Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Ewe no sum thymes words halve too meanings

(Been wanting to do this for a while. The post below just re-reminded me, and spurred me into action. Yay for homonyms! Aisle try to do as many as possible. The ideal goal was to have EVERY word be one, but that might not be possible. We'll see. I might make this a boq...and maybe post it on that buffyboard if I do.)

Watt due ewe chews two sea win yew bee inn eh gnu plaice?

Too, for, oar ate?

Due ewe no watt thee bare eight? Knot thee Karat pi ewe maid four gym!! Owe know!!

Sew, wear wood thee guise bye there read oar blew close - thee maul?

Due yew here watt eye here?

Aisle holed ate coax. Watt wheel ewe Carrie?

Hour thyme seams two halve flu buy! Watt dew wee due?

Eye halve maid sum grate pros, write?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

That doesn't sound right.

There is this commercial for Special K (some sort of diet type of cereal, for those who don't know) that obviously did not have a proof-readerlistener before it was finished.
The sentence that was wrong was:

"Research shows that women who eat breakfast, like Special K, weigh less."

But the way it was said made it sound like:

"Research shows that women who eat breakfast, like Special K way less."

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds

As a fan of the television show it was based upon, I had been wanting to play the video game for a while. Well, now it's done, and I'm here to share a little about it. I'll be putting stuff in spoiler tags, just in case. However, the tags themselves will be somewhat spoilery since I'm planning on going by levels. So if you don't want to know ANYTHING about the game,you should just click on that "Next Blog" button up on the top right now.


First, let me say that overall I did find the game enjoyable (obviously, I mean, I went and beat it. That's a pretty rare accomplishment for me. I think in my life, I've completely beaten maybe a dozen video games. Heck, Banjo Kazooie is still waiting for me to totally complete.). However... there were some minor irritations. Some involving game design, some because of being a Buffy geek. Let's get those out of the way:
The biggest and most frustrating aspect of the game is a lack of saving. The only point that the game saves your progress is AFTER each level has been beaten. There are Continue Points along the way in the level, but those are only good for if you die. If you die, and decide to continue, you'll be revived at the last Continue Point you passed. However, if you turn off the game, or quit after dying, when you restart, you will be at the beginning of the level, no matter where the Continue Point was.
Some of the levels are VERY big, which requires being able to sit down for forty, fifty, 90 minutes at a time in order to complete it. Of course, after having done a level, even if you don't finish it, knowing where to go should make it simplier, so that could cut down on the amount of time it takes to complete each course. Still irritating, though, that you can't save along the way.

Another game design flaw is the camera. It follows your player around, usually staying a few feet behind whoever you are playing as. Like all 3d games, the camera is rotatable. However, aparently it can't go through walls, so if you are trying to get a better view of the area around you and it runs into a building, you'll have to rotate it the other direction. Plus, sometimes enemies would come at you from the opposite direction and you would not be able to see them until they had attacked you due to the camera swinging around. That, though, could usually be prevented by the audio cues given anytime a vamp would appear on screen.

The inventory access was another mild inconveience. Anything that was picked up along the way would go into the inventory, which would be accessed by pressing the grey crosspad on your controller either left of right to scroll what you were holding. To select what you want to use, you would press up on the pad when the item was shown on the screen. Running from vampires while trying to scroll through the inventory to get to the correct weapon was sometimes annoying.

Less about the game play, and more in regard to being a fan of Buffy, here were things that bugged:
Willow's voice-over actress. Holy. Crap.
Dude. I sound more like Willow then this person did.
I think she was just trying to hard to get the Willow mannerisms of speech down, and it comes across as such.

Um. Well, the next thing is sorta spoilery, so I'll tag it:
[Begin spoiler for General Chaos Bleeds - Highlight to view]
When Spike dies, he doesn't dust! First of all, he shouldn't be able to "die" unless he is staked or set on fire (or decapitated), so the fact that the enemies can punch or kick him to death is wrong. But when his health runs out, he should go 'poof'! It would've been cooler.
(Of course, then the problem might be that players who had a problem with Spike would spend all the time just letting him die and not finishing the game. Heh.)
[end spoiler]

Oh, another thing that was ...unusual, at least, was the fact that Dawn was nowhere to be found. And they didn't even mention her! The game was supposed to have taken place during Season 5, as is evidenced by (Spoilers for Buffy S5 and Chaos Bleeds)Joyce's grave, Tara & Willow being a couple, the lack of Riley., so that seemed a little strange. Especially considering what the story arc for S5 was.

Okay. I'm taking forever to do this, and I haven't even gotten to the storyline of the game. Onward!

We'll go level by level.

[Begin spoilers for Chaos Bleeds, Level 1 - Magic Box]
The game begins in the Magic Box. A bunch of vamps come in, and you, as Buffy, get to defeat them. Punching and kicking do the job pretty well, but to actually 'dust' a vamp, you do have to use a stake (or some other weapon). Stakes are the easiest and most abundant weapon around, so that's what I used most of the time when playing as Buffy. Most weapons have a 'health' meter, and as it is being used, the meter goes down. Once it expires, the weapon will no longer be in your inventory and you'll need to use something else.
Other weapons include - shovels (very cool), pitchfork (ditto), wooden spikes (after the health meter on shovels and pitchforks gets down to zero, they "break" and become wooden spikes), bottles of holy water (rarely used) and hell-fire (also rarely used), the crossbow (difficult to master) and a few others.
Anyway. Vamps come in, Buffy makes short work of them. Before one of them leaves, he says something about Kakistos being in town. Hrm. Kakistos was a vamp in S3 who was killed in that episode, so Buffy is a little puzzled by this information.
The Scooby Gang splits up to check that there are no other vamps inside the Magic Box, and you get to play as Spike, Xander, and Willow during this level.
The level ends with them meeting back at the main floor of the Magic Box (who knew it had a basement??) and discussing what to do about the news that Kakistos is back.
Buffy decides to patrol the cemetery. Willow, Tara, and Xander all decide to go cast a spell in the location that Kakistos originally died in order to determine if he is alive again or not. Giles and Anya stick to the Magic Box to do research. Spike... I can't remember if he decides to help or not. Eh. He comes back later.
End of level.
Oh, and since the game gives this info... here is my rating for the Magic Box level:
Copmleted in 19 min 54 sec
Monsters Killed - 34
Secrets Found - 0/3
Continues Used - 3
Level Rating - Expert
[end spoiler]

[begin spoilers for Cemetery]
You play as Buffy, strolling around one of the many cemeteries in Sunnydale, killing vamps, solving puzzles, blah blah blah. Oh. Another thing I thought of that bugged - many times the only thing preventing you from going on to another place was a locked door.
Hello?? SLAYER!?? Buffy would just freaking kick the door open. This was especially irritating since in later levels some of the locks would be broken by Buffy in order to get past there. It's like, "Okay, she can break SOME locks..."
Anyway. In this level you need to find 3 pieces of a broken sundial. You put it together, and it lets you in some other area. Kakistos is in there, and he's all magical now. (??) He casts a spell in the cemetery that will start raising all the dead in there. Including, we are shown, Joyce Summers. You then have to attack his spell-orb thing in time before Joyce can 'wize fwom hew gwave'. (heh. That never gets old).
Oh, also, Buffy sees Sid - the puppet from the Season 1 episode "The Puppet Show". He gives her some cryptic message that I can't remember now. She's even more confused that he's alive. It's like all these people who once were dead are back in Sunnydale. Hmm.
Completed in 78 min 39sec
Monsters Killed - 122
Secrets Found - 3/5
Continues Used - 3
Level Rating - Professional (note - I have no idea what the rating levels are. I am pretty sure that Slayer is the highest, but aside from that, no clue. Professional sounds good, though, yes?)

[begin spoilers for Blood Factory]
Meanwhile, Willow and Tara are trying to do the "is Kakistos dead" spell while Xander keeps watch for any vamps. The spell is pretty much a dud, not giving them any info. Suddenly, Ethan Rayne shows up, along with some tiny cute, hilarious demons... who then kidnap Tara.
A spell happens, and the area they are in suddenly ...changes, and looks like the Blood Factory that the Master was setting up in the season 3 episode The Wish. Xander and Willow are mightily confused, as they should be. However, there are people who need saving - both Tara, and folks inside the Blood Factory.
Willow goes off to search for Tara while Xander gets to play hero and rescue the hostages.
You play as Xander first. (This was the point when Saren said that Xander was funny and cute. Hee.)
This level was hard because if any of the hostages die while you are playing as the Xan-man, you lose. So you have to keep yourself safe as well as these others.
And the hostages are DUMB. I mean, they don't fight back or anything. And, then, once you free them, they just stand there. Seriously! I think I'd be running for the freaking door, myself, but I guess tramatic events effect people differently.
Xander had the best quips, too: "Stake. A vampire's last meal." and (after dusting a vamp) "It's more satisfiying when I pretend that they're all Spike."
Once you save all the victims, you swap over to Willow.
Willow (or, as she prefers to call her, "Will") is Saren's favorite character. And playing as her in the game, I can see why. She is able to cast spells, learning more as the game progresses. By the time you get to her last level (Sunnydale Mall), she really is pretty damn near invincible.
Once you track down Tara, you fight Ethan Rayne. You have to keep both Willow and Tara alive, which is rather difficult when Ethan is shooting magic fireballs in your direction. But, I did manage to do it.
Copmleted in 92 min 23 sec
Monsters Killed - 79
Secrets Found - 0/3
Continues Used - 5
Level Rating - Proficient

[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for Magic Box Revisited]
The Scoobies get back to the Magic Box to discuss the reappearance of Kakistos, Sid, and the Blood Factory, along with the fact that Ethan Rayne was there. Giles and Anya suspect that there is a bleeding of alternate dimensions going on, so Kakistos is actually from another reality. Also, Wesley called, and told them that Faith has broken out of prison. Like they don't have enough to worry about.
Will and Tara head to the hospital - Tara was injured at the Blood Factory. Buffy sends everyone home to get some rest. Giles goes downstairs to get ..something, and Kakistos warps in. He makes a threat to Buffy that Giles is alone, and he wants to get rid of her watcher.
You play as Buffy, making your way down to the basement, fighting vamps along the way.
Once there, you find a slightly injured Giles and two gargoyles locked up in the cages down there. You have to use gargoyle juice (or something like that) on them in order to destroy them. Since Giles can't walk, Buffy goes back upstairs, and has to locate the correct potion. Once done, you have to dip your stakes in it, then come back downstairs and kill the gargoyles.
Then, both you and Giles go up stairs again. But Giles walks all zombielike since he's hurt, and you have to protect him from harm.
Once back upstairs, you are going to take Giles to the hospital, when lo and behold, Faith is at the door of the Magic Box, along with Spike and Ethan Rayne as their prisoner. Yay!
Completed in 27 min 15 sec
Monsters Killed - 34
Secrets Found - 0/2
Continues Used - 2
Level Rating - Expert
[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for Downtown Sunnydale]
While Giles is in the hospital, Buffy, Faith, Xander, Spike, and Willow are beginning to interrogate Ethan.
He explains that he no longer worships the chaos demons, but instead is a follower of The First Evil.
The First promised to give Ethan a bunch of power if 5 warriors of his choosing fought (and won) against 5 of the First's warriors. Ethan chose the Slayer(s), and her friends. Now that they were all together in the same room, he cast a spell transporting them into an alternate Sunnydale. Faith, Xander, Willow, and Spike all warp out of the room. Giles tells Buffy before she disappears that to beat the First, she needs somethnig called Hope's Dagger.
Right before Buffy warps out, she grabs Ethan, so he goes with her.
Buffy and Ethan appear in the alt. Sunnydale, but her friends are missing. Ethan explains that they're hidden around the town somewhere. He gives her a potion to pour on them when she finds them to transport them back to where they are now.
You then run around a run-down Sunnydale until you find your friends and one at a time, pour the potion on them. Once you get all of them, you begin to return to where they are, and you run into Sid. He says he knows about Hope's Dagger and can help find it. End of level. (Trust me, I made it sound a lot easier than it was.)
Completed in - 98 min 6 sec
Monsters killed -85
Secrets Found - 1/3
Continues Used - 1
Level Rating - Professional

[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for Sunnydale Hospital]
Exposition time!
Apparently, Hope's Dagger is the only weapon that can hurt the First. Centuries ago, a woman named Cassandra Rayne wielded Hope's Dagger and fought the First. She didn't kill it, however.
But the First could not kill her, either. Instead, he managed to cut her into pieces and separeted her in the dimension they are in now. So, if they can find all of Cassandra and put her together, she could lead them to Hope's Dagger so they could take on the First.
Yes, Cassandra Rayne is Ethan's ancestor.
Sid knows this because the First ...actually, I don't know how he knows this. But, anyway, he knows that Cassandra's eyes are kept in the Sunnydale morgue, so that's where he and Buffy begin searching.
You get to be Buffy for a while, and you also get to play as Sid. It's really cool to run around as a 3 ft tall puppet, punching vampires in the crotch.
You then collect Cassandra's eyes. One piece down...
Completed in 51 min 52 sec
Monsters killed - 90
Secrets Found - 2/3
Cont. Used - 1
Level Rating - Professional
[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for High School]
Ahh, Sunnydale High.
In this, you are Xander. You run around, tyring to find five different pentagrams. On each one, you place a rabbit. (The rabbit disrupts Anyanka's powers. Bunnies! Bunnies! It must be bunnies!!)
Once that's done, you fight Anyanka, which might have been one of the toughest bosses ever. Because in that fight, which takes place in the gym, there are three (or four? I can't remember) pentagrams that you have to put rabbits in in order to disrupt her shields. While that is being done, she is summoning those cute demons that kidnapped Tara - only this time they eat the rabbits. All 3 (or 4) pentagrams must have the rabbits in them, and THEN you can attack her.
The problem is that the rabbits come from the magic hat, which is in your inventory list. See above, re: Inventory Access problem.
But, I finally learned that the trick to beating her was to use Hell-fire. Good stuff, that. After Anya is gone, Xander collects Cassandra's leg.
Completed in 110 minutes 59 sec
Monsters killed - 129
Secrets found - 1/2
Continues used - 3 (I used a LOT more than that actually GETTING there, but since I knew how to do the level stuff before, I guess I only used 3 the time I actually beat her)
Level rating - Professional
[end spoiler]

[spoiler for Old Quarry]
This level I kicked ass in.
Saren said that Faith has a "screechy voice". Heh.
At one point in this, the sun is coming up, and sunlight is coming through a window of this old house. If you throw a vamp into the sunlight, they catch on fire. Cool.
Kakistos was a bit of a bitch to beat, at first, but when I figured out that killing his zombies gave HIM power instead of me, I focused on his magical orbs, and took him out, which allowed Faith to get another leg.
COmpleted in 73 min 1 sec
Monsters killed - 112
Secrets found - 3/3 (woo hoo!)
Continues used - 10
Rating - Slayer (WOO HOO!)
[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for The Initative]
Running around, fighting zombie soldiers and killer cyborgs. The cyborgs are a bitch, by the way.
The machine gun part was fun. Even if bullets shouldn't technically kill vampires.
The boss was Adam. There's a trick to killing him. You have to throw an EMP grenade at him - as he is holding a barrel full of explosives. Once I got that figured out, he was pretty easy. Spike then gets an arm of Cassandra's.
Completed in 42 minutes 44 seconds.
81 monsters killed.
3/4 secrets.
10 continues
Slayer rating.
[end spoiler]

[beging spoiler for Sunnydale Mall]
Willow again.
The worst parts were the voice, and how freaking BIG and complicated this level was.
The whole setting off the metal detector aspect was maddeningly difficult for me to figure out. And VampTara was pretty difficult to get rid of until I figured out the trick of using the possession spell to use her lackies against her. Once Willow's psuedo-girlfriend is killed (shouldn't all these people be in therapy for life from all the f'ed up things they've seen??), she collects the other arm of Cassandra.
Stat time -
Completed in 149 min 37 sec
173 monsters killed
1/3 secrets found
7 continues used
Level Rating - Expert

[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for Sunnydale Zoo]
Buffy again. This level was HARD. And, actually kinda fun. The vamps, I noticed, were getting smarter - they would evade my attacks a lot better, and gang up on me more. Plus, they were meaner. All the vamps in the earlier levels would let you be if they knocked you down, and not attack until you got back up again. But in the Zoo level, they would kick you while you were down. Not cool.
Also in this level were vampire gorillas.
One of the weapons you pick up in this level is a tranquilizer gun, which you use on one of the vamprillas. Aww. Poor thing.
At the end, the boss turns out to be Giles. Or, rather, since it's Giles from an alternate reality, this Giles never grew out of his "Dark Age", and grew up to be Ripper.
So, Buffy is forced to fight her Watcher. He turns out to be a really difficult boss, too. He makes five clones of himself, and you have to try to attack the real one in order to hurt him.
A trick I found was to use the tranquilizer gun on him because it slows him down, plus the tranq gun never runs out of ammo. However, one time I had been playing, and I don't know if it was because the GameCube had been on for so long, or if it just happened to be a glitch in the game, but I froze Giles in the air. He had like seven or eight tranq darts sticking in his body, and he was levitating, but he wouldn't move. And I couldn't hurt him. It was as though his body became an inanimate object. Which meant that in the end I had to quit the level, because there was nothing else I could do.
When I tried the next time, Saren was watching me. I kept getting killed, despite slowing Rupert down with the tranq gun, and using the shovel on him (the shovel was a great weapon to use on him. Also cool during this level. I was being attacked by two vamps at once. I used the shovel to beat one down to zero health, then turned on the other one. When you are holding a fancy weapon and you press the "use" button, generally, you will do a move with it (ie, swing it around, twirl it like a baton, whatever). I pressed the use button with the shovel at the same time that the two vampires were around me. Buffy staked the one behind her, and the one in front of her simulateounsly. It was totally something that they would've (did??) used in the show.)
Anyway. Evil Giles kept killing me, so Saren and I decided to start taking turns.
Long story short, Saren totally killed Ripper - without even using the tranq gun! Girl's got skillz.
Stats -
Completed in 60 min 51 sec.
104 kills
0/3 secrets found
7 continues used
Skill level - Proficient

[end spoiler]

[begin spoiler for The First's Lair]

Finally! After killing Ripper, Buffy gets Casandra's torso (and head). She ends up back with the rest of the gang, and Cassandra Rayne gets put back together. She takes them to the First's Lair, which is a big honkin' castle that I never noticed before. (heh) Inside is Hope's Dagger, which can not be yielded by Cassandra anymore (because she's a lost soul [??]). Fortunately, there is a Slayer there (two, actually, but Faith's slayerness isn't even mentioned to Cassandra) and a Slayer can take Hope's Dagger.
During this movie part of the game, Ethan and Cassandra are sniping at each other, because he's her descendant and he's turned to the dark side. Cassandra says how disgusted she is with him, but that her morals prevent her from doing anything to him. Spike says, "Allow me," and punches Ethan out - and the chip doesn't get activated!!
Ethan's unconcious body then warps away - apparently the First has plans for him yet.
Buffy goes into the castle, and you make the way through the final level.
Once you find Hope's Dagger - a pretty cool sword that glows - you get to face the final boss: Ethan Rayne, or maybe The First Evil in Ethan's body. It's not really clear. But there are 3 Bringers there, each in a pentagram on the floor. As long as there is any one Bringer alive in a pentagram, Ethan will have a force field around him. The Bringers simply kneel in the pentagrams and pray (hee!) until you attack them, then they fight back, but Ethan shoots magic at you. So, the trick to beating him is to take out hte Bringers one at a time until his field is removed, then attack him - but you can only hurt him with Hope's Dagger. Also, you can only hit him with it once each time. Because when you hit him, he knocks the Dagger out of your hands, and his field starts to regenerate due to more Bringers coming back.
It took a little time to get used to the pattern, but overall, he was a pretty easy boss.
Once he dies, the gang shows up in the castle. Buffy says to Cassandra that she is sorry about Ethan. Even though he was a jerk and all, she didn't want to leave him to die. Cassandra says she has some power left in her, and since they're family, perhaps she can heal him. She starts to glow, and kneels down and touches him. He is revived, and ...I don't really want to give that part away. It was pretty cool, though.
Oh, and before Cassandra disappears, she explains that even though The First can never be killed, Buffy has succeeded in spreading it's power out so that it is not concentrated in one dimension, and that it will be centuries before it can regather it's strength again.
Um. Or, you know, a couple of seasons.
She then proceeds to go to a higher dimension, or whatever. So, too, does Sid. As for the others, Willow can feel that the dimension they are in is "starting to unravel", and they warp back to their home dimension, around Giles, who is still in the hospital.
The last shot is of Ethan, also back in our dimension, vowing revenge on the Slayer.
Stats for the last level:
Completed in 120 min 49 sec
111 kills
2/3 secrets found
13 continues used
Professional rating.

[end spoiler]

It feels all weird not to have a game to go play now. But, on the bright side, we have Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1: Disc 1 arriving from Netflix in a day or two, so my Buffy fix can continue.

Man, that was long. And most likely pretty boring to read, but, I did warn you.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In your face, First Evil!!

Yep. Beat the game today. Longer, fuller entry tomorrow. Right now, we're heading off to The Island to spend time with Ewan McGregor!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Never eat in Mesquite.

Words to live by.

I had stuff to say, but we have a Netflix movie (Matchstick Men) to watch, so I'll be ultra-brief:

1) Saren is on the phone with one of her friends, and she's helping her to learn her right and left. It's pretty cool. She's devised some sort of color circle system that I can't fully comprehend since I'm not listening all the way, but it's still neat that she's teaching her. I think they want to do that in order to do some kind of dancing instructions over the phone.

2) Apparently, I look like "that guy from Passion of the Christ." Or Jamie Kennedy. Heh. They should combine those. Jamie Kennedy as Jesus. "You've been Xed!" HEE!

3)Dim Sum = Death. Stupid food.

4) I have about four days to beat my Buffy game. (I want to beat it by the time the Season 1 DVDs arrive from Netflix...)

5) Time to watch the movie!

Monday, July 17, 2006


You ever feel kinda restless, and sorta not? Where you want to hit "restart" on your whole life, but at the same time, not? Where you feel like you want to have your body explode, but, you know, that might make a huge gory mess that you'd rather not leave behind?

It's HOT. I know I say that every summer, and I know everyone knows that it's hot in Las Vegas, but, really, unless you have been here the past weekend or so, you have. no. idea.
The city of Las Vegas had Excessive Heat Warnings for the Saturday and Sunday which just passed. I stepped outside long enough to drive to the corner market on Saturday, and it was, literally unbearable. Like, inside of an oven hot. People are not meant to live in this type of environment. And by "people" I mean "Spish".

But, anyway. The heat has helped contribute to the overall blah-ness. And irritability. Because, oh, god, things piss me off so easily lately. And it's all little things, too. Like the DVD player suddenly deciding that it doesn't want to display video. Audio, fine. But no video. Hrm.
And the DSL deciding to stop working. (Fixed now.)
Or Saren's light in her room burning out - but the lightbulb that I replaced it with didn't work either, because it's the wiring that needs replacing.
Or the kitchen sink clogging and needing to be unclogged with a do-it-yourself bladder attachment thing that was, of course, the wrong size, until we bought a new one.
And the fact that at work I can't send emails to anyone at tvguide anymore - just starting today. Still not clear on the reason behind that.

So all these little things are just extra incentive to us to get the hell out of hell. There's other stuff, too, but, blah.

In semirelated news, I might change my blog. But, maybe not. I like to keep ya'll on your toys. Or, um, toes.

On the bright side, I have reached the final level on Chaos Bleeds. Full report coming whenever I actually beat it.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I knew I should have blogged earlier.

We got back into town on Sunday, and now, a lot of the vacation is fogging up in my memory. Of course, that might also be partly due to the fact that it is 5:30 in the morning now, and i have to go back into work.

Anyway. (Really) quick update on how it all went down:

Left on the 5th - later than we probably should have. Got to our KOA campground at near sunset, set up the (complicated) tent in the dark, dealt with a horde of bugs, nearly called off the camping aspect then. (We didn't, but the happiness level at the time was pretty low)
On the 6th - went to the zoo. Neat fact that I did not know before - Apparently "San Diego Zoo" translates into "My feet are killing me". Who knew?
The zoo was neat, but also kinda sad. We spent about 8 or 9 hours there, I think. And by the end of the day we were exhausted. Too much walking. Too much sun. Steph's got good monkey pictures, though, so there's that.
Dinner that night was at the next-door Denny's. Where we were served coupons for "Kids get in free to the SD Zoo" along with the girls' meals. Too little too late. Oh well. We ended up giving them to "the children" (long story, I'll cover it later. Or Steph will.).

7th - went down to Seaport Village near downtown San Diego (don't take my word for that, since I am directionless). Had lunch with Cindy (starshine from the WD) and her son, Patrick. I must say that Patrick is a really cool guy. (Heh.) And it was nice to be able to see Cindy again. They're still on vacation (in fact, today, they are going to Legoland (I'm jealous) and it sounds like they've got a full plate ahead of them. I'm glad that we were both able to make our schedules fit so that we could meet up again. Cindy is good people.
After we parted ways, we did some more shopping at the Seaport Village, and we were going to go look at Old(e?) Town(e?) or Balboa Park, but instead decided to drive up to our hotel near Legoland, since that was the next day's destination. (Oh, yeah, we unpacked the tent and camping stuff that morning.)
The drive up to Carlsbad took FOREVER because apparently everyone decided to drive on the freeway at the same time. California driving is crazy.
Got to the hotel and was quite happy to sleep in a real bed again.

8th - woke up, had breakfast, met the Happiest McDonald's Employee on the Planet, drove down to Legoland... and it was open! Hooray!! We got there around 10:45 or 11. Had a GREAT time, for the most part. At the end of the day, the girls (and Steph and I) were saying that it was too bad that it closed so early (they closed at 8pm), but we did manage to squeeze in quite a few rides before leaving. The Dragon was probably the one the girls enjoyed the most. Even Harper! Splash Battle near the end of the day was a great ride that I took Saren and Harper on while Steph stayed behind with Irina. Having the Bean with us meant that we had to trade off a lot of the time, but it was still a good time. Legoland is no Disneyland, but it is still vastly enjoyable.

9th - Left the hotel, had breakfast, went to the beach, so that Irina could experience the Ocean for the first time. She liked it when she was being held, but othersiwe, not so much.
Saren and Harper and I all took turns burying each other in the sand.
I ended up getting burned on all the parts of my body that the sunblock did NOT cover, so i've got oddly shaped burns on my back. Bah.
Quite fun, though.
Headed back around 330pm, and got back home around 10 (there was major traffic right at the Nevada border due to lane closures).
When we got home we saw that Lickorish was skinnier, but we couldn't find any kittens. We ended the night kinda sourly, believing that she had had them, but that one of the males had ended up killing them, or perhaps they had died of natural causes, and then the bodies had been eaten. [frown]

10th - Steph woke up around midnight because she heard mewing coming from Harper's room. Turns out, the kittens had NOT been consumed. yay! Lickorish had, at some point while we were gone, given birth to two kittens. One pure white, one all grey with black stripes. Both were underneath Harper's bed. Sadly, the grey one was no longer alive. (Not sure why it died, exactly. It doesn't appear to have been killed on purpose, we think it was just too weak to survive somehow.) After we went back to bed, we woke up in the morning, and just kinda lounged around all day. The girls were thrilled to have a newborn kitten to examine/play with, and my repeated sayings to everyone that we are NOT keeping this kitten go pretty much unheeded. [sigh]
The other kitten was given a funeral around 7pm. The girls deocrated the "coffin" (shoebox) with pictures and post it notes. Saren even made a cardboard headstone.

11th - I woke up at 4am (partly due to the sunburns, partly due to knowing I had to wake up early to go back to work). Waking up that early made me think that I should never blog again, and that I should quit my job, and that we are never going to get out of this house, and a multitude of other negative things. But. I have blogged. And I'm not going to quit my job (yet). And we ARE going to get out of this house. And on top of all that, today, you can go in to any 7-11 and get a free (small) slurpee.
Life is good.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat.


Randomness -

While out at Target today, I said, "It's fitting that we're shopping today."
Steph said, "Why?"
I replied, "Because it's the 4th, and what could be more American than shopping?"
I then added, "Well, killing."

Irina laughed.

Irina also laughs everytime the First Evil shows up during the Buffy game.

still no kittens! I think Lickorish is giving Claire a run for her money on longest gestation ever.

Today we bought(among other items) lanterns for camping. We are now much less likely to be eaten by a grue! Yay!

We're also a two-cell-phone phamily now. Grumble. I thought the idea was to become less connected to the mainstream way of life. Oh well. We've now doubled our chances of becoming phone-crazies. Yay!

Man, aside from the driving all over the place, and going to other states, it feels like I've been dusting vamps left and right for hours. Once I beat Chaos Bleeds (probably in a day or three after we get back from San Diego), I'll make a big ol' post about it. Which will most likely be pretty boring to anyone who either a)isn't a Buffy fan
b) doesn't own the game
but, um, well, at least you all know it's coming now.

The TV show Medium... man, that makes my brain hurt. Not in a good way.

When I get back to work (ugh. I didn't want to mention work. Doh.) ANyway, when I get back to work, I have to re-request my time off for September for the Unschooling Conference. I requested (and was approved) the 6th, 7th, and 8th off, but those are the days of the conference. Which is in New Mexico. Which means I need to ask off the 5th as well (I should have the 4th off already, seeing how it's Labor Day) so that we have time to drive down there. If I can't get that off... well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it, no?

The next four days are going to be busy as all get out. Expect a whole lotta updating when we return.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

June Mileage

January - 730
February - 1357.8
March - 872.4
April - 1056.9
May - 278.3 (car, which is currently not running); 486.6 (minivan) --total for May is 764.9
June - car = 0.0; minivan = 1489.6
Year to date is now 6271.6