Thursday, November 29, 2007

My list...

On the Things I Hate And Want To Slap With A Large Fish list of one Mister Brock J.P. Wager:

1) The city of Kitchener
2) The city of Waterloo
3) People who live in either Kitchener or Waterloo and feel the need to correct you if you say the wrong city when explaining where they live.
4) Whatever drunken monkey it was who designed the streets in Hamilton.
5) The song, "Go Tell It On The Mountain".
6) The penultimate assassinations in Assassin's Creed.
7) HD cable providers who drop Discovery HD from my bundle and stick A&E HD in there instead.

I Want My Discovery HD

What is it with me and customer service this week. First I get the crappiest meal ever served at Swiss Chalet, now I have stuff go on with my HD cable!

A day or two ago, we started getting a message when we tried watching Discovery HD that said something along the lines of "This channel not available. Press info for more..."

Of course, pressing Info didn't tell us anything so tonight I called Cogeco to see if it was just some weird thing going on with the cable. Turns out that Cogeco had a glitch in their system FOR THE LAST YEAR that had Discovery HD (and HDNet, which is some channel I have never even glanced at) lumped in with the standard HD cable bundle. So now I get A&E HD (woop de doo) but in order to watch Discovery HD, I have to pay an extra $6/month. I can't get it any other way.


On the one hand, I probably spend more on coffee in a week than that and we could easily afford it. On the other, it's really annoying that one of the, if not THE, best HD channel is now something I have to pay extra for after a year of getting it lumped in with the standard HD stuff.

Sigh. At least I get 2 months of it for free before I have to decide if it's worth dropping the extra $6/month on it or not.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

(Not So) Finger Lickin' Good

We went out to Swiss Chalet for some evangelical chicken after church today with Ralph & Louise. Boy howdy, did we ever make a mistake going to the one in Milton. I have had sub-par meals before, especially at Swiss Chalet, but this one had me firing off a very nasty message (via their customer survey).

Here's what I wrote in the "Tell us about your experience" box.
This was one of the most disappointing meals I have had at your restaurant.

Aside from the greeter at the door, none of the other servers seemed to acknowledge our existence once we were seated. Our server was very slow, had to be reminded constantly (when he'd show up) about missing utensils, drink refills, desserts (with the kids meal), etc. To top this all off, our food was cold and undercooked (aside from the vegetables which were cold and OVERcooked).

And this was at 11:30am on a Sunday morning when there were 2 or 3 other tables with customers in the restaurant. This kind of experience may have been excusable during a busy dinner rush but the servers were all standing around the bar chatting for a large part of our meal, so busyness was not a valid excuse for the poor service and food temperature.

Even the finger bowls at the end of the meal were frigid instead of warm.

If it weren't for the fact that I quite enjoy Swiss Chalet chicken and the yummy dipping sauce, I'd be sorely tempted to never go back again. That said, I will not be going there for some time and will definately tell my friends and family about my lackluster dining experience today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Frackin' Toasters

I'm not sure how many of the 4 of you who read my blog are Battlestar Galactica fans, but if you are, the prequel movie, Razor, is on tonight at 9pm on Space.

Now the question is whether to watch it in not-HD on the TV whenever I get a chance OR if I should just watch the HD version I'm downloading either on my PC or the PSP.

Santa Has A Crystal Ball

We told Garrett that Santa can see him from the North Pole so he'd better be a good boy, to which he responded, "No he can't!"

This morning, he'd changed his tune. Odd...

Anyway, here is Garrett's letter to Santa as dictated to me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Win Free Stuff!

There's a cool contest over at Dell where you can win all sorts of cool stuff... if you're luckier than me.


I almost won a camera, an Xbox 360 and a new TV/Monitor (I love the fact that you can now use those terms interchangably) but missed it by ONE stupid icon.


EDIT: It would have really helped if I'd PUT THE LINK IN THERE... Stupid stupid stupid...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Look Out Maggie!

Our newest snowsuit model has arrived.

When she's not braving the tundra, Kara's busy wrangling cattle (and her big brother).

Sunday, November 18, 2007

G&D Comics Presents:

Garrett & I spent part of the afternoon making a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. Julie says I missed my calling... I think it was more of a wrong number :)

From Comics By Gar...

Friday, November 16, 2007

Call Her Miss Chompers

Kara cut her first tooth today while I was at work.

To celebrate her coming of age, I'm going to get her this fancy outfit and put her to work :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Oh my lord. You know people are just a wee bit touched in the head when they start doing things like this and think that it's perfectly fine. Stupid political correctness. I thought we'd already moved past that insanity and regained a bit of perspective and common sense. At least it's happening in Australia and not Canada, but you know it could easily happen here.

SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.

"Gimme a break," said Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids.

"We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they," she told the Telegraph.

"Leave Santa alone."

A local spokesman for the US-based Westaff recruitment firm said it was "misleading" to say the company had banned Santa's traditional greeting and it was being left up to the discretion of the individual Santa himself.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Call Of Duty 4 Is Awesome

Three little words: Death From Above

Easily my favourite mission in the game so far. You play as an operator on an AC-130 'Spooky' gunship and it is played out entirely in black and white thermal vision.

It's hard to explain, but it's just awesome. Heck, here's the video.

I think it's also the fact that you're playing as a weapons operator on a plane WITH A 105mm HOWITZER STRAPPED ON THE SIDE. Whoever thought that configuration up must have been trying to compensate for something!

I mean... it's a plane with 40mm cannons and a couple of 25mm machine guns and you stick a howitzer on it? Yeesh.

The game also has one of the most addictive multiplayer components I've ever played, so it's just that much more goodness added onto the great singleplayer campaign.

Burn That Money!

Over the last couple of weeks, I've gotten hooked on Dragon's Den on CBC. Now, I've got the business savvy of a sea cucumber (and that's an insult to the sea cucumber) and I tend to loathe reality TV in general, but this show has its claws into me.

I think it's a combination of the crazy inventions/businesses that are pitched on the show and the fact that it's like watching a contest judged by a panel consisting solely of Simon Cowells that has me loving the show. There are some genuinely good ideas being pitched and some that are absolutely batty... I loved the guy tonight who was trying to get investors into his gold mine... that happened to be under a lake that he couldn't drain or do anything else to.

It's also interesting to get a glimpse into the minds of these high rollers in the business world and to see what they're looking for in a company and try to figure out whether something that I think is a good idea is one that they'll go for.

Anyone else digging this show?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

It's Remembrance Day.

Maclean's has a fantastic article in their issue from last week where they published the last letters home from several of the fallen Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. It really brings the cost of the war home when you read them.

We have to remember that November 11th isn't just about the men & women who died in WWII. It's about those still serving and dying today too.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Tale Of Two Fishies

Well, the poll is closed. In the end, it turned out that one Tiger Barb died, but that was due to... well, I'm not sure. We just found it sucked up against the side of the intake for the filter, so I guess he just didn't have the will to live.

Thankfully I was able to take it back to the store and get a new one. I tried to trade it in at EB but they wouldn't take it. Sigh.

Speaking of death, Garrett was asking me about my poppy yesterday. I explained that it was to remember the soldiers who died so that we could be free. Then he got worried that I was dead. Then I ate his brains.

I mean, I explained to him that I wasn't dead and he gave me a hug and it was cool.

Speaking of zombies, Kara's voice is still pretty raspy. She still sounds like a drowned kitten but otherwise she's doing fairly well. Julie took her in for a check-up yesterday and it seems like it's mostly a head cold. Hopefully the fevers will go away and if everything goes well, she should be better by the end of the weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007

24: The Unaired Pilot

24 was recently put on the shelf pending the resolution of the Writer's Guild Strike. I'm not really crying too hard because of the strike as it's freeing up a lot of my time that I'd used to spend watching TV (and given the deluge of big games out this month, that's a good thing).

Anyway, the unaired 1994 pilot episode of 24 was recently uncovered. Check it out. It's pretty good, though I'm glad the show didn't end up getting produced until 2001.

So Awesome It's Sad

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sick Kids

So it's the kids' time to get sick around here. Garrett has been a little hoarse for the last couple days and Kara sounds like a sick puppy when she cries. It's just such a pathetic little whimper, my heart just breaks when she cries these days.

Of course, she's super happy most of the time. Whatever she has just seems to be bugging her throat and she is up a bit more than usual at night but otherwise, she's just coughing up some phlegm. She's off to the doctor tomorrow anyway, so we'll see how things are.

Garrett's been going to bed fine this week (yay) but he has also been in our bed when I get out of the shower at 6:30 in the morning before work. Sigh.

I just hope he stays asleep till at least 7 tomorrow morning. I'm doing the overnight tomorrow so I wouldn't mind getting a bit of extra sleep in the morning so I can make it through the night!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Game Reviews By Brock!

Just wanted to put a few blurbs up about some of the games I've played recently or am looking forward to.

The Simpsons Game: I just finished this tonight and it is a fantastic game. The cutscenes are hilarious and the game is pretty funny from start to finish. It's not terribly difficult but it is rather fun and as a gamer, it's loaded with stuff that had me chuckling at almost every turn. For a non-gamer, it might not be quite so droll, but it's pretty sweet all in all.

Call of Duty 4: I just grabbed this today and haven't put a lot of time into it but it's phenomenal. The singleplayer campaign is pretty good so far (though my aim stinks) and the multiplayer component is almost like an RPG in the way you earn points and level up after each match depending on your performance. It's a much deeper game than Halo 3's multiplayer component.

Final Fantasy Tactics - War Of The Lions: This is a fantastic PSP port of the original Final Fantasy Tactics game for the PS1! The cutscenes have been done up in a kind of anime style which is gorgeous to look at and the translation actually makes sense now. The Job System is still there in all its glory, which makes me very happy. I'm hoping that I'll be able to actually finish the game this time around... I've only been trying to do so for the last 10 years... sigh.

Phoenix Wright - Trials & Tribulations: I just finished this last night and it was a great finale to the Phoenix Wright trilogy of lawyer adventure games. Great cases, great characters and twists and turns abounding. Now to eagerly await the 4th installment of the Ace Attorney series whenever it hits North America next year.

Guitar Hero 3: Wireless guitar? Check. Online co-op and battle modes? Check. Great song list? Check. 'Nuff said.

Zack & Wiki: An awesome point & click adventure title on the Wii with great use of the motion sensitive controls to solve puzzles. And it's about pirates. What more can you ask for? I love this game but I'm stuck. Sigh.

Upcoming games:

Silent Hill Origins: This should be in tomorrow or Thursday and my copy is paid off, so I'll be able to post some impressions when it hits. All I know is that it's portable, it's Silent Hill and it's a prequel to the series. When the only real complaints I've read are that it's not breaking the mold (a la Silent Hill 4) and that the combat sucks (which is almost a prerequisite for a Silent Hill game) then I'm pretty stoked for the game.

Assassin's Creed: Prince of Persia-style acrobatics in a wide open city set in medieval Jerusalem with some kind of science fiction twist? Sign me up. I've had my copy paid off for months and this will be my penultimate game for the year when it hits next week.

Mass Effect: My final game on my preorder list and paid off in full is this hum-dinger of a sci-fi RPG. If nothing else, this should keep me quite busy during the winter months when the kids are sleeping during the day. HA! I'm actually pretty interested in this game as I read the prequel novel that came out earlier this year and the universe they've created is pretty interesting. Add to that the fact that it's an RPG that doesn't involve me fighting dragons or japanese girly men and I'm intrigued.

And that's about it. Super Mario Galaxy is out next week but I'm just going to be renting it, along with a stack of other games that I'd like to try but just can't afford as it's coming up on Christmas and my parental leave starts soon.

Did I mention that I hate October and November? It's like the game publishers can't sell any games outside of those two months. Yeesh.

What's The Buzz?

I took Garrett to see Bee Movie today while Julie was watching Dan In Real Life with her mom class.

Long story short: Wait for it to come out on DVD and give it a rent. It was a perfectly fine movie but it just rang really hollow. The scenes where the bees are flying out and about in New York City are quite impressive but everything else just seems off... Sort of like Shark Tale. The dialogue was written so that it was pretty funny for me but I can't see how any kid is really going to enjoy most of the plot and/or dialogue. Add to that the fact that there just isn't enough action going on to really grab the kids and it adds up to a very uneven film as to who its audience is.

I mean, a large portion of the film takes place in a courtroom and revolves around a lawsuit. That doesn't tend to make for riveting children's entertainment.

On the flipside, we also picked up Ratatouille on DVD today. Now THAT is a great movie. Easily my favourite film from the summer, hands down. We were going to get it for Garrett for Christmas but he saw it while we were picking it out of the display at Wal-Mart and that was the end of that plan. I just hope they wait until I get home from work tomorrow to start watching it.

If you haven't seen Ratatouille, go rent it ASAP, whether you have kids or not. It's just a rock solid film.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Must Control Fist Of Rage

From the Hillbilly Neighbour Files - Case #5892:

At around 7pm (bedtime) last night, we started to hear horrible squealing sounds coming through the wall accompanied by some nasty hammering. My neighbours have a penchant for engaging in late-night weekend renovations but this was just ridiculous.

It was only 7pm, so I decided to give them until 9pm to stop unless it got crazy.

The noise levels were rather low until about 8:30pm or so. At this point the squealing of the concrete drill and hammering started again. I was watching a movie at this point and was going to give them until about 9:30 but I couldn't take it anymore by about 9:20.

I stomped over to the neighbour's door, politely rap on their door and wait for them to answer the door.

When they do, I say, in as calm and pleasant a voice as I can muster, "Hi there. I just wanted to know if you were going to be finished hammering anytime soon."

Now at this point the average human with a modicum of neighbourly feelings would say something along the lines of, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize we were being so loud. We'll just finish up in a few minutes and you won't hear a peep out of us until tomorrow."

Of course, these neighbours of mine give sea urchins a run for their money in the social skills category. And that's a bit of a slight towards the sea urchins.

What is the first thing to come out of my hillbilly neighbour's mouth?

"It's not 11 yet." (11pm being the noise bylaw cutoff time in our complex.)

It took all of my reserve not to just pop him in the nose right there. I somehow kept my cool and politely reminded him that we had kids trying to sleep and thankfully they did keep the drilling and hammering to a dull roar, but man...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Something Fishy This Way Comes

There's a new poll up over yonder. I picked up 5 tiger barb fish for the aquarium (Kara loves looking at the fishies swimming around at night) and from the instant I put them into the tank, they started chasing my poor Neons around.

Come and vote on who/what you think the results will be at the end of a week. I hope it's peaceful cohabitation... I just need to remember to feed the fish daily.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Spooooky Pics

Julie made these for the potluck snackathon at the Early Years Center yesterday.

Here's Donatello!

Kara was on deck to hand out candy and get ideas for costumes for next year.