psi_star_psi: (freaky)
I meant to post this somewhere or another for reference, and now I'm getting around to it. These are the notes I slapped together at about 5:30am on the day of my dad's funeral. I adapted it as I was speaking, but this has the gist of it.

My father was an information junkie. We had newpapers and Newsweek, the
evening news each night, and once CNN and other news channels became
available, they were the background sound of his presence. He was often
studying - military manuals, course texts, history books. I remember him
working to get his Master's degree, and then he earned his PhD after I'd
moved out for college. He embodied the importance of education in the way
he lived, so I never doubted its value.

My father worked a lot while I grew up. He regularly put in over 12 hour
days in the Army. He went into the field for weeks at least once a year.
He travelled for various purposes. Many evenings were consumed with his
studies. But he reserved time for us. He never missed father-son
scouting weekends. He exposed me to fishing, camping, hunting, and
skiing. He taught me to throw and catch a ball, and how to drive stick
with his beloved "pick-'em-up" truck in the empty Ft. Benning PX parking
lot.

In that same truck, we loaded my essential worldly possessions and drove
across the country when I went to college. Three and a half days from
Georgia to California in an un-air-conditioned, two-person truck cab,
trading off driving duties. The whole experience is one of my treasured
memories. It started out with my return home from the opening night
celebration of a play for which I'd built sets, where I found him tapping
his foot in the driveway at 1am, "Where have you been? Come on, let's
go!" I had time to say goodbye to Mom and Sue, then I woke up at dawn in
Mississippi. We spent a day and a half crossing Texas. Upon our arrival,
he helpfully corrected my identification of an artillery piece on campus.

"Oh, look," I said. "A cannon."
"It's a gun," he replied.
"It looks like a cannon."
"It's A Gun."
"...OK, it's a gun."

He continued this vital education in firearms when I later visited with my
wife, Jen. He took us to the range to practice with a couple of handguns
and a rifle. Upon evaluating our targets, he provided feedback. "If
anyone breaks into your house, give Jen the gun."

We travelled in the U.S., we travelled in Europe, and he travelled even
more places with Mom. He shared his love of silly action movies, wacky
songs, family and friends, and this country. My father was an amazing
man.

Goodbye, Dad.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
[livejournal.com profile] labelleizzy posted a meme wherein they were asked to write about six of their userpics. There's some more stuff about propagation, but since it's taken me a month and a half to get to this, I don't think I'll do that. I'll just say life has been full for a while.

The selected icons are:

Booga, M&M, Racicot, CG piercing, Speed Racer X (because I didn't watch
it much, I suspect there's a joke there I lack the referent for)

My math degree means I can't do arithmetic, so I may be mistaken. That looks like five, so I'm going to take the sixth as a wild card of my own choosing.

"Booga" was one of my initial three icons. I just thought I looked particularly bug-eyed in that picture.

"M&M" was done with a "make yourself an M&M" app from aobut 10 years ago. I still had a goatee at that time.

"Racicot" is a picture of actor Jodi Racicot. He played Zarkov in the SciFi channel Flash Gordon about 10 years ago. He's a handsome man. He's also in the "Zarkov gun" icon.

"CG piercing" is one of the many Chez Geek icons. I use this one whenever I'm talking about piercings, naturally.

"Speed Racer X" is one of my animated pop culture obscurities. It combines the Speed Racer canonical story that Racer X is actually Speed's older brother who left home long ago with a made up "and he disappeared in a plane crash at sea". I added this so I could throw in the scene of the dude sitting on the plane from "Lost". This is justified by Racer X in the movie and the dude from Lost being the same actor.

And for the wild card...I love the opportunity to explain any of my animated icons. They're each amusing to me somehow, and I put in a bit of work on them. I hope most of them are eventually self-explanatory, such as "Earworms Fry Betazoids", "IGtBtJ", and "Iago-NS". One other stands out as multi-referent though-

"It's Not Lupin" fuses three three different sources via the connection of actor roles (the standard pop culture linkage - see Obi-Wan/Lady Gaga). Here, the primary source is the live-action 101 Dalmatians, which featured Hugh Laurie and Mark Williams [*snerk* had a co-worker by the name back at Silicon Spice] as Jasper and Horace. Mark Williams was Mr. Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, while Hugh Laurie was House, M.D., whose catchphrase was "It's not lupus." And Remus Lupin is the 3rd year Dark Arts teacher in HP. I expect this is terribly over-explaining the references, but there you go.
psi_star_psi: (BTTH)
After the previous two Saints Row games, I eventually started the most recent. I actually started it before we moved to Portland, but oddly enough, things got busy afterward. I finished it off finally a couple of weeks ago.

In this installment, you are the President of the United States. Because after having conquered several cities and defeated the elite of the U.S. Military, what else were you going to do? As the game begins, an alien armada attacks the Earth and captures you and your closest homies. Though you quickly escape into their fleet in general, you must enter their computer network, represented as a simulation of the same city in the SR3, and disrupt the simulation to locate and rescue your compatriots.

Since its a computer simulation, as you level up, you gain access to more hacks of the system. This leads to a variety of superpowers on top of the usual assortment of overpowered weaponry. Your ability to dispense damage and chaos is stupefying. This game is ridiculous -- and that's talking about a series where in the previous installment you drove around with a tiger in your car.

Using the character customization, I went with the same form I'd used in the previous games. As [livejournal.com profile] aelfie helped me realize, it is pretty much Queen Latifah. I can deal with Queen Latifah as a superhero.

Thumbs up.
psi_star_psi: (SoaP)
I finished off Rendezvous with Rama last week. It was one of my trips to work in SJ, so I had time on the plane ride and away from my computer to do reading and TV. I enjoyed the book, though it didn't do much to change my overall opinion that while Clarke is phenomenal in setting the technical details of his worlds, his writing style still doesn't grab me like Asimov or Heinlein. Oh, well, it was still worth a read.

I stayed with [livejournal.com profile] allanh and his husband Randy on this trip, so I spent some time most evenings watching The Daily Show and such in Randy's man-cave. Since they live on the Light Rail line, I used that to get back and forth to work or SJC. This gave me plenty of time to read a 1602 sequel, plus Kevin Smith's The Bionic Man. The latter is an updated version of the saga of Steve Austin set in the current time period (2 years ago when it came out). It covers all of the essentials of the story, explains away a number of the recurring complaints, and was just a well-done story. I passed it to [livejournal.com profile] aelfie afterward, and she gave it a thumbs-up also. I heartily recommend it to fans of the original.

Other bits of time I filled watching shows on my tablet. I finished the first season of The Office (original UK), then watched the last episode of Arrested Development - Season 1. At that point Amazon Prime mentioned that Archer is available. Hey, I keep hearing about that, and now it's free! My favorite price. So I watched a couple of episodes. Oh, my! Wow, it's everything I'd heard and beyond. Yowza! My kind of wrongness.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Before I packed up the PS2 for the moved back in August, I gave it one last round of gaming. I figured I should try something on the back burner for a while, so I loaded up Final Fantasy XII for the first time in ~5-6 years.

My biggest problem with FF games is the clock in the corner of the status screen, ticking, ticking, recording exactly how much time you've spent staring at this screen. I don't need that much self-awareness. By the time I finished this, it was 19x hours, so let's say 200 hours. That's over a week of time without sleep.

Ah, but that's the complication. FF XIIs system of character advancement was long ago snarked in Penny Arcade. As you progress, you gain the ability to unlock commands in a programming language for your characters. Eventually, you have a party that buffs at each other, status damages monsters, provides healing, and fights on occasion. It can pretty much run on autopilot at that point.

Note that time period since my last playing the game. That was back before Gray was born, before I had my CPAP. I regularly passed out in the middle of playing PS2 games on the couch. In this case, it would just merrily go along bashing the monsters. I'd wake up either to find the party standing around, or occasionally all of the active characters KO'd. Then I'd have to bring in the backup squad and run for the save point.

The standard interminable FF side quest on this outing is Monster Hunting. You get bounties for unique monsters you have to track down and off. I spent an hour of this first playing in a while having my ass handed to me by a couple of these super-monsters that I could locate. Then I remembered that this save point was just before the Big Finale. Ah, why not just wrap this thing up, then? So I did.

I couldn't tell you what the plot was after all of this time. Cid was there, in a flying machine. That was all I needed for context. Some stuff about a spiky-haired, sword-wielding teen wanting to be a Sky Pirate and saving the world. You know, like every other FF game ever made.

OK, so that's ... 1, 2, and 12. 11 & 13 are on-line, and they're up to what, 14 now? So, only 9 FF's to go. Well, then there's 10.2 and 7.2...gah.

The Book of Unwritten Tales is a nicely-made P&C adventure with my brand of humor. You flip between a snooty elf maiden, a young gnome with wizard aspirations, and a roguish airship captain. (They couldn't call him Cid or Han, but take it as read.) You quest to prevent the forces of evil from acquiring an artifact of ludicrous power. I think I've heard that plot somewhere before. The voice work is good, the jokes are funny, and the puzzles are reasonable. I picked it up on sale on GoG for a few bucks, and it is well worth the investment.
psi_star_psi: (CG-NetNook)
I will not link here, but someone has invoked Rule 34 on Weird Al's movie UHF.

Mind. B-
...
-roken. Yeah, you thought I would actually say it, didn't you. Nope.
psi_star_psi: (simpsons)
Yes, once again, it's hot dog time (3 days ago). And yet again, Joey Chestnut is triumphant.
And engaged.

I know you were all a-tingle with suspense.
psi_star_psi: (SuperDad2010)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfie is in Sacramento for her final session of Waldorf teacher training (before graduating, anyway, it never stops). Her uncle's annual family pool party was Friday, so the kids and I, after spending the week with just them and me, set off for the party Friday morning. The trip was pretty smooth.

The pool party was awesome. The injuries were minor this year -- no concussion candidates. Grey is the only one requiring supervision, and he's responsible about leaving his floatation vest on. He did spend some closely-watched time without it, and he's getting better. One or two more swim classes, and he should be fine.

For the evening, we went to a hotel right across the highway from Cal Expo. Upon arrival, Ike announced that he'd left his shoes at Jen's uncle's house. Urg. I tried to call Jen, who I thought was finished with class at 7:30, to see if she could get them. No response until 8:30, because her class didn't end until 8:45. I was unjustifiably grumpy at her, then packed up the kids to return to her uncle's house 12 minutes away.

Ike grabbed his shoes, and we rushed back to Cal Expo for the free fireworks. We'd originally thought we could walk from the hotel, but it turns out there is no sidewalk to cross over the freeway. Bah. We parked in what turned out to be the farthest parking lot due to my unfamiliarity, then hiked 15 minutes to the grandstand. The fireworks started about a minute before we reached it. We entered the grandstand to find that everyone who'd arrived earlier had filled the available external seating. I braced for unpleasantness, but we found a place to sit at the back which allowed us to see about 2/3 of the display. (The very highest fireworks went above where the grandstand ceiling's overhang blocked our view.)

It was a very nice 15 minute display, and the kids enjoyed it. They've never been to a big-time fireworks display before. (Hmm, at least not on Independence Day. The girls mentioned that they saw something at the base with my parents when they visited them a few years ago.) The soundtrack of July 4th is Toby Keith, of course, with The Angry American as the climactic song. Maybe they had Lee Greenwood while we were hiking.

Then there were 15 minutes of hiking back to the car, with the requisite complaints and exhaustion. Whee. When we did make it back to the hotel room, Jen had arrived some time before. She'd watched the same fireworks display out the room window. Ah, well, good to know for next time. She'd set up the CPAPs, brought me tacos, and then touched my butt; I apologized for being a grouch earlier.

Saturday we tried taking slowly. The hotel breakfast had nothing Ike was willing to eat, so it was a rough start to the day. We decided to head into Old Sac and play tourist for a while. We found a fruit & nut shop that had fruit smoothies, so Ike had a smoothie while everyone had a snack. A fellow tried to recruit me as a deputy for the sheriff because the suffragettes were inbound. Those women arrived shortly thereafter and chatted with us. We went for a horse-drawn carriage ride around the area, then encountered a member of the Ballet Rus which Jen and I recognized from Dickens Faire last year.

[livejournal.com profile] uaskeeve and his daughter caught up with us (coordinated by Jen earlier), and we looked around for lunch. A fellow handed me a flyer for Smokin' Joe's BBQ, which is across the street from the train museum, so we went there. Very tasty! Sadly, 3 of the 4 Dadek kids were poorly behaved during lunch. *sigh*

We spent the afternoon at the train museum. Highlights:
- The Gold Coast. Jen was looking over the plans of this personal car of two dudes and said, "Hey, there's only one master bedroom. This was a couple!" I know better than to doubt Jen on these things, but I pulled out my phone anyway: "By the standards of the era, the homosexual relationship Beebe and Clegg shared was relatively open and well-known." - Wikipedia. And then we all noticed the stained-glass tops to the train windows. OK, then. Rock-on, mid-century fellows!
- "Evidence of a Dream", the California train history short subject. I just now IMDB'd this, and it says 1990. Wow, I would have put it 8-10 years earlier. I wonder if they could have made the Big Four any skeevier.
- The Gov. Stanford engine, named after the governor/head of the railway. Heh, what kind of backwards, corrupt, third-rate polity has the CEO of the biggest business as the head of government? *cough* Cheney *cough* [And for equal time, Bloomberg and Berlusconi.]
- An enormous wooden playset area with various Thomas items. Toy-etic!

After the museum, we headed back to David's place to see if [livejournal.com profile] mollygm was feeling better. The kids watched a couple of episodes of Darkwing Duck while I helped Jen with the handstrength portion of her electric motor for physics class. Mmm-hmm, experimental science! Yeah, that went about as well as you think.

We all went to Jimboy's for dinner, but Ike had a fit about vegetables on his burger, and the rest of my kids were picky, so Jen and I declared the evening over since we were unwilling to inflict our brood on our friends any further. We went back to the hotel and recovered from the day.

This morning went better because Jen had acquired breakfast supplies last night. The one miscalculation was watching The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, which I had hitherto dodged in my life. No longer. I foolishly eagerly awaited the arrival of The Hoff, due to Cracked's recent documenting of the 12-foot statue constructed for filming this epic. If you've seen this movie, you must know the dread I experienced. If not, I refuse to darken your existence with the horrific speculations that will haunt my night-terrors forever. All I will say is, "Eppur si muove."

I'd packed up our stuff so that we could leave when the movie ended. We piled into the two cars and hit Mcdonald's for lunch. Then I set off with the kids for SJ while Jen went about the errands she has to prep for another week of school. The trip back took about 3.5 hours due to a few spots of traffic and a couple of rest stops.

It was a good weekend.
psi_star_psi: (Iago-NS)
[livejournal.com profile] aelfie and I watched Star Trek Into Darkness this weekend. Sensitized by the various Cracked notes on the dualities between the first reboot and Star Wars, we were ready to see all of TV Tropes fed into the blender for this one. We were not disappointed. I will now take my inspiration from the style of Andrew Borntreger at Badmovies.org and jot down some random notes.

Oh, yeah, there are going to be spoilers here )
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Far Cry 3 is another entry in the FC series. As usual, the relation to the previous games is solely in the engine and impressive scope of the game. In this installment, you are a 20-something dude taking an adventure holiday with your brothers and friends in the South Pacific. You all stumble onto an island full of pirates and drug trafficers, whereupon you are all captured and separated. You manage to escape at the cost of your elder brother's life and fall in with the local natives. You are granted a tattoo of power which gives you the skills of a warrior, and set forth to seek your friends and your vengeance.

You can approach this game with guns blazing, but it rewards stealth. Some of the skills you can pick up build up some impressive stealth takedowns, and completing some missions without detection provides bonus XP. You buy and enhance a wide array of weaponry, gather animal hides to increase your ammo and carrying capacity, and harvest plants to make boosts. There are assorted vehicles to drive, animals to hunt, and enemy bases to overthrow. It's a big game with a decent plot. I enjoyed it.

FC3: Blood Dragon is an additional story using the same game engine. The look and feel are very different, though the moves are clearly similar. It's a smaller story over all. The conceit in this game is that you are a cybercommando straight out of a cheeseball 80s film. Everything is pure 80s drivel right up the wazoo. It is very well done, and completely hysterical. Awesome game.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
A couple of months ago Steam had a sale for the entire Far Cry series. I'd had the original Far Cry years ago, but I tried installing it a few months back without success. I've reached the point where all of the 10+ year old games on my shelf are just easier to pick up from Steam or GoG, rather than try to fight them into installing from CD. (I also picked up the Independence War series off GoG. I've tried to get through the first game twice so far, and I will get it eventually. It's just such an awesome space simulator.)

I haven't finished the first game in the FC series yet because it runs by checkpoints. Gah, I hate checkpoints. But Far Cry 2 lets you save at any time. That's the way I like my FPS's.

Um, plot, plot. You've been sent to *mumble*-ania in Africa where a civil war is raging. The Jackal, notorious international arms dealer, is supplying both sides. You must kill The Jackal. Easy. Except you come down with a horrific case of malaria immediately, and when you are able to weakly move about your hotel room, the Kill All Foreigners riot starts up in the capital. You stumble around until rescued by some unsavory dude and put to work.

The missions are all manner of wetwork for one side or the other, the weapons shops (to drive up prices), or the mysterious satellite phone robo-voiced hit jobs. You gather diamonds which permit you to buy access to different weapon types, weapon upgrades, or personal boosts (camo, vehicle repair, increased healing item capacity).

So, basically, you drive around the countryside, shooting almost everything that moves. Not a lot of subtlety, but the different weapons are fun. They're all realistic modern weapons (modern as sometime in the last century). By the end, I tended to wander around with a sniper rife, rocket launcher, and grenade launcher. I like to soften up an area before I walk into it. (I tried the flamethrower for a bit, but it tended to take too long to finish off opponents. Huh.)

Overall, a pretty standard open world sort of thing. I have greater expectations for Far Cry 3, about which I'ver heard good things.
psi_star_psi: (It's Not Lupin)
When I was a kid, we had an LP of 101 Dalmatians. It was the audiobook of a longish film picture book, but it also had several songs. At the end, the song "Dalmatian Plantation" was performed.

When my kids first watched the movie some years ago, I was baffled by the "Dalmatian Plantation" song. The version in the movie was not the version I knew from that record. It is a different song. What the heck?

The kids were watching the original 101 Dalmatians last night. Afterward, they watched a bit of the bonus features on the extra disk, including the production details. It turns out that the songs were rewritten after the first versions didn't match the desired tone of the movie. The original "Cruella de Vil" did not have the jazzy bounce that makes the standard version so memorable. And "Dalmatian Plantation" was also replaced with a more swinging melody.

Wow! It wasn't a figment of my imagination. I wonder if the records were prepped too early in the production process, and they didn't bother to update them when the song changed? Weird.

But really, this is just an excuse to use one of my favorite icons.

[And then some research on Wikipedia shows that the songwriter originally wrote a gob o' songs, but only these two and the Canine Cruchies jingle made it into the movie.]
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Found via Fark, a new comic to follow. It's only a month old, so no overwhelming archive.

SuperCakes site

LJ feed
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
A couple of years ago I got The Witcher for Christmas. I played it through the Prologue and first chapter, then got distracted for a while. Last month, I took it up again to finish off the rest of the five chapters and Epilogue.

From the closing credits, I learned that this is based on a fantasy series by a Polish author. I may have to hunt it up now, because the story and characters in the game are awesome.

A witcher is a monster-hunter recruited for training at a young age and mutated by magic and alchemy. The training gives special combat maneuvers vs. the various monsters one encounters around the landscape. The mutations grant immunity to disease, extended lifespan, rapid healing, toughness, ability to use buff potions, and infertility. Witchers are trained in a few magic abilities termed signs. Their eyes are cat-like. Given all of this, almost everyone treats them as creepy freaks. But when the monsters come to your town, who you gonna call?

Witchers' signature ability is their potions. They have an extensive knowledge of alchemical components and a vast array of buff formulae. Going into a tough fight? Chug some buffs for regeneration of health and stamina, night vision, haste, whatnot resistance, etc. It's a party all around? How can you fail?

Oh, did I forget to mention that potions are toxic? Yes, chug and buff away, but drink to many and you'll gak yourself. Careless. Once you get to about half of your maximum toxicity, you start experiencing visual distortions. After one battle, I was at 90%. I had to stagger back to my rest spot in a zombie shuffle.

Fortunately, an hour or two's meditation is enough to heal your ills and clear the toxins from your system. You can also throw together a potion while you are resting to build up you reserves of buffs.

The story opens with your character recently recovered from a bad case of dead (not a normal witcher ability, everyone's a bit confused how you pulled that off), with the requisite amnesia and impaired abilities. You're hanging out at the witcher training castle, chatting with your fellow witchers, when unknown forces assault the castle and steal all of your secret mutagenic methods and potion formulae. You are dispatched to recover all of these things. (Nice mechanic to gradually gain new potions as you go along.)

Thus, you set out into the world to recover the witchers' Knowledge Too Dangerous for Others. If you happen to wreak revenge for the friend killed during the attack, well, that's just a bonus.

I really, really enjoyed this game. This is a very dark universe. The people in this land are seriously messed up. You aren't much better of course. Incredible stamina, immunity to disease, infertility -- can you say popular with the ladies? One of the touches I enjoyed inappropriately much is the main character's opportunity to bang about half of all the adult female NPC's encountered. (It's a pity it was heteronormative.) When you do, that person's character page in your journal gets a little heart you can click on to see the trading card of her in a state of dishabille. It's so very wrong.

I've been regaling [livejournal.com profile] aelfie with my adventures while playing the game for nearly a month. This morning, I informed her that I'd finished the game. She was thrilled and relieved. "So now I can finally stop hearing all about your manwhore?" I tried to suppress my grin but failed. Her excitement faded. "Or is there another game?"

Tonight I start The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings!
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
I've finally surrendered to making a Dreamwidth account. It's the same username as here, psi_star_psi.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Evoland is a quick trip through 25+ years of CRPG history. You start out in monochromatic 8-bit graphics with no sound then unlock various upgrades (sound, combat, better graphics, etc.) as you go. The plot riffs on the giants of the genre, the DQ, FF, and Zelda series, with a few other things thrown into the mix. It was a quick play (Steam says I took 6 hours), but I got it on sale, so I'm satisfied with the value. It is a cute concept and well-executed. Try it out if you are a CRPG fan.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
The legendary mythical game, Duke Nukem Forever, 15 years in the making. Was all of that time well-spent?

Don't be ridiculous. There's no way 15 years of game development could possibly turn out to be worth all of that effort. The original Duke Nukem 1 & 2 were perfectly nice side-scrollers. When Duke Nukem 3D came out, it was an awesome game on the order of Doom, Quake, and Unreal. This one...well, it's a FPS all right.

If this didn't have the baggage of Duke Nukem, it might be an OK game in its own right. But it can't live up to the hype.

Things I didn't like
1) Checkpoints. Bah, it was a console game by design. DN started on PC. Screw you all, console weenies!
2) Only two weapons at a time. Old school FPS heroes had a bag of holding for all of their weapons and ammo. Limited weaponry is Halo. Halo is a way beyond this game.
3) Pointless stacking/jumping puzzles. I hate these in all FPS.

Things I liked
1) Interesting weaponry. The freeze and shrink rays are back, as well as the handy pipe bombs. Some new Devastating weaponry lifted off the aliens are available for that extra punch every once in a while. No, really, it's called the Devastator. It softens up a room before you go in.
2) Duke's monster truck
3) Duke's ridiculous over the top attitude - I'm juvenile enough to still enjoy this foolishness.

Overall, meh. I can't recommend this to anyone but a completist. I've played DN1, DN2, about half of DN3D, and DN:Manhattan Project. I tried installing DN3D again, but the controls are so awful I need to remap them to WASD just to try playing it. I haven't bothered yet.
psi_star_psi: (FatherFrac)
Yesterday, [livejournal.com profile] aelfie and I set forth with the three older kids toward San Francisco. A quick lunch at Burger King, then we went to the pre-game workshow for The Barber of Seville for Families. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] allanh and his husband, who is a huge classical music geek. In the workshop, we learned a bit about some of the characters, broke into groups to perform little summaries of the major scenes, and learned the finale song. Plus, there were juice and cookies. [Sadly, not punch and pie.] The kids enjoyed this part.

Next, we went to the theater for the opera itself. Since this was "for Families", it was in English, with English supertitles, and sped up by way of Figaro narrating some connective storyline to tie together the scenes. With 4 adults and 3 kids, we were able to interlace them and manage them pretty well. I was on the end next to Ike, so I was a little concerned by his ongoing questions. I was told that all of the kids in the audience were also questioning the proceedings to follow the story, so I guess that's part of the deal.

All three enjoyed themselves, so it was a successful outing. Elli at least has asked when we can go again. Score!

Now for the sour bits. We had seven consecutive seats, but the aisle seat was someone else. After 5 people had stumbled over her to get in, she decided it was time to get out of the way entirely. Hmm, I would have thought that was a good idea in the first place, but I don't know what happened when our group first arrived. She exuded a very put-up attitude every time we went by (for booster seats for the girls or intermission).

The real winner was at intermission. We went to the restrooms, then Jen shared out the granola bar snacks she'd brought. Ike didn't want that. He wanted something from the concession line. Which was already 30 feet long and looped around the available space almost upon itself. OK. I got in the line with him, and we waited.

About 5 minutes into the line, we were still three corners back. A woman with two kids wandered up to one of the corners and started messing with her phone. As we approached the corner, she merged into the line. Um, how about no? Does no work for you? Because it was the only thing that was going to work for me.

I asked her, "Are you with one of the groups who just dropped out?" Two families ahead of her had bailed from the line. "Huh?" she replied. I repeated it again. "No," she said.

"Well, I just saw you merge into the line here, but the end of the line is over there," I said while pointing 10 feet away.

She gathered her indignation. "There's no need to shout, sir! Please calm down! Happy opera!" Then she stormed off with her kids.

Well, that escalated quickly. It was a loud room, so I was trying to speak so she could hear me. Perhaps it appeared as if I was shouting. Plus, when dealing with people, I never remember to factor in that I'm a big galoot. Ms. Manners will be so disappointed in me.

30 seconds later, she returned. "You know, it's The Barber of Seville for Families, not The Barber of Seville for Assholes!" And she turned off again in a huff.

To her retreating back, I called out, "Yes! That would be my point in its entirety!"

Now, I'm not really proud of this incident, since I'm convinced it could have been handled better. I'm not certain how, but I'm confident that a better approach exists. One without permitting line jumping in the process. Ah, well, at least I was assertive.

Ike got some jelly beans, and we returned to the second half of the show.
psi_star_psi: (freaky)
Now, let's see...where was I?

We set out after breakfast to return home. The traffic was horrendous. We finally arrived, starving, at some restaurant. It may have been Andersen's. We fell on the food, then cycled through the restrooms. The girls took the opportunity of my inattention to play in the mud puddles in front of the restaurant. Their tights were soaked, and they were covered with mud. I took them into the men's room in turn and cleaned them up. As I was feeling most despondent, another gentleman in the restroom said, "Ahh, I remember those days with my girls. Hang on, it gets better." This perked me up considerably.

We stopped at Casa de Fruita on the way home. When [livejournal.com profile] aelfie was pregnant with Ike, we'd gone to Ren Faire and stopped at CdF also. I sampled the pomegranate wine, and determined that I should never be near something so tasty again in my life. I've had kids since then, and my mental health is more important than my abstinence. So we picked up a few bottles of the wine. [The case we picked up on our next visit lasted two years, and we resupplied after Ren Faire last month.]

After four years, I really don't recall anything else from that day. We got home, and it was good.
psi_star_psi: (BTTH)
Sleeping Dogs is yet another of the open-world, gangster-fest games like GTA or Saints Row. This one has just the slightest bit of morally redeeming value though. In this game, you play Wei Shen, an aspiring member of the Sun On Yee triad, the strongest of the gangs controlling Hong Kong. You've just returned to your hometown after a couple of decades in the U.S., where you were a low-level gang member in the SF Bay Area, and now you're going to make your name in your old stomping grounds.

Ah, but in reality, you are an undercover cop. Things got a bit too hot for you in the States, so you've come to Hong Kong to clean up the city. Of course, if you manage to clean up some old personal grudges along the way, well, that's the way things go. Surely you will manage to retain your core identity as a good guy in the midst of your convincing portrayal of a psychopathic gangster. Or is it an act?

This game is part Jackie Chan, part Chow Yun Fat. You spend a good quarter of the game before you ever even see a gun. Up to that point, it's all about the beatdown. Even afterward, guns are the exception. You advance in Cop level, Triad level, Face level, and gain new moves from your childhood martial arts master. Chug soda, drink tea, eat food or get a massage to gain buffs. Buy clothes and cars, win street races, sing karaoke, hijack armored cars, and go on dates with hot ladies that end with a fade to black. Plus lots of other activities.

This is a great game, well worth a play-through.

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May 2016

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