My six-year-old daughter is a gamer. She's had a Nintendo DS in her hands since she was three, and she's been playing the Xbox 360 with me almost as long. She loves video games, and would play them every night (and every day) if she could, but we knew early on we'd need to set limits.
Since Stargirl was about four and a half, we've had Game Night twice a week. Game Night is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and lasts for one hour. She can play any game she wants -- on the Xbox 360, on the DS, on my Mac, or even a good ol'board game (which she has occasionally chosen) -- but she's only got an hour.
Over the summer, we added a new wrinkle to Game Night: we take away minutes for bad behavior. Whining? Refusing to clean up your room? Yelling at your brother? Not putting your dirty laundry in the hamper? All these will cost her minutes on Game Night. She can earn these minutes back through good behavior.
Game Night's worked out well. For one thing, it's established clear limits on her gaming. She gets to play for two hours a week. She might get bonus game time on a Saturday night if the family decides to play the Wii, but that's it. Game Night's also gotten rid of the "when can I play my game?" whining that we had when she was four, and Game Night hadn't been established yet. And it's also helped with discipline.
It’s February in Pennsylvania, which means we’re alternating between cold and icy, cold and muddy, and just plain cold.
The Geek Tree is back. There are no major upgrades this year; same white lights, same Buck Rogers-style lights, same Santa Yoda tree topper, same blue rockets-and-planets tree skirt. There's a new ornament -- Hallmark's 2007 three-warp-nacelled, alternative-future Enterprise-D -- but that's about it.
Not that I didn't try.
Given the dearth of posts around Nuketown last week, I thought I'd borrow a page from Uncle Bear's Sunday Brunch and give an update on the ol'thermonuclear burg. The day job has settled back down to its normal routine, but as Doc Brown once said "It's your kids ... something has got to be done about your kids!"
Ok, this is a day late for Halloween (or few weeks early for Thanksgiving -- think of the centerpiece potential!) but I had to post it: a Death Star jack-o-lantern:
For the second time in two years, I have a dead Xbox 360. The machine gave me the Red Ring of Death on Sunday after crashing while running DeadSpace. The machine simply froze, and when I powered it down and powered it back again, I was greated with the ominous glowing red rings.
Normally, this would be inconvenient by manageable: Microsoft extended the manufacturer's warranty on the 360 to three years, and my Xbox is still covered. Unfortunately, this month isn't anything resembling normal. I've got three game reviews looming between late October and late November, and don't have time to wait for Microsoft to fix my box.
The first thing I tried was stopping by Best Buy; I got the extended warranty for my first Xbox 360, and when it died I was able to walk into their store and get a replacement. Unfortunately, the warranty was from the original date of purchase and wasn't extended when I got the replacement.
There's going to be a "Haunted Walking Tour of Easton" on October 24 and 25, 2008 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tours leave from Centre Square, Easton, Pa. The cost is $7 in advance, $10 on the tour date. Tickets are available at Pearly Baker's Ale House, Porter's Pub, the Csmic Cup, Partyology, Connexions Art Gallery, Easton Yoga and the Easton Farmer's Market.Learn more by visiting the Scarecrow Festival page on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/eastonscarecrowfestival
This is just so damn cool (and by cool, I mean insanely geeky). NASA and the U.S. Chess are sponsoring a match between, well, the world and the International Space Station. And the really cool part? The moves are being chosen in part by elementary school kids. Here's the deal. The chess team at Stevenson Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. is facing off against the crew of the ISS.
One of my goals this fall has been to get my calendars under control, and to do a better job of keeping track of what I'm doing (and where I'm supposed to be doing it). Somedays that works better than others (Monday, in which I forgot my wife had yoga, would be one of the bad days) but all in all I'm making progress. A big reason for this is that I'm syncing my home and work calenders in iCal via Google Calendar. My calendars "live" on Google, but I'm able to add and edit events via iCal thanks to Google CalDAV support. This article explains how to get it working: