Dear me, it has been some time since I updated this site
with anything new. Nearly four months? I have been neglectful.
It's not that surprising, though, since my life has taken
on an element of stability that I haven't seen in many years
and there simply isn't a lot of news to post. A little ways
down the page, I mentioned that I was starting work at Hôpital
Maisonneuve-Rosemont as a medical physicist and what do you
know! I'm still there. The transitory period was tough, since
I spent about a month and a half acclimating to my new job
while also finishing my Master's thesis, but that's all been
done with for a good while now and the rest of the fall was
spent simply bein' a Workin' Man.
Of course, I still have my hobbies. Foremost
among them right now seems to be publication, although
it comes in many guises. First there's this: GameSpite
Year One, Volume One. Jeremy Parish has finally
decided to start his media empire in earnest, and everyone
knows that the best way to legitimize the written word
is to print it out on something tangible. Clay tablet
prices being what they are, he is instead opting for
your good, old fashioned dead tree. This release is
notable, of course, because it marks the first time
that people have ever paid actual money to own something
that I've written - very cool! You should probably buy
one for each of the important people in your life, since
how are they to know that you care for them if you don't
acquire material goods on their behalf?
To commemorate this momentous occasion, I've decided
to publish another article on the site. Behold the splendor
that is Astro Boy: Omega Factor, one of my favorite
games for that wonderful little system the GameBoy Advance.
You can, and let's be honest here, should, go and read
that right now. I mean really, right now.
Aside from that, I'm also trying to turn my thesis work into
an article, ideally to be published in a respectable scientific
journal. I figure that writing this down in a public space
will force me to actually do this, lest I appear foolish in
front of the droves of people that read my site. Hopefully
this little bit of self-delusion will help me to actually
get some work done one it. Time will tell!
Gaze upon my works Monday, August 18 2008
97 pages, 21,387 words, 41 pictures. One year. Now it's done,
at least in the form of a first draft.
I think it's time to go play some Bionic Commando.
Put the boogie in your Butte Thursday, July 17 2008
There are no records available to prove it, but I just came
back from Montana and the National Folk Festival at Butte.
Airdance rocked faces and installed the boogie in the posteriors
of many, but since I'd loaned out my camera (and kinda broke
Elvie's while I
was there, sorry 'bout that) I don't have any pictures to
show for the trip. Further misfortune: it seems that the combination
of my general stress level and the fatigue brought about by
traveling have me starting a cold in the middle of July. Crud.
I'll be sure to get some rest, since in four days (!) I'm
starting work at Maisonneuve-Rosemont - thankfully, three
of those days will be spend at the cottage, doing some hardcore
relaxing. Well, relaxing and working on my thesis, but it's
hard to complain about how hard you're working from a hammock.
Today was also, not coincidentally, my last day in the lab
at the Montreal General Hospital. Perhaps I should say "my
last afternoon", though, because I'll probably be spending
a great deal of evenings at the old lab while I finish up
my research. Sadly, there will not be a lot of time to relax
between here and September, but I'll try to make the most
of what I have. Rock Band and Mega Man will both figure prominently.
In the meantime, it's time to celebrate this transition with
some large living: dinner tonight is a whole box of President's
Choice White Cheddar Macaroni - and it's all for me! Happiness
is everywhere for the simple-minded.
The scarlet letter Monday, June 30 2008
If I look a little different, it's probably the bright red
G emblazoned on my forehead. Yes, after many years of generally
being a geek, I have officially upped the ante - I am geekier
now than I ever have been before. And since the internet is
forever, nothing will ever erase what I have done - so I might
as well own up to it!
You're looking at (the website of) the proud winner of a
copy of the 3-disc soundtrack to Etrian Odyssey II, a delightful
game for the DS that harkens me back to my earliest days of
geekdom: playing Wizardry on the PC Jr. In fact, when you
get right down to it, Etrian Odyssey is basically a version
of Wizardy whose malevolence toward the player has been couched
behind a layer of cute anime characters...which apparently
was all I needed to fall in love with the genre again. I'll
spare you the details, but suffice to say that I liked the
previous game enough to want a copy of the soundtrack to its
sequel, despite the fact that I don't actually like the music
in either game all that much.
So it's pretty damn geeky that I won a copy of the soundtrack
to a videogame and it's even more geeky that I'm sad that
I didn't win the vinyl figurine depicting the blonde-haired
protector (read: paladin) featured on the cover of the games/soundtrack...but
both of these pale compared to the ginormous geekiness which
is due to what I had to do to win it in the first place. I
had to write Etrian Odyssey fan fiction for my characters
in the original game oh god I'm sorry. However! I promised
to own up to my sins, so
here it is for all the world to see. Please don't judge
me too harshly.
Anyway, in much more important news, I will be starting my
new job in precisely three weeks. This is terrifying! It's
also great, except that between now and then I have to finish
my research, play for a contradance
weekend, fly to Montana
and record a CD. Then I have about 3 more weeks of full-time
work, during which time I will have to actually finish my
thesis...which means I'd do well to get some serious writing
done now. Oh dear. So if this place seems a little lonlier
than usual, please be understanding.
Not that it will, of course, since I only update once every
two months to begin with.
Valken Punch! Monday, April 14 2008
Things may seem quiet, but behind the scenes, my future is
being decided. So mysterious!
What isn't mysterious is my participation in GameSpite
Issue 6 - Extra Deluxe Action Edition! You can check out
my article on the wonderful SNES action game Cybernator
by following any of the handy links above. (You may also notice
that my article made the coveted issue banner as well, surely
due to the stunning quality of its writing.) This article
marks my debut as a, I kid you not here, a Professional
Game Writer. Because the only requirement for being professional
writer is that someone is paying you to do it.
Trapped beneath a winter wonderland Tuesday, March 11 2008
Snow is the best thing about winter. Think about it: without
snow, winter would be cold, dark and ugly. Add in that magical
white fluff and suddenly everything is beautiful! You can
ski and sled, build snowforts, jump off of buildings and,
best of all, everything gets magically quieter when there's
a nice layer of snow on the ground.
But this is maybe taking things a bit far.
We're approaching a record amount of snowfall in Montreal
this year, and due to the design of our back yard there is
a mountain of the stuff currently piled up behind
our apartment. Not quite sure what I mean? Bear in mind that
the snow is almost piled up to the window...on the second
story. To give you a better idea, here's a view from our living
It's impressive, but also kind of creepy. At this rate there's
a decent chance that we'll be shoveling out our back yard
in mid June.
Full disclosure: the major snowstorm that drove things from
"pretty" to "overwhelming" actually happened
a little over a week ago. Since I can't seem to update in
a timely manner, I've decided to backdate this entry by a
week. This also means that I have the prescience to know that
my new Nephew-to-be-Named-Later will be born tomorrow morning
in Victoria. Happy birthday, buddy! You'll soon come to appreciate
Uncle Mike's talents for divination.
The one true purpose of the internet Monday, February 18 2008
Here is a picture. A picture of my cat.
(It's a bit blurry, as the rules require it to be.)
The cat is a fairly recent addition to our household, we
picked him up from the SPCA about 2 weeks ago. He's adorable
(naturally), friendly and fairly energetic. Despite his looks,
he's a mere 6 months old and still behaves like a kitten more
than a cat. He has taken to climbing into all sorts of places
where he really shouldn't be going, but I'll be damned if
I have a clue how to prevent this from happening. I imagine
that experience will eventually teach him that certain places
are better left unexplored (how many times must I rescue you
from behind the TV??), but one should only expect so much
rationality from a cat.
You may notice the prevalence of impersonal pronouns in the
above paragraph; this is because we have yet to finalize a
name for our kitty. Several have been proposed and internally
I am currently thinking of him as Nigel. There is no reason
to believe, however, that this name has "gone gold"
and will be presented to the public. Suggestions are always
welcome, but be forewarned that I will under no circumstances
give my cat a name like DeathBringür or Flan.
Also of note: today, upon flexing my right arm, I made my
shirt explode. This was kind of sad, because I really liked
that shirt; on the bright side, I now have one more thing
in common with Hulks both Incredible and Hogan. I'm not at
liberty to say what other traits we share, but I will say
that I am completely green from head to toe. Actually, I just
totally made that up.
Year of the KitKat Thursday, January 10 2008
Would you look at that, it's 2008. Another digit gone forever,
another calendar thrown away and another chance to make the
same mistakes all over again. Or to make all new ones, whatever
you prefer. Since the beginning of the year offers us a proverbial
blank page with which to start anew, I thought I would literally
offer you a blank page and push the old news posts into their
own little corner. If I had some sort of blogging software,
it would probably do this for me automatically, but as it
stands I like to get my hands dirty mucking about with the
innards of this site manually.
It's still a bit early to determine just how 2008 is going
to go, but if there's a theme to it thus far it is clearly
Japanese snacks. I'll admit that I'm no stranger
to Pocky (since I am a huge nerd), but 2008 looks like it
will be a banner year for exotic snacks that come from shiny
bags within stylish boxes. Behold: the chestnut KitKat!
One of the PhD students in our lab went to Japan
over the holidays and was kind enough to bring us back some
of the wacky KitKats they have over there. There was also
a green tea flavored KitKat included in the haul, but since
I don't really like green tea I elected to try this one instead.
Turns out it's actually pretty tasty! The most surprising
part was not the chestnut-flavored filling (which was actually
pretty subtle in its chestnuttiness), but that the wafers
were coated in white chocolate. Truly, a wonder to
Since inaugurating the year with a description
of a foreign candy bar seems a little weak, I'll throw in
my latest media consumption and some annotated thoughts about
the various items consumed.
Shake Hands With the Devil
About once every two years I give myself a "serious"
book to read, which ends up taking a good 6 months for me
to get through. Such was the case with Romeo Dallaire's recounting
of the Rwandan genocide of the early 90s, although I actually
read about 60% of the book in the space of 3 days at my parents'
house. It's a chilling tale of man's barbarity and unwillingness
to help people in need! Not the feel-good book of the year
by any stretch, but I'm glad I fought my way through it -
hopefully some of the important messages contained within
will stick with me for a little while, despite the best efforts
of videogames to dislodge them.
Half-Life 2 and Episodes One & Two
Speaking of which! I've spent a lot of time
playing these games, included as they were in The Orange Box.
They were good. Maybe an 8/10 on my personal scale, good fun
but not (as I'm fond of saying) life-altering. The included
Portal was a neat little bit of entertainment as well, although
it suffered greatly from the ridiculous overhyping that the
internet has been inflicting upon it since its release. With
my expectations set that high, it was impossible for it not
to disappoint a little bit - if Valve gets around to releasing
some new content for it, I'll snap it up right away and hopefully
get to play through it without bias. Finally, there was Team
Fortress 2, which surprisingly seems to have become my favorite
part of the whole package. Why that surprises me is a mystery,
since I basically spent an entire summer doing nothing but
playing the original Team Fortress (via Quake) while working
at IBM in Bromont. It was fun then, and it's fun (and pretty)
I think that's about it for now. I'm currently
tackling The Yiddish Policeman's Union by
Michael Chabon, which I'm very keen on so far, while simultaneously
getting in touch with my geeky roots by replaying Final
Fantasy IV. Well, not actually simultaneously, but
maybe we could agree on "concurrently". Yes, that's
what we will call it.
Anyway, let's all try to make the best of 2008.
Keep your eyes peeled, hopefully soon I'll have another article
posted over at GameSpite.net for your perusal. In the meantime,
why not go back into the news archive and relive the glories
and tragedies of 2007? It beats working for a living.