Monday, 26 December 2016

Seasons Greetings, Solo and Steam Sales

The word of the week is joyous.

Dec 19 – Young Han Solo?

You may not have heard of Jamie Costa before now, but you should have.

He's a man who can do uncanny impressions of many starts, including a spot-on Robin Williams( he looks just like him! )and Harrison Ford. Which has led to this 13-minute gem - a high-value fan film of a young Han Solo, done right:

While the 'official' film is still in production, with a different actor, I have to say I was impressed with what I saw: it just works.

More, please?

Dec 19 – Workin' and Frankie's

This week's been rather relaxed overall, which has been great.

Work's been interesting, as more than a few people asked for vacation days this week and next, so getting things done has been challenging sometimes, if certain people aren't around in various departments. All the same, it's been about 1/3 less busy, and the people contacting us have been fairly relaxed, though there's the usual last-minute-itis requests to make the Christmas deadlines... which usually doesn't pan out.

I'd call this Plan A, myself...

My lady and I had dinner with my critique group( 7 of us total )at Frankie's Modern Diner, which has really grown on me the last few months: the place is spacious, the staff friendly( and attentive! )with an easy-to-reach downtown location, not to mention great prices-per-portion ratios - all wins in my book.

We spent a fun few hours chewing the fat with our friends, despite the distractive lure of our portable devices. It was great( as always )to be among a group of writing peers, among whom the written word is held in such high regard.

Plus, they're just lovely people, and I count myself truly fortunate to be able to count them among my friends, as well as writing comrades.

Dec 21 – Fake Giant Robots?

I thought I had some really exciting g33ky news, but now it's questionable...

A few weeks ago, I saw a video about a team of Korean engineers who are putting together a 14-ft tall robot that can walk and manipulate items with its arms, all tele-operated by a pilot riding inside! While there's no mention of the planned power source, or how it's going to self-balance reliably on anything other than a perfectly-flat surface, it's still incredibly impressive technology( a HUGE 'step forward' if you will ):

However, now the veracity of that video has been called into question, as the folks over at LiveScience make some good points about what we actually know about KFT in this article.

Darn. But as the old saying goes, if it's too good to be true...

Dec 22 – Rogue One Thoughts

A week ago, I saw the latest Star Wars film, and parts of it have stuck with me.

Spoilers below.

Mainly the ending, and how so many of the characters manage to stand out, despite the large cast. I admired the choice made at the end, to further the story in a believable way, in that the mission comes before all, that the stories of the characters have all led up to this: the most-important mission of their lives.

The movie itself also stood out for many other reasons, some of which had not occurred to me. Screenrant collects quite a few of these in a great article, which is well worth the read if you're a Star Wars fan of any level.

One of the things they mention is the lack of an opening crawl' which in general I agree works for the movie. However, some fans felt differently, and one decided to make a crawl of their own - and did a really good job:

Dec 23 – Colonial Marine Fans

Darn it, why does there have to be a STEAM SALE during the holidays?

While the Steam Winter Sale this year is different from previous years in several ways, the essence is this: there's probably not going to be a better time for a discount on PC games, at least not until next year's Winter Sale.

However, given that I have limited time and even more limited supplies of disposable funds, I held myself to one purchase one: Aliens Colonial Marines. While it's not the latest game in the Aliens franchise, it's one that I've wanted for a little while now, because it contains many CGI locations from the film that you can actually explore - cool! Also, you get to fire an M41A Pulse Rifle, which is again something that I'd like to experience, though without the deadly aliens along with.

Despite the negative reviews due to the bungled way the game was released, fans did enjoy what the game has to offer, enough to create their own trailer that is even better than the official one:

One of the things I did this evening is also replace some of the new fans in my new PC, because... well, they didn't fit. Careful spendthrift though I am, the three red LED fans I purchased for $10 total from eBay didn't show that their blades extended vertically slightly beyond their housing, thus making them useless for 2 of the 3 positions I had to install them in - though I did manage to jury-rig them with some zip-ties for a month while I waited for other standard-size fans to arrive. Thankfully, they fit perfectly when I installed them tonight, and were even quieter to boot - just goes to show that you can't be TOO careful about online purchases, inexpensive or no.

So, in the end, I wasn't a fan of the cheap ones, once I gave the new ones a spin.

Dec 24 – Lights

Victoria's a winter wonderland, even without the snow.

My family and I have a tradition( since we moved here, anyway )of driving around the city to see as many of the holiday lights as we can. There's a few light maps of the city that people prepare a few months ahead of time, and they help to find the areas that are light-dense to make for the best viewing.

Here's a few of the best pictures, some people go all-out decorating - enjoy!

This last one is the Crazy-Christmas House on Tuxedo Drive...

Dec 25 – Family, Ouch

I present to you: A Very Venture Christmas!

After a quiet morning, my lady and I spent the afternoon at my parent's place with my sister, watching a few seasonal shows: Prep and Landing, as well as Arthur Christmas, were great fun before dinner.

Unfortunately, I'd skipped lunch, having had a late breakfast and thinking that we'd be eating earlier than we actually did, so in combination with a BIG weather-change here, I developed a migraine headache - Merry Christmas to me. My family and lady were quite understanding, and after dinner I started to feel better( Tylenol helps! )as we watched the Mudoch Mysteries Christmas Special, which was exactly the right thing for relaxing after a big, delicious dinner( thanks to my parents and sister ). I put myself to bed early when I got home, after having some throat-care tea... as I've had a scratchy throat the last few days due to low humidity, or something else - who knows, at this point. I'm just done. :-) Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

It was a telling sign that I couldn't finish this week's blog entry until late this morning, feeling as I did last night. I'm about 60% better today, with a less-sore throat and a MUCH less poundy-head, which only serves to remind me to keep regular meals and think ahead instead of relaxing too much over the holidays.