General Ramblings comments edit

Enjoyed a great Christmas this year. Christmas Eve was spent in recovery, it being the day after the 24: Season 4 marathon. Did end up going out to try to get some last minute stocking stuffers, but after an hour just to get to the mall 15 minutes away and another 20 minutes in the parking lot not finding a spot, we decided to just go to Fred Meyer and load up there.

Of course, that turned into an unintended shopping spree for me. See, I got Jenn some tickets to see Cirque du Soleil (which weren’t cheap) and I was going to do the “fewer, more expensive gifts” thing, but Jenn loves quantity (she could open 100 empty boxes and that would just rock) so I thought I’d pick up some smaller things for her stocking so she’d have stuff to open. Like I said, though, that turned into an unintended shopping spree as I found all sorts of neat things I knew she’d like, so I just got them all anyway. Love the credit card.

Christmas morning we went to Jenn’s parents’ house for breakfast and a little gift exchange. The big one here was a AAA Plus membership for both Jenn and I, which is fantastic, especially because I’m sick to death of changing Jenn’s stupid flat tires. She’s like a flat tire machine. Now she can call some other poor schmuck to come do it.

After that, we moved on to my parents’ house for a late lunch and some more gift exchanging. Stu and Tif joined us there, which was cool since we had so much fun together on Thanksgiving. Played some games, laughed, and generally had a good time.

Some of the things I came out with: Soul Calibur III

We Love Katamari

Super Mario Sunshine

Nintendo Gamecube Wavebird wireless controller (after a couple of returns/exchanges)

Some bookends that my grandfather brought back from the Philippines when he was over there in WWII (that might not sound cool to you, but there’s sentimental value, so it’s cool to me)

A crapload of candy

House: Season 1

Lost: Season 1 and the companion guide

One of The Cubes (Joe)

A “Joss Whedon Is My Master Now” t-shirt

A set of Tantrix

Serenity Role Playing Game

In all, a pretty good haul. Lots of stuff to entertain me for a while, and a lot of games to play, so I’d best get cracking on the ones I’m in the middle of.

To that end, I finished up Prince of Persia: Warrior Within on Tuesday. I ended up starting the whole thing over on “Easy” mode because it was too damn difficult on “Normal.” I never said I was a master gamer, right? That said, I read a lot of reviews saying how other folks found it pretty difficult, and since I’m in it for the fun of the game and the feeling of success, well… once I got stuck in “Normal” mode, I just figured it’d be better to start over in “Easy.” I figure, it’s cool to have to fight the boss character three or four times before you get it, but when you’re only halfway through the game and fighting the boss for the 15th time doesn’t get you through, it needs to be easier.

Having finished that, and having worked through the stuff in Soul Calibur II with Stu, I went on to work on finishing the original Katamari Damacy (that is, collecting the Royal Presents and finishing the levels I hadn’t finished yet). What I’m trying to do is finish these prior halfway-done games so I can cleanly move on to the new ones I got without going, “Oh, yeah… I guess I never really finished the first one, huh?” Gotta have that closure.

So during this week while I’m off, that’s what I’m doing - finishing games I haven’t finished, just taking it easy. Only two bumps in the road.

First, I had planned to have lunch with an old friend of mine a couple days ago, but after waiting for 15 minutes, he never showed up. Got home later that day to find messages on my home phone saying how he was having trouble finding the place (that was at 15 minutes past when he was supposed to be there) and then how he finally found it but I wasn’t there (that was at 30 minutes late). Guess we’ll have to reschedule, but I was hoping to have lunch with him and meet his new girlfriend. Oh well.

Second, I looked at my work email. Jenn has warned me about doing this and I know better, but I did it anyway. Without going into it, I’ll just say this: I hate people who wait until you’re on vacation so they can enact poor decisions simply because you’re not there to contest them. Folks wonder why I don’t go on vacation often, and that’s why - two steps forward, one step back. Fan-fucking-tastic.

A couple of Mike’s and I was doing a little better. Makes me think drinking at work should be allowed because I might be a little more laid back and easy-going. That said, I don’t think I get paid to be laid back… someone has to actively care about what’s going on.

Well, the cat’s shoving toy mice under the office door, indicating she wants to play, so I’d best go take care of that. (I’m a sucker for that tiny cat. One of the myriad reasons I don’t work at home as often as my teammates - distractions!)

media, tv comments edit

Yesterday was the yearly 24 extravaganza, this time a marathon of Season 4. Jenn was there, Dad brought the DVDs, and Stu and Tif came and brought a substantial amount of food. Along with the food Jenn and I brought and a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts contributed by Dad, we had more crappy junk food than five people should consume in a lifetime.

But, you know, that’s what it’s all about.

Season 4 was about some terrorists trying to wreak havoc on the US nuclear-style, and the only man who can stop them is (of course) Jack Bauer. As always, the entire effort was well put together - acting, effects, story - enough that I really don’t know what I would suggest. There was only one loose end that bugged me (what ever happened to Behrooz Araz?) but not enough to make me dislike the season. There are also a couple of really annoying characters (“Chloe O’Brian,” who always seems either pouty or smug, and “Edgar Stiles,” who has zero self-confidence), but the actors who played them did so perfectly - you hate the characters because the actors make you hate them. Excellent.

I loved the previous seasons we watched marathon-style, and this was no exception. Non-stop action, great characters, and an awesome storyline added up to a 17-hour marathon (from 8:00a Friday to 1:00a Saturday) that went a lot faster than you’d have expected it to. Before we knew it, the show was already over and it was time to go.

Stu, Dad, and I made it through just fine, but the ladies were struggling toward the end. Jenn’s eyelids seemed to be getting heavy (and she later commented to me that she was surprised she made it) and Tiff sort of lost the ability to walk or talk coherently.

It rocked, though, and it’s the only way to watch that show. The surreal feeling of being immersed in such an exciting world for so long at a single sitting isn’t like anything I can explain. Your suspension of disbelief transforms into acceptance that whatever you’re seeing is really part of the world and when it’s over you wonder what the characters are up to the next day because it’d be nice to get together with them for lunch or something since you’ve spent so much time with them already. I noticed this during the first marathon we did (Season 2) and it’s just amazing every time.

If you haven’t seen 24, you’re missing out. I can’t recommend any particular season since I like all of them, but if you really haven’t seen it, start with one of the earlier seasons and work from there. While you don’t have to have seen the previous seasons to understand what’s going on in later seasons, the long term viewer is rewarded with recurring characters and inside jokes that the newbie isn’t going to get.

I look forward to next year’s Season 5 marathon. If it’s anything like this one was, it’s going to be a total blast.

General Ramblings comments edit

Serenity came out on DVD yesterday. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, why not?

I got mine, but only after a bit of a struggle. I went to Target at lunch and they had already sold out. Granted, they were selling it for $16.99, which is a pretty good deal on a new movie, so I can’t argue it. Plus, it was an awesome movie, so I’m glad to see it went well… but that doesn’t get a copy in my grubby little hands, does it?

Luckily Jenn went to Costco and was able to pick up a copy there for $18.99. That’s fine; I’ll eat the $2. That bad boy’s getting watched this weekend.

General Ramblings comments edit

Got home yesterday and noticed that the Roomba, which is normally parked on its Home Base charging, was parked… but not charging.

The Home Base has two lights - one light is for “power” (that is, power to the Home Base) and one is “charging” (which lights up when the Roomba is charging itself). The “power” light was flashing and the “charging” light wasn’t on.

Tried docking it a couple of times but Roomba doesn’t recognize the Home Base as a valid source of energy anymore. Tried plugging Roomba in directly, but Roomba’s own charging light sort of flickers rather than staying on strong.

I think there’s something wrong with the power adapter. That’s the only thing I can think of. I filed a help question with the iRobot support people and we’ll see how that goes. I don’t want to buy another power brick. Those damn things are like $50.

After futzing with the Roomba, I went in to see what Jenn was up to. She was watching television, but for some reason had the VCR on… huh?

Oh, I see - that’s because the digital cable box died. Great. The display on it goes black then flashes “88:88” and goes black again. No signal coming through. Unreal.

I’d blame a power surge, but the cable box was plugged into a surge protector and no other components plugged into that protector were affected (thank God - my TV’s on that one). Maybe just a bad electronic coincidence. Regardless, Jenn will take the cable box in and get it swapped for a new one, and I’ll have to wait and see what iRobot says about the power adapter.

General Ramblings comments edit

Pretty rockin’ weekend this weekend. Both days I got up at like 7:00a (just couldn’t sleep anymore… for some reason I can’t really “sleep in” like I used to) and played Prince of Persia: Warrior Within until 10:00a or whenever I felt that it was time to take a shower.

On Saturday Jenn and I went to the comic store and then were going to follow that up with a trip to the mall to pick up stocking stuffers when we got caught in probably the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. I had to get off the freeway and take back roads for like an hour to get the five miles or whatever ridiculous short distance it was from us to the mall, then proceeded to sit for another half hour just getting into the parking lot, at which point we decided to skip the whole thing and go home. Another 45 minutes or so and we had escaped the clutches of holiday capitalism.

Oh, we did stop at Target, though, and we picked up a couple of those buckets of frozen drink mix you can get. They had “Frosty Eggnog” and “Mint Chocolatini” that both sounded good. A quick trip to the liquor store had those setting up in the freezer outside.

Saturday night didn’t really do much anything. Watched some TV. That’s about it.

Sunday, after my round of gaming I went outside to put the protective cover up on the awning. Good thing, too, because it got snowy and did a little freezing rain action - don’t need that gumming up the works.

Finished that up and after a ridiculously long wait for the cable guy to show up and fix Stu’s cable modem, Stu and Tiff came over. We went to Qdoba for lunch, then came back and while Jenn and Tiff made sugar cookies Stu and I played Soul Calibur 2 and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (where Stu got an awesome +28 score in a single round of golf - harsh). The SC2 was a lot of fun - we played the “Weapons Master” mode and finished it the first round through (once you do that you unlock all these “extra missions” that we didn’t want to get into at the time). It validated my belief that enough strategic button mashing can, in fact, make you successful. Plus, it makes me want to get the new Soul Calibur 3.

We busted out the frozen drink buckets to try them out. Both are really good, though most of us happened to go for the “Frosty Eggnog.” (Don’t worry, Mint Chocolatini, I have not forgotten you!)

Woke up this morning and noticed that the kitties hadn’t eaten much food, so I didn’t need to add any new to their bowls. Walked downstairs to find one of the plates of sugar cookies totally uncovered and one cookie in several pieces on the floor. Asked Jenn about it and she said she had trouble keeping the Tiny Cat out of the cookies while she was making them… turns out those cookies, covered or not, were not safe from the ravages of that little turd. Cleaned up the cookie bits, put the remaining cookies away, and now… work.

I have only Monday through Wednesday to work this week, though, and Friday everyone’s coming over for the 24: Season Four marathon at my house, which I’m totally looking forward to. Christmas spirit, here I come!