2006 Nov 27
Quick run that is… woke up a bit late and had to take a short run of 20 minutes at 5:40am. I need to be back at home by 6am, shower and get ready by 6:20am, at which time I have to wake the kids and get breakfast and lunch ready. We are out the door at 7:10am. That’s pretty much the morning schedule, btw.
Today I ran with my Shuffle hanging around my neck using the lanyard. Not sure if I liked it. It bounces around and I can hear an occasional click as it hits the plastic part of the cord. Plus that pristine white lanyard is going to get yucky pretty fast.
2006 Nov 26
Yesterday at about 2:30 I went out for a run. I planned to run my usual 4-mile route, but when I reached the halfway point, where I usually turn around, my legs felt so good that I just kept going. I estimate that I ran a little over 6 miles. (I’ll have to drive the route with my GPS later to make sure) When I got home, I could feel my legs were a bit tired. Actually it was more my joints rather than muscles. But my breathing and heartrate seemed to be fine. And today my legs felt ready to go again. We’ll see if I can wake up early enough tomorrow morning. The problem with morning runs is that I don’t have enough time for a long run. I usually have to cut it short at 40 minutes or so. Oh well, it’s better than nothing.
2006 Nov 25
I have played about 3.5 hours of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
on the Nintendo Wii
, and I am really enjoying it. The graphics are great, and the Wii control scheme is excellent! So far, it’s pretty easy, there haven’t been any major puzzles and the combat is simple. Right now, Link is in wolf form and the little demon/elf thing, Midra, helps out a lot with hints and stuff. I guess I am still in “tutorial” mode, but it’s still lots of fun.
One criticism that many people have made is that they wish there was voice acting in it, rather than just text. At first I agreed, but now I think I like it where the characters speak a tiny bit of “animalese” and then you read the rest. That little bit of voice is just enough to set the tone of the conversation and give you a bit of personality, plus the gestures and expressions of the characters is superb. But by letting you read the rest of the dialog, you can kind of leave it to your own imagination how the rest sounds. Kind of like reading a book as opposed to having an actor give you his interpretation of a character. I also enjoy the music a lot. The tunes are familiar to anyone who has played a Zelda game before, but also new and grand in scope. As I said before, the graphics are great. The overall setting and ambience is really well done. I was really into the cel-shading style of Wind Waker
, and wasn’t really looking forward to a more realistic looking Zelda game. But I think it is just about perfect what they have done. The characters still have that Zelda charm, but now are semi-anime looking. The overall mood is definitely darker than Wind Waker too, so I think they are really unique experiences. Which means I can keep playing Wind Waker as I play Twilight Princess.
It’s really a great game, and I can see myself actually finishing this one, alongside Wind Waker! I think the first vid game I ever finished was the original Legend of Zelda on the NES way back when. Since then I must have only finished a handful more, all from the NES days. With the estimated 70+ hours of gameplay that Twilight Princess has, it looks like I will be enjoying it for quite a long time!
2006 Nov 20
The original plan was to swing by Target, which was supposed to have 60 Wii’s for launch day, at around 5am. We figured that not many people would be camping, and that most would arrive around 6 or 7am. That plan would have failed. Luckily, we used a different plan, and this post is about our successful Wii camping experience.
At around 8pm Saturday night, Jeremy went on a scouting run to the local stores, including Wal-mart, Best Buy, as well as the Target we were planning on hitting. He said that there were already around ~25 people camped at Target. A quick check on www.consolecamp.com showed that there were ~50 people camping at the Target in South Austin. We started to feel that 5am would not be good enough, and decided that we would camp out to make sure we got our Wii’s. The only problem was that Mariko was out at the opera, and I had the kids (upstairs sleeping). O gnoes! Plus I knew that Mariko would most likely be going out with her friend for dessert and coffee… and operas are really frickin’ long. So, I stayed on my computer, IMing with my brother and Jeremy as it got later and later. I had all my gear ready to go: a couple chairs, a blanket, ski hat and fully charged DS. Finally at about 1am, Mariko arrives and I head out to pick up Jeremy. I think I remember Mariko saying something like, “You’re crazy.” I know, but apart from Wii fever, it seemed like camping out might be fun, and it was the weekend anyways. What better way for a couple of geeks to spend Sat night?
When we pulled up to Target, the line looked long. Not too long, but we couldn’t be sure. Our backup plan was to camp Best Buy, which was rumored to have ~90 Wii’s for sale. The information we got about Target having 60 was deemed more reliable, however, so that was our first choice. After parking the ol Sentra, we went to the front of the line, and there was a guy there who had a list. We signed our names at spots #54 and #55. The list maintainer, who had been camping since 2:30pm Sat. afternoon, said that the manager told him to keep the list, numbered 1-60. Whew! We just made it! We were stoked. Back to the Sentra to get our camping gear.
The weather was pretty good, absolutely no wind, and at 1:30am, did not seem too bad. T-zones said it was around 45°F. We parked our chairs next to a group of college age dudes, who were fully prepared. They had set up a sofa, loveseat, area rug, and coffee table, plus had a long extension cord to their truck to power their radio. It was good to have some tunes playing through the night. Their conversations were pretty amusing too. The best line we heard was “You got the munchies, bitch!” “Nah, I’m just hungry.” They had some kind of vaporizer dubbed “The Apparatus” which made an appearance a couple times, and prompted that dialog...
On the other side of us were some other dudes playing RISK. And the oddest was some guy wearing a trenchcoat and Doc’s, who just bagged his first deer earlier and explained the whole experience. We dubbed him “Columbine Kid”. Jeremy later said that he was kind of scared of that guy, and I agreed. The funny thing was, that guy wasn’t going to get a Wii, he was just there with his friends. Sure enough, as soon as the sun rose, he was gone.
At 6am as the sun was rising, a Target manager came out and explained that they would be handing out voucher tickets at 7am according to “The List” and then at 8am, we would be escorted into the store to purchase our Wii’s and games/accessories. He also said that we needed to pack away our chairs, tents, trash, etc. before then. 7am rolled around (not a moment too soon) and we all stood in line. The Target crew walked the line calling out our names according to “The List”, and we got our vouchers! One girl, who was #61 on the list decided to wait it out just in case, and it turns out that one person had left, and she lucked out and got the last spot. Along with the ticket, they also gave us pencils and accessory cards, where we could choose what we wanted to buy along with the Wii’s.
Between the time we got our vouchers and 8am, a number of people drove up and dropped of their kids to get in line. It was kind of sad to tell them that the tickets were all gone. But then again, we froze our butts off all night while they were all snug in their beds at home. You snooze, you lose!
At 8am, we were escorted into the store, and formed a line at the electronics department. Since we were near the back, it took about an hour to reach the register. Before that, though, the attendant took the accessory card and took your extra gear up to the register. I opted for The Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess (as did everyone, I think) and an extra Wiimote plus a pink cover for it for Mariko. Looking tired, but happy, Jeremy and I paid for our Wii’s and left the store, satisfied with our accomplishment!
I am so glad we did it. I mean, it was pretty fun actually! Kind of trippy since everyone got loopy that early in the morning, and a bit surreal at times. I bet the stores will have tons of Wii’s for sale in a couple days, but getting the Wii at launch was kind of cool, and fun too!
2006 Nov 19
I just got home from Target, where Jeremy and I camped for our Wiis. We arrived at Target at about 1:15am and were 54 and 55 on the list. The total # of units for our Target was 60, so we just made it! They also had 60 copies of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, one for each console, and I think everyone opted to get that as well… I am very tired right now, I got maybe 1/2 hour of sleep… more Wii info to come later!
2006 Nov 17
This morning I got up at 5:10am to go on my morning run. I knew it would be cold, so last night I got my long sleeve shirt and jacket ready. The wireless temperature gauge read 54°F, but I knew it had to be colder. I got dressed and checked my computer, and it said that the temperature for Cedar Park was 40°F. Starting my run, it didn’t feel that chilly. I had the hood over my head, and my iPod Shuffle cranked up, and wasn’t cold at all. It was very clear and lot of stars out. I don’t run with my glasses on, but I think I could even see the Milky Way.
I decided to run my usual 4-mile route, which takes me to the High School and back, and it was the easiest 4-miles I think I ever ran. I hardly broke a sweat (maybe the sweat just froze and broke off and I didn’t notice) and my legs were on auto-pilot the whole time. My playlist this morning worked out pretty good. There is a hill about 2/3 the way into the run, and I found that “Penny Lane” by The Beatles was a great tune for it. I still can’t figure out some of the lyrics, like, “A four of fish and finger pies” and “And tho’ she feels as if she’s in a play, she is anyway.” Maybe it’s a British thing… but the tune is uplifting and I was looking forward to hearing my favorite lyrics, “He likes to keep his fire engine clean, it’s a clean machine.” Anyways, I reached the top of the hill just as that ended and the next song was “Alone in Kyoto” by AIR. This is actually a really great running song. It is slow and contemplative, yet has a feeling of tense anticipation. And then you can hear your own breathing in the background, which makes it kind of neat. Plus I loved the movie “Lost in Translation” so maybe I was feeling like I was in a sort of mini-movie or something.
2006 Nov 16
I think that in order to cuss effectively, you need to be fluent, or very close to it, in the language you are using, or else it just sounds weird. Not so bad if it is a single word, like the S or F word, but when it’s used in a sentence, it just sounds wrong. Sometimes is kind of cute, but for the most part, it sounds like subltle Engrish. For instance, one photographer whose photos I really like said “yes the lighting is pretty shit (i like the crop) but her expression...” Kinda funny. But, I do admire the effort. And I wish I was as good at a second language!
2006 Nov 15
From the Sierra Club:
Switching from driving an average car to a 13mpg SUV for one year would waste more energy than if you…
* Left your refrigerator door open for 6 years
* Left your bathroom light burning for 30 years or
* Left your color television turned on for 28 years
I bought the set of “classic” Star Wars dvds when they came out last year but haven’t watched all of it yet. Just bits and pieces of my favorite scenes. Just the other day, Bay and I were watching the end of Return of the Jedi and while I knew the ghost of Anakin would be Hayden Christianson, I had never seen the little celebration scenes at Bespin, Theed, Tatooine, and Coruscant. Unlike many people, I like the added scenes. Even the little bits like the banthas cruising Tatooine before we see the skiffs and Jabba’s sail barge. But what was really cool about the new Return of the Jedi was the ending Ewok song. I always hated the old Ewok song. Just too muppety. This new song, though, is not silly at all. It’s actually kind of cool. Sounds a bit like that Peruvian folk music… On the other hand, the new song/dance sequence in Jabba’s palace is just horrible! I guess you can’t have it all.