Sunday, October 30, 2011

GameStop is a Battlefield

Earlier this week, I reluctantly went to a local GameStop at midnight and waited with my brothers in arms for the release of a first-person shooter videogame called Battlefield 3. No, I’m no fanboy, as the kids say, but my 14-year-old son is.

My mission was to get Battlefield 3 for him.

So there I stood, on a weekday night, far past my bedtime, waiting in line and swapping stories with everyone from wannabe soldiers in fake camouflage and Army helmets to real-life soldiers getting ready to be deployed to Afghanistan.

“Have you gotten Batman Arkham City yet?” my amped-up neighbor asks me, pointing to a box featuring a modern-day Batman with blood on his hands. Before I can answer, he adds, “It’s bad ass.” And that was the least of his expletives.

For me, Adam West was batman. He certainly didn’t have blood on his hands. However, hoping not to be discovered as a poser, I reply, “Not yet.”

It must have worked because my neighbor keeps talking … and talking. “You gonna play tonight?” he asks. Once again, he doesn’t wait for an answer.   I’m not even going to play the story mode,” he says, “I’m going to collect some dog tags.”

Afraid to disclose that the last videogame I played was on an Atari, I listen intently and nod. He goes on to discuss the merits of other blood and guts video games, breezing easily across genres, from soldiers to superheroes and from cowboys to aliens.

My cover is safe.

I can hear two other guys – since there are only two girls in the whole store – arguing the merits of PlayStation 3 vs. Xbox.

Finally, it’s time to pick up my game. I show my ID as required, second-guessing whether this is appropriate for a 14-year-old. Before I decide, the clerk hands me my game and says cheerfully, “See you for Skyrim.”

That’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim for the uninitiated. It will be released later this year.

I nod in agreement to maintain my new found street cred, while secretly hoping I’m nowhere near GameStop when that one drops. Nevertheless, for a minute, I think I might want to try one of these new fangled videogames. Then the moment passes and I yearn for Space Invaders.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Doing My Home Work

By my count, it’s been 35 days of captivity in southern Indiana since the abrupt closing of the Sherman Minton bridge.

Thanks to an understanding employer, I’ve been fortunate to spend most of that time telecommuting rather than sitting in traffic. As a result, I’ve taken a crash course in the pros and cons of working from home. They include the following:

  • No longer have to shower, shave, brush my teeth or even change my clothes … at least until they invent a smellaphone.
  • Saved enough money on Diet Cokes alone to start a college fund, not to mention savings on gas, lunch and dry cleaning.
  • Caught up on the lost episodes of “Matlock” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
  • Private parking space.
  • Always have to answer home telephone in a professional manner, rather than with my Arnold Schwarzenegger voice.
  • Onslaught of Medicare advertisements during daytime television (except for the Anthem ads, of course, which are lovely, and I’m not just saying that because I know the people who put them together).
  • Trying to determine if fridge leftovers “are still good.”
  • Miss arguing (I mean discussing) sports with the guy in the lunchroom.
  • Attack of the telemarketers. (Where’s Tom Mabe when you need him?)
So it looks like a wash. However, based on my sophisticated weighting system, I’d say the pros outweigh the cons. Did I mention the bridges?

How about you? Have you ever worked from home? What pros and cons are on your list?