a dog named fish
Pirates are the new Monkeys
Pirates of the Caribbean has finally been released in Germany on Tuesday (Tuesday? Why Tuesday?). Of course we went to see it on the first day. I liked it a lot. It is funny, action-packed and just very enjoyable to watch. And Johnny Depp is unbelievably great. And Orlando Bloom... *sigh*.
*clears throat* Anyway. It was cool to recognize a couple of scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland. I _liked_ the shifting between skeleton and meat-pirate when the cursed ones moves from light to shadow and vice versa. That was very neat. Even though the skeletons themselves weren't all that great. Especially the movement looked wooden. Reminded me of Army of Darkness.
I'll go watch it again next week or so. I found my Pirate slang to be a bit rusty and didn't understand everything that was said. I might have to play Secret of Monkey Island or Pirates! again. In fact I would very much like to play a pirate game right now. Good thing Sid Meier is currently developing a new Pirates!
Last month life has treated us well moviewise. Like every August we enjoyed the Fantasy Filmfest. This time we saw six movies. We would have done more if the tickets weren’t so fucking expensive. But in the end seeing a film every day for a week turned out to be quite exhausting so I guess it was good this way.
This year like last year the festival focussed on Asian (mostly Japanese and Korean) films. This is great since it’s so hard to get to see Asian movies in theaters here.Show complete entry...
Wednesday night Aki called to tell us he’d go to Games Convention (a consumer video game show) on Thursday and asked us if we wanted to meet him there. Mikey and I had already thought about maybe going there but weren’t sure whether it’d be worth it. But, since we didn’t have anything better to do anyway and it’s only a two hour drive from where we live, we decided to meet him there.
Unfortunately our worst fears got confirmed there. But more on that later. When we first got there we were surprised by the amount of middle aged people. Until we noticed that they were just parents accompanying their underage kids (and later sat around in some corner waiting for their kid to come back from his gaming spree).
All the big players (Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft) were there and they had quite a few games on display that we were interested in. Nintendo for example had FF: Chrystal Chronicles (unfortunately only a video, nothing playable) and playable versions of Final Fantasy Tactics * drool *, Golden Sun 2 and Advance Wars 2 for the GBA which was awesome. I just wish I could’ve bought FFT and AW2 right there.
We got to play Crimson Skies on the XBox which I’m sure will be a blast in multiplayer. Halo 2 looked great. Slowly but steadily Microsoft turns out games for the box that make it harder and harder to ignore (I’ve tried hard to hate the XBox ever since it was announced). But those two games and already available ones like Panzer Dragoon Orta and Splinter Cell make it ever harder to hate them.
We saw Railroad Tycoon 3 (why, oh why does it have to be in 3D?), Broken Sword 3 (3D as well, but might work), Prince of Persia (another 2D game gone 3D; looked interesting though) and Tony Hawk Underground (I like that you can walk around on your feet now).
So far, so good. Now on to the bad part. There weren’t as few women as I had assumed but it turns out most of them were either
I did have the feeling that I was possibly the only female gamer there. I didn’t really mind at first since I’m used to being one of the few females at a lot of stuff that I do, there just aren’t that many female geeks around. What really bugged me though was how they catered to the “needs” of their primary audience (namely: pimply male teens). Eidos was probably worst. Their method of attracting crowds was simply to put 5 or so boob, er booth, babes in latex bikinis on a stage and let people go up there, stand between them and have their photo taken. How great. I don’t even remember if they had any game on display.
We spent a considerable amount of time at the Atari booth trying to catch one of the Atari T-Shirts they threw into the crowd. I ended up getting a nice girly shirt but I still don’t believe how I let them humiliate me just to get it. See, the girls who wanted shirts their size couldn’t just stand there and catch one like the guys. No, girls had to go up on stage and tell a joke, for all to “admire”. The only “good” thing about that was that your chances of getting a shirt were 100% if you went up there. I told the tomato joke from Pulp Fiction and the Atari guy interrupted me in mid-sentence to inform me that I was telling a “stolen joke”. Well, thank you very much, smart ASS! Have you ever had somebody tell you a joke they invented themselves? Am I overreacting or is this sexist? And all of this just because I like what Atari was 13 years ago…
When I think back to the whole thing the only good thing that came out of it was the cool Atari lanyard I managed to obtain (without humiliation). Even though the T-shirt is quite cool, thinking about how I got it makes me mad/sad/blush. Mikey and I came to the conclusion that we’re just not the target group anymore. But don’t they miss out on a lot of money if their main target consumer group are 13-20 year old males? What about older people? What about women? Don’t they get the clue from unusual games like GTA or The Sims which target a more mature audience and even women (in the case of The Sims) and sell record numbers? Great graphics and boobs aren’t everything that counts. I’m talking myself into a rage here. I think I am overreacting. I’ll stop now. Good Night.
open air movie
Just got back from one of the open air movie theaters that come to life in Berlin in summer. We saw Spirited Away again. Ah, I like that movie. That particular theater has beach chairs you can sit in (well you lie more than you sit) while watching the movie. It's great. So as we were lying there, enjoying the movie, there was suddenly this huge (and I mean _extremely_ bright) shooting star right above the screen. Nice! And later ISS passed us as well. Whee! Those beach chairs are really something. For that I'll gladly take a couple of mosquito bites...
A little luck
My cell phone's a/c adaptor has been found. Yay! Mikey's mom found it and his dad wrote us an email that they already sent it on its way to Berlin. That's really good news. I was already fearing I'd have to buy a new one...
We spent the day relaxing on the shores of Wannsee (one of the many Berlin lakes). It was great. The water had a perfect temperature. Bad thing is that I burned my back even though I spent most of the day in the shade of a tree. I have no idea how this could happen. I guess the leaves were too far apart in places or something.
We're back in Berlin and I just noticed that my cell phone's power adaptor seems to be missing. I cannot find it anywhere. Looks like it got left at Mikey's family's place. Great. Just what I needed right now...
In other news: we brought Mikey's little sister with us so she doesn't bore herself to death during summer break. Saturday we went to the museum of musical instruments. It's quite interesting. Lots of old instruments. The cool part is the cinema organ they have there. It's from back in the day when movies where silent. It can do all kinds of sounds, like a bird chirping, sleigh bells, etc. Every saturday there's a guy there playing it. It was very impressive.
Tormorrow we'll probably go to one of the lakes in Berlin because it is too fucking hot to do anything else really.
We played a bunch of really fun Enemy Territory matches. Unfortunately it seems like most people were at the LAN party to leech and not to play. So most of the time we played only 3 vs. 3. But we had one game where it was 9 vs. 9. A friend introduced us to Virtua Tennis for the PC which astonishingly was a lot of fun.
We also played a couple of console games. Mario Party 4 is quite fun if you play only the minigames. That board stuff is just plain boring. So we played all the minigames without reading the rules first. That led to some very fun games.
Yesterday we saw Terminator 3 for free. Last week there was a marketing campaign at a local electronics store where you could get tickets for free. My friend Aki kindly gave us tickets since we were too late to get some ourselves. If you don't care about a logical plot it is a fun movie. Even better was the time after the movie where everybody made fun of the shortcomings of the movie. It was hilarious. Aki should really become a stand-up comedian. He's so good at this kind of stuff.
Yesterday we helped set up everything for this weekend's LAN party. I think I might have carried too many tables or something because today I have a strange bump on my formerly broken arm right above the place where the metal plate is. I hope this will go away.
After setting everything up we played some Poker yesterday. I was pretty lucky and won around EUR 11,-. Yay! We also played two rounds of Frankenstein, a poker variant that is extremely fun but gets expensive very quickly. Can't play more than one or two rounds of that per evening...
We'll go back soon and spend the weekend shooting some scum. Or something like that...
Too damn hot
The move went quite smoothly except for the part where the keys for the moving van got lost for a while. The Gin&Tonic didn't really work for me. I only got about three hours of sleep the night before. But I was okay.
That night we packed our stuff and drove south again to Mikey's family. It was his mother's birthday on Sunday. So Sunday we celebrated her birthday and our friend Hannes' birthday. It was a very hot day so the afternoon was spent playing with water toys -> great fun! My friend Aki dug up this old water toy he remembered playing with as a kid. It was a clown's head that you connected to a water hose. On the head rests a hat that gets propelled up by the force of the water. If you do it correctly the hat then hovers in the air about 4 or 5 meters above ground, spinning and sprinkling water all around. What a great toy! I wish I had had something like that as a kid.
Today we watched the Tour de France and then met Aki at the swiming pool. The water had almost perfect temperature. It was really the only place to cool down a bit. The room we're staying in here is so damn hot we wake up at 10 in the morning being unable to go back to sleep. But it's cool to get up early for a change.
We'll stay here for a week working on websites, going swimming and playing with our friends. Next weekend will be spent at a LAN party our friends are organizing. So that should be fun.
Tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock we're supposed to show up at our friend Stefan's to help him move to his new place. Now currently my bed time is somewhere between 4 and 5 in the morning. You noticed my problem...
So Mikey and I just had a huge Gin&Tonic each hoping that this will make us sleepy enough to go to bed around 3:00. So Stefan, if you're reading this: it's probably not a good idea to let us carry your washing machine ;)
So I tried Enemy Territory and it runs fine. The mouse movements sometimes seem a bit choppy but I think that is because my wireless mouse's response time isn't good enough. The only problem I have with the game is that I don't know what the heck is going on in most levels. I decided to play Axis first because they usually defend and that sounded easier to me than attacking. But there's always so much going on and there's so many objectives and the maps are really complex.
What I'm really saying is: I got killed all the time. Usually from behind. The other problem was that at first I didn't know how to tell Axis and Allies apart. Of course I didn't want to be a team killer so I basically had to wait until the guy shot me to figure out if he was an enemy or not. I think I got it now (Allies have brown uniforms and Axis blackish ones). I still find it hard to tell them apart though. And I still don't have any idea what the hell is going on most of the time. I wish I could find me a newbie server where nobody knows what they're doing.
We did good to get a headstart on Thursday and did not encounter too much traffic on our way south. We arrived at Mikey's parents' place around 5:30am.
On Friday however we weren't as lucky and spend a lot of time in traffic jams for the remaining 1.5 hours drive (which took us 2.5 hours that day). When the jamming got too much on the Autobahn we decided to take an alternative route over country roads along fields and pastures. We were already congratulating ourselves for the wise choice to leave the Autobahn when we ran into another jam in some backwater town only a short ways from our final destination. Ah well.
The rest of the weekend was great though. We played lots of boardgames and just enjoyed spending time with our friends (whom we don't see as often as we'd like). Unfortunately I couldn't persuade enough people to play Werewolf. Most of the members of our game club don't like it for some reason and we didn't want to play with only 8 people. Instead we played other fun games. Enemy in Sight for example is a great game if you play it with the right kind of people. On Saturday morning we strolled through the city with our friend Tim. As always in that city this ended with me buying a couple of comics at one of my favorite comic stores.
While we were there our friends Tim and Aki tried to talk us into coming back in three weeks to attend the LAN party they are organizing. So we'll think about that. Have to check first if all the new games run on our old machines.
So yesterday I acquired a Duron 1300 which is the only FSB100 CPU (the only ones my antiquated motherboard will take) I could find. My trusty old 800 Mhz Thunderbird therefore goes into well earned retirement now. I'm hoping that this little upgrade will allow me to play the newer games in bearable quality. I downloaded Enemy Territory yesterday for a test run. I guess it would have been smarter to run it with the old and the new CPU to see the difference but it's too late for that now...
We just saw on the news that summer break has started in Berlin and a couple of other states today. So instead of driving south tomorrow as we had originally intended we will try to get a headstart and leave now. Tomorrow will most probably be totally crazy with looooong traffic jams of people all heading south. We're hoping we'll make it before everybody else. Ah, nothing like spending the night on the road ;)
We'll then spend the weekend gaming with friends in Karlsruhe. Be back Monday or so. Wish us luck!
Today was only the second time in my life that I walked out of a sneak preview movie before the movie was finished. The first time was maybe 5 years ago when they showed Les Couloirs du temps: Les visiteurs 2, a totally unfunny (but meant to be hilarious) french movie about a knight time travelling to the 20th century. The worst role I've ever seen Jean Reno play.
Today it was FearDotCom, a very, very bad horror movie (and I'm not a fan of horror movies to begin with) about people getting some mysterious fatal disease from visiting a certain site on the internet where they can watch people being tortured and killed by some guy (the villain in this movie apparently). Mikey and I walked after half an hour and regretted even staying this long. I knew after the first two minutes that this movie was going to suck. I don't know what it is about bad horror movies, you just immediately recognize them. I just noticed that it even made the bottom 100 on imdb.com. Rightly so.
To prevent having a totally ruined evening we will now watch an episode of Alias. Ha! Screw you bad movie!
Got my phone delivered to me yesterday less than 24 hours after the call from the phone company. Wow. They really seem to care about their customers. Too much competition I presume.
Most of the day was of course spent playing with my new phone. It's pretty cool. I like the color display. Although it suffers from the GBA phenomenon: When the backlight is off it is hard to see stuff on the screen. But with backlight it's sweeeet. Looks very crisp. The included games are not great. One is a not very fun jump 'n run game where your "character" is a ball. The other one is a quite interesting chess puzzle with problems like "check mate in 1 turn", "..in 2 turns" or "prevent check mate in 1 turn". There must be better java games than those though. I'll do some research and see what I find. Recommendations are of course welcome.
The other thing are the polyphonic ringing tones. I was perfectly okay with the monophonic ringing tones (or should I say beeps) my old phone had. As I said before I prefer unobtrusive rings. My old phone just rang in short single beeps. I never understood people who let their phones play some Bach requiem whenever it rings. Of course usually this is the same kind of people who sit next to you in the subway and need 5 minutes to find their blaring (at top volume of course) phone. The new phone has lots of these ringing tones too. The only one I found that was bearable is called "Croak". And yes that is exactly what it sounds like. It is okay but I'll still search the web for a better one. Or maybe I'll just program my own. I do like the new sms tone though. It's like the old one (beepbeep---beepbeep) only in polyphonic and kind of cute.
I also need to personalize my phone. You can set background images and different color schemes. When I turned the phone on for the first time I almost dropped it because it had (my friend B will love this) the PINK color scheme (it's my phone company's color) and a background image that rendered the whole display completely unreadable. Of course that was the first things I changed. Unfortunately the other pictures it came with aren't all that great either. But you can just upload your own pics (it can do jpgs and gifs). So I'll draw my own.
I haven't been all lazy during the past weeks. Mikey and I are working on a couple of projects while we're waiting to get a job.
We are coding a webgame. It's a java puzzle game that we hope will turn out to be a fun little game. You will be able to blow things up and splatter paint everywhere. Now if that doesn't sound promising :)
The other thing we're doing is creating a website for a community project we intend to start. It will be a site where people can post articles about all kinds of geek wisdom, i. e. computer/technology related topics. For example Mikey intends to write an article about converting your CD collection into MP3s (i.e. which tools to use, how to encode the files, etc.). We also thought about articles about digital photography, problems you have to deal with as a webdesigner (e.g. making your site work with all browsers) or how to code a java webgame :) I've also been asked many times how I used MovableType to make my photo gallery so I will write about that. I'll also explain how the playlist in the sidebar works and post the script for it.
We got the idea for the site when we talked about how we really should write down solutions to computer related problems we had. There are some things that I keep looking up because I don't use them often enough to remember them the next time I need them. Also people would ask us how we do certain things (like how we rip our CDs). And then we thought there must be more people out there who want to know these things. We had to do a lot of research on the web to learn all the facts. But wouldn't it be cool if there was a single place where you can find all kinds of hints and references for further reading to certain topics?
So now we want to start this site and will send a "call for papers" to all our friends in hopes they have something to contribute as well. We hope this will grow into this big thing where everybody can write about anything they want other people to know, be it tips on how to custom-build your own computer, or hints about how to earn money fast in EverQuest. Anything goes.
I got a call from my cell phone provider today that my two-year contract is about to expire and would I be interested in staying with them another two years? In case I wanted to stay another two years they offered me a new phone for cheap. Of course I was interested but I pretended to be a little reluctant because I needed more time to think about the phone I wanted.
I wasn't prepared for this because I thought my contract was good until later this year. So I asked the guy which phone he would recommend and then proceeded to ask hard to answer questions about the phone and other possible choices of phones so I could do some research on the web in the meantime.
It was quite funny actually. I had found the phone specs online after about 5 seconds so I asked him questions about stuff I had on my monitor to win some time. It was obvious that he really wanted me to buy the Nokia 6610 so I tried to find a couple of reviews. I don't expect people who want to sell me stuff over the phone to be honest but it looks like everything he told me was right and the phone has a very good value. Especially since I only have to pay half the price because I accepted the offer right away.
So my new phone will arrive here in two days or so. It has most of the features a modern phone needs, like color display, Java enabled, polyphonic ringing tones (although I'm not sure I'm happy about this as I prefer less obtrusive ringing tones), GPRS, WAP and a whole bunch of other features. It even has an integrated FM radio (I doubt I'll use that very often though) and already comes with a headset. It is also Tri-Band which is really nice. Not that I plan on using it outside of Germany very often but that might come in handy from time to time...
So now I'm looking forward to this new gadget to play with. Even more so since it was so cheap :)
I'm still not exactly happy but I'm feeling better now. A bunch of people wrote or called in to make me feel better and it helped. Thank you people (you know who you are)!
In other news: I bit my tongue today while chewing on a slice of pizza. Goddamn it hurt. It even bled a little. This was the most exciting piece of news I could come up with today. So there.
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