Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Let's Start a Gang!"

If there's one thing I've learned about children's literature and "learning to read" books is that they can be entirely subversive and get away with it because kids like nonsense and colourful pictures.

Take for example the page above, taken from an early reader called "The Monster Gang" by Felicity Everett.

Every time my 3-year old takes it off the shelf and asks me to read it to him, I get to this part and just start laughing. Ben could be saying anything but instead shouts, "Let's start a gang!"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

*POP* Lollipop Chainsaw

Even before playing Lollipop Chainsaw, I kind of knew what I was getting into. Even without any fore knowledge of the title, aside reading press releases as the game neared release, the cover art acts as a perfect indicator of what will be found once the game boots up.

Titillation and craziness. Candy might be be involved. And a chainsaw that spews rainbows.

It's just weird. And that's even before I've played a second of the game.

Then it just gets stranger. More profane, too, but I'm not sure that does any favours for the game, which is mostly "hack, hack, pom-pom, slash" action from what I've played so far. Initial reaction is that I'm having fun with Lollipop Chainsaw because it is so weird and doesn't take anything seriously. I remember Bullet Witch being a little like that. For everything it did wrong, there was something unique about it -- mostly the locations. I remember one section where you faced off against a dragon while standing on top of a 747 in flight.

At any rate, my review of Lollipop Chainsaw should be ready this week.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Not Quite a Short Story: Free Fall

I wrote this almost two years ago and it was kind of inspired by a level in the game "Wet" and a particular scene from the Bond flick "The Spy Who Loved Me." It was cool to play another scenario like the one below in the opening minutes of "Saints Row: The Third."

I can hear wind. It's whistling and it feels like I'm falling. I open my eyes in a squint.

I am falling and I grab my chest, clawing at a rip chord that isn't there. It's then that I notice debris falling with me. A fuselage of some kind of plane matches my speed. I point myself toward it. I inch closer to it on the wind and in the dim moonlight the interior becomes visible.

I reach the jagged edge of the fuselage and hold on to it, using what little leverage I have to haul myself in. It's dark so I fumble the walls, floor and ceiling or some order of the three. My fingers touch something familiar.

I strap the parachute to my back and kick off one of the seats to get myself clear of the debris. The ground is so close, I can easily make out features of the city below framed in the glow of streetlights and vehicle traffic. I pull the chord and there's a dull flapping sound and the world jerks up with a punch. My broken ribs scream and my breathing struggles in ragged chunks.

The debris begins to the hit earth.

So very close to the ground, searchlights suddenly hold me. It's quickly followed by a sputtering of gun fire. A massive explosion rocks the area above me, another one a hundred feet to my right.

I steer myself toward a black area and hope for the best. At the rate I'm falling, I should be able to make it, unless the fireworks from the ground manage to punch a hole in my salvation.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Max Payne 3 Screenshots

It's hard not to keep pressing the F12 key again and again with Max Payne 3. See below for the reason! Nice work on the visuals, Rockstar!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"$1.49 Day, Tuesday!"

The face of uptown New Westminster changed irrevocably when the old Woodward's department store was torn down to make way for something new and modern. Here's snapshot of what the building looked like about five minutes to noon someday in 1954, the year it opened:

Woodward's in New Westmisnter (1954), facing northwest at the corner of 6th Avenue and 6th Street
My memories of this building from the 1980's and the people that worked there are nothing but good, even if all I remember is snippets of things.

Right on the corner of 6th Avenue and 6th Street, there was no missing the building. It was a landmark for uptown New West. If you wanted to meet someone it was "Under the Woodward's clock."

Leading up to Christmas, the display area right on the corner was dominated by Santa's workshop, that included a dazzling array of robotic elves swaddled in cottony snow, carrying out never-ending motions of building toys and wrapping presents, amid blinking Christmas lights and various fake trees. Santa would hoist you up on his lap, chat with you for a bit and send you on your way with a candy cane and maybe a colouring book. The "helper elves" would snap a picture with an instant camera right on the spot. I was always amazed by that part. The way the picture reverse-faded into existence. Lines would grow more defined, the colour would fill in gradually. I used to wonder when the process would stop. Would the lines get bolder, the colour pop so much that the moment would come alive? (I swear J.K. Rowling stole this idea right from my 6-year old brain.)

Friday, June 1, 2012


For the first time in a couple of years, I'm finally getting away from work for a proper vacation!

"Proper" mostly means not dragging myself to work, working up a frenzy during working hours, then dragging myself back home, sleep for a few hours then repeat the process. It has started to feel like a bit of a slog. Encountering "slog" is easily recognized when I have to look at a calendar or my watch to establish what day it might be. (I've been wrong on occasion.) The days blur together far too easily.