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?