Saturday, December 22, 2007

Final Fantasy X is AWESOME

AWESOMEly sucking up every spare instant of my time... Here's a little peek into what I've been doing lately when not working or racing around for Christmas.

I am not a gamer. Let me say that again. I am NOT a gamer. I have terrible hand/eye coordination. I don't shoot down zombies or beat pedestrians with baseball bats, nor do I careen around a race track or lead a tactical squadron of big men with guns. I don't even have the patience or skill to go-cart with Mario or stomp those little koopa things. But what I am, is a hopeless romantic. Allow me to explain: Final Fantasy is a different kind of game. Actually, it's more like a movie that you interact with occasionally. I love watching the story unfold, especially when there are cinematic shots done in really high quality animation. It's really quite impressive. And the fighting mechanism is great! I don't have to hit 3 buttons at the same time to spin around or jump or zap an enemy. I hit one button and a list pops up of all the things I can do and then I can pick one and my little man goes over and kicks the bad guy. I love it! And what I love even more than the easy action is the ROMANCE of the story. (God, I'm such a sucker for a love story.) It's about a young man named Tidus who gets pulled through time to 1000 years in the future. A terrible evil is sweeping the land and a young woman named Yuna is trying to stop it. He becomes friends with her guardians and joins them in the quest to defeat this monster called "Sin." Along the way, Tidus falls for her, but learns that if she beats Sin, it will cost her her life. Determined to protect his love, he tries to find another way to beat Sin, one that will spare her. He uncovers a different way of defeating the evil, one that unfortunately will cause him to fade from existence. But it will save her. He keeps the secret of his fate to help her win her quest, and she is so devastated that is causes her to search for a way to get him back (thus a sequel to FFX which I'm super excited to play once I finish) The only problem is that it takes so long to play...I've already logged almost 40 hours in the damn game and I'm still not done! But I'm excited for the big payoff in the end of a nice long cinematic between Tidus and Yuna, paving the way for Final Fantasy X-2. Mark shakes his head over the fact that I play it just for the romantic parts. Well, I don't care, I think it's a sweet story. So, here's a little taste of the look of the game and some of those sweet moments from Tidus and Yuna. The music is not from the game, this is just a montage done by fans.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So, where to begin. Things have been so crazy lately and now the holidays are upon us and will just get crazier. Nothing to do but just dive in, I guess. I'm about to hit you all with lots of information in a short span of time, so brace yourself. And feel free to jump to the parts that interest you.

Job: I finished teaching an adult ed class at Medomak on Greek Mythology. It was incredibly enjoyable, much more so than I thought. My students really had enthusiasm for it and I had such fun teaching them. I can't wait to do it again in the spring at Camden High School. In fact, I just took a job as an assistant in the adult ed office over at Camden. It means working for 3-8 in the evening, but it leaves me mornings Mon-Wed to have time to myself. And I think it will be really worthwhile to help out the adult ed program. This will supplement my now part-time job at the YMCA. I finished my full time stint at the Y working with the infant program (I was filling in for someone who was recovering from an accident) and now I only cover two days off--Thursday and Friday. And this Friday...I'm so excited....I have the day off and am going to the spa with my mom and then the two of us are having ladies night out to see the Boston Pops Holiday concert!!!

House: We are settled in for the first Christmas in the new house. I finally have the space I wanted to put up all kinds of decorations. Not as much as we had at Halloween, but still enough to be fairly festive. And the best part...this year we get to have a real tree. We've had a very sad, Charlie Brown-looking, artificial tree but now that we have the space, we decided to get a real live tree. He took me to Wink's, which is where his family always got Christmas trees. It had snowed so we had to tromp our way through the drifts with a saw, shovel and a broom. After much trekking, we found the perfect tree and cut it down ourselves. We dragged it back, managed to cram it in the element and get it back to the house. Here's where it gets interesting, or should I say, where the debacle begins. We tried to get the tree into the tree stand, but we couldn't turn the little keys, so we had to get the vise-grips to secure it. Well, the damn vise-grips were terrible and kept unlocking so what should have been a simple job, took vastly too long. But, we did it and got the tree into the house. On went the lights, and the garland. Then the ornaments that all have a story to tell, a memory. We had 5 left, when all of a sudden...CRASH!!!! And Jack went running from behind the tree to the basement. That little bugger. Luckily, only two ornaments were broken, and one was fixable. However, the tree had slipped in the stand and we couldn't get it to sit right anymore so we had to try cutting it off more level. We didn't have a real saw so we had to use this dinky little hand saw that should never have been used on a tree. It took us three months to cut through the trunk and we finally had to chew through it with our teeth. Well, that's what it felt like. Then we had to wrestle with the stupid vice-grips again. Picture me standing in the corner holding up the tree, covered in pitch as Mark crawled under the tree swearing every few words. By the time we had the thing back in the stand, and now anchored to the window so the cats couldn't destroy it again, it was 11:00. When we stood the tree up it looked like a hurricane had hit. The garland was hanging every which way and the lights had almost all fallen off. We decided to take everything off and start fresh again the next night. By the end of the night I was laughing hysterically. It would figure that we would magoo our way through our first attempt at a Christmas tree. People often say that our life is like a sitcom...well, that was one of our funnier episodes.

Family: Mr. MCMD is doing his general internal medicine rotation and that means we won't be seeing a lot of each other. In fact, he's on call Christmas eve into Christmas day. This will be the first Christmas morning that we have in the afternoon. It will also be the first Christmas that we don't head to Florida. (We're going, just not until Feb.) So, with the new house and first tree and the fact that we won't be seeing lots of family, we may have to try making some new traditions.

Fun stuff: Okay, so two interesting items to note...

First, Movies. It's been a while since I've done a movie buzzz and it's about time!! New releases that you must have: Pirates of the Caribbean; At World's End, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Both I only saw once on the big screen and typically movies like that, that I get so excited about, I see twice. But, the summer was busy and I only caught them once. Hopefully they will look as nice on our big screen tv. Movies that you must see in theaters: Enchanted (which is very well done. Takes a good movie to poke fun at its own genre. It was very sweet and funny at the same time.) and I Am Legend (which opens Friday and I'm super excited about it. I enjoy Will Smith and am hopeful that it isn't just a typical zombie movie.)

Second, Dancing with the Stars. Holy moly, I have my mother to thank for this nonsense. We were riveted this much so that even though I was DVR it, I had to watch it live because my mom and I would call each other during the commercials. It was a very dramatic season, what with the fainting and family passings. But there was some great dancing, minus Marie Osmond and Wayne Newton. My favorite was Helio. He was such a cutie, that smile, that enthusiasm and that accent. I loved watching him perform and take himself by surprise that he could do it. He was partnered with Julianne, last year's winner. She had the speed skater, Apolo Anton Ohno, and I found it interesting that both Apol(l)o and Helio are names for the Greek God of the Sun. (Big surprise that I would notice that. :) So I was convinced he was going to win. And I was right!!!!!!!! Julianne congratulated her partner by giving him a big smooch after their final dance during the Finale. Rumors abound that she and Helio are involved romantically. He's older than she is, but they are so cute together!!! All in all, the season was full of ups and downs and outrageous moments.
Included below are some highlight dances of the season.

Julianne's brother Derek and Jennie Garth perform an awesome Mambo:

Runner up Scary Spice, Mel B and partner Mak do another fantastic Mambo:

Julianne and Helio's Mambo...the Mambos were the best dances, I think. And this shows you how funny they are together.

Julianne and Helio's quickstep with a surprise ending...I love it!

Julianne and Helio's freestyle...very cool!

So, enjoy these little tidbits for now, and there will be more on a regular basis. I promise!