MY TIME WITH THE SQUARED CIRCLE

Like many young boys who grew up in the 1980s, I watched professional wrestling, mainly of the WWF variety. Yes, it was the “World Wrestling Federation” back then before the other WWF, the “World Wildlife Fund” forced the entertainment company to change it’s name to WWE.

I wasn’t a fan of wrestling at first. A lot of my elementary school chums were quite into it before I was, throwing their support behind their favourite wrestlers. Nearly every day there was some sort of debate at recess and/or lunch hour about who had the better finger-four move or who had the better manager.

Eventually, the talk and my curiousity led to me to watch one of the syndicated WWF shows. It took a while but I was entertained by the theatrics of the sport. Much later on, I realized that it was essentially a soap opera drama packaged in a format that was palatable for boys of school age. I was never an over the top fan of wrestling. For example, several of my classmates would go to WWF shows that would come into town. I never bothered with that but that didn’t stop me from eagerly awaiting several episodes of Saturday Night’s Main Event.

For wrestling fans of that era, the most highly anticipated event each year was of course the Wrestlemania. It was the Stanley Cup finals of wrestling. Wrestlemania had the most outrageous storylines and it was there you could count on shocking title matches. The weekly shows were nothing compared to the big event. It was also a Wrestlemania that caused me to stop watching wrestling altogether.

Sometime in 1988, Wrestlemania IV came out on home video on VHS videotape. Since I did not watch it on pay-per-view, I decided to rent it, not knowing the card or the schedule of events. Little did I know that the running time for the tape was about four hours. I like to think I had a lot of patience as a kid but I was no match for Wrestlemania IV .

About two hours into the tape, I was getting mentally fatigued. How long was this thing? How could they possibly drag this on any further? At one point, I stopped the tape and took out of the VCR to look at the running time on the sticker. It was then I realized I had just under two more hours to go. It was also then that I realized this was the heaviest VHS tape I had ever handled. By this time, my parents had made dinner and I had to go eat it.

After returning from my meal, I played the tape again. I got through another twenty minutes before I finally had enough. I stopped the tape, rewound it, and put it back in its case. It was returned without any more subsequent viewings. I never watched wrestling on TV again from that day forward. I essentially outgrew it and got tired of it in a single, fateful day. It was like when someone forces you to smoke a billion cigarettes in a sitting to get them to quit.

I wonder sometimes if and when I would have stopped watching wrestling. Perhaps I’d still be watching today. Would that even be possible? Who knows? Maybe I’d still be a passionate fan today, just like this guy.

MMMMM… PHO

Departing from my regular usage of the Internet, that is looking for porn researching rare Brazilian tree frogs, I decided for some reason to look for videos of Vietnamese pho on Youtube.

I found the above video which features a decent looking bowl of pho tai. The beef is too well done for my own tastes but it’s a matter of personal preference. If I had it my way, the beef would be still tinged with a bit of red in the bowl. Otherwise, it looks to be a pretty good bowl with all the extras available. Is it just me or can you almost smell the broth through the video? Great, now I’m craving pho. The second part is here.

I GUESS HE DIDN'T KNOW

I was walking on my way to work on Wednesday when I came upon an intersection I had to cross, like I do every day. As I was about 20m from the intersection I saw an SUV waiting for the light to change so he could make a left. Then just to my right a clearly marked police car (of the Crown Victoria Interceptor kind) passed me and stopped behind the waiting SUV.

As I took two more steps the SUV took off and turned left into the busy street. It took about a second for my brain to process what I had seen. I don’t remember the light turning green for him. Sure enough the light was still very distinctly red. I looked at the police car to see if s/he had noticed it too. The SUV’s actions must have surprised the police officer as well since it was good two seconds before the cruiser’s lights lit up. Even though the light was still red, the traffic was clear so the officer roared off to catch up to the SUV.

I was hoping the officer would catch the SUV just down the block so I could see the traffic stop myself but the cruiser was well out of sight by the time I was able to cross the street. I wonder how that conservation went between the officer and the driver.

KUSH SUPPORT

As a service to my female readers, I’m featuring the commercial above for the Kush Support product. As per its web site, “Kush is uniquely designed to fit between the breasts to maintain a more natural shape while resting on your side.” I am not making this up. If you’re interested, there’s a slightly sexier commercial here. Both ads, however, feature a kick-ass Nintendo 8-bit era soundtrack.

LIKE ME… BUT FEMALE

http://g4tv.com/lv3/39292

Traditionally, video game development teams have consisted of mainly male developers. Even today, I have never heard of a team being half female. My own team consists of a significantly higher proportion of females (compared to other EA teams) but we don’t even break the 25% mark unfortunately.

While nearly all my team’s project mangers are female and we have several female artists, the one job function that remains decidedly male is the role of programmer or software engineer. We’re lucky to have one female software engineer on our team and she just happens to be one of the best Playstation 3 programmers on the planet.

As further proof that female video game programmers exist, take a look at the video above. It features Anna Kipnis of Double Fine. She’s a gameplay programmer (just like me) who’s working on Brutal Legend, which is going to be published by EA. From what I’ve read, Anna and I for the most part share the same day-to-day tasks and responsibilities albeit on totally different games.

I wish the programmer / software engineer role was much more gender balanced in our industry. Perhaps we should have career days at EA specifically targeted for females. It’s a pretty fun and interesting job. Oh well, back to my dude-bicle.

MEGAN FOX TALKS ABOUT ROSE BOY

Last week, I made a brief reference to this photo. It was amusing but I didn’t think the story would go beyond the initial picture. Well, I was wrong. In the above clip from press for the new Transformers movie, Ms. Fox addresses the issue personally.

If I were that kid, I’d feel much better about myself right now. She did, however, refer to him as a “sweet boy”. Ah, who am I kidding, if she referred to me as such, I’d totally be ok with that.

GHETTO SETUP

As many of you know I still haven’t bought a HDTV for my apartment. Part of the reason is that I’ve had to pay for a lot of one-time costs associated with purchasing a new apartment. As you can imagine those costs aren’t exactly five dollars here and ten dollars there. Another reason is that I just can’t seem to commit to a particular model I would feel happy with. You know, I kinda I wish that previous sentence was referring to lingerie models. Ah, anyways I believe it’s actually a drawback that I have a technical background. As such, whenever I go do some research, I feel the need to process all the data that’s provided in the TV’s specification documentation. I’m sifting through contrast ratios, input/output configurations, company-specific technologies, the list goes on and on.

In a way, I wish I could be like many of the consumers I see at Future Shop and Best Buy. Most of them just pick a weekend to buy a TV and they do it. They go into the store with a budget in mind (and usually won’t go over it) and for the most part, not all that educated in HDTV technology. They usually get a salesperson to show them a few models in their price range. Then they make their choice on completely uncalibrated TVs in an environment that is far from what their living room is. A few of them then drive home their new TV in the same hour. While I would never buy a TV like that, I admit I completely envious of their savings in time and effort. Having said that, I’ve narrowed my choices down a bit this weekend and we’ll see what next week brings.

Ok, so in the picture above, you can see what my slapdash, ghetto, duct tape entertainment centre solution looks like. The “centerpiece” is a 24″ LCD monitor with a single HDMI input along with DVI and VGA. It is resting on a red metal filing cabinet I bought at Ikea. For aural pleasure, I’m using my dated yet still effective Pioneer 5.1 sound system. It decodes regular Dolby Digital and DTS only but at least I have digital optical out (which is good enough for me). What the picture doesn’t show is my two surround sound speakers which are on speaker stands behind the couch. For movies, I’ve got a Samsung Blu-ray player. In the picture, it’s the black thing on the shelf above the DVDs. It’s not exactly the fastest player out there but certainly a lot faster than the initial models out in the market. It has Ethernet capability which makes it great for firmware updates and BD-Live. For my TV viewing, I have an HD box from Telus (part of my year long free TV and Internet). I watched Saturday Night Live in HD for the first time two weeks ago and it was awesome. Finally, for my gaming pleasure I have my trusty first-generation Xbox 360 which has never had any problems. It’s sitting on my useless fireplace mantle (I really do not like that thing). It plays games of course but it also allows me to stream movies, music and pictures to my display device and sound system.

So until I get a real TV this is what I have in my apartment. I’m not sure if the picture really demonstrates this but the my entire living room is crawling with wires. Just look on top of the mantle. Those aren’t extra cables you see. Everything there is needed to properly hook up all the equipment. It might surprise you but nearly every device needs to be connected to the Internet now.

I’m going to clean up the wires once I get my TV. For now, it’ll just have to be. Last but not least, a free et.com key chain for the first person who can identify the Xbox 360 game on my coffee table.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Tonight I renewed my web hosting and e-mail service for this domain. Along with the yearly domain renewal, it costs me about $60 to keep this site running. I used to joke that my web server was located in a back room of an Adults Only Video store in Langley. That was never really the case but the old server was sure unreliable. That’s what you get when you pay nothing for web hosting.

For the last four years or so, my web server has been located somewhere in Arizona. I’m not certain it’s Arizona but I’m pretty sure it is. I wish my web hosting company would take a picture of the actual server that runs this web site. I’d like to see what it looks and if it has a nice spot in the server room.

Ok, I’m going to bed now.

THE LUNCH REPORT

I was thinking of two choices for lunch at the EA cafeteria today. It was gonna be either the beef brisket with gravy or the “homemade” pho. I went for the brisket first but was told they were all out and it would be another 20 minutes. Being hungry, I decided to go for the “homemade” pho instead.

What a terrible choice I made. EA’s version of pho consists of a broth that doesn’t taste anything like pho broth. Usually pho beef is thinly sliced and a bit on the raw side. EA pho beef was thick and decidedly well done. To top it off, there wasn’t a whole of beef nor noodles.

Tomorrow, there’s a salmon entree on the menu. Don’t fail me salmon!

BABY'S FIRST FACEHUGGER

I don’t know where or when this photo was taken but I only just saw this for the first time today. My first reaction was to laugh. I’d like to think both parents of this baby have a really awesome sense of humour. In all likelihood though, I can just see the father being the mastermind of the photo. “Honey, all my buddies will find this hilarious!” I’m envisioning the less than enthused mother standing behind the father with a furrowed brow, waiting for her baby to stop being a prop for a picture.

If you don’t recognize the above objects in the picture (other than the baby), they’re from the Alien universe. Specifically, you’re seeing an Alien egg and facehugger replicated in absolutely adorable plush form! In the movies, a facehugger hatches from an egg, looking for a host creature to implant an embryo. It does so by attaching itself tightly to the face of the host. Once implanted, the embryo eventually develops into the titular creature. I’m leaving out a lot of details on purpose but that’s the general life cycle.

In any case, what a well-composed humourous photo. Including the egg, in its opened form, in the corner was the perfect touch. If you’re wondering where to get these items, it appears this is the place.

Last but not least, click here for a bonus amusing photo.