My latest contract finds me working in SouthEast portland, which is conveniently located near Kavi where my friend Davida works. We have been threatening to venture on lunchtime walks together for a couple of months, but the fact that I was working in West Beaverton made meeting up for lunch problematic at best. It can take the better part of twenty minutes to get across town at that time of day, which is more than half the lunch hour when you factor in the return journey. However, now we are located only a scant ten minute drive away and even more importantly a very walkable half mile apart. We met last Wednesday for a noontime bridge parambulation that culminated in SW Portland and a rather neat little deli; time just enough to order a sandwich to go and start the return leg. We managed to fit a good walk into just under forty-five minutes and I was back at my desk within the hour. We’re hoping to be able to walk at least once a week and (for me at least) to help shed some of the winter pounds that the gnomes seem to attach to my stomach while I sleep. Understand, I don’t gain weight, my body is a temple and I keep an uttermost watchful eye on it. However, every so often a wandering night gnome will come along and attach several pounds to my sleek frame in complete mockery of the extremely healthy beer and hamburger dinner I had the night before.
As it is, severe gnomage has resulted in my need to shed a couple of these untoward extra pounds and I’m hoping that the lunchtime walks will be a step towards that. Not to mention that I have a nasty habit of taking sub five-minute lunches at my desk with a couple of sandwiches. Walking will mean that I take a proper lunch break and get some fresh air too.
In addition to walking, I’ve been feeling a distinct hankering for some Dance Dance Revolution recently. I bought the XBox 360 version: DDR Universe but have so far been less than thrilled by it. The responsiveness of the software doesn’t seem quite as crisp as the PlayStation 2 titles and the career mode is simply an exercise in confusion. The song list isn’t as peppy as I’ve been used to in previous titles, but the biggest frustration is that I’ve had to go back to a soft mat to play it. I bought the hard dance pad a couple of years ago so that I could tackle the most difficult songs in the DDR games. The soft mats are great for the easy and medium songs, but can be a struggle with the Hard settings and are an exercise in twisted ankles by the time you reach Extreme difficulty. Made of a mixture of foam and thin plastic, they slide all over the floor when you’re feet are flying through Max 900 on Hard. The plastic cover and foam get crinkled too, which means that sometimes the arrows fire without anyone stepping on them or failure to register at all when you’re hammering them with five toes. The hard mat is a solid wooden and metal frame with raised plexiglass arrows that have a very quick and firm response. (Yeah I’m a DDR freak and I don’t care; I love it!) When I bought the hard mat it came with a control box that supposedly could be switched out for any console. The idea being that you buy the mat once and then buy the cheaper control boxes for each console you want to use it with. However, the company hasn’t yet released a box for the XBox 360 and have no plans in the near future to do so. So I’m back to being stuck with the soft mat. Poo!
With that in mind, I’ve set up the hard mat and PlayStation 2 downstairs in the living room and I’m going to go back to playing the four great DDR games I have on that platform. The song lists were far superior IMHO anyway, and using the hard mat is simply indispensible.