Labor Day Weekend

personal comments edit

I think the list of what we didn’t do this weekend will be shorter than what we did do, but let’s go through the activities anyway. It was a really, really packed three-day weekend, let me tell you.

Friday night I went home and played a couple of hours’ worth of Soul Calibur II, which I continue to maintain is the best fighting game ever. It’s so totally accessible and easy to pick up… yet the challenge is configurable so that even the experienced players can make it fun. I like it because I can just start playing, generally figure out how a character works, and on the “normal” difficulty, I can run through an entire “arcade mode” series of levels with just enough challenge to make it hard, but not so much challenge that I get pissed off and turn off the game.

The controls are well done and are simple to remember but complex enough that you can do some pretty cool combos and things. Plus, the “Weapons Master” mode is awesome - like a story or something. I dig it.

Kia Spectra GSX (4k
image)Saturday I did my best to get the household chores done (vacuuming, etc.) in the morning because that afternoon we decided to go to the Kia dealership and get Jenn into a new car. Her old car, a Pontiac Sunfire convertible, was a piece of crap and she needed something a little more reliable. We got there at 1:00p or so (without eating lunch, stupid us), and after four-and-a-half hours of painful negotiation, we ended up getting Jenn a Kia Spectra GSX in the “pewter gray” color. It’s a manual transmission, which she’s not used to, so there’s a bit of learning being done, but it’s all good. She enjoys it a lot, and I’m glad she’s happy.

Let it be known, though, that when I stepped onto the Kia lot, it was definitely not the same experience as when I went to get my car at the Acura lot. It was almost a different culture. Not necessarily bad, just different.

Sunday we went boating with my friends Jason and Tracy. We got off to a sort of poor start because somehow the boat battery was dead, but we discovered that while we were still at their house so we were able to charge it up a bit before we left. Jason’s brother, Adam, decided he didn’t want to rely on the charging job we did, so he decided he didn’t want to go. Whatever, man, he missed out on a good time.

Put the boat in the Columbia River in Goble, OR, and then went to a beach a mile or two down the river to eat lunch (just drove the boat right up onto the beach, basically, and got out to eat).

After we ate, we drove around on the river. It was pretty choppy, so none of us got into the water, but driving around was fun. (I wouldn’t have gotten on an innertube behind the boat or anything anyway due to bad past experience, but I’ll get to that later.)

We alternated between driving around in the boat and hanging out on the beach for about three hours. A lot of fun was had by all. I noticed Jenn and I were pinking up a bit, even though we had sunscreen on, but I figured that’s the price you pay, right?

The plan after boating was to go to a local comedy club, but we got back to their place and found out that the club had overbooked by 200 people, so we cancelled that idea. Instead, we got a bunch of people together and watched the latest Robin Williams stand-up act on video, which was hilarious. Played a little pool after that and then went home.

Monday morning Jenn and I woke up and realized that “pink” didn’t nearly accurately describe the sunburn issues we had going on. We were red. Like, really red. No blisters or anything, but totally stiff, totally in pain. I [somehow] burned the tops of my feet, so wearing shoes and/or socks was unbearable. My neck was red and burning like fire. My face was just sore… Jenn had similar problems, except for the feet burn.

I ended up going to a sporting goods store to get some cheap sandals (the sandals I had on while boating were really crappy and had caused a nice hole to be worn in the side of my foot) so I can walk around with some semblance of shoes on. You’d be surprised how hard it is to find anywhere that carries sandals at the end of summer. We went like four different places before we found these, and at bargain prices, no less. No complaints here.

Went home after driving around to Jenn’s parents’ house to show them the new car and played a bit more Soul Calibur II. Also played some more Amplitude, then watched a Xena episode and turned in.

Speaking of Xena, when you buy the DVD box set of the episodes, you get a little coin. Each season has a coin that goes with it. You can order a “free” (with $5 shipping) coin display holder thing to put the coins in. You have the option of calling a toll-free number or sending your check in the mail. I wanted to make sure my info was received, so this morning I called.

Bad choice.

I got to talk to Shirley, an Asian lady with a mild grasp of English. I told her I wanted the free coin holder thing. She proceeded to hard-sell me on every Xena merchandise item they sell, from DVDs to replica swords, for the next 45 minutes. Seriously. Every time I told her no, or that I’d call her back later for stuff, she would make a last plea for that item to be bought and then move on to give me the “next special offer.” I got the Hercules coin holder just to shut her up (an additional whopping $5), but she was worse than a Kinney Shoes salesman. Fuckin’ vultures. Terrible. Next time I know to just mail the damn check and hope for the best.

So, a few follow-ups…

First, my friend Doug got the list of stages that history goes through (in reference to the political raving I was doing):

  • Bondage / Chains
  • Spiritual Faith
  • Courage
  • Liberty
  • Abundance
  • Selfishness
  • Complacency
  • Apathy
  • Dependency and Degeneracy
  • Bondage / Chains

Looks to me like we passed through Abundance and Selfishness in the 80’s, hit Complacency and Apathy in the 90’s, and we’re currently heading through Dependency and Degeneracy and into Bondage / Chains. Not the “good,” S&M kind, either. Bah.

The book this is from is Exploring American History by Michael McHugh. According to his book, “all recorded history proves that the rise and fall of every nation has followed the above pattern.” Interesting, eh?

Finally, why won’t I go waterskiing or on an innertube behind a boat? Well…

I tried to waterski once. I had a pair of skis that we were using to “train” the newbies on - the fronts and backs were tied together. Apparently the really hard part is keeping your legs together and in front of you long enough to get up. Seemed reasonable to me, right? So, I got in the water and was told that if anything goes wrong, let go of the rope and the boat will come around to get me. Cool.

The boat started going, I started getting pulled, and then I started losing my balance and wasn’t feeling comfortable, so I let go of the rope…

… which then wrapped itself around the rope holding the skis together and I got drug underwater for an undetermined amount of time that was altogether too long for me. Water up my nose, in my mouth, unable to breathe… the worst ever. No thank you.

On a separate occasion I thought I’d try going out on one of those rocket-shaped inflatable deals that get towed behind the boat. Fun, right? Everyone loves those things. Plus, no rope to wrap around your skis and drag you underwater.

I got out there with a cousin of mine who had been on them before. I had never, and said straight-up that to begin with I’d like to go pretty slow so I can get used to the feel of it. No problem, I was told. Just do a thumbs-up / thumbs-down to say faster or slower.

We got going, and we were doing okay, but this cousin of mine decides we needed to go faster, so he jerked his thumb up high. I wasn’t ready, so I started doing a thumbs-down, but this asshole in front still wanted faster, so was doing thumbs-up. Which took precedence? The thumbs-up, obviously, as we continued going faster. I leaned over to this guy and said, “Look, buddy. I’m not ready for this. We need to slow down so I can get used to it, or I’m dumping us both off this thing.” “No way,” came the reply, along with another thumbs-up sign to the boat.

Fine. Over we went.

Or how about this one? I’d never been on a jet-ski before. A friend of mine happened to be riding one and wanted to know if I wanted to go for a ride behind her. I said fine, but I’d like to go slow to get used to it. Sounding familiar? Guess who went really fucking fast and wouldn’t slow down for me until I was yelling and screaming at her.

Never again will I waterski or go on anything towed behind the boat. Never again will I be a passenger on a jet ski (there’s not a lot to hang onto, folks, and those stupid handles on the sides of the seat don’t fucking count). If I’m not directly in control of the speed or direction of the watercraft, I’m not having anything to do with being towed behind it. It taught me that, basically, I can’t trust anyone to drive in those situations because no one believes in letting a beginner get used to what’s going on. Never again.

Anyway, that’s the weekend. Long but fun, and not really relaxing. Sleep when you’re dead, right?