Friday, March 30, 2007

TMNT review

If you've seen the previous TMNT movies, you'll know that they'll never be up for an Academy Award. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the precursor to the Power Rangers in the '80s, and kids that grew up watching TMNT are now adults that want to see their lean-green fighting machines back in action. I watched the cartoons growing up and I saw all three live-action movies numerous times. Not so much the third one, that one was particularly bad, but even with Vanilla Ice and grown men in rubber suits, there is something special about the ninja turtles.

With that said, the new TMNT movie is completely animated with a new cast of voices which may not be exactly what you had expected. The same goes with the storyline. A 3000 year old curse that involves immortality and 13 monsters sounds like something that was randomly picked at the last minute. Besides the fact that we're talking about walking talking turtles, the time traveling, portal opening storylines never do so well. Regardless, the animation is fantastic and the overlying theme is about that brotherly bond which of course raised the cheesyness factor by at least 10 points.

I know I wasn't expecting a masterpiece, and as long as I saw my turtles in action again, I would be fine with that. It's all nostalgia for me, considering I've been buying the original cartoon series on DVD. Definitely a movie worth watching if you're a huge turtle fan. Otherwise, if you're expecting an awesome animated film with a deep and involved story with great dialogue, then you can skip this one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spring Break!

I got a chance to meet up with some old coworkers in the old PeopleSoft days. It's been too long. I've had a daily schedule last quarter so I was always in school while people were at work. Cramming all my classes into 2 or 3 days was too much. I don't mind school everyday, it's just that it makes it hard to keep in touch with people.

As busy as I was with work, being at school and studying takes up even more time, especially since I am trying to get good grades. It was really good seeing them again, it made me realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity to go back to school and pursue something I really want to do. I liked it when I was at PeopleSoft, I knew I had a great opportunity and I had a wonderful group of people that surrounded me. Oracle came and kind of took it away, not only with the changes of the company but the changes it ultimately brought on the group. People started leaving, and when my boss left I knew I had to figure out what I was going to do.

Moving to a smaller company was a good choice, I learned a lot and it eventually led me back to school so I'm grateful for everything that's happened. I got in touch with a lot of people I haven't talked to in ages, people are getting married, having babies, all wonderful news and I'm so happy for them.

Having a weekend off to just unwind was very much needed and I feel refreshed to go clean the house now and continue with my break.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm back and it's raining

I had some self control, I only logged on once on Friday. :p Otherwise I spent the weekend trying to improve my snowboarding skills and not get myself killed. I only wiped out once, and maybe a few more times if you count the times where I was just too tired to stop. I ate an obscene amount of food, which was still way too much to compensate the amount of exercise I was getting.

I would like to get some productive things done this week while I'm off. I don't want to jinx myself, because there is a good chance that I'll get nothing accomplished. Even though I'm looking forward to next quarter, a part of me wishes I was looking for a real job already so I could get a real paycheque.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's nice to get away

Although even though I'm on vacation, I somehow manage to find a way to mooch wireless internet and still be online :p But I did go running on a treadmill, I ran a mile in 12 minutes, so much for my goal of 10. I'm pretty impressed that I stay at a constant 5mph run, usually after about 3 minutes I'm walking so I actually ran the whole time.

We played a bit of pingpong afterwards, until we got bored and decided to go find a place to eat. Squaw Valley is a nice little area, I can't wait to hit the slopes early tomorrow. Hopefully most of the spring break people are gone, considering spring break for semestered students was a week ago. It's my turn!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Who's excited about the new movie? I am! :D In theatres this Friday. Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Not enough hours in a day...

Especially if you lose an hour due to spring forward! There are 24 hours in a day, assuming I get my 8 hours of sleep, that brings me down to 16. Eating, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, showering (not in that order) can be 2 hours right there, and that's assuming I'm not cooking. If I cook (which rarely happens anyway) that's another hour at least, plus another good 30 minutes to clean up.

Then we have commute time which is about an hour each day, thankfully. I don't want to be one of those commuters that spend 4 hours a day in a car because of the lousy driving skills that seem to be inherent in this area.

I take about 20 units in school, and with the crappy scheduling that I'm given, I'll need to be at school at least 6 hours out of my day.

And then there's homework, and the list of things I would like to do if I had "free time". I spend a ridiculous amount of time online, but that's mostly because I'm reading, writing or just wasting time on Facebook (which I really need to stop). But there are other things I want to do too, like watch tv, play piano, draw, learn flash/dreamweaver, blog, check forums, work on website, knit (can do that while watching tv), play my many games that haven't been opened, take pictures, play with my dog, go running (which can be combined with dog).

So being conservative, that leaves me with 7 hours left for homework and free time. That seems like a lot of time...

If I spend about 30 minutes for each item and 3 hours of homework, that's about it. If I cook, then it's 1.5 hours of homework. I'm pretty good when it comes to time management, but where does my time really go? I think I need to get rid of my computer because I'm on it way too much. But I also use it for school. Maybe I should just get rid of internet and see how productive I become.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Video Game Research

I'm not sure why this has never occured to me before, but people do research about the video game industry all the time. Only recently when I found out that one of my professors was interested in beginning a research study on MMOs and college gamers, did I realize that conducting that type of research would be fun and interesting for me. (I know, I have a weird concept of fun)

I remember doing a project on Nintendo in grade 6, just thinking about it, I remember having so much fun collecting all the Super Mario images and writing up my project on the various Koopas. My geekiness started early.

I also really enjoy psychology, and to be able to analyze that part of the industry as well would be very cool. I think it would be nice if women had more visibility, this could be my way of getting us female gamers noticed.

Shigeru Miyamoto

Another reason why I would have liked to sit in more sessions at GDC, was because Shigeru Miyamoto was there. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards last Wednesday. The man is a legend, having created Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox and many more. He is the face of Nintendo.

"A delayed game is eventually good; a bad game is bad forever" -Miyamoto

On a side note, this is my last week of Winter quarter 2007! Woohoo! I can't wait until my spring break... even though we aren't going anywhere tropical (Tahoe), I'll get some time to unwind, play my DS and maybe get Okami out of the shrink wrap. :p One of these days I'm going to count how many games I own, I'm a little scared to do so. Same goes with my dvds.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Video Games Live

Last night was a great show, much better than last years. Koji Kondo was definitely a nice touch, the guest of honour for the evening. Martin Leung played several pieces which was phenomenal, that guy is a machine. He also has improved since last year, although that might be because of the piano, he had a real one instead of a digital one from last year.

I wanted to stay for the meet and greet but after an hour the line moved 3 feet and I wasn't able to stay awake until 3am. I was with two other people who probably wanted to go, I guess next time I'll just have to go myself so I don't feel bad being a hardcore geek :D

The show started off with an arcade medley, which really brought back some old memories. Metal Gear Solid was next, I can't get over how amazing that score is. During the piece a guy with a machine gun came out, including a person in a box. Apparently in the game you can hide as a box? It was pretty amusing. You don't find out until after the next piece that Tommy Tallarico is hiding in there.

Jack Wall played music from Myst III and IV and then there was a Space Invaders break where they got some cosplaying guy to come up on stage to play. He was being tracked so he had to run back and forth to shoot. It looked pretty hard, but the prize would have been cash if he could get the bonus blimp.

Next the original LucasArt composers played Monkey Island, Outlaws and Grim Fandango. Monkey Island was great because it was the only one I've played. I LOVED that game, and I kept getting stuck in this one section so I spent many hours as a kid listening to the music.

Medal of Honor was next, and it was the same as before. They showed WWII footage. Next came Civ IV which was new, and it was incredible with the vocals. Dee Baker, a well known voice actor came out to demonstrate what monsters and insects would sound like in various situations. His baby sounds were really good.

Liberi Fatali was next, unfortunately SE wouldn't let them show images on screen (boo) but it was still amazing to hear live nonetheless. It was the first piece I've ever heard live back at Dear Friends and even now, after hearing it 4-5 times, I still get goosebumps.

Koji Kondo came out before the intermission and we were given a rousing rendition of the Zelda themes. It was amazing to see another video game composer legend.

After the break was the Frogger competition. Between a man dressed up as Mario and a little kid, the kid won the $2500 laptop. Go figure ;) Chris Kline aka “vertexguy” who is an incredible guitarist, played the Jungle Theme from Contra.

Kingdom Hearts was next, then Sonic, World of Warcraft and then Martin Leung and his Final Fantasy medley.

Tommy's work, Advent Rising was played, which I thought was really good with great scenes from the game. Koji came out to play a Mario medley and the voice actor for Mario was there as well. When encore time rolled around, we were given Halo and Halo 3 with Tommy helping out with the guitar. Martin came back to play the good old fashioned Tetris music as well as Pac man, DigDug, Mario and more.

Chris Kline came back out to help Tommy with the guitar when they played One Winged Angel from Final Fantasy VII as the big finale. I'm not sure why this one is so popular, I think it's because people like Sephiroth mostly, I don't think musically it's one of Nobuo's better pieces.

Overall it was a nice evening in the city, although my beef with San Francisco is that nothing is really open past midnight in terms of lounging around unless you're at a bar, club or diner. At least in LA, a lot of restaurants are open until 2. That's enough of San Francisco for a week. Going in 3 times has exceeded my city quota for the month :)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Couldn't haggle my way out of that one

So I got my first speeding ticket ever. I was in a bit of a rush because I left late and I wanted to get to my class early since we had a presentation today. Of course that didn't fly when I was clocked at 41 mph in a 25 mph zone. I've already gotten two parking tickets with the mini, although those weren't my fault. This one was. I can do traffic school to dodge the points, but I will be sent a nice fee to pay in mail. Grr... I wish cops would be busting criminals instead of doing traffic violations.

I watched Borat today, that movie is just so wrong in so many ways. I do not want to see two hairy men wrestle each other naked. I guess he deserved his award just for that. Can't CG his way out of that one. The rest of the United States scares me.

I don't have much else to write today... my brain feels like mush. I finally have a night off where I don't need to worry about what to do for tomorrow.

Although I am excited about Video Games Live :D

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

GDC for one day

I am SO tired. I don't know how people manage to do this all day every week. Conferences start at 9, if you can make it to 6pm, there are so many parties to attend to afterwards. Gaming conferences are great, I can imagine that they're very different from security and email archiving conferences. How many booths at those types of conventions give out free beer and appetizers?

I met up with Epic Games who demo'd their new game Monster Madness that will hit stores in April. Using the Unreal Engine 3, they're showing everyone how they don't need to make a FPS game for it to be successful. Monster Madness looks pretty cool so far, smooth graphics, very detailed, and four player co-op. It's set up like Gauntlet and it has that teen horror comic style and the gameplay seems like a total button masher.

The only other booth I had time to really check out was GoPets. They are like virtual pets on the DS or your PC. They're very cute and I can see it being a hit among those who like Nintendogs or the Sims. It's not very fancy, it seems like something you'd run in another window and flip to check on if you're bored at work. Not that I'd do that of course.

My fellow staff writer and I went to this Great Aussie BBQ to hang out for a little bit. We met a couple of guys promoting the Tokyo Game Show and they'll be heading to Video Games Live this Friday as well. I'm looking forward to the concert, especially since Koji Kondo will be there. I'm going to stick around this time for the meet & greet and be a big fanboy-er girl and get their autographs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

D2C Games Launch Party

So I went to D2C games' launch party tonight at the LJ Martini Bar in the Metreon. Tomorrow I will be attending GDC for the afternoon/evening. I have an appointment with Epic and then some Aussie BBQ at the W Hotel. I met a few people in the industry, one was a writer for the Washington Examiner, another was a video game programmer that is finishing up school. I met the founder of this company that comes up with video game ideas. I said hello to the few people that I know at D2C. These events are always a bit weird because I'm not really in the industry yet, and being in school doesn't really help me when it comes to talking business. I'm always discussing my future plans.

Although I am technically writing for, I can count myself as press. :) I'm also looking forward to seeing Video Games Live again on Friday. I saw it last year at the San Jose Convention center, this time it's at the Nob Hill Masonic Center. Koji Kondo will be there so that'll be exciting! He's the composer for the Super Mario and Zelda games. A legend in the video game industry, next to Nobuo Uematsu. Tommy Tallarico who produced the show has been nice enough to keep in touch with the fans, so he responded to my request to set up an interview. I don't know when yet, probably will have to wait until all the fuss dies down.

I can't wait until next quarter since I will be taking a lot of writing classes, and then comes the summer where I'll be interning at D2C Games hopefully. I am pretty excited, I just need to get through the next couple of weeks and finish up this quarter.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Two weeks left...

I just noticed that there is only 2 weeks left until this quarter is over and then finals. This quarter system has been interesting, since it goes by so quickly, I am usually done with a class before I get really bored with it. The downside is that it does move quickly, and that missing a class (depending on the class) can cost you your grade and that usually after week 5 or 6, everything is due all at the same time.

Next quarter I will be taking only writing classes. I am really excited, not because I don't like classes that involve reading, but this was the reason that I came back to school, I wanted to be a better writer. I have magazine publishing, editing, feature writing, news reporting and the print workshop lined up - plus my chinese class which is a nice break.

I hope to still writer for the Pioneer as an editorial writer. I like editorials because they do have an opinion, and when other articles throughout the paper needs to be as unbiased as possible, in editorial, you can be as biased as you want! I just like reading other people's ideas mostly, not a rehash of a certain event. Although news does come in that kind of format, anything else would be sensationalism. Maybe that's why I have a hard time trying to read the news, it's either really boring, or I feel like it's too biased for that type of reporting. After awhile I get kind of tired of reading what Bush said today, because it's never very intelligent, and it only makes me want to vomit a little bit when I see it.

I started going to school full time again in Fall of 2006, and this Winter quarter has been a lot better. I really wanted to quit a few times in October, but I managed to tough it out. It's gotten a little easier, maybe it's the classes. I can't wait to get my core courses done so I can take some electives and take classes that actually interest me.

I think it was good for me to take that 4 year long break and work at a real job and see what the real world was like. It kind of sucks in many ways, so I feel like I should take advantage now while I am an unemployed student. I have the rest of my life to be working full time and being stressed out.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

It's spring! No wait...

Whether it's global warming or Mother Nature's odd sense of humour to provide us with bizarre weather patterns, today, it feels like spring.

I love spring in California. Growing up in Ontario Canada, Spring meant that the snow was melting away to produce large mounts of dog poo that had been hibernating over the winter. Yum. Nothing like the smell of rotting leaves either.

But it's not really spring right now, but it sure feels like. It's warm, in the 20Cs, 70Fs, and the sky is blue. I notice that the sky is only this blue after it rains so I ran out the other day to take pictures with my dog Bailey.

Of course, I'm sitting indoors typing this thing up when I really should be soaking up the sun. But unfortunately I have homework which I really need to finish, since I have people coming over tonight and I have a guest staying the weekend.

Spring will come soon, even though it's still technically winter. But it's days like these, that make me so happy that I am not buried under a pile of snow. I never really did understand why my parents wanted to live all the way out there...