Friday, April 28, 2006 at 10:03 AM | 0 comments
I'm a Wii-nerThat's right, everyone. Gathered 'round and see what my Wii can do. Isn't it nice and white? Nicely polished too. Everyone can get a chance to handle my Wii-mote. Using a flicking motion for more effect. Good job!

I'm trying to get used to referring to myself as a Wii-ner. I know many people think it's a Wii-todded name and are grumbling along the lines of "Wii-TF is Nintendo thinking?" but you have to at least admit people all over the Internet are talking about playing with Nintendo's big Wii this November.

It's just too bad that I can't say the name while keeping a straight face. Some people defend the name by saying that PS3 or 360 are stupid names, which in truth they are, but at the same time, neither one of them can be used so creatively to describe anatomy and bodily functions. For this alone, Nintendo should have a hit with teenage boys.

Aside from that, I mentioned to Jer and Catherine that Nintendo has more support for this system right out of the box than either N64 or Gamecube did. Already a slew of games have been mentioned as coming from Nintendo itself, as well as a ton of third party games. There's a Madden football game, a first person shooter, Smash Bros., Metroid Prime 3, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance which is essentially X-Men Legends with more than 20 Marvel characters to choose from including Wolverine, Spider-Man, Captain America, Ghost Rider, Thing, Blade, and more. This game is supposed to have more than 140 characters appear in it. Not small potatoes. You can play alongside friends at home, or cooperatively over the internet. Me like!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe last game is the most important for a number of reasons. It's coming out for ALL next-gen systems, which means that despite some saying that Wii has less power than the others, it can perform strongly alongside the big boys when you whip it out.

Other games include Super Monkey Ball, a first-person piloting game, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, Spongebob, and a ton of other titles. This is more support than fans could ask for and a strong indicator that Nintendo has a wii-nner on it's hands.

Wii. Wii. Wii. Keep saying it. I'm hoping it'll stop being so funny. Wii.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 12:01 PM | 0 comments
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThough I spend more time thinking about and reading about toys than could possibly be natural for a man my age, I must confess that the Transformers line of Masterpiece figures, thus far only consisting of the 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime, are truly works of art.

The Optimus Prime was metal and cartoon accurate while still being a fantastic Transformer. He came with a ton of accessories and many thought this was a one-time deal. Well, apparently not, as the Decepticon jet Star Scream, has just been announced and looks PURTY.

I don't know that I'll be able to pick this one up, assuming that it's in the similar price range of the Optimus. That's too bad, as I only ever saw Prime once at retail and that was it. Gone for good, gone forever. A hot ticket toy item that now exists at home and will forever be known as my most valued figure.

Star Scream looks just as good, but alas, he won't be out until late September. I'll be in school (and jobless) at that point living on what I've been able to save up (no OSAP for me) and what Catherine brings home. Technically I suppose we could afford it, but you don't repay your partner's support and kindness by buying a $100 toy.

You wait until November and buy a Nintendo Revolution. (EDIT: Odd timing and breaking news... the name of the new Nintendo console has moved from the hip and provocative Revolution to... Wii. As in 'we'. As in "I have to wee-wee." They claim it will settle into the public mind much like google, yahoo, iPod, and tons of other names that were thought of as odd. Me? I think they're kidding themselves. It's a TERRIBLE name).

Other news: picked up season 2 of Battlestar Galactica. If you aren't watching yet, then you hate television in any way, shape, or form. Great stuff.

Tonight is the annual bowling extravaganza here at work. Two years ago (before I was here) they handed out team-colored bowling shirts. Last year it was ball rags. This year its dog tags. No, the company isn't doing poorly as they cleared an insane amount of profit last year... they're just dirt cheap and evil.

Got my passport back in the mail. This means I'm going to China (or I'm at least one step closer). Now I've just got to get my Chinese visa, get all my doctoring done (dentist, doctor, etc.) and jump on a plane. I have 10 weeks to do it.

Also, because I'm proud of how well my photoshop skills are coming along as a result of being bored, here's the before-shot of the ad featuring the Star Scream picture I made above...Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, April 26, 2006 at 10:09 AM | 0 comments
Graydon & Tammy's weddingThough I suppose it's really nothing that I NEED to make fun of, I'm still going to go ahead and do it. This past Sunday, my brother Graydon and his girlfriend, Tammy, got married in that most sacred of places on Earth... a wedding chapel in Vegas.

For those of you who know my brother, this doesn't seem terribly odd.

I love my brother dearly and I know this occasion meant a great deal to him, but I just couldn't afford to go to Vegas with the way my year is shaping up. I have a trip to China and then teacher's college, so flying down to Vegas just wasn't in the cards. I wish them all the best and they seem very well suited to each other.

Still, though... he got married in Vegas. My dad was also there and people who I assume to be members of Tammy's family. The service (which you can access via this link:
My brother's wedding.
How modern!) was short and run by a sweaty preacher who kept leaning on the podium (from what I could see). I had to laugh at the use of a 'unity candle' during the service, though. Each person takes a lit candle and they jointly light a third. They then blow out their own candles because now 'they are one.'

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhat a pile of ridiculous sentimental crap devised by people who obviously love self-help books! I get what they were trying to do, but come ON!

Oh well. Tammy looked nice in her dress, the ceremony was nice, and now I have a new sister-in-law. They suit each other and hopefully will work well together, despite the rocky year by brother is going to have thanks to Imperial Tobacco closing and him losing his job.

As for the wedding, I regret not being able to be there and I may have been convinced to go if they had shelled out an extra $100 to have Elvis, Marilyn, Tom Jones, or (another) Elvis present for the ceremony. Heck, if you're going to get married in Vegas, GET married in Vegas.

'Unity candle'. Ha! I'll have Catherine put that on our grocery list of things to pick up. Sheesh!

***PS. I made the above ad using a photo they had on the wedding website. Similarly, the photo at the top is a screenshot mixed in with some photoshop work. In other words, though nothing amazing, I'm trying to show off.***
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, April 20, 2006 at 11:04 AM | 0 comments
Text and images by Brian WilkinsonAbove: a couple of photos I took along with a caption I wrote about a raccoon in a precarious perch on Monday, April 17.

Sometimes it just feels like there's not much to say, so this blog has been pretty dead for the past week or so. On my walk home on Monday, however, I stumbled across this cute little news item of a raccoon who was stranded on top of a street light just around the corner from my building.

I could see a news crew and several people staring towards what I thought was a rooftop so I figured there was a celebrity or some sort of filming going on. Normally I wouldn't stop, but I was curious and after a moment or two spotted the 20 lb. raccoon on top of a VERY tall street light.

Finding this fascinating, I went home and grabbed my camera and Catherine and we returned to snap a few picks. Most of the people seemed nice, but one young woman in her early 20s thought it was fun to go over and kick the pole to try and jar the raccoon loose. No one said anything, as the woman quickly moved away. No one was impressed.

After snapping a few picks and going home, we made sure that despite the presence of CTV that the city was notified about the critter's peril and we were assured that they knew and were sending a "cherry picker" to get the little guy down.

CTV later revealed that the raccoon got down safe and sound and that it had been up there for about 30 hours in the same position. It was quite warm on Monday as well, making it uncomfortable to say the least.

An article in the Toronto Sun covered part of the story (leaving out the outcome which isn't surprising as I know the sloppy journalist, a fellow j-schooler, who wrote the article).

From the article:

Panhandler Shawn Bedder, who saw the animal Sunday night and tried calling the fire department, the city and animal services to no avail.

"I finally got fed up and called the media. Five minutes later the city came," a frustrated Bedder said.

Toronto Animal Services officer Rick Ray said they were helpless to save the animal, pointing out the animal was more likely to fall during a rescue operation.

"We're looking at every angle to try to get him safe," Ray said, noting the raccoon was capable of shimmying down the pole, but unlikely to do so amid a throng of onlookers. "If he's hungry enough, he's going to come down."



In other news, I had my first taste of teacher's college and an orientation session. Everything seems on track and I just have to fill out tons of paperwork before I even get into school in September. They sure don't want to make things easy for you. Getting in is only half the battle.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 at 12:28 PM | 0 comments
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usToday is Catherine's 27th birthday, a cause for celebration for most, but probably not for her. She never really knows how old she is and this continues to be a source of amusement. I remember asking her just before she turned 24 hold old she thought she was going to be, and she was off by a year (younger, I might add). Catherine proudly maintains to this day that she is incapable of aging.

Her inabiility to remember age is not restricted just to herself. She recently told a friend of hers that I was 27. She couldn't remember that I had a birthday five months ago and turned 28.

But I'll keep her.

I'm hoping she has a wonderful day (wonderful week, really). She's already eaten a piece of her birthday cake (Monday), opened a present (last Thursday), gone out for a birthday dinner with her friend (last night) and will be dragg...er... taking me with her to the zoo this weekend.

Milking it? Maybe. But who doesn't like to drag out fun on your birthday?

The funny story I promised: I bought Catherine two zoo passes online weeks ago and was waiting for them to arrive. They finally did, addressed to me, along with two other birthday cards for Catherine in the mail one day. No big deal, I stashed the zoo passes and left the cards. She won't open anything (used to be true, anyway) until her birthday.

There was no postmark on one of the cards and we were trying to figure it out. Was it from England? No, the postmark was Canadian. Was it my mom? Didn't look like her writing. Finally, I suggested that I open it, see who it was from, and end the the mystery. She wouldn't get to see the card, but at least she'd know.

So I went into the kitchen and opened it. My first reaction was to be annoyed. Some insensitive jerk had sent her two zoo passes! Someone swiped my idea and I was NOT pleased. I read who the card was from and felt like a tool.

The zoo, being kind, sent her a birthday card and signed it as being from me.

"Who's it from?" she called.

I ignored her, processing the humor of the situation. She called after me again, this time slightly angry at being ignored, so I sheepishly walked into the bedroom.

"Well?" she asked.

"As it turns out," I said slowly. "It's from me."

She thought that was pretty funny. The letter *I* got had a zoo flyer and my receipt.

The next day at dinner she started pressing me and pressing me to go to the zoo for her birthday. I said 'no' quite often (I'm not a huge fan) but she seemed so sad about it that I gave her the card the next morning.

Just goes to show, make me feel bad and I'll give you what you want. I'll have already bought it for that fact.

Happy *27th* Birthday!
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, April 05, 2006 at 12:47 PM | 0 comments
Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThe above illustration that I put together this morning will be explained shortly as it deals with fun and games at last night's Blue Jays season opener. However, those of you who are paying attention know that I've been awaiting word on whether or not I got in to teacher's college. No mail on Monday or Tuesday, but a visit to the Compass website this morning reveals all... or at least what I wanted to see.

Lords and ladies, boys and girls, the two people who visit this blog... I made it. Though the University of Toronto claimed they would not post the results until 8:30am, at 7:41 I found out that I was admitted to the U of T. The building is between Spadina and St. George on Bloor, making it a whole five minute walk to the school.

A huge burden has been taken on my back as I doom the educational future of thousands of students. I can't hope to be as good as Nicole or Lindsey, but I'm going to do my best to be what I feel I was meant to be: a good teacher and role model.

Stop laughing.

So, come September I have something to do now. That means I'll be leaving my job in early July to go to China, then either work here part time or do some freelance until September. Either way, I'm on a path and greatly looking forward to it. Thank you all for your encouragement and support, especially Aaron, Jamie, Nicole (sorry I won't be staying with you, but four would be a crowd), my mom, dad, Josh, Paul, Nathan, and Jer.

The most important person, however, is Catherine. I try to express how strongly I feel about her in this blog, but it doesn't come close. She is the most loving, supportive, and caring person I have ever known and without her I wouldn't have gotten in. She was more excited by the news than I was as I just couldn't help but be happy that she cares so much. Truffle cares as well, but she's more interested in pooping.

Now, on to the picture above...

Catherine and I went to the home opener yesterday and there were three kids sitting behind us. One of them had a flag and would constantly wave it, often brushing my head with it. I'm tolerant and they're small, so whatever. At one point, the jumbotron shows three little kids on it, one with a flag. I remark to Catherine how it's like the kids behind us, and then realize that the spiked hair at the bottom of the screen (and slightly balding head) belongs to me. So, I did what came naturally, and raised myself in my seat high enough so that my head until just below my nose was visible, then I did the shifty-eyed dog look.

Then sat back down. The people around me, and Catherine especially, found this quite amusing. The illustration above featuring total strangers in uniforms I had to change to be Toronto gets across what it kind of looked like.

Another amusing part came from the pizza pizza booth. I was waiting in line for what felt like forever and when I finally got to the scared looking teenage girl and made my order of two slices of pizza and a large coke, she blinked and said "24.32."

"Uh, for two slices and a large coke?" I asked.

She repeated it. I was still confused. Then she explained that she wanted to know if I wanted a medium 24 ounce cup or a large 32 ounce. I said "which is considered the large?"

"The 32 ounce," she said.

"I'll go with that one, then."

Then she coughed once. Just a small cough that I barely noticed. She looked at me, horrified, then turned around without a word, walked to the back of the room, then off to the left. She was gone for about thirty seconds then came back and stared at me.

"I coughed so I had to go wash my hands," she said.

"Okay. No problem."

"What did you want?" she asked. I repeated my order and she skipped over the day-old pizza and got some fresh slices. She grabbed the wrong kind of slice so I corrected her. She she did a tiny cough again.

She looked at me, horrified again, then turned around without a word (again), walked to the back of the room (again), then off to the left (again). She was gone for about thirty seconds then came back and stared at me. I was just praying she'd fill my order before coughing again.

She gave me everything then asked "have you paid me yet?"

I said yes, which I had, then walked away.

Fun place, the Skydome.

I have another funny story about a letter received in the mail, but I'll wait until after Catherine's birthday next Wednesday to tell you as otherwise she'll find out what the gift is. She's crafty like that.
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, April 02, 2006 at 9:55 PM | 0 comments
Cylon CenturionI did it, I caved. I was walking by a local used DVD store with Catherine today and saw the first season box set of Battlestar Galactica used and on sale so I bought it. This is even considering the fact that I rented it just two weeks ago.

Already, I know Jer will be calling to borrow it. He grabbed a couple of the discs I rented and fell in love with it and I know he wants to continue on. I can see many others borrowing it from Aaron to my Dad, brother, people I work with, people Catherine works with... all in the vein of what happened when I bought Firefly so long ago.

As a tip of the hat, Serenity herself appears in the first disc within the first 15 minutes. A lot of the camera angles and space shots are done in a similar way.

Beyond all of that is an amazing story and an amazing cast. I rented the first half of season 2 and loved it (what a BRUTAL cliffhanger) and have now caught up to Space's current airing of the series.

Those who want to see it, let me know. You won't be disappointed.

Simply amazing stuff.

Oh, and tomorrow I finally find out. Months of applying, wondering, and waiting. Tomorrow should have the answer.

Unless there's a delay with the mail.
Posted by Parallel
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