Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Lee Lives!

I had an interesting meeting last night that I thought the CH crew would get a kick out of.

I was shopping for groceries at the Price Chopper around the corner from the group home with one of the guys. We were getting stuff in the frozen food aisle when an older gentleman came by and asked me if I was with Christian Horizons. I told him I was and he said that his son had been the camp director several years back.

It turns out the man I was talking to is Lee Mitchell's dad! I chatted with him for a couple minutes and we went on our merry way, but I thought it was really neat to bump into my first 'boss' at CH's dad.

Weapons of Mass Prediction

I found this forum thread over at Infidel Guy talking about how the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are now targetting almanacs and maps as tools in possible terrorist plots.

Talk about a vague threat. Of course, I was thinking of the Farmer's Almanac, but I figure they're talking more about travel almanacs. What a way to try to whip up paranoia and fear over the holiday season :P

Happy New Year's Eve!

I'm off work again until Monday, so I'm going to kick back and relax for the next couple days. I would like to go skiing today, but unless there is a LOT of snow dumped on us overnight, I won't be going.

There's a 20 cm base right now at Glen Eden but it's sheer ice. Bleh. NOT the way I want to start my skiing for the season. Hopefully we'll get some snow and I'll get at least one run in before I go back to work on Monday.

For tasty treats tonight I'm hoping to get my hands on a package of Jane's Snake Bites. They're little white meat chicken nuggets but the breading on them is crazy spicy. I had a couple of them at work and they were soooo good.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Bob the Samurai rocks!

I got to see The Last Samurai tonight.

Holy snooglies. It is an amazing movie. If you only get to see two movies this Christmas/New Year's time, Return of the King and Last Samurai are the ones to see. I'd say that they're equally good, though the focus is vastly different.

RotK is Tolkein fantasy on the big-screen at it's finest. The Last Samurai is more of an internal struggle of a disillusioned man coming to grips with his past and finding his sense of honour and duty again. Cruise and Ken Watanabe both were excellent in their roles and the supporting cast of Japanese actors were great, though Billy Connolly's character was in the movie for far too short a time.

The Last Samurai has a lot of very impressive battles, but there is also a lot of downtime. I didn't find the movie dragging at all though. All of the quiet bits were there for a reason and were as powerful as the epic battles. The Last Samurai also serves as an excellent primer on Japanese culture as Tom Cruise's character has to deal with a lot of culture shock, which is handled very well.

There's also a character named Taka, which I thought James would get a kick out of.

And The Last Samurai has a sweet ninja attack. So does Return of the King, but Sam as a ninja isn't as believable as the black-clad dealers of death in Samurai.

Gotta Love That Armour

That's Cruise and Watanabe.

Monday, December 29, 2003

I'm not as damned as Liam is...

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Third Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Moderate
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)High
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test

What a crappy present...

Did you get a CD for Christmas this year? Go to What A Crappy Present. It's a pretty fun site about why CD's don't make good presents any more and it's also an anti-major label site. Gotta love those!

Where is everyone?

Yeesh. You guys need to lay off the eggnog and gingerbread and waddle back over to your keyboards. Update those blogs, me hearties!

Speaking of eggnog, we got some eggnog yesterday what was rather... thick. When you can time how long it takes the eggnog to pour from the carton to your glass using a minute hand, there's something definately off about it. No, I didn't drink any of it. We took it back. And here I thought I had a new pet.

Plants are nifty

Of course, I am thankful for my library as I've been able to read 3 really neat books this year by David Bodanis. I read The Secret House and E=MC^2: A Biography earlier in the year. I just finished reading the excellent book, The Secret Garden, today. I loved all of them.

Bodanis is able to tell a very interesting story about the day in the life of a house or garden and all of the intricate, microscopic activities going on every day right before our eyes. And he's got a ficticious couple that lives in the house and garden in both of the Secret books who are really funny to follow through the day as they disturb everything around them. Go read these books!

Libraries: Taking a page out of the Chapters manual

I don't know what it is about my library. I guess it's just that it's a small rural library as opposed to the Mississauga or Brampton systems. However, it is annoying when they start acting like the local Chapters store.

Why am I hitting so below the belt? Well, I did work for Chapters Inc. for a year or two so I know what it's like. The reason I'm comparing them to that most heinous of book chains is that my beloved Acton library has followed the Chapters book series rule.

The Chapters book series rule, in case you haven't had the pleasure of reading a series that isn't Tolkein or Robert Jordan, is the rule where you are required to have the 3rd and 5th book in a series, but none other. All of the other books are either only available online or not available at all.

I'm currently reading through the New Jedi Order series of Star Wars books. Really cool series. However, it's 19 books long. My library has about 11 of the books. And for some reason, for the parts of the series that are two or three part arcs, NONE of them have the first book of the arc. It's really weird and annoying.

So I've decided that I'm going to fill in the blanks. I went out today and picked up the next two missing books using my gift certificate that I got for Chapters and when I finish these books I'm going to donate them to the Acton library. I don't have too many books to buy, thankfully, and then others won't have to miss out on a cool series.


I just finished doing the dishes and it was scarily fun. Why? My MP3 player, that's why.

I just had the tunes going while washing the dishes and it was... gasp... fun. I hope this isn't the start of a trend. Chores made enjoyable by music. NOOOO!!

I was doing the dishes because Julie broke a glass while washing the dishes when I was at work today. She ended up slicing a big chunk out of her thumb in the process. I was dialing up coverage for the rest of my shift so I could take her to the hospital to have it properly dressed.

Thankfully, by the time I'd gone through my entire relief list (with only a lot of answering machines for my trouble), she called back to say that the bleeding had stopped and she wasn't feeling as woozy as before. I guess it was a pretty deep cut (she was asleep when I got home) but not so deep as to require stitches.

Ah well. Everyone's ok now so I'm happy :)

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Audiophiles Assemble!

Ok. I need your help, you geeky tech types out there. This means you, Luke.

I just set up my new surround system and while it is already a vast improvement over my rinky-dink 2-speaker stereo, I have a couple questions.

Mainly this. I currently have the set up like so: Game systems, etc. connected to my multi-selector unit. Selector connected to the TV. TV audio connected to the receiver. Receiver connected to the speakers. Sound waves connected to my ears.

Now, is this an OK set up? Unfortunately the DVD player/receiver doesn't have a video-in component, so I can't just plug the selector into it. I was thinking that I could have the selector video plugged into the TV and plug the audio into the DVD/receiver directly. This would just mean that watching TV or VCR stuff wouldn't use the receiver, but then maybe the sound would be better. I don't know. I'm just guessing.

If my current set-up is ok, that's fine with me. The nice thing is that the TV shows will benefit from the receiver and speakers. If I can get better sound on the stuff plugged into the selector but lose the TV, I'm willing to settle on that. I really want to have good sound for my games and DVD's moreso than the TV proper.

BG&E sounded nice with the surround sound. I'd like to try out something on the X-Box as it has true 5.1 sound. Mmm...

I also need to tweak the settings on the receiver too, but I have to go out later today and pick up some batteries for the remote. I know the system isn't anything special, but for the price it's nice.

I hate cliffhangers...

And I'm not talking about the movie.

I just finished Beyond Good & Evil. Amazing game. Great story, etc. etc.

What sucks is that they end it, at the very end of the credits, with a short scene that sets up a sequel perfectly. The reason it sucks is that I have no idea if or when a sequel will be forthcoming! ARG!

But the game itself does a great job of wrapping up the story told in the game while leaving you wanting more. At least, leaving ME wanting more. I loved the world and the characters and it would be really neat to venture out beyond Hyllis to see what else the BG&E universe holds.

Go play it. It's on all the systems and PC.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Uber-Professional?

Check out this news...
Portman Agrees To 'Leon' Sequel

Movie beauty Natalie Portman is keen to reprise her debut film role in a sequel to cult favorite Leon. The actress, 22, first came to international recognition in her acclaimed performance as an assassin's 11-year-old pal in the 1994 film, which starred Jean Reno in the lead role. And now Natalie has confirmed the long-awaited sequel is ready to roll, and she can't wait to be involved - despite needing a break following years working on the Star Wars trilogy. She says, "The script's really great, and worth delaying a vacation for."


I just wonder who they'll have to replace Jean Reno. I guess that since Natalie's character in the first one was learning how to be an assassin, the sequel would follow her as she becomes a pro or something.

Friday, December 26, 2003

5.1 Ahoy!

Well, I have finally joined the throngs of Boxing Day shoppers. Tim (bro-in-law) and I went over to Future Shop at 6:30am to line up around the corner of the building. At 7am, they opened the door and the crowd surged forward, bearing us to our prospective purchases.

I was one of the lucky ones who got the $129.99 Home Theatre system. Only 10 per store! I also picked up Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Carribean and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle on DVD too.

All said and done, we were in and out in 11 minutes once the doors opened. Woot! I just need to go home and set up my new 5.1 system! Now I've got ANOTHER DVD player though...yeesh. I have about 6 now.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Mmm... MP3's...

I had a great Christmas. We had lots of fun at each family's respective Christmas celebration today, and I also had a pretty good haul :)

Well, to top it off, I got the MP3 player I'd asked for. Woohoo! I just got access to a computer now so I'm trying out listening to a good mix of songs on it. 128 MB is pretty decent for what I want it for. It also has a nice necklace headphone set that will be great for going skiing. And the sound quality is great. I love the headphones :)

I also got a neat decorative pot for burning fire in our backyard come summer time. What else? My ski pass, some sweaters, some crazy socks (one pair with lots of watermelons on them) and a good assortment of gift certificates.

I'm going to bed soon as my brother-in-law and I are getting up at 6am to go to the 7am sale at Future Shop. I've got my eyes on a home theatre system for $129.99... I hope I can get it! If not, I'll just get a couple DVD's or something.

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas. I'm going to go listen to my songs some more now :)

I just need to get home now so I can access my 3 gigs of MP3's on my home system :P

I love NORAD

I put the link in the last post, but I just love the fact that NORAD puts out the Santa tracking info. The little movies are cute, with CF-18's flanking Santa as he arrives in Eastern Canada and when he flies over Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD HQ) in Colorado.

Merry Christmas One and All

Hey everybody.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a great time and don't eat too much turkey.

I've had a busy last couple days here in Sarnia. I finally got over my cold (yay) and cooked up some Dim Sum for appetizers at my parents' place for dinner on Christmas Eve.

We went out for the evening carol sing and service at my parents' church too. It's... interesting. They've made all the songs politcally correct, so they're "Good Christians, All Rejoice" instead of "Good Christian Men Rejoice" and so forth. Some of them are just changed enough that you know something is odd, but are not sure what. Others are just dumb.

But what can you do?

Anyway, I'm off to bed now. Gotta get to bed before Santa comes. He was in Peru last I checked... I better not stay up any later!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Home for Christmas!

We're heading to Sarnia today for about a week (back on Saturday). We got the last of our Christmas shopping done this morning after Julie's appointment w/ the doctor.

Speaking of which, we got to hear the baby's heartbeat today. I was trying to get the doctor to ensure me that there was just one heartbeat, since we have had a rash of twins in this area over the last few years, but she couldn't guarantee it.

But it was neat to hear the heartbeat of Spig Baby.

Celtic Christmas

We had a great service at church today. Our old music leader, Jamie McKay, came back from P.E.I. with some of his fiddle buddies and they put on the annual Celtic Christmas service. Nothing like having a VERY good fiddler and guitarist singing Great Big Sea songs in church :)

I miss having Jamie as our worship leader. We went from a really good rock/folk style of music to lounge lizard shmaltz. Sigh. It was especially apparent today with him back and leading the music again.

Oh well. At least the sermons are still up to spec.

Just play NOLF 1 & 2 instead...

I just finished Contract J.A.C.K., the standalone expansion for No One Lives Forever 2. It was fun but very short (I beat it in about 4-5 hours).

The biggest problem is that it's nothing at all like either NOLF games. It's more like Serious Sam, to be exact. I ended up just setting the game on God mode and chewing through the endless waves of enemies. It had its funny moments and if you liked the NOLF universe, it does set up some of the events of NOLF 2.

I'd rather just play the stealthy, funny originals though. If I want to blow up hordes of clone enemies, I'll play Doom or Serious Sam.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Return of the Blown Speaker

James & I went to see RotK again yesterday in Georgetown. It was as good as the first time, but unfortunately they'd blown one of their fancy new DTS speakers so every so often there would be the sound like someone was crumpling paper REALLY LOUDLY.

I felt bad for the theatre owner. He gets a new system just for that movie and by Thursday he'd blown his woofer. Sigh.

The movie was only $4.25 though, so it wasn't worth going and complaining about... at least not more than once :)

Friday, December 19, 2003

Top 11 Ways Peter Jackson Ruined The Return Of The King

This was over on Blogspot. I liked it so much I cut and pasted it here to save you from all that strenuous clicking.
11. At the end Gandalf seen stroking the ring in black robes saying, "My preciousss." Setting up Lord of the Rings: Part IV.

10. Legolas and Aragorn competing to see who can toss Gimli over the Crack of Doom.

9. Immortals sailing off to the west to the tune of Styx's "Come Sail Away."

8. Gollum swallowing ring, they have to wait a few days for it to come out.

7. Gandalf talks orcs into union labor strike against Sauron, there is no huge battle scene.

6. Citizens of Gondor overthrowing Aragorn's monarchy and install a representative democracy.

5. Side plot involving disgruntled rock bands whose Monsters of Pelennor concert gets interrupted by giant battle.

4. Scouring of the shire replaced with massive hobbit rave-orgy.

3. Gollum biting off Frodo's hand then revealing he is Frodo's father.

2. Revealing that hobbits are short because of a genetic defect caused by toxic runoff from Rivendell.

1. Sam holding up 9.5 after Gollum dives into Crack of Doom. Exchanging high 4s with Frodo.

Like playing a game with your Mom watching

Just in time for Christmas, it's NEED FOR SPEED: Back Seat Driver!

I can't wait to try this one out.

Ludwig the Egg Fan Club

Does anyone else besides myself and James remember Ludwig The Egg? He was one of those wierd British cartoons that used to be shown on TVO back in the 70's and early 80's.

Ludwig, Will O' The Wisp and Dr. Snuggles... Those were the days...

I wish I could find stuff about any of those shows. They were all so crazily imaginative. So much better than the pandering or mechandise driven cartoons for kids these days.

Thursday, December 18, 2003


I think I've caught Jenn's cold. Stupid computer virus...

LOTR meets Santa

Thanks to for this quote.

"In LotR all the elves sailed to the "undying lands" to the west. Continental drift caused those lands to move further north and eventually they were left to spend eternity making toys for their new red-suited overlord."

Fear The Titles

Yup. I figured out how to turn on titles on Blogger now. Frightening thing that. At least they're not the monstrous size they were when I was fiddling with them earlier!
One more day of work and then I'm off for the holidays... Well, just Christmas, technically... I have to go back to work on the 28th.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Sam the Ninja

They need to make a game based on Samwise Gamgee.

Silent Sam: Hobbit Ninja

Watch Return of the King and you'll know what I'm talking about :)

Though I have already played the new Return of the King game and there was a glitch where no matter what character you selected you were always Sam. It was like he was the pivotal force in every battle...

Return of the King

Just got home from Return of the King.

HOLY CRAP! Absolutely phenomenal movie. Best movie I've seen this year and probably one of the best I've seen, ever. I loved it (if you couldn't tell).

They even had an intermission! I left after the credits had started rolling and I was the last person in the theatre. I didn't want to make the old man running the place have to stay an extra 10 minutes or so just for me. It still clocked in at around 3 1/2 hours with the 10 minute intermission and plenty of credits to go. But it was the fastest 3 1/2 hours I've ever watched a movie for.

The only problem I had was aimed at the audience. I went to see the movie in Georgetown and there were probably about 20-30 people there, so it was nice and not crazy crowded or noisy.

The problem was that of all the seats in the entire, mostly empty theatre, King and Queen Let's-Narrate-The-Movie chose to sit RIGHT BEHIND ME! "Why are their feet furry? What's that ring for? Is that Gollum? I think he's schitzo." ARG!!!

At least they shut up before I had to turn around and stuff things down their throats.

The teenagers a couple rows behind me were great though. They kept hollering and gasping and just appreciating the battles but only when it was appropriate. Someone gets squished, they would go "Cool!" but then they'd be quiet again. That's acceptable theatre noise. Narration and post-lobotomy questions aren't.

Here are a couple points regarding the flick. If you don't want anything spoiled, well... THE BOOKS HAVE BEEN OUT FOR 50 YEARS!!! IT'S YOU'RE OWN FAULT IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THEM YET!!!

That said, here we go:

1) The Battle of Pellanor Field and Minas Tirith: Absolutely amazing. This makes up the bulk of the movie. Of the 3 1/2 hour run time, I'd say 2 1/2 hours are devoted to this and the siege. Sure, they show some other stuff, but it's all about the battle. The trailer and commercials don't do this justice. It essentially makes the battle for Helm's Deep in The Two Towers look like a fight on the playground.

2) Earplugs: Bring a pair or at least cover your ears for the entrance of the Witch King. Especially if you have an aversion to high pitched noises.

3) No scouring of the Shire: This isn't too bad as I heard they cut it since it would have really dragged the movie out even longer and it wasn't that exciting. That is the one part of the book I'd never read so I didn't mind that they cut it. I now have a reason to go and re-read the series now though :)

4) Oliphants: They're just cool. Keep an eye out for all of the anti-personel weaponry they have tacked onto them. There are a lot of things that aren't immediately obvious but they're pretty cool.

5) Nazghul: They implode well.

6) Gollum doesn't combust as well as he should: 'Nuff said.

and lastly

7) Michael J. Fox: He's got a pretty cool cameo. Keep an eye out for him!

Well, I'm off to bed. It's already pushing 4:30am... yeesh. I better get some sleep!

Monday, December 15, 2003

Woo! I found a place that is showing Return of the King at midnight and a) isn't sold out and b) isn't in downtown Toronto. I'll be among a select few gracing the seats at the Georgetown 3 Cinemas tomorrow night at midnight.

I like seeing movies at midnight with only a couple people there rather than the screaming hordes that will be at the average multiplex. Sure, the screens about the size of my TV, but still...
I fired up Deus Ex 2, but I think I need a new system to run it... either that, or a patch. I tried turning everything down and it still crawled on my PC. Oh well.

Maybe I'll get the Xbox version in a while if I can't get the PC version to play properly, though I'll see if there's a patch for the PC version first (and if it does make any difference).

I guess I'll just go and try to finish Beyond Good & Evil instead.
Did you know that you will blink when you get to the period at the end of a sentence? I never realized that, but it's just a subconcious behaviour that's been programmed into us over the years.

Of course now I'm going to be trying to keep my eyes open.
Woohoo! I just beat Deus Ex. It's been almost 4 years since I started playing it the first time, but I beat it!

I like how there are 3 different endings but they're based on how you finish off the final level of the game. That way I was able to see all 3 of them quickly rather than having to backtrack or replay the whole game. It's better than some games where the choices you make at the beginning of the game determine the ending you'll get.

Very cool game though. Now I can crack open the sequel and see how it plays.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

This is scarily similar to the conversation I just had with my brother and his wife.

"The snow will fall, the sun will shine, the lifts will run, and isn�t that enough?"

Gotta love that quote.
AHHH!!! I could have gone skiing today and I didn't even know it. Ah well. At least now I know that I CAN go skiing.

Warren Miller's Film Crew Setting Up To Document Brock's First Day Of Skiing For The Season

A Nightmare Before Christmas game is being made! It's got a new story set in the same world as the movie, but a year later! And to top it off, they're getting the artistic director from the film to help with the game!


Jack Skellington says that's A-OK!

Friday, December 12, 2003

I set up my first WiFi network today. I'm so l33t.

It's sad when a 70+ year-old retiree has a computer setup that makes you jealous. I want a WiFi network.

I am Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force!!

Which Aqua Teen Hunger Force character are you??
I've received a few questions regarding how to sell your soul to the Survey People of Jupiter.

Here's how to get started. Go to the Ipsos-Reid site and sign up for surveys.

I can only let you in on the most basic of secrets at the beginning.

Prove your worth and I may share the diciplines necessary to attain coupons!

(Sorry, I've been playing too much Deus Ex lately. Illuminatti make you go crazy...)
Have you been reading the latest storyline over at Player Vs. Player? I love it. I can't wait to see if Kurtz actually does make a ruleset for playing Gamers: The Game (The Game About Gamers). I'd love to try it out.
I have now added coffee mugs to my list of things I hate. I pulled one out of the cupboard at work today and had cold coffee splash all over me. Someone put a full cup of coffee in the cupboard earlier in the day and I ended up being the recipient of the contents in the evening... sigh.

At least now I can suck on my shirt if I start feeling drowsy.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Yet another very good editorial about videogames and the violence therein. The neat thing about this one is that it's written by a gamer who actually particpates in the annual Video Game Report Card that a bunch of senators in the States put together every year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Yesterday and today were also good days for my DVD collection. I got the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Vol. 1 set, Buffy Season 5 and Firefly: The Complete Series. Yay. Now my Amazon pre-order list is empty save for some Buffy and Angel sets not out till May and February, respectively.
This is crazy. It's a video of this guy beating Super Mario 3 in 11 minutes. Crazy. Just crazy.
I like being on these survey lists. They're fun. I have homework for the one I'm doing now. I have to go 'shopping' at Canadian Tire and pick out some houseware and submit a little write-up on the ones I pick later this week. If I do that, I get a $25 gift certificate for Canadian Tire.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Monday, December 08, 2003

I was sad to hear about the Uptown Theatre collapsing today. The Uptown was probably my favourite movie theatre in downtown Toronto.

I didn't realize it was going to be demolished anyway (the last time I had heard anything about it was last year or early this year when they were still fighting to keep it standing). The Uptown was where I was first exposed to the wonders of wierd French cinema during repeated midnight showings of City of Lost Children. Sigh.

It seems they've had one fatality and while they had thought that there was still someone under the rubble earlier in the evening, they seem to have called off the search.

Just goes to show that you shouldn't knock down classy old buildings to put up crappy condos. See my rant about subdivisions for a taste of my rant about demolishing classy old buildings :)
I love my job. What other job lets you utter the immortal lines, "DON'T WIPE YOUR BUM WITH PINE-SOL!!!"?
I've been spending a bunch of time playing Beyond Good & Evil. Excellent game. I mean, it actually has supplanted Final Fantasy X-2 in my PS2 since I got it the other day (and if you know how much of a Final Fantasy nut I am, that's saying something). BG&E is probably one of the best games I've played in some time. Of course, I picked it up for the PS2 and I think a day after I got it they released the Xbox & Cube versions (supposedly the Cube is the best of the 3).

But it's a gorgeous game on the PS2 and I haven't noticed anything horrible, graphic wise. The game itself is stunning.

I also have been working my way through the original Deus Ex again, since I never did finish it and with the sequel having just been released, I want to see how the first game turns out. It's still just as great as it was a couple years ago when it came out.
A couple things I want to post about that I meant to post about last week.

First up: The Spike VGA's.

The 1st Annual Spike Video Game Awards were held on Thursday last week and it was interesting. On the one hand, they did a lot of stuff wrong. On the flip side, they did present games in such a way that someone who doesn't game all day could watch the award show and not be bored (at least not any more than any other award show.)

The Good

There were some pretty funny bits where they took game footage and reworked it and dubbed over to make it funny. The induction of the Dot from Pong into the Hall of Fame was funny too. And most of the awards were awarded to games that were deserving.

The Bad

The show was definately skewed to the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) and was proud of it. The Gamespy article about the awards compares them to the MTV Movie Awards as opposed to the Oscars, which is spot on.

They had porn stars giving out awards, wrestlers having a match in the middle of the awards ceremony and other wierdness. Thankfully I was watching it on the VCR so I could just fast forward past most of the crap performances and non-game related drivel.

The Ugly

Where the VGA's really got off track was with the categories and winners of same. Soul Calibur 2 won for Most Addictive game, but not best Fighting Game. Who won that? WWE Smackdown. Sure, it's a fighting game by a really large stretch of the definition of what a fighting game is, but there's no way it's a superior fighting game than SC2.

Another example of odd categories and winners was with the Best Game Based On A Movie and the Best Fantasy Game. For the Movie category, they gave the award to Enter The Matrix. EtM was fun and filled out a lot of side-story stuff with relation to Reloaded and Revolutions, but as a game it was unpolished, ugly and felt like an unfinished game, even though it did have 4 years for development. Knights of the Old Republic or Return Of The King are both far superior games.

And Knights of the Old Republic won the best Fantasy Game, which was cool, but I still think it should have won best movie game. Ah well.

And probably the worst thing was that they gave out the Game of the Year award (Madden 2004) before the ceremony even started. They just had a montage of all the games up for nomination and then, before David Spade was introduced or the VGA's were even declared as starting, they say, "GAME OF THE YEAR! MADDEN 2004!"

It'd be like revealing the Best Picture Oscar during the red carpet show. Instead of the GOTY, they spent the rest of the show hyping the "Most Anticipated" game. (It was Halo 2. Yippee.)

The Wrapup

In the end, I didn't mind watching the VGA's, especially due to the fast forward button on my VCR remote. I appreciate that they're making an effort to give games the recognition they deserve, given that more money was spent on games last year than movies. I just hope they get their butts in gear and at least make the categories and winners actually make sense. For serious game awards, I'll go by the online rankings and yearly GOTY awards on Gamespy and Gamespot and Electric Playground.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Oh man. I just watched the first episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. SO funny. I guess ATHF has been out in the states for the last few years but since Teletoon only likes to show reruns of CRAP, I haven't had a chance to see ATHF till now. Oh well. It definately lives up to the hype.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

We just got back from visiting Luke, Anne and the unnamed baby which was named but that we didn't know was named before we went up to visit them.

Her name is Maya Elizabeth. I call her DJ Stinkypants.

She's so cute. Here's a shot of Julie having fun teaching her how to scratch some mad rhymez on the turntablez.

I was teaching her how to rock out and salute. She seemed to have already mastered the art of yawning and sleeping.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Just finished watching SWAT. It wasn't bad. A better than average action movie with a really neat car/plane chase near the end.

Colin Farrell was good, as always. I think he needs to do something other than the plethora of action movies he's been in though. He needs some meaty roles like Ed Norton in American History X or Brad Pitt in Fight Club. Stuff like that. The fluffy action is fine, but he's got the chops to do more.

He was pretty good in Tigerland, but the movie itself was pretty boring.
What did I learn today?

No matter how festive it may seem, never make an omelette using egg-nog in place of milk.

Just don't.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I don't know what was happening today on the roads, but I think everyone took their stupid pills simultaneously.

Not only were people driving erratically all around the greater Mississauga/Brampton/Halton Hills area, but the pedestrians were acting dumb too! Not once, but twice I was at an intersection when the light turned green for me and THEN the pedestrians crossing against the light decided to start.

I was so ready to kill this one old couple. The light turns green for me. They start walking across. Everyone at the front of the line lurches forward and then slams on the brakes when they realize this couple isn't stopping and is going to keep on walking across the road. Then they have the nerve to give the drivers a dirty look.

And it was just a really long day. I couldn't fall asleep till around 2am and was woken up by Julie at 6:30ish. I then had to drive into Mississauga and sit around the dealership while my car was rebuilt. I found out I had to get new brakes too so the total cost of my oil change (usually $70) ended up running $778... but my car purrs and is in very good shape for the winter, so it's not THAT bad.

I was there from 8-11:30am, then after that we had the staff Christmas party at Tuckers Marketplace, so that was yummy. Mmm... unlimited steaks.

Then I had to drive back to work, which took almost an hour and a half due to the aforementioned crazy traffic.

I was about ready to sleep at 8:30 tonight... zzzz...

But like I said before, I'm off till Monday so I'm going to sleep in tomorrow and stay as far away from cars and roads as possible.
Yay! I'm off till Monday.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Oh, I forgot to mention that I have to get to Mississauga tomorrow morning at 8am to get my 50K oil change and maintenance done on my Saturn.

Why is this newsworthy?

It's going to cost $375.00

Yup. That decimal point is after the 5.

Yeesh. Granted, from the list of stuff they said they'd have to do it's almost like they're rebuilding the car, but still...

At least I'll have a couple hours to play Mario & Luigi and read my book. And then it's off to Tucker's Marketplace for our staff Christmas party... mmm... unlimited steak...
Did anyone else check out that new Line Of Fire show that premiered tonight? I taped it, but what little I did see of it looked promising. I like that they show the fight between the mob and the FBI without really taking sides, per se.

And they use the AMAZING SPLIT SCREEN TECHNOLOGY honed to perfection on the exquisite 24. Speaking of 24, tonight's episode was pretty sweet. I was not as incredibly impressed with this season so far as opposed to last year's 24, which was amazing. This episode was really the turnaround one where things are picking up.
Hee hee. I saw this link over at Ctrl-Alt-Del and had to post it here.

"The Xbox Deflects Real Bullets."

Congrats to Luke & Anne on the birth of their new daughter. I just hope she's not hairy like Luke. Yeti might be a nice name :)

Now Anne can give Julie lots of advice.

Monday, December 01, 2003

Oh, I saw a cool FFX-2 commercial on TV tonight. It's been interesting seeing more and more game commercials on TV these days. All of the 3 main systems have commercials for their first party games and there have been a bunch of FFX-2 and XIII commercials on lately too. Maybe they're only advertising games with roman numerals in the title...
It's interesting living in Acton and working in Brampton at this time of year. In Brampton, there was just a little bit of snow on the ground and some blowing around. The closer I got to Acton and the higher up the escarpment I went, the snowier it got. I could barely get into the drive through at the McDonald's in Acton and when I opened my window to order I think I got half a snowbank in my lap. It took me about an hour to get home from work, but that was ok as there was an interesting program on Ideas.

By the way, the NEW chicken McNuggets they keep advertising aren't anything special. I think that the chicken is more flakier and real and less cubey than they used to be and there might be some kind of seasoning in the batter, but otherwise they tasted pretty similar to the way they usually taste.
Today's my Dad's birthday! Woo! Happy Birthday Dad!
I was also flipping through the channels and saw something that struck me as odd.

On History Television they were showing "Interview With A Vampire" as their HISTORY ON FILM movie of the night. Er... maybe it's just me, but I didn't realize that vampires were actually REAL!
I was watching Jamie's Kitchen on The Food Network tonight. It was fascinating. We don't get Food Network here in Acton (for some reason unknown to me) and so this was my first time watching this show. I think it was also the final episode in the series.

The gist of it is that Jamie Oliver aka The Naked Chef has invested about 2 million pounds into starting a restaurant. The catch? He's staffing it with underpriveledged kids from London's poor areas. He teaches them to cook and run a kitchen and become chefs. These aren't McDonald's short order cooks. They're supposed to be chefs at the end of the show. And his restaurant is supposed to actually be popular.

If tonight's was the last episode, then it ends with the opening night of the restaurant and the food critics giving it a once over. On New Year's Day, they're doing a marathon of it. They're also showing two new episodes a year after the initial ones which will show how the restaurant has fared and if Jamie is bankrupt or not.

This is one of the few times I actually want to be able to go to work on New Year's Day! ARG! Stupid Cogeco cable...

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Ug. Another sunday bites the dust.

I was supposed to work till midnight, but the person I was covering for got back on time and I was able to make it home today, rather than tomorrow!

These Sundays where I work in the evening are long. I leave the house at 8:30am to go to church to do the multimedia, then we have our small group after the service (mmm... free lunch) and then I have to boogie over to the house and work 3-11... I am gone for about 15 hours total most sundays when I'm working.


No wonder I'm pooped. Doesn't help that this is now day 9 of my 13 day work week.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Crazy snow on the way back home. I was stuck in a traffic jam for the better part of half an hour and when I got north of the 401, it was snowy as, um, Antartica. Yeah... So snowy that the Tim Hortons I was at had 7 cruisers there... no problems, just a lot of coffee deprived OPP officers... Hee hee.
I spent my day off today at the 5-year anniversary celebration lunch down at Redeemer College for all of us CH folk that just can't escape its gravitational pull. It wasn't bad. I got to make fun of people and hang out with my bro-in-law who was also celebrating his 5-year anniversary with CH. Granted, that's 5 years of group home work. I did start my CH sentence, er, service back at the camp in 1993...

I also had to shake my head at the tech guys at Elmira. They were having trouble with the laptop/digital projector setup. They could boot up the laptop with the projector but were having trouble with some of the laptops as they weren't feeding out to the projectors.

The head IT guy was telling the various district office staff that it was a problem with the individual computers. Of course, then they come to me and I show them that it's not, it's just that you have to hit a couple key combos to let the computer know whether it's feeding to the screen, the projector or both. I learned that using the laptop/projector at church so when I was informed they were having the same problem I knew exactly what was wrong.

But it did disturb me that the HEAD IT guy, not just the guy who got MY JOB (grumble grumble), was blaming the hardware rather than knowing that simple function.

Oh well. I did network with a few of the homes in the Hammytown region to go and teach their staff how to use computers. I guess I'm doing a pretty good job in Halton Peel with my little courses... My manager had to tell everyone that she wasn't letting me transfer though, even though she saw lots of people getting my phone number :) I'm going to become the unofficial computer trainer for CH and then they'll just have to give me that coushy job at Emira!
Speaking of throwing up, I got Manhunt and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga today.

I tried out Manhunt briefly and man... it's like Rockstar got sick of pundits complaining that games like Grand Theft Auto were 'murder simulators' and decided to just put their money where their mouth(s?) is (are?) and MAKE a murder simulator. The instruction book is neat as it's laid out like a catalogue for a mail-order snuff films company. Very slick packaging, I must say.

That said, it's a pretty neat premise to the game and it seems like a pretty solid and fun game, albeit gory as hell. I mean, they make a simple plastic bag a weapon of mass distruction!

On the flip side of the coin, Mario & Luigi is insanely fun as only a Mario RPG can be. It's very funny, lighthearted as all get out and fun. And it's on the GBA and looks fantastic. I can't wait to work on it now that I have Tactics out of the way.

I'm glad the two orders didn't come in the same box as the person packaging them would have really scratched their head. Hardcore murder sim and a lighthearted kids game. Hmm...

Granted, Futureshop REALLY needs to invest in more than one size of box. I almost couldn't find my Mario & Luigi box due to the sheer volume of packing peanuts. Crazy stuff.
Hmm. Today Julie was complaining that she was almost sick at work. She never throws up and so far her nausea seems to have been easily defeated with a liberal application of food.

I hope she doesn't start throwing up though. Not that it will really upset me if she does, but she's been trooping along rather stoically so far during this crazy pregnancy thing and I was hoping she wouldn't have to deal with actually throwing up, since she does it very rarely and doesn't seem to like it when she does.
I had an interesting morning on Thursday.

There I was, minding my own business when my neighbour wandered over and asked for a ride over to the bus because she was having an allergic reaction to something and needed to go to her doctor.

I figured that I may as well as it was just across town to the bus stop. Once we were in the car, she then told me that her throat and mouth weren't feeling right. At this point I decided that there was no way I was just going to drop her off and hope the bus made it to her in time so I drove her down to the doctor in Georgetown.

Now, this would be no big deal except for the fact that this was Squarehead, the crazy newfie lady who lives next door to me. We've never really gotten along with Squarehead. It's not that we've had big arguments or anything with her. It's just that she's a little... odd.

We say hi when she's outside and she just glares at us. And she's the one with the yappy dog that sits outside and barks all summer long. Not only that, her family must own shares in a tobacco company given the sheer volume of smoke that pours out all summer long (and in the winter when they open their doors). Add to that the fact that every night at around 3am their son comes by in his big diesel truck, chugging away and that almost every other day we have to listen to her scream at the granddaughter that she babysits.

Yes. This is the one that was telling the little girl back in the summer to go up to her room and light herself on fire, or something along those lines. And the girl is only about 4.

So we're not huge fans of Squarehead. Her husband is nice, but seems dominated by her.

So all of this was going through my head as I saw her walking up my walkway and over to my door. But how can you turn someone away who needs help? I can't...

And it turns out we had a nice little chat about the people who lived in the end unit of our complex (the one with the roaches) and about Christmas and kids and such.

Maybe she won't be so frosty when she sees us outside. It seems like she lives a very sheltered life, but I'm not going to go over there to play bridge anytime soon.

Add to this the fact that I was waiting for the UPS guy to deliver my games and I was getting a little antsy. Yesterday I'd missed the UPS guy by 2 whole minutes (I left for work at 12:30, he showed up to deliver the packages at 12:32... sigh)

I was just thinking, "Man, if I miss the UPS guy today because of you, lady, I'm going to find out what made you sick and pump your house full of it!"

But I didn't miss Mr. UPS. And I made $5 off Squarehead that I can put towards lunch or a coffee. So it wasn't all bad. And I got to fulfill my weekly allotment of good deeds... or did I use them all up? I'm not sure :)

At least I got out of the house, I guess....

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

I finished 'The Lair Of Bones' (Book 4 of The Runelords) today. It was pretty good but I'm not sure if the series is over or not. I'd say that if the series does continue, Phase 1 is over as of this book. The next book(s) would be concidered Runelords: The Next Generation.

Still a good tale and the whole series so far was a very interesting and intense fantasy tale that was very non-Tolkien, thank god.

I started reading Michael Moore's new book, 'Dude, Where's My Country?' this afternoon. Very good so far. If you've read 'Stupid White Men...', it's more of the same, but since I like Moore's style, it's very funny and sad at the same time.
I'm about ready to do what this guy did and contribute to another case of "Spam Rage". Grr...

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

I had a pretty productive morning this morning too. I went for a walk in the nicely snowy and crisp morning here in Acton over to the library, got a few books and then got myself a doctor. Not at the library, but over at the local medical center. I haven't been to a doctor in about 5 years or so and I figure that I may as well get one.

So I'm in the computer at my new doctor's office and now I won't worry so much about having to get a doctor's note. It's not that I don't like doctors or anything. I just haven't needed to go to one in ages and I didn't want to go through the hassle of getting one in Mississauga or Brampton when I live in Acton.

Hooray for the medical profession!

I also had a nice walk around town.
The UPS guy actually showed up at my place at sometime before 4:30pm and delivered Final Fantasy X-2! It's sooooo good!

I've got a couple more packages arriving on Wednesday from Futureshop and that'll be that for the year. Sigh.

I like the fact that Futureshop ships stuff fast (relative to's game section) but it's a little ridiculous to a) have to wait forever for UPS to show up as opposed to the nice and early Canada Post people and b) they are a little overzealous in their packaging.

When ships something the size of a DVD, it comes in a cardboard envelope slightly larger than a DVD. They scale their packaging to fit the object being shipped.

Futureshop, however, seems to have either a surplus of packing peanuts or no small boxes. I got FFX-2 today in a box roughly 8"x10"x4" filled to the brim with packing peanuts. It's crazy! I'm scared to see how big the box to game ratio will be for my Mario & Luigi GBA game that's arriving tomorrow. Eep.
Yeah, I know it's late, but IT'S SNOWING! And it's sticking to the ground! WOOT! It looks lovely outside right now. If I didn't have to go to bed I'd go for a walk around the block just to be the first person to do it around here... but I'm tired :P

Ski hill... here I come!
Man... I feel so dumb.

My eye's been sore for the last couple days and today it was just driving me nuts. So I got a flashlight and shone it in and was looking at my eyelid in the mirror and I noticed it was really red and puffy and that there was a hole in it... I figured I'd had a stye in my eye and it probably popped and gooshed the guck out.

Either that, or the thing that flew up off the floor and bashed me in the eye the other day was imbedded in my eyelid...

Turns out that I've got a hole in both eyelids. They're my friggin tear ducts. Sigh..

Yes, Brock the bio geek didn't even know what a tear duct looked like. I always thought they were in that red gooky part near your nose on the inside of your eye (not the eyeball, but in the actually corners of your eye, not on the eyelid).

Dumb dumb dumb dumb...

Granted, I've had a bad relationship with my tear ducts since I was a wee little thing. I had to have surgery on them when I was a baby/infant/toddler thing... they got all blocked up. So I haven't spent much time investigating them since...

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I made an interesting discovery today on my way to work. There's a shoe tree just off the road near Norval on Winston Churchill. I know of a shoe tree up near the cottage between Norland & Kinmount in the Kawartha Lakes area, but I didn't know there were any down near where I lived.

Neat stuff.
In other good news, I beat Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance. Only 65 hours :P
Of course, if self-disembowlement isn't really your thing, you can always go and play with your scary dolls.

Crazy Russians.
Has YOUR honour been tarnished? Does your feudal lord think you're a disgrace?

Well, now there's The Practical Guide to Seppuku!

Sorry, all sales final.
Woot. I finished Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time just before midnight on Saturday. Woo! It's a great game and the ending was excellent too. Not only that, it has the full version of the first PoP unlock after you finish the game. Not too shabby. I actually finished the game in less than a week, but it's one of those games that just glues you to it so you can finish it fast.

I'm on a roll now. I just need to finish Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and I'll get 3 game done in one weekend! And since I have Final Fantasy X-2 and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga on the way, it's not a bad thing to get the console games out of the way.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Wow! XIII is pretty neat. VERY stylish game. I like the way that it uses comic book style panels to tell the story even while you're playing.
The new Medal of Honor game, Rising Sun, was just released in Japan.

Now, here's the thing. It takes place in the Pacific Theatre of war during WW2. So the Japanese gamers are playing as American soldiers shooting up the Japanese army.

As one gamer put it, "You know, even though it's just a game, those are our fathers and relatives we're killing. There's something about it that I just don't like."

It makes you think. Would American game devs ever make a game that showed WW2 from the Nazi point of view? Would Americans play it if you're sitting there as a Nazi gunning down the Allies?

It's interesting because you are making a game which is based on history and you want to take a side in who you're playing as. It's like playing Call of Duty in Germany. All you're doing there is gunning down Germans left, right and centre. For us, it's not a big deal because THE NAZIS ARE EVIL. But if you're in Germany, you are shooting your ancestors in effigy.

What do YOU think?
Here's the results of a survey taken in Japan re: games and such. I'm not terribly surprised by the results. Gasp. RPG's are popular? Action games aren't? The Xbox has tanked? Gasp...

"According to complete CESA statistics, ownership of Microsoft's game machine ranked lower than five consoles that aren't even in production. Each of the following systems are owned by a portion of respondents numbering greater than 10 percent: Super NES, GameBoy Color, N64, Dreamcast, and Saturn."

And the Japanese don't seem terribly interested in even trying out non-Nippon software.

"Figures like these make Japan's game market look like a tough nut to crack for overseas software developers. The statistics for ownership of overseas games are even more discouraging: The percentage of respondents currently own non-Japanese software? Just over 1 percent. And only 4 percent expressed interest in buying such software in the future."

I'm 93% done Prince of Persia now. I probably could have finished it tonight but it's driving me nuts and I do have to get up early for work tomorrow (today?) so I'd better just leave it for now and I can finish it tomorrow night.
Well, I watched Two Towers tonight. I liked the extended edition. The new stuff was pretty decent.

Julie survived for about an hour, maybe 1 1/2 hours before succumbing to her ever-increasing narcolepsy. That, and the leather couch we have must suck energy out of those who sit upon it as it's very hard to not get drowsy when sitting on it.

Oh well.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Woot! Just finished Broken Sword 3. Excellent game. Very funny and a good adventure story to boot!
It's the Fresh Prince of Persia and his Sands of Rhyme!

Gotta love PlanetFargo.
Here's the top 20 list of what to do while at Return of the King, courtesy of The sad thing is that I was doing #7 already...
For those of you planning on seeing the third LOTR movie at the theater here are some survival tips.

1. Stand up halfway through the movie and yell loudly, "Wait... where the hell is Harry Potter?"

2. Block the entrance to the theater while screaming: "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" - After the movie, say "Lucas could have done it better."

3. At some point during the movie, stand up and shout: "I must go! Middle Earth needs me!" and run and try to jump into the screen. After bouncing off, return quietly to your seat.

4. Play a drinking game where you have to take a sip every time someone says: "The Ring."

5. Point and laugh whenever someone dies.

6. Ask the nearest ring-nut if he thinks Gandalf went to Hogwarts

7. Finish off every one of Elrond's lines with "Mr. Anderson."

8. When Aragorn is crowned king, stand up and at the top of your lungs sing, "And I did it.... MY way...!"

9. At the end, complain that Gollum was offensive to Ethiopians

10. Talk like Gollum all through the movie. At the end, bite off someone's finger and fall down the stairs.

11. When Shelob appears, pinch the guy in front of you on the back of the neck.

12. Dress up as old ladies and reenact "The Battle of Helms Deep" Monty Python style.

13. When Denethor lights the fire, shout "Barbecue!"

14. Ask people around you who they think is the next "Terminator" sent from the Middle Earth of the future to assassinate Frodo Baggins

15. In TTT when the Ents decide to march to war, stand up and shout "RUN FOREST, RUN!"

16. Every time someone kills an Orc, yell: "That's what I'm Tolkien about!" See how long it takes before you get
kicked out of the theatre.

17. During a wide shot of a battle, inquire, "Where's Waldo?"

18. Talk loudly about how you heard that there is a single frame of a nude Elf hidden somewhere in the movie.

19. Start an Orc sing-a-long.

20. Come to the premiere dressed as Frankenfurter and wander around looking terribly confused.
We got the due date for the little neo-natal gamer today (yesterday). If everything goes according to plan, it's July 1st.

Woot! Canada day baby.

Of course, since it's related to me, it'll either be fasionably late or crazy early.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Hee hee... while we're on the subject of tonight's ER, I found this in the forum over on one of the, er, ER sites.
Unexpected fiery holocaust in the sky threatens to engulf everyone in the hospital.
(snorting with laughter) as opposed to those everyday, predictable fiery holocausts in the sky? Who writes these things???
And if you didn't know Romano got smooshed, well, you either didn't read last week's TV guide or see any commercials for ER this past week, in which case, you probably don't read or watch TV :)
Sigh. I miss Dr. Romano already. I think they did a great job of the way they made him one with the helicopter, but I still wish they hadn't wiped him out.

He was a punk and had an attitude problem the size of Manitoba, but every so often he'd let his humanity peek through and for that I liked him. That, and I liked watching him make everyone's life a living hell.

Oh well. I wonder what they'll do next week on ER?
I need to stop staying up so late. I was up till about 3am watching this gem of contemporary American cinema.

"Huh huh huh... This desert sucks... huh huh huh..."

"Heh heh... Yeah, they need to put in a drinking fountain or something... heh heh heh..."

Can YOU name the movie?
I installed the Google Toolbar today on my machine. As much as I dislike having extra little bars on my system, I have to say that the popup blocker IS very, very nice.
I'm exactly 50% finished Prince of Persia. It's soooo good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hmm... The Gallery Of Obscure Patents...

I think I should get one of those anti-eating face masks, though I have lost more than 10 pounds since mid-October, so I'm not doing too bad.
Double Woo!

Have you seen the information re: FFXII? Man... I can't wait. It's even more interesting since it'll take place in the world of Ivalice, which is where the Final Fantasy Tactics games take place. Pesky Judges...

Check out this screenshot though. Is it just me, or do some of those airships look a LOT like the vanships from Last Exile?

I just ate a container of banana pudding...


I'm going to be spoon free today.
Ok. I just did the switch. It's a shame to lose all those comments, but if Enetation isn't working, then bah!
Ok. I seem to still be having errors with my comments. I don't know why. I can see them fine, but it seems that nobody else can.

I'll leave it on enetation for now but if everyone is still having problems when I get back from work, then I'll just bite the bullet and go over to Holoscan.
Did that missive make sense?
Here's one more thought I had today while I was waxing metaphysical on the subject of child rearing...

I wonder what it'll be like for our kids while they grow up as opposed to us. I'm talking about the kids born to Julie & me, as well as Luke & Anne and other kids being born at this general point in time. Some might even call them a generation of kids...

But I digress. What I was saying was I was thinking that it'll be interesting to see how these kids are raised especially by people like Luke, my brother Grant and myself. For us, our parents grew up with the TV and radio as their electric entertainment devices and even that was in a rudimentary fashion. People of my generation grew up riding the cusp of the computer revolution and subsequent entertainment spin-offs like the ubiquitous videogame and so forth.

So while people my age will play games, they're still mainly seen by our parents and others older than us as kids' toys. However, we think of them as something more. The way our parents view the TV as an everyday instrument of entertainment, we now view games and computers in general in much the same way.

So for our kids, rather than having parents who don't understand what you're playing and, at least in my case, actively discouraging your playing them, our kids will have parents who will be able to get right in there and play and converse at the same level since we'll be excited about the newest game that our kid is excited about.

I know that this does happen to some degree already, but I think that people around my age and younger are really the first ones to have experienced the full onslaught of gaming and computers. I was just thinking about this as I was driving home as it would be a marked difference between the relationship I had with my dad, at least with regard to this particular hobby, and the one I hope to have with my child/children.

Though I think I might resist making a mobile for the crib out of dualshock controllers.

I was having problems with my enetation comments even up to about 5 minutes ago. So I go over to their site to see what's up. Seems that I'm not the only one. I even went so far as to post a comment on their message board about it and then when I went over to my site, lo and behold the comments are working. Sigh.

So now you can leave me messages again. I paid for Pro so dammit, they'd better keep it working!

Final Fantasy Radio Launches
Square Enix has announced that is will launch a new Final Fantasy themed radio station via America Online�s Radio@Work. The station will feature approximately 200 musical tracks taken from Final Fantasy VII through Final Fantasy XI.

"We are extremely excited to have a dedicated radio station for music from our Final Fantasy games on the AOL Radio@ Network," said Jun Iwasaki, president and CEO, Square Enix U.S.A. "The music is not just for gamers, but for all music lovers around the world. With their enormous reach and superior sound quality, the AOL Radio@ Network is a great way to showcase our music library."

Sounds like something I'd love to listen to... too bad it's attached to AOL...

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Ah.. it was nice at work today. I was able to tell more people about Julie's 'condition' :) I can keep a secret but if it's something good I like to share it with everyone.
I'm really starting to hate Global. Why? Because for the last two weeks they've decided to start the really annoying practice of cutting into the last 5 minutes of 24 with commercials. They start up the clock, run the last segment of that week's show and then about 2-3 minutes in, all of the sudden go to commercials.

Then you have to watch all of the commercials you just sat through 2 minutes prior to this and then they pop back to 24 in the middle of the action, often missing one or two seconds (which in a show like 24 is crucial).

I wouldn't mind it so much except that it's so sloppy which makes it annoying as hell. I'd rather they just keep doing what they did for the first episode of the season where they show all the commercials at the beginning and then just run for 50 minutes with no interruptions.

I've just noticed this on 24, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before they start interrupting other shows this way.
I love Canadian news. I am on the little newsletter list that has highlights from the evening's National every night and often Peter Mansbridge tosses in a few little quips.

"And for those who were wondering, and there have been some calls and e-mails with I must say some very funny suggestions, it wasn't your television set last night. I do have a bit of a bloodspot in one eye.
Nothing serious but it may take a few days to disappear. Don't you love television? Maybe I should wear an eyepatch -- the beard thing worked so well."

Hee hee.
Man... The Two Towers special edition runs at 3 hours and 43 minutes... yeesh! Good thing I have Friday off.

I also got a cool DVD called Scourge of Worlds. It's essentially a choose your own adventure on DVD. It's pretty neat. You just watch the movie, then when it comes time to make a decision, you pick one and the movie goes from there. It could have been pretty bad, but it wasn't. The animation was pretty good too, all things concidered.

I also found a name that we will NOT be naming our kid...


Yup, that's an apostrophe in Josh... WHY!?!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Oh, and my Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers special edition DVD set is on its way to my lovely little mailbox. Woohoo!

Now, should I watch Fellowship again tonight, just to be ready for the extended goodness that is The Two Towers, or should I just watch Two Towers by itself?

Sigh... such difficult decisions.
Oh man...

I went out for coffee with one of the guys at the grouphome tonight and we got a Red-Eye Mocha from Second Cup.

If you have never had one of these, or if you feel like you won't need to sleep for the next while, I highly recommend them.

If you DO want to sleep, don't have one.

It's half-espresso, half-whatever coffee you want and all evil. I've been jazzed out of my brain since 7:30pm... aaaaah!

At least I have a few games to play and a pregnant wife to run errands for :) That'll keep me busy all night long.
Hey all.

Well, I can finally spread the news that I've been busting to tell for the last 3-4 weeks.

I'm going to be a daddy... woot! I guess Julie's going to be a mom too, but that's beside the point :)

Just so you don't all ask the same questions, she's about 2 months along now... The due date is sometime near the end of June/early July, if everything goes according to schedule.

We went in for an ultrasound on Hallowe'en day in the afternoon just before the party. So far, so good.

We got a laugh from Anne when she kept telling Julie 'never to get pregnant, ever!' as it was already a little too late for us :) Ah well.

And that's about all the info we have so far. I'm just glad I can finally tell everyone (we were in Sarnia to break the news to our parents). Just don't tell Julie's boss yet a she hasn't told them there. My boss knows though, but that's ok :)

Just keep us in your prayers as we haven't gotten out of the woods yet (we'll breathe a little easier once we've cleared the first trimester). Thanks!
Hee hee... Nothing like snooping in on the conversations of a dictator.

Welcome to the Jong-Il!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Holy snooglies, Prince of Persia is goooooood.

I just like running along walls and over enemies. Hard to describe, but when you see it in action, it's fun.
Sweet. There's a trailer up for Harry Potter & The Prisoner Of Azkaban. I think that this is my favourite of the first three books and the movie looks pretty sweet from the trailer. I mean, they've got Gary Oldman playing Sirius Black. Woo!

And the teaser shot of the Dementor at the end of the trailer makes me feel good. It seems that the new director has been able to capture the whole darker side of the books, at least from this trailer. And Harry actually looks as old as he should, unlike in Chamber of Secrets where he just looked odd.
Had a fun night out with friends and family here in Sarnia. We went out for chinese (yeah yeah, Canadinese Taka...) with Julie's parents, then we went into town, saw my folks for a wee bit and then went out to Don Cherry's for wings and hot sauce with our poor lost friends who haven't escaped the gravitational well of Sarnia.

Good times were had by all, especially when I rubbed my eyes with the fingers that had just been wiped clean of the Wacko Hot Wing Sauce and then, after my retinas reattached themselves, I squirted myself in the eye with a lemon.

Sigh. Some days are just not good days.

At least I was able to show off my l33t chopstick skills at the chinese restaurant. Take that, snooty white-trash chinese food waitress.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

I picked up Prince Of Persia: The Sands of Time today for the Xbox as an early present for me :) I have to wait till we get home tomorrow to try it out, but it's getting high praise across the internet, so hopefully it'll live up to it. In the meantime I'll just read this neat article on the last few hours of the making of the game.

I actually haven't been following this game that much other than knowing it was coming out. I liked the original games way back in the day, but I'm hoping that this will pleasantly surprise me as I wasn't really looking forward to it like I am Manhunt and FFX-2.

Oh, and one further game note, Gladius is pretty good. I want to finish FFT:Advance first before throwing myself into another strat-RPG, but I liked what little I played yesterday.
Ah... good ol' Sarnia.

We made it here and I promptly went out and did my Christmas shopping since I still had my debit card. So $250 or so later, I'm done most of my shopping, which is a good thing. The bad thing is that I'm uber-broke. Oh well. At least all my bills are paid for now.

Friday, November 14, 2003

We were supposed to go to a charity auction for an agency one of our friends at church helps run but we were both exhausted from our vacation plus it costs $30 for the two of us just to get in, let alone win anything at auction, so alas, we didn't go. If I'd had less housework and more lounging and we weren't going to Sarnia tomorrow, I would have been happy to go, but as it stands... zzzz...
I spent the rest of today playing Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon, which is a pretty sweet adventure game that just happens to have some pretty amazing 3D graphics.

I also got Gladius for the Xbox today, but I haven't had a chance to try it out yet. Oh well. Julie has to fall asleep sometime.

Tomorrow we go to Sarnia for the day and we'll be back Sunday at some point.
Gah! It turns out that all that glue sniffing I did last night was for naught... When the guy showed up to lay the new tiles today he said I didn't have to yank the old ones up.


Oh well. It's done now and our bathrooms look great. Just need to put some baseboards in and it'll be totally done, but I'm not doing that today. I'm pooped.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ug. I've been all woozy from the glue fumes tonight. Yup. Spig's huffing glue.

It's just that between the painting and now using the heat gun to melt the glue on the tiles in the washrooms, I have come to the conclusion that the ventilation system, as marked an improvement as it is over what was in there at the beginning of the year, still doesn't do much to move air around in the washroom. At least the ensuite has a window I can open, but given that today has been the unofficial first day of winter, what with the windstorms and snow, I don't know how good an idea it is to leave the window open too long.

Oh well. I just have to yank the toilet out and pull up a little section underneath it first thing in the morning and I'll be able to sit back and relax for the rest of the day. Woo woo!
Ah... We just got back from our trip up near Haliburton to Sir Sam's Inn. It was great. The first night we were there we were the only people in the whole place, so we were spoiled rotten. We had a fireplace in our room, the whole restaurant and bar to ourselves... It was great.

Yesterday we went into Haliburton, did some shopping and had lunch. Then we went back to the Inn and each got a nice, hour-long relaxation massage. Then we had more food.

What did we eat? Well, on Tuesday night we had Manitoba Wild Rice soup, fried calimari and I had pork tenderloin tips while Julie had a yummy chicken. For breakfast on Wednesday we just had eggs and bacon, but they had great muffins too.

Wednesday night I had chicken corn chowder and we shared a baked brie for two and we both had peppered beef tenderloin. It was amazing. Probably some of the best beef I've ever had.

This morning we had french toasted croissants with spiced fried glazed bananas and cranberries. We both were stuffed the whole way home.

It was crazy driving home too. It was windy up near Haliburton but by the time we got near Newmarket it was a full-fledged blizzard. Fun stuff. At least it let up when we finally got near home.

Now I get to go pull up vinyl tiles in the bathrooms for the next few hours... at least the fumes will make life fun :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

I hope everyone remembers the veterans that died for us so that we could freely write long missives about why we hate subdivisions and not have the developers come and beat us up. And that everyone also remembers the soldiers who are out there even now. I don't like the politicians who send us to war, but I have the utmost respect for the soldiers willing to go out there and actually fight it. Also, for me it's personal as my grandpa on my Dad's side lost his hand in WW2.

So have a solemn Remembrance Day.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

What I hate is the new, urban sprawly subdivision. These are the ones that bother me. In this area they're almost as bad as cancer, they're spreading so fast. And while I could possibly tolerate them if they weren't destroying woodland and farmland at a horrendous rate, that's not the only reason I don't like them.

I hate them because the developers cram as many houses onto one tiny piece of land as possible. Now, I understand the economics of this. It doesn't mean I agree with it.

And even THIS could be tolerated if the houses looked different. What bugs me the most about all of this sprawly development is that there is no character to the houses!! I can handle that in my case, because it's a townhouse and they're not rife with character, at least not on the outside. However, if I'm dropping $250K-300K on a brand new house, you'd better believe I'd want it to look at least marginally different from the 6 houses around me.

AND, not only that... I could understand that the developers can't cater to every whim, that they want to cram as many houses onto a lot to get the most money and that the farmers need to sell their land and the devs are the only ones paying...

However, what REALLY gets my blood boiling is the sheer gigantic size of these new houses. At least in Milton, Mississauga and Brampton, the new houses are enormous. This would be fine if you had 12 people living in each house, but like the people we lived with in Mississauga, they often have a family of 3 living there and then they have to rent out the rest of the place in order to pay their mortgage. I guess that's fine and dandy, but it shouldn't be a matter of course that you'll have to sell everything and rent out 3/4's of your house just to pay for it.

What ever happened to starter homes? Nowadays, that means a house that is newly built, not one that you can afford. This really bothered me when we were looking to buy a house. There's not much that's a decent size (around what we have here at the townhouse, say) that is in a detached house.

Not only that, everyone seems to think that a 'really old house' is one that's more than 5 years old. I don't know... For me, a house doesn't start to get near to being old if it's under 50 years. Maybe it's because I grew up in heritage houses on nice, NON-subdivided lots when I was growing up. Or maybe it's that the houses these days tend to fall apart after 9 years because they're slapped together with shoddy materials. I don't know.

I just know that I can't stand them! Just ask Julie about my opinions if the above missive didn't come across clearly... You asked why I didn't like them. Well, there ya go. :)

Monday, November 10, 2003

Hee hee... Don't be hatin'!
Hee hee... This is a cute little flash depicting the differences between Italy and the EU. I like the part with the queue.
I don't like subdivisions.
Don't forget to vote in your municipality today! Sure, they're just the mayor and councillors, but they're the ones that'll end up approving that new subdivision... IF YOU VOTE FOR THE WRONG ONES! :)

Sunday, November 09, 2003

I just finished watching The 25th Hour. Excellent movie. Very understated, but powerful. It's got a great score too.

And Ed Norton rocks.
Yay. Just finished the second coat of paint in the main bathroom. I'm all done my work around the house for the rest of my vacation aside from pulling up tiles in the main bathroom after we get back from Sir Sam's and then I just have to wait for the people to install our new flooring and then install the toilets on Friday. Woot!
Hey Liam! Fix your comment thing. It gives me the option to subscribe and everything, but when I try to submit a comment it brings up a login button that I have no clue how to fill in. Passwords? Logins? Arg!

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Got the bathroom painted now. It's a purply-grey-blue colour. November Skies I believe it's called.

I just have to put the second coat on tomorrow and I'll be done. It didn't take very long though... maybe 1 1/2 hours, tops.
So, did everyone get a chance to see tonight's lunar eclipse?

I watched it for a while as the moon went into Earth's shadow and then as it started to come out. It was pretty neat. We didn't get complete coverage of the moon (there was a tiiiiiiiiny little sliver that was still lit up) but it was pretty close. I guess we're just on the edge of the umbra here in Ontario.

Supposedly it was complete over in Central & Western Canada.
Could someone please tell me why I even bother using my bigfoot account? I guess it's because I do have a few people out there who haven't updated their addy with my new (as of 3-4 years ago) e-mail addy, but still...

All I ever get from Bigfoot these days are spam and messages saying that my daily quota has been exceeded. My luck, I'm actually getting real messages from people I haven't talk to in a while, but due to the amount of spam on the Bigfoot servers, the spam is getting through while real mail gets bounced.

Sigh. I loved bigfoot back before they made you pay for the service. It's not really worth it for me now. If I want to get spam, I'll just look at my Hotmail account...
Well, that was a fun morning. I just finished putting a coat of primer in the bathroom. Now I'll go keel over from the fumes :)

Actually, we're going over to the annual Acton Crap, er, Craft Sale at the high school. Last year we got some great jam. Who knows what we'll find this time!

Friday, November 07, 2003

Call me Bob Vila, because I just fixed up this old house.

My dad came down today and helped me pick out some toilets at Home Depot (got two for $200... not bad, all things concidered) and then showed me how to properly install them without having 2 feet of water in the living room. Yay!

I even got a nice comfy seat for Julie's toilet so her bum won't get cold in the middle of the night. I'm so sweet :)

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Since I keep recommending books these days, I have to give a hearty 2 eyes open to the book I'm reading now.

Dungeons & Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture From Geek to Chic.

It's what it says, a history of computer games and the culture of gaming, both computerwise and pen & paper roleplaying. It's pretty snappy and has lots of neat anecdotes. While I enjoy it because I grew up gaming like a lot of the people in the book did, it's also an interesting insight into why people game and how geeks like me think :)

It does focus mainly on Richard Garriot, aka Lord British, who founded Origin Systems and made the Ultima RPG games amongst others. However, it ranges all over the place with stories about Gary Gygax, Warren Spector and others.

Go read it.

This means you, Liam. I think you'd really get into the book. Plus everyone else out there who wants to have a glimpse into how my brain works (at least partially) would get a kick out of it, as half the stuff in the book describes me and my relationship to games while growing up!

The sad thing is that if you put someone from Wired and someone from CNet together at a keyboard, they can actually write an interesting book. There are a few wierd phrasings that may be either sloppy editing or lack of writing skill, but on the whole it's pretty good.
Ah... just finished Call of Duty. Great game. Now to find something else to do. I have to spend the day tomorrow installing toilets, so I need to waste the rest of today playing games :) I did take down a bunch of wallpaper today too though, so I'm not being completely lazy.
This is a great quote from an article about Hugo Weaving and The Matrix.

"Here he is, smack in the middle of this dull philosophy lecture, gnawing through the scenery like he�s William Shatner�s illegitimate son."

I just liked that line.
I almost forgot the best news of all!


*dance dance dance*

I'm not going back till the 17th. woot!
This post is aimed primarily at Yvette & Noel.

One last thing I saw today on my way to teach a bunch of n00bs how to type (which I did before watching Revolutions) was an election lawn sign.

But not any lawn sign.

Nope. This one declared, in big bold letters....


Hee hee... sure it's not the proper spelling of stoat, but still, you've gotta love it.
I also enjoyed watching the movie and looking for things that had been predicted by various websites as to how everything would wrap up. I will say that most of the things on the various sites don't occur in Revolutions, at least not as blatantly as predicted. Watching Revolutions with some of the theories devised by these nuts did make me wonder about a few aspects of the movies.

Arg. I want to say more, but I want everyone to get to see it first. Then I can spout my crackpot theories and not get anyone mad.
I just got back home from The Matrix: Revolutions.

I loved it. Hugo Weaving r0x0rs. Keanu may or may not say, "Woah."

Granted, when it was over a) I was sad the trilogy was over, per se and b) I did have some things that niggled at me. However, when all is said and done, it is a great movie and really it and Reloaded are one big movie (duh).

While Reloaded can stand on its own, Revolutions can't. Maybe that's what bugged me about it.

Also, when I first walked out I thought that the biggest problem was that it didn't really have a set piece like the lobby scene in The Matrix or the car chase from Reloaded, but then when I thought about it a wee bit later, I realized there are a bunch of set pieces in Revolutions just as great as those ones, it's just that they're hidden a little more.

And not to spoil anything, but this one doesn't spend a lot of time in the actual Matrix. It's mostly a very futuristic war movie more than anything. But man, what a war!

I won't say anything else here until everyone's had time to go see it. Despite the things I said above, I still loved it and would love to see Reloaded and Revolutions back to back. Mmmm... I also highly recommend that you go watch Reloaded and The Animatrix again, and it couldn't hurt to play through Enter The Matrix just to get every last little detail that will be mentioned in Revolutions.

[sarcasm]Oh, and can YOU spot the religious symbolism in Revolutions? [/sarcasm]

Go see the movie and then I can talk to people about it. That's the worst thing about going to a movie alone. Nobody to compare things with afterwards.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Oh, one last thing I just got a chuckle out of.

The end of the book I'm reading, The Secret House, is about how to end a dinner party. The author has gone on about the science of day to day stuff in the house for the entire book and has been funny, but more or less normal.

I guess he was just not a big fan of dinner parties or something because the whole segment of ending a dinner party is almost surreal. First he states that one option for getting away from boring guests is to start howling like a madman and then jump out the window. After that, he goes on for about 4-5 pages about the various ways to kill your guests, starting with the most statistically likely (falling in the UK, getting them to clean your loaded gun in the US) and then going further afield for some of the more unlikely methods of death (having them stand outside for a few billion years to wait for a meteorite to hit them).

Still, it was pretty funny.
Well, I'm off to watch The Daily Show. It's so nice that a Canadian channel has finally picked this up. If you haven't seen it, it's essentially The Weekend Report segment of Saturday Night Live only it's half an hour long and actually good (and funny).

Last night they did a segment on the Do Not Call list for getting telemarketers to leave you alone, but they were concerned because then the 'H-h-h-h-h-hot!' (their words, not mine) telemarketer they were interviewing would lose her job, and that would be sad. The best part was the guy they had doing the interview. He had some great lines like, "What floor do you live on? BECAUSE I WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU GET OFF!" and so forth.

Hee hee.. it was funny.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

And I'm taking Thursday off this week so after my shift tomorrow, I'm just going to go over, watch Revolutions and then I'm ON VACATION! WOOP WOOP! I haven't had a real vacation since January, and even then it was a painting vacation. This time I can actually go away, relax and not do work (beyond the toiletectomy and wall painting going on this coming weekend).


We're going up to Sir Sam's Resort up near Haliburton. It'll be nice, and Julie's even buying me a massage. Hopefully they won't tickle me to death.
I spent some time this morning before work playing Call of Duty. Holy jumpin'!

What an amazing game. I finished the initial American campaign and have just started the British one. It's insane how intense the game gets. I actually have been finding myself turning it off after about 20 minutes or so of play just to get a breather as the firefights are so crazy that I am holding my breath while I pour round after round into the encroaching Nazi horde...

And I'm just in the first part of the game. From what I've read, the REAL action is in Stalingrad... sigh.
Ai yai yai!

It was especially crazy foggy tonight on the drive home. Granted, the drive to work was almost pea soup consistancy, but at least once I got down the escarpment into Georgetown and Brampton it was mostly gone as well as the fact that the drive to work took place when it was light out.

The drive home was almost worse than the drive the other day. Thankfully there weren't any chuckleheads with their brights on behind me the whole way like Sunday night, but still... yeesh! I think I went about 60 Km/h the whole way instead of the usual 80-100...

But I love this weather, driving heebie-jeebies aside.
Ah ha. We've now figured out where Tom Green came from, and it's not a cable access show in Ottawa.

Monday, November 03, 2003

I wanted to play Call of Duty tonight, but I got sidetracked talking to someone online and now it's too late. Oh well. I'm home early tomorrow so I'll play it then.

Amazing game though, what little I've played. I am about 5 minutes into the first level and was astounded by the craziness going on around me even then ;)