Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh by the way...

That RNGOTM Lightning Round post was my 800th here at wbw.  So there's that. 


It's funny how your mind connects things. 

The other day, I was at Lifeway picking up some Bibles for some kids in the church.  Playing in the background was a series of contemporary Christian hits redone as instrumental pieces.  It was really nice background music, actually.  (Though it was a bit of a trip listening to Baby, Baby as classical piano)  One of the songs that played--actually, the first song that got me to realize what exactly I was listening to--was this:

Now, every single time I hear this song, I always, always, always think of Abby and Jason.  They both love this song, and I think they used it in their wedding.  So it's one that I have no choice but to associate with those two lovebirds. 

HOWEVER, thanks to the former Slackerlitgeek, there is another association that always pops up when "I Will Be Here" plays. 

(Man, I don't wanna crash into a pier either.  That looks brutal!)

Normally, these two very different memories just sort of clash whenever I hear that song.  Yesterday, however, they managed to find a point of intersection.  Six years ago (WOW!) I was in a traveling drug awareness play with Jason and two gals.  Abby choreographed the "Say No Dance".  And it (the play, not the dance) was bad.  I mean, the production was pretty good, but the script itself was not.  It was pretty painful.  And it made for a lot of awesome memories.  (Or traumatic ones.  One of my castmates from that show still crawls into a little ball and rocks back and forth if you bring it up around her.  I'm pretty sure she'll never say the words "embarrassed zebra" again in her life) 

I played three or four villains in the show, including the bully, the head of the gang (the gang consisted of the bully and two small girls), the tough kid who tries to get Max to--you guessed it--drink beer.  By the end of the show, Max has learned to stand up for himself and say no.  So I hand Max a paper sack that supposedly has a six-pack inside, and he's supposed to say, "No, Duke," and then shove the sack back in my chest.  "No beer."  And then I get all mad and leave. 

Only, the last performance, it didn't quite happen that way.  I handed him the sack, just like usual, only instead of "No, Duke," Max said, "No, Beer."  I doubt anyone in the audience heard it, because half the kids are just screaming "NOOOOOO" and hoping they can pop some more balloons (um, don't ask), but I knew he caught it because immediately I could see his eyes register that he'd said something wrong.  And then I saw him racing through his mind to find a cover (No matter how good you all are, by the end of a year of touring to schools, everyone in the cast will be able to recognize when anybody else is scrambling).  After a brief moments pause, he sighs slightly, shakes his head--from the audience, it looks like he's just saying no, but I can tell the actual meaning is Dang, I got nothin'--and then he shoves the bag in my chest and repeats "No beer."  Our eyes lock, and we share an imperceptible acknowledgement that yes, this is awkward, and then the show goes on. 

What's the point of all this?  Simply to say that, yesterday and Lifeway, I kept picturing Jason standing just around the corner, dressed as a gigantic nine-year-old, holding out a paper sack with a six-pack in it and wearing an awkward grin.  And that I'll likely have that particular visual every time I hear that song for the rest of my life. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Random Nintendo Game of the Month: Lightning Round!!

My original intention was to hop onto and play the game I played for my very first RNGOTM back on MySpace, Disney's Pocahontas.  However, several other titles in the 'P' category distracted me.  And, as few of them really required more than 5-10 minutes of gameplay to get a good feel on what exactly they were, I decided to make do something a little different with this not-really-monthly feature.  It's Random Nintendo Game of the Month: Lightning Round!

Game 1: Peepar Time
Okay, what is a Peepar?  I'm not sure, and while I wasn't certain that I wanted to know, curiosity got the best of me and I started with Peepar Time.

This is more or less what my internal monologue would have sounded like:

Okay, so what's a Peepar?  Obviously some cutesy Japanese thing... help from the title screen.  None at all.  Well, okay.  One player, here we go.
Stage 1.
Okay, let's see, where am I?  Am I that hopping thing?  What is that thing?  Is that a peepar?  I guess those squid things are the bad guys.  Hey, that peepar thing is moving.  I'm not moving it.  Go left, bouncy guy!  Go left!  Or right!  Or just stop going forward!  Okay, I can't control that guy, so I'm obviously not him.  Maybe I'm not on the screen yet?  Maybe if I push a button I'll shoot something.  Well, it made a sound effect, but I can't see that anything actually happened.  Maybe this rom is just busted...Where is that hoppy guy going?
(music changes, words "STAGE CLEAR" flash on the screen.

The good news is, you cannot lose stage one of Peepar Time.  The bad news is, you're no closer to figuring out what it is you're supposed to be doing by the end of stage one of Peepar Time.

Eventually, I figured out you're supposed to rearrange the tiles that Peepar (I'm assuming that's a peepar) is hopping on to get him to the goal and keep the bad guys away from him.  If you've ever played Pipe Dream, it's kind of like that, only with a Peepar.  (Still not sure what a Peepar is, but it looked kind of like a cartoony penguin in a hoodie?) 

Game 2: Penguin Wars
Penguins have the lamest wars ever.

There's not really much of a war in this game, more an athletic tournament.  You see the bracket at the beginning of the game, and you're supposed to win your way to the top.  The game actually looks like it would be really fun to play in real life with a slight modification.  You (the penguin) and an opponent (in my case, a yellow bear with no hind legs...wait, velveteen bear?) each start off with a number of balls on your side of a table.  When the game begins, you start rolling your balls toward your opponent.  The goal is to get all of the balls to end up on the other side of the table.  Of course, in the video game, if you hit your opponent they become unable to move for a few seconds, so that gives you an edge. 

Take away the table and replace "rolling" with "throwing" and I think this would be an awesome sport.  Really, though, I got tired of the NES rendition pretty quickly because things just moved so slow. 

Also, I lost to the freaking legless bear.  And it laughs.  While your poor little penguin is crying. 


Anyway, check out the theme song!  It makes this game sound way more exciting than it actually is. 

Game 3: Pooyan
Once again, I just wanted to know what the heck a Pooyan was.  Apparently it's a mama pig (this is the first game I played that had a story behind it).  Some baby pigs were out playing in the field when they were kidnapped by wolves.  Because wolves are into kidnapping now instead of eating.  Mama pig is out to save her piglets, and this rescue takes the form of shooting arrows from a crudely-rigged elevator-type apparatus while scores of wolves jump from a high ledge, slowing their falls with large balloons.  When you've sent all the wolves to a splatty doom, the piglets chase off the lone survivor. 

Really, though, you need to play this game if for no other reason than the soundtrack is amazingly bizarre.  Especially the title screen. 

Game 4: Panic Restaurant
This game was actually really awesome.  You're a chef.  One day, while walking to your restaurant, you're assaulted by fruit and vegetables from above as the evil chef Ohdove.  He says he's taken over your nice clean little restaurant.  So the entire game is the chef fighting his way through the restaurant to take it back from Ohdove.  Somehow, Ohdove has made all the food evil, so you are bashing your way through a restaurant using a skillet as a weapon while being attacked by gelatinous desserts, sliced apples, feminine carrots, and runaway stuffed turkeys.  It's silly, it's surreal, and it's just fun.  You can upgrade your weapon (once you get that giant spoon, you are ready to take down some evil produce!), candy gives you health (because that just makes sense, right?), and you collect coins for a chances at a slot machine-style bonus game at the end of each stage.  This game also marks the only time I can ever remember being angry enough to want to shout, "Damn you, pizza!"  

Seriously.  I hated that pizza.

Simple game, silly premise, and ridiculous fun. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I love you! You're my favorite! GET AWAY FROM ME!!!

My boys are awesome.  They love each other so much.  Whenever one sees the other enter a room, his face lights up.  They love to play together.  Robbie loves to make Isaac laugh, and Isaac is always ready to laugh at Robbie. They play peek-a-boo together.  They play trucks together, which is impressive since Isaac can't talk or really "play with" anyone yet.  And when Robbie runs back and forth through the living room, Isaac either watches and cackles or else tries to crawl after him.  And they almost always want to hug one another. 

At least, at any given point in time, at least one of them wants to hug the other.  However, very rarely do they want to hug at the same time.  It's actually really funny to watch.  Either Robbie will come up and try to hug Isaac, and Isaac will start crawling away, halfway dragging Robbie with him.  Isaac starts grunting, and Robbie starts whining "I want to hug Isaac!"  And then Isaac starts whining, and by that point Robbie is laid out on his back trying to keep his arms around his baby brother's midsection.  Or else, Robbie will be sitting watching a movie, and Isaac will get this huge grin on his face and he'll come over to Robbie.  He'll get up on his knees and stick both hands out, then grab Robbie's shirt and push against his torso.  Robbie doesn't move, because Robbie doesn't move when he's watching TV, so Isaac pushes harder.  Robbie starts to whine, Isaac starts to laugh, and eventually he knocks Robbie completely onto his back because, again, Robbie doesn't want to function when he's watching the TV.  So there's Robbie lying on his back, Isaac fallen over on top of him laughing, and then--and only then--Robbie whines, "I want Isaac to leave me aloooone!"  "But he just wants to hug you and play with you!" Isaac cackles.  "I don't want him toooo!" 

My boys.  They are absolutely love one another.  Unless it's time to love one another. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

In which I get a job

Yesterday, I went in for a quick interview with the Astros for a spot on their Guest Services team. I thought it went quite well.  It was a position I interviewed for last season and didn't get, but I thought I was better prepared for it this time around.  Plus, it just felt like the "vibe" was better, you know?  Sometimes you just feel like the room is for or against you.  Still, those sorts of things can be misleading, so I figured I'd just sweat it out for the weekend.

This afternoon, the sweating out came to an abrupt end, as I got "The Call."  I'm goin' up to the big leagues, ma! 

Seriously, tho, this is a major answer to prayer.  And it's something I want to do.  Bonus!  Plus, the 'Stros are out of town during VBS and preteen camp, so it won't step on any of my major church commitments this summer.  Tonight, we celebrated: we bought a pizza. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl and other tidbits

I just accidentally brushed against Isaac's toy train, which I had forgotten was behind me, and the dang thing cackled at me and then rang a dinner bell.  I knocked it halfway across the room.

Toddler toys are creepy.

Yesterday was Super Bowl XLVI.  (Once we get to Super Bowl L, I say we just stop with the Roman numerals, because Super Bowl L looks dumb)  The Giants beat the Patriots after a gutsy come-from-behind game-winning drive with under two minutes to go in the fourth quarter on the strength of an amazing catch off a perfect throw in the face of certain doom!  That doesn't sound like the sort of thing after which you could say, "Oh yeah, just like last time," but...yeah, it was pretty much like last time these two teams played in the Super Bowl.  Crazy.

Up until about 4:00 yesterday afternoon, I didn't have anywhere to watch the Big Game.  Now, I've finally managed to move past that thing where I'm constantly hurt that I'm rarely invited to game nights, parties, movies, etc with most of my former coworkers.  That was pretty hard for quite a few years, but I think I'm at peace with it now, and it doesn't change the fact that I dearly love and miss my friends from my Players days. The Super Bowl, however...well, that's a bit different.  I will be honest, I was pretty bummed about having nowhere to go for the game.  It's not so much like I feel I wasn't invited to a party, it's that I always enjoy the sharing the event with others.  Because really, the Super Bowl is an event, not a football game.  Right or wrong, it's like Super Bowl Sunday has become a holiday in the U.S.  And I do love holidays.  So, with no party invitations, no sports bars or grills that I frequent, and no TV at home to speak of, it looked like I was just going to miss it all this year, and I was kind of sad.

Then, Kim went to her Sunday afternoon ladies' Bible study, held at the home of one of the church's deacons.  I secretly hoped someone from the study group would invite her to come by their place to watch the game, but I was pretty sure she wouldn't bother to mention that we didn't have plans.  As it turned out, Bible study had been cancelled since everyone was getting ready for the game in their own houses, and nobody told her because they didn't have her phone number.  Kim did mention that we didn't have any plans for the night, and they did invite us over...and then Kim said no thanks.  Fortunately, after she came home she decided that did in fact sound like fun, so she shot off a quick email to see if we could bring the kids, and suddenly we had folks to watch the game with.

Or at least, I did.  Kim had other ladies to coo over Isaac with, and Robbie had a girl his age to run around a pretty spacious house and eat pretzels and fudge with.  (In fact, at one point they were playing a game that bore a striking resemblance to the plot of The Pass-It-On Christmas. Which, in turn, bears a striking resemblance to the story of the song Do You Hear What I Hear?)  We all had a good time.  The game was fun and exciting, and I think the deacon who was hosting the party appreciated having another man to watch the game with.  The rest of the crowd, aside from his wife and daughter, consisted of a woman from our church and her several teenaged foster daughters.  It was unlike any Super Bowl crowd I've ever watched the game with.

It was fun, though.  Watching the Super Bowl is always fun.  Even that year when Carolina lost to New England and it felt like both teams spent the entire first half punting.  It's always fun, because there's always a festive atmosphere.  Some folks cheering for one team, a couple for the other, there's a bit of a friendly rivalry going on, and the snacks are good, and the commercials are entertaining, and the people who are just there to watch the commercials are goofing off in the back the whole time.  It's become a social event, so as long as you have someone to be social with, you'll almost always have a good time, whether you love football or not.

Unless your team loses.  Cause that always sucks.

And the Avengers trailer came one.  Holy-freaking-cow, it was fantastic.  And the full-length version on the web is even better.  I haven't been this stoked for a movie since The Dark Knight.  (Before that, it was probably Return of the King.  Before that?  Um...probably The Lost World. And before that, the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. So there you go.  My "Most Hyped Movies of All Time" list, in reverse-chronological order)

There's really nothing about this trailer that I'm  not completely thrilled with.  Well, except for Black Widow being treated as a member of the team instead of another SHIELD agent, but I've never been crazy about that. I mean, you've got that awesome shot where they're circling up, back-to-back, with what is apparently an onslaught of alien invaders (or something) about to release hell upon them.  And amidst the Super Soldier, the man whose entire body is a weapon, the freaking HULK, a thunder god, and a guy who somehow makes a boy and arrow look hardcore, you've got a five-foot-five redhead reloading....a hand gun?  The world is being destroyed!!!  It really does feel like they just threw her into this movie (and Iron Man 2) to have a token girl on the team, and I think that's a disservice to the character.  (Plus, all her fighting in IM2 was just silly.  Even for a superhero movie)  But if you are gonna throw her in there with the heavyweights, give the woman a rocket launcher or something!  *grumble grumble that tiny gun had better be the stinkin' Noisy Cricket or something...*

Um...rant over...anyway, the trailer is epic.  Awesome way to start the summer/celebrate a birthday. 

Let's see, what else was I going to talk about...

*Congrats to another Aero sticking with the big club.  Bravo, Nate Prosser.

*Reading some great books lately.  Check out my book blog soon for short reviews of Till We Have Faces, Just Do Something, The Help, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  Yes, reading the Best Picture nominees again.

*Part of the reason I lapsed so severely in blogging was that my late night creativity had been going into my 365 project.  It is a lot of fun.  And I manage to get at least one pretty decent picture in there per week, so that's something for a guy who's never been very good with a camera. Hard to believe I'm already 92 days in. Also hard to believe that means there are 273 days to go.  Acctually, 274, because it's a leap year.

*I love leap year.  I'd say we should all have a Leap Year party of some sort on the 29th, but I'll be in San Diego that day.  Not that I'm disappointed that I'll be in San Diego, but still.  It would have been fun.  Again, I like Events.

*A friend I worked with at Horsefeathers one summer lost her engagement ring in 2005.  She figured it was gone forever. Today, it turned up on eBay.  The seller is asking for $1,250.00. She doesn't have that, so she's asking for help.  I'm trying to see if we can get this thing to go viral :-) 

*Finally, I have a job interview for some part-time work with the Astros on Wednesday. I applied for this position last season and didn't get it then, so my hopes aren't too high, but we'll see. I gots to make me some coin, yo!

*Finally-finally, if you think Sherri and I should start making video reviews of musicals together, clap your hands.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

All right, all right

Enough with this "not blogging" crap.  You people deserve better!

Actually, I was reading a friend's blog recently and I thought to myself, "This is nice.  I like it when my friends blog, even when they don't have particularly deep mind-blowing truths to share.  I wish they would keep this up more consistently."  And then I realized, "Hey, there are people who like it when I blog, even when I don't have anything good to say!  And I'll be they wish I'd keep it up more consistently!"

I know. Your mind is blown with my deductive powers. +5 enlightenment, +3 "Well, duh" points, but -1 against ogres.  Stupid ogres...

So I'm back at it.  And I'll try to be better about it, because you know what?  I doesn't have to be all about me. I miss most of y'all, and I know some of you miss me, especially those of you reading from other states who happen to share some of the same genetic information as I have. 

The initial incarnation of this blog had a purpose: to discipline myself to blog something every day for a year.  To see a project through to its completion.  Done.
The second incarnation also has/had a purpose as an exercise to try some new things, some different things, and ultimately just to get more practice at a form of writing other than play script format.
Well, I like to consider this a new incarnation of the blog.  So I'll have to find a new skin or layout I like.  (Bother)  This new phase of WBW/FOMW is simply to connect. To stay connected with some of you, and to write for my friends and loved ones who really just want to keep up with what's going on in my world. No more counting days, because really there's no point to it any more.  No more worrying too much about content, because let's face it, sometimes there's just not much newsworthy going on in my world.  But I can still drop in and say hey.  It'll be a lot more like "the old days," only hopefully I'm a more talented blogger now than I was when I started this thing up three years ago. 

So, welcome to WannabeWordslinger Chapter 3.  I'll make sure to drop in every couple of days or so to say hi. 

But first, I feel the need to give FOMW a proper sendoff.  So look for that in the next few days.