Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Gamer In Me

Growing up, we had a fair amount of card and board games to play. Our selection included, Pit, Rook, face cards, Yahtzee, Candy Land, Stratego, Risk, Clue, Chess, Checkers, Life, Shoots and Ladders, Sorry, and Monopoly. Come to find out, our game closet was miniscule compared to Leann's family's. But there's a reason, I suppose: Her family actually gets along while playing games.

The day the game closet got emptied was a day of mixed emotions for the family. Did mom really just throw away the Monopoly game grandma gave Jan for Christmas? What were we ever going to do without having to play as the penny or broken green Sorry piece because all the Monopoly pieces were missing?

The truth is that games never worked out so well at my house. By the end of the six-hour Risk game where you've taken over almost the whole world three times just to have spread out your forces too thin -- or the Monopoly game where you've begun taking out loans from the bank to pay off your debt on Marvin Gardens with three hotels, the game begins to get a bit fustrating. In our case, it usually ended in name calling or accusations of cheating... or anti-cheating (which is far worse, by the way).

Games these days are entirely based on every player being selfish, cunning, and greedy. Isn't that the basis of Monopoly? Or the bunny game? The bean game? There's really no strategy... it's all about who can get the most the fastest without caring about who you step on or blow away to get it. In fact, there are few games out there that don't involve stealing other player's hard work, or getting joy out of their demise. Is that what fun is these days? Sounds like the basis of personal apostasy to me.

It's hard to be a good loser. Especially when your opponent tries to be nice to you. It seems to be a common misconception that being merciful actually improves the quality of losing. Instead of losing in one massive blow, it becomes spread out over the course of three hours as your paper money is slowly drained from you and your game pieces are eliminated one by one until you're forced into a stalemate.

My family knows the best ways to ruin a good game. Anti-cheating is my personal favorite tactic. The idea behind anti-cheating is that you purposefully play in a way that obviously dosn't help you, but instead makes another player win. Now, they have rules against this (in poker specifically) when the players are in cahoots to pull one over on all the other players. The genius of this game-ruining plan is that the person who you're helping dosn't want to be helped. Games aren't any fun when someone lets you win. There's no triumph, no victory. And the games only last about five minutes.

The day mom threw away Monopoly was the start of a gaming revolution in our household.

Just because you're not on the junior highschool chess team dosn't mean you're not a geek. With a very slim selection of board games to play, most of us kids resorted to other activites to use up our spare time. Some of us read books, some played musical instruments, and some of us nerds began hobbies like computer programming or building Legos. Legos eventually died out, and as Geoff pointed out during highschool, girls kill men's creativity.

In my case, games worked their way back in during the era of single-player computer games like Civilization, Wolfenstein 3D, Raptor: Call of the Shadows, Commander Keen, and Doom. We just didn't play with eachother and everyone was happy.

The original Warcraft: Orcs and Humans came out in 1994. I played and beat the demo which fit onto a 3.5" floppy disk. The real game was too good for our computer and we had to create a special boot up disk to preserve enough RAM for the game to run. The modem connection ran so slowly that Kyle and I would get up at 3:00am on Saturday morning so that we could play. I'd stuff my pillow behind the computer in order to smother the modem connection speed negotiating sounds. Lucklily Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness came out soon after in 1995, which had an IPX network play option.

It wasn't until Kyle moved down the street that we put in a network line down the alley and played them on IPX. Tell me I'm not a geek. When you extend your *wired* Local Area Network outside your own house, your DHCP automatically assigns you an IP on the geek domain.

I've been an avid fan of all of Blizzard Entertainment's games since then. I've owned, played, and beaten almost every one. I now play World Of Warcraft, an MMO... at least until Starcraft 2 comes out. The idea of the MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) is that you play with and against a vast number of other real and NPC (non-player characters) in the game. You'd think, now knowing my game histroy, that involving other human players into my game would cause an utter fall-out and devestation to my gaming experience. You'd be right. However, there is a more geeky aspect to the game that entrigues me.

I like to think of myself much like Jason in the Fox Trot comic strip series. Jason is the geeky little brother to Paige (his older sister). He is always involved with computers, science fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, and video games. Quite a while ago, Bill Amend ran a series of strips featuring Jason and World of WarQuest (Warcraft and Everquest).

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tomates Good Enough to Eat

Here's my parsley, round 2... its growing the 2nd amount after having chopped it down.

And those tiny little tomato plants, we just put the bigger cages on them. Note to self, the tiny little plants grow HUGE, and its easier to put the bigger cages on before hand. They are still recovering from being squished to fit the cage on top of it.
(on the right you can see some of the tomatoes are red, we've even enjoyed a few)

And the big tomatoes are FINALLY turning red.
Its been fun to come home and check on them each day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Ok, I won't do this everytime I get tagged, but I'm bored at work.... waiting on stuff to complete.

A- Attached or single: Very attached
B- Best Friend: Matt (but if you don't count husbands, G)
C-Cake or Pie: hmm... cheesecake, chocolate mousse pie, or fruit crisp? Its a tough call
D-Day: not mondays, not tuesdays, Fridays are good, Saturdays depends, and it used to be Sundays, but not lately
E- Essential Item: chapstick
F-Favorite Color: blue (periwinkle if you know what that is)
G-Gummi Bears or Worms: depends. If you're in the movies, Worms. If you're not, its totally fun to be a kid again, and bite of their heads, stick 'em on the wrong color and enjoy and multi flavored gummi bear!
H-Home town: Arizona
I- Indulgences: French Fries and Ranch
J- January or July?: hmm.. I would've said June, cuz that's my anniversary, but I like July... cuz I get to go swimming lots! And fireworks are fun.
K- Kids: not yet
L-Life is incomplete without: love
M- Marriage Date: June 9, 2006
N-Number of Siblings: 5, unless you count in-laws, then I have 13, but then if you count the in-laws spouses too (which feel like is just as much family), then it's 16.
O-Oranges or Apples: Oranges.
P- Phobias or Fears: cockroaches. Give me a scorpion, or tarantulas any day!
Q- Quote: Serious - "Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." (I stole that from Sarah) Funny - "Hoooowww shall I do it? I know, I'll turn him into a flea, a harmless little flea, and then I'll put the flea in a box, and put that box in another box, and then I'll mail it to myself, AND when IT ARRIVES I'll SMASH IT with a HAMMER! Its BRILLIANT BRILLANT BRILLANT I tell you, Genious I say!" (remember that A?) or "What's with the CHIMP and the bug? Can we get back to ME?"
R- Reason To Smile: Family
S- Season: Fall, I love the leaves (not here of course), in cities with real seasons
T- Tag Four: nope, not gonna do it.
U- Unknown fact about me: well, a few of you know... but about 2 months ago, I had a Thyroid Nodulectomy
V- Very Favorite Store: clothes - NY & Co, easiest to spend money at - Target, favorite brand but not really a store - Quiksilver/Roxy
W- Worst Habit: Like I'm gonna admit that publicly.. haha
X-Rays or Ultrasounds: This makes me laugh, cuz I feel the opposite than most I think. Ultrasounds mean that your gastroentrologists recommended it, or your endocrinologist recommended it. And if you have a bump that you're getting checked out.... they rub the thing all over it, and put pressure on it so it hurts! X-rays, yeah, they maybe cuz you are already hurt, but they themselves do NOT hurt. (except at the dentist)
Y-Your favorite food: French Fries and Ranch, or chocolate when I'm in the mood.
Z: Zodiac Sign: Libra

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Me!

Monday was our 2nd Anniversary. So, we decided to treat ourselves to a fancy dinner. We went to the same place that Matt took me to the night he proposed. (sorry the pictures are dark, I didn't want to use a flash in such a nice place... hehehe)

So, first we got our drinks. Simple, I know, but still classy glasses, eh?

Then we got salads, but I forgot to take pictures... sorry. I got the cheese tomato salad, and Matt got the house salad which was somewhat Southwestern style, it was yummy.

Then for dinner we got....
Mashed potatoes, portabello mushrooms (in some yummy sauce), and then a bleu cheese stuffed mushroom that was sweet and salty and oniony... soo good! I love the moon shaped dishes that they came in.

Then came the steaks! Matt got his BIG Ribeye with butter and salt as his topping, and I got a filet mignon with this creamy garlic and portabello mushroom sauce on top. There's a tomato on the side that was cooked with cheese... so good!

Then we got dessert.

Matt got the Peach Strawberry Crisp, it was delicious.

And I got The Chocolate Tiara! Ok, so the pretty strawberry and the drizzle of strawberry sauce were an added bonus... but CHECK IT OUT! It's a dome shaped dessert, filled with chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, covered in dark chocolate, and drizzled with white chocolate, and then a pretty vanilla wafer type cookie surrounding it, in the shape of a crown! I ate EVERY bite of this baby! So good. I didn't even finish my steak, and man am I glad, cuz this was worth saving the room.

We didn't do much afterwards, just went home and hung out. Not like last year, where I got sent to a technical conference in Orlando Florida the week of our anniversary... so I brought Matt along and we splurged on Disney World! But going out to eat was such a great celebration for us! And its fun too, cuz it has some sentiment to go along with it.

All in all... despite the stress, and craziness this year brought us, I still am happier now than I would be without Matty in my life. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Whhheeeerrrrrrree Aaaarrrrrre Yoooouuu?

In the Goofy Movie, Goofy takes many moments to talk to inanimate objects.
"Goodbye House, Goodbye Mailbox, Goodbye Pile of Broken Wood," is the often quoted line.

Did you ever talk to inanimate objects? Well, Matt does. And he doesn't just talk to them. He questions them. When he's trying to find his phone, keys, wallet, belt, sock, cup, food, anything really. He proceeds to ask them where they are. As if they are going to actually answer. And its not just some, "Where are you phone?" statement. No, no, no. Its full on song. "Ppphhhhoooonnnnnee, Whhheeeerrrrrrree Aaaarrrrrre Yoooouuu? Whheeerree Aarrreee Yyoouuu, Phone? I really miiiisssss yyyoooooouuuu. Cooommme Back phhhoooonnnne." The worst part is he's got me doing it now too!

So then, I wonder, why do I talk to inanimate objects? Why does my brain think that will help? Do I actually think its going to answer? Why don't we try calling the phone? Is it too much to work to run around the house listening for the ring? But really, is it any less work than wandering around the house singing for it? Why not ask an animate object to help the search effort? Is it that I feel loney and need more friends? Does talking to it, make the search more efficient? Could it be that the objects have traversed many homes and many locations with me and deep down I have a strong emotional attachment to them? Or is it some chemical imbalance that most of the human race suffers from but doesn't know it because everyone just thinks that it is 'normal'?

But then I think back to 10 years ago, when I first found out about speech recognition software. It was all the rage, and I was certain it was set to take over the world. That not long from then I would be opening my front door with my voice, turning on lights, running the air conditioning, managing the house security system with a simple vocal command. What happened to all this advanced technology? When is the Smart House going to be common and not the Sci-Fi dream? Or perhaps the world really is afraid of a hostile take over? (see The Terminator, The Matrix, or even Disney has one)

Alas, perhaps I am still hoping that in 7 years I will be able to enter my house with my thumb print, vocally ask for my fruit to come down out of the ceiling, and for my take-out pizza to need a 10 second rehydration to be piping hot. (see Back to the Future, II)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Talk About Geeks

Here we are, both working from home today.... as planned.

However, if you thought it was so that we could spend time together, you would be wrong! We are sitting in different rooms on our laptops, not spending time together! haha. We're so lame, we instant message each other in order to talk to one another.

At least he comes in periodically for a kiss... can't get that at work!