Catching up

We’ve both had a busy week with life and work, which has left us little time to blog. Still, each night we put away some time to have date night. Things have calmed down again, so we are back in blogging business, but you, our faithful readers, have been left out in the date night cold. Here is a short (Amanda’s note: short? lol.) recap for the past week of what we got up to.

Saturday was my company’s Christmas party. Yeah, yeah, Christmas in February. The party is usually scheduled for mid to late January to avoid scheduling conflicts with all of the other festivities going on in December. This year, it happened to be scheduled for that weekend that we got two feet of snow, so it was rescheduled to now. We carpooled with a few friends who also work for the company. The party started at 6 with some casual conversation and greetings from everyone. We caught up with a few other people who work for the company that we don’t see very often. Dinner was served around 7:30. We enjoyed chicken marsala, crab cakes, broiled veggies, salad, and hot rolls, all served buffet style. Dessert was an assortment of cakes, pies, and fruits. The CEO gave a short speech, some funny awards were given out, and a short game of Left Center Right rounded out the night with the overall winner taking home a Fitbit Charge HR. Sadly, we did not win, but it was a quick, fun dice game. The party gave us an excuse to dress up and go out on the town, which we really enjoyed. It was also a lot of fun to take another (albeit short) road trip with friends.

On Sunday, we visited my parents. We’ve mostly been trapped indoors all Winter, as evidenced by our long, long string of indoor date nights. We hadn’t been over to visit my parents since around Christmas, which is way too long. The weather was gorgeous for the drive over to their house, making us super ready for Spring. We arrived early in the afternoon and stayed until about dark chatting and catching up on life. We had a really nice visit, and now that the weather is finally getting better, we’ll be spending more time visiting family. Hi, Mom!

Monday Movie Madness for this week is Idiocracy. A few days ago, Amanda saw this movie mentioned in an article about the presidential primaries, but she had not seen the movie, so she didn’t get the reference. I couldn’t let that stand, so I went over to the DVD shelf to grab it, then realized I didn’t own it. I really couldn’t let that stand, so we bought it on Amazon. The movie describes an average Joe, played by Luke Wilson, who is frozen in an experiment and wakes up hundreds of years in the future. After all of that time, everyone had become increasingly dumb through stupid people having dozens of kids and smart people having very few. When Joe wakes up, he finds his average present-day knowledge makes him the smartest man in the world. After a series of misadventures, he meets President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, played by Terry Crews, who puts him in charge of making food grow. Everyone is about to starve to death because all of the crops are dead and no one can figure out why they won’t grow. This all leads to more comedic misadventures in dealing with the incredibly stupid people of the future. The movie is one of my all-time favorites, so I’d highly recommend watching it if you haven’t. Buy Idiocracy on Amazon. This is a link to the digital copy. For some reason, the DVDs are wildly expensive, so either rent or buy the digital version.

Tabletop Tuesday this week is a classic: Go Fish. We didn’t bother to look up the rules because everyone knows how to play Go Fish, right? We played one round and ended up with a tie. I made a corny fishing pun, which, this many days removed, I can no longer remember. You’ll have to believe me that it was very clever. However, after the round, we sat down and thought about the game we just played and realized nearly every game would end in a tie. It turns out we didn’t remember how to play this game as well as we thought. A quick internet search later, and we had the actual rules. For our first game, we were only matching up pairs of cards. The rules we found online said that you had to have all four of the same card to count it for points. We redealt the cards and started guessing, then started fishing. Knowing the actual rules made the game turn out much differently. Instead of a tie, Amanda ended up thoroughly stomping me, 10 sets to my 3.

On Wednesday, we made 550 paracord survival bracelets using a tutorial we found on Youtube. Amanda bought the supplies for this back in August or September of last year. We had intended to make them before we went on the cruise last year, but, as with most of our projects, we got distracted and didn’t do it. We came across the supplies the other day in our crafting storage area and decided that we should finally make them. This was a really easy and fun project. It took us about an hour total to make both. I made a standard bracelet and Amanda made an anklet, both of us using the standard cobra weave. Amanda showed off her teenage-girl friendship bracelet skills by telling me to tape down one side to prevent it from moving around while I was weaving the cords. The tutorial said to really tighten each loop, so I took that to heart and used as much force as I could to tighten each loop. My finished bracelet is extremely stiff and will hold whatever shape I put it in. Amanda didn’t use nearly as much force on the loops, so her anklet came out much more flexible. We really enjoyed this simple crafting project. I looked around YouTube for some more patterns after we finished. There are a huge number of different weaves and patterns that you can do, so I’ll be making a few more of these in the future just to try out different styles. For the cobra weave, we used about a foot of cord for each inch on our wrists. Being a D&D and Pathfinder geek, I’d love to find a weave that is more dense so I could have 50 feet of rope. None of the weaves I found would give me anything close to that, other than one tutorial I saw for a belt. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to look more into that later.

Video Game Thursday this week is Stardew Valley. This game is taking the internet by storm, and for good reason: it’s a lot of fun. It’s an RPG farming and adventure simulator in the style of Harvest Moon. However, tonight was only part 1 for this date. I use a Linux laptop for most of my day to day computing, and with Steam and video game developers always increasing their Linux support, I’ve even been able to play a few games. Unfortunately, Stardew Valley is not currently supported on Linux. Fortunately though, Steam has the in-house streaming option and I have a Windows machine. Why not just use that machine and skip the laptop? Because it should do what I tell it to, that’s why. So, Amanda played Stardew Valley and I played Make Linux play Stardew Valley. One of us had way more fun than the other. You can guess which one. In between Googling for answers, rebooting, recompiling, and generally cursing my misfortune, I was watching Amanda play. The big advantage of me being behind Amanda is that she learned all of the lessons the hard way and has been able to pass them along to me. She is the Ghost of Stardew Valley Future. Your crops die when the seasons change (except for a few types that we didn’t have) so Amanda lost a few thousand gold worth of crops really early on. She also found a lot of the cool features before me, but I’m not going to mention those because spoilers. It took me until pretty late in the evening to figure out that I had a problem with my wifi driver which was causing the streaming to crash, so I fixed that and went to bed. It seems we have been having more and more frequent issues with setting up games the day of the dates. We’re going to start loading everything and getting it ready before the day we play in the future.

Friday was Stardew Valley: Part 2. Now that my laptop is set up, playing is a breeze. As a pleasant side effect, the fix also got rid of an annoying crash that my wireless card would suffer after being online for a random number of hours, and usually right in the middle of me uploading pictures for a post. I’m mid way into Summer after the date tonight, so here are a couple pointers we’ve learned along the way:

  • Start clear-cutting your trees early. With 50 wood, you can make a chest in your house that gives you 36 slots of storage. Crafting a couple of those will greatly help you at the beginning since your inventory space is so limited.
  • Items will stack to a maximum of 999.
  • Go explore the community center as soon as it is available.
  • Save at least one of everything you get for the first year, especially gold star items, but even trash. Just keep making chests if you run out of space.
  • Start working your way down through the mines as soon as you can. Valuable copper, iron, and gold can be found in the mines, all of which will make your tools better and your farm easier to manage.

There are so many more things to do and see in the game, but we don’t want to spoil too much. You can pick up Stardew Valley for $14.99 on Steam or Good Old Games. Warning: it’s extremely addicting. You’ll wonder where time has gone when you look up and realize it’s 3 AM. But there’s time for just one more day before bed. Crops are coming up, your fishing skill is really close to the next level, you’re almost at another level in the mines, and oh, the festival is coming up. Just one more day…

Well, folks, that mostly catches us up. We’ve had a busy, but great, week. I’m still a tiny bit behind on posts, but expect those, along with your regularly scheduled updates, starting again tomorrow.