Jenn worked yesterday, so I called up Stuart to see if he wanted to hang out. He came over and we decided to play some video games, since neither of us really have had the free time we’d like to dedicate to such things as of late.

We played some Time Crisis 3, which is a great PS2 Guncon game, but the shortcoming is the way it plays two-player: split-screen. Good luck shooting stuff you can barely see, and this is on a 32” TV. I have no idea how people with smaller sets pull it off.

We moved on to Ninja Assault, which is also a decent PS2 Guncon game, where you play as ninjas… who have guns… who shoot at… uh… robotic spiders… who have guns… and…

OK, I can’t really justify that it has really anything at all to do with ninjas, other than the backgrounds with, like, trees and old Asian looking buildings. I think you shoot at some ninja-looking guys, but it’s “ninja” in the loosest sense of the word I’ve ever dealt with.

Stuart's total Amp
aftermathAnyway, this whole time, Stuart’s drinking Amp, a Mountain Dew-based energy drink. He’s downed his first, and halfway through the second he turns to me with a crazed Cornholioesque look in his eye and says, “You know what would be cool? Bongos. We should go get some of those Donkey Kong bongos and that game. We should get four sets of bongos so Jenn and Tiff can play, too. That’d be cool. We should get bongos.”

Seriously, how can you say no to bongos on a Saturday afternoon?

We figured we’d go after a quick game of two-player Katamari Damacy that lasted about three hours.

Jenn came home before we had a chance to leave. Stu called Tiff and told her to meet us at my house and we set off for the store. A little while later, we had four sets of bongos, two copies of Donkey Konga, some more Amp for Stu, and a soul-level need to beat drums.

When we got back, Tiff was already at the house waiting for us. We pre-empted the drive to drum long enough to go eat at McMenamin’s Grand Lodge (tasty!), then we got back and plugged those bad boys in.

Holy crap, that’s fun.

It took a little while to get used to, but very quickly we were drumming with the best of them. For those unaware, the premise of the game is to beat the bongos and clap along with a song that’s playing in the game based on symbols you’re shown. There are four symbols: hit the left bongo, hit the right bongo, hit both bongos simultaneously, and clap. There’s a microphone in the drum set that captures the clap sound.

We discovered (long after the fact) that the sensitivity of the microphone can be calibrated, which is a good thing since the largest issue we had was that when one of us would clap, it might register on another person’s bongos simultaneously, causing for poor scoring. Or if the TV was up too loud, you’d get “clap feedback,” where you clap, then the “clap” sound fires on the TV, which gets picked up by the bongos as a clap, which then gets played back by the TV… pretty soon it sounds like firecrackers going off. Definitely gotta turn that sensitivity down.

All in all, though, an absolute blast, and much needed after the grinder work has been lately.

The game room, post

I went to the store and bought a couple of surge protector power strips last night to clean up some of the cord mess we have going on with the 20 bazillion power strips and cables and crap behind the TV upstairs.

Unpacked it, unplugged the old power strip, plugged the new one in, plugged in the cable modem, plugged in the wireless router -

  • and honest-to-God fire shot out of the surge protector.

Just as quick, it was out, with a slight puff of smoke coming out the back of it. It wasn’t enough to be really worried about, just enough to make me scream like a little girl and drop it in fear for my life.

It also took down one of my circuit breakers, so I had to go downstairs and flip that back on.

Guess I’ll be taking that back.

I went to the store last night and picked up Best of Trance, Vol. 5 because, well, I dig the whole trance music thing.

It did bring up an interesting thought, though, as I was ripping it onto my iPod: I have my music classified by genre (as do most of you iTunes users out there) and I’m finding that it’s really hard to classify electronic music. I mean, like, trance, dance, techno, house, drum and bass…

I look at the way I have things in the ol’ iTunes library, and I’m irritated with the inconsistency. I can see why the default iTunes classification is “Electronica/Dance.”

After I finish putting the album art into all of my tracks, I guess I’ll have to go back and reclassify.

Okay, I realize I’m going to sound like I’m so living in 1996 or something, but I have my car getting worked on this morning at the dealership and they have free wireless networking. This is crazy shit. I can get stuff done while I wait. Can’t beat that.

Speaking of Internet access, our Comcast cable ‘net access seems to be giving me fits in the last couple of days. The DNS lookups… don’t look up. Like, it just times out. Sometimes you can get common sites - google, Yahoo! - to come up, but that’s about it. I tried resetting my router and my cable modem (just in case it was a hardware problem; I hadn’t rebooted either for like a year) but to no avail - DNS still lags. Jenn’s calling Comcast today.

On the way back in to work from the car dealership this morning, Jenn called me to tell me that, prior to calling Comcast to complain about crappy DNS, she fired up the computer.

Everything works fine.

I’m hoping they fixed whatever was wrong and that’s that. But I’m prepared to go home tonight and find it down again. It never fails, right?