Monday, January 31, 2005


GAH! I can't sleep.

I'm in that lovely state of being too tired to really do anything, but wide awake when my head hits the pillow. I'd just go play a game or something but my manual dexterity is long gone. I guess I'll go try to read my book some more. I'm sure I'll get to a good part right when I lapse into unconciousness.

Thankfully tomorrow is a pyjama day for Garrett & I, what with Julie taking my car in to get the oil changed. Granted, I doubt Garrett will sleep in any later for it. Sigh.

Don't forget to remind me to post something about the Wintereenmas celebrations held here on the weekend. Fun times.

What I'm Reading: Sims 2, Resident Evil 4
What I'm Playing: Across The Nightingale Floor
What I'm Watching: My monitor fade in and out. The ceiling tiles pulsate as a wormhole opens up in the roof. Other things stranger than that, most likely.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Oh Internet Riches, How We Miss You...

Remember the days when people actually made money on the internet? Forbes has a neat little article about the Bubble Bowl aka the 2000 Super Bowl which marked the last time that dot com companies actually had enough cash to splurge on $500 million dollar ads.

I almost forgot about the sock-dog.

I can see the music!

Now I don't typically care about wearing name-brand anything (unless it's got a videogame company logo on it) but for once I would actually like to have a pair of Oakleys.

Not just any Oakleys though. I want these ones. The Oakley Thump.


Unfortunately, I don't have blinged out teeth and am probably not XTREEEEME enough to wear them, but I can push a mean lawnmower while listening to music in the sun.

What I'm Reading: Across The Nightingale Floor
What I'm Playing: Jolly Jumper X-Treme With Garrett
What I'm Watching: The last few episodes of Stargate: SG-1 (Season 2)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Dentistry: A Real Pain In The Arm

I was at the dentist today to get a filling and some cleaning done. Garrett came with me and spent the entire hour or so charming the socks off of everyone who wandered into his sphere of cuteness. He even got a new toothbrush which he proceeded to chew the packaging off of.

Anyway, I was sitting there, getting my freezing on and the dentist had to give me a second needle worth of freezing because I fall into the lucky 10% that needs to have both sides of their gums frozen in order to not be in agony.

He was giving me the needle when the 'slight pinch' turned into a rocketing electric shock that not only blasted my jaw but also went all down my arm and into my hand, which tingled for a bit afterwards. Commenting on my jumping and yelping, the dentist said that most people feel a zap into their jaw if he hits the nerve. When I told him I felt it all the way into my hand, he was quite amazed. He'd never heard of that happening before.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. The upside of this is that my mouth was so frozen that I didn't feel a thing for the filling and the cleaning was rather painless too. I still hate the little electric tooth polisher. It makes my teeth tickle.

Anyway, that's my dentistry story. Be careful if you get a needle in the inside of the back of your gums. You may have a shocked hand.

What I'm Reading: Across The Nightingale Floor: Book 1 of the Otori
What I'm Playing: Resident Evil 4, Mercenaries
What I'm Watching: My parents as they fly off to Cuba for a week! GRR!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Words to live by...

Here's more of your favourite and mine, Brock's Pearls Of Wisdom!

"I'm going to go finish off this stupid book. I hate books. They should all be about 100 pages shorter because the last hundred pages always takes me the longest to read."

I actually said this today. Sigh. Who said logic needed to intrude on my reality?


This is nice and long overdue news.

Ninjai has a new episode up, and to top it off, they're actually having ANOTHER new episode coming in March!


I love Ninjai, but it's been so long since they made any new ones that I was beginning to give up hope of the story coming to some kind of a conclusion.

Hmm... Now that Ninjai is back up, I should really sit down and watch all of the Broken Saints that I downloaded. I'd love to get the BS DVD, but alas, I be broke, I be.

Where's my crown?

I forgot to mention it yesterday, so here ya go.


Yup, it's that time of year again when gamers around the globe can celebrate a week of video(and board/card/pen'n'paper) game frivolity!

It looks like I'm having a little Winter-een-mas celebration this weekend at my place. If anyone wants to come by, you're more than welcome, but let us know first! I know Julie is hoping to run and hide for the duration of the day on Saturday, but maybe she'll get sucked into the madness for just one day.

Now I must get back to my book/DVD reading/watching.

What I'm Reading: Apocalypse Array (must... finish... tonight...)
What I'm Playing: Resident Evil 4 (but I'm stuck), Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne (stuck there as well), Mercenaries (not stuck in that one!)
What I'm Watching: Season 2 of Stargate: SG-1

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Time for another 6 year wait...

Well, I just finished Half-Life 2. Fantastic game. I even enjoyed the ending, unlike a lot of people. I guess the fact that I knew it was supposed to be a cliffhanger ahead of time helped.

It totally sets things up for Half-Life 3 though. By then I'll have a computer that will make Half-Life 2 REALLY look nice!

PS3 and Xbox 2 news

There's an article over at the BBC about what developers are saying about the next-gen consoles and their efforts to develop games for them. It's nothing groundbreaking, especially if you've been following any of the next-gen news, but it's still interesting.

I'm still not 100% sure if Nintendo is being smart with sticking solely with a game machine or if they're suicidal. They definately have to get their act together with regards to online capabilities. Same with Sony. As loathe as I am to say it, Xbox Live is pretty much what singlehandedly saved the Xbox from being a very large doorstop.

The sad thing is that the Gamecube is probably the most powerful of the current batch of consoles but it just doesn't have that much on it. If nothing else, Resident Evil 4 is probably the nicest looking game on any of the systems right now. Unfortunately, it looks like people are just getting a feel for how to really push the Cube's hardware at the virtual end of it's life. Sure, all three current systems have a good year or two left on them before they're phased out, but it's still sad to finally start seeing games like RE4 and MGS3 pushing the PS2 and Cube as hard as they can, only to know that they will be the last batch to likely do that.

Ah well. By the time Garrett's five, I might be able to get the new systems cheap. No launch day systems this time around for me!

What I'm Reading: Apocalypse Array, but I have the first two Tales Of The Otori books just beckoning to me
What I'm Playing: Resident Evil 4
What I'm Watching: Stargate SG-1: Season 2, Scrubs

Monday, January 24, 2005

More strange searches

I think I'm going to have to do this every Monday or Tuesday.

Today's Strange Search's

Let's see. Today I have:

'vomiting pepto bismal cats'


'red puffy eyelid'

as my two most obscure searches. There are STILL a lot of people looking for subtitled copies of Ocean's Twelve, it seems. Go away! I didn't like the movie and I don't have any subtitles to give you!

Gabble Part 2: The Blathering

Garrett just started yapping yesterday on the way home from Sarnia.

He's made 'words' before, but yesterday really seemed to be the first day that he was sounding like he was talking. Sure, it was unintelligible gibberish, but that never stopped me from talking, so why should he be quiet?

Julie was sure he was saying, "Da Da Da Da" tonight, but I'm not so sure.

He's a big ol' 7 months today, so I guess that's what happens when you're 7 months.

Spig In Da Hood

Today I beat Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. It's actually the first of the GTA games that I've officially finished. I still have about half of Vice City to play through and while I did get to the final mission in GTA3, I never actually finished it.

Anyway, San Andreas was a phenomenal game. According to the stat page, I had a 67% completion rating and spent about 38 hours on it, but given that every time I died or was arrested I just reloaded, you could probably tack on at least another 10-20 hours to that for what I really spent on it.

My only regret is that there was a glitch in part of the dating minigame that kept me from actually completing the Casino heist part of the game, but that didn't stop me from finishing the main storyline.

I think I liked this GTA the best of the lot because of a few factors.

A) The controls: The aiming system in San Andreas rocked. It could get annoying sometimes, but compared to the earlier games, it was amazing. I'm scared to go back to the old games because I love the tweaks they did in this one. That, and swimming. Every GTA-clone should have swimming by default now. (Hear that Mercenaries?)

B) The characters: All of the characters were phenomenal in this one. I think that the fact that even the most outlandish of them seemed to be more of a real person than a caricature helped. Plus Mike Toreno is the coolest character in a game ever. James Woods does an amazing job on the voice acting.

C) The music: I was kind of leery about this at first. Sure, early nineties music is ingrained on my brain, but given that so much of the soundtrack was West Coast Gangsta rap, I didn't think I was going to be into the music for this game that much.

Well, I'm not sure if it was the atmosphere of the game drawing me into the music or vice versa, but after a few hours, I was hooked on the music. Not only that, I found that the most subtle and interesting thing was how my listening habits changed depending on where I was in the game.

When I was in the Los Santos (Los Angeles) area of the game, listening to anything but the hip hop and rap just sounded wrong. However, once I left town and was roaming the countryside, I got hooked on the country music station. Then when I was in the desert, I was listening to the classic rock station almost exclusively.

Each part of the game had a completely different set of radio stations that fit with it. I could have just listened to rap for the whole game, but it just didn't work when I was riding my ATV up the side of a mountain.

Anyway, that's about it for GTA for me for a while. I will probably sit down with Vice City sometime before this parental leave is over and try to finish it up too, but for now I'm going to say goodbye to the gangster life and get back to being a secret agent and/or saviour of the world.

What I'm Reading: Still reading Apocalypse Array, but not for long.
What I'm Playing: GTA: San Andreas RE4, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne
What I'm Watching: 24, Corner Gas, The Daily Show

Saturday, January 22, 2005

A couple neat lists and articles.

So I'm in Corunna this weekend, weathering out the blizzard that is very reminiscent of the little bit of snow we got on our wedding day. To make the day go by faster, I surfed around a bit and found some pretty interesting articles on

First up, you have the Top 50 Essential Games Of All Time list. This is actually a very compelling read as each and every game has a rather indepth history of its impact on gaming as well as how it has affected games since then. Each game also has a little musing by one of the editors about the game, the controversies surrounding it or their memories of playing it.

The neatest thing is that it's not just a fluff piece with the most popular games of the last 5 years. I mean, it has E.T. for the Atari in there!

The other article is the "I Want My Money Back" series. This is a weekly column about games that people bought and why they sucked so much. Sometimes it's because the game was overhyped, sometimes it's just that the game was awful and other times it's a combination of things. I found it particularly funny, but maybe it's because I've had many an "I Want My Money Back" experience.

I have to say that I do not agree with a bunch of their game picks though. I mean, come on. Xenosaga: Vol. 1 and Vagrant Story? How can you not like those?!

What I'm Reading: Apocalpyse Array
What I'm Playing: RE4, Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories
What I'm Watching: Far too much figure skating to be healthy.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Where's my rocket belt?

This is a pretty funny article from 1961 about what the then-future world of 2000AD will be like.

I wish I had a 24 hour work week with rocket belts and TV walls that could change decor at the touch of a button. But then shows like Trading Spaces would be obsolete. Not that that's a bad thing :)

They did get a couple things mostly right. They predicted faxes and a crude form of e-mail. Sort of.

And kids are being raised on TV. Just not in the right way.
What I'm Reading: Apocalypse Array
What I'm Playing: MS Powerpoint 2000, Resident Evil 4, GTA: San Andreas
What I'm Watching: Garrett bouncing in the Jolly Jumper

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Stay in bed that day

Looks like next Monday, January 24, will be the worst day of the year, according to scientists

Good thing I'm not doing much except a quick computer repair job that day!

How to screw up a kid.

Speaking of books, I was at the library with Garrett yesterday and we were picking out some books for him to read. We had been reading the first Lemony Snicket book together before he had his afternoon naps, but alas, we weren't able to get through it fast enough and it's on hold. Oh well.

That said, we were looking for books and I came across a very odd one.

It was called: Teeth Are Not For Biting.

Um. I beg to differ. I have a really hard time eating without biting my food.

Yeah, I know it's supposed to be a sweeping epic about why you shouldn't chomp on other kids with your new bicuspids, but could they have at least come up with a better title?

I mean, something like "OUCH! DON'T BITE ME!" or "MOM! THERE'S A MOLAR IN MY ARM!" would get the point across without obviating the entire raison d'etre of teeth.


I've been wanting to post a blurb about the book I've been reading but I wanted to see how it ended before I wrote anything. It's taken me forever to finish it. I think it's because since Christmas I've been reading a lot of non-genre fiction and non-fiction, as opposed to my usual sci-fi/fantasy fare. I also seem to have been busy looking after a baby and when he's snoozing, I'm gaming or watching a movie. So my reading schedule is a little less than it used to be.

Anyway, the book I just finished reading is called the speed of dark by Elizabeth Moon. She's done some sci-fi/fantasy stuff herself, but this isn't a genre book at all. The author is the mother of an autist, and you can really tell that this is an important topic for her to deal with.

It's set in a near-future world (mid-2000's somewhere) where they've been able to 'fix' most genetic disorders in the womb. The main character, Lou, is an austistic man who is of the last generation that was born before the technology became available. It is a very interesting book as most of it is told from his perspective and has to do with his choice regarding a possible 'cure' for adult autism.

It is an excellent book that deals with the question, What is normal? If you cure someone who has had autism since birth, are they going to still be the same person?

The biggest theme is about change. Even without treatment, Lou changes. Is it for the better? With the treatment cancel out his own personal growth? What about everyone around him? How are they changing? It's also great how the autistic people in the book end up seeming much more 'normal' than everyone else. From this point of view, it's everyone else that is strange and abnormal, while the autistics are grounded in reality and logic.

It also delves into a lot of corporate politics, bigotry towards the disabled and even gets into some interesting discussions about the nature of faith.

I really enjoyed it. I'm glad I didn't just blast through it as it was one of those books you want to read a chunk of, think about, and then go read some more. I highly recommend it.

What I'm Reading: Apocalypse Array
What I'm Playing: Resident Evil 4, Mercenaries
What I'm Watching: Stargate: SG-1 Season 1, Whatever's on Discovery Channel

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

My Multiple Intelligences

I just did the Multiple Intelligence quiz (thanks Jenn) and here are my results.

Not only am I the God King of the Nerds, I also am quite the linguist.

The Seven Intelligence Areas

Linguistic: 12

Logical-Mathematical: 10

Spatial: 11

Bodily-Kinesthetic: 7

Musical: 11

Interpersonal: 5

Intrapersonal: 10

A Short Definition of your Highest Score

Linguistic - the ability to use language to describe events, to build trust and rapport, to develop logical arguments and use rhetoric, or to be expressive and metaphoric. Possible vocations that use linguistic intelligence include journalism, administrator, contractor, salesperson, clergy, counselors, lawyers, professor, philosopher, playwright, poet, advertising copywriter and novelist.

What I'm Reading: the speed of dark (still! yeesh!)
What I'm Playing: Resident Evil 4, GTA: San Andreas
What I'm Watching: Lost, Mythbusters, The Daily Show

Take that, Codeboy!

I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Here's the deal. I type in a useless sentence, and afterwards I have a little blurb about what I'm reading/playing/watching.

All thanks to the amazing coding skills of Codeboy. Hooray!

What I'm Reading: the speed of dark
What I'm Playing: GTA: San Andreas, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Resident Evil 4, Half-Life 2, Mercenaries
What I'm Watching: 24, Corner Gas, Season 1 of Stargate: SG-1

Happy Birthday to You (Again!)

Today I'd like to send out a very special birthday wish to a very important person in my life.

Yup. Today is Kevin Costner's birthday.


Happy birthday Julie! Now I have to get to work on this supper I'm cooking tonight. Well, first I'm going to sleep, and THEN I'll cook supper!

Hmm... It's also 'Beat' Takeshi's birthday today too. All of these cool people have birthday's today. Interesting...

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Greedo Shot First

We all know that. This comic proves it.

Read the whole thing, if you haven't already. It's hilarious.

This is what I'm talking about.

Today we got some interesting images from the ESA Titan lander.

Blah blah blah blah

And that's why the Queen shouldn't be allowed to swim in the Rideau Canal.

What I'm Reading: The Speed of Dark
What I'm Playing: Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Mercenaries, Resident Evil 4, Half-Life 2

Calling All Coders

I have a question for those of you so inclined.

I have noticed on various blogs and/or news posts that people have a "What I'm Listening To" and "What I'm Playing/Reading/Watching" thing after each post. Sometimes it's "Mood:" or some such thing too.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knew how I could add something like that to my blog. That way I could put what book I'm reading on a regular basis, what game(s) I'm working on, etc. without having to do a whole post about it.

I know I could just add it myself to each blog entry, but I was hoping that there was a template or script of some kind that'll do this and all I'd have to do is fill it in.

If it's something that would require me to move over to Livejournal or somesuch thing, forget it. I've carved a nice little niche out here on Blogger and I don't want to give that up if I don't have to. I'm just curious if it's possible (and relatively easy) to do.

Thanks in advance!

Darth Tater

This is too funny.

Who in their right mind would want...

A Gamecube controller...


Yeesh. I admit it's kind of neat. If I were a bit younger and still into collecting every wonky peripheral known to man, I'd probably concider getting it. However, even I have to concede that it's really just goofy.

Mmm... Miyazaki

This week there's an interview with Hayao Miyazaki in the New Yorker. I must get my hands on it. MUST!

To console myself that this will likely not happen, there's an interview with the interviewer online and it's actually quite interesting in its own right.

Granted, being an anime buff helps up your appreciation of either interview. I liked the one quote:

"He's also an environmentalist, of a somewhat dark and apocalyptic variety. He's said, not entirely jokingly, that he looks forward to the time when Tokyo is submerged by the ocean and the NTV tower becomes an island, when the human population plummets and there are no more high-rises."

And yet he makes such charming anime films.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Where's the freaky robot dog?

I saw the first episode of the new Battlestar Galactica series tonight and man, me likey! I wasn't planning on watching it but happened across it as it was starting and got hooked.

I never was a huge fan of the first iteration of Battlestar Galactica. I really liked the Cylons and the Viper ships, but otherwise most of my recollections are fuzzy.

This new show is great. It's got a very dark and gritty feel and is probably closer to Firefly or Space: Above & Beyond than something like the pristine wonderland of the Star Trek universe. The space battles are ever so yummy to watch and have an almost Saving Private Ryan feel to them.

The first episode was pretty cool too because the Cylons were chasing the remaining fleet of 50000 humans across the galaxy and intercepting them every 33 minutes. This meant that nobody had been getting any sleep whatsoever. The sheer exhaustion of the characters was just spot on. You really got the feeling that they hadn't slept in over 5 days.

My neighbour gave me a tape about a year ago with the updated miniseries that this new show is based on and I hadn't ever gotten around to watching it. Now that I see what the new series is like, I'm definately going to watch that tape this week!

Garrett's in da House

Garrett was bouncing around in his jolly jumper this morning. The funny part was that while I was in the shower, he'd pulled his hat down so it covered his face and he couldn't figure out how to get it off.

Luckily, all it took was a pair of bolt cutters and a hacksaw, but everything is fine now. Posted by Hello

What Not To Clean Sweep

I must be watching way too much TLC these days. The constant bombardment of What Not To Wear coupled with Peter's sagely advice on Clean Sweep (which incidentally is Garrett's favourite show... he just loves the music) got me into a cleaning frenzy.

Today I went through my dresser and filled a big black garbage bag with stuff to drop off at the Salvation Army (or wherever). It's kind of scary that I had that much clothing that was either just ugly or ripped or too small. I even found my old gym shirt from high school! Yeesh.

The nice thing is that my drawers are actually organized now. Woohoo!

Sounds from a distant shore

This is hella cool.

Yesterday the Huygens probe landed on Titan and took some pictures and did the usual exploration of a foreign body thing.

However, it also sent back some sound, which I think is pretty spiffy!

Check out the page here. It's got the sound of the wind of Titan on the descent to the surface and also has a neat radar echo that made my jaw rattle.

A Fishy Tale

According to some sources, a lot of strange deep-sea fish have been washing up in Thailand and Southeast Asia as a result of the tsunami.

Well, it turns out it's not true. The pictures are of real deep-sea fish, but they're from oceanographic studies done a couple years ago.

Ah well. It seemed like a neat and plausible story.

The Force is with me.

I just finished Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords mere minutes ago. I played through as on the Light side, so in a year or so I can sit down and play through as Dark. Of course, given that it took me about 62 hours to finish this one (as opposed to the 55 of the first) I won't be getting back to it for quite some time.

The game definately looks like it has a lot more to do as a Dark Force user... or maybe it's just that there are a lot more opportunities to give in and use the Dark side of the Force in this game as opposed to the first KOTOR.

I really enjoyed this game though, probably moreso than the first one. It's a lot more cerebral than the cookie-cutter light vs. dark of the first one. In this KOTOR, even when you're doing good things, you might be causing bad things to happen, and vice versa. It's a real study of the grey areas of morality.

Of course, the final 'boss' is the cheapest, most annoying boss ever. I could have had the game finished about 45 minutes earlier if I hadn't had to keep restarting every 30 seconds before I found a workaround. Sheesh.

And I'll say it again. If Lucas' prequels had even a shred of the interesting depth and imagination of the KOTOR games (or the New Jedi Order books) they'd actually be movies I could proudly say I enjoy, as opposed to having to qualify my support for them like I do with the crap he's churned out over the last few years.

It's sad when it's no longer the Star Wars games that suck, but the movies.

Now I can finish up GTA: San Andreas and Metroid Prime 2 and then actually start playing Mercenaries and Resident Evil 4. Woo!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Boondoggles R Us

Stupid HRDC.

I am still jumping through the hoops I need to jump through in order to get my EI Benefits while I'm off looking after Garrett.

This is ok. I filled out some stuff online today to finalize everything but I figured that I'd better call them up just to verify that I'd done the right things on the forms.

Of course, when I press the button to speak to a live human being, I get a message stating, "Due to high call volume, we cannot help you right now. Call back later."

You'd think that the government would have queues on their phone systems. I mean, the technology has only been around for the last, oh, 20 years or so. I don't mind being put on hold. Just don't disconnect me because 3 other people are calling at the same time.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005


All I can say is, "I told you so."

Problems at the Pool

Well, today Garrett & I had swimming lessons, but things didn't really go as planned.

We drove down to the pool. Now, that's not a big deal until you remember that today we had a nice thick coating of ice on EVERYTHING due to the lovely freezing rain that hit overnight. So that was a good start to everything.

We got to the pool and after skating to the front door across the ice rink of a parking lot, we went in and got changed. All's well so far.

Until we find out that the class before us 'fouled' the nice warm wading pool where we do our lesson. Either someone brought a chicken in or they didn't wear a diaper. I'm going with the latter.

Anyway, we decided we'd do boat safety and get the babies wearing PFD's, which was fine, except that the PFD's were wet and cold and the pool we went into was rather chilly as well. Garrett did NOT enjoy this. But we soldiered on, getting ready to put the babies on the floating mats and have them tip off so we could rescue them.

Then the lights went off. Of course, this meant that we had to evacuate the pool. We were only 15 minutes into our 30 minute lesson and we'd barely been in the water. They were going to just have us get changed and come out to have a little lesson when we realized that the lights were still on over the hot tub.

So we finished off the lesson in the hot tub. We learned about hot tub safety with babies (you're just supposed to dangle their legs in since they'll get too hot otherwise) and Garrett enjoyed the nice warm hot tub a lot more than the cold pool.

He also had a lot of fun playing with the bubbles coming out of the jets. He kept grabbing at them and laughing.

So it was a bit of a wash (no pun intended... or was it?) of a swimming lesson, but we did learn some stuff about hot tubs and boating and got to sit in the hot tub rather than freezing in the chilly pool, so it wasn't a total waste of time.

As long as the roof doesn't collapse next week, it'll be better than this week!

Even I think this is stupid.

Looks like G4 has officially put the final nail in the coffin for TechTV. They merged the two stations a year or so ago and that was ok, except that a lot of TechTV viewers who don't care for games got really annoyed about it.

I watched a bunch of G4TechTV over the holidays on my in-law's satellite and I thought they did a pretty good job of balancing the game side of things with the Call For Help and Screen Saver type shows (ie. general technology questions).

Even then I thought that there were a few shows that even I wouldn't watch. I mean, who wants to sit there and watch a bunch of geeks playing Unreal on a LAN with a commentator yammering away like it's the most exciting thing to watch. Not me, that's for sure. I like the game news and reviews shows and things like Icons that delve into the history of gaming and the guys who put the games together... Those I like. Watching other people play games... I don't like.

Anyway, seems like they're now dropping the Tech TV name altogether. I hope they still have shows like Call For Help and The Screen Savers, because they are genuinely interesting shows that help gamers and non-gamers alike with their computer troubles.

Having a beauty pageant of gaming girls is not something they should waste their time on. Nor can I fathom why having an entire series devoted to drift racing belongs on a videogame network. Sigh.

As long as they keep Judgement Day, Reviews on the Run, X-Play and Electric Playground on, I'll be happy. Not that I get to watch TechTV that often, but those are actually good shows (although the X-Play hosts are either really annoying or just very good at acting like they're very annoying).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Don't let the door hit you on the way out

Looks like Anthony Wilson-Smith, the editor of Maclean's, is quitting.


I've been reading Maclean's for years and ever since Mr. Hyphen took over the magazine, I've lost interest in reading it. Granted, in the last 4-5 months I've gotten back in the habit of reading it from cover to cover, but for the couple years prior to that I barely looked at more than one or two items per issue, if that.

For me, the most annoying things that Wilson-Smith did were to get rid of Allan Fotheringham (I miss Dr. Foth) and to revamp the layout of the magazine.

I loved Foth's back page columns. Reading him was like listening to Peter Gzowski speak. It could be angry and biting at times, but mellow in others. Most of all it was amusing and entertaining.

I like Paul Wells, but he hasn't really clicked with me yet. Maybe in time, but for now flipping to the back page as soon as I get the magazine is no longer a weekly ritual.

I have nothing against updating the look of a magazine. I understand it needs to be done. But when you do it the way Maclean's did it... *shudder* It makes the way the local Acton paper lays out their frontpage look absolutely professional.

I guess I'm just too picky about, oh, things making sense when I read them. Granted, I've gotten used to their wierd new layout, but I'd be ever so happy if whoever takes over at least gets rid of the annoying first-paragraph-that-might-be-a-caption-to-the-photograph-but-isn't thing that they do now. Ye gods, it drives me nuts.

Man, I've done a lot of posts today. Ok. No more posts from me for the rest of today. I think I've used up a week's worth (or a year's worth for James) in one day.

Gamers are human!

This is an interesting little article detailing how gamers aren't single-minded teenagers living in their parents' basements. It actually shows that they (we) are normal human beings who are involved with many a non-game thing. I bet the stats for non-game players in the following areas are probably a lot lower.

Forty-five percent of gamers volunteer at an average 5.4 hours per month.
Sixty-one percent of game players engage in some type of religious activity for several hours each month.
Ninety-three percent of game players read books or daily newspapers, while sixty-two percent often attend cultural events, such as concerts, museums, or the theater.
Fifty percent spend time painting, writing, or playing an instrument.
Ninety-four percent follow news and current events, and 78 percent report that they vote in most of the elections for which they are eligible.

Man, I wish I had never gotten the RSS feed for Slashdot. Now I'm finding all sorts of great stuff to pass on to you, my loyal readers.


Sir John A. MacDonald day!

Yup. Not only is it Tony's birthday, but it's also the day we celebrate the father of Confederation and cheap scotch.

Speaking of drunkards, here's today's trivia question:

What is the name of the guy on the Canadian Tire money?

I could just Google this, but I figure someone out there might know the guy's name. I want to call him Samus O'Haggis, but I don't think that's right.


Amazingly, in a confluence of natural and man-made events not likely to be seen for at least a fortnight, the Electronics Boutique in Guelph actually had the nice skinny PS2's in stock!

So I took Garrett out for a road-trip and picked up a PS2 (finally). Now Julie doesn't have to listen to me prattle on about it anymore.

I chatted with the guy working the counter as he has a baby on the way in about a month. Garrett just flirted with the ladies that came into the store. One couple came in and after Garrett made googly eyes at the lady for a bit, she had to drag her boyfriend/husband out because she said if she stayed there much longer she was going to want to have a baby :)

I tell you, I should rent Garrett out. He's a great way to meet women.

I don't think I'm THAT bad...

However, I can relate to this article about how too much gaming may tend to blur the line between real-life and game worlds.

My downfall are puzzle games like Tetris. If I get into playing a puzzle game, especially one that uses geometric shapes, I'll be looking at ceiling tiles or things on a desk and trying to figure out how to lock them together to make a solid line. Actually, the reference to Katamari Damacy in that article IS pretty close to how I was after I first got the game. Granted, I didn't go this far.

Kitchens found that her urge to keep picking things up was not so easy to shake.

"I was driving down Venice Boulevard," recalled her husband, Dan Kitchens, "and Kozy reached over and grabbed the steering wheel and for a moment was trying to yank it to the right.... (Then) she let go, but kept staring out her window, and then looked back at me kind of stunned and said, 'Sorry. I thought we could pick up that mailbox we just passed.'"

Burnout 3 was pretty bad too. I had to remind myself that in the real world, it's NOT a good idea to try to create a million dollars in damage while driving to work :)

And it turns out it's not just gamers that have this problem. Seems anyone who uses computers is crazy.

Martin reported similar experiences after four days on an intensive Photoshop project.

"By the time I turned the project in, I was so sleep-deprived and delusional," she said, "that everywhere I looked I had the impulse to correct things, to move the world around in layers."

Hot Times At East Side's

Here's Garrett's 'date' from East Side Mario's. Posted by Hello
I just like the look on Garrett's face here. It looks like he's just cracked a joke or something. Posted by Hello

The Great Escape

I was checking my e-mail this morning while Garrett was snoozing in his crib. I heard a bunch of weird grunts and mumbles, but he usually makes those noises when he's playing, so I wasn't too worried. Then I went in to check on him when he kept grunting and this is what I saw. He was trying to slip out through the bars! Posted by Hello
Here's another shot of Garrett's escape attempt. Posted by Hello

Happy Birthday to You

It's Tony's birthday today!


Par-tay, or something thereabouts.

Happy birthday buddy. Now you're old enough to drink AND cash in your RRSP.

Between a 'berg and a cold place

This is an interesting article about a huge iceberg (~100 miles long!) that is on its way to smash into the McMurdo Ice Shelf in Antarctica. It's supposed to happen between now and January 15th. Looks neat!

Just don't book any cruises for that area in the next week.

Monday, January 10, 2005

24: Season 4: The first 4 hours

Well, I'm liking the new season of 24. Granted, concidering I loved the first 3, that's not much of a stretch.

I'm interested to see what the impending doom is this season and how Jack will stop it. He's already gone from being in a suit for a meeting to scrambling around the brush with a sniper rifle and holding up a gas station in less than 4 hours. What kookiness will unfold for our intrepid hero? At least he's not a junkie this season.

My only real beef with it so far is that the CTU sequences are rather underwhelming so far. For starters, Jack's not even technically working there anymore and the new boss there hates him more than any previous boss ever did. My big problem is that they've gotten rid of all of the interesting and likable characters from the last 3 seasons that worked at CTU. The only person that I can see who has lasted from seasons 1-3 to be at CTU this season is Chloe.

This is a problem because Chloe is hands-down THE most annoying character ever to grace the screen. I have gotten to like her after last season, but I still want her to get blown up or have a jet land on her every time she's on screen.

Unfortunately, she's the most sympathetic character at CTU this season, from what I've seen. Maybe it's just that I miss Tony & Michelle, but even George or Chappelle were more likable than Driscoll or any of the other characters at CTU this season.

Ah well. Hopefully I'll get to like them more by the end of the season. It's sad when the only guy you really root for at their headquarters is Johnson, the torturer who says nothing.

That said, I'm liking the season so far and I'm interested to see where it goes. I still liked Season 2 the best though.

Me Too!

This is pretty neat. I found the link off of Slashdot, but I'll post it here anyway.

It's a 20 year history of Usenet posts compiled by Google. It's pretty interesting to go back and see when the first Me Too! post was made, or when a little company named Microsoft was first mentioned on the internet, such as it was.

Neat stuff for geeks and people who avoid them.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

24 Starts Tonight!

The former highlight of my TV viewing (which has been supplanted by Lost), 24, is starting Season 4 tonight. The great thing is that they're doing 2 hours tonight and 2 hours tomorrow night before going to the regular time of 9pm on Mondays. That means I'll already have 4 hours done by tomorrow night.

It looks like this will be a good year for the show as they can sort of start fresh and not have as many of the same storylines and characters that they've been dealing with for the last 3 seasons. I have enjoyed the last few years worth, but I think they were exhausting as much of the material from the first year as they could. Last season they ended up killing off about 90% of the cast that had been around since first season, so I'm interested to see what kind of group is going to be around at the CTU this year.

Not only that, but Jack isn't working for CTU anymore, so that should be neat.

A Nightmare On My Street

I have begun having dreams again, what with my actually getting enough sleep for REM sleep to kick in lately.

I was having a particularly pleasant dream this morning. My whole family was at my parents' place doing one of those renovation shows. I'm not sure if it was Trading Spaces or While You Were Out (I watch way too much TLC these days).

Anyway, everything was going along smashingly until the phone rang (in my dream).

I picked it up and heard the 6 words that caused me to bolt upright in a panic.

"Brock, can you come into work?"

That's all it took to get me wide awake and freaked out. Sheesh.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The East Side Abductee

Tonight we went out to East Side Mario's with Julie's family and had the triple birthday bash for Julie, her mom and her aunt (all of them have January birthdays).

The best part of the night was when the waitress came by and was playing with Garrett and asked to hold him. Then she asked if she could take him for a walk and we said sure. Then I said, 'And that was the last time we ever saw him...'

Luckily, Julie's dad had just taken their picture, so if she took off, we'd have her on file. We also had people watching the parking lot in case she walked by with him. We were thinking that we'd ask one of the other waitresses where she was with Garrett and they'd say, "Who's that? She doesn't work here."

She just took him back to the back of the restaurant and he was flirting it up with all the waitresses there. I think she took him through the kitchen too. He seemed to have a good time and was returned in one piece.

When Julie's sister-in-law Faith came over to play with him afterwards I said, 'NO! Only strangers are allowed to take our baby.'

Friday, January 07, 2005

Speaking of crappy TV

I was at my small group meeting last night for church and at the end of it it devolved into a 'discussion' about Star Wars & Star Trek and why I think that the more recent Star Wars films aren't that great and why Enterprise & Voyager just never really grabbed me as Star Trek franchises.

And I got to rant about the cancellation of Firefly and the annoying changes in the Star Wars DVD and why George Lucas should never direct another Star Wars movie ever.

Ah, bible studies...

Ah, litigation...

Some people will try to sue for any reason.

A guy in Cleveland is suing NBC because he was disgusted by a Fear Factor episode.

"Aitken's lawsuit argues that viewing the rats being eaten resulted in a boost in his blood pressure, which made him dizzy and light-headed.

As a result, he vomited and bumped into a doorway, "causing suffering, injury and great pain."

Give me a break. This guy says he's a regular viewer of the show, so he should know that it can get pretty gross at times. It'd be one thing if he'd never watched the show and it sent him into cardiac arrest. If you watch the show a lot, they always spend about 10 minutes before each stunt yammering about it. It's not like he couldn't have turned off the TV.

Not only that, but if watching Fear Factor is enough to send your blood pressure through the roof, methinks he should go get a new hobby, like pruning bonsai trees or bird watching.

It'd be like watching the news, seeing something upsetting and having the same reaction. Would this guy have sued the news organization? Can I sue idiots like him or the people who make crappy shows or who cancel good shows while keeping crappy ones on the air for making MY blood pressure rise and giving me a headache because I have to listen to their drivel?


Some people's kids.

I want one of these... NOW!

Hitachi just announced that they're releasing a new vinyl-based hard-drive.

The coolest thing about them is that they don't rely on magnetic-based data storage, so you don't have to worry about your drive being wiped if a magnet or sunspot passes too closely.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Life Aquatic With Garrett & Brock

Garrett & I have had an action-packed last couple of days.

Yesterday we went to see The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It was the Stars & Strollers movie playing in Guelph.

I really enjoyed the movie. It is very quirky and odd and while I didn't find it laugh-out-loud funny, it was very amusing throughout. I mean, the soundtrack consists almost entirely of David Bowie songs... but all in Portugese. My favourite running gag was the fact that all of Steve Zissou's equipment is circa 1968. I thought it was set in the late 1960's but then they have a character show up about halfway through the movie who has a cell phone. And then there is Steve's nemesis who has equipment that is probably even better than current oceanographic equipment.

Then there are the weird sea creatures they find and the matching blue suit/red touque ensembles the Zissou crew wears, etc. etc.

I loved it. If you like things like The Royal Tennanbaum's, I think you'll like this. If you think that Kids In The Hall isn't funny and laugh uproariously at Friends, well, you might not like Life Aquatic.

Also along the aquatic theme, today Garrett & I went to our first swimming lesson. Garrett seemed to have fun. The pool in Georgetown is brand new and nice and warm. I was the only dad there :(

Garrett was the star pupil today as he showed everyone the advantages of choking after being submerged in water. Aside from having a belly full of pool water, he seemed to have a good time, especially when the rubber duckies were introduced. Garrett loves to chase rubber ducks in the tub; this was like a very big tub where you couldn't swim naked.

Unfortunately I had tied a knot in the bag I had our dry clothes in and Garrett was not amused after we got out of the pool. He had to lay there on the floor (next time I use the family change room, thank you very much!) and screamed his lungs out for a while until I finally got the knot undone. The good thing was that he was nice and tired and slept for about an hour while I drove around Georgetown and Acton.

I'm going to be a world-class e-mail checker!

I got a chuckle out of today's Strongbad E-mail.

The last one was better though. Having Strong Sad talk like a crazy radio host was priceless.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Crazy Search Results


Just checking the stats of the site and some of the search terms that lead people here are just wonky.

I mean, how on earth would 'Bloodspot On Eyeball' ever get you here? And I'm still floored at how many people are coming here just based on the Ocean's Twelve review I made a little while ago. Half of the search terms have something to do with that stupid movie!


At least I'm still getting lots of hits for 'The Church of l33t'. I'm not sure when I ever mentioned anything about the 'Esso Christmas Party Sarnia Ontario'. That's come up a couple times now...

I wish I'd found this before Christmas...

If anyone wants to get Garrett any clothes anytime soon, feel free to get him anything from this website.

I personally like the Future Gamer, My Dad's A Geek, Ctrl + Alt + Nap Time and Sleep Mode Unavailable ones, though they're all great.

And I thought Canadians like their booze...

We're in the minor leagues compared to the Bulgarians!

Monday, January 03, 2005

A Winner Is You!

I just got a phone call in response to an e-mail I got last week that I was sure was a hoax.

Turns out I'm the grand prize winner of the Maclean's Subscriber Survey Draw, or some such thing.

I won a $300 Bulova watch! Woot! Of course, I have to send my info hither and yon and promise not to sue Rogers if I put on the watch and it electrocutes my whole family, but aside from that little tid-bit, I just have to wait for the watch to arrive!

Kind of makes up for the fact that it looks like I won't be getting a new PS2 until at least the end of the week. Stupid holidays!

Tricks & Tips

So today was my 'trial run' day with Garrett to see if I could handle the job of being home with him for the day. Julie was 'not home', though she sure seemed to have lots to say all day while following Garrett & I around the house...

I think I passed. She hasn't contacted my manager to have me sent back to work... yet.

Garrett seems to have learned a new trick today too. He's been rolling over when we put him in the crib the last few days and will prop himself up.

Well, I just went in to check on him as he had been really sleepy 20 minutes or so ago and Julie put him in the crib. He was over at the far end of the crib, perpendicular to the wall and propped up on his hands, looking at me.

That's fine, I thought. Then I got a little closer.

Turns out that he's got both feet planted firmly on the wall and is PUSHING THE CRIB AWAY FROM THE WALL!

He'd push it away from the wall, then scoot back a bit so his feet would touch the wall again and push some more. One of these days I'm going to come in and find the crib in the middle of the room!

Crazy stuff.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Mmm... Anniversary

So today is Julie & my 6th anniversary. This is my new favourite anniversary, because it's the CANDY anniversary!

We didn't really do much today as it was:

a) Sunday right after New Year's,

b) Absolutely miserable outside (everything had an inch or so of ice this morning and the weather got yuckier, though warmer, from there on) and

c) We were both exhausted all day.

Julie slogged through the last 30 pages of the 'last' Left Behind book which caused her to lapse into a coma that lasted at least 2 hours. I was doing the best I could to stay awake this afternoon and barely succeeding.

Garrett decided that he'd make up for it by being about as hyperactive as possible. He did nap this afternoon, but I think he's been up since about 3-4pm and is still making raspberry noises and squeals from his crib...

We've got some money from Christmas that we're going to use soon (I hope) to go out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary, but today wasn't the day to do it. Thanks to everyone who sent us an anniversary card, virtual or otherwise!

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Breaking The Habit

Well, today I lobbed the first volley in my psychological war against videogame hype and my need to own every single game the second it comes out.

I unsubscribed from all of my daily gaming newsletters, which means my e-mail will be quite lighter for the next while.

This is going to help as I usually don't bother to check the game websites aside from the various links in the e-mails. Unfortunately I usually have about 4-5 daily e-mails that have interesting links for me to check out, which leads to other news, etc. etc.

No longer!

My GMR magazine subscription is effectively over (they still owe me one issue, but I'm not going to renew especially since the magazine has gone under now). I don't get the gaming mags anymore. I will keep reading Penny Arcade and the other comics I like to read, but without the supplimental info, it's not as likely to bore into my skull and cause me to do silly things!

The fact I will have NO money whatsoever for the next 5-6 months helps curb the rampant spending as well.

I think that my having to go without my PS2 has helped put things in perspective too. I'm coming to the realization that, hey, I have a LOT of games here as it is and it'll probably take me the 5 months that I'm off just to get through a good chunk of them, let alone any new ones that may come out in the meantime (all of this done while Garrett is having a nap, of course.)

We'll see...

2004: A Celebration of All Things Baby!

And here's Garrett, celebrating New Year's Eve by wearing his Christmas get-up for the last time. Posted by Hello
Wager Boys: The Next Generation Posted by Hello
Ah, Garrett's first Christmas stocking. Posted by Hello
Here's Santa Garrett, waiting for his presents. Posted by Hello
I'm not sure what he saw, but it sure seemed to scare him! Posted by Hello
Here's King Garrett on his throne. Posted by Hello

Happy New (Gaming) Year

Ars Technica has a nice little rundown of 2004 with regards to gaming.

There are the requisite Game of the Year awards over at Gamespot and Gamespy as well, though why the GotY's at Gamespot are sponsored by Castrol of all people, I have no idea...

I kind of like the Ars Technica one because it's only a page long and it's more of a summary of the industry as a whole rather than game 1 vs. game 2.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a good New Year's Eve.

(I wonder if they ended up finding anyone to work the overnight at work... that was the one loose end I had left when I went on leave. Oh well. I'll stop thinking about work now :)

Speaking of New Year's Eve, we didn't really do much. We watched The Year Of The Farce (which is becoming a yearly tradition), made some homemade pizzas for supper and then I had to perform the yearly tradition of waking Julie up 5 minutes before midnight. I swear, she can't stay up past 10:30 most nights!

Yeah. Low-key was the name of the game last night. After midnight, Julie went to bed and I played KOTOR 2 till I fell asleep on the couch... again... I'm still getting over this cold, so I'm having a hard time staying up past midnight myself.

Today we're going to do some tidying up around here. Put away all the Christmas stuff, try to spiffy the place up a bit, the usual.

I still haven't had the 'I'm not working anymore' sensation kick in. I'm pretty sure I'll feel it when Julie goes back to work. Right now it still feels more like I'm on vacation, but not for long!

Well, time to give Garrett his weekly bath :)