Telling tales

September 2nd, 2008

I did a guest spot with Desci and Bob’s Podcast last week and it is available now. They were discussing contraception and so I told them my experiences with one of the permanent forms of birth control. It is a longish episode and I am in the last third of it.

It also looks like I am about to join the crackberry brigade. I am keen to get back into the hurly burly of a program again as my current process setup role sucks dog’s balls. I’m a bit sick of stop gap roles too. I am feeling a bit like Heracles in that I keep being given shitty jobs to do. Completing one only lands another on my plate. As much as I enjoy working for my Executive sponsor in all this, I am going to start calling him Eurystheus.

It’s much easier to keep the lid on the Geelong bandwagon this year. It will take a massive choke not to reach the Grand Final and I am fairly confident that, once there, they will win again. It’s a pleasant change this winning thing.

I need something new.

August 24th, 2008

I’m turning into a fat bastard and it is time for action.

I’m thinking of starting the Couch to 5km thing. Which is kinda galling for someone who used to get paid to run. (Well running was part of the job). I reckon I am now more than 10kg overweight and it is just sitting there on the front taunting me.

There is also a gym within easy distance and I’m thinking about that too.

But I may also about to be given a new job with more demands on my time and I’m not sure how that will impact my lifestyle.

The good news is that my swing by Willow is starting to get grooved in. The good is now very good indeed. I love it.

Perhaps I should just call it a golf blog.

August 11th, 2008

I went to see my golf coach with my spare time on Saturday. It is a testament to the quality of this guy that driving 100 minutes to get there and then 100 minutes home again at the end of the session was totally worth it.

One of the attractions of dilettantism is getting new shiny stuff into your life on a regular basis. New skills are even nicer than new things for me and so getting some more advanced abilities for my golf game is more satisfying than a new piece of equipment. I felt like I was 10 feet tall for chunks of the session as I went from woeful to good in an aspect of my game that has been plaguing my scores. I’m still buzzing now to tell you the truth. Any readers in the Melbourne area looking for a golf coach should check out David Williams.

I ended up purchasing neither Wii nor PS3. There was finally an announcement of the Australian release date for Rock Band. The one game that would determine my ultimate console decision. It is finally coming in October. Around the same time Rock Band 2 will be released in the US. And the price gouging for this will require the Australian musical gamers to bend over and grit their teeth as they get reamed with neither reacharound nor lube. The total cost for Rock Band, 10 months after its’ original relase is $410

FOUR. HUNDRED. AND. TEN. DOLLARS!

Dear MTV Games,

GET FUCKED YOU GOUGING ARSEHOLES!

Love Bruce

I can buy an entire Wii for that price. On the current exchange rate, gamers in the US can purchase the same components for AU$180. Why the more than 100% price premium? It can’t possibly be shipping. Australia is region free so you shouldn’t have to recode anything. Why the fuck do you think you can get away with this exorbitant pricing regime?

And so the dream dies. What would have been a guaranteed, day-one sale has now turned into a disgruntled non-customer. One who will actively discourage anyone I know from buying your game at that price point. Who do you think you are? Apple?

So the list is now:
Glenelg Motor Inn
Something or someone (I can’t remember)
MTV Games.

Australia – a nation with their bins out.

August 5th, 2008

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the launch of Google steetview. And of course you’ve gone looking for your house and other places of note. Then I noticed the conversations on the various boards and blogs referring to the fact that they have their bins out. It seemed like more than 14% of all people had the google car drive past their house on the same day the garbos had been.

Yet this does not surprise me. The garbage trucks go down every street in every suburban area every week. They must have a reasonable optimised route for themselves, so if you wanted a quick and easy way of working out which way to cover the suburban steets then I would think joining the flies that follow the trucks would be a simple way of plugging in to an already completed solution.

Either that or it’s a coincidence.

Kindness to strangers?

August 4th, 2008

Can one give a complement to a random stranger while walking down the street?

Could I tell a girl “great shoes” or compliment a bloke on his tie? Would this be generally appreciated? Or would this get one branded as crazy stalker material?

If it happened to me I am pretty sure I would appreciate the sentiment. Am I wrong?

I am a victim of old age this week. I find myself having this weekend with the house to myself and the car. Yet with so many new fathers and other good excuses, none of my usual peer group are available to share it with me. There isn’t even any sport of note on Saturday night as I am all but boycotting the Olympics. My olympian sport of choice is Volleyball, but I’m sure there will be bugger all coverage throughout the games. Fifth replays of swimming heats will be given precedence over hard court volleyball.

Perhaps I will buy a Wii or a PS3.

Epic on a small scale.

July 27th, 2008

Yesterday I played my semi final match in the President’s cup. My second experience in matchplay and I was facing the reigning club champion. It was a handicapped match though so form on the day was to be the decider.

It was a really tough match. It took until the 4th hole to break the deadlock as I made a steady par to go 1 up. He grabbed that back straight away to halve things again on the 5th. Squared the 6th and then I messed up 7 pretty badly to go 1 down. Then I parred the 8th as he pulled his drive into the thickest bush on the course to square it back up again. Another half up the 9th and we make the turn all square. I think I made more long putts on this 9 holes than I had in any round of my life. We were both playing strong golf. It was tense. It was enormous fun.

No change on the 10th and then I grabbed another win on 11 to go 1 up. Then on 12, 13, 14 and 15 we both wrestled each other hard without anything to separate us. 4 halved holes in a row to see me still 1 up as we headed to the 16th tee.

I hit a draw. That is, the ball moves a bit from right to left as it flies through the air. 16 makes this difficult though as there are a lot trees overhanging the green on the right. So I was forced to attempt a fade – a left to right movement. Armed only with a bit of emailed advice from my Golf Coach I made the shot, hit the green and made the putt.

I was now up dormie 2 and feeling pretty pumped.

But my opponent is club champion for a reason. He made a birdie on 17 with ease and I cocked it up badly in trying to match him. Now only 1 up on the last hole. We both get up to the green neck and neck but I have the edge as I am about 12 feet from the hole and he is 30 away.

He made the putt!!

I still have a chance though. If I make mine we halve the hole and I win the match. It looked great. It caught the hole.

It didn’t drop!!

We head back to the start again. This match will be played until there is a winner.

Down the first and he sprays his drive a looooong way right. It takes us a while to find it it’s so far off and he has no real shot at the green. I’m down the right tree line but still have a shot. He somehow manages to get his second shot to the fringe with equal parts luck and skill as he skunges a shot through a bunker and spat down the hill to the green. I put my second onto the front edge of the green. He makes the up and down for par. I 2 putt and we’re off to the 20th hole.

We both drive strongly but I am slightly shorter (as I was all day), so I play first into the green. My 9 iron flies straight over the pin, but I’m a bit long and end up just over the back of the green. Not a good place to be as everything slopes away sharply from here and stopping the ball near the hole will be tough. My opponent is smarter and goes shorter. He is just short of the green. I couldn’t stop my next shot coming down the hill and ran my chip about 14 feet past the hole. He chips up well to 4 feet. I give the putt a good surge but it just runs past the left edge. He sinks his putt and the match is over.

It sucks to have lost. I was rather deflated for the rest of the day and I guess that is as much the expenditure of a lot of mental energy. Having slept on it though I am feeling pretty proud of my efforts over the last 3 weeks. I’ve played solid and consistent golf. I’ve had my first crack at real matchplay and acquitted myself fairly well. I took the club champion to the 20th hole and got a lot of pats on the back in the clubhouse afterwards.

So while it may be a pretty minor thing in the golfing pantheon, a mid level trophy in a small, country golf club, it has a lot of meaning for those of us involved. It’s a story that was already being embellished over a few beers over the afternoon and will be passed around for a long time in that little circle. I hope I get some more chances in the future to create even more ‘epic’ stories. This one was a blast.

I knew it was too good to be true.

July 21st, 2008

Things were looking up last time so of course I had to pay for it. Caught another virus just as I was coming back from the first one (or had a pretty major relapse) and that turned to a secondary infection of both my ears and both my eyes. Ugly in so many ways. So I am working my way through a large and expensive amount of antibiotics right now and only want to kill myself every couple of hours when the pain gets out of hand.

That only really started on Sunday because Saturday was a pretty good day.

I played my quarter final match of the President’s Cup. My first ever honest to goodness matchplay event of any kind. It was nicely nerve wrecking and really kicked in the concentration. I think I actually handled the pressure better than my opponent as he faltered at some crucial stages while I (mostly) held it together.

Nevertheless it was all square heading up the 18th. My opponent made a mess of things while I made a run of the mill bogey to win the hole and the match. Huzzah! I will be back next week for the semi final! Assuming my health holds up and I don’t fall in an even deeper hole.

On the up

July 14th, 2008

So I have done my crappy shift work and have got back into the 9-6(ish) groove and I’m really looking forward to the large bonus hitting the account. I’m thinking a PS3 or Wii might be on the cards. The availability of Rock Band will be the determining factor. Does anyone know anyone coming back from the US soon that has a spare 18lbs of luggage allowance?

And to top these thoroughly top things off, I played a decent game of golf on the weekend. Shot 89 to play to my handicap and achieved a minor milestone for myself. I wanted to play 3 consecutive rounds at 89 or less and have managed to do that with the 89 at Mirboo North, 88 at Growling Frog and 86 at Moonah Links Open. Yay me. Next milestone is 15 handicap.
Not only that but I also snuck into the last qualifying spot for the President’s Cup. I will be going back next week for a matchplay game. The 8 qualifiers essentially start at the quarter finals stage, so who knows, I am only 3 wins away from a major pieces of perpetual silverware at the club. Given I putted like a spastic on Saturday and still scored OK I think I am a good chance to win if I can start out better. I am taking my old faithful putter though – the newer one isn’t much chop on the slow water-logged greens at Mirboo. I much prefer a lot of speed in the greens. Pick a line and get it rolling is my preferred play without worrying about inconsistencies in the surface. The locals manage it pretty well. One of my playing partners put on a short game clinic on Saturday – made it even more satisfying to take his money.

I’m feeling unusually charged up at the moment. Perhaps it is just feeling normal again after a pretty bad virus last week.

Hope you’re doing OK.

Mis-spending my youth part II

June 15th, 2008

While video games are all well and good, and some of them are very good indeed, I actually get more fun out of playing the silver ball. There’s a bit of an analog component there that rewards skill to a higher level than a lot of video games. So here are my favourites.

Class of 1812
This is a fairly simple game without too many rules too remember and cast of chickens clucking the 1812 Overture while playing the easily lit multiball. It spend a fair bit of time in the corner of the cheap bistro of the Mildura Workingman’s Club and so we would go in for lunch and a beer or two while blasting through a few round of this table. I think this has a place in my heart more for it’s location and memories rather than its; outright qualities as pinball.

Jungle Princess
My good friend Karl actually owned this one. We would play it far too much and although it was a very simplistic game it never really got old. From 1977 it was probably light on for features even then, but that just made it easier for the home enthusiast to maintain. The sounds were generated by 2 glockespiel notes that a magnetic coil would throw a metal rod at. Drew used to cheat by essentially disabling the tilt function. I’m calling you out here mate. Those records of yours remain suspect even to this day.

Car Hop
Another one that sat in the Workers’ club at times and in hindsight it was junk. I did spend a lot of time playing it though and got to be pretty good at it. From memory it was loop/spinner, loop/spinner, loop/spinner, bullseye. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Star Trek TNG
Big, complicated, lots to do and some pretty cool features like the cannons on top of the slingshots. The licence was great too as you had all the actors doing their lines. I am a trek nerd and pinball nerd so it combined two of my life’s passions. I would have bought one (pre-children) if I hadn’t seen how hard it was to maintain in good working order. So many tricksy little things meant it wouldn’t take much to have a single feature out of play for a while. When it was working properly it was a joy to play and I will still seek one out whenever I can.

The Addams Family
This is probably on a lot of lists like this and rightly so. It sold a lot of machines as it was staggeringly popular in the mid nineties. I’m not sure I will ever tire of this one. So much to do and very easy to set up the various games within the game. A game made of win and awesome.
Addams Family

Mis-spending my youth. Away edition

June 8th, 2008

Desci asks and of course I comply. She names Point Blank as one of the great video games of our time and I agree with her. But what others have taken my fancy over the years? Plenty. Especially on the home computer, but today’s list is about the ones I fed my 20c or $1 or $2 coins into over the years. In no particular order I give you my favourites.

Point Blank
As Desci says this is a lot of fun. No storyline of any kind, just skill tester after skill tester with a nicely ramping difficulty curve. There were times when I was on song that the single shot missions like the falling leaf or the William Tell were a piece of piss. Others where they were nigh on impossible and I blame dodgy calibration for those.

Point Blank

Gyrus
This was the first one I was any good at. I even made it to Earth once or twice. Double fire was king here as it was in Galaga and you needed to base your play around getting it. The soundtrack was pretty cool too.

Gyrus

Gauntlet
This game had a near endless appetite for coins. Mistakes made on any given level could counteracted by sticking in another couple of credits. I liked playing the Valkyrie which, in hinsight, was foolishness. All the best players would fight for the Elf and take the Wizard if that were already taken. Don’t shoot food is sound advice for any situation.

Guantlet

Moon Patrol
I was never very good at it. I would get lazy and complacent in playing it. But I would always want to play it. I think it is the catchy game music that kept me coming back. I had it as my ringtone for several years in the early part of the century.

Moon Patrol

Spy Hunter
Another catchy tune and an impressive looking cabinet to play at. Machine guns, smoke screens, oil slicks at the ready. I almost wished I had a tuxedo to wear while driving it to get the full spy feel.

Spy Hunter

Super Sprint
This may not make too many lists of other people’s favourites, but if you could find a friend (or two) to play with it could be awesome. There was steering wheel lock, like so many of this era, so you would spend the race with your foot to the floor spinning the wheel hard to make the turns then grabbing it to straighten out again, drifting like crazy around the track.

Super Sprint

Star Wars
The sit down version of this came to Mildura and was the first ‘premium’ game that demanded 2×20c to play instead of 1. And it was totally worth it. The sound was amazing, the graphics were in an unheard of 3D. There were queues to play this game that required more than just putting your 20c on the machine. A blackboard was set up to keep track of who was next to play. I’m not sure I will ever be as impressed with a new game as I was with this one.

Star Wars

So these are the arcade games I have loved. But I have a stronger passion. The silver ball.
A new post for that I think