Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Battle On!

The kids and I have been playing these on-line RPG games lately, after being introduced to Runescape by an unschooling friend and finding that I don't like the multi-user online games -- too many people walking around typing in computer-speak and randomly trying and usually succeeding at killing and robbing me/us.

Battle On is fun and a great deal of it is available without having to pay the $20 one-time fee. We've also played dragonfable, which has a more interesting and more humerous interface, but is limited in what your character can acquire as a free player.

I was frankly getting sick of the downloaded dungeons game, Fate, that we've been playing for the last year or so and the kids find these two new games less intimidating as the battles aren't a random melee in which you have to attack as fast as possible, but are easier-to-think-through, turn-taking affairs, and the dialog and quests are often quite amusing...

August is my winter...

I read Chris Erskine's column in the times last week, in which he was rhapsodizing comedically about summer and thought, that's not my experience of summer -- I think of it as a time to hide from insufferable heat and blinding sunlight, dreading excursions in the broiler of a car (which, this summer, has a too-tight fan belt that makes it scream earsplittingly everytime it idles with the A/C on, so that I feel compelled to turn off the A/C whenever nearby motorists wince and stare. And no, we haven't made the time to go back to the mechanic and get him to adjust it properly. I have no idea why not...) I can't imagine how people live in places like Palm Springs and Phoenix.

We did pry ourselves out of the house yesterday afternoon and headed down to La Jolla cove, where it was only warm and muggy and the water was delightfully not-frigid. I hadn't brought full diving gear, just a change of clothes for most everyone (Steve had to squelch about in wet shorts for the rest of the evening, I'm afraid) and one pair of goggles, which the kids and Steve used to peer at underwater at schools of fish, while I held onto Maddie ankle to keep the tidal surge from sucking her out to sea. We'll go back on Friday properly equipped for our first real snorkeling outing.

Both kids have made one of those quantum leaps of natural learning and are comfortable, confident swimmers, bobbing and breathing, diving and paddling. Their strokes are rough by my swim-team trained eyes, but more than serviceable, and all accomplished without anxiety or coercion. I remember my experiences at swim lessons as a child. I remember being lied to by a teen-age swim instructor trying to get me to submerge ("There's a green-haired clown you can see if you dive down and look into the pool light!") And it felt at the time like a lie, a surprising, stupid lie. Did I learn to put my head underwater, or did I learn that it's okay to lie to people to get them to do what you want? A bit of both, I suppose, judging by my current communication skills.

In any case, we've had a busy couple of weeks, dinners and playdates with some fun homeschooling families, outings to the Wild Animal Park and a rather nutty Qi Gong conference for my Mom and I. Steve must have spent almost two weeks writing a wonderful service for our UU Church on spirituality and the visual arts (that I didn't even get to hear because I was teaching RE!) Now he's pulling together clips and resumes and cover letters for a couple of promising jobs in Loveland/Fort Collins.

And it's looking at this point like we're going to need a job right away in order to move out there. We'd been thinking we could bank some equity and take a year to get established but the market continues to tank here and we aren't going to sell for anywhere near what we'd hoped. In fact, I found this lovely chart yesterday, in a CNN story on the top 500 foreclosure zip codes in the country. Our city's zips and the neighboring city's are in the top 50 or so. It's getting rather scary and I wonder what broader socioeconomic damage this might wreak.

Not worth worrying about now though. We've got some snorkeling to look forward to!