Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Children - Dulce and Jose Francisco

My children continue to be a great joy; I never get tired of having kids in my lap or next to me. One night before Christmas I had talked with Dulce, my 7yo, about the fact that there were no monsters in the dark in her room. My 4yo, Alejandrita (alay-hon-dree-tah), chimed in saying "Dulce, the only tings in our room are da tings in our room." and she proceeded to list every item in the room, so Dulce said she knew everything that was in the room. I said "So, if you know everything that is in the room, you know what's not in the room, like Clyde the Monster." which gave the little and oldest (9yo) girl a chuckle. Dulce whimpered as she went to bed, crying softly, feeling ashamed, so as usual I went to give her a kiss and a hug in the dark room before I left, and I bumped my elbow on her wooden bunk bed frame as I came to her. It didn't make me yelp, just an annoyance to me but she immediately halted her crying, spoke up and said "Are you okay?"

I told her "Dulce, here you are crying because you feel bad that you're scared and your sisters aren't, and I bump myself and you ask me if I'm okay?" So instead of seeing her off, I stayed with her until she fell asleep as a reward.

My son, Jose Francisco, on the other hand, gets his rewards for exhibiting his Mayan and Spaniard ancestry, or his Latin blood. Every time he falls but gets up without a fuss, even if he now has a rosy bump on his head, my wife, my daughters, all know to clap for him and encourage him.

He likes to give me "Klingon head butts" as I call them. One day I was playing with him and he dropped a soldier, so we both went to pick it up and hit our heads. I'd moved quickly so it actually stung, but I laughed because that's what I do when Jose or I hurt ourselves, and so he laughed and wanted to do it again. So we did, and we did it again, and again, each time I'd deliver a bit harder of a thump, or try to change what part of my skull hit his, and finally dad had enough and I rubbed my head and shook my hand at him "that's enough".

He gave me this odd smirk when I did that. Then Dulce (my "princess," my sensitive daughter) came into the room and, being a sadistic Papa, I called her over for a kiss. She quickly took the opportunity and moved her head close to mine, right in front of Jose Francisco, who smiled and lobbed his head forward and *smack* Dulce exclaimed "OW!" which she does for any amount of pain, and Jose and I laughed, and I hugged Dulce and apologized. She chuckled too after she was in my arms.

Jose Francisco still likes to do the head-butting routine every once in a while and for a time I was completely confounded by it - why was it fun? I was never like that as a child. Pain was endured but not sought out. I got back on horses but I didn't like the fall. Then I realized: the same reason he gave me that smirk when I quit - any challenge to Jose Francisco, any test he can try to overcome, is desirable to him. When I rubbed my head and shook my hand at him, it was a signal he'd withstood the test.

Mom from Mexico, when I asked her about it, having not told her of my own conclusions, said that all of her seven sons did that -- it's something Latin baby boys do, sometimes when they're older too. Proving their worth, she said, is in their blood.

I'd imagine boys from any good stock are much the same.

Wiiiiiiiiiii - Zelda Twilight Princess

Okay so Christmas was great, as usual. My children are wonderful.

The Wii isn't the biggest item, but it's certainly racked up some time (which I can track thanks to the Wii's play-session by play-session accounting of time spent on every game every day, with a grand total).

Maria de Guadalupe got Zelda: Twilight Princess last week. Since I had the week before Christmas off, I wanted to have a chance to play it too. Honestly she loves the game more than I do, and that is because everything is new to her. Much of Zelda: Twilight Princess reminds me of Ocarina of Time. True, there are great new puzzles, far better graphics (from the N64 editions of Zelda, and Wind Waker, which didn't jive with this artist, strangely), but...

But the music horrendous. I have not heard one sample that doesn't sound either bad, involves a 10 second loop (or less, no joke), or like a 10 year old MIDI. I'm sorry, but MIDI technology isn't - that's a leap into anachronism.

Similarly, many of the sound effects are grating. You only hear your sword through the Wii Remote, whose speaker is better designed as an attention-getter, or to echo the sound from the game as in WiiSports, where you'll hear the Tennis Racket hit from your TV speakers and the Wiimote. The horse whinnies every time you spur her, every fucking time, and it's the same sample played either at a higher or lower octave.

Some of the puzzles are timed, which I hate with a passion - let me take time figuring them out, not running the same gauntlet 10 times trying not to fall into lava or reach the door after it's closed - again.

Lastly, Hyrule Field was a HUGE dissappointment after Shadow of the Colossus. I wanted something inspiring, something with huge chasms and grand vistas. Nope. None of that. The game fairly faithfully calls up the terrain layout of the N64 Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and two console generations later, it's just not much to look at or do but race around one Epona (your horse) and run over bad guys for fun.

All that said, I am still playing it, and as my friend Kevin likes to point out, I often complain most about the games I like, because the ones I don't like I complain once and then never pick them up again.

Long live All American Computers, or rather, Kyle Felstein

All American Computers is gone, and with it, my warranty, but hopefully not Kyle's house, the owner of AAC.

My hat is off to the man who had a great company, a great product, great customer service, and knowledge so deep you couldn't shove a spear all the way through it.

I hope he does better in the future, and that his wife supports him.

The Fate of AAC Direct / All American Computers