When Portal was released amongst Valve’s “The Orange Box” set, I was utterly shocked that they jammed three games into one disk, for the price of one game… Now it seems they’re going to go a little further with the stand alone PS3 release. Get ready to spooge your geek organ…
The PS3 version will also feature Steam cloud support for game saves. This seemed to me like an odd feature at first, until I read one of the other features of the PS3 version: a download code to unlock Portal 2 for Steam play on PC and Mac. Yeah, you get a free PC/Mac copy of the game with a purchase of the PS3 version.
In an age where game developers are nickle and diming you to death, Valve continues to say “Frag you!”. I’m loving how the console wars keep on giving and giving. Seriously if PS3 was alone in the gaming world, you’d be paying big time, like a LucasArts game or something.
I don’t know how they talked Sony into it, but I can’t wait!
I decided to drop money into iTunes last night in a fit of shop therapy (read: post-Disney depression) and discovered that Don Bluth’s Space Ace was available for download! Actually it came out in May but I’ve been avoiding money-draining endeavors.
Does my hair look ok to you?
For you younger readers, Space Ace is the second laserdisk game from Bluth Studios as follow up to Dragons Lair, but this time set in space! It’s the story of a dashing blond couple named Kimberly and Ace, unexplainedly menaced by a blue and leather clad, space overlord called Borf (oh Don! You scamp!) . It’s over the top cornball campy with it’s characters but it’s Ace’s “random” ability to flip back between a muscle bound hero to weed thin child due to exposure to The Infanto Ray, that makes it fun. The beginning of the game lets you choose the difficulty level and in turn, lets you see more of the game the harder you go. It was pretty innovative stuff.
Ace shows an uncanny ability...
...to change. Almost childlike, I'd say
The game play can get tedious (you watch the same video over and over, remembering which way to guide Ace to avoid obstacles to advance the story), and at $0.50 a pop when it came out, your cash would drain out of your pocket fast. The game also tries to mess you up by mirroring or flipping the video so that you don’t become complacent with Ace’s directions. A simple trick in a simpler game era. The animation was top notch and fast paced, often too fast to enjoy the artistry and fluidity Bluth put into his characters.
Ace learns the loud way that Kimberly is a bit of a princess...
I’m glad to report that there are “HEY! I FUCKING CLICKED THAT!” bugs in the game. These are either due to processor speeds of video on the iPhone or they were just there to begin with and were never cleaned out. Even the false “hints” in the way of onscreen flashes are present, resulting in no action on Ace’s part or his ultimate death, tug familiarly on my memory of originally being there, and subsequently aren’t that much of a frustration. Relax and enjoy the visuals!
Borf shows us that in space, no one can straighten your teeth.
I’m so caught up in nostalgia I don’t mind repeating it a few times.
$4.99 from the iTunes store. I give it 5 out of 5 for anyone who was old enough to play this originally in a smelly arcade. Anyone else will have been de-sensitized by high brow graphical games and won’t find this amusing at all (some user comments in the app are pretty funny!).
So you’ve decided to visit Toronto and enjoy it’s #2 outdoor attraction (second only to The Beaches Jazz Festival, according to their site). Regardless of who tells you their numbers are numero uno, Toronto Pride reels in a crapload of cash for the city (The Gay Community has it’s own subsection on Toronto’s tourism website – take THAT Caribana!). It’s a good idea to research your options before opening your wallet and organize your fun before hitting the street.
That’s where I come in! Hello tourist! So glad I could help!
You may recall my article last year: Pride Tips for Out of Towners. I’m bitter happy to report that not much has changed. The bar you are drinking in will have a draconian liquor inspector grumpily wander through to see if they can make some money in fines. And some circuit party will try to seduce you with their glossy posters of near-naked men, but there will be a chance that you choose incorrectly and spend $95 to find you’re not at the “A-List” bash and wind up with a crowd that looks more at home at a Phish concert. The Parade tips still hold true (early, sunblock, elbows), as do the street crowd crush. Don’t forget that “bagging and bedding a Torontonian” is still a bit like coaxing a snipe out of the bushes. We seem to have tightened our shy little cocoons around ourselves during this long, cool spring! All I reported last year are still valid tips. Take heed!
At this time I need to reiterate my number one peeve about Pride: You should NOT, repeat NOT eat at any restaurant on Church Street during Pride. Eat from a hot dog cart (blarg!), bring your own food, starve, devour your travel companion or gnaw on your own foot. Do not eat at any Church Street restaurant.
Wait… I think I need to nail that home:
DO NOT EAT AT ANY CHURCH STREET
RESTAURANT THAT IS LOCATED ON
CHURCH STREET DURING PRIDE
Here’s a list of restaurants that are off the strip and worth your money:
Daybreak – This place is popular, pricey but has big portions. At the corner of Carlton and Church, just outside the Village.
Studio – When Daybreak is full, two doors south is this crumbly greasy spoon. Cheap alternative great for breakfast.
The Coachhouse – Same as The Studio, but over on Yonge and Wellesley. Greek twist on a diner.
Chew Chews, Johnny G’s and Gourmet Burger – Three Cabbagetown options that are a little walk away from the Village.
Sizzler – Late Late night burger place with baby sized meat patties at Yonge and College. Not much to look at but BABY SIZED BURGERS!! Late at night!!!
Olympic Pizza – Been in the village forever. Consistently good but unremarkable Italian food the recipe for a great restaurant!
Tokyo Grill / Okanomi House – uncommon Japanese food (read: NOT sushi).
Ginger – Not the one on Church, but over at Yonge and Bloor, there’s an outlet that will most likely not fuck you for cash. Great non-restauranty hot and sour soup.
Oja Noodle House – Right beside a pricey “EggRoll” restaurant. Dishes more authentic and way cheaper. Charles and Yonge.
That’s a good start. Yonge at Bloor has had an explosion of Asian Fusion dining places. All seem “good” if not a bit dollar-y.
New tips? Got a couple!
In some cases it’s polite to ask if you can take pictures of random hot guys/gals/gender-fucks, but in most cases it doesn’t matter – cameras are everywhere during Pride and if you’re shy, stay the fuck home! But asking for a photo is not only as polite as a Canadian in a foreign land, it’s an excellent way to break the ice. So if you do go this route, may I suggest little business cards with your Twitter/Flickr/Facebook page URL on it so you can ensure your subject can view your work later when they’re at home slathering on the aloe vera. And for those people you were jokingly taking a picture of (“Good lord that outfit!! I must ridicule it online tonight!“) and get caught doing so, may I suggest a separate card with www dot lemonparty dot org on it.
Street Escape Routes
I failed to mention last year that to avoid the crush that is the uncomfortably crowded street in front of Woodys and the parking lot Beer Tent (Church and Maitland), the Pride Committee has smartly enshrined the alleyways behind these two venues open for easier access past this bottle neck. There are similar North-South routes between East-West streets if you need to dash up Church Street. Any Pride volunteer will gladly point them out.
Keep your cell phone charged. The crowds are so large you will want to know where your friends are. Twittering may not be such a good idea since it goes down more often than a career drag queen 2 days before rent is due. Thankfully iPhone users will have MMS texting by then and you can send your friends your location (or trick’s face) for group approval.
Please take some time to consider what you will wear. Feather boas are for straight boys who were dragged to Pride by their girlfriends. Outrageous drag is fine, but consider it will be hot and you may be outside for some time. Melty creatures does not equal funny drag. You’ll scare children. May I recommend something clever yet not too noticable…
Whatever you do, enjoy your Pride. If you see me, say Hi!
I can confidently say the only way I have not arrived at a Disney theme park is by jet pack. Every other imaginable way has been done.
On foot? Walk it out! Bus? Yup. Rental car? Yup. Train? Woo woo! Monorail from the future? Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas! On the back of a white tiger?
Don’t let’s be silly, now.
This is my second time renting a car for the week at Disney and I thought this time we could save some money by just using the bus system but I was quickly reminded that the car offers a freedom from bus-exhaustion, or, if you will, not having embarrassing pictures of yourself put up to Flickr of you asleep rubber necked, slack jawed and drooling. Plus it was a perk since the resort price included free parking at all Disney properties, meaning we could hop from park to park for free.
While driving isn’t as enviromentally sound as Uncle Walt would like, it beats having to experience “the Crush” – the scrum that happens every night when each park closes. Even though the busses run every two minutes, two minutes with a grumpy sleepy child, arm loads of souvenirs and an empty stomach stretches out to eternity. Still, it’s fun to see a child’s face after a day of experiencing a park: worn out, over stimulated and content.
I’ve always loved the Monorail system at WDW and this time we tried every ride to sit in the front. All the drivers were gracious, chatty and friendly but one stood out. Missed his name but he had such a memorable southern drawl that we couldn’t hear 99% of what he said:
Me: “Did it take long for you to train to be a Monorail pilot?”
Pilot: “Habamemnrm… wermmsh ahslib. Ha! Ha hahaha! Mummminy mouse!”
All of us: Blank Stares.
He let us sit in the command chair for photos before leaving the cockpit as long as “we didnmrnt touchmna stick, k?” Sharkboy is NOT touchmna stick, k? But his face says otherwise.
Like this picture? It’s basically what Luke saw when he climbed up the underside of an AT-AT walker. We were asked if there were any “rides” at Disney Hollywood Studio, but that’s going to be a SharkBoy post. Keep your eyes peeled.
The largest ride at Magic Kingdom in terms of showy-ness and “fake” transportation would have to be the paddle boat. I say “fake” because it only goes forward, constrained to a submerged track in the “lake”. Discovering this after riding it for the first time was a bit disappointing because I always fantasized about the River Boat Captain going mental after a day of looping the Lands and ramming the boat into Tom Sawyer’s Island for kicks.
Ironically for this post, the WDW Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover was closed during our stay. It’s one of my favorite decompression rides: it doesn’t offer any thrill other than a calming view, much like Carosel of Progress is my favorite “nap ride”.
I can see a future Archie comic, produced by the sinister Dark Horse publishing, where we’re sent 10 years into the future. Veronica’s dad, Mr Lodge, has suffered a massive stroke and is hanging on by life support. Archie is a scotch swilling bitter yesman, hired into Lodge Industries purely by matrimony. He’s approaching his middle age (and middle age spread) and is unable to access Mr Lodge’s vast fortune until he shuffles off this mortal coil. Jughead is a common street thug now and is hired by Archie to pillow-party Mr Lodge’s face. Pratfalls and close calls with hospital guards ensue.
Meanwhile, Veronica is a pill popping socialite with more plastic surgery scars than Mickey Rourke, schtupping Reggie in the back of his dog grooming business. She spills Archie’s plan in the throws of passion and Reggie decides to rat him out to the police, convince Veronica to divorce Archie and marry her to obtain the cash. He celebrates by going to the local gay bar.
Meanwhile, Big Ethel and Jughead, living in sin of course, devise a plan to harvest Mr Lodge’s organs for drug money once the job is done.
Midge, meanwhile, checks herself into a battered wives hostel after her last confrontation with Moose.
Meanwhile, Mayor Betty has become hardened by her lonely solitude and unrequited love of Archie, and has instructed Dilton to fire up the extremely experimental particle accelerator so they can start selling cheap energy to the rest of the state. Moose, dreaming of his glory days on the gridiron, throws one too many switches and all is thrown into a black hole.
Saturday! Woke early to go to the gym and and a breakfast burrito (yes, quite low fat thank you, when you build them yourself – more later). We grab a tea and make our way to CBC early for Open Doors Toronto 2009. We thought with all the layoffs the Ceeb is facing soon, it would probably be a great time to go have a gander at this government funded media bunker.
And bunker it was. Security was buzzing, trying to keep track of volunteer staff, who bitched and complained to each other on their headsets. I’m sure the level of security you would normally have to pass through is there to protect Peter Armstrong from marauding fans, and not to hide the somewhat extravagant hallway decorations placed there for the general public not to see… We were first for The Hour studio tour and had to endure some poor volunteer’s worker’s utter mental breakdown for lack of organization in her line. We were shunted to an elevator which ironically (?) the doors would not close due to overcrowding. With all of us explaining to the elevator operator that we needed to lose 2 people, the poor volunteer staffer was about shout “I’M JUST A VIDEO ARCHIVIST! I KNOW FUCK ALL ABOUT HOW TO OPERATE AN ELEVATOR!!” when two people volunteered to get the next one.
The studio was pretty flash, even though the seats looked “cheap wedding uncomfortable” so we know that the money going to the Ceeb isn’t going back into the public. No, it’s being spent on huge screen TVs to tart up talk shows only 1/3rd the Canadian public watches. Here Sharkboy and I are playing George Stroumboulopoulos and Jean Chretien:
We took the next tour of the radio department and had an interesting run of various sound proof rooms. Quite interesting.
After that we went to Osgoode Hall and wandered the dusty hallways of justice.
We then tried to get to the Don Jail but they turned us away due to a 4 hour wait, which was too late past the closing time. I thought to myself “Who would wait four hours to see an old jail?” Disclaimer: I use to manage a traveller’s hostel in Ottawa that was converted from a 165 yr old jail.
Me apparently. Sunday we were back there at 945am and in line. Warned that the line was 4-5 hours long, we stuck it out. And stuck it out. And braved line-jumpers and fidgety kids.
ALL IN THE NAME OF GETTING READY FOR DISNEY!
Bored, in-line video:
The jail itself was probably not worth the 4 hours wait due to the state of the building. But it did remind me of the use to live in the jail/hostel I managed and it just brought back memories of impossible maintenance hoops our staff had to jump through every so often. Pipes bursting, kids falling off bunks, flooding, etc.
After 5 hours in the sun, SharkBoy’s neck looks like an ad for an S&M Red Lobster outlet. Being red-green colourblind and able to see the shade should let you know how bad he got it across the back of his neck.
On the upside, my Wii is no longer calling me Obese. At 214lb, I have moved into the realm of Overweight. Yeah! I made my Disney weight goal with a few days to spare!
Last night I dreamed of O Boy’s Ribs on West Colonial Dr, Orlando. Oh yes, there will be binge and purging…
A while back I got a message while on Bear411 from Doug (jedicub) who complimented me on my makeshift Jedi costumes in my profile. His profile contained a few interesting pictures (Sigh. Make the dirty jokes now in your head, please): a couple were of him wearing a “movie accurate” Red Squadron uniform from Star Wars: A New Hope.
Admittedly I was apprehensive in speaking to Doug, due to all the joking around I’ve made about fans who dress up and go to comic book conventions. Though, I have mellowed having gone to the last 3 here in Toronto, and most of my finger pointing laughter has evolved into admiration, especially for a well thought out, well made costume. Plus, if you look close enough most of the guys with exceptional outfits are bearish, but that’s neither here nor there. Doug is one of those people I admire because of his tenacity towards his passion.
In speaking to Doug, I get the sense that, yes, he is a superfan (he belongs to a group called the London Rogues) but his obsession for Star Wars is a love borne out of years of cultivation. “Cult” being the operative word here. I emailed him a few questions and he’s happily answered back:
How old were you when you first saw Star Wars? Where were you? What were your impressions?
I was seven or eight and my dad took all three of us kids to see it. We were living in Toronto at the time. I had seen commercials on TV and I thought it was going to be scary with all the aliens, and such. However, I loved it. I remember my dad telling me how it had everything – the Tarzan swing, the old west shoot out, the duel. I just thought it was awesome. Little did I know how much the Star Wars franchise was going to inform my life. Like most kids at that age, I got hooked on collecting the Kenner action figures. My interest in Star Wars waned in my teenage years, but when I was in my mid-twenties, I got back into collecting with a renewed passion. I would say, though, that I’m a Star Wars fan, and not fanatic. I do realize it’s a work of fiction. 🙂
When did you get the idea that you could make this costume?
I had made a few Star Wars costumes over the years. Mainly these were hastily put together things for Halloween, though on a couple occasions I made costumes for a public event. For instance, I was asked to assist at a Star Wars day at the public library, and I put together a Han Solo costume for that.
In 2008 I put together another Star Wars costume. I had picked up an orange jumpsuit at a thrift store years ago, and that pretty much made my mind up as to what character I’d be. I put together a somewhat OK version of the X-wing pilot costume for just a few bucks, picking up remnant fabric, etc. I looked at some online resources for ideas, which is how I found out about what I would describe as “movie accurate” costumes. These people pay very close attention to detail. My Halloween costume wasn’t going to be nearly that good.
How long have you been collecting/making parts for the outfit?
After Halloween, I decided that I could transition the costume into something more accurate, with some money, and some time. If money were no object, I could’ve put it together fairly quickly, but I decided to change the costume one piece at a time. My first acquisition was in December 2008 when I bought a helmet. I found someone online who makes vacu-formed replicas of the actual Vietnam-era flight helmet used in the movies. Since that time, I’ve been making upgrades to the costume a bit at a time – boots, jumpsuit, etc. I joined an online forum called The Rebel Legion, which is a Star Wars costuming fan group. Chatting with people there has helped me track down many of the pieces.
Any clues to where you get your parts? Just like most of the original Star Wars props were common household items, are any pieces just regular every-day items around the home?
The ejection harness was the easiest to do, since it’s just silver/grey webbing that you can buy at most fabric stores. There are patterns online which are easy to follow. The belt buckle used in the movie is a roll pin buckle which the British navy used. You can find them online – if you know what they’re called.
As with the helmet, I ended up seeking out a few people who make replica parts which they vacu-form, machine, or cast themselves. And I bought a few pieces on Ebay. Here’s a breakdown of the costume and the resources I used:
Helmet – Richie’s Armor (I added some detailing)
Jumpsuit – Costumebase (with some tailoring by me)
Plastic Chest Box & Hose – Mr. Bojangles (Rebel Legion member)
Machined Aluminum Arm Tools – Elvis Trooper
Flak Vest – Originally I made this with a remnant and some edging, but I’m having someone with more talent make me a more accurate one with proper buckles, tubes, etc. It looks cool in photos.
Resin Commpad – Reyor (Rebel Legion member)
Leather Motorcycle Gauntlets – Botach Tactical
Replica German WW2 Boots – justwalk2008 (Ebay seller)
Belt Buckle – Mr. Bojangles
Leg Flares / Strap and Belt Mini-flares – darthhair (Ebay seller)
Where was the last place you wore it out, that is, the most recent incarnation of the costume?
I wore it out this afternoon in fact. I belong to a Star Wars fan group in London called London Rogues. Each May we host a community event to celebrate Star Wars. Today a few of us went to the campus of the University of Western Ontario to promote it – putting up posters, handing out flyers, and posing for photos with the student paper. It was fun.
Any future plans for something else?
Our group enters the Santa Claus Parade here in London. Although I haven’t been in it yet, I’ve been warned that it’s wet and cold. I may “Hoth up” my costume by making a jacket and adding winter gloves. Recently I’ve been working on a Darth Maul costume. I have most of it sewn already, but I still need to put together the belt, and find the appropriate boots. I’m thinking of doing this for Halloween. Who doesn’t love Darth Maul?
Favorite Star Wars movie?
The Empire Strikes Back.
If not Jar Jar Binks, who is your least favorite character? Most favorite?
Sorry, Jar Jar. Meesa no like you.
I’d have to say that Princess Leia is my favorite character – though Han is a close second.
Ecofont is an Opensource font (donations are accepted) for all platforms that, according to SPRANQ, should reduce your ink usage by 20%. How? By inserting tiny holes in a thick-ish Sans Serif font.
The logic is there but why not just reduce the font size in all your printing? Or turn off “BOLD”? Admittedly it would work if you’re printing a lot of banner/header style type and don’t mind about typography, but I’m not convinced.
A “docu-drama” of the 1999 WTO protest, so Americanly named the Battle In Seattle, seems a bit appropriate as the current economic melt down ripples through everyone’s savings right now.
Go back with me to November 1999. Everyone is already crazy with Y2K, so when greedy capitalists decide to meet at a highly concentrated liberal city on the west coast, VW vans are fired up and everyone who has an opinion about poverty and money converged on Seattle. Social consciousness groups came together in a peaceful attempt to “stop” the convention which turned into one of the largest riots the US as seen since the 60s. Somewhere, someone got pissed off and the riot ignited like a Spike Lee movie ending. You might remember video of riot police casually coating a passive, sitting crowd of protesters with a fire extinguisher sized can of mace. Or countless images of rugby scrums with black armored cops hunched over cotton/hemp wearing youths. Whoever you side with, it was a violent few days.
What makes me curious about this movie is that it seems to be “Crash”-like in its structure: multiple viewpoints, perspectives and storylines converging to one point: downtown Seattle, just in front of the riot police. But in reading reviews from it’s TIFF showing, the movie hammers home it’s hatred for the WTO within the opening sequences, so it seems biased more towards the protesters. Another clue is that Woody Harrelson plays a cop. I think his acting default is set to “Villain” lately so he may be swinging a truncheon with abandon.
I’m also curious about the Massive Attack soundtrack. But that’s probably another blog post. Battle will be playing in limited release in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver October 17th.