Monday, December 30, 2013

Nostalgia in the News

If Mr. Dude had his way, there'd be a giant arcade game - or multiples - somewhere in our home, with a library of all the best titles from days gone by.

For now, he's stuck with an emulator on his original Xbox, the arcade library on the Xbox 360, and his dream.

But wait! There's more!

The BBC posted an article a few days ago about the Internet Archive making a bunch of games available to play on any internet browser.
[Yes, I read the BBC news. And yes, this article caught my eye. Can you tell that Mr. Dude and I have been married for a while? He must be rubbing off on me ...]
Sound isn't available yet, but apparently it's coming. The article also speaks of bespoke [haha! I think I made a funny there ...] cartridges that the old games used to run on and are getting harder to find. So they're doing the equivalent of translating old photographic slides into digital jpg files.

Source: Internet Archive homepage

This may sound weird, but I am oddly encouraged by the fact that I have never heard of "bespoke cartridges".


Mr. Dude's excitement about computers and consoles of the past has never reached that level of detail.

Or maybe he just hasn't found time to wax eloquent on the subject yet because he's been so busy telling me all kinds of other technological tidbits?


Anyone want to take bets on when the Internet Archive homepage makes it onto his list of favorite bookmarks?

Sunday, December 29, 2013

For the Love of Free Shipping

Some days, I literally have to tell Mr. Dude to stop talking.

No, I'm not being the mean wife who hates hearing what her husband has to say.

And yes, I listen to my husband talk a LOT. Because my husband can literally talk a LOT.

Sometimes, I just have to tell him to stop talking because otherwise he'd never stop. Especially when you get him talking about tech stuff. Or when he gets himself talking about tech stuff.

Tonight, for example, I asked him a simple question:
"Do you need anything from Target?"

Purpose: I have a pair of slippers I was planning on getting from there - my old ones are kaput after 5 or 6 years and it's cold here in Seattle's winter, by golly.

The nearest Target is a half hour away with traffic [darn city living] and that's just not a good life choice most days with a munchkin in tow. I also don't need enough stuff from there to justify spending that much on gas, anyways.

But Amazon [oh, Amazon - how we love thee] has taught me to despise the thought of paying for shipping.

So we play Target's game - spending enough money to trip the "free shipping" discount. I can't think of anything we need at the moment [isn't that a lovely feeling?], so I ask my dearest husband if he can think of anything.

After I throw out his first few suggestions [one of which was an Ouya console, which is another story entirely], I suggest we go for a baby monitor since we've been considering it. We live in a small apartment, so we can either hear Little Guy from anywhere we stand, or we use a baby monitor app on our phones that calls whatever number we set up when the decibel level in his room reaches a certain level [officially called the "he's awake" decibel level ... about 74, if you're counting]. But with trips and other events, we've decided it's finally time to shell out the less-than-fifty-dollars for a decent audio monitor system that's portable and doesn't require one of us to sacrifice a phone during naptime. [First world problems, I know.]

Being the good wife of a techie, I know a few questions I should ask - do I need to make sure that the device works on multiple channels so that it doesn't interfere with our wifi and other wireless devices?
[This is important, mind you, because Mr. Dude informed me that there are over 30 wireless access points within range of our apartment, and they had caused so much interference as to make his Xbox controllers disconnect the other day. While he was using one. In the middle of a game. Oh the horror! But I digress ...]
[Oh, and our Xbox friend of Gears of War 3 fame would like me to correct "XBox" in that post to "Xbox". Apparently the appropriate capitalization thereof is vitally important. I told him to get over it. And now I'm digressing again.]
You know, my father-in-law has a saying:
"If you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question." 

I'm beginning to think it would be wise to start listening to some of his advice.

Know how Mr. Dude answered my very simple question?

I got a very loooong and drawn out discussion about how 2.4MHz is the standard on consumer devices ... but that some devices used 5.1MHz to mitigate the interference factors ... Unfortunately that frequency isn't as good at sending signals through walls, so it's almost useless anyways ... But the router has the ability to "auto-hop" between channels on the 2.4MHz frequency, so it will automatically skip over whatever channel the baby monitor is using and it won't be an issue ... Some devices will solve the issue by sending smaller packets of information that can wedge themselves into the same stream that other devices are using on that channel ... And what if he were to just replace the bad RAM in the server he's got, put a microphone on it, and have it send an email or text or something when Little Guy's noises reach the "I'm awake" decibel level? ... Ooh! That could be a fun Christmas vacation project ...

Dude. Mr. Dude. Just stop.

My feet are cold.

I want to go order my slippers.

And I'm going to order a baby monitor, too, since we need one and that makes free shipping possible.

And all that you just told me boils down to simply "Stephanie, the frequency and channels on the baby monitor don't matter because I can tweak our other devices to work around it. So just order one that has a decent range, good reviews and isn't more than $50."

Done and done.

Ten minutes later, I have an order confirmation number and the satisfaction in knowing that I found a baby monitor for under $50 with a 1000 foot range and 120 channels.


Now to go find a pair of socks to fill in for the slippers that haven't arrived yet. Darn instant gratification addiction.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Reasons for Pursuit

Mr. Dude is what you might call "persistent".

Before we started dating in college, the story goes [no matter what he may tell you], he pursued stalked me.

You heard me.

He'd somehow manage to show up wherever I was, whether he was invited or not.

If our paths crossed on campus and I told him I couldn't talk because I was on my way to class, he took it upon himself to walk with me, even if that made him late to his own class.

If I told him I needed to end our phone conversation because I was going running [and let's be honest - sometimes the running was just an excuse to end said phone conversation], he said he'd see me in five minutes and come running with me.

Say what?!

Not sure about you, but I didn't hear an invitation - or even the hint of one - in my statement.

I happen to mention that I'm so happy to finally be free on a Saturday so I can get some stuff done ... and he somehow convinces me to go bowling with a "bunch of friends " ... who end up being two other couples ... and us.

Uh, I'm pretty sure that made it a "triple date". And I'm pretty sure that's not what I had agreed to.

You get the idea.

Since we've been dating and now married [for a grand total of seven and a half years!!!], Mr. Dude's one. constant. request. has been for me to play video games with him. Any of them. Arcade games. First person shooter. Tower defense games. Heck, he's even tried to get me into Minecraft lately.

I knew it was getting desperate when he had a game day with a friend who works at XBox, and they played through Gears of War 3. I asked him how the day was, and all he could say was, "Stephanie, won't you please play through the Gears of War series with me?"

Uh, no. Remember this picture?

Yup. Still applies. Even after seven and a half years of you asking.

The Facebook feed today has since enlightened me on why Mr. Dude wants me to play, courtesy of a former high school friend who now works at a video game developer company in the area and shared this photo:
Source: 9GAG
Did I mention that Mr. Dude and his friend couldn't beat the last boss in Gears 3 while playing insane mode after playing the game all day? He told me later that they made something like 50 attempts, but to no avail.

He could try telling me that he wants me to play with him because I'm the most important person in his life

Or he's really desperate for help in beating that last boss.

Seriously, Mr. Dude. That's why there's this thing called "YouTube". I guess you'll just have to think of another reason for me to start playing video games. :]

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Virtual Flowers

Poor Mr. Dude.

He married a gal with very particular - and seasonal - tastes.

So many gals would list roses as their favorite flowers, which is great since they're available year-round in most places. [We won't mention how expensive they are - that's beside the point.]

And then there's me - my favorites are quite inexpensive ... as long as they're in season.


You know, the bulbs that bloom like crazy. For a month. And then they're gone.

So, for about a month straight, our home is filled to the brim with their yellow and white cheeriness as Mr. Dude stops by the store almost every day to bring me more.

It's cute, really, to see him come home with a big grin on his face since he knows I'll be so excited to fill yet another vase with one of the first signs of spring and the upcoming sunny weather.

Here in the dark and gloomy Pacific Northwest, that's a big deal!

But right now we've almost made it to the darkest day of the year, the holiday craziness is upon us, and Mr. Dude and I are in a particularly busy season with his work and our family life [uh, hence the lack of posts lately]. And there are no daffodils to be found to help cheer up the days.

Or so I thought.

I stopped by Mr. Dude's computer where he was getting some work done to ask him a question, and he quickly pulled up a picture that I just had to see:

[Source: Screenshot from the game]
He had been playing one of his newest favorite games earlier [Fallout: New Vegas, if anyone is keeping score ... and Mr. Dude would like me to remember that it runs on the same engine as another favorite - Elder Scrolls V: Oblivion ... which are both published by the same company] and noticed some daffodils hidden in a corner. 

One gaming screenshot saved in his Steam profile later, and his wife got daffodils in December. 

She also got proof that he thinks of her even when he's playing video games. 

Now isn't that just sweet? 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mommy Brain > Math Fail

Mr. Dude and I often debate about lots of things, particularly Washington vs. California, since those are our respective birth places. Maybe "mock each other about our respective birth places" is more accurate.

Don't worry - it doesn't mean our marriage is on the rocks. We've been doing that ever since we were "just friends" and arguing about everything. [By the way, being able to argue about anything and still be friends and on the same team afterwards is a highly valuable skill in marriage.]

One topic in particular: schooling.

God bless the man, but he went to school in Washington, the land of the rednecks. And I like to remind him of it. Often. Also, it helps that his undergraduate degree was a B.S. and his master's was an M.S. [ie, "More of the Same"], so I've got lots of material to banter about with him.

But I should probably start learning to hold my tongue, since "Mommy Brain" is affecting me more than I'd like to admit.


Because now apparently I can't do simple math.

Never mind the fact that I've taken calculus and I'm the daughter of a high school math teacher.

Parenthood Equation: "Mommy Brain" > Stephanie's Mathematical Knowledge

Little Guy turned 8 months old on the 6th [we've kept a human alive for eight whole months ... woohoo!] and I made a passing comment about his age while we were playing on the floor.

Me: Little Guy, you turned 8 months yesterday. That means we're 75% of the way to your first birthday!
Mr. Dude: You mean 9 months, Stephanie.
Me: No, he's 8 months now.
Mr. Dude: I know. Nine months would be 75%; he's only two thirds of the way to his first birthday.
Me: What are you talking about? Eight over twelve is 75%, Dude!
Mr. Dude: Stephanie, nine over twelve is three quarters.
Me: [insert awkward silence] Oh ... you're right. Drats!
Mr. Dude: So about that Washington schooling, eh Stephanie? Man, I've been waiting for his day for a looong time!
Me: Can I have some more coffee now? Apparently I really need it. 

This is where I insert foot in mouth and start wondering if I should be worried about "Mommy Brain" affecting anything else important. You know, like speaking and writing and thinking in general.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Countdown to Christmas!

If you hadn't guessed, I'm one of those people.

You know, the folks who try not to give Christmas the time of day until after Thanksgiving has passed.

No Christmas music.

No Christmas decorating.

And definitely no Christmas tree or lights.

I keep up my fall home decor until the day after Thanksgiving and enjoy a day full of turkey, family members (not to be confused with the turkeys), and giving thanks.

Folks, it's now after Thanksgiving.

Time for Christmas! 

We took a rather long and crazy trip to CA to visit family last week, so of course I have lots of nerdy happenings to relate to you. But it also meant that we had lots of things to unpack and clean.

My reward for finishing it all?

A cup of coconut 'nog (don't knock it till you try it), decorating for Christmas, and watching this:

Oh, Kermit. How we love your endearing rendition of Dickens' classic tale.

[This is where I'd like to draw your attention to the resolution on the TV screen. You'll note that it's kind of fuzzy, because it's only a DVD and not a Blu-Ray. Gasp! Mr. Dude will be ecstatic to find out that I actually noticed the difference in quality after all the times he's pointed it out and I've simply shrugged my shoulders because I neither noticed nor cared. I suppose if you're going to have HD, you may as well use it to its full potential, right? Drats. I think he's rubbing off on me. Meanwhile, I'm searching Amazon for a Blu-Ray copy of The Muppet Christmas Carol.] 

Only 21 days till we celebrate the birth of our Savior! What are some of your traditions to celebrate the season?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Scott Pilgrim vs. Stephanie ... and Spaceteam won.

Friends of ours came over this last weekend to enjoy some dinner and good ol' fashioned fellowship. The husband needed to borrow a router [and of course Mr. Dude had an extra one] and some troubleshooting in setting it up for whatever project he had going on at home. I told him any night of the week was fine [amazing how your evenings are suddenly all available when you're at home with your sleeping kiddo], and he'd get bonus points for bringing his wife along and staying long enough for us to have dinner together. He agreed and the date was set.

So our home-beer-brewin'-gotta-moustache-that'll-make-Moses-jealous-composer-extraordinaire friend and his lovely graphic-designing-film-photography-I-can-knit-anything-with-my-eyes-closed wife joined us for a fantastic evening in.

After dinner, the guys set about to work on their project while we ladies decided that chatting away with BBC's classic Pride and Prejudice in the background would be lovely. Suddenly, though, Mr. Dude quit out of the movie and went to the arcade games section on the XBox360, declaring that he had been waiting for Mr. Composer Friend to come over just so they could play this particular game together since they share a love of the movie by the same name.

Even more suddenly, a controller was in my hands and all four of us were trying to help poor Scott Pilgrim defeat all the bullies so he could go on a date with Ramona, or something to that effect.

Correction. They were all helping Scott. I was randomly pushing buttons and wondering what the heck they made my character do. It all seemed like a giant plot just to get me to play video games.

Attempted indoctrination via "gateway" games, I tell you.
[But, Stephanie! This is a really easy arcade game! You gotta admit that it's awesome! How could you not like video games when there's stuff like this to play?! Look at those graphics! Listen to that 8-bit music they wrote just for this game!]
And when we all got horrendously sick of the soundtrack [or maybe that was just me] and finally beat the level, our artsy and talented friends pulled out all four of their Apple devices so we could play an epic group game.
[I make the distinction about what kind of friends they are because there are very few people that Mr. Dude will recommend Apple products to or not scoff at for purchasing said products. He's a techie - and it irks him that Apple won't let him "under the hood", so to speak. But if you're a composer, a photographer, a graphic designer, an architect, etc, who actually needs some of their specialized software, then he's all for you dropping a ridiculous amount of money on an Apple product.]
Spaceteam is a cooperative game where you have commands flashing on your screen that you need to follow or one of your teammates needs to follow. And if you don't follow them all [or enough of them], then your space ship dies. Oh no!

Here's the official [and better-than-Stephanie's] description from the Apple Store:

Fluxtrunions? Beveled Nanobuzzers? Auxiliary Technoprobes? Outrunning an exploded star?!?!

Felt awfully Star Trek-ish to me.

I guess I'm just lucky that Q didn't show up to make it all the more confusing.

Also, have you ever tried to play a game like Catch Phrase, Pictionary or Yahtzee quietly, especially when there's an infant attempting to sleep not-so-far-away in a rather small apartment?

This was like that. As in, not possible.

Multiple infant-wakings aside, it was exhilarating, confusing, fun and stressful, all at the same time.

And I think I may actually like it.

[Gasp! Is this where I tell Mr. Dude that I found it on the Google Play Store, so we can install it on our phones, too?] 

So that was my epic Friday night. It was Scott Pilgrim vs. me. Or maybe that was Mr. Dude vs. me. Not sure if he won or I lost.

Either way, I spent my Friday night playing video games.

Definitely wasn't expecting that.

Uh, at least we can be on the same Spaceteam now? 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Best. Movie. Prop. EVER.

Mr. Dude and I spotted Skyfall on Amazon Prime this weekend, and took the opportunity to sit still for a couple of hours. It's a rare occurrence when you're the parents of a 7.5 month old, even when he's not mobile yet.

[Irony: It actually took us a couple of days to watch it because we couldn't sit still long enough in between caring for Little Guy and tending to household chores. Oh you childless couples - savor your restful times now, because they all but vanish when you've got a munchkin!]

May I submit to you the best movie prop ever?

Screenshot from our TV. Note the closed captioning. Yes, we're old. 
Folks, that is a Scrabble mug. 

And I think I need to find one. 

And then play a game of Scrabble. 

But not with Mr. Dude. 

I love him, but the man takes at least ten minutes on every single turn trying to get the best possible play. Maybe I just need to start reading a book or something when it's not my turn. But then I can't watch to make sure he's not trying to cheat. 

You know, like this time: 

Where was the cheating, you ask? 

Hint: Look at where he placed "frigid". 

The good news is, I still beat him. Soundly. Even after letting him get away with such an atrocity. We were on our "babymoon" and I was both in a good mood and feeling sorry for how badly he was losing. Aren't I magnanimous wife? :) 

Now to look for a Scrabble mug on the interwebs ... 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Nerdy Christmas Un-Gifting Guide, Part 2

Oh, handmade gifts. 

They are either awesome and just what the person wanted, or they are incredibly tacky and very quickly headed to a local thrift shop. 

They can be a fantastic way to save money and give something meaningful, or they somehow end up costing a fortune. 

Handmade gifts are apparently extremists. 

In the latest installment of "Where on earth does Mr. Dude find this stuff?", I present to you the handmade gift I will not be undertaking this holiday season: 

Source: Imgur
No, seriously, where does he find this stuff?!

I can hear him protest now:
"But, Stephanie! It's a mix of Portal and BioShock Infinite! It's AWESOME!"
I don't care if I like the score of the BioShock games or if you think that Portal would be a good "gateway" game for me because it's a giant puzzle. 

I love you enough to spend my time making something else instead, like pumpkin pie. 

Sure, you couldn't hang up the pumpkin pie at your office like you could with this cross-stitched wonder, and I do like me a good embroidery project. 


You're not getting this for Christmas, either, Mr. Dude. Lo siento. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

College Nostalgia

No, not our own nostalgia for college - although we are headed to our own 5 year reunion soon.

[Gasp! We're old!] 

We stumbled upon this nostalgic video game art in all of its 8bit/Post It Note glory during an afternoon family walk. It's brought to you by a dorm at a college here in town:

Mr. Dude, of course, thinks it's awesome.

Meanwhile, I'm starting a list of all the reasons why he can't do the same thing in our apartment windows, just in case he asks. Good to be prepared, you know! 

Happy Veterans' and Armistice Day! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Nerdy Christmas Un-Gifting Guide, Part 1

[Like every blogger (and their mom) this time of year, you gotta put out a gift guide in time for the holidays. Most of them will tell you what you should buy for this group or that one. As the wife of a nerd, I know there's a give and take to when I simply shake my head and smile about what he puts on his wish list versus when I put my foot down and say, "Absolutely NOT!" Thus, I'm here to tell you what items I won't be buying for my very nerdy husband, no matter how awesome he may think they are.]

Mr. Dude has a very (for him) fortunate birthday of a few days before Christmas. Most kids would be scared of their birthday being overshadowed by everything holiday, but Mr. Dude loved it.

He liked having so many decorations and lights and songs and parties all around the time he was celebrating another year of life. Plus, it's meant that he's gotten some pretty epic presents over the years when people combine birthday and Christmas budgets.

Case in point: the latest graphics cards, super quiet power supplies, terabyte hard drives ... it makes it rather easy for all of our parents and sisters to go in on an otherwise expensive gift when it's one item for both occasions from all of us that we've seen on his Amazon wish list.

Computer upgrades? Those I can handle.

Minecraft light from the ThinkGeek booth at PAX?

Source: ThinkGeek
Oh sure. I was actually present when he bought it.

Full size replica Portal gun?

Eh, I didn't really have a choice on that - he bought it without telling me he was going to.
[But, Stephanie! They only made 1000 of them, and they're already going for hundreds of dollars on ebay!"]
But Star Trek: Next Generation uniform hoodies?
Source: ThinkGeek, and yours for only $59.99! Working combadge and pips not included, unfortunately. 
In the words of Grumpy Cat:

I can only go so far, Mr. Dude and dressing in costume outside of PAX, ComiCon or Halloween definitely doesn't make the cut.

So no, these won't be under the tree or in your stocking. Don't get your hopes up.

More Nerdy Christmas Un-Gifting Guide items to come ... 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Double Vision

I've mentioned before how Mr. Dude got some free t-shirts from PAX this year.

What I didn't realize was just how many free t-shirts he got.

Uh, is it just me, or am I seeing double? 

I discovered the multiples while putting away laundry with Little Guy and sent Mr. Dude a text message about it, wanting to investigate, you know.

[Is now a good time to mention that PAX was almost 2 months ago, and I'm only just now noticing these?!]
Me: Can you tell me what is wrong with this picture?
Mr. Dude: We're missing a halflife 2 t-shirt.
Me: Moooooooooo
I'm hoping that means his t-shirts don't have an inverse relationship with socks in the washing machine gaining a nerd t-shirt for every sock you lose.

We could end up with a lot of nerd t-shirts that way.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Giraffe Nonsense and Snarkiness

Giraffes are cool.

But not cool enough to make me change my picture on Facebook.

Social media gimmicks are most decidedly not cool.

I use Facebook as a way of keeping in touch with various people, and occasionally post ridiculous, and usually very impersonal, thoughts.

But if you ask me to play Candy Crush Saga, copy and paste a status, or "like" a picture so that something amazing will happen, I will ignore you. I promise.

So there I was, scrolling through my news feed, when lo and behold, a bunch of people had suddenly turned into giraffes!

What the whaaaa ????

Oh. It's one of those "everyone is doing it, so I will, too" gimmicks. Probably just something else to ignore.
Try the great giraffe challenge! The deal is I give you a riddle. You get it right you get to keep your profile pic. You get it wrong and you change your profile pic to a Giraffe for the next 3 days. MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DONT GIVE OUT THE ANSWER.Here is the riddle: 3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, It's your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?Remember... message me only. If you get it right I'll post your name here. If you get it wrong change your profile picture.
Yep. Definitely just something else to ignore.

And then, I saw it. Even she had given in.

A college roomie - with her bachelor's of science in biology, a master's degree, pending medical school applications and all - had changed her identity to that of Giraffa camelopardalis

I decided that if she was going to give in, then I'd bite. But with pizzazz. 

If you're with me for an hour, you'll know that I love to cook. If you're with me for just 5 minutes, you'll know that I'm snarky. Sarcastic. Irritatingly meticulous about loopholes and technicalities. And slightly ridiculous. 

So here was my answer to the riddle: 
Eyeballs ... you have to open your eyeballs. I guess technically it's your eyelids - you get the point. But the riddle only supposes that I'd give in to my automatic reflex since I'm not blind. If I WAS blind, then would I still automatically open my eyelids? Or would I keep them closed since my body knows that it doesn't utilize that sense anyways? And it could be the door if I manage not to open my eyelids, but that assumes that I"m not sleeping underneath covers, so you could argue that you have to "open" your bed, in a manner of speaking, in order to get out of it. But if you're one of those weird people who doesn't sleep with any sheets or covers, then you'd have to open your bedroom door, if it's closed, and then your front door (if that's where your parents are ringing the doorbell from - some people may put their doorbell at the backdoor). Ooh, I almost forgot - what if you need to open your closet to get out a robe, slippers, etc, in order to answer your parents' ring? Heck, on the way out to the door, you may need to open the liquor cabinet to get a stiff dose of courage, depending on what kind of a relationship you have with your parents. Or maybe you need to open the fridge for a snack since you shouldn't store jam at room temperature in warm conditions (you could be in Florida in this scenario, you know). Since they're unexpected visitors at 3 am, and you haven't answered the door yet, maybe you need to open your firearms safe? It could be a sketchy neighborhood, you know. Seriously. So many holes in this riddle that it's ridiculous. No WONDER you have to change your profile picture to a giraffe if you get it wrong.
You know, if I wasn't the mother of a young child, you'd think I had too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's All Been a Beef Misunderstanding ...

If you've been around me for longer than an hour, you know I like to cook.

Okay, so I may be obsessed with cooking. And food. Mmm ... I like food. The technical term is "foodie", although you could make the argument that I'm something of a "food nerd". It fascinates me and I love learning how to make new things from scratch, so I guess you could also say that I "geek out" over food.

Didn't used to be that way. I used to be a REALLY picky eater. I wouldn't try very many new things, couldn't do any fish, didn't like the thought of not knowing every ingredient that was in the item I ordered ... there are some things I still haven't come around to (ahem, calamari, mustard, mushrooms, pickles, and lots of other things that Mr. Dude "sacrifices" by eating for me), but it's a much shorter list than it used to be.

I blame my college roomies. Some of them were vocal performance majors who couldn't eat dairy or cooked tomatoes because that would mess with their vocal cords too much. We each took turns cooking dinners for all of us, and all I knew how to make was Italian and Mexican. Translation: lots and lots of dairy and cooked tomatoes. What on earth do you make for these people?!

So the internet and I became best friends and I branched out. I learned about quinoa, risotto, cooking with wine, why the crock pot is my best friend, how legumes and grains make a whole (and dirt-cheap) protein ... but I digress. Suffice it to say that cooking has become an addictive hobby that Mr. Dude certainly appreciates.

I made a kick-butt stew (seriously, it's spicy enough to kick your butt) tonight for dinner and do you know how Mr. Dude reacted?
Mr. Dude: "You know, I like it, Stephanie. But the beef is really tender ..."
Me: "Um, it's supposed to be like that. That's why you cook it so slowly at a low temperature. That's what makes it tasty."
Mr. Dude [with a sheepish grin]: "Oh. Uh. Then it's good!"

For all the geek speak that he teaches me, apparently I need to return the favor and start showing him what I know about cooking. If he doesn't know the basics about how food is supposed to taste, then I haven't been doing my job!

Or maybe I just don't talk his ear off about what I'm making the way he talks my ear off about technology ... 

For the record, here's what I made. Props to Cynthia Lair and her Feeding the Whole Family cookbook. Everything I've ever made from there has been phenomenal. No joke.

[Side note: I may have been giddy when Mr. Dude's aunt, a registered dietitian and college nutrition professor, offered to introduce me to Cynthia. It'd be the cooking equivalent of meeting Bill Nye, the Science Guy. True story.] 
Yes, that's Mr. Dude's keyboard in the background. 
Yes, it glows. In multiple colors. 
Because why wouldn't you buy a keyboard that glows? 

Spice Island Beef Stew

Prep time: 10 minutes to prepare stew, 2.5 hrs cooking time.
Makes 4 to 6 servings

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 habanero pepper, minced (remove seeds if you're not a fan of "heat")
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 flour
1 bay leaf
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange plus water, wine and/or stock to equal 1.5 cups
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 tsp sea salt
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 cup cooked red beans

Heat a large stew pot or pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and meat. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove meat and set aside on plate.

Add remaining oil to pot along with onion. Saute briefly, until onion begins to turn translucent. Add garlic, habanero, thyme and allspice. Cook for 30 seconds, until garlic and spices are fragrant.

Return meat to pot. Sprinkle flour over sauteed mixture and stir to coat meat and vegetables. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, then add bay leaf, orange zest and juice, liquid, tomatoes and salt.

Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer 1.5 hours, or until meat begins to tenderize.

Add bell pepper and zucchini. Return to a simmer and cook, covered, 20 minutes, or until vegetables are nearly tender. Add beans and simmer 10 minutes more, until flavors have blended and meat can be shredded with a spoon. Discard bay leaf, adjust seasonings if necessary, and serve.

[It's super tasty with toasted homemade bread. Just sayin'.]

Monday, October 28, 2013

Overclocked ... Computer-Wise, Not the Schedule

Mr. Dude likes to tell me all the time about overclocking his Intel Core processor.

Apparently, after much tinkering, it's in a "sweet spot" right now - something like a 2.67Ghz running at 3.60Ghz.

I'm sure he'll correct me on the numbers later, but I get the basic concept. It's designed to run at such-and-such a speed, and he's running it a little bit harder without melting down.

Oh, and there's hyperthreading in there, too. Because why send a dotted -line stream of information, when you could make all those little computer brains send a solid-line stream of information and do so much more?

He gets really excited that he can run Crysis the way it was meant to be ("because the technology finally caught up with what the game developers had intended, Stephanie!"), or that he can run a really intense graphics program (read: "games", or "Netflix" ... you know, one of those) while simultaneously running Folding@Home on full-strength. All in the name of cancer research, you know. Or Parkinson's disease. I can't remember which project it is. But he's contributing the most "work units" to his group right now with all of his computing power. [He doesn't like me to remind him that he'd have even more "points" in the epic geek contest if he stayed off his computer and let it just run F@H.]

And RAM. Let's not forget the RAM. All 24GB of it. Oh, it's so lovely to run so many things without even needing the CPU or GPU.

And you'll never even hear it! Passive cooling + uber quiet fans + uber quiet power supply = optimized temperature and efficiency with very little noise to bother Mr. Dude's ears.

"Listen! Listen, Stephanie! You can't hear anything! The computer will always be the quietest piece of technology in our house. Isn't that awesome?!" 

Add in a sizable monitor with 1920x1080p resolution, an LED-lit keyboard, a gaming mouse, and a decent 2.1 sound system, and it's not a bad set-up, really.

Kind of reminds me of this scene:

For the record, Mr. Dude has actually set up infrared repeaters, fans and considered putting in a water cooling system to his computer.

Translation: The conversation the guys have amongst themselves has actually happened in our apartment. And it was just Mr. Dude talking to himself. The scary part is knowing most of what he's talking about ...

You know the best part about Mr. Dude's computer set up, though?

Commandeering it so I can open a simple web browser and a PDF viewer in order to complete some accounting projects for our home finances.

Oh, and run Pandora in the background.


Friday, October 25, 2013

First Gaming Console


They happen in the theater, and sometimes they happen in real life.

Like when Little Guy hits a growth spurt and decides that a full meal every two hours between 10 pm and 6 am for a week straight is necessary to life.

There's not enough coffee in life for me to function well after that, let alone blog.

In the meantime, Mr. Dude has made a declaration:

"Look, Stephanie! Little Guy's first console will be a Nintendo Gameboy. I'm going to start showing him how to use it!" 

Aren't they just the cutest? 

Okay, okay, I'll confess my bias. I only think they're cute because they're mine. But you have to admit that it's cute to watch a munchkin and his daddy hanging out together.

Side note: Curious as to how Mr. Dude acquired a Nintendo Gameboy?

A friend of ours decided to have a "Hipster"-themed birthday party and posted this as the cover photo for the event: 

Source unknown. My apologies to wherever he downloaded this from! 

Mr. Dude saw the guy on the right and immediately yelled out, "That's awesome!" 

A search on craigslist and ebay ensued for a Nintendo Gameboy in good, working condition. 

A trip across town and $20 later, and he had a new toy. 

A trip to Goodwill and $5 later, and he had the appropriate gold chain. 

A pair of shorts, a button up shirt, an origami paper bowtie and white socks helped him look like the hipster version of a guy from Weird Al's "White and Nerdy". 

Ergo, more proof that my husband is most definitely a nerd. And a sucker for nostalgia. 

Was there ever really any doubt, though? 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dr. WHO?!?!

Mr. Dude has a lifelong goal: Have our very own computer museum in the basement of our someday-house.

Doesn't matter that others before him have already built a collection for the public to enjoy so he could go visit anytime he wants. Nope, he wants to gather a bunch of "legacy" machines and tinker with them to his heart's content.

[Yes, computer museums exist. Didn't you know there's one in Seattle's very own SODO district? Mr. Dude passes by it every day on his way to work. I'm surprised he hasn't stopped by yet and just gotten lost inside, ogling at all the amazing technology. If I remind him about it, we may never see him again. He'd be lost in a world of computer nostalgia.]

So in yesterday's BBC news (yes, I read international newspapers; no, that doesn't make me cooler than you), the article on "Flossie" caught my eye.

You know, the 50 year old "computer".

Source: BBC
Didn't you know about Flossie? Oh good, me neither.

But now I know that it's found a home and they want to get it working again in the next 2-3 years so people can interact with it in its very own museum-like environment.

I'm waiting for Mr. Dude to announce that we're headed to England to go visit the computer. Handy, since I want to visit England for a bunch of other reasons, too.

One quote in particular jumped out at me: 
"Other editions of the machine were later used as props thanks to their arresting design. Doctor Who, the Pink Panther and the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun all featured ICT 1301s." 
Those are some good credits, Flossie! I've seen most of the Pink Panther and James Bond movies, so I guess I'll have to watch them again more closely to look for you in there.

Now comes my big confession of the day:

I've never seen a single episode of Dr. Who

[Insert collective gasp from every Dr. Who fan everywhere. - 
"Not seen Dr. Who?! Stephanie! How could you?! It's the best show EVER!!!!!!"]

For all the nerdy things I've watched, I've never watched that

Shoot, I'm stalking the TV listings to figure out when the next season of Sherlock is coming (bother - Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch are in such high demand for things like The Hobbit, Star Trek and Comic Con that they can't even finish a lowly BBC series) and already have Downton Abbey on the calendar, much to Mr. Dude's shagrin. I'll gladly watch an episode of Mythbusters (despite their lousy science - they're mostly just hilarious). And I've seen episodes from most of the TV shows featured in Glove and Boots' History of Television.

But I have never seen Dr. Who

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is yet another reason why I am not actually a nerd.

Who needs to watch Dr. Who when I could read and drink tea instead?
We call this picture of last night's agenda #nerdalert.
And I blamed my sister for introducing me to such literature.
She told me I'm not a nerd until I can say the Ring's inscription in the language of Mordor.
I think I'm safe on that for a very, very long time. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

In a Galaxy that Looks a Lot Like Home ...

... and in a not-so-distant future ... 

Mr. Dude and I have been taking a lot of walks lately.

They're a good way to escape the soon-to-feel-really-cramped-when-Little-Guy-starts-crawling apartment at the end of a long day and enjoy whatever sunshine we have left here in Seattle before the gloom and doom of winter sets in.

[This is where Mr. Dude chimes in, "But Stephanie, you have to admit that we've had a good summer! You had 80 degrees and sunshine most days!" And my reply will always be, "Yes, but I will still miss my Rainbow flip flops."]

It's also great for keeping Little Guy placated in the late afternoon doldrums somewhere between I'm-too-tired-to-be-cheerful and it's-too-close-to-bedtime-for-another-nap.

So, we suit up with jackets and the Ergo (aka, "Little Guy's Kryptonite") and head out for a nice stroll.

Because we live close to one of the universities in town, we often see college kids. They look at us walking along with our munchkin and smile. And we look at them walking along with their load of books bag that probably just has a tablet and smart phone in it and smile. (And then I remember how long ago our own college years were. And I start wondering when the gray hairs are coming.)

Late last week, we saw another family walking with their two children and I'm sure the mom gave us that knowing smile which said, "Oh, that's so cute that you just have one who's not mobile yet. Just wait till you have two and one of them talks and runs everywhere!"

[Side note: Mr. Dude's mom keeps reminding me that he was running - not walking - at ten months old. Ten months old!!!! I'm quite content for Little Guy to just sit up on his own and only roll one direction at six months, thank you very much. Once he's mobile, it's game over at our house.]

The family's older son looked around 3, almost 4 years old and the little one was only a couple of months old. Mom was pushing the stroller and dad was attempting to hold the little boy's free hand as he bounced around like a jack rabbit.

The little boy's other hand clutched a light saber, drawn and ready to use on any Sith Lord who dared attack.

And I suddenly had a glimpse of my future. 

A few years from now, when Little Guy is running and jumping and talking about a hundred miles a minute, we'll be on another family walk. I'll have the next Little One in the Ergo and Mr. Dude will be attempting to contain Little Guy's free hand while the other one grasps a light saber.

Um, does that mean my kid is going to end up like this?

I wonder if I could get him a play version of Peter's Sword from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to use instead ...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Suddenly Seymour


Can we say that Mr. Dude has some really odd taste in movies?

This weekend, he decided that Little Shop of Horrors was on the docket, thanks to Amazon Prime's list of Popular Movies.

Might I suggest the sheer fact that a bunch of other people decided to watch it does NOT make it a "good movie", nor one that should be popular?

Seriously. A giant, people-eating plant from outer space that looks suspiciously like a Venus fly trap and named the Audrey II?

Movie Poster
Mr. Dude would like to point out that this version (yes, there were multiples! on and off Broadway and film!) came out in 1986. 

Therefore, it is (supposedly) good. 

Anyone think it's a tad bit on the tacky side? (*cough!* *sarcasm!* *cough!*)

Mr. Dude likes just about anything that came from the 80's and 90's. He considers that to be a strength. I, um, do not. 

But this one is a conundrum for me. 

I, for one, like musicals. As in, I've seen a lot of them. As in, I can sing the songs or remember the quotes from a lot of them. As in, I was skeptical of Wicked being as good as everyone claimed it was simply because I had seen so many truly amazing musicals. 

I also like oldies music. It's one of my default musical genres for listening to at any time (although I do make fun of my parents for how some of their favorites like Chicago and Journey keep showing up on the free stages at the fair). 

So Little Shop of Horrors is a musical. Offbeat. Weird. But a musical. 

AND it has Levi Stubbs playing the part of the Audrey II. Yeah, I couldn't remember who he was, either. That's what Wikipedia is for. He was the lead singer of The Four Tops with such hits as "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" and "Baby I Need Your Lovin'". 

Oh, and we'll just throw in Rick Moranis (dad on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids), Steve Martin and Bill Murray because we can. 

Great lineup. Great genre of movie. Fantastic singing ability. 

Still very, very, VERY tacky. 

Siiiiiiiiiiiiiggggggggghhhhhhhhhh ......

Do I have to like it? 

Okay. Fine. I'll say I do. But I don't want to. 

Just don't tell Mr. Dude. He'll be all giddy about the chance to say, "I told you so!" 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Red Flags

It's always reassuring to hear that your spouse didn't have cold feet before your wedding.

But this weekend, I heard about a (at least semi-) serious conversation between Mr. Dude and his parents before he proposed.

He was home for just one summer during his entire college career - he had an internship back in Seattle after working at the on-campus IT help desk for a few summers. It was the one long stretch we were apart for while dating.

And it wasn't fun.

Towards the end of summer, we were heading into our senior year at college and getting serious about marriage. As in, I may have told him I was willing to move to Seattle after graduation just to be close to him, even if we weren't married.

Mr. Dude's parents were wanting to help him be sure that he was making a thoughtful decision because marriage is for a lifetime.

[Uh, random side note - He had also just managed to burn a hole in their tablecloth that summer after soldering a powerjack back together in his laptop while working at their kitchen table. You know, because the garage would be too inconvenient. And sensible.]

Mr. Dude's Mom: Now, Mr. Dude, we know you're getting serious about Stephanie. Are you thinking you're going to propose to her soon?
Mr. Dude: Yeah, I think so. We work really well together and she understands me really well. She's my best friend!
Mr. Dude's Mom: And you haven't seen any red flags go up? There's nothing about her that makes you concerned, right? Because marriage is forever and we want you to be sure.
Mr. Dude: Nope. No red flags that I've seen. Well, aside from the fact that she doesn't like to play Quake 4. But I think she'll still be okay. 

Quake 4? Really?! You were considering asking me to be your wife and that's all you had to say about red flags?!?!

Then again, that's the only red flag he had.

Okay. I'll take it. :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Six Months

Yesterday marked six (6!) months of life with Little Guy, post utero.

Man, time flies when you're having fun. Or when you're Sleepless in Seattle. Literally.

It was a loooooooooooooooooong labor, starting at 2:45 A.M. on a Friday, and going all the way to 9:41 P.M. on a Saturday. 43. Freakishly. Long. Hours.


This weekend, we celebrated by taking it easy. Coffee. Walks. Naps. Parks. Sunshine. Reading.

I'm reading Fellowship right now, but the day I went into labor, I watched Peter Jackson's Two Towers and Return of the King.

I'm not kidding.

I listened to the soundtracks while I studied in college. I pretty much know the movies by heart. I've read the books. I figured it was a good (long) distraction while dealing with the contractions in early labor.

Good thing Mr. Dude and our doula didn't care. Or that they knew better than to argue with a lady in labor.

Someday, Little Guy is going to be watching those movies or reading those books and end up hearing all about his birthday. Hope that doesn't traumatize him ...

Never too early to start going to story time at the library.
Or to start reading classic literature. 

Side note: I borrowed The Hobbit from a friend and she was out of town when I needed (not wanted) to start reading The Fellowship of the Ring, so I got it from the library when Little Guy and I went for story time. I looked in the fiction section to find that Tolkien was not there. Then I looked in the library catalog via the app on my phone ("Oh those kids and their newfangled contraptions these days!") to see if our local branch had it.

Yes, they did. In the science fiction section. You know, where you'd find Star Wars, Star Trek, and comic books of all kinds.

Does that make Little Guy's mama a nerd?

Sunday, October 6, 2013



Mr. Dude: Stephanie, I've had an epiphany.
Me: Oh really? What's that?
Mr. Dude: I'm a super nerd.
Me [guffawing, chortling, snickering, LOLing, etc, are all appropriate here]: Oh, please. Do tell me what made you realize such a thing.
Mr. Dude: I'm playing Defense Grid while wearing a Defense Grid tshirt.
Me: Yup, that makes you a super nerd, all right.

Zoey the Cat would like to complain about how she's not the center of attention by making sure she was part of the picture. Literally. 
And in case that wasn't nerdy enough, later in the week he was watching videos on the making of Defense Grid 2 (complete with multi-player! And no, I won't be joining him in that).

Then we got to watch the full version of this ad by Ford and Microsoft that totally makes fun of nerds who still live in their mom's basement and think Master Chief is the coolest person ever.

Oh yeah, and we learned that Steam OS isn't going to kill off console gameplay. Yet.

Excuse me while I escape his brand of nerdiness by reading LOTR: Fellowship. Frodo's trying to make it out of the Shire without becoming a Black Rider's lunch.

Just for kicks and giggles, we'll throw in a picture of this tshirt, too. NVIDIA was giving away tshirts at PAX that became your own greenscreen. You put on the tshirt, walked in front of a projector, and if the word "winner" showed up on the green controller, you got a prize. Otherwise something like their logo showed up and you just got to keep the shirt. AKA, you just won a chance to be dirt cheap advertising for them. It would have been funnier if the words, "I went to PAX and all I got was this lousy tshirt", had showed up for the non-winners instead. True story. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Talk Nerdy to Me, Lover"

[Props to the hilarious eponymous FB page, by the way.]

While at Cousin Julie's house this week, Mr. Dude was sorting through all kinds of wires, cords, batteries, etc, to help her set up the Wii, a cool sound bar for her TV, and her internet connection. I'm taking care of Little Guy (who is kind of fussing since he hasn't had a good nap since the morning) and oohing and aahing over the amazing home improvement stuff she's done.

Mr. Dude, as usual, is giving commentary on what he's doing - stuff about how the sound bar could be positioned over the tv or under the tv, here's an interesting factoid about some component on the desktop you have in there, you could hide the cables from the desktop computer over here, and did you know that the Wii has HDMI cables available so you can get the full high def signal from it? Yeah, you should order one from Amazon, Julie. 

Most of the time I manage to tune it out. Or at least smile and nod.

[Guys, it's not just your move. We gals do it, too. In my defense, I actually know what he's talking about 90% of the time. I just am not always interested. But I rarely tell him to stop talking about tech stuff. Yes, I love him that much.]

But one item made my ears perk up: The modem and wireless router were in the second bedroom/sewing room. The Blu-Ray player was out in the living room. If Julie wanted it to connect to things like Amazon Prime and Netflix, she'd have to run an ethernet cord all along the baseboards. 

That was promptly vetoed. Julie hates visual cables almost as much as Mr. Dude does. 

Me: Mr. Dude, couldn't you just set up a wireless repeater in here and connect the Blu-Ray player to it so you wouldn't have to run the cables in here?
Mr. Dude: Yeah, I could. That's a good idea! I'll look and see what she has. Maybe the internet company left one - they had an extra device in there that I hadn't looked at yet.
Julie: What did you just tell him? You actually understand all that, Stephanie? You go, girl!
Me: Yeah. Sometimes I talk "nerdy" to him. [insert rim shot here]

Some days, I shake my head and sigh at the #geekspeak things I say ... 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Snacks: Dragons = Good and Vampires = Bad

We joke (in all seriousness) that in our house, we'll never watch or read Twilight because we eat FAR too much garlic for any vampires to come anywhere near. (We're not quite as crazy as my college roommate who bought 46 heads of garlic when the recipe called for 46 cloves of garlic, though. But that's another story. It also helps that we have standards when it comes to what can actually be called literature. Again, that's another story.)

We also are well-known fire breathers. (Does that make us part dragon? If so, I'd rather be Eustace than Smaug. Smaug dies.) As in, we have to remember not to put so many spices in when we cook for other people. We don't put jalapeƱos n our tacos - we use habaneros. Oh, and I may have found grinders of dried ghost chili peppers during the 5 minutes Trader Joe's carried them ... and bought 2. It's okay - ghost chili peppers only have 850k-1.5mil Scoville units (compared to a jalapeƱo's 3.5-8k) and they're only one of the hottest (non-genetically modified) peppers on the planet.

Side note: When I was trying to go into labor, people kept suggesting spicy food. Problem: I had been eating ghost chili flakes on lots of things during the whole pregnancy. I don't think they were going to be triggering contractions at the end if they hadn't done so in the first or second trimesters, and it doesn't get much hotter than ghost chili peppers ... 

But I digress. As always.

Our favorite snack of late has been stove-top popcorn.

Do you know how cheap popcorn kernels are - even the organic ones - and how easy it is to make that stuff?

First, gather your ingredients:

Next, put some of that coconut oil (or any other oil with a reasonably high smoke point) in the pot with a few kernels, set the heat to medium-high or high and put the lid on top.

Wait for the oil to melt and the kernels to start popping, then put in enough kernels to fill the bottom of the pan. I give it a good shake every few seconds so the kernels don't burn. 

When the kernels slow down their popping, or stop popping altogether, I take it off the stove, pour into a waiting bowl, and start dumping on the goodness. No measuring, just dumping. In the kitchen world, they call it "season to taste". In Mr. Dude's world, it's "Stephanie, I want the food to kick my butt. Please add more cayenne." 

Pro-Dragon/Anti-Vampire Mix: Coconut Oil, Granulated Garlic, Ground Cayenne Pepper, Salt

Steph's Favorite: Coconut Oil, Ground Ginger, Salt

"Traditional": Melted Butter (but cook in olive oil), Salt

Toss it all together, and hope that you don't eat it all in one sitting. But if you do, know that there weren't any crazy chemicals and it was dirt cheap. 

Oops. Empty bowl. Sorry, forgot to take a picture before we ate it. All. In under half an hour.

Bonus points if you aren't playing Defense Grid while eating it. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mario and Minestrone

You know you're a foodie when ...
it's 10:30 at night and you're waiting for your homemade Italian minestrone to finish simmering so you can taste it and then go to sleep. 

Apparently I got waaaaaaay too excited about my meal plan for the week yesterday and decided to do a bunch of cooking all at once rather than waiting to cook on the day(s) when we're supposed to actually eat each item.

So now we have [extra] spicy tomato soup and minestrone awaiting us in the fridge.

Oh yeah, and the last of the potato soup I made this weekend.

And a squash soup I pulled out of the freezer to make room in there for some of the new soup.

Note: Soup season has definitely come to Seattle. 
And with it comes "video game season".

Monday, September 23, 2013

Weekend Happenings: Tolkien, TNG and the Big Bang Theory

It's finally the end of Monday.

Monday took TWO cups of coffee for me to function like a semi-conscious human being, especially when Little Guy decided that 4:30 am and 5:30 am were good wake up times this weekend.

This morning, he actually let me sleep (mostly) till 6. It was heavenly.

Not to worry. Despite the crazy "let's pretend we're three time zones away" schedule, it was a fun weekend.

For one, I did this:

"Never laugh at live dragons!" - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Duly noted. 

while drinking this:

"Earl Grey. Hot ... Make it so." - Jean Luc Picard

I lucked out with a husband who says, "What can I do to help? Take Little Guy? Okay!"

I got an entire afternoon to sit and read The Hobbit and drink tea while he and Little Guy watched the Seahawks/Jaguars game upstairs with the neighbors.

And it was fantastic.

To be honest, I'm not sure if he likes hanging out with Little Guy more because he likes being a dad ... or because he likes having a legit excuse to act like a little kid. Either way, it's ridiculously fun to watch them giggle together.

Mr. Dude keeps telling me all the things he's going to do with our kids - play whiffle ball in the yard, go to the science center, play Mario Kart, build Lego sets.

I believe him, too, because those were a large part of his childhood and he loves any chance he can get to act on his nostalgia.

That being said, I should be on the lookout for hidden plans to build a treehouse, complete with acrylic window for a Star Trek-inspired clear screen thingy.

What on earth would you call those?

Not sure, but maybe you should ask these guys:

The Big Bang Theory as The Next Generation.
Source: The Official Star Trek Site
Mr. Dude has indulged me by watching all of Season 6 over the course of the last week. Big Bang Theory, that is. 

Not The Next Generation. 

We already did that. 

In fact, we've already watched The Original Series, The Next Generation AND Deep Space Nine. 

That's seventeen (17!) seasons, folks. 

Not episodes. Seasons

So when I reference Earl Grey and think of Picard, or when I see an episode of Big Bang Theory that has the main characters dress up as Data, Worf, Picard and the Borg ... I know what I'm talking about. 

The irony? 

Watching The Big Bang Theory counts toward the seasons Mr. Dude "owes" me since I watched SEVENTEEN (17!) seasons of one of his shows. 

He's now seen SIX full seasons of Big Bang Theory and THREE full seasons of Downton Abbey. 

He'd like to claim that each season of Downton should really count as 2, and that he should be off the hook for anymore since last season was such a heartbreaker. 

And then I remind him that 6 + 3 = 9. 

He's still short by 8 seasons. 

So ... Casa de Nerds has a standing 8 pm Thursday date to watch Season 7 of Big Bang Theory (aka, laugh at the nerds) starting this week. And there will be a standing 8 pm Sunday date to watch Downton, starting in January, no matter how many times he protests. Even then, he's still got 6 more seasons of my choice to go ...