Those were the words that signified the beginning on the “the new normal.” March 11, 2020 was the day the United States was truly introduced to the novel coronavirus, or as we came to know it, COVID-19. Diseases like this have come and gone around the planet before, but generally the United States has been geographically isolated from the worst of the recent past. With these words spoken by ESPN announcers prior to the NBA Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game scheduled for that Wednesday evening, normal American life began to grind to a halt. And the desperate search for toilet paper was just about to get underway…
When enough time passes, and we, as a society, take a look back on this event (“these interesting times,” “these uncertain times,” “these unprecedented times,” “the new normal,” “massive governmental failure,” and any other phrase you would like to add to this list…) I believe the postponing of this basketball game will be the singular event that got the nation’s attention: This situation is serious, we’ve never seen anything like it in almost a hundred years, and we don’t know what’s happening next.
To almost every extent, this uncertainty remains, over two months later. We’ve become familiar with words and concepts that are new to our modern society. Face masks. “Social distancing.” Pandemic. Wild times, indeed.
There is a lot of we still don’t know. There’s a lot to be sad about, a lot to be mad about, and a lot to be frustrated about. I’ve always tried to create posts on this site that inform, entertain or uplift. Honestly, I haven’t posted since the beginning of March because I don’t know what’s appropriate. But we still have lives to lead, and there are still things to say. And, as John Krasinski showed us for eight episodes during “these unceratin times,” there is still Some Good News…
I love Cadbury chocolate. I really do. I think I can probably blame this fact on having British relatives and having a deep English family connection. Cadbury Flakes? Yes, please! And of course, “no bunny” knows Easter like the Cadbury Bunny.
But I did not come to you tonight to talk about chocolate. I came to talk to you about Easter Eggs. Not even the Cadbury Crème ones… or even the ones you hide in early spring that occupy the kids for hours on end, and you end up finding in July after playing a long guessing game of “where’s that smell coming from?”
I’m thinking more of digital Easter Eggs. Hidden rooms, messages, inside jokes or simple artwork found in video games (especially early games) that were part of the inspiration of the movie “Ready Player One.”
So, the first example of a hidden “Easter Egg” comes right from the movie itself. One of the most prominent “eggs” in the movie involves this one from the Adventure game for the Atari 2600, released in 1979:
I’ve seen this trend toward classic computing really take off lately. My favorite is probably the Amiga Forever emulator by Cloanto. I like that one because I actually converted several Amiga disks over to *.adf format before disposing of the old Amiga machine.
But now there’s a way to enjoy some “new” classic games straight through your browser. The Internet Archive has recently added several games from the 80’s and 90’s. Just click on the large green power button, and you are on your way!
You should thank me for successfully wasting your otherwise productive day!
So, we just returned from a trip to central Florida over Christmas break that included a trip to Full Sail University in Winter Park. Allison will be off to college in no time at all, and with her artistic talents we’re looking for a media-rich school for her to attend. Full Sail certainly delivers on all counts.
This video provides a quick tour of the campus. Many of these places we visited during our tour.
Our tour guide, Jim, was very knowledgeable and full of information about the course offerings. There were a few grade school children along for this tour and Jim handled them all amicably. I had felt a little odd about taking Allison as she is just a freshman in high school, but after seeing the younger kids there on the tour, those worries quickly disappeared.
This would have been a top choice school of my own had I known about it in the early 1990s. I was interested at that time in attending Virginia Tech, as they were using Commodore-Amiga computers. I would have leaned toward television and movie post production, I think. I ended up staying local, and getting a well-rounded education here in West Virginia.
The education from Full Sail is very specific to digital media arts, and upon completion, 72% of students wind up working in their field of study. That’s a real-world education. I was impressed by Full Sail’s list of graduates who went on to work for film studios, audio engineering companies, gaming studios, musicians, etc. There are a few awards (Grammy, Emmy) on site that backs up the quality work their grads are capable of.
As I said, Allison still has a couple of years to get things sorted out, but hopefully we can keep Full Sail at the top of a short list.
Wii Music is one of those games that people are either going to love or hate. I’ve only played it just a little bit today since I’ve managed to mangle up my shoulder, but I think I will really enjoy it once I am healed up.
The game is a great introduction to music for children because it focuses on keeping rhythm and musical experimentation. And I think when I get some friends over it will be a fun party game.
When starting out you have a very limited selection of songs (think “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”) but after watching my kids play through, now I understand why they start you out so simply.
The basic controls of the game are simple. You just mimic playing the musical instrument your Mii is holding. Watch this sample video:
I’m looking forward to playing a little bit by myself to try to improve (practice, man, practice!) but the real fun of the game comes when everyone performs together as a group. After your performance, you have the opportunity to save your collaboration as a video which can be watched and even overdubbed at a later time. Apparently, creating new videos will open up more songs and more video locations, but I haven’t played enough to see that happen.
Anyway, I think this will be a fun game overall. But what I’m really looking forward to is having a few friends over, and having us all work on a grand performance.
Well, it took two years and three months, but I finally became a victim of the "Red Ring of Death:"
So I’ve contacted Microsoft support and they (hopefully) will repair it. I can’t make it "red light on demand" yet. But pretty much, if I play for just a few minutes it stops working.
This seems to be happing pretty frequently lately, as I’ve gotten a few messages from friends saying "Sorry, I’ll be missing for a few weeks while my system is repaired." So it looks like all the original systems must have been affected, it’s just taking its good old time on some boxes.