Archive for the ‘ Geek ’ Category

XBox Xcapade

I was told that today was my lucky day.

Without question, said the plucky clerk, would I obtain what I desired if I only showed up early enough.

Thought I: Sounds like a reasonable proposition – sacrifice sleep for goodies!

Therefore: I found myself on the bus on the way to Atwater’s FutureShop at the ungodly hour of 7:15 am to actually participate for once in the mass hysteria that is known as xmas shopping, on the renowned absolute worst day of the entire year to do it.

I should have known something was up when the very first step I took outside my home ended up splashing the melting slush all over my right shoe.  As the street water and grime slowly worked their way into my sock, soaking me for hours to come, I should have recognized a bad omen for what it was, and not just a stupid mistake attributable to my drunken sleep-deprived state.

So on the bus then (omens aside).  The nice thing about taking public transport in the wee hours of the morning is that there are no silly little cars to get in the way of bus drivers’ dreams of one day being F1 racers.  I swear, we could have take out a little old woman (who seem to populate the streets in unsettling numbers at that time of the day) and barely even felt the crunch of her walker.  I arrived at my destination in a record-breaking 6 minutes, white with fear and standing, since I didn’t have much time to even contemplate sitting down.

I stake out the store, and there doesn’t seem to be a line formed at the main entrance.  Strange, thought I.  For wherefore art thou bloodthirsty, teeth-gnashing holiday revelers?  My mistake – the line forms on the second floor.  Although arriving merely at 7:30 (opening at 8 ), there is a family group at the front, clustered around something that I cannot see.  I hear sounds coming from the middle of their half-circle.  Could it be that they’re pumping themselves up for the carnage that will soon unfold?  Is it some ritualistic chant that somehow grants them unparalleled product-gripping hand strength?  My curiosity overpowers me.  I get behind them in line, and witness the horrible truth.

They’re watching a movie on a portable DVD player.  Sneering, I take my place in line behind the "second" customer, a really hawt girl sitting on a provided chair showing off her tattoo to anyone lucky enough to sit behind her.  This really was my lucky day!  A 360 soon to be in my hands, and this in the meantime!

We hear some clanking noises near the gate.  Our heads turn.  The little kid in the family unit (still wearing flannel pyjama pants) jumps up excitedly at the emergence of a number of uniformed store clerks approaching the front of the line.  It’s not even 7:40 yet, I think, what’s up?

It turns out that FS employees regularly let in the first people in line (personally accompanied by a store clerk) go choose whatever the hell they got up at this ungodly hour for.  I felt like I was on a blind date!  Who would I get paired up with?  Would we be compatible?  Would we like the same sort of things?

I meet my match.  Nervous and shy, I mumble ‘salut’ and follow him into the store.  Everyone seems to be going for the xbox rack.  I overhear the hawttie telling her clerk "partner" that she’s been here since 5 am.  FIVE!  Now that’s dedication.  I can see the xbox aisle approaching.  The clerk stops.  I stop.  Something’s wrong.  I can see it in his face.  He drops the bombshell.

"Oh yeah, we only have core systems, you know that – right?"

AIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!

As any knowledgeable gamer knows, the only box to get is the premium systems, because it comes with a hard drive and all sorts of wonderful features that the core doesn’t include, but more importantly the premium edition allows you to play the games you owned for the previous xbox on the new one.  Without it, you’re restricted to only new games, and on top of that, no game saving unless you buy a memory card.

Clearly. Inadequate.

My partner seems to read into my disappointment.  If it weren’t for the fact that I was crushed right now, I could certainly see the beginning of a wonderful relationship forming.  I ask him what I should do.  And then – joy – a glimmer of hope!

"You can give me a call – I can tell you when they’ll arrive, and you can show up early and grab one when they do!"

It’s not much, but at least I’m not coming away empty-handed!  And then – score! – he gives me his extension number!  Hot damn!  I picked up a clerk!

We head towards the exit.  Shyly I ask him when he would think a good time to call would be.  I don’t want to rush things, you know?  That might scare him off.

"I’m on vacation in the first week of January, but you can give me a call the week after that!"

Annoyed, but satisfied for now, I head out back into the slush.  One 4-minute rocket bus ride with my body plastered to the back of the bus later, I find myself back at home, with hope in hand in the form of a hastily scribbled note.  My day will come.

Now, I’m fucking going back to sleep.

Pwnage

Can you say: ‘Way too much free time’?

Of course, mocking the guy doesn’t mean that I’m not still incredibly impressed by his l33tn3ss.

Super Mario 3 in 11 minutes!

p.s.: If you need help understanding words with numbers in them, please refer to the big M.

Episode III, finally!

The things I do to get my geek fix.  What a night!

I had been dreading yesterday night, because like an idiot I had forgotten about my team’s practice being on the same night as the premiere of Episode III, and so I had to come up with a way to get downtown as fast as possible and join my friends in line and still be able to go to practice.  On top of it, I find out during the day that there’s also a gathering taking place at that haven of truly authentic Mexican experience, Carlos and Pepes, located on Peel (‘Try the chalupas!’).  Luckily, I happened to have some ripped up pieces of paper, some chlorine and some bleach and I was easily able to fashion myself a precarious timetable for the evening after a bit of mulching.

It turned out to be a mistake to order food so near to the practice, as I found out that I move about as quickly as Jabba the Hut (*snort*) on a pitch with three or four fajitas at the bottom of my stomach.  On the other hand, my enhanced Spanish cursing vocabulary clearly scared my teammates away from me, leaving me with the ball most of the time.  That and the intense glare off my new cleats, which according to my sources, are about ‘as blinding white as the nucleus of the sun’.  Here’s hoping that I decide to play in a mud pit with them soon.

Leaving practice slightly early, I caught a lift back home, it was a tire-burin’ run worthy of the cheesiest dukes of hazzard chase scene, with the potholes and uneven pavement of sherbrooke street substituting for the hills of san fran.  A quick shower (think water+bucket+tub+me) and I was off once again, destination: Paramount!

I get there and I see that there seems to be an awful lot of people trying to get into Ben’s restaurant.  Now, Ben’s is a legendary long-lived establishment in Montreal, but it doesn’t have exceptionally good food – it’s basically a hangout for older folks who still want the same type of meals they got in the 50′s – namely, the more gritz the better.  I soon realize that it’s not Ben’s they’re trying to get into – it’s the Paramount theatre at the complete opposite end of the block.  Flabbergasted, I ask myself how the hell I’m supposed to find my friends waiting in line, until the weight in my pocket reminds me of the magical properties of cell phones in social meeting situations.  I easily hook up with the rest of the peeps, and see that we’re about 3/4 of the way down the block to the front door.  Decent, because there are 12 theatres showing the movie, each sitting about 300 people.  So you have to figure that even if you see about 500 people standing in line ahead of you, you’re still doing pretty good.

For not the last time of the night, I wished I had brought my camera along with me as a light saber duel broke out in the street in front of us, which distracted us from the guy in the parking lot on the other side of the line twirling balls of fire on strings.  He sucked though – he kept splashing the petrol all over himself.  We stayed clear.  In any case, the saber duel was much more entertaining as the commentary from the crowd cheered them on (‘Kick him in the nuts!’)

About an hour later, the line shuffled forwards, and in we went.  Seat strategy already having been discussed among us, we all knew what we had to do – attempt to secure 9 seats together in a reasonably far back and central position.  No small task!  We entered the theatre, ignoring the megaphone shouts of the exhausted paramount employees, and went as quickly up the escalators as possible.  Since we were in theatre 11, we had to not only break for it once we hit the first floor landing, we had to get up to the top of the stairs on the second level before heading into the theatre.  Putting my vastly underused talent for squirming quickly through thick crowds to use (Hey, it sometimes pays to be thin), I manage to reach the escalators before the others in my party.  Disgusted at the lack of speed of the escalators, and obvious congestion, I change methods of elevation on the halfway landing and take the stairs, joining a party friend who was now level with me.  We bound up the rest of the stairs two at a time, bypassing all the overweight computer geeks along the way, and dash to the theatre 11.  We quickly survey the scene, and as discussed, we split up and head up opposite aisles, determined to meet in the middle somewhere with enough seats between us.  Sure enough, we spot our prize at the back two rows, we quickly disrobe our jackets, and we fling ourselves onto the cushiony goodness, waiting for others.

Thinking that a bathroom break is a good idea before the marathon 3 hour movie starts, we head to the head.  Unfortunately, lots of people had the same idea.  It was one of those rare occasions that the guy’s bathroom had a large lineup and the women’s had none.  I remarked upon this fact loudly to complete strangers in line with me, to which I received a obvious response (’98% of the people here are guys!’).  True – I could have counted the females I saw that night on the fingers of my two hands.

The most obvious highlighting of this point (i.e. we are surrounded by nerds, and we’re part of them) was when we saw a some people whip out a couple of laptops in the theatre to watch episode II before the movie started.  The other lappy was playing some strange cel-shaded anime version of star wars.  Odd, really.

The movie was decent – it did a good job of explaining everything that they needed to explain.  It wasn’t an exceptional movie by itself, but it fit in well with the rest of the story and would have been fine if only this episode had been released instead of the I, II and III.  In any case, if you want a review of the movie, I’m sure you can find that somewhere else.  The only complaint with the movie I had was of the strange periodic whistling that was playing throughout the entire movie.  Two hours in, I finally figured out that it was in fact not part of the doubly surround super 10.1 subwoof galactic magic sound, but actually the nose of the heavyset fellow immediately to my right.  It’s hard to concentrate on the deep conversations that Anakin is having with Padme (‘I love you*999,999′) with such a noise in my ear, but I managed to hang on.  I am worthy of the Jedi council.

After the show and much cheering and clapping, the problem was then exiting the theatre, since all the escalators were jammed.  Out of the corner of my eye I spot the pearly-white stucco walls lining what appears to be an emergency exit opened for the occasion.  It looks a bit sketchy, but the attendant assured us we wouldn’t get lost if we didn’t stray… whatever that means, dude. 

We manage to leave through the secret exit, thoroughly scaring the shit out of the people lining up for the 3 a.m. show (!!!)  by the hidden door.  High fives are dished out all around for leaving so quickly, and we all depart our separate ways.  I get home, exhausted from a crazy night, at a quarter to 4.  The next day I wake up at a blissful 1 p.m.  It was a good night.

OR, how to ignore your friends, family, your tabby cat and your blog while you enjoy the adventures of a snotty-nosed kid and his friends whilst they do battle with the Dark Lord.

In honor of the upcoming 6th of a series of 7 books describing the trials and tribulations of everybody’s favorite scar-toting wunderwizkid, I’ve recently been reading the Harry Potter series over again.  It’s just as I thought – nothing has changed!  It’s the same damn stories!  Disappointing, really, when you compare the archaic form of the written, unchanging word to the star trek-esque wizard photos that move and wave, constantly changing.  Now that’s variety.  How cool would it be if the contents of a book changed every time you read it?  Sure,  the book would eventually become quite useless (just like brakes on a fat kid’s tricycle), but at least you wouldn’t be bored!  Imagine, the Holy Bible, now with an additional chapter dedicated to home improvement!  Hey, the hippie was a carpenter.  Feel like referring to your favorite recipe?  Too bad!  It’s just turned into an exhaustive list of dirty limericks.  Exciting, no?

But Harry Potter not only has the identical initials of a delightful brand of steak sauce, his world is also a plausible alternative explanation to those things in life that just don’t.. well, jive.  Personally, I was sure something was up with that zoom zoom kid – a.k.a. Mr. Creepy Head.  Now, we know better – he’s nothing more than a bewitched cabbage-patch kid.  See?  After understanding comes acceptance.  Not tolerance though – that freak with a cabbage for a mother can rot in a special level of hell along with his decomposing vegetable brethren.  But I digress, as usual.  Back to ignoring your life through HP.  It’s quite easy to do, actually – convince yourself that some great beast of a man will soon pay you a visit by kicking down your door and tell you about your wizarding heritage.  Then, you’ll realize that your only choice left is to leave your white-collar job, home, family, friends and your pension plan, and then enroll in the continuing education department of Hogwarts.  

At that point, everything else starts to seem a little less important than getting past Fluffy the three-headed dog (ignoring your lower back pain) and finding the philosopher’s stone, killing a gigantic basilisk snake with your eyes closed (and with one hand tied behind your back!), fighting off the kiss of a dementor (and he didn’t even buy you flowers!), winning the triwizard cup (retail value US$4.99), or fighting a media war with the Ministry of Magic (it was horrible… paper cuts everywhere!).  So you can see where I’m coming from.

I’m therefore ready for book 6 come July.  I saw the cover – Harry and Dumble-mumble-dore are fighting together against some unknown foe, surround by a freaking ring of fire!  Sweeeeeet.  Heck, not only am I ready for July – but I’m also of a sufficiently buffered mindset to protect me from the crappiness that may be Episode III come Wednesday.  See, we shall.  Hmm!

STFU u n00bs!  You don’t know anything about the l33t skience of physics, fule!

…at least not until you read this..