Wednesday, December 15 2021

weird weather, a brazillian soccer player, and video games

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Wednesday. Wherever you're reading this from, I'm happy you're here. But if you're reading this in Madison, Wisconsin, I'd encourage you to open your window and experience first-hand the weird weather morning we're having.

Outside it's overcast and fifty-three degrees. The air feels warm, humid, and almost tropical. There's so much fog outside that I can barely see to the base of my driveway. On the short walk outside to my garbage can, I felt like I was about to be the first casualty in a science-fiction thriller. On top of all that, my phone tells me that half of Wisconsin is in a high wind warning. What's going on outside? Did a mad scientist launch a rogue weather changing device above us? Is this a terrible omen for the Packers winning the super bowl? These feel like strange signs, and I don't know what to make of them. If only I had something warm and familiar to comfort me, like a beverage of some kind - ah, there's my coffee.

Sip. Supernatural weather aside, I hope your morning is going well. I feel great, thanks to a twenty minute power nap. I flopped forward onto the living room rug, first just to tease Ziggy, but then my head found an especially comfortable spot wedged between a pillow and a bean bag chair. It was then that I decided to just commit to taking a nap on the floor.

Marissa, trying to get a nap of her own going on the couch a few feet away, laughed at the way I was sprawled out. The other dogs even gave up their choice couch nap spots to investigate what dad was doing. I got those warm shivers you might feel after a good stretch, only it lasted twenty minutes. I think I finally understand why the dogs like to sleep there. I'll have to remember that spot for next time.

Following today's theme of "weird" and "irregular", yesterday morning's work meeting was strange. As an end of the year treat, our department's director hired a company that coordinates team-building games over zoom, and so our monthly sync-up would be high-jacked to share fun facts about ourselves, tell stories from past jobs, and participate in a rock, paper, scissors tournament. We were all a little thrown off, but we collectively warmed up to the celebratory tangent.

My teammate Vicente told a great story from when he was first hired several years ago. Our CEO Mikkel asked the group of new hires to share a fun fact about themselves. Being a non-native English speaker, Vicente misunderstood the activity, believing he was supposed to make something up, sort of in the style of "two truths and a lie". So he told the group that he was a former superstar on Brazilian's soccer team, but he gave up his dream to pursue his passion of computer networking instead. Mikkel, being a huge soccer fan, was star struck. At the next all-company meeting, he called Vicente on stage and handed him a soccer ball, telling him to "show everyone what you can do".

"Wait, you're not a soccer player?" asked Libo. Vicente threw his head back with laughter. Even after all these years, he still hasn't completely overcome the rumor he started when he was first hired. There will always be a few people working at Zendesk that still believe Vicente to be a former Brazillian soccer sensation.

After work, I called Rodney out of his room to play some video games. Now that we had beaten Jurassic park, we were to search for a new video game to conquer. Knowing we wouldn't find another smash hit like Jurassic Park in my meager Xbox game collection, I let Rodney burn a whole twenty minutes making his own Xbox Avatar.

"It's Rodney style," he said proudly, spinning the final product in a circle. His Avatar, sporting very accurate shaggy blond hair, wore a red shirt (which was actually a Norwegian soccer jersey), red pants, a red baseball hat, and fingerless red gloves.

We tried to play Portal together. I had a hunch that Rodney wouldn't be thrilled to tackle an analytical first person puzzle game set in a drab, apocalyptic environment, but he really hung in there for as long as he could, and I was touched.

"OK, walk over there," I said, pointing to the screen.

"OK, what's next?" asked Rodney meekly. From my view, I watched his player strafe directly into a deep pit. His player exploded, and listening to the sound of burning and crunching metal, we waited for his robot to respawn.

"OK, try it again, but this time don't fall into the pit," I said patiently.

We gave up on co-op mode. I offered to let Rodney watch me play through the single player campaign, which began with narrowly escaping a disintegrating hotel room. Unsurprisingly, the gloomy aesthetic made Rodney uncomfortable. And with that, we exhausted the narrow range of games that are age appropriate for a five year old that we can both enjoy.

Rest assured, there are plenty of games that are not age appropriate for Rodney that he enjoys anyway. A few weeks ago, I caught him peering out of his room during quiet time to watch me play Assassin's Creed. Who knows how long he was standing half in the hallway watching me play, but he finally gave up his stealthy position when a guard lunged at my character with a spear. Ezio deftly dodged the attack, using his hook blade to sweep his leg and throw the guard over his back.

"YES! YES! YES!" shouted Rodney, pumping his fist like he had just witnessed a miracle. My head snapped in his direction. "Get back in your room," I said curtly.

For dinner, we took the easy way out. We went out for pizza so we could have time to run errands, but then instead of errands we just stayed for ice cream.


Yes, we're aware that Miles is holding just an icecream cone. That's very intentional. Miles only likes to eat the cones. Even if we had put a tiny scoop of icecream on top, he would just shake it onto the floor. Most places just give us an extra cone for free, so at least he's a cheap date.

That's what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Happy Wednesday.