I'm not offline as planned, but I did a few things, and have a busy weekend.
Last night, a quick dinner with stacebass
was followed by a quick bus ride to Arcadia and its HUGE houses, to a Halloween party, in which I donned the Pac-Mario costume that wasn't ready for Halloween 2007. There was some light mingling, but it was a little crowded as time progressed, so I left at about 11:00pm. The woman dressed as the cow was sorry to see me go.
This morning, I had dinner with the parents, and two grandparents, and we all ignored the election like the elephant in the room. Mom got a Kindle, joining the throng that saw it on Oprah, so I got to test drive it for a little while. I'm impressed with how legible the display is, and it looks like a very useful device, although I imagine the interface could be improved a little. In particular, the largest font size may be big enough for me, but there's no reason I shouldn't be able to increase it to a ridiculously huge size, so I could read in ridiculous comfort. The news reader on the Wii lets me do that, after all.
Afterwards, the parents and I drove to the Guadalupe Cemetery and looked at a few lavishly-decorated graves, including one that had a tree behind it with a stuffed panda sitting in it.
Then we went to Blockbuster and rented My Sims Kingdom, and Wii Music, to try out two games that piqued my curiosity. First impressions follow:
My Sims Kingdom looks like a bit of a cross between Animal Crossing and Second Life. It's probably not the only game that lets you build stuff these days, and now that Little Big Planet is out, even its most advanced features are likely to seem childish. But it should be good for a week of dicking around, and the finite Blockbuster rental period is my assurance that I won't waste more than a week on this.
Wii Music also seems pretty childish, and in fact, as someone who actually plays an instrument or two, it's kind of frustrating. First of all, I'm normally against software patents of any kind. But I find myself wishing Will Wright had patented Simlish, so that I could have been spared having to A-button my way through that muppet and his screeching in fake Italian. But I suffered through the tutorial anyway, and by the looks of things, it's very demanding, in two ways. First, any attempt to deviate from the beat seems to result in random notes at random intervals flying around. Second, there seem to be a lot of extraneous features that you'd expect from a Japanese picture booth or karaoke machine. No, I don't want to make videos or CD jackets. I'm already not playing an instrument. Why would I want to watch a video of my Mii mimicking that one time I recorded myself not playing an instrument? I may try again, just to see if I can unlock the drums, which look like they might be cool. But I'm probably going to take it back tomorrow, regardless.
I also got episode three of the Strong Bad game, Baddest of the Bands
, which I like so far. Like the rest of the series, the gameplay is simple, but the plot is ridiculously convoluted. And I suppose that's necessary, for the puzzles to present any kind of challenge. I find the game makes me envy Strong Bad's house, which is so big, it makes the Friends apartment look like an actual New York apartment. Three upstairs bedrooms, one downstairs bedroom, and a basement with the couch, TV, and arcade machine in it. I'd be overjoyed to live in a two-bedroom patio home that only shares one wall with a neighbor.
So, I've played my allotment of crap for the day. The rest of the weekend will contain one or more of the following activities:
1. Buying a bike. I would have done that this morning, but I was too sleepy after breakfast.
2. Making all my plans and reservations my birthday vacation. Seattle is still my default, but if the hotels aren't as desperate to fill their recession-emptied rooms as I hope, then I might just hop on a bus to Flagstaff for a day or two, or maybe get my wisdom teeth out.
3. Reading. I found one I've been putting off for too long: "How to Read a Person Like a Book."
4. Bread. Just another boule. I like those. And I haven't memorized the dough recipe in all its halves-and-multiples glory. If I make it to a store this weekend, I'll buy a loaf pan so that I can make a bread that's more sandwich-optimized. That's likely to lead me to make more lunches at home; what a savings!
5. Nap. I've been kind of nodding off all weekend so far. I think it's just a sugar crash because of Friday, except that I was tired Friday night too. I was thinking of trying to scare up a ride to Rocky Horror, so I could give Pac-Mario an encore performance, but I don't have the energy today, and I don't think people "get" the costume anyway.
6. Camelback. If my energy comes back Sunday, then I've got a friend who will take me to Camelback Mountain where I will see if I still have what it takes to reach the summit.