Thursday, September 18, 2008

Atari 2600 Memories

I was talking to someone about this game the other day. We had this one when I was a kid and I remember playing it probably more than the other games because the rules were simple. I'd say this game was stressful and affected me years later. Because I crashed and burned so often in the night driving, it made me very nervous of driving in general....probably adding to my nervousness with my driver's ed. "If I can't avoid crashing with a video game...what type of driver am I going to be in real life?!"

This game was probably the most complex game we had for the Atari 2600. It was hard! This was back before the time of the internet so not easy for a kid to find the hints for it. I liked the strategy of the game and the way it allowed wandering around in different rooms to try to find what you needed to move up to the next level. I did get beyond the first level and on the one hand I don't seem to remember ever winning the game but actually I think I must have watched someone solve it at one point. When I think of playing this game my impressions from my youth are:
1. Frustrating.
2. A hint at the future for video games beyond the war & sports video games that were the most common games at the time.

Too busy this week but I think I'll find an online version of this game this weekend and give it a try. I haven't tried any of the games yet and there might be other sites that offer these games also but here is a link from Console Classix to play some of the Atari 2600 games online.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Craftzine Blog and Modern Crochet

I've recently made some modest attempts at crochet (some scarves, ponchos, and even a crochet cat) however as I am still very much a beginner it is fun to search the internet to see what I might be able to aspire to some day. The blog at Craft magazine is one source of much inspiration. They also have a flickr pool that readers can upload pictures of their crafts to. I love Craft magazine because it's targeted at a younger, more creative generation as compared to most craft magazines today. (Don't most of those magazines seem to be full of baby sweaters, table clothes, and strange holiday decorations?) Just from a search of crochet on Craft's flickr pool you can tell it's different:

Some of the most adorable and unexpected crochet I've found on the web includes food:

TV Dinner anyone?:

The cutest toast ever and more!:

Remember the Sears Wishbook Dollhouse?

If you were a child during the late 70's to mid 80's, you probably remember this dollhouse from the Sears catalog. Men might even remember it as they were probably fighting their sisters for the ownership of the yearly Sears Wishbook due to this item. (Pictures thanks to the wonderful Flickr community)

It's funny to look at the furniture sets and see how dated they are now. The height of modern living back then is such a time capsule of the past now. But boy would I still love to own one of those old dollhouses - dated or not! The Sears dollhouse was actually produced today by Lundby, a Swedish company (although I don't ever remember that name being mentioned in the catalogs?)
The 2008 version of that traditional Lundby dollhouse:

and even cuter than that is the almost impossible to buy in the USA, Lundby 2008 Garden House/Cottage:

Lundby dollhouses are great with realistic details...but am I the only one to wonder why they still haven't been able in 2008 to make the dollhouse families look any cuter or more realistic? Like so many other dollhouse people I see from other companies, there is an odd, uncomfortable, not very realistic look about the dolls. Seems like all the engineering talent is spent on the houses and furniture... with little thought left over for the doll families and their clothes.

The Best Gluten Free Foods so Far

It's been a long time since I've posted (I have this habit of forgetting my blog passwords so that doesn't help.) Hopefully it's time to make up for my long blogging break.

I run into people at the supermarket all the time who are looking at gluten-free foods and not sure what brands to get. Here is my personal take after 5 years on some of the best gluten-free food products I and my family have tried:

Best GF Bagels: Against the Grain Plain Bagels - Great taste, more flaky than a "normal" bagel. Reminds me almost of a cross between a bagel and a croissant but the best of both.

Best GF Sandwich Bread: Kinnikinnick Italian White Tapioca Rice Bread - Like all gluten free breads, it needs to be toasted for best flavor. However once toasted this is by far the best white gluten free bread I've ever had (which says a lot as I've tried even fresh bakery GF bread!)

Best GF Rolls: Chebe Cheese Bread Mix - Some stores have the frozen, ready to bake ones which are good but the best taste is probably from the mix. It's simple to make and the resulting light, fluffy, cheesy rolls are a hit even with the non-GF family members & friends!

Best GF Donuts: Celiac Specialties Cinnamon Sugar Donuts - These donuts taste like real donuts. This company got the recipe just right - cake like batter but not too heavy. No aftertaste. Yum!

Best GF Pasta: Tinkyada Rice Spaghetti Noodles & Schar Spaghetti Noodles - Oddly for as hard as it is to find good gluten free bread, it's absolutely easy to find great pasta! I really haven't tried a bad GF pasta that I can remember but Tinkyada and Schar are probably the best brands that taste just like "normal" pasta.

Well I'm sure I'll have to add to this list later.