log (2006/11/17 to 2006/11/23)

Two recent (both just yesterday, in fact, although it doesn't feel like it) offspring-bonding activities of note:

Yesterday around noon the little boy and me went and met a bunch of his compatriots (and a few of their dads) at the local paintball store, where two of us got Rentals (a Tippmann 98 Paintball Marker and a Vaderesque facemask of unknown branding; $25US for the day), and various people got their Air filled and bought Paint (little spheres of biodegrabeable whatsit with washable paint inside; roughly $0.025US per sphere, typically bought in quantities of 500 or 2,000).

And then we all went to the top of a local hill (accessible via one vacant wooded lot and pretty much otherwise entirely surrounded by residential suburbia) and spent the afternoon playing Elimination and Capture the Flag, and fiddling with our equipment.

Me, playing Paintball. Who woulda thought?

(My son playing it is odd enough. It's his current Main Hobby, in fact; hence my presence on the hill.)

I wouldn't want to spend every weekend doing it, but it wasn't constant torture. We played Adults v. Kids mostly, and of course they pretty much wiped us out, being more experienced and younger and quicker and all.

(In fact I was responsible for one of our few Notable Triumphs, when I crashed down out of the trees beside the 'road' (really a little woods trail nicely dividing the arena roughly in half), grabbed the 'flag' (a piece of cloth someone got somewhere that had been set on a stump), and lumbered at high speed back to 'base' (where we'd left all the stuff), securing the Adults' win in the second round of Capture the Flag. I was expecting to be splattered with ounces of paint at any moment, but I wasn't; presumably my teammates were laying down a withering suppressive fire, and/or the opposing team was so shocked to see me crashing ponderously through the woods that they just didn't know how to respond.)

Shooting a paintball gun is kind of fun. Being hit by paintball balls is only a tiny bit painful (at least at the distances involved yesterday). And the balls actually burst on contact surprisingly rarely; especially in the first few games I kept calling myself "out" when in fact the balls causing the multiple stings that I'd felt had bounced off without breaking and I could have played on.

In general, though, well. I can think of other ways to have spent the afternoon. Other ways, even, to have spent the afternoon on a wooded hill surrounded by residential suburbia. But hey.

And secondly, at three o'clock this morning I was sitting on the floor of the little daughter's room with my back against her bed, her chin on my shoulder, and the Intel MacBook in my lap, having been awakened five minutes earlier by the alarm, and repeatedly pressing "reload" on Amazon's Nintendo Wii page, hoping to be one of the lucky few to actually get one between them putting them on sale at Midnight PST and their being out of stock moments later.

It hadn't even occurred to us that they might not get around to putting them on sale until eight hours later; we sat there pressing Reload and talking sleepily about how annoying it was and reading the Customer Reviews, which people were using to complain about Amazon being so slow, and which reached like 800 "reviews" over the next few hours. (A great little example of Spontaneous Digital Communities there; a full study would include the various AOL chatrooms that were spun off from the page, the difference between the discussion in the Comments and the discussion in the product's Forums, and so on.)

We gave up at around 04:30, I think.

By great good fortune M did press Reload (and 1-Click) in the minute or so between 8am PST when they did put some Wiis up for sale and the time they'd all sold out, so apparently there is a Wii in our very near future, despite the silly name, and the kids will be able to play madly with it over Thanksgiving Break.

By somewhat less good fortune, I didn't sleep very well at all either before or after our failed 3am attempt, and I've been good for pretty much nothing today. I did manage to get bagels and go with M to the grocery to get the Thanksgiving Stuff, but there's other stuff I really ought to be doing that involves some intellectual content, and that's pretty much Right Out at the moment; mundane weblogging is about all I'm up to in that direction, and I'm betting this isn't going to be one of those Award Winning Weblog Posts.

(Going to bed absurdly early is on the agenda as well.)

Let's see, I wrote up another book the other day. It also wasn't constant torture.

A spammer writes:

Change the way you clean emily Forever with a sample Swiffer(r) Sweeper!

which I like even better for the way that "Forever" really wants to bind to "clean emily" rather than to "Change".

This is from a Real Book Blurb that had me laughing incredulously and I had to read out loud to M the other day in browsing around Amazon:

When Frank Marrity's grandmother dies unexpectedly during 1987's New Age Harmonic Convergence, his 12-year-old daughter, Daphne, steals a videotape from the old woman's Pasadena house that turns out to be a Chaplin film long believed lost. Before Daphne can finish watching the film, its powerful symbolism awakens a latent pyrokinetic ability in her that burns the tape. Frank later discovers letters that prove his grandmother was Albert Einstein's illegitimate daughter. This comes to the attention of a special branch of the Mossad specializing in the Kabbalah as well as a shadowy Gnostic sect interested in a potential weapon discovered by Einstein that he didn't offer to FDR during WWII...

You can find the book yourselves; some of you might very well have read it, and it might very well be pretty good. Certainly the blurb is unique!

Thanks to all the readers who pointed out awhile back that if you add a "t" to John O'Hara's "Reinhard lettering", you get something that does have a few Google hits. Not many, but at least enough to give me the general feeling that Things Are Explained.

And that's always good.

Hello! Who are you?

I am ... undecided.

Not all imaginary friends are in the sky. [link]

My name is David...just like yours.

Hello! I have no idea who I am, but I never tire of "how things are broken" stories anyway. *8)

Hello! I am you in a forgetful moment. Remember?

Too sleepy to remember right now; maybe it will come back to me later. Pleasant dreams to all!