Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
Tetris: From Russia With Love (Google Video) is a documentary about the twists and turns of intellectual property rights and commerce that eventually led to Nintendo getting the handheld and console rights to the game from Elorg, the Soviet bureau that handled exporting of software. (This name appears on the first screen of the NES version of Tetris.)
The most interesting part of the Tetris saga was the British businessman Robert Maxwell who threatened to have an official at Elorg 'disappeared' with one phone call to Gorbachev if his company didn't get the rights. The fact that Bulletproof Software and subsequently Nintendo got the upper hand because they dealt openly and honestly and promised to share future revenues, rather than exploiting political connections and playing power games, was pretty unique at the time.
I remember when I was a kid and I'd be up visiting my grandmother in Lot 16, there was a video rental place in St. Eleanor's, Brian's Place, that had a copy of the Tengen version of Tetris for the NES, the one Atari made before being informed that they were not legally allowed to sell it. It was miles better than the Nintendo version, more modes, more fun, more add-ons and better graphics and sound. I must have rented the thing 10 or 20 times, despite owning the Nintendo version. Plus there were little Russian characters who'd do a dance between levels. I've seen the Tengen cartrige on sale for several hundred dollars online. I hope some bastard didn't just steal it from the store.
Brian's Place also carried what had to be the worst NES cartrige of all time, Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu, which was barely coherent as a game at all.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
So the ghost who maintains Baba's Lounge's MySpace profile has asked for any photos people have of musical acts or whatnot going on there that they can use, so I did some digging and here are some I've taken that I've liked:
Double Ought Buckshot:
Waiting by the door at the Kent St. Tim Horton's this morning for the other people I went for coffee with to get served, I noticed that it's not just me, the servers seem to talk to everyone like they're either deaf or retarded.
This is why I'll pay the extra $0.20 for a coffee at Timothy's, though they should each go and work at a Tim's for 6 months to speed up their sandwich and bagel making operations. But as long as they remember how to talk to customers like they're human I'll try and go there when I've got the time.
I find it hard to talk on the ride home. Whatever it is, whereever I'm coming from, it doesn't feel right to tell my own stories when the real story is still sinking in.
I'm shy enough to feel that I'm intruding on the silence by speaking, that I'm selfishly seeking an audience where previously there was calm.
So the lights pass by, music of little consequence plays because that's what radios are for. Familiar signs scream through the fog, only the ones that trigger a memory might get through and be recognized and acknowledged.
The rhythm of starts and stops, traffic lights and rolling through stop signs, eyes closed, is still the same, still the way home.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Yo TVT! I could just drive around Cookerville looking for the place, but I figure asking might be better. Is it a right at the gas station and around the top of the hill?
Today for the first time I had a dream that a few other people have said they've had repeatedly, that involved my teeth falling out, and not knowing what to do or why it was happening.
I don't really know what it means or what I could be feeling that triggered it. Googling around seems to point to the idea that I'm not using the knowledge that I have in a useful way (possible) or that I'm self-conscious about my appearance (probable).
Dreams cut too close sometimes.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I was going to post this as a comment, but I figured I had pictures.... Jody got a pair of kittens a week or two ago and I got to see them last weekend. I remember back when I had a kitten. He was really frightened for a few weeks before he became comfortable with the new environment, so I expected something similar. Not at all. These two are very much at home and not shy whatsoever. Jody just started letting them outside for short periods of time and so far they don't stray too far from the house; still catiously exploring the yard. I like cats. They don't crave attention. If you're busy, they will more than happily do their own thing (after leaving few fresh claw marks anyways). After seeing these two together, I'm pretty convinced getting two cats is better than getting only one.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I haven't done any plugs lately since no one actually reads this site, but I always love it when Sylvie comes to town, I can pretty much listen to them forever I think. They're one of the superstars of CBC Radio 3, I've probably heard them played on the weekly podcast more often than even Black Mountain.
Here's a great studio session they did in Vancouver for CBC: Link. It's keeping me entertained this afternoon.
Oh, and the other 2 bands that are opening for them are probably pretty good, too, but I havne't heard them before so go listen to them yourself.
This is actually quite a big week for music around here, last night was the instrumental band My Dad vs. Yours at Baba's, who (and I've never thought I'd say this..) sound a lot like newer Grand Theft Bus, who've actually gotten quite good of late. Then on Wednesday there are a couple of good shows happening,
Lenore and Chara @ Hunter's Ale House and Raising The Fawn(Ont)The Golden Dogs(Ont)The Orb Weavers at Baba's. OK, apparently the Chara / Lenore thing has been cancelled. I'm guessing they saw that Raising The Fawn were playing and collectively shit their pants.Chara are heavy as fuck and don't let anyone call them anything like "metalcore" or other bullshit modern names like that, they do good old-fashioned thrash metal and they do it well. But I think the Baba's show is the one to catch since Raising the Fawn are amazing and pretty original.
Then Thursday is Wintersleep, the crowd will be crammed in like sardines into the stage part at Hunter's for this one, but if you can get in early it'll be a good show. They can get a crowd in sync with them like very few bands around here even think to try and do.
Then the weekend is going to be pretty lame because all the good bands will be in Halifax for the Halifax Pop Explosion. Gotta love a city that references the greatest disaster in their history to push a rock music festival.
Monday, October 16, 2006
When I was a kid the very first WWF wrestling toy I ever got was an action figure of George "The Animal" Steele. I think a Santa at some xmas party I was at randomly handed me some wrapped up toy and that was it. I had no interest in WWF wrestling when I was six, World Grand Prix Wrestling on ATV was way more interesting to me for some reason. But you couldn't get any Cuban Assassin toys, so I was stuck with this. His green tongue was pretty funny, at least.
According to the wikipedia article about him, he has a master's degree and taught at university , so I thought 'wow, so he isn't actually retarded', then I remembered that he was in Ed Wood.. then at the end it says he's a christian fundamentalist and a republican. What is it about wrestlers who play insane characters turning that way in real life? (For those not in the know, The Ultimate Warrior? Batshitinsane.com.)
I guess if you are locked in a character for a long time you start to become more like that character.
Or wrestling just ruins your brain.
One notable exception is Mick Foley a.k.a. Cactus Jack, my favourite character from WCW because he seemed just crazy and demented enough to just randomly physically kill whoever he was wrestling against, is pretty smart and politically liberal.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
So I went on my nightly walk down along the river when nature called and I stopped off to use one of the many wretched, putrid public facilities provided along the trail.
There were two kittens eating out of a torn food trash bag (all food garbage here in Korea is separated from the regular trash), picking at it and sitting side by side.
Now the strays in this country share many similarities, among them being skittishness and that dirty, hagard look of poor animals that are used to fighting to survive.
In my three years here I have tried to capture strays in the past in hopes of offering them a better home but due to their absolute mistrust of all humans (who often beat and torture them because cats are traditionally despised here) I have been unsuccessful.
I stopped to watch the two kittens eat, afraid to proceed since they were happily parked in front of the bathroom and I didn't want to deter them from their meal when it could very well be a while before they find another.
Knowing the general attitude of strays, imagine my surprise when they were not only unfazed by my presence but also came up to me and starting rubbing against my leg.
These kittens were relatively clean, a little chunky and not at all afraid of me!
In Korea it is also a common practice to abandon pets outside when you tire of them. So many dogs,cats and rabbits have been left, tied to poles with a few days food with them or just left to their own devises ...and when I saw these little guys it was the first thing that came to mind.
These kittens were brave, friendly, clean and a good healthy size and I started to wonder if they hadn't been abandoned as well.
For some reason the idea of stray kittens living on the steet bothers me but not overly much since they come into that environment and are therefore better equipped to handle whatever may be....
But the idea of housebroken kittens being abandoned outside broke my heart.
So I went to a local convenience store and bought a few cans of tuna and searched through a neighbouring apartment biulding's trash to find a box.
After a 20 mintue absence I returned to find the kittens exactly where I had left them.
I had to proceed slowly. I didn't want the ktitens to suddenly get nervous and run away. So I opened the cans of tuna and waited for the kittens to approach on their own. (it only took about 20 seconds because these guys were hungry...)
I had put the open box next to the open cans of tuna in hopes of being able to use the element of surprise to get the kittens into the box after they had started eating.
...But I had forgotten that these were kittens I was dealing with and as soon as they noticed the box, they both jumped in and started sniffing around.
I simply transferred the cans of tuna into the box with them, waited until they were comfortably eating and then closed the flaps to the top of the box.
One of the kittens meowed for about 10 seconds before resigning himself to his new situation. It was sort of like a "Hey! what are you doing? Where are we going? Wait. Is this tuna? I - oh, never mind, I'm good."
And so it is that despite my adamant promises that I was not getting a pet, that I now have 2 kittens comfortably snuggled, fed and asleep in my bathroom at the moment.
*sigh*. When will I learn?
Friday, October 13, 2006
Just got this link from a friend of mine here in Korea (David-you all remember him, right?) who knew about a certain friend of ours' imigration problems...
CBC News: Love finds a way through immigration red tape
It's always nice to get a reminder of reasons to be happy and grateful on a friend's behalf...
Congrats again and hope the wife is adjusting well...
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I did more to enhance the quality of my life today than anything I've done in the last six months or so, and all it was was to buy a nice new pair of headphones.
A girl I had a brief impossi-crush on last Summer once told me that all she thought she really needed to be happy was warmth and a nice pair of headphones. I think she may be right.
The new Beck album, The Information, is the first album I feel like I've properly listened to in a long time. It's different from his last few albums but still very much a Beck album, in that you can hear the invluence of the producer and the weaving together of musical threads from the last few years, and stretching further into the past for more material to create these patchwork songs from.
Beck's grandfather, Al Hansen, was a very well-known performance and visual artist of the 1960s, his most famous creations were made from random bits of leftover material serves as a nice parallel to how I think of Beck's last few albums - they're great things to appreciate as a whole, but when you try to take them apart to examine the pieces you feel like the whole thing has come apart in your hands.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I just looked at my Transfers tab in Opera to check on a torrent I'm downloading (yes, Opera supports bittorrent just as if it was any other download. Firefox was so last year.)and was amazed to see it downloading at 1103kb/s. I never knew it could go this fast, hell, that's about the limit of my wireless 802.11b router. This is pretty intense.
Monday, October 09, 2006
So the last time Michael Schumacher's Ferrari engine blew out was France in 2000, and it's been completely reliable up unti this last race when he could have clinched the championship, but instead he blows up in the last 3rd of the race to let Alonso through and have him almost clinch his second championship.
Somehow I'm doubting that Alonso will claim this race was fixed like the last few.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
It's funny, nearly every modern reality television show takes its format from a rather old and formerly well-known party game.
The balloon debate is where a number of people each present their own case, or vicariously presents the case of an assigned famous person, and offers justification for why he or she should not be the one selected to be thrown out of the slowly sinking hot air ballloon s othe rest of the passengers can survive.
It's interesting because where we were once responsible for entertaining a room with our own imagination, we now sit and watch other peope play what is essentially the same game, but without the intellectual exercie of presenting someone else's case, nor the interactive aspect of having the other people in the room decide whom to ditch from the hot air balloon.
In the days before mass entertainment all people had was each other for entertainment during teh long winter evenings, and games like this gave people the opportunity to show what books they had read and what useful knowledge they had gained about the person they were selected to make the case for.
The game actually reminded me of the scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation where Data was playing poker in the Holodeck against Einstein, Newton and Stephen Hawking, with the actual playing of cards secondary to the tension between the historical figures, especially Newton, to show that he was at least intellectually equal to the other players.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I finally got a new cellphone. My old handset, the Sony-Erisson, the battery life was down to less than a minute when I was talking and no one sells replacement batteries for it. I paid quite a bit of money for the Sony-Erisson one and the extra cost didn't do much for me, so heading to the store to pick up a new phone I was planning to get one of the cheaper models....
Well, so much for that idea.
I ended up getting this one:
It's a really nice phone. It's a pretty small phone, large colour LCD display, digital camera, bluetooth, and a slot for a miniSD flash card. The display is very impressive. it's only a 240x320 display, but images look really good on it. The digital camera is pretty good too. At 2 megapixels, the images are about the same as my real camera. The flash isn't something to write home about, but the images it takes are a lot better than I expected. The MP3 playback comes in handy from time to time. The tiny loudspeaker in the phone doesn't make music sound great, but what can you expect from something that small? I got a bluetooth adaptor and a 1GB miniSD card. The bluetooth functionality is nice. It's not too quick for transferring huge amounts of data, but for general use it nice. Questionable security aside, I'd like to get a bluetooth headset in the future (better audio and the ability to go hands-free). Biggest beef, Telus crippled the phone so you can't make or load your own ringtones. Of course, the manual doesn't mention that; I spent a few days figuring that out. Telus forces you to buy their ringtones and the ringtones included on the phone are pretty. . . blah.
Overall, I like the phone. The ringtone issue really pisses me off, but I might just hack the phone later to correct the problem (plenty of resources online for doing that). Oh, and the fact I can go a few days without recharging, definitely good.
I now have enough seeds for a pumpkin patch the size of charlottetown
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Some things I've been into lately:
I also like the direction they look to be going in with the new setting for Jim's character, in Connecticut with the ivy-league educated high-strung scumbags for co-workers, who are really just as hopeless as the workers in the Scranton branch, but who don't realize it. It's good to see the show moving beyond picking on the easy targets.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Okay, this will probably come out angry.
And I am afraid I don't really care.
I have been working pretty damn hard to get a Master's swim program started here on Charlottetown. It will hopefully come to pass but if not, I did give it my best efforts.
The biggest problem at this point is people do not want to pay for it. They practically want it free and I am afraid that free is not an option. The Cari which is looking to make money is charging us for the lanes that we are renting, and if we are renting the lanes, someone has to pay for those lanes. I set up the program so they pay for the lanes by deviding the lanes up amungst the number of people who joined. No one is making any money here.
However today, people said to me that they don't want to pay that much money for the program, they want it cheaper, we should work on getting the Cari to give us passes, so we can do it. Cari on the other hand tried that a couple of years ago and it pretty much failed after about 5 months, last year they tried a drop in fee and that failed after a few weeks.
If people are not willing to put up the money for a program it will fail and I am going to be redirecting the program as such.
PS I dont' care about any spelling mistakes