Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Halflife & Death of Gordon Frohman

If you've played Half-Life 2 or the first HL game and want to bust a gut laughing, check out Concerned: The Half-Life & Death of Gordon Frohman.

Read the notes accompanying the comics too. It's hilarious so far.

A Nice Firm Rebuttal

I have wanted to read the book, "Everything Bad Is Good For You", ever since I saw an interview with the author on The Daily Show a few months back.

Now Steven Johnson has responded to all of the caterwauling by politicians and pundits in the states with an awesome letter in the LA Times.

"I'm writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious "Grand Theft Auto" series.

I'd like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids — a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.

I'm talking, of course, about high school football.

I know a congressional investigation into football won't play so well with those crucial swing voters, but it makes about as much sense as an investigation into the pressing issue that is Xbox and PlayStation 2.

Your current concern is over explicit sex in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas." Yet there's not much to investigate, is there? It should get rated appropriately, and that's that. But there's more to your proposed study: You want to examine how video games shape children's values and cognitive development.

Kids have always played games. A hundred years ago they were playing stickball and kick the can; now they're playing "World of Warcraft," "Halo 2" and "Madden 2005." And parents have to drag their kids away from the games to get them to do their algebra homework, but parents have been dragging kids away from whatever the kids were into since the dawn of civilization.

So any sensible investigation into video games must ask the "compared to what" question. If the alternative to playing "Halo 2" is reading "The Portrait of a Lady," then of course "The Portrait of a Lady" is better for you. But it's not as though kids have been reading Henry James for 100 years and then suddenly dropped him for Pokemon."

There's more, but that's a taste.

It was a dark and stormy night...

...when the intrepid blogger noticed the e-mail from his friend containing a link to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which tries to find the worst possible opening sentence for a fictional novel, a link which he had meant to put up on his blog but didn't get around to, much like the half-baked soufflé currently deflating on the counter like so many wilted dreams.

And if you thought that was bad, check out the winner of the contest!

"As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual."

The others aren't much better.

"India, which hangs like a wet washcloth from the towel rack of Asia, presented itself to Tex as he landed in Delhi (or was it Bombay?), as if it mattered because Tex finally had an idea to make his mark and fortune and that idea was a chain of steak houses to serve the millions and he wondered, as he deplaned down the steep, shiny, steel steps, why no one had thought of it before." My personal favourite :)


"Sphincter, the gladiator, girded his loins in preparation for today's games, glad to be part of the season opener since he hadn't been sure until yesterday that his contract would be renewed, given his slump during the Germans-versus-lions series but he knew that swatting Germans into the lion's pit was trickier than it looked and he told the officials that they should look at his other stats, not just Huns batted in."


"Patricia wrote out the phrase 'It was a dark and stormy night' exactly seventy-two times, which was the same number of times she stabbed her now quickly-rotting husband, and the same number of pages she ripped out of 'He's Just Not That Into You' by Greg Behrendt to scatter around the room -- not because she was obsessive compulsive, or had any sentimental attachment to the number seventy-two, but because she'd always wanted to give those quacks at CSI a hard time."

Make sure you check out the Purple Prose section :)

Most annoying Web trends

Here's a neat little survey of the most annoying web trends.

I really can't disagree with any of the selections.

What I'm Reading: Beyond The Deepwoods
What I'm Playing: Fire Emblem 2
What I'm Watching: Nothing much

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The West Wing: Season 2

I finished watching the second season of The West Wing last night and man, is that show ever amazing. I almost wish I'd watched it since the start, but I do enjoy having it on DVD, even if it's the library's.

It's up there with Buffy, Angel and Firefly with regards to the quality of the storylines, writing and characters. Don't laugh. I dare you to find shows that are better written than those by Joss Whedon of Buffy fame and Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing. Both are able to create very real characters in very extraordinary circumstances and walk the line between comedy and drama like a funambulist.

The final episode of Season 2 ended perfectly. Why? They played the entire song (with one minor edit) of Dire Strait's "Brothers In Arms" over a very dramatic scene. Anything with "Brothers In Arms" playing overtop of it automatically gets better, in my humble opinion.

The tragic death of Neville Longbottom

I just finished reading Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I promise I won't give away any spoilers.

I will say that it was easily my favourite of the series. The plot was much tighter than Goblet of Fire and The Order Of The Phoenix. It also set up the final book magnificently. We, the reader, actually have a pretty good idea as to what the basic plot of the next book will be this time instead of coming in and having to wonder what wackiness will ensue. This is a good thing as we can speculate more on exactly what the characters will have to do and how they'll have to do it.

I'll say that in retrospect I should have been able to figure out who the Half-Blood Prince was much earlier than I did. It wasn't for lack of clues. And even though the little girl next door did ruin the surprise of exactly who died in the book, the manner of the death and the reasons behind it were still a surprise when I got to that part.

My only complaint: Not enough Hedwig The Owl. And where were the killer squids? Ah well.

I just hope that J.K. Rowling doesn't get hit by a train or a boulder until she's finished the final book.

I want my Gameboy Games (as sung by Sting)

I recently unearthed the bag that I keep my GBA games in so I could try out some of the older ones in my new GBA SP. As I was sorting through them I came to the realization that a few of them have wandered off somewhere.

So I'm putting out the call to help me retrieve my missing GBA games.

They are:

Advance Wars
Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
Metroid: Zero Mission

If you happen to have one of these, let me know so I can stop trying to figure out where they got off to.

Busting out of my cel

Disney is closing their last hand-drawn animation studio next year.

Granted, the last batch of traditional animated films from Disney have been mediocre at best but I still think it's a shame that the company that more or less paved the way for North American animation is going to be focusing on 3D films instead. Now, I'm sure they're still doing 2D-hand-drawn TV series and such, but it looks like the next batch of Disney 'cartoons' will be done on computer instead.

I miss having a big Disney cartoon movie come out once a year or so. The last big 2D film was Lilo & Stitch... at least, the last one that was worth watching. Now Disney's falling into the same rut as the rest of Hollywood; look through your library, find a popular movie and crank out the sequels, only NOW IN 3D!

I guess that since Disney bought the rights to Miyazaki's films and has shown North American audiences what a real master can do with 2D, they don't need to bother doing anything on their own. Ah well.
What I'm Reading: Beyond The Deepwoods
What I'm Playing: The Try To Stay Awake game.
What I'm Watching: Survivorman Behind The Scenes special

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Walka walka walka!

In the last 2-3 days, Garrett has become VERY steady on his feet. He spent most of today walking around the house. I'm scared... very scared!!!

While I'm happy that he's able to walk now, I wish he'd stop thinking he can actually go down stairs facing forwards. He's giving us heart attacks everytime he gets to the top of the stairs. Thankfully he will sit down after a few tentative tries to put his foot down on the stair and will slide down on his tummy instead, giggling all the way.

Hooray! OUch...

Hooray! The shuttle launched. I'm kind of ticked though. I'd planned to watch it live today and then totally forgot until about 5 minutes after the fact. It was still nice to see but I wish I could have seen it live.

If I ever get the chance, I'd love to go down to see a shuttle launch in person. Read the latest Callahan book by Spider Robinson for what amounts to a love letter to NASA and the most romantic view of a shuttle launch ever put on paper.

As for the ouch, I was at work today and there was what looked to me to be a crane fly sitting on the ceiling. Crane flies, also known as mosquito hawks, are really neat insects that I try to shepherd outside whenever possible so they can continue eating mosquitos.

Anyway, I was at work and was going about my normal routine of gently getting the crane fly into my hand so I could put it outside. The second I got it in my hand I felt a sharp burning sensation on my little finger. I was either stung or bitten by the bloody thing.

Thankfully the guys ended up destroying the bugger (after they finished laughing at me) but now I can't figure out what it was. It was actually a little different than a crane fly and was a kind of bright red colour, but I just thought it was a different species. So far I haven't turned up anything but I'll bust out my field guide tomorrow and see what I can find.

Last time I try to save a mutant bloodsucking wasp-fly!

What I'm Reading: Harry Potter (~500 pages in now)
What I'm Playing: WoW, Atelier Iris
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Season 2

Friday, July 22, 2005

Stupid Fox

Well, it looks as though The Inside has fallen victim to standard Fox stupidity. It was a dark, complex thriller that was just starting to establish its main characters as real human beings. It hasn't officially been cancelled but the actors haven't had their contracts renewed so it looks like that's that.

Good thing they have top quality shows like "So You Think You Can Dance." to fill the void.

Stupid Fox.

It's one thing if they're going to go and make these boundary pushing shows. At least give them some time to grow a la X-Files. They just don't seem to get it. If it were to be left on for another season it could have built enough of a following to make it the next X-files as it was a lot more believable than The X-Files but still out there. Sigh.

It's so wierd that Fox the TV station puts out shows like The X-Files, The Inside and so forth that really push the envelope. Then you have Fox News which is where the people who hate the boundary pushing shows go to complain about them.

Actually, that sounds like a recipe for money...

Oh, and speaking of people complaining about stupid things, I was in EB today and they have actually sent back all of their copies of San Andreas (aside from used ones) due to the whole AO rating. Sigh.

Garrett's Adventures with Static Electricity.

We keep telling Garrett not to play with the toaster in the bathtub or his hair will go all VanDegraffy... But does he listen? Noooo... Posted by Picasa
The only way to discharge his crazy hair was to stick him in the Holodeck for a few hours. Kids... Posted by Picasa

Talking To Americans

My friend Deborah in Seattle sent me a link today and confessed that sometimes it's embarassing to be American.

Turns out the link is to a site that has a bunch of Talking To Americans segments on it. Take a look back at how silly and gullible people can be when they have a microphone stuffed in their face by someone who looks like a newscaster :)

What I'm Reading: Harry Potter
What I'm Playing: Killer 7, some Atelier Iris
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Season 2

Mmm... Poison

Here's a fun quiz.

Mountain Dew Code Red Ingredients Or Poison?

I got 9 out of 13.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Some WoW pics

Sorry about the huge blather in the post below. Here are some uplifting game screenshots to compensate.

Last week I hit a milestone in World of Warcraft and was finally able to get my mount. It's technically a Mechanostrider, but I call it my Robo-Chicken. My war-cry is "BU-CAW!!" Beware the Robo-Chicken. Posted by Picasa
The sad thing is that even mounted on my gigantic metal bird, Guboo is STILL only as tall as the average Night Elf. Sigh. As the saying goes, a gnome's life is a short one. Posted by Picasa
I knew Garrett had been hanging out with the wrong crowd. I just didn't think he'd join the black market! Posted by Picasa

I spilled my Hot Coffee

Stupid over-reactive idiots.

I swear it's people like this, not the violent videogames that makes me want to snap.

There has been a controversy brewing for the last week or so in some circles. In the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas there is a mod that has been released that unlocks this sex mini-game that has been dubbed "Hot Coffee". Of course, this has caused all sorts of senators and politicians in the US to hold forth on this being the moral decay that shall destroy the teeth of virtue... Hmm... that analogy went horribly awry.

For people who have an image of games being all about Donkey Kong, Mario and Pac-Man, this is shocking. For those of us who actually PLAY the games and are old enough to buy the games, this is actually quite tame stuff. Sure, it's purile and stupid and I don't know why anyone who isn't a 14-year old boy would actually get a kick out of it, but it's nothing worse than what you'd stumble across on Showcase or any R-rated movie. Heck, it's a lot tamer than most of that stuff.

Here's the kicker. The ESRB, the board that rates games (and does a damned good job of it, if I do say so myself) has not only been taken to task for not catching the inaccessible content, but they've also had to change the rating from Mature (17+) to Adults Only (18+).

Granted, the reason most games aren't rated AO (even though they probably should be) is that the large stores like Walmart and K-Mart, etc., won't stock them. This means that most games are rated M. Technically, that means that unless little Johnny's parents buy him the game, he shouldn't be allowed to buy it until he turns 17. Not all stores are strict about enforcing this, but stores aren't always strict about enforcing the sale of R-rated movies to people in their teens either.

I have a problem with people who say that the ESRB ratings are confusing. Sure, it's different than the movie rating system that people are used to dealing with, but it's not THAT different. It has the meanings of the giant letters stamped onto every game package and on the back of every game there is even a breakdown of why the game got that rating. There's even a handy website that breaks it all down for those too dumb to get a handle on what they mean.

Hell, the FCC even said that it was the best and most comprehensive of the three rating systems currently out (TV, Movie & Video Game).


Understand that you have to really work to unlock the 'explicit' content anyway. Rockstar has recalled the game and is going to put out a 'tamer' version. By which it means a version where you don't see the material that you wouldn't see anyway unless you really went out and found the proper instructions and files on the net... and that's for the PC version. The PS2 version is even trickier to mod.

The funniest thing is that if the politicians and family groups hadn't gotten on their high horses about this and made it the topic du jour on every gaming and even non-gaming website, there would be a handful of gamers who would know about the content and would probably just snicker and move on. Now every 12 year old wants to get the mod and see the sex. Of course, Rockstar is laughing all the way to the bank as they've probably sold many more copies since the story broke than before (not that San Andreas was a slouch at retail to begin with).

Of course, the saddest thing is that this is a game where the main activities, should you choose to pursue them, involve gang violence, mass murder, destruction of vehicles and property and many other unsavoury acts. Granted, they're all wrapped up in an awesome story that ultimately tells the tale of one man's struggle to get out of the downward spiral that is his life and get his friends and family out of trouble, but still. The one act of consensual sex is probably the most redeeming feature of the game!


The worst thing is that if this had been done as a movie, it would have been rated properly (like San Andreas was anyway) and enjoyed by those old enough to appreciate a good gangland saga and not watched by those who don't. Heck, they could have even left in the whole sex scene (which is MUCH tamer than anything shown in, heck, Open Water of all movies) and nobody would bat an eye. If need be, they could have put it on the DVD as a deleted, unrated scene and it would be perfectly accessible.

That's what the whole Hot Coffee scenario is. It's a deleted scene that you have to really work at to find and that wasn't intended as part of the original release anyway.

Sorry for the insane verbosity of the above post. This is just something that I've been watching for a week or so and have let perculate in my noggin the whole time. I just don't like seeing censorship. If they are going to crack down on something like this, you should act the same way for movies and books. I don't want them to, but I think it's the fair thing to do. Don't forget, the average age of gamers is 28 and rising. It's as foolish to think that only kids play games as it is to think that only kids go to movies.

And that's all I'm saying. I'm going to go have some supper.
What I'm Reading: Harry Pots
What I'm Playing: Killer 7, Word 2000
What I'm Watching: The West Wing: Season 2

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Stop bugging me!

I'd received some nasty correspondance from unknown sources stating that there was a dearth, A DEARTH! of baby pictures on the site. Sigh.

So here ya go. Enjoy the plethora of photos! I'm off to the hospital to make sure Garrett isn't undergoing some kind of fusion reaction or suffering from Ebola.


Update @ 9pm: We called Telehealth and explained his symptoms, etc. and they told us that for now he's fine. He just needs to let the Tylenol and the fever fight off whatever's bugging him. So no hospital visit for us. He's finally fallen asleep which means we can finally get some shut-eye as he kept us up all night last night! Hopefully the fever will be broken by tomorrow morning and we can all be happy and rested again!

Captions for otherwise captionless photos

Late one night, not too long ago, we were awakened by a rustling noise in our kitchen. We figured a racoon had gotten in. We were wrong...  Posted by Picasa
It may look like Grandpa's just carrying two babies, but we've replaced Garrett & Mason with solid lead replicas. It cost 3 Warhammer miniature painters their sanity to get the details right on them. Posted by Picasa

Boys on the slide.

We've secretly switched Garrett with a humanoid bat creature... with stigmata. Can his parents tell the difference? Posted by Picasa
"Ahoy me mateys! We be entering orbit around a blue dwarf, the smurfiest of stars. Watch out for little pirates wearing red hats!" Posted by Picasa
Garrett got a playset for the yard about 2 weeks ago and he loves it. Unfortunately it has been so bloody hot we haven't been able to use it near as much as we'd like to. Posted by Picasa

The saga of the Coke Can

'Using the only the power of my voice, I shall cause this can of Coke to burst open!' Posted by Picasa
'If that doesn't work, I'll just chew through the bottom like they did in the old days before people had fingers.' Posted by Picasa

Some old pictures from Sarnia.

This is getting old, but here's a picture of one of Garrett's 80 different 1st Birthday cakes from when we were in Sarnia 2-3 weeks ago. Posted by Picasa
Garrett is hard at work with what looks to be the control panel of the T.A.R.D.I.S. Hopefully he doesn't cause any rifts in the space/time continuum. Posted by Picasa
Garrett seems rather unconcerned about Mason's impending abduction by the Off-Camera-Baby-Snatcher last seen grinning fiercely while roaming the backyards of Sarnia. Posted by Picasa

There's hope for me yet (or is there?)

Check out this awesome blog by a guy about his 69 year old grandmother and her gaming habits. She's more hardcore than *I* am!

Scary, eh?

I love the Grandma Moments.

Most Grandma moment: "The Mortal Kombat movie sucked."
[me as a little boy] "but... but Scorpion!"
[Grandma] "They just copied his fatality, it wasn't even how I pictured it..."

Stupid Kids

I swear I'm never going to sit outside and read a book. Ever.

I was out on my front stoop about half an hour ago, reading Harry Potter when the girl next door popped her head out of the door.

"Oh, you're reading The Half-Blood Prince."


"My mom's reading that book. She's almost done."

"Yeah. I need to get reading it. I haven't had a chance to..."

"My mom said that [BLANK CHARACTER] dies in it!"


I didn't really say that. But I did make it very clear that I wasn't impressed.

Now it's not that I didn't know that anyone died in this book. Heck, that's the one thing I DID know going into it. I had read various rumours and theories as to who would die and why. I had a short list in my head and I was looking forward to the point at which I'd know if I was right or not.

But nooo... stupid kids...

Granted, I'm not that far yet so there's a very, very remote chance that she's wrong. Not that I'd be surprised like I was with the death in Order of the Phoenix. I just would have liked to have gotten that far without it being spoiled.

At least I don't know exactly who The Half-Blood Prince is. I have some more theories there, but my suspicion that it was Neville Longbottom is seeming really stupid now. No special prize for me from the bookstore (they were having a draw to see if people could guess who the HBP is).

Disco (or Viral) Fever!

Garrett's had a really nasty fever since yesterday. He was topping out around the mid 101's... Celcius :)

Thankfully the guys at work are nice enough (and well staffed) and I was able to come home about an hour early to make sure he was doing ok and that we wouldn't have to take him to the hospital or anything. When Julie and I both come home early, something's gotta be up!

Update: Garrett's doing better. The fever seems to have broken and he's just cranky now. I think he's got a new tooth or three coming in as he's acting exactly the way (fever and all) that he was back in early June when his molars were coming through.

KABOOM! Terrorists strike at the heart of Leathertown!

According to Jenn's Julie from Acton on Breakfast Television, there was a big fire in Acton that had the town shut down during rush hour this morning.

Here's what REALLY happened...

There was a loud bang this morning around 6:15-6:30ish. Julie and I thought it was just our neighbour slamming her door on the way out to work.

As I left for my horrendously long commute to work at 6:50, I heard a lot of sirens. I figured that there was an accident or something as the cops in Halton Hills have been acting rather nutty the last few days.

I didn't think anything of this until around 8am when one of my coworkers arrived and said that something crazy was going on in Acton. Supposedly the whole main street was blocked off by a bunch of fire engines and cruisers.

On my various trips back and forth to Georgetown with the guys today, I noticed that there were a lot of emergency vehicles parked on this little back road that loops around behind the Old Hide House. They were right near the railroad tracks which led me to believe that there must have been some kind of train vs. auto accident at that crossing.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

Turns out that the local sulphur plant blew up this morning. That was what the big bang was. According to the guy at the LCBO and at Shopper's Drug Mart, the silo/tower thingy in the picture below went straight up in the air and the siding went flying everywhere.

From what I've heard nobody was badly hurt. I'm going to see if there's anything on Global News or City TV news around supper time. The lady at Shopper's said that the terrorists must have been trying to destroy the Old Hide House but missed. Silly lady.

What I'm Reading: Harry Potter
What I'm Playing: Killer 7, Super Mario World on my GBA
What I'm Watching: Garrett get a really bad fever and then get cranky

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cars are trying to kill me

Ever since last Friday I've had at least 4 close calls while driving. Cars keep pulling out of intersections and right into the lane I'm driving in (often at a decent rate of speed) and I have to lay on the brakes and the horn to avoid a rather messy crash.

The first time I thought I'd just not noticed the guy. Then it happened a few more times. Today was the worst. I was just outside of Erin and a guy did a left turn into the lane I was in while I was doing almost 80km/h. It was insane! I gave him a good blast of the horn, but he didn't seem to care.

Stupid razafrazakakafrackin idiot drivers.

On another note, I'm finding that my body has decided that 2pm is my new nap time. Ever since I went back to work I've had the hardest time keeping my eyes open when 2pm rolls around. The past two days I've done 12 hour shifts from 11am-11pm and I've had to go running around outside to keep from nodding off. Bleh. I think I'll get Garrett to have a nap and catch some shut-eye myself tomorrow. At least I have the day off and nothing important to do!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Green Things Are Flammable

I'm hoping that I'll be able to return to my former role of Dungeon Master shortly now that I've got a gaming group living in my attic, or somewhat closer to my attic than they once did.

Unfortunately, I haven't played D&D in any serious manner since before I went to Switzerland. For those of you keeping score, that was before Julie & I started dating.

Yeah, that long ago.

Thankfully the nice people at Gamespy have put out The Idiot's Guide To Dungeons & Dragons. I'll have to print this out so I can run my campaign smoothly... whenever we start up.

Now, where did I put my custom made dice bag? Hmm...

What I'm Reading: Harry Goes To College
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, Killer 7, lots and lots and lots of pool
What I'm Watching: More wrestling than I have since I worked at the SIL in Sarnia

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Stupid Harry Potter


I go out, wait in line and finally get the new Harry Potter book at midnight on Friday and what happens? I haven't really had a chance to read it since. I'm only 40 pages in. Grumble grumble... I wouldn't be so annoyed except my neighbours asked me this morning if I'd picked it up at midnight and when I said that I had but was only 40 pages in, they laughed and said that they were halfway through. Grumble grumble...

Unfortunately I've been at work yesterday and today (12 hours today) and tomorrow I have to put in another 12 hour shift, so I'm going to have to try to read some more tonight before bed. Thankfully I have Tuesday off so I'm going to try my very best to get a bunch read then.

Sorry for the lack of updates of late. I have a bunch of pictures I need to upload and I'm sure I could talk about how great my new house is at work, but I'm too tired.

Tired and hot. I swear I have a cloud in my second floor as it's just so hot and humid up here. I can't handle it for very long before my eyes start to boil in their sockets.

Hopefully the heat will break soon and I will be able to function in the sauna I call my office. Then the updates will resume!

For now I'm going to go downstairs, have a snack and play some Atelier Iris for a bit before tackling the Harry Potter book.

What I'm Reading: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, Killer 7, some road hockey at work
What I'm Watching: Immortal

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I beat Vader but not Potter

Sort of. I was playing 20 Questions Vs. Darth Vader and it took him 24 questions to get my answer. I was thinking of a DVD.

I need to find a Cole's Notes version of Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix so I can have some clue as to what was going on in the wonderful world of Rowlingland before tomorrow night.

I was going to re-read it starting tonight but I know for a fact that unless I was able to get Garrett to sleep from 7am until about 6pm I'd never get it finished. I'll look around on the net and see what I can see.

Worst case scenario: I go to the book store tomorrow night at 11pm and start hassling the kids who no doubt have the bloody book memorized and they can fill me in.

I remember the general concept. I just need a gentle prodding to remember the main plot points.

[Editor's note @ 12:24 am: Ah ha! Found just what I wanted.]

What I'm Reading: Something light and fluffy to hold me over until midnight.
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, Killer 7
What I'm Watching: Nothing. Absolutely nothing!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Potter Fotter Po-Potter Banana-Fana-Fo-Fotter

I just cancelled my Amazon order for the new Harry Potter book. I'm going to go pick it up at midnight on Friday instead at the local children's bookstore in Georgetown.

I'd have to wait until at least Tuesday or so to get it from Amazon. The big reason to switch was that the local store is just that. A local store. It's not Chapters/Coles or a big corporate store like Shopper's Drug Mart. They're an independant bookstore and they'll have snacks.

Actually, I think it's the snacks and the nice lady who took my order that swayed me.

Mmm... midnight snacks...
What I'm Reading: The last bit of the latest Artemis Fowl book, Need to re-read Order Of The Phoenix before Friday night too.
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Daily Show (I'm not sure if I like their new set or not)

When Executive Toys Go Bad

Nine Inch Nails have a new video for their song Only out directed by David Fincher, the guy who did Seven (or Se7en, if you want to be a movie geek about it) and Fight Club.

It's a very cool video even though the song is pretty mediocre at best.

Is it proper to refer to NIN as 'they' or as 'he', since it's pretty much just Trent Reznor sitting at his computer?

And to further editorialize, it's kind of sad that this is the same guy (band?) that was so cutting edge back in the mid 1990's with their (his?) dark, industrial sound on The Downward Spiral. Now the music is tamer than a car ad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Escapist

This is neat.

The Escapist online gaming magazine. Every week they put out a new PDF file with articles and such. The first one has an article by Jerry "Tycho from Penny Arcade" Holkins that should be an interesting read, if nothing else.

Speaking of being escapist, I left work today as the 11pm news was starting and was home right after the end of it. WOOHOO!

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, Prince of Persia 2, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Machinist, not much else.

Some D&D Humour To Hold You Over.

Jesus saves...everyone else takes 2d20 crushing damage.

I expect that 4-5 people actually snickered at that. The rest of you can go back to what you were doing.

I do have lots of stuff to plonk on ye olde blog. I just have to sit down and do it. But not right now.

In the meantime, go see War Of The Worlds in theatres while you can. Absolutely amazing movie that is surprisingly close to the book. Sure, they didn't use the great ships from the 1950 version of the movie but the tripods are truer to the book and look and act great. It's nice that Spielberg didn't decide to do a Michael Bay-style action movie.

Tom Cruise isn't even that annoying. If only he was acting more like his character in the movie than the nutjob he is in real life.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Movie Night In Canada

We're hoping to go see War Of The Worlds this weekend, preferably at the drive-in as that would allow us to bring the wee babe along.

The Mustang Drive-In near us has, by far, the funniest Admissions page I've seen.


What I'm Reading: AF&TOD
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, Destroy All Humans, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Inside

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

I wish I had known Mind Bondage when I was a kid...

I've been part of an interesting discussion about religion over on the Evil Avatar gaming boards today. There was a guy who saw a skit on Vision TV that was basically equating reading the Bible with being good and playing videogames with being evil.

That's spun into a very interesting discussion by a bunch of Christian gamers about how annoying a lot of the spin against videogames from the media and from the so-called religious folk is.

I was talking about the parallels between the vilification of videogames these days compared with the Dungeons & Dragons debacle that raged during the 1980s. Of course, that meant Jack Chick entered the conversation.

Jack Chick, for those who don't know his ouvre, is a guy who spews out some of the most ludicrous, incoherent and downright hateful bible tracts known to man. They're actually really fun to read just to see how insane this guy and his interpretation of the bible is.

Sadly, I've worked with and known far too many people who would have no problem agreeing with everything he says. Sigh.

For your reading pleasure, take a look at the classic Dark Dungeons tract. I wish my D&D campaigns had that level of passion with them. I just had to contend with my brother rolling up a nigh-indestructible paladin who slaughtered all who crossed his path and had the inventory of an Ikea store strapped to his back most of the time. (Yes, Dave. I'm talking about Fitzy.)

Suffice it to say, my next D&D campaign will be run with a little less Monty Haul and a little more, oh, control. No munchkins allowed!

What I'm Reading: Artemis Fowl & The Opal Deception
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, WoW
What I'm Watching: The Inside (my favourite new show)

Primitive, shmimitive

You are Apple Dos. Simple and primitive with a good understanding of the common man.  You're still a work in progress, but a good start.
Which OS are You?

Monday, July 04, 2005

That's weird.

The post I had up earlier about my drive from work to home only taking 5 minutes seems to have been deleted.


This puts the SPEAR in Shakespeare

I wonder if I have the evening off to go see MACBETH 3000: This Time It's Personal.

Looks like it would be a lot of fun to see an indie movie like this.

Speaking of indie movies, my first day at work at the new home was AWESOME! Unfortunately I spent half my day helping a guy build a train and my brain is about to explode. The nice thing is that I was home from picking Garrett up from the babysitter's before 3:45pm! Woo!

What I'm Reading: Brilliance Of The Moon (the last 30 pages is taking forever!)
What I'm Playing: Atelier Iris, WoW
What I'm Watching: Season Finale of Doctor Who

Friday, July 01, 2005

To answer Jenn's question a couple posts down..

Jenn wanted to know if I was saving my money for any of the new systems that are coming out between this November and some time next year.

Short answer: Not really. I'd love to get them, but money is kind of tight. None of them really have me on the edge of my seat, ready to rush out and snatch them up the second they hit the shelves. There are some neat games that have been previewed, but so far the only thing that would have me putting money down for a PS3 would be the announcement that Final Fantasy XII was coming out for it rather than the PS2.

Here's the long answer:

There are 3 true 'next-gen' systems coming out. The Xbox 360 (stupidest name ever), the PS3 and the Nintendo Revolution.

The Xbox looks pretty nice, but I'm not going to get one anytime soon. I'll wait till they get a good library of games and the price has dropped before I pick it up.

The PS3 looks great, but I'll probably wait till it drops as well.

The Revolution would be awesome if only because it gives you access to almost the entire library of Nintendo games going all the way back to the NES. Granted, I haven't seen what the pricing scheme is for this. Do we get them all for free? Do we have to subscribe to a service to let us play the entire library? Do we pay per game and get to keep it?

So there ya go. I'm sure that down the road when Garrett is able to somehow convince Julie & I that what he really needs for his 2nd (or 3rd) birthday is a new $400 game system, I'll get one. I'm not planning on getting any of them at launch though. I already have too many games for the current generation of systems. ARG!

I'm more interested in getting a Nintendo DS and a PSP for the neat games that are already on or coming out for them over the next year. It seems that the handhelds are where the truly innovative games are these days. If only they'd see fit to do a portable port of Chrono Trigger for the DS or GBA. Sigh.

Happy Canada Day!

We're heading to Sarnia for the first Canada Day in about 3 years. I hope the fireworks have improved since the last time we were there. Acton's fireworks have been awesome in comparison to the lacklustre sparkle-fest that is the Sarnia show.