February 1, 2009: Productive Day

We have nothing much planned for today.  So after getting up this morning and everyone moving down to the living room I took over the morning Liesl schedule, helper with her exercises and tummy time and other activites, while Dominica got started on her first class at the O’Reilly School at the University of Illinois.  That actually worked out really well.  Liesl and I really enjoyed getting a morning together – normally she spends her mornings happy and alert with Dominica and I only see her during the tired evening hours – and Dominica was able to focus, quite productively, on her schoolwork for several hours.  By the time that she decided to call it a day she had completed six lessons out of the nineteen needed to complete her first course.  There are four courses altogether in her certificate program.  So today gave her a really good jump on the whole thing.

When Liesl fell asleep after her morning exercises I got a little bit of a chance, maybe an hour, to play some Fable while Dominica was still working on her classword.  I tried going through the Arena but didn’t understand the directions and ended up accidentally dying just because I did the wrong thing and went through the wrong door.  Oops.  So I had to start over and ended up getting almost nowhere for my work today.

In the early afternoon, after finishing up her schoolwork for today, Dominica settled in to play some Paper Mario on the Wii Virtual Console.  She has been working hard the last few days to attempt to complete this classic adventure title.  This afternoon she managed to get in a few hours and was able to complete the next to last chapter in the game.

We downloaded Super Mario RPG: The Legend of the Seven Stars for the Wii Virtual Console today.  I have never actually played this classic SNES title before and Dominica has never even seen it.  I played it for maybe fifteen minutes, if that long, so that we could at least see what it looked like today.  Paper Mario is sometimes considered to be the spiritual successor to Super Mario RPG.  SMRPG was made by Squaresoft, however, and is far more similar to classic JRGP titles than the Paper Mario series is as they are adventure/JRPG crossovers made by Nintendo themselves.

I put in an hour or two working for the office today after getting paged out in the middle of the afternoon and subsequently needing to deal with several issues that all came up around about the same time.  I also put in an hour or two working on some other projects in the basement before returning to the upstairs to hang out with the family.

My big challenge for today continued to be attempting to install Windows 2003 (fully virtualized, of course) onto an HP Proliant DL385 G5 remotely onto a Xen Virtualization environment running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.  The challenge was that there was no local graphical environment at all.  I finally found a solution to the issue tonight by using SSH Port Forwarding to bring the remote graphical connection securing back to my laptop from which I am working and then connecting throught the tunnel using TightVNC because UltraVNC, for some reason, is not happy with the connection.  That little problem set me back a good day or two.  NTFS formatting is running as I write this.  Pheww.

Oreo was in a very playful mood tonight.  We played and played for quite a long time.  You can tell when he is really ready to play hard when he decides to dig out his tennis ball instead of just playing with one of his stuffed animals which he knows collectively as his binkies.  Playing with his tennis ball gives him much more of a workout.

Oreo was chasing his tennis ball at one point today and slid under the runner in the vestibule and fell twisting his front left leg.  He limped really badly for half an hour or so but appeared to make a complete recovery by this evening so I guess that it was not all that bad.  We will see how he is tomorrow after he sleeps on it and has a chance to become stiff.

Dominica spent the entire evening attempting to complete Paper Mario.  She picked it back up around eight in the evening and was still playing when I was wrapping up the SGL daily as it was coming up on midnight.  When I was attempting to get off to bed she had long ago completed all of the chapters of the game itself and was just down to the very final section in which she had to track down Bowser himself and defeat him.  I had wished that I could stay up and watch the very final ending of the game but the game really does not have any plot or storyline of which to speak so there really isn’t anything to miss out on.

Paper Mario, like all Mario games, is roughly the video game equivalent of playing a Popeye Cartoon.  Every single episode has the exact same plot and not just the same plot but the same plot with the same characters going through the same motions over and over again in a neverending cycle of dork like girl, girl likes dork, bully kidnaps girl, dork finds bizarre way of beating up bully and takes girl back.  Rinse.  Repeat.

It is almost midnight here.  I am taking Oreo and heading off to bed.  Liesl has been sleeping for many hours now and needs to wake up and get a bottle of formula before she and Dominica can really come to bed.  I have the Windows updates running on the Windows Server 2003 machine that I managed to get installed this evening.  I am very much relieved to have gotten that done and out of the way.  Today qualifies as a rather significant success with a lot of time being spent a) with my daughter during her happy time b) getting real work done for the office c) getting work done at home d) overcoming a major technical obstacle e) catching up on SGL completely f) getting to play Fable for at least an hour and finally g) heading off to bed early enough to be able to play at least twenty minutes of Dragon Quest IV.

Last night I completed chapter one in Dragon Quest IV: Chapters of the Chosen.  The game is neat in that it is broken up into four chapters, each of which tells the story of a single hero.  In the fifth chapter, I am told, the four heros of the previous chapters come together.  It is a very interesting approach and so far I am enjoying the storytelling.  The graphical style of DQ4 on the Nintendo DS is extremely well done.  I am looking forward to more remakes using this game engine from Square Enix.

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