Greetings From The Mushroom Cup!


(Sunday Paper, Volume III, Issue 2)

For Christmas this year we got the girls a video game system.

This is kind of a big step.

I have mixed thoughts on the issue.

Video games were a big, fun part of my childhood. (And my adulthood - more on that in a minute.)

But I'll admit I had trouble putting the controllers down.

So I'm already a bit worried about how the girls will handle the Nintendo Switch.

So far, though, they're showing more control than I ever did.


I haven't played video games in about a decade.

You might also be aware that my oldest daughter is 11 years old.

Parenthood and video games overlapped for about a year, when the baby could sit in the crook of my arm while I played, maybe with a bottle propped in her mouth. If she stayed that size forever, I'd still be playing 'MLB 2006' (David Wright was on the cover!).

But, alas, she did not stay that size, and she commanded more attention than I could spare from the virtual Mets.

So I hung up my PlayStation (Playstation 2, actually) and watched as newer systems came and went.

It wasn't easy - everything I had ever wanted from video games in my youth had finally come true - real player names in football and baseball games! (In the past they had just been #7 or the same real-player attributes with made-up names.) Wireless controllers! (I ran through too many of these because I have a dropping-the-controller problem,) That's pretty much it - that's about everything I ever wanted. To be able to sit farther from the game system than the wire allowed and to play a baseball video game as David Wright. 

But my sister had a Wii and the girls played it and I've always enjoyed MarioKart and I thought it would be fun to play that as a family. (I recently remembered a great MarioKart story - I'm going to put that down in the 'Notes' section.)

So that was the driving factor behind getting a Switch. We have four controllers, so most of us can play MarioKart at one time. It's a load of fun...and we can play as a team instead of against one another, which is a good way to play as a family. (Also, it turns out Kathy is really good at MarioKart, which I wasn't expecting. In all these years I don't think we had ever played video games together until now.)

We have a few games, but won't go crazy. I'll let the girls decide when it's time to buy a baseball game. I think it's best if I show a little restraint with the video games this time around.

So far, so good. I've only turned it on once after the girls have gone to bed, and that was to test out the portable mode.

I don't think I'll be doing any single-player games. I just don't have the time.

Although I do hear the new Zelda game is pretty good....


*From the 'John, This Is Your Job So This Shouldn't Be Coming As A Surprise To You' Files: I know, I know. It's just that, as we've so well-documented, for much of the past few years I've been figuring this writing work out. But lately, maybe the last couple of months, it's really the first time that I've been writing literally every day. It's a good thing, and when I stop and reflect on it I'm proud of myself because I've been working to get to this point. So in the past when I've written in this section "Nothing exciting to report, same old work", it's not like there's nothing happening. It's just that I've finally reached the normal day-to-day I've wanted to reach, I guess.


*Interesting week. Open mic Monday, show at Redbones Tuesday, and Stand Up Break In on Thursday. Tuesday was hard. I didn't think I was well-received at all. And, since I kind of hit the restart button for the New Year, that was tough because it felt like I wasn't gaining traction in 2018. (New Year's Day didn't go so great either, you'll remember.) But maybe Tuesday night helped prepare me to deliver the jokes better on Thursday, because Thursday was super well-received with much of the same material. It was a good palette cleanser.

A lot of what I did this week was newer stuff that's working its way into the act. It's been getting better and better, so that's been encouraging.

*This week is slow. Kathy's going away at the beginning of the week, so I won't be getting out until later in the week, and I haven't yet come up with a plan about whether I'm going to try to do open mics or go see shows somewhere.

What I've Been Enjoying

*It's been a while since I told you about another local comic in this section. I feel bad sometimes because I can't write about everyone I admire...but sometimes they do something super-unique that sets them apart. Such is the case here. I met Laura Burns sometime in the past year, I think, doing stand-up. She was funny and when I see someone I hadn't seen before who's that good I file it away. I saw her at the New Year's show and we were talking and I learned that she does a bunch more than just stand-up, and so I dug a little deeper. She has a Web Series called "Cooking Alone" that is really funny. (Side note: You may or may not remember [hopefully 'not', because it was so bad it's something I don't like to dwell on] I once attempted to do a character on stage. I did not feel good about how it went. Someday maybe I'll write more about that, but long story short, now anytime I see someone commit to a character and pull it off I have even more respect for them.) Anyway, here's her website. Under the 'Videos' link you can find the first episode of 'Cooking Alone' and then you should be able to access the others - I think there are 10 in all. (I haven't explored the other videos that are on there but I'm looking forward to seeing what else she's done at some point.) As is usually the case, I wouldn't recommend you sit and watch something unless I really thought it was worth your time. These made me laugh, and too often I'm hyper-critical of stuff and don't laugh at things. Take all that for what it's worth. This is a funny character.


*I know, you're probably dying to read my great MarioKart story. Here it is: On New Year's Eve Kathy, me, and the girls had a MarioKart marathon. It was fun. But it was so friggin' loud. The girls get excited playing it and there's a lot of shouting and it was also getting late and they were overtired so the normal video game loud became kind of an extreme loud. And it reminded me of a situation from my college days. (Actually in the year after I graduated college, to be specific.)

You remember Kevin, right? We lived together from September 1999 through June 2000. He had a video game system and MarioKart. (I can't for the life of me remember what that system was called. It wasn't Super was whatever came after that, I think.) Every so often we'd play MarioKart and it was ridiculously fun. (Can you tell I think MarioKart is fun? Jeez.) One night, and Kevin reminded me this was the night of the Super Bowl - Tennessee-St. Louis - I guess we played late into the night and got a little too loud and our neighbors called the cops on us. The cops came to our door and laughed at us for playing MarioKart and asked us to keep it down. That's literally the only interaction we had with our neighbors in our time in that apartment. I feel like it would have been nice if they had knocked on the door first. Not sure I realized until 18 years later just how loud MarioKart can get.

(*I know in that second sentence in the first note it should have been Kathy, the girls, and I. I didn't feel like making it sound so formal. But it did remind me to write this: occasionally there's a typo in the Sunday Paper. [My wife usually brings it to my attention. My former co-teacher likes to point them out as well.] Typos, you probably know, drive me nuts. The weird thing about this blog posting manager that I use is that sometimes it auto-corrects words and I've come to rely heavily on that. But sometimes it doesn't for some reason. Often when it begins with the letter 'I'. And my eyes are having particular trouble identifying lowercase or capital 'i's. So, if you see that type of error, know that I'm bothered by it...but cut me some slack. I'm getting old and can't tell the difference between i's.) (Oh man! My eyes are having trouble with i's!!!! Hahaa.)

*Fun fact about that 2000 Super Bowl - I watched it in New Hampshire while working for Channel 7. A bunch of us would be bussed up to Manchester for certain shows to work the New Hampshire primary. We were working but we had a bit of a Super Bowl party while the game was on - I remember there being a different dinner than usual. Soda and chips, maybe? But the most notable thing was that Kathy was there. I looked this up - the Super Bowl was January 30, 2000. That was five days after we had our first date. I don't remember when we had our second date. Perhaps it was watching the Super Bowl.

*Fun fact about former roommate Kevin: As you probably know, he's now a professor at the University of South Carolina. Since I'm going down that way for the North Carolina Comedy Festival next month I'm going to fly into South Carolina first and spend some time with him. We just nailed down the details this week. I'm excited about it. I'm hoping to sit in on one of his classes. I'm proud of that guy and the work he does. But I also imagine it would be funny if he's been lying to us this whole time and now has to scramble to set up a fake class for me to sit in on in a month.

*Speaking of the North Carolina Comedy Festival, the website is up and tickets are now available for all shows. I'm in the Wednesday and Friday 10:30 shows...if you're reading this and you're down that way for whatever reason on February 21st and 23rd, it's be great to see you! (And you can meet Kevin!)

*Since I won't be going out while Kathy is away this week I'm looking forward to catching up on some TV while I'm stuck inside. I'll be finishing 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel', and I plan on tackling a few of the comedy specials that are on the streaming sites. If you have any other recommendations, I'll take them.

*This is kind of funny - that heavy rain Friday night into Saturday (no leaks! it washed the rest of the snow off the roof!) worked its way into my dreams. I dreamt that none of the faucets in the house would shut off and all I heard was running water. I guess that's not funny, but it's kind of interesting, no? The brain is amazing.

*P.S.: I have no idea how to use the Switch. Or how to play the games in any deeper way. These things don't come with instruction booklets anymore! I was a big instruction book reader.