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Loot Review

*As a disclaimer, I am trying to continue with the normal, mundane posts, even though my every thought is on the other side of the world. If you are thinking I am insensitive for continuing the grand tradition of stupid blog posts in the face of tragedy, well, might I suggest I cannot undo what is done, and I cannot take away all we received for Christmas. I’m just saying.*

I wanted to give a quick toy review based on the stuff Santa (and relatives) jammed under the tree this year. Apparently Junior was a very good boy, that’s all I’ll say.

Winner, Mom’s Favorite Toy (All Around)

Geomags. Holy cow, are these things fun. And addictive. I just ordered more (and they aren’t cheap). But they are indestructable, and last night we played with these for almost 2 hours, no television on in the background or anything.

Winner, Mom’s Favorite Game

The board game CountDown. Well, it isn’t really a board game, but you know what I mean. Hey, any game that involves math (adding for now, but subtraction, multiplication and division when he can handle it) but is fun gets an A+. I like this better than any of the video games he received.

Most Heartbreakingly Disappointing Toy

The GameCube game Ty 2. (Not to be confused with Tak 2). Ty the Tasmanian Tiger was one of our favorite video games ever. I cannot say enough good things about it. It was easy for Junior to play even two years ago, and it was easy for me to play (which is saying something). So when Santa saw Ty 2 was out, he got one. I guess the makers of this game assumed that only people who played the original would pick it up, because it doesn’t start easy and build up, it starts out in the middle of a huge battle with multiple bad guys from the first game. I mean, 10 seconds after you start it. What the hell? And then, when we got past that, we have to battle these huge robots. NONE of us can get past that, which means we got 10 minutes into the game and got hopelessly stuck. It puts you in an endless loop until you kill off all these robots before they kill you. I cannot begin to express what a disappointment this game is, given how much I adored the first one. So sad.

Winner, Best Grown-up Toy

Mr. Dump got me an Archos AV420 Video and MP3 player. It works like an iPod (or iRiver, or any of the others) but it can also record video off the tv to play back later, like a VideoNow or JuiceBox, except not proprietary. I have a 3 hour Dickens special from PBS on there right now, and a couple of cartoons. Plus about 1/3 of my CDs are on it. Don’t get an iPod, get one of these. Really. (And Mr. Dump got my iPod, which was barely 4 months old, so we’re BOTH happy!)

Winner, Junior’s Favorite Toy

Okay, it’s a 10-way tie, as you can imagine, but I think if he had to pick one thing, it would be the Robosapian he got from his grandparents. This thing is unbelievably cool. The grownups are having as much fun as the kids. The only issue we ran into was that they all run on the same frequency, so you can’t buy more than one per household. Then again, you don’t really need more than one. It was kind of funny to watch them at mom’s house do synchronized movements. Hey, anything for a laugh.

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Last of the Year

We’ve officially started making note of the “lasts” of 2004. This morning, I pumped gas for the last time in 2004 (unless I decide to make a run for it and road trip hundreds of miles from here between now and Friday. I mean, it could happen, but probably won’t.

The last paycheck of 2004 is coming up. And I need to make the last grocery store run of 2004. I live such an exciting life.

In other news, The Cubes I ordered came in! This morning I set up Ted and Ann. I gave Ted the blue screen of death for his computer, and gave Ann Outlook. But I could have had her playing solitaire. I just didn’t want to have to repremand her on a daily basis for never doing any work.

Please note that Ted, above, has donated for Tsunami relief via the links in the upper right corner of every page of this site. I have also added a link to Oxfam America. I saw pictures of boxes of supplies being distributed with their logo on them, and realized these guys are getting in there quickly. Speed is of the essense.

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Tsunami Relief Efforts

From here, the best we can do is donate money to the organizations that can best get to the areas that need the most help and supplies.

I personally chose to donate to Doctors Without Borders, which narrowly edged out the International Red Cross. I think either of these are worthy.

If nothing else, my donation makes me feel a little less helpless right now.

Updated: You can now donate to the American Red Cross (earmarked for Tsunami relief) via (

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Short Week

2nd short week in as many, and I’m already getting depressed that we have to wait a whole year to hit the holiday/days off season again. I mean, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, we’re flush with holidays. I love it. Live for it. I’m in the post-holiday “oh my God, I have nothing to look forward to” period. Sad.

Or maybe it’s just me. Some people are happy the holidays are over.

What would be nice is if I had this whole week off with Junior. Man, do I ever miss school vacations. We had no idea how great we had it back then.


Man, do I sound happy today or what?