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Minor spoilers about the Novigrad ball. And various children’s TV shows.


Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Butch Jr. played Minecraft a lot. And rocket league. But no witcher. None. Zero. Nada. All this family stuff.

Once again, tell me of this thing called games, would you?


And here we see why the stereotypical gamer is single and living in his mom’s basement. These are the guys who actually have TIME to play!

I got a little bit done, mostly more treasure hunting. Maybe if I collect enough of these diagrams I’ll be able to make some witcher gear that’s actually worth wearing. I did trade the metal mittens for Enhanced Feline Gauntlets, so that’s a plus. One thing that’s bad, though: you can’t put glyphs or runes on witcher gear, and those things can be pretty nice. This is one reason I haven’t found the witcher stuff to be worth trading for a lot of the time.

So…have you come to appreciate Minecraft yet? Maybe only because it keeps Jr. busy?


Um, no.

It’s not even productive time, because I have to look, supportively, at everything he makes every three minutes.

He now wants to watch YouTube shows about it.

What the HELL is the allure?

As for armor, get the full set, man. Full set. And enhance.

On that, the damn ball (temporarily) cost me my pants. Had to take them off to go to the ball, couldn’t put ’em back on. Thank God the play gave me enough XP to put my pants back on.

Only a gamer would understand that last paragraph.


Ha! Losing your pants to a party. That’s kind of awesome. Good thing you were close enough to the next level to get them back by acting in a play. Games imitating life, right there. Ha.

And that’s a telling point about the having to look, supportively, at the stuff he builds. All right, that’s it for me: I’m never allowing Minecraft. Seriously, if you can’t even say “go away and keep yourself busy with this for an hour without disturbing me,” what’s the point? I mean, O’Jr. LIKES me to sit and watch ‘Chuggington’ with him (thanks, grandma, for introducing that little gem), but it’s not as if he won’t watch it by himself while I get ready for work in the morning or whatever.

I miss Peg + Cat. Now it’s all Bob the Builder and Chuggington. At least he’s gone off Curious George, whom I find strangely repellent.


Behold, the curse of being a good parent. Because you have to care. (And, to be honest, he HAS build some pretty amazing stuff. And he plans. He’ll tell me this elaborate idea, and damned if he can’t pull it off. But let me see it when you’re done, dude, not every two minutes. Sigh.)

Now, see, ok, since there’s no game talk today we’ll do this. What’s the Curious George hate? I kinda like George. Sure, there’s weird issues about yellow and kidnapping, but they do learn good lessons. It beats the pants off of dinosaur train. And most stuff on Disney. Jake and the Neverland pirates? Ugh. Taught them nothing but annoying songs and how to whack stuff with a sword (incorrectly. As Jr. now fences, I can’t be totally down on sword whacking.) It’s not as good as Arthur, which is my favorite PBS thing, but c’mon. Leave Gorse (as Baby McP says) alone.

Bob has some issues, too. “Wow! Look at this pristine, sunflower covered valley! What a waste that it isn’t covered in buildings! C’mon, team!”


For me, it’s mainly the annoying squeaking that puts me off George. His voice is obnoxious. Also, I don’t really like monkeys–they kind of creep me out. (Give me snakes any day. Snakes are great! Rats are fine! Spiders are admirable at a polite distance! Monkeys are creepy.) So basically, George has nothing to offer me. If he were a tarantula with a less squeaky voice, we could talk.

However, as with Chuggington, I recognize that children have their own tastes and opinions, to which they are to some degree entitled: that degree being the degree to which they don’t completely offend decency and good taste. I’m not standing around arguing that Curious George offends decency and good taste any more than the next kid’s TV show, and if there’s an organized George-hate movement, I can’t speak for it…I just personally don’t like it.

But O’Jr. thinks it’s hilarious, so, you know, he can watch it while I go do something else. Although as noted, he’s not even that into it lately. Kids…so fickle.

We haven’t seen Jake and the Neverland Pirates (yet…there’s always grandma and her exploring), or Dinosaur Train. I’m really not wild about Bob either (“let’s flatten everything and make it into golf courses!” seems to be the main motivation–even though they don’t actually CALL them golf courses, that’s what their projects all look like to me), but the kid does like heavy machinery. And of course there’s Thomas, which I am also not wild about, but the kids likes trains. Again, he’s allowed to like shows I don’t care about, and to use his TV time on them to the extent that they aren’t actively horrible.

Which is admittedly a hard line to determine sometimes. We’ve previously discussed ‘girl’s shows’ and the weird messages about gender in kids media, and we could talk about other messages about race and class and consumerism and who-knows-what-all that are certainly implicit in these shows. Arguably, we SHOULD talk about this stuff, a lot, because its what our children are absorbing and using to construct their benchmarks for normalcy, and they’re not sitting around analyzing it the way we talk about games.

But…that’s another blog, I guess. And honestly, I don’t WANT to watch his shows that closely, because they’re not that interesting to me, and I guess it’s easier to just assume the kids will figure things out. And no doubt they will be fine: it’s not as if we base our philosophy of life on Bugs Bunny, and there were plenty of highly questionable things about those Warner Brothers cartoons I watched when I was little (which were nevertheless awesome, as highly questionable things can simultaneously be).

So…yeah. There’s plenty of fodder for discussion in kid’s TV! We could go for days on this.


Monkeys? Monkeys are great! Very friendly. Now that Daniel Tiger show…. a sentient tiger with all those human friends… and cat and owl…. Hey people, do you not notice that three of your friends are NOT HUMAN? Do you not CARE?

The theme song to Chuggington makes you dumber every time you hear it. This has been proven by science.

Have you met Special Agent Oso yet? ****shiver****

Kids: So very fickle.

Wild Kratts keeps them cool.

But now I have the problem of finding something an eight year old and a two year old can both watch. This is not easy.

Dinosaur train is, without a doubt, the most annoying, useless thing PBS has ever created. We lost Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, a masterpiece, for this. Ugh.

Odd Squad is pretty good, though.

Anyway, how do you avoid following it? I mean, it’s there. You have a tremendous ability to tune shit out. I’m not as good at that as you. You can do it even without headphones!


Monkeys are creepy. I stand by that. They’re like little people, but they’re ugly, scary little people who might bite your face off. Apes too! Only apes are worse, really. Chimpanzees creep me right the hell out. Orangs? Shudder.

I do FOLLOW it, to some extent. As you note, it’s there. One can only tune out so much. But when I say I don’t want to watch it closely, I mean, I don’t want to have to actually PAY ATTENTION to it. If I’m going to make statements about a piece of media (other than as a response to clearly evident facts such as “this is about a monkey, and monkeys are obviously creepy”), I feel I should have some context, like knowing the names of the characters, common plot elements, setting, etc.

And I do know way more about this than I care to in terms of Thomas, for example, but do I KNOW Thomas? Not the way I know a game I’ve played, because although I’ve seen it (and stepped over its associated toys) more times than I can count, I’ve really never actively watched it. As a result, I’m hesitant to opine extensively about Thomas & Friends, partly because I don’t know it that well and partly because I haven’t formed that many opinions about it because I don’t actually care. To have opinions, I would have to think about it, and to think about it would be to grant it space in my brain that is more productively occupied by witchery.

Or less productively. I mean, as I said, there’s endless discussion-fodder in kids’ shows, and I’m sure it would be a worthy topic for our keen analysis. But then we’d have to pay attention.

Speaking of witchery and pants (sort of), did you wear your nice clothes the entire ball? Because I did, and so I wound up with no armor or weapons having to igni-and-punch those three dudes to death in the hedge maze. Again, reminiscent of DAI, where I also would up with no armor in some fights.

But I think this is actually a pretty good way to do the “let’s take away the PC’s stuff to make a moderately challenging fight harder” thing. Because getting all dressed up for a party does generally mean leaving your armor and larger weapons behind, and there’s a sort of recognizable “damn it, I’m not dressed for this but I have to deal with it anyway” feeling that comes with getting into a fight while wearing evening clothes. Not that most of us have gotten into fights in evening clothes, necessarily, but we may have been all dressed up and that’s when the car broke down, or whatever, so we sort of understand the feeling of having to deal with something you’re not prepared for, when you’re in fact carefully prepared for something completely different.


What? Orangs are like, the most awesome animals anywhere, except for perhaps hippos.

Chimps are a little weird. That’s so.

Maybe I know kid’s TV better cuz I’ve been exposed to more of it for longer. It never really ends. By the time one outgrows, the other grows in.

You want some sort of creepy? Wonder Pets. The animation style alone…. and don’t get me started on Barney.

I am astounded that you don’t know Thomas. I’m at a point where they do the little puzzle thing (“Can you tell who this is?”) I always get it. Even when it’s some weirdo like Peter Sam. How do you tune shit out?

How can you not pay attention?

The game…I did wear my nice clothes the whole time. I even gave up my swords without much of a hassle. I tried punching before I remembered igni worked. That made it easier.

This is twice. Remember the whole towel incident at the bathhouse?

By the way, interesting factoid: I got through the whole towel bit with “alternate axii, let ’em kill each other” which worked great. But, I have found, that trick doesn’t work in a fist fight. They won’t punch each other. They just stand there like there’s no one to fight. So I burned them all. Their loss.

It is a nice way to mix up the fighty bits. Though I sorta wish they had the guts to let the ball bit be the ball bit. DAI, too. We can fight later. This is different.


Oh, man, orangs are the worst. They’re so hideous and terrifying. Impressive, I’ll grant them: very impressive feats of strength and agility with the swinging through trees and what-not. But as far as I’m concerned, nekkers are only slightly more disturbing looking than orangutans. Even if they do have red hair, which should predispose me towards them.

Hippos are apparently mean and deadly, so I agree, they’re awesome.

I know Peter Sam exists, but I couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, except perhaps by process of elimination if the other engines there were Thomas, Percy, James, Gordon and Emily.

But…yeah, maybe it’s just that I don’t specifically watch Thomas. We split the video duties, so Mr. O’ would watch Thomas with him, and I would watch Daniel Tiger and Peg + Cat and Sesame Street. So Mr. O’ knows a LOT about Thomas (HE can identify Peter Sam for sure), and I know…more than he does about Daniel Tiger and Peg + Cat. I suppose it might be less about tuning out exposure, and more about what one is exposed to. You are obviously going to be exposed to everything, so your retention will be high, especially by the third kid.

Yeah, signs were key in that fight, especially since I couldn’t eat food to heal. Also, they were all terrible at finding me, so I’d burn them, run off into the maze until my sign came back, then run out, again, etc. It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done.


But…but….big friendly round orang faces! So cute!

Hippos rock.

What about poor Henry? Wither, poor Henry. Always the forgotten one. No wonder he’s always morose.

But think of how confusing my world gets? So many similarities……. So many animals…..so many annoying songs……

On that, TV at least has some palatable shows. All. Kids. Music. Sucks. There’s a channel on XM called “Kid’s Place” that my parents let them listen to. I have convinced them my car doesn’t get it. It’s better that way.

And yeah, what was with that no food? I HAD food! I probably had really good food, cuz I pilfered it from the buffet!


No. Not cute. Terrifying. I hear they’re cantankerous and freakishly strong. This DOES sound like a pretty great description of something, I won’t lie, but nevertheless you can keep them.

We’ve so far mostly escaped kid’s music. Mr. O’ just plays him pop and heavy metal and stuff, and I don’t usually play music around the house. I had one children’s CD that I got off the library free table and played for him once, but he was singularly uninterested. Now nursery rhymes sung and set to video, that he was into before he learned of the existence of video with stories, and that was varying degrees of awful (some not that awful, because nursery rhymes in and of themselves are OK, and some pretty terrible if they were given a tune/animation that was annoying), but even that isn’t of much interest these days.

I don’t know why you suddenly couldn’t eat in that fight. I had plenty of food, because I too had pilfered freely from the banquet tables (I still have the ‘exquisite honey’ I got! Exquisite honey should be worth plenty in a fight, damn it!). Maybe they figured it was fair to deny you access to it because you couldn’t have carried it around in your nice clothes (as if you could perfectly easily carry it around inside your armor), but I felt that was a cheap trick. Hmph.

Although as a point on their side, you COULD probably fit a lot of stuff inside that kettle that you couldn’t fit into a slim-fitting fancy tunic.


The only kid’s record I like is the Grateful Dead’s one, which really is remarkably good. Other than that, it’s about as annoying as things get. You thing George is bad? Dude….There’s a universe out there.

No access to food was a very cheap trick. I can see not being able to use bombs, as they were probably confiscated with your swords (although they were in my inventory), but food? Not cool.

Bad enough I lost my pants.

Though one conceit that we have to overlook is that inventory is increased by saddlebags, and Roach is usually about 500 miles away. Don’t ask how he’s gonna get to Skelleggy.