Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas, Memories and Miniature Minds

City on a Hill, It's Christmas Time,

I'm not sure I'll post anything between now and Christmas so I'll take just a few seconds to wish you all a very merry Christmas and hope that you're able to spend some meaningful time with family and friends over the holidays.

We do a family photo each year and send it out with our Christmas cards. This year was no different, or was it? I mentioned to Tammy that I'd like to use the characters we made for ourselves on our Wii as our stand-ins. Tammy liked the idea and added to it by writing on the cards, 'Wii wish you a merry Christmas'. I suppose the play on words will be lost on some but I think most will figure it out.

The photo to the left was my third of three attempts and the one we included in our cards. The figures I used were of photos taken from the TV and cropped into a photo taken in our family room. My first two attempts (attempt 1 and attempt 2) were done using an online avatar editor to creat our Mii people. I like our actual Mii characters better.

I was intent on getting a digital photo frame for my mother for Christmas but I've given up on that idea. I don't think the products out there are ready for prime time and the price they want for them is bordering on being ridiculous. I purchased two different frames but I had to return them both. The last one was a Kodak product which didn't perform at all as advertised. Quite a joke actually. I set it to change photos every 3 seconds but it would often wait 20-30 seconds between changes. I programed it to shuffle between the 1000+ photos I had stored on the thumb drive but it kept cycling between just a couple dozen photos. After a few minutes the picture would begin to fade and you could no longer make out the image. A real disappointment.

As it turns out my mom needs a new kitchen faucet more than she needs a digital photo frame. I went out and found one for her at Home Depot last night and brought it over to her this morning to install it. Rachel was nice enough to wrap it.

While I was at her home she mentioned that she was in the process of cleaning out the drawer in the end table that my father used to use. She said she hasn't looked through it since before he died in September, 1995. I was surprised to hear her say that.

I watched as she slowly went through the items, mostly an assortment of pens and coasters. But there were two things within the drawer which had special meaning; a card from Stephanie and a Hi and Lois comic which our family of eight could've posed for. My dad was always the one to begin the 'pass it down' game in our pew. When my dad wasn't nudging one of us to 'pass it down' he was usually making a drawing of a cat on a fence post for me or one of my siblings.

Tammy and I were working our way up in the standings on Mario Kart a few nights ago when out of nowhere a couple guys in our race took the game to a whole other level. I couldn't figure out how they were doing it. Right from the starting line they were using 'powers' or whatever they're called against the rest of us when we should've all been equals. I said to Tammy that "they have to be cheating somehow".

When we were done racing I went online and looked up mario kart cheats for wii. I found all sorts of clues for how to unlock things within the game but I also found a device you can buy which somehow interfaces with the controller and makes it impossible for anybody playing cleanly to compete against a cheater. Wow, I didn't realize that it was that important for some people to win at something so small in life.

I'm a little slow to catch on. Usually when you get in a good room of people racing the names don't change much between races. I couldn't understand how we'd go from 12 racers to 6 or 8 but then I made the connection. Clean people saw the cheaters and left the room. I decided that my approach in the future will be to let the clock run out before I exit the room keeping the cheaters waiting on me so in a sense I have the last laugh. My small victory.

Merry Christmas everybody!


John said...

Merry Christmas, Kevin, to you and your family.

Kevin said...

Thanks John. Here's wishing you and your family the same.