Boredom Bingo

I am not quite sure when the boys discovered the online games Starcraft and Warcraft .It's probably been well over two years. They bought the CD and installed it on our computer, but we had dial-up with a slow connection, so they did not seem to be too obsessed.

When we upgraded to cable, and bought a new computer, the game seemed to really grab them. Our eldest son, aka Computer Boy in this column, is always online and he prefers Ragnarok. But he participates in forums and chats with friends and plays other games as well, and is generally very cooperative and helpful, so I leave him alone.

The two middle boys became obsessed. First thing in the morning they'd sneak online. After school, they'd blast through their homework so as to be able to virtually war against eachother. It became like a drug. Getting them to turn off the machine became my constant battle. Just 10 more minutes they would plead, and another hour would slip by.

At first it was great. The house was clean and quiet, and the arguing was at a minimum. But I began to become concerned when they seemed to prefer the game over nearly every other activity. They would forgo meals and showers if they could, and I didn't like the idea of them spending so much time in a violent role playing game.

Soccer Boy, who is very competitive, became a master at the game. He had a fan club. Buddah boy also became quite skilled. They began to argue about whose turn it was to play on the good computer, and who had been on longer, and didn't want to take advice from eachother. It seemed the bickering would never end, and Soccer Boy was giving me major attitude. Both Soccer Boy and Buddah Boy's grades were slipping. Something had to be done.

During the school year, hubby tried to make a new rule, no TV or computer Monday through Thursday. But he wasn't home to enforce it, and sometimes, neither was I. And when I did try to enforce it, all I got was major grief and a lot of yelling. Instead, we limited game time. The weekends were free, and they spent a lot of time online.

I was in a quandray about just what was the right thing to do. How much online gaming was acceptable? 2 hours a day? They claimed that wasn't enough time to build their armies etc. With this warring world we live in, perhaps all of this combat role playing might serve them well in the future. Maybe they were simply honing skills they might be forced to use.Perhaps it might be in their best inerests to let them keep practicing.

I asked them what was so intriguing about the games. So far as I could tell, the graphics were ugly and boring. They told me that they liked chatting with other kids and liked the feeling of empowerment it gave them to be able to beat the other kids at this game. They liked the strategy (they are both good Chess players...) They liked battling against eachother....

Summer came, and they rarely went outside to use the pool or play soccer like they used to. The two middle boys were constantly at eachother's throats. Then one day, when I asked Soccer Boy to turn off the computer, he yelled at me, "Mom, what do you want me to do? There's nothing else to do!" That's when I snapped. Looking around at our large and lovely house, and gazing at the refreshing pool that I never had time to go in, I determined that there were many other things to do. I decided then and there to yank all games ending in "craft" from our house. I had Computer Boy delete all of the files and bring me all of the discs. We made them quit cold turkey. They were sad, but I noticed almost immediately that the arguing started to slow down.

I told them that if they could not find things to do with their free time, that they could play a new game called "Boredom Bingo." At the start of the week, each child will be given a standard Bingo card. When the boredom sets in, they will draw a Bingo chip from the bag and do the corresponding 30 minute activity. I have listed the activities in the green panel to the right of this column. Feel free to modify it for your own family. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be to come up with seventy-five 30 minute activities which could be completed alone!

Computer Boy suggested that once a Bingo is attained, a reward of two hours online could be redeemed. I am considering that, but not on a "Craft" game. It's just not safe. Too addicting. It is nice to come home and see them playing cards, or even Super Mario. They are back outside. They've been swimming again. And they are not so restless and anxious waiting to go online to play.

I plan to post the boredom busters on our fridge. Perhaps they might take a glance and decide to do an activity on their own, prior to being forced to. I will keep you posted.

To the meanest moms I know! (recent email I received which I thought was appropriate)

---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Someday when my children are old enough to
understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will
tell them, as my Mean Mom told me: I loved you
enough . . . to ask where you were going, with whom,
and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you
discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to make you go pay for the
bubble gum you had taken and tell the clerk, "I
stole this yesterday and want to pay for it."

I loved you enough to stand over you for two
hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger,
disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must
learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the
responsibility for your actions even when the
penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough . . . to
say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all.
I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won,
too. And someday when your children are old enough
to understand the logic that motivates parents, you
will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the
meanest Mom in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our Mom fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mom insisted on knowing where we were at all
times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She

had to know who our friends were, and what we were
doing with them. She insisted that if we said we
would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an
hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the
nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us
work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds,
learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty
the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she
would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth,
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the
time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and
had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was
really tough!

Mom wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when
they drove up. They had to come up to the house so
she could meet them. While everyone else could date
when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we
were 16.

Because of our mother, we missed out on lots of
things other kids experienced. None of us have ever
been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's
property or ever been arrested for any crime. It
was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated,
honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean
parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.
It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

Boredom Bingo- the game

B-1 Solve a Junior Jumble

B-2 Read National Geographic

B-3 Go for a walk

B-4 Brush the dog and cat

B-5 Listen to Gypsy Groove on mom's iPod and draw a musically inspired felt tip marker drawing. The entire page must be covered.

B-6 Play Solitaire

B-7 Ride the exercise bike

B-8 Look through the cookbooks and pick a recipe you would like to try

B-9 Take 10 digital photos

B-10 Organize your clothes drawers

B-11 Fold a load of laundry

B-12 Write a short story

B-13 Bake a batch of cookies

B-14 Call a friend

B-15 Watch the History channel

I-16 Do on-line research on the Civet and write 10 facts

I-17 Look at mom's Kaleidoscopes

I-18 look at old photos on the computer

I-19 paint a water color picture

I-20 pull weeds for dad

I-21 play super Mario

I-22 make a pattern block mosaic

I-23 play on-line chess

I-24 Read Incomplete Education and learn something new

I-25 take out all of the inside trash

I-26 send Grandpa an email

I-27 write a 1 page story about what you wish you could be doing instead

I-28 sculpt something out of modeling clay

I-29 shoot a short for You Tube on the video camera

I-30 Read the dictionary

N-31 wipe down the bathroom floors

N-32 Read from the Oscar Wilde anthology

N-33 go through Netflix and choose movies for the queue

N-34 Jump rope or pogo or run laps in the yard

N-35 Plan next weeks' dinners

N-36 practice juggling a soccer ball

N-37 roller blade or bike ride with mom

N-38 research the origin of glass and write a 1 page report

N-39 write out your next birthday wish list

N-40 Read 2 Grimm's Fairy Tales

N-41 write a list of 25 things you'd like to do before you pass on

N-42 Randomly select one of Dad's 2000 vinyl albums and listen to all of it

N- 43 Plan your wedding- flowers, colors, music, food etc. Write the key factors down

N- 44 Make up a joke- must write it down- must be funny

N-45 write a song about your favorite pet (you can use format from existing lyrics but change them around

G-46 Read the Bible

G-47 What job will you do to support yourself? What does it pay now? Internet research.

G-48 Design a birthday card on the computer and save the file to the desktop

G-49 Listen to David Bowie Ziggy Stardust and write a paragraph about how you feel afterwards

G-50 Practice on the piano keyboard

G-51 Internet research- What is Tumeric and how is it used? 1 page

G-52 Plan the ultimate vacation- where, how long, activities etc.

G-53 Read the Oprah Magazine cover to cover

G-54 Call a relative just to say "hello"

G-55 write down your 25 favorite dinners

G-56 solve the Soduku puzzle in the paper

G-57 walk to Rite Aid and buy an ice cream cone

G-58 draw your tennis shoes as best you can

G-59 What is phenylalanine, and why is it in diet soda? Internet research.

G-60 Read It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden

O-61 Play a Beatle's song on the Music Maker

O-62 Make a wine bottle rocket with backing soda, keenex, vinegar, string, and an empty wine bottle with a cork

O-63 sweep the kitchen and hall way

O-64 Get something out of your closet and entertain yourself with it - book, craft, etc.

O-65 If you were to invent something, what would it be? I page with drawing and description.

O-66 Write down the names of all of your family members from memory, Starting with Grandparents, parents, Aunts and Uncles, Cousins, Second Cousins.....

O-67 write down 40 different equations that equal 40- for example 41-1 = 40

O=68 Do 1000 jumping jacks- keep a tally of each 50

O-69 work on a puzzle

O-70 Make a card house

O-71 take a nap

O-72 count your money- what will you buy?

O-73 practice handball

O-74 make a necklace out of beads

O-75 write 25 things to do not on this list

August 6, 2007
Next Post date: September 3, 2007
THERE ARE NO HOLIDAYS IN AUGUST

And- doesn't anyone know a J. Davis who lost an iPod? email Jewel if you do. See the July 07 archive.

Warcraft Screen Shot

2007!

Common Chat Abbreviations

AFAIK - As far as I know
AFK - Away from keyboard
BRB - Be right back
BRT - Be right there
BTW - By the way; between
DND = Do not disturb
FUBAR - Flipped up beyond all recognition
GG - Good game
GTG - Got to go; Good to go
IMHO - In my humble opinion
IRL - In real life
LFG - Looking for a group
LFM - Looking for more (to group)
LMAO - Laughing my backside off
LOL = Laugh out loud; Lots of laughter
MT - Mistell
NP - No problem
OMFG - Oh my flipping god!
OMG - Oh my god!
OMW - On my way
OOC - Out of character
OT - Off topic
PST - Please send tell
RL - Real life
ROFL - Roll over the floor laughing
STFU - Shut the fluff up
TY - Thank you
WB - Welcome back
WTB - Want to buy
WTF - What the flip!
WTH - What the hell!
WTS - Want to sell
WTT - Want to trade
YW - You're welcome
Common Game Abbreviations

AGI - Agility
AC - Armor Class
AH - Auction House
AP - Attack Power
AOE - Area of Effect
BT - Bittorrent
CE - Collector's Edition
COD - Cash on Delivery
CRIT - Critical Hit
DD - Direct Damage
DEF - Defense
DE - Disenchant
DMG - Damage
DOT - Damage Over Time
DR - Diminishing Returns
DPM - Damage Per Mana
DPS - Damage Per Second
ENE - Energy
EQ - Equipment
EULA - End User Licensing Agreement
FFA - Free For All
FH - Full Health
FM - Full Mana
FvF - Faction vs. Faction
FP - Flight Point - New
GM - Game Master; Guild Master
HOT - Heal Over Time
HP - Hit Points
INC - Incoming
INS - Instant
INT - Intellect
KS - Kill Steal
KOS - Killed on Sight
LD - Link Dead
LOM - Low on Mana
LOS - Line of Sight
LVL - Level
MATS - Materials
MMO - Massively Multiplayer Online
MMOG - Massively Multiplayer Online Game
MMORPG - Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game
MP - Mana Points
NBG - Need Before Greed
NE - Night Elf
NM or NVM - Never Mind
NPC - Non Player Character
OOM - Out of Mana
PBAOE - Point Blank Area of Effect
PC - Player Character
PC - Price Check
PK - Player Kill/Killer
POT - Potion
PvE - Players vs. Environment/Monsters
PvP - Players vs. Player
RES - Ressurect
RP - Role Play; Role Player; Role Playing
RPG - Role Playing Game
RR - Round Robin
SPI - Spirit
STA - Stamina
STR - Strength
TOS - Terms of Service
TP - Talent Points
UD - Undead
UI - User interface
VW - Voidwalker
WoW - World of Warcraft
XP or EXP - Experience Points
ZEP - Zeppelin

What If Dr. Seuss Did Technical Training Manuals

Here's an easy game to play.
Here's an easy thing to say:

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless, and your system's gonna crash!

You can't say this?
What a shame sir!
We'll find you
Another game sir.

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'Cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang!

When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary RISC,
Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your mom!

Click on the picture to view this month's mystery feature.

Click here to download the QuickTime Player if you don't have it. Remember, if you have dial up, the movie will take a few minutes to load!

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