Being in Canada has been an interesting experience in observing slight variations between the way things are done or referred to here and how they are done in the States. Some things are inconsequential, and some things have bigger effect.
Here they pronounce car manufacturer Mazda differently. Inconsequential. Here gas is sold in litres at around $1.40 per litre. At approximately 3.78 litres to the gallon, that translates to over $5 per gallon. A little bit more consequential. Fortunately I've only had to fill my tank once since I've gotten here because I live a rather non-vehicular life.
One of the things which really struck me as odd at first is cheese. In the States, cheese may vary from mild to sharp. One of the more common examples is when these terms are used to describe cheddar cheese. I think, in theory, the descriptions are, well, self-descriptive, but essentially the milder tasting cheeses are labeled mild, or medium, and the more pungent, or, well, sharp the taste of the cheese, then it is labeled "sharp". It seems fairly straight forward when that is all you know.
In Canada, however, the sharper cheese is called "old". Or older, if you're describing varying degrees. And, well, that's I guess a fairly accurate description of the process of making cheese, and makes sense. Except us from the States might find a cheese described as "old" a bit too accurate and may be less likely to eat or get our children to eat.
Lately, my wife has gotten me sucked into the King variety of games. The first teaser drug, er, game, is Candy Crush Saga. Such a teaser it is that I even saw an ad for it on TV this morning which really surprised me. But there it was. My love is always looking for a new challenging game, and often when she finds one she likes, she finds all the varying options of it. Think of Angry Birds. She has at least two folders on her iPhone just of Angry Birds games.
So, about a week after starting to play Candy Crush, she decided to download onto her iPhone Pet Rescue Saga also from King. And when she came home from work, she was excited to share with me.
I'm frankly leery of downloading every app that looks interesting. I guess it's left-over protective instincts worrying about viruses and such. But, if my wife has tried it out and her phone hasn't started making calls to Europe, I'm less leery and willing to download and check it out, too. One of our ways of sharing time together.
Except, Pet Rescue Saga isn't available in the US store. And even though I'm in Canada, and can apparently see it in the Canada App store, my phone isn't authorized to purchase (even though it's free) from the Canada store.
So, that led me to another evil. Yes, that's right. Facebook. I *could* play the game on my Facebook account.
A long time ago, I was one of the pioneer game players for Zynga. Long before everyone had their own farm, and their own factory job at Yo-Ville, I was one of the early Mafia players. And then, you really needed to have friends to build your Mafia. If you wanted to get anywhere, you needed to have more people. So, you became "friends" with a lot of strangers.
I admit that for awhile there, I played the game religiously. I had spreadsheets, and timers, and knew how to best maximize everything that I could get from playing the game. This was about four years ago when the rest of my life was falling apart, and I soon realized part of the addiction was this was some place where I could measure my success.
Eventually I broke the habit, and I've stayed away from Facebook games. I know their tricks to lure you in and keep you in. They can be very seductive.
And yet, here I am...
As I have a bit of insomnia here, I have tried to persuade myself that I am playing these set of games to keep my mind sharper. That the brain needs challenges to keep growing new synapses and such. That it's use it or lose it. And at some level these justifications do have merit. I have lost some interest in Candy Crush because at the level I'm at, it seems that the success is more dependent upon the luck of the candy than any skill. And I'm quite interested in Pet Rescue Saga because I can see how I have to really think about the puzzle although some of them are still dependent upon good shakes of the pieces.
Sometimes I wish that keeping a sharper mind, though, was as easy as making a sharper cheese. That getting older meant simply getting better and sharper.