Suppose it’s time to give a shout-out to the xbox since, after all, it is represents our new world order. We fuddled around with the other gaming systems for a couple of years, but nothing has stuck like the fascinating online world of xbox live. Sure we do other things - sleeping and going to the potty come to mind - but the xbox rules the roost.
The way xbox live is structured, you can get 100 friends pretty darn quick. Friend requests come in all the time from either friends of friends or some stranger who happened to be in your game once. We’ve opted to keep a close eye on things and, for the most part, Eff and Ferg game within an unschooling xboxing subculture. But occasionally the odd non-unschooler filters through. Like the other day when some boy from Arizona was absolutely incredulous that our kids didn’t have to go to school as it was illegal where he lived. It actually got to the point where the guy started wondering out loud how long it would take an Arizona Sheriff to travel to our place and enforce some swift justice!
Us old fogies are always welcome into a game and encouraged to join in on the fun. Of course, kids love sharing their adventures with their parents as well as using them as easy targets in order to rank-up. In fact I must admit that I’ve become somewhat of an expert at re-spawning thank you very much!! No one dies and re-spawns like I die and re-spawn (and I’ve seen Shannon play!). That said, when I venture into the online world, Ferg is very protective of me (“no one kill my Dad, he doesn’t know what he’s doing”).
The first time one of Ferg’s new online friends joined a party, the guy was getting mercilessly grilled by some others over his online moniker. Because the whole house could hear what was going on, we all felt sorry for the guy. So we encouraged Fergus to invite him to a private party - which Ferg was happy to do... over and over and over and... finally, after a good 15 minutes of being bullied (essentially) about his name, the new guy spoke up and remarked that this Fergus guy was really annoying him and would he stop sending him all those invitations! Poor Goose.
Here's a random 13 sec clip of Ferg’s controller prowess... I’m not sure what it is, but there’s some sort of talent at play here with all those fingers (and toe):
Halo infiltrates our pores
Gillian and Fergus had a conversation recently where they began by discussing Effie’s online “Quad Squad” (a specific group of four kids who play Halo 3 together). I guess Ferg was asking about “quad” and the number 4 and what other numbers were called so, as a reference, Gillian pulled out the great “Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin” picture book. The music-themed story begins with a soloist, then a duo, trio, quartet and slowly increases in size all the way to a full orchestra. At this point Ferg and Gillian started discussing the idea of Fergus attending an orchestral performance - sort of a maturation from his Backyardigans-type previous level of theatre experience. And this is where Ferg’s world crashes into the ever-so boring world of reality: He thought going to an orchestra would be a good idea and that he could bring along a sniper rifle. Of course, it would be unloaded he explained - he only needed the rifle’s super scoping ability to zoom-in in order to better enjoy the performance.
I suppose some families might find this troubling. But that’s our Fergus - always connecting the dots.