1 Midlife Crisis, Geek Style

So I just turned 41. I don't have the answer to life, the universe, or really much of anything (Douglas Adams says that’s not supposed to come until next year)... but I do have an awesome wife who is willing to feed my geek (and also geek out at how we feed, which comes into play in a bit.) Combine this with the fact that I've collected a bunch of rewards points at my job -- which they give in lieu of actual bonus checks -- and the end result is that within the last few weeks I've picked up an Xbox 360 with the Kinect accessory, the new iPad, and a slew of digital media; participated in a public art project; and invited our families and friends out to a full cowload of barbecue.

First off, I pick up the Xbox for a few different reasons... first, because I'm a geek. Also, I end up playing games with my nephew whenever we go to Fresno, and I'm sick of getting my butt handed to me when we challenge each other, and the only way I can get reasonably competent is to practice more than once every month or two, which means getting one for myself. Plus, even though I'm doing well with my weight loss -- almost 90 pounds down now, thankyouVERYmuch -- I'm still too fat to be able to use the Wii Fit balance board. Ouch. I can, however, use the Kinect; so I get The Biggest Loser game for the Kinect to help with my exercise and technogeeky regimens.

Plus, hey... Rage. All the best of a post-apocalyptic first person shooter combined with the fun of vehicular combat. You can go from cleaning out mutant-filled sewers with your trusty shotgun to cruising through a canyon taking out dune buggies with your car-mounted missile launcher -- what else could a guy want?!

So I cash in a bunch of my rewards points to get Best Buy gift cards and use them to get some console goodness. Added bonus: I get Best Buy rewards points for buying the Xbox, so I should be getting a gift certificate from them in the near future. Woo-hoo! XBL gamer tag: Silverfist 71, yo.

As for the iPad... You can pretty much just read my previous entry about the iPad 2 to know exactly what happens here: Step 1: Resist the urge to pre-order. Step 2: Keep repeating the mantra of “I have willpower! I have willpower!” Step 3: Relax on opening day, content in the knowledge that I do, in fact, have willpower and that I’m not some loser standing in line like a sheep, waiting to buy the newest shiny Apple product. Step 4: Actually read a review of the newest shiny Apple product and/or see one in person. Step 5: Willpower crumbles like the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur, and I run out and buy one as soon as I possibly can.

But in my defense… this thing is TOTALLY new and shiny! Just read some of the reviews!




And, of course, to go along with my new tech I have to get games, right? What good is a game console or ultra-high definition screen without something to go with it? So I also pick up a bunch of games for the Xbox (which kind of ruins that whole “not having to spend money on an Xbox because I’m using reward points” concept) and buy new (and upgrade current) apps for the new iPad with better graphics (which includes Angry Birds Space because I’m a sucker for a gimmick [which I believe might have been mentioned before…]) and I even grab Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray for those times I may want to enjoy some wholesome entertainment instead of something violent like a video game.

So I successfully feed my inner geek's needs. And in lieu of getting a sports car or getting a hair weave, I decide to help the middle age part of myself feel younger by taking up art.

Or, more appropriately, I do the minimum possible to participate in an art project by submitting my workplace coffee mug to the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art’s online portion of their exhibit The Office, so just like a supermodel I now have my mug posted online. I feel younger and more hip already! Except that I just used the word “hip” to denote coolness, which shows just how old I am. Crap.

Luckily, there's one more way to feel good about getting older, and that's treating my family and friends to a big greasy meal and saying to heck with my diet for a day. We decide on meeting between Fresno and the Bay Area, at Hot City Barbecue in Los BaƱos. We love these guys -- I've talked about them before, on more than one occasion -- and they dig us as well. The owners know us by name, they've told us before that if we call them when we're on our way down they'll stay open late for us if we want to eat dinner on the way to Fresno, and even their staff recognizes us and knows our usual orders.

We ask Hot City if we can do this, they agree, we have fun with RSVPs, almost everyone who responded in the positive shows up, and a beefy, porky, chickeny time is had by all. Hot City is ecstatic about the extra business, we're happy because we're able to get more people trying out their food, and everyone with whom I spoke had good reviews for the food itself. Woo-hoo, yum, and burp.

So that's it... I'm officially a year older by the calendar's reckoning; I still feel a lot older than I actually am because of my weight and stress from work; and I still act a whole lot younger than I actually am. By my math, this averages out to be even. So there you have it; a middle aged geek, getting my tech on.

Next year, I want a Segway.