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the long, hard road into grad school [Jul. 18th, 2009|11:52 pm]
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[Current Location |Brantford, Ontario, Canada]
[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished (for finally posting!)]
[Current Music |SpyMachine Sixteen - I Lost My Edge Last Night]

hello, gentle readers! yes, i still exist!

my life has been very eventful and full of excitement, drama, and a fair amount of stress since i last posted. i don't know how much of it i'll actually have time to post about, but the main things that have kept me occupied since i got engaged have been living in atlanta with my fiancee and my attempts to get into grad school. so that's what you're about to hear about, bitches!

i left my job at future shop on amicable terms in the middle of december, and then went on vacation with my family to florida over christmas, where my sister was back working at disney world again. alicia and her family also came down for a few days and met my family, which went pretty well, although there were some interesting bits. readers of fuzzdecay will know what i'm talking about. we stayed in florida until early january, and then headed back to canada, where i would only be for about a week. at the end of that week, alicia came up to visit canada and meet the rest of my ontario-based family and some of my friends, and then we drove my packed car down to atlanta together, so i could spend the next five months living with her! :)

i had a little bit of trouble getting across the border into detroit, when i drove up with my car packed completely full (the hatch almost wouldn't close, because there was a 40" tv wrapped in a comforter on top of all the other shit in there) and accidentally told the u.s. border officer that i was going to be "living" in atlanta with my fiancee for the next few months while i applied to grad school. bad idea. if i'd said i was going to be "staying" with her for a few months, or that i was taking an "extended vacation" or something, i would've been fine. so i had to go into their little office, they took down all my information, and just made sure that i knew how long i was allowed to be in the u.s. as a visitor (six months out of a calendar year), and that i wasn't allowed to work or even look for a job as a visitor. i was well aware of all of this, and they seemed convinced that i understood the limitations of my presence in their country, so they sent me on my way. welcome to america! :p

we did the drive along the I-75 together, which was fun. i love that drive, and i was excited for the opportunity to share it with alicia. it was especially euphoric as it more-or-less signified the beginning of our life together. :)

anyhow, once we got to atlanta, i settled in pretty quickly, and within a week i had already arranged to meet with some biochemistry professors at Georgia Tech, as well as the graduate coordinator for the department. my application to their biochemistry Ph.D. program had been on file with them since summer 2008, since i was hoping to possibly start school in january for the spring term, but they didn't end up admitting anyone for that term, so instead they just kept my application on file for fall 2009. i felt like the meetings with faculty members went fairly well (i generally interview pretty well. i think i'm well-spoken), and one professor (an ex-canadian herself, actually!) who was on the admissions committee described me as a "strong candidate". a few people that i talked to had mentioned that it might be a difficult year to gain admission, since the downturn in the economy meant that there was less funding available (all grad students are fully funded), which would mean fewer positions available, and also that there would also be a higher number of applicants (since the job market isn't that great for new graduates). however, at that point i wasn't too concerned, since it sounded like i would be able to gain admission there. and even if i couldn't, i also had an application in at Emory University's biomedical sciences Ph.D. program, just in case.

my confidence was apparently unfounded, however, and i found out sometime in late february, i believe, that Georgia Tech would not be offering me admission after all. when i asked in which areas my application was found wanting, they mentioned that, in addition to the decreased funding and higher number of applicants, some members of the admissions committee expressed concern about my grades (which is fair... my university marks were spotty in places, though i excelled in research and lab courses) and my lack of lab experience (i had to get a real summer job while i was doing my bachelors, so i couldn't work in a lab for free). needless to say, this was cause for some stress. here i was, relying on a grad school admission to provide me with a visa so that i can live in the u.s. legally with my fiancee for the next few years, and i'd just been told that i basically wasn't good enough for the school i was hoping to attend.

around the same time, i found out that Emory also wouldn't be offering me admission, but that wasn't the last that i'd hear from them. see, Emory's Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences uses a pretty ridiculous application process where you're only allowed to apply to two of the six disciplines that they offer, even if you're interested in more than two of them and your education may have prepared you for more than two of them (which was definitely my situation, i'd have applied to all six if i were allowed). i contacted the heads of some of the other programs to express my interest in the other available disciplines, and the head of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program replied to me, noting that i had a "strong background" and expressing that i would be a good candidate for the program, but that they were too far along in their interview process to consider me for admission this year. things were definitely not looking up.

and to add insult to injury, i found out about the two rejections just before alicia and i were to meet my parents in newport, kentucky (roughly halfway between brantford and atlanta) so that they could give me some of my belongings that i hadn't had room to take with me in january (despite owning a huge three story house for just the two of them, they seem to be in a big rush for me to remove all of my property from the premises... *shrug* i just don't have room for it all in atlanta yet!). so basically they were helping me move, even though the prospect of me living in atlanta for the foreseeable future seemed considerably less promising than it had just weeks before.

i began exploring job prospects in the area (shhh, i know i wasn't supposed to, but i was desperate!)... paid lab positions at the schools that would give me an "in" for the following year, non-academic lab positions, even outside and inside sales jobs, hoping that the employers would see that my retail technology sales skills would transfer over. but no luck. i'm sure most employers discounted me as soon as they saw that i would need visa sponsorship to work in america.

during this time, i was also looking into the biochemistry Ph.D. program at Georgia State University as an alternative, since their application deadline was later than that of Georgia Tech and Emory, presumably so that they can scavenge from the students that aren't able to get into the more prestigious schools in the area. i submitted my application, and found the people there to be very friendly and welcoming. i met with several faculty members, including the chair of the department, as well as their graduate coordinator, and i got the impression that they were really excited at the prospect of me entering their program. Georgia State's biochemistry graduate program uses a targeted admission system, where students are admitted directly into a specific faculty member's research group right from the start. the most exciting opportunity that i found there was with Dr. Donald Hamelberg, a young researcher interested in using computer molecular modeling to predict the structures of biomolecules and study their binding activities. basically, i would've been using some pretty powerful computers to play with computer-generated models of proteins and such, which sounded like a lot of fun to me! it would've allowed me to put some of my accrued computer knowledge to use in combination with my biochemistry education, and i also would've been able to take some programming classes, which is something i've wanted to learn about for a while.

in april, just before leaving on vacation with alicia and my family in orlando again (i know, we go to disney world a lot :p my sister was still working there), the head of the Microbiology and Molecular Genetics program at Emory emailed me to let me know that they may still have an opening or two (individuals who had been given offers had not yet responded, and the deadline was fast approaching), and to ask if i was still interested in their program. of course, i answered with a resounding "yes!", and i set up phone interviews with him and another member of the admissions committee, since i was just about to be leaving for my vacation and couldn't meet with them in person. however, the day before we left, one of their secretaries who was trying to schedule a time for one of my phone interviews, informed me that the position was no longer available. but while on vacation, i received a surreal and profoundly confusing phone call from one of the members of the admissions committee that was currently in bangcock or some such place, who wanted to talk to me about the program since they needed to have a decision made by a certain date, so things were being done in a bit of a rush. apparently there was still a position available after all, and the secretary did not have the correct information! also surreal: interviewing over the phone with the head of the program in the middle of disney's animal kingdom, *after* i had been informed that the position was no longer available, so a phone interview would no longer be necessary. apparently that information was incorrect, and there was still a potential position open, so he kept our phone appointment and called me anyhow, which was surprising to say the least! there i was, in the middle of animal kingdom, desperately trying to find an area where i wouldn't be surrounded by loud children with their parents trying to calm them down, so that i could tell this gentleman why i was interested in studying microbiology and molecular genetics! he asked me to write out a letter explaining why i was interested in their program (since i had not initially applied to it specifically). i wrote that letter on my laptop in the middle of the night while sitting in a car outside the clubhouse at the vacation housing complex we were staying at, so i could use their wifi. that was a pretty surreal experience too. anyhow, both the department head and the faculty member that called me from somewhere in asia seemed confident that they would be able to make me an offer within a day or two, pending a couple of other approvals. yay! stress relieved! it sounds like i'm going to get in somewhere after all! except not so much... the next day at mgm studios (even though it's been officially renamed "disney's hollywood studios", it'll always be mgm to me!), while watching the muppetvision 3-D movie, i received a call from the department head, and had to leave the show so i could hear him, crawling all over people to get out. and when i did make my way out of the theatre, the news was not good; while all the members of the admissions committee recommended that i be admitted, apparently the chair of the department (with whom i had never spoken) didn't feel that i had enough lab experience, and since he apparently has the final word, they weren't going to be able to offer me admission for this year. they suggested that they could probably find me a paid lab position for the year instead, and then i'd probably get in for fall 2010. i waited on a bench outside the exit of the theatre, waiting for alicia and my family to come out, expecting good news, as i'd previously told them about the statements from the admissions committee people that they thought they'd be making me an offer soon. instead, i had to inform them that Emory would not be offering me admission this year. what a fucking roller coaster, eh? especially while on vacation with my family and fiancee, experiencing it all right along with me!

luckily, i'm the kind of guy that doesn't let himself get too beaten down by adversity like this, and through it all i was mostly able to put the rejections behind me and focus on the next opportunities. the way i see it, there's not much point in dwelling on bad news... you might as well just move on and make the best of the situation. it helped that both alicia and my family were extremely supportive, although at times i felt like my family was more disappointed and confused about my rejections than i was! it was still pretty stressful overall, however. i really don't like not knowing in what direction my future is headed, and having the next few years of my life be basically all up in the air for those months was pretty frustrating at times. however, Georgia State was looking like they were almost certainly going to accept me: i had met with Dr. Hamelberg twice, and he showed me his research facilities, and made me feel like my experience would suit me to his research group. the department was just waiting to receive all of my reference letters, grades, test scores, etc.

but wait! there is a happy ending to this story! towards the end of april, after we'd come home to atlanta, i received an email on a saturday evening from the graduate coordinator at Georgia Tech, asking if i was still interested in their Ph.D. program. of course, i once again replied with a resounding "yes!", just as i had done with Emory a couple of weeks prior. i was excited, but recalling the experience i'd recently had with Emory, i was still somewhat skeptical. i was hoping to hear back from him on sunday, but it wasn't to be, making me pretty much stressed the fuck out all day long. then monday morning, he emailed me back to say that there had been some cancellations and they had room for a couple more people, so they were able to make offers to several students on the waiting list! and lo and behold, FINALLY, he attached an official "offer of admission" letter to that email, asking me to provide an answer by may 1st! i didn't need that long. even though i still had the possibility of hearing back from Georgia State before may 1st (a few days away), i didn't want to risk losing this "sure thing" opportunity to attend the school that had been my first choice all along! especially not for an offer from Georgia State that i didn't know 100% if i was going to receive. i responded the same day, accepting the offer, and felt infinitely relieved!! finally, i knew what i would be doing for the next few years! and the fact that i must have been pretty high on the waiting list to be offered admission when a couple of spots opened up was somewhat vindicating as well. it made me feel that, had there not been less funding available and more applicants than usual (as in, had the economy not taken a complete shit), i probably would have been offered admission the first time around.

but when it rains pennies from heaven, it apparently pours! the day after i received and accepted the offer from Georgia Tech, Georgia State had finally received all of my application materials and sent them to the department, and they sent me my *second* offer of admission in as many days! unfortunately, i had to decline that offer, since i'd already accepted the Georgia Tech offer. so i went from having completely written off Georgia Tech and having all my hopes set on Georgia State to being admitted to the first school i'd applied to all those months ago! bizarre, but i wasn't about to question it. :p it's kind of crazy to think that, had the timeline been just a little bit different (like if one of my references had written their letter just a couple of days earlier or something), i would have received and immediately accepted Georgia State's offer before even receiving the offer from Georgia Tech, since i hadn't been expecting to hear from Georgia Tech at that point. however, i'm pretty sure that, had i had both offers on the table at the exact same time, i still would've chosen Georgia Tech; not only is it a better school with newer equipment and facilities and a more prestigious reputation, but the campus is literally within 15 minutes' walk from alicia's loft where i'll be living, and the stipend is also a few thousand dollars more, which will certainly help with a wedding coming up next year! there are lots of amazing research opportunities there, and i won't have to choose a research group until sometime early next year.

so in the end, it all worked out! i'll be starting my Ph.D. in biochemistry at Georgia Tech in August (less than a month away, holy shit!) in a fully-funded position as a teaching assistant (later on a research assistantship, once i've joined a research group). the money isn't phenomenal, but my tuition is totally waived, and i'll basically be getting paid to go to school, which i think is a pretty good deal! i'll be living with my wonderful and beautiful fiancee in a loft in midtown atlanta (which has been going great, by the way! more on that later, hopefully), and all is looking up. :)

as for right now? well, i'm back in canada at the moment, and have been for about a month. as i mentioned earlier, i was only allowed to be in the u.s. for 6 months on the visitor visa that i was there on, and also the money i'd saved up to live on was pretty rapidly running out. so i had to leave alicia and come back to canada, where i can legally work, so that i could make a bit of money, and also so that i wasn't overstaying my visa. it sucked pretty hard leaving after 5 months of living together, but she was able to come up and visit me over the weekend of july 4th, and spent some more time with my family and seeing where i grew up, which is always fun. :) i'm back working at future shop, since they needed extra people for the "back to school" season anyways, and with me, they don't have to worry about training someone new for 2-3 weeks beforehand! i'll be there until just before my orientation starts on august 11th back in atlanta.

and that's about it for this entry. more stuff has happened, but i think this is long enough as it is. :p i'd been hoping to update more while i was in atlanta, but i wasn't counting on it being so difficult to get into grad school, nor that it would take so fucking long! i didn't feel right updating when i could be spending that time contacting faculty members or sending my resume to potential employers on various job websites.

so that's the story of the last 8 months or so of my life. :p more to come! (hopefully)
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dance: serious business [Apr. 1st, 2008|12:09 am]
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[Current Mood |impressedimpressed]
[Current Music |Everclear - The Swing]

i've said it before, and i'm sure i will again... i love the onion.

why, you ask? this is why. this is exactly why i've never seen the appeal of the recent trend of shitty movies about dance (stomp the yard, you got served, take the lead, step up and it's fucking terrible sequel). where the fuck are the stakes??? if a character doesn't cut the mustard in one of these wastes of celluloid, what happens? their fucking life goes on, that's what. "OMG, i'm not the best dancer in the school/'hood'. oh nos!! whatever shall i do?!?" maybe i'm missing something, but where's the drama? besides the melodramatic overacting, that is. can you not get a dancing job/respect/the love interest unless you're univerally recognized as the supreme fucking poobah of dance? the same goes for motherfucking dance reality shows--oh no! you didn't come in first, and now... you're not the best dancer/group of dancers that ever existed according to a bunch of people that watch the show, most of whom know fuckall about dance besides the fact that they like to watch it on tv. how horrible for you. that definitely deserves all those fucking tears.

so unless someone can make a dancing movie where dance is *actually* important (good luck with that), and not just falsely made to seem important by the sadly dance-obsessed characters, it is one genre that will always get an instant "pass" from me.

PS - this only refers to the recent trend in terrible dance movies. i entirely acknowledge that movies like footloose and dirty dancing used dance as a metaphor for social oppression and restriction of self-expression, and therefore held infinitely more social relevance than the groundbreaking step up 2 the streets.
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pwnd. [Mar. 22nd, 2008|01:30 am]
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[Current Mood |pleasedpleased (vindicated!)]
[Current Music |Algebra Suicide - Little Dead Bodies]

yesterday, i got sweet fucking vengeance on my greasy little bitch of a co-worker (see this post for part of our history).

a customer came into the store last saturday asking for me, but it was my day off so i wasn't there. i'd spent about 4-5 hours with him about a month ago, and given him a huge $2500+ quote for a big computer package, and he was back to buy it, but he didn't have the quote with him. the customer said that he didn't want to wait for me and was ready to make his purchase that day. so K decides that he's going to help this guy, despite the fact that we've had trouble with these kinds of arrangements before, and there are other salespeople around that would have been totally cool with helping the guy for me (because i've done the same for them in the past, and given them full credit for the sale). but nope. instead of either calling me to ask if i want to come help the guy, or looking up the quote on the store's computer, K decides to do it the hard way, and resell this guy everything from scratch. because of this, K ends up spending hours with him, though still selling him a package very similar to what i had quoted him on earlier. and for some reason, K decides to put the entire sale, which pays about $150 commission, under HIS sales number, essentially stealing the whole thing from me. remember, this guy came in asking for ME by name, and i've already spent the better part of a saturday afternoon with him. by K's own logic in a previous dispute, that makes the sale mine and mine alone. that's also the way that everyone else in our dept deals with these situations; no matter how long you spend with someone, if they've been in talking to someone else, that sale belongs to the first man in. the assumption here is that if the roles are reversed, and someone spends a lot of time with your customer, that they'll give you the sale, and if you want to thank them in some way (ie. by giving them some commission back, buying them lunch, etc.), then that's YOUR perogative.

anyways, i don't find out about all this until i'm in next (wednesday, four days afterwards), and K still has made no attempt to call me or leave a note at work to let me know what happened. i find out about it by running his numbers for the last few days, because he seemed to have some really big commission days, and i was curious about what he sold (also, i don't trust him, and i was checking to see if he'd "scooped" any sales from me... good thing i checked, huh?). K comes in later in the day, i calmly approach him about it, and he immediately gets on the defensive... yelling about how he spent hours with the guy, had to resell him on everything, conveniently didn't remember this situation, where the positions were reversed and i gave him the whole sale. he starts dictating terms to me, about MY sale, telling me how he wants to keep half of it. this is unacceptable to me. it quickly becomes apparent that we're not going to solve this between the two of us. so K says he wants to take it to the store manager the next day. fine, that's what we'll do.

i'm fucking fuming about this situation all night (ask my girlfriend... i'm sure she was sick of me bitching about it :p), and can't get to sleep because i can't stop thinking about it, and all the things i want to say to him and our store manager to defend my position.

the next day, we meet first with a department manager in an attempt to facilitate some sort of agreement. i don't know exactly how long we were at it, but it must have been at least 30-45 min, and there was no agreement. i wanted it all, and felt i was due all of it, and if K got anything, it should be my decision, not his. he wanted a big chunk of it. no go.

then, he gets his wish, and we meet with the store manager. let me just say that K seems to be a fucking golden boy in the eyes of our management team--they frequently heap praise on him during meetings with sales staff. if you asked them, i'm sure any one of them would tell you that he shits diamonds and walks on water. it's not entirely uncalled for, because he consistetly ranks high on our sales ranking system and has good sales numbers, but he's more in the vein of a used car salesman. no integrity, in my opinion. he rips people off, sells them things they don't really want or need because they make him money, etc. but the managers still love him. because of this, i was concerned that the store manager may side with him, and either the commission would get killed (no one gets it), or she'd give him the part of the sale he wanted. but that wasn't what happened. :D

my store manager sided with me entirely, agreeing that it was my sale, and that K had no right to put it through under his sales number, and then bargain with me about how much of it he gets to keep. if he was going to get anything, it should be MY decision, not his (and guess what my decision was? :p). she decided that the whole sale would come back to me. I WON!!! K was getting up and walking out almost before the store manager had finished telling us her decision. i don't think he was very happy about it. serves the fucker right. :p don't fuck with my money, you little bitch.

and the part i really love was that it was HIM that wanted the store manager to deal with it, because i'm fairly certain he thought that she'd side with him. i bet that was quite the wake up call. :p

and that's how i pwnd the greedy emo fuckwad salesperson. karma, bitch, let me show you it.

(i realize i switched tenses halfway through this, but i'm not bothering to go back and change it. so there. i'm such a rebel.)

PS - i'm counting this as lj anti-content-strike post #2, cuz when i started writing it, it was still March 21st, and i haven't gone to bed yet. :p
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belated lj ANTI-STRIKE. [Mar. 21st, 2008|09:31 pm]
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[Current Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[Current Music |Ugly Duckling - Turn It Up]

so i don't know how many people know about this, but today there was a "content strike" by a lot of livejournal users, to protest the removal of the "free, non ad-supported" account option (if you really want all the whiny bullshit, some of it is here). new users can still start livejournals without paying, they just have to look at a couple of ads as they browse the site. y'know, like all those other social networking sites. except, from my understanding, the ads aren't nearly as ubiquitous here as they are on myspace or facebook.

so basically, these little bitches are all complaining because they're no longer getting something for nothing. and i'm here to say "fuck you! welcome to the real world!" you don't get something for nothing. you should count yourselves lucky that you can still get webspace and a place online that you didn't have to code yourself, where you have the freedom to express yourself in myriad ways, for the small cost of having to look at a couple of banners. and they even give you some control over what kind of ads you see!! that's far more than most sites do for their free members.

this "content strike" idea is fucking retarded, too. the "strikers" agreed not to make any posts or comments for 24 hours. so basically, they're giving the good people at livejournal a day off, while telling them not to worry about their business, because they'll all be back tomorrow to keep paying the light bills at livejournal, inc! good idea, guys.

the "strike" is actually already over (it only went until 12:00 GMT, which was an hour and a half ago), but i'm still going out of my way to post this in protest to this retarded strike. hey, it'll still say "March 21st", so i think it counts. :p

i might even have another couple posts in me tonight. we'll see.
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new frontiers and old cars. [Mar. 5th, 2008|12:15 am]
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[Current Mood |geekygeeky (i really use this one a lot! :p)]
[Current Music |The New Meanies - Scenic Anomaly]

i watched justice league: the new frontier last night, just hours after finishing the comics. and i really liked it. obviously they couldn't put six over-sized issues worth of material into a 75 minute animated movie, but i think they did a really good job with capturing the overall style and themes of the story. and i'm always amazed at the actors and actresses that they find to voice some of the characters. new frontier was especially impressive, because it was a team story, so there were even more voices necessary! brooke shields, kyra sedgwick, lucy lawless, neil patrick harris, john heard, miguel ferrer, kyle maclachlan, david boreanaz... even joe mantegna in a bit part!! sure, none of these are huge names, but they're all fairly reputable actors. i can only imagine that a lot of them work for less than their normal rate so that they can fulfill a childhood dream and play a comic book hero. i don't see how dc could afford them all otherwise. i mean, malcolm mcdowell narrated a bonus feature that was only included in the two-disc release of the movie! i can only imagine that these people just want to be a part of these stories, stories that they may have grown up with, in any way possible.

but the other thing i really love about this dvd, which is also something i loved about the superman: doomsday, is the documentary special features. they're full of interviews with huge names in the comic book industry talking about the characters and stories... writers, editors, creators. it provides some really interesting insights into the minds of these writers and has allowed me to see certain storylines and editorial decisions in entirely different lights than i have ever have before. i mean, we're talking some really huge names here, from about the last 30+ years of dc publication... stan lee, len wein, denny o'neill, darwyn cooke (of course), mark waid, marv wolfman, paul levitz, joe kelly, dan didio, mike carlin... and that was just new frontier! superman: doomsday had interviews with basically every editor, executive, writer, and artist involved with the death of superman storyline, which was the arc that really got me interested in comics.

on a completely different topic, something i do *not* love is taking my car in for a $500 repair (the emergency brake cable had snapped, and both of the rear pivots for it were seized) only to find out that it needs ANOTHER fucking $500 repair. this time it's the rear brakes. the cylinders have apparently been leaking on the shoes, so both the right and left rear cylinders and shoes need to be replaced. i treat you good, car! why for you can't treat me good back???

i think i'm gonna shop around to see if somewhere can do it for less expensive than $500.

and this, my friends, marks five days of consecutive posting!! (i'm counting that as having posted at some point between when i woke up and went to bed each day, although that does not necessarily mean i posted on each calendar day). unfortunately, this also means that i've reached the end of five consecutive days off... :\ but who knows, maybe this small bout of regular posting will catch on. stay tuned to find out!
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i am not happy... [Mar. 3rd, 2008|11:52 pm]
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[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]
[Current Music |watching dc: the new frontier]

... with whatever little japanese guy (or possibly girl) over at nintendo decided that it'd be a good idea to only put shitty b wireless in their "next-gen" console. how fucking "next-gen" is it when the wireless technology in it is already two generations behind the current standard?? and from what i understand, the hardware will work with g wireless, but they only put in drivers for fucking b!! just retarded.

i was setting up a wii wirelessly for some friends of my family today, and to get the goddamn thing to stay connected through an entire update, i had to put the wireless router directly beside the fucking wii. that really makes the wireless useful, huh? cuz, you know, at that distance, it wouldn't just be easier to hardwire it, right? *facepalm*

i had to move this family's dsl modem and the wireless router i got for them all down to their basement, and then they also had to pay for a wireless usb adapter for their computer, all because nintendo decided to cheap out on the wireless in their consoles. brilliant.

and i like wiis! they're fun, the games are entertaining, and i've personally watched people enjoying their gameplay that generally don't play video games. but they sure as fuck screwed the pooch on the wireless.

ETA: also, a belated happy birthday to miss sunnycrittenden !! she's responsible for me having a livejournal, as it was her that provided me with an invite code (way back when lj still required invitations :p). someday i'm sure i'll post about how sunny and i briefly crossed paths, a meeting which ended up greatly affecting certain aspects of my life. but it's a long story, so not tonight. :p
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GRE help? [Mar. 3rd, 2008|12:58 am]
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[Current Mood |nerdystudious]
[Current Music |Elf Power - Palace of the Flames]

alright, a nice little short one tonight, as i seem to be writing novels in here lately. :p

i've started studying to take the GRE, as they'll be necessary for me to apply to grad school. apparently, i don't need to take the subject-specific ones, just the general version that tests things like vocabulary, analytical thinking, creative thinking, basic math skills, etc. luckily, these are all areas that i'm fairly strong in, and i've been doing pretty well on the sample questions so far. i think i'll be able to score well above average.

i know i must have some people out there that have taken the GRE, in some form or another, because i know some of you have gone to grad school of some sort. so, does anybody have any advice on studying for or taking the GRE? stories from personal experience or otherwise? any information would be greatly appreciated. i've read up on it quite a bit, but i have yet to talk to anyone that's actually taken it.

and also, do you think i should take the subject-specific GRE for the area i'll be applying to (biochemistry) as well? i know most schools don't require it, and say that it's completely optional, but would it significantly increase my chances of acceptance? or do they simply not really care?

thanks in advance, lj friends o' mine!
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warning: this is gonna be dorky... [Mar. 2nd, 2008|01:11 am]
[Tags|, , , , , , , ]
[Current Mood |geekygeeky]
[Current Music |Kanye West - Champion]

as i mentioned a while ago, i've been buying a lot of comics over the last while, starting last summer (i blame disposable income and a semi-lucrative commission-based sales job). until a few years ago, my target collection had revolved around superman: i aimed to own every superman comic published after crisis on infinite earths. however, as that had been my goal for at least 5 years, i eventually fulfilled it, finding those last few elusive issues while i was working in disney world in 2005. of course, me being the obsessive collector and packrat that i am, i simply couldn't stop there. so i expanded my target collection. instead of starting with a new publisher (though many of marvel's titles do interest me), i thought that i might as well stick with dc, who i've always preferred. thus, my new (and current) target collection became the entirety of dc's main continuity since crisis on infinite earths (basically excluding most crossovers and elseworlds titles). now, if you know comics at all, you'll know that's a pretty ambitious goal. but i'm well on my way!

since beginning to actively search last summer, i've bought about 30 long boxes worth of comics. each long box holds ~150-200 comics (that's a conservative estimate). that means that i've bought at least 5,000 comics since last summer (holy shit, that's the first time i've sat down and done the math on that). prior to that, my comic collection was only about 10-12 long boxes. i've been reading tonnes, but i still have easily twice as many comics that i've never read compared to those that i have.

these are the kickass comic boxes i asked for at christmas. they're basically hardcore cardboard filing cabinets. you can actually stack them up to 6 high, but if i did that i wouldn't be able to reach them all. drawerboxes. i actually haven't read any of the comics in that entire stack yet. O_o

more extreme geekeryCollapse )

the majority of this buying has occurred via ebay. and i have gotten some fucking killer deals, often getting full runs of titles for well less than a dollar per issue. among my most exciting finds:

- an entire run of volume 2 of flash (that alone is 230 issues, friends), including annuals, a bunch of specials, and extra copies of many issues FOR $80!!!! that's insane! and he gave me a great deal on shipping. i can't help but feel like i took advantage of this guy a bit, but i think he wasn't getting many bids because his auctions didn't have pictures. i also got a hawkman and green arrow run from him, for equally fantastic deals.
- full runs of nightwing, birds of prey, gotham central, and another couple of batman-related titles all from the same seller. and he was canadian, so i didn't get railed on shipping!
- full runs of several different aquaman titles at really reasonable prices. (go figure, aquaman doesn't fetch a high price? :p)
- full runs of hard-to-find, critically-aclaimed runs such as animal man, sandman, starman, and grant morrison's doom patrol.
- from the same seller, who was liquidating his collection, and all for less than a dollar an issue: every teen titans series since COIE (except the current one, which i already owned). this was my first big purchase.
- from several different sellers, i pieced together all of the legion of superheroes series since the mid-80s, which was a rather daunting task!
- too many others to list! :p so i'll stop.

it's probably easier to list the few major series that i'm still looking for. there are still myriad miniseries and one-shots i have to find, but the only major, 20+ issue ones are infinity inc., mister miracle, plastic man, wonder woman, and harley quinn. that being said, my want list is still about four and a half pages long (though it was closer to fifteen when i started this madness last summer!). and speaking of wonder woman and harley quinn, why the fuck are comics featuring girls (sorry, WOMEN) in such higher demand than anything else?? i think my birds of prey run was by far the most i've spent per issue on a long-running series. is it that girls only buy comics featuring female characters? do they somehow appeal to a vastly wider audience, and are consequently insanely expensive? i think the issue of birds of prey where nightwing and oracle kiss is worth like $50+. that's the most i've ever seen for a non-variant cover or limited print modern age issue. craziness.

i've learned some pretty annoying (and costly) lessons during all of this too. particularly while finding batman comics: since those runs are all so long, i figured it'd be easiest to buy small lots and short runs and piece together full runs from them. holy fuck, was i ever wrong. i ended up with so many doubles, and having to spend shitloads on runs containing key issues and storylines, not to mention all the extra shipping costs associated with all the small shipments. i even managed to buy the same run of about 20-30 issues twice, by mistake *facepalm*. still, i persevered and managed to put together full post-crisis runs of batman, detective comics, and shadow of the bat using these methods. legends of the dark knight is still kicking my ass, however. buy in full runs! it's much easier, and infinitely less stressful. oh yeah, and cheaper.

mainly because of this attempt at piecing together full runs from small lots, but also as a result of buying full runs of which i already owned a couple of issues, i've ended up with almost three full long boxes of extras. i don't want them (i'm gonna have enough trouble storing single issues of them all, let alone multiples!), but i haven't decided how i'm going to get rid of them just yet. i might just wait until i'm living in the states, and sell them in lots on ebay (i'll get a much better price selling them on american ebay rather than canadian ebay... just a wider market). i know i've got a couple of comic collectors on my friends list. anyone wanna see the list of extras? maybe we can work something out. :p

and the last of what i suppose are comic acquiring "words of wisdom" (learned the hard way): canadians, don't use fucking ups if buying from the states!! at first glance, their shipping rates look much cheaper than those of the united states postal service, but the exorbitant "brokerage fees" that they charge on delivery have fucked me over more than once. it's ridiculous. in fact, ever since the postal service changed their rates and dropped their least expensive canadian shipping option last year, i've only been buying very small lots from the u.s., so i don't get screwed in shipping and duties. besides, i've found some of my best deals right here, within canada! lower population = fewer ebayers = less bidding competition! and while canada post's rates aren't fantastic, they're a lot better than paying for american shipping to canada, even before duty!

as far as what i've read out of this gaggle of comicy goodness, i'd say my favourites so far have been james robinson's starman, frank miller's dark knight returns, and dc: new frontier, which i'm only halfway through, and only received last week. but it's great. i'm really starting to love darwyn cooke's storytelling. and he's canadian, too! i have the new froniter dvd waiting to be watched, but i thought i'd read the comics first.

anyways, i suppose this is enough geekery for tonight (and probably several subsequent weeks, as well :p).

PS - this totally counts as saturday's post towards my goal of posting every day of my five days off, because it was saturday when i started writing it, and i haven't gone to bed yet. :p
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happy leap day snowstorm! [Feb. 29th, 2008|08:12 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , ]
[Current Mood |coldcold]
[Current Music |Everclear - Now That It's Over]

by a fortuitous scheduling fluke, i find myself with five days off in a row! mini-vacation!! i'm only working four days a week right now, and two of my days off this week are friday and saturday, and my three next week are sunday, monday, and tuesday. so i don't go back to work until next wednesday! :D

i have a goal to make at least one post every one of these 5 days. whether i succeed or not... well, i guess we'll know by wednesday!

to celelbrate my mini-vacation, i slept way the hell in this morning until about noon. and when i woke up, it was snowing like a motherfucker, and it hasn't slowed all afternoon! it's been really pretty light fluffy snow, too. so i thought i'd go out and take some pictures, primarily for my southern girlfriend who's never seen a major snowfall (in hopes that i might tempt her to come up here to experience one for herself sometime soon :p). but i figured, why not share with everyone!

more snowy goodness!Collapse )

and that was the pretty snowy leap day!

note: i think this post may mark one of, if not the only time that i've posted when not *completely* up to date on my friends list. i may be setting a dangerous precedent here. :p that's normally one of the main things that prevents me from posting.
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in which i am a packrat and keep way more than i probably should. [Aug. 14th, 2007|04:16 am]
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[Current Music |David Bowie - Queen Bitch]

i've been going through some old boxes over the past couple of days... stuff that hasn't been opened since i moved out of my house in hamilton in 2004, and others that haven't been touched since i got back from disney world in 2005. i always get distracted doing stuff like this, because i find interesting things that i go through and get nostalgic over. for instance:

- old day planners, that i keep so that i can see what i was doing any given day.
- awards and certificates that i'd forgotten i'd won at my highschool graduation.
- pictures from my infancy to the end of highschool, including a large number from my trip to france and italy in grade 12. (i know there's someone that'll be on me to scan some of these for her. :p i will soon. maybe i'll even post them here.)
- a box of random stuff from florida, including a card from my comic store down there with my box number on it, a couple of business cards given to me by guests (if i ever want a job at a beef farm in Blountsville, Alabama, i apparently have an in), and little rubber disney characters i won for knowing bits of disney trivia during "traditions", the introductory disney world training class.
- all my old heroclix, which i was really only into for about a year after my second year of university. my best friend and i would drive to the jumbo video at all hours of the night to buy boosters of the things. when the first DC set came out, i bought a case and sold a complete set on eBay, which made me far less money than i expected it to (read: i lost money on it). i do still have a full set of infinity challenge, the very first set of them, though. they're fun, and i'd gladly play if i knew anyone nearby that was interested. *shrug*

i'm sure there's things i'm missing... i just love going through stuff like this, finding little momentos that remind me of a certain date or some time in what sometimes seems like a past life. unfortunately, it makes it take about a million times longer, as what i originally set out to do was to consolidate my belongings so that they could more easily be packed away until i have a place where i have room for them.

PS - for the curious, 3+ year old microwave popcorn (another of my finds, about 4 or 5 bags of the stuff) is still delicious, but its popping yield is significantly lower. this worries me, but it hasn't stopped me from eating it!
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*taps screen* hello? [Jun. 16th, 2007|02:03 am]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Mood |sleepysleepy]
[Current Music |The Postal Service - Brand New Colony]

... does this thing still work?

so it's been what... 9 months? my girlfriend has informed me that in the period since i last updated my lj, she could have become pregnant and had a kid, hypothetically. to make sure there is no ambiguity, however, that DID NOT HAPPEN!!

what HAS happened is that i finished both my biochemistry research project (A-) and my arts & science thesis on science fiction (A). i will likely be posting the latter here in the future for anyone interested in reading it. i'm pretty proud of it. :op all 47 pages and 15,000 words of it. O_o

i've also had a lot of wonderful, amazing times with my girlfriend, who makes me a very happy dorky tim. :D

besides that, i've been working part-time at future shop, went to disney world in october with my family, then vegas in february (also with my family, which was interesting), built a new computer in january, bought a bunch of comics on ebay, had a birthday last month (i'm 26 now... wow). i'm still living at home in brantford, mostly because i haven't had the time or means to go apt hunting. hmmm, what else...

oh yeah... just one little thing... i finally GRADUATED! only seven years after i started! the group i graduated with was in first year when i was in my fourth. heh. ah well, i can't really say i have any regrets. i took my time, worked at disney world for a year, and i can say that i truly enjoyed and lived during my tenure at mcmaster, which i feel is more than many graduates can claim. so yeah, now i get to write some initials after my name, though i'm not entirely sure what they are... i think it's something like "HBA&Sc (Hon. Biochem.)". can one of my artsci friends clarify that for me? how the heck are we supposed to notate our combined honours???

with any luck, and now that i'm free from any academic responsibilities, i'll be able to elaborate on some, if not all of the aforementioned events. does anyone actually believe that? no? well, i'm damn well gonna try, anyways...

so where i go from here? well, that's the big question... and not one that has been completely decided yet (though i am leaning heavily in one direction :p). right now i'm just trying to figure out where i'm going to be for the next part of my life, and after that, what to do with myself there. and you, fair readers (if there are any of you left), can be sure to be kept abreast of it all... no less than 9 months after-the-fact. :op

PS - just for the record, though i haven't been posting, i have been keeping 100% up-to-date with my friends list, and even commenting when i thought i had something useful to say (okay, and sometimes when i didn't have anything useful to say).

EDIT: haha! i just realized it's been 9+ months and i'm still sleepy!!
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Sept. 11th, 1944 [Sep. 12th, 2006|11:11 pm]
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[Current Mood |gratefulgrateful]
[Current Music |Tiga - (Far From) Home]

no typo, you read that right. september 11th means something rather different for my family. on september 11th, 1944, my paternal grandfather's plane was shot down over Nazi Germany. thankfully, he parachuted out of the plane and survived. if he hadn't, i wouldn't be writing this, as i wouldn't exist. he was captured and held in a German war prison for the remainder of the war, where he received less-than-accomodating treatment, even moreso than most because his last name was German, and the German soldiers didn't like that.

he was a navigator in the Pathfinder wing of Britain's Royal Air Force, and he flew in Lancaster bombers, and had already successfully completed 25 runs. the flight he made on that day was scheduled to be the last flight of his crew on that tour of duty.

we don't really celebrate that anniversary, but this year it was remembered in a very special way. the hamilton air force museum is home to one of the two flyable Lancasters left in the entire world, and my grandma gave my grandpa a flight on that Lancaster for his 86th birthday. he wanted to fly on the exact anniversary, but the plane only flies on weekends, so 62 years less a day from the date his plane was shot down over Nazi Germany, my grandfather flew on a Lancaster bomber from Hamilton to the St. Thomas airshow. i really can't imagine how that must have felt, to fly in a plane identical to one that you actually had to jump out of under fire with a parachute strapped to your back, because two of the engines were on fire and one wing about to fall off, and the bomb load would not drop.

i got some wonderful pictures, including some of my grandfather inside the plane, in the exact spot he would have sat as navigator, star charts open and plotting a course through enemy airspace, over 6 decades earlier.

this is the plane... a huge, four-engine Lancaster bomber.

lots more picturesCollapse )

so it was a big day for my grandpa. i really can't imagine what that must have felt like, but i'm glad we could be there for him.
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bliss must be what makes ignorance so popular [Sep. 1st, 2006|02:52 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]
[Current Mood |annoyedannoyed]
[Current Music |Kings of Leon - Genius]

back to work today with one thought on my mind: the next person that asks me about the difference between dvd+r and dvd-r is going to get the following response...

customer: "what's the difference between 'plus' and 'minus' dvds?"
me: "is your computer/burner/player/recorder more than 2 years old?"
customer: "no."
me: "then there's no difference. both will work pretty much the same."
customer: *looks confused* "...... then why are there two?"
me: "sir/ma'am, if i explained to you, in detail, that dvd-r and dvd-rw were the first commercially available writeable dvd formats, and dvd+rw was released later (before dvd+r, actually), which was capable of burning faster than dvd-rw and also had better internal linking, but the discs were more expensive, although now they're essentially identical in price, quality, burning speed, and compatibility, then you would simply stare at me in complete ignorance with the look that's on your face right now."
customer: "..... so i can use either?"
me: *headcounter*

it's by far the question that i get asked the most at work, and people can never accept the simple fact that both formats will work for them.

that reminds me, there's another dialogue i've been meaning to share from my time at disney world... serving ignorant, impolite, southern americans...

note: the customer in this situation was usually an obese, abrasive, southern "lady" with an absurdly heavy accent. they were also often the guests that asked for their steaks very well done, with no sauce, and fries instead of the side that comes with them.

me: "hi there folks. what can i get everyone to drink today?"
customer (in THICK southern accent): "what all d'you have?"
me: "we have coke, diet coke, sprite, root beer, lemonade, and unsweetened iced tea."
customer: "... y'all have sweet tea?"
me: "..... no... we have unsweetened tea. i can bring some sweeteners with it if you like, though."
customer: either "y'all have sweet 'n low?" or "y'all have the pink one?"
me: "no, we have splenda and equal."
customer: "... i'll have a coke."
me: *tries desparately not to reach across the table and strangle customer*

neither of these occurrences would annoy me as much as they do if it wasn't so ridiculously frequent.
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"i like to push the pram a loooooot" [Aug. 31st, 2006|09:22 pm]
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Mood |satisfiedsatisfied]
[Current Music |Junior Senior - Shake Me Baby]

spamalot was pretty damn funny. you could really tell it was written by a python... alot of it had that distinctive humour. since the show was "lovingly ripped off" from monty python and the holy grail, alot of that film's jokes were rehashed and adapted for the stage version--a hit-and-miss strategy; at times, it was great, but other times, bits suffered from diminished hilarity without the classic python mastery of comic timing, absurdity, and of course, silly, pompous british accents. for example, the "swallow carrying a coconut" dialogue was recited almost word-for-word, but it just wasn't as funny. the "black knight" bit also wasn't quite as amusing, though the way they did it on stage was rather ingenious.

some of the funniest scenes were brand new, including an uproarious politically incorrect musical number poking fun at broadway (if i disclose its subject matter, it might take away some of the shock value for anyone who plans to see it... and i wouldn't want that :op), and a segment with god's giant feet descending onto the stage to converse with king arthur via the voice of the inimitable john cleese.

there were a couple of scenes that were oddly left out, and probably didn't have to be, considering the show was only about 2 and a quarter hours including intermission. omissions that stood out were the tower scene with all the beautiful girls asking to be punished and spanked (which i thought was odd, since they used very similar costumes to those of the "celibate" girls in other parts of the show), and the scene at the bridge with the infamous "questions three"... "what is your favourite colour?" "blue... no wait! green! AAAHHhhhhh!"

all in all, it was definitely an enjoyable experience. the sing-a-long at the end was great, and my whole family had a wonderful time.

now, back to reading reviews about HtrA and DegP for my research project.
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kittens!! [Aug. 28th, 2006|12:01 am]
[Tags|, ]
[Current Mood |bouncyawww]
[Current Music |The Carpenters - Top of the World]

back in the beginning of july, i was coming home from dinner with my family when i saw some movement in the garden beside our front porch. upon further examination, there were three kittens hanging out under our front porch! i was worried for them at first, but eventually their mother poked her head out, so i felt better that they were being looked after. there was one black and white kitten, one grey kitten, and one albino kitten. they were really little, so much so that they were all cute and stumbly and hadn't grown into their heads yet. we put out a bowl of milk for them, but i don't think they drank any. they were really cautious, and they wouldn't come anywhere near me no matter how quiet i was.

and, of course, i grabbed my camera. bask in the cuteness!

far more cuteness aheadCollapse )

i wish i'd gotten pictures of them all playing and shuffling around under their mother, but that happened before i got my camera, and they didn't do it again... :o(
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i loves me some bold bbq doritos and coke! [Aug. 27th, 2006|12:45 am]
[Tags|, , , , , ]
[Current Mood |goodgood]
[Current Music |Matt Sharp & Damon Albarn - We. Have.A. Technical]

i think i've been posting more on the weekends than during the week lately, mostly because that's when all the rss feeds i subscribe to don't update, so i actually have time to post instead of just informing myself. need to find balance between input and output.

although, there hasn't been too much to report lately. work's going well... back to school is in full swing. i made $300+ in commission 3 days this past week. for comparison, usually a good day is considered anything over $200. on friday, i actually made $560 in one 9 hour shift. granted, alot of that was because my managers transferred me a bunch of sales that i made just before i started making commission, but still... on thursday night, i only worked from 5-9, and made around $320. that works out to roughly $80/hour!! timmy likey commission. :D making that kind of money i should have enough to get my own apartment here in town in october. i just hope that it doesn't die down too much after back to school.

school starts soon, though i'll only be there one day a week from the look of things. i'm only taking two courses, and both are research. i'm doing a thesis for my programme on the ways that science fiction reflects the sociopolitical era that spawns it, and for that, i only have to meet with my supervisor once a month. i still need to narrow my view, but i'm almost certain i want to do a multimedia analysis (film, literature, comics, and television), so i'll probably have to either narrow it down to a very specific issue, or a specific era in the last 50 years or so. i'm sort of leaning towards cold-war era right now.

i'm also doing biochemistry research, but only for the first term. i don't even know specifically what i'll be doing for that yet, besides the general field (proteasome activation, for anyone in the biochemistry area). basically my advisor will recommend something based on the current stage of his research. i'm not too picky though... as long as i get lots of hands-on lab time, i'll be happy. i'm sure he'll sort of walk me through his major procedures and such, and then sort of let me go on my own.

and i think that's it for now. Spamalot tomorrow!

PS - ladies and gentlemen of america, this is your president. classy, huh?
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what's possibly geekier than adventure games? reality tv! [Aug. 19th, 2006|10:46 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Mood |hungryhungry]
[Current Music |Eric Johnson - Cliffs of Dover]

yes, who wants to be a superhero is pretty damn campy, and i fucking love it. stan the man's twists and such have all been great, especially spoilerCollapse ). the contestants are a little over the top at times, but that just makes it all the more fun!

stan lee is just the perfect host for it... he's such an iconic figure, with such a distinctive face, voice, and personality. i really don't think the show would've worked without him.

and speaking of iconic individuals, gordon ramsay is just such a magnificent bastard... combine that with my recent experience with restaurant work, and my love of food, and i really never stood a chance against hell's kitchen. having worked in close quarters with chefs that are extremely passionate about food and quality, i can entirely identify with both ramsay and the contestants. the second season just finished, and i was seriously on the edge of my seat for the last couple of episodes... just the same as i was for the first season. i really wanna eat in one of ramsay's restaurants now... his food looks fucking amazing.
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more gaming geekery... [Aug. 19th, 2006|06:37 pm]
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[Current Mood |geekygeeky]
[Current Music |The Beach Boys - Heroes and Villains]

in recent months, i've been on a discovery kick of the adventure games that have attempted to fill the niche left behind by the conversion of lucasarts to "only star wars and indiana jones games, inc." *shakes fist*

i played another of benoit sokal's games, this time his latest game, paradise. once again, it's beautifully rendered, and an interesting premise, but whoever does his international distribution just doesn't put enough money into the fucking translations and voice-acting!! sokal's a great game director, and he has wonderful ideas, and wonderful art, but just constantly gets fucked up by shitty production. the dialogue system is clunky and annoying, there's all kinds of clipping issues, particularly between characters, and there was even inventory items that still had their file tags instead of proper names!! sloppy production if ever i've seen it. his games could be as playable and enjoyable as they are beautiful, if he'd take the time to find a company that wanted to do them properly in the world market.

and i just finished playing the longest journey a couple of days ago, and i can see why it's received all the acclaim it has. it's well-deserved. the story is captivating, the visuals are well-executed and effective, most of the characters are colourful, developed and multi-dimensional, and the voice-acting in the english version, with one or two exceptions, is superb. it's a little long on the dialogue at times, but since it's well-acted, it's not painful to listen to. the settings and soundtrack are great, too.

and i couldn't help but notice a couple of little tributes in TLJto some great old school lucasarts adventure games that helped to establish the genre of adventure gaming; april (the main character) carried a childhood toy with her through the entire game--a wind-up ape policman named guybrush. go monkey island!! and there was also a street in one area named "calavera crossing", which i figure is probably a nod to manny calavera of grim fandango. always nice to see them paying respect to their roots, even when the company that created those roots seems to have forgotten about them.

next up on my "to play" list, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey 2.
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i'm in the money. i'm in the money. i've got alot of what it takes to get along! [Aug. 19th, 2006|02:03 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Mood |optimisticoptimistic]
[Current Music |Islands - Rough Gem]

i think i forgot to mention this, but futureshop put me into commissioned sales starting at the beginning of august! just in time for back to school (which is helpful, since i sell computers). this means that i'm so far making about 2-3 times what i was getting paid just working hourly. on a slow day, i can easily make $50 on a short 4-hour shift, and on a good day, i can make $200+.

so yay for that! i wish they'd have hired me back into commission as soon as i started working there again, but at least they got around to it after a couple of months.

technically, i'm on a "trial basis" over the back-to-school period, and that basically just gives them an excuse to bust me back down to hourly again at the end of september, so i just have to work my ass off between now and then so that they can't justify it. unfortunately, i've been having all kinds of customers that have been flat-out turning down any sort of service plan on the computers they've been buying (service plan sales are one of the big things i'm rated on), and, since so many of our computers and notebooks are being sold below cost for back-to-school, my profit margin is in the shitter currently too. hopefully i'm able to pull those numbers up in the next month in a half...

but for now, at least, yay for commission! so far i've made about $1500 since the beginning of august. now if only the company would get their shit straightened out and actually pay me the fucking commission they owe me.

PS - this is my new favourite song. it's super great.
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two plays, two concerts, one chance to dance. [Aug. 6th, 2006|11:34 pm]
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[Current Mood |sleepysleepy]
[Current Music |The Cure - Just Like Heaven]

hmmm, time for a bit of quick catch-up.

about a week and a half ago (the 27th, i guess) i went to hamilton to see humpstar and steph in two gentlemen of verona, a mcmaster summer drama festival production. unfortunately it rained, so the performance couldn't be out in faculty hollow like it was supposed to be. i was looking forward to an outdoor show, but it was still a good show regardless. steph did an amazing job... i think it was really the first time i've seen her act in a dramatic lead like that, and it was great! and, as always, humpy provided excellent comic relief. backstreet boys' songs in shakespeare? w00t!

afterwards we went to QQ for bubble tea, scrabble, and food. biggest bowl of noodles ever... so full after. but i drug (dragged?) humpy over for a beer before i left for home.

then skip past my last post about the concert thursday, and we flash forward instead to friday night, again at the murdered city music festival in scenic downtown brantford (and by scenic i mean mostly-boarded-up). the hylozoists, tokyo police club, and the meligrove band all put on great shows. i wasn't too crazy about kitchens and bathrooms though. don't really dig the death metal math rock.

anyways, one of the more interesting parts of the night was running into shawna, of the neglected journal known as pyramidique . i hadn't seen her since before i left for florida, so we had went over to a local (and skeezy) bar and had catch-up drinks.

after the shows, there was music and dancing, so i hung out for a bit, because they were playing good music. then the dj decided it was past his bedtime and packed up, but the ford plant doesn't have a set closing time, because it's not a bar, and people wanted to keep dancing. therefore i volunteered my 9,000+ song-bearing ipod as makeshift dj, mostly because i like playing good music really loud. the dance party eventually broke down into a full-out water fight, but i basically just stayed near the sound board with my ipod, knowing that all the expensive electronics would act as a deterrent against the water-fighters. anyways, it was a good time. i played music/danced into the wee hours of the morning. it's nice to see that this city still has the tiniest bit of life left in it... life that's not addicted to painkillers and/or methadone, that is.

then today i went to stratford with my sister and saw ghosts, another ibsen play. i liked it this time, though. the audience was annoying as fuck... i think half the people that go to the shows there don't realize that every single play isn't a fucking comedy. there are always people laughing at completely inappropriate places, and it pisses me right the fuck off. it completely ruins the mood. i can't imagine how the actors must feel when people laugh during deadly serious scenes. however, i get some feeling of justice when only one or two people start to laugh, then immediately stop because they realize no one is laughing with them. ah, the awkwardness.

and william hutt was there again! i think he's stalking me. either that or he just really likes ibsen plays. he's such a legend in stratford he has a bridge named after him, and on our walk back to the car, my sister and i actually watched him walk across his namesake bridge. he stopped in the middle and looked off of it into the water... almost as if to say "this is my fucking bridge, bitches." yes, i'm sure that's exactly what he was thinking.
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