We’ve had a bit of a trial-by-frustration in the video game console department lately. A few months ago our Wii broke. Well, the optical disc broke. And since we have a nice little stack of games for it we decided to upgrade with a Wii U console so that we could play our games again… because it was backwards compatible. But then, apparently, Wii U has been discontinued and even tho I spent hours surfing online stores and cruising electronics stores, I wasn’t able to find a Wii U for sale. So, instead, I ordered a refurbished Wii (the original one) from eBay. Which arrived, and it it kinda works, but it’s old and Nintendo has always been locked down so now basically we have two Wiis hooked up: one to play stuff we downloaded and one to play discs. I’d given up on anything newer because when I went to check out the Switch it had sold out online in about twenty seconds and pre-orders were neigh-impossible to find in real life… and I’ve never been much of an early adopter anyhow. Except… by some odd confluence of chance and opportunity I found myself in a line up one morning while out on my coffee break –queued up in front of a we’re-not-doing-the-early-thing late-opening store in the downtown core– a few hours after writing this post about giving up on next gen consoles. Twenty minutes later I had a receipt in my wallet for a pre-order on a new Switch console. So, that happened. And of course Claire is giddy with anticipation. So… did anyone else jump into the latest Nintendo fray? Or am I the only sucker out there?
While our friends are hosting a more official games day in a couple weeks, post New Years, where we’ll all gather, nerds that we are, and binge on food, drink and board games with some good company, today had it’s moments. We played some games.
Last night, I rolled through midnight grooving on some ten pin bowling with a small group of my running friends. I hadn’t played in years and somehow, groove fully enabled, won both games. To be fair, I was the only one not really drinking.
This morning I poked away at our jigsaw puzzle a little more.
Then, I caught Claire rolling through her cousin’s Minecraft server. I don’t exactly know what she was up to there, but the private, creative-enabled block land has the two girls competing for “most epic castle” award, and I think her cousin crept ahead… causing a little frustration in our living room.
Real bowling got us in the mood for some fake bowling, and we dusted off the Wii and played a round of that… followed by some other Wii-ish sports.
And then I scuttled off to the basement where, having picked up a super-cheap copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition on the holiday Steam sale the other day, I booted that up and tried to see if I could keep a small virtual aircaft from crashing whilst flying over a rough approximation of Edmonton… seemingly rendered from geological and municipal planning data purchased in the late 1990s.
I picked up a copy of the Wii Fit upgrade yesterday, Wii Fit Plus. Oddly enough, since buying the original (balance board and game, etc) about three months ago, we now put in the majority of our Wi-time on that particular title. Why? Claire loves it. And she can almost do it. (For some reason she loves the ski jumping, even though nearly every single time she ends up as a snowball with zero points.) So it gets dragged out and we spend a half an hour watching a two-year-old dance around the living room. Wii Fit Plus, it turns out, fixes all the little problems we had as a family trying to play: namely, multiplayer. Now we can switch back and forth without much effort. So, when Claire is doling out “your turns” to everyone, it doesn’t actually take two minutes to switch characters. It’s right on to the next person. Works for us, anyhow.
Claire has a list of new words she loves to say. Thanks to the visitation of her grandparents and aunt, up to this weekend she has added or improved (with her own toddler-play on each, of course): auntie, grandpa, grandma, run, daddy run, snap, sparkle, arm, bowl, apple, fish, cheese, a variety of letters of the alphabet, the first line of about six songs, and just about too many others to keep listing them here, really.
We actually got out of the house and saw two shows this weekend. “Doubt: A Parable” at the citadel was enjoyable and was a multi-layered commentary on experience, respect, evidence, hierarchy, and lost innocence. “Annie” playing at the Jube, was just Annie. It was good, and the under-plot of mid-depression-era politics felt particularly prescient for some reason.
A reminder… PhotoShootChallenge #3 is at the half-way point. It’s never too early to submit your entries!
I ran the St. Patrick’s Day 10 K run on Sunday morning. When I woke up I was slightly motivated by the lack of overnight snow. But by the time we were standing on the start line it was chilly and the near-blizzard conditions left a visibility who’s only advantage was that we couldn’t see the upcoming hills. I finished in a little more than an hour. Best. 10k time. Ever. (For me anyhow!) My crew is now talking half-marathon clinic starting mid-April — but my sanity isn’t entirely sold.
Had a great meal at New Asian Village on Saturday evening. It’s always great when one goes to a curry buffet, though.
Try as I might I can’t keep up to my Audible credits. I’ve got about two hours left on my current listen, and another two waiting in queue (thanks to a six-month-membership-anniversary freebie). Top that off with the fact I’ve got two pending and unspent credits, I’m gonna need to take a week off just to listen to audio books. Suggestions on good reads or listens?
We’ve unofficially started potty training. Enough said.
We finalized our bookings for Vegas in July. Flights, hotel, and event all bought and paid for. I guess there is no backing out now — at least not without cancellation charges.
Spent some quality moments with Mario Kart Wii this weekend: I finally unlocked all the tracks. It’s not a matter of sucking at the game, but rather it’s a matter of moderate inadequacy mixed with a decided lack of free time.
Someday soon I will find time for a good night’s sleep, too. Someday.
Did I mention I’ve not had much time to write all the things I said I was going to write? No? Well, there it is.
We’ve been stuffing ourselves into the basement for the last few evenings working away at the final bits of pre-carpet work. I am pretty much sick of ivory paint and 45 degree corners. And if I never see another tube of wood filler again, it will be too soon.
We had an exciting weekend. Well, relatively exciting. You may have noticed the weather has markedly improved. That means we got out to the park (see the gallery for pictures) and Sparkle is happy and content because there are once again numerous walks in her life.
We’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to play Wii lately. The darn thing just sits there. We (foolishly?) designated Monday through Wednesday as “do something other than TV nights” — and these are turning out to be the only nights I actually have time to sit down and watch TV. So, not too much television or video games lately. And I was doing so good in Mario Kart, too.
Claire’s latest tricks involve not only a blossoming vocabulary (baby, sparkle, moo, baa, row row row, thank you, keys, please, cheese, shoes, up, mommy, daddy, all done, duck, upsy, no, uh oh, and boom) but she has learned to climb onto chairs, stools, benches, the toilet, and her dad, and also does a neat little trick where she asks for a tissue by pointing, scrunching her face, and wiping her nose with the back of her hand.
In case you haven’t been keeping up to date with the new links and such appearing on this blog and in Facebook, I’ve taken a somewhat narcissistic approach to self-promotion and have been both quietly expanding the presence of Starkware and widely promoting a new little writing project I’ve been working on. There are links nearby. I encourage your thoughtful input.
In a little less than two weeks I’m off to Ontario. I guess I’m doing some school out there. I’ll detail more when I get back.
I downloaded Anathem for my ebook reader. Blog regulars might recall that I listened to the audio book version over the holidays, but I’ve decided to go at it again (right away) in text form. It’s really set to be another Stephenson classic work, I think. So, in lieu of writing blog posts I’ve been curled up on the couch reading that.
Oh, and running. I did a painful eight kilometers yesterday with the group. You run for nearly an hour on ice and snow and see how you fare.
Does that about sum things up?
I should add that this cycle of freezing and thawing that we’ve been experiencing has been causing me much grief as a homeowner. Anyone with a driveway in this city is likely suffering from calluses from using an ice chipper every day. But then the last thing I’d want is the guilt of someone’s broken neck on my conscious.
In summary then, I have good intentions. The blog writing is medium priority — somewhere above television and emptying the dishwasher, but a notch or so below the other stuff mentioned. Another four or five hours in the day would come in real handy. But like we all don’t wish that, eh?
Our copy of Mario Kart Wii arrived in the mail yesterday, wrapped in a box the size of a milkcrate. We broke our Tuesday TV-off rule to both play and watch post-inauguration coverage. Can you blame us? And I schooled some poor kids from New York late into the evening.
Almost exactly two years after writing THIS Karin and I cracked open our own little white box yesterday and officially joined the frenzy. And what do you want? An excuse. Yes, there is a meandering and lengthy story around the grand event, but — for now — let’s call the purchase “differently intended” and the actual keeping of the thing, “Plan E”… Huh?
Maybe I’m just lazy.
But I was awake pretty early this morning AND I was running about twenty minutes ahead of schedule. What does that mean? Though it was crazy, yes, somewhere in the deep, sleep-deprived recesses of my brain I decided to break one of my own promises: to put the obsession of Wii-ness out of my mind until after the holiday, post-launch frenzy.
Derek was over last night and he mentioned that Best Buy seemed to be getting shipments, regularly, on Friday mornings. Apparently, the line ups start around eight in the morning. He (jokingly, I think) suggested we go park the car and wait overnight. Uh. No.
Rather, at twenty-to-eight I hop in my car and blaze a trail down the Anthony Henday to the South Common Best Buy, veering away from the hoards heading to work, past the three-mile line-up for coffee at Tim Horton’s, and scootch into the parking lot where I can see two people standing idly by the front doors, lingering, talking, whatever. I pull up in front to read the sandwich-board sign propped up in the lightly-drifting snow: “We apologize but all 35 tickets for the Wii shipment have been handed out.”
Huh? To who?
I let the clutch out, roll away, and limp the car around the parking lot wondering absently to myself before ultimately deciding to park — and go have a closer look.
I’m walking across the lot in my dress shoes, shoving the cell phone into my pocket just in case I wind up in a two-hour line-up and need to call work about my impending lateness. (What better excuse to be late than in line for a video game system, right? [Removes tongue from cheek.]) My eyes refocus in the dim light to what I missed on my drive-by: thirty-odd folding lawn chairs of varying make and colour lined up along the wall North of the main doors, all empty, and in the numerous cars dotting the lot (honestly, I assumed from the stocking staff for the holiday rush) lightly dusted in snow a few dozen heads peering over the dashboards of their frozen cars.
I do my own bit of freezing: in my tracks, and then do a one-eighty degree turn back towards the car.
Me: Nintendo execs, how do you sleep at night?
WolfcastleExec: On top of a pile of money with many beautiful women. (Obligatory Simpsons reference.)
Frenzy, indeed. Someday we’ll look back at our obsessed little selves and wonder what all the fuss was about.
Even after taking a full day off to wander the city in search of that mythical perfect gift, I’m tired and annoyed by the holidays — already — and only marginally closer to finishing my shopping. I alleviated some stress by hanging the Christmas lights on the house and pumping my iPod full of holiday tunes. Thank goodness I left the clips on the lights last year. I thought I was just being lazy, but the whole stretch of lights went up in a little over twenty minutes thanks to last years — ahem — foresight.
New this year on the iPod holiday play-list is some Dianna Krall and also the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Christmas album. At last count we have some nineteen hours worth of Christmas music to haunt the next few weeks. We’ve been steadily amassing a respectable Christmas music collection in MP3 format since about 2002 when I initially burned the set onto one CD-R that played — in no particular order — from the DVD player onto the TV. It was hardly ideal, but generally added to the ambiance of the season.
It doesn’t help with the shopping though.
And for those reading this who have yet to (seriously) fill out their wishlist (and I’m referring mostly to family here) those of us already using are ACTUALLY using it — really. Just a hint. I already spent part of my life today (unsuccessfully) waiting in line for a Wii and, no, I didn’t get one and that will be the last and only attempt at obtaining that particular piece of plastic before the holidays are over. Bah, Humbug.