Since Saturday was only a half day of skating, we took advantage of having an afternoon to enjoy. Right after skating we went to the outlet mall to buy some running shoes for our son to use in his training. That was uneventful, but necessary. Afterwards came the fun!
We took the late afternoon as a time to unwind. The friends we are staying with suggested a place called Revival Brewcade. A brewery with pinball and retro arcade games. The prices were completely reasonable and I ended up playing Godzilla Pinball for most of the afternoon.
Our son has never really played pinball before. I hadn’t thought about it, but the gameplay is quite different from video games. He was asking tons of questions and also looked up scoring tips online- specifically for Godzilla as he wanted to beat my score. What’s neat about some of the newer Stern Pinball is the fact that they can connect online and track your progress and scores. I set up an account and achieved almost 42 million on my first game. My son’s highest score was 12 million. I guess pinball is my thing still!
Afterwards, when we returned to the house, our friend served us a variety of teas. We sampled about 3-4 different ones. Theory was willing to try them as well and we discussed what each tea flavour brought to our mind. The strongest tea we tried was lapsang sough. A very Smokey flavour, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Right before bed, my son attempted to challenge our friend to some Beat Saber on the Oculus. He was fairly cocky going into the challenge, but was soon destroyed by our friend. She plays quite fiercely and competitively. My wife and I knew this, but it was more fun to watch our son get put in his place by the 40 year old!
All in all a good Saturday afternoon. I really enjoyed the fun and competitions. Now for the final day of our son’s speed skating competition!
For the first time in a few months, I was playing around on my wife’s Oculus headset. I really enjoy the immersive experience that comes with it. Specifically seeing the scientific and space exploration. Those sorts of things aren’t readily available to most of us. Participating as an onlooker from the comfort of your home is the next best thing.
Having cleared a space for me to enjoy our VR, I ended up going barefoot on our super soft rug. This was an unusual sensation, especially when I was floating around the International Space Station at one point.
After about an hour or so of toying around the virtual world, I began to feel queasy. It was probably the Star Wars roller coaster simulation that did it to me. Then I moved on to trying a game, but nausea was too strong. I had to log out.
This was the first time I ever felt that way from VR. It reminded me of when I worked at IMAX some twenty plus years ago. My boss explained that the rollercoaster film that was made required a focal point for people to stare at in order to alleviate motion sickness. I think that was where I went wrong on the roller coaster. I was too busy looking around the virtual environment that my brain sensed movement elsewhere even though I was sitting on the couch.
No more games for a bit, as I have had to take a chewable Pepto Bismal and lay down. I’m not even going to turn on the tv. In fact, after writing this quick blog, my phone is also going away as I recover.
Over the past few weeks I have enjoyed my Friday evenings alone. My wife takes the two youngest to speed skating and I get a few hours to myself. A couple of weeks ago I had a bath, read a book and drank some wine.
This week I sat in our bedroom and watched the sun set. Once it was out of view and the night sky was upon us, I turned to the Oculus headset and began a new game- Moss. This was the first vr game my wife ever tried on the Oculus when we were at a friend’s place in Calgary back in 2019. Read about that day here: Unassuming Friday.
The game itself is really cute and easy to play. I was enjoying myself for well over an hour. But had to call it quits because my eyes were getting fatigued. I also had to prepare a late dinner for the family once they arrived home. But it’s going to be some quick and easy. I forgot to get anything ready ahead of time.
I do enjoy the time I have to myself. I’m not ever trying to fill my Friday nights, but I do appreciate the opportunity to lounge for a few hours. Taking some “me time” is beneficial in many ways.
If you found out it wasn’t real, would that make it any less worth living? Or maybe you’re like me and want to walk that fine line of questioning reality and adhering to the rules.
Normally these thoughts enter my mind every September. Don’t ask me why. I think that’s just when the server gets rebooted. Or that reality gets shifted two inches to the right.
In all seriousness, I love the idea of VR. In fact, we have had the Oculus Quest 2 in our home for two years now. With The Metaverse starting to take shape, I think it’s an exciting time to be alive. Over the past couple of years we have all been more exposed to Zoom meetings and video conferences. Strapping on a headset is the next step. The current visuals alone are compelling and immersive. Soon there is going to be Haptic Gloves coming out. That will really change the usage of the Virtual and Augmented reality.
In the not too distant future, we may become fully immersed in a haptic body suit or some sort of chamber. We will begin to occupy a new level of interaction with one another. I do wonder if one day we will be so interconnected that we lose sight of reality.
Perhaps we already have. Maybe we are reliving aspects of humanity we once romanticized- the dawning age of computers. Or maybe we are an alien race playing a life simulator. Could it also be we are just a computer program that became sentient?
I have no idea about any of this. But it sure is fun to imagine that it could be the reality. And if the life we are currently experiencing isn’t real- at least it’s been a crazy adventure.
Sunday Morning, our son decided that he was going to enjoy some VR gaming. For whatever reason, he also decided that he needed to cast it to our television.
It was odd that he did this, since no one else was around at the time. I walked downstairs and he was just talking away to thin air. When I asked who he was talking to, he said “the people in the game.” It turns out that when casting, he decided to turn the volume off because there was a bit of a lag/ delay and it was throwing him off.
I also asked why he was casting, and he said “So that we could watch him play.” I don’t think he realizes that we don’t all enjoy watching him play video games. especially on a Sunday morning when most of us wish to sleep in or have a quiet start to the day. At least he kept the sound muted, so I was entertained by his wild movements as he played a game called Gorilla Tag.
If we were taking turns playing a game, cool let’s cast. But he had already taken over the living room space, I guess he hoped we would enjoy watching his game that makes no sense? Wanna play tag? Go outside with friends and play tag. Why are you doing it in VR???
The amount of days remaining until we move. So I decided that for the final countdown (BA DA BOO-BOO…BA DA BOO-BOO-BOO) I would share something about each number for the days remaining that makes me happy.
With twelve being such a great number- My daughter suggested talking about the movie “12 Monkeys” since I enjoyed it so much. And it’s eerily poignant with today’s world. But I thought why not talk about how Sesame Street made me love pinball? That’s a bit more fun.
It’s all because of “One two three four five… six seven eight nine ten… eleven twel-el-el-el-el-elve.“ Such a ridiculous cartoon teaching kids to count. But it worked. And the song is forever ingrained inside the brains of any child of the 80’s.
I have a love of pinball because of this. It is my go-to gaming in arcades. I have always wanted a pinball machine. Perhaps one day I will get one. I have also bought pinball video games because I enjoy those as well.
Alien Crush was on the Turbografx16 and I won a contest playing it. Kirby’s Pinball Land on Gameboy filled hours of boredom (my daughter has since destroyed my high scores on that one). As well, I would spend hours upon hours of playing 3D Pinball Space Cadet on Windows (pre-Internet days). But my wife treated me to something truly amazing.
Star Wars VR Pinball on the Oculus. Not only do you play pinball, but you also get to set up a really cool Star Wars Den. The pinball game has a variety of views making it truly immersive. I’ve only played a couple of times, but I am looking forward to playing some more in the near future.
My love of pinball coincides with the number twelve. And with 12 days to go, I look forward to relaxing with some vr pinball in our new place.
Yesterday was filled with laughter, tears, and everything in between. My wife celebrated her 50th Birthday at home with her family. And it was the only way she knew she wanted to spend it.
Leading up to her milestone birthday wasn’t easy. Hitting fifty is a tough one. In fact, almost every decade milestone birthday is tough after age twenty. You get moments of regrets- like you haven’t accomplished everything you had hoped. But you also get moments of appreciation for what you have achieved in your life. The most uplifting is when you get moments of clarity when you realize this is exactly where you need and want to be.
My wife’s birthday started with breakfast in bed. The kids greeted her warmly and were excited for the next part.
Followed by a Fifty Clue scavenger hunt. This lead her all around the house. The last clue brought her to tears. It was hidden hidden behind a picture of her puppy- Chuppy. This was her best friend prior to me entering her life and creating a family.
Her final clue lead her to our theater room. Where we set up a pretend car- as a reminder to her fortieth birthday when we bought a Pathfinder. Hidden inside were “Brown Paper Packages tied up with string” as a clue to her forty fifth birthday when I made her a 45 record spacer from a “Sound of Music” LP (her favorite movie). Inside the unsuspecting boxes was an Oculus Quest 2 VR. This was my chance to bring the world to her since we are unable to travel and we really wanted to get away.
Finally we celebrated with a lunch that was filled with coffee and coffee cake (made by our oldest). For dinner we did go out for sushi at our favorite restaurant. That was short and sweet because we all wanted to watch one another play some VR.
All-in-all I’d say she had a birthday that was memorable.