Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Home on the range

The title says it all. Finally home after almost 3 weeks straight on the road. Got back from calgary the night of the 9th, and left on the 11th to my parents place. left there on the 20th via the train and got home the 21st.

The train ride was nice, although not particularly restful. i think i would have gotten almost as much sleep in coach, but i guess i didnt have to deal with as many annoying people, so it was worth it. on the way back we got to ride in a newer train, with many fancy new features and a slightly better suspension. flat screen tvs and a nicer bar area to relax in, but no dome car unfortunately.

Family seems to be doing allright. mom and dad have more cats than ever before, topping out at 19. its only a matter of time till they round up to a more even 20. still not going to exchange gifts with them, the donations will have to do. however i did get things for loraleis family. the shopping experience this year was almost completely unenjoyable, im not sure im willing to do that ever again. it was nice when i didnt have to go out into a crowded mall searching for inspiration while dealing with the general publics stupidity. donations all around next year.

All the christmas shopping is done now, and its a damn good thing. getting anywhere in ottawa when its snowing takes about 5x as long as it should. people here are bad drivers, and the snow accentuates that fact. im sure people everywhere are bad drivers, but the worst driver is always in front of you somehow.

I finally got my xbox 360! it arrived just as i got back from calgary, so i really only had a day to play with it and then i hit the train for pei. but now i finally get some time to play it and relax. its a great console. i picked up a bunch of games: call of duty 2, project gotham racing 3, cameo elements of power. all pretty decent. also picked up a bunch of older xbox games to add to my collection: jade empire, the grand theft auto trilogy, halo 2, SSX on tour, and crimson skies. all of them work except for SSX on tour, which will probably be working shortly. they update the emulation software for the old xbox fairly frequently.

Xbox live is pretty impressive. i like how it keeps track of all your acheivements. its how online gaming should be done, with voip and email and all that good stuff. it remains to be seen how well sony is going to do online gaming with their console, but i think its going to be pretty hard to beat live. a consistent online gaming environment is paramount to success of any nextgen console i would think, and i hope sony gets it right this time.

so the controller is wonderful and wireless and ill never ever go back to wired controllers again. the headset pops into the controller and its all transmitted wirelessly too. it even goes so far as to separate the voicechat to only be heard through the headset and not the speakers. i like how microsoft is selling all these little games now through live arcade (eg: bejeweled, hexic, etc.) i think theres a great market for them, and the muliplayer matchmaking from live makes it that much better. just download and play in about 5 minutes, now you'll never need to leave your flat. the icing on the cake though is gauntlet and smashtv are now on live arcade and with full multiplayer. i remember how hard it was to get 4 players to play together on the old arcade machines, but now its a snap.

missed out on snowboarding for the first time today. i was going to wait for nick to get home to go to pakenham for some night skiing since the conditions are PERFECT. however i was off at 3:30, and nick didnt end up getting home till 7:30, and night skiing ends at 10, so there was no point in going then. let this be a lesson to me, never wait for nick to go snowboarding. nick will be at least an hour later than i think hes going to be, and ill end up wasting my time. oh well, i guess tomorrows another day.

work is slowing down, unsuprisingly. next monday and tuesday are stat holidays, and most people have the rest of that week off. someones bringing in their 360 to hook up to the projector at work, since there wont be anything to do, but we all want to bill for the time anyhow. today was more drinks at lunch, to celebrate the winter solstice. apparently christmas may have originated as an innacurate solstice celebration, back in the day. or was conveniently moved to co-locate with a solstice celebration. ill drink to that.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On the road again

Life on the run.

I'm out in the Calgary office of GD right now. fun stuff. It's good to get out and see a new city.. Calgary seems pretty great. Who knows, might move out here someday. You can never really complain about canadian cities, theyre all pretty nice in their own way, none of them are particularly dirty or dangerous. and theyre all usually no more than 20 minutes to a decent park for outdoor adventures.

Banff in particular is quite amazing, one of the highlights of my trip out here. went up on the gondola and dunked in the hot springs. I'll definitely be back to explore this summer at some point, and I'm bringing my hiking legs with me.

So I'm staying at the quality inn here in calgary, which really is a misnomer. It's not very quality at all. but it is cheap. and all i really need is somewhere to rest my head.

Another good point for calgary is that Alberta has no PST, and it made it saved me a few bucks when I did all my shopping out here :) The problem now becomes how do i get all this stuff back? I was considering abusing the interoffice overnight freight, but i guess i should stay above board.

Calgary has a pretty enormous game store, the sentry box. I picked up a few games that i havent been able to find in ottawa's fandom II. considering this was following a previous game buying binge, ill have new games to play well into the new year.

After all this running about to calgary and whatnot I'm more than ready for vacation, which starts this friday. taking the train home which should prove relaxing, maybe ill get to crack a book for a change.