November 30, 2011

Today's thoughts

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
I've been playing Elder Scrolls: Skyrim for the past few days and I'd like to dedicate this post to my newest nemesis, the Hagraven.  But before we get into that, I have a hard time whenever I play the types of games where you design your character right down to the little details like length of bridge of nose, and how angled I want his jaw to be. 

I'm all for the customization, but I could literally spend a week designing my guy if I really cared that much about it.  I selected a Wood Elf, because it just makes more sense in terms of what I usually like to do in most games, which is control animals, and frolic through the forest with a long range weapon.  But the Wood Elf male is extremely ugly, so I spent a better part of Sunday afternoon and evening trying to make him look human -- no easy task.

Being sneaky
In all games such as these, I always feel like aside from trying to win the main objective, my secondary goal is to try to attain ALL of the money in the entire game.  In order to do this, you have to level up your character to the point where I'm able to sneak around so well that I can steal anything I want, and then be able to barter well enough that I can sell items for more than I paid for them.  The idea, is to be able to pay people for services and then, wait til it's dark, and steal all the money I paid them back, and then do it again until I've exhausted their use.  Further, I need to be able to steal every item in a store, and sell it back to the store owner, then buy his good stuff that I can't steal, and then pickpocket him so I can get all my money back. 

If for whatever reason I'm unable to beat the game, I'd at least be satisfied that I stole and plundered to my heart's content. 

The Hagraven
Like pretty much any game I've ever played, my biggest weakness has always been forgetting to Save my game.  Yesterday, I traveled pretty much across half the "world" to get to this Hagraven, from which I needed some ingredient that I could use to save a really big tree in White Run, one of the towns.  Don't worry, this story gets better.  So I'm riding up to this big hill and I notice this weird looking old lady at the top.  Easy pickings for my "Jon", who is an expert archer. 

So I got off my horse, and me and Lydia (my bodyguard aka mule) go to work.  As I approach, I just see her head bobbing up and down so I just take a few shots with my trust bow and arrow, and then BLAMO!  A huge fireball hits me and takes me down to a sliver of health.  So I started running towards the hill, thinking I can cut off the angles so she can't hit me.  Wrong.  BLAMO!  If it weren't for me scarfing down a bunch of tomatoes and apples, I'd have been dead.  I quickly (without really thinking about it) I press F5 to save the game.  Big mistake.  BLAMO!  I'm dead.  So I press F9 to load, and when the game comes back up, BLAMO! F9, while pressing the run key.. BLAMO!  F9, while pressing the strafe key.... BLAMO!

Then I look up to see if I can load an earlier game.  The next most recent save game was from 5 hours ago.  Damn it.

November 17, 2011

Today's thoughts

The Toronto Star
These guys called my house and asked me if I'd be interested in a trial of free newspapers for about a month.  I said no.  A few days later, someone started delivering the Toronto Star to my house.  It was annoying, because we don't get mail delivered to our door, so now suddenly I needed to go up to the front of my house (we park our car in the garage so I rarely go in through the front door) to pick it up.  

Newspaper delivery doesn't make sense to me.  For one thing, there's the internet and as far as I know, all or most Canadian publications offer their content free online.  I know it's all recycled materials, but still seems like a waste to me.  Second, I don't read the Toronto Star. 

TV in Canada
We were in Chicago this past weekend, and during one night when I'd had some caffeine later than I should have, I sat in front of the TV in our hotel and flipped around.  What I realized was that in Canada, we really get the raw end of the deal.  There is not a single show exclusive to Canadian television networks that I desperately need to watch, which means that really we don't need CTV, CityTV, Global, etc.  They're completely pointless other than to deliver Canadian advertising.  Seriously, when basic cable offers NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX, what possible reason do viewers have to tune into Canadian networks, other than to watch the occasional Leafs game and a Leons commercial?

What's worse, here we have to pay extra for the good stuff, for networks like HBO, Showtime, FX, USA, AMC.  That is just not fair at all.  CRTC: You suck.

I've already said this to a few people, but Chicago is basically Toronto in 75 years, if we get some decent city planners in charge.  Someone with vision.  David Miller kind of got us started before Transit City was abruptly ended by an overly conservative anti-visionist.  Chicago has basically the same climate as we do, but their downtown core is massive and there's transit going everywhere.  They cherish their arts and culture just as we do, only they put them on a pedestal whereas we kind of just appreciate it.  We don't have a river to worry about building around.  They have a hockey, basketball and baseball team just as we do.  And football, if you consider the Argos a world class football team. 

So yea, pretty much the only thing keeping us from becoming a great city is leadership.

November 04, 2011

Today's thoughts

The halfway mark of the NFL season

Here's a few of my notes:
- The Bengals have already won 2 more games this year than I had predicted they'd win all year.  This is due part to the emergence of rookie QB Andy Dalton, who has put together a solid first half.  He's developed a pretty good on-field relationship with fellow rookie A.J. Green, who is leading all rookie receivers with 33 receptions, 516 yards and 5 touchdowns.  That actually puts him amongst the top 15 receivers in the league.
- Barring a major setback, the Bills are going to far outweigh my expectations as well, though I can't see them doing much in the playoffs.  They have a very opportunistic defense that capitalizes on mistakes, but good teams don't make a lot of mistakes in the playoffs.
- The Colts haven't had great D for as long as I can remember, but now with Peyton Manning not playing all year, they've been exposed for being even worse than most fans have feared all along.  They're surrendering up a mind-blowing 31.5 points per game.
- The wildcard race in the AFC should be interesting.  I assume they will both come out of either the East or North, and it'll be between the Jets, Bills, Ravens and Bengals.  

- The biggest surprise in the NFC has been, for me, the 49ers.  I had them pegged for a horrible season but they're defense has been shutting everyone down, particularly their run defense.  They also have, as a result of several mediocre season recently, an incredibly easy schedule which could easily have them finishing the year 11-5.  The West is terrible though, the 49ers are 6-1 and the next closest is Seattle at 2-5.  The 49ers do not face the Packers in the regular season, but I could see this being an interesting matchup in the playoffs, because the Packers simply don't bother to run the football.  
- I thought the Saints would be better than they have been.  They're 5-3, but something seems off.  They're not as good as I thought they'd be.  Could be due to Mark Ingram not being nearly as good as I'd hoped.
- The Lions are a strong team, but it feels constantly like local fans are waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Detroit, as a city and community, needs the Lions to succeed after falling into some pretty hard times.  One thing that is encouraging though, is that they have a strong young nucleus of guys that could see them being competitive for the next 3-4 years.  

- The biggest surprise from a player perspective has been Cam Newton.  I thought he'd be a bum.  He's actually quite good.  Things will likely change for him next year as teams will have more tape on him, but he's shown to have a big arm and has great mobility.  Younger QBs tend to excel with the help of huge receivers but Steve Smith is tiny and Cam hasn't missed a beat

November 03, 2011

Today's thoughts

A note to Google:
It's one thing to change some stupid social network site that you might log into once or twice a day to check on some goofy pictures of your friends' drunken orgy.  The makers of Facebook routinely change the interface of their website without a care in the world causing minor complaints and annoyances across the globe.  But you get use to them, because at the end of the day, it's just some social fun site that doesn't matter. 

Gmail on the other hand, is the center of the universe for me.  For one thing, I have it open at home and at work ALL THE TIME.  While I might check Facebook for about an hour every day, I have Gmail on 24/7.  I also have GReader on 24/7.  

Google+ -- not so much because as a social networking tool, it's unavailable to me throughout my work day.  By the way, guess what happens when you're using GReader and Google+ is blocked?  It becomes a generic reader like every other reader available online.  And unfortunately, with all the GUI changes, this one looks like SHIT. 

So the next time you decide to make significant, sweeping changes to the interface that we've all come to know and love, and stare at 24 hours per day (Yes, I dream in Gmail), think again.  Think AGAIN.