Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

As 2005 is wrapping up, I just wanted to say, "Happy New Year" to everyone who either reads me compulsively (all 12 of you) or stumbles across the page (the rest of you).

I hope everyone had a good year in 2005 and will have an even better one in 2006. Since a giant asteroid is due to smash into Earth and end life as we know it in 2007, I guess this will be the last time I can say these things... :)

Now I have to get to bed so I can be up at 6am and go to work... sigh.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Best... Noodles... Ever...

Julie & I went out to celebrate our anniversary a few days early as we actually had people to look after Garrett tonight. We went to Lola's Lounge in Sarnia, which is a very neat restaurant.

If you're ever in Sarnia and have a few extra bucks to spend, I highly recommend Lola's. It's fantastic.

Julie had a very tasty steak with the best fries I've had (think of bridge fries but better) while I had a chicken breast stuffed with prusscuto and brie. The scary thing is that my chicken, albeit amazingly tasty, was not the best part of my meal. The skinny egg noodles with lemon butter sauce and sundried tomatoes were the best noodles I have ever tasted. I ended up scarfing them down and left my chicken for later. Mmm...

The atmosphere at Lola's is pretty interesting too. It's an old greasy spoon that has been turned into an upscale martini lounge/restaurant. Actually, it makes me think of a greasy spoon that was ground zero for an explosion of all of James's crazy blue glass.

My mom had said that there might be live entertainment and boy howdy, there was. This guy was sitting at the bar relatively close to our booth and he had obviously had a few too many. He ended up making friends with everyone who had the (mis)fortune of sitting close to him and since he's a cabbie, he was recognizing people that were fares of his. The best was when he was telling this guy that he recognized his daughter as a fare he dropped off early in the morning (and who didn't want her dad to know she was being dropped off early in the morning as opposed to late at night). What a kook.

We were supposed to get our martinis for free (the bartender told us that the drinks were on her because she took forever to get them to us) but alas, they were on our bill. We just paid for them because the food was so tasty that we felt good paying for the supposedly free drinks.

Anyway, we absolutely loved the meal and would recommend going there if you're ever in Sarnia and have a special occasion to celebrate. It did cost us $100 after taxes, tips and drinks, but it was well worth it.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Ludditis strikes again.

Sooo...

I hate Nintendo, EB and Tony.

I returned my DS to EB this morning because the two dead pixels were bothering me and I figured I'd put my ESA to good use and get a new DS.

Of course, when I got home my new DS had not two, but one dead pixel. This time it was off to the side of the screen and not very noticable, so I figured that I'd cut my losses and just keep this unit. Well, I'd keep it until close to the end of my year warranty.

So I'm playing the DS tonight and I noticed that the right side of the upper screen looked a little dim. I wasn't sure if it was just me, but after looking at the system several times it does indeed seem that the upper screen is somewhat dim on the right side.

Sigh.

Looks like I'll be putting my ESA through its paces this week. I'll probably take this unit back to EB in Milton and see if they, unlike the EB in Sarnia, have DS's that aren't buggered.

I hate Tony because he went out and picked up a DS today at Future Shop and it has no problems with the screens at all. Grr...
---
What I'm Reading: The Claus Effect, The Year Of Our War
What I'm Playing: Ratchet & Clank 3, Warioware: Touched, FF IV
What I'm Watching: X-Play, my blood pressure rise with rage at Nintendo

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Hoax or not?

Try this little test to see if you can figure out which images are fakes and which are real.

I got 8 out of 10.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A is for Monkey!

I'd just like to thank Julie for that awesome post title. Silly, tired Julie.

Anyway, I couldn't let this little anecdote pass into obscurity. Garrett must be humilated for years to come! I will warn you, it's kind of gross.

We were over at my parents' place this afternoon. Connor and Garrett had just awoken from their naps and were sitting on my Dad's favourite chair with Julie. Then Garrett coughed.

And thus began the, um, disaster.

He threw up a little blorp. It was a bit messy but just a bit on his shirt.

Then he coughed and threw up a bit more. This hampered the clean-up efforts somewhat, but we were determined to step up our response to this disaster.

Then Garrett let loose with a firehose spray of vomit that doused poor Connor and Julie. And the chair. The poor, poor chair.

We had to spend the next while cleaning everything up. Poor Dave somehow got pressed into scrubbing all the clothes. Garrett & Connor got to have a fun little bubble bath and a good time was had by all (except Dave).

At least my parents hadn't had their carpets cleaned before Christmas. Now they have a good excuse to do it :)

I told you it was gross...

Christmas Madness!

Hey all.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, whether you got lots of presents or just enjoyed the presence of your family and friends.

We had a pretty good time over the last few days. The Wager family did our usual book exchange on Christmas Eve and I got a new Pratchett book out of the deal. It's always nice to get Discworld books for Christmas.

Sunday saw Garrett opening his cool presents from Santa which included a nice drawing pad and some crayons to go with it. I think he also got a fancy shmancy wooden truck with a few wooden cars on it, amongst other things.

I got a drill from Julie & Garrett which will go great with the drill bits my dad got me 2 years ago. I can finally make holes in stuff without having to use a hammer!

I got some shirts, which are nice, and The War Of The Worlds DVD (the 1950's version). I also got several gift cards which I was able to put to use on BLACK MONDAY, er, Boxing Day. I hit the mall right at 8am and was out by 9am, just when the crowds were getting bad. What did I get for my troubles, you ask?

A shiny red Nintendo DS, baby! And a few games. And a new pair of boots (since my last pair was so worn down on the instep I felt like I was participating in a rickets simulation).

I LOVE the DS. The funny thing is that both of my brothers picked up PSP's over the last few days so we were having the battle of the handhelds at my parents' place. While I must admit that the PSP is one sweet little piece of hardware, there just isn't anything to play on it. Dave picked up GTA: Liberty City Stories, which was nice to look at but I didn't like the feel of the controls. Grant had Metal Gear Acid, which also looked rather nice but I didn't have much of a chance to play. I know that Lumines is supposed to be an awesome puzzle game but otherwise there just wasn't anything that really popped out at me as something I had to play.

The DS, on the other hand, is also an awesome piece of hardware but very different from the PSP. I was completely addicted to Meteos for almost the entire day on Monday and have put a bit of time into Mario Kart, which is insanely fun. Metroid Pinball looks pretty deep, for a pinball game (plus it has a rumble pack which is always a plus). Trauma Center is HARD, but for a surgery simulator it rocks. I haven't even tried Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney or Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time, but they both look great.

So, in my opinion, the DS is a better system if only because there are so many great games on the system... I haven't even mentioned the ones on my rental queue... The PSP is really nice, but just doesn't have any games.

Plus it's really fun to play Mario Kart over the wireless LAN here at the in-laws.
---
What I'm Reading: The Claus Effect
What I'm Playing: All those DS games, Guitar Hero
What I'm Watching: Corner Gas

Saturday, December 24, 2005

All I want for Christmas is a crowbar

Hooray for the internet!

It looks like Santa is currently right over Newfoundland & New Brunswick. Hopefully he'll be by the Greater Sarnia Area in the next couple hours so that Garrett can get his presents.

Go check out the even-better-than-usual NORAD Tracks Santa site. I found it a little clunky last year but this year it's working perfectly.

The Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia

It seems that 'tis the season to go watch movies. I've watched Serenity at least twice in the last 4 days, went to see King Kong last night and saw Narnia this afternoon.

Yup, good times.

Everyone should go and rent Serenity. Rent Firefly if you can, but at least rent Serenity. I've blathered enough about it though so that's that with that.

King Kong was great. Unfortunately, the first hour and a half could have been trimmed down to about 45 minutes and I wouldn't have missed much. Even after they get to Skull Island I wasn't sure if the movie was going to live up to the hype. Once Kong appears and things get going though... wow. It's pretty much non-stop for the rest of the movie.

I did come pretty close to physical violence at the theatre. There were some punk teenagers who were being a little yappy prior to the movie but were well behaved until this one somewhat serious part about 3/4's of the way through. Then they started talking... and talking... and talking... I even told them to shut up but they kept on going. Thankfully an older gent got up moments before I was about to give them a smack and he got them to shut up. The best part of the movie was when they got up and left about 15 minutes before it was actually done.

I do recommend seeing King Kong in theatre though because the Skull Island and New York sequences are fantastic and really should be seen on the big screen.

The Chronicles of Narnia was probably better than King Kong, though King Kong was much more of a thrill ride as opposed to the solid story that is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I can't think of anything wrong with Narnia from a story or movie standpoint. I especially enjoyed the armour worn by the kids during the big battle at the end. Very nice work.

Anyway, that's what I've done so far on my Christmas vacation. I'm off to do the fambly thing now and might not be updating for a day or two. I will say this... There aren't any decent Boxing Day sales worth going to the store at 6am for... at least not unless you have several thousand dollars to spend.
---
What I'm Reading: The Claus Effect
What I'm Playing: FFIV GBA, Dragon Quest VIII
What I'm Watching: King Kong, Narnia, Serenity, Scrubs Season 1


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Further proof that Manitoba is the centre of the universe...

A rare first edition King James Bible was found in the University of Manitoba collection recently.

This goes to show that everything will end up in Manitoba at some point. Eventually enough stuff will accumulate and the mass build-up will trigger an implosion resulting in a massive black hole that will rip asunder the fabric of space-time and bring all of reality crashing down amongst us as horrors we cannot comprehend run rampant over the cosmos.

Or it just means that they got really lucky and found a very rare bible in the stacks.

I'm leaning more towards the latter, though the former theory would result in fewer blackflies.

Wheee!

Garrett went tobogganing today. He had lots of fun. I'd post more except I just spent an hour talking to Dave on the phone instead of typing this so you'll have to live with my paltry description.

If he's not real, who is NORAD tracking every Dec. 24?

Just wanted to throw my hat into the whole Santa debate a-ragin' across the various websites (well, both of them).

Dave Taylor, that HTML guru, has conclusively answered the question, "Is Santa Claus real?"

As for me and Grandpa, we believe...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I almost forgot!

I've been meaning to link to this for about a month but kept forgetting.

Child's Play!

It's a great charity started by the Penny Arcade guys about 3 years ago that has gamers from across the world donating games, movies and other diversions (plus buckets of cash) to children's hospitals around the US and now Canada.

If you're feeling like giving to a charity case this Christmas, give to me. If you want to give to someone REALLY needy, give to Child's Play. Either way you'll win.

And that's my PSA about why gamers aren't the vicious killers they are often made out to be. Heck, the PA guys have already raised over $420 million US and that's just from this year! Crazy.

ED:Er... I mean, $420 thousand dollars... Not million...

Hurray for research!

Soo.... I did a bit more digging after reading that Slashdot blurb and a bit of the EW article and it turns out that Serenity is not dead after all.

*gasp* *surprise*

Whedonesque (a great Whedon fan site) has a bit more info and words from Joss himself.

All right, now I have to jump in and set the record straight. EW is a fine rag, but they do take things out of context. Obviously when I said I had 'closure', what I meant was "I hate Serenity, I hated Firefly, I think my fans are stupid and Nathan Fillion smells like turnips." But EW's always got to put some weird negative spin on it. But so we're clear once and for all: If you read a quote saying "I'd love to do more in this 'verse with these actors in any medium" all I'm saying is that Nathan has a turnipy odor. It's not his fault, he doesn't eat a lot of them but everyone else in the cast noticed it and tht's not really something I'm prepared to deal with any more. And Jewel said outright she wouldn't do scenes with him except stuff like the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER funeral scene which was outside in a high SPOILER wind. So if I do manage to find another incarnation for my beloved creation, it will have been totally against my will.

I hope that clears everything up. Oh, and when I say I want to do a Spike movie, it means I have a bunion on my toe.

-joss (by which I mean Tim)

(no, actually me.)
joss | December 21, 02:12 CET


Yeah, Joss is crazy, but he's essentially refuting everything above. Firefly the series is dead, that is pretty much a given. Serenity and the 'verse is likely very much alive. EW just took things WAY out of context. Bah.

Stupid people, getting me somewhat worried about a movie.

It's all an ugly Alliance plot...

So my copy of Serenity arrived today and somehow, in between two Christmas parties, I was able to watch it (with Joss Whedon's great commentary) and most of the extras. Great film, great DVD, awesome commentary.

Then I was looking on Slashdot and I see this.

"...Despite Universal's best marketing efforts, the film only mustered $25 million. 'In the end, it was what it was: a tough sell,' says Whedon, adding that it appears the Firefly saga has reached its conclusion. He has no regrets -- and he's moving on."

Which is strange because not only does the article come out the day of the DVD release but from everything I had read he only needed to break even on the film in order to continue making the rest of the planned trilogy. He was only about 3/4's of a million dollars short. The DVD sales are likely to be much greater than the film's actual box office take so there really should be no issue from a contractual/monetary standpoint to making more movies based on Firefly.

This makes me wonder. Is Whedon really abandoning his baby and moving on to a big-screen Buffy (based on the TV show) or is this just something cunningly leaked the day of the DVD in order to rally the browncoats of the world to get all of their friends multiple copies of the movie so that Joss can actually make more movies?

I wouldn't be surprised if it's the latter. Serenity is the movie that should never have been and it turned out to be my favourite flick of the year. Maybe DVD sales can continue to perpetually raise this franchise from the ashes. Or not. I'm satisfied with the show/movie as they stand but it would be a shame to not see the further adventures of Serenity and her crew.

Stupid Hollywood. They can churn out the Star Wars prequels and 800 Star Trek movies but something as brilliant as Serenity/Firefly gets the shaft... or booted out the airlock, as it were. Just goes to show.

---
What I'm Reading: The Year Of Our War (if I don't pass out before reading it tonight)
What I'm Playing: Finished Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones, Eve Online, Final Fantasy IV
What I'm Watching: Serenity

Take me out to the black...

Saturday, December 17, 2005

NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

I found a little video of David Cross (Dr. Funke) ranting about where the real problem lies at Fox with regards to the cancellation of the amazing Arrested Development.

It's got a bad word in it though.... You've been warned.

---
What I'm Reading: The Year Of Our War
What I'm Playing: PoP: The Two Thrones, Darwinia, FFIV Advance, Guitar Heroes
What I'm Watching: My sanity decrease (yup, I worked another overnight shift).

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nice Desk, Peter...

This is kind of cool. It's a shot of what Peter Mansbridge sees as he gazes out from his crazy sci-fi desk every night.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Games to soothe the soul

Just figured I'd post about what games I've been playing of late.

Let's see...

Guitar Hero - I spent WAY too much time playing this over the weekend. It is by far one of the best games of the year, let alone ever. I have a newfound respect for those lucky people who can play guitar well.
Codeboy & Blitzy were over on Saturday and we ended up playing single & multiplayer until past midnight. They went out and got their own copy of the game so the next time they come over we're going to have dueling guitars. Hopefully they'll be ready for the medium difficulty level by then.

Prince Of Persia: The Two Thrones - I'm really enjoying the latest installment in the PoP series. After spending a lot of time with Warrior Within lately, playing The Two Thrones is a breath of fresh air. It is much closer to Sands of Time than Warrior Within. Sure, there's more combat but with the addition of stealth kills, the Dark Prince's killer bike chain and a less frustrating combat system, the action sequences enhance the game rather than drag it down. That said, the focus has been put back on the puzzle and platforming elements that made Sands Of Time such a good game. There are a lot of new moves for the Prince and some of the puzzles are quite tricky.

I have to say that this game, not Grand Theft Auto or some bloody first-person shooter, contained one section that made me so angry yesterday that I was THIS close to going out in the backyard to find something to break. The Two Thrones has a couple chariot race sequences that are a lot of fun... unless you have to do them 18 times in a row because you screw up right near the end. This particular race was rather long, somewhat tricky to navigate and often ended in my smashing into a wall or falling into a hole at top speed. THEN, after you finally get past this hellish race, there is a boss fight that is absolutely off the charts, difficulty-wise. I spent a good hour yesterday trying to get past it and only just managed to keep my temper in check (thankfully Garrett has a nice squishy ball that I turfed at the couch a few times to blow off steam). I have never been as mad at a game as I was at that fight. The worst part is that I ended up beating it, not because of my fancy jumping and finesse but because I got fed up and just started button-mashing and wailing on the one boss until it died. It's like it rewards crappy control.

Sigh. I just had to get that off my chest. I was just surprised to have a fight that was so off the charts from a difficulty perspective given the general difficulty level of the rest of the game leading up to it. Since that part it has been more platforming and puzzles, so I'm happy in that respect at least. Hopefully I'll finish the game in the next day or two and send it back for something else on my list.

World of Warcraft - Sadly, I haven't spend a lot of time in here over the last week or so. Witness the fact that Tony, the guy who I used to have to browbeat to go online once or twice a week has now hit the level 60 cap and is Mr. L33T D00D in our guild. Meanwhile, poor Guboo is still plodding along at level 53. Sigh. Hopefully I'll have a bit more time in the next few weeks to go ingame. If not, after New Year's I should be able to get ingame more. I tend to put my Massively Multiplayer games on hold if I have good console games to work on, so WoW will not be worked on that much over the next little bit. Ah well.

Which brings me to Dragon Quest 8 - A fantastic RPG with gorgeous graphics, a huge world and incredibly fun old-school monster killing. I can't really say enough good things about this game. Just go on Evil Avatar and look up any of the DQ8 threads (or half of the other threads about anything as they keep getting hijacked by myself or Kelegacy as we ramble on about the awesomeness of DQ8). Sadly, I haven't spent much time on it over the last week as I've been busy trying to finish Prince of Persia, but once I head home for Christmas, it will probably be the game I play while I'm in Corunna.

Today I spent my $40 Christmas bonus (thanks CH) on the new Final Fantasy IV Advance for the GBA. While it's no FFVI, it is one of the best Final Fantasies and the remake is fantastic. The music is incredible (I forgot just how many of the great FF tunes were from FFIV) and the graphical upgrade is top-notch. It is also VERY fast. Cecil the Dark Knight must have some kind of super running shoe on as he just zips around in town. Nothing like one of the best JRPG's of all time in portable form. I highly recommend it.

So that's what I've been playing in the rather limited time I have to play games between work, looking after Garrett and doing the various Christmas things that we've been busy doing over the last couple weeks. I can't wait until January when everone just stays inside and hibernates. Maybe I'll have time to relax a bit and actually spend more than an hour at a time on my games then!

Wrath of the Telemarketers

Hey all.

I'm still alive. The Family Wager has not exploded or been abducted by aliens. I've just been really busy over the last week or two and when I have had a free moment I've been trying to just zone out and play a game or two. Heck, I've barely read any of my book that I'm reading... sadly, I've gone entire days lately without reading a page. Sigh.

Let me just say that work has been hectic to say the least. I've been putting in extra time doing the occasional overnight and I'm the one staff who is working the least amount of overtime lately. I'd probably be working more except that it's hard to look after a toddler when you've been up for 24 hours straight.

What else is new? Hmm...

Well, over the last week or so I've been having a real string of bad luck with telemarketers and people on the phone in general. First off, Bell suckered me into signing up for their High Speed Ultra package ("ONLY $5 EXTRA PER MONTH!"), a move which was quickly rescinded when Julie got wind of it.

Thankfully Bell actually let me cancel the upgrade with minimal fuss and bother, although the guy I spoke with this afternoon about it spent the better part of 10 minutes offering me increasing trial periods at ever reduced prices. You'd think they had a gun to his head and I was sentencing him to an early demise the way he was pushing the package. He finally gave up after I used the "My wife doesn't care how much faster my online games run" card for the 3rd time. Sigh.

Right after that, I had to get nasty with another telemarketer. For the last 2-3 weeks, a lady from a company called GeoHolidays has been hassling me to go to some information night to learn more about the fantastic prize I won ("We're not selling you anything and it's not a time-share!"). Thankfully I did a bit of research and they're definately not a company I want to have any dealings with.

"He slowly (and I emphasis slowly) explains everything to us. The total
cost for the package came out to about $40,000 something. The membership
is for 45 years. I'm thinking... these guys must be nuts!! And that is
just for the package itself... let alone the annual maintenance fees of
around $500. He does some calculations and says I will only have to pay
$900 per month to get this package. Yeah, right!!
"

So when she called today I told her that I'd read some information about her company and I did not want to have anything to do with it, thank you very much, goodbye, *click*.

I also have had some very entertaining (yeah, that's the word for it) dealings with one of the parents at work that made me want to yell and laugh at her at the same time. I tell ya, work is never boring at my new place.

To top things off, I had to take my car in today for an oil change and brake cleaning & inspection. What was going to be a pricey $189 service soon ballooned to $600 after I got my incredibly rusty and dented rotors replaced and my black brake fluid flushed and replaced with minty clear brake fluid. Sigh. At least Julie is happy that I didn't stick her with the bill this time :) Merry Christmas dear!

I'm going to try to post a bit more in the next little bit. I've pretty much finished my Christmas shopping (only one gift left to buy) and after tomorrow work will be much calmer (stupid government inspections). Then I have a week off from the 23rd to the 30th, so I'm happy.

---
What I'm Reading: The Year Of Our War
What I'm Playing: Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, Guitar Hero, Final Fantasy IV Advance
What I'm Watching:


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Meedlymeedly meedly meedly MEEEE!

My copy of Guitar Hero came in today, finally. Supposedly there was some crazy mix-up with the packaging and all of the stuff was in french and they had to send it back to the distributor to get English packaging, thus delaying its arrival on our fair shores for several weeks.

But it's here now and I can finally realize my dream of playing pretend guitar. I've picked at guitars here and there and suck. You'd think that my manual dexterity, honed after years of gaming, would result in my having the coordination needed to play a guitar. Something about the strings and frets and musical ability seem to plague my efforts at every turn.

So thankfully there's a game that comes with a guitar shaped controller (yes indeedy) that will let me pretend to have some musical talent, at least when it comes to guitars.



Between this and my Taiko Drum Master sets, I just need to bust out Garrett's plush piano and I have a band! I think I have this on my christmas list but if anyone DID happen to get me another one (har de har har) I would be happy as a clam as I could then have guitar battles with people when they come over.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

EEK! My kid's a nerd!

 

Nerrrrrrrd.
 Posted by Picasa

Beware The Oculas

If anyone still needs to get me something for Christmas, please feel free to pick me up an Oculas.

If you have the zillion dollars it costs, that is.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I'm pretty sure I heard him ask for an Xbox 360...

 

We took Garrett to see Ol' Saint Nick at the Georgetown Mall on the weekend. He's very strange around Santa.

We went back today and I had to hold him back to keep him from charging up during another kid's turn. When he got just within arms reach, Garrett stopped and just stared at his boots. I had to pick him up and put him on Santa's lap and Garrett just looked off into the distance, staring at everyone except Santa. Then, just as Santa was about to hand him back, he sort of turned his head ever so slightly, looked at Santa out of the corner of his eye and smirked. Then he got down and wandered off down the mall with me.

Of course, Garrett wouldn't say a peep while Santa was holding him but he was waving and saying, "Hi!" to everyone who passed us on our way out of the mall... Silly kid. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 04, 2005

No more Night Awakes!

Yarg!

I've done the second overnight shift since Thursday and I didn't even plan on it!

The upside is that I don't have to go in to work my 11-11 shift this morning. The downside is that I have to go to church now and get all of the multimedia stuff set up and working and can't sleep like I really should. Ah well. I'll snooze this afternoon.

The shift last night wouldn't have been so bad if I had known that the guy scheduled to do the overnight didn't know he was supposed to do it (hence my being stuck there). Doing the overnight shift can be fun (even if it means you're exhausted the next day) because I can just watch movies and play games till 7am. Alas, last night was a surprise so I didn't even have a book to read.

Let me tell you, TV overnight on a Saturday night sucks, even on Express Vu. At least I had my USB drive with a bunch of Escapist articles to read.

Actually, I did have my fancy new electronic Sudoku gizmo that I had picked up at Walmart on Saturday morning but the stupid thing has a glitch on one of the rows so I can't actually play it. Thankfully I have the receipt so I'm getting a new one. HOLY COW! I just looked up that Sudoku thing and it's 30 pounds in the UK. Mine only cost $14 Canadian. Talk about a bargain.

Zzz...
---
What I'm Reading: The Year Of Our War (when I am not falling asleep on couches or working)
What I'm Playing: WoW, Prince Of Persia: The Warrior Within, Dragon Quest 8
What I'm Watching: Crappy overnight TV, The Iron Giant

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Happy Birthday Dad!

Yup, it's my dad's birthday.

My brothers had better remember to call him.

Hint, hint.

Happy birthday Dad!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bang!

Say what you will about the Xbox 360, the shortages and overheating technical issues, the ads for it are actually quite clever.

This ad is possibly my favourite game related ad of all time.

Check it out...

and BANG!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Worst Scam Ever

I just got two of these e-mails in my inbox and I had to laugh. On the one hand, they're somewhat convincing as far as mimicing the TD letterhead.

But just read the text.

Dear Clien,

Congratulations ! Login and possibly WIN A FREE online bill payment up to 1000.00$. To be Elligible to this offer you must make A payment during the month, if u have already made payments using online banking please login to your account and verify your messages.

PLEASE NOTICE THIS IS VALID FROM 22/11/2005 AND ENDS 22/12/2005

- LOG OFF AFTER USING YOUR ONLINE ACCOUNT
- UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION WITH TD EACH TIME WE REQUIRE FOR THIS ACTION


If the millions of horrible spelling and grammar mistakes don't give it away, the whole 'Log off of your account and update your information again' aspect should really raise the level of suspicion by about 18 McCarthies (1 McCarthy being the unit of suspicion required to raise your eyebrow 0.5 cm).

Yeesh.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Sleep is for chumps

Hmm... I had something deep and profound that I was going to write here... Hmm...

I completely forget what it was. Ah well. As seems to be the pattern, I worked the overnight shift again last night. Thankfully I was able to come home before the shift started and get a few hours of sleep which meant that I wasn't a complete zombie today (which was good because I worked from 11 last night until 3pm today). Scarily, I'm still awake... Haven't slept yet.

Ah well.

If I remember what I was going to post, I'll let you know.

---
What I'm Reading: The Year Of Our War (The George Martin books are going to have to wait until I can lift a hardcover book again)
What I'm Playing: Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, DQ8
What I'm Watching: Blue Collar Comedy Tour 2, Jamie's Kitchen, X-Play

Fear is the mind killer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

People are just realizing this NOW?

I saw this post by Tim Buckley on today's Ctrl-Alt-Delete newspost.

"How did we ever play video games tethered to the machine like some digital slave by such a primitive cord. It's got me bugged out though, to be sure. I keep finding myself escorting a phantom cord. I do that shit, you know, where you respect the cord.

Like if you're sitting on the couch, and you want to get up, or shift positions, and you flick the controller in the air to clear the cord from any entanglements, and so you don't trip over it and fall down like a retard. I keep doing that flip, but I don't have to it anymore."

I can relate. I did the phantom cord maneuver for a month or so after I got my wireless controllers. The weight and feel are off JUST enough when you don't have the cord holding you back that it can really mess with you. I can't go back though. Wireless controllers are the way to go. I'm just glad that, unlike most people today, I didn't have to get an Xbox 360 to realize this. I just got nice Logitech controllers for my PS2 and Xbox instead.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dance, Monkey, Dance!

The moment you've all been waiting for.

Korb Omnindustries is proud to present the first film suitable for online viewing.

Check out the movie that will upset Harry Potter & The Goblet Of Fire for box office supremacy. I mean, does Harry Potter have a dancing gorilla?

Hepcat Revolution

I've been tinkering around with The Movies for a few weeks now and finally sat down and made a decent movie that was worth uploading to the net. It's pretty basic as my studio is only in the 1930's, but I thought it worked out pretty good.

Don't do Potter...

I took the "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" quiz that my mom sent me and I scored a 38.

You're dreamy and absent-minded, though you often show startling intelligence. Sometimes you're Luna Lovegood, Harry's spacy acquaintance; at your best, you're Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore, far more serious-minded than your behavior might imply.

Who are you? What's going on?

I started reading George R.R. Martin's latest book, A Feast For Crows, the other day. I haven't had a tonne of time to read it but I sat down at work for a few minutes this morning and finished the second chapter.

Sadly, I can't remember for the life of me what is going on, let alone who half of the characters are. It has been a couple of years since I read the last book in the series and details are fuzzy at best as to what is going on in this latest book.

Looks like I'm going to have to read the series over again. Which is fine, as I've been meaning to re-read the series anyway, but I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to. Ah well. I've returned all my books to the library and don't have to read anything except what I want for the next while.

I have to say that the first couple chapters in A Feast For Crows are great. I just don't know what's going on.

---
What I'm Reading: A Game Of Thrones, I guess...
What I'm Playing: WoW (till I got disconnected), The Movies, Dragon Quest 8
What I'm Watching: Garrett play with the stuff we got from Ikea

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vagrants say, "What?"

I don't care what the rest of the internet pundits say. I really liked what I played in the Final Fantasy XII demo.

It is different from what has gone before but it's not THAT radically different. You still use a menu system to choose things. It still builds up like the ATB system. You still have all of the trappings of a Final Fantasy world. It's just tweaked somewhat.

It does feel somewhat like the FFXI system, but even that was not such a crazy departure from the series.

On the extremely plus side of things, FFXII is set in Ivalice, the world that was the setting of both Final Fantasy Tactics games. That gives it a base of races and certain other things to draw on for the full fledged RPG. I also found a lot of the teaser cinematics (especially the ingame ones) to really evoke Vagrant Story's art style and direction. And trust me, that can only be an incredibly great thing. Vagrant Story was one of the best PS1 games put out by Square and I think the director of FFXII is the same guy who did Vagrant Story. If that's the case, I'm going to be very happy.

Plus there is an overwhelming emphasis on airships, which in my book is just a giant cherry on top of all that whipped cream and chocolate cream pie that the other points have made out.... zzzzzzzzzzzzz

What is it tested on then?

It's that time again. Time for Brock's CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE WEEK!!!

My sleep-deprived brain noticed this when I was having my shower this morning. On the bottle of Bed & Body Wash Vanilla stuff, there is a little line at the bottom that says, "Final Product Not Tested On Animals".

Ok, so you think that means there is no animal testing.

NAY, I say. NAY!

That little "Final" in that line means that they can sit there and inject bunnies with all the tyrothyloglucinide that they want, along with the other 40 chemicals listed on the back of the bottle. They just can't mix them all up and make the bunny drink it.

Sadly, I thought it was a Body Shop bottle when I read it. I was ready to bring my unfounded accusations of customer manipulation to the world. Instead it was just a Body Shop knock-off. Ah well.

Gotta love grammar.

And of course, you can see why I must be losing my mind as I just wrote that big long blather about something on a bubble bath bottle. Sigh... I really need to sleep.

Yawn

I just did a 16 hour back to back shift that went from 3pm to 7am... and I'm still awake...

I've been up since 7am on Thursday.

WHY AM I NOT SLEEPY!?

I swear I'm on my 36th wind by now. I'll get a little yawn going, feel like it's time to head to bed and nap and then I'm wide awake again. Garrett isn't having his early morning nap like I'd hoped either, so I guess I'll just get him dressed and head to the Early Years Center for a bit to let him burn off some energy.

Yawn...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Stupid Interweb

Is anyone else having issues with the internet? The last few days have been really wierd. Some sites are loading up in record time while others are either not loading at all or are taking a LOOONG time. (I'm looking at you, TD Canada Trust!)

I blame solar flares.

If Only I'd Stayed In The Chess Club Longer

I heard about this on Freestyle today and thought it was too cool.

Chess Boxing.

You play a round of chess, then box for a round.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

There's a video of the championship match on that site.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

About that expensive FFXII demo...

One of the good things about this week is that I've just started playing Dragon Quest VIII (aka Dragon Warrior 8) and it is phenomenal. It's a gorgeous game but it really pays homage to its 8-bit roots. The menus and other sundry sound effects are all taken from the old-school Dragon Warrior games, which is great for someone like me who remembers sitting in our TV room playing the original Dragon Warrior at the house on Vidal, waaaay back in Grade 8. Man...

It's also nice to play a console RPG that actually feels like a normal console RPG. Too many of the RPG's I've been playing lately have been trying various fancy new tricks and such that just haven't panned out (I'm looking at you, Radiata Stories). DQ8 had lots of new tweaks but, like a new Final Fantasy, just feels right when you play it.

Speaking of Final Fantasy, DQ8 has the demo of FFXII included with it. I think I might have been one of the few people picking up Dragon Quest who wasn't thinking of it as the game that happened to be packaged with the Final Fantasy demo. Sigh. It is too bad that FFXII is pushed back to, oh, I don't know, March 2008 (at the rate they're going). Actually, it IS supposed to be out around my birthday next year, so that's cool. Of course, it was also supposed to be out around now, and my birthday last year, and Christmas of the year before that... It had better be awesome, I tell ya. We don't need a Final Fantasy equivalent of Daikatana.

Anyway, I'm off to play some DQ8 before bed. After today, I need to squish some slimes!

Oh, and if anyone is looking for something for me for Christmas, I would not be averse to one of these:

It had better be a full moon...

Sorry for the lack of updates of late. It's been one of those days that has been going on all week long...

Suffice it to say, if there IS a full moon out, the craziness at work definately has shown that it has an effect on people. If there isn't a full moon, well, I blame the CIA. They're always up to something.

This has meant that I'm just tuckered out this week. But it has made my shifts go by rather fast as I've been quite busy.

Ah well.
---
What I'm Playing: Dragon Quest VIII, The Movies
What I'm Reading: A Feast For Crows
What I'm Watching: My Name Is Earl, Lost, Daily Show & The Colbert Report

Doodeedoodeedoo

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I'm becoming my dad...

The other day I was regrouting the tub in the bathroom.

Julie & I started to have an arguement about what kind of sealant to use but thankfully we stopped.

Why?

Well, everyone knows that caulk-fighting is illegal.




I'll be here all week!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Exorcist for Kids: The Lacklustre Ending

 

After having the evil hair removed Garrett wanted to take a ride home on the train. Unfortunately it never went anywhere and so Garrett had to go watch the Santa Claus Parade instead and was pretty tired when he got home.

And that's the story of Garrett's very first hair cut.

[bow]
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The Exorcist for Kids: Reattachment

 
By utilizing a state of the art Brush-o-Matic 9000 Head Reattachment Tool, Luigi was able to quickly sew Garrett's head back onto his body. By this point Garrett was getting tired of holding his breath but knew he had to hold on for just a few more minutes.
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The Exorcist for Kids: The Pen-Penultimate Picture

 
Here we can see Luigi in his trademark rusty orange shirt, removing the accursed bits of hair from Garrett's pate. By this time his head was starting to get a bit wobbly so Julie had to step in and hold it in place. We only wanted to remove Garrett's demonic hair, not his ear.
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The Exorcist for Kids: The Dismembering

 
After a tricky bit of surgery, we were able to remove Garrett's head. Carefully covered in a surgical gown, Garrett's head was able to experience the careful ministrations of the local exorcist, aka Luigi the Barber.
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The Exorcist for Kids: The Part With The Pea Soup

 
After the failed attempt at box-stuffing, Garrett began to use his patented "Crazy Eye tm" technique on us. We were able to withstand yet another paranormal onslaught although we were running low on energy at this point. We eventually got him in his jacket and locked into the baby straightjacket aka the car seat.
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The Exorcist for Kids: The 80's Montage Segment

 

We knew we had to get Garrett to see a specialist. First we tried to ship him in a leftover shoe box. Unfortunately, he wouldn't fit. He also tried to cast a spell on us using his magic finger but we were bigger than him so it didn't do anything to us. Let that be a lesson to you.
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The Exorcist for Kids: The Beginning

 
The other day we were giving Garrett a bath when suddenly his hair began to writhe and twist, eventually ending up in these wierd horn-like protrusions that jutted wildly from his head.

(It's a good thing I got rid of the red-eye or he'd look even scarier!)
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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Who needs dice?

This is pretty neat.

You can play RISK using Google Earth.

It's nothing fancy, but it's kind of cool.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Crow Pie

I've got a problem. It's not as bad as, say, HAVING PLEURISY, but I am having a hard time making up my mind.

See, the new George R. R. Martin book A Feast For Crows just arrived today unexpectedly (hooray for Amazon and early shipments!) and I really want to read it. That said, I'm currently in the middle of a great book from the library that I should finish before I start a big epic like AFFC.

Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and I guess that Dave really has trumped my death cold in the race to see who has the worst lung disease. Whatever I had it's more or less gone away after about 24-48 hours. My feet are really achey though.. wierd... And I think Julie was feeding me staples while I slept because I have a really sore throat today. Otherwise I'm fine though. Amazing what a few days of getting sleep will do to a person.

---
What I'm Reading: Either A Feast For Crows or the last half of Amulet of Samarkand
What I'm Playing: The Suffering: Ties That Bind, Civ IV, GTA: Vice City
What I'm Watching: The Land Of The Dead (meh), Family Guy movie (also ok, but nothing they couldn't have shown on TV)

He's A Family Guy......

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shadow Interview

There's a neat but short interview with the creators of Ico & Shadow of the Colossus over on Eurogamer. Check it out.

Dave would like this for Christmas, I'm sure.

I wouldn't mind getting this, but I know that Dave would probably appreciate it more. I'd just like to have the movies and the DS9 and Enterprise sets.

It's The Ultimate Star Trek Collection on DVD.

All the shows, all the movies, all your's for a mere $2599 US.

Yeesh.

Stupid Flu

So my flu seemed to materialize today, as I expected. I was all hepped up on Tylenol Sinus this morning so I was able to do my stuff at church and then went into work. That said, I knew I must have been sick because people were asking me at work if I was ok. The upside is that I got to go home after two hours (of a twelve hour shift) and I'm ever so happy that I didn't stay there all day.

I've got that annoying flu/cold thing that makes all of your joints ache. My head is actually doing pretty well, concidering how stuffed up I usually get when I have my cold. I think I had a borderline fever though as I was alternately hot and cold all day...

The only downside to this (aside from not feeling very good) is that I am now wide awake. I slept for about 2-3 hours this evening and now I'm not tired. Sigh. Exhausted, yes, but not brain-tired. Nothing annoys me more than trying to sleep when you're not feeling 100% and having your brain go along at a million miles an hour. The upside of it is that I tend to feel like I can solve theoretical physics conundrums, but alas, I haven't been able to put my feverish delusions to any practical use.

Anyway, I'm off to see if I can read myself to sleep. Unfortunately the book I'm reading is quite interesting.
---
What I'm Reading: The Amulet Of Samarkand
What I'm Playing: The Suffering: Ties That Bind, WoW
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Season 3, the inside of my eyelids

The ChickFarmer

 
I'm not sure why, but for some reason this picture reminds me of The Godfather.

A super secret special prize for whoever comes up with the best quote for this picture.
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Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blarg

Uh oh.

I think I might be coming down with something... Ever since just before dinner tonight I've had a scratch in my throat and now my head is starting to feel not so good.

There has been some sort of plague going around at work the last couple weeks and I thought I'd dodged it... I'm beginning to think not.

Sigh...

Friday, November 04, 2005

Why is Monosyllabic such a long word?

 
I'd almost be tempted to buy the Penny Arcade collectible card game for this card alone.
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I can't find Honah Lee on Google Earth

Does anyone know where I can find the 1978 animated version of Puff The Magic Dragon?

I was driving around with one of the guys at work today and he had a CD with Puff on it and it got me thinking about how great a song it is and also about the cartoon from waaaay back when.

For some reason I always thought that the song was about little Jackie Paper dying from cancer. It was such a sad song. I know it's about losing your childhood dreams and such, but I think that the cartoon screwed me up and made me think that Jackie Paper was dead. I want to see it again to make sure I interpreted it correctly!

---
What I'm Reading: The Amulet Of Samarkand
What I'm Playing: Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Sly 3
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Season 3

A dragon lives forever
But not so little boys

Speaking of deprived childhoods

We were watching Epidode 3 this evening at work and one of the guys piped up, "So, those guys are telepaths? That's how they're moving things?"

I said that they weren't telepaths, they were just using the Force.

"The Force? Like the force of gravity?"

I just looked at him like he was from another planet. I mean, this guy knows James Bond movies like the back of his hand and can quote Star Trek episodes by heart. He's seen many a movie. Yet somehow he's managed, despite his inherent geekiness, to never see a Star Wars movie. He didn't even know what a Jedi was. He did know who Darth Vader was, but that's probably because he's seen the mask around before.

I mean, how does someone grow up post-1977 and NOT see at least one of the Star Wars movies? It would be one thing if he never watched movies and didn't like sci-fi, but he does both with gusto! GUSTO! Yet he was calling lightsabres "Laser Swords".

Sigh....

The upside is that the task of educating him about the mysteries of the Star Wars universe has fallen upon my shoulders. I know it will be tough, watching the original trilogy all over again, but somehow I'll make it through.

Force of gravity... sheesh.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Why didn't anyone tell me about these before?

I really hope this is just a spoof website. I REALLY hope it is... If so, it's hilarious. If not, call the authorities.

BABYCAGE!

I like the tagline of "Infant Confinement Specialists Since 2001".

If they are real, I need to order one of the Teenager Cages so I'll be ready in 11-12 years.

[Editor's Note:Just so everyone knows, YES, it's a spoof website. NO, I don't condone actually stuffing your kids into cages. I just found the site amusing because of the way it was laid out as though this WAS an acceptable thing to do.

Internet, meet Satire. Satire, Internet.

And if you thought that was bad, there is worse parenting advice to be found (AGAIN, IT'S A SATIRE SITE!!!)

When I do hear about cases where children have been locked in basements, handcuffed to pipes in the attic, etc. it boggles my mind to even begin to get into the headspace of someone who would do such a thing. I think of something like that happening to Garrett and it makes me feel sick.

The site still made me chuckle. Hilarious? Maybe not. Amusing? Yes. And unlike my coffee, I like my humour black. Hopefully most of you know that by now.
]

And you thought the Revolution controller was weird

You know, when I think of next-gen console gaming, what comes to mind immediately is jump-rope.

Yeah... I get the metaphor for the Xbox360's integrated Live support and all, and it is a neat commercial in that it would have been pretty hard to shoot it in one take.

But you'd think they'd show, oh, I don't know, SOME GAMEPLAY FOOTAGE OR SOMETHING!!!

Guitar HEROES!

Here's something I'd like to get for Christmas.

The Guitar Hero double guitar controller pack. The game has been getting awesome reviews and after all the fun I've had here lately with the two Taiko drum sets, a double guitar game would be a blast.

So there ya go, those who want my Christmas list. Guitar Hero for the PS2, preferably the double pack :)

Just make sure there aren't any deadly surprises in the box when you give it to me.
---
What I'm Reading: The Amulet Of Samarkand
What I'm Playing: Civ IV, Sly 3
What I'm Watching: West Wing: Season 3

Monday, October 31, 2005

Not Bad For A First-Year Pirate

 

Here be the mighty haul that Cap'n Garrett of the Jolly Highchair brought in after a fine day o' plunderin' the neighbourhood. Small it may be, but a pirate never starts his treasure horde large. Now to bury it under a large black X somewhere. Those are hard to find in these parts. Arrrr...
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Ahoy!

 
Here be the pirate cap'n afore his plunderin' begins.
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Uh Oh...

 

Somebody's been into the grog... arr...
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You Know You've Corrupted Your Child When...

It's sad when Garrett won't even bother to look at the TV when Sesame Street is on but will run across the room and start dancing when the opening credits and theme music from The West Wing is playing.

What have I done?!?

Thanks Aunt Faith!

 
Garrett just needs a bit of eyeliner and he'll be a perfect Jack Sparrow. I was thinking of dressingup as a giant parrot but alas, can't find enough feathers...

Garrett's Aunt Faith is the one responsible for this masterpiece. We had many compliments at the Early Years Centre this morning. Three bottles of rum for she.
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The Frowndup

Looks like CBC is really revamping the Radio One schedule now that they're back to work.

I'm actually looking forward to this. Jian is a great host and his new show will probably be pretty fun to listen to. I used to love The Roundup when it was Richardson's Roundup. Ever since Bill Richardson left and was replaced by the duller than dishwater Tetsuro Shigamatsu I've barely listened. The fact that they then extended the drive-time show in Toronto meant that I couldn't listen to any of the interesting segments like Madly Off In All Directions, The Mystery Project or the various radio dramas which made the Roundup so interesting. It didn't help that they would switch around the schedule half the time so that you never knew exactly what was on when.

So I'm looking forward to whatever kind of program Freestyle turns out to be and am glad that The Bill Richardsonless Roundup is no more. Of course, I'm not in the car nearly as much as I used to be so I probably won't miss the afternoon stuff as much.

Best Costume of All Time

This guy has the best costume of all time.

An AT-AT costume!

I wish I had the time and energy to make something like this. Sigh.

Garrett will be going out as a pirate today. Pictures will follow once I get him duded up. We're going to the Halloween party, I mean, Harvest Celebration at the Early Year's Centre this morning. Should be a good trial run for him and his costume.

I might go as a big pumpkin. I'm already wearing an orange shirt. I just need to cut out some eyes from felt or construction paper and I'll be good to go.

---
What I'm Reading: Freakonomics
What I'm Playing: The Suffering: Ties That Bind, WoW, Diablo 2
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Third Season, Word Wars (Scrabble Documentary)


Friday, October 28, 2005

Not that kind of engineer!

 
We were looking through some of the pictures we've taken of Garrett and found this one from waaaay back in March. I know I have been remiss in putting up pictures of late so here you go, some Garrett Fan Service.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Teacher of the Year? I think not!

My god.

Check out the list of charges for this teacher. How on earth does someone like that not get fired after the first of the offences, let alone continue to act like he does for a 5 year period?

Sheesh.

Of course, I also wonder what kind of a blow to the head someone needs to take to be stupid enough to think that saying those things is acceptable. Sheesh indeed. To all my teacher friends, don't do what he did. Baaaad career move!

Sadly, he was teaching near Windsor. Sigh.
---
What I'm Reading: Freakonomics
What I'm Playing: Shadow of the Colossus
What I'm Watching: Nothing right now.

Drool.

Check out this trailer for eNCHANT arM (stupid game name, I know).

It is the first Xbox 360 title that I've seen that has me interested in the system (well, that and Gears of War).

If it turns out to be a good game, I'd put it at the top of my list for 360 games. Hopefully it won't come out until sometime in 2007 so I can save my pennies ;)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Speaking of Mushroom Genocides...

October 18th marked the day that, much to the chagrin of my parents and Julie, Nintendo came to North America.

Yup. It's been twenty years since that little grey box came ashore and began wreaking havoc. Twenty wonderful years...

1up has a pretty cool set of articles about many of the NES games and the impact it made on society in general. Check it out.

What About The Stamp People!?

For some reason, I, of all the misfits that I work with, was chosen as the person most likely to 'go postal' at work. ME!

That makes me SOOOOO MAD! :)

I can't even remember how it came up. I think someone said something about going postal and one of the other people said, "You know what? I think Brock would be most likely to go postal around here."

And everyone agreed with him.

Ah well. It's nice to be feared if you can't be loved :) I think it's because I've got this reputation at the new home for being the quiet guy. Maybe it's because I don't just open my yap whenever a thought pops in... I save that for my blog :)

I got a chuckle out of it though. This was also the same day that I did say something profound (well, not really) that had the same people saying about how spiritual and enlightened I was becoming. So I'm some enlightened sociopath, I guess.

Makes life interesting :)

I did tell them that they don't have anything to worry about because, as the shirt says, I play violent videogames. I also play a lot of non-violent and downright cuddly videogames. Then I play the whole turtle & mushroom genocide saga that is Super Mario Bros... Poor, poor mushrooms...

---
What I'm Reading: Freakonomics
What I'm Playing: WoW, Shadow Of The Colossus
What I'm Watching: Not "My Name Is Earl" or "Lost" because they're RERUNS!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Best Game Ever

I picked up Shadow Of The Colossus on Friday and have spent an hour or so on it.

Easily one of the best games I've played.

There are some control and camera issues, but frankly, they're nothing that you can't either manage or get used to by the end of the first fight with a colossus.

SotC is done by the same people responsible for the work of art that is Ico and it is simply gorgeous. There is a huge world to explore and it just feels alive. Birds flitter by, fog rolls past in the swamp and the sun plays on the dappled grass of the meadows. The artistry and design of the colossi and their 'arenas' is something to behold. You can check out some screenshots on the site (linked above) but you really have to see these things in motion. They are wood and stone behemoths that look like they are giant statues come to life. Moss is hanging off of them like fur and they just look ancient.

To top it off, while you're tiny in comparison and really want to kill them, there's just something so benevolent about the colossi that you feel bad when they've crumbled to dust after your half-hour battle. It's very strange. In fact, the driving emotion in the game so far seems to be lonliness and melancholy. It's definately a far cry from the cartoony worlds of Sly Cooper and Mario.

I've taken care of 5 colossi now (or is it 6?) and have at least 10-11 to go. While the first one didn't take me very long to beat, the subsequent ones are getting trickier and trickier to destroy. Just climbing the things is a mindgame in itself.

Sigh. I'm getting tired. My eloquence is on the wane and I'm not even sure what I'm trying to blather about now. I'm going to go and see if I can take out one more colossus before bed and then I'm off. Thankfully I have the next two days off to really go to town on this game!

There Is No Global Warming

"The nasty little apes that call themselves human beings can do nothing except run and hide. For these same apes to imagine they can stabilize this atmosphere is arrogant beyond belief. They can't control the climate.
The reality is, they run from the storms.
"
- State Of Fear, p 563

That's the message from the latest Michael Crichton book, State Of Fear.

It's an interesting read. I can usually blast through a Crichton book in about a day. They're fun reads that have an interesting scientific premise that has been spun into a crazy adventure.

Not so with State Of Fear. In fact, the plot really doesn't kick in until the last hundred pages and even that is littered with mini-lectures that make the Left Behind series seem like a narrative tour de force in comparison.

The majority of the book is a polemic against pseudo-science and media manipulation. The subject that gets the most attention is environmentalism in its many facets. It's interesting because Crichton actually uses references and has a VERY extensive bibliography (approx. 23 pages) to back up the various and sundry claims in his book.

While it is interesting, I think I'd rather he had written a non-fiction treatise on media manipulation and why the current state of environmentalism is heading down the wrong path than to have tried to couch all of the scientific data in the middle of a thriller novel. Granted, the story did illuminate the points he was making with his data. It just slowed the pace of the narrative down significantly.

He does have some very good ideas for what the proper method for managing climates and wilderness resources should be, as well as ideas for how to divorce the actual scientific data from funding and political machinations. I'm not holding my breath for them to be implemented any time soon.

I'm sure the book will make a lot of people angry. The amusing part of the book is that Crichton argues his points with a character in the book who makes many of the knee-jerk, 'common-knowledge' claims that he is trying to refute. He wants people to look at the actual scientific papers and research, not the latest article from J.P. Honeywagon in the science section of the local newspaper. If you can refute the claims and back them with real science and not just common sense and popular wisdom, then he seems willing to concede the point. Just don't you dare claim anything without references!

So... it was a different book than I'd expected to read. That's not a bad thing. It just packed more of a punch than I expected and really made me think, which hurts these days. I definately have a few books I want to check out of the local library to explore pseudo-science and its ramifications on popular groupthink now.

"I have more respect for people who change their views after aquiring new information than for those who cling to views they held thirty years ago. The world changes. Idealogues and zealots don't."
- Michael Crichton, State Of Fear - p. 571

Accursed Snooze Button!

Funny story... sigh...

I had to work a 7-3 today. My alarm went off as usual at around 5:51am, then 6am, then 6:09am...

The next thing I know I'm looking at my alarm clock and it's reading "8:02".

I did a double-take, then looked at Julie's alarm clock which had the same time on it.

Uh-oh.

Suffice it to say, I'd somehow turned off my alarm clock and slept for an extra 2 hours. Thankfully I was able to get to work before 8:15, but still...

First time that's ever happened to me in all my years of working at CH. Crazy.

The guys at work were giving me a hard time about it today. Whenever I'd yawn they'd say that I shouldn't be tired because of all the extra sleep I got. Sigh.

I will say that Garrett was waking up about every hour or two during the night, which probably led to my subconsiously turning my alarm clock off instead of hitting snooze for a third time. I think he's getting his two-year molars.

Ah well.
---
What I'm Reading: Finally finished State Of Fear, not sure what to read next
What I'm Playing: Shadow of the Colossus, WoW
What I'm Watching: Nothing really, though I'll probably fire up Arrested Development: Season 2 soon.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Wakka Wakka Wakka

Garrett & I were hanging out in the pet shop yesterday, as we are wont to do, when we came across an awesome frog.

It was an Albino Pacman Frog. Yes, that's its official name. A Pacman frog.

Take a look and you'll see why.



If I were to go out and pay for a frog to have as a pet, this would be the frog I'd get.

God's Dandruff

Look up... waaaaaay up.

It's snowing! I don't recall snow actually falling AND sticking in October since I was living in Thunder Bay. All hail Global Warming! Bring on the new Ice Age, I say.

---
What I'm Reading: State Of Fear (finally! A plot emerges!)
What I'm Playing: Freakin' Shadow of the freakin' Colossus, F.E.A.R. (if it will run on my decrepit computer)
What I'm Watching: The Core, Snow falling from maples

Friday, October 21, 2005

2000 words is worth 2 pictures

Found this on the net.

Serenity in 2000 words.

It's pretty funny. I especially like all of the asides from Joss Whedon or the fans.

JOSS WHEDON: *snicker*

FANS SEEING THE MOVIE FOR THE FIRST TIME: Whew. Wait, why is my friend who already saw this movie cringing and whimpering?

---
What I'm Reading: State of Fear (aka Global Warming Isn't Real: The Novel)
What I'm Playing: Sly 3, HOPEFULLY Shadow of the Colossus
What I'm Watching: Arrested Development: Season 1 (just finished it this morning)


Thursday, October 20, 2005

If I could get ONE thing for Christmas

If I were to suddenly win the lottery, the first thing I would get would be a scale reproduction of the AT-AT from Empire Strikes Back!



Or someone could get it for me for Christmas...

Of course, it's $1400 US, so I'm not holding my breath.

---
What I'm Reading: State Of Fear
What I'm Playing: Sly 3, the waiting game for Shadow of the Colossus
What I'm Watching: Arrested Development Season 1

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

What Would Cthulhu Do?

In the event of the rise of the Elder Gods from beyond the stars, please follow the directions elucidated herein. Jack Chick would be pleased.

By the way, what's with people named Jack being complete and utter nutcases? Between Chick and Jack Thompson's latest insanity... yeesh!

On another note, who else loved that episode of Corner Gas last night? It's by far my favourite, if for no other reason than the whole Littlest Yarbo storyline. Actually, it's the fact that they actually played the whole Littlest Hobo theme song. Ah, that brings me back...

---
What I'm Reading: State of Fear
What I'm Playing: Just finished Genji, going to try some Battalion Wars or Sly 3
What I'm Watching: Daily Show, Lost, THE BEST CORNER GAS EVER!

Maybe tomorrow, I'm gonna settle down.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Apocalypse Alert

Uh oh...

Grant & Suzie are going to have a girl...

If a Wager can produce female offspring, something is seriously out of whack with the fundamental underpinnings of the universe!

That said, congrats!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Sucker...

It's fun to donate blood while reading a collection of essays about a vampire.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Yay!

The CBC is back... sort of.

Sadly, I'm starting to get hooked on CFRB. I know the daytime personalities now and while I still loathe the commercials and also can't stand how condescending they are about Radio 1, I'm getting to like the cut and thrust of the various viewpoints they have on there.

Now, I usually listen to CFRB in the evenings on my way home anyway (at least, I used to) so it's not like it's a completely foreign concept to me. I just had never really listened in the daytime. I'll still listen to CBC but since I know who's on when on CFRB I'll be more inclined to switch back and forth if my attention wanes...

Speaking of which...

I've been motoring through a few games of late.

Indigo Prophecy is an awesome noirish detective story told via an adventure game format. The cool aspect is that you play as all of the main characters, the killer included. It's probably one of the most cinematic games I've ever played as many things such as split-screen and multiple perspectives are used to help ratchet up the tension whenever you're playing as the killer and the cops are closing in, or vice versa. The story sort of gets wonky at the end, but it's still a fun ride.

Ultimate Spiderman was a lot of fun although some of the boss fights made me want to throw the controller through the window. I love the style of the Ultimate Spiderman universe and the game really conveyed the feeling of playing a comic book. Unfortunately it only took me about 5 hours to beat it all told, but it was fun while it lasted. And Venom is a lot of fun to play as, regardless of the reviews out there that say otherwise.

Actually, that's about it right now. I've got some other great games that I'm working on (Sly 3 and Radiata Stories mainly, though I am also giving Final Fantasy 1 a run for its money on the GBA) but those two games were the ones I've finished most recently.

Oh, and don't buy Black & White 2. It's Black & While 1 with more grass and fur. It's not a bad game but if you've played the first one, you've played the sequel.

Now to eagerly await the coming of Shadow of the Colossus. Huzzah!

To keep you entertained in the meantime, go read what this insane lunatic is proposing. I tell you, if he were going after anything but videogames he'd be laughed off the street (and given his latest behaviour, that will soon happen regardless). I've never seen someone who is such a frothing-at-the-mouth lunatic actually get so much press. Evil Avatar is just shutting down any message board threads about him since it's just feeding his ego. Sigh. JT is a guy who rants and raves about how videogames are evil and violent, receives an e-mail from a gamer about how a gamer related charity is raising a lot more than his piddly $10,000 and then proceeds to tell the gamer that he'll regret it if he ever contacts JT again. Heck, he's sent back angry e-mails to people that happened to reply to a press release that he sent them unsolicited (check the VG Cats news from a while back) AND THIS GUY IS TREATED BY THE MEDIA AS A SANE WATCHDOG AGAINST VIOLENCE!

Sigh. No wonder so many in the gamer community can't stand him. It's just funny that the general public really can't see this side of things. The politics and shenanigans that are going on with games and the gaming industry are getting to be more fascinating than the games themselves.

SSX: On Tour and my latest coma...

So I picked up the latest SSX game today... Thankfully I'd had it paid off at EB (huzzah for trade-ins!) and since their shipments weren't coming in anytime soon, I just got my money back and went over and picked it up at Walmart of all places.

Now I'm a huge SSX fan. I've been playing the series since it came out waaaay back in 2000 and SSX 3 is definately in my top 10 list of games. The fact that I haven't been able to spend near as much time on the ski slopes has made the game even more near and dear to my heart. They've done such a great job of simulating the feel and sounds of skiing and snowboarding in these games that while they're completely unrealistic, they are the closest to capturing the FEEL of the slopes, in my opinion.

That said, SSX: On Tour (aka SSX 4) is wierd. It's almost like playing Tony Hawk Underground on a ski slope. There's this veneer of surreality that is suffusing the game and makes it a very different beast from the previous 3. The part that I had the hardest time getting used to was the fact that rather than pick from a roster of eclectic characters and hit the slopse, you're now making your own personalized avatar and working your way up the ranks.

Like I said, it's Tony Hawk Underground but on skiis and snowboards.

Speaking of skiis, they've finally included the option to ski down these insane slopes. I haven't spent a lot of time with my ski character as the controls are just so... different. I'm getting used to the game again with my snowboarder and THEN I'll work on the ski bum.

Well, aren't you glad you waited however many days it's been since I updated for THIS? Sigh...

Suffice it to say, I had to sit through one of the most excruciatingly boring training sessions today and only the thought of hitting the virtual slopes afterwards kept me from slipping into a coma. Sadly, the subject matter was interesting. It was the meandering, tangential manner that the speaker delivered whatever his point was (and for nigh on 7-8 hours) that hurt so badly. Note to trainers: If you can't tell a joke well, don't bother... especially on the 80th try.

---
What I'm Reading: Five Seasons Of Angel: Collected Essays
What I'm Playing: SSX: On Tour, Ultimate Spiderman, Sly 3
What I'm Watching: Lost, Arrested Development: Season 1

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Magic Money

I took a few of my Magic cards into the local comic shop in Sarnia today and was able to sell about 10-12 of them for a grand total of $95. Not bad, concidering they were just sitting in my office in a box for 10 years. I'm going to take my whole box of cards in the next time I'm around in Sarnia and see if I can make a few more bucks.

Time to pay off the credit card!

What does it take to convince you people?

I went out with Tony last night to see Serenity for a second time. I think I enjoyed it even more than I did the first time, though some of the heart-pounding suspense wasn't there this time around.

I found a site that has the first 9 minutes of the movie in something that resembles a legal manner (no crazy cam shots or anything). If you're somewhat interested but don't know what to expect, that's a good spot to start!

Click here for the preview.

I haven't had a chance to watch but if it has the initial landing sequence I'm all there... If not, it's still cool.
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What I'm Reading: State Of Fear
What I'm Playing: Sly 3, Puzzle Pirates, Final Fantasy 1&2
What I'm Watching: UFC Fighting show thingy, Serenity

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me

Friday, October 07, 2005

Garrett's got this thing for crawling up in big chairs. We were at the mall the other day and he kept hauling himself up into the big leather chairs and waving to passersby. Posted by Picasa
Luckily we'd both seen Encino Man and were able to thaw the bog baby out and put him to work at the local Wal-Mart. He's the regional manager now! Posted by Picasa
We were out hiking on the local glacier the other day and found one of the bog people, perfectly preserved. I wonder how much we can get if we sell him to a museum. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dirty Survey

I was doing an online survey tonight that was dealing with everything from how satisfied I was with the job David Miller is doing to what kind of shampoo I use and whether I've shopped at Future Shop lately...

Then comes this question immediately after a bunch of questions on gun violence.

"I prefer a good night of sleep versus a good night of sex: Strongly Agree, Strongly Disagree or Neither."

I had to do a doubletake and make sure I'd read it right.

I'm really curious as to what data that question will churn out when they compile the survey. Are they looking for a bunch of libidinous David Miller haters who wash their hair with Pert Plus and shop at The Source? Hmm...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Shiny...

This car is the coolest car ever. Too bad my brother won't make it... it's a Toyota!



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What I'm Reading: Midnight Over Sanctaphrax
What I'm Playing: Indigo Prophecy, Puzzle Pirates, Black & White 2
What I'm Watching: Lost, Prison Break

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Go see Serenity

By far the best Sci-Fi movie I've seen this year, if ever. Easily one of the best movies period that I've seen this year. I can't think of a single thing that disappointed me about it. There are some things I wish hadn't happened in it, but they didn't disappoint me. I was just mad that they happened!

It makes me feel dirty for having spent money to see Episode 3. I was happy to have seen it with Codeboy, Blitzy and Dave as Codeboy had never actually seen an episode of Firefly and he thought it was an absolutely fantastic movie on its own.

Check out the awesome UK poster for Serenity while you're at it (link takes you to the landscape version of it).



Oh, and here's Orson Scott Card's review of Serenity where he compares Serenity, favourably, to Hamlet (the play, not the movie).

'...Only as the film actually began this afternoon, the day of its premier, did it occur to me that I had not heard a whisper of a breath of the actual plot of the movie. All I heard was, "It's great, you'll love it."

Well, guess what.

It's great.

I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever.

Oh, wait. Yes I am.'


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What I'm Reading: Midnight Over Sanctafrax
What I'm Playing: Indigo Prophecy, Dungeon Siege 2, WoW
What I'm Watching: Serenity... sweet, sweet Serenity

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't coming back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me