Friday, December 31, 2004

It's the Bees Knees

I command everyone out there to download this spiffy little program. It's the Winamp Title Bar Control. It plops a little control panel for Winamp on the title bar of whatever window you happen to have open in XP. It's nice because I don't have to flip back and forth between Winamp to pause or skip songs now while I'm working on Powerpoint or surfing.

I just like it a lot.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Bad Timing On My Part...

Ok. Today was not the best time to trade in my PS2. I did trade it in, but of course, EVERYWHERE within a 2 hour drive is sold out of the new, skinny PS2s.

And I mean everywhere. I called most of the stores in Brampton, Mississauga, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph and all of them are sold out. Hopefully they'll be getting shipments in tomorrow or Monday at the latest, but in the meantime I'm PS2-less. Ah well. I just wanted to get a unit that wasn't being cantankerous and plug in my Eyetoy and dance around. Sigh.

I got grilled by the guy at the EB in Guelph as well. He said they're getting a lot of PS2s that are broken. I told him that mine was working. Technically it is. It's just getting fussy. GTA works perfectly fine on it. The Eyetoy games don't. And some of the other games work, but not necessarily the first time.

I figure they can send it to get refurbished if need be rather than me try to get it working. I do have about $170 in store credit now, so I just need to wait for a shipment to come in and then I can get my new PS2. Woo!

If only I had an Xbox and/or Gamecube or other game system to play in the meantime... :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Tsunamis

I haven't posted much about the earthquake & following tsunamis that pretty much levelled most of Sri Lanka and the coastal regions of at least 10 other countries on Boxing Day. I figure all you need to do is turn on the news and there it is.

The weird thing about this huge disaster is that I, newshound that I am, didn't even hear anything about it until sometime Monday afternoon. How I managed to hear nary a whisper about the fact that at least 40000 people may have died last Sunday is beyond me.

I recommend checking out the Wikipedia page about the earthquake & tsunamis. It's got an excellent breakdown of the geology behind the event, the damage and also a bit of history on other natural disasters along these lines. There's also an interesting blog by a couple who were honeymooning in the Maldives, which was hit. Gives a good first-hand account of the day.

I found that the most interesting piece of news today was that the sheer force of the earthquake actually caused the Earth to wobble slightly on Sunday and made the day shorter. Granted, in the grand scheme of things the wobble didn't have much effect, but yeesh. Not only that, but some of the Sumatran islands actually moved south about 40 meters!

Some of the video of the flooding is pretty hard to watch and that's coming from me. I was particularly struck by the video of a couple of elderly tourists inching their way across a fence at a hotel while the water was pushing down, only to be swept away when the fence actually gave way. That, and the video of the backhoes picking up piles of plastic wrapped corpses to dump into mass graves, and seeing some of the bodies just flop out before they get to the grave... Not right.

It's no San Andreas...

But you can download for free, and legitimately at that, Grand Theft Auto 2 (and GTA 1 as well) from Rockstar's website.

I remember back when the GTA games were on the PC and not being terribly impressed by them. I also remember not being at all interested in the third GTA game. Then it came out and the rest is history.

I think I'm going to download GTA2 and try it out again and see if it's actually good or if I was right to shun it way back when.

This is just wrong.

An elderly gent with Alzheimer's was left on a bus overnight the other day. He was strapped into the bus as he was in a wheelchair. Not only that, it was in extremely cold weather and he has frostbite now.

I mean, come on. Those buses aren't terribly big most of the time as it is. One would think they'd do a quick check through the bus at the end of the day to make sure nobody left any money or jewellery, let alone people behind.

[I take it back. THIS is just wrong. And it happened in Virginia. Who'd-a thunk it? ed.]

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cold Exile

I almost forgot to mention that I was blessed by a baby version of THE DEATH COLD that arrived almost to the minute as I got home from work last week. I did indeed spend most of the week I've been in Sarnia stuffed up, sneezing and generally feeling pretty bleh.

The good thing is that aside from Thursday of last week, which saw me spending the entire day curled up in bed, sleeping, I have been able to function at more or less normal levels. The bad thing is that I did get sick, but at least it waited until after I got everything done at work.

The nice thing about being sick is that I got to watch the first two DVD's of Last Exile last week when I got here to Corunna and boy howdy, are they every sweet. I loved the show when I was downloading the fansubs off the net, but seeing them on a TV in such perfect quality, and with pretty decent subtitles (a few of the names are slightly different, but otherwise it's on par with the fansubs) is a real treat.

Garrett's first Christmas

We had a pretty good Christmas. Turkey galore and even some yummy ham! My brothers were doing the Christmas At The In-Laws thing this year, so it was just Julie, Garrett, my grandparents and my parents for the Wager Christmas on Dec. 25.

We actually had about 3 days of Christmas when all was said and done though. Dave & Kate made it down on Boxing Day, so we got to have dinner with them and open some presents. Grant busted his car driving in the snow last week and they didn't make it down to Sarnia till late last night. That meant even MORE presents and turkey soup today!

Garrett got way too many toys. He also got another tooth and learned how to clap!

I got a LOT of EB gift-cards and I picked up KOTOR 2 and an Eyetoy. The Eyetoy is fuuuuun. I was actually working up a sweat playing the dancing game on it. It's sad that I can spend about an hour dancing in front of the TV and burning calories (it even counts calories burned) and want to go back for more, but ask me to do about 5 minutes on our exercise machine and I get scared.

Julie got lots of gift cards too, and a nice blender and chopper that will be put to good use as I need to find all sorts of new recipes to cook for supper while she's at work :)

We're heading back home tomorrow, hopefully by midday. It's been nice being here, but it's been long enough and my nice comfy bed awaits...

PS2 go boom...

Unfortunately, my PS2 is heading for an early grave (well, not THAT early, given that it's over 4 years old and just started acting up lately). Suffice it to say, I'm treating it almost like an NES. I was blowing into it for about a half hour this morning, trying to get the game that worked fine on it yesterday to work, but to no avail.

I'm going to be trading in my old PS2 at EB (along with a couple of games) so that I can get a nice slim one that works. Thankfully I'll get about $91 for my old PS2 in credit. Grant brought back a huge bag of games too, so I have some games that are prime candidates for trade-in credit... I also got another gift card today so my amount of trade-ins doesn't have to be terribly high (phew!).

I'm kind of annoyed and even sad that my lovely launch-day PS2 is going to be gone, but given the fact that it HAS survived over 4 years of constant use, while most people seemed to have a hard time getting 6 months of play out of their PS2's, it's not as bad as it could be. The fact that I'll be getting a nice, skinny PS2 that has a very good DVD player in it as well as all of the extra tweaks to the system is an added bonus!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's OVER!!! (for now)

WOOT!

I'm off work and (not) on vacation! Now I can get back to what I really enjoy:
Elaborate bank heists!

Today was my last day at work, although my parental leave doesn't technically start until Sunday. Good thing I have all that extra time accrued! It was wierd saying goodbye to the guys and telling them that I'd see them in the summer. Not bad, just wierd :)

And of course, it was an absolutely insane last day too.

The best thing about it was that I had a To Do list with WAY too many things on it to sanely be completed in less than 8 hours and even though I didn't get home till midnight, I got every single thing on that list checked off. I wanted to be able to go on my leave with a clear conscience and the knowledge that I'd left with everything in order. And thankfully I did!

I'm going to bed relatively early tonight (for me at least) because it looks like we have a doozy of a blizzard scheduled to come in sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening and I don't want to get stuck driving in it. I COULD drive home tonight, but I'm wiped and need to recharge for at least 6 hours before I go. At least Julie & Garrett are already in Sarnia.

I'll probably update ye olde blog while I'm away, but count on updates being sporadic at best. I'll be back here sometime mid-week next week, date TBA, but likely Wednesday.

In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas everyone, and a Happy New Year, in case I break both hands and can't type for a couple weeks.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It's the end of the world as we know it...

I just read today's Penny Arcade, which brought to light this horrible news.

Suprnova is down. Supposedly it's permanent this time, at least for the US servers.

Sigh. Now I'll have to find a new torrent aggregator site/utility/something. I can do without the games and even the movies, but don't take away my online TV shows!

Ah well. At least there's this handy list of alternatives. I don't mind Torrentreactor, but the nicest thing about Suprnova was that it was pr0n-free. Most of the other torrent sites are filled to the brim with unpleasantness that keeps me from my kung-fu movies and anime. Sigh.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Two days left

I have two days left of work before Parental Leave starts.

I'm freaking out.

It's not that I'm ecstatic about having 5 1/2 months that I won't have to drive into Brampton. I just have this nagging suspicion that I have something I'm supposed to do before I go that I haven't done, and if I don't do it, dire concequences await.

I just can't think for the life of me what it is. It's probably nothing. I'm probably just getting jumpy because I'm actually going to be workless in 2 short days. Woo!

Steven Hawking on Santa?!?

The neat thing with my new counter is that it not only counts how many people have been to my site, but it also breaks it down by where they came from and what keywords they may have used in their search to get here.

Here are today's top keywords... Some of them I understand, but some of them are weeeeeird...

oceans twelve subtitle (Google)

church of l33t (Google)

julie garrett (Google)

oceans twelve + subtitle (Google)

oceans twelve whole story (Google)

Oceans.Twelve subtitle (Google)

pixie sarnia (Yahoo)

portable manniquin (Yahoo)

return of the king playback problem (Google)

spongebob squarepants psp tubes (Yahoo)

steven hawking on santa (Google)

Saturday, December 18, 2004

It's a very Cthulhu Christmas

Penny Arcade is doing a holiday strip involving everyone's favourite squid-faced Old One. I'm going to link to the /. article that is hosting it if only because they have more bandwidth and your browser won't choke.

Friday, December 17, 2004

I know at least James, Yvette & Noel and Boosok will be jealous...

Some of you may remember my raving about an amazing anime series called Last Exile during the summer of 2003.

Well, for all four of you who care, today's the day I completed my Last Exile DVD Box Set. I've been collecting the DVD's for over a year and now I can sit down and watch the whole shebang from start to finish. WOO!

Here are a couple shots of what a full set looks like :) Bask in their glory.

 Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello

Zombie Infestation!

I have some bad news to report. After a trip to the Island Of Dr. Muerte, Garrett returned to us as a ravenous, flesh-eating zombie. We were able to capture him in this high chair, but alas, it looks as though he's recently snacked on the brains of the living. Hopefully nobody will notice once we clean him up. Posted by Hello
Posted by Hello
Here's Garrett in his Baby-Go Personal Hovercraft Unit [tm]. Posted by Hello

Feedbag

Can anyone recommend a good RSS feed-reader or whatever it is that you use to turn the RSS feed into something useful?

I've never bothered to really look into the whole RSS thing. I have a passing familiarity with it, but it's sort of like a newsgroup or IRC to me. I know how they work, roughly, but I tend not to partake of their dark and cavorting ways very often.

Count me in

I've got a shiny new counter over there on the side. I haven't had a webcounter for sometime on a website o' mine and I'm curious as to exactly how much traffic I really get on a given basis.

Speaking of counting, I only have 2 days of work left! I'm off from Friday to Sunday, but then I'm back for Monday & Tuesday before the journey into the unknown begins!

AHHH!

I think my manager is trying to squeeze 5 1/2 months worth of work out of me in these past couple of weeks. That's the only explanation I have for how insanely busy I've been.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Here are all the kids from the group. Acton, watch out! Posted by Hello
Here's a picture of Garrett and his arranged bride. We paired off all of the kids at the new parents group and Garrett's snagged himself a wife! She's so overcome with excitement, she can't stay upright. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sunday, December 12, 2004

MGS3 r0x0rs my s0x0rs.

I mentioned earlier that I'd been spending a bunch of my free time this week (what little I had) playing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.

Well, I just finished it about 15 minutes ago. Man, it's an amazing game. It more than makes up for Metal Gear Solid 2. Heck, it actually makes me want to play through MGS2 just to see how everything ties together now that I know the origins of the MGS saga. I'm glad I played through The Twin Snakes earlier this year so I was more or less up to speed on the MGS universe.

I like games that I can finish in about a week. I just started playing it this week so that I could take a break from San Andreas for a bit. I didn't expect it to be as good and addictive as it was though. I was up last night till 4am playing it and I had to get up for work at 7am... The only reason I went to bed was because I knew I'd be home this evening and could finish it off.

I want to blather more about it, but it is getting late and I have another early morning tomorrow, so I should head off to bed.

Note to Noel: You need to play this game!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Counting down the days...

I'm on parental leave in a little over a week. WOo!

I'm officially on leave starting Boxing Day, but through the crafty use of lieu time and vacation days I'll be driving into Brampton for the last time this year as of Dec. 21. Woot!

It'll be nice to not be forced to drive late at night, in the driving snow, uphill from Brampton, for at least one winter.

Oceans 12 to the 8th power

I'll start this post off with a bold statement.

Don't bother going to see Oceans Twelve.

You've been warned.

Here's why.

It's not worth it. It's like someone watched Snatch, thought that it would be a good idea to make an American version of it and then left out everything that made Snatch or the 2001 Oceans Eleven remake enjoyable. If you loved the remake you'd probably be even more disappointed in Oceans Twelve than, say, someone like me who merely enjoyed the remake, if only because it's so very much NOT like that movie.

Oceans Twelve was such a wierd movie to watch that I really can't recommend it unless you just wait to borrow the DVD from someone 6 months from now. I walked out of the theatre after seeing it and I wasn't sure if I enjoyed the 2 1/2 hours I had just spent watching it or was disappointed in the whole mess.

It had a lot of really neat cinematic tricks and camera shots that the cinemaphile in me really got a kick out of watching, and there were a lot of genuinely funny parts that had me chuckling aloud. Unfortunately, what could have been a really neat heist flick just kept coming up with more and more characters, sub-plots and baubles to be stolen while really doing nothing with any of them.

There were a lot of neat story hooks that I really thought they would have followed to make a neat movie. Heck, even the menacing guy from the beginning of the movie that really is the impetus for the whole 'story' really does nothing except poke a few people in the back with his golf club at the beginning and then fondle the golf club a bit more in his scene at the end.

I wouldn't have even minded so much had the movie not been interminable. Every time I thought it would finally end, oh, here comes another scene. Sigh.

Ah well. There is a neat heist movie filled with plots, counter-plots and a lot of neat characters and camera tricks buried in this movie. It's just that nothing is really done with any of them in any meaningful way for the whole movie.

Now I wasn't planning on seeing it anyway, but The Incredibles was sold out. Good thing I saw it at the $5 theatre!

Friday, December 10, 2004

Skype

In my other role as the Multimedia Team Leader at my church, I am responsible for putting together the weekly powerpoint slides and such. Luckily, we have an intern at the church who is a Photoshop whiz.

This weekend we're having our annual Celtic Christmas which is a lot of fun, but also a real headache from a slide design standpoint. I was e-mailing back and forth to the intern for a while trying to work out stuff and he got sick of doing that and sent me a link to Skype.

Man, this is the neatest program ever. It's like MSN or most other IM clients, only it's built around a very high quality internet telephony rather than the instant messages. We were able to sort out all of our design problems in about 1/4 of the time it'd normally take us.

I did have to dig out my computer mic again, but it's worth it. Now, I'm not moving to Skype as my main IM thing, but if I need to get something done and IM'ing isn't doing it fast enough, Skype's the way to go.

Oh, did I mention it's free?

[Sorry for the derth of updates this week. Work's been pretty busy and about the only thing I've done during the evenings (the ones where I'm home before midnight) is play my way through Metal Gear Solid 3, which is amazing and makes up for MGS2 and then some!

That, and Blogger seems to be going through some kind of server teething problems. It takes me way too long to get the update screen loaded most days. Hopefully they'll add a few more servers to their bank and I won't have to wait 5 minutes to get to the update screen.]

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Garrett vs. My Nose

I woke up today and Julie plopped Garrett into my arms while I was still in bed. He was propped up on my chest and had his usual wide-eyed wonder look on his face.

Then he decided that he didn't like my nose.

Over the course of the next 5 minutes he kept lunging at my nose with his mouth wide open, giving my nose a big chomp with his one SHARP tooth each time. Then he decided to drool into my nose. I tell ya, nothing will get you out of bed faster than a nose full of baby drool.

Just for good measure, he also jammed his entire thumb up one nostril, which had to be delicately extricated by Julie, lest it become lodged up there and never come out.

Julie says it's because there wasn't anything else for him to play with, but I just think it's because he just doesn't like my nose.

Yup. I haven't posted anything since Friday and this is what I come up with :)

Friday, December 03, 2004

PA

Check out today's Penny Arcade for an even better writeup about the new Prince of Persia game. Pretty much what I said yesterday, but wittier.

And has anyone seen where that post I made about the latest Strongbad E-mail went? It was there last night, but it seems to be gone now. Wierd.

Whatever is devouring Half-Life 2 from the inside out now seems to be attacking my blog posts. AHHH!

Speaking of annoying games...

Half-Life 2 won't work for me. It just crashed a couple days ago and when I tried to run it today, it kept booting me out when I tried to load a save game.

The wierd thing is that if I load a save from a chapter or two back, they run fine. However, none of the saves from the level I'm currently on even load up. It just tries to load them and then dumps me out to the desktop with an odd error message.

Sigh. Time to go scouring the message boards to see if I can get this to work.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Prince of Spiggy

The new Prince of Persia is good, but it's annoyingly 'mature'. It's like the 15 year old that won't play any game that isn't rated M because he doesn't want to be labeled 'kiddie'. That kind of mature. Not GTA, you need to be old enough to vote to appreciate this game, mature.

It's like the execs got together and said, 'Look, we know Mature rated games sell. The original PoP didn't sell as well as we wanted. Let's make the new one Mature."

Then the other ones said, "You know what makes a game mature? Lots of blood, lots of butt-rock heavy metal music and chicks with big boobs and very little clothing. Who cares if that doesn't follow the spirit of the original in the least."

It's annoying because I couldn't put Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time down, it was so good. Everything about that game was like a fairy-tale on my Xbox. This new one had me on the verge of wanting to just take it out and put in the first game again and I hadn't even gotten past the initial tutorial/intro level.

Granted, once I got past that level and the platforming stuff from the first game returned, it got better, but I was really getting mad at how forced the whole dark/angsty tone was. Sigh.

I agree completely with every review of it that says, "You know what? It's fine to push the game in a darker direction. This enforced 'maturity' isn't necessary."
I liked the one British review that had this subtitle.
"I am the Prince of Persia." Lies. We've met him. Younger chap. Likeable.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A terrible loss...

This was the news I forgot to mention yesterday.

For those who didn't happen to see it, Ken Jennings finally lost on Jeopardy yesterday, ending his 74 day winning streak.

Of course, I didn't even see him lose. Go figure. I had stepped out of the room earlier and it wasn't till a loud, 'HE LOST!!' echoed through the house that I realized I'd missed it. Oh well.

Oh, Pierre Burton died too. No longer shall we be able to witness his legendary joint-rolling skills (check the Oct.18 show).

Happy Birthday to You

Today's my dad's birthday! Happy birthday Dad!

RSS Feed

I just wanted to let all and sundry know that Not L33T now has an RSS feed.

It's http://notl33t.blogspot.com/atom.xml.

Enjoy!

Ka-Ta-Ma-Ri Da-Ma-Cyeeeee

Woohoo!

Looks like they're making a sequel to my favourite game of the year so far, Katamari Damacy!

Woo!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Garrett: Elf In Training

Here's a pictures of the picture we took of Garrett with Santa last week. The original looks better. Alas, Garrett's not smiling in the original either :( Posted by Hello

These pictures are pulled straight from my parents' nightmares.

Ah, nothing like a father and son bonding over a shared PS2 controller. Posted by Hello
Until they both want to play, at which point it's every man for himself! Posted by Hello

Learning to Fly

I just got my pilot's license in GTA today. Woo! I also got to Los Venturas, which means I've officially opened up the entire map. I'm loving this game :)

Monday, November 29, 2004

Garrett can talk!

At least, on the computer.

We sent my dad an e-birthday card today and you can make this thing called a 'veeper' that animates a picture and makes it talk.

I did one on the Blue Mountain card site that had a nice british accent as opposed to the Steven Hawking version I was stuck with on Sympatico, but alas, you have to pay to use the Blue Mountain one.

This link might work for the next couple days, if you want to see the card in action. It looks kind of wierd, but it's fun.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

I'm all better now...

I got a couple e-mails about that last post, so I figure that I'd better clarify it.

I was mostly mad because at the last minute I had to do an insanely long weekend of shifts at work (approx. 25 hours of work in less than 36 hours of time).

I'm over it now. The fact that I made it through the weekend and am overall pretty peppy is a wonder in itself :)

Really, it's my own fault. Early last week I said to myself (and Julie too) that after I'd finished teaching my course last Tuesday I was going to be in for smooth sailing for the last few weeks prior to taking parental leave at Christmas.

WRONG! Suffice it to say, I'm going to be pretty busy for the next couple weeks before my 5 1/2 months off. This isn't a bad thing, it's just not smooth sailing :) It was also a full moon last week, so that should have tipped me off.

Ah well. It keeps life interesting, I guess.

Friday, November 26, 2004

SO MAD

I'm so amazingly angry right now... Grumble grumble....

Time to take that ball of rage and focus it on decimating the alien zombie hordes in Half-Life 2... That should settle me down :)

Speaking of mad, Garrett's not really enjoying this whole 'new tooth' process. Cranky is the beginning of where the adjectives for his current mood start.

Oh, and we took Garrett to see Santa today. Got 3 pictures for $10, which is pretty cheap compared to what I hear other malls charge. The Santa also seemed rather authentic too! That's always nice.

The only problem was that Garrett didn't smile at all. He didn't cry, he just didn't smile. He was wearing his new hat that he got from my mom last week when we were visiting. While he looked quite dapper, I think he is still not a hat fan. Oh well.

All I want for Christmas is another front tooth...

Well, it looks like Garrett's first tooth is coming in. He has been a non-stop drool machine for the past couple weeks (moreso than usual) and rather fussy. We were putting him down for a nap this afternoon and he started crying his head off.
When I put my finger in his mouth, I noticed a sort of sharp edge to his gums... Julie said she saw it bleeding a bit too.

I haven't actually seen a tooth, but you can feel it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

My environmentally concious laptop requires no electricity!

Here's the laptop I was talking about. This is it in its snazzy brown carrying case complete with black handle and occasionally working lock. Posted by Hello
Lo and behold, THE REMINGTON! My new laptop. It's a decent little machine, but it weighs a couple tonnes. I think it was carved either from solid lead or condensed dark matter. Posted by Hello
Ah, an arial view of THE REMINGTON. Sadly, those are cornfields around it, and a nice boulevard too. When I said it was a laptop, I meant it was the laptop of giants! Posted by Hello

5 months!

Garrett's 5 months old today!

In the words of the immortal Keanu Reeves, "Woah."
"I'm 5 months old. I don't have to eat any rice cereal if I don't want to!" Posted by Hello
"In fact, I'll just eat my own fist, just to show you who's boss!" Posted by Hello
"OK. I admit it. I'm a rice cereal junkie. Hook me up!" Posted by Hello
"Oh no! They've stuck me in a tiny watery prison. AAAAH! I'll stop my illicit rice cereal smuggling operation immediately! AAAAH!" Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Vein... throbbing... must control rage...

Oh looky here.

The Liberals are going to get some new helicopters.

IN 2008...

At the low, low cost of $5 Billion dollars.

This stupid helicopter deal has been THE thing that's driven me nuts about the Liberals ever since they came to power back, oh, 12 years or so ago.

I'd have to do a bit more digging, but I'm sure that we've already spent more money on this whole mess than it would have cost to just get the original choppers back in the day. We've had to pay off the company to break the contract back in the early nineties, there have been several crashes, probably a few deaths too, plus all of the attendant costs in maintenance.

Grumble.

Recompiling the Kernel aka Installing Half-Life 2

Sit down and listen to my tale of woe, my loyal readers.

Last night at around 6:30-7ish I was installing Half-Life 2. It's not a small game. In fact, it clocks in at around 4.5 GIGS when you add in the Counterstrike stuff. I decided that since the likelihood of my playing Counterstrike was about the same as Julie playing Grand Theft Auto, I wouldn't bother wasting the time and hard-drive space installing it.

Bad move.

On disc 4 of 5, I suddenly get an error stating that there was an installation error and the program just shut down. This had taken me about an hour or so of time to get this far, so I wasn't terribly happy.

It turns out there's a glitch which causes the install program to crash if you don't install Counterstrike. So I had to restart the whole process again. This went off without a hitch and I watched last week's ER with Julie while it installed.

So around 11pm I figure I can finally try this game out. All I have to authenticate it with the Valve servers. This shouldn't take too long, I think. I thought wrong.

First off, the progress bar was possessed. I'd be at 34% complete, then suddenly 16%, then 48% and so on. It made NO sense.

After close to an hour of this, I was convinced that I was either recompiling the WinXP kernel or my computer was being used to hack into the NSA mainframe.

When I was finally at about 50-60% complete, Steam just crashed. Locked up. No worky. This was after midnight now. I'd been trying to get the game working for upwards of 4-5 hours now.

Suffice it to say several explitives were hurled at my computer, the internet and any of my buddies online who were unfortunate enough to be talking to me at the time.

I restarted the whole authentication process again and this time it seemed to be working, but I didn't feel like spending another hour or so watching a progress bar creep up, so I just went down and played some Metroid Prime 2.

Luckily everything was hunky-dory when I came back up around 1-2ish and the game is great, but man, what a bunch of hoops to have to hop through.

Splitsville

I've been thinking about possibly splitting Not L33t into a couple different blogs.

That way someone like, oh, my mom could visit one site and get her daily dose of baby pictures and family updates and experience minimal gaming exposure.

Someone like, oh, me could visit the other site to get whatever random thought might be passing through my noggin at any given time PLUS up to the minute ramblings about gaming, politics and religion (the three taboo subjects of polite discourse) and minimal baby stuff.

Or I could just keep the status quo going. You know, a big mish-mash of everything.

Let me know, noble reader, which idea strikes your fancy.

[Or... I could just keep updating James' blog with more and more fantastical stories of banking and metalworking.]

Half-Life 2

I just installed Half-Life 2 yesterday (which is a saga unto itself) and I am floored by the game.

For starters, I have no idea how a game that looks that good (and I have all the detail cranked up) can run on this old rattler of a computer. I know that if I had a better video card and faster system, it'd look even nicer, but as it stands, it's probably one of the nicest looking games I've played on this system. The character models themselves have amazing detail on their faces and the city looks great.

Speaking of City 17, it's creepy. It's like the North Pole town from The Polar Express got taken over by a bunch of gas-masked stormtroopers.

I haven't gotten very far in it yet due to the aformentioned installation, but the 5-10 minutes I have played have been very cool. I'm just having fun throwing stuff out of windows onto the street :)

I'm back

Hi all.

Our trip to Sarnia this weekend was very good. Garrett got extra large helpings of love from his grandparents and Julie & I were able to get out on our own (well, Tony tagged along too) to see The Polar Express (again) on Friday.

I also traded in a few games and was able to pick up Metal Gear Solid 3 and Metroid Prime 2 for a grand total of $28 cash. Woo! I also got a new laptop for free at the church bazaar on Saturday, but I'll put up pictures of it in a bit.

Otherwise, not too much is up. Yesterday was crazy busy at work, but the nice thing was that I worked an 8-4ish and was able to be home in the evening... I have to teach my course today too, so that means it's a 5-6 hour day but I'll be home for supper! Gotta love not having to work evenings.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Going to visit Grandma & Grandpa

We're heading to Sarnia this week to stay at my parents' place. I'm kind of scared about what my mom will do to Garrett... I think she's stalking him in the way that only Grandmothers can.

Man, she's going to kill me.

We're hoping to leave Garrett with my parents for the evening and get out of the house for a bit, so we'll see if he's a happy baby or grumpy. It seems his first tooth may be making its merry way out into the world.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Garrett's helping daddy

Garrett's been rather cooperative today and has been sitting on my lap with minimal fuss. I have been having a fun time trying to type though as he's got a death grip o n one or both of my handa and likes to bounce around and try to move my hands while I type. In fact, thease 4t;alast couple sniotences have been the most coherent things I've typed for the past five minutes...

I'll let Garrett4td try to type thshiohmiot8jnj0kn9kljijt0ntihutsomething now.

y8i7
io00bnv5

threyou go. Somehow garrett's wrandome smashinggms opened up Microsiifoit Narrator... I dhjiiiidn't even know such a prjogrinuam existed!

Ok. I n0eed to go change his diah per before he causes a c4ritical systems crash, if yu know what I mean :)

All Aboard!

Go see The Polar Express.

We went to see it last night with the guys and it was fantastic. The animation was up there with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within but the story actually made sense, unlike the FF movie :)

The only problem is that computer animation still has a problem properly rendering a human face on kids and blemish-free women without making them look like their made of plastic. I find that if you have a character that is older and has wrinkles, moles, etc. then it can look scarily real. If there isn't anything on their face to break up the skin texture, you end up with a very good looking doll. It's one thing if you're doing something like Shrek which is more of a cartoon. In something like The Polar Express that is striving for realism (after a fashion) it just looks weird.

That said, there were so many set pieces throughout the movie that no sooner had I been blown away by one sequence than another equally stunning sequence would start. A lot of the movie used the sort of IMAX-ish first-person perspective so that you'd feel like you're in the front of a roller-coaster car, free-falling through space. It was worth seeing on the big screen just for that.

The one thing that did strike me was how creepy the North Pole city was. It was like some weird Soviet-era factory city with a lot of Bing Crosby being piped everywhere. I certainly wouldn't want to visit!

Even though it had far fewer eviscerations and somewhat less time-travel than I'm used to seeing in a movie, I was blown away with how good it was. It could have been something schmaltzy and 'kiddie', but it was one of those family movies that the entire family could actually enjoy seeing.

Ok. Enough superlatives for me for one day.

Bored of the Rings

I finished The Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age late last night after work. It was one of the most odd gaming experiences I've ever had. Never before has a game been so incredibly boring and yet so addictive.

I had high hopes for the game. It supposedly was going to be Final Fantasy X but set in the Lord of the Rings universe (the movie version, at least). I didn't even mind the fact that I was playing as a sort of shadow version of the Fellowship, traipsing around Middle Earth and following the real Fellowship. I can handle side stories.

And it did use lots of movie clips from all three movies with voice-overs by Gandalf to advance the story. That was neat... for a bit.

The big problem was that the characters and the story were both rather dull and flat, which is a BIG problem for an RPG. The story was serviceable, but I think the part that really made me realize how poorly presented it was happened when the main character was suddenly freed of the mind control of Sauruman. Unfortunately, nowhere prior to this grand event was it even hinted that he was doing Sauruman's bidding. The same happened with pretty much every romance in the game. It wasn't till someone said, 'I'm sorry, you'll have to love her, not me.' that you even get an inkling that either character had any passion towards each other.

It did have gorgeous graphics, and the combat was fun. Unfortunately you'd essentially run from battle to battle to battle for the whole 20 or so hours it took to finish the game. Yawn. And since you need hundreds of skill points to boost your various abilities, you have to do all sorts of over-the-top spells and attacks rather than just doing the faster, yet weaker, straight-forward attacks. It's cool for the first hour, but 19 hours of seeing the same flashing attacks over and over again start to make your retinas bleed.

In the end, I was pretty much just playing it to a) see where the story might go and if it would get better and b) to play dress-up with my characters as every piece of armour and weaponry was shown in real-time on the character when you equipped it, which was pretty cool.

It was a nice little break from Grand Theft Auto but I'd have a really hard time recommending it to anyone aside from a hard-core LOTR fan, who'd probably not like it anyway due to the liberties it takes with the story. If they'd spent more time actually fleshing out the characters and story so that you actually cared about them, it would have been an excellent game. Oh well. Hello EB trade-in credit.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Baby Gang Wars!

Connor came over to visit the other day and tried to muscle in on Garrett's turf in the playpen. Garrett would have none of it and stole all of Connor's clothes. He then sold them on E-Bay for a tidy profit and bought himself a shiny new soother. Connor was now broke, hungry and naked, save for his diaper. He never tried to steal Garrett's afghan again. Posted by Hello
That's very reminiscient of this picture of Mason and Garrett from early in the summer. Of course, Mason just punched Garrett in the head, knocking him out. Garrett prefers to profit from his turf wars. Posted by Hello
Garrett has found the joys of reading and in a book of all places! Posted by Hello
About a week or so ago Garrett decided to try his first Arrowroot cookie. As you can see, he's either fallen asleep whilst gumming it or is in some kind of taste trance. Posted by Hello

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Pictures coming soon

I've got about 50 new pictures of Garrett on the digital camera, just waiting to be uploaded to this machine and then the net... I'll try to do that by sometime on Monday at the latest.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Best Commercial Ever

Has anyone else seen that new Nike commercial? I haven't actually seen it where I could hear it. I saw it a few times on the bar TV's at Montana's while I was out for dinner with Julie & Garrett this evening.

It's this basketball meets chop-socky Kung Fu thing with some really sweet anime thrown into the mix. I want to see if I can find it on the net...

This comic hits a little close to home.

Check out today's Get Fuzzy. Ah, cheese.

2.7% of you will care about this, 9 times out of 20.

I finished Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door yesterday afternoon. Woo!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The truth about blogs.

I got this from the Dilbert Newsletter. Hopefully it's not true. I'd hate for all of you to be mistaken for Mafia victims.
---
Dear Dogbert,

Lots of people write blogs, but I've never heard of anyone who actually reads them. What's up with that?

Kurt

Dear Skirt,

Blogs exist to fill the important market niche of writing that is so dull that your eyes will burrow out of the back of your head to escape. People do read blogs, usually by accident, sometimes on a dare, but those readers are later mistaken for Mafia victims with what appears to be two holes in the back of their heads. On closer inspection, you might find their eyeballs clinging to the drapes directly behind them. Unless the cat gets them first.

Sincerely,
Dogbert

Hi, My Name Is...

This past week or so has been sort of neat with Garrett. He's started turning his head when you say his name. You can be saying other things and then if you say, 'Garrett', he'll turn to look at you. It's been fun getting him to turn his head back and forth a lot :)

Lest We Forget

It's Rememberance Day today. At least have the dignity to observe the minute of silence. It's the least one can do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I thought Halton Hills was a no-smoking zone...

I made myself a pot of coffee this evening after supper with my fancy (and somewhat expensive) chocolate coffee. I brought the first cup of coffee up here to drink while debating game minutia with Tony on MSN for a bit...

That said, I don't know what I did wrong with this coffee, but the first cup tasted like it was brewed in an ashtray! Blech.

I haven't had a second cup yet, so maybe I just had a bad cup, but I really hope there's not something wrong with the coffee. It wasn't cheap!

My mom wanted to see more baby pictures, so here goes!

We went to see the doctor today and he said that Garrett looks really mature for a 4-month old.  Posted by Hello
Fight the power! Posted by Hello