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."


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.



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....


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


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.


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.


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.