Last Friday I babysat Connorman and Princess Toria.
Have I mentioned before how much fun they are?
Anyway, the first thing they wanted to do was play with the 5,368-color playdoh set they had. And of course, the first thing that came out of my mouth, the responsible adult I am was...
I dig playdoh. Well, anything creative gets me jazzed. Especially when I see something like this.
Connorman was off in his own little world creating "a sea creature... with SCALES!" It was pretty kickass imo. He made four of them, all different colors. Funny part about that was that they were all identical. So he would make one, show it to me proudly, ball it up, grab another color, and make ANOTHER one, entirely identical to the last. He would then proceed to show me how he could burp.
Meanwhile, Princess Toria was making all sorts of things, including cookies, a birthday cake (see a trend?), a cat, and varied miscellany. I thought it'd be fun to have a collaborative project, so we talked about making something together. Toria made a suggestion which turned out to be an interesting challenge, so we made...
wait for it...
They wanted to make an "Uncle B" (with Murphy).
Looking at it now, it makes me look like an evil Spock.
But it was still a lot of fun, and Murphy turned out really well.
Later we made paper airplanes, popcorn and we snuggled in a recliner to watch freaky old cartoons.
It was a good night.
Stumblers: If anything strikes your fancy, cover up your fancy and click the "I like it!" button on your taskbar.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Last Friday I babysat Connorman and Princess Toria.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I'm jazzed about this weekend. Got a lot to do.
Tonight I'm babysitting for my sis' kids, which always turns out to be a hoot.
The Mighty Texas Dog Walk!
The volunteers have to be downtown at 6am, so not sure how I'll wake Murphy up. But it should be a blast.
It always is.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
I was doing some cleanup on my desktop at work, and I came across something I wrote WAAAAAAAY back (several years). Back when I was still fostering Shadow for Gold Ribbon Rescue.
A little background:
Shadow was the sweetest dog ever, and very calm-natured... except he was scared to death of thunderstorms. Normally he would sleep beside me on the floor. But when it was storming out, he'd climb into bed with me.
One such instance inspired me to pen this...
(all due apologies to Poe)
Once upon a midnight storming, while I lay there, weak and warming,
Overshadowed by a quiet rumbling of an ambient snore
While I drifted, nearly dozing, suddenly there came imposing,
As of someone gently panting, panting on my bedroom floor.
" 'Tis some doggie," I muttered, "panting on my bedroom floor;
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I recall, it was coming down the hall,
And each separate puppy breath wrought its steam through the door.
Eagerly I wished the morning; cautiously I'd not heed the warning
From my sheets devoid of sleep, sleep like I did before,
For the rare and radiant sleep which I shall attempt once more,
That noise I shall ignore.
And the soulful sad unceasing rustling of that damp wet season
Provoked me---Woke me with the rain that began to pour;
So that now, to the sounds of the room, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some Golden wanting to get off the bedroom floor,
Some scared puppy needing off the bedroom floor.
This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my heart grew weary; Suddenly I had a theory,
"Shadow," said I, "come to me, and although it is a chore;
But the fact is, you are enchanting, and so loudly you were panting,
And so strongly you were panting, panting on my bedroom floor,
That you know was sure I heard you." Here I reached upon the floor;---
A hot rug there, and nothing more.
Back into the sheets I turned, all I felt that I was spurned,
Soon again I heard a panting, although louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, there is something in my king-sized bed.
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this sound I must explore.
Let my heart be still a moment, and this sound I must explore.
" 'Tis Murphy, and nothing more."
Over then I grabbed the pillow, when, with many a blur and billow,
I then spied a frightened puppy, that I left upon the floor.
Not the least commotion made he; next to me he stopped and stayed he;
But with the weary eyes of comfort, laid where he never had before.
Lying on our comfy quilt, happy to be off the floor,
Stretched his legs, content galore.
Then this golden dog beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the sweet, loving disposition of the huge smile he wore,
"Though thy gravity is empowered thou," I said, "art sure no coward,
Beautiful, big, and dashing do, wandering from the bedroom floor.
Tell me what can make you happy as before."
Quoth the Golden, "Pet me more."
I miss that big lug.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
In all the RPGs (Role-Playing Games, for you Philistines) played in my life, there are a lot of common themes/traits/concepts that are standard across the board, in particular MMORPGs. Here's my list of the ones that annoy me the most for whatever reason.
1. An apple a day...
Eating for health. I decided to start with this one because it's almost universal. You just spent an hour in a firefight with a Godlike boss, you're almost dead, leg gnawed off, and how do you repair your health? Start chowin down on that pork loin in your bag.
Doesn't make sense to me either. I hate this concept because it's silly, and where did someone get that idea? Was someone in a bad accident, impaled by his steering wheel, only to have a paramedic arrive on the scene to say, "Here. Have this sandwich." I'll take a Vicodin, if you don't mind.
Which brings us to...
2. No poopin allowed.
Don't get me wrong. I don't want to spend all my time using the "facilities" for the sake of realism. But with all the ridiculous amounts of eating and drinking that goes on, most characters would explode by level 5 from severe gastroenteritis.
Anyone that plays a mage on World of Warcraft knows exactly what I'm talking about. You're eating constantly. So much so that they created a spell to MAKE your own food.
Waiting for the Vindicator's Portapottie of Sweet Release.
This is one aspect that adventure and FPS games have started to get it right. All limitations aside to AI, you'd think that the monsters would notice certain things. Certain things like their dead compatriots lying on the floor in front of them, fresh entrails on the walls, etc. But they usually casually walk over them as if nothing happened.
"Hey Fred, I was meaning to ask you... Fred?"
/steps over Fred's eviscerated, mangled body
"Hmm, Fred musta went out for coffee. I'll just walk over here then."
Don'tcha think seeing Fred's tongue nailed to a door would give ANY cause for alarm?
4. Random Drops.
One of the reasons for grinding monsters (just random killing) is to get gear. I get that part. But I never understood how I could get a full set of platemail armor or a two-handed battle axe from a squirrel.
A few questions arise from this...
-How the hell did he get it?
-Where is he carrying it?
-Do I really want to wear a helmet that was found shoved up a spider's ass?
Unless you can kill a rat and wear it on your head, it makes zero sense.
5. Inventory space.
Diablo II and Prince of Qin almost got this right. But carrying around a Rocket Launcher, a M50 machine gun, lead pipe, 400 legs of lamb (see above), about 20 quest items plus 5000 rounds of ammunition would logically make movement kinda limited.
Instead, you have people jumping from place to place with no issue like there's a goddamn spring up their ass.
Think of the last time you were bringing in groceries. You have 4 bags in each hand. Now imagine carrying those bags while fighting off ninjas with a 40lb sword in your hand.
I'm venting mostly to World of Warcraft and a handful of others here. A common trend is to have weapons and armor get damaged over time. I dig this concept, because the indestructible armor in the other games is pretty silly in its own right.
Pair this up with tradeskills and you have an issue. For example, on WoW I have a character that's an artisan blacksmith. He can create all sorts of cool armor and weapons from raw metal, sticks, mud, and bits of string. However, he can't buff out a ding on his own armor. For that he has to go to a guy that...
I shit you not.
7. Do it your damn self.
A common quest is when a NPC asks you to retrieve something from a monster/boss. Now here's a common scenario...
You (level 12 pissant): "You summoned me, sire?"
King Uberbadass (level 5,000 God NPC): "Yeah, glad you could make it. I'm in the mood for a snack. Go into the forest and bring me the spit gland from 40 mutant hamsters."
You: "Aren't those like level 20 elite monsters?"
King: "Something like that. Take a friend."
You: "But you could walk over there and like collect those in 5 minutes."
King: "I could, but then I wouldn't give you the next quest, which you need to get the key to the secret dungeon."
You: "So you're just being a dick sending me to have my ass handed to me for your own amusement?"
King: "Pretty much."
Everquest was notorious for this, as were quite a few of the Final Fantasy series. What pisses me off about this is that there is almost always a "we barely escaped with our lives" story attached to it.
8. You put WHAT, WHERE?
While we're on the subject of quests... This happens far too often. You're sent to retrieve the +3 Stick of Awesomeness. You go to the guy that's supposed to have it, and then:
"Hey, Earl! Did you see that stick lying around?"
"Yeah. I left it in the butt of that dragon over yonder."
(to you) "Well, guess you're going to go have to get it yourself. Here's some salad tongs and a pair of rubber gloves. Good luck!"
WoW is so guilty of this. It's ok to slap in something that will fill the story a bit. And I'm not looking for uber-realism. But at least put forth the effort to make it feasible.
9. Find your own damn way back.
Escort quests. Because some idiot with no skills managed to make his way to the middle of a dungeon doesn't mean I have to walk your ass back out. Especially since monsters from other games are clamoring over each other to get them some.
For god's sake, give them a sword/armor/shovel/anything.
If I can, I'll let them beat up on you just so I can give you a big "serves you right." What's worse is when they run off without you, a plot device with a death wish.
10. A few of us have SOME semblance of a life.
Boasting "40+ hours of gameplay" doesn't fool us any more. We know that means that you'll spend 30 hours running from place to place (looking at you, Morrowind) to retrieve the lost talisman of yodeling. Of course, the only one that knows where that is will only tell you if you can retrieve his buttscratcher from a space station, which he doesn't have a key. But he tells you who does, a rat that happens to live in the sewer of another game... etc etc
You get the picture.
Monday, May 12, 2008
It's funny how the universe listens to you.
I have issues. No secret there. What gives me an edge in the game is that I know what my issues are.
I was in a local bookstore thumbing through the tomes for last minute Mother's day gifts and came across this in the self-help section.
"Came across" is relatively incorrect. The book did everything but jump off the shelf into my hands. It was a little out of my budget but felt it was too important to pass up.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately; mostly because of Berry, who I just recently met. She's great, and cute, and wonderful, and and and...
There's an issue.
She's more successful and makes more than me. A LOT more.
I know, it's stupid. My issue doesn't have anything to do with getting my testosterone rocks off, nor is it that I feel differently about her because of it. It's not even the culture difference (although that's what I originally thought).
It's that it reminds me of all my unrealized success.
Oh, FTR... I asked her about it and it's a non-issue for her, so the issue is totally on my side.
As a 30-something intelligent single white male American I have all possible advantages in life. There should be a government program for those of us who haven't made it yet (rimshot).
But there's one reason and one only that my full potential has not been achieved.
wait for it...
It's the reason...
Why I slack on my blog posts.
Why I've owned my own business for about 6 months and haven't done anything with it.
Why I forget birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Why I show up to important things at the last minute (or more commonly 15 minutes late).
Why I'm always behind on my deadlines.
Why my place needs to be cleaned (again).
Why I haven't finished any of the three books I started writing.
Why I'm paying bills at the last minute.
Why I'm still smoking.
Why I always have a dozen unfinished projects lying around.
Why I "forget" to call or email that person back.
You get the picture.
What hurts the most is that I'm aware of it. That I look at that half-fone letter, or that blog post, or that grant application and KNOW that it needs to be done. It's almost finished. It could be out the door in 2 minutes. Rebates are a perfect example. As a technophile, you get lots of mail-in rebates. I will make a purchase with the rebate in mind, and when I get home I'll actually fill out the form and put it in the envelope, ready to mail.
Then, two months later, I'll find it in a desk drawer and have to throw it out because it's WAY past expiration. Who does that?
What is stupid is that there is some comfort, some sense of accomplishment in just starting something I won't finish. I will get going, get the momentum, and then let it collect dust. But that's not what I want. I want to finish what I start.
The worst part is that I KNOW what can be accomplished. Two years ago I achieved amazing things, much more than expected with just a little action. I don't know what turned off the momentum but it did.
Awareness is the key to change.
And the change WILL be made. I'm tired of making excuses.
I just don't know how.
Maybe this book will have some answers.