Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Hey James. I think this is one DVD set you might be interested in picking up :)
There was a very interesting interview with William Sampson, the Canadian who was tortured in Saudi Arabia, on The National tonight.

They're showing the second half of it tomorrow night so you can catch the rest of it then.

I found it rather interesting that he felt that he could dispassionately recount the torture and abuse that he suffered, horrific as it was, without really having any kind of emotional reaction to it. However, he had a very hard time recounting the time that he had to be in the same room as his friend who was also being tortured in front of him. It just gives you a little insight into how people work.
AAAH! MY BRAIN! IT HURTS IT HURTS!

Why? I went to the Timecube site. AAAAH!
Gamespy is doing a great little series about the 25 most under-rated games of all time. It's got some neat games that were great but just didn't make it into the homes of most of us for whatever reason. Check it out!

Monday, September 29, 2003

I got the new Simpsons game, Simpsons: Hit & Run.

OH MY GOD!

What a fantastic game. It's everything a Simpsons game should have been up until now and more. While it is essentially a Grand Theft Auto rip-off, it's just so incredibly well done and fun that you barely notice.

There are little gags based on various episodes of the show scattered aroud the huge 'levels', lots of nifty nooks and crannies to explore and the voice acting and writing are spot-on.

And I got Mr. Sparkle as my first collector card in the game... the Mr. Sparkle commercial is probably my favourite bit from The Simpsons... ergo, this game just has to be great :)

And I got Homer the MuMu that he wears when he gets really fat, so it's fun to have him run around in it, kicking down trees and what have you :)
I have had a couple questions about how I have comments on my page.

If you use Blogger or one of the other blog sites, I highly recommend Enetation. They have template code that you just paste into your blog template and they even have different ones based on who you use as your blog host.

And for a mere $15, you get the pro version which gives you e-mail notification and a few other nifty features!

Enjoy!
Hurricane Juan ripped through Halifax and most of PEI today. Notice how there wasn't a week's worth of hullabalo about it, unlike Isabel?

Now was it because it wasn't a class 5 hurricane or was it because it wasn't plotting a course to tear through New York and Toronto? Hmm...
This is a great quote from Martin Sheen from his recent visit to Canada.

"You are not armed and dangerous. You do not shoot each other. I always feel a bit more human when I come here."

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Cool! They're doing a Broken Saints videogame... but the bad news is that it's not due out until 2006.

Check out the trailer here.

I really need to finish watching the last half of Broken Saints. I really liked what I've seen, and they have finished it up, so I just need to get off my duff and watch it.

Saturday, September 27, 2003

The Acton library just got in a bunch of Graphic Novels (and some manga). I was the first one to get my mitts on them and I took out everything except the manga. Woo! Gotta love graphic novels.
I just finished watching a neat old horror movie called The Wicker Man. It's not so much a horror movie as a thriller/commentary on the relationship between Christianity and pagan religions.

A policeman goes to an island off the coast of Scotland to investigate a missing girl. He's a devout Christian and is appalled at the various wierd pagan practices going on at the island.

But the way that the villagers act is quite in keeping with a society that just has quite different values than one founded on Christian values. While the officer is horrified at what goes on, the villagers just accept it as a way of life.

It's dated, sure... it was made in 1973. But I think the main themes still hold up ok and it is pretty creepy... heck, it's VERY creepy, especially towards the end.

Plus it stars The Equalizer!
There was a good line on Joan of Arcadia last night.

"Let's go on vacation. How about Canada?"

"Canada's where people go when they don't have enough money to go on a real vacation."

Hee hee.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Don't upgrade to the BitTorrent 3.3 client. At least, not if you like to have more than one torrent open at a time.

It crashed my modem at least 3 times in a row when I had about 4 torrents going, plus I noticed that it really slows down the system since it doesn't allocate the files ahead of time.

I do like some aspects of it, but the fact that I can't see how much of a file is distributed, how many seeds there are and can't fiddle with my upload/download ratios doesn't make it a winner to me.
*Gasp*

CIA states that no WMD's have been found in Iraq since the war ended.

*Swoon*
Mmm... New Bittorrent client... I like it except that I can't alter the settings on it. I liked the old one because you could limit the upload while maximizing the download by setting it to Dial-Up.

But this new version doesn't allocate prior to downloading and the large files don't completely suck my CPU dry while allocating, so I guess I'll have to tolerate the non-alterable upload settings.
Doctor Who is coming back. Ph34r the TARDIS and K-9!
---
THE CULT SERIES that aired from 1963-1989 to become the world�s longest-running science fiction programme will return in 2005, but details about the new shows are being kept secret.
�The new series will be fun, exciting, contemporary and scary,� series writer Russell T Davies said.
�Although I�m only in the early stages of development, I�m aiming to write a full-blooded drama which embraces the Doctor Who heritage,� he said.
The original programmes chronicled the adventures of eight Doctors and their many companions who battled countless foes -human, alien and most notoriously the �Daleks� - as they travelled through time and space in a time machine disguised as a police phone box.
Doctor Who has also thrived in print and on stage and has spawned countless devotional web sites.
A Doctor Who television movie was broadcast in 1996 and it returned to the Internet for a 30-minute web broadcast in 2001.
William Hartnell played the first Doctor Who. The actor who will star as his latest incarnation has not been named.
One last thing before bed.

Did anyone watch Coupling last night? Yawn. Maybe it'll get better after an episode or two when the characters are established and we actually care who they are, but it was pretty boring if you ask me. When The National is more entertaining than THE hottest new sitcom out the door, you should worry.

I would really like to see the original British version of this show though. From everything I've heard over the last couple years, the British Coupling is outstanding. The American version was like Friends where all the characters were the same and just talked about sex for the whole show...

And this is Friends circa 2000-2003, not 1993-94 when it actually was funny and fresh. I used to enjoy Friends back in the day, but not since about 2nd-3rd season when it got dumb and not funny and the laugh track ruled all!

So for a comedy to come along and just emulate Friends of this era, it sure doesn't do much for me. Even Julie, Friends-o-holic extraordinaire just sort of flipped around during Coupling. So if you haven't seen it, don't bother. You're not missing anything.
Woo!

Underworld Trilogy Planned

According to Variety, Screen Gems is planning two more movies to continue the story told in Underworld. The Movie made $21.8 million on the weekend, Screen Gems largest opening ever and they are hoping they can make a successful Underworld trilogy. The studio is planning on making one sequel and one prequel and while they haven't signed Kate Beckinsale yet to reprise her role, she has expressed interest in starring in a sequel.

I talked to someone who has seen it and she loved it. She said I'd probaby get a kick out of it too, and I believe her. I really want to see this movie, and the fact they're making a trilogy of it is cool. Sure, it is terribly World Of Darkness, but that still doesn't dissuade me from wanting to see a movie based, intentionally or not, on a cool RPG world.
Heh... I love this. The MSN software is really barely visible. I don't technically have to use it if I don't want to. It's essentially just a browser with the MSN Messenger built into the side and your E-mail and Messenger buttons built into the top of it... Which I admit is handy, but nothing I'd spend extra money for.

It is something I'd accept 4 months of free net access and $100 for though :)
I also got my copy of the MSN 8 trial. I'm going to install it now... Pray for me :)
Oh, and my copy of Neal Stephenson's latest book, Quicksilver, arrived yesterday. I'd totally forgotten I'd ordered it since the estiimated shipping date on Amazon said somewhere around mid-December, but here it is! Woo.
This is pretty sweet!

Bioware has finally released information about their new RPG franchise, Jade Empire.

It looks like a lot of fun.... just look at how much fun their playtester is having!



Here's a rundown of the story from their site.
---
In the ancient, mysterious world of the Jade Empire, you train under your master's watchful eye and learn powerful martial arts and mystical powers.

When danger threatens, you travel across the world, from the harsh mountains of the Land of Howling Spirits to the lush gardens of the Imperial City.

In your adventures you face powerful human and supernatural foes, learn exotic and magical martial arts, and discover the darkest secrets of the world.

Only by mastering the greatest fighting styles and defeating the most powerful enemies will you earn your place as a master of martial arts in the world of Jade Empire.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Here ya go. There's no excuse not to get a Gamecube now.
---
GameCube Retailing for $99.99

Nintendo of America has confirmed the GameCube will from September 25 on be available for $99.99. The console will consequently have a $80 edge over the price tags of the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in the U.S. Nintendo did not state whether it will introduce a similar price drop in Europe. Microsoft will have no choice but to follow Nintendo with a price cut for the Xbox if it plans on retaining its market share.

The strong line-up of Xbox games will have to be countered by Nintendo's upcoming racing sim Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (shipping November 17) and the addition of Super Mario Sunshine, Animal Crossing and Metroid Prime to the Player's Choice library, a collection of titles that go on sale for discounted prices.
Cabin Fever is an incredibly creepy movie to watch at 3am on a dark and stormy night.

It's funny though. Read the user comments on IMDB and so many people HATE this movie. I didn't think it was that bad. I doubt I'd spend the money to see it, but for a late night horror flick it's pretty decent.
Here's what you can get me for my next birthday.

Electronic Paper!

I haven't heard much about this stuff for a few years, but it looks nifty!
And for the record, you should know that I don't tend to head off to bed till around 3ish anyway... I actually witnessed the pillow theft from the computer room across the hall but was powerless to stop it.

Had I been in bed, I would have defended that pillow with my life, or at least with my cup of water.
Here we go. That wasn't too hard.

CYBERMAN!!!!

You want to blur the lines, well, here ya go!
In response to Liam's response down below, have you ever seen the documentary about Cyberman? He's this guy who is so nerdy he makes Bill Gates seem like a jock.

He's got these glasses that have built in cameras and actually carries a webserver around with him in a special coat. He is trying to blur the lines between man and machine and what is private and public. Everyone who happens to follow his website can see what he sees. It's the way that he interprets those things as opposed to how we interpret them that makes life interesting.

I've seen the documentary about him on Space a couple times and also seen reports on CBC TV about him. I'll try to find the link.

I really like how he's got this built in software that will remove ads from billboards and so forth so he doesn't have to be bombarded by them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I was taking out my air conditioner today and lo and behold, what's living underneath it but a big grey toad.

So I have a little neon green peeper or tree frog of some kind taking up residence on my front door and a huge grey toad laying claim to my living room window.

What's next? Squids in the basement?
Sigh... Julie stole my pillow.

She's sleeping and probably doesn't even know she stole it, but there you go. I'm short one pillow.

I guess I'll have to be nice and just suffer with my pillow deficit for the night, but she'd better not complain that her neck hurts from having too many pillows, I tells ya!
Anyone seen James around? Hullooooo Taka! Are you still alive?

I need you to be my special agent at Word On The Street this weekend on Queen Street. Go beat up Neil Gaiman or something...

Speaking of which, Gaiman has supposedly put out or is putting out a new Sandman comic! Woot!
I hope everyone at least got a chance to watch or listen to the debate tonight, or see parts of it.

I won't say much about it. I was at work and had to keep running around, in and out of the TV room for most of it, but I tried to watch as much as possible. Yes, it was a shouting match and yes, Mary-Lou Findlay should have probably shut them up a little sooner than she did, but all in all it wasn't that bad.

I will say this though. At least at the beginning of the debate, Eves just bugged me. I'd just heard a person on the radio detailing all of the various gestures and so forth that work well in a debate and so I was particularily watching the way that the leaders acted moreso than what they were saying.

Near the beginning of the debate, McGuinty started to talk to Eves about some point that Eves had made. Rather than look Dalton in the eye or even look in his general direction, Eves just flipped through his notes, underlining and circling things on a few pages and looking for all the world like he wasn't even listening to a word that Dalton was saying. It just seemed rather disrespectful. And while he did start to interact with them more during the debate, he seemed very uncomfortable for the most part.

At least Hampton and McGuinty would respond and react to the people talking to them. Heck, McGuinty looked like he was having fun!

I like Dalton, but I'm not a huge fan of the sheer wishy-washiness of his policies...

It would be neat to have a geek as premiere though (don't tell me he never played D&D and doesn't have a T3 line in his basement.. he IS an evil reptilian kitten-eater...)

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Don't forget to watch or listen to the Ontario Election Debate tonight. I think it starts around 6:30pm and it definately is on CBC TV and Radio. I know CFRB also is going to be broadcasting it. I doubt that 102.1 will though...
I went to the library today and I am borrowing a book called "The Davinci Code". It's pretty neat so far... I'd better get reading it though because it's only a 7 day loaner... sigh... stupid popular books.
I finally started playing Soul Calibur 2 today. I really like it. I have the Gamecube version, which means I get the ever-cool Link from the Legend of Zelda series as my exclusive fighter.

Excellent fighting game.

My only complaint isn't about the game itself, but more about the manual and just game manuals in general these days. I understand that especially for a game like SC2 where each character has tonnes of moves, it would be hard to fit all of their special moves and weapons into a manual that would fit in a DVD case.

However, they should have at least put a little profile of each fighter with a few signature moves in the manual. It's really annoying that you either have to hunt down all the special moves online or have to spend ANOTHER $20-30 for the game guide.

Oh well. At least the game kicks butt and I'm having fun with it.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Speaking of killer cats, Ideas is running a documentary series about pain. Tonight was part one and dealt with pain management and pain clinics.

It brought up another interesting conundrum as well. We are always trying to do whatever we can to minimize and control pain in our lives, yet those who are born without the ability to feel pain lead very poor lives themselves. Interesting....
Ph34r the kitty with the high-powered rifle.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

It was another nice and sunny day today. I was able to get a bit more Boktai in after work. It's scary that I actually WANT it to be sunny now so that I can play my games.

And Tactics is still unbelievable. Best game I've played in quite some time, and there have been some pretty good ones lately.

I also fired up Divine Divinity again tonight on the ol' PC. I checked my savegames and the last time I played it was February! Eek. So I slogged around for a bit but then I died and here I am...

The net... where gamers go when they die.
Has anyone seen Underworld yet? While it looks pretty sweet, and I really do have a strong urge to see it, a lot of the reviews I've read have been less than stellar. Granted, some of them seem to be by the kind of people who expect seamless plots and so forth from an action movie, so I'm not TOO concerned about that, so long as the movie is a fun ride...

But if you have seen it, do you recommend I go to the theatre and see it, which I have no problem doing barring the fact that it's hard to get to the movies when you work every evening...

OR should I just wait for someone to post it online and download it and then get it on DVD? Hmm? Let me know.
Oh, before I forget. Julie is the Acton Fair Queen... well, not technically, but she is to me :)

She won 5 prizes today. 2 firsts, 2 seconds and a 3rd. She got first on her breadmaker bread and her chili sauce, second on her chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and strawberry jam and third on her gingersnaps, which were the best ever in my opinion.

We had fun after we perused the winnings at the fair. I got to see the poultry barn, which was especially fun because a chicken got out of a cage and the rest went nuts.

Then we went on a couple rides and wandered the midway and then we watched the garden tractor pull. Yup. They have souped up riding lawnmowers competing to tug a huge anchor down the track. Hick town fun at its finest :)

And I got a big bag of cotton candy too. Mmmm...
I fell asleep on the couch again tonight. That's two nights this week. At least I woke up before 7am, unlike last time.

But I have to get up in about 3 hours for work, which sucks. Oh well. I'm off to bed!
Bye bye, Galileo. It's due to crash into Jupiter today. I wonder what kind of sound it would make as it hits the biggest planet in our solar system.

I hope it makes a neat *BLORP* noise.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

This is fun. It's the complete Acme product catalogue. Everything from anvils to artificial rocks. Hee hee...

Friday, September 19, 2003

Oh! I almost forgot to post this, but just in case you didn't know, today is Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Arrr, me maties... Shiver me timbers and so forth.
Ah... what a nice day.

I spent most of it watching episodes of Futurama with bouts of Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance thrown in for good measure.

I even had enough meager sunlight at around 6pmish to fight the first boss in Boktai.

If only I didn't have to work tomorrow... sigh...
James, you have to watch Last Exile up to the latest ep (24)... the tactics they pull off with the vanships are sweeeeet.

Everyone else should watch too, but esp. James :)
I just finished watching Bend It Like Beckham. What an absolutely fantastic movie, especially on a dark and rainy day like today. Very fun, very funny and just charming for all the right reasons. If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it (I think it's out... if not, it'll be out in a week or so).

And the lead, Parminder Nagra, is going to be on ER this year! Woo. She was excellent in Beckham.
Man. This is looking to be one of those days where I just blog and blog and blog. Nothing like being trapped in your house, fearing the outdoors to make it just like any other day.

Actually, it was raining earlier this morning, but it seems to just be windy right now. I might go out for breakfast and see what the locals are up to.
I don't like the new review format at Gamespy. I much prefer a percentage scale to a 5-star system. Oh well.
And today Tycho over at Penny Arcade tore a strip off of Gamespy. This is probably one of the first times I really don't agree with the guy. I like Gamespy a lot and I thoroughly enjoyed their article about overrated games this week. Most of them were good games, just overrated and they go to great lengths to explain this. They actually listed Final Fantasy 7 there, which was fine by me.

They do recognize the impact that FFVII had on the RPG industry as a whole, and that it was a good game, but I do agree with them. It was great at the time, but it hasn't aged nearly as well as pretty much any other game in the series and there are other FF games that are much better. Tycho sort of spun it like they were saying that the game wasn't any good. That wasn't the case from their article. It was just that it was overhyped at the time.

It's also interesting that you can tell when people started playing games if you ask them what their favourite FF was. If they say VII, you know they didn't really start until the Playstation came out. If they say VI or IV, you know they've at least been playing since the SNES days.

I did kind of agree with Tycho about the Donkey Kong Country comment. I don't know what every game magazine and review site has against that game. I never played THAT much of it, but I remember being wowed by the graphics at the time and while it was a standard platformer, it wasn't much better or worse than most of the other stuff out at the time. But every game site or magazine just really has a hate on for DK Country... *shrug*

I also agree with them about Halo. Fun game, but for anyone who has played many FPS's on the PC, it just doesn't stack up. It'll be interesting to see what people have to say about it when it finally comes out on the PC shortly.
I saw a news report on Breakfast TV today that made me chuckle.

There was a brutal beating this morning in Toronto by 2x4's and belts. I made the comment that they'd better catch those rogue belts and 2x4's quickly before they wreak any more havoc on the city.

Then they showed the police cruiser with the 2x4 with a belt wrapped around it sticking out of the back seat window. That's one perp off the street. They didn't know the reasons for the attack so I'm assuming they're taking the 2x4 and the belt down to the station for questioning.

I thought it was funny that they'd arrested a board and a piece of clothing. Julie just told me to shut up and stuffed an english muffin in my mouth to get me to be quiet :)

Ah, it's fun to laugh at other's misery.
I posted this over on Liam's site, but I figured I'd cut and paste and plonk it down here. It's with regards to the silliness he's having with his union and trying to get de-unionized at work and the situation we had at our work.

---

There was a union vote in Peterborough for our organization a few weeks ago. While on the one hand the pay rate would go up, the programs would suffer as less people would be able to work, the quality of care would decrease and eventually we'd just work our way out of a job.

In Ottawa another organization actually went unionized, and while they had buckets of cash for the short term, there was no food in the house and no repairs being done. SOOOOO.... The ministry shut them down.

I'm all for improving the workplace, but if a union is actively NOT working in your interests, why be a part of it? And like you said, sure, your pay went up, but services suffer.

There's also that stupidity where you can't just cover for someone because that would be doing a union worker's job and then you get into all that rigamarole rather than just going and helping out and getting the job done.

In a few places, like industrial factories and such, unions make sense. In a lot of other places, especially places like our's that have 90% of the funding come directly from the government, you only have a pie so big.

Either you can be non-union and have a smaller piece of pie, but share it with more people and do more with the pie, or you can go union, have a honkin' huge piece of pie, but then your house falls apart because there wasn't enough pie to repair the hole in the wall.

So there.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Oh man... Thank god that's over.

Now I'm going to go hit my head against a wall repeatedly to get the images out... or maybe I'll go watch a few episodes of Futurama instead.
Ok. And during this bar fight, they do all sorts of neat things.

They toss a handful of drumsticks and impale a crowd of vampires, Jesus eats Extra Garlic Sauce and breaths on the vampires, they concecrate a glass of beer and spray it all over the vampires...

What else... oh, the impalement with darts, a crutch and a toothpick...

Like I said before. It's a horribly BAD movie, but there are a lot of neat ideas in it.
Ok. This is the best. Rather than a burning bush, God talks to the people as a bowl of ice cream. Hee hee.
Hmm... on closer viewing, I think that this movie consists of the entirity of the Erindale Drama club...

*shudder* :)
Oh my...

I'm watching a movie called... get this... Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter...

Oh man... It's a low-budget chop-socky, vampire-killing musical with a tattooed and pierced, skateboarding Jesus going around and saving the world from vampires with the power of song, dance and his fists of fury.

Very... wierd.

Though I do have to admit it does have some interesting things insofar as the vampire hunting goes. Like blessing a lake to turn it all into holy water. That's kind of neat.

Otherwise, I'm just watching to see exactly HOW bad this is.

"The power of Christ IMPALES you!"

Sigh...

The saddest thing is that it's Canadian... or else it's so low budget that the only prop money the producers could get was Canadian...

The athiests are funny though. They look like Agent Smith. Jesus beats them up, matrix style (well, as much matrix as $100 Canadian will buy you.)

Ok. Now Jesus is a pimp... or at least walking down the street to pimp music doing the pimp walk... *shakes head*
The funniest thing about my bugs tonight was that I caught two beetles running around in the backyard. Maybe they knew they were about to die, but when I went to put them in the freezer, one was on top of the other, doing what beetles do whilst atop one another...

Ah... Beetle love... Does anything touch your heart more?
If you're wondering about my bugs, here's the skinny.

I learned how to properly kill and mount insects when I took my entomology course in university. I think it was one of the few things that was actually useful and that I remembered :)

I keep the bugs in old film containers and now in empty med bottles from work until I'm ready to mount them. I put them in the freezer and that kills them rather quickly. Then it's just a matter of mounting them and getting them propery positioned on the styrofoam. Then the fun starts. I have to haul out my good ol' Field Guide To Insects and try to figure out which species they are!

Then I print out a little nametag ["Hi! My name is ORNITHOPTERA MISCIDIA."] and put that on the styrofoam too.

I also picked up some varnish this time around to see if I can get the bugs even better preserved. I had a great collection when I was at university, but I had to give it up for my project. I bet they still have some of my bugs on display there. Only thing I really enjoyed for all of 3rd year was staying in the entomology lab overnight, puttering away on my bugs.

I'll post pictures once I get them mounted. I think I'll probably work on it tomorrow. Woo.
I finally watched Roger & Me tonight. It's Michael Moore's first film and it's quite good.

Best line in the movie:

"The Flint Plasma Center is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Saturday and Sunday, they're closed."

Hee hee...
I also picked up Boktai today. It's a neat game. It uses a solar sensor to detect how much sunlight is hitting the gamepak and your gun uses sunlight to power it. And it has to be sunlight... flourescents or incandescents won't work. So it was really easy to play at first this afternoon while I was sitting in direct sunlight... I tried fighting the boss when I got home and it was impossible due to the oncoming hurricane and ensuing cloudiness.

Looks like I won't be playing it tomorrow.. Oh well.
Woo hoo.

I was able to get most of my equipment for my super special project today on the way home from my training course.

What is the super special project? Why, mounting bugs on styrofoam, of course.

I've got a freezer full of insects and Julie is going to start either chucking them out or baking something out of them.

Should be a fun day tomorrow. I think most of Milton thinks I'm a freak though. I went to about 4 different stores looking for pins the right size in order to mount the insects. The conversations went like this.

"I'm looking for straight pins."

"Straight pins?"

"Yeah. I'm mounting bugs on styrofoam and I need some pins to stick them there."

"Er..."

"The bugs are already dead. Don't worry."

"Er... I think we might have some down that aisle... If not, get out of our store, er, I mean, try the craft store on the other side of the mall (you freak)."

That's about it. I don't know why I thought that explaining that I was skewering bugs to styrofoam would magically clear everything up. Of course, I also had to tell the people at Home Hardware the details of my project so I could select the proper bug varnish...

*sigh*
This is interesting. Paul Martin, the guy presumed by many to be our next Prime Minister, is a blogger!

He even has a little blurb about WHY he blogs.

Wow. A politician who actually lets us read his journal. Should be interesting.
I knew being a member of the Ipsos-Ried survey group would finally pay off, even if it means selling my soul.

I did a survey today about internet services and as a result I get to take part in a trial of MSN 8.0.

While I could really care less and would actually rather NOT take part in the trial, it does have a rather nice carrot dangled in front as an incentive.

If I participate for 4 months and fill out about 5 surveys (I LOOOOVE surveys... no word of a lie) then I get 4 months free of my Sympatico AND $100 cash! Gotta love that... I just have to suffer with MSN 8 for 4 months. Could be worse!

I just hope that the MSN software doesn't turn out to be one of those nasty viral programs like Norton where you can only uninstall it with a high-powered electromagnet and a hammer...

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Oh! Remember that frog from last week? The one that was in love with my mailbox? Well, today I found it. It's living up on top of my front door on the little lip of siding. I guess it just wants to keep an eye on the mailman to ensure that it's love is fed daily.

It did jump on me when I tried to pet it, so I had a little adventure chasing it around before I was able to pick it up and put it back on top of the door. And Julie had to remind me why I'm not allowed to touch frogs...

They pee on me.

Oh well. At least now her fair-contest cookies have a special new ingredient :)

MWAHAHAHA!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I need to be kept away from things that are messy.

Yesterday one of my co-workers sprayed me with spray paint. I still have it on me. Then, today, I was trying to get a pen to work so I tried sucking the ink out of it and ended up with a mouth full of ink, a blue tongue and purply-blue teeth... not to mention that Papermate pen ink tastes horrible and won't wash out!

I think I might be able to get out of cleaning the bathrooms tomorrow at work if I use this as an excuse :)
I watched A Man Apart tonight. Pretty nice movie. It's a drug movie/cop drama with lots of neat gunplay... I enjoyed it. It's a lot more serious and realistic than, say, XXX.
If you get a chance, tonight and tomorrow night at 9pm on CBC Radio 1 there is an excellent documentary on Ideas about colour and how we perceive it in our minds.

COLOUR IN THE MIND�S EYE

"If blue is your favourite colour, how do you know other people see what you see? We �see� seven major colours in the rainbow, thanks not to physics or physiology, but to Isaac Newton. Some cultures name only two colours; others, three or four. A spectrum of ideas by colour philosopher Carl Simpson.
"

I heard this a couple years ago and it's an excellent documentary. Go listen to it now!
Well, I've pretty much given up on that Great Terror book. It's now about 2-3 weeks and I'm still only 22 pages in. I think I need a big "STALIN: THE COMIC BOOK" or something to give me a primer on Russian politics in and around the early 1900's before I can go back and tackle that Great Terror book.

So... if I can't handle real history, I may as well read some alternate history instead.

I'm about 60 pages into Kim Stanley Robinson's 'The Years Of Rice And Salt' after a day or two of reading and it is excellent. The premise is that during the 700's or so, the Black Death wiped out 99% of the Western population. In this world, the major religions are Islam and Buddhism rather than Christianity (though there are still a few Christians left, they're more of a cult than anything in this world). It takes place over 14 centuries and I'm just at the beginning of the book, but it's well written and very interesting. I highly recommend it!
This is neat. It's the Mindset List for the class of 2006. Most of the kiddies going into college this year were born in 1984 and this list helps us old fogies realize how different their mindset really is...

Monday, September 15, 2003

I'm watching an anime now called Wolf's Rain. It's pretty cool. It's set in a world where things aren't going too smoothly and at this time, only a wolf will know where to find paradise. However, all the wolves went extinct 200 years ago... or did they?

It's sort of a werewolf series, but not. The wolves exist amongst the humans by using some kind of illusion. They can talk and walk around, but another wolf or dog will see them as their true wolf form. And they don't have any kind of morals. They just kill for the sake of killing.

It's neat. I'm only on the first episode, and from what I've read, it does have a few pacing problems, but it looks pretty slick and the premise is neat, so I'll watch it :)
I should have posted something about this last Friday, as it's been my favourite election story so far.

Since the various parties started putting their ads on TV last week, every time the Tory ad comes on, slamming Dalton McGuinty for various reasons, I kept spouting off, "Dalton McGuinty Eats Babies!" as the way they should just end the ad. (A note to my American viewers: The negative attack-style ads are not very common up here, unlike south of the border.)

So imagine my surprise on Friday when I hear that an e-mail was leaked from the PC office saying that Dalton McGuinty is an evil reptilian kitten-eater from another planet!

Now the Liberals have made up T-shirts and everything. I almost want to join them to get a t-shirt!
Hey! It's Luke's birthday. Happy birthday Looooooke.

And the guy even has a blog now. Gasp.
Oh man... I just poked around in the films section of the Troma site...

As craptacular as these films are, you've gotta love the fact that someone actually made movies called, amongst other things:


Rabid Grannies



Fatty Drives The Bus


and my personal favourite...


Stuff Stephanie In The Incinerator
.

Gotta love a movie with the tagline:
Don't throw your love away... BURN IT!


Sigh... too goofy for words...
Woah.

I just finished watching another movie, this one called "That Little Monster".

Woah.

Talk about your surreal movies. It's got more originality in the first half hour than The Order did in the whole thing.

It's only 56 minutes... The first half was better though. Once the crazy baby starts attacking the babysitter, it kind of gets rather Troma rather fast.

Gotta love a movie that has 4 people listed as 'Baby Makers' in the credits though. Makes you wonder what they were up to :)
If you like anime at all, check out Wonderful Days. I've just glanced at it a bit, but the animation I saw was absolutely breathtaking.

I think it's a Korean anime. But man... Lovely stuff.
I just finished watching The Order. Well... I give it a resounding 'meh'.

Lots of interesting concepts, but as James said, it was effectively the middle movie of a trilogy with no points of reference.

And the acting left a lot to be desired... Well, maybe it was the script, though the acting was rather wooden on all parts.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Again with the RIAA bashing... Given their newest public service announcement, I'm glad I live in Canada :)

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Ah... We went to our friend's 40th birthday party today. It was fun. We got a lot of fresh air, so I'll probably end up falling asleep early, like 2am...

Then we went to Ikea so I could get another DVD rack. All went well, but the whole time we were there we kept hearing someone on the intercom saying, "Any available staff, please report to the As Is department."

I didn't really think anything of it until we got down to the As Is section. Turns out there were two people sitting there fighting over a bed that was on the cheap.

I didn't really hear too much, but the one guy was almost in tears, saying, "BUT I WAS HERE FIRST!!! WAAAAH!!!"

Then they were, no word of a lie, trying to figure out how to split the bed up. "You take this drawer, I'll take the headboard."

Man... with adults like this, who needs children?

Mwahaha... It's news stories like this that make me happy to be a Canuck (well, they're not the only reason, but they sure give me gloating power.)

Friday, September 12, 2003

On the lighter side of things, I started watching Season 3 of Family Guy last night around 10pm and I finished watching all 21-22 episodes this afternoon around 3pm. Yikes!

Great stuff. It truly was a show that was too smart and edgy for its own good.
Man... This just shows how skewed our priorities are.

Julie had the TV on NewsNet for a few minutes as they were having about 4 different news stories about Johnny Cash and John Ritter dying today.

Now, this is ok, except for the fact that "TEN DIE IN TWO SEPARATE ONTARIO AIRPLANE CRASHES" only got a little running headline on the ticker...

Yeesh.
And yesterday was one of my exceedingly rare days where I played absolutely no videogames!

EEEEK!

Unless using Excel to rearrange schedules is concidered a game... and no, I didn't unlock the flight sim that is in Excel...

Oh wow... I never knew about the Dev Hunter game in Excel 2000... very sweet :)
I watched about 7 eps of Family Guy last night... Man, I love that show, especially with no commercials!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

This is an interesting article about popular misconceptions about the September 11th attacks.

At least, I found it interesting. It's always nice to know how far off-base from actual fact the general public is.

Of course, none of this is a surprise to me as I listen to CBC all day, every day, and know everything :)
How long can you withstand the horrible onslaught of the Badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers badgers mushroom mushroom?!?!
Program Language Inventor or Serial Killer?

Take the quiz and find out!

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

My DVD's arrived today. I think I'm going to have to start paying my neighbours a storage fee for all of the times they've had to sign for, or receive, a package that should have been delivered to me!
I spent a bunch of time today on FF Tactics: Advance. It's incredibly good. Just thought I'd share that with everyone :)

Looks like tomorrow's the second anniversary of two years ago. I wonder if anything exciting will happen, or if it will just be a (hopefully) calm and reflective day of rememberance.
I don't know if I'm going to be able to finish that Great Terror book. I really want to read it, but I've been trying to read it for a week now and I'm about, oh, 17 pages in...

If ever there was a book on tape needed, it is now. I think this is something I either need to read a Reader's Digest version of or get some kind of background material before I try to tackle the Great Terror, as they're just throwing names and terms at me left and right and it's like slogging through the Le Brea Tar Pits...

Oh well. I still have 2 more weeks to read it.
I've said it before and I'll say it again.

LastEXILE is my new favouritest series!

I just finished watching episode 19. The sad thing is that I only have up to episode 22 and they haven't put out ep. 23 yet... arg!

If you haven't seen this amazing anime, here's the linky to download it off bittorrent. Or just come to me and I'll lend you the CD's I've burned the eps onto.
I got my copy of Final Fantasy Tactics: Advance today. I just played the intro, but it's got the original's style all over it and I can't wait to go downstairs and plug it into the GB Player and see it on the TV.

And tomorrow my Angel Season 2, Family Guy Season 3 and Futurama Season 2 box sets arrive. Woo! But then I don't get any more packages from Amazon until October... I think... :(

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I saw another fox on the way home from work tonight.

He was no match for the frog that was stuck to the side of my house though. That frog kicks ass.



It was stuck on the little windowpane next to our front door... It was about 5 feet up though, so I was suitably impressed. It's only about 2-3 inches long, so if it climbed up there, that was a long hike.

I wonder what it's doing up there. Maybe it was attracted to our green, loon-covered mailbox... Who knows to what lengths a frog will go for love?

Monday, September 08, 2003

Bleh. I still feel like crap. Stupid West Nile... :)

I just finished watching The Core. I liked it a lot. Very cool effects, a setting that rarely gets treatment in a movie and just thoroughly entertaining for a sicky like me.

Well, I'm going to go flake out on the couch for the afternoon and watch the 3 eps of Six Feet Under that I've taped.

The worst thing about being sick is that I'm really hungry, but nothing really seems to want to stay down :(
Woo.

I just finished Symphony of the Night with a clear rating of 191.6%... I know there were at least 4 areas I didn't explore, but not for lack of trying...

An excellent game in all respects (barring the horrendous voiceovers)... And I could theoretically play through the game now as Richter...hmm...

Not bad for a game that came out in 1997!

I still feel like crap though. My innards are roiling as I type and my head feels like it's full of cheese, or at least a very fuzzy breed of cotton.

I'm going to bed now. Part of me wants to feel better, but if I'm sick, I do get to miss my staff meeting tomorrow, so I won't be too depressed if I am feeling crappy :P

Sunday, September 07, 2003

I had a rather long rant I wanted to post yesterday but didn't get around to posting.

I watched two movies that had sort of similar subject matter, yet were so completely different in quality and style that I figure I have to say something... or that something will not be said!

Ok... here goes...

I watched Bringing Down The House yesterday, along with Head of State shortly thereafter. Both movies about black people involved in the 'white' world... yet one was incredibly witty and fun to watch while the other was like a train wreck. (Can you guess which one I liked? It'd be the one with the linky.)

Bringing Down The House was arguably one of the most offensive, unfunny pieces of video (sorry, I didn't rent the DVD) that I've been subjected to. Actually, it's not even offensive in that kind of funny, we-know-we're-nasty, South Park-style offensive. It was offensive yet schmaltzy. It was like someone with very bad comedy skills and some kind of burning rage against any and all minorities decided to make a movie, yet didn't want to actually come out and REALLY offend anyone. They'd have some kind of slave joke, then do something kind of preachy... it was just dumb.

At least they did have the Queen Latifah character actually not be a caricature of the black community. She was the only 'real' character in that mess. The rest were barely tolerable, especially Eugene Levy's role... shudder...

There is a really funny fight scene in the ladies' washroom though. That was the only part of the movie actually worth sitting through.

But it's not that the movie was really that bad. It had a lot of different movies (schmaltzy romantic comedy turns into wierd slapstick turns into crime drama turns into offensive racial slur fest...) all rolled into one. That kept it alternately interesting yet very unfocused. Plus it wasn't so horribly bad that I can say 'Go see it to see how horribly bad it is.' When it comes down to it, it's just incredibly mediocre.

It scares me that someone actually got paid to say, "Funniest Movie Of The Year"... and scarier that others actually feel that way about it...

On the flip side, Head of State was very good.. not Oscar worthy or anything, but as a politcal satire, I liked it a bunch. The best part was that they really didn't play the race card ('OH MY GOD! IT'S A BLACK MAN RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!!!') until right near the end of the movie and even there it was more as a footnote, ("Oh, and you'll be the first African American president if you win") than a major plot point. I felt that the movie was more about the differences in the ideology of the political parties and the difference in the ideology of the common voter vs. those caught in the system than it was a racial movie.

The best part was near the end. There's the one candidate who spend the whole movie saying, "God Bless America, and nobody else." I was just kind of ticked at that line, but didn't figure there would really be much made out of it. But then Chris Rock's character just tears apart that attitude and several others near the end in a great little shpiel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

So there you go. I recommend Head of State, but warn you to stay away from Bringing Down The House. Go rent Bullworth if you want quality race relation satire.

Not a bad little rant concidering I reel like fap.. creap cahl...............dd/
Bah. I'm getting sick... I tried to get today off work but wasn't able to... alas...

I did get to go home early though. I think something is eating my brain though... I drove halfway home making a 'pfffffft' noise with my lips because it made my face feel funny... I've gotta be sick, or insane.

Friday, September 05, 2003

Aw... kittens...
Scientists are looking for old, mouldy coffee mugs for the 75th anniversary of the discovery of pennicillin.

Where were they when I was in university?

I had culture then!
Hmm... I liked this quote from a reader review about that Great Terror book I'm reading. I'll definately keep truckin' through the book though as it seems like fascinating reading.
______

'What does our society know of this? A society that, in the case of America, can be convulsed with paroxysms of despair when a few thousand people died in a single tragic incident -- genuinely convinced that something without precedent has happened. The most common formulation we hear of this, is the common reference to September 11th as "the day our world changed". For heaven's sake -- there is now a Jenny Craig television advertisement in which a formerly fat person testifies that September 11th changed her world such that she decided to lose wait. Ye Gods.

But what exactly is it that changed? History, as my high school history teacher used to say, tailgates. Conquest tells us that Stalin and Molotov, during a "typical day at the office", would sign liquidation orders for THOUSANDS of innocent people by simply putting their signatures together with the word "liquidate" at the bottom of a sheaf of papers that contained the names. And then they would head for the cinema, a solid day's work done. All that appears to have changed is that moderns have forgotten the nightmares of yesterday. Each fresh outrage is treated as something unique, something personal, something without precedent. "The Great Terror" is an effective antidote to this type of thinking.

[snip]

Conquest's book needs to be read by all of us. And in particular those who think that the suicide attack on the WTC was something new; an event that "changed our world". Because it wasn't. ... '
I'm reading a book right now about Russia under the rule of Stalin, specifically the Great Terror of the 1930's.

For some reason Stalinist Russia has become my new point of interest for things I want to learn about. And the book I'm reading is supposedly THE definative work on the subject.

But I don't know if I can handle it. I'm about 10 pages in and I'm so lost. It's not that the author did a bad job or that he is boring. Far from it. I just don't have a clue who 90% of the people he's talking about are! One can only take so many Trotsky's, Leaonivansky's and Ulianov's with no frame of reference before one starts to have a severe thirst for vodka and a desire to turn to friendlier tomes...

I will soldier on though. I think the subject matter is interesting enough that I'll be able to finish the book and hopefully once I've laid the groundwork of how the Politbureau worked, etc., I'll be able to handle the rest of the book without having an aneurisym.
Oh, I had a surreal phone call from my brother Dave today.

"Brock, do you now what to do with a baby squirrel?"

The only thing I could think of was, "Serve it with a nice red wine."

I guess they found a lone baby squirrel at their program and needed to know what to do with it. I suggested taking it to the vet or animal hospital. Other than that, I don't know what to do to nurse a squirrel back to health.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance comes out next week. Woo woo!
Well, work was again the epitome of zaniness today. Man... why couldn't the last couple of days have happened on days when I was on vacation or something?

Oh well. Nothing like a shift of 5 hours of straight arguing to make you really appreciate having a day off.
Dude! I saw a fox on my way home tonight!

Sweet!
It's funny sometimes. I read books and interviews of famous authors and they say how they have to write every day or they'd just explode or something.

Now, anyone who's known me for any length of time knows that I love to read and that one of my dreams is to be an author, or at least be published SOMEWHERE. But whenever I read one of those articles about how so-and-so has to write every day, I feel bad because I don't write anything most days as I'm so distracted by my games, books and so forth.

But really, blabbing in the blog counts for something, doesn't it? It's nothing coherent most of the time and it tends to be rather rambly, but I do feel the need to write something down most days in this, so I guess I am still exercising my literary muscles :)

That said, I need to take a year off work and just write the great Canadian novel that I've always wanted to write. I wonder if I can get a year off with pay. That'd be just ducky.

Mmm... Designer Milk.

I want to have milk that always stays cold, contains caffeine and won't make my cereal soggy. That's my kind of designer milk.
Well it's about time.

"Universal Music Canada slashes prices on CD's out of 'necessity'."

I've been saying this for at least the last few years. You can't expect people to want to shell out $20+ for a CD when they can download the song for free off the net and burn it at the cost of about, oh, $1 max per CD-ROM. Sure, you get the fancy liner notes and the satisfaction of supporting a music label, er, artist, but at the end of the day it comes down to the cost.

"The consumer has spoken to us," said Randy Lennox, CEO of Universal Music Canada. "(The music) has been fairly high-priced and therefore, they have been feeling fairly guilt-free about procuring music for free."

Free beats overpriced merchandise 9 times out of 10 in my book.

It's nice to know that rather than just try to fight it ad nauseum like the RIAA in the States is doing, the Canadian branch of at least one label is recognizing the reality of the internet and music downloading and adjusting their sales plan accordingly rather than just try to legislate people into spending money.

And it looks like the labels are even re-working their contracts with artists so the artists themselves get more money now. That's the thing. I feel that labels are a necessary evil for the most part. I really have no sympathy for them when I know that it's not the artist who is really losing out on money but the labels themselves due to internet downloading.

With this price cut and the fact that Universal is rewriting their contracts to help the artists get more money, I might actually start buying CD's again! $15 as a top retail price and $9.99 for a new artist sounds great. As it stands, I only buy CD's if it's from a band I REALLY like and I can find the CD for $15 or less at Futureshop.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Was there a full moon or solar eclipse or comet or some kind of crazy celestial happening going on today that I didn't know about?

Work was absolutely insane today. Everything that could possibly happen, good, bad or otherwise, probably did.

I'm just glad to be home :)
Hee hee... please tell me I'm not this bad :)

Geek Overcomes Social Anxiety By Turning Life into RPG

Though I do like his motto: "Remember - reality: bad, fantasy: good."
Ok. Now this is just too cool, at least for a quasi-history geek like me.

The Lindisfarne Gospels: Online. It's a beautiful illuminated manuscript of the Gospels and you can actually flip the pages and examine about 40 pages with an audio commentary.

Just neat...

And I just happened to fire up the FF: Crystal Chronicles soundtrack up as I was flipping through the pages. Very medieval sounding music to go along with flipping through an illuminated text. Gotta love multimedia :)
Hmm... I wonder if Blogger is going to eat any more of my posts tonight? I've already had to retype at least 2-3 of them because of some weird error on the system.

Sigh.
Speaking of oppressive governments, Republic is getting pretty cool.

I got a chuckle out of the game today. There I was, saviour of the masses, holding a big feel-good rally on one end of town. Woo woo... Go Spig!

Meanwhile, across town, my 'debt collectors' [aka the Goon Squad] paid a poor schmuck a visit to get him to donate to the cause.

First the goons got into an arguement with the guy. Then, somehow, they convinced him to hand over some cash and then his credit card. Then they had fun with him by playing keepaway with his credit card for a while.

I kept checking up on the Goons whilst basking in the adulation of the crowd at my rally in the park. I figured they'd just take some cash from the guy and that would be that.

Imagine my surprise when I check in to see what the Goons are doing only to see them carting off several large computer monitors out of the schmuck's house and into a waiting van. The poor guy was standing on his front lawn, watching them carrying away his prized possessions and he just broke down crying.

Man, politics is fun :)

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Arg.

Well, they've called a provincial election today. I now have about 29 days or so to decide who to vote for.

I am not, for probably the first time in my life, voting Tory. That's a given.

So I'm down to deciding whether to vote for the party most likely to win, or the party who I agree with more. Do I split the vote, or do I just do what I can to get the PC's out? ARG!

If the me from 10 years ago knew I was even concidering voting NDP, I'd kick my own butt... and I'd win. Sigh.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Ok. I sat down with Republic tonight and I think I've got a pretty good handle on how to play it now. It's pretty cool so far. I'm slowly spreading my influence across the city and I'm already the most popular guy around (if only :).

It's got some really neat little bits that pop up as you play. I got to watch the government crackdown team take out my opponent... nasty pieces of work, they. Hopefully they'll leave my rag-tag bunch of poster replacement artists alone.

Honestly, about the most productive thing my gang can do right now is have the next 8 days booked solid with running around, replacing government posters with swanky 'Spigot Forever' posters. Sigh...

Man, I think this post is starting to sound even geekier than usual. Reminds me of the guys in Tim Hortons recounting their latest D&D session... Must... Resist... The Geek Side Of The Force....
Woohoo! Just finished Tron 2.0. Absolutely fantastic game. I watched the original movie again over the weekend and, sadly, Tron 2.0, the game, is better in all respects.

But the original movie still rocks.

If you haven't tried Tron 2.0, go do so now. Best PC FPS of the year so far.
It's my brother David's (aka Jugi Monkeyhair) birthday! He's the big quarter of a century old now. EEEK!
This is a good article about game graphics and how they've more or less reached their limit in terms of looking realistic. Sure, you can add more fluid hair, etc, but the point is that shiny graphics aren't going to be the leading sales factor for too much longer. When every game can look completely realistic, artistic design and gameplay innovation will have to be the rules of the day (I haven't even read the article yet, but I'm assuming that's what it'll say.)

This has been my contention for the last couple years, and really, gameplay and artistic design almost always tend to win out over shiny polygons. Just look at how good the original NES games are. Sure, they look craptacular compared to, say, Otogi, but they're fun! You had to cram as much good gameplay into those cartridges as possible to overcome the limitation of the technology.

And that's what I have to say about that!