When life gives you lemons, play video games.

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Mornin’ all.

“Ooooh, look who decided to grace us with her presence.”

…*sigh* Okay, okay. I earned that. It’s been an incommunicado week. I wasn’t shunning you. I was simply busy with car repairs and gaming. My asshole car continues to be an asshole. It’s currently in cahoots with a wiring gremlin. It’s giving the bastard sanctuary and tracking down a problem that could literally be in any single hot wire in the entire car is turning me gray before my time.

…er…gray-ER.

Thank god the car crap was tempered by awesome Teen Prime being awesome. He got me Fallout 4 for Christmas…and didn’t even make me wait to play it!!!

Raised that one right, folks. *sniff*

So Fallout 4, probably one of the most anticipated games to come down the pike in a long time. Teen Prime got it for me on the PS4. I’m told the PC version is smooth as butter, though I have serious doubts about that one. I think it’s more likely that people can easily patch the PC game if they’ve got an issue, whereas you’re at the mercy of the developers for updates on the consoles. I have a very hard time believing that all the bugs I’m getting aren’t also an issue on the PC.

How buggy? Dialogue skips. Those seem to happen a lot and suddenly I’m supposed to answer a question the NPC never actually asked. There are consequences for the answers you give, too, so knowing what I’m saying would probably help. In one area of the part of the map I’ve explored, I can’t shoot two of my weapons unless I draw the enemy back into a different corridor.

And top tip for anyone else playing on the PS4…save frequently. Crashes, man. *sigh* Crashes.

Oh, but don’t think your “quicksave” will be good. That’s a feel good gauge at best.

“Sounds like the game’s a real dud.”

Not at all! Not to me, anyway. Look, this game is huge. Absolutely MASSIVE. The game is so expansive with so many different things to do that I’ve already put in a full-time-job level of commitment and still have not started the second major quest in the story line. I love a game that lets me roam free and fart around.

But something that size is going to have its issues. Does that make the game unplayable? No. Does it really make it less enjoyable? To me, not really, but I’ve got an odd sense of humor. I love glitches. They spice up digital life. And when you get right down to it, it’s a game. It’s just a game. Does it really make it worse if you’re laughing your ass off at an NPC suddenly appearing on your shoulders for absolutely no discernible reason? No. It makes it SO much better.

So far, I’m going with a 4.7/5.00 rating. We’ll see if that changes over time.

Okay, that’s enough of a book report. I guess I should try out Real Life for a little bit, eh?

“US to Target ISIS Leader”

Um…like…shouldn’t we have been doing that all along?

I mean, for real. Either this really is a new plan, which I seriously doubt, or we’re just putting it in the paper to scare the dude, which is ALSO really stupid. Anyone reading it really should be like, “We already knew that…”

C’mon, CIA. THIS is the best propaganda you’ve got right now? Those budget cuts must have hit harder than we thought. Someone get the CIA enough funding to hire a better sociolinguist immediately. If I’m going to be brainwashed, I’d at least like a little effort put into it. Stop half-assing it, CIA.

*Author’s note: Welp, if that doesn’t get me flagged, I don’t know what will!*

Let’s look at some other news.

“14 Dead in California Mass Shooting”

My heart goes out to the families that are suffering such a loss. Anything else I could possibly say would piss at least one of you off. I don’t want to piss anyone off. I want everyone to feel sad that 14 more people were murdered. It’s getting harder and harder to feel sad about it though, isn’t it? It’s becoming numbers. People are becoming numbers.

That’s a problem.

“Stone Temple Pilots Singer Scott Weiland Dead at 48”

That’s going to get more honest tears than the story above. I’m not dissin’ Scott or his memory. He made some damn fine songs that weave themselves through my teenage memories and it’s too bad he went so young.

Maybe one of these mass shootings will have to happen to a famous person before something’s actually done?

THIS IS NOT AT ALL A THREAT TO ANYONE. I just want to make it clear that I am NOT calling for or in any way planning anything against any famous person. I don’t want ANY people murdered! I’m just saying, the way our society is going these days, I just don’t know what it’s going to take for people to actually get off their asses and DO something about the problem.

“Day After San Bernadino, Republicans Line Up to Crush Gun Control”

Of fucking course they did. Because ANY reasonable compromise that might actually help make it harder for crack pots to get their hands on mass murder machines is just utterly insane.

…oops. Guess I forgot the “not pissing you off” promise. Not sorry. Needed sayin’.

Let’s see if we can find something in real life that’s less contentious to discuss.

“Nielsen: Smartphones and the Internet Are Eating Our TV Time”

This one is interesting. Nielsen is basically an information marketing company. You younger ones might not have heard of a “Nielsen family,” but before the internet, it was the only way that tv stations could track the popularity of their shows. A box was installed in randomly selected homes to track what tv shows the viewers were into. For decades, the Nielsen numbers were almost solely responsible for deciding which shows continued and which were cancelled.

Oh, I know it’s more involved than that. I was nutshelling it.

Now, they’re getting pissy. The internet is killin’ their buzz in a lot of ways. Their services are becoming less relevant across the board. It’s interesting if you’re at all into the business side of television.

“I’m not.”

…*blink**blink*…okay then. Uh…moving on.

“New Form of Carbon Is Harder Than Diamonds, and Glows”

Screw diamonds. I want a ring made out of THIS!

“Fallout 4 Superfan Creates 3D Printed Mini Nuke”

Aw shit. I want that, too!

“A Surprisingly Small Team Created 2015 Game of the Year”

Wanna guess what game?

“Fallout 4 Sales Shatter Records”

BOOM suck it Call of Duty!! Told you it was highly anticipated.

“How to Make Your XBox One Faster (And Make Fallout 4 Better)”

Pfft. Who’s playing on the XBox One?! Newbs. That’s who. I tell ya…

“…uh, Bethie?”

Yeah?

“I’m sensing a theme in your news viewing.”

Hey. I gave the Real Life thing a try. Aside from glowing diamonds, it pretty much sucks right now.

“How Accurate is Fallout 4 to Boston and Boston’s History?”

I don’t write the news. Is it really my fault if the Fates keep leading me down a particular path?

“Fallout 4 Player Accidentally Falls into Sea, Finds Mysterious Structure”

WHAT!?!?!!! Uh, sorry, but, uh, something just came up and I…just…uh…bye!

*empty computer chair spins*

*papers flutter to the ground from the whirlwind*

*you awkwardly sit there, staring at the cat and wondering if you should show yourself out*

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Friday, December 4, 2015. I’d pen a closing quip, but it’s hard to type with one hand on the controller. You understand.

Oh what a beautful morning! And it won’t even be ruined by shitty coffee, either…

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Mornin’ all!

Take a whiff. You smell that? Fresh blueberry muffins. They’re cooling before they get a salted vanilla glaze. I’ve got ribs drying on the rack before I rub them down to marinate all morning. And the coffee’s brewing. I actually measured it carefully today instead of just dumping half a can of grounds in and hoping the pot won’t disintegrate.

“Whoa now, Bethie. You…you…MEASURED the coffee? Like real people do?”

Yep! Sure did!

“What’s the occasion?”

Why, I’m glad you asked. Today just so happens to be… Family Holiday!

…hey. Stop flipping through your calendar in a panic and come back here. You didn’t have a brain fart and forget to buy someone a gift. You won’t find Family Holiday in any calendar, because it’s completely made up by us.

We’re a blended family. His, mine, ours. You know, 80’s sitcom fodder. When we were a newly formed herd, and the teens weren’t even close to being teens, there was some tension amongst the ranks. Shocking, huh? Turns out “Insta-family” takes a bit more work than simply adding water (still waiting for the class action suit against those 80’s sitcoms and their lies, btw).

One day after a particularly trying he said/he said/nuh-uh/yes-suh battle between the trio, my guy saw some toys on clearance at work. He bought them, then came home and we put our heads together and decided to make a whole day of it. A special day, that only members of our family could celebrate.

And thus, Family Holiday was born.

Corny? Yep. Desperate? More than a little…at first. We really stressed the fact that the kids would now be raised as brothers, as family. Though I’d like to say that was enough to cement the bonds of brotherhood, I am not a good enough author to make that lie sound even remotely believable.

However, it did give them a fun day, and it was a fun day that no one else on the planet got to have. Their very own holiday. All they had to do to be qualified to celebrate was to be part of the family. And the next year, we made it better. We added some activities and prizes…more the year after…yada yada…here we are. I fully intend to keep it going, too, even when they finish growing up and moving out. I’ve done a lotta screwing up as a parent, but this is one thing I think was a pretty good idea.

This year we’ve got to plan around work schedules, so it’ll be an afternoon event. I got a bunch of lame outdoor activities that they haven’t played in years. The young pup is thrilled. He’s still at the right age for the bubbles and badminton and water balloons. The older kids have shunned those baby activities for a couple years. But, with the teens getting older, they are re-entering the age of wanting to do those things again. They’re eager to hold on to what is probably the last real “kid” summer for the two oldest ones.

I also got a bunch of those long balloons. I’m thinking…balloon animal contest. And I got these sponge ball slingshots. You wet the sponge and let ‘er rip! *SPLAT*

“Uh…I think you may just have regrets at the end of the day, Bethie.”

It’s not really a holiday unless you end the day with a migraine! Right?

Right!

Besides, I’m expecting the beef-handed teens to rage quit balloon animal-ing, which I would find hilarious. Shouldn’t be too much squeaky-popping before they’re sick of it.

I also got some regular balloons. The young pup won’t remember, but another thing I used to do for the yet-to-gel Three Musketeers was randomly buy a pack of balloons at the dollar store and blow them all up when the boys were napping or at school. We called it Balloon Party, and I’d do it every couple months. One dollar and a good set of ear plugs, and the afternoon that *could* have been bickering and trying was turned into a joyous cacophony of laughter and frizzy hair.

I have been getting nostalgic as well. They aren’t the only ones who realize they’re getting too big too fast and will soon have lives away from me! I’m thinking that when the teens are at work or upstairs getting angry because the game is once again cheating on their fifth play through of Skyrim, I’ll break out the air compressor and make a surprise Balloon Party.

…hm. Just had a thought. We did not have a cat when we used to do Balloon Party.

This should be interesting.

We’re breaking out the ice cream maker. It’s my son’s, the 14 year-old. He won it as his prize for winning the math bee in 8th grade. He had his pick of any reasonably priced item, and he chose and ice cream maker. Now, I didn’t complain, not one bit! But, you gotta admit, it’s a bit odd of a choice for a 12 year old, right?

Ice cream. Ribs on the grill. I thought of corn on the cob, but holy mackerel is it pricey! They wanted corn on the cob and burgers. But there was a really good deal on ribs, and I just couldn’t swing burgers and corn. The way things are going, I don’t know if we’ll get burger cookout at all this summer.

I’m going to do it.

“NO BETHIE!”

I can’t believe I’m saying it, but I must.

When I was a kid…

” *groan* ”

…actually, scratch that. We don’t even have to go that far back. When my teens were kids, I could get hamburger for about a buck a pound and paid a couple bucks for a dozen ears of corn. You know what the stores are advertising those items at this week? Burger at $4.29/lb, and corn on the cob for $6/dozen. And that’s on special! Why aren’t burgers and corn on the cob still cheap eats? It makes no sense, folks. I thought this was America!?

“…uh…”

Oh. Oh, yeah. Heh. Sorry. Didn’t really mean to get on a soap box today. I just stood in the grocery store yesterday and it floored me that it would be cheaper to do a spare rib BBQ than classic burgers. Tirade over.

So it’s a holiday here in the afternoon. Some finishing work on the car this morning before the relaxing fun. Did I mention that we got those firework poppers? You know, the ones you pull the string and a blob of confetti shoots out the end? We saw them at the grocery store and they were dirt cheap. Snappers, too.

Remember snappers? They’re tiny little sperm-shaped paper packets that have a few rocks and a couple grains of gun powder in them that make an oddly satisfying snap when you throw them on the ground. Or at someone’s ass.

Here. Let me refresh your memory. I scanned in the actual box because you NEED to see this:

snapbox1

snapbox2

Is that not the most amazing box you’ve ever seen? I love everything that’s wrong with it. “It’s rappin’, it’s snappin’, it’s what’s hapnin’…” GUG. Cannot stop saying that!

And then the monster…I get it. The brand is “Monster Snaps”. But why the mohawk and drinking straw hairdo? Wouldn’t one or the other have sufficed? And can we just talk about those fingernails please? And those jorts. THOSE JORTS. And what the hell is up with his nicely tied sneakers? I’m sorry, but if I’m going for a kickass monster, I’m not looking for one with Lee press on nails and pristine sneakers. Or a beer gut that hangs over jorts.

I love it.

I love this box.

And I’m not just saying it. I legitimately ONLY bought these particular kinds of snappers so I could have the box to put on my fridge after the fun of snapping is over.

So that’s the story for today. A bit of work, then a lot of fun. I honestly cannot think of a better way to spend a Sunday.

Thus concludes a Morning Musing for Family Holiday 2015. I hope you all have a good day, even if you can’t be eating ribs and twisting epic balloon animals like us. Well, you *could*. Maybe your family needs a holiday, too.