Rock Band II

We picked this up yesterday, along with a “replica” bass guitar with a double strum bar. We played some before we went over to MIL’s house to pick up the kiddo, and played it some more at MIL’s house with his brother and sister-in-law. And then played it again after we got home and ate, up until it was time to go to bed.

It’s pretty much like the first version (and it is backwards compatible with the components – the guitars, drums and microphone, so you don’t have to buy the whole kit again, you can just buy the game if you have the instruments already), and you can pay 400 MS points (which I think is equal to about $5) and transfer most, if not all, of the games from the first disc so you have more songs to play.  And any songs you may have purchased from Live with the first game, can also be used on the second game.

There are some new differences though.  You can hire staff – promoters for the various regions of the country and the world, groupies, interns, and a manager (I can’t remember if you could hire a manager in the first game or not). There are various challenges in each town, that are QUITE difficult.  For instance, there was one that required the band to play on Expert level.  Another which was just for a guitarist.  And another that was for a high level song (not on Expert level, but an extremely challenging song even on Medium) that sounded like it would have made the Medium setting look almost like Hard or Expert.

Another twist, is that occassionaly something will pop up after you’ve chosen a song – for instance, we were playing through the single songs in a particular city, and after we chose the last song before the multi-song sets, a notice popped up that a “film student” wanted to film a video in 60s psychadelic style, with a song of their choosing (which happened to be a Go-Go’s song), and we’d get no money, but we’d get more fans than normal if we finished with five stars.

Another time, while we were doing a three or four song set, a notice popped up for an option to “confuse the guitarist”, where the game randomly chose a more “challenging” song than what had been on the set for the last song, and if we finished it with a minimum of four stars, we’d get something like quadruple the money and double the fans.  My husband was the guitarist, but the song the game chose was one that we’d already played and wasn’t really *that* difficult, so we were able to get five stars.

My guess is when my husband gets home from work today we’ll probably be playing it again sometime before bed.  It’s pretty fun.

Supposedly one can purchase the updated guitar & drum set separately in about a month.  The guitar is supposed to have put the “click” back in the strum bar so one can feel when it’s been pressed down enough to be recognized by the system. The current one does not “click*, so I guess there have been reports of people breaking the strum bar from pushing it up or down too hard, from thinking they had to do so to get it to click.  Frankly I like the current version since it is quieter, but that is just me. Oh, and the new guitar is also wireless.

The drums are “supposed” to be quieter and recognize the drum sticks better -and it is wireless.  And there is also going to be yet another drum set released closer to Christmas that is made by an electronic drum making company, which will have an “xbox” brain in it for Rock Band II, and be interchangable with a separate “drum kit” brain to make it a stand alone electronic drum set for actual use in a real band.  But that version is going to cost another $100 more – just for the DRUMS – than the entire Rock Band II kit which *includes* the guitar, microphone and drums!  So I would only recommend purchasing that drum set if you have someone in your household who actually plays drums outside of the game.

There are some more perks in the game, but we have not tried or encountered them just yet, so I won’t bring them up for now.  One thing though, that I hope they took out of this version of the game, is the fan cap.  In the previous game, the fans capped at like 500,000 on the Medium setting. It was rather depressing to reach that limit, and not be able to move on to other cities or unlock other songs because they required more fans.  We are just simply not agile or nimble enough to move up to the next difficulty setting without failing out constantly (and thus LOSING fans).  I’m sorry, but not everyone is going to be able to play on Expert mode no matter how much they practice.

So we’ll have to play until we reach 500k fans and see whether the limit is still in place.  My hope is that it will not be there, so we can continue to play and unlock cities, venues & songs.  The replay value will be excellent without a fan cap in place, for people like my husband and me who will likely only hope to be great on the Medium setting.

Working for the weekend

Well, that should actually be, working ON the weekend.

Every now and then when our group gets buried with orders, our managers ask us to work extra on the weekend in exchange for comp time (since we are salaried, we don’t get OT). This is one of those weekends.

We’re getting one comp day for so many orders, and a 2nd if we work so many additional more than the first one.

I’ve got almost just enough for one comp day, and I’ve been at this for maybe an hour. Of course the orders I had sitting in my queue were fairly easy and fast, which helped a lot. I really don’t feel like doing a whole lot this weekend, so I may just stop at the minimum. I haven’t really decided yet. Two comp days would be nice, but… the rest of the stuff sitting in my queue is just annoying stuff, the kinds of things I’d rather put off until it’s just not possible to put it off any longer. Bleh. I’d rather be playing WoW or surfing for fun.

I got an award!

I’m a few days late on this, but I needed time to try to find others to pass the award on to who I am fairly sure haven’t received this one yet.  If you have and I just didn’t see it – well, you deserve the award again anyway! :laugh:

Thank you to Jennifer at Fat Girl Goes Fit for giving this award to me!

And without further ado, here are MY nominees:

  1. Sage & Savvy
  2. Cheaper Than Therapy
  3. Kiki’s Corner
  4. Dashery Jewelry
  5. Paradise Fiber Studio

Here is all you need to do, my nominees!

Here are the instructions for the following Brillante Weblog Premio award recipients:

1. Place the logo on your blog.

2. Link to the person who awarded you.

3. You can nominate up to 5 blogs.

4. You can then add their links to your blog.

5. Leave a message in the comment section to each nominee on their blog.

Never Forget




Where were you that morning?

I think the first plane had already hit by the time I was in the car and driving to work.  We are three hours behind New York so it was still very early for us.  I was listening to Howard Stern, who was relaying that there were reports that a “small plane” or helicopter had crashed into one of the towers, and (at that time) it was only suspected to be an accident.

Fast forward to arriving at work, and everyone was already glued to the two or three televisions we had around the office – which were normally used to display our network monitoring tools.  But not on this day.  By then it had been determined that it was no small plane – but in fact it was a major airliner.  Moments after I arrived at work, the news went nuts reporting that a second plane had hit the OTHER tower.

We all started to wonder what the heck was going on.  ONE plane could conceivably be an accident.  But TWO planes is most certainly not.

Then the report of the plane hitting the Pentagon.  I recall calling my dad, who I knew would be awake already, to ask him if he was aware of what was going on.  He turned on the t.v., and couldn’t believe his eyes.  What had the world come to?  We were being attacked on our own soil, by our own planes??  And even more important – what next, where next??

Another plane went down in Pennsylvania.  It was rumored to have been headed for the White House.  I felt faint, such disbelief that this was happening.

Then we watched as the towers collapsed, first one, then the other.  I don’t think I actually all-out cried, but I know I was teary-eyed by then.  It was just so surreal.  No one could really concentrate on work, although we needed to.  We had customers who had internet circuits going through that area, who no longer had service due to this catastrophic event.  Some of them were understanding and didn’t seem to mind that it would be months before their circuits would be restored.  Others, made us wonder if they were living under a rock. Fix it now! I don’t care if the telecom’s hub building was in the thick of it and was condemned due to extensive damage – fix our circuits!!  We were definitely NOT happy with those people.

In the days that followed, when all planes were grounded, it was very eery to walk outside and not hear one single plane or helicopter, except the occassional air force jets that patrolled the skies.  And then, when airlines were allowed to fly again, it kind of put me on edge, wondering – could it, would it, happen here?

Two and a half years later, we flew on a plane to Orlando for our honeymoon. I was never really fond of flying to begin with, and what had happened those couple of years past, didn’t make it any easier.  I managed, however.  The flight out, the flight back.  All in one piece, but still glad to set foot on the ground when we arrived.

Frankly, I don’t think I can ever look at an airplane and NOT remember that day.

All those poor souls – on the planes, in the towers, in the Pentagon, and the firefighters, police officers and other emergency response teams who perished that day.  God rest their souls.



Except for the terrorists.  I didn’t lose anyone personally that day, but I don’t think I have it in my heart to forgive those bastards.  May they rot forever.

Shuffling the schedule

In my husband’s department at work, the time has come for people to change shifts – they are 24/7, so everything three months or so, people are given the option to move their schedule to another shift.

Currently my husband and I carpool, working five days a week.  In his department, they have the option to work four 10 hour days on either side of the week.  He used to work that shift pretty much consistently.  I don’t even remember why he switched to my schedule anymore, maybe it was to start carpooling, maybe it was to try to save some money.  Since working in the evenings in his department garners a 5% shift differential and there is no such thing on days, and when he worked that shift before, the Kiddo only went to daycare part time… ultimately it did not save us any money.

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We’re an Apple family

As I posted last night, my husband practically begged and pleaded and offered to do chores in attempts to get me to ok buying one of Apple’s new Nanos that they just announced yesterday.

We’ve had Apple iPods for pretty much as long as they’ve been in existence.  We’ve had almost one of every version since the very first one.  We’ve had iPods, we’ve had (and have) the Shuffles, and we have Nanos.  My Nano is one he purchased for our anniversary gift to me this year, and had it engraved.  I :heart: it.

We ALSO have the iPhones.  Yes, plural.  One for him, and one for me.  The first version, he bought a week after they came out.  For the 3G version, we took the day off of work, dropped the Kiddo off at daycare as per usual, and stood in line the day it was released.  For three and a half hours.  (which, I have to say is MUCH better than when we stood in line for the Xbox 360, but that is another story)

And we both have iMacs.  He has a 30″ iMac, I have a 24″ iMac.  I really really :heart: my iMac.  And we both have MacBook Pros.  We also have a G5 Mac tower (I think it is a powermac?) which is home to OS X Server.  Oh, and I almost forgot.  He also has a 15″ Macbook in black.

(and I wonder why our credit cards have gotten out of hand?? Wait, no I don’t.)

So yeah, Macs rule in this house.  We have TWO lone Windows machines, both Dells.  Those are so we can remote into our home network while we’re at work, and for various games that are not on the Mac yet.  Although that is starting to become less and less of a problem anymore.  Technically I could run World of Warcraft on my iMac, and I can also run Spore on my iMac.  But I have those installed on my PC, simply because I prefer to use my iMac for surfing the ‘net, checkin’ my e-mail, and doing graphics doodling and tinkering with HTML.  Sometimes even while playing WoW or Spore on my PC.  My husband uses his iMac to watch various movies or TV shows (Star Trek DS9, currently) while he plays WoW or Spore, or other games.

Anyway.  I can’t recommend Apple’s products highly enough.  Especially their computers.  Extremely stable, last longer than any PC we’ve ever owned (I still have a 15″ G4 Powerbook that runs perfectly that is waiting for its prospective new owner to get paid so she can buy it – and we bought THAT in 2004!), GREAT for graphics work.  And did I mention stable?  I can maybe count on one hand the times I’ve had to forcefully reboot my iMac.  Or any of my Mac computers, for that matter.

Yes, they’re a little pricey sometimes (our poor credit cards can attest to that), but they are WELL worth it. And the iPods aren’t half bad either. :laugh:

He does know how to haggle

My husband.  At least with me, anyway, and especially when it comes to wanting to purchase the “latest and greatest” gadgets.

Apple just had one of thier “let’s announce all our new fancy lines of iPods and stuff!” party today, and of course, my husband was all over that.  He was giving me the run down of what things Apple was revamping, what things seemed to have little if any changes, that kind of stuff.

His main interest, at least this time, is in their new Nanos.  They’ve apparently moved back to the longish shape from the version before the last one (the one before this new release was shorter and wider).  Only they increased the screen size a little so they’re more video friendly, and added a cool new function, “shake to shuffle”.  And there are quite a few more colors than previously available.

So of course, he HAS to have one. *rolling my eyes*  I told him I really would prefer not to have to charge anything more on the credit cards, since we really, really, need to start paying those stupid things off.  And we definitely aren’t able to pay for it in cash.  I said if he could sell the two he already has (which is one of the short/wide ones, and one longish one two revisions past), I would consider it.

He countered with offering to pull the weeds in the front yard this weekend, AND find a way to drain what’s left of the water in above ground pool so we can disassemble it and put it up for sale.  I was really more surprsied at the offer to weed the yard since, 1) we usually hire a landscaper to do the work for us (because we’re lazy), and 2) if we can’t afford the $50-$100 for the landscaper, I am usually the one who does the weed pulling.

I caved, and ordered him a new Nano. In the color he favored the most, which is blue.  And opted to do a simple engraving on the back, from me and the Kiddo.  Hey, the engraving is free, so what the heck.

He is lucky to have me for a wife, I think.  And he owes me a yard weeding and a pool draining this weekend. AND I still think he needs to try to sell the other two Nanos as well.

And yes it is after midnight, and I should be sleeping. For some reason I’m just not tired yet. Dang it.

Want to be added to my blogroll?

Then please leave me a comment on this post, so I can easily find your link and add it later!

I’m a bit scatter-brained sometimes and this will help me immensely.

‘k, thanks!! :kiss:

(edited to add: if you could be so kind as to provide me a link as well in your blogroll, that would be super duper!  My second site is over in my sidebar over there, Raising a Girl  —>  )

World of Warcraft funny

Sometimes the titles to the quests in the game make me giggle.  They like to use puns a lot, parodies on stuff, things like that.

Yesterday, we got a quest out in Draenei land that really caught my eye.  The name of it looked REAALLY familiar.

“Precious and Fragile Things, Need Special Handling”

It was a quest to gather some ancient relics.

Can anyone guess where the name of it came from?

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Hello, ten pounds

At the end of April my husband and I decided to go on a diet together.  We chose to try Medifast.  We were pretty diligent about it, only having a cheat day maybe once a week, where we had one meal that wasn’t quite on plan.  We did fairly well on the diet.  By July he had lost about 30 lbs, and I had lost almost 20 lbs.

Then we ran out of the shakes and I realized we really couldn’t afford to order another four weeks of it X 2. I had charged at least two of our previous orders, but we weren’t making any headway on our credit card payments so when we ran out of the shakes, which we drank in the car on the way to work, rather than charge it again, I decided we’d see whether we could save up the money and get them later.  (ha ha.  We are not great at saving money, so this was pretty much a failure)

After that, the rest of the diet pretty much fell apart.  He gained about ten pounds back, as did I (as of this evening), in the time since we ran out of the shakes. I guess that isn’t TOO bad, really, at least we didn’t gain ALL of what we lost, back in that time.

So we need to figure out how we’re going to pay for about $150 of shakes and shipping cost.  Our stock of the other foods – the oatmeals, soups & puddings and bars – are still fairly reasonable and could probably get us through at least two weeks before we’d have to order more of those.  And then to get back into the habit of giving myself a little extra time in the morning so I can make the shakes for the commute, and then eating the other meals every three hours or so.

It felt good to hear people complimenting us on our weight loss. My pants were getting baggy.  He had to buy a new pair of pants & shorts in a smaller size.  My tummy roll wasn’t quite so… there.  Definitely time to get back into it.  Maybe if we lose enough by the holidays we’ll be more willing to put ourselves in front of a professional photographer and actually get a family photo done instead of just having the Kiddo’s pics taken.