Archive for May, 2008

Allow me to sum up…

Posted in Rants, Work with tags , on May 28, 2008 by abraxus

the events of my most recent Staff Meeting at work. Set to happen at 3 P.M. we all show up on time (a minor miracle in its own right) and the meeting begins promptly. Some of the Major Cleaning duties in the kitchen haven’t been getting done on time, this needs to be corrected. We all agree.

Next point regards Staff worrying about their Pay Rates and thinking of leaving for greener pastures (this is entirely the Immigrant workers the company has brought over to fill positions.) up north. We dispense information explaining that yes, they make up to $5 more/hour than we do here BUT the cost of living there is almost 60% more than it is here so all of that amazing wage goes to simply living there.

And that dear readers is it. After that it was just a constant re-hashing of the prior points…for the next 50 bloody minutes. In total the information we were given took all of 10 minutes to impart and then it was like moving through some sort of demented timewarp/groundhog day sort of thing.

I COULD have been home about 20 minutes after I left but no…that would have been a good thing.

Grah.

They named the dog Indiana

Posted in Movies with tags , , on May 27, 2008 by abraxus

Yep you guessed it dear readers. Last night my wife and I took in the late night showing of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. I try not to offer spoilers in my occasional movie reviews and I will attempt to do the same here.

Let me start off by saying that I could easily be categorized as an “Indiana Jones Fanboy” which is to say I love the series in its entirety. Now, with that caveat in mind I offer you my thoughts on the new movie.

First of all, this movie does not ‘suck ass’ or anything of the kind. It is NOT good mind you, not when viewed against its predecessors. From the very beginning it just did not draw me in as the other movies have and I attribute that to the script more than the Actors.

It just had no flow to it. All through the movie I kept asking myself if I had missed something or just not understood the crossover to the next scene. Most of the supporting cast did not seem to be on quite the same page at any particular time. My wife suggested that it very nearly seemed as if they had all filmed their roles separately and then had them tied together with special effects to knit the movie together.

On that note the special effects were just not up to snuff. In this day and age I should not be saying, “That’s all CG.” every single time I see an effect. At one point there is a scene where they are showing an overview of a cemetery and I actually said, “I hope that’s a model on a table…because that’s a model on a table.” and it was supposed to be an actual place sadly enough.

Something I found quite annoying was the Script itself. Many times in the past I have seen interviews with Harrison Ford where he would be asked the eternal “While there be another Indiana Jones?” question and always he would say, “I’m hoping so, we’re just waiting for a good script to come along.”. This script is not that script if you catch my drift.

All of the prerequisite things are there, the one-liners from Indy, the outrageous allies and villains, over the top action sequences and everything else I have come to expect from a good Indiana Jones time. So very little of it works though that it made the whole move sad to watch.

That’s not to say I did not laugh when a one-liner was offered or when a comical scene happened but it was the sort of laugh you get from a sitcom these days. You know what I mean, the “Haha!” and then you stop laughing a moment later because it was amusing…but not really funny or hilarious.

Truly this movie would have been much better served with more work in the Editing Room because at two hours and four minutes it was just a chore to watch. It nearly broke my heart to be honest. At Midnight when we got home I stayed up and watched The Last Crusade again just to see if maybe I was being too harsh in my thoughts but seeing Last Crusade just made Crystal Skull seem that much more pale in comparison.

On a scale of 5 I give Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull a 2.

Age of Conan First Impressions

Posted in Games with tags , on May 21, 2008 by abraxus

So. I got the game yestereve, went home and ripped open my Collectors Edition because I am that much of a geek for things Conan. Oo’d and Ahh’d were appropriate and popped the game discs (2) in for the installation which took around 45 minutes.

I am a veteran of Online Games, Diablo I & II, EverQuest I & II, EVE Online, WoW, Final Fantasy, Guild Wars etc etc so I fully expected the immediate Patch. I was not expecting the enormity of it however. First was the 112 Meg Patch, then it’s little sister the 12 Meg Patch, then Uncle Eddy that no one talks about…the 680 Meg Patch.

True to form however I just read through the Art book as it did its thing and once done I gleefully double Clicked my way into….a rather lackluster little screen which suggested that I download Vista Service Pack I before attempting to play AoC. Disheartened that I was not soon to be rending limbs and wenching my way across the landscape I dutifully went to Microsoft and began the download for Service Pack I…all 480 Megs of it. That happened in about a half hour. Then the Install took another 45 minutes.

All in All I began the install at 5 PM and when I was finally able to log in to the game it was 8:45 PM. Irritating but that is neither here nor there now. The game ran a little rough for me at first so I tweaked some settings. (I am fairly sure that I do no need to see the NPCs fully rendered at 2000m…A fully rendered 5 foot tall Pict at 2000m looks remarkably like a fully rendered single pixel at 2000m.

With my settings properly adjusted so I wasn’t playing a Flip Book MMO I began the opening “Let’s teach this jackass how to play our game” Quests and completely ignored every single tool tip I could find, instead relying on trial and error to get through things and you know what? It worked just fine. I is Inventory, M is Map etc etc industry standards.

Shocking as it might sound I was not asked to slay Rabid Wolves by the thousands. Instead I was asked to rescue a fair damsel…well…is there such a thing as a fair trollop? Meh either way. I slew some nasty Brigands, some Picts and some other things. Combat is easy. You get some base attack directions depending on your Class and weapon. Simple things to begin with like Overhead Strike, Left Slash, Right Slash all easy to perform and satisfyingly bloody in Conan Style. In Combat the game actually hints at you which attack might be more successful but it’s still a crap shoot in the end.

Movement is the same as most MMO’s out there and you can go First or Third Person as you desire. So far the terrain is lovely even with my settings toned down a fair bit. Not the old “Is that a house or a boulder?” days of EverQuest for sure.

Chat is similar to most online games as well, OOC Channels, General Chat etc. One thing that IS different is the freedom of movement you DON’T have. This game sports some fairly solid collision detection so there’s not going to be any running through Allies or Foes here. In combat with three Picts once I tried to circle around to keep them all in front of me and I was so used to playing WoW and such that I tried to run through them and damn near got killed as they all thought I was trying to get them to stick their knives in just the right place.

Loot is more well thought out as well, you aren’t going to kill a Wolf and come away with a Chainmail Coat or 20 pound hammer. I haven’t had the need or opportunity to buy anything just yet as the games lower levels tend to provide fairly well for the beginner.

All things considered I would give this game so far an 8 out of 10 for overall appeal to me. I’ll post another Topic when I have actually accomplished something other than freeing myself from slavery.

Oh and Sexual Innuendo, yep it’s there. Haven’t seen any nipples just yet but believe you me. The people next door will know when I do for the first time. =)

Spring Devestation

Posted in Games, Life with tags , , , , on May 20, 2008 by abraxus

I refuse to use such a mundane word as ‘Cleaning’ for what I have been doing these past two evenings. It just doesn’t adequately convey the disaster that is my house at this moment. In all fairness I must heap credit upon my wife for her part in this as she began the work while I was at work myself. However I pitched in as soon as I returned home and after almost 9 hours of cleaning, tossing, moving and laundry we now can almost make it to the far corner of our storage room.

Next on the agenda is drafting some of our more able bodied friends and family members to help lug an ancient (read: freaking heavy) hide-a-bed UP a flight of stairs and out the door so that it may be finally put to rest. That might take a while because to get to the hide-a-bed I have to get through the Bumper Pool table. They’ve been together for several years now and I don’t think she’s going to take it very well. Sucks to be her though because what I haven’t told her is she’s next on the chopping block.

Now once we get those two pieces of dead weight out the door it will be on to my own personal love. My Library as it were. I generally don’t throw out books when I buy them. I’ve been in this house for going on 14 years now. I read alot. Do some abstract math why dontcha? Oh and also I collected comics for about…8 years back in the day and I still have all of them.

My plan is to go book by book through the lot of them and see which ones I have read more than one time. Those can stay because they have proven they have value in a re-reading sense. All the others will get donated to the local area be it the Book Store, the Crisis Centre or whatever comes to mind. I refuse to throw a book in the garbage when it might bring someone else the same joy that I had upon first reading it.

In other news, I picked up the 20th Anniversary PSP Editions of Final Fantasy that came out before I owned a PSP and have been playing with them for a couple days now. I have to say that even with the age of the format I still get drawn into the stories of those games even though I have played them several times now.

Tomorrow Age of Conan comes out for the PC. I am on the fence about this, even though I have it Pre-Ordered. I have heard many good things about it from Beta Testers but I question my ability to get back into an MMO even if it is one for which I have long been a fan of the novels by Robert E. Howard. I stopped playing WoW when I got my Blood Elf Warlock to his Maximum Level because I am not a raider and I could see WoW slipping into the same trap as EverQuest albeit with much more grace.

Ah well I will get it, install it, patch it and try it out in the next few days to see if it is something I can enjoy despite the children that will no doubt infest it despite it’s M Rating from the ESRB. Look for a scintillating review in the near future =)

Work Drama Part Deux

Posted in Rants, Work with tags , on May 12, 2008 by abraxus

To further enlighten the curious I have learned a few new things since my last Post on the subject of the co-worker who is giving us the proverbial shaft. Last week he had asked our Boss to sign a paper saying that he was now allowed to work wherever he chose and was free of ties to her company. At this time he was claiming that his contract with her was up. She was reluctant to sign a legally binding document without consulting her lawyers and said she would sign it when her lawyer got back to her.  That was Friday.

Cut to Monday when our Boss comes in to work and gets in touch with her Lawyer who tells her that he has an entire year left on his contractual obligation to her. So he tried to pull the wool over her eyes once right there. Then we inform her that he is moving to the City on Wednesday (also he hi-jacked another of our employee’s to help him move leaving us short handed today) AND is taking all the furniture in the apartment as well.

Our Boss furnished the apartment completely, right down to silverware and linens for them so they would not have to do anything when they arrived. So ALL of the furniture is hers and she has not been paid for it at all. So as of today when he started taking loads down to the City in a rented Truck he is guilty of theft. Not to mention Breach of Contract.

Even after ALL of this she is reluctant to take legal action against him. She asked my opinion and I told her the following, “Let him go to Edmonton, let him get his family settled in. Then you call your lawyer and you tell him what happened and you go after him for Breach of Contract as well as Theft over $1000. You don’t want him to come back to work here because you’ll both hate it. So you take him to court and let the law do the work for you. At they very least you should be able to have his wages garnished to compensate you for the lost income as a result of having to replace him here and I don’t doubt that you’d be able to get a cash settlement out of him for the theft of your furniture. See how he likes living in the City when a good chunk of every paycheck he cashes comes straight to you for the next year.”

That’s going to be my last Rant-ish type Post on this matter. Any future mention of this will just be basic updates so I can keep it all straight in my own head down the road.

Work Related

Posted in Rants, Work with tags , on May 10, 2008 by abraxus

Oh the urge to tear off a chunk of Rant and chew mightily on it is powerful today…but I will try to avoid that if I can.

We have several foreign workers at the Restaurant in the Kitchen. They were hired on contract by the Owner because she could not find competent staff in our sleepy little City. Under those contracts they work for her for Three years and then are free to do whatever they please. In return she helped to pay for them to come here, set them up with furnished apartments and often drove them wherever they might need to go. All in all it was a pretty fair deal for all involved.

Until they started taking advantage of her kindness. First it was Silva, who could not handle the hectic pace our Kitchen maintains during its peak hours. Silva up and walked out in the middle of his shift, hopped a bus the next day and went to stay with some of his countrymen in Edmonton. No explanation, no apology, he just ran.

Now it is Sepala, a man that I actually called ‘friend’ for quite some time. With him it started when he could not understand the paperwork involved in bringing his Family to be with him in Canada. My Boss went out of her way to hire a lawyer at her own expense to help with that and soon enough his family was here. Shortly after that he couldn’t work nights because his wife was working at the local Wal-Mart at night and he needed to be with the Children. Then he could not work in the Mornings because he wanted to walk his Children to school and his wife, who worked the overnight shift at Wal-Mart, was asleep until around 11 A.M. most days.

Just recently these past few months his Wife has begun having medical problems with her feet and back. This has forced her to miss many shifts at Wal-Mart and eventually she quit as a result. So once again we had to change the schedule to meet his needs ( I should mention that many of us gave up days off for several months to make this happen) so that he could deal with his family.

Two weeks ago he needed to take his wife in to Edmonton to see a Specialist about her back. We all pulled together and covered for him while he was gone for five days and were happy when he finally returned. All that changed today though.

This morning we learned that his wife was never ill, she was merely unhappy with this City we all call home. So much so that she refused to go to work and lied about foot and back pains to get out of it. On the days when he was supposed to be home watching his kids and walking them to school he was in fact out looking for another job. When they went to Edmonton to see the “Specialist” he was looking for a house in the City and taking interviews for Jobs there.

All the times we covered for him he was screwing us around so that he could set himself up in Edmonton and today he came in and informed us all that he and his family would be moving to Edmonton on Wednesday of next week so of course he could not work with us after that day. He thought it was quite amusing that I had no idea what was going on (in the past I had defended him to the Owner who suspected he might be doing something like this because I had thought he was my friend) so for the first time in many long years I looked a man right in the eye and said, “Fuck you, you inconsiderate bastard.” and walked away.

He didn’t even have the balls to tell the woman who went out of pocket to bring his sorry ass over here and then did it again to help get his ungrateful family over here as well.

What kind of creature does things like that to the people who help them? So yeah.

W

T

F

EDITED to Add: He HAD 6 months left on his contract and is defaulting on it. So apparently he will be paying some sort of penalty as a result. I hope it’s huge.

Dental Update

Posted in Health with tags on May 6, 2008 by abraxus

Well after my checkup/Cleaning this morning I am pretty much good to go on the Orthodontic front. I hadn’t been in to see them for a checkup in several years (Universal Health Care covers only serious things and Dental does not count) so I was expecting worse but I got out in under two hours with only one bout of gagging and one small cavity which will be fixed next week.

On another note…it turns out I am ticklish on my upper gums. I scared the begeezus out of the Hygenist when she poked me there and I giggled. She thought I was gagging of course and when I told her it tickled she looked relieved.