Sunday, March 28, 2010

The big three-oh

Since turning 30 a week and a half ago, not a lot has actually changed. I was worried I would need a walker, a back brace, and one of those SMTWTFS medication containers by now, but thankfully such has not been the case. In fact, things in thirtyland have been great thus far. Thanks to my wonderful wife and her endless powers of sneakiness, along with the help of some of my relatives, I had a really cool surprise party when we went to Lincoln for a visit. It was great to see lots of my friends there, stay up late playing board games, and talking with my cousin and his wife who came down from Minnesota too. We actually were in Lincoln for my sister's graduation from nursing school, which is how my wife was able to pull off the surprise aspect of the party without me suspecting anything. It was a great visit in general, as visits to Lincoln usually are, but seeing all the people that weekend made it extra cool.

Back here in Oklahoma we are heading into the stormy season (which I guess is probably the same for most of the midwest, not just Oklahoma, but still...) and have been taking some steps to make sure we're prepared. We are putting together a little kit with things like batteries, a flashlight, water, and stuff like that, which won't stop a tornado from taking our house apart, but will hopefully help us out a little in case it happens. Or at least it will give us peace of mind in the meantime. :) Anyway, yesterday we went out and bought a second weather radio to keep in our bedroom too, which again just helps out with peace of mind. I was never really concerned about storms like this when I was a kid, but there were times my family huddled in our basement storage room during tornado warnings and, not having a basement in the heart of tornado alley makes me want to take just a couple extra steps to be ready.

Yesterday we also went to a 5K run/walk for charity, and had a great time making the circuit around Boomer Lake with about 350 others. Even though we go on walks several times a week, and have been to Boomer Lake many times, it was kind of neat to be there for a good cause with so many other people too. Kind of a we're-all-in-this-together mentality, you know? There were door prizes too, but even though we didn't win we did snag some free cookies, so all in all it was a great success. :) I also mowed the grass yesterday, and by "grass" I mean "weeds." Mostly it was a preventative measure, since the grass is still generally brownish and not growing much yet, but there are all kinds of little purple things, that look a bit like clover, taking over the front yard. But not anymore! Bwa ha ha! Or, at least, not for a week or so.

Time to finish my OJ and get ready for church. Happy Palm Sunday! Allelulia!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Yesterday was a bit uncharacteristically cosmopolitan day for the two of us. We live in a fairly small (but vibrant and interesting) town, with two major cities an hour away. It's pretty nice, actually, because even though Stillwater isn't a bustling hub of urban activity, we prefer a more, shall we say, peaceful existence. It's nice living in a place where a five-minute drive can take you pretty much anywhere in town, but there are times when the big city amenities are nice to have. And that's when a short drive is in order to Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Yesterday one of my friends was in Tulsa to see some of his family, so my wife and I drove out to meet them all for lunch at a local Oklahoma chain called The Hideaway (basically some of the best pizza you can get around here). We had an outstanding time at lunch catching up on things, getting to know my friend's family members a little more, and talking a lot about movies. And yes, the food was delicious, especially the cheesey bread. Oh yeah. :)

After that we figured we would take a stroll down at the Riverwalk, an area down south of town that's kind of a combination of a small outdoor mall, some apartments, and a bike path. We ended up on the wrong side of the river on a separate path that kind of went away from the waterfront, and it was also a tad chilly and windy, but the three-mile walk ended up being a nice way to burn off some of the pizza from lunch. So in the end I'd call it a win. :) We met up with some other friends for coffee and dinner later on, and caught the Hull/Arsenal soccer game on TV too. I don't follow soccer at all, but one of the guys we were with sure does, so it was nice having him around to explain everything and help us know who to cheer for.

My brother Phil let me borrow The Orange Box a few months ago when I bought my 360, and it didn't take me long to join the legions of gamers enthralled with Valve's concept/tech demo/DigiPen Student Project/game Portal. I beat it and unlocked the Developer Commentary version, and I am currently about five minutes away from beating it again before giving the game back to my brother this coming weekend. All in all, one of the most clever and ingenious games I have ever played, and the only game I have ever played with commentary, which is an incredible bonus for anyone interested in peeling back the layers behind a project like this.

It's time to take one final sip of my strawberry milk, wrap this up, and head out for a walk to enjoy the extra hour that was given to us last night. Aw yeah. :)

Sunday, March 07, 2010


A few days ago my wife and I pulled in our driveway and lo and behold, what should we see poking up from the ground just to the west of our garage but scores of little yellow daffodils! Or, at least, that's what I think they are. The dude who used to live in this house was a professional landscaper, so there's a lot of cool plants around the yard, but this was the first really unexpected blooming we have seen. Each day it seems like the clusters of yellow flowers grow a little bit more, and today we noticed some more plants joining their ranks near the southern edge of the little alcove. Not sure if the latter are going to result in any blooming action, but it's cool to see the new life of spring showing up around here. Yesterday we did some more pruning on our Crepe Myrtle bushes in the back yard too, and I took an electric hedge trimmer to one of the bushes out front, which now makes it look like the fauna equivalent of Kid 'n Play. So between the yard work and the mid-60s to low-70s weather this week and last, I'd say Oklahoma is a pretty cool place to live. :)

Tonight I'm planning on watching the Academy Awards for the first time ever, and to be honest I'm kind of excited about it. Ever since starting Walking Taco last June I have tried to pay a little more attention to not just movies, but the connections between movies, filmmakers, producers, writers, cultural phenomenæ represented in moving pictures. I guess the Academy Awards are one way for me to experience the metaculture (is that even a word?) of the movie scene, but we'll find out tonight. One of our writers, MJV, is doing a liveblog of the event so I'm looking forward to that too. My wife told me about a site that offers free liveblog services and integrates with Wordpress, so hopefully things should go off relatively pain-free tonight. But I guess we'll find out in an hour or so...

Since getting my Xbox and a subscription to Xbox Live (thanks to my in-laws!) I have enjoyed playing games online but have mostly restricted my online play to me-vs-everyone, or in gaming parlance, free-for-all deathmatches. See, I'm a decent gamer but there's an entire culture of online gaming that I don't really understand because I'm new to it. A lot of online games have team options, but I was always a little wary of playing on a team, due in no small part to my general lack of skill when compared to most online gamers. I figured a team deathmatch would be an exercise in personal futility, but a few nights ago one of my friends showed me that such games are, in fact, quite the contrary. We spent an hour and a half playing Call of Duty 4 in various team deathmatch games, and it was really really fun. The thing is, people of all skill levels play these games--some good, some not so good. And as long as you're not being a jerk like targeting your own team members or just standing around, people are pretty cool. You might not be the best person on the team, but if you're at least trying, the other players will respect you for it. So basically I have just begun experiencing an entirely new layer to online gaming on Xbox Live. And it is most certainly awesome. :)

Ok, time to shut this down and find something for dinner...