Saturday, December 30, 2006

Look Out Snow, Here Comes The Wovel!

It's a wheel!

It's a shovel!

IT'S... THE WOVEL!



Sigh. I bet even I could make one of these for about $20 in parts and a few hours of banging things together.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Amber Alert!

So Garrett decided to go wandering around the Lambton Mall today without us. I was trying on some new khaki pants at Mark's Work Warehouse to wear out for our early anniversary dinner tonight and while Julie was getting another pair of pants for me to try - POOF - Garrett pulled a vanishing act.

I had to get my pants on and then the fun started. We started wandering around the store looking for him but no luck there. By the time I ventured into the mall proper, we'd enlisted a large chunk of the staff at Mark's and a lot of the customers too.

I eventually got in touch with the security staff and we headed down to Toys R Us. Thankfully he had been found and was sitting up at the customer service desk wooing the female staff with his irrepressible cuteness. So the first thing I say is, "There you are, you little bugger!"

He was probably lost for about 20 minutes. Man, they're not kidding when they say that time just slows to a crawl while you're trying to find your missing kid!

I'm glad we lost him in Sarnia. We had a lot of fellow shoppers helping us out. I'm not so sure if we'd have been as calm as we were had we lost him around Milton or Toronto.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Watch Out For Biker Chicks!

This is the oddest web game I've ever played. Well, close to it, at least. Hit the guy with your bike and see how far you can launch him.

I've hit him 2617 meters so far. Can you beat that?

Merry (Belated) Chrismasoxing Day

Phew.

Just wanted to give everyone a belated bit of Christmas cheer. Codeboy and Blitzy just finished a little visit where much Mirrormask was watched and X-Play was mocked. It was either that, or I could have tried driving back to Corunna whilst tired and sleepy.

At least I'm done work for the next week. I don't go back till the third so I can actually relax while in Sarnia for the next few days. Work was fine. No major fires (thank heavens) and the guys were quite cooperative and laid back. Yay!

Garrett had a good Christmas morning. He was actually into the whole "Open Presents!" part of things this year and wonder of wonders, he gets to do it again on Thursday when we have the belated Wager family Christmas! Sadly, I couldn't stick around to play with him because of the aforementioned work obligations, but I hear that he spent the whole day on Monday trying to recruit people to play hockey with him... Thanks Dan...

On the upside of things, I didn't have any reason or compunction to wait in line for the 6am opening of Future Shop or Best Buy this morning. Given that we'd already bought our Christmas/Anniversary present back at the end of October, my lust for all things technological has been sated somewhat. That, and I was just tired last night. I was up till 2am last night watching Deliverance. It's not really a Christmas movie, especially when you're home alone... EEK!

Anyway, I'm kind of tired now. I'd had visions of me sitting around playing videogames all day long when I wasn't working, but surprisingly, I haven't done much besides a quick hop into World of Warcraft for a bit after work tonight. Sigh. My one day of having the house to myself and no real gaming geekfest. Oh well.

And with that, I'm off. But I leave you with the funniest videogame ad since, well, ever. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Trees Were Harmed In The Making Of This Christmas Card

Instead of sending out Christmas cards this year, Julie, Garrett and I just wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year here on the ol' blog. Of course, we also don't bother sending out Christmas cards because everyone who'd get one just reads the blog as it is, so this saves a few pennies in postage and saves the trees.

I guess that I'll give everyone a virtual Christmas gift in the form of:

Shark vs. Octopus. Who will win?!

I'll think of everyone celebrating Christmas while I work on Christmas and Boxing Day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

To Ebay or Not To Ebay

A sort of addendum to the previous post:

The EB near me has PS3's coming out their butt. Remember them? The system people were buying for $3000 on Ebay the day it came out? Yeah. No stores can keep Wiis in stock for more than a few minutes but PS3's are gathering dust in the back room. Looks like it helps when a) your system is $400 less than the other new system of the year and b) you actually have fun games that aren't just slightly shinier versions of the previous generation's games.

I was almost tempted to get a PS3 in order to toss it on Ebay and make a few bucks, but given how depressed the market on PS3's is now, it seems like the only way I'd make any money would be to hose people on the shipping.

That, and Julie would eviscerate me if I came home with a $600+ system that I bought at the spur of the moment.

So Close, And Yet...

So I went out to the mall in Guelph today to see how much MGS3: Subsistence was going for. I walked into the mall near EB and lo and behold, a guy is walking out of the mall with an EB bag, talking about how he's never been as excited about a new console as this one. I assume he's got a Wii and high-tail it to EB.

There's a line-up and a couple of security guards, so I assume there MUST be Wiis in.
So I squeezed into the line to see if I could get one. As I'm waiting, the manager comes out with a stack of Wiis. I inquire with the lady ahead of me in line and she said that they had about 12 that had come in. I waited a bit longer on the off chance that I'd actually be able to get one... They sold the last one when there were about 4 people in front of me. ARG!

I'm not THAT distraught. I hadn't intended to get the system when I went in there as I've basically given up looking for it until after Christmas due to the sporadic shipments trickling in hither and yon. That said, I was THIS close to getting my hands on the Wii and I can't help but wonder if I could have been able to get one if I had taken a different route to Guelph or been able to get Garrett out of the house a bit earlier than we left.

Ah well.

I zipped down to my usual store in Milton right after having my hopes dashed in Guelph just in case they got some in. Of course, they had received about 2-3 today but that's it. I guess they're the lowest store on the retail chain in the area so they only get a few in compared to the 10+ other stores receive. Maybe that's because I haven't bought any new games for a few weeks... Their revenue is plummeting!

I did get to try the demo unit though. The Wiimote is a lot smaller than I expected it to be, but I played a few races of Excite Truck and it controlled like a dream. I'm very impressed with the system, what little I've used it. I'm just resigning myself to not getting my hands on one until the new year, which is cool.

Julie's still going to scope out a few stores in Mississauga but I'm not holding my breath. I wish I could just pay the guys at my EB to put one aside but, alas, they can't. If the old staff were there, I could probably swing something, but the new manager is a little more by-the-book than the old one. Oh well.

Come January there will probably be a zillion of them on the shelves. I can wait.
---
What I'm Reading: Misquoting Jesus, Hellboy: Wake The Devil
What I'm Playing: Final Fantasy XII, Castlvania: Portrait of Ruin, Final Fantasy V Advance
What I'm Watching: Monster House, The Devil Wears Prada, Jarhead


Still Have That Screwdriver Handy?

Remember that PSP video last week? I found an even worse song on the internet.

BEHOLD!

Not only have they defiled the Birth of Christ to the tune of the worst song in the history of music, those camels just look scary.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Off The Wagon

I had a cup of coffee today.

It was so good.

But I only had one and that's good.

Oh, Monster House is really cool. Garrett picked it out at the movie store and while he keeps running behind a chair during the intense bits, whenever we try to turn it off he almost tackles us to keep us from stopping the movie. I'll have to actually watch the whole movie uninterrupted, because it looks really neat.

It All Makes Sense Now

In the past when I've asked for EB gift certificates for Christmas, birthdays and lunar festivals, I often listen to a tirade about how bad it is to go into the stores to get them. Now, I have nothing against EB. I tend to make friends with the managers of my local EB and most of the time the day staff are actually people who like to chat about games AND provide good customer service unlike the evening staff which tends to consist of teenagers and college students who just want to sit around and stare at the walls.

That said, a lot of the corporate policies drive me nuts. Not nuts enough to never shop there again, but they are annoying. Penny Arcade has a great strip up today that shows how anomalous these practices are when taken out of the videogame store context and applied elsewhere.

As Tycho says in his post,
Try to imagine another shop working this way, and you may find your mind's normal operation interrupted. There is, of course, one other business that operates in this fashion: a pawn shop. All they need is a couple firearms and a sketchy mofo, and the illusion will be complete.


I've been particularly annoyed in my ongoing search for the Guitar Hero wireless controller. It seems that everyone else is seeing them in Best Buys and Future Shops around the country, but EB says they're not even going to be available until mid-January. I still like getting my games at EB because they tend to have rare games that you just never see at Walmart or other non-game specific stores, but even that is becoming less and less the case.

Heck, I'm just going to post his whole rant about it.

Emerging from the dim cavern of the Electronics Boutique into the fully lit mall, I blinked several times and tried to adjust. A single, determined bat still clung to my sleeve. I shook him off, as gently as he allowed, and tried to remember why I shopped for games in a place covered in lichen.

There have been numerous instances over this densely packed holiday season where I would be rebuffed by dedicated gaming retailers for not preordering popular games, only to go across the street to Best Buy (a store I utterly detest) where a young woman simply opens a locked case, and inside this case is a stack of Dead Risings (or whatever) twenty deep. At no point was I required to thumb-wrestle a cashier, bow my head in contrition, or leave the store empty-handed.

I could never make sense of it, until my last visit. When it comes to the management of a business, as long as people are not shot, drugged, or enslaved in the course of its standard operation I understand that a certain amount of ruthlessness and treachery may enter in. I put together the idea that they pushed pre-orders to the extent that it allowed them to truly refine their margins. That may be a part of it, but I think it's a side-effect: I think they sell just enough product to maintain their fabulously lucrative used business, and no more. No other theory resonates so completely. I love the store I go to, because the men and women who operate it are genuine enthusiasts with an encyclopedic knowledge of the medium. But the corporation's strange aversion to new product has made them a poor choice for the true, day one devotee. They tend to buy new, they don't need a disc cleaner, and they often eschew strategy guides - opting instead for online assistance. It's the worst sort of customer for their model.


Man, I wish I could write as well as that guy.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Week With No Headaches

Well, some headaches, but not the crazy caffeine induced ones.

I've gone a week now with no coffee and minimal caffeine (I think my tea last night at the restaurant had caffeine, but I'm not 100% sure).

I feel so much better. I've been very tempted to get a coffee and almost cracked today, but I made it through.

I want to have a coffee or coke, but I'm waiting for at least another day. I'm not swearing off caffeine altogether, but I want to try to keep it down to a bare minimum instead of the 4 XL's a day...

Cue the Fanfare!

Hey Dave! It's time to trade in that clunky PSP and get a DS. Here's the video proof.

Did I mention that it's co-op?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Burning Crusade

Go here and download the Burning Crusade cinematic for WoW. Mmm...

Oh, and remember that Lost/Weird Al video I posted the other day? Turns out that the guy who did it is a regular poster on Evil Avatar! Small world.

Carte Blanche

Sigh.

I looked away for, what, 2-3 minutes while I was updating ye olde blog here and chaos ensues.

Garrett was in the kitchen puttering around. I walk in there and find him transferring flour from the big flour bin into the sugar bin. ARG! I forgot to put the lock on the pantry when I went looking for batteries for the camera and look what happens.

I guess flour is white and sugar is white, so it should be ok.

Ultimate Nerdity v. 2.0

Well, it's true.

Garrett is officially a nerd. An anime loving nerd, at that.

He was asking me to watch Fatal Frame, a very scary Xbox game that he had pulled out of my stack of games. He kept calling it 'scary Hulk eyes'.

I told him no... then I thought, hmm... maybe he'd like to watch some Princess Mononoke. It has lots of animals and action.

I fired up the movie and he actually seemed to like it. He's made a little tent under a few chairs and a blanket and is busy watching the movie right now. I asked him if he wanted to watch Backyardigans instead (that's his favourite show of all time) and he said, "No... Ashitaka!"

Ashitaka is the main character of Princess Mononoke, for those not in the know.

So yeah, my 2 1/2 year old prefers anime to children's fare. Awesome :)

Return of the Awful Video

Hmm... it looks like Sony has finally admitted to running a crappy website and took down both the site and the video.

Of course, that doesn't stop me from finding a mirror of the video to inflict pain on those I know and love. Enjoy the video here (while you can!)

Oh, and here's the crappy website with their mocking apology.

Busted. Nailed. Snagged. As many of you have figured out (maybe our speech was a little too funky fresh???), Peter isn't a real hip-hop maven and this site was actually developed by Sony. Guess we were trying to be just a little too clever. From this point forward, we will just stick to making cool products, and use this site to give you nothing but the facts on the PSP.

Sony Computer Entertainment America

Yeah, that's clever all right...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

All I Want For Christmas Is A Screwdriver To Jam In My Ear

At least, that's what I'm feeling after watching this piece of crap. I need something sharp to stick in my ear and swirl around until the memory fades.

I'm sure most of the geekier members of my audience are aware of this crappy attempt by Sony to start a viral marketing campaign to get people interested in the PSP. If this is the best they can do, hell, give ME whatever ungodly sum you gave those chumps and I'll make you a video that doesn't totally demean and underestimate your target audience.

HOWEVER, by creating such a craptacular campaign, Sony has drummed up a lot of talk which is publicity of a sort.

But man... That video just hurts.

Eyes Wide Open

So today marks day two of my "Try To Kick Caffeine" campaign. I've had some really nasty headaches over the last few weeks which, while partly attributable to some stress and being sick, seem to be more caffeine related than anything. I've also noticed that I've been drinking a LOT more coffee than I ever used to (at least a cup or two in the morning, usually a few at night while at work) and that just doesn't help anything.

So I decided to try to switch over to caffeine free tea for the next few days to do my biannual caffeine abstention and flush that evil molecule from my body. Of course, I've been more wired the last two nights than I have been since before Garrett was born. This is the second night I've found myself up after 2am (which used to be my bedtime, but not since Garrett started waking up at 6ish) and my eyes are bugging out, I'm so wide awake.

I've gotten to the point where a cup of coffee at night makes me sleepy... I'm very tempted to have a cup, but I really shouldn't.

Sigh. Ah well. I'll just go upstairs and fire up the DS for a bit. As soon as I get myself doing something fun I'll probably pass out.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Death By Customer Service

Just listen to this. I tip my hat to the guy who recorded it as I would have been reaching through the phone to strangle the guy on the other end by about the 3rd minute.

I can understand there being some confusion, but it sounds like the supervisor was being taught by the supermodel from the computer video.

She needs a Nerd to Supermodel translator

This video sums up what it is like to be a computer person talking to a non-computer person. The sad thing is that I've had far too many of these conversations with people. What always drove me nuts was that I'd start to try to do an explanation in as simple terms as possible (much like what the guy here tries to do) and you'd get people who just wouldn't listen to what you were trying to say. If it didn't synch up with what they had going through their head as the proper way of doing things, they wouldn't listen and would get more frustrated with you. Arg!

The scary part about this video is that she seems to have a lot of trouble with basic concepts like the difference between something being inside and something being in front or behind something. I can understand thinking that the monitor is the PC and not getting that the CPU is housed in something separate from the monitor, but come on!

The Lost: Season 2 Polka

This is pretty cool. This guy rotoscoped all of Season 2 of Lost and set it to Weird Al's Alternative Polka. Funny and neat.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Awesome Coke Ad

Check out this awesome ad for Coke. Make sure you read the explanation about how they did it as it makes it much more impressive.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Terror At The Tollbooth

We went out to visit Dan, Faith and Silas (who lives in a silo... just ask Garrett).

It was a nice visit. Well, that's what I was told, given that everyone I went to the hospital with disappeared and left me with Garrett for the longest 20 minutes ever (for the record, it was an hour and a half... in a hospital... with no toys!)

ANYWAY, Silas is cute and baby shaped. I'm sure I'll have better impressions of him when I actually, you know, get to see him (no, I'm not bitter). I think we might have some pictures and I'll try to get them up soon.

We went back to the car and made our way to the exit. We had our little card ready to go and just needed to pay... Here's where things went pear-shaped. We tried to pay with a credit card (which it clearly stated we could do) but nooo... Credit Card Declined!

We tried at the other booth/gate thingy. DENIED! We figured we'd try paying with cash in the machine... oh, lookie! No area to accept bills.

So we drove around and sent Tim out to try to pay the little magnetic card at the pay meter outside the parking garage.

No dice. We STILL can't get it to work and are trapped in the parking garage. Julie got some change and we were going to try that but then a guy drove in front of us at the gate. We figured we'd watch to see if his change would work in the twisted bowels of that hell-spawned gate. Of course, we got stuck behind the one guy in all of Kitchener who COULDN'T ROLL DOWN HIS DRIVER'S SIDE WINDOW.

So we then had this ballet where he had to wiggle around and try to back his car far enough that he could lean out the door to reach the machine and still have the car on the sensor. Of course, we're now hitting the 20 minute mark on our sojourn from the parking garage and I'm livid.

The guy FINALLY gets the gate to go up and that gave us a chance to try to escape. Sadly, the gate came down before we could sneak out with him BUT he had obviously put in too much change and it only cost us $2.00 instead of $7.00 to leave.

But I'll be damned if I'm ever parking in that god forsaken parking garage again.

I won't even go into the other strange things like the crazed Rice Boys at the Tim Horton's parking lot or the insane trucks on the 401 on the way home, but at least I didn't crash the car and the aneurysm from the parking garage incident didn't kick in and kill me (not for lack of trying).

And here I was, starting to think that the pall of evil and doom that tends to hang over Kitchener/Waterloo had lifted and I could actually not cringe in fear when crossing into town. Nope. It's still there and is darker and more vindictive than ever.

Firefly Lives!

This is some cool news. They're making a massively multiplayer Firefly game!

Hopefully it'll work out well. I just wish they'd stop mentioning Star Wars Galaxies in the article about it (shudder).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hardcore Parenting To The Max!

Holy moley. This lady in the States called the cops on her kid because he opened his Christmas present early... and he was actually charged with petty larceny!

Yeesh! I'll have to remember this in case I see Garrett peeking at his presents (which have changed from his earlier request for nothing to his current request for cars & trucks).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More Wii Warniings

This is pretty funny stuff. Remember those Wii manual warnings I posted a day or two ago? Here are a lot of spoofs inspired by those nonsensical things.

Oh, and we're feeling much better today. I'm still weak as a kitten but I've been able to actually eat today. Yay. Of course, that means I'll be ready to head to work tomorrow... sigh. Nothing like spending my two days off sick as a dog.

On a high note, we picked up Pirates 2 today. Garrett likes the Kraken.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wii Will Kill You

Be careful! The Japanese manual for the Wii has all sorts of crazy ways to hurt yourself while using it. I love how they actually have to specify NOT to smack the person next to you with the Wiimote.

The captions are pretty funny.

Reverse Peristalsis

Well, today hasn't been a very fun day for Julie or myself. A crazy fun day for Garrett, but not us.

It basically boils down to the fact that we've broken the unwritten rule: We both got sick on the same day.

It started with Julie waking up a few times in the middle of the night to throw up. She even called into work sick, which takes some doing.

I figured it would just be one of those days where she'd be home sick and Garrett and I would have to keep ourselves busy.

Then I started puking. And puking... and puking. I've barely been able to keep anything more substantial than a bit of ginger ale and Gravol down, and even that tends to set me off.

Of course, today is my day off. Go figure. I was finally able to keep the stabbing pains in my stomach to a dull roar by about 3 this afternoon when the cocktail of flat ginger ale and ibuprofen kicked in and knocked me out for a few hours. I know I'm really sick because I've had my DS sitting next to me with Final Fantasy V and Phoenix Wright 2 loaded up and haven't turned the thing on all day. Sigh.

I'm feeling a tinch better right now. I've been able to keep a grand total of 10 crackers down without my stomach rebelling too much. Julie hasn't been sick since first thing this morning, so that's a small blessing.

Garrett has had a wonderful day of watching TV, watching Daddy throw up (which was actually kind of cute; he stood there watching me puke and started yelling, "Mommy! Daddy boogers!" He's convinced that throw-up is called boogers.) and basically doodling all over the walls downstairs while we were passed out this afternoon. He finally nodded off around 5ish, which means that he'll be up for a while given the fact that he had a nap till 6:30pm... sigh.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that today was also the day that Garrett decided to wander around the house with no diaper. He started pulling it off in the morning and it culminated with him telling me he had pooped... while standing there with no diaper.

At least the diarrhea had stopped. Ew...

Not Sure Whether To Laugh Or Cry

This is alternately a hilarious picture and a heartbreaking one. I found it on Extralife.com.



Poor ducks. I hope they can swim!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Garrett's Adventures

Garrett's had a busy few days. Yesterday we went out to visit Doug and test to see how kid-proof his house was. Suffice it to say, they failed. You now have 4 years to get it up to code!

On the flip side, Doug is now known as Dug Dug the Monkey, according to Garrett. And Garrett loves his fuzzy short pant stickers... Thanks!

After visiting Doug and convincing him to never have kids, we went over to the comic shop. We're obviously going to the comic shop too often as the first thing the clerk did when we walked in was reach behind the counter and pull out the little kaleidescope that Garrett left at the shop a few weeks ago. Sigh.

Thankfully the midget wasn't there. There is a person of short stature (or whatever the politically correct terminology is this week) who is a regular at the comic shop too. Whenever we go there and he's around, Garrett is just flabbergasted. He tends to stop, point at the guy and say, "Little One!" over and over and over again... Then he follows the guy around the store and stands next to him until I haul him away. Garrett, that is, not the little guy. The sad thing is that Garrett is as tall, if not taller, than the guy. The next time he's around, I'm going to introduce myself so I don't feel so embarrassed by Garrett's outburst :)

I also tried to get Garrett to say, "Happy birthday Grandpa!" but he didn't pull it off when the spotlight was on. He said it a lot during the day, just not when we actually had Grandpa on the phone.

That was about it for yesterday. After I got home from work today, I took Garrett out for a horse-drawn carriage ride that the Acton BIA was putting on down on the main street. Garrett got to sit beside Santa and had a blast. The funniest thing is that when Santa asked Garrett what he wanted, Garrett sat there for a few minutes and then said, "Nothing."

He's said that over and over again whenever we ask him what he wants for Christmas. Should be a cheap year for us :)

We also went over and spent some time at the local hockey rink. Garrett overheard some people talking about hockey and insisted that we go watch some hockey. We didn't see much in the way of actual hockey, but we did watch the Zamboni do its work and had some fries and onion rings. Mmm...

On a less exuberant note, Garrett also seems to be suffering from dysentery or something. He's had really bad diarrhea all day. I think he might have picked it up from Santa. You can't trust those guys with beards. Oh well. Hopefully it'll clear up tonight or tomorrow and all will be well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Hint: There are more than two shirts...

If you're looking for something to get me for Christmas, look no further than these two shirts.

Either one would be acceptable.

I need the money raised by my awesome shirt-wearing campaign to fix my car :)

25 years of videogames in 2 1/2 minutes

This is a pretty cool little video that does what my title says.

My only real beef is that they include some pre-rendered cinematics in the mix as being indicative of actual gameplay, but give it a couple of years and those WILL be actual gameplay videos.



I'll try to post something non-video-like in a day or two when I catch my breath. I'm just now getting over a nasty cold/flu thing and between Garrett & work, I've barely had a chance to turn on a game system, let alone think up a witty blog post!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I Can Think Of A Few Uses For This

I'm sorry. I just had to post this picture.



I know of a few people I'd like to introduce to the business end of this thing...

*Brock glares at his neighbours*

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Less Talk, More Rokk

We had a Guitar Hero 2 party here at my place tonight. Talk about fun.

The best thing about Guitar Hero 2 over the original is that you can play co-op. I played lead guitar on most of the songs and Codeboy played rhythm or bass guitar. Some of the songs have a harder bassline than they do lead!

The other improvement is that each player can select different difficulty levels. This way I could work on the songs on Hard mode while Codey did his stuff on Medium. Much fun was had.

Artist's Conception Of Codeboy playing Freebird


So much fun, in fact, that we broke the PS2. Well, not really, but it locked up when we were 3/4's of the way through Freebird. Freebird is the final song in the game and is just insane once it gets going into the 400 concurrent guitar solos. We must have just exuded too much awesomeness for the game and it just locked up. Oh well. We'll attempt it again at a later date.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Our New Kid Must Be Part Cylon

Julie's starting to scare me. She's suffering from some kind of pregnancy dementia that is turning her into far too much of a nerdling for her own good. I've had several conversations with her about the PS3 launch, which is pretty scary on its own. Heck, the other day I actually stopped mid-sentence and said, "Wait a minute. This is the kind of thing I babble on about with the guys at EB or on Evil Avatar, not with you. What's going on?!"

I also had funny exchange with her tonight.
I was playing some Final Fantasy XII and had hopped on a Chocobo.



This is a chocobo, by the way...

Anyway, I stopped for a second and pointed to the screen and said, "Hey, what's that thing called?"

Julie thought for a minute and then said, "Hmm... A chocobo?" That surprised her almost as much as it surprised me. I told her she was right and she said, "No way! I just pulled that name out of the air." Then she mumbled about spending too much time around me...

Of course, that's when I knew that our kid must be a Cylon hybrid. It's the only explanation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Does This Video Remind Me Of James? :)

Weird Al has a new video up on der interweb.

Oh, James is going to kill me.

I think this is almost as funny as the White & Nerdy video... I'm torn between which I like more.

Crazy Survey

I just did a survey that had some really weird questions on it.

Here's an actual question with the actual responses available.

Which of the following would you rather do then go holiday shopping at the mall during the holiday season?
(Select all that apply)
Spend a weekend with the in laws
Shave my head
Have a root-canal at the dentist
Complete your income tax return
Get punched in the nose
None of the above

Yeesh! The question before that asked if I did any online shopping in my PJ's, an evening gown or in the nude. Do I even want to know what that data will be used for?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Vote or Else!

Don't forget to vote for your Mayor and/or town snow-shovel repairman today.

If you don't, I'll send Garrett to your place.

Oh, and if you do vote, I'll let you watch the Simpson's Movie Trailer.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's Never Too Early... For A Salad!

This is a really cool interview from a year or so ago with Don LaFontaine. Who's he? He's the ubiquitous voiceover guy that does all the trailers and promos. It's neat to finally put a face and name to the voice.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bang Head Here

So today I went in for round two of me vs. the idiots at Cogeco.

Like I said yesterday, we got our digital cable box yesterday and it's pretty sweet. House and the Rick Mercer Report in HD are gorgeous and it's nice to have G4 to toss on the telly whenever there's nothing else to watch.

That said, I was a little disconcerted yesterday when I realized that my VCR will only tape whatever is on the receiver. Ie. I can't set it to tape Corner Gas and then watch Prison Break at the same time. So I decided to call Cogeco up and see if there was a way to go around this or if I could just plug my cable directly into the VCR and have a separate feed to the digital box (which looks to be the way to go).

These guys are idiots. I'm sorry, but I can't say it any nicer than that. I asked the guy in the sales/accounts office if he knew of a workaround and he thought there might be one so he tossed me over to the tech department. Fine. I can understand the guys in the sales office not knowing what to do.

The guy in tech support was a different story altogether though. First off, it took me a little bit of time to explain exactly what the problem was. Then he tried to say, "Look, we don't service VCR's so I can't tell you anything." I explained to him that I don't need him to tell me how to set up my VCR. I just need to know if it is even possible to tape something on the VCR while watching a different channel on the receiver.

At this query I get a gem of a response. "Hey man. I don't even have a digital box. This is outside the area of my expertise."

To which my brain starts to scream, "WHAT THE HECK DO YOU MEAN IT'S OUTSIDE THE AREA OF YOUR EXPERTISE? I don't care if you don't have a digital box at home. You WORK doing TECH SUPPORT for a DIGITAL CABLE COMPANY! I don't take the various meds I distribute at the group home but that doesn't mean I don't know what they do! AAAAARG!!!"

Thankfully my mouth just said, "Is there anyone there who might have a clue as to how to go about doing this?" (said in a tone dripping in barely contained rage...)

The guy went away for about 30 seconds and came back to say, "One of my co-workers thinks there might be a way to do it, but he's not sure. Sorry!"

Sigh. We decided to poke around online and lo and behold, we were able to find directions ON THE COGECO WEBSITE on how to do this workaround. Man... The people in the accounts department are quite nice. The tech people scare me though. If I, someone who has been exposed to HD and digital cable technology for only a few days can brainstorm and figure out a way to do this workaround and then find it a few minutes later on their website, shouldn't someone who's being paid to actually help the less technical amongst us be able to at least offer some suggestions?

I understand that they can't really tell me, possible idiot consumer #2980, what to do with items they don't service. However, they could have at least pointed me towards the schematics on their own website. Heck, what I was asking for didn't even involve me asking them to set up my VCR... I just wanted to run cable into it and didn't know if that would be a bad thing or not.

Sigh. Bunch of morons.

Guitar Hero With Consummate V's

Well, today was quite a day. I ended up making about 3 trips to Milton due to various EB related weirdness. Thankfully my day ended with me in possession of Guitar Hero 2.

WOO!

Sadly, the wireless controller wasn't in... nor does it seem to be in anytime soon. The website says Nov. 28 while the in-store computer says it won't be in until sometime in January '07.

That said, man, is it ever fun. I've played through most of the songs on Easy but, well, they're easy. I tried one or two songs on Medium and it's noticeably more difficult. Of course, now that I've unlocked Trogdor by the almighty Strong Bad, I don't need to unlock any more songs...

Although I am having more fun with Cherry Pie than I should... I need a big wig and some ripped jeans.

Ah, this vacation is turning out pretty good. Aside from the crippling back pain that I had from first thing Monday morning until about mid-afternoon today, that is...

But yeah. I've been watching movies, playing games and generally relaxing. Niiiiice.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Cogeco? More like Stupidco.

Wow. I just got my Digital HD Cable receiver today. I called for it, oh, LAST SATURDAY (the 28th!) and should have had it by about the first last week. I won't get into all the sorry details, but I tell ya, it wasn't pretty.

They had the wrong address for here. Then when they finally sent it to me, they didn't bother to put a street address on the package. THEN they sent me the wrong receiver. I was talking to the guy today about the possible location of my receiver and lo and behold, not one, but TWO HD receivers arrived. Sigh.

What really boggled my mind was the fact that people I was talking to didn't seem to know the difference between RCA cables and component. And I'm talking about the people who do the work on the actual boxes. Sigh. How do you get a job working on High Definition TV services without learning about what a component cable is? Sigh.

That said, ooooooh baby. I love it. We've got a bunch of HD channels (Discovery HD is so gorgeous you almost feel like you're going to fall into the TV!) and I now have G4 TechTV. I used to dream of the day that I'd get TechTV on my TV but now they've almost neutered it of all the good game and tech related goodness. Thankfully the Canadian version of the channel still has some good shows like Call for Help and the various Vic & Tommy game shows. In the states they've gotten rid of most of the game shows and replaced them with drift racing shows and repeats of Star Trek: TNG. Yippedy doo.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Don't Drink The CoChicken!

This is just awesome.



Of course, there are a bunch of other ones, like the Coke & Chicken, a rake handle and how to turn ice into snow.

Take that, Maclean's!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

How Do They Make Them Walk The Plank?

Next time you're sitting around, downloading the latest Hollywood movie or crappy song, think about what you're doing to those who depend on your money for rocket sauce for their rock and/or roll.

Ah, I'll just let Jack Black explain it.

Oh, and I'm up at this ungodly hour because one of my co-workers got the call that his wife was in labour and I zipped over to work at around 1:45am for an hour or so to bail him out till reinforcements arrived to let me come home. Sigh. I think this happens every time I take vacation... Stupid childbirth.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Garrett's Hallowe'en Haul

Garrett got dressed up in the same pirate costume he wore last year (thanks again, Faith!) and got loads of compliments on it as we traversed the neighbourhood. This year, we got two bags full of candy and hit up all of the townhouses in the area as well as a few duplexes on the nearby cul-de-sac.

Pirates say, "Aaaaaar!"

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Let the flights of fantasy begin!

I'm on vacation starting... about an hour ago.

Just got done almost 12 hours of work, but it just flew by. It's amazing how having the right frame of mind and being busy wrapping up loose ends before your vacation can make that much time just disappear.

Tomorrow, 10am... I'm at EB picking up my FFXII Collector's Edition box and then it's just a matter of waiting for Garrett to have his nap in the afternoon before I can start to revel in the glory of airships and intrigue. Woo!

Of course, there's that Hallowe'en thing going on tomorrow too, which is cool. I love Hallowe'en as much as the next guy, but I'm looking forward to it being over if for no other reason than that the idiots across the street will finally take down their yard o' spooky junk. They've had the front yard decked out in tombstones, fake cobwebs and orange Christmas lights since about September 15th. It's almost as bad as leaving Christmas lights up until May... actually, it's worse. It just looks junky. At least wait until after Thanksgiving before starting the rush towards tooth decay!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My TV needs your input

For those who are curious, here are the inputs and a few other technical details about our snazzy new TV).

Inputs:

2 regular RCA/S-Video
1 coaxial
2 component
1 VGA
1 DVI

And I think there's one more, but I forget. I think those are all of the inputs.

As for the resolution, it caps out at 1080i but given that very little is even broadcast in 1080p and that none of my game systems even come close to 1080i, let alone 1080p, I'm ok with that. I'm still trying to get the PiP to work properly but I honestly don't care about it at the moment.

I'm just trying to find new things to watch on it. My god, Last Exile looks eye-poppingly fantastic. It always looked great on a regular TV and now it looks so good I almost can't look directly at it for fear wanting to just reach out and touch the airships.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Does This Pumpkin Come With DVI Inputs?

We were down in Milton today at the mall to carve pumpkins. They had some really big pumpkins to carve... FOR FREE! We got a perfect round pumpkin and got it all nice and carved...

Then, in a fit of what must have been mid-pregnancy insanity, Julie was found in The Source today, talking to a salesman about HDTV's. We've been pricing TV's of late given that the cost of LCD's are dropping to rather low levels AND there are some good deals on.

So we ended up the proud owners of a brand-new 32" Widescreen Flatpanel LCD Acer HDTV. Woo! Not only that, but we're finally upgrading to digital cable and it's free for a year (due to the TV purchase and some deal they were having at The Source).

I usually shun The Source (aka Radio Shack) with a passion, but this was one of the few times I actually felt like they knew what they were talking about. We had an older salesman there who took the time to answer our questions and even talked us out of buying some things that would have cost us more money. Anytime you get a salesman who can talk you OUT of a purchase, you know he's not just trying to foist off stuff on you.

Plus they had a pretty good deal on the TV ($950) and even threw in a free heated ice scraper :)

I haven't had a chance to fiddle with it too much, but it's quite nice. The analogue signal we're currently getting looks a little grainy, but that's going to be rectified once the digital box arrives next week. Woo.

DVD's look amazing on the new TV and having the PS2 hooked up with component cables is quite yummy. Oh, and look... Final Fantasy XII is out next week, along with my vacation! Hooray!

I'm glad we weren't greedy though. We got the 32" even though the 37" looked mighty tempting. We were just barely able to squeeze the TV into the car trunk and it fits our entertainment centre just right. Plus it's bigger than the 27" TV we've had for the last 8 years, so it's not like we're getting a smaller TV.

Of course, we're not forgoing birthday presents and Christmas presents to each other for the next, oh, year, while we pay this off. But it's worth it.
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What I'm Reading: Proven Guilty
What I'm Playing: Clubhouse Games, Contact, a bunch of stuff on the new TV
What I'm Watching: Shiny new programs... yummmy

Risin' above the city, blocking out the noonday sun
It dwarfs the mighty redwoods and it towers over everyone
I still remember when that delivery truck came down our block
What a lucky guy, I hear he got the last one in stock
And the neighbors are just green
They say, "That's the biggest screen we've ever seen!"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Goodbye Brain, I hardly knew ye.

My brain is already starting to go into vacation mode. I'm working a 12 hour shift today, but after it's done, I'm essentially off until November 13th. WoO! I guess that I'm technically working on Monday, as I have to teach a course and then go into work for a few hours, but aside from that, I'm already checked out, brain-wise.

Maybe I'll finally start to take a chunk out of my vacation time that I accumulated during the parental leave when Garrett was a baby. I'm not going anywhere, as Julie's still working, but I have somehow timed my vacation to fall right on the first day that Final Fantasy XII comes out. Coincidence? I think not.

I'll get put to work emptying out my office so that we can tear out the carpet too, but I'm just excited to have a new Final Fantasy game to lose myself in and time to actually play it.

Woo!

I want an X-Ray machine

Check out these cool videos. The first is a very cool short film by ILM called "Work In Progress".

The second is an awesome commercial for a 360 game called Viva Pinata. It's just funny.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Garrett is SPIDERMAN!

Tony was in Toronto this week and we went down to the Science Centre for the Marvel Super Hero Science Spectacular exhibit.

It was very cool. Garrett loved the spider silk swings, the Daredevil alley and the Iron Man car-lifting simulator.

He also found out that HE IS SPIDERMAN!
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

There was also this thing where you could trigger the area in the brain that turned Bruce Banner into the Hulk and that's what we ended up doing the most. Fun the first time... not so much the 33rd time...

There was also this pretty snazzy infrared camera showing how hot people were as they walked by the Human Torch display.

There was a really weird goth dude who kept staring at it and doing weird things like roll up his sleeves, etc. while looking at the IR feed. I think he was amazed that he wasn't showing up as a vampire. Then Garrett would walk up the stairs behind him so he could see himself on the display. Nothing like a little 2-year old on thermal vision waving to the creepy goth dude to ruin whatever weird gothy vibe was going on :)

All in all, it was a pretty fun day. Tony & I were pooped after walking around with Garrett and going to all the different displays. Garrett had to be dragged kicking and screaming from this musical display where he could play with a little plastic guitar and watch himself on TV while all sorts of funky effects streamed by. Sigh.

Thanks, Tony, for the tickets! 'Twas fun!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

"Well, this outta be different..."

Ah, thank you Youtube for providing me with many, many examples of Galactica's atmo jump.

This one is pretty good and has a snazzy song that drives the whole rescue attempt along.

But for those of you who just want to see what I'm rambling about, here it is. I've watched this scene about, oh, 20 times and it STILL hasn't gotten old.



As for why this scene is so amazing, understand that the Galactica is a capital ship never meant to enter a planet's atmosphere. This is like having the Enterprise emerge from warp a few thousand feet above the Earth and falling like a rock. While under attack. And launching a full complement of fighters while doing so.

It's nice to see that the special effects crew from Firefly and Serenity have made a new home for themselves with Galactica. Gotta love sci-fi guys who actually make a passing attempt at applying real-world physics to a show like this.

Oh, here's a cool shot of the Pegasus (another Battlestar) taking out a few Cylon basestars. Mmm...

Stupid Sleep

Why is it that on a night like tonight, after having just worked a 16 hour day and faced with the prospect of having to be up at 6am to head to work... Why is it that on a night like this, I AM UNABLE TO SLEEP!?!

I'm not tired in the least. I'm sure I'll conk out once I go to bed, but I'm in that sort of jazzed-up wide-awake mode where I don't feel tired, either mentally or physically.

What drives me nuts is the knowledge that tomorrow night I'll be nodding off at 10:30pm and I'll probably be a zombie all day Monday and Tuesday (my days off). I never seem to be wide awake on the nights when I have nowhere to be the next day and can actually sit down and read or play some games. Those nights are the nights when the narcolepsy kicks in. It's only on the nights when I have to be somewhere first thing in the morning that I get ye olde insomnia.

Oh well. I'll just go and read for a bit and then see how exhausted I am in the morning. Grumble grumble grumble...

Come to think of it, it was probably the sheer awesomeness of the aforementioned Battlestar Galactica episode that has me zipping. Mmmm... intra-atmospheric FTL jumps always wake me up.

At least my blog gets a few new updates. Woo!

The Jump

Everyone needs to trundle on over to Mininova, download Episode 4 of Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica and then be ready to be amazed. This was probably my favourite episode of the entire series thus far. As BSG is a show that consistently ups the ante from episode to episode, that's really saying something.

This episode had some great character moments, some good plot development and above all else, one hell of a fantastic space battle.

Oh, and it had THE JUMP. You have to see this sequence to believe it. It lasts all of about 30-40 seconds, but it just sends shivers down my spine every time I watch it. I'm waiting for my torrent to finish and I'll post the exact time, but man.

Anyone who is on the fence about BSG should give this episode a try. Sure, it'll ruin a few surprises (you'll see who lives, who dies, what ships make it and don't) but I'd bet you'd be hooked.

Oh, and BSG has now officially surpassed Lost as my favourite show on the air. Actually, I've found myself enjoying Prison Break more than Lost lately too, but I'm crazy that way.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I Hate Luke

My bestest friend in the whole wide world, Luke, won an Xbox 360 off the Pepsi/Doritos "Win Every Hour" contest the other day. Grr. I had received an e-mail about it a little while ago but never gave it a second thought as I don't tend to drink Pepsi or eat Doritos.

But first Luke goes and wins the 360 and then he has to mention that you can get a free pin every hour to enter the contest. So I ended up staying awake FAR too late last night waiting for every hour to expire so I could get a new pin number and enter a new draw.

Thus far, no wins. But seeing how the contest runs for another 2 months, I'm going to be busy entering this thing as often as possible.

And no, I'm not giving any links because I'm greedy and want to keep all the pin numbers to myself!

Oh, and Luke, if Anne decides that she doesn't want that loathesome piece of tech in her house, I'm sure I could give it a nice berth next to the other consoles here at my place :) I'll promise not to correct her spelling for a month!

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What I'm Reading: Proven Guilty, a pile of comics, The Watchmen
What I'm Playing: Bully, Contact (hopefully), Yakuza
What I'm Watching: Firewall or Fun With Dick & Jane

turn off your computer and make sure it powers down
throw it in a 43-foot hole in the ground

Monday, October 16, 2006

What You Get When You Have Too Much Time On Your Hands

Someone really had some free time when they made this:

An ultra-detailed map of Springfield, USA from The Simpsons.

Oh, and Julie's pregnant again.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Cause To Worry: Reason #489

I just ask Garrett what he wanted to watch.

He sat there for a second, said, "um... Colbert. Yeah. Colbert COLBERT COLBERT..."

Should a 2 year old WANT to watch the Colbert Report?

I think he just likes the eagles and bears moreso than the biting irony and political commentary.

At least, I HOPE that's the case!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Way To My Heart

This video is too funny to pass up. It's like they sat in on my community college class "Be Like A Katamari: How To Pick Up Girls With Your Awesome Videogame Knowledge".

"Wet. Cold fish. Eat!"

Garrett fell in the creek by the library today.

He was rolling down this hill that ended at the creek. He rolled down, stopped before he rolled into the creek and stood up, all proud that he wasn't wet. Then he wobbled a bit, took a step backwards and fell in the creek.

Suffice it to say, he wasn't too pleased, given how cold the water was and the fact that the air's a little chilly today. The ladies at the library thought it was funny when I trundled him in there with no pants or shoes so I could change his soggy diaper before we headed home.

On the way home, he started saying something about getting wet and eating a fish... maybe he was just hungry and decided to get his lunch fresh. Who knows?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Don't Open It!

If you listen to music on your computer, I demand that you go to Pandora, set up an account and then install Open Pandora.

I just found out about Pandora by way of Penny Arcade and it is one of the neatest things I've ever used on the net. It's basically an internet radio station that lets you pick the type of music that you like and then it finds other songs in a similar style to that song or band. You can then recommend or pan songs depending on your tastes.

Plus you can set up multiple stations depending on what you're interested in at a given time. For instance, I have an MC Frontalot station for my nerdcore fix, Dire Straits for when I need to rock and Amon Tobin if I want some trippy techno. I've barely used the service yet, but I'm definately going to put it through its paces in the next few days.
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What I'm Reading: Proven Guilty (The latest Dresden book)
What I'm Playing: Valkyrie Profile 2... or Rule of Rose... or Yakuza
What I'm Watching: Battlestar Galactica: Season 3 premiere

I'll sure kick your butt at a game of ping pong.

Future Comic Book Guy

 
I'm not sure if I'm impressed or scared.

Julie called me because Garrett was getting into my comics.

I come up the stairs and I hear, "Deadpool. Thing. Hulk. Spiderman."

He's busy looking at the Civil War Files cover again. I think I should be concerned when a 2 year old knows who the Punisher is. Of course, if I was REALLY scared, I'd stop teaching him the names of all the heroes :) Posted by Picasa

Guitar Hero?

 
I asked Garrett the other day if he was a guitar hero and he said, "No."

He's just a guitar man. Posted by Picasa

I can't think of a good caption for this...

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Fall Clean Up

Garrett was helping great-grandpa do some yardwork today.

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Hmm... Who would win this?

This is a pretty cool video.

I wonder who would win. BSG has the power of actual physics on their side while Star Wars has the Force.

This makes up for the possibility that NBC might be buying Battlestar. I'm scared that if they did that, they'd end up neutering the series of all of its punch.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Adjustment Period

I moved my computer downstairs to the shiny new Ikea computer desk we picked up a couple weeks ago. It's nice to actually be downstairs and able to putter on the computer without having to sequester myself away from humanity. The only problem is that there isn't a lot of room for my mouse AND keyboard. I have to juryrig a mouse pad in my drawer until I figure out where to park my monstrous keyboard.

Sigh. I almost miss my giant board on 4 legs... almost...

Sarnia on Colbert (kind of)

Did anyone else catch Sarnia's brief fling with fame on The Colbert Report the other day?

It's in this segment (very funny on its own) where the Sarnia Sting show up. Very cool. Not that Stephen mentions Sarnia or anything, but it was neat to see Sarnia almost highlighted :)

Sarnia's around the 3 minute mark. At least we're doing better than Windsor! *spit*

Best (Worst) Fight Scene Ever

Ok. I saw this on Extralife and have to agree that it has got to be the funniest thing I've seen in some time.

I've seen some bad acting in my day (most of my friends in University were Erindale Drama folk) but this takes the cake!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lost: Season 3

Ooo... awesome opening for the first show of the season.

Looks like the Others aren't quite as savage as they'd like the Losties to think they are.

I'm thinking that this season is going to be a showdown of the cultish, but more civilized Others vs. the individualistic but more 'savage' Losties.

Be one of the cult and enjoy luxuries (well, luxuries for the island at least).

Be true to yourself and suffer a very rugged existence.

Hmm.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Logic Loop For The Win!

This actually happened to me today at work.

One of the guys was going to have his annual physical next week. We needed a bloodwork requisition form from his doctor prior to the physical. I stopped into the doctor's office today to pick it up and had this gem of a conversation.

Me: "Hi, I'm here to pick up the blood requisition form."

Receptionist: "Oh, you can't get that until he sees the doctor."

Me: "Ok, when is he seeing the doctor next?"

Receptionist: "At his physical. By the way, he needs to get bloodwork done two days beforehand."

Me: "Ok. Can I get the req then?"

Receptionist: "Sorry, you have to wait until he sees the doctor."

Me: "Um... When is he seeing the doctor next?"

Receptionist: "At his physical."

Me: "Doesn't he need to do the bloodwork first?"

Receptionist: "Yes."

Me: "Ok. Can I get the req then?"

Receptionist: "Not until he sees the doctor."

Me: (in my head) "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRG!"

This loop went around for a good 3-4 minutes until the doctor wandered into the room and I was able to get him to just give me the blood requisition.

Yeesh.

Zzzz,,,

This has been one of the most exhausting weeks of my life. I blame the 'Breakaway' team building day I had on Wednesday. I think I did more running around and exercise that day than I have in the whole previous month. At least I won a free dinner out of all the stuff.

I've also been working wierd shifts and have to work tomorrow morning... zzz....

On the upside, Garrett got back into swimming lessons yesterday. He's much better in the water now than he was about a year ago when he took formal lessons. Now, if only we can get them to raise the temperature of the pool so that we don't have ice forming on top...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Stay out of this airport

This is a fun little game.

Airport Security.

Just remind me to never go to that airport. Sadly, it's starting to resemble real ones more and more.

In lieu of a last will and testament

If we do get crushed by space debris tomorrow on the way to Ikea, I hope that you'll remember us as people easily amused by 4 guys dancing on treadmills.

(This is mainly here so that Julie & Garrett can watch it without digging through Youtube)

What Did I Do? Part 2

Things are looking up at this point. My car repairs weren't as bad as I thought and the sun is even starting to poke out from behind a cloud.

"Let's go to Ikea!" Julie says. "Sounds good to me!" I say.

We go down to Ikea. Garrett is excited because we've been telling him that he can go in the ball room and he LOVES the ball pits after his trip to African Lion Safari. When we get to Ikea, the first thing we see upon entry is a sign saying that kids must be fully toilet trained (Garrett isn't) and that they have to be THIS tall to go in the ball pit (Garrett is just hitting the mark with his shoes on). So no ball pit for Garrett. Hilarity ensues.

Thankfully Garrett had a blast wandering through Ikea and elicited chuckles from passersby as he crawled under the sheets of each and every bed (I'm not exaggerating here) and proclaimed that he was having a nap. If only it was that easy to get him to go for a nap at home...

We found a nice little Poang chair for Garrett to sit on and an even nicer, bigger one for us to sit on (hello new gaming chair!). We also got a super cute nightlight for Garrett's room and a new computer desk for the living room. I'm actually looking forward to vacating my office and having the computer on the main floor as I won't feel like I'm hibernating away from everyone so much. Plus I now have a drawer. I've been using the same black board with 4 legs for a computer desk for about 15 years now. Time to upgrade...

All's well and good at this point. We drive home and set up the chairs.

Make that, we tried to set up the chairs.

Garrett's Poang chair set up wonderfully. No issues. He loved it. He even helped me set up the frame for our Poang. Everything was going ducky at this point.

Until I got the cushion out of the packaging and went to put it on the chair. I thought it felt damp at first, but figured it must just be cold from being in the chilly warehouse at Ikea. Then I put it on the frame and notice that it's rather discoloured around the top of the cushion. I gave it a sniff and it smelled exactly like what I figure wet Poang would smell like. Julie checked it out and we found a bunch of mildewy spots on it.

Go figure. The one time we get a chair at Ikea is the first time we get a moldy cushion. Sigh.

Of course, by this time it's pushing 8pm and it's a good 45 minutes or so from our place to Burlington, so there's no way we're going back tonight. Looks like another road trip tomorrow.

Now to see if we'll actually survive the drive tomorrow. The way my luck has been going, I wouldn't be surprised if a piece of the space station landed on us on the way there. Sigh.

What Did I Do?

I tell ya. I feel like I fell off the lucky tree and broke 12 mirrors on the way down. My week was going pretty well until noon yesterday. Then, bam, the car thing.

I tried Dave's advice today and got my neighbour to charge my battery. First off, the fancy new dummy-proof jumper cables we bought yesterday turned out to be duds. They didn't work at all. Then my neighbour gets out his plain old cables and bam... my car starts right away.

Not a huge problem. We were able to return the overpriced crappy cables and get a full refund.

So I drive down to Milton to see if that will charge the battery. As I get to the 401 area, the radio suddenly turns off and at the next stop light, lights start fading and it looks like I might stall. At this point, all I'm doing is praying that I'll be able to make it over to the Canadian Tire parking lot as I know they'll be open and shouldn't bugger up my engine too much if I need them to look at it.

I get to Crappy Tire and no sooner do I pull into the spot does my car die again. I tried turning it back on to no avail.

2 Hours Later...

I get the news that my car definately needs a new battery. It seems that most of the people I've talked to in the last day have mentioned that you should get a new battery around the 5 year mark and, lo and behold, my car is a few months past its 5 year birthday. I'm not terribly surprised that the battery needed to be changed. Thankfully the alternator was ok and what could have been a ridiculously expensive job ended up being only moderately pricey.

... To Be Continued

Tetrinimo Discrimination Video

This is a pretty snazzy music video about the poor plight of a group of Tetris blocks. Poor guys.

Speaking of games, I watched Stay Alive last night. Oh my... Now I know what people must feel like when their culture gets put through the Hollywood grist mill. 90% of the movie is bad gamer stereotypes and/or just plain wrong references to various videogames (yeah, I really remember the hyperblaster in Silent Hill 4 (it's in Silent Hill 1), or using the 30 man code to do whatever non-30 man code thing they did in the movie...).

And I love how a) they have Pac-Man videogame noises playing in the background whenever they go to the local EB and b) they have characters who look like this.

Frankie Muniz's character just pissed me off until right near the end. Yeah, the upside-down poker visor look is very typical amongst gamers.

And don't get me started on them playing on Alienware PC's with dualshock controllers.

The actual game aspect of the movie was somewhat interesting but sadly took a backseat to the cheesy teen horror movie aspect for the majority of the movie. It wasn't until right near the end that the game and real worlds started to merge and I have to say that, much like the 10 minute FPS sequence in Doom: The Movie, the last 10-15 minutes were worth watching... It's just a shame that I had to sit through the prior hour or so of crap.

So yeah. Don't rent Stay Alive unless you just want to laugh at how badly they got gamer culture (and games themselves) wrong or want to see a kind of cool end sequence.

The saddest part is that they had CliffyB, a somewhat notorious game developer and bigwig in the game community, as a consultant on the whole videogame aspect. You'd think he could have at least tried to tell them how lame half the stuff was in the movie. Sigh.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Double Guitar Mario!

Ah, this really brightens my day after the crappy way it's been going.

I thought playing one guitar was hard, but two? Yikes!

Oh, and check out this video to see what Garrett will be like in a couple years if his love of music continues to grow.

Crappy Days Are Here Again

My day has been going sort of cattywumpus since around noon.

I took Garrett to the Early Years Centre this morning. That was fine. Nothing bad happened there and I even got Garrett to eat some apple, which must have been where my good luck for the day ran out.

Afterwards, we went over to First Choice to get Garrett's hair cut. Then my debit card wouldn't work. We tried every trick in the book to get it to work, but nope. So I had to pay with the credit card and then we tromped over to TD to get a new bank card for me.

Shiny new debit card in hand, Garrett & I went to Sobey's, bought some tofu for supper and then hit the movie store. After much deliberation, I finally picked a few movies out and then peeled Garrett off the shelves that he had been climbing in an attempt to get at a Wiggles DVD about 2 feet higher than he was. Fun times.

Then my car wouldn't start. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn't left the lights on or the trunk open or anything while we were in the store, but that didn't change the fact that my car just wouldn't start. The engine didn't turn over, the light alarm beep barely beeped... nothin'.

So I walked over to the Home Hardware next door and bought a set of jumper cables (it's about time we had some) and was lucky enough to get a boost from one of the clerks. Sadly, my battery died again when we got home.

This means that either I have a wonky battery, a bad alternator or the guy boosted me incorrectly. He did hook both ends of the cables up to my battery and his battery, which makes me think he did it wrong. I'm going to try it again tonight and see if I can't get the car working, as I really don't want to spend $500 on a new alternator/battery combination if I don't have to!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Okami Wallpaper

Want to get a good idea about what Okami looks like? Check out these amazing wallpapers and then imagine playing a game that looks like this, only in motion. Mmm...

I've been waiting 6 months for this game

Yesterday Okami came in.

I've been waiting for this since my birthday.

In fact, I was so excited at the time of my birthday that I had Julie get me a demo disc with the demo for this game on it instead of a birthday present... and I didn't regret my choice of gift one bit.

This is, by far, the most beautiful, elegant and down right awesome game I've ever had the pleasure of playing. I'm only about three hours into it but I'm going to go log a few more hours tonight and hopefully it'll be nice and rainy on the weekend so I can play it as much as humanly possible.

How great is this game? Well, just take a look at the trailer for it. Then imagine seeing it in high quality on a TV. Mmm...

Would You Buy An Air Purifier From This Man?

So last night we had a visit from the travelling air purifier salesman. Yeah, an air purifier salesman.

We sat through his little 20 minute presentation which was so good it seemed like a whole hour... and it was! The only reason we let this guy come over was because we had been called prior to his visit and were going to get a free 'gift' if we listened to his presentation.

I won't bore you with the details of his little presentation, but it basically came down to him trying to scare us with some shock headlines about how breathing will kill you and that benzene is bad. Then he showed us how dirty the air purifier had gotten in the half hour or so that it had been plugged in.

It was kind of dirty, but that's where he failed in the first place. He should have given it a wipe with his cloth to show us how clean it was to start so we'd have a baseline to guage how dirty it was when he had let it run. For all we knew, it hadn't been cleaned in 8 trips.

Suffice it to say, he didn't really scare us. Sure, it was a nice unit and if I had just won the lottery, I might have thought about parting with a bit of coin for something that would clean my house's air, but I didn't.

Oh, and here's the best part. The unit only cost $3100... but if we bought it that night while he was visiting, it would cost us a mere $2800.

The fact that we didn't just burst out laughing shows how much self-control we've gained in the past few years. After we told him that there was no way we were going to get one, we got our little gift, a flight for two anywhere in the US or Canada or a 3 night stay somewhere in Canada or the US. Whether we'll actually use it or not remains to be seen. It all depends on if we have to listen to a time-share presentation or not.

It was funny watching his reaction after we turned him down. He almost started stammering, 'B-b-but why wouldn't you want this amazing device for a mere $2800?' I've just cancelled my preorder on the Wii because I am trying to save a bit of money and it only costs $300. It was like he couldn't fathom that someone WOULDN'T drop $2800 on something they weren't shopping for and didn't really feel they needed on a whim. Maybe he's used to pitching his wares in higher income neighbourhoods than our's, but yeesh. We live in a townhouse in Acton. The thing is draftier than a sieve in a tornado. Like we need an air purifier.

After his initial attempts to woo us back to the purchase were met with us stonewalling him and asking for the survey so that he could get the heck out of our house (it was approaching 8pm at this point, I had a game I'd been itching to play all day and Garrett was still puttering about) he basically just shut down. Long gone was the chatty, charismatic salesman who wanted to save our lungs. In his place was a surly toddler who wasn't getting his way. I've seen the guys at work do this when they don't get their way, I'm sure that *I* do it when I don't get my way... heck, it's basic human nature. I just never expected to see a salesman do it right in front of the 'customers'.

Then he used our phone to call his home base and report that we didn't want his product. It was funny eavesdropping because he did this whole, "I just don't get it. They liked the presentation and thought it was a good unit, but they just don't seem to want to buy it and SAVE THEIR FAMILY FROM CERTAIN DOOM (or words to that effect)." He knew full well that we could hear him and was just trying a last ditch attempt to guilt us into signing away three grand, but it didn't work. I deal with more manipulative buggers than him every day at work, thanks.

After he left we made a vow that we would not let any more travelling salesmen into the house from now on. We've already had the travelling vacuum cleaner salesman, the bathfitter guys and now this dude. Forget it.

I refrained from launching into a diatribe about how I think that it's more the fact that we now live in hermetically sealed houses that don't breathe with the outside air coupled with our overuse of cleansers and antibacterial agents that is contributing to most of the maladies we see cropping up more and more often than the fact that we might get a bit of benzene oozing out of the walls every 5 years. It would have been like arguing with a fundamentalist. No matter what I'd say, he'd just refute it and get back on message.

Ah well. Made for an interesting and somewhat creepy evening.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Name That Space Debris!

So, who wants to guess what the unknown piece of debris floating around near the Space Shuttle Atlantis is?

I do! I do!

I'm going to guess that it's a....

Hmm...

I know. It's a wrench. That's my guess. I'll even go so far as to say it's a wrench made out of ice, thereby incorporating both of the ideas from the experts into one meta-explanation.

My other guess is that it's a hamster from a science experiment that went up in the payload bay. It got out, wandered into the cold, deadly vacuum of space and is now orbiting just outside the shuttle, a frozen chunk of lethal hamster meat intent on destroying the space station. Yup. That's probably more plausible.

My New Hero/A Long Overdue Political Rant

I had heard something about the Tories going around rebranding the party as Canada's New Government, but didn't realize it had escalated to such levels of absurdity. It's good to see that someone stood up to the creeping corporitization of the federal government and actually got his job back.

Natural Resources Canada on Tuesday reinstated a British Columbia geologist who was relieved of his duties after refusing a directive to refer to the federal government as "Canada's New Government."

Andrew Okulitch, a scientist emeritus with the Geological Survey of Canada, received an e-mail on Sept. 5 advising employees to use the phrase in all departmental correspondence, with all three words capitalized.

Okulitch fired off an e-mail, which he described Tuesday as "less than diplomatic," indicating that he would not do so. In his angry missive, he called the policy "ridiculous," and an example of idiotic buzzwords coined by political hacks.

I'm in a wierd spot right now when it comes to the Tories. I've found myself leaning a bit closer to the NDP camp during the last few elections. Then the Tories boot the dirty Liberals out (finally) and actually don't seem to be hashing things up that badly. This gets me thinking that, hey, they're not near as bad as they possibly could be, especially since they're dropping a lot of the more silly and polarizing issues that end up wasting everyone's time and have basically been going about the business of actually governing for a change.

The we get goofiness like Jack Layton's recent pronouncements about getting the troops out of Afghanistan, which is one of the stupidest things I've heard recently, which has got me thinking that I don't want to vote NDP next time there's an election based on that stance alone.

Oh, and for those keeping track at home, I'm the guy who still hates the Liberals because they scrapped the helicopter deal back in the early 90's when they took power. Everything else they did or didn't do whilst in power was just icing on the cake.

Anyway, so now I can't vote NDP, because I actually DO support the troops in Afghanistan. I can't vote Liberal because I'd burst into flame and have to eat my own tongue in protest. Now I am starting to think that I can't vote Tory because, while they're doing a somewhat decent job in the day-to-day governance of the country, they're really doing a great job of looking like a bunch of power-hungry control freaks in the way they're trying to rebrand government, muzzle MP's and hit on Condoleeza Rice.

Sigh. Where's the Rhino Party when you need them?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yarg.

Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Don't forget to tell your local saucy wench that she is one... Of course, I take no responsibility for what said saucy wench will do to you after that.

Yar!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Dutch Have Too Much Free Time

This is probably the coolest stop-motion animated film that I've seen from a normal joe-blow. The game references and little flourishes are top notch, although they are very old-school.

Enjoy!

By the way, I'm heading to Sarnia for a day or two but I'll try to update my blog from there with wonderous tales about my trip to Manitoulin (I've got about 2 or 3 in my brain that just need to be typed out) and I'll also regale you with our trip to the Acton Fall Fair today... It will have to be a few thousand words long because I didn't bring the camera. Sigh.

Edit: There, happy? I linked to it.

Practising at Playing Dead

There was a possum standing in the middle of the road just staring at me this morning on the way to work. It was actually alive, but I don't think it would last long during the 'rush hour' traffic.

That is all...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This Post Required A New Keyboard, It's That Good!

Well, I finally picked up the keyboard that I've been stalking throughout computer stores for the last 6 months. I picked up the Logitech G15 Gaming Keyboard.

I'm glad I waited though. I first saw this back in March when I bought my new system. It was retailing for about $99 at the local shop and I almost picked it up. Since then, I've checked the price every so often but it never came down. In fact, a few weeks back they actually RAISED the price to about $110.

Today I was at my wits end with Garrett as he was just bouncing off the walls and refused to have his afternoon nap. Given the miserable weather here in Acton, I decided to load him up in the car and go for a drive. I ended up in Future Shop in Kitchener, of all places (thankfully G-man had a nice 45 minute snooze in the car... huzzah!) and I decided to check the price of the keyboard there.

Lo and behold, there it was. A G15 keyboard. And what's this? It has to be a misprint on the price tag. It said it was only $59. I took it up to the counter to have the price verified and it was true! I bought it before they could change the price on me.

I even had a look on the website and the keyboard is supposed to retail for $129 Canadian. Not a bad deal, if you ask me.

It's a lovely little keyboard. Given that I've been using the same keyboard for about the last 8 years and it's starting to grow it's own hair and tissue, I figure it's about time I upgraded to a decent keyboard with a built in LCD screen and backlit keys.

Of course, if I'd waited a bit longer, I might have been able to afford this keyboard (well, I'd have to rob a bank to do so, but still...) I'm happy though. I've been saving a lot of money over the past little bit with the renegotiation of my mortgage and consolidating some debts, so I couldn't really pass this deal up.

And did I mention the keys are backlit? Mmm...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Well, I'm heading up north tomorrow for my annual Manitoulin trip with the guys from the group home. It should be a lot of fun, albeit a tiring lot of fun. I have to be out of here first thing tomorrow morning and then drive up, so I'd better get off to bed.

I'll be back in a week with stories to tell about the trip and my cousin's wedding last Saturday.

Toodles till then!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Dave!

Happy birthday Dave! You're the big 2-8 today.

To celebrate, I was able to convince the cast of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to do a dance for you.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nerd Alert!

Well, it's too late to do any good (like winning the lottery posthumously) but Serenity won a Hugo for best long-form presentation... ie. Best Sci-Fi movie of last year.

Joss had a funny acceptance speech :)

Oh, to celebrate, go out and build your own Serenity out of Lego.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Colbert & Jon

I missed the Emmys (Emmies? Emmy's?) last night, but I don't think I missed much.

Except this. Awesome!

Just Typing This Tires Me Out

Garrett & I had an action packed day today.

There's a new park across town that was supposed to be pretty decent. Having grown VERY sick of the park around the corner from us, I suggested to Garrett that we should go to the new park.

So around 8am we were heading out the door. I was planning on driving over there, as it is literally on the other side of town. Garrett would have none of this and insisted we walk. Who am I to argue with a 2 year old?

Off we went. We got about halfway to the park when I realized that he'd pooped. I had just changed his diaper before we left and didn't bother to bring along the diaper bag.

So we turned around and headed back home. After the deed was done, we came to the consensus that the car would be the preferred mode of transportation.

Off we went again. The park was quite spiffy, as parks go. Garrett has really mastered climbing of late. We played for a while and then kids started to show up. Garrett and his new buddy ran around for a while and then we went and kicked a soccer ball with another kid. Well, I kicked it. Garrett got fed up with the kicking and decided that throwing was the way to go.

After I was finally able to bribe Garrett away from the park with a promise of a Tim Bit, we went home and Garrett had an early nap. We were out for a good 3+ hours, so we were both kind of wiped.

Garrett was up by 1pm and raring to go. We went down to the Walmart and wandered about for a while. Garrett got himself a new "This Is Daniel Cook" DVD and I hit EB for a little bit and paid a few preorders for this fall. Then we made the fateful trip to the pet store.

There's a Super Pet a few doors down from EB and we usually go in to kill time and look at the fish. Today was 'Clean The Tank' day at Super Pet so Garrett and another little girl provided a rapt audience for the staff as they scraped algae off the glass.

Anyway, the crux of the trip is that I decided that it was time for Garrett to get a pet. We have a few aquariums (aquaria?) in the basement that have been gathering dust for ages. When we got home, Garrett helped me check the 5 gallon tank for leaks (none!) and we set the tank up on the little table in Garrett's room. He's very excited for the big trip to the store tomorrow to get some critters to populate the tank.

I'm just impressed that the tank doesn't leak, the pump works and the lights haven't shot out sparks. Not bad for a pile of aquarium gear that I picked up at a garage sale for $5 a few years ago. I also miss having fish, so this is kind of for me too :)

Julie's just rolling her eyes.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Mainframe: It's Like A Barn

I didn't want to lose this so here ya go.

IBM did a series of faux training videos shot in the same style as The Office. There are three of them and they're all pretty funny. The whole farmer/factory metaphor (or is it a simile?) is great.

"You have to get the farmers into the factory."

This One's For The Losties

Here's a compilation of all the Hanso videos from the Lost ARG this summer.

Enjoy!

Meat Cake

Everyone remembers the meat-based wedding cake at Dave & Kate's wedding, right?

Well, feast your eyes upon MeatCake 2.0.

Mmm...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Why Stephen Colbert Fights the Rancor

I'm just putting this here because Garrett likes to watch it. He must have had me rewind the tape about 8 times this morning before I couldn't handle it anymore.



Speaking of good things on TV, did anyone else catch the documentary on CBC last night called "Why We Fight"? It is fantastic. I'd almost rented it a few times but I got to watch it for free instead. Hooray!

It's a very balanced (though disturbing) look at the build-up of the American military-industrial complex from the 60's to today. The scary thing is that almost everything that Eisenhower warned against in his farewell address seems to have come to pass.

It was kind of cool to have my birthday mentioned several times during the course of the documentary though. Of course, my birthday was also the day the opening salvo of the Iraq War was started, so I'm not sure if it's such an honour...