Archive for January, 2007

The Domination of the Wii

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So for those who have not been initiated, the Wii is the new Nintendo console. The cool thing about this console that makes it stand out is the motion sensitive controller. It adds a whole new dimension to gaming.

I stopped being a big console player after the failure of the Atari Jaguar around 1994- it was a big disappointment for me. The next console I got was a PS2 in 2001 or so- I even waited an extra year to make sure it wouldn’t be a failure. The Wii however, has gotten me excited about gaming in a way I haven’t been in a while.

The launch of the Wii dominated the PS3- it was perfectly marketed, had twice as many units as the PS3, and has been sold out for 2 months. Last weekend Target, Circuit City, Best Buy and the like all got new shipments of the Wiis in, and put them out on a Sunday. Within two hours they were all sold out. Jackie and I got to Target 5 minutes after opening and were 39th in line for 55 Wiis. We picked up a Wii, a classic controller, and two games- Rayman Raving Rabbids and Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. I’ve been playing them both for about a week and they’re both pretty fun.

I started looking into what other games were available for the Wii and was shocked by the number of games that will be released in the next year that look interesting.

  • Metal Slug anthology
  • Excite Truck
  • Super Paper Mario
  • Mario Party 8
  • SSX Blur
  • Wii Play
  • Wii Music
  • Warioware Smooth Moves
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Spore (if it makes it to the wii)
  • Red Steel
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
  • Dragon Quest Swords
  • Devil Kings

I’m not sure how many I’ll actually get, but it’s good to have options- it reminds me of the good old days of the super nintendo. The price is good (250), it has a lot of interesting and fun titles, free online play, and will give you a good workout with it’s motion-sensitive controller. Go buy one (if you can find one).

27

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Doing another annual recap this year like I did last year.

2006 was a pretty rough year- move from DC Metro back to Grand Rapids, got a crappy job, found out jackie was pregnant, got laid off from crappy job, spent 3 months unemployed, and at the end of November was offered an awesome new job in Troy, MI (the other side of the state). Other than Ian, and the new job, the best good news is we finally have a decent couch- two of them, actually.

Employment

I enjoyed working at CSX a lot, but Virginia started getting to me- a guy threw himself in front of the orange line and it was on the news down there, and I realized I could sorta understand why he did it… that was my hint that I needed to get out of there. The result was taking the first job that could get me back to Michigan.

I ended up taking a contract-to-hire job back in Grand Rapids that paid poorly, treated me like crap, and generally made me come home and curl up in the fetal position. Part of the agreement to even get close to the payrange I was looking for was I had to work 55 hours a week. The problem was I spent all 55 hours each week for 3 months putting out fires and stressed myself so badly that the doctor told me I had to cut back. Five months(August) into the 3 month contract (oh, it was open ended, didn’t you know that?) I was laid off. No severance, just a boot out the door. I wasn’t the only one laid off since the company is apparently not doing as well as they thought they were, but there’s still a lot of bitterness there.

The recruiter flat out lied when he said the Grand Rapids job market had improved- the unemployment rate is still 7% and companies are closing down left and right. I spent 3 months searching for a job in the area when our friend Chris P. offered to hand my resume off to a friend of his who was looking for a linux admin. Three interviews later, they offered me the job for a decent amount of money and benefits. The down side was it’s in Troy, so we’re moving again. This place seems great tho, and I don’t have any of the doubts or negative feelings I had initially about the job in GR.

Family

In July, Jackie and I found out we were going to have a child. It’s a boy, and he’s due on March 10th. We’ve decided on Ian Hawthorn for a name. We’re really excited about it, but to be honest it didn’t help the stress level when I was laid off a month after finding out. We’re looking forward to it, but the new job is complicating issues like lamaz classes and doctor changes.

My brother Jamie is off being a park ranger/professional bum, Brian is still in school, parents are doing good, inlaws are good, grandparents are all doing well and the cats still haven’t been set on fire- can’t ask for more than that.

Hobbies

I finally finished my chainmail shirt. The age difference between rings resulted in some bad discoloration which I tried to fix by treating with vinegar- Unfortunately that completely removed the zinc coating on some resulting in rusting- once I get the cash I plan on rolling it in a bucket of sand to remove the rust, oiling it, and then putting it in a tupperware container.

I played with my guitar quite a bit early in the year, but slacked off later on. I also realized that learning to play the keyboard is going to require more than 25 keys, so I’ve put it off until I have the time and money to get a real keyboard and take lessons. I did manage to pick up a trumpet and restring my violin- I can play a scale on the violin (barely) and can annoy the neighbors with the trumpet. I also bought some new reeds for Jackie’s clarinet and learned how to play a scale.

I got back into ruby and finally checked out this whole rails thing- it’s very cool. I wish I would have kept up with ruby way back when and ignored the nay-sayers.

I’ve also taken up walking- yes, walking. I’ve been walking about 3 miles every other day since we moved back to Grand Rapids- once around the block. Now that we’ve moved, that’ll probably go by the wayside due to the lack of walking partners and Jackie’s general roundness (from Ian).

Hopefully 2007 will see us getting back to where we were last year this time.

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