bobquasit: (Chris Elliot)
Sebastian asked me to read more of Cheaper By the Dozen this afternoon. I was happy to do it, since it meant that the TV wouldn't be on. So the three of us sat in the living room for several hours while I read. Teri slept for about two hours, but woke up in time to hear the last three chapters, as I hope she would.

It's a very fun book to read, but also physically challenging. The father, Frank Gilbreth, is a grand character, and I read him with a booming, hearty voice - it's really the only way to do it. After a while I started to feel as if I'd been lightly sandpapering my throat. But after a short break or two, I continued. I ended up reading the whole second half, and finished it.

He loves the book; he laughed and laughed. But I knew that the last three chapters would be tricky. While much of the rest of the book deals with the family members as children, in the two penultimate chapters the older girls have started to grow up. I knew that much of those chapters would go over his head.

And as for the last chapter...well, I don't want to spoil the book, so here's a spoiler warning. )
After that we watched the 1950 movie adaptation of Cheaper By the Dozen on Netflix - it was available to watch via instantly. If you don't know, let me say up front that the execrable Steve Martin movies that go under the same name have nothing whatever to do with the book - other than the title, and that they feature a family with twelve children. It's just another case of Hollywood taking something nice and crapping all over it, as they always do.

We'd all seen bits of the movie before, but never the whole thing. It was nice to all sit down together and watch it, particularly since we'd just finished the book. The movie was considerably more faithful to the book than any movie adaptation I've seen in the last twenty years; certainly far more faithful than Peter Jackson's inexcusably awful Lord of the Rings movies. The father was played by the slender and sprightly Clifton Webb, who was not a good physical match for the real Frank Gilbreth (he was tall and quite overweight, according to the book), but Webb played the part well enough. A romantic subplot was shoehorned in, but it's relatively minor and inoffensive. Likewise, a small running "suspense" plot was added too; it didn't really work, but didn't harm the movie much either.

The names of a few secondary characters were changed for no obvious reason, and much of the action in general was telescoped. The first half of the book was essentially cherry-picked and packed into the first quarter of the movie, with the more adult final sections being expanded quite a bit to fill in the remaining three-quarters of the film. Also, some lines were given to different characters than in the book, and a few key lines were slightly amended. But all in all, I was surprised by how faithful the movie was to the novel.

One annoying thing: our Wii's wifi connection completely failed with four minutes left to go in the movie, just after a very dramatic moment indeed. I had to run upstairs and pull the plug on both our cable modem and our router for 30 seconds. After that, we were able to finish watching the movie.

Sebastian liked both the book and the movie very much, and gave them both five stars. All in all, a very pleasant night for the family!

Our next step will be to read AND watch "Belles On Their Toes", the sequel to Cheaper By the Dozen. The movie can be ordered as a disc from Netflix; there's no streaming option, unfortunately. Our local library doesn't have a copy of the book, but the Rhode Island library network has many. I've requested a copy, and I imagine it should arrive soon. I'll put the movie at the top of our Netflix queue in time to have it just when I finish reading the book to Sebastian.
bobquasit: (Default)
I ended up having to call Nintendo customer support, because their site simply would not work. It was a pleasant call; the Nintendo rep asked me what sort of phone I was using, because she'd never heard such a clear call in her life. I was using Google Voice with my headset, and told her so.

On the down side, we're not qualified for free repairs. We'll have to pay $85 plus tax to have the Wii's lens cleaned. If we do, though, it will have a new warranty for twelve months. Still, that's more money than we'd care to spend at the moment.

I also discussed our DS problems with the rep. We have three DSes and a DSi, and none of them are working properly; they all have big problems playing almost any game. They no longer recognize that a chip has been inserted, most of the time!

Unfortunately, it would be ANOTHER $85 per machine to have them repaired, since they're all off of warranty. That's $425!!!

We could save $40 by shipping all of the DSes with the Wii, and the rep was able to reduce the per-DS cost to $50 under that circumstance. But that's still $285 plus tax.

I think we'll have to have the Wii repaired, since Sebastian's heart would break otherwise. But as for the DSes...I don't know.
bobquasit: (Default)
I'm really dead tired. But let me see...

Lots of handywork lately. I replaced the light switch inside a ceiling fan in the kitchen. I helped (a bit) Teri's brother and his wife as they put drywall up on our dining room ceiling. I helped put joint compound on the drywall. And I installed a steel floor jack in the basement.

Our living room floor had always had a tendency to shake a bit, particularly when Sebastian jumps up and down. It was a little scary. My Dad had put a 2x4 in the basement a few years ago, but it was starting to splinter. So I picked up a steel floor jack at Lowes for $40. It wasn't too hard to install, and now the floor is nice and steady.

Okay, it still creaks here and there, but it's much more solid-feeling.

And today, I did something quixotic: I bought a Wii Fit. They had a fresh shipment at Best Buy in the lobby at work, and I had some extra money, so I said "what the hell". Maybe it will help us lose weight, all three of us. I'd read mixed reviews, but it seemed worth it to spend $89 on the possibility of getting Sebastian into better shape. I worry about his weight.

It turned out well, at least tonight. We all played it, even Teri, and I worked up a damned good sweat. It's surprisingly solid and strong; I'd heard that it was only good for up to 250 lbs. (I'm over that, unfortunately), but I did some research and found out today that the American model can handle up to 330. So I can use it.

And it's fun! It's an accurate electronic scale, and it tracks our weight and BMI. I'm going to try to use it every night. It can't hurt, right?

Update: I forgot to say, the whole thing was rather synchonicity-ous. If I hadn't put the floor jack under the living room two days before, right where the Wii balance board HAD to be, the whole house would have shook when we played Wii Fit.


Dec. 29th, 2008 02:59 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
A comment from Askville about DS games:

My son got one a month ago. We got my wife one for Christmas. I'm the only one in my family who doesn't have one.

Super Mario 64 is a great game, if you like that sort of thing. I'm also really looking forward to trying The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass, which is a sequel to the superb The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the GameCube/Wii. Both of those games are essentially RPG/adventure games, but they're beautifully done.

But the game that has REALLY hooked every adult so far is Margot's Word Brain. Read more... )
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't know if LJ is dying or if it's just the holiday, but it's awfully quiet around here! I don't feel like writing much myself. I'm feeling lousy in all sorts of ways.

But I guess I'd better do some updates.

- Sebastian got the Nutshell Kids book collection in his stocking. They're four tiny little books by Maurice Sendak, and were all turned into songs by Carole King for the Really Rosie TV special. Sebastian has been reading the books every has been a really special time for us.

- I've managed to make flossing a regular part of Sebastian's evening routine. It should be a big help to him for the rest of his life.

- I picked up a card reader for $14 at BJs yesterday. You see, when I bought my computer I saved a few bucks by eliminating the card reader; I didn't really know what it was, and it sounded useless. But my camera needs to be powered on in order to transfer pictures from the SD card to the computer, and the process is very clunky; Windows doesn't interact well with my camera.

The connection often fails - not the actual wire, it's more like the camera goes into sleep mode and the computer forgets it existed - and even when it works, the transfer speed is really slow. It took nearly an hour to empty the 2GB chip!

What really pushed me over the brink was my attempt to show photos and video from our Disney trip to our families. Both of our families came over (on different days), and I tried various ways to get the pictures to display on our TV. A DVD simply failed. A data CD gave the message that the photos were an incompatible size. It was really frustrating!

Since we'd recently gotten a new router and hooked it up to the Wii, I downloaded their new Photo Channel 1.1 - it was free. It was also rather promising, and I was excited to see that you could use it to show photos and videos from an SD card. Once again there were problems, though. I discovered to my horror that Windows wouldn't allow me to copy pictures TO the camera. It was a one-way connection!

Our families aren't likely to visit again for a long time, but nonetheless I went and picked up a card reader. It let me throw about 30 photos and 30 videos on the SD card quickly and easily - it's SO good when technology works well. I put the card in the Wii, and was amazed at the results.

You can view individual photos and videos, edit them, turn them into puzzles, zoom in, etc. etc. You can also play videos backwards - and we all just about died of laughter watching Sebastian shoot up a water slide.

It was the slide show feature that was most impressive, though. It has a lot of options for control, but the default settings produced a simply lovely show. Photos and videos were shown in the order they were taken; the photos were displayed in various ways, zooming slowly in or out or across, with some really lovely and effective music playing as a soundtrack. Videos were intercut with the photos beautifully. Nintendo did a really great job, I must say!

New router

Dec. 28th, 2008 12:17 am
bobquasit: (Default)
We did a bit of shopping on the 26th, and I picked up a new wireless router. As you may remember, our old Linksys one died a few months after we bought it. So this time, I went with a Belkin.

It was...I can't tell you how much easier it was to set up than that Linksys router. It was so easy to get it working with the Wii, and I was stunned at how much easier it was to set up security, too.

We had a lot of Wii updating to do, and I couldn't resist downloading a few games: Star Fox 64 and Dungeon Explorer (which was originally on the Turbo Grafx).

What else? Oh, right: Sebastian got Teri a DS for Christmas. I figured, what the hell. We survived the flight home, after all - and that was a pretty scary experience.

One thing I forgot to mention about the flight: when we were in Atlanta getting ready to come home, and the weather reports were really bad, and the pilot was making scary-sounding announcement (and sounding pretty scared himself)...I went over and bought Sebastian a giant $53-dollar stuffed panda from the Zoo Atlanta kiosk. I figured that on the small chance that we might die, it made more sense for his last few hours to be as happy as possible - and that by holding the panda on his lap, he'd get a little more protection if the plane got shaken up.

Teri and Sebastian got a lot of DS games, too. Teri bought Shrek: Carnival Games; I tried to tell her that that was almost certainly a crappy game (stuff based on movies and TV usually is, and I personally HATE Shrek) but somehow lost the will to press my point. Sure enough, though, the game turned out to suck royally.

One game that has addicted both of us is the "Word Link" game in Margot's Word Brain. It's kind of like a cross between Boggle and Tetris, with the emphasis on Boggle. You have to make words from letters, and when you do the letters disappear and new ones drop in from the top. You only get 90 seconds to get as high a score as possible.

I have the two top scores right now, but she'll doubtless beat me eventually. She'll have quiet time to play. And random chance is definitely a large factor, so the more she plays, the more likely she is to get top scores.

Argh. Must sleep.


Nov. 28th, 2007 01:35 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
It's a truism that you need to walk or jog for at least 30 minutes to elevate your metabolism. Anything less doesn't really help much, I'd heard.

But a couple of weeks ago, I found myself wondering: what would happen if, every two hours, I got up from my desk and took a five-minute walk down and up the stairs? Would it make any difference? I was planning to try it, but between the holidays and getting sick I didn't really have a chance.

But now I will, because apparently researchers have found that sitting for hours on end actually causes the enzymes that burn fat to shut down.

A New Way to Control Weight? Scientists Say Just Standing Up May Be as Important as Exercise

Go figure! This also explains why some Wii users lose weight, come to think of it.
bobquasit: (Default)
Early this evening Teri, Sebastian, and I did ten frames of Wii bowling. To be honest, we haven't used the Wii as much as we should; I'm not sure why. We'll have to use it more.

In the first frame Sebastian stepped right up, waved his arm in a typical wild I'm-six-and-I-don't-know-what-I'm-doing motion, and got a strike. On his second frame, he did the exact same thing again; two strikes in a row!

I was up next. This cold has been killing me; I really do feel pretty awful, and it showed in my game. I only got one spare in the first nine frames, which is much worse than I normally do. Going into the tenth frame, Sebastian was strongly in the lead, with Teri trailing badly and me in a dismal last place.

For the first time in my life, though, I bowled a turkey in the final frame! Three strikes in a row. I think the difference is that I worked out a new motion. I did my usual position and swing, and then shoved my remote straight forward towards the Wii sensor strip as I was releasing the ball. I mean the button.

Even with a turkey, though, I still came in last - Teri beat me by four points! And Sebastian beat both of us. I'll admit that I coached him a couple of times in the middle of the game to help him pick up two spares, but even so, he did a fine job of bowling.

Okay, time for me to sleep.

Wii Galore

Aug. 30th, 2007 03:35 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I was in a Target somewhere near Walpole early yesterday evening, and was shocked to see twelve Wii systems being put out for sale. The clerk told me that they'd had them for four days. Either people don't know they're there, or maybe the craze is slowing down a little.
bobquasit: (Default)
Here are the games we've bought online for the Wii so far:
Donkey Kong - I got this mainly for Sebastian. Frankly, it's a disappointment; it's the old console version, NOT the arcade version. It lacks the later levels, and gameplay isn't the same.

Military Madness - This is hands-down the BEST strategy video game ever made. I played it way back when on the TurboGrafx-16, still own it, and have an emulator to boot - but I jumped at the chance to get it on the Wii. What an awesome game! I hate strategy board games, and I'm still a huge fan of this one.

Super Mario Bros. - The classic old side-scroller that I used to pump quarters into in college. What fun.

Bonk's Adventure - An absolutely great old TurboGrafx game, with one of the best endings I've ever seen. This was the first in the Bonk series, and I think it's the best. I can play this one through from start to finish in less than an hour, but it's still great every time.

Bomberman '93 - This is an update of the old Bomberman game that I played on the TurboGrafx. It's definitely more complicated than the original, which I frankly miss. Unfortunately the original isn't available on the Wii yet.

Super Mario 64 - When my roommate Scott first brought this home and started playing it, I went insane. I dreamed this game for years afterwards. It's the definitive 3D game. I sometimes wonder what made it so incredible: was it the ease of control? The clarity and bright colors? The depth of play? Maybe all of that. In any case, we've already collected over 90 power stars and are working our way towards 120 and a rooftop meeting with Yoshi.

I think that all of this shows that the Wii is headed towards the top of the console market. Whenever I read a story about the Wii vs. other consoles, inevitably there are some furious comments from Xbox 360 or PS3 fans screaming that the Wii is only a fad, a gimmick, with pathetic graphics - surely once everyone realizes how superior the Xbox or PS is they'll come crawling on their hands and knees, leaving the Wii behind them.

Bullshit! As someone pointed out, Nintendo has gone beyond the hardcore gamer market - they're no longer dependent on competing with (and beating) Microsoft and Sony, they're actually reaching an entirely new, untapped market of former non-gamers. Look at me - I haven't bought a new console in a long time, and the only reason I have a GameCube is because Teri bought it for me to play while I was recovering from surgery. Yet not only do we have a Wii, but we're buying games from it. The nostalgia market is yet another one that Xbox and the PlayStation haven't tapped into.

The hardcore gamer market is miniscule compared to the potential market for the Wii. And don't even get me started on the stupidity of selling a game system at a loss in order to make it up on the back end! Well, actually it does work, of course (or rather it can), but if your competition is actually making money on every system they sell, you're in serious trouble.

And since 95% of the responses to those grumpy hardcore gamers are inevitably pro-Wii, I think the majority of people agree. :D
bobquasit: (Default)

Mii? Mii?
My Mii. Unfortunately there's no way to capture a Mii directly from the Wii to a PC (although apparently you can do it with a Mac), so I snapped a photograph of it on the TV. Everyone thinks it looks a lot like me.
Mii Emulated? Emulating Mii?
There's a website where you can re-create your Mii, and here are the results. The emulation is rather different from the actual Wii Mii generator, though. I suspect that whoever created the emulator was young, and was biased towards styles and looks for younger people - the idea of a full beard was apparently beyond their comprehension (or, perhaps, their technical ability).

I suspect that eventually Nintendo will allow Mii captures or emailing or something - apparently they do plan to do more things with Miis. I have to say, it's mesmerising just to watch them interact in the Mii Plaza. A Sims-like game would be really cool.
bobquasit: (Sam - Holy ^@%#!)
I'm so tired. I was up late last night, because the Wii suddenly lost its wireless connection. I ended up changing the security settings on the router, and then discovered that I had to enter the complete router key rather than the password I'd set up. But the key kept coming up wrong.

Finally, out of sheer desperation, I tried replacing the single "l" with a "1", and that worked. It's a bit embarrassing; using an l instead of a 1 is an amateur's mistake, and one that I'm well aware of. But I'd had to write the key down by hand (the computer is upstairs, the Wii is downstairs, and the printer is currently unplugged to make room for the router), and my handwriting sucks.

The new connection was much faster than the old one. Even thought I was desperately tired, I couldn't resist playing around a little. And before I knew it, I was amazed to discover that I'd worked up a sweat. I'd also broken my personal bowling record twice - my top score is now 179.

Interestingly enough, that's still comparable to my real-world scores, back when I bowled; at my best, I occasionally bowled a bit over 200. But that was rare.

After I played for a while the remote suddenly stopped working. In fact, both remotes stopped working. When I pressed a button all the LEDs would flash, but neither remote would interact with the Wii console in any way. So it looks like I'll have to re-synchronize them tonight.

So far the Wii does seem a bit more prone to trouble than I would have hoped. But it's a lot of fun to play with. I'm dying to get Super Mario Bros. and a few other games...not to mention Zelda: Twilight Princess.


I was feeling pretty zombie-like when I got on the train this morning. Normally when I'm tired, I put on my earphones, tune in NPR, and go to sleep. There's bad interference with all NPR stations near Ruggles (I often wonder why; they both get drowned out by Imus), which usually wakes me up in time to get off at my stop. Although it's not the end of the world if I DO miss my stop, since my company runs shuttles from both of the following stations as well.

I settled into my seat, put on the earphones, and was just preparing to doze when a hideous noise ripped through my head. Everyone in the area jumped and looked towards me. I looked around myself, and saw that the guy sitting in the seat behind me - a great big disgusting fat guy, nearly as bloated and huge as myself - had fallen asleep with his mouth open and was snoring up a storm.

They were incredibly loud and painful snores, too. It sounded like a giant ripping telephone books in half. Everyone in the area exchanged amused/disgusted looks. One woman eventually couldn't take it, and left the coach.

The noise bugged me, but at that point I was unlikely to be able to find another open seat. I don't like to push in on an already-occupied two-person seat, because I'm big and I don't like the aggrieved sighs and sullen looks I often get from a seatmate (although no one ever seems to mind pushing in on me, if it's physically possible). So I sat tight.

But now I had a problem. I really wanted to sleep. But if I did, people in the coach might think that the horrible noise was coming from me. So I sat there, awake, until I got to Ruggles. When I got off, the guy was still snoring.

Wii update

Apr. 5th, 2007 12:10 pm
bobquasit: (Daffy)
I have some more thoughts on the Wii.

We seem to have gained a Wii email account, but there's no cost. It's a long number...let me see...w8803343913635475 at wii dott com. Although I'm not sure if you can just email that address; we might have to "register" your address in our address book first. I should test that.

They do charge for downloading games, of course - generally, between $5 and $8 per game, although a few are a little more. The games include some of the best TurboGrafx-16 games (I was amazed to see Military Madness, the only electronic strategy wargame I've ever liked), Nintendo 64 games such as Super Mario 64 and Star Fox 64, and some arcade classics like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros. According to Wikipedia there were 72 games available when the article was last updated, and approximately three new games are released every Monday.

The internet browser was free, although it's a beta version (based on Opera). I hear that the full version will roll out later this month, and will be free if you get it before June.

I also downloaded the "Everybody Votes!" channel, which was another freebie. Not bad, although so far not that exciting.

The weather channel is superior to online weather channels, I think. On the other hand, I wouldn't want to deceive you about the internet access: it has limitations, or at least the beta version does. It can't play videos; for example, when I use it to look at my journal, the embedded YouTube videos aren't visible at all, not even the still screens. And I think I've heard that it has problems with some Flash animations, too.

Another down side is that, for the first time I feel as if our TV (a 35" model, I believe) is too small. At normal viewing distance on the couch, it's very hard to read most text. You can zoom in, but then you have to look at only a part of the page at a time. A bit inconvenient.

The computer remains the best way to do serious work on the internet, and I imagine that it will remain so even when a keyboard accessory comes out for the Wii.

I also suspect that the connectivity is not entirely reliable. Once or twice it seemed to lose access to the net for a minute or so. Of course, that could be Cox's fault; who knows?


Apr. 4th, 2007 08:41 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Holy crap! I'm entering this from my Wii!

I finally got the router set up, and let me tell you, it wasn't easy. But it's up, I've downloaded the Wii browser, and everything's working.

Unfortunately Teri is taping a couple of shows tonight, so now I have to sign off.
bobquasit: (Laszlo Late)
So yesterday Teri picked me up at work. Before we drove over to pick up Sebastian, we did a little Wii-browsing at Best Buy (it's in the lobby of my building). While we were looking, I saw something that made me gasp.

It was a Wii accessory: a little stick, not much bigger than a regular flash drive. You plug it into a USB port on a computer with a broadband connection to the internet, and BOOM! your Wii has a wireless signal!

It was only $34.99, so I splurged.

When I opened the box at hom, though, my heart sank. The manual said that it was designed to work with USB 2.0 ports, and wouldn't work with USB 1 ports.

The bastard who designed my piece-of-shit computer used the cheapest possible components whenever possible. Even though USB 1.0 was out of date when I bought my computer, USB 1's were all that the son-of-a-bitch gave me.

But hope springs eternal, so I installed the software and plugged it in. And to my amazement, it worked - kind of. It was horribly slow, taking ten minutes or more to do something that the Wii expected to be done "in a moment", but it worked and was able to upgrade the system. We were even able to get online, although again it took five minutes or so to get news or weather.

Even at that slow pace, I have to tell you: the online Wii experience was fucking amazing. Words fail me. And they have a ton of games that I'm dying to buy, including a lot of my favorites from the old Turbo-Grafx. Best of all, they have Donkey Kong and the side-scrolling arcade version of Super Mario! I loved that game.

Later on, though, the connection stopped working. And no matter what I did, it stayed dead. So today I returned the Wii connector.

I figured I needed to get a wireless hub, which is a technology I haven't dealt with yet. I'd read that you could get them for $50 or so, and [ profile] zarhooie swore that they were easy. So I skipped lunch today (which would have cost $8-9) returned the Wii connector ($35), and bought a Linksys Wireless-G router for $49.99. I barely had enough money to cover it, but payday is tomorrow. And I've got the Wii monkey on my back, bad.

My understanding is that all I need to do is take the plug of the regular internet cable connection which leads from the cable modem to the ethernet card on my computer, and plug it into the router. Then I can use the second ethernet cable (supplied with the router, I already checked) and plug that connection into the computer, giving me the same connectivity. The computer doesn't have a wireless card, of course!

Once I've done that, I'll get the Wii to connect to the router, and tell the router to allow the Wii to connect, and everything should be set. The Wii will connect to the internet 24 hours a day, allowing our little Miis to parade onto the systems of our friends.

Although actually, we don't have any friends with a Wii right now. Teri's mother has one, but she doesn't have internet access.

Does anyone out there have a Wii?
bobquasit: (The Question)
I wonder if anyone thought that I was doing an April Fool's post about the Wii yesterday? Probably not.

But the truth is, we do have a Wii now. Here's the story:

Teri's mother was planning to get us a Wii for our anniversary, which is in three weeks. As you may know, they're very hard to come by - they've been selling out instantly, everywhere, as soon as they're available.

But she'd seen a flyer saying that seven units would be available at the Wal-Mart in Bellingham on Sunday morning.

So at 7 AM on Sunday Teri woke me up. Personally, I was skeptical. There had probably been people in line four hours already, after all. Teri called Bellingham, and my guess was right; they'd opened at 7 AM, and all the units were gone.

But on the off chance that other stores had also received shipments, we drove over to check the Wal-Mart in Woonsocket.

That store wasn't open yet, but there were a number of people packed into the space between the outer and inner doors. When I walked in, I immediately asked "How many people are ahead of me?"

I was amazed to hear that we were the seventh people in line.

They were an interesting group; among them were a mother and her two sons, shrouded in blankets. They'd slept there since 12:30 AM. But everyone was excited and happy.

We'd locked the doors behind us (it was a group decision), but soon after a couple of tall, creepy-looking guys in their late teens or early twenties started hammering at the door. We called out to them that they were too late, but apparently they didn't even know that Wiis were available; they just wanted to buy a box of dentures, if I understood their mumbled patois correctly. Since the store wouldn't open for another hour or so, they eventually got discouraged and walked away.

Then there was an unexpected development. Frankly, I'd been surprised that we'd been allowed to get inside the first door and wait in the antechamber area; what came next was even more surprising. The manager came over, unlocked the inner door, and started selling us the Wiis - even though the store wasn't open yet!

This presented a problem for us. Teri's mother was driving over with the money for the Wii, but she wasn't there yet. Fortunately, I had just enough money to pay for one myself, after transferring every penny to my debit card.

So we bought the Wii. And it turned out that there were actually nine Wiis for sale, which was ironic since there was only seven of us. As we left the store, Teri's mother drove up with Sebastian in the back seat (he'd spent the night there, since we went to a party for a friend of Teri's the night before; her son is going into the military, which could be a whole separate entry in itself).

She ran into the store (just ahead of several other people who were heading in), and bought a Wii for herself! Incidentally, she did know that we'd already gotten one. I was surprised; I hadn't realized that she wanted one for herself. But later on, after I set it up for her, she really seemed to enjoy it.

So what's the Wii like?

Smaller than I expected, for one thing. It's smaller than any other game system I've owned. The remote is quite small and light too, but not too light; it fits into my hand perfectly, and is a really well-designed controller.

The responsiveness is impressive. You have to use an on-screen keyboard to enter words, pointing and clicking on each letter, and I was shocked at how easy it was to type. I hear that a keyboard accessory will eventually be available, but the on-screen keyboard is really not at all inconvenient. The remote gives a little tremble every time the pointer moves into a new choice area - for example, from one letter to another - which is surprisingly useful.

The Miis were a lot of fun. I think that mine is ugly (I'll take a picture soon), but Teri and Sebastian think that it's very accurate. Sebastian's is cute, although he refused to allow us to put freckles on it, and insisted on a head shape that's not quite accurate.

Teri couldn't quite find a head of hair that suited her, but she still managed to produce a pretty good representation.

I was a little surprised at some of the limitations on Miis. The range of hair and skin color is very limited; only six or eight tones, and none of them really unusual. Clothes can't be modified at all. If you want to make an alien or animal Mii, you're out of luck - at least for now.

Having said that, the Miis are really cute and I wish that there was more that we could do with them. Maybe Nintendo will work something up later. One interesting option is that you can allow your Miis to "travel" to other user's systems and go on parade.

Unfortunately we don't have a wireless internet connection at our house, so we're not yet able to have our Miis travel. Nor can we go online or download games. Speaking of which, if anyone can give me advice on setting up a wireless router, please let me know. I'm hoping it's not expensive.

What about the games? Well, we only have Wii Sports so far. We don't even have a second controller yet, although that's definitely high on our to-buy list. In fact, we're going to need three controllers, one for each of us.

Anyway, the sports were surprisingly fun. I say "surprisingly", because I don't really like sports all that much. But these were easy enough that I was able to do pretty well. And Sebastian knocked out two computerized boxers!

One thing that we all noticed was that the music was a little "Mario-ish" - or, more accurately, "Luigi-ish". It sounded very much like the non-scary music from Luigi's Scary Mansion, in fact. But that was okay.

The Wii has a fitness test which estimates your physical age. Apparently I'm 72. I'd feel worse, but Teri's mother scored in her 80s. :D

The Wii gives a good workout, incidentally - we were all surprised at how much exercising we did while playing.

So how do I like it? Well, after Teri and Sebastian went to sleep, I went back downstairs and played baseball, bowling, and tennis for at least half an hour. Does that answer your question? :D


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February 2016

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