Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Three Insults of Online Gaming


It seems there are only three.  More than 95% of online gaming insults fall into one of the following (in order of frequency):

1. Fag (variants - gay, "your gay", "your a fag" (never "you're"), "thats gay", homo, suck my d***)
Surprisingly, this covers at least two thirds of the insults in the online gaming world.  I find it funny, considering this groundbreaking study about homophobia the abstract of which says:  "Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies."  My standard reply to any kind of homophobic insult is "Keep your homoerotic fantasies to yourself please."

2. Noob (variants - newb, scrub)
About a quarter of the time "noob" is the insult of choice.  Usually "noob" comes out after they lose to a very rudimentary tactic, cheese, or a rush.  Most of the time it is irony, because in general, cheap cheesy tactics only work vs noobs.  Also, many online games you can check an opponents profile, very often the first people to cry noob are, well, noob.

3. Kid (variants - "son")
This one is pretty infrequent, maybe 5% of the time.  I wonder if "son" is a derogatory comment from popular culture that I don't get as an insult.  I am above the average age for gamers, so I find it a little amusing.  A player's profile generally doesn't indicate how old they are in real life, but pretty sure "kid" and "son" insults come mostly from pimply teenagers.

It makes me sad a little to hear such unimaginative people.  What I wouldn't give for one "Your mother was a hampster and your father smelled of elderberries!"  Just a barrage of "fag", "noob", and "kid".  I would even be mollified by the trifecta, but despite a couple "fag noob" and "noob kid" I've never actually seen "fag noob kid".


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Parental Panic #3 of Infinity

If you have kids you know the heart dropping moment you realize they are about to get hurt.  Not the hurt that causes tears and can be cured with a hug and a feel-better bandaid wasted on unbroken skin, but the "oh $#!%" kind that taps into a parent's primal fear.

The boys were playing on the back deck by themselves after Leaf had come in to feed a screaming Ares.  I was watching them through the picture window while they played on the slide and threw snow.  Mars was playing with a rope he had tied to a deck post at the top of the slide.

You see where this is going?  The paranoid parent in me wanted to go out and say stop.  They love playing with rope, sting, wire, extension cords.  Tying up dad's feet, playing fishing, tied up tag...  It makes me a little nervous and we've had the "never around necks" talk what seems like dozens of times.  I wanted to go out and say "No!", but I feel like I've been saying no an awful lot lately.

I think he is playing Indiana Jones or something, using the rope to climb up the slide.  I'm glad I had noticed and been concerned about the rope because otherwise I wouldn't have even heard his little whimpering cry after he disappeared down the slide.  I ran out into the snow in my socks and scoop him up - he had gone down the slide with the rope around his neck and got hung up halfway down.  Luckily the rope also went under one armpit, but hurt him enough to scare the crap out of everyone.

A nasty mark on his neck where the rope burned, me freaked out more than him because I understood how horrible it could have been.   Odin got upset by the flurry of activity and hid under the deck, causing another panic, because they are not supposed to go out of sight of the window, so Leaf rushed out to find him.

Mars ended up being most upset because he had wanted to stay outside. Settled him down with promise of hot chocolate from the new machine.  Odin calmed enough to come in as well, but my adrenaline kept going like mad.  Primal fear sucks.  Rope was removed.  Yet another rope/neck/dangerous talk, I can only hope some first hand knowledge makes it sink in.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cuisinart Keurig Review

Fast - 2 minutes from off to heat the water from cold, around 40 seconds to make a cup.  Only 15 or 20 seconds to heat up again to make a second cup.  Then I turn it off so it isn't constantly heating.
Reservoir - it has a big honking tank on the side for water.  Fill and forget for a few days.
Hot - this was for Leaf.  The coffee comes out nice and hot like it is supposed to (and unlike our old machine).
Reusable Filter - cuts down the cost per cup significantly.

Messy - the reusable filter is messy to use.  One thing about paper filters is that you scoop them out and toss them in the compost bin.  The grinds stick to the inside of the mesh filter, it needs to be scooped out then rinsed and no matter how carefully you do that there ends up being a scattering of coffee grinds.  Oh, and filter holder is shaped like a top - it won't stand by itself - so one-handed prep is needed.
Price - both per cup and for the machine.  It is the most expensive machine we looked at.  Got it on sale at Canadian Tire on a scratch and win promotion day for an extra 10% off in CT money, so not terrible.  I rationalize it as paying for itself by cutting out 100 XL Tim Horton double doubles.  I've mostly been using the filter, but the k-cups are more expensive than Tassimo discs.
Serving Size - my coffee/tea mugs are 500ml.  That is 16 oz, and the Keurig only goes up to 12.  I end up filling the reusable filter to the top and brewing two 8oz cycles through the same filter.  This doesn't work with purchased cups, which seem to be designed for 8oz.  The 12oz setting ends up with watery coffee when made from a k-cup.
Clutter - a bunch of K-cups take up a lot of volume and create clutter.  There are stands but they seem to take up an awful lot of space for how many cups they hold.  I imagine someone will produce something better eventually.


Leaf wanted a single cup coffee maker.  She's been unhappy with ours for some time because it wasn't brewing hot enough.  I was confused by the variety.  K-cups, T-discs, DG-pods...  I spent a while on the google-fu trying to figure out which to get.

A caveat:  I am not a coffee snob.  I never drank coffee, ever, before I met Leaf.  I'm more of a tea person at home and I drink creamy sweet Tim Horton's double doubles when we are out and about.  We're budget minded people, so the thought of buying not only an expensive new machine but expensive single serve coffee seemed out of whack.

Justified that by the fact that at home, the bulk of a pot of coffee was being dumped at the end of the day.  Plus, despite our ongoing battle with Tim Hortons, we were still spending a crapload of money there.  Whatever the cost of a single serve coffee cup/disc/pod, it was going to be less than my $1.80 Tims fix.

The brand decision was difficult because I didn't want to end up with the Betamax of coffee makers.  Locally available is important, because I don't want to get stuff shipped or have to drive 100km each way to get coffee.  That narrowed it down to Keurig and Tassimo.

At first, I was leaning towards Tassimo because of the cheaper cost-per-cup.  I can get Tassimo discs locally for between 35¢ and 60¢, but Keurig cups are 70¢ to 80¢.  However, we ended up going with the Cuisinart Keurig brewer for several reasons.

The first is the three year warranty.  Sorry to say that pretty much anything you buy nowadays is cheap crap from China.  Not only will it break, but it is designed to break.  Every machine I researched had complaints about problems or breakage.  Most have a 1 year warranty and will be garbage at 13 months, the Cuisinart has a three year warranty and won't need to be garbaged until 37 months.

Next was the included reusable filter.  Not an option with Tassimo, we can still use our regular coffee in the Keurig for significant savings while still getting a quick single cup with no waste.  Hard to figure out the cost per cup because coffee is bought in grams but scooped in mls, and I already have a hard  time with Coffee Math.  Depending on variables (brand/quality of coffee/size of cup), about 25¢ per cup.

Variety of coffee was the last bit.  More manufacturers and coffee brands seem to make Keurig cups than Tassimo.  One advantage of Tassimo is the fancy coffees you can make - espressos, cappuccinos and lattes.  As I said early however, I am not a coffee snob, so those have no big appeal for me.  I had also read that Starbucks and Tassimo had parted ways and was concerned that Tassimo was the Betamax.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Baby Name plus Obligatory Cutesy Photos

Despite Odin making a last minute vote change from Jango Fett to 'Pickle', we've decided to name the baby Ares Fischer.  Ares in keeping with our theme (and pronounced the same as the astrological sign) , Fischer because apparently all our kids have middle names ending in "er".

Biggest of our babies
Get used to the noise, boys!
Ares with cousin Jade
Mum with 2 littlest boys
Ares' disdainful opinion of his first little outfit.

Four boys.  The toilet seat will never be down again.
The future Doctor Octopus

Hiding in Hospital cupboards with cousin Jovin

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baby Jango Fett

Procrastination turns out to be genetic. When I said a week to 10 days (almost 3 weeks ago) I actually thought I might be overestimating. Both Mars and Odin were three days early.

At the regular appointment on November 4th (the due date from the first ultrasound), our doctor said the baby would probably come within 24 hours, so I booted down from home. Nothing. I hung around until the 7th (the due date we had been working with, also my mum's birthday), but still no action.  (Local hospital doesn't do births, so we stay at Leaf's parents, 25 minutes from delivery hospital/delivery Dr's office).

I headed back home to catch up on some outside stuff I had been procrastinating on that needed to be done before cold weather/snow.  30 seconds after I finished the three hour drive, I got the phone call. Leaf thought it was time, but, based on previous experience didn't think the action would be for another 8 or 10 hours in the middle of the night. She would call back.

No 3am call this time, but next morning I headed back down. Contractions 10 minutes apart, so I booted it. The emergency cell phone had died so I went directly to the hospital, where they said "Leaf who?"... False alarm.  This little guy was not interested in coming out.  Tomorrow?  The day after?  11/11/11 would be a super cool date.  I stuck around.  A long, long week with multiple appointments and ultrasounds and another non-stress test (baby has had an irregular heartbeat issue) and we had an appointment to discuss inducement (and Leaf's fourth sweep).

Not something either of us wanted, but made an appointment to come in at 8:30 am and have a stress test, do another check/sweep, with the option of going with inducement or waiting.  First contraction was 7:07 am, so I guess baby didn't want to be induced either.  Less than 10 minutes apart on the trip to the hospital.  Contractions were less than 5 minutes apart by the time our Dr arrived for the scheduled inducement decision.  Called the fam to come a little after 9:30, called and said hurry up a little after 10:00, baby arrived at 10:40.

I think the fastest birth yet.  84 minutes active labour, less than 1 minute 2nd stage - the pushing part.  Odin was 2 hours then push push pop, this one was a mere push and a quarter.  The quarter push was only because our doctor said stop and had to clear the cord from around baby's neck.  Leaf - the amazing baby machine. 

First meeting of new baby brother
Beautiful blue-eyed baby boy with red hair, only ten days late.  9 lbs, 2oz, 21.5 inches.  All is good, an early ECG (again because of the heart irregularities) was sent to cardiologist, but no news is good news there.

And not really named Jango Fett.  That was Odin's choice for the short list.  Mars wants Ivanhoe.  Not from the book but from the southeastern Ontario cheese company.  For now he is Baby A13864.  Suggestions on a baby name in keeping with our current theme?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hallowe'en Pumpkins '11

Just a preview for now, as I've only just finished the basic carve/gouge of the Batman pumpkin.   I meant to time how long it took, but my mum phoned part way through and also stopped to make lunch for the kids.

I'd estimate 15 minutes prep - to open the top, clean out and prepare the inside, and tape on the stencil.  Maybe 40 minutes after that to get to this point.  I still need to smooth out all of the yellow pumpkin flesh, poke the eyes, and clean up the mouth.

As I said in my instructional post last year, I just searched google for the stencil using "Batman Colouring Page" and picked the fourth or fifth one in.  This was a great stencil because unlike last year's Tinkerbell one, I could copy it exactly.  Leave the skin where the stencil is black, carve the skin where the stencil is white.

Here it is lit up with most of the rough scraping completed.  The mouth needs to be thinned still, but with such a sliver I'll leave it until last, since it would easily break off in handling.  Still a bunch of detail scraping left to do.  Basically anywhere the pumpkin flesh is opaque or darker orange (in and around the right side of his cape) needs more scraping.  Where it is translucent and bright yellow (the bottom of the circle, his shoulders, armpit, and part of the left side cape) is almost complete.

I'll leave the rest until Hallowe'en day though, because it will dry out and need to be redone anyway..

Although partly the fault of the camera, you can also see the final product isn't as translucent.  Carving three days early allowed the pumpkin to both dry out and soften.  Do it the day of, or at most the day before for best results.  I started to scrape the dry flesh off, but the carved area of the pumpkin had softened so much that I was worried I would break it.  The only small change from the last photo was to poke the utility belt all the way through.

A plain Batman Symbol Pumpkin.  If you are just learning to skin carve a pumpkin, this is a great one to try first.  It is a simple design, like last year's Transformers pumpkin.  It doesn't take a lot of time (from start to finish it took me 30 minutes), and the lack of details mean there isn't a lot of mistakes you could make.

Pumpkins 2012: Master Yoda Pumpkin, Cookie Monster Pumpkin
Pumpkins 2010: Tinkerbell Pumpkin, Transformers Pumpkin with Autobot and Decepticon logos
Pumpkins 2009: Scooby Doo and Shaggy Pumpkin, Mystery Machine Pumpkin, Yoda Pumpkin, Boba Fett Pumpkin
Pumpkins 2008: Ernie and Bert Pumpkin, Soccer Ball Pumpkin
Pumpkins 2007: Calvin and Hobbes Pumpkin, Spiderman Pumpkin, Toronto FC Pumpkin
Pumpkins 2006: Darth Vader Pumpkin, Homer Simpson Pumpkin 

Important Announcement

I got in some trouble last child for failing to widely inform people that he was on the way.  So I get in less trouble, be it known (rather belatedly) that #3 is on the way.  More info in a week to ten days!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My children are so well behaved

Blonde hair, blue eyed Odin, age 2, was wearing his spiderman suit, making goo-goo eyes at the ladies, and flexing his padded muscles.  So I might have expected a 'your children are so cute'.

Mars was discoursing on the attributes of dinosaurs, pronouncing names I can't, and telling me what each one ate.  So I might have expected a 'your children are so smart'.

Instead, the grandmotherly lady said "Your children are so well behaved".  Personally, I thought they were getting a little silly giddy as we were about to leave the restaurant.  I said thanks.  She said she hadn't seen such well behaved children in a long time.

I find it strange.  As cute and smart as they are, the most frequent comment we get is about how well behaved they are.  At restaurants, at stores, out in public.  Every few weeks, a complete stranger will talk to us about what nice, well behaved kids we have.  I guess they are well behaved.  Most of the time.  In public.  I suppose what we consider normal is actually well behaved these days.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My knees are still shaking

We are down in the city for the weekend;  Leaf had a Dr's appointment Friday, boys had a cousin's birthday party on Saturday, and visiting my sister's today to meet brand new baby Jaide.  Absolutely adorable, and so tiny.  You always forget how little they are.  After a nice visit, we headed home.

About half way home and there is a slow down on the 401.  I generally leave lots of distance (the Stay Back 2 Chevrons! campaign being big in my area during teenage years) between me and the car in front and anticipate needing to slow down rather than wait until the last second.  Luckily.  I gently press the brakes to slow down.  Nothing.  Press harder.  Nothing.  Press all the way to the floor.  Nothing.  I quite literally said "uh oh!".  Also quite luckily, traffic had previously slowed down enough that we were only going about 80km an hour.

I think just about every option ran through my head in a split second - including the absolutely inane thought 'turn onto the runaway truck ramp' that somehow popped to the surface so many years after all those cross-Rockies trips.  I swerved into the shoulder to miss the guy in front of me.  The shoulder ended 30 meters later at an on-ramp, where - again the luck - there was a gap that I managed to cut across to get to the side of the highway.  We roll along for a bit, but seems I'm getting some brake traction now and come to a stop on the shoulder.  The lane beside us is one of those shared on-ramp/off-ramp lanes, so not really part of the highway, but still not the safest place to be stopped.

Dilemma.  We can wait to be ripped off by an unscrupulous tow truck driver (is there another kind on the 400 series highways?), or move forward a few hundred meters and get safely off the highway.  Since the brakes were now giving pressure, we decided to at least get off the 401.  Started a slow roll, tested the brakes a couple times & they worked fine, so onto the off ramp and away. Naturally the brakes turn to jell-o again at the end of the exit ramp, so into a parking lot and stopped for good.  I detest motor vehicles.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Selling my vintage video game collection

When I was little, I was absolutely desperate for an Atari 2600. Of course I never got one, and as a result, became emotionally scarred for life. Something about video games really interested me. Played at friends houses - they always had game systems - haunted the arcade as a tween.

The first system I ever bought was that same Atari 2600 I had desired so much in 1980. I bought it at a flea market in Nova Scotia in the summer of 1996 and mailed it home to British Columbia. I bought a Sega Genesis from a friend that next school year, and the collection was on.

I've never been a 'serious collector'. Not a completionist who must have every game and accessory for a particular system. Not a perfectionist who must have mint in box copies of games. Not a foolish rich person who spends $5000-$10000 on holy grails of vintage games.  Just picking up stuff when and where I could - and when I could afford it.

Ebay, kijiji, and yards sales filled out my collection until I had about 25 different consoles ranging from a Generation 1 Coleco Telstar to a Generation 5 Atari Jaguar. For a while I had my favourites neatly set up in the 10 compartment unit below the TV. The glimpse of the diaper table beside and diaper wipes on top hint at what happened to that setup.

Sticky little fingers on curious boys meant pretty much everything went into neatly labeled clear plastic bins.  For a while, they fit in the same storage unit, but eventually most migrated to a closet.  They would come out once in a while, but less and less due to the hassle of boxes and cords and cleanup.

I do most of my gaming on PC now.  The boys are old enough to play wii, but the old school stuff tends to be too complicated and not geared towards little kids.  There is another on the way, and we've been talking about converting my office space with its stacks of consoles and paraphernalia into a kids room.  I figured it was time to let go.  For the last week I've been sorting and putting stuff on kijiji.  Its taking a while to sort through 15 years of stuff.

It makes me sad to let it all go.  Going to keep the Atari 2600 and the Sega Genesis.  Also going to keep one Dreamcast.  The rest goes. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leaf won an Ipod Touch

I was so excited. Then it turned out to be a 3rd generation, and didn't have the camera. Marginally less excited, but still a great win. Then I installed iTunes... I am definitely not an apple fanboy. Its a neat gadget for sure, but I don't think it will get as much use as it would have with the camera. The boys were thrilled that they could play games on it. ITunes is not user friendly.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Winning Father's Day Contest Entry

"We love our Dad all the way to the stars and back. He does lots of interesting things with us. He takes us fishing and brings us kayaking down the York. He also buys us lots of Lego and builds us a new castle, spaceship, or robot almost every night. My Mom doesn’t think that we need a Lego room but we agree with Dad on this one. We laugh and laugh while Dad body slams us onto the bed and wrestles with us on the floor. We run when he’s pretending to be a monster and when he says, “Oy, go to bed!” My Dad is so cool because he plays with us all the time."

Leaf entered the local radio station Father's Day contest & won. A weekend cottage rental, a cordless dremel/drill set, a DQ cake, and 100 gallons of water.

Yes, 100 gallons of water is a little strange to win in a contest.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I won the 2011 Hockey Pool

I picked a good team this year.  Every player survived the first round - a first for me, and every player had a point - also a first.  Correctly picking 3 or 4 conference finalist teams was the difference.  A come from behind win, I didn't actually move into first place until the second game of the final round.  My Boston picks butt kicking of Vancouver meant I ended up winning by 20 points.

I also correctly predicted riots in Vancouver.  Sad to see too many hooligans drinking alcohol and not smoking pot and chilling like they are supposed to in Van.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Parental Authority is Being Undermined

Me:  "Odin, please don't do that"
Mars (age 4½): "Don't worry Odin, you'll be able to do anything you want when you grow up."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Teaching my kids the fine art of Breaking and Entering

We locked ourselves out of the house last month.  It had been a while, since we usually both carry a set of keys.  It never used to be a problem, since at our old house in a small village, we rarely locked the door. A small town thing combined with a complete lack of things worth stealing.  Since having foster kids and moving to town, the door always gets locked when we go out.  Compounding the problem was that we had gone away for a few days, and as usual, I had very carefully checked all the doors and windows were shut and locked before we left.

It probably wouldn't have been an issue otherwise.  Since I was a small child, I knew all the ways into a house.  Crawling through windows is great fun when you are 10 and mum is late home from work and you don't want to miss Magnum PI after school.  Our childhood house had two sure-fire ways in when locked up - if you were small enough to fit or agile enough to climb.

We've been locked out at least twice before, but just after a town trip, so I had made use of childhood skills to find my way in.  This time we were stuck.  The house key had been detached from the key ring and not made it back on.  We did discover we have a bunch of keys and no idea what they are supposed to open, and that we don't actually have keys to 3 of the four exterior doors in our house.

I spent a good 20 minutes checking the options without success.  I was debating which window would be cheapest to replace when Leaf asked me if I had checked a particular window.  I hadn't, since not only was it out of reach but had a security bar to stop it from opening.  Luckily, Leaf had opened it to air the room out and not replaced the bar - and I hadn't checked when we left, since I assumed the window, covered by insulating plastic film on the inside, hadn't been open since last summer.

Precariously balanced on an overturned plastic garbage can, I managed to get the screen off and the window open, but it was too high to haul my tired old self in.  Enter Mars.  He was very, very excited to get boosted through a window.  Unfortunately, once he was inside, he had trouble with the childproof door knobs designed to prevent Odin from going outdoors for a wander.

Crap.  It ended up that I had to get a foot on Leaf's shoulder to get up high enough, then squirm my rotund belly over the sill only to fall sprawling onto the boy's toys.  And I thought it hurt when you stepped on just one of them in the dark.  Made my way to the back door, opened it up and called Leaf and Odin to come it.

At which point Odin threw a fit.  Having seen both big brother and Dad climb through a window, there was no way on earth he was going to go in by a mere door, and no amount of pleading from Mum or Dad would convince him otherwise.  Sigh.  With great difficulty I boosted the little monkey in.  We need to hide a key outside somewhere.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I hate you British Columbia

Voting in this federal election was a conundrum for me.  I actually went into the booth, ballot in hand, undecided.  I had been hoping for a Rhinoceros Party candidate because I think it is high time to repeal the Law of Gravity.  In the end, I asked Mars which circle he liked, I marked it, I let Odin put it in the ballot box. 

There really should be a "None of the above" option on our ballots.  I thought about writing it in, a la Brewster's Millions.  I couldn't refuse a ballot in a form of protest.  I wondered about eating it, but didn't want to get charged. 

I'm pretty middle of the road according to Vote Compass.  I'm a swing voter, I've voted for just about every party but the Bloc at least once.    My problem is that I really do support none of the above.  Stephen Harper scares me.  Its not just the Lego hair worse than Kerry Fraser.  Attitude?  Policy?  Hidden agenda?  I don't actually believe in Democracy as a system of government.  I support Benevolent Dictatorship - the key word being benevolent, which I don't think Harper is. 

Strategic voting is pointless in my rural Ontario riding.  Even if it weren't I couldn't hold my nose and vote Liberal either.  Their party has been a joke since Chretien.  They shot themselves in the foot with Paul Martin, reloaded, and did it twice more.  Never liked Martin being pushed on people, Dion was the wrong 'anybody but Ignatieff' leader, and Ignatieff was a back room appointee.   NDP had a few interesting policies, but I am more fiscally conservative.  Also, each time I saw a clip of Jack Layton being introduced as "the next Prime Minister of Canada", I thought "I can't support a party where they are obviously all smoking crack". 
Anyway, I hate you British Columbia.  Watched the early coverage and the prediction of a Con minority government, again...  I figured that was the best possible result.  Went on to other things. Imagine my surprise to find out a majority thanks to late reporting west coast polls.  Who would have thought a bunch of pot smoking hippie earth mothers would elect 21 conservatives for the majority.

What kills me most is that the 2% increase in popular support to 39.6% of votes leads from minority government to 54% of seats.  First past the post sucks.  I'm firmly of the opinion that Harper has been and remains the problem with the Conservative Party.  Another leader would have won this majority, and my vote, way back against Paul Martin.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beaten up by a 4 year old

I knew that one day Mars would be bigger, faster, and stronger than me.  And that eventually, he would most likely be better than me at video games.  It isn't supposed to happen at 4 though.

We started using the Wii again at retail shopping season when my family came to visit.  It had been largely collecting dust since the year before when the novelty wore off.  Mars and Odin were too little and after I finished Lego Star Wars there wasn't much that interested me in the way of games. 

Boxing proved to be the most popular.  The skill level was appropriate for a four year old - just flail your arms around.  He (and Odin) had lots of fun beating up dad.  I would pretend to try hard while he beat me like a red-headed step child.  Lots of pretend indignation from me and maniacal laughter from the two of them.

After a while, I figured he needed some life lessons.  Its easy to get a four year old to do what you want if you make it a contest - "who can get their shoes on fastest" when he is lollygagging instead of getting ready to go out works like a charm.  However, we were getting instances of him throwing a fit because he had to "win" every time.  So lesson 1 - you can't/don't always win, followed by lesson 2 - losing with grace.

So I figured I'd try just a little bit, make it a close win at the last minute, and talk through the result with him.  He beat me.  I tried a little harder.  He beat me.  I tried harder from the beginning instead of leaving the knockout until the last round.  He beat me.  I went all out to knock him on his little mii ass in the first round.  He beat me.  What the hell.  Something about his little wii boxing arm flail dance is particularly conducive to the game.  It is linked to the length of his arms (because I tried to imitate him without success).  We tried bowling.  I won.  He didn't care.

I had to read the manual, do the training mode, google some tips, and play single player a dozen times before I managed to eke out a win against him.  It was close, and he probably still beats me 3 times out of 4. 

He hasn't asked to play for a few weeks now, I think the novelty has worn off again.  Thankfully.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Books of February 2011

Orion Shall Rise
Poul Anderson
ISBN 0671464922
480 pages

Post apocalyptic.  I think intelligent life gets one kick at the can.  If you mess it up towards the end, your planet and life form are done.  Any rebirth of civilization will be hampered by lack of the same easily available resources.

No Dark Place
Joan Wolf
ISBN 0-06-019238-0
278 pages

"A medieval mystery".  I like medieval, I like mystery.  This book was weak.  Predictable, plain, no depth.

The Gods Themselves
Isaac Asimov
ISBN 0-553-28810-5
293 pages

Asimov is the best.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Books of January 2011

The Bourne Betrayal
Eric Van Lustbader
ISBN 0-446-61880-2
724 pages

I like the Bourne trilogy, and the movies were fun.  This, however, is a stinking pile of crap.  2D characters and a plot that is so improbable it becomes ridiculous to the point of stupidity.

Walking on the Land
Farley Mowat
ISBN 1-55263-167-2
208 pages


Tomorrow, When the War Began
John Marsden
ISBN 978-0-330-27486-9
304 pages

The Dead of Night
John Marsden
ISBN 978-0-330-35647-3

272 pages

The Third Day, the Frost.
John Marsden
ISBN 978 0 330 35668 8
288 pages

Darkness, Be My Friend.
John Marsden
ISBN 978 0 330 36005 0
272 pages

Burning for Revenge
John Marsden
ISBN 978 0 330 36063 0.
272 pages

The Night is for Hunting
John Marsden
ISBN 978 0 330 361361
256 pages

The Other Side of Dawn.
John Marsden
ISBN 978-0-330-36213-9.
256 pages

Saw the movie based on the first book, figured to give the series a try.  Not just a Red Dawn rip-off.  Should really just be one big book rather than seven little ones, but it is a 'young adult' series.  Nothing spectacular, but I enjoyed it.  I loved the idea of Red Dawn when I was a kid.

9 Dragons
Michael Connelly
ISBN 978-0-316-16631-7
377 pages

Picked it up from Bookmooch, a hardcover even.  Typical Bosch, seemed shorter than usual.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
ISBN 0-06-046721-5
366 pages

Figured it deserved a reread.  Perpetually on lists of banned books and controversial over use of the word nigger and portrayal of Jim.  In the media recently over a recently published edition where the word nigger was replaced with the word slave.  Of course in the debates always referred to "The N-Word".  I have 3 thoughts.  When was the last time you heard someone say "The F-Word" or "The S-Word".  Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.  "Nigger" (or "Nigga") seems to be entrenched in popular culture - think music - I am surprised at the frequency I hear it.  The book itself was OK, nothing spectacular.

The Dragon's Village
Yuan-Tsung Chen
ISBN 0-394-50791-6
285 pages

An interested semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman participated in rural land reform after the Chinese revolution.  I liked it.  China has always impressed me.

Dark of the Moon
John Sanford
ISBN 978-0-399-15477-5
373 pages

Not about Lucas but Virgil Flowers.  The most enjoyable Sanford book I've read in a while.

Hell's Kitchen
Jeffery Deaver
ISBN 0-671-04751-5
353 pages

Deaver is not on my A list of authors.  An ok mystery.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mars gets his African Groove on

The first time was when CBC radio was on and they played some drum heavy African music.  Mars decided that he wanted to dance, and when it was over he asked me to play it again so he could dance some more.  Of course, his "dancing" looked suspiciously like jumping on the couch, which he is not allowed to do.  Cute enough to allow to continue though.  Along with Odin, he spent a good ten minutes jumping and rolling around.  It was all fun and games until, inevitably, someone got hurt.  A quick cuddle and we moved on to playing trains.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Books of 2010

120 books, 44437 pages in total.  I am surprised I averaged 10 books a month.  Can't decide if I'll continue keeping track.  I got pretty slack towards the end.  I want to try and read more non-fiction and less of the popular fiction junk that contributed to the high numbers.  Fluff reads so fast but is ultimately unrewarding.

Books of December 2010

None.  I read no books in December.  Partly busy with retail shopping season, party lethargic due to the season, partly addicted to Starcraft II.