Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
It's about 3 am on a Saturday morning/Friday night. I'm just about to go to bed. I should have donee so, oh maybe, 2 hours ago, but I decided to give Steph another 15 minutes to finish watching what she was watching (Japanese Television shows... hrm.:S) and lie down on the couch and channel surf. There were a few interesting movies on, mostly halfway through. THe Crow: City of Angels (meh, not bad), Faceoff with Travolta and Nic Cage (Better meh, but still meh) and then I for some reason flip to the Family Channel and "The Rookie" with Dennis Quaid was on. It's a story about a guy who, in his mid 30's, makes a comeback as a major league baseball player.
It's late, so I'll do my patented "Keep it short" bit. This movie reminded me why I love movies so much. Yes, it was predictable. Yes, is was fluff. But also yes, to the tenth degree, it was heartwarming and entertaining. It made me feel something. I was happy when the nice parts of the movie were on. I was worried when the not so nice parts were on. I wanted to cheer when Jim Morris (Quaid) threw strike 3 in the fairy tale ending was happening. I had a lump in my throat when he made up with his dad. I felt something. It's movies that can do this for you, for anyone, if you let them.
There are so many movies in this world that are good, bad, or indifferent. See one, see them all. It doesn't matter. Let them be for you what they are for me. Motivational, and inspiring.
Thank you and good night. :)
Now, it isn't mentioned as much in this article I have copied from TSN.ca, but I was following Haley Wickenheiser's comments from her speech at the Hockey Summit in Toronto yesterday. I saw "money needs to be put in place to make this work". Well, while I do agree that money generally makes things work, let's ask ourselves... is this REALLY what we want to put our money in? When unemployment is at an alltime high? When our children are going to school hungry? (I think I've mentioned that one before)
To me, if something needs someone else to pay for it to make it work, then there really needs to be some thought on whether or not it should be put into motion. With so many "real" needs for money in this world, why are we considering putting MORE money into something like women's hockey? I'm not just picking on women's hockey either, it's just what brought this to mind. Artists who live from handout to handout
from provincial and municipal governments, sports teams and leagues in general that do much of the same.
Think about it. Think about that time you or anyone else may have been without a job. Nobody was giving you a handout to get through. You would likely have to take a job out of your field to just get by. You had to do what you had to do to get by. Period. There's no free money for you. EI? You paid for EI when you WERE working. Why do these people get to ask the governments of our world for money and think it's perfectly ok?
Provide a quality product and people will pay for it. Don't say it's a good product and make people feel they should support it. Actually BE good, and it'll happen on it's own. Develop the product properly. It will happen. Don't beg for money better spent elsewhere and say that will fix it.
I'm sure there are plenty of people who disagree with me. So, go to a school, look at that skinny kid not eating and tell me that women's hockey is more important.
The questions zipped by like slapshots off the glass, reporters pressed in tight with their interest piqued and their microphones raised, demanding answers about the idea of a women's professional super hockey league.
Is it viable? Would it make any money? Who would pay for it? Would the NHL be involved? Is this the way to fix the growing competitive imbalance in the women's Olympic tournament?
While so many of the questions remain unanswered, it was one of the ideas set forth on Thursday at the World Hockey Summit by a panel of some of the most successful and influential people in the women's international game.
Disappointed by the lopsided scores in the women's tournament at the Vancouver Olympics, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said in February that there must be competitive improvement at the Games or women will no longer compete in Olympic hockey.
The panelists at this summit say they will do everything possible to save the women's Olympic game, including a women's pro league operated in North America for the world's best players. And this week as the world is gathered for this summit, they have been able to bend the ear of the NHL on the topic.
“I was in a meeting just this week with the NHL and some stakeholders in women's hockey, and I think we have the ear of the NHL,” said four-time Canadian Olympic hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, who said she envisions playing in such a league herself and later acting in a management role. “They need to look at this not necessarily as a business plan right now but as an investor or at a sponsorship level to get it off the ground and get it growing.
“They are legitimately interested. If you look at team sports in the world, to my knowledge, most of the professional women's leagues really struggle. So in hockey, we have to learn from that and figure out a way for women's hockey, so it actually works and makes sense.”
North America currently has a couple of prominent women's hockey leagues, most notably the Canadian Women's Hockey League, which is a five-team league that plays in the greater Toronto area, Montreal and Boston and boasts several Olympians. The CWHL held its first player draft in August, selecting mostly North American players as well as six Europeans.
Advocates of an enhanced pro league, including Wickenheiser, have been huddling with NHL representatives this week at the summit. Former Canadian Olympic goalie Sami Jo Small is one of the founders of the CWHL and a current player in the league. She sat at a table with Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke during Thursday's women's hockey brainstorming session on Thursday, and was thrilled by his enthusiasm to help grow the women's game.
“I was fortunate enough to sit at his table, and he's so supportive of the game,” said Small. “This is not women's hockey versus men's hockey, and he had great ideas to move this forward.
“We don't have to re-write the book, because men's hockey has been through this, and we can follow the NHL's experience. We don't want to move too fast. First let's support the women we have in the league, take out transfer fees so more European players can come over here to play, and lets have a plan in place once we get players over here, so they can live and play here.”
Wickenheiser presented some startling statistics about the funding and resources being allotted to the world's female teams, explaining why other nations simply cannot compete at this game so largely dominated by Canada and the United States, who have been in three of the four Olympic finals together. While Canada boasts 85,624 registered female hockey players and the U.S. has 60,104, Finland has just 4,694, Sweden has 3,642 and China only has a mere 169. There are just six rinks where women play hockey in all of China, and only five clubs. Just four of the participating Olympic nations have a director dedicated to women's hockey. Just seven teams have a plan already in place for their women's team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Canada's annual national team operating budget before the 2010 Games was $1.7 million. Sweden's was $547,589. Swedish Coach Peter Elander, also a panelist at the summit, noted that the University of North Dakota's women's team, where he is now an associate coach, has twice the yearly operating budget that his Swedish team has.
“I opened the door for Rogge to criticize us when my team played so terribly against Canada at the Olympics,” said Elander of Sweden's surprising 13-1 loss to Canada. “Women's teams are last on the agenda to most federations, and that has to change. If we don't have a best-of-the-best league operating in North America after Sochi, I think that the gap is going to get way too big.”
Another panelist, U.S. coach Mark Johnson, who coaches at the University of Wisconsin, has seen the level of parity change in a few short years in NCAA women's hockey, so he is convinced it can happen internationally. With players from all over the world now coming to play college hockey, and some staying on to coach after graduating, there is much more competitive balance.
“You used to know the outcome of a Wisconsin-Bemidji State game before the puck was dropped, but now they can beat us,” said Johnson.
“If there is an opportunity to play overseas in North America, it will be great for our players as long as we know all about it and their parents do their homework on it,” said Arto Sieppi, GM of the Finnish women's team that won bronze medal at the 2010 Games, the first medal for Finland in women's Olympic hockey. “We need to educate our parents about their daughters playing overseas to make sure it's a good fit. I would guess that by 2014, about 12-14 of our Olympic players will be playing at U.S. colleges or in North America.”
Other ideas tossed out included urging every competing nation to hire their own dedicated women's hockey director, playing more games against male competition, having international coach exchanges, sharing best practices and having transfer fees waived for players to go play in other countries.
With three and a half years until the Sochi Olympics, the panelists were eager to get to work and prove that women's hockey should never be dropped from the Olympic program.
“Everyone deserves the chance to live the dream,” said Canadian coach Melody Davidson during the panel discussion. “So I say to the men in this room who have daughters, wives, or sisters, why would you deny the women in your life this chance?”
Thursday, August 26, 2010
The points are meaningless, really. It's just fun to see how well I do. I'm still about 9000 behind a couple of friends of mine though!
And the COOL Microsoft Silverlight version!!!
PS: This Gamercard graphic will actually do a live count of my achievements and gamerscore, so if you are reading this down the line, my score >>may<< be higher!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Well, today I thought I'd actually put together a real blog post, not one filled with links and media. So, in thinking about it, I originally had no idea what to write about. I'm in a "blah" state of mind really. For the past few weeks really, I've had a difficult time caring about much of anything outside of the family bbq we had a while back. I don't care to watch tv, play games, get out and exercise, go to work even. I've still managed to do all, but not with the usual vigor one generally associates with doing such activities. (Yes, even work, I generally like going.)
Then it struck me. I open up my wonderfully filled "igoogle" homepage, and what slaps me in the face but a bunch of useless jargon on people's facebook status updates and their twitter tweets. Yes, there are a bunch of updates that say how people love their kids and nicely placed birthday wishes, I follow mostly sports reporters on twitter so it's not near as bad there either. But is there a need to talk about getting out of the shower, eating toast, and feeding the dog?
Facebook and Twitter aren't all bad mind you. They are great places to network, set up social gatherings, post photos of meaningful events, or to even get the word out on humble blogs. :P Even though I loath to admit it, I do check both daily and regularly throughout the day on breaks and such. It's mindless and time passing. I do check out people's wedding and party photos, I scan through the interesting links provided for entertainment. Lots of fun stuff has come out of facebook. I was first truly introduced to "Mr. Trolololo" on Facebook. My wife even has a friendly "Bejewelled" competition with her mother and sister on Facebook.
There are so many many many bad things that we all have to cut through before we get to the fun stuff though. For instance, why would someone put up that they are upset or hurt, and when asked why or what happened, they refuse to talk about it? Think about it. You are standing in a room with 50 of your closest friends, and you start to break out in tears. Every one of them will come to your aid and see that you are ok. This is the same thing. This status update of anger and pain goes out to your entire contact list, who generally are your friends. What do you think they will do?
Another problem with facebook is being having photos put up that either shouldn't be up or aren't wanted up. Say there are photos of a person's wedding on someone else's facebook page. They put them up, and are asked that they be taken down. They got a bullshit response about life and whatever. That person likely didn't even want to be at the wedding! I personally went through the privacy and photo rules, and facebook will not make someone take down the pictures, even if the people in the pics don't want them there. It suggests that you ask that person to take down the photos politely, and that person should be mature enough to do so kindly. Generally, this never happens.
Then there's the "being a fan of " crap. Yes, once again, there are some very useful "Fan of" groups, such as musical acts that use this as a tool to get the word out about their upcoming shows or political figures using it to "spread the word". But who cares if you are a fan of breathing? Or Cheese? Then you are asked to be fans of so many times over it's sick. Throw on top FARMVILLE and MAFIA WARS and it makes facebook almost ridiculous to use.
Truth be told, the only real thing I don't like about Twitter is the name. It's just silly really. But that's more an opinion. Twitter allows me to follow my favorite sports reporters and video game retailers and allows me to get in on great sports news or great deals for games. I had some non-reporters and non-retailers on there, but had to "unfollow" them all. It was worse than facebook status updates. :S
Before anyone calls me a hypocrite because I blog, (which many consider a similar activity to facebook and twitter) and rant about mindless things, I do this for a reason. I blog for a sense of personal therapy, to help my writing and English skills, and really don't care if anyone reads or not. I have, in the past, spoken about personal things that weren't related to hobbies, and each and every time I've regretted it, so I do my best to stay away from that (although I know I'm not perfect!). In the long run, the real reason for this blog is for me. I put it out there if anyone is interested in a quick read, but in the long run, for the amount of readers I think I actually have, I'm sure it's likely not worth it if I were trying for a "most read blog on the net" contest.
For those of you that do check me out once in a while, thank you. Thanks for putting up with mindless rants, my bad english and obvious tendencies towards things I know not many of you are into.
With that, let's say "I'll see ya later". Hopefully I will soon.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Windows 95 launched 15 years ago today, Mary Jo Foley reminds us.
Today, after 15 years of additional technology evolution--and after memories of the event have been obliterated by semi-annual blockbuster launches of Apple products--it's hard to believe that the Windows 95 launch was a big deal.
But it WAS.
In fact, it was a monstrous deal.
Windows 95 catapulted Microsoft into the mainstream consumer consciousness, in a way that no other Microsoft product ever had. It capped Microsoft's utter demolition of Apple in the first round of the companies three-decade-long war (Apple's shaping up to win the next round). It set up Microsoft for five years of awesome financial performance that nearly made the company the most valuable in the world.
It also featured a MASSIVE publicity campaign, headlined by the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up."
And it featured a launch event that rocked the world.
Link below for more..
From Gary Ardnt. An interesting read:
On March 13, 2007, I handed over the keys to my house, put my possessions in storage and headed out to travel around the world with nothing but a backpack, my laptop and a camera.
Three and a half years and 70 countries later, I've gotten the equivalent of a Ph.D in general knowledge about the people and places of Planet Earth.
Here are some of the things I've learned:
1) People are generally good. Many people are afraid of the world beyond their door, yet the vast majority of humans are not thieves, murderers or rapists. They are people just like you and me who are trying to get by, to help their families and go about living their lives. There is no race, religion or nationality that is exempt from this rule. How they go about living their lives might be different, but their general goals are the same.
2) The media lies. If you only learned about other countries from the news, you'd think the world was a horrible place. The media will always sensationalize and simplify a story. I was in East Timor when the assassination attempts on President José Ramos-Horta, and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão in 2008. The stories in the news the next day were filed from Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur, not Dili. It was all secondhand news. I was in Bangkok during the political protests this year, but you'd never have any idea they were taking places if you were not in the immediate area where the protests were taking place. The media makes us scared of the rest of the world, and we shouldn't be.
3) The world is boring. If there isn't a natural disaster or an armed conflict, most places will never even be mentioned in the news. When is the last time you've heard Laos or Oman mentioned in a news story? What makes for good news are exceptional events, not ordinary events. Most of the world, just like your neighborhood, is pretty boring. It can be amazingly interesting, but to the locals, they just go about living their lives.
4) People don't hate Americans. I haven't encountered a single case of anti-Americanism in the last three-and-a-half years. Not one. (And no, I don't tell people I am Canadian.) If anything, people are fascinated by Americans and want to know more about the US. This isn't to say they love our government or our policies, but they do not have an issue with Americans as people. Even in places you'd think would be very anti-American, such as the Middle East, I was welcomed by friendly people.
5) Americans aren't as ignorant as you might think. There is a stereotype that Americans don't know much about the rest of the world. There is some truth to that, but isn't as bad as you might believe. The reason this stereotype exists is because most other countries on Earth pay very close attention to American news and politics. Most people view our ignorance in terms of reciprocity: i.e. I know about your country, why don't you know about mine? The truth is, if you quizzed people about third-party countries other than the US, they are equally as ignorant. When I confronted one German man about this, I asked him who the Prime Minister of Japan was. He had no clue. The problem with America is that we suffer from the same problem as the rest of the world: an obsession with American news. The quality of news I read in other parts of the world is on a par with what you will hear on NPR.
6) Americans don't travel. This stereotype is true. Americans don't travel overseas as much as Brits, Dutch, Germans, Canadians or Scandinavians. There are some good reasons for this (big country, short vacation time) and bad ones (fear and ignorance). We don't have a gap year culture like they have in the UK and we don't tend to take vacations longer than a week. I can't think of a single place I visited where I met Americans in numbers anywhere close to our relative population.
7) The rest of the world isn't full of germs. Many people travel with their own supply of water and an industrial vat of hand sanitizer. I can say in full honestly that I have never used hand sanitizer or gone out of my way to avoid contact with germs during my travels. It is true that in many places you can get nasty illnesses from drinking untreated water, but I don't think this means you have be a traveling Howard Hughes. Unless you have a particularly weak immune system or other illness, I wouldn't worry too much about local bugs.
8) You don't need a lot stuff. Condensing my life down from a 3,000 sq/ft house to a backpack was a lesson in knowing what really matters. I found I could get by just fine without 97% of the things I had sitting around my home. Now, if I purchase something, I think long and hard about it because anything I buy I will have to physically carry around. Because I have fewer possessions, I am more likely to buy things of higher quality and durability.
9) Traveling doesn't have to be expensive. Yes, if you insist on staying in five-star hotels and luxury resorts, travel can be very expensive. However, it is possible to visit many parts of the world and only spend $10-30 per day. In addition to traveling cheap, you can also earn money on the road teaching English or working on an organic farm. I've met many people who have been able to travel on a little more than $1,000/month. I met one man from the Ukraine who spent a month in Egypt on $300.
10) Culture matters. Many of our ideas for rescuing other countries all depend on them having similar incentives, values and attitudes as people in the west. This is not always true. I am reminded of when I walked past a Burger King in Hong Kong that was full of flowers. It looked like someone was having a funeral at the restaurant. It turned out to be people sending flowers in celebration of their grand opening. Opening a business was a reason to celebrate. In Samoa, I had a discussion with a taxi driver about why there were so few businesses of any type on the island of Savai'i. He told me that 90% of what he made had to go to his village. He had no problem helping his village, but they took so much there was little incentive to work. Today the majority of the GDP of Samoa consists of remittances sent back from the US or New Zealand. It is hard to make aid policies work when the culture isn't in harmony with the aid donors expectations.
11) Culture changes. Many people go overseas expecting to have an "authentic" experience, which really means they want to confirm some stereotype they have in their mind of happy people living in huts and villages. They are often disappointed to find urban people with technology. Visiting a different place doesn't mean visiting a different time. It is the 21st Century, and most people live in it. They are as likely to wear traditional clothes as Americans are to wear stove top hats like Abraham Lincoln. Cultures have always changed as new ideas, religions, technologies sprang up and different cultures mingled and traded with each other. Today is no different.
12) Everyone is proud of where they are from. When you meet someone local in another country, most people will be quick to tell you something about their city/province/country that they are proud of. Pride and patriotism seem to be universal values. I remember trying to cross the street once in Palau, one of the smallest countries in the world, and a high school kid came up to me and said, "This is how we cross the street in PALAU!" Even crossing the street became an act to tell me about his pride in his country. People involved in making foreign policy should be very aware of this.
13) America and Canada share a common culture. This may irk Canadians, but we really do share a common North American culture. If you meet someone overseas, it is almost impossible to tell if they are American or Canadian unless they have a particularly strong accent, or they pronounce the letter "z." It is easier to tell where in England someone is from than it is to tell if someone is from Denver or Toronto. We would probably be better off referring to a "North American" culture than an "American" culture. What differences do exist (Quebec being the exception) are more like differences between states and regions of a similar country.
14) Most people have a deep desire to travel around the world. Not shocking, but every day I meet people who are fascinated by what I do and how I live. The desire to travel is there, but fears and excuses usually prevent people from doing it. I understand that few people can drop what they are doing and travel around the world for three years, but traveling overseas for even a few months is within the realm of possible for many people at some point in their lives. Even on an island in the middle of the Pacific, people who would probably never leave their home island talked to me of one day wishing they could see New York or London for themselves. I think the desire to explore and see new things is fundamental to the human experience.
15) You can find the internet almost everywhere. I have been surprised at where I've found internet access. I've seen remote villages in the Solomon Islands with a packet radio link to another island for their internet access. I've been at an internet cafe in the Marshall Islands that accessed the web via a geosynchronous satellite. I've seen lodges in the rainforest of Borneo hooked up to the web. I once counted 27 open wifi signals in Taipei on a rooftop. We truly live in a wired world.
16) In developing countries, government is usually the problem. I have been shocked at the level of corruption that exists in most developing countries. Even if it is technically a democracy, most nations are run by and for the benefit of the elites that control the institutions of power. Political killings, bribery, extortion and kickbacks are the norm in many places. There is little difference between the Mafia and the governments in some countries I've visited. The corruption in the Philippines was especially surprising. It isn't just the people at the top who are corrupt. I've seen cops shake people down on the street for money, cigarettes or booze.
17) English is becoming universal. I estimated that there were at least 35 native languages I would have had to have learned if I wanted to speak with locals in their own tongue. That does not include all the languages found in Papua New Guinea or Vanuatu or regional dialects. It is not possible for humans to learn that many languages. English has become the de facto second language for the world. We are almost to a point where there are only two languages you need to know: whatever your parents speak... and English. English has become so popular it has achieved an escape velocity outside of the control of the US and UK. Countries like Nigeria and India use it as a unifying language in their polyglot nations. Other countries in the Pacific do all their schooling in English because the market just isn't there to translate textbooks into Samoan or Tongan.
18) Modernization is not Westernization. Just because people use electricity and have running water doesn't mean they are abandoning their culture to embrace western values. Technology and culture are totally different. Japan and South Korea are thoroughly modern countries, but are also thoroughly Asian. Modernization will certainly change a culture (see #11 above), but that doesn't mean they are trying to mimic the West.
19) We view other nations by a different set of criteria than we view ourselves. On the left, people who struggle the hardest for social change, decry changes in other countries that they view as a result of globalization. On the right, people who want to bring democracy to other countries would be up in arms at the suggestion that another country try to institute change in the US. In both cases, other nations are viewed by a different set of rules than we view ourselves. I don't think most people around the world want the help or pity of the West. At best, they would like us to do no harm.
20) Everyone should travel. At some point in your life, whether it is after college or when you retire, everyone should take some extended trip outside of their own country. The only way to really have a sense of how the world works is to see it yourself.
Dead Rising 2
Spider-man Shattered Dimensions
Two Worlds 2
Fallout New Vegas
Assassins Creed: Brotherhood
Castlevania Lord of Shadows
Donkey Kong Country REturns
Metroid Other M
Rock Band 3
That's enough video to carry ya through the full afternoon. :) Some interesting stuff coming, even if none of these titles uses that wonky motion control stuff.
Here is a recipe for "Unfried" chicken for the hungry reader.
Fried Chicken, Macaroni 'n' cheese, Brownies, and 147 Other Favorite Dishes You Thought You Could Never Eat Again
- All Under 350 Calories
Fat Grams , Calories
3 cups chicken broth
4 skinless chicken thighs
2 quarts grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons celery salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups lowfat buttermilk
1. In a medium saucepot, over high heat add the chicken broth and season it well with salt. Add the chicken thighs to the pot and bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low and gently simmer the chicken thighs for 40 minutes or until they are tender. Remove thighs from liquid, pat them dry and set them aside, covered to keep them warm.
2. Meanwhile, over high heat, bring the grapeseed oil to 400? in a large pot with high sides. In a baking dish, combine the whole wheat flour with the paprika, celery salt, black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne and mix the ingredients together well. In a large bowl combine warm chicken thighs with buttermilk to coat. Next, dredge thighs in the flour mixture. Repeat process one more time to double coat the chicken. Shake off the excess flour.
3. Fry the chicken, 2 pieces at a time, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until they are a deep golden brown. Drain the chicken on a roasting rack or on paper towels. Serve immediately.
Before: 549 cals, 30 g fat
Protein (g): 17
Carbs (g): 14
Fat (g): 10.2
Cholest (mg): 58
Fiber (g): 3
Sodium (mg): 1168
Anyone else have cooking ideas? Let me know so I can try them, I'll even cook for you! :D
Monday, August 23, 2010
This past weekend I decided to start playing an Xbox Live title, Bionic Commando: Rearmed. It's a redux of a classic NES title by Capcom. Now, when I was younger,my brother and I played this title to death (we got a lend of it off a friend of his, if I do recall) and I was truly hoping that this re-imagining of the title would not only bring back wistful memories of my youth, but also give me some bang for my buck! (I DID get it on special for 400 points, about 5 bucks)
This not being an official review but more a recommendation, I won't get into any real specifics of the game beyond saying it's a well hidden yet interesting puzzle game! Yes people, it really is. There are run and gun elements, but this is about a guy who has to climb up, but he cannot jump. Yep, you heard me. He does not jump. The game uses a Bionic Arm mechanic that allows you to swing, and this is what brings the element of puzzling to the game. How does one get to that ledge just to the upper right? Why, swinging back, pulling yourself up, swinging over a pit to land on it of course. There's lots of little challenge rooms that puts this mechanic to the test. It can get a little frustrating, but certainly is worth the effort in the end.
Check this game out if you do want some nostalgia, some puzzling, and some well laid out run and gun sequences. It's back up to 800 points (10 bucks) and you CAN get it on Playstation Network for around the same price.
Bionic Commando Rearmed Homepage
I typically will not take a sick day on a Monday unless it's really bad. Today, without the gory details, is one of those days. Since I started my working career way back in the mid 1990's, I've only taken 2 Mondays off. Today is one of those days. The other I should have been taken to hospital. Now, today isn't as bad as that. But I thought it better to take it off rather than embarrass myself with sickness.
Next off, I missed my Friday Funny Cats pic. So here's some.
And finally, for those of you who love or hate trololo, here's a cat singing it.
Have a good one folks.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Like Classic Rock? British Wave, mid to late 70's, early 80's? Think something you'd hear in a Guy Ritchie movie. Listen to Joe Elliott's Down 'n' Outz. They are a tribute band to Mott the Hoople, with many tracks actually sounding better than the original material.
Like the Drew Carey Show intro? Check out the original song, done by the boys!
Loving this music! Check it out.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
GDC Europe: Sony, Quantic Dreams Didn't Expect Heavy Rain to Sell
The little psychological thriller that could surprised them all.
August 16, 2010
Released in February, Heavy Rain has sold 1.5 million copies and is still a full-priced game. It is expected to reach two million before its first birthday. Does the success of this different, quicktime event-driven crime drama surprise you? Because it apparently took its developer and publisher by surprise.
During a talk at the Game Developers Conference Europe today, Quantic Dream's David Cage, lead designer on Heavy Rain, revealed that he and publisher Sony didn't expect the game to be a commercial success. During development, Sony told Cage something along the lines of, "You've got this strange game from France. It's gonna review ok and sell a few copies." Heavy Rain went on to sell four times more than Sony expected and has a score of 87 on Metacritic.
"Publishers, in general, don't have balls," Cage said today. "That's a fact."
Cage's advice to developers trying to get innovative, new games published? "Give them reasons to trust you." He explained that most publishers are going to want to play it safe and release an iteration of what was successful last year. In that respect, developers who want to do something different need to earn a publisher's trust.
In Heavy Rain's case, Sony's gamble seems to have paid off.
Don't ever give up because someone thinks or says you can't. :)
Donkey Kong Country Returns
James Bond: Golden Eye
Disney Epic Mickey
Throw in the usual Mario Titles that seem to sell even if it's 5 years old, and Nintendo will win again.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
I just got out of a nearly empty theatre on a slow Saturday afternoon showing of what could likely be the movie of the summer, the Expendables.
I'm gona keep this mighty short (seemingly what I do these days) given I have to run out and talk about this movie with my friends. (Yes, Charlie Brown has friends. Ha. Ha.)
I've sat through and read some of the pretentious reviews given to this movie by people who seem to think there's something wrong with a movie with big explosions, big fights, and awesome action. Here is what I think the least pretentious thing a movie goer (me) can say about the movie, given that it's something that I said throughout the film without hesitation or concern of anyone within ear shot.
"That was awesome."
The people who were in there with me were cheering. The staff at the theatre were wooting on the action as if they were watching a hockey game. People from other showings were joining us just to see what the hell was going on!
Cycle the world, do the rounds, tell all your friends. "The Expendables" is not only a worthwhile watch, but amazingly enough, a FRANCHISE IN THE MAKING. I'll be ranting about this for weeks.
So when a game annoys the hell out of me, I rarely, if EVER let it sway me and if I own it, I trade it ASAP to get high value or if I've rented it, it goes back even if there is time left on it.
The dictionary defines a game as a passtime or amusement. If a game is neither to me, then it is not a game and not worth playing. If a game annoys you, or you are not having fun playing it, then why play it? If you do enjoy a game, no matter what anyone else thinks, why wouldn't you play it?
A prime example recently of a game that I tried to like but hated and ended up trading was Alan Wake. It's a game I thought I would love, so I pulled my trade thing and grabbed it back when it first came out. The premise was there, a survival horror title with a little challenge, some FANTASTIC visuals, and an unusually long development cycle. All this should spell a good game right? Well, average reviews have it around 8 out of 10. (Metacritic users have 7.9, paid reviewers 8.3) so its generally considered a decent game. But after I managed to get out of merely THE SECOND LEVEL, I was so frustrated that I had to put the controller down. I didn't feel any accomplishment by beating it, I was just saying THANK GOD IT'S OVER. Does this sound like the definition of a game to you? Even on the dumbest of dumbass settings, it was incredibly challenging. Limited ammunition I can deal with. A flashlight with batteries that don't even last a tenth of the time a dollar store "Chateau" battery lasts? Suckage extraordinaire.Insane enemies that respawn and really do some serious damage to the point of where it's almost unfair? Sheesh. I just did not enjoy this game at all.
Another title that really bugged me was one I've harped about a little on this blog, Final Fantasy 13. Well, to anyone who's followed me at all, I finally DID finish the game. 55 hours of "it WILL get better" and it only did for a brief time. Long, linear tunnels with little to no exploration, the promise of hour 30 bringing with it miracles unparalleled. Well, I got to "hour 30" and it really WAS a lot of fun. It was even pretty decent leading up to hour 30 for a period. But, guess what. At hour 40, YOU GO BACK INTO THE LINEAR TUNNEL AGAIN!!! What the FUCK? Anyway, I had invested so much time at that point that I said to hell with it and ran to the end. I beat the final boss, and the FRICKIN ACHIEVEMENT DOESN'T EVEN UNLOCK. (Xbox 360 thing... I'll go into that some other time). All in all, even though there was a little glossing to the whole ordeal, it was a game that I did allow myself to be swayed and played, even though in the long run, it wasn't a pleasurable experience. I've played EVERY Final Fantasy game since the first (Andrew if you are reading this, I still get FF flashbacks when I hear Steve Miller Live!) and enjoyed them all. Everyone figured this would be decent. I'm sorry, decent is being gentle. I bought a system because of this game. Silly me. Good thing the system didn't suck. :) I was a little less than decent, but not worth what was spent on it.
Anyway, for a gameblog turned lifestuff blog, this is my first real "game" rant. :P Nice turn, hey. See you next time.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
If Toronto Raptors fans were put off by the way that former All-Star Chris Bosh played with their emotions this summer, apparently that was his intent.
In an interview with the New York Daily News, Bosh admitted that he became tired of constantly facing questions as to where he intended to play this upcoming season, and decided to have some fun with the fans.
"If you think about how many times somebody asks you, 'How are you,' that's how many times I was asked, 'Where you going?'" Bosh told the Daily News on Wednesday. "So it's like, well, in my case, I'm going to have fun with it. I'm going to play with people's emotions. I'm going to be high and low."
Raptors fans became increasingly frustrated as Bosh sent out several mixed-messages on his personal Twitter account including asking the general public where they believed that he should play this season. Bosh of course eventually revealed that he would join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami to play with the Heat.
"I wouldn't call it a game because it's serious, but, I mean, it's entertainment at the end of the day. It's the truth," Bosh told the Daily News. "We're entertaining and everything but at the same time I'm just getting my feelings out there.
"It's entertaining to see people react to your real emotions because if it wasn't fun I wouldn't do it."
This admission will likely add fuel to the fire of an already irate Raptors' fan base who are eagerly anticipating their former franchise player's return to Toronto with his new team on February 16th 2011.
What a fucking tool. Not a big basketball fan, but this is low. Get over yourself, Mr. Bosh.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Thank you IGN for posting the best a guitar playing zombie on top of a T-Rex on top of a floating laser shark picture ever.
(Taken from World of Warcraft. Maybe it warrants another look just to see this in action....
Well the ending (which I shall do my best to not ruin for those of you who will play this great discount title) was easily the most satisfying end sequence I've played this year. It lends credence to everything you've done throughout the game, and even does a fantastic job at not only telling the story of a psycho, but also weaving it into the actual real life story of what transpired during August to November 1888 in Whitechapel, London. Obviously Sherlock Holmes isn't real, but Jack the Ripper was indeed very real.
For ANYONE who enjoys a well paced game with a great story but only "ok" graphics, this is a fantastic title for you. It's cheap (I payed 10 bucks for it at EB in Corner Brook, NL of all places) so there's no excuse. Play this game.
Well, for you gaming enthusiasts out there, this is one of the slowest times of year for any sorts of new titles coming out. But... right around the corner is one of the most fantabulous amazing and joyous seasons ever. Starting September, the Christmas shopping season begins and game developers bring their "AAA" game to their newest titles coming to the shelves. So far this fall there are 4 sure fire "Chris wants to play" titles. Spider-man: Shattered Dimensions, NHL 11, Dead Rising 2 and Two Worlds 2 all have that gusto to them that makes my wife tremble knowing I'll like have some time invested into gaming. For some reason, Two Worlds 2 (sequel to the laughable Two Worlds from way back when) is having a "Mass Effectian" like hold over me. By all accounts, it should suck, based on track record. But it looks as if the developers are actually "trying". :) Pre-release screens look amazing. Spider-man promises an incredible experience for the webhead fans of the world, with you taking the guise of 4 different Spider-men, in essence giving the gamer 4 full gaming experiences. NHL 11 is just that, NHL Hockey at it's best. Dead Rising 2 would be the least looked forward to title of the bunch, knowing that the first sat on my shelf for over a year before I picked it up to play. Granted, as noted in previous posts, it did hold my attention quite a bit when I did play it.
Needless to say, all 4 will hit my game shelf over the next 4 months at one point or another.
I haven't shot many pictures over the past month since the weddings I attended. I really feel "pictured out". I took a lot over vacation and then went into overload at the weddings (with only varying degrees of success given what limited equipment I have) so it's like breaktime for me. Gotta recharge the batteries and find some inspiration. As it turns out, the local Newfoundland rag called the Downhomer has expressed some interest in some of my panoramas. Maybe that'll be my boost.
Go Maps have taken a back seat now over the past 6 to 8 weeks. All my resellers have plenty of stock as we're still in the slow season for GPS sales. Come September when it seems the whole world boots up again after a long run of "just getting by" in sales, these maps will be jumping off the shelf. I've discovered a way to make the maps more accurate over the summer, and will have an updated product for the September shopping startup.
That's all for today folks. Next time, I'll talk something relatively new, cooking!
Monday, August 9, 2010
So yesterday, that changed a little. My wife's mother and step father were in town with her nephew, so I got the grand scheme in my head to have her grandmother, and my available family in town over all at once. Fire up the BBQ, do something creative with food and have a few drinks. I had the usuals, with hamburgers (nicely homemade by myself and Steph) hot dogs (nicely store bought at Sobeys!) and the salads brought by the nans and moms. As well, I did my very first BEER CAN CHICKEN. Oh baby, was it ever good. The day was a great success.
During some downtime on Sunday I also managed to sneak in some gaming with a rare cheap gem, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper. A neat little procedural game with lots of fun puzzles and a very simple interface, it's definately a great game for anyone who enjoys thinking about what they are doing in a game rather than just blowing up bad guys.
Anyway, hungry. Got soem great leftovers from Sunday, so I'll shorten this post. Here's to the next event (hopefully soon!) and I'll see you back here soon.