Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go, Rabbit. Go!

The toddler is currently enthralled with a collection of the first three Raymond's Raving Rabbids games on the Wii.  The mini-games frequently ask the player to move his or her arms up and down to simulate running in a way the Wiimote can detect.  Owl prefers to move the remote and the nunchuk up and down by hopping in place.  It accomplishes the same job in a way that he finds more satisfactory and the rest of us find much cuter.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"No Raymond on Lesson Days!" or 3 Weeks With a Wii

We've had the Wii plugged in for three weeks now.  I hope this box can take heavy use, because with three children it's getting it.

Currently the two girls homeschooled for several hours a day on weekdays, while the 4yo gets a few minutes of lessons.  I allow video games before breakfast and after lessons.  In addition, the girls get two 20 minute "game breaks" one third and two thirds through their lessons to refresh their brains, although in practice they usually take one break around lunch.  The preschooler sleeps until around 10 in the morning and gets pulled off the console in the afternoon to play outside.  They're still undecided on if they'd rather watch TV or play video games at night.

The most obvious change can be seen in the mornings.  No more lazing about in bed for the girls.  The earlier they're up the longer they can play without the toddler.  Owl has limits on his playtime, but at 4 he's trying the "scream louder to get your way" stunt.  The fact that it hasn't worked so far hasn't deterred him yet.

I can see the appeal of mini-games.  In practice I've only got 15-20 minutes/day to play a game and gosh darn it, I'd like to see where I've made just a teeny tiny amount of actual progress in that time.  I've heard the appeal of immersive games is to "lose yourself" in them, but I'd have to "lose" the children first.

As for the games themselves we're currently playing Mario Kart Wii, Boom Blox Bash Party, Active Life Explorer, Just Dance Kids, and Raymond's Raving Rabbids Ultimate Party Collection.

Mario Kart is the children's favorite, especially for our truck-crazy 4yo.  It's fun and very well-designed.

Active Life Explorer is their second favorite.  It lets you be Indiana Jones.  Who doesn't want to be Indiana Jones?  You can really work up a sweat having fun stopping runaway trains and diving for treasure in this game.  I haven't tried it yet as my knee is acting up, but the children love it.  Unfortunately it works with the GameBoy ports and a special mat that can't be plugged into the latest model Wii, so the series it's a part of is going out of print, and the remaining games are selling for insane prices.  Even more unfortunately, it doesn't look like any more of the series will be made.  :(

Boom Box Bash Party is third on their list and first on mine.  The toddler just likes to throw bombs; but dh, the preteens, and I appreciate the intricate puzzles that many of the games present.

Just Dance Kids comes in a distant fourth for the children.  They like it more as a change of pace or a morning exercise program, although their interest has perked up after I showed them you can make playlists.  Yes, the scoring weights toward the arms, but with my knee acting up I can stand still and get a good upper body workout without my score tanking so I shan't complain about that aspect.

Raymond's Raving Rabbids is very fun is a gross, preteen sort of way; but you have to finish huge chunks of it before you can record any progress in your overall score.  For this reason it's confined to weekends when the girls can spend an uninterrupted hour or two with it.

The Wii has done a lot for promoting cooperative play amongst them, although Owl's patience wears thin on occasion.  We weren't able to play board games or card games without all the pieces being lost or destroyed, so this fills a huge gap in that regard.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Everything is Relative -- And Brighteyes Hates It

Brighteyes (13) is pretty cool with most of the world having relative values as long as math does not.  Math is where she goes for certainty.

Yesterday she found out algebra has statements with varying levels of truthfulness.  The resulting explosion was not pretty, and she wasn't happy the rest of the day.

We backed off on that topic.  She's buried herself in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court for solace.  I've never met a bigger Mark Twain fan.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Changes are coming.

I'm not happy with the new layout, as I've lost the links in my sidebar.  It'll be a pain to rebuild those.  But the old format was no longer supported the way it used to be.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Terror of Peace and Quiet

After a bumpy period my life is settled now.  There's no problems current or on the horizon, and everything is going just fine.  Objectively I know this based on the evidence around me.  Subjectively I know this because I feel like I'm coming apart at the seams.

Welcome to life with PTSD.

It's not really about nightmares, in spite of the popular mythology.  People who don't have this "coping strategy" usually don't understand it.  It's not a disease because it doesn't kill you.  At some point it saved your life.  If you have it, at some point in your past you feared for your life and/or safety, and PTSD sprang up to help you cope with your fear.  You were terrified, and you couldn't deal with your fears and do what you needed to do to survive at the same time.  PTSD put a time lag on your emotions.  As long as danger has your adrenaline up, you can't feel any emotions.  They're all safely locked away until the danger is past.  Once things calm down and your adrenaline falls, you get your emotions back.

All of them.

Especially the fears, terrors, anxieties, and angers.  They tend to swamp out everything else.

"Calm, peaceful, and quiet" is the most terrifying state I know.  Many with PTSD run from it.  I used to do that, but it only makes things worse if you don't allow yourself some peace and quiet Terror Time.

The real kicker is that I've been this way since I was a small child.  I was three when I got chronic depression.  The PTSD started a little later.  I don't know what it's like not to be this way.

No one knows how to turn it off.

Still, at least I know what it is now.  For 40 years I had it and didn't know what was causing these bizarre reactions.  That confusion and the fear my ignorance caused made things much worse.  These days I know the name, the shape, the pattern, and the cycles.  That helps.