Sunday, 23 April 2017

Remembering, RTS and Real Estate

The word of the week is incognizant.

Apr 17 – A Day In The Park

Nothing like spending part of a day off outdoors in Victoria...

Before we spent a few hours happily playing Dragonwood at Murchie's downtown over tea, my lady and I stopped in at Beacon Hill Park for an hour's walk. While we were there, we visited the Petting Zoo... and it was FULL of peacocks!

Seriously. I counted at least 20, and more I couldn't see around corners and in trees. Here's some of the best pictures I took, and it's worth noting that the peacocks are the kings of the park, they'll walk right around you:

I love, repeat: love that I live within walking distance of a park filled with peacocks. I love that they're free-ranging, not behind fences, but will wander where they will. I love that they're there year-round, and I can go see them any time!

It's great living here, and sharing the experience with my lady is all the more special. Love. It was a good day!

Apr 18 – The Biggest FLGS

One of the ideas I'd love to see myself take up is to open a gaming store.

Heck, I'd love to open up a combination bookstore / gaming store / patio café / retro arcade, maybe with a side of a maker-space too boot: they all compliment each other.

Like any business though, the capital outlay is pretty hefty and on top of knowing what you're doing, you also have to be prepared for the long haul until your profit margin stabilizes. Many small businesses don't make it through the first two years, and that's in large urban areas with good economies.

But some do make it, like The Sentry Box... impressively so, too!

Located in Calgary AB, this FLGS( Friendly local gaming store )is HUGE, at over 13,000 square feet, and has been around for almost 4 decades. They stock over 100,000 items, including a book section the size of most normal bookstores, and almost every current boardgame on the market. They even have their own incredible 'tour' video, professionally done with great music, which really gives you an idea of the scale of the place:

If I ever come into a tidy sum of money, I'll consider The Sentry Box as a template for how to run a FLGS right... on a big scale!

Apr 19 – Ghost In The Shell

Tonight was movie night!

My lady and I went to see Ghost In The Shell, at the local Yates St Cineplex. We sat in the comfy 'lounger' seating, which I have to say is a far better movie experience than in the past. It makes sense to put lower-selling movies in the lounger theatres, where you can charge more of a premium for comfort, and as a bonus the smaller audience size with more space between people means less distractions overall.

The movie was decent, but not spectacular: there were no 'wow' moments for either of us. I've not actually seen the original anime, though I have seen the TV series anime, while my lady hasn't - it was an interesting experience for the both of us, from different perspectives. Both of us liked the movie, but I don't think either of us will want to see it again anytime soon, in the main because the story was fairly predictable and familiar, and the CGI special effects( though gorgeous )were not as groundbreaking as the original anime's were decades ago.

I also managed to luck into a 75% off Steam sale on GITS last weekend, which is odd as Steam usually doesn't carry videos, just video games. Anyway, it was celebrating the release of the new movie, so for $20 I got the old anime, the newer 2.0 release from 2013, and 3 mini-trilogies from the animated TV series.

Meaning there's more GITS goodness to come - sweet!

Apr 20 – Remembering Kristen

Yesterday, it was 25 years since the murder of Kristen French.

For anyone not from Canada, or even Niagara, you may not be familiar with the tragedy that occurred there so long ago now. Kristen, then 15 years old, was one of many young girls attending my high school, including my sister.

What happened to her, and others, traumatized the city, and the country.

It was hard to grasp back then, the magnitude of what happened and how easily our community had gone from a safe place to one that's we knew harbored a sadistic murder the likes of which had never seen before in Canada, or anywhere.

I won't sully this blog with mentioning the details, but instead speak to the ramifications briefly. I feel horrified that this could happen to someone for my community, from the very school I attended, and that it could have been anyone I knew: friends, family, neighbors... no-one deserved such a horrible fate.

I like to think that the tragedy also served as a reminder to be more cautious and mindful of one's everyday life, to know that monsters can hide in the most ordinary places and can take the most beautiful of us unawares.

As with all tragedies, we must never forget, and so here I mentioned Kristen French once again in the hope that in the years since her loss, we who were touched by her loss have tried to make the world a better place...

Apr 21 – Free Starcraft!

It's actually free!

As a prelude to releasing a remastered version this summer, this week Blizzard has put up the full Starcraft series for download free for anyone!

That's one heck of a giveaway!

The original Starcraft was released on March 31, 1998, which is 19 years ago, I had a long time for a game to stay continuously part of the gaming community without much in the way of updates for modern systems for years at a time. 

For those of you not familiar with the game, Starcraft is the king of real-time strategy games( RTS ) and has been since its release. The reason? Apart from its excellent multiplayer component, it's one of the most perfectly balanced RTS games ever released, meaning that skilled players can match wits against each other in battles that are fun, furious and only last a few hours, which is great.

A bit of trivia: for some reason, Korea fell for the game completely, and Starcraft has been the unofficial pastime of the country almost since its release, though that's come to an end recently in 2016 as esports in that country have switched to newer games at long last after a series of Starcraft scandals - go figure. For while there though, it was by far the most popular game, and I doubt we'll see it's like again.

I'll be playing more of it, likely late this year, as my lady's a HUGE fan of the game series, and I need to polish up my skills if I'm going to hold my own against her!

Apr 22 – March For Science

Today was a protest day, in 500 cities around the world.

All because of Strumpet, the POTUS. In case you didn't know, Donald Trump is not big on science. In truth, he's a climate-change denier, and has long been short on seeing the need for science in the world, as this long list shows. Check out some of today's protest signs too!

I really like the video below that I found, as it nicely encapsulates the need for science in our world. It's 15 minutes of time well-spent watching, I feel:

Today's Science March nicely coincides with Earth Day, another reminder that we're all on this planet together... and there's nowhere else we can go, as yet. 

Better to make the best of things here, while we still can.

Apr 23 – Monied Morons?

Real estate in Victoria is expensive... but the following downtown home is just crazy - in more ways than one.

What looks great on the outside...

Looks fairly ordinary, right? Yet they're asking $2 million dollars...! And wait until you get inside... it's unreal, and horrifying; the decorator should have their license revoked, or at lease reviewed. I couldn't live in a place like this:

... sometimes isn't. Click if you want to burn out your eyes with the awful details.

It's like a nightmare vision of Donald Strump's urban vacation cottage.

I seriously doubt anyone's going to buy the place at anything close to the asking price, and I know myself, I wouldn't pay anything above what the land was worth, since the house would have to be gutted to the studs( again! )to make it livable.

Some people with too much money really don't know how to spend it... and it's a shame that they're unlikely to come to me for such advice.

One can only hope!

That's all for now... I'm almost back to Full Steam Ahead on my novels, which is incredibly exciting! Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months!