A Long Weekend:

This was a fantastic weekend. So good in fact, I wasn’t even aware of it until a few minutes ago. I just got back from watching SIDEWAYS with Lu, and I have to say that it was a fantastic movie. Extremely well acted, and well written. It was NOT was I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised. Unfortunately, I do not consider it the best picture of the year, but I can see why it was nominated. Anyway, my weekend started, technically on Friday, since I was not feeling well and called in to work sick. Of course, I spent the majority of the day sleeping, but since Lu was off, we did go to the Woodland’s where I bought a gameboy game (seeing as it’s my only gaming system right now) and we had lunch at Jason’s Deli. After that, I was pretty exhausted again, so we went home, and I spent the rest of the day resting. Saturday was fairly uneventful, except that Natalie started speaking to me again, and we had a brief but meaningful conversation, and are back to being friends. We still have a lot to talk about but it’s a step in the right direction. And a relief. I can enjoy living in our apartment again. We also got a new vacuum today, so it was nice to see a clean floor again. I finally received my first W2 form, from Sprint. Now when my Verizon one comes in, I’ll be able to begin my filing. It’s just one step toward getting my new laptop (of which several people think I’m making a bad decision, but I’ll use another blog post for that later). I received a non-solicited compliment about my goatee, of which I’m finally satisfied looks okay. I was told it makes me look older, which I can’t disagree with. Personally, it makes me look more like I feel, as far as maturity goes. I finished one book, and began reading a classic, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. I’ve decided to stop buying soda once again. I’ll drink it if out at a restaurant (since I don’t like tea), but I’m no longer going to keep it at home. Twice this weekend, I had caffeine headaches AFTER drinking soda, which usually occurs if I haven’t had soda in a day or so. A good sign that I may not need to be drinking so much soda anymore. And finally, my abscess, which has been causing me pain for the past week, including my sick day has finally begun subsiding, to the point I would now consider it receding. I didn’t take any aspirin for the pain today, just for a headache. So overall, it was a good weekend. The best I’ve had in a very long time, if truth be told. I’m in a fairly thoughtful mood right now, because of the movie. Good movies tend to do that to me. So I’m going to go do some thinking. Goodnight, all.

In Accordance With Our Discussion:

Alan was talking about a movie based on Mayor McCheese, of McDonald’s fame the other night, which reminded me of an article I read in the latest issue of Sync. In the “50 Biggest Nerds of All Time” article, Mayor McCheese is ranked number 6. The following is quoted directly from the article: 6: Mayor McCheese Fictional mayor of McDonaldland. Defining nerd moment. More annoying than the Fry Guys, Hamburgler and Grimace combined, this walking, talking cheeseburger wore a top hat, monocle and sash, and ranks as the lamest company mascot ever. Yes, even worse than Domino’s Noid. Fortunately in 1973, Sid and Marty Krofft won a suit against McDonald’s that claimed Mayor McCheese was a blatant rip-off of the lovable psychotropic dragon H.R. Pufnstuf. Since then, the creepy minced-meat humanoid has largely disappeared from the public eye..

The Beginning Of The End?

For years, video games have become more and more complex, graphically intensive, and profitable. Video games now bring in more revenue than the entire movie industry. In fact, they share some very disturbing similarities, such as the release of highly-touted, big-budget failures in increasing numbers. Could the video game industry be headed for a tragic collapse? I believe so, based on a few factors that are beginning to appear throughout the industry. First is the demise of PC gaming. Surely, it’s still alive, and quite profitable, but PC gaming is certainly a long way from the popularity it once enjoyed. Indeed, many games are not released exclusively on console game systems, while skipping the PC entirely. Even the few games released exclusively for PC eventually find their way to consoles and sell extremely well. I’ll be the first to admit that if there were a more computer-centric control option for console games, I might be interested in making the switch myself. For instance, first-person shooters are notoriously hard to play on a console, when trying to use a gamepad. However, many gamers learn and adjust, and enjoy these games immensely. For those that prefer a keyboard and mouse for FPS games, the only thing lacking is the capabilities in the game to use USB keyboards and mice. After all, the Playstation 2 actually has USB ports on the console, and the Xbox controllers are based on a USB interface. But rarely do games have full support for a USB keyboard and/or controller. So is PC Gaming dead? Far from it, but it’s surely not as popular as it used to be. The costs involved with PC gaming are prohibitive, and the hassle of dealing with drivers, software updates, and constantly having to upgrade the components of the system keep many players from being interested in PC gaming. The allure of a console, which has no upgrade needs is extremely appealing; one simply has to purchase a game for the correct console, plug it in, and play. In the past, users of PC’s were able to argue that they offered online, multiplayer capabilities. Unfortunately, this is no longer exclusive to the PC. Most of the consoles, with the exception of Nintendo’s abscence in the online component allow for multiplayer gaming, as well as voice communication over the Internet. Due to the fact that the game is specifically designed to use the processing capabilities of the console, voice becomes easier to integrate, and becomes more central to the gaming experience. Undoubtedly, PC graphics have always been, and most likely always will be, better than it’s console counterparts. However, with graphics looking as good and realistic as they do currently, the price difference can become one of the biggest factors. A user who wants to play Madden 2005 can either purchase a $1000+ PC, then spend $40 on the game, or they can purchase a $150 console, and pay the same $40 for the game (unless game prices increase, as expected). Next-generation consoles will also provide better graphics that will most likely compete directly with PC graphics, at least for awhile. Other factors that lead me to believe that the game-industry in general is on its way to a crash, are that so many major corporations are trying to get into the business. Commercialization of games is going to become more and more pervasive, and will turn many gamers away. The game industry’s target market of 18-35 year olds are beginning to mature out of that age group, and may begin to find other things to capture their interest, as it becomes harder to find decent games, and as commercials and advertising become more prominent within games. Surely, there will always be a videogame market, and Nintendo may actually have the right idea, as primarily, younger children may continue to be the market leaders. Currently, that is not the case, but as the current generation of gamers begins to raise children on video games, they may appreciate games that are targeted toward younger users, and are not riddled with ads. Younger children are typically easier entertained, as well, and so games are not as critically dependent on high production values. Therefore, more games will appeal to kids, and will be more enjoyed. Also, moves like EA has currently made, in securing the exclusive NFL rights, has caused outrage among many fans, who feel as though a monopoly has been created on football games. If more game companies continue with moves like this, it may cause enough gamers to seek alternatives to video games. Certainly, as people get older, games will become less and less a part of daily life. They may keep consoles around for when younger people are around, but most likely, the time they spend playing games will decrease. Television may also eventually begin to find more enticing programming, and lure many people back to watching television. Video games have drawn many viewers away, and those viewers might find their way back to TV, if the programming is attractive enough. Though the video game industry will not collapse overnight, as more media companies, and large corporations, including movie studios try to get a piece of the video game pie, they may find their profits shrinking as they try to control the industry. Video gamers have long been fans of new ideas. Corporations will want to make sure that profits will remain high, which means few new ideas will be given chances, which effectively will mean the end of the gaming industry. Personally, I find myself playing games much less than in times past, and see very little need to continually upgrade my computer system to take advantage of the latest graphics. It’s simply too expensive to spend several hundred dollars every year or two, when I increasingly less. Game development has also become so complex, that by the time a game that I was interested in comes out, I’ve lost interest altogether. It’s one thing to be disappointed by a movie that you waited over a year to see, since it’s first teaser. You’ve only lost eight dollars. But a game that you waited two or three years for, and then upgraded your computer, spending $500 on, and then being dissappointed after paying $55 for the game is extremely frustrating. Though the game industry may never die, it certainly has a rough future ahead of it. Though profitable now, those seeking jobs within the industry may want to rethink their desires, in light of the current market, and developing industry.

Humor in everything…

The past few days have been pretty crazy. I’ve seen some pretty funny stuff, actually. At work, our CEO and most of the Executives were in town, and I was picked to attend a meeting where they told us the direction the company is moving in this year. During this meeting, with the Chief Executive Officer of Verizon Wireless, someone’s phone started ringing. Not funny, except that it was a T-Mobile phone, and ringing the T-Mobile music. Now, if the person had simply turned off the ringer, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but the phone kept ringing, over and over, and over, and the person was taking a really long time to turn it off. I might be alone in this, but I found it absolutely hilarious. Great ironic humor. Then today, on my way back from lunch, I saw a man walking down the street, pouring the contents of a one gallon plastic water jug, into another one gallon jug. The only problem: the jug he was pouring into was full and sealed. So this guy was walking down the street, without missing a step, and pouring all this water all over the ground. He was concentrating very hard, too, as if he were afraid he would spill the water. He didn’t look crazy to me, but then again, crazy people are hard to spot nowadays. I just thought it looked funny, if you take it at face value. Anyway, I wanted to write something, and nothing interesting has been happening lately, other than a couple funny events. The new chinese place is open, until it has another fire. Hopefully, it’ll be longer than 4 days this time. After all, it was under construction for nearly two years. I’m out of stuff to write. Goodbye.

It Will Be Mine:

Okay, so this is the laptop I want to get. Sans the goofy looking people on the screen.

It’s got:
– AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (same as Massey. And this is a desktop chip)
– 512MB DDR SDRAM (333MHz)
– NVIDIA GeForce 4 440 Go with 64MB DDR (dedicated)
– 80GB (4200 rpm) Hard Drive
– DVD±RW and CD-RW combo drive
– 15.4″ WXGA High-Definition (j) (BrightView Widescreen (1280 x 800) – 54g 802.11b/g WLAN with 125HSM/SpeedBooster support
– 5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader
– 3 Universal Serial Bus (USB) 2.0, 1 IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
– Integrated 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN
– 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible audio, Internal Harman Kardon® speakers, AC audio link, Volume control button and mute button
All for = $1349.99

Not a bad deal, if I say so myself. So I’ve decided to buy it once I get my income tax refund, and then sell this laptop (sorry, already have a buyer (maybe)) and use that money, along with my bonus from work at the end of February to build my new desktop, with roughly the same specs. LOL. That’s it, I’m out.