Santa found the house again this year, despite the cutbacks on the Christmas tree. Because of the new dog, (Kaylee the Devourer of Worlds) we decided that the full-sized tree might be a bad idea. The dog has slowly been cleaning up the back yard by grabbing sticks, branches, vines, and whatever bits of the house she can pry off and bringing them inside, where we take them from her and “store” them in the “yard-cookie container,” otherwise known as the kitchen trash can. (But don’t tell her!) I can only imagine what she would do to an artificial tree with fake snow, miniature pine cones, glass ornaments, and covered in Christmas lights. The yard-cookie container isn’t that big.
So this year we went with a four-foot pre-lit we picked up at Lowes, and put it on top of the built-in book shelf in the living room — behind the dog crate and away from inquisitive little puppy faces. This gave Santa the perfect spot to deposit gifts, as the tree only took up about a quarter of the space up there.
Now Santa and I gave this little game we play with each other every year around Christmas time. Starting November first, neither of us is allowed to purchase anything else for ourselves. If you want a new toy, you have to wait until Christmas. But… you are not allowed to ask for it! (These aren’t my rules, they came with Santa when we got married.) You may hint at something that you want, but if you hint too strongly and it looks like you are actually asking for it; you can just forget about it. Those two months then become a sort of sinister dance of hint and counterhint, with everyone trying hard not to mention anything in an offhand sort of way that they don’t actually want, while at the same time trying to tease meanings out of everything the other person says. It can be nerve wracking if you let it, but I simply save receipts.
So there was really only one thing I wanted this year, and fortunately I apparently managed not to talk about it so much that I got blackballed. I got some other stuff to that was really great, (especially the Sunnydale High and Blue Sun t-shirts) but those were just gravy. Mostly, I got Skyrim.
Now if you’ve never played one of Bethesda’s Morrowind Scrolls titles, they are basically giant, open sandbox-style fantasy RPGs. While greatly refined, this one is not all that different from their previous offerings, which is just fine with me. The main idea in Skyrim is to deal with the dragons that are popping up all over the place. Dragons have been extinct for a great long while, but somehow one of them has managed to come back, and he’s flying about resurrecting all the others. At least that’s what I hear, anyway. I don’t actually know. I have yet to begin the main quest line in the game, (the one that “turns on” the dragons) and have instead been playing with the crafting system.
As in other games of the genre, crafting can play an important part if you want it to. You can be a blacksmith, alchemist, enchanter, cook; you can mine, skin hides, run around the countryside picking flowers, tons of stuff to keep you happily occupied instead of killing dragons. In fact, I decided early on that the dragon killing might prove to be a distraction to me from crafting and selling enchanted iron daggers. Thus far I’ve been very happy with my decision.
Eventually I do plan on getting around to the actual game part of the game. I’m a werewolf now and that’s supposed to be helpful for killing dragons… or at least running away from them. I just don’t want to feel rushed, and there is little that is more hurrying than being attacked by a fifty-foot long fire breathing lizard while you’re knitting tea cozies.
Oh wait… what can I make out of dragons?