Category Archives: Family

Welcome 2017!

I guess this is my obligatory new year, new me post. There are a lot of things that I’d like to have happen this next year, but I’m not going to get into that much here. I will say that one thing I want to do is write more. I’ve got a book already written that just needs a really good edit, or maybe it was just a test to see if I could really go long. The kids like it, but let’s be honest here. I’m their dad. I could probably write a turd of a book and they’d think it was the coolest thing ever. Until puberty. Then it’ll be the lamest!

So yeah.. getting into the swing of things again. Let’s see…

This Christmas, the girls got gift cards for Target (at their request) and instead of buying toys, they decided they wanted bedroom decor. I guess my girls are growing up. That’s sweet and all, but I liked them being little too. Those shelves were ordered at the same time, but for reasons only known to the postal service they showed up on two different days. I got the first set up yesterday and the last set up today. I think they look pretty good.

Everyone here is a little under the weather so Cynthia gave the kids medicine and we posed for a humorous Happy New Years picture. Cynthia is the only one who was knocked out though. The kids are all in their rooms either playing Xbox or drawing in their journals. I guess there is only so much YouTube that a person can do in a day.

Finally, I decided to give 51st State a solo run through and that was ultimately a failure. It really seems as if the solo mode was tacked on because I’m following the instructions to the letter, because I’m unfamiliar with the game, and it never tells me when the virtual player builds a building, yet I’m told I can raze the virtual player’s buildings and using their open production spots. Am I to assume that any card that they draw is just automatically built?

I watched Rodney Smith’s tutorial over at Watch It Played and while he does a great job as usual, his instructions are for the multi-player game. He only alludes to the solo rules and tells us to find them out on our own. I saw a couple of YouTube videos on the 51st State solo mode. I’ll be checking those out in the morning.

My completely uneducated first impression is that the virtual player seems to gain victory points at an alarmingly fast rate. Almost guaranteed 2 VP a turn, at least, since he’ll buy up a connection card, if any are available, and at this point, I don’t see how there wouldn’t be at least 1. So 2 VP a turn. When it’s a race to 25, that seems like a pretty nice benefit to have. If you, as first player, don’t take a connection yourself, you’re essentially giving the virtual player 4 VP a turn. At least, if I understand the rules right. I’ll post an update.

That said, I really like the look of this game. It’s pretty. It has a really nice gritty, post apocalyptic style that permeates all facets of the game. It’s themed beautifully. I am really looking forward to learning the rules and getting a few solo games under my belt.

So that’s my new years post. I’m hoping that it isn’t the last post you see from me in 2017. Wishing you all a happy, safe, healthy, and prosperous new year!

Thunder Over Michigan

Saturday was a guy’s day. My friend Rich, Josh and my cousin’s son, Joe drove out to the Willow Run Airport to watch the Blue Angels and enjoy an airshow. And that was pretty much what happened. I mean, we did enjoy the airshow but it turns out that I’m starting to feel I deserve that cranky title my wife has granted me. Two kids who can’t seem to hear what you’re saying is amazingly irritating especially in ridiculous heat and suffocating humidity. If I take into consideration that kids will be kids though then I’d have to say that they were incredibly well behaved. What can I say? It’s a sliding scale.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

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Our day started with rain. And almost immediate disobedience. I told the boys they could stand under the umbrella. Neither took it serious for more than five seconds. After further consideration, I decided the joke was on them and they got a free shower courtesy of Mother Nature.

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This look is either because the gates are now 45 minutes late opening, or because he’s tired of hearing me tell the boys to stand under the umbrella.

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If you let an 8-year-old handle his own sunblock application this is what happens. I could have let him stay that way but in a gesture of mercy, and a desire to not look like an unfit father, I decided to take it from here.

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These fellas right here are why we endured the rain. And they didn’t disappoint. Well, unless you really came to see their C-130 “Fat Albert” fly…

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Josh and Joe got to sit in a Navy helicopter. It’s a really sad state of affairs when the soldier overseeing this had to yell at a grown man for trying to peel a piece of metal off. Seriously, guy? You’re what? 45? And you still need to be told to “look, don’t touch”?

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Josh and Joe spent 80% of the time asking us how each one of the aircraft inspired the fictional aircraft present in the Halo games. We would remind them that we didn’t design the game and they’d respond by already being mid-sentence into a new question. Fact: Kids are more interested in hearing themselves talk than in the answers they supposedly seeking. Furthermore, based on how much they talked about video games, it occurs to me that they may have thought we were at a strange video game expo. The Xbox’s in the Chevrolet booth probably didn’t help matters at all.

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This was during the WWII re-enactment. I was using a crappy point and shoot so I was impressed with how this picture turned out. Soldiers, and airplanes and Budweiser, oh my!

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The boys got SO geeked when they saw this. “Holy Shit!”, I imagine one of them thought “life-sized Tetris blocks”. When I told them this was a B-2 Stealth Bomber their enthusiasm dampened. “Oh, It’s just a plane.” “Not just a plane” I could have told them… “a plane that blows stuff up.. HUGE!!” And it’s to this I imagine their reply would be, “Whoa! Like in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2?” And I would then facepalm myself.

So that was our trip to the airshow. I took this estrogen-free experience to relive some of my stupid youthful nonsense. On several occasions I rolled my window down and yelled at folks. Not mean. Just like “AHHH!!” Then Rich reminded me of one time when I was in the car with my friend Pam and I kept yelling the word “Dirt” at people. She was pretty much horrified. I loved it then and Rich reminding me of it made me love it all over again. Having friends who have been around since grade school is an unbelievable blessing. I am so grateful to share even a small bit of my life with these folks who knew me before I was the reasonably responsible adult I am today. I love them like family.

As I looked through these pictures today, Addison stood next to me and pointed to Rich.

“Rich is your brother?”

“No, baby. Rich isn’t Daddy’s brother. But he’s as close to being a brother as you can get without actually being a brother.”

She smiled at this, no doubt figuring her old man had lost his mind. Then I could see the gears in her head start turning and her eyes brightened and she looked thoughtfully up at me and asked…

“Can I have my Nintendo DS?”

Oh for crying out loud. Another nerd.