Friday, April 30, 2004


I'm going to a seminar for work tomorrow (Sat). Don't even get me started on the insanity that was me trying to arrange coverage for my shift tomorrow.

Suffice it to say, this had better be a good conference, or at least better than if I'd just spent the day at work.

Here's the website that will let all and sundry know what I'm up to from 9-5:30 tomorrow. Woo!

Mmm... steak...

Julie & I went out to Montana's tonight and used my winnings from the Feedback Lottery. We each had a 12 oz. steak with sidedishes galore and finished it off with a Chocolate Cookie Avalanche, which was very yummy. I haven't eaten that much in quite some time.

Afterwards we went to the mall to get some munchies at Bulk Barn and then I absconded with my debit card to EB while Julie looked at maternity clothes. I picked up two new games for $100, which is a very good deal, if I do say so myself.

I picked up Crimson Skies for the Xbox. It's VERY fun. I've got the original Crimson Skies for the PC but never really played it much. The Xbox version (which is technically a sequel) is incredibly fun to play on a nice large(ish) TV with surround sound.

If you're not familiar with the CS universe, it's an alternate 1930's where the US has fractured into a bunch of different nation-states following the Great Depression. Since the roads and railways have mostly been destroyed, air travel by crazy prototype planes and zeppellins is the order of the day.

And let me tell you. Zeps blow up nicely :)

It's a very pulpy kind of setting... much like Indiana Jones, but with air pirates. Lots of fun.

The other game I picked up is the new horror game, Siren. I've only just started playing it, so I can't say too much about it yet, but from the little bit I did play it's looking to be pretty creepy. I've read that it's actually supposed to be scarier than Silent Hill and Fatal Frame, which both were at the top of the list, scare-wise.

Siren does have an interesting storytelling device though. You play as about 10 different characters over the course of 3 days but the game is very non-chronological in its storytelling. Heck, there's a huge flowchart just so you can get a sense of what exactly happened when in the game. Should be neat for a crazy story geek like myself.

Granted, I also posted at length about a car wash, so who knows what my state of mind is. I also seem to be writing like Yoda, I am. Mmm... yes...

Coolest thing EVER!

Megaman Vs. Metroid

It's the first Metroid, but you play as Megaman! Very sweet.

A saga of woe in the Mushroom Kingdom

There is an excellent Mario Bros. flash animation series over on Newgrounds that you should check out.

It's neat, because it takes the usually upbeat and happy world of Super Mario Bros. and turns it into a tale of death, genocide and revenge. They're up to part IV already, but you can check them all out. GO DO IT NOW!

Here's the link to part one, where Mario loses his brother and cries.

Here's part two, where an epic battle taken straight from The Lord Of The Rings movies ensues.

Here's part three, where Mario grieves his fallen brother and vows revenge on King Koopa.

And lastly, here's part four, where the Toad army sallies forth to meet the Koopa nation in battle.

It's not over yet though! One more episode is coming. Cool stuff though.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

It's like you're being swallowed by a giant worm...

So today, in the midst of gas prices at the 84.3 cents/litre mark, I found my favourite car wash in the GTA.

It's at the new Esso at the corner of McLaughlin & Highway 7 in Brampton.

Why is it my new favourite car wash? I'll tell you!

Nowadays, most of the car washes (around the GTA at least) are of the touchless variety. I've never really liked them because:
a) I miss the wiggle-woggles and huge spinning brushes that used to wash cars when I was a kid and
b) you always get stuck behind the person who insists on taking 5 minutes to drive out under the blowers at the end of the wash to ensure that every last drop is blown off their car.

Not any more my friends.

This car makes you drive into a little chain-boot assembly before you even get a chance to enter your wash code. Then you put your car in neutral and it starts to pull you in, but not in a smooth motion. As my title implies, it's like you're being swallowed. Very peristaltic, I must say.

A nice touch is that they have all these neon signs indicating which stage of the car wash you're at.

And the best part is that you'll never get stuck behind a blower-hog. The track continues under the blowers (and there are about 5 of them to blow everything off) and then right outside of the car wash proper, so even if you wanted to just sit there, you'd be back outside and no longer blocking traffic.

I still miss the good ol' fashioned wiggle-woggles though. The only car wash I can think of that still allows things other than bubbles and water to touch your car is the one in Sarnia at the Petro-Canada station.

Wow. I can't believe how unbelievably dorky this post was :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Baby Mush

I've heard of sympathy tummies that husbands will get when their wives are pregnant, but I've never heard of husbands getting baby brain.

My mind has been full of swiss cheese all day today. Well, maybe not my mind, but I'm sure my brain looks like some kind of dairy product at the moment. I've been so out of it that I actually thought I'd left one of the guys at Tim Horton's tonight, until one of the guys in the van reminded me (while I was panicing) that he was actually out with one of the other guys at Friendship Club.

Time to go to bed and sleep! I can't even blog well tonight :P

I am trying to wean myself from the incredible amounts of caffeinne I have been consuming over the past few months, so that could be making me go cheese-head at the moment... Sigh.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Why does this sound familiar?

This is my new favourite quote.
[Radz] Should I replay FF (Final Fantasy) 7?
[spiderbait] Nobody's stopping you.
[Radz] That's like another 90 hours I'd be away from you guys though. :(
[payne] Do it.
[spiderbait] Do it.
[xCell] Do it.

Ooo! A banner...

The 18th Time Is A Charm

Well, I just beat Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes for the Gamecube.

Excellent remake of an excellent game. It's scary that a game that is 6-7 years old still holds up so well. Sure, the graphics in the remake are a LOT better than the original PS1 version and the new cutscenes are insanely sweet. But the main game is still the same and even though I've now finished the game about 5-6 times, it still rocks.

It was interesting to see how far the controls for stealth games have come though. After playing the two Splinter Cell games, MGS's controls are downright clunky. It still works though. It's just not as silky smooth as the control you have over Sam Fisher in the SC games.

Of course, this now means that I have to actually go back and work on Ninja Gaiden (eep!).

Saturday, April 24, 2004

My new web addy

Oh, thanks to Hugeurl, I now have a new URL for Notl33t.

Here it is. Get your pencils sharpened...

Thankfully, I've got it memorized :)

Space done cheap

Found this cheap space documentary whilst toodling around today. It's rather informative. The best thing is that you don't have to bother learning about most of the planets because they're boring, according to the documentary.


Friday, April 23, 2004

Gareth Keenan is my hero (not)

I watched all of Season 2 of The Office today. I swear, it's like watching a train wreck.

The thing I like the most about The Office is that for most of the scenes, it's not the actual dialogue that is so funny. It's the stunned and horrified looks on the faces of everyone around the office that are the real stars. They're just fascinating to watch, if only because in all likelyhood YOU are making that same face while you're watching.

I was kind of depressed by the end though. A lot of things I thought were going to work out one way didn't. Sigh. Supposedly there are two Christmas specials that haven't been released on DVD yet. They tie up some loose ends... supposedly.

They're going to be doing an American version of The Office, to be released sometime soon. Unlike the disaster which was the US version of Coupling, they might actually be able to do The Office right. They'd likely just remove most of the ambient shots of the office where nobody is doing anything. Ricky Gervais is also being directly involved in the translation across the pond, so we'll see how it does.

Shall we shag now, or shag later?

Oh man. The carpet guys show up here and the first thing they say is, 'We don't have enough carpet.'

Not what you want to hear first thing in the morning.

They're currently installing the carpet now. We'll see if they actually DO have enough carpet. They said it's going to be REALLY close, but so long as they cover everything they need to, I'm happy.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

From here you can get an excellent view of my foot.

Kill Bill volume 2 is great. I just watched my DVD of the first part the other day and so seeing the story through to its conclusion right away was a lot of fun.

The fight with Pei Mei is great... In fact, the whole training sequence is probably one of my favourite parts of the whole thing.

If you like your chop sockeyed, you'll love this movie. (that should be on the movie poster)

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Go Leafs Go

4-1 baby... WOO!

Amen, brother

I liked this quote from a Gamespot game reviewer.

"Let me be frank: I like violent games. I prefer them. And I think games involving lots of violence might as well be gory, because violence is and should be depicted as an ugly thing, not a neat and clean thing. I think all of the violent T-rated games out there that let you shoot droves of people in the face without anyone shedding so much as a drop of blood are, in a way, more offensive than something like Manhunt, which unflinchingly depicts all kinds of grisly acts in full, gory detail."

Just something to think about.

Monday, April 19, 2004

THE Hacker

When I was out with the guys tonight at work, I saw that my dream license plate was taken.

This guy, driving a beat up old car, had the license plate, "H4X0R"

Sigh. I guess I can always get "SPIGOT" or "NOTL33T" for my vanity plates.

Well, I'm off to watch Kill Bill Vol. 1. Don't even get me started on Canada Post... grr...

VaCATIOn Wrap-up

We had a good vacation. Didn't do too much. On Friday we went for a hike over at Hilton Falls, which was really nice. We even got to see a little blackbird divebombing a hawk for about 10 minutes on our way out of the woods. Very cool.

Saturday was my game day. I just sat up here playing FFXI for probably close to 12 hours. Now my arm is sore... I hope it's not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from my playing on the keyboard all day!

We also watched the first two Indiana Jones movies during the week and just generally lounged about, with brief periods of activity thrown in whenever Julie got an idea for what I needed to do to improve the house next :)

Back to Work

I had a good day at work today. I was sort of amazed to see that it hadn't burned down in my absence, but that's a good thing. One of the guys was convinced that his old workshop had burned down though, but since there wasn't really anything else special going on, we drove over and confirmed that it was very much not burned and indeed for lease.

I also found out on the way home that the Roll Up The Rim contest is more or less over... at least at the Timmies I stopped at. No more special cups :(

Today was also the first day of the year that I got to mow the lawn. I'm not sure if I should be happy or not...

The Nursery

Well, my friend from work came by today to start working her decorating magic on the baby's room. If you've ever had the pleasure of staying in our spare bedroom, well, it's now borderless and yellow. Soon it will be even fancier, but only Julie knows what it'll look like as I wasn't paying attention. I just roll paint.

More Movie Madness

I just finished watching the excellent movie, American Splendor.

I loved it. It's a wierd mix of movie narrative and almost-documentary with some other interesting things in it that I've never seen in a movie before. It's got memorable characters and having the narrator be the real-life person that the film is based on and actually showing him in the film, talking about the film while the film is going... it's just cool.

Go rent it. It's definately worth the watch.

Now I need to see if I can find the comics it's based on at the library.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Ants ants ants ants...

Well, it's official. Spring has begun. Our house is now infested with ants.

We had a couple run around the house the last few weeks and I was squishing them when I saw them run across my arm while I was playing a game.

But today they seem to have decided that we're not welcome. I walked into my office and there were about a dozen or so all over the carpet. I squished them all and then I saw more in the living room and squished them too.

One just crawled on my neck just now. How do they get up there?!

Anyway, I found one ant repository. The cup we had bubble tea in was full of ants and, lo and behold, also in my office garbage can. I dumped it outside.

Now I'm going to have to go buy some ant traps. Hopefully they're just in here because it hasn't been that warm out OR because it was pouring rain most of the day here so they decided to come inside and get dry. Just so long as they all die when I give them the ant-trap poison, I'll be a happy man.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

It's my lucky day!

I got a letter today from Montana's. I figured it was just the usual little PR mail designed to make me think that they actually read my comment card that I put in the feedback bag every time I go there.

So, I opened up the letter and lo and behold!

I'm the monthly winner of the feedback contest at the Montana's in Mississauga! Woo!

I won a dinner for two with a maximum value of $50! Gotta love that.

Now, if only my luck will hold out and let me win the Super 7 this week :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

me so smart

I just did an IQ test online and got a score of 136. Is that good?

I also got my true calling pointed out to me.

"According to the sorts of questions you got correct, we can tell your Intellectual Type is a Visionary Philosopher.

This means you are highly intelligent and have a powerful mix of skills and insight that can be applied in a variety of different ways. Like Plato, your exceptional math and verbal skills make you very adept at explaining things to others - and at anticipating and predicting patterns."

Yup, sounds about right.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Ok. I was just outside today, raking up dead leaves and grass, putting out grass seed... in the semi-warm sunshine, no less.

I just looked outside now before I went to bed and there is a good 2-3 inches of snow all over the ground and on my freshly seeded backyard. Grrr...

Those seeds better still be there. Under a layer of ice, knowing my luck.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Stay Away From The Pregnant Lady!

Speaking of food fiascos, we had another one later in the day.

We went out to see The Ladykillers this afternoon.

[Short review of the movie: It was good. It seemed kind of sub-par for a Coen Bros. movie until the second half, in which case it was back to the usual kind of Coen Bros. wackiness. I think it was that Marlon Wayans' character was just swearing for the sake of swearing for the first half of the movie that made it annoying to watch. I just wanted to punch him... So I recommend it, but it's not anywhere NEAR as good as the cinematic perfection that is O Brother, Where Art Thou?]

ANYWAY, we got in and Julie was hungry and looking forward to some popping corn. We went up to the snack bar and I picked out a relatively mid-size bag of Twizzlers and Julie asked for a small popcorn.

The girl then said, 'Well, this is the size of a small. Are you sure you don't want a regular?' and held up a bag that was smaller than a paperback novel.


Then she saw how much the Twizzlers were. "FOUR TWENTY FIVE FOR THAT!? THAT'S ROBBERY!"

I just ran to the theatre to avoid the fallout. I did get my Twizzlers, but Julie held onto them like they were pressed latinum and carefully rationed them out for the whole movie so she'd be sure to get her money's worth.

Check Your Watch!

I was out this morning with Julie as we had our first visit with the OB/GYN. He's a nice guy but he said the words that Julie was dreading... "Woah. That's a bigger baby than usual at this stage." He does seem like someone who knows what he's doing though, so that's good.

Afterwards, we decided to visit McDonald's as we were both having Egg McMuffin cravings. We pulled into the drive-through at 10:24am, according to our clock. When I started to order, they then said that breakfast was over. I was puzzled and they went on to say that it's finished at 10:30 and that I'd have to order off the lunch menu. I said that it wasn't 10:30 yet so we should get an Egg McMuffin, thank you very much.

The lady then said that it was 10:34am and that they aren't serving breakfast anymore. Now, if I was in the store and just had my watch to go by, I'd figure that maybe my watch was slow. However, since I was in my car and listening to the CBC, I knew that my clock was right. Sheilagh Rogers was still yammering on with her guest and they hadn't yet done the 10:30 newscast, which is about as accurate as you can get.

I mean, it would have been one thing if I was a half hour late or even 10 minutes late, but for them to insist that it was actually 10 minutes later than it really was, thus denying me the Egg McMuffin and Hash Brows that I so craved... That was just criminal.

So I left in a huff. Hungry.

It reminded me of the scene in Falling Down where D-Fens ends up shooting up the burger joint when HE can't get breakfast. Sigh.

Friday, April 09, 2004

I'm OOOOOOON Vacation

Today is the official first full day of my vacation. Woot! And while I do have to head to Sarnia in about half an hour to do the usual Easter thing, we are coming back on Sunday and the only real grunt job I have to do next week is install the baseboards in the washrooms.

That's it! No flooring to be redone. No rooms to paint. No toilets to install. Yay!

It is going to be like a real vacation, albeit one where I'm still at home.

Double hooray!

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Here Today, Pandora Tomorrow

Well, I just finished Splinter Cell. I got stuck on the second last mission, oh, about a year ago (according to the date on my last save file) and since the sequel just arrived at my house on Friday last week, I figured it was a good idea to get cracking and finish off the first game.

So I spent the last couple evenings on Spinter Cell 1 and lo and behold! I finished it! Woo!

Now to start Pandora Tomorrow. I've heard that it's good as a single-player game, but the multiplayer is where it's at. Sigh. If only I had Xbox Live...

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Games make surgeons better!

This just in.

Surgeons who play console games for at least 3 hours a week make 37% fewer mistakes than non-gaming doctors.

Gotta love that. Maybe when I get my MD in 30 years I'll have the manual dexterity of an angel...

CSIS Alert!

The local library is starting to scare Julie. It's gotten to the point now where I just walk in and go to the counter and the librarians hand me my books without seeing my card or asking my name. They even let me know if new graphic novels have come in or if there are any new sci-fi/fantasy novels that might interest me.

Since they seem to know me by face now, they must be wondering about my latest batch of books. I've been getting mostly fluff Star Wars novels and whatever graphic novels they get in, but then this week my books have been, well, odd.

I've got "Weapons Of Mass Destruction", a book on WMD's and their imminent threat, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Philosophy", a book on the deeper themes touched on by the Buffy series, and then the book that goes nicely with the WMD book, "When Religion Becomes Evil", which lays out 7 basic guidelines that show that a religion has been co-opted by those with darker intentions.

Too bad they didn't have the History Of Heavy Metal book in at the library. That'd really scare them!

Title Fight

Gamespy has been running a huge round-robin Title Fight for videogames for the last month or so. Today they announced the winner. Half-Life won out over Super Mario Bros. 3, but not by much.

There's a pretty good wrap-up by the editors and I had fun voting. It was like American Idol for geeks.

I was surprised by some of the winners though, and also happy to see how close some contests were (the Chrono Trigger/Final Fantasy VII match had less than 70 votes separating them).

The first signs of spring

Well, today I saw the first slugs of spring. Yes, the lowly slug has come out from its winter burrow and is now looking for love.

I found a small ooze of slugs (an ooze being the proper term for a group of slugs a la a murder of crows, etc.) under a piece of cardboard in the front yard. I had to flick them all into the front driveway as Julie would be rather ticked if they all started crawling out of the garbage can in the kitchen. Oh well. One day I'll grow a really big slug and keep it as a pet. Yeah!

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Which Island Was That, Exactly?

So my co-worker has returned from her sojourn to lovely Newfoundland (but not Labrador) and brought me some treats. First off, I have about a pound of moose meat. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to prepare it, but she did mention that I could just cook it like a steak, so I guess I'll really have to go get some propane for the BBQ now.

Secondly, she brought me a bottle of Screech. The last time she went to Newfoundland, she promised she'd bring me back a bottle of Screech but it was drunk (dranken? drunken? I hate the past tense of drink) before it arrived back in Ontario :P

So this time she was able to safeguard my bottle of Screech and I got it back to my house intact. I was looking at the label and something struck me as odd...

"REAL NEWFOUNDLAND SCREECH" the label bodly proclaims. It's even got a picture of a little clipper ship and an unemployed fisherman (hee hee). But a closer look reveals the startling truth.


So rather than some crazy moonshine from backwoods Newfoundland, I've got Jamaican rum with a Newfoundland label on it. Maybe they concecrate it by dancing a jig around the casks when it arrives from the Carribean, but still...


It is good rum though :)

Fever Bugz!

I found something yesterday while getting the prescription for my crazy eye filled that made me really glad we're having a baby soon.

Fever Bugz! These look so neat. I want to get some for myself and then get sick so I can use them, but I guess I'll have to live vicariously through the wee Spiglet. Sigh.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Making your dreams come true...

This is a neat little flash video by some guy at MIT. It's Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" with images to go along with all of the historical landmarks mentioned in the song. And it's got some funny banter by the guy who made it.

He's trying to hit a million hits before June 11th and he's almost there, so I may as well add a few more to his counter by way of this page :)

Poor Authors...

I was at Chapters with the guys this afternoon and saw that somebody was signing books. I walked past the guy's table about 4 times, not wanting to talk to him lest he be an author of disrepute who will just try to shill his tawdry wares and not leave me alone.

On the other hand, I feel bad when I see authors that nobody has heard of are trying to do a book signing and have nobody talk to them. I figure that could be me if I ever get my mythical novel written.

So I went over and chatted with him for a minute or two. He was a nice older gent who writes what he called 'family reading mysteries'. Ie. A mystery on par with what you'd find at your average Christian bookstore, minus the heavy-handed religiosity. He did have one book called The Pastor which looked interesting as it was a fictional account of the trials & tribulations of a pastor and his church over the course of two years.

I didn't buy any of the books though, as they were at Christian Bookstore Prices [tm], by which I mean it cost about $25 for a 250 page trade paperback... But I wouldn't mind reading them from the library.

Friday, April 02, 2004

April Fool's Roundup

Today was probably the best April Fool's day ever from my Pranker perspective.

First off, I didn't really do anything to Julie except play around with her mind. I knew she'd be reading my blog when she got up and thus start trying to figure out exactly what I did... which was nothing...

Of course, I played it up for at least an hour while she kept pestering me this morning and went back and forth between thinking that I really had done something one minute and then that I was just pulling her leg the next... mwahahaha...

Now, the BIG PRANK came in the afternoon when I was at work. I'll set the scene for you first.

They are starting a new program in our region sometime this year. Since March 31st is the end of our fiscal year, we had to store a lot of their stuff in our garage while we wait for them to get our new house. So there's a lot of stuff in there right now.

Ok. The scene is now set.

When I got into work this afternoon my manager called me and told me that I had to call the lady at the district office responsible for doing all the purchasing for the house. She wanted me to tell her that someone had left the garage door open overnight and several items were missing.

I proceeded to do this and got the lady's voice mail. Now, I'm the master of messages on voice mail, so I left a rather urgent one stating that several items, including a TV, were taken sometime overnight and that my manager wanted to talk to her right away.

I then called my manager to tell her what I'd said on the voice mail to make sure we had our stories straight if she called back.

About 2 hours later I get a call from my manager, who has the lady at district office on the 3-way call. The lady said she was feeling just sick that this happened and questioned me as to what exactly happened, what was missing, the whole nine yards.

My manager and I played along for about 5 minutes, acting as concerned and worried as the lady obviously was and definately ruining her day. I mean, she was going to be coming down to the house the next day with all her receipts (which she'd dug up) to itemize everything, incident forms were going to have to be filled out, an investigation may be pending... This was definately a big deal!

It was a great testament to ad libbing if ever there was one, since we were just making it up as we went along :)

So after toying with her for 5 minutes and just ruining her entire day, if not week, we finally decided that it was time to end her suffering.

My manager: "Brock, tell her."
Me: "Ok. What day is it?"
Lady from district office: "Thursday, April Firs... OH YOU GUYS!!! AAAAARG!!!"

We all laughed... She said that she'd fallen for it even though she'd been warned that I'm a practical joker by one of the staff from the other house... Mwahaha...

But now I'm worried that I'm going to get something really nasty dropped on my head when I least expect it :)

Nothing like causing an ulcer with the higher-ups at the district office and being able to get away with it :)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

More April Fool's stuff

Here is a list of everything you wanted to know about April Fool's Day, including the top 100 April Fools hoaxes.

The rest of the Museum Of Hoaxes is pretty neat too.

April Fools!

So, today is April Fool's day. Did anyone play (or be the victim of) any elaborate tricks today? Since I'm up so late while Julie is sleeping, I was able to set up a pretty sneaky trick on her, but she probably won't find out about it till she gets to work and I'm safely far away :)

Oh, and here's something that has bothered me since I moved to the Sarnia area back when I was in grade 4.

When is the proper time to stop playing pranks on April 1st? When I was in Thunder Bay, we would play tricks all day long. The tricks didn't stop till the sun went down and you went to bed. When I moved down to Sarnia, come noon, the tricks stopped.

Is this some SW Ontario thing or is this the way it really is supposed to go and we just liked tricks too much up North? And if it does stop at noon, why? I figured it was just because the teachers didn't want to have to put up with an entire day of kids doing silly things. *shrug*

Another nice thing about April Fools day is seeing how much effort the various websites put into their pranks. Supernova is saying that they're going to only serve Japanese downloaders now, and I'm sure a lot of the game sites will have some amusing stories to tell (Half-Life 2 in stores!).

Don't adjust your set...

I almost freaked out when I went to Homestar Runner today. Never fear though. Just wait about 20 seconds and THE CHALLENGE WILL COMMENCE!!!

Geek Post #99923

Well, I've been really busy playing FFXI the last couple days. I'm doing rather well given that I've only had the game for a week.

I finally figured out how to take screenshots today so here are a couple shots of Spigot, FFXI-style.

Spigot as Black Mage

Spigot with his fancy new hat

Spigot as Thief with full gimp attire