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


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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
Garrett's not too happy here... Someone probably fed him carrots :) Posted by Hello

New Shoes

I just got a new pair of Reeboks today at Zellers of all places. I haven't had a good pair of Reeboks in about 2 years and it's about time I got a decent pair of walking shoes. I tried some Payless shoes a little while ago and they destroyed my feet and the Saucony's I got last year were nice, but the heel completely blew out earlier this year and they're not really good for anything except mucking around out in the dirt.

Hopefully these nice new shoes will help my feet not hurt!

Now I'm sure only 3% of you will care about this...

I got into San Fiero yesterday in GTA: San Andreas. Yup.

I no longer hate San Andreas. I LOVE it. If it keeps up the way it's been going, I can see myself not getting the usual 1/3 of the way through and then getting really bored. There's just so much to do!

My new exercise regime

After finishing off the first two (and so far, only) books in the very cool Weather Warden series (which is like the Dresden Files only with physics), I've now got a new book to read.

Of course, it weighs about 30 pounds and is the size of a bear cub.

Yup, I'm talking about Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

The homage to magic in the Victorian Age and a paean to the pleasure of reading. What some say is Harry Potter for adults. I say it's a really honkin' huge book with binding I'm scared to bend.

It also has a gleeful overabundance of footnotes. Thankfully I'm a real footnote kind of guy (you could say I have a footnote fetish :) so long as they're not just references to other books. These are the kind of footnotes that can take up 3/4's of the page to explain an obscure term that has NOTHING to do with the story, but it fleshes out the universe the author has created beautifully.

The sad part is that I've been reading it for two days (albeit for only about 20-30 minutes total over those two days) and I'm only 25 pages in... only 775 to go! Sigh.

I just wish I didn't have to have a special trolley to cart it around on when I take it places. It certainly won't fit in my pocket!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Not that 90% of you will care...

But I just got out of Los Santos in GTA: San Andreas. Now it's time for bed.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Summer's Over

Well, it's not the first day it's snowed, but it is the first day it's snowed and the snow has stuck to the cars. Woo!

Granted, it's only a light dusting, but I'm happy. I love snow, winter, yucky days and general haziness. Unless I'm driving on a long drive. Then I'm all for overcast and dry.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Hurray for Mechanics

Well, it took until almost 5pm yesterday, but we FINALLY got our hot water back.

I also saw the Episode 3 trailer last night. It's yummy. Of course, Lucas will invariably let me down again. Every single time I salivate over the trailers and think, "He's finally figured out how NOT to ruin Star Wars."

Then the movie comes out and I enjoy the pretty flashing lights, but end up having to be an apologist for all of the lame parts of the movie.

I really really hope that he's not going to do that again in this one.

Friday, November 05, 2004

I like hot water and I cannot lie.

You other suckas can't deny.

When it comes to having showers,
Or watering your flowers.
When you turn that tap on
And your water heater is on

You just get mad and call your dad
Or the gas company and they fix it up bad.

Ok. NO more bad rhyming for me.

Our water heater decided to go on a vacation to coldsville sometime yesterday morning. We had the water heater people come and 'fix' it up yesterday, but when I got up to have a shower this morning Julie had already used up what little hot water was in the tank from an all-night heating session.

Grumble. So now I'm on my second day of not being able to have a (hot) shower. I refuse to have a cold shower and as tempting as it may be to see if I can repeat my two week no-shower stint from back when I was at camp, I doubt anyone else wants me to do that.

SO... now I'm waiting for the gas/water/solid man to return to 'fix' our heater again. Maybe they'll give me a new one if I have to call them a third time. Sigh.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Revenge of the Spig

Looks like the Star Wars: Episode 3 trailer is up on the net.

Go get it now!

Not that I've seen it myself yet... I've got over an hour to wait before I can even download it... sigh...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I stand corrected.

All y'all who said that Tim's coffee with 1/4 hot chocolate mixed in were right!

The nice thing is that I didn't have to put any double double or anything else in. Just 25% hot chocolate and 75% coffee. It also took most of my drive home before it was cool enough to really drink, so I didn't swill it down in 30 seconds like I usually do.

Unfortunately I burned my butt with it, as I hit a bump or something and suddenly had hot chocolee on my jeans. Sigh. At least it had mostly cooled down and I didn't spill much.

Just remember... Don't mix chocolate milk and Tim's coffee. Bleh!


Well, Bush won.

There ya go.

What more can I say?

The best line I heard regarding the win was from a guy in a bar in Ohio last night when it was looking really close.

"Americans had a choice to vote with their gut reactions of fear and mistrust or vote with their brains and use reason. It's kind of sad that more Americans decided to vote with their gut than with their brain."

And I also liked the phrase that the election was really based on "the three G's: Guns, God and Gays". That sums it up.

Ah well, what can ya do? It was a very close race and even closer victory, given that Bush was up by about 15 points prior to the debates a month ago. The fact that he's an incumbent war-time president and STILL just squeeked by is rather telling too.

At least it's comforting to know that our far right parties barely scratch the left of center camp of the US parties.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I don't know what's wrong with you people and your coffee drinking shenanigans.

I got an extra large coffee tonight with double sugar and double chocolate milk from Tim Horton's.

Ye gods. I don't know if it's just that the coffee was a little burned or strong or what, or if the chocolate milk was just foul, but blech. I drank it, but I didn't like it.

Now if I have time tomorrow I'll try a hot chocolate mix instead of chocolate milk, but I don't know...

I was kind of annoyed that I didn't get any of the fancy Rememberance Day quarters either. Is it even legal for the Canadian Mint to partner up with a specific retail chain to distribute its products like that? I'm sure they'll show up once they get into general circulation, but something smells fishy to me, and it's not just the new coffee flavour!

I hate Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

I haven't really said much on the site about GTA: San Andreas since I got it last Tuesday (yay! Launch day game!) but I'll rectify that now.

I hate GTA: San Andreas.

For one thing, it's the official last game I am allowing myself to buy until at least next June when I go back to work. This really sucks because we're just ramping up for the Christmas release season where lots of great games come out, oh, EVERY THREE DAYS.

Games like Halo 2, Prince of Persia 2, Lord Of The Rings: The Third Age, Scrapland and many others.

So I have this self-imposed ban on new games. This isn't so bad, given that I have WAY too many games as it is, so I can deal with it...

Now I don't really hate GTA: San Andreas. It's great. So great, in fact, that I keep playing it even when I'm about ready to take the PS2 controller and toss it into the backyard.

The setting is great, the first city of Los Santos is enormous just on its own and the missions are incredible. I'm loving the various characters I'm meeting as I go around town (OG Loc, the wannabe 'gangsta' and rhyme-deficient rapper, is my current favourite) and from what I've read, the storyline and characters so far don't even hold a candle to the latter portion of the game.

Now, the reason I say I hate the game is because the potential of the game is making me continue to play it in the face of some insanely difficult missions. I'm in the very early sections of the game, and I think that most of my problems are just due to the fact that my character is pretty lame in almost every department, skill-wise.

This GTA has a quasi-RPG element to it. That means that unlike the other GTA's, I don't start out able to dual-wield pistols and drive like a maniac. At this point in the game, pebbles seem to be causing me to careen about like a drunkard. Ah well.

Thankfully I have Paper Mario to fall back on when controllercide is imminent. At least in Paper Mario I have a tangible sense of progress and a hyper-cute (and funny) story to contrast the gang-bangin' sensibilities of San Andreas. Speaking of which, I'm off to play one of the two, at least until bedtime.

Berry Kush

Happy All Saint's Day!

So, tomorrow's the big day down south o' the border.

I'm looking forward to being home in the evening so I can watch The Daily Show's Election 2004: Prelude To A Recount special :) I like my politics satirical.

Since it's such a close race, who do YOU think is going to win it?

Me, I'm really hoping Kerry. However, I think that regardless of who wins, unless the polls are wrong and one wins by a landslide, the lawyers are going to have a field-day.

Vote now (in the comments) and put your margin of victory too!