Monday, December 27, 2004

Just as I predicted... I was in the kitchen with my mother-in-law and
sister-in-law, helping to deal with the dishes that'd been cleared from
the dinner table, when my keychain started sounding. The "this pet is
about to expire" tones are long, high-pitched, and occur in pairs. It
sounds like a pager, except for the fact that the tones descend the
musical scale. (Well, it isn't exactly Do Ti La So Fa Mi Re Do, but it
does descend in pitch for at least half a dozen tones.) As the tones
sound, the graphic of the pet flattens lower and lower. When the final,
low-pitched pair of tones ends, the angel icon appears.

Since there's no interrupting this process once it's begun, and since
the keychain was beeping away long enough that it was impossible not to
notice it, I didn't have much choice but to explain what the sound
effects were about. One of my nephews, in particular, got a kick out of
it. He's got two Tamagotchi devices, himself -- one of which is in mint
condition and unused, and which he hopes will increase in value, the
other of which has been used. I told him about the discussion groups
online that are available for people who collect these things, and
suggested he check eBay if he wants to have an idea of how much the
unopened device he has might be worth. I didn't mention that there are
some fans that not only collect the devices, but keep several of them
operating at any given time. (Having several digipets running
simultaneously is more than I'd be willing to take on; I'm challenged
enough keeping track of ONE digipet's care, not to mention trying to
avoid having it create a beepfest at an inconvenient time/place.)

I haven't hit "reset" yet. Since the devices seem to last about 6 days,
and expire about 8-9 hours after they hit the "6 day" age mark, I'm
trying to figure out when would be a relatively convenient time to
schedule the pet to start. They tend to wake up at 8 AM and go to sleep
at 10 PM, also. Knowing that this coming weekend includes New Year's
Eve and New Year's day, I decided NOT to start the new pet at a time
that would cause it to expire on either of those days. I should be
pretty safe to start it sometime today or tomorrow. Then it won't flip
out in beep mode when I'm in the middle of plans on Friday, Saturday,
or Sunday.

Meanwhile, today is a day that I'm almost afraid to look at news
headlines. There was an undersea earthquake that resulted in enormous
tsunamis hitting several countries including India, Sri Lanka,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and others. Horrendous destruction and
casualties were left in the wake of the huge waves. Every time I see an
updated online news brief, the death toll has climbed to an even more
appalling figure. It's up to 23,000 deaths now, and they're nowhere
near done tallying the loss of life. It's an ominous sign, IMO, that
there are several hard-hit populous regions from which NO report at all
has come yet. Unfortunately, the total is sure to be a lot higher by
the time they finish counting. :o( I just pray that there are a lot of
people who survived unscathed, too. What a tragedy.

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