26 December 2008

Holiiday Fuun

The big mistake of my Christmas season was giving my parents a Wii and Wii Fit system as a gift. The error was not in judging whether they would like it -- they do. It was in failing to figure out that I like it, too! 

I shot some 100 photos during the Christmas activities, some using the new flash that Santa brought me. If you shoot photos & say to yourself, "I am awful at flash photography," buy yourself a real flash, and you will quickly find out that good equipment makes a huge difference. I'd share some photos with you, but I stuck my camera's big photo card into dad's new digital photo frame (a gift from the unnamed male relative & his beautiful wife) to see how it would work, and I forgot to take it out when I left last night. Ugh!

Anyway, what I really wanted to share was some funny and probably embarrassing photos of us using the Wii. Probably best that I don't have them, heh. 

I was the guinea pig for the bowling & golf activities (which are fun but just as frustrating as the real thing!), so dad, the athlete of the family, agreed to be the Wii Fit guinea pig. One of the measurements it uses in determining your "Wii Fit age" is your Body Mass Index. 

Unfortunately, the Wii calculates BMI from your height and weight: weight/height squared. There are problems with this calculation. The main one is that it doesn't actually consider your body mass. So, dad who does exercise & yoga two days a week and plays golf more than any reasonable person should (heh), somehow had a higher BMI than mom & I who lead rather more (ahem) sedentary lifestyles and are rather more ... curvaceous.

In addition, some of the games & goals are different from dad's exercise experience. He's working on having good breathing & yoga form, but the game wants him to worry more about whether he is standing up straight. So mom & I, who could care less about breathing, played the Wii game nearly as well as dad, the actual yoga practitioner. 

Similarly, Wii bowling & golf are not good analogs to real bowling & golf; you have to figure out what the game wants, not do what you usually do in real life. Thus, I think dad was a little frustrated with his Wii experience, whereas mom & I had tons of fun. 

I just ordered my own. I don't think I want to drive across town every time I need a ski jumping or step aerobics 'fix'. But I need one *right now* so I guess I will get in the car. I need to pick up my camera card, anyway.

23 December 2008

Pink Lids & Akoha

We pause our adventures for a small public service announcement.... 

If you eat Yoplait yogurt & have pink lids, Yoplait will donate 10 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for each lid received by 12/31/2008 at:

Save Lids to Save Lives®
P.O. Box 420704
El Paso, TX 88542-0704

If you write on the back of the envelope "Team #114686," the Akoha Wild Ones team will get 'credit' for participating. You may also join the team at the Yoplait site &/or share Akoha missions with me! 

For those not already familiar with the idea of Akoha, it's a social "game" whose object is to gather karma points by... well... being nice. The game starts with a deck of cards, featuring "missions" like "Invite someone for coffee," and "Make someone smile." 

The idea is to perform the action on the card, which increases the happiness in one person's life, then give that person the card & ask them to log onto Akoha, type some meaningful message about how much they enjoyed having this mission "played" on them. They then, hopefully, will be eager to "play it forward," making a great chain of happy people. 

You can then track your "mission" as it makes its way around the world, hopefully passing from one happy person to another. It's a little like a Where's George based on kindness rather than cash.

Based on my experience with Where's George, I don't hope that my missions will hop around all that much.  According to Where's George stats, I have entered 189 bills, and only 14 people have ever jumped online to report finding them. Perhaps when I am handing someone a mission card, having just done something nice, they will be more amenable to reporting their pleasure & joining the game. 

In the great scheme of things, the idea of Akoha is that it encourages people to do nice things for others and increase overall world happiness by some small token, or even larger tokens, depending on the mission. It's irrelevant that the recipient does or does not respond online -- but it would make the game more fun.

(By the way, Akoha is in closed beta, but if someone performs a mission on you -- and some of them can be played via e-mail -- then you can get into the beta as well. If you send me an e-mail, a Facebook message or or a direct Tweet saying you'd like to play, I'll work to share a mission with you, so you can Play it Forward!)

11 December 2008


This photo shows what passes for "snow" in Houston. The little dusting barely registered on the snow-meters, but it certainly caused havoc on the roads. 

The flurries started in earnest around 3:30 yesterday, or at least that's when the gal from the neighboring office ran into mine and said, "It's SNOWING!" I thought it was a joke, of course, but when I turned it looked like a scene out of White Christmas -- well, if you squinted real hard it did, anyway. 

Nothing really "stuck" until late in the evening, and even then, as you can see from these pix, we didn't have much sticking. As far as the dog is concerned, it was nothing more than thick rain, spoiling her ability to play catch -- because *someone* said it was too cold & wet to play outside. 

Although it was cold as snakes this morning, the snow was all gone from the roads when it was time to drive to work. That's *my* kind of snow.