I am sneezy

So, my department at work is closing down, and my last day is on the 25th. That is, unless I get a job with mobility tech support. About 30 of us went in for assessments Tuesday and Wednesday, and that got whittled down to 13 people being interviewed over today and tomorrow. There are 10 positions available, and I feel really good about my chances of getting one of them.

My birthday is coming up next week. I’m going to be 25. I am not all that excited, but, I get it off (paid day off!) and get to spend it with Shay, so that’s pretty sweet. Don’t have any plans though, but that’s alright.

Been jamming and recording a lot with Mike and Adam lately, and it’s usually good times. We’re working on some Matt Good covers for the 10th anniversary of Beautiful Midnight, and once we’re done that, it’s on to original stuff. I have a feeling we’re going to be writing very unconventional music, and that makes me happy. Adam has said that when he plays guitar he doesn’t want it to sound like a guitar, and I just bought a cello bow to use on my bass to make some sweet sounds, so that’ll be a lot of fun.

Speaking of Matt Good, his new album “Vancouver” is now streaming on his official website, so everyone should go check it out. And then pre-order it. And then get tickets for the tour. And then buy merch at the tour. I have so far done three out of four.

Shay has been living out here for over a year now, and we’ve been in our own place for ten months. We rock! She makes me happy, and I make her happy, and we get along and have wicked pets, so it’s a pretty good fit.

I’ve played through a couple of games recently- Batman: Arkham Asylum and Shadow Complex. Batman is a fantastic game that should be played by anyone who enjoys a good stealth action-adventure. I have about 70% completion- I need to finish off the Riddler’s challenges and the challenge rooms and that will be that.

I’ve also played through Shadow Complex, which was also pretty fun, though for some reason, I couldn’t play for much more than an hour or so at a time. Gameplay is reminiscent of Super Metroid but in pseudo-3D, and there is plenty of space to explore and look for items in. The auto-aim takes a bit of getting used to and is a bit wonky (and there is no option to adjust the sensitivity, and while I don’t ever use that option, I would have liked it here), and some features blend into each other making it hard to see accessible paths sometimes. Overall though, it’s good fun.

Flying Flags

Was on holidays, now back to work. Tired. Went to the Stampede, was good times hanging out with everyone. Got a Transformers tattoo because I am a huge nerd. Adam, Mike and I are getting some good jam sessions in, our Matt Good covers are starting to come along, will post when we get decent recordings done. Not so impressed with True Blood so far this season, but it could just be because I have been tired when watching it. Annoyed by people calling for the guy who used to live upstairs. Would really like a new iPod one of these days. Would really like to get my amp fixed. The bunnies don’t like their new water bottle I don’t think. It also wasn’t working well, then it was, and now it’s not. It’s silly. They are cute though. This is about all I have for now. Boring, I know.

What the hell, here’s a post

So after a couple of months that were basically a neverending cavalcade of shit- the person upstairs being a goof, Shay’s car dying, Shay being frustrated with work, me being slightly frustrated with work- things are finally starting to look up for us. Not that it has been all horrible the last little while- the zoo was awesome as usual, bowling was great, Sarah’s birthday was good even though I am awkward around people I don’t really know, and I am always happy being with Shay, but despite all the happy stuff, it felt like there was a dark cloud hanging over our heads.

Now, that cloud has lifted. We have new upstairs neighbors who are pretty fantastic, Shay may be getting a new job, and even though this will probably cause some stress at some point, Shay bought a new car. We went to a carnival this past weekend with Cassi (one of Shay’s old cowokers), this weekend we are going to see Terminator: Salvation with Sarah and Travis (one of my coworkers and her boyfriend), and next week we get to see Evil Dead: The Musical, which we are pretty stoked for. While that stuff is pretty exciting, overall, we are just happier, and it is a pretty nice feeling.

If you don’t give a shit about video games, skip the next 3 paragraphs

Today is the final day of E3, and there have been some pretty exciting announcements and updates. Metal Gear Solid Rising being announced during the Microsoft press conference was a bit of a shock, the confirmation of it hitting the PS3 less of one. Assassin’s Creed 2 is looking excellent and will probably blow the first game out of the water. Batman: Arkham Asylum is also shaping up pretty well, and God of War 3, Heavy Rain and Alan Wake all have my interest piqued. The absence of Beyond Good and Evil 2 is disappointing. The first game was one of the hidden gems of the last console generation and with all the excitement of last year’s announcement trailer and the rumored leaked footage, you would think Ubisoft would want to announce something officially.

Mass Effect 2 is looking very impressive. The first game, despite it’s flaws (frame rate drops, texture pop-in, clunky inventory menu and the inability to check quest information from the galaxy map being the huge offenders) is one of my favorite games for the 360. The gameplay is pretty satisfying with a decent enough combat system, but outside of the story-required missions, the level and quest design is relatively boring. Where the game really shines is in it’s storytelling, which is incredible, and from the looks of things it appears that Bioware is going to improve on all aspects for the sequel. The fact that ME2 will read your save file from the first game and have the story play out based on the those choices is an incredible feature, and the ability to eventually import your Command Shepard from the first game to the second will be a welcome addition. While story details are vague at this point, it has been revealed that based on your choices in ME2, Shepard could die. Yep, the character that a lot of people will have spent hours upon hours cultivating into the character they want, could die.

The game I am most excited for is The Last Guardian, the new project from Team Ico, the design team behind ICO and Shadow of the Colossus, two of my favorite games ever. From the announcement trailer, it looks like the gameplay will be more ICO than Shadow, and I am interested in how the dog-cat-bird will factor into the gameplay. One thing that threw me off was the cartoony look of what appears to be the main character in comparison to the environment and other characters. It could be that it’s just a placeholder and the character design has not been finalized, that they were highlighting the character for the purpose of the trailer, or perhaps it is the final design and it will factor into the gameplay somehow.

Broken Record

It seems I say this all the time, but I do suck at blogging. The big problem is that I cannot find anything that motivates me to blog. My great “Friday List” thing didn’t last long and my life isn’t that exciting to read or write about. I’ve been thinking about what I like doing and talking about, and I think I may start doing reviews of books, video games, movies and music, things like that, but we will see. I’m going to take some time tidy this place up- that header is just horrendous looking and it has been for months.

That’s all for now folks.

Waiting for Wednesday

Apparently, the adage about trouble coming in threes is sometimes true. In the span of the last couple weeks, Shay and I had found out that we would have to move, my mom had decided not to talk to me, my brother or her mom ever again, instead choosing to stay with her drunken and abusive douchebag of a boyfriend, and the guy who lives upstairs has turned into an unbelievable ass. Thankfully, two of those things have been resolved- Shay and I don’t have to move and the guy upstairs has to be out of the house today, but there’s the whole thing with my mom that’s still weighing on my mind quite a bit.

On a couple of happier notes, Shay and I got tickets for the Calgary Comic Expo, and I ordered us tickets for a photo session with Firefly’s Jewel Staite, which is pretty sweet.

Honestly, this is as exciting as my last couple weeks have been.

[EDIT]
Apparently, WordPress did not want to post the title the first time.

Mini-Update

-Shay and I are over our colds, though my head has hurt all day today, mostly my eyes
-bought a few movies: Let the Right One In, The Illusionist, Batman: Gotham Knight
-finished Mass Effect, I figure I should play it twice more before the sequel comes out
-got a couple of new games for the PS3- Killzone 2 and Flower (thanks Shay!)
-saw the Watchmen movie
-working on a couple songs with the acoustic guitar, have some ideas, just nothing decent to record with
-I want spring to come
-I will catch up on the lists one day

I’m going to try to review the movies (especially Watchmen and Let the Right One In), as well as the video games.

It’s been a while since I was your man who updated…

I’ve been feeling a touch insignificant lately. It’s not that Shay doesn’t pay attention to me or that I’ve been shunned by my coworkers or anything like that, but I have been reading a collection of essays by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson called Death by Black Hole. There’s something about diving into a book that focuses on the cosmos that makes a person feel tiny. It’s very interesting and makes me want to buy a telescope.

Nothing that exciting has happened the last couple of weeks. I finally got a new bass amp, the Fender Bassman 150. I was originally looking for a Bassman 100, but Axe Music had sold the one they had the day before I was there, and that turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise. Even though I spent about $100 more than I wanted, the 150 has more tonal controls than the 100, which means I can more easily fine-tune the sound I get from the amp. I must say that tI am quite happy with the amp- it has great sound to it and my Thunderbird sounds like I think it should. I haven’t been able to dial in a decent sound with my Washburn, but I haven’t a)really tried and b)been able to get a good sound out of that guitar with any amp, but perhaps I will tinker with it one day.

I jammed again with Adam, Mike and their friend Matt, who was playing drums. It wasn’t nearly as productive as the first jam, but it was still fun to be there. They’re great guys to hang out with and like I said previously, they are incredible musicians that I feel privileged to play with.

This past weekend was somewhat busy for Shay and I. Saturday we went to Bootleggers with some of her coworkers to watch the Flames game and listen to some karaoke. It was an okay night minus the shitty service and a drunken douchebag boyfriend (not me). Sunday afternoon we went to Market Mall so I could pick up iLife ’09 from the Apple store. Each program has some great new features, and while I am most excited by Garageband, I’m looking forward to playing around with everything else. One of the things I am considering doing (again!) is using iWeb to design a website. Even though I used to rail on the idea of using WYSIWYG editors (which is what iWeb is), with my desire for a good looking and easy to customize website and my lack of HTML/CSS/PHP etc knowledge, I think iWeb is the way to go (the irony is not last on me). We will see what I can come up with, how much Apple’s MobileMe service costs to use, that sort of thing.

Another thing I want to dive into is the piano and guitar lessons in Garageband. I think it is a fantastic addition and hopefully they’ll help me out. I swapped my electronic keyboard with my brother for his acoustic guitar, but we still have Shay’s keyboard and I will eventually buy a USB/MIDI keyboard for us in Garageband, as well as a USB hub for recording live instruments. Even further down the line (like when I am decent at 6-string), I want to buy a couple of nice electric guitars and some stompboxes so I can figure out and record some stuff I’ve had sitting in my head for years.

I started replaying Mass Effect the other day. The teaser for Mass Effect 2 piqued my interest in the game again, and so did the fact that I’ve encountered a game ending bug in Fallout 3 that has not been patched and that I can’t get around because it happens during a loading screen in the middle of a quest. Was I was using multiple saves? Of course not. Regardless, I’m taking a break from Fallout to play Mass Effect again. Bioware’s goal with ME2 is to bring forward save data form the first game so the story will reflect the choices made by the player in Mass Effect. Is it ambitious? Absolutely, but if they manage to pull it off, it has the potential to change how stories over multiple entries in the same videogame series. I hope Bioware makes it happen- there are a few pivotal moments in the first game that require some tough choices on the part of the player, and those moments make each players experience slightly different, so I hope that gets reflected in ME2. In anticipation of this, I am replaying the game to shape my character’s abilities how I want them to be (no wasting points on pistols this time!) and making the choices that I want to see reflected in ME2.

That pretty much sums up the last couple weeks. Shay and I are both sick now and a bit miserable, but I think we will survive.

Dreaming a dream.

I’ve been having a whole lot of strange dreams lately. I don’t remember many details about any of them, but most of them have involved zombies in some way. Shay and I have spent a good amount of time playing the Nazi Zombie mode in Call of Duty: World at War, and I re-read The Zombie Survival Guide and am currently reading World War Z, both my Max Brooks, so I bet that has something to do with them being stuck in my head. I’ve also had a reoccurring dream involving a couple of Terminators, which has been a little unsettling, though the last time I had this dream, the Terminator that was hunting me got destroyed by Metal Gear Rex, which was pretty fucking cool.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, and while that would normally cause me to be cranky and have a very finite amount of patience at work, this week hasn’t been so bad. I’ve somehow managed to stay mostly positive and upbeat, which is a good thing, especially if I’m going to be applying for new jobs within the company. It helps to have your manager backing you, and really, then only way that’ll happen is if I’m doing my job well. Then again, my manager kinda screwed the pooch last time I tried applying for a job, but she’s going on maternity leave, so I’m going to be shuffled to one of the other managers, so we will see how that goes.

I think one of the big reasons for my somewhat decent attitude this week has been the fact that I’m finally feeling settled in at the new place. It’s nice being out of my dad’s place and just being with Shay and the animals. I like grocery shopping with Shay (minus the whole having to spend money bit), I like cooking for us, and even though I’m not a great cook by any stretch, there’s a few dishes I can make somewhat well, and it’s gratifying to cook a meal that we’re happy with.

The most exciting thing that’s come up in the last little while is that I got to jam with some new people. One of the users on nearfantastica.com, Adam, remembered that I played bass and sent me a song him and his friends did. He asked me to come up with some bass for it, which I did, using garageband. He liked it and invited me out to jam last weekend, and it was good fun. We clicked pretty well, considering we had just met, and had a couple of good spontaneous jams that we recorded, as well as recording the song he had sent me to work on in garageband. It was a blast. Adam and Mike, Adam’s friend are two of the best musicians I think I have every played with, and just all around really nice and friendly guys, as are all their friends who showed up to hang out that day. Adam is uberbusy with school for a bit, so it might be a couple weeks before we jam again, but I’m looking forward to it. When I get the mp3’s emailed to me, I’ll see if I can post them.

And I will try to get the Friday list posted on Friday for once.