Thursday, March 31, 2005

I'll just use an alarm clock.

This is the most surreal headline I've come across lately.

"Bullet To Chest Wakes Sleeping Woman."

It's not as bad as it sounds, but I'd hate for that to happen to me!

What I'm Reading: The Darkness That Comes Before
What I'm Playing: God of War, World of Warcraft
What I'm Watching: Ginger Snaps 3: The Beginning

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Why did I skip last night instead of tonight?

I went to karate tonight. I was looking forward to doing the usual ache inducing training.

Of course, tonight was PDR night! That's Physical Development Review night. Our Shihan does this once a month and I lucked out and didn't miss it. It involves doing push-ups, curls, wind sprints and this flexible training thing that just about crippled me.

Suffice it to say, I have a ways to go. The nice thing is that it's there to use as a personal benchmark for how far you've come after a few months. Of course, it's going to be a few months before I'll likely be able to attend regularly, but it's still nice to have something to work from.

The guy has his standards set at the black belt level so that if you start out where I am, by the time it's black belt time, I'll be used to the levels of exertion needed to pass. It's not a bad system, actually. He's also using the OPP graduation physical stats as his benchmark, which accounts for the brutality of it.


Lost Trivia

Here's a question for those loyal viewers of Lost out there who watched tonight's episode.

When Boone is talking on the radio and says that they are the survivors of Oceanic Air Flight 315 (or whatever), what does the guy say just before the plane tips? I watched it a couple times and couldn't make out anything more than "... Oceanic Air Flight 315..." He does say something else, and his voice sounds surprised. I'm curious as to whether he says something like, "We didn't there were any survivors of Oceanic Air Flight 315!" or if he says, "There is no such flight as Oceanic Air Flight 315."

You guys found Hurley in Jin's TV. Find out what this guy said!

Speaking of Lost, does anyone out there have The Office DVD's? Mine, to be precise? I have my Christmas special, but I don't have my Series 1 & 2 discs and it's starting to bug me. By the way, don't bother watching the US version of The Office. It's not bad, it's just pointless. It's missing the little touches that make the UK version so cringe-inducing.

What I'm Reading: The Darkness That Comes Before
What I'm Playing: WoW, Minish Cap, God of War
What I'm Watching: Lost, Sky Captain and the World Of Tomorrow!

You've got at least another month or so of my blathering

Since I seem to be doing at least one Star Wars themed post a day, I figure I'd put up the link to the 2005 Star Wars Fan Video contest that's being held over on Atomfilms. I haven't had a chance to watch very many of them yet, but I was absolutely blown away by Walk In A Bamboo Bush.

It's awesome. The creators have redone about 5 minutes worth of Episode IV using only Japanese prints and crests. Granted, I think they threw in a bit of Episode V, since I don't recall an asteroid chase or probe droid in A New Hope, but it still looks sweet. The music is nice too.

The Anakin Dynamite one is funny.

Ever have one of those nights?

Well, my old friend, Mr. Insomnia, is back and not ready to leave Casa Del Brocko.

I am actually feeling fine, so the general ooginess that I was feeling earlier in the evening seems to have just been some passing fad. Of course, now I'm sitting here, staring at the wall and wide awake. I don't even have the 'I feel tired, but I can't sleep' thing going on. I'm just awake and that's it. And I didn't even have any Coke or coffee today.


On the bright side, I got my income tax return just now. I guess there are benefits for staying up late. I had a few ideas for what to do with it. I was definately tempted by the shiny PSP's at EB. The idea of upgrading my computer is also not a bad plan. I wouldn't mind a new TV either.

But since my birthday resolution is to try to do the things I always say I'll do, but don't... Since I'm trying this whole 'responsibility' thing out, I think my big plan is to just save the cash.

I've already salted away about half of it into my savings account. Since I've already paid off all of the games that I'm looking forward to for the next few months, I should be all set for now. Maybe I'll be able to get Garrett something nice for his birthday.

Hey, I'm starting to get woogy. Maybe Mr. Sleepenheimer is here, sprinkling magic sleepy dust all over my office. Or it could just be the white noise emitted by my system that's overtaking my brain.


Oh, before I go, tune in next time for some pretty silly TRUE LIFE STORIES that happened to me (or in my vicinity) last week. If nothing else, I'll have to remember to post about the "E for Everybody" lady. Sheesh.
What I'm Reading: The Darkness That Comes Before
What I'm Playing: God of War, WoW
What I'm Watching: My hands type words of their own accord

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I'd better not get sick!

We went out for family pictures today and got some really nice ones both of the 3 of us and of Garrett doing his "HEY! I'M CUTE!" thing. Afterwards we went over to Great Wall Of China and copious amounts of shrimp dumplings were consumed. We didn't end up getting home till late so I ended up skipping Karate tonight, but hopefully I'll be going back tomorrow.

If I'm not sick, that is. Ever since we got home, I've been coughing and I had the worst headache not too long ago. I managed to get through the entire winter with only one or two little icky days... if this is The Death Cold, I'm not happy about it. I did sleep in a lot today and yesterday, so it's not like I'm getting no sleep either... wierd.

What I'm Reading: The Darkness That Comes Before
What I'm Playing: Zelda: The Minish Cap, God of War, The Refresh The Server Status game
What I'm Watching: Spots float in front of my eyes.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


I was reading this little article on Sympatico as I was checking my e-mail from the in-laws and there was a line that said it'd be worth the drive to Acton to get a PSP.

Then I noticed that the second headline for the piece was "The PSP is so popular it might just be worth the drive to Acton?"

Now, I want to know how to get this guy's job. Not only is that sentence horrible (it should be "Is the PSP so popular blah blah blah?" or else it should be ended with a period, not a question mark), if you read the article, he states that the top 5 launch games for the PSP are Games 1, 2, 3 and 4. He doesn't actually list the fifth game, or mention a fifth game anywhere except with regards to the Wayne Gretzky Hockey game that was part of the bundle.

I didn't know about how Loblaws of all places had 10% of the launch systems and Walmart had 20%, leaving the EB pre-orders high & dry. I know I'd be right pissed if I had paid off a system at EB and was told at the last minute that I'd either have to fork over another $50 for the Gretzky bundle or else not get one right away because Loblaws had taken the shipment bound for my EB. Luckily I didn't so I'm not.

This system is evil though. The more I enumerate the reasons why I don't want one and that it would be a good idea to wait or even just let it go by, the more I find myself doing mental calculations as to the amount of trade-ins I'd have to bring to EB to get enough credit for one... Sigh. I COULD get one with my Income Tax refund, but Julie's already ixnayed that idea and that's one of the times I'm not going to push my luck :P


Go see the movie Robots!

We went out last night to see it and it was fantastic. The animation is gorgeous and I really liked the sort of retro feel to the technology (lots of springs and gears and such rather than gleaming chrome and microchips).

I went into it hoping it would look good and dreading that it would be the "FAMILY IS GOOD" preachy-fest that Ice Age was. Boy, was I wrong. It was loaded with probably more pop-culture references than Shrek, but I felt that it actually worked a lot better in this setting than the fantasy setting of Shrek. It was absolutely hilarous right from the beginning. I liked the volume control on the baby robot... that'd be nice to have!

So, go see it. It's worth seeing on the big screen and you'll be laughing a bunch. We enjoyed it, and that's with having the kid behind us narrating half the movie, which is usually a trigger for Tony and his homicidal rages.

Star Wars, Nothing But Star Wars...

Don't ask me why, but I've been on a bit of a Star Wars kick of late.

I just recently finished Republic Commando, which gave me hope for Episode 3. Then this past week I picked up The Clone Wars: Vol. 1 DVD which is a very cool and very stylish version of the events that happen between Episode 2 and Episode 3. I also got the original trilogy box set since it was $10 off the set if I got it with the Clone Wars DVD. Sigh.

Then I got that Darth Vader figure on Thursday and today while I was out and about with Dave, I ended up getting the General Grievous figure based on the Clone Wars Animated series. I really like the animated series figures moreso than the actual movie ones. The Obi Wan looked really sharp, and the others were pretty cool. It's a good thing I locked my debit card away or I'd have a veritable passel of toys to lug home.

I was reading that little blurb about Grievous and it seems that, according to Joe Schmoe who runs the site, that Grievous is actually a reconstructed Darth Maul... hmm... curiouser and curiouser...

What I'm Reading: Artimus Fowl
What I'm Playing: God of War, Internet Backgammon (I'm pretending it's WoW)
What I'm Watching: Robots, Tech TV

Friday, March 25, 2005

I need one of these

I've slept through my alarm the last two days, most likely due to excessive snooze bar mashing.

I need to get one of these clocks that will roll off the table and find a hiding spot every time you hit the snooze bar. That'll get me up.

Speaking of which, I need to get to bed NOW or I'm going to be a zombie in the morning.

Home for Easter

Well, we're heading to Sarnia first thing tomorrow morning till probably first thing Monday morning or possibly late Sunday night.

I've actually got a few things to put up on the blog, but it's after 1am and I have to drive in the morning so I'll just wait till I get to Corunna.

We had a LOT of time to kill tonight between Garrett's 9-month check-up and our small group pot-luck dinner, so we decided to spend half of our gift cards at the mall. I got a couple silly t-shirts from Old Navy but they're too small so I'm going to have to exchange them. I also got a really cool Darth Vader action figure from Revenge Of The Sith. I think I might just leave this guy in the packaging, but only because it's so cool.

Anyway, more to come either tomorrow or Saturday.

Happy Easter!

What I'm Reading: Codex (must finish dull books)
What I'm Playing: God of War, WoW, Not much else.
What I'm Watching: Star Wars: The Clone Wars Vol. 1, The Incredibles Bonus Features

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I JUST finished Cold Fear about 5 minutes ago.

Oh, what promise this game had. Oh, how it squandered it so.

Here's the synopsis of the game. Ah, forget synopsis. It's Resident Evil 4 on a boat.

It's like a bunch of people got together in a room to discuss how they would make their own survival horror game.

"I know!" says the plucky young intern, "Let's just cobble together a bunch of ideas from other popular games and add one neat twist."

"HOORAY FOR THE INTERN!" the rest of the developers shout, "Now go get us coffee!"

Honestly, that's how the game feels. You've got the setting for Metal Gear Solid 2 (Boat? Check. Oil rig? Check.) with the not-zombies from Resident Evil 4 (Pesky parasites that also infect the main characters? Check.) with horrible cutscenes from, oh, any non-AAA title (Characters look like they've been made with plasticene? Check!)

Need I go on?

Oh, I forgot to mention a few of its own special additions. You've got an aiming system that relies more on pure chance than skill and accuracy. You've got no map whatsoever which means you're never 100% sure that you're heading in the right direction.

And you've got the save system from hell which means that there are no set terminals or typewriters or user-controlled save points at all. The game will just pop a "Save Now?" window up when you hit a particular point in the game. Of course, you can't go back to this point and save. NOoooo... You also have NO IDEA WHERE OR WHEN IT WILL APPEAR!!! This means that for some sections it is a relatively short time between saves. Other times, like the very beginning, can take up to 30 minutes before the dialogue box appears. This is why it took me multiple days to get into the game because I'd play for 10 minutes, die, fall asleep and then have to restart the next day. Sigh.

Now, although I am pretty harsh on the game, I have to admit that I still really liked the main gimmick. What's the gimmick? The devs really tried to put a lot of work into making you feel like you're on a boat in the middle of an Arctic blizzard. Say what you will about the gameplay and the lackluster story, the setting is fantastic.

The first half of the game is really neat because the boat is pitching under your feet and when you're on the deck, you can actually be hurt by the waves as they pound into the boat. If you're really unlucky, you might be on deck when a big wave smashes into the boat and the deck goes from horizontal to vertical and you're sent sliding into the ocean... That said, most of those events were rather scripted so that you just had to step on a certain section of deck and it would happen over... and over... and over... But it was still pretty cool the first time.

I was really impressed with the work they put into the little touches like having water slosh around as the boat rocked and such. I just came away from the game feeling like they'd wasted an awesome opportunity to pull off some insane visual tricks and left me just trying to blast the heads off some moldy old Russian zombies. Sigh.

I guess the best thing about this is that I can trade it in tomorrow for a hefty chunk of change (always nice to get more than $30 for your trade-ins) and pick up God of War instead, which is getting some of the best reviews I've ever read, and that's for a game that looked kind of iffy last week before.

OH! One other thing that I saw while watching the credits. There was actually a whole paragraph which essentially said, "This game is rated for adults and assumes that an adult who plays can tell that it's a game and not real and won't do what they just saw happen in the game."

I guess this is to help shield them from any lawsuits in case there's a rash of teens on boats, blasting away at cottagers.
What I'm Reading: Codex
What I'm Playing: Just beat Cold Fear (duh) and I'm getting God of War tomorrow, WoW
What I'm Watching: My joints stiffen up as a result of the evil Karate disease!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sysops of the World, UNITE!

Ok. I have a tech problem here that I need solved, if only to get the guy who continues to pester me week after week about it off my back.

Here it is. I'm not 100% sure what to do, since I NEVER use the My Network Places bit in Windows. I just use my CuteFTP to hook up to whatever I need to upload stuff to.

If anyone can help me out, I'll let you play my Xbox for free :)

"I usually upload my files to our ISP server after creating a "My Network Place" on my computer. I just have to copy and paste the files. But, for some reasons, after my last bout with my computer breakdown, I'm on longer able to create a network place any longer. I have no problem creating a network place on other computers, just my own computer, after having reload the Windows XP professional two weeks ago. I tried many ways, I'm just unable to connect to my server. I even have my son-in-law, whose pretty proficient in computer without any success. I have absolutely no means to upload any files to my server nowadays, I just can't connect to their server and access our folder, not even with FTP. I called my ISP, and they couldn't help me, because they have determined that the problem is with my computer only.

I looked up the Knowledge Base of Microsoft, and I did find something very similar to my situation. It's called "Unable to Add a Web Folder to the My Network Places Folder", and you can look it up at:;en-us;269681."


So, does that make any sense? Let me know what the heck I can tell this guy to do!

What I'm Reading: Codex
What I'm Playing: Cold Fear (gotta love these games that take me all of 3 days to beat)
What I'm Watching: The servers be down on WoW while they finally implement the patch they've been talking about for the last 3 weeks.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Don't let this happen to you.

Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

A lady at 'long term care facility' (not sure if that's a nursing home or palliative care ward) was sent to the morgue while she was sleeping instead of her dead roommate. You'd think they'd check for a pulse or something before loading up the body.




This one would be nice too.

I have been tossing a lot of old shirts and such. I should get one of these to help rebuild my dwindling T-shirt collection in the face of impending summer...


I tell you... Trying to put pants on a baby is like trying to put socks on an octopus. It's not impossible, but you'll get a good workout trying.

What I'm Reading: Codex, Star Wars Tales: Vol. 2
What I'm Playing: WoW, Phantom Dust, Freedom Force, Cold Fear
What I'm Watching: The dirt and grime disappear from our bathrooms and kitchen sink!

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Best Birthday

I just got home from what has probably been one of the better birthdays I've had in a few years. Last year I was beat from working at the camp for the week prior, though I did get to go down and visit Mason at 5 days old, so it wasn't all bad.

This year was perfect though. Not only am I much less stressed what with not having to worry about work stuff these days, it was just a relaxing Saturday. We dropped Garrett off at Julie's cousin Rachael's house and he got to charm a different bunch of folks while Dan, Matt, Julie & I stuffed ourselves at Mongolian Grill.

Mmm... soooo good... I'm still full. We topped it off with a yummy brownie cheesecake from MacMillan's (and we still have two pieces left.. woo!)

Garrett spent some of his hard earned college fund on a nice card and some gummie worms too. They've been put to good use.

So wraps up my 29th spin around the sun (do the math... it's like the Millenium). At least I don't feel as old as James yet... that's a good sign :) Time to finish off the day with a bit of WoW and a snooze. Too bad I have to get up early to work the multimedia stuff at church tomorrow morning :(

Thanks to everyone who posted condolences, er, congratulations below. Much appreciated. I got the funniest e-card from Grant & Suzie as well... Way too goofy.

It's my birthday

You have to like me.

So it is written.

My big plans for the day consist of dropping Julie, er, Garrett off with Julie's cousin for the evening and then Julie and I are heading over to Mongolian Grill for all-you-can-eat yumminess. If anyone wants to join us, we'll be at the one in Cambridge around 5-5:30ish tonight.

Otherwise, I'm planning on taking it even easier than usual for today. I just hope the forecast of sleet and freezing rain doesn't actually occur.

What I'm Reading: Codex
What I'm Playing: WoW, Cold Fear (if I'd stop falling asleep during the first 5 minutes of it every time I try)
What I'm Watching: Not much.

Friday, March 18, 2005

WoW on NPR

There's a neat little piece on World of Warcraft on the NPR website (NPR being the American equivalent of a poorly funded CBC :) The writeup is decent and I like the audio equivalent.

It's not a bad little piece, given that it's aimed at people who think that videogames haven't evolved much past Pac-Man. Just listening to it makes me want to play some more... in fact, I think I just might!

What I'm Reading: Codex
What I'm Playing: WoW, Cold Fear, Phantom Dust
What I'm Watching: What Not To Wear: Worst Dressed Couple In America (I'm glad the bikers got it, but man, they have one ugly family... especially their son!)

Look Ma! More pictures!

This is just such a surreal shot I had to post it. It could almost be some wierd movie poster.

In a world where humanity has been reduced in stature to the size of babies, only one man can save us.

Garrett is a hard-boiled detective, searching for clues to unravel the mystery of his past. His timid cyborg partner, Mason, looks on in horror at what they've uncovered.

In the background is a shadowy figure... Is she friend or foe? Only time will tell.

Coming Spring 2005 to a theatre near you.

 Posted by Hello
I think Connor has been hanging around with his Dad too much. That, or he inherited the Wager Goofy Gene. Poor kid :) Posted by Hello
I wonder... what is so fascinating that neither Garrett nor his Grandma will LOOK DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA?!? Posted by Hello
Here are the three musketeers. I think the chair is in the process of eating Connor while Mason and Garrett look on... one in horror, one in amusment... Posted by Hello
So THAT'S what happened to my old headphones... I knew someone else had been using them.... Posted by Hello
Turns out it wasn't Mushmouth. It was just another U.M.I.T. (underwear model in training). Posted by Hello
This just in. The elusive Mushmouth has been captured in the vicinity of Acton. Please lock your doors. Posted by Hello

New Phones

I picked up a new pair of headphones today since mine had finally died and gone to headphone heaven. The old ones were great, but I've had them for at least 5 years, if not longer. The pleather on the headphones themselves was gone, the head strap thingy was cracked, stiff and twisted beyond recognition and the wires connecting to the computer were frayed from my running over them multiple times. The final straw was finding the plastic on left earphone cracked on Sunday. It felt wierd when I wore them and so I looked closely and saw that the plastic had cracked and was on its way to snapping completely. I duct taped them up, but they were still broken and just felt wierd.

So I picked up a pair of Mirai Open Air headphones at Best Buy today for $39 and they're dreamy.

I'm off to try them out!

13 Things That Don't Make Sense

This is an interesting article about the 13 Things That Don't Make Sense with regards to scientific findings of late.

Please pardon (or applaud) the brevity of this post as I'm trying out the e-mail posting aspect of Blogger what with the online post thing acting rather stupid today. I also apologize for duplicate St. Patty's Day things. Sigh...

This one's just for E-fett

It's a little website I just like to call:

How To Draw Boba Fett

(in 8 easy steps)


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Now go celebrate your Irish heritage by getting drunk.

Found this great recipe for an Irish Car Bomb. Sounds... interesting, to say the least.
Alright, apparently a whole lot of you don't know how to make an Irish Car Bomb. Allow me to enlighten you.

Take a shotglass. Mix about half Jameson Irish Whiskey with about half Bailey's Irish Cream. Layer it in the shotglass so the Bailey's is on the bottom.

Take a pint glass and fill it 3/4 of the way with Guinness. Let the beer settle, and then carefully drop the shotglass into the beer and chug it all like there's no tomorrow. If you don't drink it fast enough, it will curdle and taste worse and worse.

Only attempt this drink if you are of legal drinking age in your country. And drink responsibly!

Best of luck!

I take no responsibility for your actually making this and dying from some Guinness/Baileys explosion a la a high school science fair-style baking soda and vinegar volcano eruption.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Now go get drunk.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

This gives me hope for Episode 3

As I alluded to in my previous post, I finished Star Wars: Republic Commando last night. I really enjoyed the game, although it was insanely short. I finished it in about 8-10 hours tops. I started it on late Friday and played most of Saturday. By that point I was 2/3rds of the way through. I did play a lot of WoW Sunday and Monday evenings which is why I didn't just finish off Republic Commando on Sunday.

Shortness aside, it was a lot of fun. It was a neat take on the Star Wars universe that didn't involve any lightsabers at all. Just lots of down and dirty squad-based fighting. I loved the squad AI and command system too. I've always liked games like Rainbow Six from a distance, as I just get too twitchy when I play them and end up killing my whole squad. Republic Commando had an awesome command interface for directing your squad to do their various duties and the fact that the other 3 members of Delta Squad actually could make decisions for themselves helped reduce frustration.

Pretty much, if you direct them to stand near a bacta tank and they're injured, they'll heal themselves on their own without you telling them too. Same with their various movements during a firefight, etc.

The only thing that was kind of annoying was that if you directed someone to plant a demolition charge or hack a terminal, it wouldn't default to the squad member that actually had specialization in that area. So I'd have my sniper hacking a mainframe while my hacker planted demo charges and my demo guy sniped. It was kind of annoying, but ultimately didn't matter that much.

The game has the coolest helmet cleaner ever. You get rain and blood and goop on your visor and this nifty energy wiper cleans it off. Little touches like that make the game neat.

I'm hoping that Episode 3 actually is going to be as cool as the trailer and the teasers in this game make it look. The game ends with the invasion of Kashyyyk (home of the wookies, for those in the know) by the Republic forces, which looks really cool. That, and Greivous looks neat and I can't wait to see the bodyguard robots in the movie. The game also really makes you hate the Geonosians. Man, I hate them.


This is the most amusing spam I've received in quite some time. Give me prophets of doom over people selling me pharmaceuticals any day.


Our planet earth is under threat of being destroyed by the fast approaching of Hercolubus, also called 'Red Planet'.

Hercolubus is a gigantic planet, several times bigger than Jupiter, whose massive gravitatory power will provoke in earth plenty of terrible earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, etc., which will increase in intensity until they bring humanity to an end.

Those are REAL facts, they are not fictions, they will happen in the short term and are described in detail by V.M. Rabolu in his work 'Hercolubus or Red Planet', where humanity is warned about that next catastrophe and told what to do in order to avoid it.

Yours sincerely,
Ediciones Humanidad

More information:

Free PDF: (on line) (donwnload)

Hee hee. Frankly, if there's a giant planet coming that's bigger than Jupiter, I don't see what we could do to 'avoid the next catastrophe' other than building rockets and zooming off this giant bullseye we call Earth.

What I'm Reading: America: The Book
What I'm Playing: Republic Commando (beat it last night), WoW, not sure what else
What I'm Watching: My resume go off into the ether...

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Ultimate D&D Table

I've been talking with James about how we both want to get back into Pen & Paper gaming (ie. D&D) and I came across this on slashdot.

It's (in my mind at least) the ultimate D&D setup. You use a ceiling mounted projector to show your maps on the table and remove layers and such from a photoshopped map as you play. It's pretty cool.

Hmm... I have a pool table downstairs already... I just need to clean it up and get some friends over to play...

The Littlest Birds

I have a whole post I'm working on that details the secret lives of people who are home during the day based solely on the commercials that incessantly air during the day.

However, this is not that post, though it does have something to do with commercials.

Zellers has a new ad for spring stuff and there's a really catchy tune that plays through it. Garrett loves it and gets a big smile whenever it comes on the TV.

Anyway, I was listening to it for the 80th time today and I thought to myself, "Self, that sounds like a really familiar tune. I think the artists are Canadian... but who!?"

Thankfully I have l33t G00g13 sk1llz, so I was able to find out that it's none other than The Be Good Tanyas and the song "The Littlest Birds". I love it.

I just thought I'd point that out in case anyone out there has seen the commercial and liked the tune.

All I want for my birthday is...

A gold and diamond encrusted PSP.

Go forth and make it happen, my peons!

Now I really want to see this anime

This is cool.

Some people with too much time on their hands sat down and redid the opening sequence of Full Metal Alchemist using graphics from FFXI. I should track down that series and give it a watch. I like the concept from what I've read of it.

I Don't Heart Brampton

Due to it being really sunny out today, Garrett & I went and did some errands for most of the day. We went down to Georgetown and dropped off ol' Blurry the monitor off at the Wastewise recycling center (good riddance) and then headed into Brampton to pick up The Incredibles at Future Shop.

Man, I hate Brampton. I don't want to go back there until June, if then. I used to not mind Brampton, but after today it reminded me of all the things I hate about the sprawl surrounding Toronto and reinforced the fact that I haven't really had to deal with it since I went on leave. It's not as bad as Kitchener, but still...

On the upside, I got a cheque from Ipsos-Reid the other day for $15 for doing surveys and was able to cash that and use my remaining gift card and get a new kettle for our place from Canadian Tire. Yay! No mystery buildup in my tea. Unfortuately, I got distracted by my kettle purchase and forgot to look for some new headphones, what with mine having been broken a day or two ago. Ah well. Duct tape should hold for another day or so.

Oh, since I got The Incredibles today it was only $21 and came in a funky metal tin. Woo!

Garrett was wowing the ladies with his funky new sunglasses that are still a shade (pun intended) too large and kept sliding down into his mouth. Ah well.

What I'm Reading: America: The Book
What I'm Playing: WoW (Level 20!), Republic Commando
What I'm Watching: 24, What The Bleep Do We Know?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Baby-Proofing 101

Garrett taught us today that our house needs a bit of work in the baby-proofing department.

We had a nice little wooden tray on our end table in the living room that had our candy dishes, mug with pens, etc on it.

Notice the operative word 'had' in that sentence.

Garrett was cruising along (I just found out that that's the correct term for his style of locomotion) and in the split second when we weren't looking, *CRASH*.

Down came everything. The worst part was that the candy dish was full of cinnamon hearts and cinnamon balls that went EVERYWHERE.

At least we had an incentive to vacuum.

Garrett somehow didn't have anything land on him aside from some Christmas cards. He was more surprised than anything.

Our end table is really tidy now :)

What I'm Reading: America: The Book
What I'm Playing: Xenosaga 2, WoW, Republic Commando
What I'm Watching: Saved

Sunday, March 13, 2005

An interesting read

This is an interesting article from the latest GDC which is pretty much a lot of the big game developers sitting around on a panel griping about the state of the industry.

I myself am wondering what the game industry will look like in a few years if the current EA-ization continues apace. Nobody wants to take risks with games anymore. Why do you think Katamari Damacy was such a hit? It was a breath of fresh air in a sea of Halo clones and GTA wanna-bes. Sigh.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A few pictures from the birthday party

Mason didn't realize that his dad was a demolitions expert until he tried to eat his cake... AND IT EXPLODED! Posted by Hello
Here's an old-timey picture of Garrett the Leaf Fan. Posted by Hello
This was a cool cake for Mason. The best part was that the dinos did the Godzilla roar when you fiddled with them. At least, they did till Grant washed them... Posted by Hello
I dare someone to tell me these two don't look alike. Posted by Hello

A couple pictures for tonight.

Garrett's getting pretty good at the standing and walking thing. I'll be calling him Rory Calhoun soon. Posted by Hello

And if you're wondering why I called him Rory Calhoun, it's a Simpsons reference.

Burns: There you are...there you go, little fellow...and you.
[one of the puppies stands on its hind legs]
[gasps] Smithers, look: he's standing up. I've never seen
anything so adorable! Do you know who it reminds me of?
Smithers: Benji?
Burns: No.
Smithers: Lassie?
Burns: No, no, no, a person. You know who I mean.
Smithers: Snoop Doggy Dogg? Bob Barker? David Brenner?
Burns: No, no! The person who's always standing and walking.
Smithers: Rory Calhoun?
Burns: That's it!

Monty picks up the obedient dog: "You stay with me; you're the pick of
the litter."
If in doubt, give your baby Coke. Posted by Hello

Must Review More Books

There's an interesting column over on Dave's Help Desk about how to become a Featured Amazon Reviewer. It also delves into WHY someone would want to become a Featured Amazon Reviewer.

Hint: It involves getting free books :)

Speaking of books, I finally finished Grass For His Pillow. It's a good book, but a little dry, hence my easy distractablility. I'm reading America: The Book now and it's hilarious. A perfect antidote to a sombre tale set in feudal Japan.

What I'm Reading: America: The Book
What I'm Playing: Republic Commando, FFvs3R, WoW
What I'm Watching: Saved, The Yummy Revenge Of The Sith Trailer (this Star Wars might actually be good!)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Jak 2 & 3: The Games That Almost Got Away

I just finished Jak 3 mere minutes ago and so here's my review/commentary on both Jak 2 and 3.

Jak 2

First a bit of backstory on my history with this game. I'd played the first Jak & Daxter game and it was a fun little platformer but nothing special. Jak 2 came out and after reading this scathing review on Gamespy, I had no real urge to play it.

Fast forward about a year and with a special deal at Best Buy, I was able to get Jak 2 for $9, so I figured I'd give it a try. That try resulted in about 5 minutes of play and my sworn oath never to touch the game again. The controls were loose at best, the city hub was a nightmare to navigate in and the vehicles made shopping carts look like F1 racers. Not only that, I then started to play Sly 2 which is like the platform game designed by God Himself, which further emphasized how crappy the controls in Jak 2 were.

So I traded the game in and got $20 and actually made a profit, so I was happy.

Jak 3 came out and while the commercials were interesting, I remembered how much I disliked Jak 2 and dismissed Jak 3 out of hand.

Now when the end of year awards were being handed out by various websites, I started to notice a few of them commenting on how much they liked Jak 3 and how they loved Jak 2. These were from a few sites whose opinions I tend to respect so I decided that maybe I was too quick to judge Jak 2. I picked it up with Jak 3 for about $50 for the both of them, which was a great deal.

So a couple weeks ago I decided to sit down and actually work on Jak 2 & 3 and boy, am I glad I did.

Jak 2 is at once one of the most fun and most infuriating games I've played in some time. There is a streak of humour which runs through the admittedly darker tone of the game that makes getting to each new cutscene a real incentive.

Unfortunately, the controls were still somewhat sloppy, but after spending a bit of time with them, I got used to them and was not cursing the TV quite so loudly.

Here's the thing with Jak 2. It's my definition of what a game based solely on pattern recognition is. It's almost impossible to get through any mission on the 3rd attempt, let alone the first. Add to that the fact that most missions had no mid-point restart spot and you're looking at elevated blood pressure and air blue with curses during some of the latter stages of the game.

Oh, and did I mention the compulsory race sequences using those shopping cart vehicles? ARG!

But after 8 attempts, you get the pattern of a mission down and can usually blow through them with no problem. And you want to, because the cutscenes are all incredible to look at and funny to watch.

So I slogged through Jak 2 and actually finished it, not realizing that I'd accomplished something up there with beating Ninja Gaiden. I just thought I'd had a hard time, but it turns out that it's actually one of those games you use as a definition of a punishingly difficult game.

So, with Jak 2 under my belt, I started in on

Jak 3

Now this game rocked. Gone were the compulsory shopping cart races. Gone was the maddening city hub. Gone were the 8 attempts to beat the simplest of missions. I was able to finish Jak 3 in about 14 hours, as opposed to the 20+ that Jak 2 took me. I realize now that Jak 2 probably would have clocked in at around 14 hours but I must have spent a good 6 hours just redoing each mission. Sigh.

Jak 3 is a lot more forgiving than Jak 2. The graphics are even better and the variety of environments and missions made it zip along a lot quicker when playing. I never really felt like I was just treading water, like I did with Jak 2 at times.

Starting Jak 3 seconds after finishing Jak 2 probably helped too, since my Jak skills were still fresh.

Add to that the fact that there are some great weapons, new moves, smart puzzles that aren't just pattern based and a lot more mid-mission restart points and it's not hard to see why I enjoyed this game more. Also, most of the characters had been established in Jak 2 so I was able to enjoy a meatier story with even more hilarity mixed in with its end of the world scenario.

The story for both Jak 2 & 3 was a lot of fun to watch unfold, even if you could see what the major plot twists were from about a mile away. It was told with such style and wit that I just really enjoyed it.

So I guess I'm glad I took a second crack at the games. Sure, they take a bit of time to get used to the controls but once you have them down, you're set. I think the two games are actually incredibly fun and are going to live in my permanent collection now.

And the best thing was that they were short. I'm so used to RPG's so having two games I could finish off in the course two weeks is refreshing.

Now to go play some Brothers In Arms or Republic Commando.

If you made it this far, I salute you. I mostly wrote this little blurb for me, so I could remember when I finished the game and also because these games had such a weird history for me. It'd be one thing if I'd been a huge fan of them and loved them. It's the fact that I went from hating them to absolutely loving them that really inspired me to blather on.

I promise it won't happen... till the next game.

Now to see if Blogger will eat this!

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow (30 pages left! WHY WON'T IT END!?!)
What I'm Playing: Jak 3 (duh), Freedom Force 2, WoW, Republic Commando
What I'm Watching: The OC for the Star Wars 3 trailer that DIDN'T AIR ON CTV.

That was fun.

Garrett hasn't been sleeping well this past week and last night took the cake. He woke up no less than 3 times, screaming his fool head off and being rather inconsolable.

I think he's going through a growth spurt or something. He has actually been in a great mood all day today, which is a nice change, but Julie & I are zombies today.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Stupid Blogger

Grr... I had a post up this morning but I think Blogger ate it. Here's a general wrap-up of the posts eaten by Blogger today.

I just got word today that my grandpa is in the hospital under observation for chest pains. Any and all prayers would be greatly appreciated.

I was apologizing earlier for not updating for the last couple days because I was still recovering from my karate lesson on Tuesday. I'm actually very glad I couldn't go on Wednesday because I was still sore today. Thankfully I'm pretty much mended now so I'll be ready for next week. *shudder*

Garrett has been getting up at 6:30 or so each morning this week. For some reason I'm falling asleep while playing World of Warcraft each night at midnight. I wonder if the two phenomena are related...

Garrett has also been falling asleep either sitting up or standing up in his crib. It's funny because he really wants to stand/sit... only problem is that he keeps bonking his head when he nods off and gravity takes over.

Pictures from the weekend have been uploaded to my computer and should make their way to the internet by sometime mid-solstice. Hopefully tomorrow.

I'm trying to finish the book, "Grass For His Pillow" as you may have noticed from my little 'What I'm Reading' bits. I have read about 8 graphic novels since I started the book and I'm THIS close to finishing it... I just haven't spent as much time reading this week as I'd like. At least, not reading novels.


Just got Freedom Force vs. The 3rd Reich. Should be a hoot to play.

90% done Jak 3. I'm going to go see if I can knock off the last 10% right now. I'll post a double review/summation of Jak 2 & 3 once I get Jak 3 finished.

World of Warcraft is still a hoot to play, 1 month in. It's awesome to solo and hooking up with Tony to go hunting with our warlocks is a lot of fun.

I think that's about it. I'm going to go beat Jak 3 now.
What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow (50 freakin' pages left!)
What I'm Playing: Jak 3, FFvsT3R, WoW
What I'm Watching: Blogger eat yet another post

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Just in time for my birthday

Ok. I am calling all anime buffs to join me in seeing Steamboy on my birthday or shortly thereafter. It opens on March 18 and hopefully will be showing somewhere in Toronto, if not on a wider release. I've been looking forward to this film since I saw the trailer on my Metropolis DVD. Mmm...

I expect no less than Yvette, Noel and James to be in attendance. Anyone else who can make it should as well :)

A REALLY Cold Case File

This is neat.

They've done a CT scan of King Tut's mummy and determined that he likely was not murdered, but instead died of infection caused by a broken leg. It's not definitive, but they seem pretty sure of it.

Speaking of colds, whatever I had on the weekend was gone by yesterday morning. Seems that Suzie has something somewhat similar to what I had, but with more severe symptoms. Ah well. Hopefully it was just a 24 hour bug that was going around.

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow, Ultimate Spiderman V. 1 & 2, I Never Liked You
What I'm Playing: Jak3, WoW, LoZ: The Minish Cap
What I'm Watching: Dawn Of The Dead (2004 Remake), Collateral

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Kill Me Now!

So yesterday we drove down to visit Grant and Suzie for Mason's birthday party and about halfway there (coincidentally after my second coffee) I started to feel really sick. I have been feeling ill ever since then and the 3 hour car ride each way hasn't helped. Thankfully the blizzard that greeted us when we got up today at Grant's place was more or less over by the time we finished breakfast and were on the highway home.

I still feel like crap though. I thought maybe it was just that Kingston had a physiological effect on me much like Kitchener does, as I was feeling pretty good by the time we were back in Toronto. Alas, I've got the cold sweats and general queasiness again now that we're home. Bleh.

We did have a good time, illness aside. The babies had a lot of fun, we got to watch some slides of myself and Dave as a baby (and they weren't on Powerpoint!) and Grant & I had a good long chat about the nature of good and evil and binge drinking and Benny Hinn late into the night :)

I'm going to go curl up on the couch and play some Jak 3 or something and try not to die.

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow, instructions on the side of the Pepto bottle
What I'm Playing: WoW, Let's Not Throw Up, Jak 3
What I'm Watching: My life flash before my eyes.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Does anyone really care?

I beat Jak 2 last night at around 1:30am. Woo! I'll write up a little blurb about the game when we get back from Mason's birthday party. Woo!

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow
What I'm Playing: Minish Cap, Jak 3
What I'm Watching: The miles go by on the 401.

Friday, March 04, 2005


I command anyone who enjoys cool CGI cinematics to go here and download the opening movie for World Of Warcraft. It's absolutely gorgeous and now you don't have to hire your own private treasure hunter to find a copy of the game in order to enjoy it!

I'm attacking the darkness!

I'm sure most of you will have seen the version of the D&D skit by The Dead Alewives that used the characters from Summoner and Red Faction. This is the 8-Bit Theatre version. It's still pretty funny and this version has the opening and closing bits of the skit that aren't on the Summoner version.

Beat It!

On a less wonkish note, here's a cool little music beat game you can play on your browser using Flash.


Kind of fitting that it's actually by the same guys who do GTA and Manhunt, both whipping boys of the insane nut of the post below this one.

Here we go again...

Just when you thought it was safe to play videogames, along comes another nut proclaiming them to be little more than murder simulators.

It's actually an interesting read because they're letting a few gamers who happen to be prominent web cartoonists respond and rebut the claims of this nut job. The link to a point by point breakdown of the crazy man's ramblings is pretty interesting too.

I personally loved this little exchange which shows how truly screwed up this guy's logic is (and that he's just trying to twist any question to his little script of wonky answers).

Q:Does age or sex play a factor in violent, aggressive behavior?

A:Sure, the sex and violence centers of the brain overlay one another, which is why the increasing mix of sex and violence is troubling.


What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow, crazy stuff on the internet
What I'm Playing: Jak 2 (almost finished), WoW
What I'm Watching: Just finished Angel, nothing on TV since our cable's been going on and off all day.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Wolfram & Spig

I picked up Season 5 of Angel yesterday, marking the finale of my Buffyverse collection, aside from owning the original Buffy movie.

Anyway, this last season of Angel is amazing and easily my favourite season of all the Buffyverse. I mean, I watched almost the whole thing in one day. That's gotta say something :) I'm on disc 5 of 6 and I've only had it home since around 1pm yesterday.

I think the biggest thing this season has going for it as opposed to all of the other Buffy and Angel seasons is that I knew nothing about it. I made a point of not watching Season 5 on TV at all, so as not to spoil it when I got the DVD set. This means I actually don't know what will happen at the end, which has made it much more interesting.

That, and the episode "Smile Time" is one of my favourite episodes ever. Best werewolf vs. vampire fight ever.

It's yet another thing that I've been reading/watching that deals with the nature of Good and Evil and the lovely little grey area inbetween. More importantly, it deals with the concepts of when doing good causes more harm than allowing evil to continue, and whether the good should still be done regardless. It's interesting, to say the least.

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow
What I'm Playing: WoW, Jak 2 (stupid racing missions suck)
What I'm Watching: Angel Season 5, Garrett climbing up everywhere he can reach.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Take that, Fluffy!

There's a new webcomic that's been up for the last, oh, 2-3 weeks now that I have come to really enjoy.

It's called The Pet Professional. And no, it's not about vets. It's the ongoing saga of a hitman with very special targets. I really like the artwork and it's amusing to see how he's going to dispatch the latest pet each week :)

If you've ever been a cat owner, you can probably sympathize with this comic.

Yeah, I'm a sicko. I'm going to stick a link up on my sidebar in a week or so as long as the comic keeps updating. You never know about these new webcomics...

Now this takes guts

A family in Japan is suing the Yakuza for accidentally gunning down their son during a gang war. This would be like suing the mafia over here. It's interesting to see that someone is trying to go after organized crime through litigation, but you've also got to wonder if they've got a bit of a death wish.

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow
What I'm Playing: WoW, Jak 2
What I'm Watching: Angel: Season 5

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


I just checked my webstats and Oceans 12 is FINALLY off the list of keywords that have led to my site. Sheesh. Only took about 3 months.

You know you've been to the library a little too often when...

You can take books out without having to take your library card out of your wallet.


I went in tonight to get some books that I had on hold and I wasn't even up the stairs to the check-out desk when the librarian said, "Ah, we were wondering if you'd be in since we just called you."

That's fine. I like the librarians here in Acton. The creepy part was that she scanned the books I was getting out and handed them to me without my having to show her my library card. Well, it wasn't that creepy. They probably had my ID number on the hold slip so she just punched that in.

What confirmed that I've been to the library a wee bit too often is that when I went off, found another book and came back, she just scanned it in and handed it to me without my even having to get my card out. And it's not like it was on my previous check-out screen. At least one or two families checked books out between my check-outs.

The fact that they know my name and absolutely LOVE Garrett is a good thing. However, it's sad when your social circle in town consists of the staff at the local Subway restaurant, the lady who sells peameal bacon and eggs on a bun at the Trunk Sale and the entire library staff.

I could kill a man using only my pinky and a jar of Nutella

Today I took the first step to balancing out my World of Warcraft addiction with something helpful. I went to my first Karate class. Well, it was more of an orientation thing tonight. I called into one of the two local dojos last week when I got a flyer in the mail and it turns out I got myself a free month of training.

I've wanted to go out for Karate lessons since we moved here but I've never had weekday evenings free, so I'm going to take advantage of my free month and see how it goes. It's interesting how it's a lot like CPI mixed with my old swim team warm-up routine. Granted, I just got a few very basic training exercises to work on for the week, but when I go in next week I'll either be in a lot more pain or maybe a bit more limber.

The Sensei (I know that's not his real title... it's Sanshan or something like that) is also an Army officer. He's not very tall, but man, he's fast and not someone I want to get mad :)

Now to get my Eyetoy hooked back up and do my Groove training too.

What I'm Reading: Grass For His Pillow, The Ultimate series of Marvel graphic novels
What I'm Playing: WoW, Jak 2
What I'm Watching: The bubbles in my cappucino pop.

It's about time I put up some screenshots from WoW.

I make no apologies about this just being some screenshots from a game. Just wait be thankful I haven't written a big long ode to World of Warcraft... Yet :)

Anyway, on with the shots!

I love this shot. It really shows off the detail and art style of WoW. That, and it looks like a giant stone dwarf is about to smash lil ol' Guboo into paste. Posted by Hello
Here's the deady duo of Guboo the gnome and Malfuran the Night Elf, better known as Brock & Tony. Posted by Hello
Anyone up for some underwater mining? Yes, you CAN collect ore from the bottom of a lake. Ask me how! Posted by Hello
Beware the Undead Spig of DOOM! And come visit me here at Castle Greyskull. Posted by Hello