Christmas Tree Ornaments

Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 5:27 PM | Filed under ,

We got the Christmas tree up this weekend, and with it, a plethora of Christmas tree ornaments. I think I'll fill you in on some of the coolest ornaments hanging out on the tree this year.

This is Mr. S'moresman. It's like a snowman, except he is made out of marshmallows. Note also the chocolate and the graham cracker he is standing on. This is without a doubt the sweetest-looking of all the ornaments on the tree this year. I feel like drowning him in a hot cup of cocoa. I found it at the University Book Store, but I think I've seen it and others like it somewhere else.

I got this ornament last December at Cost Plus. (There's nothing I like there except for their Jelly Belly selection.) It expresses my love for Jelly Belly's jelly beans. I also got three other colors as Christmas presents. Each came with a package of jelly beans of the same color. I didn't see any Jelly Belly ornaments at Cost Plus this year, but they have Christmas jelly bean mix 10% cheaper than anywhere else I've seen them.

While I was taking pictures, Garth decided to walk over and start meowing. Garth likes it when we have the tree up. We don't have the tree skirt out of the garage yet, but he likes to lie down on it, under the tree, out of our reach. In this picture, I think he is trying to pick his nose with the tree.

Here's two ornaments that I like a lot. On the left, we've got the apple. Actually, this is one of about a dozen apples that populate the tree. I don't know why I like them, but I wouldn't have a Christmas tree without them.

On the right, we have Snoopy dressed up as a charity Santa. This was actually designed as a clip-on bag decoration or something, but I thought it would look good on the tree. It came in a set including other figures like Charlie, Lucy, Linus, and Franklin, as well as little props like Charlie's loserly Christmas tree. (Oddly, the set came with Schroeder's piano, but no Schroeder.)

Stephanie got this one last year, I believe. It's Santa, and he's covered in sparkly glitter! This one looks really good on the tree because he's sparkly and glittery.

Okay, that's all the ornaments I feel like typing about.

Toss-Up Catastrophe

Friday, November 23, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Filed under

Living Thing was the category of the third toss-up puzzle tonight on Wheel of Fortune. The yellow player buzzed in first when the puzzle looked like this:

ROBIN R_DBR_A_T

He muttered a guess like "robin redbrunt". The audience groaned a little at his dull guess. Not too much later, the blue player buzzed in when the puzzle looked like this:

ROBIN REDBREA_T

His guess was "robin redbreant". Pat laughed a little as he said no. The final letter, an S, popped up onto the board, and a short buzzer sounded that the round was over. The red player tried to signal in, but she was too slow. There wasn't enough time between Pat's "no" and the buzzer for her to signal in.

"Well," exclaimed Pat, "every now and then, we don't get it until... so I actually get to take the money home. It's a wonderful thing. No..., ah, so what we do is... we just move to whose turn it is to start the next round, just in order..."

I think this marks the first time that I've seen the contestants all miss the toss-up puzzle. Right after that, Pat spun $5,000 during the final spin, and the blue contestant got $36,000 in the speed-up round alone. But he missed the bonus puzzle. Oh well.

Tryptophan

Thursday, November 22, 2007 at 10:31 PM | Filed under

A lot of idiots think that you get drowsy after the Thanksgiving meal because of the tryptophan in the turkey. (A lot of non-idiots think this too.) But you know what? The tryptophan is not really that effective in making you sleepy. You would have to eat hundreds of turkeys to get drowsy.

Here is a list of things that are more likely to contribute to your Thanksgiving nap:

  • You didn't get any sleep overnight because you were excited about Thanksgiving.
  • You couldn't sleep because you were worried about burning the turkey.
  • You didn't get enough sleep because you had to wake up early to watch the parade.
  • You exhausted yourself mashing the potatoes.
  • You exhausted yourself setting the table.
  • Someone mixed sleeping pills into the stuffing.
  • The fumes from the cranberry sauce sapped your energy.
  • You ate 100 turkeys and the tryptophan levels became significant.
  • You overworked yourself chewing all that food.
  • You drank too much wine during the meal.
  • You ate too much food and all your blood started being used to digest the food.
  • You crashed after the sugar high you got from the pumpkin pie.
  • You got bored listening to mindless chatter during the meal.
  • After the meal, you flopped yourself onto the couch and relaxed too much.

Running Jumps

Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 3:00 PM | Filed under ,

Donkey Kong Country 2 is one of my favorite video games. It was originally released for the Super Nintendo back in 1995, and improved on the original Donkey Kong Country game in almost every respect. It's about Diddy and Dixie Kong, a pair of love-monkeys. The controls for this game, like the last, were very simple. Press B to jump, and hold Y to run. It was very easy to do a running jump: While moving in one direction, hold the Y button with the tip of the thumb to run, and press the middle of the thumb into the B button to jump. It was very natural and comfortable to play this way, which is a good thing, because the running jump is perhaps the most frequent action you'll perform in this game.

DKC 2 was released on Wii's Virtual Console back in May; I'm surprised that I didn't buy it until yesterday, but I have a good reason for waiting. It's because I didn't have the right controller. On the Wii, Virtual Console games can be played with two controllers: the GameCube controller (which I happen to have plenty of) and the Classic Controller, a new controller Nintendo has developed, which has a very typical button layout (unlike the Wii Remote's).

Until yesterday, I did not have a Classic Controller, but that's okay, because I can use my GameCube controllers to play Virtual Console games, right? Not really.

Since Nintendo gives no option for remapping the controls for Virtual Console games, it would be very uncomfortable to do a running jump with the GameCube controller. The A button is situated between the B and Y buttons, which means that in trying to perform a running jump, you are more likely to press A and have Diddy jump on Dixie's shoulders (that's what the A button does).

It's unfortunate that Nintendo gives no option to remap the controls. I would assign jump to the A button and run to the Y button, but I can't. So I decided yesterday to buy a Classic Controller, which practically has the same layout as the Super Nintendo controller. Now I can do running jumps! The controller cost $20, but it doesn't feel like a rip-off. It will be useful for future games, like the upcoming Smash Bros. game. But for now, back to Donkey Kong.

Invalid Codes

Monday, November 12, 2007 at 12:19 AM | Filed under

I'm sorry I haven't written in over a week. I tend to be really on-and-off about writing blog posts, and besides, nothing of any real interest has happened over the last week. Like I said on the first of this month: this is "Boring November".

I just entered a bunch of codes into the Coke Rewards site. It used to be that under the bottle cap, you might win a reward like another free Coke product (or, more likely, "Please try again" or "Better luck next time"). Now bottle caps and other Coke products come with these codes that you can use to redeem things of moderate interest (like magazine subscriptions and movie ticket coupons). You don't get the instant satisfaction with these codes as you would if you were to get a "you win!" message, but I see no reason to throw away these codes without entering them. I was having a lot of trouble entering two of the codes a few minutes ago.

This one came with a Diet Coke 12-pack, and was worth 10 points. (By the way, I've already entered these codes, so don't bother trying to enter them in your own account.) I was having a lot of trouble with the second letter in the second row. I thought it was a Q. And it looks like a Q, because it seems like it has a stroke in the bottom right. It's not a Q. It's an O with a smudge.

This code gave me a little more grief. It was from a 12-pack of Dasani water (which we got free with Ratatouille, which is quite a fun movie--I really like Pixar's films). At first, I tried OJ4KKK6LWHRP. When that didn't work, I tried changing the O into a Q, due to my previous mistake. Then I tried changing the P into an R, because of the possibility that the diagonal stroke didn't get printed right. It wasn't until I looked closely at the code that I realized that the 6 should really be a 5. Is my eyesight going bad? I think I'm just sleepy. Good night.

Bingo Night

Saturday, November 3, 2007 at 10:55 AM | Filed under

Last night was Bingo Night at the high school. I didn't win anything last night, and I haven't won anything the last two times I went, so I don't know why I like going to Bingo Night. I went with my cousin, Kevin, and my mom. My sister was also there, but she went to sit with her friends.

Mom and Kevin each bought two bingo books ($6 each), but I bought only one, because I figured I wouldn't win anything anyway. Mom and Kevin also each bought 12 raffle tickets, which cost them each $10, but none of us won the bingo games or the raffles or anything.

A bingo book contained 15 pages (one per game), each with 3 game boards. We played standard games like "5-in-a-row bingo" and "four corners", but we also played weird games like "fill any 6 numbers", "fill a rectangle of 6", and "get a small diamond around the free space". It added a lot of variety, but the bingo caller had to keep reminding everyone of what game we were playing as she was calling numbers, and it got annoying halfway through the night.

The front of the room was set up with a bingo number mixing machine and a TV displaying the hole that the bingo balls come out of. So we could see the ball as it exited the machine, but the bingo caller said that it didn't count until she picked up the ball, lit the number on the big board, and read it aloud. Regardless, there was half of the time some moron who would call bingo, only to sluggishly remember the rules and acknowledge that it didn't count yet. Then the bingo caller would call the next number, and the winner would call bingo again, less enthusiastically this time. It was really very anticlimactic, especially when this happened on the final blackout game. It's a bit of a dull way to end the game.

Something else that kinda spoiled the evening was that some old bald guy sitting in the back of the room kept winning. He won at least three raffles and a bingo game. It seems unfair, but he had like 10 bingo cards and probably 100 tickets or something. But still, Mr. Greedy Bald Monster took the prizes and wasn't sharing the wealth. Oh well. I wasn't going in thinking I would win anything anyway.

So we altogether lost $50 during the night. It was a very dismal night, except that they were selling popcorn, so I ate two bags of popcorn while I was there. So it wasn't a total loss.

Boring November

Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 5:35 PM | Filed under , ,

Between the spooky frenzy of October and the festive frenzy of December lies the dull stretch of November.

I'm taking a break from taking down the decorations to briefly describe what happened last night, on HALLOWEEN.

We watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! It had aired the night before, but I kept it on the DVR to watch on Halloween proper. I like watching it, except for the parts where Snoopy pretends to be a World War I flying ace, because those parts are long, boring, and drawn out. You know, I think a lot of the film acts as filler. One filler moment is when Sally yells at Linus for wasting her Halloween night. She yells nonstop at him for 50 seconds, which is an eternity in TV land:
I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, when I could've been out for tricks or treats! Halloween is over, and I missed it! You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle! I didn't get a chance to go out for tricks or treats! And it was all your fault! I'll sue! What a fool I was! I could've had candy, apples, and gum! And cookies, and money, and all sorts of things! But no! I had to listen to you! You blockhead. What a fool I was. Tricks or treats come only once a year. And I missed it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead! YOU OWE ME RESTITUTION!
After that was You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. Lucy and Charlie run as Linus' campaign managers as he runs for student body president, and he does really well until he jeopardizes his chances of winning the campaign by mentioning the Great Pumpkin during a speech.

I noticed something odd about how the voting was done in the show. Whoever's in charge of the election didn't seem to mind putting Charlie Brown, Schroder, and Violet--all Linus' friends--in charge of counting the ballots. Certainly, someone should have realized that they would probably cheat to get Linus to win.

Something else odd about the voting process is that the students write and submit their ballots while the votes are being counted and displayed as tally marks on a huge chalkboard. As someone puts the ballot in the box, Charlie pulls it out and shouts it to Schroder and Violet for them to make a big tally mark. Really, this is worse than exit polling. So Linus wins by one vote, but it was all for naught because the principal won't let Linus actually do anything anyway.

Well, I can't wait till the end of November, when A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving airs. It's undoubtedly my favorite Charlie Brown special.