The Gravley Life

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Like pulling teeth

I'm guessing that back when people had a lifespan of 25 years, those who had their wisdom teeth were actually considered wise because they were relatively old. I, on the other hand, and am still young (ish) and find no wisdom to the malevolent hunks of enamel that have long since ripped their way through my gums. So, in two weeks they come out. Good riddance.

I have what most people would consider a long and sordid relationship with my teeth. If dentists had frequent visits cards, I'd ... it'd ... well, you insert something clever here, but I have more teeth with fillings or repair than not.

Here are some insights into dentistry from me, an expert patient.

1. If you are uncomfortable, tell them. Usually, they can be a lot more careful. Sure, they'll treat you like a Miss Prissy, but emotional indignity is easier to handle the real seething mouth pain.

2. Dental insurance is tricky. Know the rules or you will pay. Call your dental insurance provider for details. It will save you a lot of money.

3. If you ever have or have thought about practicing meditation, brush up on it and use it in the chair. It helps manage the experience.

4. Be cheerful and friendly to your dental people (ie hide your fear a little) and they will usually respond with better service.

Well, wish me luck. I'm getting all four wisdom teeth pulled out, and I'm just so gosh darned excited to do it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Video Gaming Debrief

Sony recently announced that the Playstation 3 will be delayed until November. Gilbert Godfrey once said, "I think I'm gonna have a heart attack of not surprised." I saw that coming, along with anyone else "in the know", as it were, so to speak, if you catch my meaning...

The tendrils of my web surfing choices have touched many corners of the gaming community. As such, I seem to have a comfortable and definitive handle of the state of video games and the next generation of video games consoles. I'd like to save you the time, hassle, and humiliation of having read all of this gaming crap and present to you the quick and dirty...

Steve's Super Fantastic Guide to Next Generation Video Game Consoles

Brown Grass
Currently, on this side of the fence, we have three consoles. Microsofts's XBox is for teenage boys, online gaming, and American style games. Sony's PlayStation 2 is the staple gaming system with a wide variety of games. Nintendo's Gamecube is a gaming system with mostly family games and a few great exclusive "grown up" games.

Green Grass
The grass is always greener with prospect of new video game systems, but the promise of higher-tech gizmo-watchama-whozits always finds my wallet trembling under the stairs like an expectant abusee. Here's what you can expect for your hard earned cash.

Microsoft Xbox 360
Alredy released, the two selling points for the 360 are high definition gaming and a really solid and complete online experience. So far, the games released do not live up to the potential of high definition gaming, but you should see a decent amount of quality high definition games by this Christmas. The online experience is the high benchmark of the industry for Sony and Nintendo to hope to match...if you're into that sort of thing. The console is $400 for the premium edition. Please, don't even bother looking at the core edition for $300, it's a total waste of money.

Sony PlayStation 3
Just announced that it will be released in November, expectations are that it will set you back at least $400, maybe $500. Sony is pitching the PS3 as a uber-powerful machine that's high definition, but also a media center of sorts including music, movies, and a frankenTivo. It's power should be about the same as the 360, despite claims. The other "buy me now" factor is that it comes standard with a Blu-Ray drive, the new high definition DVD player. Sony figures they can wedge their brand of Hi-def DVD into the market by packaging it into their games system.

Nintendo Revolution (not the final name)
Scheduled to be released this holiday season, Nintendo's Revolution is about as different from it's competitors as it can be while still being called a "next generation game system". The biggest reason is the uniqueness of its controller. Instead of a regular gamepad, Nintendo is opting to sell a remote-control looking device that you can move around in the air and the game reacts to your movements. Crazy, yes. Crazy cool? I think so, but we'll see at E3. Also, it's not as powerful and doesn't support high definition gaming. They did this to keep the price down so it would be more accessible and they don't think people care that much about HD. You can also download old Nintendo games from any system except Gamecube to the Revolution. It's speculated to launch at $199.

HD gaming
While the 360 and PS3 are wickedly powerful, most of that power is being sucked up by having to draw the HD picture, so you're left with graphics that are better, but not "WOW". People, including you, might be underwhelmed and come away with a stale experience for the amount you spent.

Online gaming
Until we see massively online multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Lineage, I don't see this really taking off. Sure, there are 5 million online XBOX users and 2 million online DS users, but they're casual online experiences that are enjoyed as an extra. These did not motivate huge games sales. The 360, PS3, and Revolution all have excellent and different online models. This is still a young technology that I expect to mature during this generation.

E3 is the world's largest gaming convention, held in Los Angeles. In May, all of these companies will reveal much more about their systems, and I'll write a summary of that event once it's over. I went to this event in 2002 with Jon Roberts. It will always be a clip in the highlight reel of my life.

Every thing I've written here is either fact or very near it. If you read this, you can have the confidence to speakon this subject as an expert, nay, connoisseur of video games.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mini JamesVaganza!

In the style of my blog friend over at squid action, I'm striking with a few pictures and running away before any real content spills forth from my keyboard.

I left these images pretty large because I thought some of you might use them as desktops or print them, not that I'd be upset if you chose not to do that.

A nice picture of James.
Oh my, another one!
When will it stop?!
Oh, here it stops.