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!