Monday, August 28, 2006

Draganfly RC Heli aerial video

Pop this one in the "Oh MAN I gotta get me one of THESE!!" category. I've been eyeing RC Heli's for a few years since I saw a guy flying one in a field near my work. I went over to talk to him but he wouldn't talk and fly at the same time so his friend answered all my questions. Apparently it's really hard to fly conventional RC heli's and you should practice on a computer sim for weeks before even trying to take one up in the air for real. The guy said "Your first crash will cost you $400, the next one $350.. The cost per crash goes down as you get better...."

That kinda turned me off the whole thing, until I saw a video of this thing. Regular RC copter's might be hard to fly, but this baby's got some space-aged thermo-gyroscopic stabilizer so it strives to stay level by itself at all times. In fact, if you manage to lose it behind a building out of radio range, or the batteries in your RC controller go down, it slows down and descends by itself to do it's best at an automatic safe landing.

It can lift 4 ounces. The thing I want it for is it's aerial photography abilities. You can chuck a wireless mini-cam on there and get some pretty good shots. Not perfect, but pretty damned good from what I can see (with some stabilization software). Check some of these examples out! This is wild! Depending on the rig you get, one of you flies and the other guy can point the camera as you watch the vid feed real-time down below.

I can think of tons of places to use that in shots. Heck, screw the camera, it's just fun to fly! For only 13-17 minutes at a shot though. hehehehe. Batteries weigh lot so it doesn't pack much per flight..

I'll keep thinking about it..

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Trailerpark Geocachers Meet Bigfoot II - Pre-Vis

Pre-production has started for Trailerpark Geocachers meet Bigfoot II - The Return of Bigfoot, the sequel to the first film. The script is almost finished and I started the storyboards last week. Went high-tech this time, no more stick-men drawings or cheapie 2D paint programs like I used on the last one. We're going 3D all the way this time!!

Check out a sample of a 3d storyboard of intro sequence shots in flash (some are missing) out of a program called Frame Forge.

It takes a while to set up the sets and locations, but once they are there, you just drop cameras in and out where you need them and manipulate the actors and other objects as you see fit. Very cool!

The Bigfoot is kinda ugly (with red nail polish to boot) but there was no Bigfoot characters in the software. He's a reasonable facsimile. Tripper is carrying a garbage can that is doubling for something else. Whatever gets the story across.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bully - from Rockstar Games

Hey, looks cool. Relive your childhood!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Reservoir Dogs - The Game

Yet another of my favorite movies turned into a game! It lets you play out all the stuff we never got to see, like where does Mr Pink stash the loot, how did Mr Blond get the cop back to the warehouse, etc.. (I'm just parroting the trailer below, take a peek).

It actually plays pretty good, the intro tutorial level to Resevoir Dogs is like "How to rob a bank 101" (kinda creepy now that I think of it). It has your character playing paintball in order to learn how to duck and cover. You can do that stuff that bank robbers call "crowd control" by pointing your gun at everyone and telling them all the bad things you're gonna do to people unless they capitulate. There's a thing where you can move people around by pointing your gun at them and then aiming them in the direction you want them to go, first time I've seen that in a game. If the cops show up you can take a hostage and beat them until the police drop their guns (yeah right) and back away. Nasty subject matter, definitely not for the tots.

At the end of the first level I got a scale ranking. It starts at Psychopath and goes to Career Criminal to Professional with the reasoning that the less you shoot up the place and the people in it, the more of a professional you are. I of course got Psychopath.. Oh well.. Guess a life of crime isn't in the cards for me.

Not a bad game of an excellent movie. I wonder how they rendered the ear-cutting scene? (actually you can watch the trailer down there.. heh heh heh. I'll never listen to "Stuck in the middle with you" the same way again!)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hello 1966's Batman! Deja View, TV-Land

I did something the other day I should have done a long time ago. I subscribed to TV-Land and Deja-View on my Sat dish programming and it's like the 70's at my house again. 1966 Batman, Hogan's Heroes, Knight Rider, The Incredible Hulk! Hello!!!!!! Where has this station been all my life!! Yes there are still Bat freaks out there, same Bat time, Same Bat channel! I hope my 6 year old daughter can get into the old 1960's Batman. It's nice when we can both watch the same channel occasionally.

I also stumbled upon this web site of other crazy people who liked the old 1966 show. Check out the guy's Batgirl costume in the link above. I don't have to ask why he made it - I already know. Remember how great Yvonne Craig looked in that batsuit? (photo right - now I remember why I used to watch it as a kid). She was born in 1936 so she's be about 70 now! She was also that green girl in the original Star Trek series that James T Kirk got friendly with (I'm sensing a pattern in my television habits here).

Spock: "Captain, the Dilithium crystals are about to explode..."

Kirk: "Shut up Spock, can't you see I'm busy here!!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Idiot with a potato Gun

He's an idiot, but it's funny because it's nowhere near me. It's kind of like those guys you see on CNN firing AK-47's into the air in celebration. Those damned bullets are going to come down somewhere! What are you doing!!!!

Nice spud gun though. I wonder if they work against bigfoots? (hint hint...)

Check this ridiculous video out. (thanks Tripper for forwarding it knowing I'd get a kick out of it).

Tripper's most popular Flickr photo

I find it hillarious that his most popular Flickr photo, the one people view or search for over and over again, is still the dead mouse in the trap. I guess the fact that I voted for it 30 times made all the difference! (actually you can't do that on Flickr, but hey, check out those frozen eyeballs!).

Poor rodent... still.. They's rodents.

P.S. When I was looking for the thing, I tried to search Flickr with various dead mousey kinda key words and it turns out taking pics of mouse snuff jobs is quite popular on the web(scary isn't it....)

I've had to resort to traps in the past. Just this winter I caught about 10 of them in my garage, but it turned out that my garage door wasn't closing all the way and the little buggers were probably just coming in to get warm. They saw that nice peice of cheese and SNAP! That's almost like entrapment (hehehehe) . I fixed my door and felt bad when my mouse problem suddenly went away.. I'll probably go to Hell for that..

Saturday, August 12, 2006

HR Giger's Alien made out of motorcycle and car parts

We were leaving Sandbanks and were driving through Picton when I caught this thing staring out at us from a shop window. I had to stop and get some pictures. It's amazing. Who wouldn't want one of these in their living room! Some guy in Taiwan makes them. They are pretty pricey but a lot of work goes into them. As you can see from the cash register in the background, The thing is like, 7 feet tall.

Friday, August 11, 2006


We made the yearly pilgrimage to Sandbanks near Picton again this year. Actually, it was closer to the Sand Dunes this time. We rented a trailer just down from the dunes and pretty much walked down a path to get to what you see in the photo. Great spot if anyone is ever interested in the desert by the beach.

If you ever get tired of that place you can get day passes to Sandbanks provincial park and their beaches. One day we took a trip into Toronto to go to the Ontario Science Center (very cool place) and pay a visit afterwards to some friends in Ajax.

At the science center they had (among 850 other things) these plastic rods set in a large frame that you could press your face (or any other body part) into and see a relief image on the other side. It's pretty freaky. If you're ever in the area take a day and visit the place, it's very cool, especially for kids.

The weather was great and it was fun camping with a DVD player and a microwave (not to mention a toilet and electricity). I don't think I've ever done that. In fact, I don't think what we did could qualify as camping!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bazooka Geoff

I was sitting by the campfire on vacation doing a little writing on my Palm Lifedrive and I was reminded of this childhood incident...

When I was 10 my best friend called me up and told me some
fantastic news. His dad was an RCMP guy who collected a lot of military memorabilia, and he always had cool stuff in his basement, old WWW II British military helmets, model tanks, all kinds of stuff. Well his dad went out drinking with some military buddies from DND one night and hit the jackpot. Back then, we used to play 'guns' a lot, which was the 1970's version of cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians, or whatever young boys played back then.

There was no HALO or Doom back then, (we had Pong though!) and what you did was get a plastic gun and you ran around pointing it at your friends yelling 'Bang you're dead,' then whoever you imginarily shot would lay down and count to 20 (you were on the honor system). The toy guns were better in those days, no day-glow orange plastic stuff, everything was cast in good old gun metal grey.
So Geoff calls me up and yells over the phone
"My dad got a BAZOOKA!!!".
No way I said
"Way!!!!" he said
You lie, I said
"Nope, I'm holding it right now, come over, let's get a game of Guns going!"

And he wasn't kidding. It was a Canadian Armed Forces bazooka tube with the firing innards removed. It had these yellow stickers with the instructions (point this end to enemy, and so forth) and buttons covered with rubber. It was just about one of the greatest things a kid could get his hands on. The only thing better than a bazooka was maybe a Sherman M4 tank..

This semi-drunken acquisition soon changed the balance of power in eastern Blackburn Hamlet. Now when we would play guns, we'd be a bazooka firing team and rule the local, "Bang, you're dead, count to twenty!" scene. Guys would be hiding around corners, we'd point our bazooka, I'd load and slap Geoff on the head, and we'd both make the 'swoosh' sound. The guys behind the corner wall would yell 'You missed' and we'd explain that obviously the bazooka had taken out the whole wall, so start acting dead already SHEESH! By the end of the summer we'd pretty much conditioned the kids we played guns with that the bazooka was capable of the Hiroshima explosion..

One winter we were outside with it, playing army and pointing it at buses (stupid kids!). This was in the 1970's, not like the stinking post 9-11 culture of fear we have today, and I can just hear the bus driver non challantly radioing in

"Yeah, I got some kids here with a bazooka..."

Man, those were the days... You'll never have the friends you had when you were 10 or 11...


I hardly ever take taxi's. Just don't need to all that often (bus tickets are more my speed). So today I had a French test downtown for my job classification and I got some Taxi chits (i.e. free taxi vouchers) and went down to butcher the French language that afternoon. I think I scared the testing lady with my 'Punisher' T-shirt, but it's what I felt like that day. When I was done I left and tried to hail a taxi without any success (that just doesn't work in Ottawa, they are always going somewhere to pick someone else up). I found a taxi stand but that guy was too busy having a smoke and he pointed me to another cab stand down the road (lucky for him, he just didn't know it yet). That taxi took my fare and we sped off to where I work. When we were two blocks from my building someone 5 cars ahead of us decided to stop suddenly and turn left. 4 sets of brake lights flashed to life followed by many screeching tires. None of the cars ahead of us hit anything, but the huge Ford crew-cab towing the quad horse trailer full of landscaping equiptment tailgating us did not fare so lucky. WHAMMO! Hello seatbelt.
The plastic rear bumper of my cab was obliterated. Luckily the driver of the huge truck was also the president of the landscaping company and told the cabbie he'd take care of everything. They exchanged cards and numbers and stuff as I screwed my head back on. I was ok. I got back to the office and everyone is telling me to fill out an accident report, that this kind of thing hurts like hell 'afterwards'.
And by late afternoon, it did start to hurt, but probably because everyone was telling me it was going to. After work I picked up my kids and then offered to help someone carry a huge safe up a flight of stairs. It was one of those big price Club gun-safe jobbies, heavier than Rita McNeil. We took the door off and made two trips and by the second I couldn't hear anymore (weird that) but my neck suddenly felt great!

So if you ever get whiplash, carry a safe up a flight of stairs! You'll be cured!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Revisiting the Sims Torture Test

A co-worker came to see me today. She's a gamer, I'm a gamer, and she wanted to know why (insert game title here) was crashing at the load screen. So I pointed her in some directions (video drivers, video drivers, video drivers) and hopefully she'll get it to work. In the conversation she was telling me about her humungous Sims save-game. She has been playing this game for years. She asked me if I'd ever played it, to which the answer would be yes. But.. I quickly tired of trying to keep the demanding little ingrates happy and switched over to finding interesting ways to torture them and make them pee themselves (I'm too lazy to click on the bathroom, just GO dammit!).

Now I'm not psycho(much), and I've heard people comment that the way an individual plays a simulation game offers an interesting glimpse into their psyche, but I think it's just a question of probing the game mechanics, and finding out if the programmers and playtesters have thought of everything the general public at large did after game release. You test with hundreds, beta with thousands, but you turn your game over to millions? Well, someone is gonna think up some pretty weird stuff to do with your code that it wasn't intended to do.

Way back around 2003 or 2003 I had made two roomates featuring the person's of Lifto and another neighbor, an obsessively neat jock (they were dressed accordingly, Lifto with Leather Chaps and Peter in a 3 piece suit). I played them pretty much normal-like until I got the idea to see if I could make them fall in love with each other and turn them into a gay couple. A few backrubs, stolen kisses and one hot tub later... They were an item.. They even adopted a baby when someone phoned with one, but the government took it away soon after when they both went to work and left it home alone all day.

This other Sim neighbor, Mrs Goth, kept coming over so I made SimLifto(the tart) cheat on his same sex partner with her. Who's have thunk it? SimLifto was BI! Goth's husband came over later and punched Lifto out and SimPeter was so upset, he ran out of the house.

I felt sorry for him so after awhile I made a large shed out back, installed a wall to wall swimming pool, and took the door away when Peter went in for a swim. He pretty much swam for two days, using the pool as a toilet when he couldn't help it any longer. To make a long story short pretty soon I had a gravestone in the back yard.

I removed the front and back doors of Lifto's house, took the phone off the wall and installed about 4 large wood-burning stoves amid several large fire-places. Pretty much what this person did. Hehehehe. SImLifto was a pretty bad cook and soon joined SimPeter pushing up the digital daisies.. I have some screen shots somewhere, I hope i can dig them up..

I loved the Sims.. I should re-install it!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I have to start Podcasting our morning breaks

I have to start audio recordings of our morning breaks and start a podcast. They are just too ridiculous. I'm going to use Star Wars names to protect the innocent. This morning Leia sits down and tells us that she had two lesbians sleeping over last night because it was so hot (we have a big heat wave going on down here). So, two hot lesbians eh? I can't let that one just sit there, so I ask some questions and as it turns out they don't have air conditioning and one of them is expecting. They went the sperm donor route (which is like $200 a, uhh, 'donation' apparently, hmm, hey there's a fun job you can do at home and pick your own hours!) and the egg is from the woman that is not carrying the child. I take it this is so both can have some part in the birth of the child. Different eh?
Somehow this translated into discussion of being being attracted to one sex awhile being trapped in the body of the other and the differences between people who are homosexual and those who actually have a desire to have a sex change. I know someone who had a sex change a few years back, and it took a bit of getting used too, but after awhile, you get over the deep voice and sharing the same rest room and it's right back to normal(kinda).
Then Han pipes up "Man, if I was a woman trapped in a Man's body and I had a sex change, I'd know exactly what to say when it came to picking up a guy in a bar!" And he clarified by doing a little role-playing, he/she picking up a guy in a bar..
"Hey there, let's go back to your place, we'll have meaningless sex, you can leave your shoes on and I won't even call you the next day!" or
"Hey, I used your bathroom but then I put the toilet seat back up!" or
"Sure we can watch Nascar and the three stooges film marathon!"

Basically everything that Han would like a girl to say to him now in a bar... Scary...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Firetruck Birthday Weekend

We had my daughter's birthday this past weekend. It went well for something we only had a week to plan. Somehow, we miscalculated the weeks that everyone would be avaliable, and in the end, it all worked out. Like the previous year I borrowed my Dad's 1939 ford Bickle fire truck and planned to give the kids a ride. I picked it up on a Thursday, gave the local kids a ride on Friday, checked it at 12:30pm Saturday to make sure it was gonna run smooth (it started up fine) but BLAMMO! at 2:30... Nuthin! Betsy wouldn't start! Ack!
They were excited enough just to be able to climb all over it like ants. As it turns out this is a V8 with a 6 volt battery and it needs mondo juice to turn over. From previous experience my dad has a killswitch for the battery under the dash so that when kids sit in the cab and press all the nice buttons for the siren, wigwag, lighte, spots, etc.. it doesn't kill the battery. In any event, when I flicked the battery back on, all the lights, wigwag, spots, etc.. were all ON and it can't even turn over in that condition. I didn't put two and two together until it was too late. I had killed the battery. No fire truck ride today!

We charged it up and brought it back to the warehouse where they store it on Tuesday night. That thing is a blast to drive(hard though, no power steering back then and you have to double-clutch). Everyone looks at you, people fall off their bikes, stick their heads out of windows, honk horns. Every day is a parade!

Somebody asked me about seatbelts, because this is a historical vehicle (pre world war 2 man!) the only thing is is required by law to have is what they had in it at the time it was in service. So it didn't have seatbelts back then, and doesn't now. The kids ride in the back where the empty hose bed is, it's a pretty safe affair.