Monday, January 31, 2011

A Fun Kinect Cartoon

I've got one of those new fanangled Kinect thingers and I find this quite funny. :)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Mass Effect 2 is best on PS3... well DUH. proclaims Mass Effect 2 is best on PS3. Well DUH. They only had a year to get it right. Let me put it to you in a designers perspective. Being a "cleanup man" in graphic design is easily the best way to get critical praise in the cheapest sense. ANYONE can come in on a job 60 percent of the way in and say "what the hell? This is done wrong, this is the way to do it right!" After all is said and done, the original designer is a doofus (word of the DAY!) and you are a super hero that shits golden eggs.

Mass Effect 2 came out on XboX 360 and PC over a year ago now. The developers for the PS3 version didn't even announce the version for MONTHS after the 360 release. They had the opportunity to say "what did we do wrong, how can we make it right?" and then go ahead and do it.

Now don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the game has gotten better. I just think it's kind of "poor filler" for magazines and game sites to put garbage articles like the one to follow out. Why bother? OF COURSE the newest version will be the best. It's like Mass Effect 2- version 2.0.  It damned well better be better!

I've gotta see it for myself. Mass Effect as a series has stolen over 200 hours of my life away.


Link to farce article on IGN.

Now that Mass Effect 2 is out on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, I can finally answer the question: Which version is best? I recently reviewed Mass Effect 2 on PlayStation 3 and called it the best version available. Focusing solely on value, that's completely true. But all three versions of Mass Effect 2 have their own strengths and weaknesses worth discussing.

Many who took issue with my statement about the superiority of the PlayStation 3 version did so for two primary reasons: save importation from the original Mass Effect, possible only on the PC and Xbox 360, and stunning visual fidelity that can only be attained on PC. Both are fair gripes.

If you're looking for the unabridged and fully complete version of Mass Effect 2, then you may want to stay away from the PlayStation 3 release of the game. The original Mass Effect was published by Microsoft and will never find its way to Sony's PlayStation 3. That's a fact that PS3 gamers simply have to deal with. The good news is that BioWare and Darkhorse Comics crafted a bit of a workaround in an interactive digital comic that's only available to PlayStation 3 owners via the Cerberus Network. As long as you have a voucher code that comes with every new version of the game, you'll be able to download the comic free of charge (though it can be purchased for those of you who buy the game used). The comic doesn't replace the experience of having played the original Mass Effect, but it does bridge the gap for gamers who didn't play the story-rich first title, and it does so fairly well.

Gamers who played through Mass Effect 2 on the Xbox 360 or PC versions may scoff at the notion that this comic somehow makes every aspect of the story coherent, and they're right. You simply cannot have the full Mass Effect Trilogy experience on the PlayStation 3. But this may not bother too many gamers, especially those who are new to the franchise. After all, the original Mass Effect, while a great experience in its own right, is still considered an inferior product to the sequel. So the PlayStation 3 version of the game is great for those who want to cut right to the chase and get in on the action.

Mass Effect 2 no doubt looks best on a beastly PC rig, but I find griping about the graphical look of the three versions needless. After all, you're playing a great-looking game no matter which platform you decide to work your way through. And while ME2 on the PlayStation 3 runs on the Mass Effect 3 engine, the changes aren't mind-blowing. In many ways, the graphical differences between the versions are negligible and unimportant. A pretty game is a pretty game, and Mass Effect 2 has a decidedly pretty look on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Where the PlayStation 3 version really shines is with the package's value. The Xbox 360 and PC versions don't include Mass Effect 2's most compelling DLC unless you pay extra for it. The Xbox 360 version even comes on two separate discs, a cumbersome solution in gaming these days. That just goes to show Mass Effect 2's scope. Regardless, the entire game fits on a single Blu-ray disc, and it comes with most of the DLC you had to pay for on Xbox 360 and PC.

The comic explains the story's fundamentals to PS3 gamers.
True, you can find Mass Effect 2 for the Xbox 360 and PC for cheaper than a brand new PlayStation 3 copy, but you're also not getting an identical product. The fact that Mass Effect 2 on PS3 comes wrapped with much of the game's pertinent DLC makes it a compelling package for the PlayStation 3 faithful. Not only do you not have to buy a lot of DLC on PS3, but you don't have to download it, install it, and figure out how it fits into the story. It's all right there for you from the get-go.

Based on all of this, the PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 is the best stand-alone product when compared to its counterparts on Xbox 360 and PC. It unequivocally gives you the most bang for your buck while attempting to offer as seamless an experience as possible. However, this shouldn't persuade those who began their quest on PC or Xbox 360 to suddenly jump ship. If you look at the three Mass Effect games as one big experience without boundaries between titles, then you're already on the right track by playing on Xbox 360 or PC. But if you want to get in on the action on the PlayStation 3 and have never experienced Mass Effect before, then Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 is definitely the way to go.

Two Worlds 2: Second impressions

Ok guys, anyone out there in geekland who may be reading this, Two Worlds 2, while far superior to the original, can be a frustrating experience. Right now, I've learned that the horseback riding is still heavily flawed, the voice acting is downright awful, and the quest log in bugged. The improvements are great, but the flaws do affect the experience. I'm about 5 hours in, and the forced horseback ride to save a starving village from someone who just doesn't want to help them is really bothersome. I have quests that I've completed still in my questlog, and you know what? They may have fired the shitty dialog writer from the first game, but replaced him with an equally bad casting director.

Wait for this one guys, don't get it first day. The price will drop, like they always do for this sort of game. It's a $29.99 game, definitely not a $59.99 game.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Photo of the Week #2: Generational

I shot both of these with a simple objective in mind, to show the growth of table hockey through the years, with the life size hockey puck in the background for perspective. There was little setup, just standing the players in such a way to show the development of the players over the years. The furthest back has the flat plastic players known throughout the late 60's through the early 2000's. The middle players are from the 1990's Wayne Gretzky's Overtime Hockey version, and the foreground players are from the current "Stiga" brand. I practiced playing with F-stops on each shot, with the goalies shot at f-32 (a 3 second exposure) and the players were shot at f 1.8 (I don't remember the exposure but it was near instantaneous). 

Click each for a larger version.


Islanders lock up Matt Moulson with three-year, $9.4 million deal

What an interesting week it's been for New York Islanders GM Garth Snow and his relationship with agent Don Meehan.
Over the weekend, Snow's waiver claim of Meehan client Evgeni Nabokov(notes) went belly-up when the veteran goaltender decided not to report to the team, causing the Islanders to suspend him indefinitely.
Today, on the heels the Nabokov mess, another Meehan client, Matt Moulson(notes), re-signed with the Islanders, inking a three-year, $9.4 million deal through the 2013-14 season.
Rumors had popped up recently about Moulson's future and whether or not he'd join the list of budding Islanders stars that have left by trade or via free agency, but Moulson told Newsday's Katie Strang that he had no interest in hitting the open market this summer as an unrestricted free agent. 
From Newsday (sub. required):
"From the get go, I told both sides--my agent and [GM] Garth Snow-- where I wanted to be. I didn't want to go into free agency. So there was a commitment from both sides. I want to be a part of the group that turns this back into a winning franchise," Moulson said.
He also talked about his happiness playing for the Islanders organization:
"I think there are some things people don't know about this team," Moulson said. "I've told my agent and other people around the league about how we're treated, how they treat our families. [Team owner Charles Wang] and Snow are involved in everything and that filters down to everyone on the team."
"I don't know if I've ever played on as close-knit as a team as this one," Moulson continued. "That's what makes it so fun, once we get wins. The biggest thing for me is the guys. I don't want to be apart from this group."
Moulson is a great example of a low risk, high reward player looking at his career. In two seasons in the Los Angeles Kings' organization, Moulson spent most of his time with Manchester of the AHL. He signed a one-year deal with the Islanders in the summer of 2009 and in two seasons on Long Island has rewarded Snow's faith in him with 47 goals.
Last season, Moulson earned himself a $2.45 million deal for this season after a 30-goal performance. Now on pace to do it again, Moulson's hard work had paid off for him and this signing shows that Snow is willing to invest in the core pieces that will fit his plan for the franchise.


Now this is how a sports blogger can write.

A BRILLIANTLY written blog piece on Evgeni Nabokov refusing to report to the New York Islanders by one of the best blog reporters around, Justin Bourne. (on a side note, shitty self opinionated sports bloggers note: this is meant to be a personal shot, so he's ALLOWED TO SAY THESE THINGS... you whiny "you don't know what you are doing GM" bloggers got nothing on this guy, so you cannot):

Evgeni Nabokov was claimed on waivers by the Islanders, but has no intentions of reporting. Justin Bourne's been in that situation, and says Nabby needs to suck it up.

I once took less money to play for the team of my choice. A lot less money. But, I wanted to be on the East Coast near my fiancée, and it was supposed to be a smart move for my career. Then one afternoon, coach wanted to see me to pass along a little message: I was being shipped to Boise. Just like that, the come-hither finger that had beckoned me into coach's office was figuratively jammed up my ass.

I sat there and watched his pudgy face puke out the explanation for the move and realized I had a bit of a conundrum, not unlike what Evgeni Nabokov must be going through right now: Should you move to a place you don't want to be for less than you're worth?

The answer was, and is, obvious: fucking right you should. What are your other options? Become a writer?

Just last year, Nabokov was making five million bucks a season as the starting goaltender for the San Jose Sharks — a lifestyle that went off the rails when opposing teams and Sharks management figured out that he's generally shitty when it counts. Sick of watching him vomit all over his skates every spring, the Sharks cut their ties, allowing Evgeni a sackful of freedom to choose his new home.

He chose the KHL, which might tell you everything you need to know about Nabby's ability to make good decisions.

That experiment went poorly, presumably because it's Russia, so last week Nabokov decided he'd like to come back to North America and play for the Red Wings, who were happy to have him given that their starter (Jimmy Howard) was hurt, and their backup (Chris Osgood) is bad.

But this meant he'd have to clear waivers, meaning any awful team could grab him for slightly less than a song, and it was pretty obvious by the time he committed to Detroit that some awful team would. He had to know it would happen, since I knew it was going to happen, and I talk less with NHL GMs than his agent does.

We assumed his return meant he was willing to play anywhere in the NHL, as that was the situation he was inevitably walking into after walking out on mother Russia. It was the perfect formula for the struggling and checkbook-averse New York Islanders (especially the whole pro-rated peanuts contract thing), so they grabbed him off waivers.

So their GM Garth Snow called Nabokov. Nabokov hung up on him. Which is fucked.

Now, admittedly, being told you have to play somewhere you think is shitty — Nassau Coliseum was ranked 122nd of 122 pro sports facilities by ESPN, so a lot of people would tend to agree with him on that — isn't ideal, but dude, pick up your still-hefty NHL paycheck with a little class. I got traded to the hockey hotbed of Boise, Idaho when I was in the ECHL and at least had the courtesy to take the boss's phone calls.

I can relate to his disappointment, to some extent. I had signed with the Reading Royals of the ECHL that year, and had made some sacrifices to get exactly what I wanted. I took $800 a month less, which if you know anything about minor league hockey is not an insignificant pay cut. But it was worth it to me to play in Reading: I could live near my fiancée and play in a city close to several AHL teams, which tends to lead to opportunities. Boise couldn't offer me any of those things, so my sacrifices were rendered utterly meaningless.

Between my career taking a turn for the worse, just having my car shipped to the east coast, and being assigned to a state decidedly not in driving distance to my ladyfriend's house, the angst and disappointment shredded my heart. I was not a happy Idaho Steelhead.

A wise man once said, you can't always get what you want. I went to Boise (actually a nice little city, by the way) because that's the way the world of sports works, and not everyone who's good enough to play at a certain level gets to choose their home. Nabokov had plenty of time to prove himself in the NHL before every team in the league agreed they'd rather not have him and his contract demands, given that he's 35 years old with a resume peppered with playoff save percentages that look more like free throw shooting numbers. So he took his puck and went home, and now he wants back in the game and has the audacity to hang up on the general manager of an NHL team who's actually willing to give him a chance.

No, Evgeni, of course you should get to pick your team. Especially after shitting on that $24 million Russian contract.

The Isles, for their part, have played the whole thing beautifully. They've suspended Nabokov for the season, and will just hang on to him to trade his rights for a pick, if anyone will have him. But even that looks a whole lot less likely after he's demonstrated to the league that he's a prima donna. To top it all off, he says he "hasn't really been on the ice" since his flailings in Russia. Thanks for that cherry on the sundae, bud.

Athletes like LeBron James get to choose their team. Alex Rodriguez gets to pick his team. Hell, Manny Ramirez just picked his team. But even some great players — take Randy Moss this year — have to report to places they don't really want to be. It's all part of the deal if you want to play in the league.

Middle-of-the-pack fucks like us, Evgeni? We go where we're told.


Sucks to your asth-mar Nabokov. Sucks to you.


Doctor Who Stuff

This is the absolutely fun intro for the National Television Awards in the UK starring everybody's favorite Doctor! Enjoy!


Amazingly Quaint Post

I was getting gas this morning, and when I lined up a noticed that someone in the line, likely the guy right ahead of me, had to have been chewing on a pack of cigarettes like gum. He REEKED of cigarettes. After being in the lineup for a couple of minutes, I couldn't stifle my cough anymore. It was more of a gag than a cough actually.

It's usually right about here where I whine about stupid people and what not, but I won't this day. In an amazing turn of events, the smoker turned to me and apologized. AMAZING.

It's great how people will surprise you sometimes. :)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two Worlds 2 First Impressions


First things first. Whoever said this was a combination of Assassin's Creed 2 and Oblivion was on crack. There is NOTHING of AC2 in this game whatsoever.

With that out of the way, let me start with saying this is far and away better than the first, and I've only played the first hour or two. The environments are nothing short of JAW DROPPING. Sadly, the first thing people are going to notice is the sub-standard character models living in the world. They almost have a "last generation" feel to them, especially the main character, with the hair being a little too "flippant", and the hands looking unnatural and "video gamey". I found the camera to be a little off at moments too, but not bad enough to say there is something wrong.

Musically, the game isn't perfect but is good. The voice acting is still a little bad, but far more livable. The only thing I don't truly like is the main character's gravelly voice, painfully overacted. The other characters are great and the 7th grader who is obsessed with Hamlet who wrote the first game's script has most assuredly been fired. The background music drops out sometimes on the loop. Nothing major all the same.

The controls are fine. The magic system is fine as well. I found the archery a little wonky, but I think that was more due to the camera than the control itself. The camera drops behind you and if someone is behind you as well, it doesn't fade that someone out so you can shoot properly.

All in all, new game day was fun. I enjoyed it.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I LOVE New Game Day 2011 Part 1: Two Worlds 2

There aren't many titles I'm truly looking forward to this year, but this is one of them.

The first game was by far one of the biggest surprises I'd ever had on the 360. I liked it more than Final Fantasy 13!!! Anyway, here's a preview, and I'll have first impressions this week.


The Metrobus stigma

I read through this article and it brings me back to my bus riding days. The bus was $1.50 to ride then, and that had just been a hike in price, so this wasn't yesterday. But Mr. Jackson makes a valid point: Metrobus has a bigger problem than the current labor strike (get back on the road, you greedy buggers). It also has the issue of a very inefficient system, low ridership and the stigma of what goes with it. Why does it take as long to get to Stavanger Drive from downtown as it does to drive to Whitbourne from the same spot?

Read on.


Courtesy of Peter Jackson at the Telegram. Click the link to get to the original article.

Dug deep down in my pockets
To try and find some coin,
But much to my chagrin
All I found was my groin.
— Shuffle Demons, “Spadina Bus”

Has this ever happened to you? Embarrassing, isn’t it?

Not having the right change — or any change — for the bus is a small nightmare. No dough, no go. You’re stuck.

And that pretty much sums up the state of Metrobus right now.

If the St. John’s bus system ever had a heyday in its 50-plus years, it must have been short-lived.

In pre-Confederation days, the train reigned supreme. It was a long and winding ride, but the Newfoundland railway would take you where you wanted to go — even drop you off in the wilds during trouting season.
But with highway improvements came the era of the bus.

“We’re a country of fact-facing bus-boomers,” grunts Wayne Johnston’s father in “Baltimore’s Mansion,” after fellow train passengers tell him change is inevitable. The transition did happen, but change never pauses for long. Buses soon gave way to the the modern era of widespread car ownership. All over the province, small bus companies barely hang on to that dwindling handful of customers who have nothing to drive or no one else to drive them.

Metrobus is no different.

Having grown up in St. John’s, I’ve taken the bus at several points during my life — from childhood to early adulthood. More recently, having developed vision problems, I have turned to Metrobus once again.
Little has changed. It’s the same mind-numbing engine noise, the same squeaky brakes and the same gnarly deviations through C, D and E on your way from A to B.

And it’s the same empty seats.

Only during peak times do buses ever fill up in this city. For the most part, fewer than half the seats are ever full. Quite often, you’ll be the only one on the bus. Metrobus reported a slight decrease in rides from 2009-2010; ridership has been virtually flat for several years.

On the other hand, the transit authority is faced with an expanded region to cover, with more and more people moving into far-flung areas such as Airport Heights and Southlands.

Nonetheless, Metrobus is forging ahead with some big capital expenditures, including the purchase of 26 new buses before 2016, each at a cost of up to $450,000, and a new $35-million depot (covered primarily by federal funding).

But Metrobus remains more of a stigma than a service. A few thousand seniors, students and others of moderate means may rely on it regularly, but it has never caught on as a viable means of urban transport.
City transit use has gone up across the country, but not here. Despite the best intentions, Metrobus has always fallen short. And now, it’s grappling with a drawn-out labour standoff.

Perhaps there’s hope, but it will involve a large infusion of cash, and fares are already pushing the upper envelope of affordability. In my mind, the system needs a complete overhaul — something more radical than recent tweaking. Get more buses and straighten out the routes. Stop trying to pass by everyone’s front door. Increase the frequency instead and let people walk the extra block. A striking workforce is only one small part of the problem. When the drivers and mechanics return, there’ll still be a very steep hill to climb.

As steep as Garrison Hill — and longer.

Peter Jackson is The Telegram’s commentary editor. He can be reached by email at

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pizza AND Cookies in one box.

Lady readers, I think this is heaven. :D


The flaws of sports bloggers

In so many instances, the sports media or press, while doing their best to report the information given them by sporting teams, are simply inadequate when it comes to sating the desires of passionate fans. In many cases, such as Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, and Darren Pang, most if not all of what they say is credible and can be, for the most part, taken as gospel given the hard work they've obviously put in to get the information and made sure it is reliable.

Then, we have sports bloggers.

I feel that blogging was born out of a couple of things.

1. The internet and it's unfailing ability to let people think that they can voice whatever they want whenever they want and it should be taken as true. Prime example: Me. :)

2. The aforementioned inadequacy of sports reporters not being able to sate the savage needs of the fanatical public.

3. People think others actually care about what they think. Prime example: Me. Again. :)

Now, with bloggers, there is quite a wide range of quality. Some bloggers, such as Dee Karl, The New York Islanders 7th Woman, is an incredible sports blogger who wastes her talents outside of the sports world. I've said it once and I'll say it again, the Islanders need to hire this woman. Chris Botta is another great sports blogger that, while he tends to let his opinions lead him a little too much, does manage to provide competent material that is generally a good read.

On the other hand, we have the swath of bloggers who have their articles littered with useless drivel. "The team should do this, the team should do that! What was he thinking??? What about playing "X" player more? Why didn't he do this??" Essentially a fanatical fan who feels he knows better and thinks that what he feels is right and should be done.

First of all, let me say, I do applaud even these bloggers for putting their opinions out there. It's hard to stand up and shout, even if it isn't necessarily the right thing to do. But all the same, a little professional courtesy is really needed for any of these "I know better bloggers" to ever be considered more than the run of the mill fanatical fan with a voice and the will to use it.

To read a example of what a proper sports blog should be, always check out Bob McKenzie over on Thoughtful and insightful, yet he more reports on the news rather than churning out what he thinks. Between the small sprinkle of opinion he does share plus following his twitter feed @tsnbobmckenzie, which he doesn't stick to such strict standards, and you do get a sense of what he is saying a little more without the "this GM sucks" foolishness you sadly see in so many other blogs.

When I think like this, it makes me understand why Chris Botta was "Botta'ed" by the New York Islanders. Near the end of his reign (he's since converted to fluff pieces and streaming media) his articles were rife with what can almost be misconstrued as angry shots at an organization that simply wasn't doing what he thought was right for it's young players and at young players not performing to what he thought they should be doing. What makes it worse is that his work for his main job on NHL Fanhouse is impeccable and quite a good read.

There are so many bloggers out there who talk like they know what they are saying. When reading any sort of materials on the net, do realize your source before you take it seriously. Some sites talk about prospect roundups, about what a team SHOULD do with a player, what a GM SHOULD do come trade deadline, etc. It is all just opinion. I don't claim to be a reporter, I just blog. Many of these bloggers fancy themselves to be sports reporters. They are not. They are passionate fans, just like you and I. They are just a little misguided.

Suggested reads:

Dee Karl the Islanders 7th Woman
Bob McKenzie
Darren Dreger
Pierre Lebrun
Lighthouse Hockey


PS: I also hate it when a sports reporter says "we" as if he/she were on the team. Yes, earlier last year i put up the post "we are all islanders", but there is a HUGE difference to saying you are an Islanders fan (for which the post was meant) and actually being a part of the team. When you are on the payroll, you get to say "we", and not until.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Islanders Claim Nabokov Off Waivers


In a move that was surprising to nobody, except maybe the Detroit Red Wings, the Isles claimed Evgeni Nabokov off of waivers today. While Nabokov is a capable goalie, I don't know what I might think of this deal. This season is now a wash, with the Islanders well out of contention for even the 8th playoff spot. Perhaps Nathan Lawson getting injured had something to do with it, or at least gave Garth Snow an excuse to keep this commodity out of Red Wings hands. Who knows. Anyway, so long, first overall draft pick. Hello to Dipietro getting more sick time. :)

Article from  New York

Veteran goaltender signed one-year deal with Detroit on Jan. 20
Saturday, 01.22.2011 / 11:50 AM / News
The New York Islanders have claimed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off of waivers. Nabokov will play under the one-year contract that he signed with the Detroit Red Wings on Jan 20.

Nabokov, 35, began this season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). According to the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, any player that plays in a different professional league before signing an NHL contract must go through waivers before joining the team.

In 22 games this season with St. Petersburg, Nabokov posted an 8-8-5 record with a 3.02 goals against average (GAA) and a .888 save percentage (sv%). The Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan native was drafted in the ninth round, 219th overall, of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the San Jose Sharks. In nine NHL seasons with San Jose, Nabokov appeared in 563 games, posting a 293-178-29-37 (W-L-T-OT) record with a 2.39 GAA and a .912 sv%. He also played in 80 NHL playoff games with San Jose, posting a 40-38 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .913 sv%.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Special thanks to Stephen Williams for this great post about a savage nanny. :D

c/o Jamie Pyatt, The Sun

A FRAIL elderly widow turned into superwoman to send a burglar screaming from her home by battering him with a walking stick.

Doris Thiele, 84, hit 6ft 4in Leon Ingram round the head for EIGHT MINUTES while her daughter Helen, 59, held him in a headlock.

Terrified Ingram, 34, smashed his way through the conservatory doors with his HEAD to get away. The serial burglar left a trail of blood to a nearby flat, where he was arrested.

Doris, 5ft 3in, of New Milton, Hants, said: "I hope this sends a strong message to other burglars. If someone else comes they'll get more of the same." She and Helen won police bravery awards for their actions.Heroin user Ingram - described as a "one-man crimewave" - was jailed for three years after admitting burglary at  Southampton Crown Court. He had 32 previous convictions.

Terror ... Leon Ingram

Stick it to 'em ... Doris Thiele
Stick it to 'em ... Doris Thiele

Altered Reality Photoshoot, Photo of the week ending Jan 21

So at the mention of a good friend of mine, I'm going to try and do a "photo of the week". It'll keep me shooting and perhaps inspire some life back into my photographer habits. (Just read that back, it made no sense... anyway...) So for the first "photo of the week ending January 21" I've decided to stick up 3 shots of my "Altered Reality" submission for Camera 35 to CAPA. (Camera 35 being my camera club, CAPA being The Canadian Association for Photographic Art). I hope you enjoy.

My wife graciously got done up in makeup for this shoot. :)


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What McDonald's Chicken McNuggets really contain.

Thanks to @davidswill (David Williams) on twitter for this interesting article.


It seems Melodi Dushane of Toledo, Ohio, wasn't concerned about dimethyl polysiloxane or tertiary butylhydroquinone in her Chicken McNuggets, or about the allegation that they were made of 56 per cent corn. Even though it was 6:30 a.m., she had to have them. When told the nuggets were not available at that time of the morning, Dushane went into a frenzy and began to pummel the drive-thru employee before smashing a window with a beer bottle and driving off.

Latreasa Goodman of Florida took a different approach when told that her McDonald's had run out of Chicken McNuggets. When the server offered a hamburger instead, she became so enraged that she proceeded to dial 911 to report a fast food "emergency."

Although these two ladies needed their nugget fix, others may be horrified by the thought of eating a concoction that is more corn than chicken, is tainted with lighter fluid, has an ingredient in common with Silly Putty and is full of chemicals with unpronounceable names. These accusations circulate widely, promoted by the usual array of Internet fear-mongers such as Joseph Mercola, but also by people who really should know better, such as Michael Pollan, author of the bestselling Omnivore's Dilemma.

Before we go any farther, let me make clear that I am no fan of processed foods. The number of times I've eaten chicken nuggets can be counted on the toes of one chicken. But that's not because of any fear of multi-syllabic ingredients; it is the high fat and salt content that turns me off.

So what are Chicken Mc-Nuggets really made of ? Chicken! Pollan provocatively implies that the nuggets are 56 per cent corn. Where does that number come from? Well, chickens are reared on corn, and Pollan calculates the amount of corn that is converted into chicken flesh, and adds to this the weight of other ingredients that are made from corn, such as the dextrose used in the batter, and comes up with the meaningless but attention-grabbing 56 per cent. Using this logic, we could all be described as being made of plants, since every bit of our flesh can be traced back to some plant product.

McNuggets may conjure up an image of breaded pieces of sliced chicken breast, but they are hardly that. More like deboned breast ground into a paste held together with sodium phosphate. To make nuggets, salt, ice and sodium phosphate are churned together with ground white meat. The phosphate solubilizes some of the protein in the meat, which then forms a matrix that traps fat and glues the meat together. It also improves the moisture-holding capacity of the product, preventing it from drying out during frying. Canola, corn, soybean or hydrogenated soybean oils are used to fry the nuggets, and this is where some of the silliness boils over.

"What do McDonald's Chicken McNuggets and Silly Putty have in common?" asks Mercola, who claims to have the most-visited health site on the Web. The answer is dimethyl polysiloxane, which is the major component of Silly Putty and is added as an anti-foaming agent to the oil used to fry the nuggets. Of course, Mercola's irrational implication is that you wouldn't want to eat something that is also found in Silly Putty. Ridiculous! Do we eschew salt because it is used to de-ice streets, or water because it is an essential ingredient of cement? Dimethyl polysiloxane is an approved additive for frying oils, at a level of roughly five parts per million. As with any chemical, there is a dose at which it becomes toxic. What is that dose? Well, you would have to eat about 10,000 nuggets at one sitting to approach any sort of toxic level. I suspect at that point you would have a few problems other than dimethyl polysiloxane toxicity. And just think: Have you seen any warnings about toxicity on Silly Putty? Although I wouldn't recommend it, you could probably eat the stuff.

Thinking seems to be a challenge for Web gurus, though. Consider the matter of tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), which Mercola reveals is an "artificial antioxidant derived from petroleum and is a form of butane." This nonsense is parroted by Pollan, who references the Consumer's Dictionary of Food Additives by Ruth Winter, another brilliant mind. TBHQ has absolutely nothing to do with butane; the molecule just happens to have a fragment composed of four carbon atoms, which in chemical terminology is "butyl."

True, TBHQ is made from compounds derived from petroleum. So what? It isn't the origin of a substance that matters -it's what we know about its toxicity. Winter correctly states that one gram can cause "nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation and collapse." But given that TBHQ is allowed in oil to an extent of 0.02 per cent, you would have to eat more than 11 pounds of McNuggets to reach that level. I'll agree with Winter on one thing, though: British Mc-Nuggets are a better choice than American. Not because they don't contain dimethyl polysiloxane or TBHQ, which they don't, but because they contain 25 per cent less fat.

Marion Nestle, an accomplished nutrition professor and author, correctly dismisses the concerns about dimethyl polysiloxane and TBHQ, but she has advice about "not eating any food with ingredients you can't pronounce." Does that mean we shouldn't consume anything that contains 4-methylthiobutyl isothiocyanate or epigallocatechin gallate? We would have to give up cabbage and tea.

Conversely, are we to assume that if we can pronounce it, we can eat it? "Arsenic" and "cyanide" are pretty easy to pronounce. And being quite adept at pronouncing chemical terms, can I assume that I can eat anything?

Certainly, Chicken McNuggets are not an icon of nutrition. But neither are they a "McFrankenstein creation" made of elements not used in home cooking, as described by a New York State judge in his ruling dismissing a complaint by two teenagers that deceptive marketing by Mc-Donald's had caused them to become obese.
In truth, the kids' problems were the same as that of Melodi and Latreasa: They let their bellies rule their minds.

Joe Schwarcz is director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society (

Chicken McNugget ingredients (from McDonald's Canada list): Chicken meat, water, modified corn starch, salt, chicken broth powder (chicken broth, salt and natural chicken flavouring), seasoning [(vegetable oil (soybean and/or canola), extracts of rosemary, mono, di and triglycerides (from sunflower oil) and soy lecithin)]. Breaded with: water, wheat flour, yellow corn flour, modified corn starch, salt, baking powder, spices (white and black pepper, celery seed), wheat starch, whey powder, sodium aluminum phosphate, corn starch, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (manufacturing aid). Cooked in 100% vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethypolysiloxane).

Coleco Printable Hockey Players Part 18: Pittsburgh Penquins

Without Mario, sadly. :P I think this file was originally drawn before Sidney Crosby was even born!!!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How Starbucks’ new Trenta compares to your stomach

Starbucks recently announced their next size up from 591-milliliter Venti: the Trenta. It's 916 milliliters, which happens to be slightly more than the average capacity of the human stomach, as illustrated by Andrew Barr for The National Post.
I don't know why everyone's getting their panties in a bundle though. If it's too big for you, then don't buy it. Besides, 7-Eleven has Starbucks beat with their line of Big Gulp drinks ranging from 0.59 to 1.9 liters.

I'm thirsty.

[National Post

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coleco Printable Hockey Players: Part 17: St. Louis Blues

Not a fan of the faces on this one, they just don't look... "right". Anyway, here they are!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coleco Printable Table Top Rod Hockey Players: Part 17: Minnesota North Stars

For my first team posted in forever, I thought I'd go classic again, with the defunct Minnesota North Stars. Obviously now there are the Minnesota Wild, but this is from the old days.


A new #1 Coleco Printable Player Sheet!

In a landslide, the Quebec Nordiques have moved into the NUMBER 1 POSITION! Montreal slips to #2, and the Kings, Leafs, and Flames round out the top 5.

I'll get to putting up the last few teams sometime throughout the week, as well, shots of my restored table!!!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's a surprise: Marijuana found in St. John's

In what is probably the biggest surprise in Newfoundland history, this article title says it all:

"Marijuana found in St. John's"

Dear god, what is next? Moonshine out of St. Pierre??? :P

Thank you to "The Coaster" for being painfully skilled at stating the obvious.


On 2011-01-12 the RCMP St John's Drug Section Executed a search warrant on a residence in the down town area of St. Johns

The RCMP seized approx. 12 lbs of marijuana and 1 lb of cannabis resin commonly known as hashish.

In addition other drug paraphernalia was seized under authority of the Controlled Drugs And Substances Act.

One 25-year-old man from St. John's is currently in custody and will be taken before a judge this morning in St. John's, Nl.He is facing two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and two counts of trafficking in a controlled substance.



Seriously? Come ON.

Not to pick up for Ron Wilson, but how does this stuff get out and why does anyone care?



(from tsn)

Ron Wilson's landmark 600th win against his former team may leave a bitter taste in his mouth.

According to a report in the Toronto Star, the Maple Leafs head coach posted an undisclosed amount of cash in the locker room prior to Tuesday's contest as extra incentive for his team to beat the Sharks.

The NHL has said that league rules were violated and, while it isn't viewed as a significant offence, the Leafs will be fined.

"If it is a violation, we will remedy it with the league," GM Brian Burke told the Star. "We'll take the money back, do whatever the league tells us to do. We have not heard anything from the National Hockey League."

Traditionally, players will post cash to a new teammate to score the winning goal when he meets his former team.

The Maple Leafs gave Wilson his benchmark victory by beating the Sharks 4-2, a game that featured a four-goal third-period rally.



Doesn't stuff like this "stay in the room" so to speak? Who cares? Who was the snitch? As a Leafs fan, I would be more concerned with the snitch than the likely $100 payoff (ie: I'll buy dinner if you win this)


A funny way of thinking...

Makes you wonder, doesn't it. :P


Final Fantasy 13... 2?

This is strange indeed, but perhaps the good folks at Square Enix are considering "fixing" Final Fantasy 13, not with a patch or a DLC, but with an entirely new game. A domain was registered recently, This doesn't necessarily mean a game is coming, but is interesting none the less.

See the article on IGN.

Fixing may be a wrong term, more like "making up" for one of the biggest disappointments not only on 2010, but of all time. It did get some good reviews, but every good review came with a "but".


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Give the friggers what they DESERVE!

The people who work at the Brookfield Pharmacy are all nice, friendly people. The sorts people like to talk to and do their jobs neatly and diligently throughout the day. Two ignorant drughead pricks doused a couple of the girls there with gas and threatened to burn them so they could steal drugs and pocket change recently. They were arrested shortly thereafter.

Let's make an example of people like this so our safe, clean city will stay that way just a little longer.

Arrest Article


I am an Angry Chris

I am so sick and tired of being tailgated, cut off, and watching people swerve and weave through traffic like they own the road. 9 times out of 10 it is some red neck in a truck that is too big for anything anyone would need in a normal life.

Today I was nearly rear ended by some idiot tailgater who, marvelously enough, was talking on a cell phone. WORST OF ALL, he was in such a rush to pull into a driveway not 20 meters ahead of us.

Anyway, that was my short rant of the day.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Going for 5000

I'm just short of 5000 views (not including my own) of this blog and I gotta say, I would have never thought that people would have been interested in what I had to say, let alone taking time ou of their days to spend it with my ramblings.

Thank you so much for reading!


Saturday, January 8, 2011

I've finally taken some pictures.

Sadly, they aren't much to look at, but at least it's a start. I've been restoring two table hockey boards over the past month or two and here are the first shots of each available. The first board is a classic Coleco 5170 Power Play Board, manufactured in 1980. It has flat plastic players with printed decals on them. (I've been posting them for all to have last month)

The second board is a more modern Stiga Championship Board, with 3D modeled players. It's a far better built game with clean lines, goalie shooting ability, and no "dead zones" which plagued older versions of table hockey.

Take a look and tell me what you think.


OMG! I get to Stream Islanders games!

My boss opened me up to a site that allows me to stream EVERY live sporting event possible. (Assuming it is being streamed to begin with). That means I get to watch nearly EVERY Islanders game for the rest of the season. Depending on the quality of the streaming, it could range from slow and choppy to 720p!

This is a much better option than the NHL network. The Network is ALL great quality, but is painfully over priced for someone who only wants to watch 1 team's worth of games.

I won't post a link to the site for fear of it being shut down, but Andrew, Thomas, Daniel, Henry, and Edward found it on the .NET somewhere... hmmm...


Friday, January 7, 2011

Doctor Who Cold Opening on Craig Fergusen


I have a serious problem.

So, I sit here today, one day after my shots for Altered Reality were due, without having even tried to shoot it. I'm a man in peril, as it seems I've come down with a serious ailment.

I have shooters block.

I couldn't shoot a picture if my life depended on it. I don't know how to get past it either.

About 2 and a half to 3 months ago, I finished up at Camera Club, knowing my shots were terrible but at least were on topic. They were forced pictures, and truthfully, they looked it too. At this point I had been making myself go to Camera Club, thinking I could just push my way through this awful affliction. Sadly, I cannot. I don't know how to get past it.

I used to see the photos in my head before I shot them. Now I just draw blanks. I'm tired of shooting the same old nature shots in and around the city. I'm tired of people shots just not working out they way I want them to. I'm tired of my work being derivative. I'm tired of having one of creative outlets feeling like work. I need that little burst of life to my work that is generally called inspiration and it just isn't coming.

Hey photographer people, friends, countrymen. Do you have any suggestions of how to get past this? I've been avoiding Camera Club for a while now simply because I have nothing to offer to the group right now.


As silly as this sounds, the loss of a creative

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Torchlight to 360


Torchlight, one of 2009's surprise hits on the PC, is hoping to be one of 2011's surprise hits on the Xbox 360. Here's how it's shaping up.

Torchlight should be out in Feb/March, and will sadly only be appearing on the Xbox 360, with no PS3 version planned (as it's actually being published by Microsoft).


A Friend of mine told me about this Diablo clone a while back. It looks to be a bit of fun. On disk or on XBLA I wonder.



To view larger, simply click the pic. :D


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Reality of Graphic Design

Take this from someone who's been in the biz nearly 15 years, much of this, while a little on the snarky side, is absolutely true.

It's positively sickening how little thought is put into actual graphic design and the level of skill is required to actually pull it off convincingly. I suppose it's like that for most career paths. But anyway, from this designer's perspective, the typical "ask" from a client hovers between "Try again", "Go away", "You get what you pay for", and "Impossible Utopia". Seeing this reminds me why I thank god I'm retired from freelancing. :)