Monday, February 26, 2007

Video games live ! Neato !

Busy, busy day ! Yargh. In fact - busy busy weekend ! No time to be creative ! I apologise to those of you wanting more of the geek list. It's coming ( like Christmas is ).

But for now - ten things about the Video Games Live concert !

1. It was awesome !

2. It was a concert organised by some American gaming dudes ( like, "in the industry" gaming dudes - not just some weedy gamers ), performed by the Wellington Orchestra and playing a selection of music from video game scores.

3. The opening number was a medley of tunes from various coin-ops - starting with Pong and ending with ... ummmm ... I can't really remember. I think it might have been Outrun. There were all kinds of stuff in there ( games that stand out in my mind are Robotron, Rastan Saga - I've always LOVED the music of Rastan - Gauntlet, Tempest, Space-Invaders and Donkey Kong ).

4. There were a few competitions - the coolest being a Space-Invader one - the guy from the audience who played was movement keyed into the wee tank - so where he moved, the tank moved. While he played the orchestra played the 'music' ( which consisted of that freaky 'dumm-DUMM' footstep thing, slowly getting faster and faster ). He had six lives - and he had to clear the entire screen in two and a half minutes. He got wiped out.

5. The second contest was for a $4000 laptop ! It was a frogger challenge - I didn't get chosen ( despite the frantic amount of waving I did ... ). The two guys went head to head - the winner a guy who looked pretty stoned ( when asked if he was ready, he replied "WELL DONE!!!" - freaking hippy ... ). I could blitzed them no sweat. Still - it was cool listening to live 'Frogger' music.

6. There were people dressed up as video game characters there. I thought they were some pretty massive geeks ... until I found out there was a 'dress-up' contest. A guy dressed as Sonic the Hedgehog won - it was a pretty cool costume. For a hedgehog.

7. The music I think I liked most was a collection of tunes from the "Metal Gear" games. They even had a guy in a cardboard box sneaking by a guard on stage. It was pretty hilarious. ( If you've never played Metal Gear - then that'll mean nothing to you ). The stuff they did from "God of War" was pretty damn cool too.

8. Square soft were the only software company that didn't let them use footage from their games. Jerks.

9. The visuals for "Medal of Honour" were actually real footage from WW2. It was surprisingly moving.

10. Water is ridiculously expensive at concerts! Bastards !

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Vanishing

Holy flipping cow man ! Over the past week I have lost 1.5 kgs ! I'm almost in my target weight zone of 84-86 kgs - freaking awesome ! I'm currently weighing in at 86.1 kgs.

Both Viva and I have dropped over 4k in the last month. So that's more than a k a week.

It's incredible how changing what you eat and doing some exercise can make such a radical change. I'm eating SOOOOO much less bread and cheese and ... well ... processed CRAP now. It's pretty staggering. We used to go through like three loaves of bread plus - now, maybe 1. Some weeks - a half.

And it's not like I've been starving myself either. I've been to a few BBQ's where I've jammed my face with a goodly amount of tasty tasty food. It's mostly been getting over the ghost hunger in my head - the hunger that makes me eat when I'm not hungry. That's the killer.

And limiting pizza consumption. That wasn't doing me any favours either ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Where I alienate more of my friends

I guess it's important to distinguish the difference between a 'nerd' and a 'geek' before we go too much further.

Viva had this useful insight : "A nerd is someone who can apply their knowledge in a useful ( and money earning ) way. A geek has impressive knowledge and skill - but not in an especially practical sense".

I hope that's a definition you can live with - because it's what I'm using here. I'm pretty sure there are some of you thinking "Hey! By that definition I'm a nerd! I don't wanna be a nerd ! I always thought of myself as more a geek - that sounds slightly sexier ! Don't take my slight sexiness away ! Please !!!". Well, tough luck nerd ! Suck it up and deal ! Sheesh ! Freaking nerds...

Anyway. You'll see that my strata of geekdom is generally split among 'gamers' and 'fanboys'. Enough of the preamble ! Onto ...

Seraph's pecking order of Geeks (v1)

2. Comic aficionados

Comics are great. ... Well, some of them anyway. Your 'Comic Aficionado' ( henceforth 'CA' ) knows this, and knows it well. They are well versed in various important story arcs, writers and illustrators - sometimes to an obsessive degree. The kind of CA who ranks in highest in this subgroup is the one with a diversified portfolio - one who will follow a good story indifferent to the publishing house. They display ( usually ) a levelheaded individual, displaying creativity, imagination and an appreciation of cool art work.

BUT. Dragging the whole group down are the more 'rabid' fan-boys. The ones who will ONLY read the publications of ONE imprint, or ( worse ) only read ONE comic ( buying ten copies of the same issue because they have different covers, for example ). These 'rabid' CA's are usually identifiable by the maniacal gleam in their eyes, but a more telling test is by t-shirt. If you see a CA wearing two different t-shirts which bear characters from the SAME comic - they are rabid. Anyone under the age of 14 is exempt from this rule.

Another good test ( though slightly harder to administer ) is the tattoo test. Do they have a tattoo of a super-hero of some sort? If so - they're rabid.

NB: REAL 'red-lights' here are tattoos of Wolverine, Spiderman and the Green Lantern. They must be of the actual character though. The 'red-S' of Superman, the 'bat-symbol' or the 'lantern symbol', do not necessarily denote rabidness ( though they don't discount it either - whichever way it goes, they're not particularly smart ideas for tattoos and might get you into intellectual property right hot-water ).

Rabid CA's are best left alone. They take their devotion a little too far into the 'crazy-zone', and do not appreciate good-natured jokes about their favourite hero guys or gals ( and, in my experience, it is ALWAYS a superhero which is the object of their fevered worship ). If you happen to notice the rabid CA's knuckles turn white if you say hero guy/girl's arch-nemesis 'rocks' - run. Run and don't look back.

Okay - so there you have the second tier. Who will be number three ? Tune in again and find out !

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ranking Geeks

A friend of mine caught me at some party I was at last year and said to me “I didn’t know you played battletech!”.

He may as well said “I didn’t know you were a dung-eating baby rapist!”

Apparently “Death From Above” is some term for a combat move in the Battletech game ( I think it is where your massive robot war-machine launches itself into the stratosphere and comes hurtling down on an enemy massive robot war-machine, crushing the ever-lovin’ snot out of it ). Had I know this – I would have probably named the blog “Like You Care” ( my original, if somewhat negative, idea ).

Why am I telling you this ? After I had given my friend a chance to explain himself and beg for his life – my mind turned to the hierarchy of geekdom. Which geeks occupy which strata of the geek pecking order ?

It’s something which has kept me thinking on and off for the last few months. I was going to start writing about this ages ago, but one thought stayed my hand.

I’m going to offend just about everyone I know doing that.

It was a problem I wrestled with for a good long time. I rationalize things this way :

1. I will belong to just about every one of the groups and sub-groups.

And, more importantly:

2. Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke !

And so – in the interest of science and furthering the legacy of mankind, I present to you …


1. Board-Gamers

Coming in at number one and occupying the highest level on the social power level – the board gamers. Board gamers tend to have the most social cross-over of any of the geek pursuits. A good board game will draw in Normals with their intricate shapes-designs-colours, strong and ( usually ) fairly engaging themes and general levels of fun. Show me someone who wouldn’t enjoy a game like “Modern Art”, and I’ll show you a cold-hearted miserly soul who should be committed to an asylum before they ritually murder someone.

Board-Game Geeks are able to engage in lively social discourse while gaming, are fun to be around, generally have excellent levels of presentation and self-grooming. They also tend to great in thinking on their feet, adapting to new situations, and have extensive vocabularies. Board-Game Geeks tend to fit in so well with Normals, they often can be mistaken for them. Normals with only discover their true nature when they attempt a ‘conversion’ – inviting unsuspecting Normals to their houses ( or ‘lairs’ ) where they will wile them with good food, fine wine – and then introduce the idea of ‘just a quick game’ of something. Maybe something disarming like “Settlers of Catan”. The unsuspecting Normal – their senses scrambled, will usually agree. Much like H. Giger’s Alien – the Board-Game Geek with implant it’s egg in the warm head-meats of it’s victim, ensuring the propagation of the species and a new generation of devotees.

The only thing standing in the way of a global New World Order of Board-Game Geeks is the mental block that society introduces at a very early age.

The name of this block is called "Monopoly". The Mental lesions this 'game' ( in fact - it is less of a game and more 'an incitement to riot' and a 'just cause to make blood-kin ingest significant amounts of plastic hotels' ) causes, and the subsequent traumatic scarring generally mean that the Board-Game Geek has their work cut out for them in 'converting' Normals ( even with REALLY good blueberry muffins ), and thus their society is preserved, despite the in-roads that the wily Board-Game Geek has made in recent years.

Board-Game Geeks make top of the list eh ? Who would have thought it ? So - just which group comes in at number 2 ? Stay tuned, gentle reader. Stay tuned.

Like you care...

For those who were interested, here are the official 'Round The Bays" results for Seraph :

Time : 51 minutes, 39 seconds ( damn ! I could have SWORN that I ran that in under 45min ! Still - that's pretty good for me ! )

Placing : 2859 ( out of approx 10,000 - again, not bad )

I see our trainer at the life-style and fitness class Viva and I go to got 1.15 - but she was walking it. I'll take my victories where I can though ! Hee hee hee !

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Fun run ? Surely not !

Occurring in the 'momentous things' section of Seraph today - I took part in the Wellington "Round the Bays' run/walk/saunter/swagger/perambulation event.

What is more - I managed to jog the entire thing !

Amazing !

While I realise that 7.2km isn't the run at marathon - it's still pretty impressive considering the mass of flabby gristle I used to be not that long ago. My morning 3.2 hill jogs saw me in good stead as I flew past all manner of octogenarians, small girls and people in wheel-chairs.

Seriously though - I was pretty pleased with myself. I thought I'd be able to keep a jog for most of the way - but I didn't think I'd be able to sustain it for the entire run. I was very surprised ( in that happy kind of way ) when I got to the half-way point and I was still pretty energised ! I even managed to pick up the pace in the last k to beat my race nemesis. BOTH of them.

To explain - As I was running I noticed this pair of young women with the predatory look of seasoned runners. The two kept mocking me by running past at a fair pace, when relaxing and walking - so I would pass them. They did this about five times. In the last k, when they passed me again I thought "That's IT. You're going down, you smug gym-bunny freaks !". I picked up the pace to shadow them with burning myself out - and when they stopped to walk ( as I KNEW they would ) I sped up even more - ensuring that the gap between up would be insurmountable by the time they started running again ! FOOLS ! Too late they saw my devious plan ! Victory was mine !

( Yeah - I KNOW they didn't even notice me as we were running - but that was my little internal narrative that kept me going. )

I finished in under 45 minutes. I'll have to check the transponder times tomorrow and see what I got exactly. Exciting !

And I got a free t-shirt and BBQ meal at Viva's work's corporate enclosure ! It doesn't get better than that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'd watch THAT show !

Hey gang! The system shock of going back to work is starting to fade to a consistent throbbing of my frontal lobes, so I'm able to actually write something. Yay for frontal lobe throbage !

The joy of going back to work is being able to talk to like-minded individuals. Well - sorta-minded individuals would be a better term. Anyway - when I got a chance to go and hang out at the staff room for a bit ( I've been doing a lot of catch-up stuff for the school production - auditioning for the parts of TREES for heaven's sake ... you would not BELIEVE the amount of students who expressly WANTED to be fecking TREES ! ) the conversation turned from renovation to the tv show "Mitre 10 Dream Home".

It was generally agreed that said show was a 'feel good' piece of crap - mostly for the reasons that, in the end, BOTH teams actually end up getting the house SOMEHOW. One team wins it - the other team get to borrow enough money to buy it ( at, a pretty sizable reduction it seems ).

What kind of game show it this ? If you're going to have a competition, then there must be a loser ! I'm afraid that the "Dream Home" definition of 'loser' does NOT measure up !

My group of TV consultants have a solution though. On the teams' completion of their entire projects - both houses are rigged up with enough dynamite to level a parking building. When the winner is announced - the losing house is detonated ! EXPLODO ! See their sad little faces ! No retractable ceiling mounted film screen ! Little Billy's room ? Now not so much a room, more a mass of twisted wreckage ! The dream kitchen ? Shattered and smouldering ! The only sounds you hear in the silence that follows are the victory chants of the winners - and the cries and lamentation of the vanquished !

Man - I, for one, would be tuning into that show ! There arn't nearly enough explosions in home renovation programs.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When Harry KILLED Sally...

This is very VERY good.

Funnily enough, it create the feeling of skin-crawling dread I get when I contemplate watching the real thing. Go figure.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Easter ... in February ?

What the hell is going on here ? I'm at the supermarket - they're selling hot cross buns ! I'm at the bakery - they're selling HOT CROSS BUNS !!

When 'holiday' things get hauled out too early it spoils the whole point of having the special holiday thing ! Hot cross buns and Easter eggs get commonplace when they're being sold for almost a quarter of the year ! It's only just freaking February ! Isn't Easter in flipping April ths year ? I get really aggravatedWAAAAAAAAY before the actual date! You shouldn't be allowed to sell hot cross buns OR Easter eggs until it's a month away. Or you should get shot ! In the spleen ! With a ... rabbit!

The same thing goes for people talking about Christmas being mentioned before December! ( only in this case you should be shot FROM a cannon ... into ... the sun ! ).

Grrrr and double grrrrr !

( Mind you - those hot cross buns from Nada bakery taste pretty damn good ! )

Thursday, February 01, 2007

This ever happen to you ?

I awoke to a moment of gut-wrenching terror this morning - the assignment I had to have done today was late ! Even worse - I hadn't even started it ! Why had I left it till the last minute ? Why had I done NO study or prep towards it AT ALL ??? It was a maths assignment too ! I'm TERRIBLE at maths ! Panic panic panic ...

Then I stopped. "Wait a cotton picking minute here..."

I wasn't a student in any kind of way, shape or form. I didn't have an assignment to complete - and if I DID have one, no way in hell was it going to be maths.

I had dreamt the whole freaking thing. Cue a moment of sublime relief.

I HATE those cross-over dreams! I put it down to going back to school.