‘gaming’ Category


Wine tasting party

Saturday we hosted our first wine tasting party. We went to one at a friends house last year and it was a lot of fun, so we thought we’d try our hand at it. We don’t know all that much about wine so we wanted to keep it light and casual, and not too snooty. We did end up getting lots of different kinds of cheeses to go along with the wine, and had a pretty impressive spread on the dining room table (cheeses, breads, crackers, appetizers, veggies, and desserts).

Here’s how it works: Each guest (or couple) brings a bottle of red wine costing under $20. The wines are poured anonymously (hidden in paper bags), one at a time, with each guest getting 1-2 ounces. Guests rate each wine from 1-5 (poor to excellent). At the end, the wine with the highest average score wins, and the person who brought it gets a prize.

Rather than call the wines “Wine #1”, “Wine #2”, etc., it’s recommended to choose a theme for the tasting, and name the wines after French cities for example. Our theme was Star Wars :-). Each wine got a Star Wars character name, like Yoda, or Luke. One of the advantages to my newly unemployed status is it gave me the time to create fancy score sheets for everyone (click on the image to the right to check it out).

Anyway, the party was lots of fun, and we had a great turnout of guests. After the wine tasting segment was over several folks started playing Wii bowling and tennis. Kathie had to make sure people kept backing up from the TV so we didn’t have a problem with Wii remotes smashing the TV like so many other people have had. We also got to show off the new FiOS high definition TV content by playing an episode of Discovery Channel’s new series, Planet Earth, which uses some revolutionary new high definition filming techniques and looks fantastic in high-def.

Oh, the winning wine was Obi-Wan.

Update: It was brought to my attention that I never posted the list of winners, so I’m adding them here, somewhat belatedly.

Character Wine brought Avg. Rating
Obi-Wan Erben Merlot-Spatburgunder 2003 3.67
Han Solo Marcus James Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 3.11
Chewbacca Placido Chianti 2004 2.97
R2-D2 White Hall Vineyards 2005 2.89
Yoda Edna Valley Syrah 2003 2.89
Leia Terra Andina Merlot 2006 2.75
Wedge Post Familie Zinfande 2.68
Darth Vader Glass Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 2.61
Boba Fett Yellow Tail Merlot 2006 2.58
Jabba Graystone Pinot Noir 2004 2.56
Lando Franciscan Oakville Estate Merlot 2003 2.25


  • on January 30, 2007 -
  • cancer, gaming
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  • Comments Off on Wii fun

Wii fun

Nothing much to report on the chemo front. #5 went about as expected… was feeling worn out Friday through Monday, and had the usual bad taste in my mouth. Felt more tired and weak than previous times, but I am mostly back to normal now.

The Wii has been a lot of fun! The News, Weather, and Internet channels are well done, but not particularly interesting since it’s a lot easier to just sit in front of a computer (there’s no shortage in this house) to check those things. The included Wii Sports game is simple but lots of fun. Zelda is about as expected, and doesn’t seem really Wii-centric… it could just as easily be played on other consoles (except for catching fish perhaps). Elebits is a great Wii title, is lots of fun, and makes excellent use of the Wii’s motion controls. Raving Rabbids is hilarious… it’s a set of mini-games, which should be great for parties. The animated Rabbids in the game keep us laughing the whole time we’re playing… keep your eyes open for some TV commercials!


  • on January 26, 2007 -
  • cancer, gaming
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  • Comments Off on Oncologists play games, too

Oncologists play games, too

In preparation for the Wii’s arrival, I went to E.B. Games in Reston yesterday morning right as they opened, to get some games, cables, and extra controllers. As I was paying for my stuff, I noticed that right next to me, browsing the games, was my Oncologist! We chatted for a bit – it’s definitely a little weird running into people in a context you’re not used to. It makes some sense though, since during my last appointment, we ended up chatting about Gameboy games (well, Kathie and he did anyway!)

Chemo #5 went well, though they were busy and it took almost an hour longer than last time. I also got a subcutaneous Aranesp shot at the end, since my red blood counts have been slightly below normal the last three times I was tested. Aranesp causes the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, similar to how the Neulasta shot I get the day after every treatment causes production of white blood cells.

Our Wii is now hooked up, and we started playing with it last night. It’s still too early to make a full report, but it’s definitely been fun so far. Every store near us was sold out of controllers (Best Buy, Circuit City, Target, Wal-Mart, Toys-R-Us, E.B. Games, GameStop) but after some calling around, I found that the Target in Leesburg had a few left, so I drove there and got the last two controllers… and when I got to the check-out, the person in front of me had a controller too! They’re almost as hard to find as the Wii’s themselves. The Wii comes with Wii Sports (tennis, bowling, baseball, etc.), and I bought Elebits, Rayman, and Zelda. Since the Wii plays all GameCube games too, we still need to finish up Resident Evil 4 which we’ve been playing on the GC for the last few weeks.


  • on January 23, 2007 -
  • gaming, weather
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  • Comments Off on Snow Wii

Snow Wii

We weren’t really expecting snow yesterday (forgot to check the forecast for a couple days), or we would have taken the SUV instead of the Acura when we went out for the day. The roads were snow and ice covered by the time we were on our way home, and we ended up having a little adventure. Driving along a road with a slight incline, we came across an SUV sideways across the road, spinning its wheels. We had no choice but to stop, and that was our mistake. As soon as our car stopped, it started sliding backwards down the road, then the front rotated around so we were sliding sideways! Eventually the car ran into the curb and stopped, but was stuck. The guy from the SUV had gotten his car oriented correctly, so came to help me push the Acura out while Kathie put it in reverse. We got it backed out from the curb, but then started sliding down the road again (while more cars were coming up towards us). Eventually Kathie was able to guide the car to part of the road with snow rather than ice, and we were able to drive back the way we had come from, and take main roads the rest of the way home. All in all though it’s nice to finally have some snow this winter! Now we’re ready for Spring to come ;-)

In more exciting news, Eric and Sundee in Tucson were Wii shopping this weekend and were able to get one for us too, so before long we’ll be playing Wii Sports, Raving Rabbids, and Zelda! We just need to be sure we have the new, stronger wrist straps so we don’t throw the remote into the TV!


  • on January 15, 2007 -
  • cancer, gaming
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  • Comments Off on Another week, another chemo

Another week, another chemo

Wednesday the 10th was treatment number four out of 12. Today (Monday the 15th) I seem to be on the upswing out of the chemo symptoms, so I’m willing to say I’m 33% done! Number four was much like number three — Thursday I felt pretty good, but by Friday I started feeling it. As usual, the most bothersome side-effect was altered food taste, though this time it was more like I had a continuous bad taste (kind of bitter / metallic) in my mouth all day Friday through Sunday. I also felt much more tired and weak this time around, as well as a little more nauseous, though my oncologist says that’s going to be more common now as the “cumulative effect” of the chemo treatments starts adding up.

In other news, Kathie and I are still casually shopping for a Nintendo Wii without success. We were at E. B. Games yesterday and they said the last couple times they got shipments, there wasn’t a line overnight, just a line right before opening, so hopefully most of the hardcore buyers have gotten their fix and we can have a shot at it soon.