Saturday, August 31, 2013

Motion Capture Video Game Console

Someone should invent a motion capture video game console.

It would be better than the Wii console because it doesn't use a controller. A camera detects motions and tells the game what to do.

I presume it has already been invented but hasn't been picked up by Nintendo or Sony Playstation, etc.

Update...

Some other developers have been working to make existing game consoles to be more like a Wii. Like in the video below called "Halo Motion Sensitive Gaming with the Mad Genius Motion Capture System".

However that is not what I am looking for. I am looking for a "pure motion capture" system using cameras. No hand held devices needed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lidocaine cream with aloe

I love this stuff. Lidocaine is a topical painkiller for your skin.

Works great on the following:

Itchy skin
Sunburns
Bee stings
Mosquitoe bites
Rashes
1st and 2nd degree burns

Basically if your skin is in pain in any way lidocaine with aloe is the way to go. I used it today on a bee sting and it made a huge difference.


How I fixed the leaky tiles in my bathroom with a $5 bottle of silicone

General Electric Silicone Glue
Or perhaps the title should be "Glory be to General Electric's Premium Waterproof Silicone Glue"...?

Whatever you want to call the title, here is the story.

For over a year now I have been bugging my landlords to fix the tiles in my bathroom.

They have tried to fix it twice, but both times they botched it and the silicone just breaks the next time I use the bathtub or shower. Note: I always waited at least 24 hours before using it again, but it breaks anyway.

Anywho, I think the reason why it keeps breaking has nothing to do with water usage in the bathtub or shower - it is afterall, waterproof silicone. What I think is happening is that the when the bathtub fills with water it WEIGHS more and this is an old building... when the bathtub weighs too much and the bottom tiles are literally glued to the bathtub using silicone, for whatever reason the bathtub sinks into ground a little further - only by a millimeter or so.

This causes the tiles to pull apart at the weakest point because it can't handle the extra weight. It is only a millimeter, but it is enough to break the silicone.

Now my landlords (bless them) have been fixing the tiles each time with the bathtub empty... so no extra weight in it. But they haven't heard my whole theory about the bathtub sinks an extra millimeter lower when its part way full of water (or even just has someone standing in it).

Thus every time they fixed it was fine up until the point where the bathtub had someone step into it or filled it with water.

So how did I manage to fix it myself???

I bought a $5 stick of General Electric Silicone Glue (roughly the size of a tube of toothpaste) from Canadian Tire, I filled the bathtub with water (for the weight) and then I fixed the cracks in the silicone myself.

Done. The next time I have a shower or a bath it shouldn't sink at all because now the bathtub is being held down instead of held up. That is my theory at least. We shall see if it works.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dread and Ragnarok - Roleplaying Games at Fan Expo

Yesterday I tried a slew of roleplaying games at the convention Fan Expo. A number of them I really enjoyed and some I felt were broken.

THE GOOD

DREAD (I forget the name of the creator)

FIVE STARS

This was my favourite of the games I tried yesterday. Oddly enough it used a Jenga set to determine how the events unfolded. The game was rather freeform and the players had a lot of options to explore in a town that is apparently haunted, has weird funky mushrooms, and seems to attract rather psychotic characters - including my character who was a pyromaniac with an unusual personality that mimics the personalities of those around him.

The Jenga-based game follows the idea that every time a character does something that could potentially result in death they have to move a Jenga piece. If the Jenga falls over their character dies. I think it was quite an interesting and fun way to have a roleplaying game with a high death toll - and thus a good game system to use when fighting zombies, etc.

RAGNAROK (or its long title "Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok", created by Andrew Valkauskas)

FOUR STARS

The game takes place during the mythological Ragnarok (Norse for Doomsday), which conceptually means this game is likely to be very interesting and high in figures and monsters from Norse mythology.

I really liked this one despite its complicated system of using runestones for actions. Unlike most games which use dice, the runes system feels a bit more like card based roleplaying. It was fun and interesting - and my viking berserker got to kill stuff - but it does take a little getting used to.

THE BAD

D&D NEXT

TWO STARS

A variant if Dungeons and Dragons, but I felt the game was rather broken and unbalanced. It is a problem with the rules system that needs to be fixed to prevent players from taking advantage of gaping holes in the rules.

DUNGEON WORLD

ONE STAR

This game is another new version of D&D that someone was promoting. It had even more rules problems than D&D Next and was very unbalanced and broken. Certain classes were ridiculously overpowered and others were completely gimped. Many of the abilities given to characters had no logical reason for them and were completely unrealistic. eg. The Fighter is waaaaaay too powerful, the paladin has ridiculous abilities - and is gimped compared to the Fighter. Even the Paladin's "Lay Hands" ability was gimped and useless. Various other class related problems within the game.

I must admit I was rather disappointed by the two Dungeons and Dragons variants. I have tried quite a few different versions of the game and have determined previously that 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edition D&D are the best versions of the game. 3.5 is too overpowered and ridiculous. 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons is a complete flop for a long list of reasons.

Next week I will be trying "Pathfinder", which is based off of 3.5, but is supposedly more toned down - but don't quote me on that because I have yet to try it and form my own opinion on it. Some people refer to it as being "D&D 3.75" so we shall see how it fares...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Escape Plan, starring Sly and Arnold


Okay, I admit it.

I am really looking forward to seeing this movie.

And not just because it has Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone working together. I also happen to like the plot.

However I do worry I might end up being disappointed by this film - because the trailer makes it look impressive, like Rambo meets Terminator meets Mission Impossible (the old series, not the Tom Cruise abomination). So hopefully I am not disappointed by what the trailer promises to be a real Ocean's Eleven of action films. We shall see.




Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bo De Duyen Vegetarian Products

What is funny is that this store opened smack dab in the middle of Toronto's fur district north of Queen and Spadina.

That is just ballsy.

I mean you're right in between fur stores on the left, fur stores on the right, fur stores across the street. Talk about marketing in the enemy's front yard.


Java Jive on Queen Street West, Toronto

537 Queen Street West Toronto

I had breakfast this morning at Java Jive at the above address.

Had bacon, eggs over easy, toast, salad, hashbrowns, a pancake side order and ice water.

Cost? $7.29 + tip.

Excellent value and I like the decor and service. See interior photos below.

Toronto's Fashion District

I arrived this morning in Toronto's fashion district (Queen Street West, west past Spadina) to buy fabric for a project I am working on only to discover many of the fabric stores aren't open on Sunday.

Almost all of them are closed Sunday. And those that do open today open at 11 am according to their signs - but when you show up at their doors at 11:15 they're still not open.

Arg! I am now waiting down the street at Java Jive having breakfast while I wait for the one store to open.

There are probably better places in Toronto for me to buy fabric (with better Sunday hours too) but I have yet to find such a place.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Why I purchased a Samsung Tablet

Today I purchased a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 - and before you jump to conclusions let me first start by saying the following.

I HATE TABLETS.

They don't have a keyboard.

The touchscreens get annoying after awhile.

You have to learn a whole new operating system.

You have to be more careful with them than laptops - which in comparison don't need screen protectors, etc.

In general I consider tablets to be annoying gadgets which are flashy and really meant for show...

Which is exactly why I bought one, for meeting website design / SEO clients who want to know that the person they are hiring to design their website / do their search engine optimization knows what they are doing.

My old notepad computer, a Toshiba, still works just fine, but I find it has become a nuisance during business meetings because the battery wears down faster and sometimes I end up using my Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone by the end of the meeting.

With the tablet on a full charge it lasts for 5+ hours - so unless it is a really long business meeting I should be just fine.

And it is flashy and serves its purpose for snagging new clients. The Toshiba notepad meanwhile will stay at home where I can use it when I feel like watching TV and typing at the same time. It at least has a proper keyboard.

Now I could - and I am very tempted to do so - get a bluetooth keyboard that is compatible with my tablet. I will think about it at least.

Now why did I choose the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 you might wonder?

Well, I wanted an Android tablet because they are more reliable software wise. iPads have a lot of software compatibility problems, so anything made by Apple was automatically useless. The last thing I want to do is have a business meeting and my client wants to share a file with me and they can't show me the file because the iPad isn't compatible.

When it comes to Android tablets I could basically take my pick of companies.

I could have got a Sony instead - and indeed BestBuy had a sale on Sony products today, but the Samsung caught my eye because I have had such a good relationship with my smartphone so far that I felt some brand loyalty there.

I could have gotten a much smaller 7" model too, but I opted for 10.1" tablet because when showing websites to clients during a business meeting size really does matter.

Beyond that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 had everything I wanted in a tablet - and at this point in the whole tablet market they're all pretty much on even footing. They're all roughly the same speed, have the same stuff on them and offer the same services.

So it really comes down to which brand do you trust when conducting business meetings on your tablet? I trusted Samsung, and there just happened to be a 10.1" Samsung tablet on sale today so it all worked out nicely.

In the past I also have pondered getting a HP tablet - because Hewlett Packard is another brand I trust. But there was no sale on HP tablets and I didn't see any I truly fancied.




Or if you like, the newer Tab 3.



Or the smaller Tab 3, 7" version.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Xmas Wishlist 2013

Now you might wonder I am working on My Xmas Wishlist 2013 in August.

August 6th no less.

It is 4 months and 19 days until Christmas Day.

Well let me explain.

My mother likes to start xmas shopping in September so that she can avoid the lineups during xmas time and capitalize on the back-to-school sales, thanksgiving and halloween sales instead on the lead up towards the Christmas shopping season.

Thus she starts asking her three children for xmas lists around the end of August / early September.

And now you understand why I am working on my xmas list now. In August.

Now to be fair it is often just a rehashed list from the year before wherein I try to mesh together things that I "need" and things that I "want". And I frequently re-use this same list whenever my mother starts asking about ideas for my birthday.

Thus if I don't get a particular item for xmas or my birthday during the previous year I either... buy it myself or it gets held over to the following year.

And now the list...

My Xmas Wishlist 2013

Tools

Asking for tools for xmas is a no-brainer. It is implied that they are a need as opposed to a want and thus you are more likely to get what you asked for.

Leather toolbelt - To be fair I am thinking about getting this myself so I can get the exact type of belt I am looking for. Or I could be more specific by telling my mother the exact model type, price, where to buy, etc.

I found one on Canadian Tire that I like. http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/browse/6/Tools/ToolStorage/ToolHoldersBelts/PRD~0570082P/Mastercraft+Suede+Leather+Tool+Apron.jsp?locale=en

Wheel Truing Stand for Bicycle Wheels - If you are not a bicycle mechanic then you wouldn't really know what this is. The company I like is Park Tools.



Spoke Tension Gauge for Bicycle Spokes - Honestly most bicycle mechanics don't even use a tension gauge because they're too cheap and not that picky about how perfectly circular their wheels are. Myself however, I can true a wheel to within 0.2 of a mm margin of error (which is what professionals bicycle mechanics do in competitive bicycle racing because the more circular the wheel is the better the wheel can rotate slightly faster). But I can only do that when I have a tension gauge, spoke wrench and a wheel truing stand.



Clothes

Again clothes is often a need rather than a want. However I don't actually NEED socks. I have tonnes of socks. Three drawers filled with them. I have reached the point where when they go holey (Is that spelled right? I know it isn't holy, because that would be sacrilegious) I use them as rags for my bicycles.

Blue Socks (not navy or sky blue, just plain blue) - During the past 3 - 4 years I have kept asking for red socks. I knew I was going to get socks anyway, because I ALWAYS get socks for xmas, but in recent years I find it is more interesting to ask for a specific colour so my mother has a challenge finding them. (She enjoys a shopping challenge.)

Black Dress Shirts - Honestly, black dress shirts just looking better than white ones. Look great with black dress pants, black tie and black suspenders.

Grey Suspenders - Because suspenders rock. I still use belts regularly, but any chance to look extra spiffy calls for suspenders. Having a grey pair of suspenders will allow me the opportunity to change it up once in awhile.

Plaid shirts with snaps instead of buttons - Honestly, I just like ripping the shirt open quickly instead of having to unbutton them slowly. Takes less time. Shirts with snaps (in my experience) typically cost about $5 more than shirts with buttons because snaps are more expensive and difficult to install in the factory. But they're well worth it. A good place to buy such shirts is Mark's Work Warehouse.

Archery Winter Gloves - Recommended place to shop "The Bow Shop" in Waterloo. Size medium or large will likely fit me.

Leather Quiver, Brown - Preferably a nice long back quiver so that the arrows don't rattle around so much (or fall out easily).

Kitchen and Bath Items

A frying pan with a good sturdy lid - Some things break too easily so I want to make sure it is one that doesn't break.

A giant navy blue bath towel - The bigger the better.

Entertainment / Books

I have been putting things on the entertainment / books part of my xmas list for years now. Often the same things year after year. Instead I keep getting clothes, tools and kitchen things. Proof that my mother favours need over want.

The Saint (TV Series starring Roger Moore) - Because Roger Moore is awesome and I have been wanting this DVD set for years now.

Matt Helm movies (starring Dean Martin) - Like James Bond, but he can sing.

Any film with Audrey Hepburn, Kirk Douglas or Burt Lancaster. Because they're all amazing.

2nd Edition AD&D Monster Manual - Because it is from a retro 80s nostalgia roleplaying game and quite amusing to me.

"And their memory was a bitter tree..." by Robert E. Howard. A selection of Conan stories by the man who created Conan in 1932.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Lucky Brand leather jacket, plus Marina Sport

During my shopping yesterday I passed by the store Lucky Brand in the Eaton's Centre and saw a men's leather jacket that I liked.

So I went inside and had a closer look. Twas $449.99.

It was very close to what I was looking for. A dark brown leather jacket that I could wear while doing archery in the Spring and Fall.

Similar to the jacket shown here on the right, which is also from Lucky Brand.

Lucky Brand only has two stores in Toronto...

1 at the Eaton's Centre and the other 1 at Yorkdale mall.

However since I had already predetermined that I wanted to shop around and find the "perfect jacket" I instead made a note of the brand and kept looking.

Also while I am noting things, I want to point out that most stores don't sell jackets in the summer. Waste of space from their perspective. I even had a chat with a clerk on the topic yesterday and while I agree for most stores it is a waste of space, having them available for the people looking for them in the office season still makes good logical sense.

After finishing my shopping I hung out with my girlfriend and showed her the new Private Member Black and Red Striped Shirt I had purchased earlier. And I mentioned my search for a new leather jacket.

And then she mentioned that she had purchased a similar leather jacket to my description for her ex-boyfriend years ago and how it was brand new, tried on once, had been too big for her ex, and how after they had broken up it had remained in the closet on a hanger for the longest time - awaiting a Prince Charming who could fit it just like Cinderella's slipper.

And wouldn't you know it, it fit me.

And it is the right colour, design, shape, etc for my needs. Whoddathunkit?

Which means I should now talk about it.

It is an Italian leather jacket from a company called Marina Sport. I have been unable to find a photo that is an exact copy of the jacket online, but I did find a Marina Sport leather jacket which is similar. At some point I shall take a photo of me in the new jacket and post it on here.


Private Member Black and Red Striped Shirt

I saw this shirt yesterday at Sears and I just had to get it.

$32.97 plus tax at Sears. It wasn't on sale, but I just had to get it because I wasn't sure when I would see it again.

Showed it to my girlfriend - initially she didn't like it because she dislikes black shirts in general, but later after I tried it on she agreed it did look pretty awesome.

The company is called "Private Member".

When buying it I was thinking of other similar high quality shirts that I already own - many of which are my favourites to wear on dates, special occasions and even just casually. This shirt will no doubt join their ranks so the extra cost seemed well worth it.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Looking for a new umbrella

Last night I forgot my "good" unbrella on a bus because I was carrying a large backpack, had set the umbrella down resting next to me and when I got off the bus I totally forgot about it because it had stopped raining.

So I am looking for a new umbrella.

Now here is the thing. There is no standards for umbrella quality. It really is a crapshoot when it comes to whether guessing an unbrella is durable and will last you a long time.

My lost umbrella I have had for 6 years and it was still in perfect condition. I don't even know what brand it was but if I find an identical umbrella from the same company and re-buy it then I will certainly laud the benefits of that company.

I also think it would be nice if someone invented a more indestructable umbrella - but without breaking the bank. There are more expensive umbrellas out there that are doubtlessly more durable but their outrageous price outweighs their actual usefulness.

A "good umbrella" should be reasonably tough and reasonably priced for its level of durability. My lost umbrella was not impervious, but it certainly was reasonably well made.

UPDATE AUGUST 2013

I got a new umbrella during a shopping trip yesterday (along with a striped shirt), and was "gifted" with a brand new leather jacket from Marina Sport from my girlfriend.

The new umbrella is from Shoppers Drug Mart of all places... go figure. The label says Shoppers Drug Mart on there so I guess that is the brand, as unusual as that seems. And it is extendable, which I usually don't like because extendable umbrellas break more easily.

However when unfolded this particular extendable umbrella is freaking HUGE. So hopefully it stands up to the test and lasts a good long time. We shall see...

Friday, August 2, 2013

Homemade Apple Pie

Nothing beats fresh homemade pie...

But when it comes to store bought pie must say this...

The more you pay the better the pie tastes. It is pretty much a guarantee.

You can get a cheap apple pie, and it will taste okay.

But if you want something spectacular be prepared to pay a lot more.

However that better tasting apple pie will be waaaaaaaay higher in sugar, fat, cholesterol, etc. It just comes with the territory.

So enjoy it, but don't eat the whole thing by yourself.

Canadian Tire... Selection?

I went to Canadian Tire TWICE today with the intention of buying something. Both times I left without buying anything. This is unusual for me since I always buy something. My best explaination is that I was unhappy with Canadian Tire's selection...

I was hoping to buy a fan - but couldn't find one I like.

I was also looking at fishing equipment - again, nothing caught my fancy.

I also browsed kitchen wares and tools. Nothing I wanted or needed.

Maybe I was just picky today? Or maybe their selection really is lower than what I was hoping for.

Update: Also went to Dollarama - but this time I did buy some kitchen and bath things. Weird eh? Dollarama had more interesting selection for once.

In other news I have also decided to start looking for a new leather jacket. Something in brown, like a dark wood brown.

Men's Degree Antiperspirant

Ah, free samples.

Free samples are great for someone who does product reviews.

They give you this little tiny sample in the store - which is good for maybe a week - and then after the week is done you get to review it. Or in the case of a regular customer, you decide whether you liked it or not and want to buy more.

In which case sometimes the free sample has a coupon on the back. Like my little sample of Men's Degree Antiperspirant does, a 50 cent coupon on the back of it.

In this case however I will NOT be using the coupon - because I did not like the product.

Why?

Too sticky. Felt completely uncomfortable on my armpits.

Wore off too quickly too. If it can't do a 3 hour stretch outside without reapplication it isn't doing its job.

Also I have a hunch it contains aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly - which is carcinogenic and causes lymph node cancer (lymph nodes are glands which control the sweat to your armpits). The chemical is commonly used in antiperspirants despite numerous lawsuits.

So yeah, one more reason not to buy Men's Degree Antiperspirant.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Indian Fighter



The Indian Fighter, starring Kirk Douglas.

It is Kirk Douglas baby! Honestly, any excuse to watch Kirk Douglas is a good excuse. He is awesome in everything he does.

The Plot - Johnny Hawks is a man trapped between two worlds. His love of the Native Americans (and one woman in particular) and his goal of peace between the settlers and the Natives. But when gold prospectors learn about gold hidden deep in Indian territory they are willing to kill - and start a war - just so they can get their hands on the gold.



Ragim Matrix and Wildcat Recurve Bows

Today I bought a new set of recurve limbs for my archery equipment.

Today's purchase was 2 limbs, 38/40 lb limbs from Ragim (brand name) and the model type is Matrix.

In the past I have purchased quite a few Ragim limbs. Both Matrix and also Wildcat models. Matrix and Wildcat are basically interchangable. The risers (middle of the bow) and the limbs (curved arms) of the bow, are the two most important things to buy if you are into takedown recurve bows.

I have so far...

2 Wildcat 66 risers for right hand
1 Wildcat 66 riser for left hand
1 Matrix 62 riser for right hand
18/20 lb Matrix limbs
20/22 lb Wildcat limbs
24/26 lb Wildcat limbs
34/36 lb Wildcat limbs

And today's purchase - 38/40 lb Matrix limbs

Matrix Riser

Wildcat Riser


I also own a Bear Grizzly 45 lb traditional recurve (1 piece, non-takedown) which I gave a name to - "Seahawk".

Bear Grizzly Traditional Recurve

Now to explain why I have so many bows let me first get into the topic of why each bow has a different lb number. The lb represents the amount of force needed to pull back a bow using those limbs. The different numbers depend on whether it is a 66 or 62 inch riser (the riser isn't actually that length, it is a measurement of how long the bowstring is for that riser plus standard size limbs). For 18/20 limbs the force is really low so that even kids as young as 10 can easily pull it. The 18 is how much force it takes to pull back the bowstring 28 inches on a 66 inch bow. 20 lbs if it is a 62 inch bow. (Yes, that is right, the shorter bow is more powerful, because it has to be bent more.)

While I love shooting with my 45 lb Seahawk I must admit I get tired after shooting it for several hours. Thus it is nice to switch to a lower poundage bow which is easier.

For teaching purposes and hanging out with friends I have also determined it is better to have multiple bows with different capacities. Some people just aren't strong enough to pull the higher poundage bows. Even some adults have a lot of difficulty pulling a heavier bow and stick to bows in the 18 to 22 range because they are physically unable to pull back a 24 or higher poundage bow.

A lot of it comes down to back and shoulder muscles. Some people have very lazy jobs that causes them to sit behind a computer 40 - 60 hours per week and their back muscles have dwindled to the size of a child's because they simply don't use those muscles that often.

To be fair I had to do a lot of weightlifting just so I could pull a 45 lb and hold it steady. A year ago I could pull such a bow, but I wouldn't have been able to hold it steady and I still have difficulty doing many consecutive shots with it because it is more tiring to use. Eventually my endurance will catch up as I continue to practice with it, but for now I need to rotate how often I use the 45 and sometimes switch to a lighter poundage.

This is why I bought the new 38/40 limbs. It allows me to use a higher poundage which is still a challenge, but it still gives me a break from the 45.

Another thing I want to mention is draw distance. 28 inches is the standard but some people are a lot taller and pull a longer distance and thus use longer arrows. On Seahawk I use 32.5 inch arrows. That 4.5 inches longer and amounts to roughly 30% more power... So that 45 lb bow gets closer to 58 lbs if you pull it the distance I do.

Other bows and archery equipment I look forward to getting someday...

A Japanese Yumi Bow


A Korean Shortbow



A Pyramid Bow


Ivory, Bone or Horn Mongolian Thumb Ring (for Mongolian Draws / Mongolian Releases)


Unusual Arrowheads made from Ivory, Bone, Flint, etc. Because I love traditional archery.


Dawn and Olay Dish Soap

My bottle of Dawn dish soap (with Olay hand moisturizer) is almost empty so I think it is safe to post my review of it.

Perfect.

It cleans the dishes like it should, wipes away grease and grime, it smells like lavender (which I like), and my hands feel moderately moisturized after having my hands in hot water for 20 - 30 minutes.

So in conclusion a perfectly good dish soap.

And if you are bored while hand washing your dishes I recommend turning on your tv or computer and watching some BBC Top Gear episodes. Always good fun.


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