Tuesday, November 12, 2013
I can't even bring my bike inside and put it on the trainer because our basement is a disaster, packed with boxes, while we await the foundation repair guys to fix the leak in our basement.
My "good" shoulder is doing bad. I'm still convinced it's bursitis, but haven't had it checked by my doctor yet. Changing my pillow and doing some of the physio exercises that I used to do for my injured shoulder seems to help a little. I guess if there's a good time for it to be bad, now is the time and I can hope that it improves before next spring.
About two years ago, I got Rocksmith to try and help me learn to play guitar. While it was fun, the cumbersome game interface became too much of a hassle to keep it fun. I played it on and off since, but probably didn't touch it in the last year.
Recently, Rocksmith 2014 was released. I picked it up and have been playing it pretty much on a daily basis since. The interface and usability has greatly improved.
Ubisoft has something they call a 60-day challenge. Play the game 1 hour per day for 60 days. In typical Ubisoft fashion, their tracking web site still isn't ready to actually track your progress properly. It's "coming soon".
We'll see how long I stick with this one. :)
Friday, March 29, 2013
On April 2nd, Don McLean's "American Pie" will be the very last Rock Band song.
But from what I read on Twitter, it may not be the last ever, but it is the end of the weekly download content that has been flowing for years.
We bough so many songs. We probably have more invested in Rock Band songs than we do in the Xbox and all the other games we own.
I have some good memories of playing Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and Rock Band 3 over the years. It's the only video game that my wife played often on our Xbox. She refused to play any instrument other than guitar. Bass was boring. Guitar was a challenge. And she was pretty damn good at it too.
I remember struggling to move from Medium difficulty to Hard, and having to deal with more than 3 buttons. I thought for sure that I would never learn to play without looking at the neck of the guitar and be able to transition my fingers up and down the neck of the guitar without forgetting where I was.
I remember the first time my wife and I gold starred a song and how awesome it felt. Sounds silly, I know, but it was a cool moment.
I remember the day my wife and I decided to go for the "Never-ending Setlist" achievement, and how it took much longer than we expected, and how patient our kids were waiting to be fed, late, that evening. :)
I remember the first time playing drums. And how "real" it felt to nail a tricky beat on expert as if it had never been a problem.
It still amazes me how my fingers seem to magically press all the right buttons in sequence to a seemingly impossible stream of notes cruising down the TV screen.
I remember the first time I got 100% on a song, on expert, and how it made want to thrust my fist in the air and yell "FUCK YEH!"
Saturday, February 23, 2013
My wife and I (and daughter and niece) took a trip down to WinterBrewed last Saturday to sample some fine craft brews. Just to clarify, my our daughter and niece didn't do any sampling, they were there for the food. :) Our timing must have been good because we didn't have to wait long for anything, unlike those who arrived later in the afternoon and had to endure 30 minute lineups just to purchase tokens to sample the brews. This was the first time they held one in the winter, and the first time on Sparks Street. Hopefully they work out the glitches for next year.
Since my wife was DD, I did most of the sampling. :) My favourite was the St. Ambroise maple. I would have liked to sample more, but we ran out of tokens and it was rather chilly. I'm sure the next National Capital Craft Brew week this spring will be much more comfortable.
Shoulder, fitness, etc.
My shoulder felt pretty damn good since the last physio appointment. I had another appointment this past Friday as well. I mentioned to my physiotherapist that I had been doing a lot of workouts, focusing more on upper body. She said the increased blood flow to my shoulder is likely why it's been feeling good. I'm really looking forward to spring when I can try cycling again.
My weight loss isn't going so well, but at the same time it's not bad either. Although I really haven't lost much, I haven't gained either. (I blame the beer and weekly pizza, but I'm not about to give up either) When I can, on the weekends, I've increased my workouts. I've combined the Nike+ workouts with the 'ol Your Shape Fitness Evolved workouts, and a little Kinect Sports Season 2 thrown in at the end for fun. That ended up being 2 hours worth of exercise today. :)
My wife and I went to the Bon Jovi concert this past Wednesday. We sat in the 300 level, and they only cost me about $40 per ticket (after surcharges and tax) I have to say that they were the best cheap seats I've ever had for a concert.
Thursday, February 2, 2012
One of the so-called rules of blogging is to never aplogize for the lack of updates, therefore there will be no apologies forthcoming.
Hasn't been much new & exciting happening lately, so I'll post a few little odds'n ends.
iPhone. Still diggin' it. Got way too much crap installed on it and have been slowly thinning it out.
Rocksmith. Haven't played it much lately. I have been picking away "unplugged" though to keep up the calouses. They just released an update to fix bugs and make the game a little more user-friendly, so I'm anxious to try it out.
Photography. Aside from the odd photo taken with Instagram on my phone, I haven't done much at all in over a month. Got no inspiration. The cold and crappy weather certainly doesn't help either. One thing I did do was pick up a pretty cool app called Portrait Professional. This is one slick app. I'm all for keeping a more natural look with portraits, but when used minimally, you can fix up the small imperfections without making it appear overdone. Now all I need is people to take photos of.
Computers. I picked up a D-Link DNS325 a couple of weeks ago. I was long overdue for getting a home NAS, and after my wife and daughter lost data with a recent laptop hard drive crash it was time. I wish I had done something sooner. Right now I have an old 500GB drive that I hacked out of an external USB hard drive, and an 80GB. Once hard drives come back to a more reasonable price, I'll be picking up a couple of 1TB drives to replace them.
Music. Look for something new(ish)? Check out Ravenscode. They're also Canadian, eh? :)
Sunday, November 13, 2011
I still remember years ago thinking "I can barely play 3 damn buttons, I'm never going to learn to play 4... or 5. This is insane." Yet, about a year or two later, I was playing some songs on expert and gold starring them. With that in the back of my mind, I push on with this real guitar thing.
I know that things that seem impossible aren't impossible, with a little patience and persistence.
I have frustrating moments, like I did with Rock Band. Probably more so now. With 6 strings and so many frets, the combinations seem endless. It's really tricky trying not to look at the buttons strings so I can concentrate on the TV instruction. It's easy to get lost.
Another thing I recall from my Rock Band experience was that when the frustrations were too great, put down the guitar and take a few days off before trying it again.
It's the same thing with Rocksmith and a real guitar.
This afternoon I finally felt like I was making some real progress. Not just with my in-game score, but actually feeling I could do this, eventually.
I got hooked on a seemingly simple song, "When I'm With You" by Best Coast. I was really getting into it. Rockin' it out. It's a fun song. My daughter actually said "Was that really you playing that?" I felt like a rock star. I played it five or six times. I then decided one more time before calling it a night.
That's when I discovered just how dynamic Rocksmith's difficulty can be. Seconds into the song, it looked foreign. "WTF? More notes?!" *panic* I struggled through the tough parts and it wasn't long before it started to look a little more like I had been playing previously. Maybe it should be called Dynamic Reality Check. Yeh, I still have a long way to go.
I finished up the night with playing one of the mini-games, "Scale Runner". My daughter even took interest. She got a small acoustic guitar for Christmas a year or two ago, had some interest for a while and it has since been gathering dust. She brought it out, I tuned it up the best I could, and we sat playing/learning scales together. :) I might have to pick up an extra USB adapter cable once my new guitar arrives this week so we can play multi-player.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
During the making of Samantha's video, I searched the web for music to use. I know from experience that YouTube can be pretty strict when it comes to enforcing copyright. In 2007 I created a video for our other cat, Quincy, and posted it on YouTube. Warner Music made a claim and YouTube stripped out the audio from the video. :(
They seem to be a little more relaxed now and add restrictions on where the "offending" video can be played, add a copyright notice, and prevent you from making any advertising money from them. I think that's a good solution. I wish they had done that with my other video.
This time I decided to look for something royalty-free and avoid the whole mess.
I couldn't find anything I liked, until I came across Joseph Akin's web site. While his music isn't free, I was instantly drawn to "Masterpeace". It was exactly what I was looking for. I thought about taking a chance and just using it, but I really didn't want to end up in the same situation as before. What were the chances of getting permission? I had nothing to lose. I found a contact email address and sent off a request with a brief explanation.
What I received later in the evening was not only permission to use it, but a recommendation of another song that he composed that he thought might be more suitable. He even sent along the MP3.
I had a smile from ear to ear. He didn't ask for anything other than the credit I said I would add to the video, and to let him know when the video was done. I immediately sent off a thank-you email.
In the end, I did use the song that he recommended — Spirit Touch — for the video.
Thanks again to Joseph for allowing me to use his music.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The other week, Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” was on one of the free movie channels. We decided to watch it and see what the big deal was about.
I have to admit, it was a pretty decent show. But that’s not what I’m writing about.
The guitarist was really good; her name was Orianthi Panagaris. She really kicked ass. My wife questioned whether it was the same “Orianthi” that sings a pop song that she happens to like.
Out came he laptop and my daughter did a search.
Sure enough, they were one and the same.
I’m more of a “rock’n’roll” kinda guy, but I don’t mind most pop songs. I had to find out what else she sings and/or plays.
I found out some really cool facts about her as well as some videos of her playing less pop-like material. To quote Santana from that linked web site:
"It's not cute any more. It's seriously ass-whupping. If I was going to pass the baton to somebody, she would be my first choice."
I had to add her album to my collection. Having recently acquired an iPod Nano, I picked up “Believe (II)” from iTunes. On it, she also does a instrumental guitar duel with Steve Vai.
I love this one listener review from iTunes:
As a fan of heavier music (generally screamo and metal), I was impressed by the skills of Ori, from the first album “Violet Journey”, up until Believe (II), her music is continuously high on my playlist.
She’s like a bridge between the pop and rock gap.
Look ‘er up and give ‘er a listen.
Monday, April 12, 2010
The show was to start at 6:30pm. We were a little late in arriving due to me misplacing the stubs. As we drove to the parking lot, we were shocked to see a huge line-up, stretching around the corner of Scotiabank Place, after 6:30pm. WTF?
We weren't quite sure why, so we followed others to the front of the arena, skipping past the line-up. This photo shows where we were, and the time we were there.
By the time we got into the show, we had completely missed seeing Sick Puppies. Our friends, who got there earlier, told us that the doors didn't open until 6:00pm.
Seriously.... they opened the doors 30 minutes before the concert, where 17,500 people were attending.
I read this evening that the Prime Minister and his son were there, and security was tighter as a result. I guess it took them time to sweep the building for bombs? I don't know, but it sucked... and I sent Scotiabank Place a complaint email. Someone should have know about the PM's attendance way before and this shit should have been taken care of earlier.
Anyway, it was a great concert. Shinedown rocked. Breaking Benjamin rocked. Nickelback rocked. I'm not a huge fan of Nickelback, unlike my wife, but they sure know how to put on a great show.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I read an old article earlier today where Trent Reznor said that Nine Inch Nails won’t be releasing any more tunes to games, like Rock Band.
On more than one occasion in the article, he said music isn’t a game.
“Music isn’t a game, it’s supposed to be an emotional kind of experience.”
“I want it to be an album, a piece of music and not a game.”
Having your music in a game doesn’t make your music a game. It doesn’t take away from the “emotional kind of experience” at all. At least not in my eyes.
It’s a golden opportunity to introduce your music to new ears. Get old ears excited about an upcoming release. And on top of that, I’m sure they get a cut of the $$ made selling the songs as download content for a game like Rock Band.
That’s even better than free publicity. That’s paying publicity.
Since my wife and I got hooked on the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, we’ve been introduced to many new bands and I’ve bought the music as a result. These are sales that probably never would have happened otherwise.
I’m sure there are bands out there that would kill for an opportunity like that.
I think Trent is missed the point. His loss. Hopefully some other band’s gain.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I read over here, that Rock Band will be getting a few country music songs in the download content next Tuesday.
This is a first. Feedback has been mixed. Some say country music has no place in Rock Band and it should get its own game to play in. Others don't seem to mind.
I'm not fan of country music, but I'd certainly rather play it than some of the death metal stuff that came with Rock Band 2 -- songs like "Visions" that sound worse than rocks in a blender. Country music is closer to "rock" than that crap, IMHO.
Friday, October 17, 2008
"Someone should have drove that guy, he did that on purpose," Cheli said Wednesday.
MONTREAL(?), 1906 or 1907. A Montreal club (possibly the Wanderers) wanted its picture taken with the Cup in the studio of photographer Jimmy Rice. After taking the photo, the team left, and the team left behind the Cup. It stayed in the studio for some months until Rice's mother (some sources say it was his wife or his housekeeper or his cleaning lady) used it as a vase, as it held red geraniums in the Studio window.OTTAWA, 1927. The Ottawa Senators won it, and it spent much of the year's summer in King Clancy's living room, where it served as a receptacle for everthing including letters, bills, chewing gum, and cigar butts.NEW YORK CITY (?), 1940. After the New York Rangers won the cup, Hall of Famer Lynn Patrick and teammates celebrated by urinating in it.NEW YORK CITY(?), 1980. Clark Gillies of the 1980 New York Islanders allowed his dog to eat from it. Gillies said, "He's a nice dog.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I had read about him a little while ago, but this is the first time I've seen and heard him.
After watching the video, and being quite impressed, I then discovered that Journey has had quite a few lead singers after Steve Perry's departure, all of whom have been pretty impressive.
Here's a comparison:
Friday, April 25, 2008
On it, they have previews of all the songs from the release along with the video for their new single, Nine Lives. At first listen, I like about half of them. But that's no unusual for me. More often than not, I tend to like songs the more I listen to them.
They also have a Guitar Hero III contest you can enter to win some prizes, I assume to commemorate the release of three of their songs on Guitar Hero III: Nine Lives, along with two live (older "classic" tracks) Photograph and Rock of Ages.
The general consensus on the Guitar Hero III forums is that the quality is crap. I downloaded the songs and I have to agree. The instruments on the two lives tracks are a little difficult to hear and the volume on Nine Lives seems to increased and decrease at various times during the song. I don't know what Activision did to the songs, but I know they don't sound that bad.