Monday, December 31, 2007

Enjoying the gifts

Checking it twice (There are advantages to having Santa visit the house)

The stockings were hung ------ Before the carnage

I Win: A few years ago, I put a board game "Wise and Otherwise" on my Amazon wish list. And there it stayed. Given that a hefty portion of my Christmas this year was going to be spent on practical gifts for being on the job market, we put a bunch of games from my list on Joy's so we could get them. Well, Joy managed to get us this one, plus Apples to Apples, Guillotine, and Pass the Pigs (between her birthday, a baby shower, and Christmas).
The way you play is that you draw a card with the first half of several ancient sayings from different cultures on it. You pick one to read to the assembled players. Each person then writes down an ending to the phrase while the reader writes down the correct answer. All the answers are read, and people vote for which one they think is the real phrase. I seem to be very good at getting multiple people to believe my endings. We've played it a few times now and I've won 3/4 times. I got all the women to vote for my ending to an old Yiddish phrase, "The smaller the gathering, the greater the gossip." (The correct ending was the greater the joy.) An old Bedoin saying tells people to "Entertain a stranger 3 days before asking any questions." We voted Joy an extra couple points for a terrible pun on a saying I think was Slovenian: "Though the dog has no work, he does his business often." It's a great game.

Lookin sharp: My big Christmas gift was two new suits for the job market this week. One was a gift from me while Grammy gave me the other one, plus some new white shirts and ties. For the first time, I really don't like the ties she picked out. I love nearly all the ties she's ever picked out for me, but not these ones. So I had a fashion show for the family yesterday, trying on the different suit combinations to get some input on which ties looked best with which suits. One of the new ties won widespread approval for each suit, but the the standby favorites I brought with also scored well. I really like the suits and they should help me feel more confident as I face Judgment Week in New Orleans.

Most Played With, but why?: Steve and Emmy (SnM) got "Animal Crossing" for the Gamecube. They got an old cube from a couple of their friends who from the sound of things have more games and game systems than they know what to do with. Animal Crossing is a bit like Joy's favorite game "Harvest Moon," and it's done by the same people, only it's targeted at younger audiences and has less of a point. In Harvest Moon you're a farmer, fisher, miner, and try to win friends and influence people. In Animal Crossing, you run around running errands for people (every single errand is "Groucho has never returned my camera. Go get it for me.") and chat with them or send them letters to be friends. Some of the characters are even really rude. I'm not entirely certain why this game has so addicted them. But they were very eager for Joy and me to join them in Watsonia, so we did. I learned online that the game only does a spell check on your letters, and if you spell everything right they like it. So on the one letter I sent, I was fairly rude and signed Steve's name, but the game knew the letter was from me and the person loved it. It was very thoughtful, they thought. This prompted Steve to start sending letters to people from "The Secret Police" which they all think are charming and sweet.

Christmas theme: Aside from the job market stuff I got, there was a definite theme to my gifts this year. I got a VeggieTales video collection plus their Silly Song collection, Ratatouille, and the second season of Fraggle Rock. A bunch of kid/cartoon movies for Daddy Derrill to enjoy! I'm honestly pretty happy about getting them, especially Fraggle Rock. We have determined that intelligently done little kid stuff heals my soul. There were other gifts too, like Star Trek: First Contact, a fatherhood shirt, and some M.C. Escher art/postcards. Joy also crocheted me a hat following a Russian pattern and gave me a small drill to pre-drill holes.

Family Movies: Given that all three Watson families got Ratatouille this year, we watched it together. It's a wonderful movie I watched with Joy for a date sometime this semester. I appreciate that it addresses a number of themes well. It's not just about "finding out who I am" or about "honesty" or "prejudice," but does a decent job addressing all of them and several more. The artistry is well done, the actors do a fine job, and the comedy is quite good.
We convinced Mom and Dad to get The Nativity last year too, but they hadn't seen it yet. So after SnM took a nap, we watched it with them. One of the things I appreciate most about it is their interpretation of Joseph, particularly that he had to stretch out on his own faith and mercy before he could receive the reassuring and instructing vision of the angel. I'm impressed over and over again in it of how good a man and father Joseph was, and hope that I can learn to be a father to Hyrum like Joseph. Joy and I are also quite partial to the wise men who do comic relief, and occasionally quote from them in daily life.
After SnM woke up, Joy recommended we all watch one of our Christmas Carols. Dad naturally chose the Albert Finney musical Scrooge. I prefer George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart's versions myself, but Finney and Rich Little are always fun. Joy really doesn't like ghosts, though, so she didn't watch it with us. But it was very nice of her to suggest it.
Joy and I also watched Work and the Glory III some late night when neither of us could sleep for Joy's allergies, and she and I also watched The Star of Christmas, one of my Veggie Tales movies.

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