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Christmas Cheer

Journal FortKnox's Journal: Random Ramblings: 12/08/2004 40

FYI - /chick totally stole my "Random Rambling" subject ;-P

V-Smile : Anyone heard good or bad things about these? We are considering getting this for Joey for his Christmas present, but I'm unsure. I hate to get him something that will not be very fun, nor be something that dies away too quickly and we can't find any games for come this summer. I haven't been able to find a good demo to even try it myself.

Football: What we saw in Carson Palmer, Ben Rothlesburger, and Byron Leftwich Sunday, it looks like the NFL will have its set of NFL Quarterbacks heros that will last well into the future (a la Elway, Marino, Montana, Young). I can't believe Leftwich just ripped apart the Steeler secondary. Very scary for someone only in their second year. Palmer looked like the "real deal," but only this Sunday will we be for sure. And the Bengals LOOOVE playing the giantkiller. I predict the Bengals to beat either New England of Philly. One of them will underestimate the Bengals and lose. I think it will be NE, because there is NO WAY the Bengals will allow Corey Dillon to run more than 10 yards total the whole game.

Christmas: Trying to decide what I want for Christmas (multiple people are asking me). I can't really think of something I 'want.' Its not like buying for my father who simply buys whatever he wants (you have to actually find something he wants and just isn't aware of). I've just spent the last couple years maturing financially (especially now, because after baby#2 (Samantha is currently in the lead), the wife is staying home, so life will be based solely on my paycheck), that the stuff I've sacrificed (ie - I only get a new video game every 6 months or so, no spontaneous buying, packing my lunch everyday for work, etc...) I've grown to simply making it a part of my life. I can't really ask for a game, because I'm not going to have time playing a game with the new baby. I rarely watch TV now-a-days, and rarely go out. I guess I may be getting a little boring. Days have devolved to something very simple. I get home from work, eat with the family, play with Joey until he goes to bed (around 8ish), then either watch a show on the tube with my wife, work on the puter (unread), or play a game. Nothing fancy, pretty standard. Saturdays usually involve chores around the house.

Anywho, anyone have anything exciting they are looking forward to as far as Christmas goes??
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Random Ramblings: 12/08/2004

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  • I'm not sure about it. I know we have one demo unit in the staff room, and they were pushing them a fair bit a few weeks ago. I'll try to find out a little more tomorrow night.

    In general, I'm against 'learning toys'. I never had ANYTHING like that, but was showered with books. I'm a firm believer in books. They're a mature technology. Except for papercuts, the bugs are worked out. Random access might be nice, but it would destroy the UI.

    • I agree. I will be getting a telescope, microscope, books, and other 'real learning toys' before Joey is ready for them, but the wife really wants to get this since Joey loves to have a controller in his hands when I play gamecube. This way, I'd be the one with the unattached controller and he'd be the one playing. Sure, getting a gamecube game for him to play would be just as good, but no one makes games for that young of an age.

      And its hard to find them already, so it does seem to be a popular Christ
      • I give Joe the Wavebird without the dongle plugged in when I'm playuing a GC game. Because you are right: nothing even mildly appropriate for a 3yo.

        • We got this game for our little one on the Cube and he enjoys it. Some of it is a wee bit difficult for him, so I help him out. It would probably be a little too difficult for a 3-year old.

    • Except for papercuts, the bugs are worked out.

      Board-page books eliminate this problem. You may be able to apply a patch. ;-)
      Agreed on the game thing. I have found certain DVDs work great. Hannah seems to love the Leap Frog Alphabet Factory. She's got every letter and at least one sound down. Books have helped with colors. And just spending time is the most important thing. Games are just games. Girls want to make things pretty and boys want to blow things up.

      As far as football goes, Cincy is
      • Which one is the Alphabet Factory?

        Joe recognizes letters and numbers vs. random squiggles and drawings. He knows... I'm not sure. He's been working with Angie on some of that stuff. The real trick is that he can sign most of the numbers and letters that he knows.

        • Its actually called the "Letter Factory" (made by leapfrog). I originally heard this from StB (who loved it), and have to give it a huge stamp of approval. Joey learned all his letters and all their sounds because of this video. Very very very good quality video. Joey still loves to watch it and sings the songs, too.

          • I'll put a plug in here also for this movie. Kids love it. Even my older one who knew quite a bit of the material likes it and it really enforces what he already knows.

        • I bought it -- didn't really like it. Kiddo's *way* past that point already, and I don't think Squirt will ever need it. I guess I just don't like "edutainment" stuff.

          I can't remember how much I paid for it, George, but if you name your price I'll consider sending you mine (gotta be competitive with what I could sell it used -- but I'll pay for shipping 'cause you're my bud). :-) Only watched once!

        • Sorry, it's the Alphabet Factor [].
          What really got my attention is that I have a Tennessee t-shirt and Hannah started pointing and making the 'T' sound. Actually, she said the letter and then made the sound.
          Tough to fight a kid when they want to learn their alphabet.
          • Double correction, Letter Factory.
            Head is wayyyy too far up the ol' arse today.
            Didn't even check prior replies.

            Should be focusing on work anyhow.
  • I'm annoying as hell to shop for(I buy everything I want... much like your dad). So, there really isn't anything out right now that I want that's suitable for gift-giving(except things I kinda like). I've been asking for fine booze, books, and clothing(can't have enough clothing). Which means I'm looking forward to getting pleasantly drunk in a smoking jacket while reading a book.

    You might want to get a handheld. A GBA(wit flashcart for PocketNES or Arrr!!dom[err.. I mean homebrewing apps!]) is insanel
    • I LOVE my GBA SP, although I've been forgetting to carry it with me lately. Most of the games can be played in short bursts, as mentioned above, or can be put in a powersave mode so you don't have to wait for an official save point. I play my GBA SP more than anything else, and it's so tiny and portable, you can literally put in a back pocket.

      And they are only $79.99 new now. I saw them on sale at Fry's for $57.99 and it included 2 games. If you live near a Fry's, definitely check the GBA SP out bec

  • We bought a similar, though much less sophisticated, product for our kids years ago. I think that it got used once or twice after Christmas. That matches what I've heard from most other parents. This one might be different, but... Better to buy real stuff (telescope, microscope, as you mentioned). This gives kids that incentive of wanting to use the grownup stuff. Sometimes they break it, but it's worth the investment (just don't buy the *really* expensive stuff too early.

    I see the controller poin
  • With Leftwich, Roethilsberger, and Pennington, the Mid American Conference is turning out to be quite a QB factory. And with University of Akron's Charlie Frye coming into the Leauge this year, the MAC might solidify this position. He's got a Steve Young combination of size and speed (and I'd love for the Browns to get him... except for the fact he'd get massacred by our O-line and there's no proven plan in place for such a QB).

    And then there's Kent alumn Antonio Gates. I loved this kid when he played b
  • by nizo ( 81281 )
    As far as the vsmile goes, it got rated pretty well at amazon [] As for what people can get you, how about asking them donate to the ACLU (or some cause you feel strongly about) in your name? It beats a cheap junky gift that you end up throwing away/putting in a drawer.

    As for gift giving ideas, I am sending my brother a 20 page printout of things I dug up on the internet that relate to his interests (I may have them bound, I dunno yet). Cheap, quick, easy to send and he wil enjoy it.

    • After playing the "demo" at the V-Smail website I wouldn't recommend it. What I do with my daughter is visit the online Java/Activex game sites for young kids and play the online activities they have there. Between [], [], and [] there is a nearly endless supply of educational games at various age levels. The one drawback to them (and to V-Smile) is that they can't be played while in the car when we have the greatest need to plant her in front of activity so we can do s
  • I'm hoping I get the Settlers of Catan, but like I mentioned before the list is kinda on the small and slim side of gifts this year. It's somewhat odd to me, but isn't that surprising I guess. I'm completely on my own financially and running my books in the black, so there are ever more obvious costs to everything. Not that I wasn't a little tight with my money all along. :/

    On the other hand, I'm going a little over the top on gifts for family and friends this year. It's mostly just a thank you year, for be

    • Hummmmmmmmm you peak my interest with this Settlers of Catan [] game. I shall purchase it as a gift for my girlfriends family. I don't think she reads slashdot so I am safe posting it here. :-)

      Is this a widely available game? Or is it an internet only order sort of thing?

      • It's widely available [] - and I recommend it for playing with families. Most people over 10 like it, even my Mom.

      • It's been widely available for a while I think, I see it regularly in various game shops. I don't think you'll find it on the shelves of your local Target, but it's out there.

        I was introduced to the original German version, the same for all purposes but language. It's a really great game that's as well balanced as they come. And if you're crafty and find a good strategy that wins frequently, prepare to lose as other players start to spite you.

        It's definitely a game worth having though. There's also a 5-6 pl

        • Hummm I did just run across that game in the link I found. I seem to remember hearing about it some where... possible at a friends place. Not sure.

          In any case, my girlfriends family always has family nights on Sunday when everyone stays home and has dinner together and either watches TV /movie or plays a game. This will fit in perfectly.

          • Re:Settlers (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dead sun ( 104217 )
            Cool about Settlers, it's really a great game. And if you haven't played Apples to Apples I highly, highly recommend it. I'll explain it a bit since it fast became one of my favorites.

            You get yourself and a group of people around a table and deal out 7 red cards. The red ones have nouns on them, people, places, ideas. Things like Europe or Cheese or Giant Squid. Then, you take it in turns to act as the judge. The judge flips up a green card which has an adjective, like Innocent or Dangerous or Universal.


            • There was an article posted in Games [] about the top board game picks. I'm glad I saw it because I thought giving people board games would be a cool present this year. I always have problems finding gifts for people. I ended up getting "Ticket to Ride" for my wife because it really looks like her kind of game. I was thinking about picking up some other games for other family members also. I was looking at that Apples to Apples and it sounds like people really enjoy it. I might just pick it up to play w

  • I'd not sure about anything that parks the kids in front of the TV any more than necessary.

    He's probably a bit too young for it now, but we got Monopoly Jr. for Thing One. She already plays it at a neighbor's house. It teaches basic counting skills, number recognition, simple addition (1+2=3), a little about currency, and preps them so I can kick their butts at real Monopoly when they get older...

    For computer gadgets, Thing Two will be getting a LeapPad. Thing One wore hers out and he loved playing with i
    • Oooh... Monopoly Jr sounds good!! Kiddo *loves* games. I'll think about it - we already have a bunch of stuff for this year, but maybe for Valentine's Day (we give little gifts then). Not a bad idea! Thanks for sharing!!

  • I would love to see the Bengals beat the Patriots.

    Corey Dillon is a punk. People hate T.O. for quitting on the 49ers once they got bad but forget that Dillon quit on the Bengals when they started to get good.

    After I saw that Reed got that interception and the Ravens went up 20-3 I must say I thought that game was over. It just seems crazy to think that the Ravens might not make the playoffs- it is always fun to have the Ravens talk how they can beat the Steelers and then bam Steelers kill them.
    • The only reason I'm not saying the Bengals are my 'upset of the year' team to take out the Pats is that its at Foxboro. If they played in Cincy, Corey wouldn't hear the end of it... but because its in Pats territory, it'll be a tough game.

      As far as the Ravens go, I wanna see them cry. I want the game against the Steelers be their make or break game... if they win, they stay in playoff contention, if they lose, they are out. And then I want to watch The Duce and The Bus take turns running over Ray Lewis
      • Yeah, the game will be easier for the Patriots since it is in their house- a shame really. The Bengals though are somehow thinking playoffs and might just be hungrier than the Patriots. I just want to be able to gloat in that the Patriots lost- they seem to hate the Steelers more than they like the Patriots.

        As for the Ravens, I just want to ruin their season twice. Totally embarass them on December 26, maybe have them convinced that they pissed away the playoffs, and
  • Samantha (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ethelred Unraed ( 32954 ) * on Wednesday December 08, 2004 @04:16PM (#11035569) Journal
    "Samantha Marotti". I like the sound of it. :-)

    Wait. SamTheMarotti.

    Oh. My. God. All is clear to me now! ;-)



  • Of v-tech toys. I agree with george. Get him a book. Or a puzzle. Or some string.

    I don't think the Bengals will beat NE. I think that Beli-whosis is as smart as you and I and will find a way to beat them.

    I'm looking forward to whatever I get for Christmas. I'd really like that new Cure reissue CD, or at least the box set for criminy's sake. I've only been after it since it was released!! Plus, we've got the new M*A*S*H DVDs and the Seinfeld ones, so I think I'm good for entertainment for a while.

    • Hey -- no kidding about the string. For six months (right around age 3, IIRC) Kiddo's *favorite* thing to play with was a ball of yarn I had leftover from a crocheting project.

      Seriously, I dunno why we spending ANY money on toys! Just give the kids big empty cardboard boxes, wrapping paper & toilet paper tubes, a ball of yarn, and maybe some crayons and just let them have at it.

      Of course, I can't possibly take my own advice -- I don't even know all the stuff I've stocked up on for Kiddo for Christma
      • Just give the kids big empty cardboard boxes, wrapping paper & toilet paper tubes, a ball of yarn, and maybe some crayons and just let them have at it.

        I did pretty much just that after we moved. We had some extra carpet that we've put down in the basement. Took an empty box and some crayons and said "Here". My oldest looked at me funny at first, but then she got the idea.

        Hours of entertainment. :)

    • Hey, look at me, I was right!

      From Peter King's TMQB column: 2. I think lots of people around the league, including master of the art Bill Belichick, took note of what Carson Palmer did Sunday when he brought the Bengals back from a 20-3 deficit to win on the road against the best defense in football. Belichick said Monday he thought Palmer reminded him of a young John Elway. Less fleet, yes, but a good comparison. Will he grow up to be an old Elway? Time will tell.


  • Dr. Suess Books: Great for kids at the 3-4-5 age.

    Pong: It may be hard to find, but the simple rotational controller is easy for a child to understand. At 4 I was given one and my parents told me that I understood it withing 15 minutes and became good enough to actually make my dad have to try against me in a day or two. It's a simple enough game that young people can understand and it'll give him that "controller in the hand" thing you want and allow you to play against him. Just remember the old quote,
  • Or something that a boy and his dad can use together and enjoy the outdoors.

"All we are given is possibilities -- to make ourselves one thing or another." -- Ortega y Gasset