Archive for November, 2008

New Screenshots!

This week was mostly spent fighting off the after-effects of a cold. Lots of rest, hot beverages, and having Amie’s microwavable pillow wrapped around my head. Not counting the two days I spent on a video-shoot out on the rig sites for a work-related project. We really need to schedule those things during warmer weather.

On a big plus note, I beat my personal mid-December deadline by a full two weeks on developing chapter 3 of my game. I now have 2+ hours of gameplay and cinematics all stitched together and ready to go. So I thought I’d post up some new screenshots of the dealie. These ones include some of Akril’s work, the fabled Space Chicken, two shots of Roger hanging on for dear life, one of Stellar, and for you, Michaela, the giant titanium robot.

Still a long way to go, though, but, man, is there ever a nice high that comes with reaching a milestone.

I’m happy now.

Time to go re-microwave my pillow!

November 30 2008 | Daily Life, Video Games | 3 Comments »

Friday Movie Blogging 11-28-08: Swabbing Poop Decks

There’s always something more interesting happening off-camera.

Earlier this week at work, we outsourced a new cameraman who’d previously worked on all three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies (not as THE camerman, but someone who’s name appears in the credits nonetheless.) While we were sitting down to lunch during a rig shoot on Tuesday, he regaled us with some pirates stories you’ll never find on the DVD’s special features.

For confidentiality’s sake, he couldn’t tell us which one of the three major stars got really wasted, dove headfirst off a dock, and cracked their skull on a reef – but he could tell us about some really weird stuff that happens off-camera. Particularly, the orgies.

See, when you’ve got over 3000 people on dozens of boats in the middle of the ocean, away from their family, friends, and any chance of relations for several months at a time, they tend to get really horny. Especially if their job entails doing nothing other than supervising Johnny Depp’s lunch. So picture the Black Pearl with Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom on deck spouting out cheesy dialogue and acting all lovey-dovey — then zoom out to see dozens of smaller boats filled with naked people humping each other.

And that’s how movies are made.

Movies I watched this week:

Pineapple Express (2008)

Rating: A+

I didn’t know what to expect turning this one on, but it turned out to be a really good movie. A pot smoker and his dealer get chased around the city after one of them witnesses a murder. The perfect set-up for a comedy!

It’s made by the same guys who did “Superbad” and follows the same kind of humor and down-to-earth mentality. A lot of the humor stems from characters drifting off into randomly funny conversations about nothing, and whenever the action starts up, they’re usually so high that they depend on their paranoia and ability to freak out to survive. Anything in the room become can become a funny (but effective) weapon and the action sequences are made up of one awkward situation after another.

“Pineapple Express” takes a very cliched and overdone genre and breathes some fresh air into it (even if that fresh air smells a little funny.)

Bangkok Dangerous (2008)

Rating: C-

I just want to see one Thailand movie that doesn’t feature gangsters or underground boxing. Anything by Rodgers and Hammerstein doesn’t count.

The movie’s about a hitman who travels to Bangkok so he can kill a few people. While there, things go wrong and Nicholas Cage’s friends get involved with gangsters, causing him to make a choice between saving them or not saving them.

Surprisingly, the movie does have some heart to it, and the action and cinematography is about average with a couple nice shots, but nothing more impressive or memorable than your usual straight-to-video Steven Seagal movie.

The Ring Two (2005)

Rating: F

This was on TV on saturday and there was nothing else on.

I’m really not sure what the hell was going on in this movie. Creepy well girl, evil videotape, and a kid who looks scarier than the villainess herself. It’s one of those sequels where the writers just didn’t give a crap.

There was a neat part where a bunch of deer attacked Naomi Watts in her car. And another neat part where we see the creepy well girl crawling up the side of her well in a very contortionisty kind of way. That was almost enough to make me raise the score up to a D-, but then I realized that’s like praising a turd for having two pieces of corn in it. Not enough to make me want to call my friends over to look at it. This one can be flushed.

Movies out this weekend:

-Transporter 3 (Jason Statham blows up the world with his car and his fists again.)
-Four Christmases (Never give up, Vince Vaughn! You’ll get Holiday humor right someday!)
-Australia (Like “Gone with the Wind,” but with kangaroos.)

November 28 2008 | Movies | No Comments »

Thoughts on Thoughts

What really annoys me about internet debates is how inflexible some people are about their stances on things. Doesn’t matter what the topic is – science, religion, democrats, republicans, spaghetti, milk – there’s no grey area for some people. They’d rather sound like an idiot than admit to being wrong.

All truth is contemporary. We live with what we know today, and live with the knowledge of tomorrow when it comes. What many people debate over isn’t the truth, or even the quest for truth. They just want that high that comes with being agreed with.

BILLY: This is my opinion.
SKITTLES: Your opinion is not the same as my opinion. Therefore, you are an idiot.
BILLY: Everyone knows my opinion is the right one. Kneel before me.
SKITTLES: No, anybody with a brain knows my opinion is the right one.
BILLY: Here are scientific facts to back up my opinion.
SKITTLES: Here are better scientific facts to back up MY opinion.
BILLY: Your scientific facts are stupid because they support the wrong opinion.
SKITTLES: Your scientific facts are wrong because you got them from a website I don’t like.
User Melvin has been banned.

Better to be wrong first and right later than the other way around.

That’s just my opinion, though.

November 26 2008 | Philosophy? | 5 Comments »

Party All The Time

Well, the good news is that now it finally feels like Monday. I got up thirty minutes too late and made a mad dash for the door, forgetting my yogurt cup in the process (but remembering the sandwich I made last night.) Time seems to have somehow re-aligned itself and I can now look forward to the next long five working days until next weekend.

As it turns out, it spite of the time lag, this was probably the busiest and most fun week of the year so far, so I really shouldn’t complain about anything. No one can say I don’t lead an active social life. A recap of the week:

Monday: Got my car towed to the shop because the axle broke on it. Waited in the lounge for three hours before finding out they’d already inspected my vehicle two hours before, and couldn’t inform me because I was in the bathroom. Went home, ate stir-fry, watched Heroes, finished animating my cut-scene for Incinerations.

Tuesday: Birthday! Of course, I didn’t make plans because of my car, so I started organizing a get-together on Friday instead. But my car got fixed in time anyway, so I stopped into work for a couple hours to catch up on the massive amount of work I have coming up for the next two months (mucho overtime.) Then it turned out mom and my brother wanted to take me out for a birthday supper anyway, so I met them at West Ed and had dinner at Earl’s. I ate some weird sandwich containing chicken, apples, fig jam, and spinach (sometime you have to experiment.) Then they bought me some new duds and a couple movies. Very sweet deal.

Wednesday: Birthday lunch at work! Gack! Went to Los Andes – ate some barbecued chicken and fries. Good stuff. Went home – started rendering my big two-and-a-half minute cut-scene.

Thursday: Just another lazy… wait – what? Jacqueline’s moving to BC and they’re throwing her a going-away party? But I already did two parties in the last couple days. Well, okay – as long as there’s food. And there is. They made a huge mistake putting out a free buffet of chicken wings and spring rolls. So I hung around with a group of barely-teens all night and watched them get drunk and experience feelings while silently chuckling under my breath about how much I was going to tell them about this night when they sobered up. Also, I got to play around on a stripper pole in a cage. Those things are jungle gyms for big people. I want one.

Friday: Party #4! The one I actually planned! Finally! I decided to organize a get-together at the Olive Garden with my family and friends. Michaela and I got there early so we could reserve seating and hung around the bar for half and hour waiting for the light thingy to buzz so we could grab our table. People showed up before then (mom, Terrence, Nick, Brittany, Jacqueline) and Amie showed up with Mike and an awesome microwaveable pillow that she made for me as a gift. Then we spent the next three hours just hanging out at the Olive Garden talking about everything and eating pasta. It all turned out very well and I think we all had a lot of fun. It’s nice when stuff like this doesn’t backfire on you. Also, my car didn’t break down when I dropped off Michaela again, so it’s all good.

And then I remembered I forgot to tape Doctor Who. Crap! On-line streaming time…

Saturday: Wake up – phone’s ringing. Mom’s just finished with an appointment and wants to meet up for lunch since she’s passing right by my place. As much as I enjoy going out, this is starting to get a little ridiculous. Fortunately, it was only a half hour lunch at Edo Japan, so it was all good. Plus we picked up ice cream at Marble Slab afterward. I now have a pint of egg nog ice cream in my freezer for the holiday season.

Sunday: I went to ten different restaurants today and ate with fifty thousand people. Either that, or I finally had a day all to myself. Except that now I was coming down with a cold. So I crashed on the couch and continued rendering my cut-scene (which I’ve been doing on and off all week.) I’ve also been going through the old “Quest for Glory” games again while waiting. Caught a couple movies on TV, watched a couple on my computer, made spaghetti, watched 24:Redemption, and went to bed. Amie’s microwaveable pillow did a great job helping me get to sleep with my stuffy head.

Anyway, it’s back to Monday and everything seems relatively back to normal. I’ve still got some congestion in my throat, but I’m fighting off. And my big cut-scene on “Incinerations” should be fully rendered and put into the game by tonight. Out of all the planned videos, it was the third longest. I look forward to tackling first and second in the chapters to come. Note to self: (11/24/08) 2.5 minutes takes 17 days to animate and render. Plan shorter/less cut-scenes. Also turn on alpha channels more often so nothing needs to be re-rendered.

Also, Terrence reminded me that I forgot to mention I finally won one of the photoshop contests on Cracked a couple weeks back. Not for the James Bond one (I came in ninth for that one.) This is the one that actually got me a little bit of money.

(FYI, he’s shooting himself in the balls, not the dick. A common misconception.)

You can view the complete list of winners here.

November 24 2008 | Daily Life | No Comments »

Friday Movie Blogging 11-21-08: Meteor!!!

This went flying over Edmonton last night.

It ended up hitting Manitoba.

Actually, I got really swept up in a lot of planning, parties, animating, rendering, and playing video games this week, then there’s that whole time lag I experienced (I can’t believe it’s actually Friday) so I completely forgot to think of any movie topics this week or watch any of the bootleg movies I keep on my desktop. But I did catch one of my favorite childhood movies on TV last Saturday, so I’ll review that instead.

Movies I watched this week:

Surf Ninjas (1993)

Rating: Nacho+

In the wake of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “3 Ninjas,” mixing karate with slapstick humor and surfer lingo was all the rage in the early nineties. So someone decided to skip the subtlety and just put ninjas on surfboards. Just click on the trailer link above to see the result.

The story: this kid finds out he’s a long-lost prince and has to return to his homeland to save his people from an evil dictator. He develops amazing karate powers in a short period of time, and his little brother uses his Game Gear to foretell the future. Then Rob Schneider shows up as the comic relief in the best role of his life, Tone Loc joins in as the cop who swallows his keys every Tuesday, and Leslie Nielson plays the evil robot ninja overlord (yes, really.)

It’s insane, but I love it. It’s hard to do cheese this well, but the movie gets it spot-on and never takes itself seriously for a minute. Any moment of drama or insight is immediately followed up by wise-cracking or people partying. Then there’s some somewhat memorable back-and-forth dialogue going on whenever a character starts rambling about random stupid nonsense. It’s a pretty damn funny movie to listen to.

DISCLAIMER: It’s probably important to mention that my “Nacho+” rating exists outside the conventional rating system, and does not require you to run out and look up the movie first chance you get (if you’ve been on the site long enough, you probably figured this out already.) It’s a special rating that lives in my head and lights up whenever I can’t handle the sheer awesomeness of a movie that walks that very special thin line between stupidity and genius. The original 1966 “Batman” movie, for example, would fall in this category for me.

Movies out this weekend:

-Twilight (Boy meets girl, girl gets drained of blood and left in a ditch somewhere. Supposedly.)
-Bolt (A dog walks into traffic to prove he has super-powers. Credits roll.)

100 Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes:

November 21 2008 | Movies, Videos | No Comments »

It’s Wednesday Today

I keep feeling it’s Monday.

I’ve got so used to consistency that as soon as random events start happening throughout the week (i.e. birthday party, car breaking down, massive chunk of deadline work dumped in my lap, other suddenly scheduled commitments) my perception of time gets completely distorted and drains me. And these shorter days aren’t helping the problem. Everything feels so weird. I was out shopping last night at 8 and it felt like I was walking around the mall at 3 in the morning. I need a new week to start so I can mentally reboot myself.

Here is a somewhat humorous moving picture talkie to make up for my weird introspectivy rant up there.

How NOT to Get a Kiss — powered by

I still think the bridge troll’s cuter.

November 19 2008 | Daily Life, Humor, Videos | 2 Comments »

“Hold your nose when you pee tonight.”

There, I made it my post title. Happy now? You know who you are.

Fun weekend! Figured I’d type this while I wait for the tow truck.

Once again, a big weekend for working on my game. Still working on the same cut-scene as last week, only now I’m on shot 41 of 50, so it’s getting there.

Saturday, Michaela invited me out to a science fair for kids at the U of A. I got to learn about how prisms refract light and make rainbows. Then I got some stickers and mixed them together to create a Jesus Kitten riding a train.

We met up with her new friend, Madeeha, grabbed some balloons, and all packed into my car where we went for supper at Joey’s in South Common. Madeeha was really cool and not freaked out by us. Then we went over to Michaela’s to look at stuff and gawk at her giant house.

Then, when I was driving Madeeha home, my steering fell out and we wound up stranded in an intersection with my front tires turned inwards. Heck of a thing to go through with someone I met five hours ago. I called up AMA to help give Madeeha a ride home and tow me back to my place. Then I went all day yesterday unable to find an open shop to take care of it. Because of the tow truck, I had to keep the balloons. All the helium is gone and they are on the kitchen floor now.

Anyway, now I’m here waiting for a second tow truck to bring my car to the shop. No work for me today. Possibly none tomorrow if they can’t fix it.

And regarding the title, I ate asparagus at Joey’s. Deep-fried asparagus that came with calamari. Apparently asparagus makes you pee funny. I did not know that. My pee always smells like flowers. I also ate a lot of spicy seafood pesto linguini, so that made for a fun ride in the tow truck.

November 17 2008 | Daily Life | No Comments »

Friday Movie Blogging 11-14-08: Bond Blasts Off

All the other movie sites are abuzz this weekend with the release of the new James Bond flick “Quantum of Solace.” I could probably join in and post up my list of favorite Bond films, favorite Bond girls, favorite Bond gadgets, or favorite Bond in general – OR – I could photoshop a picture of Bond using one of Q’s patented, but seldomly-used, ass-rockets.

Yeah, I think I’ll do that one.

Movies I saw this week:

The Ruins (2008)

Rating: C-

“The Ruins” is about a group of horny young people on vacation who go check out a creepy old Mayan pyramid. Then they spend the rest of the movie trapped on top of the pyramid getting their legs eaten by killer vines and performing surgery on each other. One by one, they slowly get mutilated to the point where it gets ridiculous every time one of them tries to save the other. There should be some mercy kill rule in a movie like this where if a character is covered in lacerations, dying of starvation, has their legs cut off, and has plants crawling around under their skin, 40 minutes of the movie should not be spent trying to save their life.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)

Rating: B

I love these freakin’ Mummy movies. I just do. Take a big goofball like Brendan Fraser, pit him against magical undead forces, and I’m happy. This movie takes place several years after the last one where the whiny kid is now a whiny adult who accidentally unearths an undead Jet Li who goes on a killing spree across China. And only Brendan Fraser can stop him. I love the action in this movie, and there’s a lot of creativity behind the special effects, especially with Jet Li’s control over the elements and the crazy molten terra cotta effects. Oh, right – and the Yetis. I love the Yetis. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor and so much of that cheesy “here we go again” mentality that I love so very much in B-movies like this. My biggest problem was mostly with the recasting of Rachel Weisz with Maria Bello for the role of Evelyn. They look nothing alike and the new girl seems to be a little too retardedly prim-and-proper for a role like this. I’m normally okay with recasting side-characters, but she really did piss me off. Especially since they keep encountering other actresses in the movie who seem to fit the role better. I was happy whenever she wasn’t on-screen, but she just kept showing up.

Movies out this weekend:

-Quantum of Solace (supposedly does not include ass-rockets.)

November 14 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

“Adventure: The Inside Job” Review

I thought I’d take some time out to hype a fan-game I really liked.

Akril, a long-time friend and associate of mine at the Subspace Channel (as well as part-time 2D character artist for “Incinerations”) recently just came out with her own adventure game developed in AGS called “Adventure: The Inside Job.” The story follows a game character whose game gets canceled in the late nineties and and decides to join a task force designed for keeping the order inside the world of adventure games.

A big thing to mention is that if you aren’t already a big fan of adventure games like “King’s Quest” and “Day of the Tentacle,” this game probably won’t make much sense to you. Otherwise, Akril’s done a great job of re-capturing the old adventuring spirit in a bizarre and unique way. Throughout the game, you’re given assignments and asked to travel from one adventure game to another, tracking down rogue characters and solving plot inconsistencies (i.e. switching Roger’s boots in his escape pod between Space Quest 2 and 3.) And depending on the game you travel into, your resolution and appearance changes as well. It’s a series of in-jokes and obscure game references cleverly written into an original story with some great 2D animation by Akril herself, which all seems designed to push every one of my geek buttons.

I recommend it for any adventuring fan. Here’s the download, and here’s the trailer:

And if you like this one, Akril also made a shorter game called “Area 50.5.” Also fun.

November 12 2008 | Geek Talk, Video Games | No Comments »

And the Guns are Silent

Today is the Canadian holiday known as “Remembrance Day” which honors all the fallen soldiers of the Canadian Forces. When I was in school, we would honor this day by gathering in the gym for a general assembly, saying a prayer, and then watching a Bryan Adams music video.

Sometimes a teacher would get really welled up, rewind the video, and have us watch it again. Then she’d tell us to hush every time we laughed at the fast-motion footage of soldiers falling down.

For me, Remembrance Day meant our office could vote to take Monday off, giving us one of those nice three-day weekends we love so very, very much. Right after work ended, we all took off to Joey’s for drinks and snacking on appetizers. It was on the boss’ dime, so there was chicken wings and mini-cheeseburgers everywhere.

Saturday, Terrence and Brittany came over for an awesome night. We ate fettucce, watched South Park, played Lego Star Wars, and watched the third Mummy movie. Then Terrence gave me an early birthday present – a freakin’ Nintendo DS complete with a ninja turtle game – possibly one of the most awesome birthday presents I’ve ever received in the last decade. They brought Mario Party along, so we found time to fit in a game of that as well. We should have parties at my place more often.

Incinerations Update: Still working on videos for Chapter 3. Used a good part of my long weekend working on the longest and most graphic-heavy cut-scene I have on this game so far (2 and a half minutes may seem short, but it’s hell on animation.) It’s the twelfth video for this chapter, so one more after this and I should be in the clear. By mid-December, Chapter 3 should be finished. Then I can work on the other five. I’ve made it a point to start backing up the entire game onto an external hard drive every week and carrying it around in my bag in case my place burns down while I’m at work.

Here’s a bunny with a cookie (courtesy of Amie.)

November 11 2008 | Daily Life | No Comments »

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