Thursday, February 07, 2008

feel-good games

I'll be honest:

1. I am utterly horrible at video games, particularly ones in which the object is to destroy other creatures/objects. Video games are the one and only thing I have every received a "D" in -- and I seriously did! When I was in college my suitemate had some game I have no idea what it's called on an older Sega (I think), and it was not really very hard. Once you lost all of your lives, it gave you a score based on how well you did. I had to play with someone else (2-player) in order to actually make it through the first level. Even then...I always got a D. I think there were also F's, which I probably got if they were available.

2. Sometimes I like to use games to escape from reality. Give me Internet Hearts sans internet anytime. Pinball, Free Cell, Minesweeper -- the best! And of course there's my love affair with the Sims, which I hadn't played for over a year until a couple weeks ago...proving that I am not addicted! It is so nice to watch someone else's life unfold in that game; much nicer than the stresses of my own, at times! And if by chance one of the Sims catches on fire while cooking mac 'n cheese for dinner...just quit the game without saving and it will all be okay. If only life were like that. Since I'm being honest, I'll also admit that lately my Spider Solitaire games have been on the Easy level...just because it's nice to know that at the end of the day I can win SOMETHING, even if I haven't won the battle for a well-behaved rabbit or work environment or hair-do.

Since games are such an escape and since I'm so awful at video games that depend more upon button pushing rather than logical thinking, I particularly enjoy computer games that don't make fun of me too much when I am awful ( me D's and F's!). Games like Whack-a-Wolverine and Traveler IQ Challenge and the Pinguin game and pretty much anything over at Homestar Runner. That's why I was quite happy when the lovely other Ruth directed me to Flight of the Hamsters. The hamsters were so nice when I ended up with a grand total of...30 points...! Oh my goodness...

Monday, February 04, 2008


It was a great weekend for the underdog to come through!

This weekend was packed full of stuff for me. I spent it in my favorite little town nestled in the Allegheny mountains in what is called "Happy Valley." It just so happens that this will soon by my new home, as long as some Large Disaster does not strike between now and April; my new job will be here! While my trip this weekend was somewhat business, it also incorporated leisure. Penn State's unranked basketball team was up against my alma mater - #7 Michigan State, and I was headed to the game with some other MSU alums. All the locals I spoke with throughout the day rolled their eyes when I said I was going to the game, "Oh...yeah, well you're going to win."

And so everyone thought. We arrived at the Bryce Jordan Center where I witnessed something I'd never seen before - an unsold-out men's college basketball game. Never would such an atrocity occur at MSU!! But in the end, what I watched unfold while savoring some delicious Creamery peanut butter swirl ice cream was a big, huge upset - complete with the obligatory rushing of the court after the final buzzer sounded. So, I've got to hand it to those PSU fans - way to stick up for your team in the face of what seems to be the impossible. ...Even if that means cheering on a team to defeat my beloved MSU. The PSU people are so sweet and their mascot so charming that I can't be angry. ...Plus, they're going to be paying me soon, so I'd better not hold a grudge! :-) To be honest, I actually really like the school and the community, which helped me in my decision to take the job there.

Some other Penn State-based athletes proved to be instrumental in another big upset! Of course I'm referring to the New York Giants' win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. I couldn't stand to listen to the final minutes of the nail-biting game, so I missed it when Jay Alford apparently sacked Tom Brady. I did hear it when Kareem McKenzie and the rest of the offensive line managed to eat up nine and a half minutes of the opening quarter on their first drive. I have to say that was a very, very intelligent strategy. I was much more tickled by this upset (not a big Patriots fan's not very helpful when their QB is from U of M!) than the basketball game. Hooray, Giants!