Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Zzzzz... Wha? It's done?!

As the guy on Evil Avatar said, "HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP! IT'S FINALLY DONE!"

Yes friends and friendettes, George R.R. "I take 9 years to write a book" Martin has finally finished the next book in what is probably my favourite fantasy series, A Song Of Ice & Fire.

Well, sort of.

Seems that Martin has exceeded the mammoth A Storm of Swords novel and churned out at least 1600 pages, by his estimation, for A Feast For Crows. So rather than "printing in microtype on onion skin paper and giving each reader a magnifying glass", he's split the book into two novels. A Feast For Crows will focus on the goings-on in Westeros and surrounding area, while A Dance With Dragons will take place mostly in the North and East.

At least this means that A Dance With Dragons is already halfway done and he's also said on his website that he figures the series will take about 7 books to finish. I think I asked him several years ago at a book signing if it was a trilogy or not and he said it would be 7 books (or was it 5?) so he's not too far off.

I like his suggestion. "And if there are those who don't agree, and still want their Big FEAST with all the trimmings set out on one huge table... well, there's an easy fix. Get both books, razor the pages out with an Exacto knife, interleave the chapters as you think best, and bring the towering stack of text that results to your favorite bookbinder... and presto, chango the Big FEAST will live again."

Now I need to go reread A Game Of Thrones and the other two books. I just got my local librarian to start reading the series, so hopefully she'll like it.
What I'm Reading: Hex & The City, Many a D&D campaign sourcebook
What I'm Playing: Guild Wars, The Suffering, Baten Kaitos
What I'm Watching: Miller's Crossing, Doctor Who, not much else (hooray for the end of the TV season!)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Did I just finish the final Thief game?

I just beat Thief 3 (aka Deadly Shadows) and it was great. I did play it in fits and starts over the last, oh, year, but whenever I'd sit down to seriously play it I was sucked in. Just like the previous Thief games, this one oozes atmosphere in a way that other games wish they could. Not only that, it essentially ties the three games in the series to a nice conclusion and sets up a new chapter for a new thief, should they decide to make any more.

Sadly, Ion Storm is out of business, Looking Glass Studios is out of business and I highly doubt that Eidos will bother letting the remnants of either studio make another Thief game anytime soon, given that this one didn't sell that well. Sigh.

I did have some problems with the game, but they were almost all either technical issues or just annoyances with the game due to the changes from the previous two. Technically, the game looked rather mediocre until I put the miscellaneous fan-made hi-rez skins on it. Then it looked great. The other problem is that they used the Deus Ex 2 engine which has got to be the worst game engine ever designed in recent memory. When I can run Half Life 2 on my machine with nary a hiccup, yet this much darker, much less impressive (graphically) game causes my computer to chug, well, that's some sloppy coding. It's not as bad as Deus Ex 2, so the fact it ran on my machine was nice.

I also had issue with a lot of the changes they did due to the game being designed with the Xbox in mind. The load times were horrendous and that wouldn't have been a problem except that there were some instances where I was wandering from section to section in the hub level of The City and having to load each section as I went back and forth. THAT got really annoying. And when I say long load times, I mean load times of almost a minute, and that's the quick load!

That said, the quibbles I had with the game were more than handily overcome by the sheer quality of the story, the atmosphere and the fun of blackjacking many an unsuspecting guard in the back of the head while robbing places blind and triggering the end of the world in the process. That, and the game is downright creepy. Shalebridge Cradle is probably one of the scariest levels I've ever played, and that's saying something.

Anyway, I'm glad to get it out of the way and now I have 2.5 extra gigs of space on my harddrive! Woo!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

I've got friends in close places

This has been an interesting weekend. First off, the 9 straight days of torrential rains that I was eagerly awaiting since I rushed to finish my gardening on Thursday have yet to occur. We did get some thunder and lighting and a wee bit of rain today, but that's it. Sigh.

Secondly, I had not one, but two visits from far-flung friends this weekend. Not only that, but both sets are going to be not-so-far-flung in the near future.

The inimitable Doug of Doug & Jenn stopped by yesterday for an evening of playing Burnout 3, eating Snickers Cake and watching most of the first season of Corner Gas, which he had initially compared to Train 48 *spit*. Thankfully Doug changed his tune after he actually watched an episode of Corner Gas and proceeded to chuckle through another 4-5 eps till he had to go home. I guess that it's my new job to keep Doug company till they get their new house and Jenn can take over again :) I'll just demand payment in yummy cakes.

Today the tag-team duo of Yvette & Noel actually managed to synch their fly-by of Acton and find us at home. We had fun watching Garrett do Garretty type stuff for a chunk of the afternoon and then they got the call they'd been waiting for all afternoon. They're moving out my way! Woo!

We went out to Andy's Restaurant for supper and had a celebratory meal. From the sounds of things, you can hunt salamanders while riding wild coyotes through a river at their new place. I can't wait till they move in!

So it seems that soon everyone I know will eventually end up within a 30 minute drive from Acton. I can actually start cleaning off my pool table and setting up a D&D table in the basement :) Let the geekery begin.
What I'm Reading: Hex & The City
What I'm Playing: Thief 3 (almost done!), The Suffering
What I'm Watching: Nothing. Absolutely nothing!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Sad, but true

This Dilbert comic is just too close to real life to be funny. But it is funny anyway. I need a nap.


Friday, May 27, 2005

Coolest News of the Day

I was watching Daily Planet tonight and they said something about taking a helicopter flight to the top of the world.

I thought to myself, "Well, they can't mean Everest. Choppers can't get anywhere near the summit."

Then lo and behold, there's footage of a helicopter setting down and taking off from the summit of Everest!

I've got a kind of obsession with all things Everestian for some strange reason, so for me this was a really cool news story.

Of course, halfway through the story I had to go help Julie-The-Sick pin down Garrett-The-Wiggly since her sinus infection has weakened her to such a state that she couldn't hold him still to put his diaper on. Still, it was a neat story.

Speaking of mountaineering, Garrett has mastered the art of climbing down stairs. He spent almost all day today either going up and down our stairs or going up and down the stairs on the plastic elephant slide at the Early Years Centre. I was getting tired just watching him. He, on the other hand, was laughing his fool head off all day. The upside of this is that he was almost unconcious in his highchair just before 8pm :)

I'm smarter than you are.

Ken Jennings is visiting Milton next week to hawk some of his Quizzology CD-Rom games at the new Q store just south of the 401.

I guess his punishment for not winning the Ultimate Tournament Of Champions is to have to visit Milton. Poor guy.

We might go see him and get Garrett autographed. We'll see.

What I'm Reading: Hex & The City
What I'm Playing: Beat Tales of Symphonia, Guild Wars, The Suffering
What I'm Watching: Garrett climb up and down the stairs about 800 times today.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Lost Musings

This is neat.

There is a website for Oceanic Airlines, the doomed airline is the lynchpin to the whole mess on Lost.

On the website there are all sorts of hidden clues, etc. scattered about.

For instance, there are not one, but two messages hidden in the source code (you can also see the edge of one sticking out behind the ticket info graphic on the homepage).

"If anyone should find this message, please get word to Sandra Rafflethorpe of Palm Avenue in Lewiston, Idaho that her sister, Sally is alive and stranded on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. Please send help soon. Things are bad. And they're getting worse..."

"Robert D. West, of Santa Barbara, California, USA survived a horrific plane crash and is stranded on an island somewhere Northeast of Australia and Southwest of Hawaii. In the event that I am never found, please forward word of my fate to parents, Mr. and Mrs. John West, of Tucson Arizona. Thank you."

Also, as someone on the ABC message board pointed out, there is an interesting bit of information with regards to the flight itself.

"On the home page is a message from the "president" of Oceanic Airlines in which he mentions a "tragedy" with Flight 815 that has put the airline out of business. Note that he does not say "crash". Others have noted that it is unlikely that a single crash would put an airline out of business. So what kind of "tragedy" would?

At the top, click on the link for "Track Flight" and on the page that opens, type in 815 into the Flight Tracker search box. The page that follows shows something very interesting. Flight 815 is shown as leaving Sydney at 14:04 (4 minutes late because of Hurley). Note that instead of "Landed", like the other flights, it says "Alert". BUT over in the columns for Arrival, it shows an ACTUAL ARRIVAL TIME of 03:23, only 7 minutes later than scheduled. The plane actually arrived in Los Angeles! It did not crash! So what was the "tragedy"? What was the situation when the plane arrived? Were all the people we see on the island not aboard, and the airline can't explain what happened to them? Maybe the plane arrived and no one was aboard! I don't know, but I am thinking this may be a BIG CLUE!"

There's also a seating chart for flight 815 that you can fiddle around with to unlock pictures of the cast as well as the Season 2 teaser. There's a how-to write-up here.

Just thought the rest of you Lostophiles would get a kick out of the possible questions and such that the easter eggs on the site hint at. Oh, and in the President's Message on the homepage there's a little grey line. It's actually a graphic with a missing page of the finale script. Neat.

What I'm Reading: Hex and the City
What I'm Playing: Guild Wars, Tales of Symphonia, Thief 3, Get Garrett To Go To Sleep
What I'm Watching: The Future Is Wild, My Garden Grow

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ah, Sweet Sweet Bittorrent

I haven't done a lot of bittorrent downloading since I went on my leave, even less since all of the decent sites for anything from music to movies to TV shows went down. Granted, a lot of that is because I actually have the time to watch my TV shows and go out to movies now.

That said, I'm really happy to see that the guys behind Bittorrent have started up the Bittorrent Search Engine. It's crazy fast and hopefully won't be shut down in the next week.


Lost: The End

The season finale of Lost was awesome.

It answered a lot of outstanding questions from the season but man, did it ever raise more. Not only that, we now have at least one less castaway, possibly more, the youngin's aren't safe and we STILL haven't seen either what's in the hatch or what Lostzilla is.

I'm starting to think that Lostzilla is an invisible, mechanical squid that is actually into gardening. That explains all the uprooted trees.

Hurley was outstanding tonight, as usual.

I don't want to have to wait till next fall. They'd better start this early!

The one thing I am wondering is what the "SPECIAL LOST LOST FOOTAGE" is that they're going to show on Good Morning America tomorrow. I'm assuming it's not anything terribly critical to the plot or else they wouldn't leave it on the cutting room floor. If it is, well, that's what the internet is for.

Just call me the Boy In The Bubble v2.0

It's always great when you go to the doctor and he takes one look in your ear and says, "WOAH! Now that IS infected!"

Yes, I somehow have contracted a malady whose victims tend to range in age from 0-18 months. Sigh. Thankfully I got in to see the doctor today as the infection hasn't spread too far into my brain cavity. Of course, now I have to use ear drops for the next 5 days or else they'll have to quarantine me.

Ah well. What can you do? Use ear drops, I guess...
Oh no! Connor has bite-activated his Thumb Of Doom and caused everyone's eyes to glow red. This also made Garrett go flying in the other direction. Poor fella. Posted by Hello
Garrett is trying out his wire-fu flying kick on the unsuspecting Connor. Who will prevail!? Posted by Hello

Over the barrel in a falls

Today we took a road trip down to Niagara Falls with Garrett. It was the perfect day for taking in one of the natural wonders of the world and watching people plunge to their deaths. Alas, the latter part of our visit to the Falls didn't happen, but maybe next time!

Garrett seems to have a real love for water and water related things, so the Falls seemed like the perfect place to take him now that he's big enough to appreciate things. He seemed to like looking at the water going over the falls, but I think that the noise of the falls, the crowds of people and the ever-present mist overloaded him. He spent a lot of the morning just looking around at people and the falls and had a really wierd look on his face. He wasn't happy, but he wasn't sad or upset. It was that look he gets on his face when he's trying to figure things out.

Ah, the scientist in me loves seeing that look :)

He did really like the gears and bubbling water in the Hershey Store. Of course, he also liked flirting with the girls at the checkout counter too. That guy...

We didn't do the Clifton Hill stuff (aside from the Hershey Store) because a) it's expensive and b) Garrett's way too young to enjoy the wax museums and such. Hopefully in a couple of years we can go back and just go the full-bore tourist route and have a lot of fun that way. Not right now though.

Unfortunately, Julie, Garrett and I are all sick to some degree. Julie's still fighting her sinus cold, Garrett had a runny nose and I've got some weird ear infection that is making the side of my face feel kind of numb around my ear. I'm going to the doctor tonight to see if I need a facectomy, but hopefully I'll just need some antibiotics or laser ear surgery and I'll be right as rain.

We still had a great day though, maladies and all. The weather was perfect and the Falls are always nice to visit when the tourists haven't completely overwhelmed them.
We took this picture down by the Whirlpool Rapids overlook. I think by this time Garrett was running on sugar from the Timbit we gave him at lunch time, as he hadn't slept since about 8 or so in the morning. I don't like this picture because I look evil. Posted by Hello
We couldn't pass up a trip to the Hershey Store over in the Clifton Hill (aka Tourist Trap) area of Niagara Falls. Garrett made lots of friends with the girls behind the fudge counter. Posted by Hello
Of course, nothing could stop Garrett from hording all the food and eating half of my tuna sandwich while we had our picnic. Posted by Hello
We had our first real picnic after we'd gone for a walk up and down the river. I'm not sure if it was a lack of sleep, the noise of the falls or being somewhere weird, but Garrett had a really wierd look on his face most of the day. Posted by Hello
This was taken quite a ways downstream from the Falls (duh). We actually walked all the way from Table Rock to Clifton Hill and then some. I haven't wandered that far downstream in any of the times I've been to the Falls in recent memory. Posted by Hello
I told you it was misty near the falls... Posted by Hello
Garrett seemed to like it a litte more when we got away from the crowds and the spray at the Horseshoe Falls. Posted by Hello
This was just an awesome shot of the American Falls. It was a gorgeous day down in the Niagara region. Posted by Hello
It was not the best day for taking pictures right at the edge of the Horseshoe Falls. The wind was blowing right back at us and that meant that it was really misty near the lip of the Falls. Posted by Hello

Ultimate Spiggy Man

I heard a bit about the upcoming Ultimate Spiderman game around the time of E3 but hadn't checked it out till now.

Oh man!

The various Ultimate graphic novels have been among the many titles I've read while I've been on leave. The art style for Ultimate Spiderman, especially, is excellent. I also like how all of the books have essentially rebuilt their respective franchises in a modern setting. Some of the storylines are the same as the canon, but a lot of the details have changed (and in the case of Ultimate X-Men, a LOT is different).

That said, check out the website for the Ultimate Spiderman game and watch the trailer. The graphics look awesome. It's this kind of advanced cel-shading technology that really works as a translation of comic book to moving image. I'm a sucker for cel-shading though, so just seeing it done this well and in this setting makes me happy.

Time to go read the Louis Riel graphic novel. Who knew Canadian history was so interesting? And that Sir John A. had such a big nose.

What I'm Reading: Darkness That Comes Before, Louis Riel: The Graphic Novel
What I'm Playing: Tales of Symphonia, Guild Wars, Thief 3
What I'm Watching: The Future Is Wild, the Lost season finale (I hope)

Monday, May 23, 2005

A fun new game!

I saw this on Evil Avatar and thought that they said it better than I could. I'll say something anyway.

Bunch of dorks... I don't mind restricting the selling of games to minors, so long as adults can still buy them. Imagine if they made it so that the only movies that could be made were rated PG or G? The uproar would be insane. I think it's the blanket statement below that games are neither art nor media (which in itself is a stupid statement, as the senator obviously doesn't understand the definition of media) and are only sims that bugs me the most. What kind of sim is a Pac-Man game? Is Donkey Kong a barrel jumping sim? Will my skills in Katamari Damacy aid me in rolling up a giant snowball next time it snows? Sigh.

Here it is.

Illinois Senate Give Thumbs Up to Video Game Restrictions

Here's a fun game. Read this story on Yahoo! News:


...and count how many times you want to punch stuff.

Here's my personal favorite from the article:

The sponsor, Sen. Deanna Demuzio, denied the measure would interfere with free speech rights.

"Video games are not art or media," she said. "They are simulations, not all that different from the simulations used by the U.S. military in preparation for war."

Absolutely brilliant.


Granted, every weekend is a long weekend for me, at least for the next 3 weeks.

We went down to Sarnia this weekend to visit the grandparents and give Garrett a chance to climb stairs that weren't in our house. It was a relatively relaxing weekend except that Julie was sick with a cold going down there and I think I got it sometime yesterday. Ah well. It's not that bad. Just a stuffy nose this time around (I hope!)

Anyway, on Saturday I went out golfing with my Mom and Dave. I got a 72 on a 9 hole course. Granted, you have to take into concideration that I only go golfing about once, twice per year, if that. I play more golf on my Nintendo than I do outdoors. I had fun though and it gave me a chance to try out my clubs that I rescued from the junk day garbage pile a few years ago.

Saturday evening saw Dave, Tony and I going out to see Episode 3. Dave must have been out in the sun too long because I had to keep elbowing him to wake him up. He did stay awake after the first half hour, so he didn't miss anything too crucial.

On the way home we had a very odd encounter. Dave's car has a personalized license plate. We were driving Tony home and this big SUV from Michigan pulled up and these teenage girls leaned out and started yelling, "ALFREDO! ALFREDO!" Dave had never had a bunch of girls calling out for his car before. At the next light we looked over at the SUV and this time one of the girls leaned out of the window, yelled, "ALFREDO!" and proceeded to flash us!

We lost them shortly thereafter. Suffice it to say, it was a very memorable drive home :)

Other than that, the weekend was rather calm and nudity free. I'm still sore from my golf game, but that should be remedied by tomorrow after I get a nice sleep in my own bed. I played a bunch of Tales of Symphonia over the weekend and hopefully I'll get that game wrapped up in the next couple of days.

Well, time to go get ready to watch the 2 hour finale of 24!

What I'm Reading: The Darkness That Comes Before (I'm finally getting into it), finished reading Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code over the weekend.
What I'm Playing: Catch up on my RSS feeds for the last 4 days
What I'm Watching: 24, Jeopardy! Tournament of Ultimate Fighters

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Episode 3 blip (aka Just Call Me Stubbs)

I'll write more about Episode 3 and its sheer awesomeness tomorrow when I'm rested (ha) and awake. Suffice it to say, it makes up for the rather lackluster Episode 1 and a half (the second part of Ep. 2 was great).

If Lucas had used the quality of Episode 3 as the benchmark for the series and worked up from there, the first two wouldn't be so reviled (I hope).

But anyway, Episode 3 was great from start to finish. The roasted Ewok scene was hilarious. General Grievous was amazing (as I expected) and they did a good job making Anakin's downfall believable (or at least giving it a rational explanation).

The only really horrid parts were, oh, any time you had Amidala and Anakin alone on the screen and talking. You could have had Pinocchio and Stephen Hawking delivering their declarations of love and devotion with more passion (and less woodeness) than those two. Ug. They do approach something akin to emotion in their final parting scene, but aside from that you should just plug your ears with cotton anytime the two of them are in the same room.

Hmm... I probably don't need to write anymore on this (right now). I'll let everyone go and see it and I'll yammer about it on the weekend or next week. I'm just incredibly pleased with the film... for once...

And any Star Wars film that has me really liking Yoda (who I never really cared for in the first trilogy) is a good Star Wars film. He r0x0r5, as the kids say these days.

Oh, we only had to wait in line for about 2 hours and had seats in the middle of the theatre, 3rd row up on the upper seats, which is a pretty prime location in a theatre with stadium seating. Gooooo us!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

T-Minus 4.5 Hours and Counting

Well, it's a little less than 5 hours till Episode 3 starts! Woo!

I'll be heading out to Guelph after Lost and hopefully there won't be as many Star Wars nerds out there as there are in Toronto. We've got our tickets though, so we'll be getting in regardless.

I'm really stoked about this movie. From the reviews I've heard or read, it's the movie we Star Wars nerds had wanted from the beginning of the Prequels. The shots I've seen on Daily Planet look rather cool as well.

I'll probably write a review of it either tonight when I get home or tomorrow sometime. I've been resting up today (I even had a nap in the afternoon) and I think Tony & I will be wide awake for the show.


Speaking of Tony, when he arrived in Acton yesterday he made the startling confession that he hadn't seen Episode 2 yet. Yeesh! He'd seen the first half hour or so, but that was it. Thankfully that gave us an excuse to watch it last night.

What I'm Reading: Whittling down my stack of Graphic Novels, trying to decide what novel to read
What I'm Playing: Watch Tony play my Xbox
What I'm Watching: Episode 3 stuff, Lost

Monday, May 16, 2005

Return of the beast

I'm not sure if Garrett has a cold of some kind or is cutting his molars (which I think is a definate possibility) but ever since Saturday he's been a downright grump.

The worst thing is that during the day when he gets really grumpy he starts saying, "mum mum mum". Of course, when he's happy he says, "Da da da da daddy". Just goes to show who is the comforter and who is the fun guy :)

He didn't have a good day today either. He's trying to walk and kept bonking his head when his little walker toy would go too fast. Not too hard, thankfully, but enough to give him a scare and elicit a torrent of "Mumumumumumum"'s. His stair climbing is going rather well though. I think he made it up the entire flight in less than a minute.

I just hope he's feeling better tomorrow. I had to take him for a country drive this afternoon since he was crying whenever I'd put him down to play at home. I haven't had to do that since he was colicy back in the early days (or as we call them, 'The Dark Times') of the first month or two.

I did come to the conclusion that the town of Orton doesn't exist. I followed several road signs to it and never actually found it. I found a nice cow pasture though. No Orton.

Happy Anniversary

Happy Second Anniversary To Grant And Suzie!

Isn't The Second Anniversary The Capitalize Every Word Anniversary? If So, Then This Is My Gift To You. A Post With Every Word Capitalized!

Bohemian RPG

Saw this on BBspot and loved it. I figured I'd repost it here since not everyone has the strength to click on the link buttons :)

Bohemian RPG
By Francisco Rangel and Cam Boyes
Care of BBspot.

(To the tune of " Bohemian Rhapsody " by Queen)

It's not the real life. It's just an RPG.
Caught in a dungeon. My escape from reality.

Open your guide, look up dwarven stats and see,
I'm just a fighter, magic is not for me
Because it's easy loot, easy gold, level high, level low
Any way the dice rolls really really matters to me, to me

Mama, just killed an orc. Swung my axe against his head
Rolled an 18, now he's dead.
Mama, I just rolled a one
My boots of speed won't let me run away
Mama, ooh, running low on my supplies
I'm running out of food and out of arrows
Gotta run, gotta fight, hope my sword and shield don't shatter

Too late, my dwarf is dumb
His wisdom's down the drain, his intelligence is lame
Got no constitution, charisma's null
Gotta run, but my dexterity's uncouth
Mama, ooh, I don't like this die
I sometimes wish I'd rolled a much better char

I see a little amulet-o on the ground
Is it cursed? Is it cursed? Where'd the rest of my clan go?
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright'ning me
Magic Missile (Magic Missile) Magic Missile (Magic Missile)
Magic Missile, Thunderbolt
I'd better go. I'm so alone now, monsters attack me
He's just a poor dwarf, playing this RPG.
Fighting alone with this monstrosity
Easy kill, easy blow, let my level grow
Experience! No, your level will not grow.
(Let it grow!) Experience! My growth rate is too slow.
(Let it grow!) Experience! I want to wield my bow.
(Wield your bow) Let my crystal glow.
(Let it glow) Land a crushing blow. (Crushing blow)
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
(Oh, mama mia, mama mia) I can't fail this saving throw.
Beelzebub is a demon and he's after me, help me, HELP ME!

So you think you can beat me by rolling a five
You can't harm me, if you did, I'd just get revived.
Oh, slay me, no way that you can slay me
Just gotta take out, just gotta take out my new spear

Rolling really matters, dice are what you see
Rolling really matters,
Rolling really matters to me

Any way the game goes

What I'm Reading: Not sure... so many books, so little time...
What I'm Playing: WoW, Guild Wars, Tales of Symphonia, Lego Star Wars, Ico, Ace Combat 5 (that's mostly just from the weekend)
What I'm Watching: The Dead Zone Season 1, 24, Appleseed CGI remake

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Garrett the Mountaineer

It may have taken him till midnight, but he's finally made it to the top. Hooray! Posted by Hello
He's almost at the summit! Posted by Hello
Here's a shot of the mighty Sir Garrett of Actonia at the beginning of his climb of the might Mount Stairsmore. Posted by Hello
Sir Garrett of Actonia is doing his stretches before attempting the dangerous summit attempt of the dreaded Mount Stairsmore. Many have perished because they weren't properly acclimatized and didn't have the right sunglasses on. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Firefox meet Notl33t. Notl33t, Firefox.

Yay! Thanks go out to Deborah for going out and recruiting some Firefox geeks to find the problem with my code. Turned out it was the Precision Counter code (the comments to be exact).

This just goes to show that Firefox sucks because it can't handle a simple broken comment. Yup. That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

*waits for the flame war to start*

Not worth the magnetic tape it's recorded on.

Ye gods... did anyone else watch the MTV Xbox 360 Revealed show last night? They aired it after The Daily Show on CTV.

Go read today's Penny Arcade for a pretty good summation of my thoughts on it. It was a piece of garbage from my perspective. What little gameplay stuff they showed must have amounted to about an entire minute of the half hour 'show'.

It made the Our Colony video look downright jampacked with tech. The special was a bunch of 'celebrities' yapping about how they like to play games and generally being annoying. Some band called The Killers did a couple songs too, which ate up even more time.

The thing that drove me nuts was how much time both the MTV special and the Our Colony video devote to raving about the RING OF POWER, which is essentially just this glowing green light that goes around the power button. Much like the current generation XBox's green glowing light around the eject button. Woop dee frickin' doo.


At least I taped it so I could fast forward through most of it.

Here's what Gabe had to say about the MTV thing:

"So how about that Xbox 360? I am assuming that everyone watched the MTV show last night and I am also assuming that we all agree it was garbage. The important thing to understand here is that, much like Twisp and Catsby that show was not for us. When I say us I am referring to the hardcore. The sorts of people who perhaps downloaded a torrent of last nights MTV show. The sorts of people who had to call their cable company to find out what channel MTV was on. The sorts of people who had their Tivo or media PC grab the show for them so that they could watch it at their leisure. Last nights unveiling of the Xbox 360 was not for us it was for the people who were already watching MTV. It's true, there are human beings out there who watch MTV in the same way your mom might watch ABC. Sitting through show after show and watching as rides are pimped and celebrities are punked. Last nights show was for them and when you look at it that way I have to say I think the show was a success. I cannot imagine those sorts of people not being entertained for the entire 30 minutes by the flashing lights and famous people. Gaming is cool now. Isn't that awesome."

What I'm Reading: Sentinel Digest, A.F. & T.A.I.
What I'm Playing: Lego Star Wars, Guild Wars, Ace Combat 5
What I'm Watching: The Dead Zone, Appleseed: The CGI remake

Two screenshots and a baby.

Here's a shot of Anakin and Obi-wan. Posted by Hello
Here's a shot of Lego Darth Maul in action. Posted by Hello
Here's a little wallpaper that the graphic design guy at my church made up. Posted by Hello


Well, everything seems to be working again now.

I wonder why the background didn't load up. Strange...

Man, I shouldn't have had that coffee at small group tonight. CURSE YOU STARBUCKS!

I guess I'll go try to read or something. That should get me sleeping.


NotL33t vs. the internet

I don't know what's going on with my site.

First off, I'm still having the wierd Firefox update lag. No idea why that is.

Secondly, I now seem to have lost the background on my site. It's grey, but there's no funky blip at the top or boxes around the entries. I have the text there on IE, but nothing in the background. Firefox had the background, but it seems to have disappeared just now too.


What next?!

Obey The Hypnoclock!

I got a new clock for my office the other day. It resembles a high tech metronome with about 6-7 little red LED's on the top of the arm. When you turn it on, the arm starts to swing back and forth and when it builds up enough speed, the lights turn on.

It is pretty neat how it is able to have the time moving across it, the date scrolling up and down and little messages appear and disappear. The only thing is that since it is tricking your eye into thinking it's one solid image, the slight flickering when you see it out of the corner of your eye can get distracting. And if you're tired, you'll stare at it for minutes on end... at least, I have been...

I'm calling it the hypnoclock now because I'm sure that once I'm lulled into a state of unconciousness, a secret message will scroll across that will turn me into some kind of killer sleeper agent who will leap into action when a trigger word is spoken.

So be careful. Whatever you say to me might set me off :)


Yeesh! It's Friday and I haven't posted anything about our insane weekend last week.

Last week Julie & I were in a frenzy of home repair and cleaning the likes of which haven't been seen since shortly before Garrett was born. Why? We were having Garrett dedicated at church on Sunday and having a big Mother's Day BBQ at our place shortly afterwards.


We had about 26 people at our house last week for the BBQ and amazingly, it went off without a hitch (well, aside from everyone getting back to our place before we did, but I do have responsibilities at church!)

I guess the best thing was that having so many people over got us into cleaning overdrive. We got rid of several piles of clutter that had just grown over the last couple years. We also rearranged our living room a bit and now it looks huge. We had been thinking of getting rid of the non-leather couch for most of the winter, but now that we have moved the chair into the corner, the couch doesn't look so bad. I also got the baseboards installed and learned how my router works (I think I posted something about that, but I forget right now).

I also got to rebuild my BBQ. I was cleaning the rust off the burner at around 6pm on Saturday night and it turned out that the burner WAS rust. I was poking giant holes in it. I had to zip down to Canadian Tire and scour the BBQ section for the proper burner. Thankfully the one I got was a perfect fit and with the new grill and bricks installed, my BBQ could handle the insanity of the Sunday afternoon grill-fest.

The only downside of the weekend was that I cooked up two boxes of M&M's Oktoberfest sausages and I think 4 people had sausages that day. That meant that from Monday till today we've been having various sausage related foods. Plain sausages, sausages and rice, potato and sausage soup... the only thing I didn't try to make was my famous sausage layer cake with mustard icing.

Thanks to all and sundry who came out for Garrett's special day and for all the moms who had lunch at our place!

We didn't really get any pictures on our camera though, so we're waiting for the people who took pictures to send us some *hint hint*

Xbox 360 stuff

There's a neat little video that was released today that details a lot of what the new Xbox will do. Granted, it's mostly style over substance, but it does look neat.

I like that it will have wireless controllers and have a wireless internet adapter built in. It looks a lot nicer than the giant black doorstop that is the XBox 1, but that doesn't take much.

I wish they'd spent more time actually showing gameplay footage in the video instead of talking about how the system tries to embody the idea of an inhalation. Honestly, it's like talking about how an iMac is better than a PC because it comes in colours other than beige. Sure, it'll be cool to swap out your faceplate on the system, but I really don't care about that in the long run. Give me game footage!

Ah well.

Speaking of games, I beat Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory today. Very sweet game, although there were a few spots that drove me nuts. I think it's because I try to 'ghost' through the game. 'Ghosting', for those not up on their stealth game lingo, is when you go through a game without killing anyone. I have all these nifty gizmos and guns and I rarely used them unless it was to shoot out a light. For me, the game is all about sneaking up behind guys and knocking them out. Granted, true ghosting involves going through the game and not interacting at all with any other character (aside from those you need to talk to) but that's a little bit TOO hardcore for me.

Today my first two games from GetGames.ca arrived. I got Ace Combat 5 for the PS2 and Lego Star Wars for the Xbox. Let me tell you, Lego Star Wars is awesome. The way they have every element of the game constructed from Lego is great. The little puzzles are neat since you use the force to assemble bridges, etc from Lego pieces. You can also disassemble certain objects, like a tree, and turn it into a set of stairs so long as the pieces work that way. It's touches like that that make the game so cool.

It's also very funny. Darth Maul is just so cute, especially when he gets cut in half and it looks like what a typical Lego character looks like if you pull the legs off. Thankfully they're little to no speech in the game so you don't have to hear Jar Jar talk.

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl... Kingdom Come, Spider-Girl Digest #1
What I'm Playing: Lego Star Wars, Find the Transcript on the Erindale website
What I'm Watching: The Dead Zone, the Hypnoclock...

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Stupid CTV

I swear that whoever does the programming at CTV needs their head examined.

I was reading the latest TV Guide yesterday and it turns out that there's going to be a two hour season finale of Lost in 2 weeks. "Woo!" says I.

Then the little blurb about the finale says that the biggest surprise? CTV isn't going to run it because the season finale of American Idol is running concurrently.

Unfortunately CTV doesn't have their schedule up for the week after next, but we'd better be able to get ABC that day (our Cable is about as reliable as an antenna some days).

Worst case scenario, we download the finale. Lost is one of the few shows that Julie & I actually watch together though, so it'd be a shame to miss it because it's pre-empted.

CTV needs to get a second station a la Global and CH. They keep buying rights to shows that end up disappearing halfway through the season *cough* Scrubs *cough* and then they never air the rest of the eps. Sure, we can sometimes find the American station that's carrying it... sometimes. Downloading eps is ok for me, but not everyone does that.

Stupid CTV.

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl blah blah blah
What I'm Playing: Splinter Cell 3, Guild Wars, Go For A Walk 2005
What I'm Watching: The Dead Zone, 24

Monday, May 09, 2005

Get what? Get Games!

This is going to save my bank account, if nothing else.


It's essentially Gamefly but it's based out of St. Catherines and is targetting the Canuck gamer market. $28/month after taxes to have 2 games out a time for as long as you want. This is nice for me since I can try out a lot of the games like Lego Star Wars or Forza that I'd likely go out, pay full price for and then end up trading in for peanuts at EB later on.

Granted, I'll still pick up certain titles that I'll want for my collection (ie. Final Fantasy XII, etc.) but games that I just have a passing interest in will no longer bankrupt me.

I'm going to at least try the 2 week free trial and see how it works out. Woo!

What I'm Reading: Guild Wars manual, Artemis Fowl & The Arctic Incident
What I'm Playing: Guild Wars. Oh, sweet Guild Wars. It's finally become the game I hear everyone raving about.
What I'm Watching: Neverwhere: The BBC Series on DVD

GarBAGE sales...

This week's (last week's?) Strongbad E-mail about garage sales is hilarious.

I want to have one just to haggle with people now. That, and I want to see if anyone comes by that fits the 3 different stereotypes in that e-mail.

Now for something completely different...

What on earth is the point of this comic?

Not only do I have no idea what TV show he's referring to, I don't get the punchline either. Maybe it's just the monday morning brain not firing on all cylinders or I'm just tired from the vast amounts of sunshine, fresh air and human social interaction that I got this weekend. It's sad when I have a whole weekend go by and only spend about an hour playing videogames. Very sad indeed...

What I'm Reading: The Guild Wars manual
What I'm Playing: Guild Wars, Splinter Cell 3
What I'm Watching: Neverwhere Miniseries (thank you library for having good DVD sets!)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

This picture, on the other hand, could be entitled, "Watching The Ice Cream Truck Drive Away." Posted by Hello
If this picture doesn't sum up the joys of being a kid on a nice sunny day, I don't know what does. Posted by Hello

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bow down before your Master

What kind of Jedi are you?

I'm a Jedi Master. Don't ask me how.

"You are the best the Jedi have to offer. You have great wisdom and your combat abilities are hard to match. The Force is your ally, and it is useful to solve difficult problems, to help you push yourself to your limits and to accomplish seemingly impossible feats. Patience and inner strength have made you the person you are now.

You are the pinnacle of the Jedi Order"

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl & The Arctic Incident
What I'm Playing: Let's Drive To Burketon!
What I'm Watching: The hours tick slowly by...

Friday, May 06, 2005


I finally found somewhere that had an exerpt of the funny stuff you get to enjoy in Psychonauts.

This happens while you, as Raz/Goggalor, are busy smashing a city of mutant lungfish that has been brainwashed. Take the rebels' ultimate plan, which is revealed once they're secured a blimp. Here's the exchange:

Rebel Leader: Now you see the genius of our plan, Goggalor.

Pilot: First we print flyers. Then we spread them all over town with my blimp.

Rebel Leader: Winning over the hearts and minds of Lungfishopolis in as soon as six months.

Raz: Six months?

Pilot: If you don't like our plan, you can think up another one.

Rebel Leader: Yes, we are busy. We have to select card stock and then find a decent, but inexpensive printer within a week.

(All you really wanted to do was fly up above the dam using their blimp. Silly lungfish.)

Brock 1: SpinSaw 0

After owning it for over a year, I finally put my snazzy SpinSaw gizmo to use today. I was trying to figure out how to get the baseboards bevelled for the corner bits. Sadly, I don't own a mitre saw and I was bound and determined to do this with the tools I had available.

Well, suffice it to say that after a good hour or so of fiddling around with the spinsaw and trying out different attachments, I finally figured out how to get the router attachment to work properly. Soon I was carving intricate traceries and inhaling copious amounts of MDF dust. But I got my baseboards cut and fitted perfectly, which brought a smile to all and sundry.

Speaking of mastering things that I've had lying around for a while, I finally finished Mark of Kri today. I've had it for at least two years and was stuck on the second last level for so long it's not funny. The sad thing is that I restarted the game and got back to that spot after a whole day of playing and proceeded to waltz through the last two levels after that. I have no idea why I thought that area was so hard (though Grant found the same thing when he tried it).

Ah well. Gorgeous game and an awesome melding of 2D animation and 3D gameplay to tell a cool little story. I just started Rise of the Kasai (the sequel) and it is absolutely breathtaking, animation-wise.

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl & The Arctic Incident, The Tale Of One Bad Rat
What I'm Playing: Rise of the Kasai, Guild Wars, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Forgotten, The Corporation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Firefox, Shmirefox

Are people still having the issue where the website won't update for a few days in Firefox? I know that IE is updating nigh-instantaneously, but I haven't heard from anyone regarding Firefox's updatability lately.

I have no idea why it is doing that weird lag in Firefox. Anyone have any ideas?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Who writes this stuff?

This is the second CBC.CA news headline that made me chuckle in the last week.

Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Sexy cheerleading has got to go!

Last week it was the story about the vertical coffins, now this one. I love either the person writing this or the news service they're getting the stories from.

How Stuff Works

Lightsabers, to be exact. This is a fun little read on an otherwise reputable site that goes into some detail on the inner workings of a lightsaber.

Man... 2 more weeks....

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident
What I'm Playing: Mark of Kri, Guild Wars, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Forgotten, Chronicles of Riddick, Weeds growing in my garden.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I'm not sure if anyone else saw this the other day.

Lucas predicts Episode 3 will bomb.

This is just further proof that Lucas is officially insane. Why he's coming out now, 2-3 weeks before the movie is released and after the big merchandising push has started and is predicting box office doom, I have no idea.

And if he really feels this way, maybe he should have let someone else direct the first two episodes of the prequels so that they wouldn't have sucked so bad. From what I hear, Episode 3 IS a good Star Wars movie. This is from my buddy Darren who not only is a bigger Star Wars geek than I am, but also attended Celebration 3 last week. I've got my tickets. Whether I'll see it 2-3 times in theatres this time around or just the once, I have no idea, but I'm still being cautiously optimistic about it.

Sigh. Lucas just needs to retire to his ranch and roll around in his piles of money and not touch a camera for a long time. It's so wierd to have equal parts admiration and loathing for the same guy.


I just beat the amazing Psychonauts. Hilarious game just brimming with creativity. Sure, it's a basic platformer at heart but it's the execution that puts it up there with games like Rez and Ico in my collection.

It's sad that a game as good as this was got dropped at least once by a publisher and almost wasn't released. Just goes to show that creativity in games really is no longer rewarded. Sigh.

I've been getting over this death cold/allergies/ebola outbreak that hit me on Thursday and is just now starting to leave. I don't usually suffer from seasonal allergies, but by yesterday I was taking Reactine just to see if it would help. Can't say that it did, but it was worth a try. At least today I don't feel like I have a wad of cotton where my brain usually is. Painful cotton....

One good thing out of this week is that my car officially belongs to me now, instead of the good folks at GMAC. I bought my lease out and now have 4 years of drastically reduced payments compared to when I leased it. Hooray! The best part is that I have a free month since I don't start making loan payments till next week and I paid my last lease payment in April. I don't know why that is, but I'm happy.

I saw Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy last night. It was a fun movie. It's been at least 10 years since I read the books, so I wasn't like the purists who would yell at any slight difference between the books and movie. A lot of it reminded me of the BBC miniseries only with more American accents and fancier special effects. I loved the Slardibartfast sequence. And was it just me, or is the robot standing in line at the Vogon Jail the Marvin the Robot from the BBC series? Looked very familiar, if you ask me. My only complaint about the movie? Not enough Guide sequences. The ones they had were hilarious, but I want more!

That's about it. I have to go paint the baseboards so I can have them installed by the time everyone shows up on Sunday. Sigh. I'd managed to put off that little task for a year. Serves me right.

Oh, and I realized I'd been dilinquent with putting up baby pictures for those of you who actually like to visit the site to see them, so enjoy the batch below!

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code
What I'm Playing: Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, Splinter Cell 3, WoW and Guild Wars
What I'm Watching: Doctor Who, H2G2 movie, new episode of Lost tonight.
Garrett's got a new fascination with both stair climbing AND solving the Rubic's Cube. Amazingly, he finished the cube before he finished climbing the stairs... And he did it with one hand! Posted by Hello
I call this photo: "Summer Baby Silhouette". Posted by Hello
I just think this is a neat picture. Posted by Hello
BOO! Posted by Hello
This is Garrett getting warmed up for another day of kitchen destruction. Posted by Hello