I think Younger Nephew and I have been sporadically playing Lego Star Wars II together for something like 4 years now. We've finally started to make progress on the story line in a serious way recently. Today we completed the entirety of Episode V. I might have to get some new games soon.
I find it entirely hilarious that when I'm playing Han Solo and he's playing Princess Leia, he repeatedly slaps Han Solo in the head and addresses him as "Dum dum". He also has absolutely no patience for Lando Calrissian's kissing of Leia's hand.
There are few moments in life that can match taking down an AT-AT by winding a cable around its legs with your snow speeder, and having your nephew look up at you and say, "We make a good team, don't we?" Thank you, development team for Lego Star Wars.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/363200.html. You can comment here or there.
Reader, I must confess - I made it to the age of 43 without ever having done karaoke. Primarily because the idea terrified me. I have genuine anxiety about singing in front of other people. Seriously, I've been at parties where we were playing Rock Band, and I've gotten shaky hands and sweaty palms at just the thought that someone might hand me the microphone. Also, given my music listening habits, my knowledge of contemporary pop music is best described as spotty. (I'm trying to work in a pun about how most of it comes from Spotify, but no dice.) I've always envisioned the experience as trying to croak awkwardly through a selection of barely familiar top-10 hits, which sounded about as much fun as poking oneself in the face with a spork.
But last night, a friend was celebrating her birthday, and had reserved a private karaoke room at a place up in San Francisco. Which meant, at least, that I would only have to croak awkwardly in the presence of half-a-dozen good friends. I figured that if I tried out karaoke in the most stress-free environment possible and it sucked, I could just write it off as a thing I don't do and carry on.
And, lo, it did not suck. I was, in fact, a sweaty-palmed, heart-racing anxiety bunny when I picked up the microphone to do my first song, but I played into it by choosing a song by the Smiths, the musical patron saints of the socially anxious everywhere. I think it's probably impossible to sing the chorus of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
without laughing. ("If a double-decker bus smashes into us, to die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.") And it's very difficult to be anxious while laughing.
We sang a lot of the songs together. (The only songs I really had to sing solo were the ones that I picked that were obscure enough that no one else knew them well enough.) I was also pleasantly surprised by the range of music on offer - it was not just top 10 pop hits. And it turns out that Black Sabbath works pretty well for karaoke.
Not only did the experience not suck, I'm actually looking forward to doing it again. Once I get my voice back.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/362786.html. You can comment here or there.
Last week, I offhandedly mentioned to Tim, my personal trainer, that if the reaction on Twitter/Facebook was anything to go by, the Wonder Woman movie was going to bring in a lot of women interested in strength training. Tim hasn't seen a movie in the theater in about 5 years, but went to see Wonder Woman and loved it.
Now I really have to go see it, because he keep dropping Wonder Woman references while training me.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/362558.html. You can comment here or there.
ACT for America, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as the "largest anti-Muslim grassroots organization in America", are staging a bunch of "anti-Sharia law" rallies in various locations across the U.S. this weekend. One of them is happening in Santa Clara, a few blocks away from where I live. The ACLU, CAIR, and a bunch of other organizations are sponsoring a counter-demonstration
I am going to be there to show support for the Muslims in my community. If you're relatively local, it would be great if you could come out as well, or spread the word.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/362306.html. You can comment here or there.
While commuting last night and this morning, I've spotted a number of interesting vanity license plates.
CATS PT had me wondering if there was such a thing as physical therapy for cats, until I realized that it was on the back of the PT Cruiser.
1NAGA made me wonder if I'd spotted a fellow L5R player. Probably not.
DRNDRN4: I have no idea.
NVRNTME: Never Not Me? Never No Time? Never On Time? Nevada Registered Nurse Too Many Expectations?
I CSHARP: Therefore I not B-flat?This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/361483.html. You can comment here or there.
Coming out of the cafeteria at work with a sandwich and a cup of soup, I slipped on the wet wooden decking in the patio area. Both feet shot out from under me and I landed with my ass in an inch deep puddle. Thanks to a couple of years of judo training, I fell properly and am entirely unharmed. The cup of soup (which had a lid) survived the experience. The sandwich, alas, ended up scattered all over the deck. My pants were soaked, so I had to change into the gym shorts I brought today.
I am currently decked out in a white t-shirt with the words "Guerilla Optimist" (sic), knee length black mesh basketball shorts, and black canvas ankle boots. Peeking out above the tops of my boots, you can see my socks, which have the logo of the heavy metal band Paradise Lost on them. I am stylin'.
I secured a replacement sandwich and a cup of coffee and am grateful that I only have one low-key meeting scheduled this afternoon.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/361234.html. You can comment here or there.
So, Dianne Feinstein was one of 14 Democratic senators who voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Here is a good summary of why Pompeo is terrible
in case you need a refresher.
If you're a constituent of Feinstein's, now would be a good time to get in touch with her and let you know how you feel about this. Also, since Feinstein is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, she will have some oversight over Pompeo's work in the coming years.
Below is the text of my email to Feinstein about this. Yeah, I'm totally buttering her up in my second paragraph, but one thing I know from many years of writing to her is that she's extremely proud of her work on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and I'm certainly willing to try a little flattery if it makes her more receptive to the overall message.
Dear Senator Feinstein:
I was disappointed to see that you voted to confirm Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA. I think there are serious concerns about Pompeo's views on torture and on use of surveillance data collected on American citizens. Furthermore, his history of equating Islam with terrorism and holding ordinary American Muslims to be complicit in terrorism poses a threat to the civil rights and liberties of American Muslims.
However, I know that despite our disagreement on this issue, your work on the Senate Intelligence Committee shows that you are committed to protecting the safety and security of the American people and upholding civil rights and liberties. I would like to ask you to use your influence and position on the Senate Intelligence committee to do the following over the coming years:
* Ensure that Pompeo does not amend CIA rules to allow the use of torture in investigations.
* Ensure that in our zeal to fight terrorism, we do not trample on the rights and freedoms of ordinary American citizens.
* Ensure that the CIA use of surveillance is appropriate and within the law.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/361050.html. You can comment here or there.
I played video games with Younger Nephew yesterday. He gets more fun to hang out with all the time. He's still very much a strong-willed kid, but he's learning to put a layer of social polish on it. For example, now when he wants to make sure I'm paying attention to something, he says, "Aunt Wendy, I think you're really going to want to see this."
He went through my game collection and picked out three games he wanted to try: Mass Effect 2, Lego Marvel Superheroes, and The Witcher 3. I can't possibly let him play The Witcher 3 -- it's waaaay too dark and adult. But he said he wanted to try it last, so I figured we just wouldn't get to it, and we didn't.
Mass Effect 2 is a game we've tried before - last time he didn't get through the intro, although he was clearly captivated by the graphics. This time he played for a little over an hour. He needed a little extra coaching to get through the tutorial, he mostly chose his dialogue options at random, and I did the hacking mini-game where you have to match code segments. He was very adept at the circuit matching mini-game once I explained it to him, though, and he got remarkably good at navigating the interface by the time we finished.
Then we switched to Lego Marvel Superheroes. The Lego games are really fun for kids and adults to play together.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/360946.html. You can comment here or there.
I drove Older Nephew over to his rehearsal for a school play this afternoon. Apparently he is playing Spiderman in a play about pirates? (School plays seem more interesting these days than I remember them being than I was a kid.)
He was reciting his lines from the back seat of the car:
"Yo ho ho! Yo ho ho!"
"Everyone's talking about Ho Hos. Don't they know that they're full of preservatives and cholesterol?"
That last was delivered with such genuine perplexity that I nearly answered the question.This entry was originally posted at http://wshaffer.dreamwidth.org/360466.html. You can comment here or there.