MonthNovember 2008

Kawaii vs Spooky … FIGHT!

I just watched the following happen with Annette playing “Saltcake”, her new Death Knight character in WoW:

“Saltcake gently pats The Lich King.”

After I stopped laughing, this made me think – I wonder if anyone, instead of saying stuff like “You’re a monster!” and “We will avenge your father!”, has tried just being nice to the guy?

“Arthas! Good to see you! Come on in! Have a seat by the fire, you look cold. No? That’s fine, old chap, no problem. Can I get you anything? Would you like a drink, or something to eat? … Souls? I’ll check the kitchen, but I don’t think we have any souls. How’ve you been doing? You look pale, have you been ill?”

On an unrelated note, I was up ’till around 0630 this morning – I had a killer headache all night, so no sleep, coupled with the awesome roadworks going on outside featuring the roller which, I suspect, was specifically tuned to operated at the exact resonant frequency of my apartment building.

LIES!

I just opened a letter personally addressed to myself, which turned out to be from “Apartment Specialist” Daniel Horrobin, of Ray White real estate.

In this letter, Daniel has taken the time to “keep me up to date on our apartment market” despite my never having had dealings with him in any way. Isn’t that nice? That’s nice.

Daniel writes to let me know .. actually, there’s a couple of paragraphs of stuff, but it basically condenses down to “Real estate woo!” with a subtext of “Please select me as your real estate agent.”

Anyway, the funny bit comes at the end where, in an effort to assure you that stuff is actually selling, Daniel writes “I have included the most recent sales below.”

Then he lists two apartments that have sold in the last six months.

One of them is our apartment. It apparently sold in May of this year, an event of which I have no recollection.

To make this even funnier, this letter was mailed to me at our apartment.

The end result is that my initial zero level of interest in using this guy as a real estate agent is, as a result of his marketing efforts, now substantially less than zero. FAIL.

The Event Horizon producers are on the phone. They sound pissed.

So, I’ve started playing Dead Space, for when Annette can’t (or doesn’t want to) play World of Warcraft.

I keep imagining a meeting like this:

“Ah, Mr Perkins! Come in, come in, we can’t wait to see your presentation!”

“Thank you. Gentlemen, I give you the USG Ishimura, the latest in the “Planet-Cracker” class of interstellar mining vessels. As you can see, the basic design of the ship revolves completely around compartmentalization of tasks, and as such we’ve structured our design so that the malfunction of a single tram, or door control computer, will turn the task of moving around the vessel into a process that is simultaneously as linear as a rail-gun and as convoluted as a Klein bottle.”

“Well done!”

“I’m glad you appreciate how difficult that was… as you can see, decor throughout the ship, even in the crew zones, is based on a palette of textures and materials that we like to call “Rusty Metal”. All of these metals have been treated so that bloodstains will stick to their surfaces like crazy. Any crazed and/or disturbing messages that you scrawl on these walls using your own or someone elses blood, will stay legible for as long as you wish.”

“Excellent. A question, if I may. I’m concerned about the size and availability of the air vents. Can you tell us about that?”

“Of course – the air vents run throughout all areas of the ship, and are are about the size of .. oh .. about the size of an animated and deformed human corpse. Yeah. About that big.”

“Splendid. Now .. what about explosive barrels? Crates containing health packs and weapon ammunition? Are there … are there enough?”

“Gentlemen, there are shitloads.”

I herd you liek dragonballs?

After a lengthy torr .. uh, acquisition, I have begun my Dragonball watching.

I fear I have set myself a difficult task. I’ve now watched the first few episodes of Dragonball (not DBZ) and it’s .. quite painful. I suspect a lot of that is because I’m watching the english dub rather than a subtitled original, and the dubbing is pretty terrible.

Also, I’ve spent pretty much from friday dinnertime ’till this morning playing World of Warcraft. I haven’t played WoW this hardcore since the last expansion, and before than since when I got the damn game. And I’m only a couple of levels into the new content. Some people were level 80 about a day or so after it was released! MADNESS!

Maybe Black Mesa?

This is mounted on the ceiling in the Elliot Street mall where Annette and I go for sushi.

I’m making a note here: Huge Success.

Who cares about flying cars?

I am very very glad that I live in a time where I get to seriously say the phrase “I’m just downloading an update to my ocarina.”

O BAI

So long, Winston.

Be sure to let those bastards know if you need a helicopter for the ride home, yeah?

Voted eccellente!

Went out and voted this morning. Made up my mind who to vote for about 5 mins before walking into the voting .. place.

We had lunch at a new cafe down the road, which does all kinds of italian food. I had pizza and it was GREAT, so surely they will be visited again.

We were served by The Most Italian Guy Ever, which was pretty fantastic in and of itself. How italian was he? I will tell you. He was swarthy. He had stubble. Not a beard, mind you, just .. stubble. Lots of it. He had a nicely tailored suit, with a waistcoat. It was finely cut. He himself was a slender fellow, and slim of hip. He wore a fedora hat, and it looked like clothes and not a costume. He said “Caio!” and “Bella!” and it didn’t seem like an affectation. He played music on the sound system of the cafe which included the Theme from The Godfather. Yes, seriously.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that he was seriously Italian.

The lesser of two evils

I’m not really sure how to vote.

I’m kinda pissed off at Labour over the extraordinarily cynical exercise of the EFA, I’m definitely pissed off at them over this whole “ISPs have to disconnect customers based solely on accusations of copyright infringement” thing (which appears to be driven solely by Siones Wedding, which was massively pirated … by copied DVDs rather than P2P) and I am surely pissed off at anyone that has anything to do with Winston “NO (cheques .. cash only)” Peters.[1]

However, I cannot possibly vote for the Nats, because their social stances are just too regressive.

Dammit. Perhaps I should abstain from voting altogether.

[1] I would also accept Winston[2] being referred to as “Chopper”.

[2] I actually saw the classic Winston cliche on the news last night – a dear old thing, telling the interviewing reporter that Winston “Always dressed so nicely, such a nice man.” … I’m not unconvinced that she wasn’t taking the piss.

“Harmonix tech support, The Doctor speaking.”

So, we had some woes with Rock Band and our new LCD TV today – we tried to ROCK OUT with it, only to find that there were serious timing issues with drum fills, and as we found out later, also with the vocal tracks.

The drum fills are where instead of just hitting the drum pads at the right time, and thus keeping the prerecorded drum track playing, you have to actually play a live fill, and the better you do, the more points you get. [Edit – Annette tells me that you don’t get points, you just get TO ROCK OUT!]

Problem was, even when the game had been manually recalibrated so the video matched the audio signal, the drum fill timing was WAY off. Like, half-a-second or so. And as it turned out, so was the vocal track, by the same amount.

A quick google showed loads of people complaining about this on the Rock Band tech support forums. And I’m not surprised because it really makes the game unplayable.

After tinkering with it for a while, we determined what the issue is – the TV itself has a small delay in processing all audio signals, probably in an effort to resync the sound with any video which has to be upscaled to match the LCD panel resolution. Which is fine, when you’re dealing with a broadcast or streaming signal. However, when you’re dealing with real time events like drum hits or vocals, it’s massively noticable.

The fix, for us, is to run the audio signals through an external amp which doesn’t introduce any delay.

Now, amusingly, there’s NO WAY that Harmonix can fix this from within Rock Band, because the delay is outside their control, it’s a problem with the way that the TV works. They can’t possibly know about a delay that happens after the signal from a live event leaves the console – they’d need to be able to predict the future to compensate for it. All those people on the tech support forums who don’t happen to have a separate audio system are SCREWED. Sucks to be the PR guy from Harmonix who’s assigned to this one.