Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Birthday Festivities

Yesterday was Miss Katherine's birthday party, celebrating 10 years. It's terribly difficult to plan a party that involves her friends at this time of year, conflicting as it does with all the other holiday-themed parties, school plays, and other events that are crammed into the month of December. School lets out on the 16th this year and we, like many of the other families at her school, are scrambling to finish a lot of things before the kids are out of school.

I took the kids to Gameworks, a Sega-owned two-story video game arcade and restaurant in downtown Seattle. Gameworks gave us a small room for an hour with two televisions playing the Duke basketball game above our heads. Places were set for 10, but with a couple of late-comers and no-shows, we started the party with only four kids, Kate, Kate, Kate and Alex (NO KIDDING), and three adults (me, Chris and Tim as the adult friend guest of honor). They served some terrible pizza (icy cold cheese and grease-dripping, burned crust pepperoni) a cake with bright frosting that turned our teeth blue, and provided us with game cards that allowed unlimited play for one hour.

I was impressed at the gifts her friends brought, as they clearly either knew her well or put a lot of thought and care into her gifts. One girl handmade a necklace as a gift, in a box decorated with a picture of a white tiger (their mutually favorite animal). Another made a hand-painted Christmas ornament with some cute little creatures. She also received the Dragonology handbook (Kate will tell you she's "studied Dragonology") and a Zoo-building computer game that her friend Alex also has. I was impressed at how gracious she was about her gifts, and how appreciative she was of the handmade gifts.

It was funny watching the kids race through the place trying to find games they could play together. At several points they were playing two on two air hockey. It was hilarious watching one of the Kates take on teams of two. Another one of the Kates clearly hadn't been to an arcade like this one before and was befuddled by some of the games. I watched her try to play pinball and get frustrated because she thought it wasn't working. I showed her where the start button was, how the ball popped up into the chute. She got that she was supposed to pull the plunger, but then just stood there as the ball shot through the machine and down into the gutter. I had to show her where the flippers were and how to use them. "Ohhhh!" she said. At another point she was trying a motorcycle-racing game against another girl and was frustrated that even though she was sitting on the motorcycle and turning the handlebars back and forth, her virtual cycle was not moving. I showed her how to turn the handle grip and work the throttle. "Ohhhhh!" she said again.


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