Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gamer Mom

I was kind of a late bloomer into the world of video games. My mom bought me the original Nintendo, purchased via Kmart lay-a-way, after it had already passed its coolness peak. I enjoyed playing Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt, but it never became an obsession. In college, Chris bought me a Game Boy. I discovered Tetris and I was hooked. I became addicted to video game puzzle solving. One Christmas or birthday Chris bought me Zelda for the Game Boy, and a long time love affair began. I was ecstatic to have no time limits imposing my gaming, to be able to find hearts anytime my character's life was in danger of being extinguished, and to explore a virtual world looking for clues and objects. Ever since, I have been a Nintendo loyalist, enjoying Zelda on the Game Cube, Nintendo 64, the Nintendo DS and the Wii. I also found Zelda for the original Nintendo on eBay. I have never completed a game, but that isn't really the point for me - I enjoy the process of figuring out what to do next.

My DS is one of my most prized possessions. I am tickled by the portability and the versatality, and aside from my beloved Zelda, I particularly like games that make me use my brain, such as Brain Age, crossword puzzles, and sudoku. But it's the Wii that has really changed how people use video games, including in my own family. Video gaming has become more of an interactive family activity, popular even with grandparents. Gaming has definitely been taken to a new level, one that is easier to understand, especially for those who were not previously into it, and one that keeps us active as opposed to vegetating on the couch, moving only our thumbs. The Wii Fit is getting us moving all the more, with the help of the balance board. We can now use a previously sedentary activity to work out, count calories burned, keep track of weight loss, and improve our balance and coordination. Getting excercise is fun, and it is great to see my kids bouncing around the family room while playing a game. Oh I love technology.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Living in the Real World

I love the internet. Ever since my first year of college, when I would email my philosophy professor questions about assignments, I have loved the internet. Soon I discovered other joys, like shopping on eBay and online gaming...SLINGO, anyone? Information at my fingertips is like heaven...maps and directions, movie times, restaurant menus, store hours and locations, recipes...the list goes on. The shopping possibilities are endless too. I scour store websites, looking for the best price, and often end up at my favorite online shopping venue, When I became a mother, I discovered all kinds of wonderful uses for the internet, like looking up every sign and symptom of illness and connecting with other moms in online communities. Then came my first digital camera and the wonders of emailing pictures to friends and family and -joy of joys - ordering prints online! Up at all hours of the night with my third baby, My Space was my savior, chatting with old friends and being a voyeur into their lives by reading their profiles and looking at their photos while nursing my Lucy to sleep again and again. These days, Facebook is my ultimate means of online communication, and it is truly surreal being connected to people I have not seen in "real life" in many years, having a glimpse of their lives as I read their status updates and see pictures of their children and their latest vacations. My kids have grown up never knowing a world without the internet, and they too enjoy its perks, from Webkinz to You Tube, to emailing their friends and doing math and reading games. The internet took me down a life-changing path, leading to finding and getting to know my father when I was 30 years old, something I had dreamed of my whole life. I could go on and on listing the useful ways the internet has enhanced my hotel reservations, product reviews, staying in touch with my kids' teachers, checking school lunch menus and calendars, job searching, Craig's List, weather reports and school closings.

As much as I love the internet, lately I have been thinking more and more of living in the real world, of wanting to do real things and have real experiences, rather than virtual ones. And yet, here I am starting a blog. Hmmm. But I suppose, in its own way, the internet is a part of my real life. So as I strive to have more meaningful real world experiences, I will also strive to write about them here in the virtual world of the internet.