My sister Kerri co-wrote an op-ed piece that was published in Sunday’s Ann Arbor News. It urges Michigan’s 15th Congressional District constituents to let Rep. John Dingell know via an online petition that they will support any strong action designed to fight the causes of global warming. While the rest of us may not be residents of that particular district, any legislation put forth by Rep. Dingell will certainly affect us all. He is the chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and “most likely the individual who will write our nation’s legislative response to global warming.” Take a minute to read the piece, sign the petition, and spread the word if you’re so inclined.
Archive for September, 2007
Compulsive Goodwill stalking turned up these items:
NES Advantage Controllers
We went to the one of our local Goodwills yesterday and they had an unmarked pair of these out on the shelves. I asked the cashier how much they were and she didn’t know. They’re not supposed to sell stuff that’s not priced so she sent them to the back and said they’d be out on the floor the next day.
We returned today and they were nowhere to be found. I got a woman from behind the scenes to poke around. She found them and surreptitiously slipped them back into the electronics section. They’re not supposed to bring stuff out to customers so that was her workaround. I appreciated it, all the more so because they were only $3.54 each. I expected to pay a lot more.
I didn’t even know there was such an accessory. Basically NES Advantage is the joystick version of the regular controller plus some speed manipulating features. I don’t know if I like it better yet but it’s a cool option to have. They’re definitely solid and responsive.
Hazel and Ray are in the picture above trying them out in a game of Super Dodge Ball.
Spider-Man (2000, Playstation)
They had this a couple of weeks ago but when I looked in the case, it wasn’t the right disc. This time everything checked out so I snatched it up. It’s really fun to play as Spider-Man, swinging on webs and crawling up the sides of buildings. Lots of heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe too. The kids especially like Venom. A nice bonus is the “Kid Mode,” which is the complete game on a very easy setting along with a slightly modified control scheme to make Spidey’s abilities a little less complicated.
Metal Gear Solid (1998, Playstation)
I only knew this game by reputation so I’m glad to have a chance to play it. Great story with a very cinematic feel. I’ve played a couple of Splinter Cell titles and can see how influential it was on that series. It’s rated “M” so I have to wait for the kids to go to bed before I can see what Solid Snake is up to next.
ActRaiser 2 (1993, Super Nintendo)
I’d never heard of this one but grabbed it anyway because I saw it was published by Enix. They have a reputation for putting out good games. You play as some sort of mythical winged hero with a sword and shield. Looks great but it’s really hard. Haven’t quite got the hang of it yet.
Yesterday I took Dashiell and Ray to the last game of the four we bought mini season tickets for earlier in the season. As you can see our excellent seats were in the second row of the upper deck along the right field line. We had fun but it was hot. Next year I will have to remember to get seats on the other side of the stadium where it is shady.
We were fortunate enough to again see John Smoltz pitch. He had a no-hitter going until the sixth inning when he finally gave up a two run homer. As usual, the Braves gave him scant run support. Chipper Jones knocked in one on a sacrifice fly early on and then hit a solo shot a couple of innings later, but that was it. They only managed three hits through nine innings.
The boys were anxious to get out of there so we bailed in the top of the tenth after Peter Moylan gave up a home run to the Brew Crew. We should have stuck around though. Not only did the Braves tie it in the bottom of the inning but went on to win it in the eleventh. I was disappointed to learn that we missed their comeback but I can understand the lads being antsy after three hours.
Dashiell’s arm, that is. He took a spill roller blading around noon on Sunday. Scraped up his chin a little bit, bit his lip, and fell hard on his right wrist / forearm. We decided to play it safe and bring him in to After Care. They took an x-ray but the doctor couldn’t tell if the little spot in the picture was a fracture or an artifact. They wrapped him up in a bandage and told us to call the next day after the radiologist had a chance to look at the x-ray.
Helen spent the better part of Monday trying to get in touch with someone who knew what was going on. The best she got was a promise that someone would call her back. Fast forward to today. Helen tried calling back in the late afternoon after two days of silence. Once again we’re promised someone will get in touch with us. Finally around 7:30 the original doctor who looked at him called back. She had been off since Sunday but did some follow-up and determined that his arm was actually broken, a so-called greenstick fracture.
I was told to bring him in right away, so off we went. The nurse fussed at me a little bit because she said his hand was swollen. Obviously we hadn’t been keeping it elevated. Truth be told Dashiell had pretty much been doing normal everyday stuff- running, playing, jumping on the trampoline, playing video games, etc. We didn’t know! After three days with no feedback, we figured everything must be okay. If anything, I’d say Kaiser Permanente was to blame for not getting back to us. It’s not like he was in pain or anything. It only hurt if you touched a certain area. And we did keep him wrapped up… most of the time.
So now he’s got a removable cast and a sling. Poor boy. The first thing he said to me was that he wouldn’t be able to hold a controller. Oh well. It’s only for three weeks.
Last year I started making things for each holiday or season. Not anything fussy or formal, just fun things to get out for the kids to play with that would be put away when the next season came along. (I’m a Waldorfer wannabe!) I started last year before Thanksgiving - I made felted wool vegetables. Then for winter I crocheted snowballs. For spring I crocheted chicks and eggs. Now we’re back to autumn again, so I made some kittens for Halloween:
I made these kittens with the pattern from Wee Wonderfuls - The first one was really frustrating but the next two were easy and fun - just had to figure out how they go together!
I stopped by Goodwill one day after work (as usual) and looked in the locked glass case where they usually keep the games. Didn’t see anything new but as I stepped away to leave I noticed a purplish bag out of the corner of my eye. It was on the top shelf hiding in plain sight. I asked to see it and discovered it was full of Gameboy accessories, an original Gameboy Advance, and several games with their directions. Except for The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons, which I was really excited about, the games were crappy. Still, after much hemming and hawing, I bought the bag of goodies.
Eighteen bucks felt pretty steep for one good game and a bunch of stuff I didn’t need but then I figured Hazel could have her very own Gameboy since she always wants to play Dashiell and Ray’s GBA SP’s and my very off-limits Gameboy Micro. (Hey, it’s fragile! I’m not being mean.) She’s pretty thrilled about it and likes me to link another Gameboy with hers so that we can fight each other in Godzilla Domination! “I’m really mad now,” she likes to say as she’s kicking my butt.
A couple of days before that purchase we found a pair of SNES controllers at the other Goodwill. I had actually been checking out prices for controllers that very week. We only had one and were looking to play some head-to-head Tetris Attack, Street Fighter II, and Ken Griffey Baseball. It’s funny because the two controllers actually cost a dollar more than we paid for the SNES system and one controller. Oh well. They’re actual SNES controllers and in decent shape. All of the ones on eBay are of the third party variety.
Later in the week Helen took the kids to the Twins Club sale for another score. The members of the local Mothers of Multiples club hold what amounts to a giant garage sale at a local church twice a year. Helen always finds a lot of good clothes for the kids there but this time she also found a white Gameboy Advance with a pristine screen. (The one I got Hazel has a few light scratches.) It came with four Gameboy/Gameboy Color games: Pokemon Red, Dr. Mario, Disney’s Tarzan, and Bugs Bunny 2: The Crazy Castle. The last two are garbage but the others were nice pickups.
When Helen paid for her stuff the woman looked at the kids and asked who the GBA was for, expecting one of them to want to carry it. Helen had to sheepishly explain it was for her. I thought she was kidding when she told me about the incident but sure enough she’s been playing lots of Dr. Mario ever since. I’m still pretty shocked by this turn of events but can’t say I’m not pleased. My wife is turning to the Dark Side! I’m going to have to pick her up a copy of Tetris Attack to really push her over the edge. And now we each have our own Gameboy, crazily enough.
Finally, yesterday we bought a NES Zapper at the Covington Goodwill. They saw it after the Twins Club sale the other day and for some reason didn’t jump on it. Fortunately it was still there as well as one of the seventeen titles that use the light gun peripheral, To the Earth. It’s a very difficult game, with space ships zipping across the screen launching missiles at such a rate it’s practically impossible to shoot everything. Much easier and a lot more fun is Duck Hunt, which we already had on a split cartridge with Super Mario Bros.
All in all, an awesome week of bargains for our newfound family hobby.
A while back I stopped at Goodwill and saw they had Mario 64 for Nintendo 64. We didn’t have a N64 but I thought sooner or later we might come across one for cheap. It was only three bucks so I grabbed it. Just in case, you know?
Sure enough, about a week later they had a Nintendo 64 system with two controllers for twenty-five bucks. One of the workers insisted that he set it up to make sure it was fully functional. It was and I pounced. There were also a bunch of N64 games for sale so I picked up Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, the classic 007 FPS Goldeneye, and Pilotwings 64.
One of the controllers had a rumble pack attached to the bottom of it. Must have been a pretty novel accessory at the time. Nowadays of course that function is built into the controller’s innards. I thought this N64 one was especially funny because it’s HUGE and sticks out really far underneath. It’s totally awkward. Not only that, it requires batteries! I can definitely live without so I just took it off.
A short time after that Helen came across a batch of N64 games at the Covington Goodwill for ten dollars. The keepers included Wave Race 64, Mission: Impossible, Automobili Lamborghini, and the most awesome football game I have ever played, NFL Blitz. That game is so fun! I read a review somewhere that accurately described it as a football game that even a non football fan can enjoy. Seven players a side, thirty yards for a first down, and over-the-top arcade action.
The other games in that bunch were Madden 64, NFL Quarterback Club 98, and NFL Quarterback Club 99. NFL Blitz is truly the only football game I need so I’m hoping to get maybe four bucks for those as a lot on eBay.
I also picked up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 during one of my compulsive visits to the Conyers Goodwill. It’s right around the corner from where I work and you just never know what treasures will be there! I’ll admit I’ve become quite the bargain shopping junkie.
To be honest, we haven’t really played all that much of our newest system. We’re awash in games right now and haven’t given any of the above titles much more than a cursory glance. Well, except for NFL Blitz. Did I mention how fun that game is? Still, we’ll eventually get around to them. Nintendo 64 seems like a solid system and I’m looking to getting the boys (and me) a few more games for Christmas, including Star Fox 64, Pokemon Snap, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Donkey Kong 64.
Lots of thrifting and treasures this week. I bought the beet, the pea pod and the carrot you see here a couple years ago when I was working at the nursery. There was a squash there too - but the week I decided to go ahead and buy these it was gone - someone bought it! After it sat there and collected dust for probably 3 years! So last week when I saw the squash at goodwill for $1.21 I grabbed it.
At a garage sale I found these - 32 cloth napkins made of linen - $2. Maybe a future embroidery project?
At the other goodwill - an apron kit from the fad-of-the-month club. Not even kidding, that is what it says. I love the little birdies, I guess there was whole co-ordinating set of pot holders, place mats, napkins, and the apron. I don’t know about you, but I always make a point of matching what I wear with my pot holders and place mats!
Monday we visited our friends who now live in Athens, she gave me a box of fabric including this vintage pink/brown pattern. I have lots of ideas for things to make with it and probably won’t run out, there are about 10 yards of it. Thanks Sondra!
A couple weeks ago I bought a bag of embroidery things at goodwill - I usually just buy the unfinished kits for the hoops and the unused floss - and this bit of yellow gingham with orange embroidery was in one of the bags. Today I made it into a wrap skirt for Hazel with some previously thrifted seam binding. She loves it - her favorite colors - and she said, “It’s like one of those cooker skirts!” (She means an apron.)
And I made a wrap skirt for myself too - cut down from a muu-muu/housedress type thing that was in with the fabric from Sondra. It is a really cool patterned fabric, and now Hazel and I will be ready for our beach vacation coming up!
First we drew our designs on the paper side. The boys made characters from the video game Metroid, I used rubber stamps and some fancy hole punches - the little leaves and the stars - for Hazel’s shirts. Then I cut out the shapes with a razor blade. An exacto knife would be much easier but I don’t have one yet. Then I ironed the paper onto the shirts and we sponged fabric paint on the stencils. We peeled off the paper and were all thrilled with our results! They are drying for 4-6 hours now, but if it was up to the boys they’d be wearing their long sleeved shirts right now (it is 90 degrees out.)