Mario Galaxy 2 and Scott Pilgrim

Upon entering Nick’s apartment last night, we discovered that Nathan was playing Mario Galaxy 2, and the two of us immediately had an epic battle to see who would get the privileged position of Bit Collector. With a sigh of resignation, Nathan dug out a second Wiimote, and Nick and I settled to take turns collecting Bits.

Like its predecessor, the game is an absolute delight, but it took me awhile to realize that the role of Bit Collector had been expanded somewhat. I could now pick up coins and 1up mushrooms in addition to grabbing bits, and if I chose, knock down and kill enemies in addition to just holding them in place for Nathan to stomp. These were nice additions, but still didn’t put too much pressure on the Bit collector, which I liked.

Will and I had this conversation about the last game, about how it was very clever for Nintendo to acknowledge that gamers have friends who are not necessarily as good of gamers as them, but would still like to be involved, and accommodate that role. And not just that role, but the role of the Watcher, which is one that I often adopt, even though I do enjoy playing games.

Watching other people play games takes me back to my childhood, and the times when I would sit and watch my brother play games. This is a comforting experience, though confusing to some when I deny their offer to play as well, and insist that I would just like to watch. Bit collecting is just enough sideline opt-in engagement to involve me a little more in the game without overwhelming the brother-watching comfort feeling.

Third on my list of “Lisa’s indie games that she’ll make someday” will be a hard core shooter that has a casual opt-in support role for the players’ less skilled or watch-savvy friends. I’m not sure what that would be, but I have fun brainstorming about it.

ANYway, after collecting the Bits, we gave the Scott Pilgrim game a go. It is a good time, as one might expect, even though I am terrible at 2D beat-em-up games (I have a really hard time figuring out if I’m on the same horizontal layer as the enemy I’m trying to attack).

Cats, Vets, and Starcraft

I am so proud of my cat! He did really well at the vet, wasn’t scared at all (though he was grumpy about being restrained to get his heartrate, and was absolutely affronted by having his temperature taken). He’s also in great health, so I feel reassured as a cat mom.

He had a little tartar buildup on his teeth, but the vet said we could safely wait until next year for a teeth cleaning, so I have a new goal. See, the vet offers a service where they can clean the teeth without putting the cat under, which would be ideal. But, Mr. Davis isn’t keen on having his mouth handled right now, so he wouldn’t be a candidate for that.

My goal for the next year is to train him to accept handling of his mouth, so that he wouldn’t have to get put under for the cleaning. Can it be done?? Only time, clicks, and a lot of treats will tell.

In other news, I’ve been playing Starcraft II 2v2 and occasionally 3v3 versus the computer with Nick and Nathan, and having a fantastic time. We’ve worked out a way to play that is great fun for me, but I don’t think it’d work very well against human opponents.

I’m not very good about dividing my attention between base management and then microing my units out on the field of battle, so I just give Nick control of the units and churn out dudes and send them his way, whiles’t he lays waste to the opponent with the ever increasing army. I’m like Hydralisk Depot over here, which is fine, because base management is fun for me. When Nathan plays with us, he does his signature move of “build a ton of expansions.”

We rocked the computer’s face for the most part, but after a faulty mouse incident, it was clear that Nathan and I are as defenseless as newborn puppies without Nick leading the forces. Oh well, it’s still a fun time!

Crawfish and Fun

It’d been a rough time for me in terms of sudden and terrible vertigo that plagued me for most of the work week. This happened to me once before about 2 years ago, and it’s probably just a viral inner ear infection or something, but I was out flat for most of the week.

Today it was mild enough that it didn’t interfere much with our adventure to the Long Beach Crawfish Festival! This was my second year for the festival, and it was tasty as ever with good music and an amiable crowd. I didn’t actually partake in the crawfish feast this year (those little crustaceans are too much work for the sustenance they provide), but I did hit up the booths for some jambalaya and bratwurst.

We also waited in the longest line ever for beignets, but to their credit, they were pretty tasty.

Hoping for a reprise of last year’s festivities, we walked over to the nearby arcade only to find it had been shut down. How depressing! No worries, though, for we all ventured over to Josue’s place to partake in some good old fashioned 4 player split screen Halo 1.

It was a blast! For a bit there I was back in my junior year of undergrad, in Rodes 2, pistol sniping (and regular sniping) an jaunting about Hang ’em High and Blood Gulch and running my Halo mouth just like old times. That game holds up incredibly well 🙂

It would seem that most shooters these days don’t support 4 player split screen, often because of the decrease in visual quality (we can’t have poor visual quality on our beautiful next gen games! It would be SCANDALOUS. I was not a fan of the original Goldeneye, but kudos to them for supporting it) or because it’s just not possible given how much the game squeezes the console. What was so common in the past has become rare in the hopes that “everyone plays online now.”

This, in my opinion, is a damned shame.

In addition to my platformer that uses Rock Band peripherals, the next game on the list of “Lisa’s To-Do Indie Game” list will be the ugliest freakin shooter known to man, made explicitly for the 4 player split screen experience.

But! Enough sighing for the lost past. There is WoWing to do and StarCraft to squeeze in at lunchtime and board games to play and D&D sessions to be run and Indie Picks of the Week to play through. Adventure!

Thoughts on Home

One of my secret guilty pleasures is managing my monthly budget, which, I suppose there could be worse guilty pleasures. This month I hit my savings goal to get home for Christmas, so I can now start planning that trip.

It’s tricky to plan so far ahead, since I haven’t even done my first trip home slated for October, and since it’s inconvenient for most friends in the area to know what they’re going to be doing 5 months from now.

Last year I doubled up and went home to Louisville for Christmas and then to Pittsburgh for New Year’s, which ended up being a fantastic trip. This year I’m less certain of my plots, especially since I’m already worried about who’s going to catsit for Mr. Davis in October, let alone for 2 weeks in December when most everyone I know in LA will be out of town anyway (and I’ll need a fishsitter then, too)

I’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure, but in the meantime, here’s a list of things that I miss about Kentucky:

1) Lightning bugs, as was previously established (thank you Eric for the video)
2) Thunder storms, even though they cause me pain. There’s nothing quite so soothing as napping safely inside while it’s storming outside. Except for the pain part, that is.
3) The smell of season transitions, which we don’t really get out here.
4) The greenness, which is something that Josh observed when he flew out to drive me across the country, and which I didn’t really understand at the time. Now that I’ve been in the desert-pretending-not-to-be that is LA for a year, I understand completely.
5) Katydids and tree frogs at night in the summertime
6) Autumn and trees changing color
7) Cardinals, pileated woodpeckers, and robins (there are supposed to be robins out here, but I’ve not seen any)


As mentioned on Twitter, I used plums from today’s CSA delivery to make dumpling-like pastries, thus called plumplings.

I essentially just used this tasty recipe for plum pie, only halved.

Instead of the pie crust, I split the dough into 12 balls, flattened each, put them in muffin tins, filled each with the filling, and sealed it up at the top.

They are nothing to write home about, presentation-wise, but MAN they are tasty!