Thursday, July 31, 2008

Success in the Gaming World

I'm a gamer. Apparently I was born a gamer. There's something about jumping over rolling barrels, swinging on vines, stomping on enemy creatures to defeat them, and boxing against world champions that is exhilarating. When I was a small child I delighted in playing Pitfall and Snafu on the family Intellivision. When I was a bit older, I was intrigued by Super Mario Brothers 2 and Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Those games were obsessions for a time, and my high scores were evidence of my dedication.

Several years ago when TC announced that he wanted to buy a Playstation 2, I was worried. Would my old days of neglecting all responsibility to beat my last score or move on to the next level come back to me? Would I be able to be a responsible adult with a gaming system around? These were questions that burned in my mind, the flames licking my sensibilities and warming my desire for high scores.

We got the Playstation 2 and I did spend an embarrassing amount of time playing Crash Bandicoot and Jimmy Neutron: Attack of the Twonkies. But their appeal faded as my skill at those games paled in comparison to the challenges the games presented me. My ability was not sufficient to pass any more levels. But just as my fixation on one game faded, another game moved into its place. My auto-competitiveness worked in my favor when TC bought me Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas several years ago. My chronically lazy bones were duped into activity in order to unlock songs, increase my score on this song, or master that level of difficulty. And again, when my ability growth plateaued, so did my obsession with the game.

Now we have a Playstation 3. TC and I have made it a family pursuit, as odd as that may sound. We play Motorstorm together, taking turns at off-road racing, lamenting the cheatingness of the computer when we just can't seem to come in 1st place, backseat driving for each other. TC specializes in rally cars and motorcycles, while I am best at racing trucks and semis. TC plays Uncharted, while I am on the lookout for places to find treasure. I play Monsters, while TC advises me on where to build my towers to defeat the funny little monsters that try to invade my village.

Lately, our family pursuit has been Lost Planet: Extreme Condition. We enjoy playing online against other gamers who are far more skilled than we are. We take turns, watching each other play. When TC is at the controls, I look out for enemies to snipe. And when it's my turn, TC gives me pointers on where to stake out the enemy. The more points we get, the more we level up. We're now up to level 41, whatever that means. As perverse as it may sound, it is a bonding experience for us. It's a way to unwind, spend time together, and encourage each other in the endless battle for data posts and kills with minimal deaths.

On Friday, after a long day of moving my parents, we decided to unwind by playing Lost Planet for a while. We had such great success that we had to take pictures of the TV screen as proof of our incredibly high (for us at least) scores. Several days later, we are still congratulating each other on our success.

My high score. I've never placed 1st in an online battle, so this was pretty exciting for me. Plus, I beat two French people, which is always a plus.

TC's high score. His score is higher than mine. He's so awesome.

This post officially opens up our geekiness to public scrutiny. However, for the careful reader there are important truths in our gaming experiences. What I have learned in all this is that it is possible to be a responsible adult while still leaving time for some family shooting, racing, or monster annihilation.

After all, it's the family that games together that stays together, right?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Really? Seriously?

Dear Mr. Man on the Elevator who was apparently incapable of taking the stairs for one flight,
Seriously? I mean, really? You HAD to take the elevator from the first floor to the second? The stairs that are located not five feet from the elevator were too difficult to get to? So, really? When I was standing in the elevator, traveling from the 1st lower level to the 3rd floor, backed up into a corner of the elevator, blocked in by a girl who apparently does not have a normal sense of necessary personal space, standing uncomfortably close to her even though we were the only two people on the elevator and there was plenty of space for us to stand at a comfortable distance from each other, feeling nauseated from being past hungry, holding my salmon Florentine soup, you had to stop us on the 1st floor, so that you could stop us again on the 2nd floor? Normally, I would be sympathetic. I mean, honestly, how often am I too lazy to take the stairs for one flight? It's embarrassing to admit just how often that is. But today I'm bored, tired, don't want to be here, hungry, worried about how much I eat. Today I got the salmon Florentine soup from the cafeteria because it was the only non-creamy soup besides the Ham & Bean, which apparently calls for a 2:1 ratio of salt to all other ingredients. Mr. Man on the Elevator, I didn't feel like eating pure sodium for lunch, so I ordered the salmon soup, knowing that I don't like seafood, nor do I like floating seafood, making a feeble attempt choosing well, or at least making a better choice than the cream of broccoli, or the creamy chicken noodle soup. And I nixed my typical sourdough roll in the hopes that I wouldn't miss it, but my body would notice the disappearance of the bread and thereby magically allow me to lose enough weight to fit in my skirts so that I can zip them all the way up by tomorrow morning when I have to get dressed again for work. So, Mr. Man, I was feeling nauseated and head-achy and apprehensive about my soup choice when you so thoughtlessly decided to take the elevator for one floor. Which is why I did not greet you with anything other than a look of disbelief. And, is also why I did not exchange pleasantries with Miss StandsTooCloseinConfinedSpaces when I got off the elevator. And now I'm in my office, eating my fishy soup, hoping that the smell in my office for the rest of the day will be worth it, hoping that pants will fit better this afternoon, that magically I will not have protruding muffin top because I did not eat the creamy soup and I skipped the bread, that my good choices right now will have positive consequences immediately, hoping that my migraine-induced nausea will go away, and my headache will disappear, and I won't feel so bored this afternoon as I've felt this morning.
So, Mr. Man on the Elevator, dear Mr. Man, please forgive my rather ordinary manners. I hope that next time we meet, you will not be so thoughtless, or that I will not be so grumpy. Or maybe next time, I can take the stairs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Dark Knight

Last week TC and I went with my good friend Kacy to see Dark Knight. I went with hopes that it would at least be as good as Batman Begins, and with the expectation that the quality of Heath Ledger's performance was blown out of proportion in memoria of his death.

In truth, I was astounded by Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker. He made the Joker a formidable foe for Batman, not a joke of an enemy (pun actually intended). Ledger's Joker is fearsome, horrendous and sinister all while being comedic. I loved the Joker.

I could have done without the love triangle that ensued in this movie, but I suppose that not everyone will feel that way.

In all, it was definitely worth going to see in the theater.

Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woolen Mittens

Nesquik Chocolate Powder has become one of my favorite things. When I want a snack after dinner, a glass of chocolate milk is not only satisfying, but it is a better snack choice than purely empty calories found in snack foods such as chips or ice cream.

TC actually deserves all the credit for my new-found love of chocolate milk. He has known the value of this sweet treat for years. Growing up with meals like afternoon merienda, which typically consists of chocolate milk and cookies, he has long since been familiar with this new staple of mine. Thanks to my dear husband, now I know how much I love chocolate milk!

At Costco (one of my other favorites, but a subject for another day) you can buy a 48 oz. container of Nesquik for around $6. It's a steal! Some of you may say, "But I can't drink that much chocolate milk." I say, "This is where you are wrong dear friends." You would be surprised how much one can consume when one is faced with large portions of food items. Seriously though, if you have just one serving per day for 85 days, or close to three months, you will have completed the enjoyable task of consuming all of the chocolate milk powder in your super-sized tub long before the shelf life expires.

Lastly, aside from the excessively low price at Costco, another of the powder's virtues is that it is fortified with vitamins and minerals such as calcium carbonate, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), zinc oxide, vitamin B6, copper, manganese and biotin.

Thank you for reading this week's edition of Kristina's favorite things.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Antelope Island by Moonlight

On Friday the 18th, Jared, TC and I drove up to Antelope Island for the annual Antelope Island by Moonlight. The theme was creatures of the night. Unfortunately, I did not get any photos of the people who dressed up in full costume, but I DO have photos of the three of us.

Just before leaving for our big ride. Boy am I excited!

The Compensator putting his bike back together and compensating before we ride.

Jared before the ride.

Gordita and TC before the ride. We're smiling because we don't know that a head wind is going to start up on our way back, making the return trip 50% longer. Also, we had forgotten about the 2 miles of uphill that made up the last portion of the ride.

So all in all, the ride was tough because of those pesky head winds. We were tired when we finally got to bed at 3am on Saturday morning. My fingers went numb from holding on to the handle bars, but I finally regained feeling on Monday. Will we do it again? Definitely!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Saturday Steak

On Saturday, TC and I spent the day in Provo with TC's sister and husband. The SIL and I had a chance to catch up while the men did manly things, like move furniture and fix wireless routers, and stuff. Later in the day, she and I went to the mall for a little while, and had a great time. I bought some flip flops that I fell in love with, and she found some that she loved.

My new flip flops, except mine are brown with pink. Riveting, I know.

Another SIL and I watched Dora the Explorer with the kids while the grown ups prepared dinner for us all. BIL grilled some steak, and let me tell you, it was so incredibly delicious.

So, I thought BIL & SIL's generosity was blog-worthy. They showed us a great time. Thank you!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

One of my favorite things are L'eggs Sheer Energy Pantyhose. Many of you dear readers will wonder why I have pantyhose in my list of favorite things. Let me answer your wonderings by saying that it is only out of necessity that I love these pantyhose. I am required to wear hose to work, which is typically 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. I have been working under these requirements for 6 years, so you can see why I would grow to have a favorite hose.

Now, let me tell you why Sheer Energy is my favorite. It is inexpensive, durable, silky smooth, forgiving when my legs aren't entirely silky smooth, and keep everything all neat in a squeezed little package.

By far, my most favorite feature of these hose is that they are durable. I typically will get 5-6 wears from one pair, if I don't do anything excessively clumsy. If you consider that I have 7 or 8 pair at any one time, you can see that getting 5-6 wears is a wonderful thing.

You can buy more expensive brands at department stores, however these do not typically last long. They are loosely woven, which translates to easy to run and snag, which is such a shame when you've just spent $10 on a pair that you only get to wear once.

The only thing L'eggs doesn't do for me are specialty hose, such as toeless, patterned, fishnet or back seam. For specialty hose I rely on Hue brand. Also durable, though not as inexpensive as L'Eggs.

At around $3.44 a pair, L'eggs Sheer Energy is my favorite. Thank you L'eggs!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Happy Birthday dear Mother.

On Saturday evening we celebrated Mom's birthday. Happy birthday to her! After a meal at Applebees we went to Mom and Dad's new house for cake. We sang, presented Mom with gifts, and enjoyed each other's company.

Mom enjoying her cake and ice cream.

TC is pensive about his own smartitude, which is evidenced by his furrowed brow.

Mom likes getting cards.

And paintings for her new house too!

Mom and Gordita are happy to spend the evening together.

Independence Day: The Fireworks Show

After braving the heat and the crowds to enjoy the parade, we returned home to Salt Lake and spent an hour in recovery activities (namely eating and playing Lost Planet). We met up with Sarah and Jared and went to Sugarhouse Park to watch the fireworks show.

The weather was perfect for such an outing: it was warm with a slight breeze. We had a great time watching the show so close up.

Georgie was lucky enough to score some glow sticks. You can see how much he enjoyed them.

Even "Oller" enjoyed the weather. He was alert and awake for a good part of the evening.

The Bauers were the ones who even suggested we should go to Sugarhouse Park. And for that we are ever grateful.

The best photo I managed to capture of the show. It's not really all that great, but if you look in the right bottom corner, you can see a silhouette of someone enjoying the show.

I don't have any photographic evidence that TC and I were there. Such is the plight of the ones behind the camera.

Independence Day: The Parade

Sir Compsalot and I celebrated the independence of the United States of America from oppressive British rule by watching a parade, hanging out, then watching fireworks. What a day!

We got up early on Friday morning to drive to Provo to watch the "biggest parade in North America" according to some sources. When we did our four year stint in Provo we lived on the parade route, which was fun and annoying and convenient, all rolled in to one. So, we decided it was worth it for memory's sake to get up early on a holiday, drive down to Provo, brave the crowds and super excited people to watch the parade. And it was worth it. We met up with TC's sisters, which was great fun. Here are some of my favorite photos from the parade.

It just wouldn't be a parade without marching bands. Actually the marching bands are our second favorite part of parades.

Our favorite thing about parades are the pipe bands. They are just so amazingly, wonderfully cool!

Then of course you have the all-too-common random people who dress up in tight spandex shorts that are clearly too small for them that put on wigs and paint their faces and think to bring a video camera to catch it all, likely to upload it to youtube.

And it just wouldn't be a proper parade without llamas,

super happy BYU students,

and the KFC float, celebrating decades of greazy chicken.

Many spectators didn't know quite what to do with this float in cougar country. TC and I cheered for it though.

And nothing says "independence" like the missionaries? I'm not sure how they fit in the whole birth of our country theme, but it was great to see them.

On a more serious note, this kid was playing a guitar nearly his size the way a painter would nimbly handle his preferred brush. I was impressed!

Matias wanted to make sure that TC didn't miss the fire trucks with their sirens blaring.

Matias and Vicky wave to their long lost friends: the beauty queens that waved back at them!

Gordita and Julie are enjoying the parade. So are the people behind them!

After the parade, TC and I hung out with Vicky and Julie at their house for a while before going to see Rosalia and Noel's gorgeous new home. It was a great way to kick off the Fourth of July.

Park City

I'm a little behind (no irony intended), but last weekend TC and I spontaneously decided to drive to Park City. We'd never been to the outlets together, so we decided (okay, mostly me) that it would be fun to look around, and maybe buy stuff.

We weren't uber-impressed with the prices at the "outlet" stores, but all in all it was a nice afternoon. Here are some super cool photos from the day.

TC all cool and casual and handsome and compensating and stuff.

Gordita all leaning up against the car or whatever.

The way home.