Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy Holidays 2015

Time for your update on the Dessler family.  Alex and Michael will be eleven in a few weeks and continue to grow rapidly.  If you want to know what they're like, this will tell you:

This reveals two important things about them:  1) They love their internet and will complain if they're not connected for even a few minutes and 2) they do dumb things, like sit in the dryer.

The kids are getting more technically savvy every day.  For example, Andy decided they were watching too much YouTube, so he blocked YouTube at our home router.  After a few days, Andy caught the kids watching videos — they figured out how to install a virtual private network (VPN) to get around the router block.  Technical fix defeated, Andy was forced to engage in traditional parenting (yelling) to encourage them to stop watching so many dumb videos.  When not circumventing parental rules, they spend their time on the computer hacking Minecraft.

In other Dessler news, we have a new dog, Tagger.   

She is a mutt, so her exact parentage is unclear.  But she's clearly some kind of terrier — if you're a mouse/rat, you best avoid her.  We got her last Jan. when she was about 2 months old.  Her previous owner couldn't keep her and she was headed to the pound, but we rescued her from that fate.

 If you want to know why rugs in our house are always out of place, here's your answer: 

Our senior dog, Kasper, considers her to be an annoyance just one step removed from a flea.  Watch and understand — it's kind of like a scene from jaws. As Kasper says, "She goes for the ears!".

[You can also tell by his egregious use of slo-mo that Andy got an iPhone 6s during 2015]

In other Dessler news, we're now business owners!  We have opened AggielandWarGames, Bryan/College Station's premier (and only) tactical laser tag place.  Tactical laser tag combines traditional laser tag and paintball — you use guns that shoot infrared light at each other, but you play missions like those you might find on a paintball field or in a video game like Call of Duty.  Our arena is in an air-conditioned 6000 s.f. warehouse, which is key in Texas in August.

Alex and Michael take aim

Business started out slow, but is growing steadily and we have big hopes for 2016.  Running the business is a true family effort — Susan does most of the front end stuff, while Andy works on the technical aspects of the game/website/Facebook.  Alex and Michael help out around the arena; one of their most common assignments is to go and play if there are not enough players or if the teams are unbalanced.  Because they play so much, they are really, really good.  In fact, it's fair to say that they're always the best players in the arena — even when they're playing college students and adults.  Luckily, the don't pound the customers — they spend most of their time shooting each other.

One of their main advantages is that they move faster than other players. Here, for example, is Michael swooping in to grab the hostage.  Everyone else looks like they're basically standing still.

In addition, they're pretty good shots and they know the arena like the back of their hand.  If you want to see more video, here's Michael vs. Alex in a game of search and destroy and in a game of team death match.

Other Dessler news

In sad news, Andy's sister, Val Greider, passed away in October after battling cancer for several years.  It was a tough way to end 2015, and she'll be missed in 2016.  Andy's parents, Alex and Lorraine, still live in College Station and are going strong — they leave today on a cruise from New York to England.  Susan's mother, Maureen, is still living in Missouri near Susan's brother and sister-in-law.

When not playing laser tag, Andy is still working on climate change.  At the end of last year's message, he said that 2014 would be hottest year in the record.  Now he can say that 2015 will be even hotter.  Speaking of hot, 2015 also saw the publication of the second edition of his book, Introduction to Modern Climate Change.

"blah blah carbon dioxide blah blah global warming blah blah drought/famine/end of the world blah blah"
One of the more unusual things Andy did in 2015 was participate in a lawsuit between Peabody Coal and the State of Minnesota over something known as the social cost of carbon.  He took the opportunity to make a few jokes while on the stand:
That was, he thinks it's fair to say, the only highlight in 4 hours of testimony.

Andy is more hopeful than ever that the Paris climate agreement, concluded a few weeks ago, may be a turning point in the policy battle to stabilize the climate.  But given that U.S. climate policies are all executive orders, much will depend on who the next U.S. president will be.

Well, that's it.  Here's hoping y'all have a great 2016!

Michael, Alex, Susan, Andy, Kasper, and Tagger