Less than 4-hours Left of the Bar Bet

In less than 4 hours my husband will be victorious.  I though he couldn’t do it, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.  My husband did not eat meat or sugar for the month of January.  He also managed to get through it without compromising his health.  On top of that, he shed 6-lbs, which he is very proud of.  I was so happy watching my husband eat veggies and trying menu items he would have never considered before. 

In celebration I have saved two bed chocolates (from turn-down) for him to eat at 12:01 and tomorrow we will be going to a fabulous steak house here in Vegas. 


A Dream of Chocolate Cake

I had a dream of chocolate cake last weekend.  It was nothing fancy, just a chocolate cake still in the pan with a thin layer of firm chocolate frosting on it.  The tasted was like one of those Hostess chocolate cupcakes without all the additives and if you’ve ever had one of these cakes, then you know that chocolate cake is to do die for.  Anyhow, two of my aunts, who live in Georgia, were eating this cake with me.  One of them is named Marilyn.  She is a rotund women with a big personality and a skunk patch in her hair.  She always speaks the blunt truth through a slightly tired but always positive southern accent.  She has the gift of being straight forward without being mean.  The other is my aunt Mable.  She is all of 4ft-10in, but she has the energy of a giant and very strong opinions about politics, religion, and whether the hat Ms. Tinsley wore to church was too audacious.  My aunt Marilyn asked, “Did you bake this cake, Jen?”  I replied that yes I did.  And then Marilyn said, “It’s very good cake,” and my aunt Mable chimed in with, “yes, quite good.”  And then I woke up.

Recipe:  http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/517/Hostess_Cupcakes35049.shtml

I don’t make the cream filling since I don’t like it.

Bioshock: More Game than I can Handle

Last weekend I got in some solid hours of gaming on my Blackbird PC.  I nearly finished up Titan Quest and ending up giving up after 3-hours of frustrating battle with the final boss.  I made a melee fighter and I couldn’t even hit the boss without getting hit first.  One hit from the boss resulted in death.  Since the game wasn’t that good in the first place, I decided that I had invested enough time it so I moved on.

I moved on to BioShock.  A game my husband played a few months ago on the 3-year old computer I built for him.   He had to turn the graphics settings on the game down very low to play, so he didn’t get to enjoy the game as it was envisioned.  The case wasn’t true on Blackbird.  I was impressed.  The first scene when entering the game involves the direct aftermath of a plane crash.  The main character is in the water surrounded by plane debris and flames and you must make him swim to safety.  It’s amazing because the cut scene goes smoothly from pre-rendered material to gameplay.  It really looks like a movie.  The game itself is beyond creepy, both visually and sound-wise.  I was playing with headphones on and the noise from various crazies swarming around my head over a background of very CREEPY 50’s-like songs and radio commercials really got me rattled (the sound in this game is phenomenal and could be considered a character in itself).  Basically, this game is like playing a horror movie.  I’m pretty timid, so I could only take small doses of this game at a time because I would jump out of my chair or scream whenever some baddy came jumping out of a corner and running toward me.  What I ended up doing was playing while doing laundry.  40-mins of game play while the washer and dryer are going and then a 30-min break to start a new laundry load and fold and iron.  My husband was in tears laughing watching me play this game.  I had nightmares last night — video cameras and TV static (combined with lingering damage from “Poltergeist”).  I don’t know if I can get through this game with my sanity intact.

Blackbird 002, Jen is in Love

Thanks to the employee stock purchase program and a hefty New Years special, I was able to give in to the flirt.  So far, I’m very pleased with my Blackbird gaming PC.

Here are the basic specs:

3.0-GHz dual core CPU
4 GB 800-MHz RAM
Dual 512MB video cards
160-GB 10000 RPM Hard Drive
900-Watt power supply
Windows Vista Ultimate

My Blackbird was supposed to ship on the 24th, but it shipped 3-weeks early, which cause me to go through some trouble because it was scheduled to be delivered to my home while I was away at CES.  Thanks to the kind folks in receiving in SD, I was safely able to take possession of my machine upon returning to SD.

The first thing I want to say about this computer is that it is huge and HEAVY!!!  At 80lbs, it was more than I could manage to even budge.  Fortunately, my husband is big burly guy so he unpacked it and put it into position for me in our upstairs office area.  The Blackbird comes with a keyboard and mouse.  My came with a Logitech pair; in fact the same pair that we saw at CES!  Happiness!  The computer also came with all the cables and connectors needed to do future upgrades, backup software, The Orange Box (Portal, Half Life 1 and 2, and Team Fortress), and a Tom Clancy game.  Plugging stuff in was a breeze, though, I did have to check the user’s manual to figure out which video card I needed to connect to my monitor.  And then I was ready to power it on …

I was pleasantly surprised by Windows Vista (I had brought up drinks and snacks in preparation for a long night of fighting with the OS).  It asked for a user name, password, and my time zone.  After that it connected to the Internet, downloaded updates, and brought me to a welcome screen.  I installed some codecs and then browsed my home network to find some anime to watch.  Yep! I didn’t have to configure anything to access my home network and within 15-mins of powering up, I was watching anime.  I was so pleased.  I watched a few minutes of a hi-def file our entertainment laptop was struggling with.  It ran smoothly on the Blackbird — SWEEEEET!!!  Next I installed The Orange Box which took quite a while.  Immediately, I experienced the woe that is known as “Steam.”  I won’t go into the details of “Steam”, but sufficed to say, I burned a little over an hour installing The Orange Box before I could start playing Portal.  BTW:  Portal ROCKS!!!

The next night I installed “Titan Quest”.  I purchased this game about a year ago, but my poor old computer could not handle it and refused to even attempt to load the game after I had installed it.  The game is a straight-up “Diablo” clone with updated graphics.  I liked “Diablo” so I’m having fun with this game and the Blackbird is allowing me to enjoy the in-game environments to their fullest.  Next up is “Call of Duty 4”, a game my husband has been dying to play.  I’ll let you know how it goes when we get it.

Anyhow, so far, after a little more than a week, I’m pleased as punch with my purchase and I highly recommend Blackbird 002 to all you PC gamers out there.