free large item trash pick-up.  All the homes around here do, as I think they do in most or all of the United States, but simply because we live in an apartment, we have to pay top-dollar for someone to haul broken furniture and mattresses away.  Here, that’s $85-$130 for a single item.  That can add up, or even be impossible for low-income people to pay.
  • Our rent is more than the mortgage on a smaller condo, making saving for us impossible.  And considering that our rent is below the median, that doesn’t bode well for a lot of people, I’m sure.  Also, rent increases every year, which is a factor in not being able to save any money; mortgage payments, on the other hand, do not increase (unless you opted for a variable interest rate loan).
  • The parking area is so small that we can’t hire a long-distance mover (because of their large trucks) nor use any type of moving pods (because they are also moved about by very large trucks).  That leaves us with the options of renting a truck (like Uhaul) and a car carrier, or renting a trailer we pull with one of our cars.  Amazingly, places like Uhaul charge a lot more than you’d think for long-distance moves.  Their fees, coupled with the cost of gas for their heavy trucks, make the cost about the same as (or more than) hiring a moving company (yet we’d have to do all the work and driving)!  I was really shocked by this.  So we thought it more economical to pay for a hitch that we could re-use and haul a trailer instead.  We are having to get rid of a ton of our belongings to do this, too, but there was no good solution that was within our budget.

There are usually quality of life differences between apartments and houses.  I already mentioned the issue of laundry, which is both a financial and quality of life issue, but there are more:

  • Our apartment gets very hot, not having any cross-ventilation to speak of.  This becomes a financial issue when we crank up the bedroom air conditioners to cool down the whole apartment; pretty ridiculous, and this is actually a fairly common apartment problem.
  • We happen to live behind a large plaza, on the second floor, so we are bombarded nightly with the bright light of security flood-lights.  Semi-trucks and noisy activities begin early, so, between the blasting light and the blasting noise, we usually keep our shades and window closed.  Not a good quality of life factor here.  One good thing is that at this apartment we haven’t had too many neighbors that blast music and home theaters (the bass of which travels significantly and abrasively), although as I write this someone is in fact being noisy in that way . . . .   We have had major problems with this at our past abodes, whether apartment or house, in our area.
  • You normally can’t paint rooms or do other improvements that would make an apartment your home.  You’re only a temporary sojourner in an apartment, and therefore never really settled or even comfortable.  The correspondence we get from management seems no better, and it’s probably worse, than prisoners receive on our state’s correctional facilities.  We don’t feel at home, or welcome, even, but only exist here as a personal ATM machine of the complex’s owners.
  • Many apartments don’t allow you to have pets.
  • You can’t have yard sales.
  • At our apartment complex you can’t even put up any temporary signs like “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” (it’s very difficult to have guests, anyway, as there’s only three tiny guest parking spaces).  There are actually condominium complexes in this county that don’t allow this either, and even forbid the flying of the American flag!  (Yeah, we live in the U.S., and you can be forbidden from flying the country flag.  There’s that saying, “United we stand, divided we fall.”  Well, we’re mighty divided, and some of us can’t even fly our flag.  Insane.)


A simple home.
That’s better. A simple home.


Regarding the topics of yard sales and moving:  since we need to get rid of a ton of stuff but we can’t have a yard sale (and I know from all the nice stuff we have [had] that we could’ve recovered some of our moving expenses), we’ve been trying to sell at least some things on Craig’s List.  (Yes, I know ebay exists, but I didn’t want to deal with Paypal, actually.)   We have sold a couple of things, but that’s it.  What I really wanted to mention, though, is how strange people are.  We have had many people contact us about buying something, only to just disappear.  I guess that’s to be expected.  But, the oddest and most time-wasting thing people do is contact us, and perhaps even go back and forth for a bit, and then decide not to buy an item because they all-of-a-sudden realize we’re too far away from them.  People, if you use Craig’s List–please–look at the zip code, city, and/or map before contacting sellers!  Geesh.

So, by living in an apartment (which we had to do, since houses are far too expensive here), we have done poorly both when it comes to our finances and our quality of life.   Having to get rid of much of our belongings because we couldn’t use the mover we originally wanted to–due to the complex’s lack of space for such things–has caused us even more financial harm.  We are going to have to pay to haul a mattress or two away, too, whereas our more fortunate neighbors with houses would not have to pay anything.

One thing I didn’t even mention is that the owners here get away with not doing things they’re supposed to by law, but they also try to get tenants to pay for things they don’t have to by law.  When there’s a housing shortage, landlords can get away with things because people may have no choices; they may have to take the first place that happens to have a vacancy.  If you are considering renting, please consider the things I’ve brought up in this post.  If an area is too expensive, it will very likely be better–in many many ways–to choose to live in a more affordable area.

The Nug King, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Descent DLC

I knew I missed something in the new The Descent DLC playthrough I did for Lingering Trees, but, being busy doing other things, I waited a bit to go back and try and figure it out.  OK, so I did figure it out, and I found about the best part of the DLC.  The Nug King with his nug minions.

The King is accessed from an area that looks inaccessible on the fourth map (Forgotten Caverns) down in the deep.  But first, to get to that area on map 4, you have to walk to it from map 5 (Bastion of the Pure).  Travel to the farthest area on the left side . . . it looks like an undiscovered area, but it’s jut that it goes back “upstairs.”

Bastion of the Pure map
Bastion of the Pure map. Travel to the west to go back up to the Forgotten Caves map.

Once you’re back on map 4 (Forgotten Caverns), go left and then south toward the big chasm.  When you reach the chasm, look to your left, and along the wall there’s a rock that has some writing on it.  It says something like, “only those who believe can cross.”  I can’t read it now because the dialogue ceases to exist after you find your way across.  Anyway, from that rock, just start crossing into the chasm on faith, and . . . a green bridge forms in front of you.

Forgotten Caverns map
Forgotten Caverns map. Travel west, and then south, to the chasm that’s for believer’s only.

I won’t say more, but let you enjoy the Nug King for yourself if you haven’t yet.  But, for anyone interested, I have an episode about it up at YouTube.

Christian Poems XIV: Kenyon, Spires, and Donne

Sunset with road.
Sunset, toward west, but road may traveled east or west. Which way to go? Source: http://newartcolorz.com/images/2014/3/country-sunset-wallpaper-5351-5667-hd-wallpapers.jpg

Let Evening Come

by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn.  Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass.  Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sand den.
Let the wind die down.  Let the shed
go black inside.  Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come as it will, and don’t
be afraid.  God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

In The Best American Poetry 1991.  Mark Strand, editor; David Lehman, series editor (Collier Books 1991, p 119).  From Kenyon’s 1990 book of the same title (Graywolf Press 1990).


Good Friday.  Driving Westward.

by Elizabeth Spires

See John Donne’s poem, below, to which this poem gives a secular and/or “dark day of the soul” contrast (from note on the poem by Spires; see source, page 249).

 . . . being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
Pleasure or businesse, so our Soules admit
For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
— John Donne

The rain.  Rain that will not end.
The daily errands.  Daily bread.
No letting up.  No pause
as I steer blindly, circling
the great city.  City of tears and blood.
I woke this morning to the ringing phone.
To the last days of the twentieth century.
HelloHello.  But the line was dead.
The phone in my hand heavy.
My mind whirling.  Numb.  Taken
against my will closer to oblivion.
At the mall, a man in rags begging
for a coin.  My God, only a coin!
I turned my back.  Turned back.
But he was gone.  Daily, I turn my back.
The suffering of others more and more
like television.  Do I drive East?  West?
Do I suffer?  Shall anger be divine?
Uncorrected, I steer.  Swerve
on a slick patch.  Lose control.
The rain letting up now.  Clouds torn.
The setting sun a brilliant bloody globe.
As if a nailed hand had violently
raked the sky.  And then withdrawn.
Past anger or mercy.  Leaving me
more distanced.  Alone.  Driving
this endless road with all the others.
Night and night’s Eternity coming on.

In The Best American Poetry 1992. Charles Simic, editor; David Lehman, series editor (Collier Books 1992, p 178-179).  Originally published in The New Criterion.


Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

by John Donne

Let man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motions, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey,
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirled by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west
This day, when my soul’s form bends towards the east.
There I should see a sun, by rising, set,
And by that setting endless day beget:
But that Christ on this cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad I do not see
That spectacle, of too much weight for me.
Who sees God’s face, that is self-life, must die;
What a death were it then to see God die?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink;
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands which span the poles,
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes?

Could I behold that endless height which is
Zenith to us, and our antipodes,
Humbled below us? Or that blood which is
The seat of all our souls, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God, for His apparel, ragg’d and torn?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
Upon His miserable mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnished thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransomed us?
Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
They are present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them; and Thou look’st towards me,
0 Saviour, as Thou hang’st upon the tree.
I turn my back to Thee but to receive
Corrections, till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
0 think me worth Thine anger; punish me;
Burn off my rusts and my deformity’,
Restore Thine image so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou may’st know me, and I’ll turn my face.

This version is from an online pdf source, http://smccd.edu/accounts/bruni/englishassets/rel_sci/jdonne_goodfriday_chambers.pdf

Michal the Maligned; King David’s First Wife

English: Michal lets David escape from the win...
English: Michal lets David escape from the window. A painting by Gustave Doré, 1865. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a feminist, but it doesn’t take a feminist to see the mysogeny in some Judeo-Christian circles when King David is so glorified while persons like Michal, David’s first wife, are vilified.  If Michal can be so maligned, then any woman can.  David treated Michal (and his other wives) like his property in more ways than one, and many “believing” men still see David’s actions in a righteous light.

King David, Israel’s most revered king [1], who was chosen by God for that role and for his part in God’s redeeming plan, was a poet and a bit of a prophet, but he did things that God did not approve of and which are utterly un-Christlike/un-Christianlike [2] (read about Judah and others that God used and you’ll see that He didn’t forcefully make them “saints”).  As always, we should recognize and praise the good, but we need to also recognize the bad and not repeat it.  We are also called to recognize and help the oppressed.


What got “me going” on this subject at this time was a biography of David.   In the introduction the author claimed that the only thing David did wrong was have Uriah the Hittite murdered because he wanted the man’s wife (Bathsheba).  Though the author didn’t provide the reference for his claim, it comes from 1 Kings 15:5:  For David had done what was right in the eyes of the Lord and had not failed to keep any of the Lord’s commands all the days of his life—except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.  Since there are other things written in the Old Testament that David did that displeased God, this statement can be taken as a generalized commendation, just as other kings received generalized condemnations; and “in the case of Uriah the Hittite” David committed many deep sins, not just one.  (Note, however, that this particular verse seems to have been added to scripture later since it is not in the oldest versions of the Greek Old Testament).

Continue reading Michal the Maligned; King David’s First Wife

Dragon Age’s Newest DLC, The Descent: First Impressions, Screen Shots

 Descent DLC, Dragon Age
A view in the Deep Roads of The Descent DLC, Dragon Age Inquisition.

I purchased and have played the new Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC, The Descent, as soon as I could since we wanted to put it up at my husband’s and son’s YouTube Channel.   I’ll do a formal review of it sometime soon, but for now, suffice it to say that this new add-on seems VERY short for the $14.99 price tag.

I was fairly dumbfounded when, at the new “expeditions” table, opening areas for 8 power points only opened bridges to small loot areas.   The new dwarven dungeon is neat, but not as spectacular as anything in Skyrim.  In fact, the blue-light speckled ceiling in one area looked like a copy of Skyrim’s Blackreach and other falmer dungeons).  I’m not quite done yet, so I’ll see if I’m correct in assuming The Descent is very short.  So far, however, the only reason why it has as many episodes in our playlist as it has is because of my mistakes!

In any case, I try and do a thumbnail for each episode and therefore have lots of screen shots.  Here are some views from The Descent, and images that reflect Dragon Age: Inquisition, and all it’s add-ons, generally.  They of course represent spoilers.  (Feel free to use any you like, but only if you are willing to link them to this page.)   Click on the images to see the full-size views (much better!).

Update (September 9, 2015):  The last DLC for DA Inquisition, Trespasser, came out yesterday, but I did not purchase it.  Since The Descent would take an experienced Dragon Age player only about 5 hours to go through–which is ridiculous for the $15 price tag–I decided against spending our limited funds on another Bioware DLC.  Gamers need to stop supporting gaming companies that abuse their player base like this.  The much much longer-playing (and interesting) Jaws of Hakkon was sort-of worth the $15; The Descent should’ve been $5.  I’m serious.  It is a short, straight forward run to simply get some new gear.  I think the Destiny guy who angered so many simply voiced what all the game developers know:  gamers simply “throw money at the screen.”

Descent Darkspawn
Darkspawn in the Deep Roads; The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition DLC


The Descent Ep 2 Thumbnail, Darkspawn
Another type of Darkspawn or related demon. The Descent, Dragon Age.


Female Dwarf statue - right? The Descent, Dragon Age
Female Dwarf statue – right? The Descent, Dragon Age


Dragon Age humor, "barreled treasure" in The Descent
Dragon Age humor, “barreled treasure” in The Descent


Fighting Darkspawn in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition
Check out those demons! Fighting Darkspawn in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition


Looks like hell. Dragon Age, The Descent.
Looks like hell. “Reclaiming the Thaig” in Dragon Age, The Descent.


Battling an Emissary Alpha in The Descent, Dragon Age
Battling an Emissary Alpha in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.


Valta at Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age
Valta at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.


Renn at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age
Renn at the Ancient Lift, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.


In the Forgotten Caverns, The Descent, Dragon Age
In the Forgotten Caverns, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. It’s pretty dark, and are those blue glowing eyes?


Crazy guardian dwarf with lyrium gun, The Descent, Dragon Age
Crazy guardian dwarf with lyrium gun, The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. You can only see these in a VERY DARK video (this image was filtered).


The Descent, bridge exploding
Bridge exploding. An expedition will replace it.


Lyrium veins in The Descent
Lyrium veins in The Descent.


The Barrier, rigged, The Descent.
The Barrier, rigged, The Descent.


Exploding lyrium, The Descent, Dragon Age.
Exploding lyrium, The Descent, Dragon Age.


Mysterious Bed, The Descent, Dragon Age
Mysterious Bed, The Descent, Dragon Age.


Battling an Emissary, The Descent
Battling an Emissary that was behind a Gate of Segrummar.


Wellspring view, The Descent, Dragon Age
Wellspring view, The Descent, Dragon Age.


The Lyrium heart in Wellspring, The Descent
The Lyrium heart in Wellspring.


The Guardian, The Descent, Dragon Age
The heart transforms into The Guardian, but the Titan itself seems to not wish the team harm (or any more harm).


Nug King, The Descent, Dragon Age
Nug King, The Descent, Dragon Age. Love the crown!


Battle in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition
Battle in The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition. I don’t know what that purple attack is!


Using thevVeil against Demon, The Descent, Dragon Age
Using the Veil against a Demon (or Darkspawn), The Descent, Dragon Age Inquisition.


Dragon Age Inquisition, bow abilities
Sometimes battle is like a dance. Dragon Age Inquisition, bow abilities; The Descent.


View from Heidrun's Monument, The Descent
View from Heidrun’s Monument, showing ancient Dwarven homes.


View from Ailsa's Camp, The Descent, Dragon Age
View from Ailsa’s Camp, with Sera.


Sera gone invisible, The Descent, Drgaon Age
Just for fun. Sera gone invisible at Ailsa’s camp.

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part IV)

Hello once again.  I wish I could say that I was more scientific about this . . . but I’ll try my best.  What is unscientific about some of what I share below is that I expected to post sooner and didn’t take notes, so I’ve forgotten some details.  It’s been some time, the reason being that I just really damaged my hair with what I did after my last post.  The first photo is from my previous post, followed by photos from what came next; you can see the difference in the shine and then the lack thereof!  I had bleached my hair, then dyed it Frosty Ash 12A/1210 as I had planned.  I believe I put toner in it too, after it was too yellowish–but then it was too grey with the remaining orange tones.  Talk about puky!

I remember being quite upset with the result, as my hair was super dry and frizzy, besides looking really puky.  It looked worse than the photos, and I even went and bought some different hair dye at Target, thinking I’d dye it again soon to even the colors out.  But . . . I waited.  I didn’t really want to dye my hair again, only to make it a yellowish-brown color, and have to resort to bleach again later.

Orange hair after Nordic Blonde dye
Early June 2015.  See Part III in my series for details.


Frosty Ash with Toner
My hair after bleaching again, dying it Frosty Ash, and using T14 toner. It may not look too puky in the photo (the photo’s color tone is too warm), but it was. It’s obviously very, very dry. Mid-late June, 2015
Frosty Ash with Toner; not frosty
My hair after bleaching again, dying it Frosty Ash, and using T14 toner. It may not look too puky in the photo, but it was. Mid-late June, 2015.

While I waited I used some products that I can share about.  I bought some Manic Panic Virgin Snow, which is a natural “semi-permanent white toner.”  I didn’t follow the directions, purposefully, since the stuff is expensive and I didn’t think it was necessary for what I wanted to do.  I didn’t think it would eliminate the orange even if I used a whole tub of it full strength, anyway.  What I did was put about a tablespoon of it together with about a tablespoon of basic white conditioner.  I mixed it up well, massaged it all into my hair, and let it sit for 30 minutes.  It indeed made my hair lighter (the orange too)–even my son noticed.  So I was happy about that.

I also had purchased, for the sake of comparing brands, L’Oreal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher Shampoo, along with L’Oreal EverSleek Reparative Smoothing Conditioner.  I guess these are OK, but I think the cheaper Jhirmack Silver Plus shampoo works just as well.  The conditioner didn’t seem worth the extra price, either.  Because the Dessange California Blonde CC (Brass Color Correcting Creme) had gotten such rave reviews, I’ve used that as well.  It seems to work pretty well, but I’d rather go with doing the Manic Panic with conditioner treatment once every two weeks along with using the Jhirmack and a good conditioner inbetween.  I’ve been using Aveeno leave-in treatment, which is getting low, so I purchased ion youth restore solutions leave-in conditioner to try next.

Back to my hair color issues.  I’m glad I waited.  As my roots grew out, I was really surprised, as was everyone else, at how much dark hair I still had.  When my hair was dyed nearly black, the white hair really stood out – or course – and the light hair I have now makes the blackish hair stand out.  So, while getting my hair a grey-white was a good plan, it seems now that that would be too light.  But how does one get a darkish grey color, one that’s sort-of inbetween white and black?  I wanted that, but I don’t think I can attain it, not perfectly, anyway.

Black and white roots
This is a lousy photo, but you can at least get an idea of how the black and white roots look with my yellowish hair. July 22, 2015.

So, I decided to go darker than the Frosty Ash (which is basically white), using one of Wella’s blue based colors, instead of one that is violet- or violet-blue-based (as Nordic Blonde is).  Wella has an educational booklet online that includes hair color images, but the color samples at Sally’s for the Wella colors look different than the graphic images.  Based on the information from the book and checking the in-store color samples, I decided to go with Light Ash Blonde 8A/740.5, with one capful of cooling additive (and using level 10 developer only, due to the condition of my hair).   Better to err on the light side rather than the dark.

Bleached hair with roots
How may hair looks now, just before my next dye job! The photo seems pretty accurate. You can see that my ends still have orange in them.  They are a light blonde orange, kind-of pretty if all the hair was that color.  July 22, 2015.
Wella Color Charm Ash colors
My hair was quite light when I dyed it, but it doesn’t look like the picture in Wella’s educational booklet. It does, however, look more like the hair sample at Sally’s for that hair color.

Ok, so I did as I said I would:  used Wella Color Charm Light Ash Blonde 8A/740.5, with one capful of cooling additive, using a level 10 developer.  The results are “meh.”  My hair is quite dry and damaged, so that’s part of it.  But, I am disappointed at how dark it is.  I really don’t understand the hair color companies calling that color “light,” especially with “blonde.”  In fairness, the hair sample at Sally’s was pretty dark (much darker than the color as printed in Wella’s educational booklet), and I did want something a bit darker to accommodate my darker roots, but I thought it might come out lighter with the 10 developer.  That color has a blue base, and I added that small amount of cooling additive (violet base, I believe).  The cooling additive I think made a difference, and perhaps was too much?  I don’t know.  I DO want a greyer look to the hair color.

Light Ash Blonde over bleached hair
Light Ash Blonde over my bleached hair. There are some lighter spots that are roots I didn’t get well – I wasn’t trying hard to cover them since I want them to grow out!

There is another similar color called “Medium Smokey Ash Blonde” that looks greyish in their booklet.  I wonder if I used that (with no additive) with the 10 developer, and for a shorter period of time, if it would be more like what I’m striving for.  My experimenting should stop, for my hair’s health sake, but it’s not without its fun side!  If I do change it again with the hope that it’ll match my roots better, I’ll make an update.

What I’ve learned is that it’s notoriously hard to lighten hair that is dyed dark, and try to go back to your natural grey after coloring a long time.  The best thing probably is to spend a lot at a good hair dresser.  To avoid the horror stories I’ve read, just make sure about the person doing the hair makeover for you.  In the meantime, you might find this article helpful:  Do’s and Don’ts of DIY Hair Coloring.  I didn’t know of this article when I started all this, but I wish I did.  Thanks for reading!

Other Parts in this Series

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (I) Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (II) Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (III)

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