Archive for the ‘TV watching’ Category

Xbox is the new mayonnaise.

In fashion and style, gaming, Product, TV watching on October 11, 2010 at 11:29 am

Sometimes I look at our Xbox 360 and think: this thing is a time suck.  But I also think: this thing is saving us money – we have a seemingly endless amount of content for less.

The big spend is, well, unfashionable these days…a trend likely to stick long after the recovery has begun.  During this downturn (are we still calling it that?), we’ve come up with new rules about how/where we spend our cash.  Is that good news for Xbox?

According to a new study published in Ad Age, absolutely.  We watch our budgets, but we still throw down money for an entertainment device.  I know someone who doesn’t have a job but just bought an iPad…in fact, I know several.  Do you? We have a bunch of video games at home, but I am looking forward to Kinect so I can dance like Michael Jackson (July 2010, Can Barely Contain My Excitement…), and Fable III so I can hang out with my virtual dog again (Dec. 2008, I got a dog.  A Fable Dog).

Once upon a time, according to the study, Americans ranked Hellman’s (as in mayonnaise) at the top of list for beloved brands.  We’d throw down a little extra money for a good spread.  Today, we love the brands that provide an escape to entertainment, people and peaceful moments.  We also love the brands that empower us with information (e.g. Google).

Now that you know this, what’s your next purchase?  Will you spend a little extra to give your avatar a new accessory?


Thank goodness we started talking about Family Guy.

In dance, dinner, dog, family, gaming, Halo, Product, TV watching on September 29, 2010 at 5:50 pm

And… cue the quicksand.  I’m sinking deeper into geek-land.

The other day we were visiting friends, whose pre-teen sons were, let’s just say, brilliant and enlightening (it was like talking to two Stewies from Family Guy, but with less anger).  However, they are boys, and they’re very excited about the recently released Halo: Reach (as in Spartans and multi-threat armor, etc.).

They also can’t wait for controller-free gaming with Kinect.  Suddenly, over hors d’oeuvres, I found myself explaining the benefits versus drawbacks of playing shooter games on Kinect.

“Does Kinect work with shooter games?” (John)

“Well, it’s really not for shooter games, because of the timing.”  (This is me… and I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth.)

“How does it work with shooter games?” (Trevor)

“It’s not what you really want for shooter games to be effective in your game.  By the time you react, tell it to do what you want, then it reacts and shoots… it’s a little too far past the moment.  In that type of situation, you really want the immediacy of the controller to just hit the button and fire the shot.”  (WHO. AM. I?)

“Oh.  Yeah, I guess you would just want to hit A.”  (John)

“Exactly.”  (I pause.  Please pass the red pepper dip and celery.)

Soon afterward, conversation shifted to the brilliance of Seth McFarlane and the season premiere of Family Guy.

Whew.  That was fun, but just a little bit alarming.

(That being said, I am excited to dance MJ moves on Kinect.)

Are You Too Busy Watching Project Runway to Video Chat?

In dog, fashion and style, gaming, interior decorating, Product, relationship, travel, TV watching on September 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

When we first moved in together, Richard tried his best to convince me we did not need cable because we had a ton of content options through Xbox Live.  I told him, no, I needed cable to a) do my job…sometimes, and b) because I wanted to watch shows like American Idol real-time (as detailed in my post, Sept. 25, ’08:  How Do I Watch Cable?  Really, Just Cable).

So, we hooked up one television for cable.  Problem is, it is the living room’s 64″ television, where Richard prefers to play shooter games, watch his action/violence movies and test new technology.  Most of the time, he gets there first, and I’m blocked out of my cable shows.

Richard, visiting family, calls me the other night. Predictably, I’m catching up on my cable shows and at one with my armchair with the dog at my feet, curled up in an orange ball and snoring.  I have no competition for the remote(s).

Here’s how the phone call went:

“Do you want to try to video chat over Xbox Live?  Or are you too busy watching Project Runway?”  (this is him)

“???” (the bubble over my head…wondering how he knew I was, at that very moment, waiting to see who would get the Auf Wiedersehen from Heidi.)

“Okay, what do I do?” (I know this will make him very happy, so I put Heidi on pause.)

“You have to get a headset and plug it into the controller.  Then you have to log on as xboxbride.” (him)

I reach into the boxes in which I’ve stored all his gaming accessories (see: Sept. 8, ’08 post, I Made Friends With the Container Store) and fish out a headset.  Then, I follow his directions.

He tells me how to do something else, but either I can’t “make it work” a la Tim Gunn, or I am too uncreative at that moment to problem-solve.

“Never mind, sweetheart.”  (him)

“Can we just talk on the phone?” (I am thinking… “like normal people”?)

We do.

It wasn’t long before I found out that Peach (below) got the Auf Wiedersehen and Michael C. won the challenge of turning an ugly bridesmaid’s dress into a wearable party outfit (black dress below) in Episode 6:  “You Can Totally Wear That Again”.  Why is it that bridesmaids dresses are always so ugly, anyway?

Why Does One Need Multi-Threat Armor? It’s about more than Halo: Reach..

In dog, family, fashion and style, gaming, Halo, movies, Product, relationship, TV watching on August 26, 2010 at 11:16 am

“Do you want to watch something while we eat?”

This is a normal question Richard poses to me as we sit down to dinner. However, also normal: having to sort through all the new videos on Xbox Live before we can even get to something like, say, Mad Men (you know, the amazing, award-winning show on AMC).

The other evening, this was the video that I experienced as I was taking my first few bites: Game Stop – Halo: Reach

It is a promotion to pre-order one of the most highly-anticipated titles in the video game world through Game Stop. If you pre-order, you get exclusive, multi-threat armor. Multi-threat armor. Again for the nosebleed seats… multi-threat armor.

My initial reaction of a raised eyebrow of confusion/bubble over my head: “seriously?” changed when I thought of Reach as a metaphor. By the end of the Game Stop promo video, I understood. If you really think about it, sometimes… on the job or in life… life changes so drastically, one needs multi-threat armor to cope or fend off the bad guys, the bad times, and the hardest challenges one faces (e.g. family illness, job loss, etc.). After all, we are in the middle of an economic downturn that is unique in many ways, and many of us just don’t know how to predict what will happen…what to expect.

Would it be such a bad idea to have multi-threat armor right now? Anyone? Bueller? What does that look like? For me, it’s entertainment like Mad Men, my yoga practice, the dog, growing my own herbs and cooking from them, and of course, my husband. That’s my multi-threat armor. What’s yours? If you can’t think of anything right away… maybe Game Stop can help. We all need a little multi-threat armor now and then.

Lost in LOST.

In dinner, dog, family, movies, Product, relationship, TV watching on July 3, 2010 at 1:50 pm

We are about to celebrate our one year anniversary, and these days, “date night” is on the couch.  I couldn’t be happier.

Sure, we could pepper our date nights with the following: 1) a movie, 2) restaurants, 3) plans with friends, 4) any number of social events, and 5) salsa dancing (how we met).

However, when work-related events consume lots of social time, you’re a pretty good chefette, and the amount of content on your husband’s Xbox is enough to keep you in the house for weeks on end if you didn’t have a dog to make you go outside (oh and a job), there is a certain part of me that is just happy to be tranquil on the couch.

Right now, we’re watching the final season of LOST.  The only problem is, when you have an entire season at your fingertips, and the show is as good as LOST, it is easy to just keep watching episode after episode.   It dawns on you that you now have more in common with hard core gamers than you ever thought possible: you are in front of the screen for hours, obsessed, and your tranquility is no longer that.

My solution to this current obsession is to do an Xboxbride mash up of sorts:

  • We’ve invited friends over to BBQ and watch fireworks for the 4th of July…
  • …with the promise of my Sweet Corn, Avocado and Truffle salad…
  • and Hot Tub Time Machine (thanks, Zune VM).

I think I can safely say I’ve combined my content obsession with above options 1, 3 & 4 for our holiday date night… #2 as well, because, well, I’ve been told my corn salad is restaurant quality.  😉

(Note to self:  Plan salsa for next week.)

By the way, I finished six seasons of The Hills in a just a few weeks.  Seriously, I do get out, though.

What’s My Deal With Major Nelson?

In dinner, family, Major Nelson, relationship, TV watching on June 25, 2010 at 5:22 am

I am making dinner.  Pasta Bolognese.  Richard’s favorite.   I am pairing it with a butter lettuce and radicchio salad with balsamic vinaigrette, as I am trying to get my husband to eat more in the vegetable category beyond tomatoes and potatoes.

“Oh, by the way…”  (this is him, from the living room)  “I saw Major Nelson today.”

I reduce the stovetop fan level for noise control and stop stirring the sauce with my slotted spoon.

“Wait a minute.  I have to hear this.” (this is me)   “What happened?”

“I saw him in the parking lot… I saw him the other day actually.  I asked him how he got started.”

“And..?”  This is normal.  Richard never gives the whole report.  I have to drag it out of him.

“I told him that you’re rarely star struck, but that when you saw him you were excited.”

“And what did he say?” (me again)

“He laughed.  He also told me he had something like 15 years in broadcast.”

Aha.  Major Nelson and I are brethren alumni of the broadcast world.  It makes sense now:  my spidey sense tingled with familiarity each time I saw him on Live.

I look him up on Wikipedia (I know, why didn’t I think of this before-duh).

Many more ahas later, I decide I need to pursue an interview with his wife. She is the perfect person to answer questions about being married to this culture of Xbox.

Scoring in Bed (or, The Peggle Effect)

In dog, gaming, relationship, TV watching on June 19, 2010 at 12:07 am

The other night… I was just so tired.  No matter how “active” you are as a couple, sometimes you just need… to go… to bed. And sleep.  That’s it.

This is what happened.  I’m calling it “The Peggle Effect”.

I enter the bedroom, and Richard is on the Xbox.  (Yes, we have one there too, mostly for my need to veg-out and watch The Hills on Zune Video Marketplace or something.)   He doesn’t normally come up here and play games, because the screen is too small.  He is playing Peggle and doing really well.  Maybe it’s the supportive memory foam pillow.

I prepare for bed.   I get in bed.  He is still playing Peggle.    I am not one who can sleep with lots of noise and activity around me.

“Just put on your face mask and go to bed,” he says, lovingly.

I try.  I can hear the controller clicking.

“I can’t do it.  Can you go downstairs?  I am so tired, I just need to sleep.”  (this is me)

Pause. (both of us)

Sigh. (him)

“Just so you know, I was on the verge of breaking all kinds of Peggle records.  The fact that I’m turning it off shows you how much I love you.”

I am so tired I cannot respond.

I begin drifting…

The dog is already snoring by now.

What’s in the Black Case?

In interior decorating, Product, relationship, TV watching on June 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm

After watching an episode or two of “30 Rock”, my husband, the Xbox Sr. Product Planner, walks over to the dining room table, upon which sits a top secret-looking black briefcase.

“Check out the new —- I’ve been working on.  I have to do in-home beta testing on it.”  Then, in slow motion, he removes the —— from the case, places it carefully on the kitchen counter, in my full view as I load the dishwasher.   And I have to say, it is sleek.

“What do you think?”  My husband gazes at me with a little bit of a teasing look in his eyes.  He even wiggles his eyebrows a little, you know, in that cheesy way.   I cannot believe it, but my husband is using the new —– to flirt with me.

“What do you think?” (the husband again…)

“Actually, it’s really pretty, honey.”  (this is me)  I cannot believe I’m saying this about a new —–.

“That’s what I thought too.  You know what I like about it?  It matches the exact color of the **** and the **** .  I like it, because I knew you would like that.”  (this is him)

In a moment, I realize my husband has learned a lot since I met him.  No longer is the Todd McFarlane/Venom controller mounted over the fireplace (See Post:  “I said I do..” ), he is actually excited that a new product he’s working on matches the other stuff in our house, and he knows this will make me happy.

The —-… is the new Xbox 360.  And it goes nicely with the rest of my home.

(Note:  this was written several weeks ago.  Not postable… until the Xbox news was made public on Monday, June 14 in LA.  In traditional journalism, this was called an embargo.  I get embargoed in my own home these days…)

This Mac person let the Xbox in.

In Product, relationship, TV watching on March 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

In 2007, after a long relationship with Dell, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, I gave up the PC world for the bulk of my home and office computing for two primary reasons:  1)  I was sick of viruses and someone telling me to go to an external site and find the patch, then pick whatever version of whatever office product was sick.  By the time I got there, I was so irritated and just “done”, and 2) I am in love with the visual nature of all things Apple.

My PowerBook (now a MacBook) was just more pleasing to the eye, and as I launched my own business and spent

countless hours on the computer, I just wanted it to be a more visually beautiful place to be for long periods of time.

Flash forward to 2008; I met Richard.  A PC personified.

Through the courtship, the engagement, the moving-in, and our current marriage, we are always at odds in a Mac-PC relationship.

Flash forward to 2010:  I watch him get excited about Windows 7, etc., but I still have no desire to switch.

Although one might say the wii is more aligned with the Mac mentality, I have to admit that I’m one Mac person who is grateful for the Xbox.

Sure, I was kind of forced into it (see earlier blog posts).  Sure, I resisted.

Today, two years after changing my ways, for better or for worse, I find myself celebrating Zune VideoMarketplace, my favorite feature out of this whole thing.

As I battle the recession as a small business owner, just like everyone else, I find my need for entertainment has increased so I can clear my brain at the end of the day.  Dumb shows relax me.  And there is so much to choose from now.   Sometimes I transport myself to bigger cities I adore in shows that feature that city (a la Sex And The City).

I finished Gossip Girl.

I am caught up with The City.

It’s cold in Seattle still, so I’ve gone back to day one with The Hills.

My husband thinks I’m wasting hours of my life.  I’m sure he’s right, but I don’t think he’s really in a good position to lob this comment.  After all, he put the Xbox in my life…

Winter in Seattle. You need a lot of indoor stuff to do.

In Product, relationship, TV watching, Uncategorized on October 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Okay.  The romance is still there.  I just had to figure out what it is.  And it’s different for everyone.

It’s just that the TV is there too.  Both of us just really enjoy movies, television shows, chilling out on the couch after working a hard day.  Sometimes I just like sitting on my husband’s lap, not talking, and listening to him work his way through whatever game he’s testing out for work.  It doesn’t feel any less romantic than that proverbial walk on the beach.  I still feel connected to him.

In Seattle, when it rains so much, you need a lot of indoor stuff to do.  I don’t want to go hiking in the rain.  It’s enough to get the dog totally muddy and wet on a simple walk.

Cuddling on the couch and laughing at him watching Jersey Shore is enjoyable when it rains for four days straight.