Archive for May, 2007

The Gallery and the Wii

May 2, 2007

My custom Zarcana deck, "Gallery", is nearly done.  Ian personally described it as "beautiful", as the photo above testifies, and it just needs a few minor tweaks.  Unfortunately, in order to make those minor tweaks, I need to rebuild the entire deck all over again.  MSWord won’t let me do what I want it to do.  I know, I was shocked too.  It’s amazing that I’ve gotten this far using Word entirely.  I’m starting all over in Powerpoint, of all things, but I think the end result will be worth it since it gives me a chance to correct all the little peeves I have with the original layout.  I have PDFs of the deck that you can print out, and I’ll gladly send them to you for the polite asking.

Also on the gaming front, I find the card game Burn Rate to be super-awesome!  In this surprisingly accurate simulation of the tech bubble, the winning player is the last one with money.  In the realm of silly card games, it’s rare that theme and mechanics mesh this well, and the gameplay doesn’t suffer for it.  Move over Grave Robbers… I want to and expect to play more of this.

Ian also introduced us to the Nintendo Wii.  This was the first console system I’ve used in a decade, the last being my brother’s PlayStation1.  My ability to enjoy video gaming is inversely proportional to the complexity of the controls.  In other words, the more buttons I have to push, the less I will like it.  The Playstation and subsequent systems have been major offenders.  Having grown up with an Atari joystick in hand, then graduating to a Sega Genesis, I found post-1995 controllers way too confusing with such a wide assortment of buttons.  At that point I put console gaming down and walked away, never looking back.  

That is, until I met the Wii.  The master stroke of its design, the one thing that turns it from a gaming engine to a mass market wunderkind, is in the revolutionary ‘form baton’.  This device overturns ten years of precedent.  No longer is video gaming ability tied to thumb speed!  Instead of jamming on keys, your game actions are controlled by accelerometers inside the baton, tracking its motion and orientation.  (The form baton wisely comes with a wrist lanyard, for good reason.)  With a flick of the wrist (or more often an ungraceful jerk of the arm), you can point, lift, twist, carve, steer, shave, and saute your way to victory.  This is a game system that will pull you from your cushy seat, get you on your feet, and leave you saying ‘neat‘.  I found driving to be the most fun, but the bowling and dart-throwing are also nifty.)  The one downside of the Wii is the necessity for a big TV screen.  Am I the last person left using anything less than 21 inches?

My nephew just celebrated his third birthday, and unlike last year, we found a great gift for him… a wooden train set.  It’s like a set of blocks, but he can play with his constructions.  We were dumbfounded when we arrived at his house, gift in hand, and sprawled out on the living room floor was… another wooden train set!  Oh well, at least this toy is more fun with more pieces.

Speaking of birthdays, the Ryanarium is now 2 years old!  I’ve received an average of 130 page views a month, or about 4 per day.

Did you know that plastic is actually made from dead giant ferns?  If you’re reading this here, then you probably did anyway.

Wanna take money from the Fed?  Spend dollar coins!

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: Pando, the world’s oldest organism

What I’m Reading:
"Jack London: Sailor on Horseback" by Irving Stone
"The Confederate Navy" by Philip van Doren Stern