MonthApril 2004

More Mario Drama!

bowser threatens peach

Part IV of the Mario Bros. Flash movie has been posted! The previous parts seem to be disappearing from flash sites, so I decided to just nab them all and mirror them on my server. You can see part IV here..

In case you didn’t get a chance to watch the first three parts, they’re here:

Maybe I’ll just set up a page of my favorite flash shenanigans.

Enjoy!

metriod, pvr, the weather

well, life seems to have settled down in into it’s post-vacation routine again. I go to work. I come home, sleep. And so forth.

Nothing really notable has been going on. I’ve been playing a lot more of Metroid Prime. It took me a while to get into, but it proved very rewarding once I did. Once I finish I’ll probably post my impressions of the game overall.

Also, after three months of self-imposed abstention, I bought a toy. It’s a PVR (personal video recorder). The idea is that, while I really don’t watch that much television, the stuff I do like (mostly on comedy central) is only once or twice a week, and I don’t care enough to change what i’m doing so i can sit in front of a TV. Also, I’ve gotten to the point where even one commercial is enough to make me recoil from the TV room in horror. So we got this ReplayTV thing that is supposed to automatically figure out when all your favorite shows are on and record them for you, and when you play them back it automagically skips all the commercials. All this for $120. Sign me up.

Finally, I should mention the freakish weather of the last couple of days. It’s been in the EIGHTIES AND NINETIES. I know. It’s amazing. How quickly I forget my roots.

cozumel pics posted

We’re back! Leslie and I culled the 600 or so pictures we took down to 140 or so for gallery. Full narration included there. We’ll post some videos soon, too.

ear gets better, weather gets worse

so, yesterday out o­n the boat my ear was feeling a lot better, so i decided to try going down just 10-15 ft to see if it would behave. it did, so I joined the others for two awesome dives. the first was in palancar gardens, the edge of a drop-off at about 80 ft. The second place was called punta tunich, and it was definitely our best dive. these was a swift current that took us along the edge of a coral wall so we didn't have to swim at all. We saw a turtle, bunches of the usual fish, and got a great underwater group shot at our safety stop.

in the afternoon, after everyone was showered, we went out for lunch at a great little restuarant, “ambiente.” I had some killer chicken mole. Then we did a bit of strolling and shopping in the downtown, then Leslie and I went for some resting and reading in the hotel while we waited for the evening to arrive. The weather was looking stormy when we headed out to eat around 7:30, and by the time we were finished, a full-blown storm was underway. Big lightning, loud thunder, the works. I think the Doug captured some video of it. We went in to our hotel just in time to have the electricity go out. We gathered in o­ne hotel room to watch a movie o­n battery power–indiana jones, which after skipping was replaced by SNL's best fo will ferrel.

This morning we slept in, then I finished the da vinci code, then we went out and rented a scooter and an old convertible bug. we rode out to see the ruins, then to the east side of the island. we had seafood o­n the beach, then drive along the coast of the island back north to San Miguel. The weather looked alright, but we had been warned that continued bad weather might force us to cancel our evening dive tonight. Alas, it did. There's no rain, but the winds are pretty high and the water looks choppy.

So, we're now bathing and preparing for a night of putt-putt golf and drinking. woo.with luck, the weather will break tomorrow for our 10am snorkeling trip.

of waffles, exploding ears and relaxation

This will be a bit short since I’m typing on qwerty. It will also be full of errors.

Yesterday was awesome. We slept in, Doug went out in the morning for his refresher course, diving around an old plane that they wrecked for a movie. While he did this, everyone else got fitted for our scuba gear. Then, impatient for my luggage (it, of course, didn’t make it on the plane that I madly dashed to on saturday), we decided to kill time by getting lunch at a tropical waffle house. It seems silly, but it was cool. There was a steel drum player and a nice ocean view.

Upon returning to our hotel we waited a bit more for our luggage, whihc arrived at last, then we headed out for our first dive. Everything went fine and was beautiful, and everyone had a grand time. We have multitudes of pictures to upload once we get home to a fast connection. At the end of the dive, though, I got what’s called a “reverse block” in my ear, which means that expanding air was trapped in my eustacion (sp) tube, making it excruciatingly painful for me to come up. I tried a few times to fix things without much luck, and finally, very frazzled, made it back up to the surface. Doug noticed I had a little blood in my ear. Doh.

We went home, had showers, then went out to a sweet dinner at an italian place called Sambar. We had wine, great focaccia, and an array of yummy treats. Then we sat out on the patio and talked and rounded things out with some excellent tiramisu. All in all a great day. My ear kept bleeding some, though, and it still a bit swollen insode today, so I’m not going to dive today. I’m hoping it willbe all better by tomorrow afternoon for our last dives.

estamos aqui en cozumel

We made it, but only barely. We got on our plane in San Jose fine, and it left on time. But heading into Houston, we got news that there was a large storm system moving from west to east toward H-town, and that we’d have to swing around to Shreveport and double back to come from the east. So, instead of landing at 5:40, we landed at about 6:15. This was a problem because our plane to Cozumel was scheduled to leave at 6:20. We’d had pretty much given up hope of making it, but I thought I’d try sprinting the sizable distance to the gate, just in case they hadn’t left yet. As it turned out, the plane was still there, but the doors had been closed. I begged and pleaded, telling them that Leslie was coming up behind me. Eventually they agreed and opened up the doors and let us on. Woot. We waited on the tarmac in a growgin storm in a long line of planes. We finally got off the ground. A few minutes later the captain came on to tell us that five minutes after we lifted off, they had closed the Houston airport for the storm. So, we’re here, unlikely as we thought it would be.

And our hotel has free internet!

prince of persia: yeah, it rules

Last night, I concluded my rocky love affair with the newish Prince of Persia game, “The Sands of Time.” I actually started playing it a while ago, and got about 70% of the way through the game, when I was stymied by a bug. I had recently saved, and a platform that was supposed to rise when I stood on it did not. Since I had no save game since 40%, in order to make it any further, I had to restart play at that point.

The game is beautiful. I think that it my be, graphically, the peak of what the PS2 will achieve (though Gran Turismo 4 won’t be any slouch, either). It has amazing lighting, shadows, and modeling. Part of the effect is acheived by giving the entire game a hazy sort of look, but it works for me. Even better than the way it looks, though, are the controls. I have never played a game with such a rich palette of character controls that was so effortless to use. It’s challenging while not being frustrating, with everything from running along walls to swinging around poles and sliding gracefully down ladders. It just works.

And the controls clear the way for the best part of the game: the puzzles. The game is basically one long string of movement puzzles, with a few fights thrown in. The puzzles usually revolve around getting from one room to the next, either by climbing or descending or opening a gate. Frequently, you’ll screw up, and end up plummeting to your death or impaled on spikes. That’s where another unique aspect of the game comes in: the dagger of time. With a press of a button, you can reverse time for 10 or 15 seconds, and give that tricky jump another try. It removes all the frustration but none of the sense of acheivement from the game.

Last night, I finally finished it. It took maybe 20 hours of gameplay, which in the age of Final Fantasy X seems paltry. But it was very satisfyingly spread over a couple of months, including the time to replay half the game :P. The game is out, I think, for the PS2, gamecube, XBOX, and PC, so there’s really no excuse for not giving it a spin. Probably the best action-based game I’ve played in years.

video games save lives!

See?

april fool’s roundup

So, it’s that time again for all our favorite websites to do silly things for April 1st. Slashdot let me down this year, but there were two excellent showings from homestarrunner and maddox. Better hurry; I suspect everything will have returned to normal by tomorrow.

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