Video games and me

My wonderful partner is a gamer (both of ours are, actually).  He plays video games, D&D, etc.  Since I like to snuggle with him on the couch, I have watched quite a bit of video gaming.  I never play myself, though.  It seems kind of tedious and I don’t have the eye-hand coordination for it (since I didn’t grow up doing it).  Studies show that video gamers are actually better at attention tasks than most other people!

Even though I only watch, usually, I still have opinions about games that I like and don’t like.  And a few times I have actually played some things on the Wii, due to ease of control.  I thought WiiSports was totally fun — well — fun until I hyperextended my elbow playing frisbee.  Oops.  We also tried Super Mario Galaxy, which was again fun, especially the team-play aspect that let me be a backup player to his more experienced play.  The parts I had trouble with were the parts where I had to jump.  It turns out that, in video games as in life, I have only rudimentary jumping abilities.

Most recently, we tried Kirby’s Yarn Adventure.  The thing that made me stop playing was the discovery that leveling isn’t linear.  At first, each level is ok and I am finally starting to get the hang of it when WHAM!  the next level is way, WAY harder and I can never manage it (for values of “never” meaning “I am too lazy”). (#2 says:  They do that on purpose, it says so in my partner’s book on game design.  That’s how they get less-lazy people trapped.)

Flying pirate ship in Rogue Galaxy, hell yeah!

My favorite game, which I watched my partner play hours and hours of several years ago, remains Rogue Galaxy on the PS2.  Here are the things I like about it:

  • When you kill enemies and get coins, they are given to you all in a lump at the end.  Therefore you don’t have to run around picking them up, which is distracting, as in Kingdom Hearts.
  • The game has great music.  It’s a real trick to play, say, the same going-into-battle music or the same running-around-this-planet music over and over and over and have me not get sick of it!
  • The mechanisms of combat are not annoying.  There’s a mix of environments to keep it interesting.
  • For the most part the characters were not too annoying (except the Jar-Jar guy) and the game is more female-focused than usual, though it is still a male-focused game.

Look, women

  • Importantly, it had an innovative collecting system where you find items and have to strategize how to put them together to open up new items

  • Somehow I got into the story and made him wait for me to finish it.  That NEVER happens!  The game is pretty, too, though not as pretty as, say, Kingdom Hearts.  Bioshock on the PC was very pretty too.

#2 says:  Some of you have already heard my sad saga of why I can’t play video games anymore.  To recap:  DH leaves for a conference.  Day 1:  I work until 6pm, then play Neverwinter Nights until 10 or so.  Day 2:  I work until noon, then play Neverwinter Nights until midnight or so.  Day 3:  I play Neverwinter Nights until DH gets home and I’ve beaten it on Day 5 (or was it 6 or 7?  It is all a blur…), wondering why I smell bad and don’t appear to have eaten or blinked in several days.  Video game privileges revoked as apparently I have no self-control.  It is a wonder I ever made it to the bathroom (assuming I did).



  • Dear people on Etsy:  I don’t think “upcycled” means what you think it means.
  • Dear people on Craigslist: “vintage” and “antique” are not quite the same as “old and gross”.  Likewise “shabby chic”.
  • Canvas grocery bags shrink a lot in the wash.
  • Even if you have decided you don’t want the job, it is probably not a good idea to go to the dinner pre-drunk and start with the f-word every third sentence (even if you’re CPP!).  Bonus points for not telling your dinner companions what you think of them before dessert comes.
  • Not a rant:  But I kind of like being busy but not stressed.  (It’s the busy and stressed or not busy and stressed that I hate!)
  • DC sings “Why why why why” to the tune of frere Jacques.  Hir favorite word, even when spoken not sung.
  • Ranting against negativity is astonishingly negative.
  • A relative paid for a year of storage.  Finally he went to the facility to take stuff out… and he ended up just tossing it all because he didn’t want any of it anymore.  It was all junk he was storing for no reason.  (Well, junk and the comic books DH had forgotten he’d lent him and had wondered what happened to… that was a nice reunion)
  • I hate it when famous people scoop me on research I’ve been working on for a long time.  I’m so fricking slow.  I hate it.  Hate.
  • But I’m lazy and that sucks too.
  • As do teaching
  • and service
  • and people who try to guilt trip me into thinking there’s something wrong with resenting the massive amounts of time the aforementioned two sucks take

How did you meet your sig other?

Mine was alone in an open room at high school mooning over a girl he’d asked to a dance but she wasn’t interested.  (Later she came out as a lesbian, explaining how she could possibly be immune to DH’s considerable charms.)  I had a conversation with him and wished him best of luck.  I thought he was kind of goofy then (and I was dating someone else).  I didn’t see  him again until months later when his friend was throwing me a 16th birthday party.

Then his friend kept inviting us to regular group activities.  Then the other members of the group would have something else to do and it was just me and DH.  He talked about role playing games as if they’d been actual conquests and I thought he was entertaining but a huge nerd.  Somewhere along the way I dumped my then-boyfriend after having a great weekend when then-boyfriend was gone for pre-frosh weekend at Caltech.  Then DH kissed my hand one day and I realized he was a guy and attractive and fun to be around and I fell in love right then and there.  It took some time for DH to feel the same way, though I’d had no idea he didn’t right away.  He says now that he was an idiot who didn’t think any girl would ever like him, but I dunno.

We got in trouble a lot for making out.  They even contacted our parents once.

We decided to take a break for college, because we’d seen so many couples torn apart by the stress of trying to stay together.  We went to different schools.  I dated a series of losers.  He didn’t date anyone (despite lots of attractive women passing by saying, “Hiiiiiiii DeeeeAiiiich” whenever I visited… he’d say, “Oh, I helped her with a computer program… not sure what her name is.”).  We decided we were meant for each other junior year and got engaged senior year.  Got married right out of college and never looked back.  Best thing that has ever happened to me.

How did you meet yours?

Architecture for Real Life?

December 21 is the first day of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Is there any architecture that works in places that actually have SEASONS?

For example, now it is cold here.  I am grateful that I have low ceilings, so less to heat.  However, in the summer I want high ceilings.  (I know, ceiling fans… are universally ugly.  I hate them.) (#2:  Loves her some ceiling fans)

Maybe a cave.  My brick house is not doing it; the temperature lag can be a problem.  It takes a LONG time to heat up, but once it does it stays hot.  This is nice in winter evenings, but not in summer.  In summer it’s like sitting inside my own personal tandoor, slowly stewing at night and wishing I could take the roof off.  Though if I could, that would be wicked drafty in winter.  (#2  Mmmm basement living… I bet you’d like a bunker.)

Current solutions all seem to suck half the time (which half varies).  I fantasize about having a bed on hydraulic lifts:  in the winter I could put it up near the ceiling, next to the shared wall with the warm kitchen.  In the summer I could put it down on the floor, away from the kitchen wall and closer to the windows.

Does anyone have a sane way to build houses for 4-season weather?

Women need MORE MONEY

… not more touchy-feely stuff:  A rant.

AKA, Job satisfaction does not fund your retirement.

I went to a talk where this woman was talking about the new definition of job satisfaction for women in middle age.  First we all filled out a questionnaire with choices between things like “I am focused on success and money in my career” and “I am looking to give back and make a difference with my career.”  After we filled them out, the speaker asked who in the room had chosen mostly things on the right vs. on the left side of the scale.

I was the only person in the room full of women who had chosen predominantly the career- and money-focused side, and not the interpersonal and personal-satisfaction side.  The side that only I chose was apparently the “male” side and the other side was the one that women chose more.  (N.B.: I am a woman.)

Throughout her talk, she was trying to make a point that women who quit high-powered careers are, more and more, quitting to start their own businesses, which is actually a form of success, not failure.

Um.  Not quite.

Women can afford to quit their career and start their own business because their husbands make more than they do.  Most new businesses fail.  Even the ones that succeed have a multi-year process of being in the red and during that time, women aren’t funding their retirement.

Many women don’t have careers at all, only jobs, because of time off for childbearing.  Or they work in areas where there is no opportunity for advancement, because those jobs let them stay home with kids.  The pay disparities between White and Latino/a or Black workers is even worse.

Women need MORE MONEY, not more job satisfaction.  I mean, job satisfaction is nice.  But I was the only one in the room who raised the point that focusing on feeling self-fulfilled might actually HARM women if they are willing to take low pay in return.

SHOW ME THE MONEY, you data-massaging speaker!

(Surprisingly, this post NOT written by the PF half of us.)

#2 comments:  In econ they call the things that make your job suck or sing “compensating differentials.”  If your job sucks, you have to be compensated for it.  If your job is awesome, then you’ll get paid next to nothing, all other things being equal.  Now, there’s definitely a problem that standard economic theory cannot explain when it comes to male-dominated and female-dominated jobs.  Female-dominated jobs are under-compensated compared to male-dominated.  Social work is extremely difficult, has high burn-out rates, requires an advanced degree, and yet pays next to nothing.  That should not be in a standard competitive framework equilibrium.  Economists need sociologists to theorize about why this is, because it is very difficult to figure out unless we posit that women have different tastes on average or women do not have the same options as men for structural reasons (e.g. some type of discrimination).  And both of those are black boxes for the economist.

#1’s post fits nicely with a recent post from Worst Prof Ever about how employers use “feeling needed” to pay women less (whereas in a rational world, that would lead to paying more, as they do for men).  IBTP.  And I want more money.

Pen choice: A conversation while grading

#1:  I definitely prefer carmine to scarlet.  Unfortunately I have two scarlets and only one carmine. The carmine also wears down faster, but it’s so much easier on my hand.  It just kind of flows off.

#2:  Doh.  I use marker.

#1:  I have been known to use crayon.   My favorite are the red rollerball wet ink pens, but they don’t have any in the supply closet.  Just colored pencils.

#2:  I hate fine-point pens.  They are an abomination.  Medium point represent!

#1:  Color?

#2:  Purple.  Some blues.  Some blacks.  Sometimes green.  Occasionally red.

#1:  I like to bleed all over.  It makes the ginormous NO!!!! that much more effective.  Green is kind of like ichor– alien blood all over the paper.

#2:  What is blue? I haz teh bloos?

#1:  You make me so depressed?  Or, I’m too lazy to find a different color pen.  Same with black.

#2:  Purple?

#1:  Bruises.  For our broken souls.

What is your grading implement of choice and why?  Justify your answer in a short paragraph.  (Or you know, a sentence fragment… whichever is easier for us to grade!*)

*Disclaimer:  We will not actually be grading your work.  *shudder*

On the links

Another week in which we’re drowning in grading.  (More tomorrow on that…)

A fun site:  Dear Blank, Please Blank.

A favorite quote from a comment in a blog:  “unless you’re somehow gay and so far in the closet you’re in Narnia.”  Update:  Urgh… the rest of the discussion in there has gotten kind of ugly… especially since they’re saying nasty (untrue!) things about my partner’s family.

What was your best Christmas Present Ever?  Graceful Retirement offers lists from her life and friends.

Related:  Mutant Super Model suggests you don’t buy nothing this season, but that you get into the spirit of Christmas by buying gifts.

My teaching has had no impact.

Worst Prof Ever with a very thought provoking piece on how the man is keeping us down through guilt and making us seem needed.  This nicely juxtaposes with an upcoming post of ours on women not being paid what they’re worth.  It’s nice feeling needed but we want to be paid more because of that, not less!  (My mom got caught in this trap too, until she forewent cancer treatment because the dept needed her to finish the semester, and still taught while she was recovering because they needed someone to teach… and then got no raise because of her low evals that semester.  When you hear you’re needed, use that as a bargaining chip to leverage for more money and time, not less.)

Suba @ wealth informatics explains what the tax deal means to us.  I love the lack of politics and the wealth of information.

Check out this chart from drug monkey on top marginal tax rates.

Hey y’all with the wordpress blogs, please check your spam filters– I think I’m in there!  Either that or a bunch of different bloggers have blocked me.  (Like historiann, eemusings, worstprofever…)  Or I’m seriously going crazy and just imagining typing out witty responses.  (Of course, there’s also a rant or two in there when a blogger hit a pet peeve…)

use this to add spice to lectures next semester
but not this

Oh, man I totally forgot to link… we were featured on molly on money this week!  And we were in the carnival of personal finance too.  Let me dig up those links…