November 27, 2013
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This is a cycling nerd totally geeking out. He might be me.
Okay, just to warn you in advance, this article is a doozie. I also meant to post it months ago.
Today – Sunday, September 8th, 2013 – was a life defining day for me. Not in a “I’m quitting my job and living off the Earth from now on” kind of way, but in a life-defining “I know what I love” way. It’s a day when you recognize at the end of it that your life will never be the same, because you understand yourself that much better. My dad would have said it represented being on the path to self-actualization.
It’s a day when you catch foreign tourists photographing you as you make a phone call at a telephone booth while leaning on a mountain bike and are covered head to toe in mud; a day when you see your father cry as you approach him holding a piece of paper that says “degree” on it; a day when you turn to your brother beside you and scream “we’re going to the Stanley Cup finals!”; a day when you stand on a beach and watch the first place team paddle in and cross the finish line at Eco-Challenge; a day when you see your future wife walking towards you with barely contained emotion; a day when you stand on a mountain ridge and look around at 360 degrees of forever and realize it’s exactly the place you want to be at exactly the time you want to be there; a day when you get goosebumps as people cheer you on crossing the finish line at the Ride to Conquer Cancer; a day when you first hold your son or daughter, look down at them, and feel their warmth and their movement…
So now that you know my biography, what happened to me, today? Well, I went to a bike race. Sounds pretty stupid, right? Read more of this post
October 18, 2011
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Lego Pirates of the Caribbean rules. Get this game.
As we were finishing our last Lego adventure (Lego Star Wars III), we were seriously holding high hopes about Lego Pirates of the Caribbean. Why? Because Lego Star Wars III was so awful. Bad levels, really annoying quests to get to 100%, and it just plain was not as much fun as the original Lego Star Wars (the Complete Saga). As general fans of the Lego movie adaptation video games, we really wanted Lego Pirates to be good. It was sitting there, unopened as we fought our way through that Star Wars fiasco, but we couldn’t just give it up, admit defeat and move on. The reward, my friends, was triumphant.
While one of my main complaints about Lego Star Wars III was that the general mayhem smash-em-up bonus levels was something we really missed, and while Lego Pirates didn’t end up having much of that either, it was such a far superior game that we didn’t even notice. Lego Pirates is all around just a blast to play, and yeah, I wouldn’t be writing this unless we’d gotten to 100% complete. Not only that, but we got all the PS3 trophies that are built into the game, something we’ve not worked with before as our Lego game-play to this point has been on Wii. We are now in the process of collecting the other Lego games for PS3, because they look a lot better and feel a lot better there! So, fun replay value down the road.
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June 6, 2011
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Lego Star Wars III
Well geez, it’s been an aeon since I last posted anything. Things have been busy, and I’ll put a bunch of that up here.
One of the things we’ve been busy with is video games. Read me, we were busy, darn it. We’ve been playing Lego Star Wars III through on the Wii. We’re kind of addicted to these Lego games, they really are a lot of fun.
We were really excited (and surprised, to be honest) that another Lego Star Wars game was coming out. Excited is obvious, but we were a little surprised because the last Lego game covered all six Movies (if you count the prequels as movies). The plot of this game came from the Clone Wars animated show. Maybe it’s because we didn’t watch any of the Clone Wars, or maybe it’s because the game itself was a little weird, but we didn’t enjoy this game as much as Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga. That’s not to say we didn’t like the game – it definitely had its moments – but there seemed to be a lot more tedium involved in completing this one to 100% (anything less in a Lego game would be unacceptable) that made it a little less enjoyable. Read more of this post
March 26, 2011
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Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson
An absolute classic, Treasure Island (first published in 1883) is the original in the “pirates as heroes” genre. A swashbuckling adventure from Bristol to the high seas, it follows the adventures of Jim Hawkins and a motley crew of sea-faring buccaneers on a quest for Captain Flint’s buried treasure. I just finished reading it again, and it’s hilarious to read and compare it to modern adventure equivalents (I’m thinking the modern Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise). The movies have stolen all of their characterization from this book!
The most famous pirate of all time found his introduction in Treasure Island. Long John Silver is the perfect anti-hero… sometimes he’s against the grain, and sometimes he’s with it, but you like him regardless. Johnny Depp studied the mannerisms of Keith Richards when bringing Captain Jack Sparrow to life, but that character is every bit Long John Silver. Silver is not over-confident, he is just sure of what he’s doing, every moment he’s doing it. Whether he’s on your side or someone else’s, Silver is always on his side. Watching the pirate movies of 120 years later, Sparrow’s allegiance to himself is just as sure and steady as is Silver’s.
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February 5, 2011
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A few friends and I took advantage of a “Digital Film Festival” last night to go and see a true classic action thriller. We saw James Cameron’s 1986 movie, Aliens. The followup to Ridley Scott’s suspense classic, Aliens starts where Alien left off with Ripley drifting in space, and ends in total war.
The movie itself has some awesome pieces that go together to make a truly complete movie. The shots where Ripley is coming out of the elevator on her way to save Newt, and again when she is revealed to the queen Alien in the power-loader at the end of the film have to be two of the greatest film scenes of the 1980s. In addition, some great acting performances actually surface in what is supposed to be a smash-boom action movie. Bill Paxton’s Hudson is a completely ridiculous character, and when he’s not saying something hilarious in the foreground action, he can always be heard to be whining or moaning something inane in the background. “Game over, man!”
The marines in this movie also serve to give Cameron a cast of characterizations that he carries forward to his later movies, including The Abyss (one of my all-time favourites!) and Avatar. In fact, I think Aliens displays a lot more creativity than the much-revered Avatar, because in Avatar Cameron just recycles the marines from Aliens to create the hard-nosed “villains” of Pandora. The overall “I’m better than you” bravado always seems to get smashed to pieces in Cameron films, and Aliens starts the lesson with the xenomorphs, hah!
What stands out to me in Aliens 25 years after its release is how good it still looks today, even on the big screen. While some of the exterior space scenes look less polished than we’re used to seeing in modern space-faring adventures (the fact that it’s models and matte paintings is pretty clear), the creature and vehicle effects are beyond reproach. I have a hard time figuring out how they did this without computer graphics in 1986, because the Aliens are truly moving, alive, and in your face. Ripley’s fight scene with the queen xenomorph in the power-loader doubles the effect, by adding the awesome mechanical special effect of the power-loader.
If you’ve never seen Aliens, you have been missing out. Any way you see it – theatrical cut or extended version – it’s a wild and fun ride, and I choose to completely discount Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection. They take the awesome franchise, and just completely wreck it. Aliens is the best!