Wednesday, December 31, 2008

More Holiday movie watching

I got my lovely wife the film Hot Fuzz for Christmas since she really liked Shaun of the Dead. Instead of turning the zombie genre on its head, Hot Fuzz turns the cop comedy genre on its head. That being said, this is not simply a film full of one-liners and big explosions. There are some slightly grisly scenes in there, more at home in a zombie film than in the action movies that Hot Fuzz tries to make fun of. Without spoiling too much, I can say that the bad guy is very bad, and the camera tends to show more than it hides.

I know, this movie has been out for a while, but like Shaun of the Dead, it's going to take time for everyone that should have watched this movie to see it. What I'd really like to be able to say is that the next time Edgar Wright makes a movie with Simon Pegg, if we liked these other two we should all see it right away because it's going to be brilliant and gory and hillarious - but the mere act of typing it may curse that somehow. By the way, that film is tenatively titled The World's End.

Simon Pegg will next be appearing in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek film, due out in 2009 as our favorite engineer Scotty. As much as I liked reading about this in the trade magazines, and as much as I would love to love a Star Trek movie again, I saw some trailers that filled me with hype, not hope. At least I can be sure that it won't be worse than Nemesis as I am certain that that is a mathematical impossibility.

Next post: Holiday Game Wrapup (If all of them are unwrapped...)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Movie Blowout

As most of you know, there are only two things that you can count on being open on Christmas Day. One of them is the movie theater, and the other is Chinese restaurants. Sure, there might be a few other places open - I know some pizza places were - but it's not a given. I didn't really feel like Chinese food today, so we went to see The Tale of Despereaux.

My oldest son was excited to see it, and wanted to wait until we could all go even though he could have gone earlier in the week since school is out. Frankly, I was happy to go to the movies since I can't really remember what the last thing I saw in the theater was. (Cars? Monster House? Well, I know I've seen at least a few movies in the theater since we've had kids.)

We were initally nervous because the reviews that we read gave the movie poor scores and complained a bit about that there were too many characters to follow. We were also prepped for the reviewers to dislike the movie by the fact that our oldest was reading the book that this moive was made from at school, and the teacher handed him a worksheet to fill out about the differences between the book and the movie. Clearly, the book had been changed a little to accomodate a screenplay. I always expect that to happen because of the intrinsic differences between books and movies. Usually, since changes have to be made, and they weren't the ones that the reviewer would have made, there's going to be several reviewers handing out bad scores purely because of a lack of objectivity. As far as the too many characters part, I didn't think that there were any more characters to follow than some ensemble comedies. Granted, those are for adults, but since my oldest son didn't have any problem with all of the characters then I have to assume that the reviewer needed something simpler to watch, like Waiting for Godot or perhaps some off-Broadway one person show.

I enjoyed the film for what it was and was not encumbered by having to compare it to the book.

On the other hand, we watched the Speed Racer movie after dinner - and I have no idea what someone unfamiliar with the source material would think of the movie. It was very much like watching a video game during most of the action sequences and jumped into flashback quite frequently in the first part of the film. I'm thinking that someone that never saw the original cartoon has no clear idea what is happening until about 30 minutes in, and it's still dodgy at that point.

Now I'm going to go shoot zombies parasite-infested villagers zombies.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pikmin, and other things

Over the course of the last week, I improved my scores on three of the Challenges on Pikmin after no improvement for a month. This brings up several questions.
  • Why am I not playing something on the Wii instead of a Gamecube game from seven years ago?
  • Whatever happened to playing RE4 Mercenaries mode?
  • Didn't I have to start Zelda:Twilight Princess again becuase my save got erased?

The short versions are, I like Pikmin too much, I have to play through RE4:Wii at least once to open up Mercs again, and I did play at least a little Zelda today while the little guy was asleep.

The real qustion for me is, how much longer can I expect to improve at Pikmin without just copying what someone else has in their Pikmin strategy guide? I have been making some effort to be consistent in how I do things, but some things happen differently every time you play, and sometimes stuff just doesn't go right. I improvise, and I'm willing to do that. Maybe I should just be happy with that since I don't want to get in the habit of only having one way to do it and resetting the console every time it doesn't go that way.

Before I played Zelda today, I also took a swing at Chapter 3-1 in RE4:Wii, and screwed up royally (twice) before going back to Zelda. The thing that I noticed about Pikmin and Zelda today is that the controls are so natural that repeated playthroughs get better just because of the increased familiarity with the controls. Of course knowing where everything is helps, too. I'm finding with going from Gamecube RE4 to Wii RE4 is that playing through the initial scenario again is almost like starting over, since the controls are different enough to screw me up. (If I were a righty, however, I would notice no control difference at all.) I do really want to get back to playing Mercenaries mode, but usually when the living room TV is available people are sleeping. I could play during the day, but only if no one is watching - can't have the kids getting scared of zombies parasite-infested villagers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Chicago politics is corrupt? This is not news.

As disappointing as it was to see that the Governor of Illinois was attempting to sell President Elect Obama's vacated Senate seat, it was even more disappointing to see how many people across the internet had to jump in and make comments about how this reflected on our future president. Even though it seemed clear to me that Gov. Rod Blagojevich was only acting in his own self-interest and cared little about who actually ended up with the Senate seat, it was sad to see comments around the internet calling them "Democratic crooks" trying to lump the governor in with the President-Elect.

If Barack Obama had been involved in Illinois' corrupt political machine, wouldn't every other candidate have called him out on the character issue immediately? It's not like this is unknown to the rest of the country. If I hear people make jokes about "Vote Early, Vote Often" or things like "I'd like to move to Chicago right before I die so that I can stay active in politics", then I think that a fair portion of the rest of the nation is aware of Chicago's seedy political history.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Orange Mountain Dew!

I managed to obtain some Mountain Dew LiveWire on the way back from Thanksgiving - even though I don't really like being in the big box stores on Black Friday. I hope that the person I got it for appreciates it. I had some myself, and it wasn't exactly what I remembered. I'm sure that the problem is what I remembered was the frozen concoction that Target had a couple of summers ago in their ICEE machine, which usually is a little more hi-test than the soda itself.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Style over Substance -OR- N Sixty-What?

While the first part of my title seems out of place for most of things we deal with on an everyday level, it's not out of line looking at old games. Old games in a 3D graphic style seem to look more dated more quickly. It probably doesn't help if you're seeing ports of other systems' games either.

I fired up my old N64 over the weekend because my older son wanted to see The Ocarina of Time. He saw the preview of the Wii Virtual Console version on Super Smash Brothers, and he seemed interested since it was another Zelda game. I was excited that I didn't have to rip the cartridge apart and figure out if I could replace the battery that held the game saves. At first it looked a little odd, especially at the very beginning. The texture filtering during cutscenes and the fog in the distance just scream 1997. After we played it for a few hours, we stopped looking at the graphics, and it was more about the game. We took a break from that and I popped in a few other carts to see what I could get to work. Mario Kart 64 and Quake 2 didn't run. (Perhaps numerophobia?) BioFreaks and Mortal Kombat 4 did. (Well, there goes that theory.) BioFreaks didn't look too bad except for one character's lack of collision detecion on his own parts. We also picked the less human-looking characters. When we put MK4 in, I was pleased with the tight controls and the sound design that I remembered. However, the human characters looked wrong. Liu Kang's neck was a little underdesigned. His head was like a octahedron instead of, well, a head. Of course, it's possible that the arcade version of MK4 doesn't look as bad as that. I sincerely hope so.

When I get old Street Figher games out and play them, they don't feel so dated as these games do. Even the Zelda on GBA (which itself is a port of the Super Nintendo version) seems more crisp and fresh than the N64 one. I think a lot of this has to do with the art style. If you try to use an overly realistic art style, you set yourself up for looking dated down the road. I'm sure Pit Fighter was perceived as cutting edge at the time but looks laughable now. On the other hand , if the art is done with the hardware in mind, then the game looks nice even a generation later. Zelda certainly looked better than MK4, and I'm guessing that Zelda's character models actuallly have less geometric detail but have an easier time holding up in Zelda's slightly cartoony art style. I'm not really looking forward to seeing the N64 version of Quake 2 again, since I played Quake 2 on a fairly decent (at the time) PC and that's how I remember the game.

So, will Metal Gear Solid 4 and Resident Evil 5 still look good 10 years from now, or are we going to complain about the texture quality and antialiasing then? Also, will some companies keep making 2D games so they can keep recylcling the sprites over and over?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Games and Self-Selection

Last weekend I played a couple of PS2 games that I borrowed from a friend. Actually, my older son played most of one of them. The two games were Teen Titans and Metal Gear Solid 3. If you look on Metacritic for their respective scores, Teen Titans got a 56 and Metal Gear Solid 3 (Snake Eater, to be specific) got a 91 out of 100. Oddly enough, both of the user ratings for this game were around 9 out of 10. So, is Teen Titans a bad game or not?

Teen Titans was finished in a day. We started Saturday night and finished by Sunday afternoon. It used the five main characters from the cartoon, and all of the same voice actors as the show. Mostly it's a 3D brawler - it felt like Gauntlet Dark Legacy to me a little. SPOILERS! The game's plot was a touch on the contrived side, but the fact that they had actually been crammed into a video game on the show once before kept it from being too lame. Right before the last boss battle, they manage to re-engineer the game to play pong and Space Invaders. (Heh. It's a two year old game. I should have seen it before now.)

It was a bit repetitive, and I did most of the boss battles since my son didn't quite get the 'move every character to their designated spot to do a team attack' part. Once we had finished the game, we looked at the 4-player battle mode and noticed that there were a lot of characters and stages from the cartoon show that weren't even in the game very long or at all and didn't have to be there, but they were. That was a nice touch, and would add to the replay value if we didn't have a game like Super Smash Brothers in the house.

We had a lot of fun playing it, even if it was short - and this is where the self-selection comes in. We talk about self-selelection in statistics to refer to a group within a sample that selects itself instead of being randomly selected. Usually the data only tells you something about the self-selection process and not the whole group. Since no one would doubt a bad review of a TV show licensed game, people that bought it, played it, and liked it would be more likely to submit a good review if for no other reason to justify their purchase to themselves and refute the low review score in some way. Real fans of the show probably like all of the fan service touches and might give it a good rating, too.

On the other hand, MGS3 is a little daunting. Clearly it's a game for people who played the other MGS games. People that play other action games like God of War, Ninja Gaiden, or even Zelda aren't really the target audience for this game. MGS is won by being sneaky and doing little. It's not even like Tenchu since in Tenchu if you successfully sneak up on someone you can eliminate them and don't have to worry about hiding from them any more. In MGS the best you can do is knock someone out for a little while and hope you're out of there before they get up.

Since I flunked out of MGS1 after a couple of Boss battles, I figured that I might make it to the first one. Of course it's hard to say how you're going to do, since there's a good half-hour between selecting 'NEW GAME' and actually playing. Since this game is primarily an outside game as opposed to MGS1 and 2 that take place in more urban settings, it's harder to gague how to play since you don't have reliable methods like building corners or storage rooms to hide in. I thought about using the in-game radar more - to make it a little more like MGS1 which has a radar system by default - but since it uses virtual battery power and I haven't figured out how I get that back, I haven't tried that yet.

The nice thing about MGS3 for me so far is the Snake vs. Monkey minigame since it's not quite as demanding as the regular game and it uses the cute mokeys from Ape Escape. Capture monkeys quickly is all you have to do.

So, for me, other than the monkey thing, it's not so fun. Would I post a bad user review on Metacritic? Probably not. With all of the critical acclaim the MGS series has gotten, I assume that the fault lies with me. After all, I'm not that hardcore a gamer( or at least that's what the 20-year-olds at Gamestop tell me).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I voted!

Amazingly enough, for once the constituents seemed to be excited about the outcome.

This is preferable to the constituents being lukewarm and the candidate gleefully wringing his hands, trying out his best mad scientist laugh and yelling "I'll show them all!" as lightning strikes in the background.

Since I voted later in the evening, there were only a few people there and I had time to do an impromptu one-minute cube demo as I was leaving. I took a good-looking but slightly loose cube, which caused me to flounder uncontrollably into 45-second territory. The poll workers were somewhat appreciative of the stupid human trick as they were isolated from any sort of television or radio.

I also commented on how the black magic markers in at least one of the voting booths should be a little more accommodating to leftys. They were affixed to the right side of the booth where I was. The poll worker that I talked to about that thought that maybe she would put them in the center next time - I just worry that then they won't work for anybody. I can handle separate but equal in this particular case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cubing in Public

I'm sure most of you that know me have seen me baffle, astound, or annoy others around me in public with my perpetual Rubik's cube solving. Ideally, I would view it as some sort of mathematical evangelism, but more likely it's just attention-grabbing behavior.

The last time I stopped to bring a paycheck to the bank, I went to a branch over by where I work, and where a few of the managers and tellers know me - and have seen my silly cube nonsense. Typically, I just hand the teller my deposit, and see if I can solve it by the time they have my deposit done. For some reason, I did not have my cube out yet, and I was next in line to go to a teller. One of the managers sees me, says hi, and asks where my cube is. I mentioned that it was safely in my pocket, and I produce it from my pocket in a scrambled state. The female teller at the end calls me over, but a male teller in the front that had just finished with a customer says to me:

"Give me two minutes and I'll have that solved for you." I figure the other employees either put him up to it, or they're just having fun watching me toy with him. I start walking over to the teller that called me.

"Two minutes?" I'm incredulous, but not for the reason he thinks.

"Two minutes."

"Two minutes? I'll have it done my the time she finishes my deposit!" I hand the female teller my deposit, and she starts clicking away. I'm a tad ahead of her, and once I can tell I'm on the last set of moves, I slow down enough so that I can put down the finished cube in time to take the receipt from her hand at the exact moment she offers it to me. Presumably, we're talking about 30 seconds or so, and that included my slowdown.

So now, the male teller is incredulous. We re-scramble the cube since there's no one in line behind me, and then I start asking him what method he used - and this is the part that really gets me - he's using the Lars Petrus method! (Quick version for those who don't follow the link - Form a 2x2x2 corner, expand to 2x2x3, finish two layers & orient remaining edges, and permute the last layer similar to the Fridrich method. The Petrus method also has multiple ways for some of the later stages to be combined, so it is a very flexible and capable method but leaves a beginner wondering what to do next a lot. Yeah, I know, that's still not a helpful description.) For starters, I hadn't encountered anyone out in public that used that method. What made it all the more strange for me is that since he didn't know the widely accepted name of the method, I can only assume that he had it taught to him by someone else, and had been cubing in isolation. It's not one of the widely known methods that was around in America in the first era of the cube in the early to mid-eighties. Typically I only run into people that do the regular layer-by-layer method, but I do know people that figured out how to solve it on their own and do corners first. After I watched him struggle with my beat-up cube and complain about how he can't tell the red apart from the orange, I show him how the corners first method works, although briefly, and then I show him how two-in-one moves work, where two cube face moves are combined into a single hand motion.

Maybe the next time I see him he'll be able to beat me. I would actually look forward to it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

While Wii were out...

I may have mentioned that my Wii is out for repairs. I'm supposed to get it back today, but that's not the reason I'm typing this. The reason I'm posting is about the games that we played in my house while the Wii was out. Even though I have a Gamecube hooked up, we didn't touch it. Everything we played while the Wii was out was on PS2. My older son played a fair bit of both of the Lego Star Wars games, and pined for Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman every time it was mentioned/passed by in the store/shown on TV. Since he'd already beaten those games to death, I tossed him Rygar. I ended up playing all of the boss battles, but at least we finished it. He liked all of the exploring and the jumping and finding stuff in the rubble. I played through again on Normal, and did much better than I had the last time I played it. I even did the 30-level side mission!

The other thing I started playing was The Path of Neo. That game makes me appreciate how simple and intuitive Zelda's controls are. Every time I have to see a visiual indicator of what button I'm supposed to press it takes me out of the game a little.
(Funny, it happens all the time in Zelda and it doesn't bother me there.) Granted, the first two missions are training levels of sorts, and I did appreciate the glowing cubicle walls in the first level showing me where I should hide, but beyond that I was worried that I am going to spend the entire game fighting the controls. I've already flunked out of the first Metal Gear Solid because I can't beat Raiden, and I already abandoned the other Matrix game (Enter the Matrix) partway through the second character. I finished with Niobe, and got stuck on a Ghost mission because I didn't have enough ammo and didn't care enough about a tertiary Matrix character to keep going.

We'll see how long Neo lasts once I have a Wii again. (Maybe I should have played Sonic Riders instead of The Path of Neo.)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Perhaps I should get a Cintiq

...because otherwise, I draw stuff on my son's Doodle Pro Travel size instead of on the computer. I might also consider more mainstream subject matter - but I'm pretty sure my brain doesn't work like that. Since a Cintiq is a little pricey I suspect that I'll have to make better use of my Graphire tablet, but I can't doodle out of the couch with it. Tablet PC? Just as expensive as a Cintiq. Anyway, here's my Living Color doodle (well, it's just Vernon Reid and Corey Glover...)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shrinkage on the Beverage Aisle

What does Pepsi do when they have a bad quarter? They start shrinking their package sizes! I was at the local Wal-Mart for some must-get items, and figured I would pick up some caffeine for the week while I was there. No Mountain Lightning, so I figure the real thing must be on sale. When I look at Pepsi's portion of the shelf space where the 12-packs would be, there were 8-packs. In place of the 24-packs? 18-packs. That way, they don't have to move the price point as far, and they ship a smaller amount of product. Since most people aren't bringing a slide rule to the store, they don't know if the new package size is a good deal compared to before or not! Additionally, Wal-Mart typically doesn't offer particularly good prices on name brand soda on a daily basis since they're pushing the house brand most of the time. Every once in a while, they'll put something on sale, but it's usually the 24-packs of Dew or Pepsi. Luckily, that was the case. I also noticed that several people had put their 18-packs back on the float that the sale-price 24-packs were on.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Clone Wars vs. Clone Wars

Friday night during dinner, while we were waiting for Cartoon Networks' new Clone Wars show to come on - last week's episode is 8:30, new episodes are at 9:00 we watched the older Clone Wars from 2005 produced by Samurai Jack's animation team. The thing we appreciated the most about the new one now is that Anakin's got a less whiny voice actor. The action of the 2005 miniseries holds up well, and it doesn't hurt that Mace Windu get lots of lightsaber time in the old one, but the new Clone Wars seems surprisingly mature and well-acted by comparison. Maybe George Lucas is only writing plot outlines and is letting better directors and writers fill in the gaps.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time Warp

Time Warp on the Discovery Channel was pretty awesome on Wednesday night. The guy juggling chainsaws and the lighters in the blender were pretty over the top, but all of it was pretty awesome. Everyday silliness combined with crystal clear high speed photography (filmography? - D'oh! That's not the right word, is it? - but it's film, not still photographs. Videography?) is a good combination. If you check the link to the show, I would recommend using anything but Firefox and be prepared to update your Flash Player, since they show a few movie clips on the page.

In other news, my Nintendo Wii is out for a tuneup.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Get Open Office 3!

...but not yet. Open Office is a magnificent full-featured productivity suite, available absolutely free at but as of a few minutes ago the site is still completely unavailable due to the rush of people clamoring to get the new version. It's got better .pdf tools, better .xml tools, and even works with Microsoft Office 2007 better!

Put it on your to-do list for later in the week (unless you're on dialup - in which case you better call someone for a CD.) And, it would help if I fixed the link.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Baby Tortoises!

It's two baby K. homeana! These are the turtles tortoises (thanks, dear...) that my wife discovered out in the backyard a few days after they hatched. It's not that she wasn't expecting this to happen at some point, but one of her females laid eggs in the ground instead of my wife digging them out and incubating them indoors. The other big difference is that she let them stay out in their turtle tortoise garden during the winter instead of bringing them in when it got below 50°F and stressing them out. Normally these are native to West Africa, and we had to assume that the temperatures here were going to be close enough for them to be okay outside.

Common husbandry recommendations for these would normally have you keep them above 65°F at all times. A quick check of would show you that it never gets much below 70°F or much above 85°F for many areas in their territory. But, these three tortoises that she has have been living here most of their lives, and have managed to acclimate OK.

Since two hatched out, maybe letting them deal with the elements is better than making them stay in tortoise jail on cold nights.

The babies are eating cucumber, apple, blueberry, banana, raw sardines, romaine lettuce, baby greens, sweet potato, beef heart, hibiscus, and one of them ate an earthworm. They did not like carrots, opuntia (prickly pear), grapes, celery greens, and they spit out kiwi. Most of the other things they didn't like they just didn't keep eating.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wii still want Street Fighter 4

For those of you who might be unaware, CAPCOM is a Japanese game studio that brought us the Resident Evil, MegaMan, Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, and Street Fighter series (Not in that order). Street Fighter 2 single-handedly transformed the fighting game genre, and got people playing against each other instead of the machine. It had a depth of strategy and tactics, eight different player characters, and special moves unique to particular characters that differentiated it from the other games out in a big way. Street Fighter 2 was a big hit for the Super Nintendo, and also later for the Genesis. Street Fighter 3 was a big hit in arcades among fighting game fans, but it didn't really set the home market on fire, as it was only available on Sega's Dreamcast console at the time and only came out on Playstation 2 years later. The other problem with SF3 in terms of mainstream acceptability is that they added too many new characters and dropped too many favorites.

Street Fighter 4 is out in arcades now, and wild speculation abounds about the home versions in terms of what characters will be added to home versions, and what machines it will come out for. The official line from CAPCOM is that it will come out for PS3, XBOX360, and PC. While some interviewers got some CAPCOM employees to say things that were Wii-positive, no official statement from CAPCOM includes the Wii in the SF4 lineup.

I'm somewhat surprised by this. The arcade version of SF2 and the home version that came out on the Super Nintendo were not exactly the same. One of the bonus games got cut from the home version, the character sprites were smaller, but the essential parts of the gameplay were left intact. I don't think it's reluctance on CAPCOM's part to work with Nintendo, since they have two reasonably successful Resident Evil games on Wii right now, they're working on a new Monster Hunter game for the Wii and they were even willing to try out new properties (Zack & Wiki, We Love Golf) on the Wii.

So, I can see the reasons that CAPCOM doesn't want to port Street Fighter 4 to the Wii. The first thing is that a Wiimote/Nunchuck control scheme is awkward for a six button game, and I get the impression that Nintendo won't let a game out the door if it doesn't have a way to use the Wiimote. Mandating that people use the Classic controller may be a losing battle, especially since Nintendo's still involved in a pending lawsuit about the analog controllers in both the Classic controller and the Gamecube controller.

History is also against us, since the last time a Nintendo system had a real Street Fighter game on their system it came on a cartridge. Yes, I know, there was Capcom vs. SNK 2 for Gamecube, but it was released much later than the PS2 version - so a lot of the people who wanted to play it already got it before the Gamecube version came out. Most reviewers panned the Gamecube version when it did come out because they felt the dumbed-down special moves in the EO version broke the game.

So, perhaps it is a problem of demographics. Fighting games are hardcore, Wii is not. People that want hardcore fighting games already have one of the other systems. I would be ready to believe this if it were not for this quote from Yoshinori Ono being interviewed by Russ Fischer of about what they had changed in the fighting system from 3 to 4:

Just playing Street Fighter 3, you could tell it was a game made by people who love fighting games for people who like fighting games. It's a specific audience, really. We made the rules so rigid and severe, so technical and deep, that if you look at making fighting games like a mountain, we pretty much made the peak. There's nothing else up there but air; you can't top SF3 when it comes to complexity and depth. So we decided to go a different direction.

To use a chess analogy, which we like around here, chess is the same no matter where you play it, and Street Fighter is Street Fighter, whether you play 2 or 3 or 4. But a really high level chess player is in a tournament with a timer, you can't take back a move, etc. That's SF3. The hardcore, high pressure chess. The other end of the spectrum is old men in the park playing on a cardboard board; they're letting each other take moves back, they take an hour to think of a move with no timer, they have weird house rules, whatever. That's street fighter 2.

What we learned from 2 and 3 is that, while 3 is a great game and we hope you still play it, for 4 we wanted to take it back to the fun of SF2, to the guys in the park instead of the pros.

So, what I see there, is mainstream, not hardcore.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Uhhh... Is this thing on?

Here I am, under a bigger thumb. Some of you may have seen my blog at, but I wanted to expand my horizons. Things about video games will probably end up in both places, but at least here people can make comments easily. Also, if I decide to talk about pets or kids, I won't feel so out of place as I might on 1up.

That being said, I am so proud of my wife for hatching out some cute little K. Homeana (Home's? Hingeback) tortises. Pictures to follow.