The dogs woke me up at 5:30 this morning and I didn’t get back to sleep after that. Around 9:00 everyone was up and we were ready to open presents. There was a lot of good stuff- Phil got a DVD camcorder and we all got some nice clothes and such.

We gave Michael a Risk game and Michael gave me Oblivion for Xbox 360 which was very thoughtful because when I had the game before it stopped working but I really enjoyed it. I also got Mass Effect and Call of Duty 4 from Karen and Phil or Karen Phil, whoever that is. I also got some gifts from Roudough, which is apparently Karenese for Rudolph.

Amanda got clothes, mostly, plus a season of How I Met Your Mother from Michael, a blown-glass starfish from me and a rug for the living room from her parents.

When we were opening gifts I accidentally opened one of Michael’s. I thought it was from him, but it was actually to him. I was a little surprised to see Project Gotham Racing 4, since I’m not a huge fan of racing games.

When it was all done and we were cleaning up the wrapping paper somehow the subject of me not getting the game Rock Band came up. I said it was okay and that I’d just use my bonus to get it. A minute passed and Amanda asked if I’d go get a bag from the closet upstairs to put all our stuff in. When I opened the closet door I saw a large wrapped box with my name on it, from Bruce, Cobb, Harvey and Gotham. I knew it was Rock Band, so I shouted down to Amanda that I didn’t see any bags. She said to just get that big one and bring it down. I grabbed a grocery bag and went to the steps and asked if that was what she wanted. She said no, the other thing. So I grabbed a small cardboard box and asked if that would work. She knew, of course, that I was playing with her. I brought the large box down and opened it and started setting up Rock Band.

Amanda set it all up this way because I was so sure I was getting the game. I was sure because I’d accidentally seen a purchase in the proper amount from Circuit City on our bank statement, plus a few days ago Amanda had a phone call from Michael and she told me I couldn’t hear the call, so I knew he was getting something from our house. He was picking up the Guitar Hero guitar and he even had the forethought to grab my Xbox 360’s hard drive so that any progress we made on it and any songs we unlocked would be available on my own Xbox.

I also really wanted the game, so I figured Amanda would make it happen. It’s something we can play together and have fun with, plus it’ll be a lot of fun when we have people over.

Rock Band, if you font know, is a game by the original makers of Guitar Hero, but whereas Guitar Hero only let you play guitars, Rock Band comes with a microphone and a drum set as well. There are some other differences in the mechanics of the game, but the main thing is the extra instruments.

Money aside (Rock Band ain’t cheap), I’m not sure why someone would get Guitar Hero over Rock Band. Amanda said that Billy Supplee, a coworker of hers, was what convinced her to get me Rock Band over Guitar Hero III, as he had played it and was attesting to her its awesomeness. So thanks,, Billy!

We did have a bit of an issue getting it started though. The game comes with a USB hub to plug the extra instruments into and two of the ports weren’t working. Amanda figured out that a piece on the inside of one of the USB ports was bent and I was able to take if apart and get it back into shape. It was in the third port, so it was affecting the fourth as well. Once that was taken care of though, we created some characters and started playing. I did the drums, Amanda did the singing and Michael played guitar. We even got Karen, Amanda and Michael’s mom, to play a little bit.

Eventually Amanda went to make her Golden Graham smores and everyone took showers to get ready to go have dinner over at Peggy and Earl Lemons’s house. We took Rock Band and played after the Frazelles got there. All of them played a bit except for Anna, although I think she would have. Kirsten mostly sang, although Michael had a go if that as well.

We came back after dinner and all of us but Phil played Phase 10. Poor Michael got his butt beat. Karen and Amanda both had some good runs, but I ended up winning.

The ladies went to bed after the game, but I stayed up just a little longer to play the new Resident Evil game Michael had gotten for his Wii.

Zach Dotsey