Friday, 31 May 2013

BLOG -- Recap of May

So May... was crazy busy for me. :( I'm not gonna elaborate, but I am feeling a stronger desire for some more Me-Time. Hopefully June will be kinder -- or I may have to just catch my Me-Time with my own hands.

Anywho, if you are curious about my thoughts on anything, as always, please go ahead and ask. :)

Outings/Events in May:
- My data kicked in on my new smartphone. Woot!

- Celebrated my sister's birthday with friends.

- Celebrated a friend's birthday.

- Had a sleepover at my sister's new place for the first time (I wasn't feeling well).

- Saw the cherry blossoms at High Park.

- Hung out with friends x4 (2 was the Monday ritual meetup with one friend).

- Attended Anime North 2013.

- Had Lunch with my team-mate and it was my boss' treat (this was one of my favourite days in May).

- (restaurant) St. Louis Wings and Ribs -- This place supposedly has really good pulled pork burgers. I had poutine.

- (restaurant) Chopin Restaurant -- This is a Polish restaurant.

- (restaurant) Wild Wing -- I'm guessing this is known for its wings. And they're not bad!

- (dessert place) The Mad Italian -- This place has some yummy ice cream.

- (person) Smooth McGroove -- So one of my friends shared a video by Smooth McGroove, and I was instantly hooked and amused. Smooth McGroove is a youtubber who mainly does acapella renditions of video games. He's really good!

- (boardgame) Ticket to Ride -- It's a board game with train lines. It can get really intense.

- (app) Glympse -- This is a cool app. It uses your phone's GPS and sends your location to whoever you send the Glympse to. Yeah, it uses a bit of data, but the receiver doesn't have to have Glympse installed and it's really useful if used properly.

- (Anime): XXXHolic -- Not a bad series. A little slow at times, but worth it.

- (Anime): Genshiken Second Season -- Not as good as the first season, but still really good. It's a bit more perverted, too.

- (Anime OVA): Genshiken OVA -- Good as usual.

- (Anime OVA): Shinesman -- I had been wanting to watch this OVA since forever. I'm glad I got to see it. I watch it dubbed -- just how I wanted to see it.

- (TV Series): Cougar Town Season 1 -- So, this is kinda a guilty pleasure series. It's funny and can be heartfelt. I don't like the main character all the time, but I do like her. I really like Chrisa Miller in this.

- (Movie): Iron Man 3 -- Awesome. Just when I thought Robert Downey Jr. couldn't get any hotter... *droools*...

- (PS2): Ape Escape 3 -- This was a really fun game. It just dragged a bit. I was planning on selling it after beating it, but now that I've unlocked this really nifty mini-game for it, I can't sell it, hahaha. :/

- Nothing this time.

Playing (not all at once):
- (PS3): Folklore 
- (PS3): Borderlands 2
- (PS3): Heavy Rain
- (PSN): Anomaly Warzone Earth
- (PSN): The Cave
- (DS): Legacy of Ys: Book I & II
- (DS): Contact
- (PSP): Persona 
- (Wii): Fortune Street
- (PS2): Atelier Iris 2
- (PS2): Shadow Hearts
- (PC): King's Bounty: The Legend

- (Anime): Yu Yu Hakusho 
- (Anime): Shakugan no Shana
- (TV Series): The Middle Season 1
- Nothing this time.

That's it for May. Here's a couple of random photos / videos from this month:

 A shot of the boardgame "Ticket to Ride".

 A shot of Anime North from the hotel room.

 Smooth McGroove -- "Street Fighter 2 - Guile Theme Acapella"
This was the video my friend shared on Facebook. 
It's awesome.

Thanks for reading! :)

BLOG -- My Impressions of the Xbox One Reveal (May 21, 2013)

Yes, I know that I am super-late to the party on this, and I know that I am super-late with last week's blog (unfortunately, Time is just not on my side at all these weeks / months).

But I'm still gonna blog about this, darn it! I wanted to blog about this ever since I watched the press conference. It's Friday and I'm home, so nothing is gonna stop me now.

Anywho, a little more than a week ago, Microsoft held a press conference which revealed their new upcoming console: Xbox One.

If you missed the conference, you can still watch it here.

After watching the conference, here are my three words to describe it: "Sports", "Multi-Task", and "No". And here are my reasons for my choice of these words.

"Sports": A lot of their features seem to align well with those into sports, especially watching sports games. Like, as they're watching their sports games, they can check and follow how their players are doing in their Fantasy League, and Xbox One can keep tabs / clips on the chosen players so they can be watched at a later time. I don't think those features apply to or work with anything else.

"Multi-Task": So while you're watching TV, you can also browse the internet. I think you can also talk on Skype as well. You can also switch between watching TV, playing video games, listening to music, or watching a movie at an immediate speed -- like flipping channels.

"No": Just no. I reject this. This gaming console does not align with me.

Now... I can see the benefits behind the Xbox One. It's great as an added TV interface (because being able to watch TV and use the internet at the same time on the same screen just sounds amazing), but... it just seems that the major selling point is the home entertainment and media, NOT the gaming component. To me, gaming is the secondary focus to Xbox One, which I find really disappointing.

I won't go into my other gaming related issues with the Xbox One, like not being able to lend somebody a physical copy of my game for more than a day without that person having to pay full game price on it (seriously, what the heck?!), or how the Kinnect will always have to be connected (my TV already has a sensor bar on it -- the Wii's sensor bar) or how indie game companies can't self publish their games on Xbox One while the Wii U and PS4 allow it. I should also mention that the "Xbox One" is a horrible name for Microsoft to name their 3rd gaming console.

It's just disappointing.

The only thing that gets me excited about the Xbox One is Call of Duty: Ghosts. That game just looks very promising and amazing.

I guess to conclude, I predict that the Xbox One will sell poorly on release day -- at least with the core gamer audience. With those who are more sports-oriented, this will sell like hotcakes. I think that is Xbox One's target audience, anyway. At least, it seems that way.

Thanks for reading my blog! Apologies again on the lateness. If you disagree with anything I've said or if you just want to leave a comment, feel free! My end-of-month blog will be posted later tonight so stay tuned! :)

Sunday, 19 May 2013


Note: In case you were wondering, where was her blog last week?, Time was being a butt to me, so I didn't get a chance to blog. In other words, I was crazy busy the last couple of weeks and the only thought I had almost everyday was to get home and putz around.

Anywho, while putzing, I ended up watching some episodes of the TV show The Middle. I bought the first season on DVD, as a trial to see if I would like it or not.

The Middle

From Left to Right: Sue (Eden Sher), Mike (Neil Flynn), 

Current Status of the Show: 4 Seasons and still running
Episodes Watched so far: 9 of 24 (for Season 1)
Length of 1 Episode: 22 minutes
Serial or Episodic: So far, it looks episodic with slight references to previous episodes
Genre: Family, Comedy, Slice-of-Life

PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
It's a little sad to say, but I don't think I would have ever given this show a chance if Neil Flynn wasn't in it. In my defense, I almost never watch TV these days (my parents always have the TV on to their shows when they're home -- which is pretty whenever I'm home), so I am terribly unaware of anything currently on air (unless somebody tells me about it).

Nobody told me about The Middle. I found out about the show because I was looking up on Neil Flynn on Wikipedia. I loved him in Scrubs, and I wanted to see more of him. When I briefly read the Wikipedia article on The Middle, I decided to give it a shot. According to Wikipedia, The Middle is a well received series, so I figured I'd get some value out of it if I purchased the first season on DVD blindly.

The Middle follows Frances (Frankie) Heck and her family. That's it (how brief is that? ;))! To add a bit of detail: they're a working-class family and we see the various issues of staying together as a family while still making ends meet. We see the show mainly through Frankie's perspective and she narrates her thoughts.

The Heck family watching TV while having their usual dinner.

So far, I can say the show has its funny moments, and relatable moments. I find that each character is believable -- most likely due to their relatable quirks or roles: Frankie is often optimistic to her family while bogged down with lots of familial errands; Mike is stable, often supports Frankie's decisions, and thinks the best way to bond is through sports; Sue tries for school clubs and events with next-to-no success while also trying to fit in at school; Axl is the stereotype of a teenage boy (lazy and sarcastic); Brick has difficulty making friends at school, prefers to read than socialize, and is overall known as being "weird".

I guess the big word here is "relatable". Each episode has some relatable issue (like trying to get noticed, the craziness of Christmas, trying to have some family bonding time, etc.), and then often follows with some kind of slightly ridiculous, but still relatable, event or conclusion (anything I say here would be a spoiler so my mouth is zipped).

In terms of characters, I like everybody... with some dislike for Frankie. I find that she can be a little too forgetful sometimes (due to having to do, like, a million errands at the same time each day -- I'm exaggerating a little here) and a little flaky with being responsible (like if she's in trouble she'll try to give an excuse). I can understand her predicament, but I still don't like that of her.

In terms of acting, it's great. I have no complaints. Neil Flynn does not disappoint here. His delivery is great and everything. Extra props to Eden Sher -- I think she's really great as Sue. I find that she's very genuine and sincere with her character.

Right now, the series doesn't have my sure fire, Yes! I can get behind this 100%. But then again, I've still got 15 more episodes to watch of Season 1. When I get home and feel like having some relaxation time, The Middle does come to mind every now and then.

You know what? I think I'll watch a couple episodes of it right after this blog.

Thanks for reading!! Next week, my weekly blog might be delayed by a couple of days. Just a heads up. Have a good weekend and week! :)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

BLOG -- Cherry Blossom-watching

So, yesterday I went to High Park to see the cherry blossoms (AKA sakura) in full bloom. It was a nice sight. It was also an adventure since I was meeting up with friends inside the park and we haven't been there in years. Even though seeing the cherry blossoms in full bloom was nice, what I really want to see is the moment when the cherry blossom petals fall (ideally with wind blowing), kinda like what I often see in anime series. I know that cherry blossom petals falling carry so many pessimistic meanings, but it looks really beautiful.

This looks so pretty.

Here are some of the pics I took yesterday of the cherry blossoms. My camera is nicer now that I have a cooler phone, but I'm still working out the settings so please forgive any shots that look sucky. Click on any image to see it in a larger size.

Thanks for reading and have a good week! :)