Tuesday, August 18, 2009

'Really, I should post more here now that I think about it', said the right brain to the left brain.

'Yeah, I'd like to see you do THAT', said lefty.

'Yeah? Well, fine, just look at me post then', replied righty, visibly getting into a huff.

'By all means, please do'.

'Don't think I won't do it!' said righty.

There's no denying it, the situation was getting tense. Righty was in a fight for control whereas lefty knew he was in control.

Yes, things were about to get out of hand.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Top 10

Having recently finished 'Mass Effect' for the Xbox 360, I began thinking that that very game might have found a way into my personal 'Top 10' best games. That in and of itself got me to thinking: what are my 'Top 10' favorite games? How has that list changed in the last few years? Here's a quick rundown.

1- The 'Thief' Series
2- Ultima VII: The Black Gate
3- System Shock 2
4- Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
5- Mass Effect
6- The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
7 - CastleVania: Symphony of the Night
8- Super Mario Galaxy
9- The 'Half-Life' Series
10- Super Metroid

And, if I'd go just a bit further to 15, you'd find these games... A sort of 'honourable mention', if you will.

11- Rez
12- The 'Ratchet and Clank' series, in particular 'Up Your Arsenal' and 'Tools of Destruction'
13- Any Harmonix game (Amplitude, Guitar Hero 1 & 2, Rock Band)
14- BioShock
15- Diablo 2

Sunday, May 25, 2008

New Song

New song of mine.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wii Fit Day

Personally, I'm getting very excited about Wii Fit today. I don't know if it's because my usual online haunts are all talking about it, but I'm really anxious to give that thing a spin. I don't know if 'game' is the actual correct word for it since it's quite different from most of the stuff on the market. Maybe 'platform' might be better (yeah, ha ha, see what I did there?) Anyway, we've all seen DDR mats and Nintendo's mid 80's 'Power Pad' (if I remember correctly), but this actual seems to have all kinds of different people interested in what it might bring to the table. Anyway, it's one of the rare 'games' I've preordered at my local EB, so hopefully my son and I can pick it up tonight and start looking completely silly with it.

Aside from that, I started Mass Effect on the weekend and, so far, it's fantastic. Yes, I know, it's not quite a 'new' game, but I prefer focusing on one 'serious' game at a time in order to get the most out of it, and since I had just finished Assassin's Creed, I wanted to jump into the Mass Effect universe.

Also, my wife is completely pwning my ass at Boom Blox.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

All right, let’s get back to the good ol’ blogging grind, shall we?

I’ve been toying about in Reason about more lately and I’ve come up with a very simple little piece that’s I’m quite happy about. It’s mainly harp based, since last week fancy struck me to compose such a little track. It clocks in at just over a minute, but I like the result. Once I finish polishing it I should be able to post it somewhere.

I’m definitely in the last stretch for ‘Assassin’s Creed’ on the 360, and I’m still taking my time with it. Once I finish that, I’m either going to jump into either the first ‘Condemned’ or ‘Mass Effect’. You read that right: no ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ just yet on the horizon. I’ll probably delve deeper into why I’m not actually interested in playing that seminal title just yet, but it’ll have to wait a bit. Also, aside from ‘Assassin’s Creed’, we’ve been playing quite a bit of ‘Mario Kart Wii’ and having an absolute blast with it. Essentially, the whole family is in on the fun, from David, to my wife and of course, myself. Chris, my oldest, hasn’t really had a chance to play much, but I have now doubt he’ll rectify that at some point. I’ve played with the wheel a bit, and while fun, I much prefer the Wiimote and Nunchuck control combo, since it feels that much more accurate. But, the wheel has the distinct advantage of being extremely easy to use, since anyone even remotely familiar one how to operate a moving vehicle will have this innate knowledge about what to do with a steering wheel when handed one. I’ve also had a bit of a chance to play with the online in the game, and even though Nintendo’s friend code concept should die a fiery death, once you push through with all the code input nonsense, the online experience is surprisingly well executed. Not too mention there’s something really fun about playing with a bunch of other people, knowing that you’re not just racing against another computer controlled opponent. And, last thing in regards to ‘Mario Kart’ for now, I recently unlocked the ability to use your ‘Mii’ likeness in the game. It’s kind of neat to see a little caricature of yourself piloting a kart down the winding Mario themed courses, but listening to that little avatar is another matter entirely. The Weeee’s and Yahoo’s coming out of that little digital representation of me sound absolutely retarded. Strangely enough, I kind of like it since it manages to make me laugh nearly every time... Go figure.

Finally, David is turning five tomorrow. We’ll be celebrating with a ‘Cars’ themed birthday cake that he chose and having a few of our acquaintances over for some dessert. I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yeah, I know...

... I haven't posted in a while... It's just that I'm still trying to process my recent escapade to Europe and didn't want to start writing about it for fear I might not stop for a long, long time.

Now, on a totally unrelated note: 'The World Ends with You' looks like it just might be the game that gets me to try a RPG on the DS. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Going to London Today

What I have written on my office computer to let my coworkers know where I am, in case anyone comes by wondering:

I'm off to London and maybe France,
I remembered to pack some underpants.
It's very important to be ready,
I just hope the plane will be steady.

I'm sure I'll have fun and enjoy the sights,
I'll take lots of pictures of all the lights.
If all goes well, I shall come back
Around Apirl 21st to talk and chat.

If you're looking for me, then you're out of luck,
I'm off to Europe and don't give a... darn.

Who knows, I might have a chance to blog from London, but I wouldn't bet my life on it. :-)

Cheers all!

Monday, April 7, 2008

BattleDoctorWood: Vegas

I really have to catch up on my season premieres and finales. Last week saw the arrival of a brand new season of both Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica, and I have yet to watch either of them. Plus, Torchwood also concluded its second season last week, so both my wife and I will have to commit some serious TV time in order to watch all those (plus CSI Vegas) before going off to Europe on Thrusday. Yes, I know, such a painful issue to have.

We went over to visit my mother-in-law on the weekend, and the bed we slept in was softer than a sponge. My back is still killing me today, so I'm somewhat thankful that I've been able to sit at my desk for the majority of the day. Honestly, I realize now that it might not have been the best idea to go and visit her this past weekend since the only thing I did was worry about the upcoming trip and all that needed to be accomplished before we go. That, coupled with the fact that I coulnd't do any of those things really didn't do any wonders to my mood.

In any case, one of my co-workers put up a map of France at my desk for the week in anticipation of my upcoming holiday. She's actually from France, and thought it might serve as a good idea to get me geared up for Thursday. Honestly, I don't think I need all that much help since I'm starting to get excited, but it was a sweet gesture on her part.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

We're probably going to end up at the library tonight since David 4.10's book is due, and we'll probably pick up another one for our nightly reading before bed-time. That might give me a chance to finish Guy Gavriel Kay's 'Ysabel', which has really grabbed me as of late. The book started off a little slow I found, but it was never boring. It's just that Kay has a way to build up characters and establishes the situation very well, so it's solidly rooted down and you know what you're getting into. That's why when the story really starts going, you're in for a hell of a ride. I liked his last book ('The Last Light of the Sun') but I think it was my least favorite book by him. Don't get me wrong, his worst book still stands head and shoulders above what you typically find out there in the realm of fiction, but it didn't grab me quite as much as his other works did. 'Ysabel', though, did, and still has me firmly in it's grip. I can't wait to see how it'll end, as I actually have no idea what shape the conclusion will end up taking. It's an excellent book that manages to mesh fiction and fantasy extremely well and, again something that's very common for Kay, the research into the locales and history are spot on and definitely give me a flavour of the place. I'd actually like to visit it someday thanks to this book.

On another note, I'm looking forward to 'Echochrome' for the PS3. Essentially, it looks like a puzzle / platformer type of game, where you manipulate one of those 'impossible machine' looking type things in order to make your little stick figure journey across it. I know, I'm sure that reading that description doesn't instill any type of curiosity on your part, but google it to find some videos to get a better idea of what I'm talking about. In a way, it reminds me a bit of 'Portal', since at the beginning, you're trying to wrap your head around the concept of what must happen for you to get from point A to point B, and the task itself seems almost insurmountable. However, little by little, you start to get how to manipulate the environment to get to the desired result, and what looked impossible almost looks easy in hindsight. 'Echochrome' seems to touch that vibe, and it's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Faxing Resident Umbrellas

Busy day yesterday where I didn’t have much of a chance to blog.
Today at work I’m essentially starting to looking after faxes until I leave for my trip to London next week. Typically, this is a task reserved for people who have been here at least six months or so, but a week or two after I started here, I made it a point to learn how to do so and right now, I’m the sole bearer of that particular task. It might not sound like much, but we get about two to three thousand pages of fax per day, so it can be quite the undertaking. That means I won’t be running around the building as much as usual, which actually kind of sucks, since one of the things I really enjoy about my job is that I’m constantly moving. Oh well, I can listen to my iPod if I want while sorting the faxes, so it’s not all bad.

Rented ‘Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles’ last night at the same time I picked up ‘Avatar’ at the video store and it’s pretty terrible. I have the lightgun thingy for the Wii that turns the nunchuk and controller into a crossbow looking thing, so I thought it could possibly be entertaining or fun, but it just didn’t grab me. The only positive thing I can say about it right off is that the cursor stays a heck of a lot more stable on the screen when aiming than ‘Link’s Crossbow Training’, but everything else really didn’t grab me. I got up to the first boss and promptly died, even though I was pummeling the boss pretty well and it’s life was going down by tiny increments. The big scorpion thing took three swipes at me and I was dead. Just the though of doing that over filled me with what I can only describe as an ‘ugh’ feeling, so that was pretty much all the motivation I needed to give it up. I was intending to maybe rent ‘Super Smash Bros. Brawl’, but those were sadly all out.

Oh, and on another note, when we'll be in London, we're definitely planning on checking out the London Eye and Forbidden Planet. I can't wait!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Earth Hour and Quick Reactions

Eventful weekend where lots was accomplished and I almost set fire to the house: more on that in a minute.

We managed to catch up on a bit of ‘Avatar’ over the weekend and now only have one episode left on the DVD I rented from the video store. My 360 is on its way to Microsoft as well, so hopefully I’ll see it again in a few weeks. I also managed to install some nice horizontal blinds in our bedroom with my father’s help, so now we can effectively block sunlight from most rooms. And in observance of Earth Hour which happened on Saturday, I almost set the house on fire. Let me explain...

I opened up my trusty Firefox browser on Saturday morning to check out a few news sites to be greeted with a black Google page. After shutting down Firefox and reopening it a few times, I though that my graphics drivers must be acting up, so I rebooted the system to resolve the issue. After the restart, I’m still greeted by a dark Google page, but notice a little blurb in the lower part of the page that explains why Google blacked out its page in observance of Earth Hour. Ooops, maybe I should’ve looked at the page more carefully before assuming I had a tech issue. Anyway, as I’m sure many of you know by now, on Saturday March 29th people were invited to turn off the lights between eight and nine PM in order to reduce energy consumption (incidentally, it looks like the concept paid off) So, our little family decided to participate in the little event. Between eight and nine o’clock, we turned off all the lights, lit a whole bunch of candles and even started a fire in our fireplace. It was very nice actually and we really enjoyed the soft glow that seemed to permeate the house. A little after nine once David 4.10 was in bed and sleeping, I went around and extinguished all the candles... Or so I thought.

Ten Fifteen rolls around, and my wife and I are about ten minutes into ‘Layer Cake’ (which was a very good movie, by the way). All of a sudden, the fire alarm goes off upstairs, so not wasting a second I run up to see what’s going on. The first things I notice is that there’s smoke coming from the living room: the type of smoke that seems to hug the ceiling and almost create a semi solid cloud of blue-gray. Even before I turn into the living room however, I notice the tell tale orange flicker reflecting from the surrounding walls and once I turn the corner into that common area, I see flames. My heart sank and I can recall the moment with crystal clarity. I yell ‘Fire!’ to my wife who was still downstairs and, without thinking, head directly toward the flaming mass on the floor. Once I get closer, I’m able to see that David’s Thomas the Tank Engine toys are what’s blazing and after opening the front door, I grab what I can and expel them out the front door. I have to do two or three circuits in order to throw the whole flaming mess outside in the snow, and in that very moment I didn’t care in the slightest about grabbing those fire-stricken toys in my bare hand and throwing them outside: only later did I realize that I burnt my hand due to the flames and possibly some acid which leaked out of some batteries. In any case, with the plastic toys outside, I stomp out the small remaining flame with my foot and ensure that nothing else is ablaze. My wife then arrives with the fire extinguisher. I look at her, and tell her that it doesn’t seem like we need that thing any longer, but the gesture is very appreciated. Satisfied by how things look in the living room, I head to the front door and look at the still flaming mess in the snow. I notice the neighbor in front peaking through the window, and honestly they must be wondering as to why we have a small bonfire in front of our house. I was tempted to wave and ask them if they had any marshmallows, but really I just wanted to put the fire out, so I go to the kitchen, fill a pot up with water and dump it on the remains of Thomas and Friends. After scooping some more snow onto the remains of the fire, I can finally be confident that it’s extinguished. Meanwhile, my wife found that a suspended candelabra we have leaked some hot wax onto the toys, sparking the fire. If the was had simply dripped onto the hardwood floor, we would’ve had a puddle of solid wax to clean up in the morning, but no fire. The plastic toys were just in the perfect spot in this case, which is how the blaze started. After the ordeal, I went to check on David to find him soundly asleep in his bed. I therefore noted that he probably wouldn’t be the one leading the family out of the house if the whole thing ever caught fire.

This made me realize a few things: you never know how you’re going to react to harsh and stressful situations until you’re right in the middle of them, and I’m quite happy with my quick reaction. Some part of my brain must have gauged that I was capable of expelling the flaming toys outside and that the situation was not yet out of control, since before I even had any rational thoughts as to what to do, I was already physically moving to eliminate the threat to the house. Also, the now incinerated toys in question were just about a foot away from some cotton drapes, and my thinking is that if an extra 30 seconds or so had gone by before I was able to intervene, those might have caught fire and made the situation that much more serious.

On Sunday, we spent a good chunk of the morning cleaning, since the fire had spread some black soot all across the first floor. So you know those blinds I had just finished installing the day before? Every blade had to be wiped, since some black dust had found it’s way on literally every flat surface on the first floor. Needless to say, our house is now very clean.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On Writing

I really have to get back to writing my story... I more or less abandoned it late January when my son got sick, since I couldn’t really sit in front of the computer and ask him politely not to throw up for a few minutes while daddy did his writing. Before that, I had committed myself to a set schedule of writing at least three hundred words a day and I was doing pretty well. Obviously, for many writers, three hundred words a day must seem like a cakewalk, but I was going for consistency more than actual quantity of words put to paper. In a way, that’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog, in order to ensure that I would write at least a little something everyday. However, lately I’ve been thinking back to Diana Winters and I’d like to get back to telling her story, so I think I’ll set myself down in front of the keyboard at home tonight and bang out those three hundred. Sometimes even writing that much is like pulling teeth, and I’m anticipating being a bit rusty when I start again.

On another note, I’m still waiting for my Xbox 360 ‘coffin’ to show up from Purolator. I made the call on Monday, and even though they did specify that it could take two to three business days to get to me, I’ll give them until Monday before I make another call. Monday being a holiday up here in Canada probably didn’t help things, so I’ll accord the benefit of the doubt this time.

Last night, the missus and I ended up watching another episode of ‘Avatar’ and the most recent ‘Ghost Hunters’. Avatar continues to be excellent, and nothing much happened in episode three of the fourth season of with Grant and Jason, but hey: not all places they investigate can be haunted up the ying-yang, now can they?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rickrolling Rick

The LA Times Blog has an interview up with Rick Astley about 'rickrolling' and it's pretty cute. Looks like the guy has a good sense of humour about the whole concept, even though he clearly has the right to find it a bit strange. If you're not up as to what a 'rickroll' is, there's a good description of the meme on that site.

On an unrelated note, it looks like we might have an after school daycare pretty much secured for David 4.10 this coming fall. A few months back, I was remiss to find out that getting my son a spot in a daycare was going to be difficult, since literally any place I contacted had a full waiting list. I did what I could and essentially put him on a few different lists, but when my wife dropped him off to the Behavioural Center this morning, she had a chance to talk with one of the ladies that works there and found out that they were opening a full and after school daycare within the center soon enough! He's been going to the center for about a month now, and it really has helped in bringing him out of his shell, so going to a full time daycare at that very center until school starts could be a huge positive for all of us. Anyway, we'll see what happens in the future, but I do have a good feeling about this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Portals Invade Toronto!

Apparently, Bloor street in downtown Toronto has been taken over by Portals. I like their execution, and if you’re not familiar with Portal, you owe it to yourself to check it out: it’s a fantastic puzzle game put together by Valve that manages to weave a very interesting narrative where you least expect. Of course, any gamer worth his salt has heard the memes at this point (‘The cake is a lie’), but Portal still stands tall as a concept that could not have been executed in any other medium. You hear every so often how certain games attempt to mimic the cinematic structure in order to either be taken more seriously or somehow gain credibility. That’s missing the point, whereas something like Portal couldn’t be effectively replicated in any other medium. That in and of itself does more to advance the art form than a lot of other games. However, I don’t want to come off as arrogant or know-it-all sounding here, since so many different things can be accomplished with the medium. It’s just, when it comes to Portal, the game was so close to being a perfect experience that it will be etched in many different memories for a long time to come, I believe.

I’m still trying to get ‘Avatar’ to stream to my PS3, but for some reason I always get a ‘Data Type not Supported’ error when I’m trying to watch that on my system. Other AVI files of the DivX and xvid persuasion work fine, but for some reason ‘Avatar’ is not playing friendly. And since my Xbox 360 is out of commission, I can’t include it in my media equation. I’m not really interested in converting the files to another format, so I think I’m just going to drop by the video store tonight and see if I can pick up the DVD’s.