Archive for the Entertainment category
August 7th, 2012
A few years back when I was really into cycling, I heard about the Race Across America (RAAM). It’s a 3000 mile (almost 5000km) race across the USA, but it’s different than most other well known bicycle races, such as the Tour de France.
The Tour de France has various stages that are scheduled over a 21-day period. RAAM has one giant stage – ride across the country as fast as you can. Riders in the Race Across America are usually on their own, or in small packs. You don’t see huge pelotons, since riders are spaced out so much more.
RAAM is very underappreciated race. It doesn’t have the big sponsorship backing that most of the Tour de France teams have, so you see a lot of family, friends and volunteers supporting the cyclists across their ridiculous ride. People that complete RAAM are true endurance athletes. They ride for as much as 23 hours per day (!), so it’s as much a sleep deprivation contest as it is a bicycle race.
I watched a lot of the highlights this year, and it’s pretty inspiring to see people push themselves so hard to win a race that doesn’t even have a prize.
May 17th, 2012
A few months back, I was tinkering with the idea of creating a Facebook game. Nothing too fancy, but something simple and easy to use, with high replay value. So I started playing a few games to see how they worked, what I liked and didn’t like, and to get some ideas on Facebook games in general.
One of the games I started playing is Zynga’s CityVille. Everyone’s heard of FarmVille, and as far as I know, this is basically the same game, but it’s based on building a city instead of a farm. The game really is just Sim City, with some social networking stuff built in.
I used to make fun of all those people who were addicted to those games, so when I found myself going down that road, I got a little embarrassed. That didn’t stop me from playing though… using Facebook’s privacy settings, I was able to hide my addiction from most of my friends. Only a select few fellow CityVille players would get to see my requests.
However, after playing for some time, you reach a point where you can’t really proceed any further unless you either a) annoy the shit out of your friends with messages and requests or b) pay money. Once I got to that point, I figured I had reached my limit, and I slowly stopped caring about my city. Eventually the daily emails and requests stopped, and I haven’t even checked it out in months.
My experiment is over, and I realized a few things. It’s easy to get sucked into something as innocent as CityVille, and I finally understand how some people get addicted to these sorts of games. It’s an easy game to play, and you can pick it up and play for as little as a few minutes a week, or you can get right into it and play for hours a day.
March 26th, 2008
Last night, a coworker and I went to see the Toronto Maple Leafs
play lose to the Boston Bruins at the ACC. We got the tickets from our employer as a thank you, which I thought was really nice. The seats were pretty good, in the reds, up behind the net. Unfortunately, the Leafs lost 6-2, and they played a sloppy game in my opinion. Not very impressive at all, and they deserved to lose. All in all, it was a fun first NHL experience for me. Here’s a few random thoughts about the night:
I was surprised at how lax the rules are with the sale and consumption of beer. We each got a medium beer, which cost about $9 or so. They didn’t ask for ID from either of us, and we were free to carry the beer around wherever we wanted. This goes against anything I’ve experienced at almost any other event where alcohol is served. At concerts, alcohol is only served in roped off or designated areas, away from underage kids, but at the hockey game, you can freely drink your beer anywhere you want.
I was also surprised at the amount of advertising presented. There were commercials on the big screen between plays and during intermissions, and the outer screens that surround the arena constantly cycled through various ads.
I wasn’t really surprised about how overpriced everything was, because everybody already knows that’s just the way it is. However, there’s no way in hell I would ever pay the $146 my ticket was worth to watch the Leafs play. I would much rather go see the Oshawa Generals play, where I can get the best seats in the house for $25, and see a much more exciting, action-packed game.
My first NHL game was fun, but I won’t be going back unless I get free tickets again.
March 18th, 2008
Last night I went down to Toronto with some friends to see Justice at the MySpace Music Tour which was held at The Sound Academy. It was a great time, although the scheduling for the night FUCKING SUCKED.
Doors opened at 8pm, and we got there close to 9. Fancy was supposed to be there to start off the show, but I’m pretty sure the opening act was some DJ I’ve never seen before. Does this guy look familiar to anyone?
Busy P played an awesome set and really got the crowd jumpin’. He did drag on for a while, and there were a few lulls, but overall he had a good energy and kept the crowd excited. Busy P has the craziest French accent I’ve ever heard.
After Busy P finished up, there was probably the longest wait I’ve ever experienced for the next band or performer to come out. I would say this is where they fucked up big time with the flow of the night. Everyone waited around with the house lights turned up, while they played classic rock for at least half an hour until Justice finally came out on stage.
Justice finally took to the stage at around 11:15 and the crowd went craaazy. Their stage setup is amazing, with the glowing cross and Marshall stacks everywhere. They were so fucking LOUD! The Sound Academy has probably the best sound system I’ve ever heard at a live show. It was ridiculously loud, but still crisp and not distorted or hissy like the sound quality I’ve heard at other venues. And when they dropped the bass, it hit hard!
We saw Justice play about three songs and then we had to leave so we didn’t miss the last train home. Bunch of fuckers! I mean honestly, doors opened at 8pm, Fancy didn’t even show up, so I don’t think it was too much to expect the show to be done by 11:30 or so. Especially considering it was an all ages show on a Monday night. The kids have school in the morning, the adults gotta work, and I’m sure a lot of people came from out of town and didn’t want to miss their trains and buses home.
Anyway, here’s a couple blurry pics of the stage during Justice’s set:
January 22nd, 2008
I like video games. I’ve played them my whole life. I’m not what you’d consider a “gamer” by any means, but I’ll definitely play a bit when I have some free time. I’ve always been against those who condemn video games, saying they are a bad influence on kids. These are usually the same types of people who blame murders on the messages found in popular music.
I’m not going to get into the social aspects behind all of this, but I recently came across a couple of articles that talk about people saving lives because of what they learned in video games.
The first incident involved a young boy from Norway, who “feigned death” to prevent a moose from attacking him and his sister. He learned this technique from playing World of Warcraft. I don’t know anything about WoW (thankfully), but apparently this is a skill used in the game to pretend you’re dead so you aren’t bothered by enemies.
The second event involved a man who witnessed a car crash and was able to treat the passenger’s injuries based on what he’d learned playing America’s Army. The man reportedly stated “I have received no prior medical training and can honestly say that because of the training and presentations within America’s Army, I was able to help and possibly save the injured men.”
That’s interesting stuff, and I think it helps show that video games aren’t all bad, and can actually have a positive effect on people.