Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sun 12:38

Three day weekend, hour 52.

I think we've learned just what I do when I've got free time: videogames and drinking.

Last night, I judged a bake-off. After ten desserts, three cups of coffee, and a half-dozen cigarettes, I felt like a 2nd grader on Halloween. I'm still a little spazzed out.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Sat 5:46

Three day weekend, hour 36.

I have a confession to make. Last night, a friend told me about a website which has broadened the concept of those digital pet things. Remember those? Well, here's how the conversation went:

Mike: "So, yeah. You feed 'em and clean 'em and all that.

Alex: "Uh-huh."

Mike: "But they've made a whole world for them, all these different islands."

Alex: "Yeah. Uh-huh."

Mike: "And they can fight each other."

Alex: "Oh, your neopet is going DOWN, BITCH!"

Never mind my deep-seated psychological problems related to competition for now. I went and set myself up a Neopet today. Here's the deal. It's a whole bunch of flash games you play to get points to buy stuff for your pet. Like minesweeper and poker and stuff, but in this loose configuration of locales and with Wuzzle-looking beasties. I guess it's like any MMORPG, but without the monthly charge.

So yeah. I hope nobody finds out.

Sat 12:40

Three day weekend, hour 28.

Apparently Saturday morning at 11 is peak Grandma-calling hours. Two grandmothers before noon, one discussing a past visit, the other scheduling an upcoming one. The latter is my grandmother, the Italian lady from the Bronx who has lived in VT for fifty years and misses real Italian food. I've got a feeling Buffalo has more to offer in that regard than Burlington.

Sat 8:15

Three day weekend, hour 24.

My plan had been to sleep in, but the combination of the upstairs neighbor clomping around at 6 and the incessent squeaking of the radiators put that concept to bed. I got up and went down to the basement so I could stare in impotence at the offending pipes, apparently under the impression I would have been able to diagnose the issue and then change the universal properties of metal with my bare hands. "What's he looking for, a big ON/OFF switch?"

Friday, February 25, 2005

Fri 6:27

Three day weekend, hour eleven.

Aside from about an hour and a half of eating excellent lunch, enjoying conversation, and answering the blasted phone, all I've done since the last post is play PS2 games.

You see, something in my head changed today. A little backstory - I have become more and more voracious for new titles, since when I get a game I either play it all the way through or stop when the fun-to-difficulty ratio swings too far to the right. This leaves me with a stack of games that I have had enough of. Every once in a while I go back and mess around a bit, but for the most part they're as useful to me as used Kleenex brand facial tissues. One of the titles that was set aside for difficulty issues is Gran Turismo 3. I pulled it back out a few days ago, and today I found that I could get past the parts that gave me trouble before. So now, with these newfound racing skills, I was unable to stop. The trophies and prize cars kept rolling in, and before I knew it, it was 6.

Now I go drink.

Fri 1:27

Three day weekend, hour six.

Only in Buffalo does it take three stops to buy lunch.

At the recommendation of a German scientist, the fraulein and I went in search of a deli which is purported to have the best bratwurst in town. All I had to go on was a general location (Grant and Amherst) and a single syllable: "spaaaaah". Right when we had given up and started to head home, there on the right appeared Spar's. In we go to find on display all manner of german meat products, including the promised bratwurst.

After a swing by Globe Market for bread and Wilson Farms for mustard, we're go for lunch. I was tempted to run out to Premier to get some weird German beer, but the two Molsons left over from last night's sixer will do. I'll keep you posted.

Fri 11:35

Three-day weekend, hour three.

Just got back from a supply run. Every time I take a day off I end up at a store of some kind, and it always weirds me out. The only men at a store on a weekday are retired or gay, and there stands Alex, living out the part of the dazed young married guy to an absolute T.

Fri 9:16

Three day weekend, hour one.

Watched the first few minutes of Lock Stock, followed by Napoleon Dynamite and Shaun of the Dead last night, both of which had striking similarities to my own life. Well, to be fair the stuff in Napoleon just reminded me of the eighties (those jumpropes!) and general geekiness. Shaun on the other hand... yikes. We all know that if you want a good flick, just add zombies, but the real success of this movie is in its accurate portrayal of the fading late youth of people raised on TV, right down to the ninja poster. AND the videogame they play throughout is Timesplitters 2, an all-time favorite which is quite appropriate, as there is much, much zombie decapitiation and the developers are English. My question is, where is this fictional setting in which people can still smoke in bars?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Do you like dags?

Well this is it. I took a day off. So, what do I do with this three-day weekend? I went to see the inlaws last weekend, so the demon Obligation is snoozing peacefully. I got my haircut last weekend. Hmmm... I predict a trip to the grocery store, about half an hour of reading, a mere few hours of videogame playing, several walks, forty-five minutes of writing, eight hours of drinking, two movies, two hours of Carnevale. And you wonder why I haven't been posting much recently.

I submit this for your consideration. Will this be informative, interesting, or good? No. Will I be watching it? Yes. Now, there's no damn mystery to dragons. There are dino bones all over the place, big lizard looking things. Never understood why there has any been any doubt. Perhaps this show will straighten a few things out for me. More likely it will tell me the poignant tale of young George who lives in peace on the Isle of Wight with his dearest mommy dragon until a bigger dragon comes to mess with them. Now and then the Book of Kells will be displayed. Several white guys will talk. I will quickly grow tired of ads for the Chevy Cobalt.

Go check Royal Toybox. Right out loud.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

It's Tine.

Two horns way up for Constantine. Everything I wanted, nothing I didn't. I was introduced to the character in the works of Neil Gaiman, in which he makes a few appearances, and everything I inferred about his mysterious past was proved by a little internet research to be completely incorrect, so I don't get to go all geek on anybody. (Too many commas? You think so? )

Riddle me this: was the chair on which Constantine stood the same chair from The Matrix? Because I think it is, and my long-standing insanity of The Matrix has been well-documented. In short, Constantine is the best anti-smoking propaganda film I've ever seen.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

No title for you!

Not since Wednesday? Good gracious.

Thing #1: The Loonatics. A new version of the Looney Tunes characters set in the distant future, a future which seems to consist of scary eyes, dark colors, and long, curved lines. My take -- go for it. The originals are eternal, and adding to the universe is fine with me. They aren't calling the new characters "replacements" or "updates", so I will leave my purist attack mode aside. For now.

Thing #2: The movie Troy. Now, I fully expected to find a nearly limitless number of problems with this movie, my purist attack mode at the ready. I did not expect it to be a horrifically bad movie. If you're going to make a bad movie, stick to the text. If you're not going to stick to the text, at the very least make the movie worth watching.

Thing #3: The city of Pittsburgh. Surprisingly awesome.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Highlight reel material

With the hockey season officially over and done with, I give you the following play-by-play of a tic-tac-toe match in which I kicked the shit out of Slazak.

The arena: my cubicle, as we waited for a "webinar" to begin, forced into silence by the active speakerphone.

Opening honors: Livingston
Livingston chooses "X".

1: Livingston, lower left.
2: Slazak, upper right.
3: Livingston, middle right.
4: Slazak, lower right.
4: Livingston, middle left.

That's right. One round, three moves. Livingston completely eschewed the lengthy series of draws that usually takes place in a match and delivered a master stroke in the first round.

After the match, a brief round of generally unsportsmanlike conduct took place. Slazak, realizing he had lost, sent the paper back with the word "BASTARD" as his only response. Livingston, always the gentleman, carefully wrote a "Booyah!" on the pad, sure to write each letter clearly. Slazak then crumpled the piece of paper and tossed it at the back of Livingston's head, a clear display of his inability to emotionally handle competition on a professional level. Livingston, in a questionable move, quietly uncrumpled the paper and posted it on his bulletin board. When asked for comment after the match, Livingston stated that he finds it "a good way to get in his head. Every time he comes by, he'll have to look at the physical representation of how much he sucks". Slazak could not be reached for comment, as he was sitting in his cubicle crying.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Vroom vroom

Here's the report on the Auto Show.

  • The ability of Buffalonians to consume food and beer. Amazes me every time.
  • Some dude giving away free samples of Viagra. Oh, I thought about it.
  • The Porsche Cayenne. Why?
  • Where was Audi?
  • What's a guy got to do to find a car that isn't an SUV, isn't a boy racer, and isn't an old man car?
I saw some very nice vehicles today. The GT (g) was there, and it was pleasure to view again. The Shelby Cobra occupied a pedestal, ready to be worshipped, as well it should. Surprisingly cool dashboard on that car. They had a Viper(g) there; always nice. Points for creativity go to Jaguar for bringing the XKR (g) from Die Another Day, complete with rear-mounted gatling gun. Why did I not bring a camera?

So, aside from the supercars, I didn't really see a whole lot that did much for me. I want a car with 6 cylinders with price tag in the low twenties that isn't a Scion. Since I drive a Grand Am now, I sat in the G6. Enh. The biggest surprise for me was the Suzuki Verona, just about the only car there that fit the bill. I'll keep it in mind.

By the way, the cars with (g) after them are driveable in Gran Turismo 4. Heh heh heh....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Yeah, right.

Taking a half day tomorrow and a Friday off in a couple weeks. I met with little resistance. Will I pay for it? God yes. Will it be worth it? Still yes. Finally starting to realize that just-around-the-corner never comes.

So, what to do with this day off? Probably go visit the in-laws, which is kinda like a vacation in that it's a change of scenery. A cheap change, which is good. This year was supposed to be the year of my triumphant return to the slopes (as were the last two), but I'm a cheapass. The release date for GT4 is February 22nd, so the ol' PS2 may need to be brought along.

I've got a bad feeling about what's going to happen to my writing once that game comes out, considering the utter dominance its predecessor had over me. I must be strong! Videogames are the time-killer. I will permit them to pass over me and through me, and when they are gone, only I will remain.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm a damn zombie.

It's been a pretty steady few days. Have a remarkably difficult time getting up, go to work, eat dinner, watch TV, play videogames, go to sleep. Not much to report on the Alex front, so I'll send you some other places.

If you like folklore or Japan or all of the above, check this out. Click around to find other totally sweet stuff.

If you're going to be in NY in the coming weeks, go check this out.

Want to know what I've been listening to? Go check this out. RHAPSODY Link

Looking to waste some time? Go check this out.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I had to run to stand still.

Weird day. I was through the looking glass. The simple became intricate, and the perfect flawed. I was called upon to guard the defenseless, presented with a riddle in a strange language, and given a mysterious package with no explanation but a warning.

I think I need more sleep.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A far, far better Super Bowl

Let me tell you, my friends, the tale of two Super Bowls. I was invited to two events this year, and split my time between them.

The first took place on a remote island. I walked into the garage and was greeted by two dogs and two very large men. I had interrupted their game of Madden 2000 for the N64, but they didn't seem to mind. I put my beer in the snow out back. Inside, chicken wing dip and tacitos (sp?) were warming for our delight. We set up the table to play a drinking game they had made up a few weeks prior, which mainly involves the throwing of dice and the shouting of rude names. This was a grand time.

Back to the city for Super Bowl event number two. A walk up to the finished attic revealed three men dressed in black and seated in front of a very large TV, staring in silence. A table to the side had homemade guacamole and gourmet cheese to eat. The men drank cola, or mixed drinks. We watched the game, mainly making fun of the commentators, until about the end of the third quarter, at which point someone put a motion on the floor to break up the uncomfortable silence and change the entertainment to the Xbox. For the remainder of the night we shot the hell out of each other with great success. This, also, was a grand time.

And there you have it. A short trip down the highway between the two ends of the earth.

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Did something new today. Took a half an hour drive to see a car. A local Ford dealership has a GT on display, and Holy Jesus was it worth it. They made like 5,000 of these things, and they run about $125K. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. Right there in the showroom, besides the disappointing Mustang, is this beast of a vehicle, on display behind a white chain as if it were a piece of art. Now, if I were a for-real car guy, I'd be going on about all kinds of details. I'm only a dabbler, so all I can say is that it was goddamn hot. Once again I find myself incapable of waiting for Gran Turismo 4.

Here's the only negative thing I have to say about the Ford GT: there's a sweet looking speaker between the seats. Why is that negative? Under what circumstances are you playing the radio while driving this thing? Aren't you supposed to be listening to the angelic (demonic?) hum of the engine behind your head? Shit, if I owned that car, I'd have an Ipod with a single mp3 of that sound and would listen to it all the damn time.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I'll call it the Aramis.

A lunch-time conversation about this led to a discussion of the recent trend in handheld devices, that being the all-in-one. Cell phones that are cameras. PDAs with wireless internet. Et cetera.

So, just what would the ideal all-in-one have?
  • Phone
  • Pager - a subset of phone, really.
  • Wireless internet - so we can all be mindless blackberry drones.
  • USB drive - disks are so 2002.
  • PDA, and everything that implies.
  • MP3 player
  • Digital camera
  • Video recorder - phones have these now, right?
  • DVD player - miniDVDs are on their way, so why not?
  • Videogame device - with the rash of handhelds coming out, add a D-pad to the thing and we're go.
  • GPS device
  • Radio - kinda weird to think about, isn't it? Transistor radios?
  • Satellite TV - possible? No clue.
Any of these would also be cool.
  • flashlight - so you can stop using the spooky screen-glow to find things in the dark,
  • tazer / mace / personal alarm - the issue here it, it becomes a weapon.
  • tweezers, toothpick, etc. Anything in the Victorinox Swiss Card
  • mini-projector - why not?
  • lighter - Colibri makes real small ones. Throw it on there! Need a light? It's right next to the button that reveals all of my personal information!