Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday Fun

SOUPER: We have a charity event coming up next week that we're helping organize - a benefit to raise funds for homeless and hungry neighbors. It involves asking for donations in exchange for a simple mean of soup and bread. It will require a lot of soup.

CJ, Annabelle and I will each be bringing a pot to the potluck. Today, we test-drove CJ's choice, a 'loaded backed potato' soup. We based it pretty much off a recipe I found on the Kraft Web site, with just a couple of tweaks (a fair amount of garlic, basil and white pepper added, for instance). 

We fried bacon, peeled and cubed potatoes, chopped onions ... 
And everything went into the crockpot. 
 Ten hours later ... THIS!
It was divine, I must say. Definitely a big GO! for the soup event!

Another benefit event related project we worked on today was making bags where event attendees can deposit 'pick me up' cards to be distributed in care packages. 
The bags will be on the centers of the tables, and while they're waiting and eating, people can write messages or draw pick-me-up type pictures on blank index cards we'll have on hand.

NO GO:  We spent an hour this afternoon watching a rocket not launch.
                             Image Credit: United Launch Alliance
For the second day in a row, Orbital Sciences' resupply mission to the International Space Station failed to get off the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. Wind gusts in the vicinity caused today's scrub.

They're going to try again on Saturday, with the launch window opening at 2:10 p.m. Pacific time. Coverage will be on NASA TV.

IN REVIEW: Last night, we went to the Living Computer Museum's monthly movie night and saw a screening of "Gameplay: The Story of the Video Game Revolution."

I'll let CJ and Annabelle tell you a bit more about the 90-ish minute documentary. CJ's up first. ... 
"GAMEPLAY: The Story of the Video Game Revolution" is a documentary detailing the history of video games and how we have played them since 1972. We saw the movie at the Living Computer Museum, a frequent visit for us. As the documentary's website says, the games covered include "Pong to Pac-Man and Super Mario to Lara Croft, Doom, Grand Theft Auto and beyond."
According to the movie, one of the first video games was "Spacewar!," a 2-player game that was at MIT. It was a privilege to be invited to play the game at midnight. Spacewar!'s cabinet was very odd-looking, to the point where it was used in multiple science fiction movies (example: Soylent Green). 

According to the Computer History Museum's website,* the two players were trying to destroy the other against an astronomically correct star field as well as other characteristics that reflect real-world physics.
Spacewar!'s influence goes all the way to 1979, when "Asteroids" was developed. Asteroids was made by Atari, a company that had made the Atari 2600 a couple years earlier. In Asteroids, like Spacewar!, you play as a spaceship, but instead of trying to destroy another ship, you would try to destroy asteroids that would break apart into multiple pieces. Another famous arcade game from 1979 was Space Invaders, where you would shoot at a horde of aliens coming down at you.
And here's what Annabelle had to say about the movie. ... 

Gameplay is a documentary about the evolution of video games and how they have changed our lives. The whole video game craze started with Pong, a simple game about bouncing a small, square ball back and forth, like table tennis. This launched Atari, the producer of Pong, into popularity. This lead to the attack of the clones, where many games began to copy Pong.
But after all of these Pong clones, there emerged a new genre; text-based adventure. These games revolved around putting in one or two word commands to inspect your surroundings and solve puzzles. The games were also a hit, and soon enough adventure games got graphics. Many of these graphics were primitive, but one game’s stood out. It was Dragon’s Lair, an arcade game. This game used videos to tell the story, which lead to pressing buttons at the exact right time to progress.
After the arcades, home consoles came into play. These consoles had classics like Pong while also including other games for the system. One playing card company even got into the business. Their name was Nintendo, and they made the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. The NES was a console just like any other, but it had a secret weapon; R.O.B, the Robotic Operating Buddy. This allowed the NES to succeed, and gaming legends like Mario and Zelda to be born.
The video game market escalated after that, and nowadays it’s almost a part of our daily lives. Adventure games still have their place with titles like World of Warcraft, but casual gamers can also be involved by playing passive games like The Sims that you check daily. When you realize how many hours you’ve put into this game and the characters involved, you realize that video games have almost become a part of a person’s daily routine, or even their life. Video games have certainly boomed, but the question is: how much bigger will they get?
I told the kids that while watching the movie, it occurred to me that people my age were in a sweet spot for this whole computer game phenomenon. I was a kid when Pong et al were introduced, and grew up with them as the games and types of systems proliferated. And then I've 

WILD WAVES:  This afternoon we headed down to the local kayak launch site to gather a few rocks from the beach for a future craft project. 

As we approached the Puget Sound shore, I said to the kids, "Um, it looks like high tide," and as we parked, we were very surprised to find the tiniest sliver of shoreline and white caps crashing onto the beach. We'd never seen anything remotely like that at that location.
With the sounds and the spray, it really felt like we were at the ocean.

We're going to have to return on a much calmer day with a much lower tide to do our rock hunting.

AMAZON COUNTRY: This afternoon, the kids were demonstration students for a yoga teacher training class. It required us to go into the belly of the beast (Denny-Westlake-Mercer area) during the p.m. rush hour. 

Happily, we lived to tell about it. :)

The kids enjoyed the statues outside of Whole Foods.
And we visited what was billed as the city's tiniest Christmas tree lot, on the patio of Whole Foods.
We actually arrived early, so we killed some time in the store. One time killer was this wild fruit, a Buddha's hand citron, which we all agreed would make a wonderful flame atop the Statue of Liberty's torch.

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