Saturday, December 24, 2016

Robison Christmas Letter 2016

Merry Christmas!
Love, Daniel, Shannon and Bruce Robison

Just a quick update on the family.

Those of you to have been #blessed enough to have received our Christmas letter last year might remember how I (Daniel) had been excited to have started a new job in 2015. Well, times change, kid and we can’t all sell doors for the rest of our lives. One day I’m talking to Bob in Nebraska convincing him that his interior doors are certainly NOT warrantied to be used as exterior tornado grade cellar doors when Shannon mentions to me, in an off handed remark, that an IT position at Peoples Bank has opened up. It was a tough decision, but in the end the work was more enjoyable to me, the pay and benefits were better and the commute was five minutes instead of eight. So there you have it I’m now a professional password resetter. Shannon and I have all our eggs in one basket working for the same company.
Shannon, in the meantime, continues to excel at her position as a credit review specialist. I cannot begin to describe how smart she is. This is a fact that has been brought to my attention while she explains the “simple” aspects of her job and all I can do is pray that she doesn’t ask me if I understood what she’s talking about. But what’s really the best is seeing her excel even more as a mother. Our clothing budget has quadrupled in the last year and a half, largely due to the Bruce. It’s not all Shannon’s fault, we just enjoy buying the kid stuff. The interaction between Mom and son is absolutely the best. I am the first to see him after daycare. What this means is that I get to watch the elation in his face when Shannon says hi to him in the evening. Bruce is as lucky to be Shannon’s son as I am to be her husband.
Oh yes, specifics about the boy. When last I wrote he was a six month old infant that never slept. That went on for another six months. After a solid year of waking up every 2-3 hours  (one of the few non-exaggeration in this letter) I put my foot down, bought a video monitor and we tried the cry it out method for an agonizing week and a half. The three of us now enjoy sleeping through the night. Bruce has the best smile, the best personality. It’s pointless for me to describe how he makes us feel, but if you know what I’m talking about, you know what I’m talking about. He’s a tough little guy. Dealing with acid reflux, asthma, chronic ear infections and fevers, he’s finally on the upswing. He is always cheerful, loves to sword fight and will often refuse to eat anything but Caramel Superman Cereal (perhaps we should have named him Clark Kent Robison instead of Bruce Wayne).
Life lately has been a momentum that both terrifies and exhilarates me. This year we’ve seen new careers, new milestone, a new home. Oh yes, we’ve moved! We’re no longer in the condo, we purchased a house across town! Even if we had none of this, however, we would still be blessed beyond anything the Robison family could ever hope to deserve. We thank God for his many blessings, but most of all we thank him for his Son, Jesus Christ, who was sent to earth as a helpless infant to one day grow to be the only one capable of rescuing us from ourselves. It has and will continue to give us hope. We love you.

Robison Family Christmas Haikus!

Bruce finally sleeps!
But now this is the problem,
he coughs and then pukes.

Some assembly?
Daniel has been up all night,
building this toy stove!

Shannon, come here!
I need your Christmas list now...
This list is empty.

Monday, February 29, 2016

I Watched the Skies as the Oceans Churned

We said things like "Bully" and "Cheerio" to add authenticity.
My wife had to fend off praise from her co-workers on my behalf. When they heard that I was to spend the day at a middle school participating in an event that simulated politics in the midst of global crisis, they assumed I was assisting in a program aimed at students. They were wrong. I was spending another all day event at the Fairhaven Middle School because Bellingham MegaGames was hosting another round of Watch the Skies and there was no way I was going to miss it. 

Briefly, Watch the Skies consists of teams of people representing the nations of the earth. The teams are segmented into roles where each role plays a type of game with the other nations version of their role. Check out my last post for a more in depth description. 

Having tired of being left out of the thick of things last game, we traded in our giant robots and left Japan to become the United Kingdom. Ryan was our Prime Minister, Andy was our military leader, Cameron represented us in the UN, Shaun was our deputy head of state (a new role this time around that was capable of visiting any area of the game that they wished) and I took on the role of Chief Scientist.

Our goal going into this game was simple: Make an aircraft carrier into a spaceship. That was a responsibility that fell largely on my shoulders. Andy would need to shoot down them aliens to get me the resources, Cameron was in charge of smoothing over our actions in the UN and Ryan had to give me the money to conduct my research. I had to take what resources I could and figure out just what exactly needed to be done to get this space boat up and running. We started out with a bang, obtaining an intact alien space craft in round one. However, I approached the head scientist of the game and confessed that I would like to build the battleship... but I wanted to first create Iron Man suites for everyone of the scientists in the hopes of creating a peacekeeping task force that would police the world separate from the bureaucracy and politics of the rest of the game. Oh, and I wanted to have a remote self destruct system in place as well. Just in case.

My game long personal goal became all consuming. The turns rolled on by, I was aware that their were giant monsters emerging from the sea, but all that meant to me was the potential to harvest the next piece needed in my suit. I nearly forgot entirely about the battle ship my team insisted I build. They asked how it was going, I told them I needed red mercury. Which I DID need red mercury, just not for the battleship. Turn by turn I allowed my plan to seep out into the scientific community. Russia and Germany seemed concerned at first, but ultimately everyone got on board. I was aware that some were probably just using this new scientific alliance to push their own research to their end goal, but that was fine, I was getting all the resources necessary, and oddly enough most of our governments seemed unaware when we announced our worldwide scientific alliance. We stood for peace and anti-nuclear warfare almost simultaneously with London getting Nuked by America (something I found out after the game, as I assumed it was France. Seriously, this Iron Man thing gave me tunnel vision). Also I gave some phony tech to my government telling them to do something with it as it was useless to us. They sold it to Brazil, who in turn assassinated Ryan. Brazil then came within a hairs-length away from being nuked into oblivion.

I only wish I could have seen the look on our collective faces when control informed us that we were now a new nation, taking over India. We were dumbfounded, this wasn't in the plan, we were supposed to keep peace from the comfort of our own nation. Instead I was instated as the president of this new scientific nation, I had to assign military leaders and UN representatives. The global scientific community had pretty much vanished. There was some heavy fallout. Russia's scientist had her flag ripped right off of her back as she was disavowed, Japan's Prime Minister showed up and demanded money from all the research we had "stolen". Other nations were forced to send their presidents to the labs to try to finish up research, while we had suddenly become the wealthiest and most technologically advanced power on the face of the earth. And once half the nations started surrendering their Nukes to us, we became the most heavily armed force on earth as well. At some point China jumped ship, which was fine and probably for the best. I had informed Control that I wanted to activate the kill switches on the suites and return all the tech to the UK. My plan was to murder the people I had spent the entire game gaining their trust. Luckily for them it didn't work out. I managed to sabotage our giant force field we had placed over India, which allowed a giant monster to attack and kill a few million people, but no real harm was done. The aliens, which had been on my back-burner all game showed up and told us to disarm our Nukes. "Ok" we agreed. After-which I almost immediately went to control and asked if I was able to activate the three we had for a full scale attack. I was not able to, as I was not in control of the military. 

Oh, and it just so happened that my line of research worked out to also build the UK the spaceship I was supposed to be working on all game. They got it just in time to do battle with some giant Kaijus and then took off into the stars... leaving a power vacuum in the UK that I gladly filled. I left India in the capable hands of my peers and was crowned the King of England. My people were happy, I had a massive amount of tech and a Nuclear wasteland to rule over.

This game was like a complete separatist mission for me. I didn't intend it to be that way originally, but ias things started moving in that direction my efforts became largely diplomatic. I didn't have the research I needed for my plan to come to fruition, so the more I bribed and buddied up with people the easier my goals were to accomplish. As a team, I think we did quite well. The UK managed to build their end game spaceship, I didn't accompany them to the stars, but they left my country in good shape, the Queen lived on (in the battleship) and aside from that little tiff with Brazil, I think our future was long as China's shady business stops.

This is just my side of what happened that day. For Ryan's take as the Prime Minister (and then as the deputy head of state after his assassination) click here. For Andy's take on being the military leader click here. And if you ever have a chance to play one of these MegaGames...Don't hesitate. They're an absolute blast.