Category Archives: Hobbies

When my butt isn’t in this chair…

What are you doing Saturday?

Distractions, Hobbies, Toronto Leave a reply

Since I won’t be around town for the AIDS Walk we’ve decided that this year’s big donation (of time and money) will be to the PWA foundation of Toronto by holding a huge garage sale during the annual Cabbagetown Festival.

As well as donating some stuff, a couple lads from last year’s Walk are going to join me and put on our 501st (and Rebel Alliance) outfits for Pay-What-You-Can pics. Why not come buy some crap or get your picture taken with a Stormtrooper, a Rebel pilot, a Sandtrooper or Luke Skywalker himself!*

Click to embiggen!

Click to embiggen!

*not really Luke Skywalker, but he damn well looks like him!


Distractions, Hobbies, Travel Leave a reply

It’s true what they say about kids being coddled these days.

When I was 16 my parents let me and an 18 year old friend of mine, travel to Ottawa on our own to attend MapleCon, my first science fiction/comic book convention. I had saved up my share of the hotel room and somehow convinced my mom to put a deposit down on said hotel room. I guess I was a trustworthy kid back then.

If I were to be 16 today and ask my parents that, I wonder if I would be allowed to go. I doubt it.

Ah MapleCon… You never forget your first ‘Con. Ottawa and surrounding area’s only gathering of nerds. I can still remember the poster of Captain Canuck advancing out of frame in your grey and white tights. Here’s a MapleCon 5  program as example of how cut and paste and typed everything was back then before computers. I can’t tell you how fantastic it was (is!) to discover that there were (are!) thousands of other dorks like you out in the world when you walk through the door of any con. Dorks that will stay up all night just to sit through a VHS showing of Dark Star or A Boy and his Dog with a room full of other dorks.

I didn’t have a ton of spending money so my convention floor purchase had to be just right. I think I scoured the entire room twice for the right thing to bring home when suddenly I found it: a 1979 12″ Alien doll (action figure!) with glow in the dark skull through green plastic cowling. And snapping jaws!

We didn’t act like wild, untamed beasts while away. Somehow I knew that if my parents got wind of bad behaviour I’d not have this opportunity again. Also, I was too stupid to do stupid things. We didn’t drink or trash our hotel room or do anything illegal. Our biggest crime was staying up all night at the Con hotel, playing Dungeons and Dragons. I remember on the way back to the hotel, in front of a huge line of people waiting for a bus, my friend went into a demonic southern preacher style rant and pretended to “heal” my soul by slapping my forehead so hard that I fell to my knees – much to the amusement of the bus crowd.

Don’t worry. I got him back. Years later when I lived in England, he visited me in London. While showing him the town we were waiting on the back platform of a double decker bus and I somehow managed to tell him that we were at the stop and he could just jump off. Even though we were still probably travelling at a rate greater than a brisk walk. The result was his feet flying out from under him and his body doing a perfect roll/crumple in front of a busy shop. Ha!

Anyway, the point of this story is that I was the darling child of my parents because I didn’t trash the hotel room or get drunk or do drugs (the opportunity certainly was presented) and that kids today are trustworthy, you just have to trust that you’ve taught them well and trust them.

That I Can Do, Too!

Hobbies, I'm going to tell you what to do, Personal Bits, political, Queer stuff, Toronto 2 Replies

I took postbear’s words to heart and thought I should start out small – I’ve decided to walk (march?) in the Scotiabank AIDS Walk, this Sept 25th. I don’t think, however, I will be selling off space on my suit, unless I’m offered some ridiculous sum of money. Hint Hint PrideFM?

Within a few hours of tweeting my decision, long time internet friend (and one embarrassingly drunk pick up attempt night at the Eagle) “Bark” aka Steve K dropped $50 into my sponsor jar!

I’m off to a great start!

Here are the details:

My Sponsor Page: My goal is low – this is my first time doing anything like this, but secretly I’d love to crest $2000. Expect some aggressive tweets and boring blog posts. Why not donate now to shut me up early!? Plenty of payment options!

If you want to make a PayPal donation, my account is “deadrobot” At “rocketmail” dot com. Every little bit helps!

The Event: Starts around 11am and I’ll most likely get there early because who doesn’t want to get a photo with a Sandtrooper?

I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing.

Wish me luck!

And We’re Back

Hobbies, Travel, You Magnificent Bastard Leave a reply

The weather was 99% excellent, the company was wonderful but the parks were CROWDED. I guess my sis in law and I should have looked up the most busiest times for The World… Which was last weekend! Blarg! I’ve never seen the parks so full.

But I never look a trip to Disney in the mouth. It was a great time. Expect some pics up on Flickr and right here on my blog to pump up some sagging pageviews. Here’s a tidbit:

Its a great big beautiful tomorrow


So much going on in this photo...

Living With The Dead

Distractions, Hobbies, Personal Bits 1 Reply

Okay, more like Living With the Plastic.

On Monday you might have seen my video of my trooper assemblage. A bit of a pre-story as to how I got the mannequins:

I email postbear about where I would start to look for mannequins, knowing that he trolls craigslist and kijiji like the Eye of Sauron. Not that I could have looked myself but wading into these sites makes me nervous. postbear sends off a couple links and I find my guy. Two male mannequins with no dings or dents, all their fingers and going for cheap. I call and make arrangements to pick them up.

Sunday, I enlist Josh and Sean to drive us out to some homestead out in Scarborough. As we pull up, a squat, thick, swarthy Latino fellow is sitting by his truck staring off into the middle distance. He doesn’t look over as I approach. “Raul?” I say, walking up his driveway.

His head snaps towards me, whipping his waist-length braided pigtail like a serpent’s. Like I suddenly appeared.

After that initial awkward moment of personal introductions, Raul takes me to his back yard to a large shed. “Dexter style kill room?” pops into my head. I look back to the car to three faces looking at me possibly for the last time.

In the shed, it’s a riot of shop fixtures. Torsos in glass cases. Arms sticking straight up in the air. Jewelry cases holding garbage bags of… things? My mannequins are deep in the back, inside a rack designed to hold tuxedo rentals.

“This is great! We just got ourselves Stormtrooper uniforms and we need a mannequin to display them so that they’re not stuck …in… a … duffel… ba…” I trail off. He’s not listening. Doesn’t care. I get serious: “All the fingers are intact, right?”

“Si. Yes.” and he hands me a green garbage bag with a torso in it. With breasts.

“Male?” I say, economizing my words for some reason.

“Yes.” And he digs further. We extract two male mannequins from the riot. I notice his arm tattoo: Evita and I decide not to comment, and if I did, then maybe mentioning Madonna would not be appropriate. SharkBoy comes and helps with the back and forth of plastic human parts from shed to car.

At home, we amuse ourselves by dressing up SharkBoy’s mannequin in our Panty Game underwear and finally his old luchadores singlet with a smart belt around the waist. Very 80s. After all that, I made the video. When I’m done we had to find places to put the mannequins: mine in the office, SharkBoy’s in the hall alcove by the bikes, awaiting further accoutrements.

Within the last 48 hours we’ve both managed to scare the shit out of ourselves just by spotting the damn things out of the corner of our eyes. Who would have thought that having a mannequin in your home would make you think that someone was standing there (albeit headless) in some dark corner of your house?

I figure this is the closest I’m going to get to living on the set of Blade Runner.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

Gaming, Hobbies, Tech

Give me 15 more PlayStation Dollars, you will!

Imagine my surprise when I got Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II for Xmas! Yay!

Imagine my delight as I started to hack my way through Stormtroopers, excited with the knowledge that somewhere in the game I would be kicking Ewoks on Endor! Cool!

Imagine my anger as the game ended under less than 6 hours. And with no violent visit to Endor! WhatFuckWhat?!?

The story is a veritable banquet for Star Wars aficionados, and a bit too convenient for mild fans. Plot points in ST:TFUII make the transition between Star Wars Episode III and IV much smoother: (SPOILER ALERT) we are told (via the included encyclopedia extra, not by game play) why Stormtroopers aren’t clonetroopers and why they’re such bad shots as well as other little gems. There’s enough here to keep a SW geek happy, but not raving. I’ve always wondered what happened to Kamino – why didn’t they just keep making clones for the Emperor? Partial answers are provided. In the end we’re left wide open for part 3 with a nice nod to Empire Strikes Back and The Silence of the Lambs. “Oh and Starkiller? Nice suit…”

Visually the game doesn’t disappoint. The character design has been ramped up since the first game and they move a little better than Wii puppets this time around. Starkiller has a few more facial expressions other than “golly gee grumpy” and in some cut scenes, and there are a lot, you might even feel for him. The only odd moment was the weird voice actor choice for Princess Leia: way too suburban mall Barbie.

As you play, literally everything has some sort of physics attached to it, making destroying things all the more fun with a wave of blue Force bluey burst thing, but they could have pulled back on the visuals and maybe added more to the game play in the way of more varied locations or more interesting sprites to kill.

Oh the game play…

As I said I finished the game in under 6 hours. I’m not one to look for prizes. With “hack and slash” games, I’m cool with the occasional powerup find or mystical lightsabre gem discovery, but SW:TFUII seemed like to rely on treasure hunting a bit too much. To me, it shouldn’t be central to the gaming experience because then you’re stuck at the whim of the game designer’s possible hap-hazard easter egg hunt. Give me something more organic.

The short game play is probably due to a cash-grab trend where they’ll be releasing more downloadable content off various platform’s online shops (this is where you actually get to kick Ewoks into the distant trees, not from the main game disk), hence squeezing $10 more out of you per game pack. I wouldn’t take offense to that, but the game itself is marked as a full “experience” game at $55. Also, if these DLCs contain story parts that make the inevitable ST:TFUIII impossible to comprehend, then fuck ’em. I won’t pay, I won’t play.

In all, I’d recommend it to people who like Star Wars, who loved the first game and who don’t mind paying a little more for a lot less.