Another year older, another day wiser…

I now have some pictures to go along with some of this so I suppose it’s time for an update.

Well, long past time, I’m sure. I haven’t written a lot of blogs in the past couple of years and… that’s something I need to fix. I really just need to open up a text window and start typing away.

I turned 44 a few weeks ago. I’ll spare you the existential angst I went through at the turn of double four… suffice to say I didn’t think I’d be where I am at this age. Then again, I didn’t have any firm idea of where I’d be at all so the outcome really isn’t surprising. It’s hard to be surprised when you don’t have any expectations.

It is, however, easy to be disappointed when you don’t have any expectation. And that revelation… surprised me.

Where was I?

Oh, yes. Turning 44.

I have a wealth of friends, more than any man’s share I’m sure, and they all went to great lengths to ensure I enjoyed my birthday. Ronya, in particular, went to amazing lengths.

First there was a dinner party at Shane and Dianne’s place on Friday night with the tribe. Lots of candy and cake and a bit of Scene It: Disney style. We were all kind of curious as to why every single answer had to be prefaced with the word “Disney’s” until we got our first question about Toy Story, the answer to which was “Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story”. It pretty soon became a running joke that every answer was “Disney’s Something” unless the clue was digitally rendered in which case it was “Disney/Pixar’s Something”. It’s amazing how often copyright issues turn even the simplest things into lame jokes.

Playing Xbox at the Chinook Theater

Playing Xbox at the Chinook Theater

Saturday morning a small collection of us showed up at the Scotiabank Theater in Chinook Mall to play some Xbox. Ronya had rented out the the theater for a couple of hours and we got to play Left 4 Dead, Halo 3, and Dead or Alive 4 on the biggest projection TV screen in the world. DOA4 is even better when the jiggly bits are each bigger than you are, but Left 4 Dead was just creepy with zombies twenty feet tall and 130 decibels loud.

Playing DOA4 on the biggest widescreen ever.

Playing DOA4 on the biggest widescreen ever.

After the Xbox we transitioned over to my favorite pub, Limericks, for a lunch of my favorite greasy, cheesy food. It was a bit touch and go at first, though. It took me three tries to finally find a patio chair that wasn’t broken. The food, weather, and company very quickly made up for it, though.

After lunch… well, I had a nap, didn’t I? I’m not getting any younger, you know. An exciting day like that will take a lot out of a man my age.

After my afternoon nap we ventured up into the far northwest to Tony and Mary Ann’s’ place where we grazed on fine food and alcohol. My friends got to enjoy doodling on me like a curved, spongy white board for a while. Dianne had purchased me a plain white t-shirt and then made we wear it while everyone doodled on my with markers and fabric color pens. It’s an odd feeling being written on and it kind of made me appreciate what it might be like to be a notebook. Ronya drew epaulets on both my shoulders but many people felt they looked more like irradiated penises aiming for my ears. Others wrote across my back that I was offering free hugs… after a mail in rebate. I think my favorite bit was the pocket that got drawn on my chest, complete with pocket protector and a varied selection of pens.

Being a human sketch pad tickles

Being a human sketch pad tickles

As the dye dried on my shirt we then dove into Rock Band: The Beatles, drinks well in hand to best adapt to the mindset of the band. I have never, and probably will never, sing for Rock Band but I was given to understand that the addition of two other singers and the potential for harmonizing made the game both more interesting and more difficult. For me it was just cool playing with six people all at once.

We played through the storyline of the entire game. The best I can say is it’s definitely worth playing through once, but beyond that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of replay-ability. Perhaps if they actually had the whole library of Beatles tunes instead of just the 35 selected tracks, or if they had even just built the game around all their chart-able hits, it might have been worth going back and playing some of them again. But some of their track choices, while providing and interesting perspective on the band’s development (you could actually *feel* the disintegration of the band’s normal cohesion throughout the last set) weren’t compelling enough to go back and play again.

That being said if they made the tracks available for download for regular Rock Band I’d be willing to download about half of them.

Playing Rock Band Beatles

Playing Rock Band Beatles

Last but certainly not least, Ronya’s family pooled money together to buy me the Carcassonne Big Box, a collection of the basic Carcassonne game and five of it’s more popular expansions.

We’ve played the game almost every day since we got it and I’m nowhere near tired of it yet. The game box itself contains an interesting feature that appeals to my detail oriented nature: the interior of the box is formed in such a way that each set of tiles ( the basic and each of the expansions ) has it’s own precision fit storage slot. This way you can pick and choose which expansions to use for the game you’re playing. (ie. if you’re feeling particularly adversarial you can put in the princess / dragon / fairy expansion) The tiles themselves are watermarked with a little symbol depicting the expansion they’re from so it’s easy to sort them all out later and put them back in their respective holes.

Yes, I’m so anal I’m gushing about the organizational packaging that came with the game more than the actual game itself.

But the game itself is great fun as well. So far I think I’ve only won two actual games but I don’t care, it’s just fun to play.

Big thanks to all my friends and family, and to my tribe, for setting up an awesome birthday weekend.

Size matters, but not necessarily in the way you think.

Went to the motorcycle show yesterday with Ronya, Scott, and Alison. Lots and lots of shiny, shiny bikes. I kick myself for not having taken the camera with me, just to get pictures of Ronya trying out some of the crotch rockets. She looks so natural on one of them. We’re definitely going to have to work on getting her a motorcycle as well. We already discussed how she could store her armor on one so she could ride to fight practice and back.

Scott was a wellspring of information on bikes and gave me lots of advice. I already fear his proclamation is true, that I will outgrow the 550 in very short order. The bigger bikes were already calling to me. Although not all of them. There is definitely a feeling of “too big” when it comes to certain motorbikes. When Ronya and I saw our first 1800 cc bike I casually joked that it was “a bike make for towing” and Ronya responded with a mock phone call telling me the Yaris had died and could I pick her up on the bike with some tow cable?

Then we saw a 2000 cc bike, which just seemed… excessive.

Then we saw not one, but two Boss Hoss 502’s. Talk about excess! A 502 horse power V8 engine, 8200 cc, on two wheels. I commented that it must have a horrible turning radius, and Scott commented that, with that much power, why would you even bother turning? Just plow through whatever is in your way. A very American attitude for a decidedly American vehicle. The thing only has an 8.2 gallon gas tank. With that engine on it that might get a person across town, if they don’t have to stop for too many lights. Definitely not a vehicle you could take out “on the road”.

I liked looking at the “dry weight” classification of vehicles and thinking to myself “Yeah, if I need to, I can lift that… or at lest lever it up.” Once the bikes get over 500/600 pounds I started to have doubts. I agreed with Scott when he said “I figure, if it’s so heavy it actually needs a reverse gear, then you might as well just go and get a car. You’re paying the same amount anyway.”

After the show we went to the James Joyce on 4th Street SW for some lupper. Pricey, but the food was nearly worth it and the company most definitely was.

I actually shelled out some excessive cash for a little bit of food at the motorcycle show itself. I was feeling a bit shaky and figured I needed some calories. I’d only had toast for breakfast and that was it, so it seemed a logical conclusion.

Well I was wrong. I ate, I drank, and I didn’t feel any different. Then I realized what I was feeling wasn’t the shakiness of low blood sugar, but rather an intensely mixed emotion of equal parts fear and excitement. You know that feeling you get at the top of a roller coaster, just as it’s climbing the first peak and about to fling you into loops and curls and upside down corkscrews? That feeling of not being in control, afraid of what’s coming, yet excited beyond reason and desperate to find out what it’s going to feel like?

Yeah, I had that pretty much the entire time we were at the show.

Scott assures me that there’s no doubt in his mind that I could make the trip down to San Diego *this* summer. I’ve been having my doubts, willing to give myself a year to get used to riding long distances, but if I make a number of intermediate trips beforehand I’ll have a better idea of if and how I’ll handle it.

Yeah, and there I am again at the peak of that roller coaster, arms and legs splayed out in a desperate grip to have *some* kind of illusion of control, and staring over a precipice so steep that I can’t see the track below.

Time will tell.

In other news, I’m gradually getting angry with my body. This is a good thing, in my mind. It was my anger at my body that got me working out on a regular basis in the first place, and I’m hoping it’ll drive me back into activity again.

Things are just getting a little harder to do, like getting up off the floor or getting and out of cars. My knees are starting to warn me of impending “issues”. My hands get cold and refuse to warm up on their own. I’m sleeping poorly. All of it can be attributed to “lessening” health. I don’t want to say “worsening” as I feel that word implies I’m ailing, which I’m not. I’m not sick, I’m heavy. The holidays were the usual level of sloth and sinful this year, which certainly didn’t help, but in all honesty this is just the growing culmination of a long trend of increasing sloth and idleness. I need to shake myself out of it, and if getting frustrated with my body will provide the push to get me to do that then I’m all for it.

Stupid body, I will punish you!