Geist Reviews

Geist

Geist, the Nintendo Game Cube title I’ve been working on since I got onboard at n-Space as an intern in June 2002 is finally being released this month. I’ve been part of the project in several capacities depending on the needs of the company at that given time: concept artist, assistant writer, level scripter, and voiceover talent (I’m the intercom/computer simulation voice…and maybe something else as well). The art and writing I contributed was so long ago that I don’t know if much of it has made it into the final product. Some of the scripting is still mine, though, as well as the voiceover work.

Here are some of the game reviews that were posted in the past week.

IGN: 7.8
http://cube.ign.com/articles/641/641641p1.html

PlanetGamcube: 8.0
http://www.planetgamecube.com/reviews.cfm?action=profile&id=649

Gamerz-Edge: 7.9
http://www.gamerz-edge.com/cube/reviews/geist.html

Gamespot: 7.8
http://www.gamespot.com/gamecube/action/geist/review.html

SGX C2W3D5: Buff Girls Wear Nerdy Glasses

Inspired by a friend who recently qualified for health insurance for the first time in years, I requested a sick day at work today in order to take care of two health care appointments I’d been putting off for a while: the annual GYN/Pap smear (joy!) and the bi-annual vision exam.

With the deadline for using up my medical Flexible Spending Account funds coming up fast on September 30, and my usual tried and true FSA-draining dental cleaning appointment not scheduled until October 12, I decided to blow some pre-tax cash money on some new nerd glasses and lenses. For good measure, I also requested the optional (and not covered by eye insurance) Opto Map and vision field screening tests just to make sure my eyes weren’t suffering from anything other than the rampant myopia and astigmatism I’ve had since fourth grade.

It turns out that aside from being blind as a bat and shaped like olives, my eyes are in perfect physical condition. My vision has gotten worse in my left eye since my last exam in 2003 thanks to the hours I spend in front of a computer screen at work and in my leisure time at home. I asked the doctor what I could do to alleviate the stress on my eyes, and he told me, “Quit your job and find a line of work that doesn’t require you to sit two feet away from a monitor all day.”

:tongue:

Well then…moving along, I splurged on a contact lens exam (must…use…up…$438…in…FSA…funds…), got a test pair of toric lenses from a different manufacturer than my old Softlens 66 Torics, and scoped out the selection of free frames offered through my insurance company. Amazingly enough, I found a pair of nerdy stainless steel (very important, since I have nickel allergies and will break out in a horrible, oozing rash if my skin comes into contact with cheap metal for more than 15 minutes at a time–Hey, there’s a reason I don’t wear cheap costume jewelry!) frames that I actually liked in the freebie cabinet.

:cyclops: Don’t ask me why, but when it comes to glasses, I just lean towards obvious and nerdy vs. subtle and classy. No matter how refined and unobtrusive your frames might be, glasses just can’t be overlooked. They change the overall appearance of your face and even affect how you look in certain outfits (Glasses + Evening Gown? I don’t THINK so.) and what cosmetics you can get away with using. Any female who thinks that her glasses aren’t noticeable is on crack.

I’ve been told several times that I look much smarter and more Chinese with glasses on; even my own mother says so. Contacts cause me to be mistaken for Korean by even the Korean Student Organizations of my old colleges and purportedly lose me IQ points in the minds of new acquaintances.

My take on the whole glasses thing is therefore: If I have to wear them anyway, I might as well embrace the geeky chic aspect and go for something that makes me look like the computer-addicted bookworm that I really am under the ex-military, fitness-freak facade.

:whistle:

I did get the high-index super-thin lenses and the anti-glare coating for an additional fee, though, because while geeky frames are almost de rigeur amongst tech nerds with an artistic bent, coke-bottle lenses that make one’s eyes the size of black-eyed peas will never be attractive.

Now I just have to hold off on ordering my contacts until October 1, and they will be covered 100% under next year’s benefits. :biggrin:

I will spare you all the play-by-play of my GYN appointment. The female readers should all be familiar with the routine, and the males will live happier lives not knowing what women must go through EVERY YEAR just to get refill prescriptions for birth control pills, which, of course, would not be necessary if the government would just institute my proposed “give every fertile male over the age of 13 a reversible vasectomy until he reaches financial and emotional maturity and actually wants to produce planned offspring with his permanent life partner” birth control program.

Between my two appointments, I also managed to get 3″ of hair hacked off the back of my shaggy head and to visit the local health food store, Chamberlin’s, for the first time. I wuuuuuuv Chamberlin’s! I walked out of that store with 1/2 lb. almonds, 1 lb. texturized vegetable protein, 1 lb. wheat bran, and 3 lb. steel-cut oats for the piddling total of $5.67.

:love::love::love::love::love:

Why didn’t I find this place before? Steel-cut oats for 59 cents a pound! TVP and wheat bran for 99 cents a pound! Big baggie of almonds for $1.92!

My frugal cup runneth over. I almost did the happy cheapskate dance at the bulk food bins in the back.

By the way, does anyone happen to have any fantastic recipes for TVP?

===========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

===========
Workout:
7:00 PM SGX Upper Body/Back workout
7:40 PM P90X Kenpo X

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Had to move workouts to evening.

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Made it to all appointments on time.
2. Got itemized receipts for all services to submit to FSA managers for reimbursement.
3. Filled out FSA paper work.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. File papers on drafting table.
2. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
3. Work on paper doll body templates.
4. Vacuum the apartment.
5. Take pictures of low-budget home gym set up and write up reviews of everything.

Are you an interstitial gamer?

This article from Gamasutra.com was posted on the company forum today: Difficulty and the Interstitial Gamer

According to the article, an interstitial gamer is an individual who enjoys playing computer and console games, but needs to balance that interest with a job, family, household maintenance, and well, real life. They are the people who grew up playing games, but suddenly found themselves with other responsibilities as they approached or blew past the 30 year mark, forcing them to give up their old student days of hardcore gaming for hours on end. They are too advanced to be dubbed “casual gamers,” but too busy with other aspects of life to devote their entire weekend plus every evening to epic 60+ hour games.

They are, in essence, people just like me.

The article criticizes the game industry for focusing only on churning out beautiful, maddeningly difficult games that only appeal to the hardcore gaming set (aka students under the age of 22 who don’t have jobs, kids, or rent to pay) instead of targeting the folks who actually have the discretionary income available for $50 games, $300 next-gen consoles, and $500 video cards. Hardcore gamers have the free time to spend on difficult levels that require the player to repeat the same level over and over in order to reach the next save checkpoint, but what about those of us who have finances to manage, meals to cook, laundry to wash, and workouts to perform?

When I run into a game that is an absolute pain in the ass like this within the first 30 minutes of game play, I have a 90% chance of quitting right there and popping in something that I can enjoy without any ramp up time at all like, oh, Monkey Ball, Dead or Alive 3, or (hehe) Animal Crossing. When you have only 45-60 minutes available every other night for gaming, you want to play something that actually allows you to get somewhere in that amount of time. Many games nowadays have control schemes that are so complex and intros that are so long and tedious that they lose my interest within 10 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t want to play nothing but Popcap-style web games for the rest of my life, but there has to be a balance between the steep learning curve and time commitment required of Battlefield 2 and the point-and-click mindlessness of Bejeweled.

My sister is a casual gamer who could easily shift over to interstitial if there were more game options out there for her. She got into puzzle games via Snood for her Mac in college, and now owns a lime green GBA SP with half a dozen games. She plays Bejeweled on her PDA, and enjoys cute Nintendo racing, pinball, and mini-golf games on her SP. I’ve tried to get her interested in some of the more grown up offerings I have for the Xbox or Game Cube, but let’s face it–why would a busy young professional want to slog through an hour of tutorials and manual reading just to START a game like Knights of the Old Republic when she can just turn on the GBA and play through four or five levels of Yoshi’s Island?

If the average gamer is indeed 29 years old with men making up only 59% of the gaming population, developers really need to take a long, hard look at what is considered a “good” game if they want to expand their appeal to the growing number of gamers who no longer fit the stereotype of the pimply, 15 year old male with nothing better to do than grind away at a game for 60+ hours a week.

SGX C2W3D4: Not So Fast

SGX + Running != Fun

(For those of you not familiar with the “!=” expression, that stands for “Not equal to.”)

It’s week three of SGX, and I am finally beginning to feel a lag in my energy level. I’m coming off a week of daily blood loss and haven’t had any red meat in a few weeks, however, so I have a feeling that a bit of iron deficiency may be the cause. I’ll have to start checking local supermarket ads for some good deals on steak this weekend.

It is VERY difficult to do HIIT cardio while on SGX macros. The SGX meal timing is very precise and is designed to boost energy levels before, during, and after a weight training workout, but on non-training days when only low intensity, steady-state cardio is prescribed by the exercise plan, I am functioning on a lot less pep. By doing HIIT on T/Th/Sa for 15-20 minutes, I am technically departing from the recommended training program. Having forced myself to push through two to three absurdly rough HIIT sessions per week at less than my BFL top speeds since I got back on the SGX wagon, I can tell you why most people on the program follow Swolecat’s recommendation: HIIT is very energy-intensive, and non-training day macros are not designed to support that sort of rapid energy expenditure and heavy effort.

I can actually feel my energy levels bonking out around 15 minutes every time I do HIIT now.

Why am I stubbornly continuing to do it?

I think it’s partly due to a fear of losing any speed and endurance I’ve built up over the past year, partly because I get very bored walking along at 3.5 mph /10% incline for 45 minutes EVERY day, and partly because I am not totally convinced that either LISS or HIIT is the optimum form of cardio for me. I believe that HIIT works very well, and the benefits are great, especially since I’m definitely more of a sprinter than an endurance runner, but I also believe that I need MORE cardio than three 20 minute sessions a week (BFL style) to get lean.

That said, I am going to do a bit of both sprinkled with the occasional P90X cardio session to keep things fluid and interesting.

With a week and a half left of my 4 week SGX run, I am seriously considering going for a full 6 weeks. Minus the optional supplements, SGX is incredibly easy on the pocketbook, and I kind of like the foods I eat now.

We’ll see how things look at the end of next week.

===========
Nutrition: SGX Non-Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

===========
Workout:
12:00 PM HIIT Cardio – Treadmill Run (4-8 mph / 0% incline / 22 minutes)
12:30 PM LISS Cardio – Treadmill Walk (3.5 mph / 10% incline / 23 minutes)
8:30 PM P90X Yoga

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Did not do planned Kenpo workout; went to bed early instead to get back on a normal sleep schedule.

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Cleaned the kitchen.
2. Cleaned bathroom.
3. Folded/hung laundry.
4. Cleared off the bed-desk and moved laptop to drafting table–for now.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. File papers on drafting table.
2. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
3. Work on paper doll body templates.
4. Vacuum the apartment.
5. Take pictures of low-budget home gym set up and write up reviews of everything.

SGX C2W3D3: Bed-Desk

All right, I have a small foible to tell you all about.

You know how some people sprawl out over the entire pristine surface of their beds when they go to sleep, luxuriating in every square inch of mattress they own?

That is not me.

After spending the first 27 years of my life on a twin size mattress (or an Army cot), I’ve found that I still sleep like I have a limited amount of square footage even though I’ve at least upgraded to a full size bed. Yep–I wrap up like a mummy under the covers flat on my back and fall right asleep, never using more than 1/3 of the bed. Practically speaking, this translates into a lot of unused space on the other half of the bed furthest away from the lamp, and since I am a complete computer addict, that space doesn’t stay empty for long.

First my Dell laptop will move in, perched on a stiff portfolio so the air vents aren’t smothered by my blankets. Then when the touch pad becomes too annoying, I’ll attach an optical mouse. At some point I’ll get the brainstorm to work on some graphics tutorials while sitting up in bed, which leads to the addition of my 6″x8″ Wacom Intuos graphics tablet plus a hefty computer graphics tome.

Bored with graphics work, I’ll suddenly want to take a break and do some reading, which is why there are usually 2-3 library books on the bed with me. And, well, there are also bills to enter into Microsoft Money, which is installed only on my laptop, so sometimes the paper inbox spends some quality time on my bed, too.

I won’t even go into the details of laundry day, when piles of sorted laundry join the mountain of stuff on my bed.

And at the very top of the pile is usually one or both of my cats, merrily shedding grey/black striped fur all over the entire shebang.

It can get a bit crowded.

No worries, though. When my bed-desk causes me to hang my leg and arm off the edge of the bed, I do muster up the energy to clear it off. If I’m lucky, I will be able to resist the urge to fill up the extra space with the laptop again for at least three days before the whole process begins anew.

🙄

===========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

===========
Workout:
12:00 PM SGX Leg workout
8:00 PM LISS cardio – Treadmill walk (3.5 mph/ 10% incline/ 45 minutes)

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Did not do planned Kenpo workout; went to bed early instead to get back on a normal sleep schedule.

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Biked while reading Vulgar Favors by Maureen Orth, a book covering the life of Andrew Cunanan, spree killer, pathological liar, and murderer of fashion designer Gianni Versace.
2. Cleaned the living room.
3. Scheduled hair cut.
4. Schedule eye exam.
5. Rearranged living room into efficient home mini-gym.
6. Made appointment for oil/filter change, tire balance and rotation, and belt replacement for trusty Honda.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. File papers on drafting table.
2. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
3. Work on paper doll body templates.
4. Vacuum the apartment.
5. Clean the kitchen.
6. Clean bathroom.
7. Fold/hang laundry.

SGX C2W3D2: Nice Lungs

A few days ago, Bluestreak/Roger from the JSF Forums made a journal post about Danny Bonaduce, former child star from The Partidge Family. Bonaduce appears in the September 2005 issue of Muscle and Fitness magazine on pages 41-42.

In the brief interview, he discusses his newfound obsession with fitness and diet, his part ownership of a gym, and his recently-acquired personal training certification.

He also declares that he will not give up smoking despite all of the above.

M&F: “Seems like you’re also obsessed with smoking. Any plans to quit?”

Bonaduce: “No. I’ve quit so many other things! I have a stair-stepper at home with an ashtray welded to it, and my gym has a smoking section.”

M&F: “So it’s safe to say you’re not working out for your health?”

Bonaduce: “I have the desire to appear healthy. I want somebody to go, “Nice ass,” not “Nice lungs.”

Far be it for me to knock someone for wanting to improve the visible parts of his body, but you have to keep the important things in mind, too.

The youngest of my paternal uncles, the father of three sons and grandfather of the cutest little boy imaginable was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. He has been in spotty health for the past few years and had some bouts with depression that have left him looking much older than his three older brothers, including my own father. All of the brothers except for Uncle Steve (who has other issues related to weight and diabetes) have smoked since their teen years in Taiwan when having a cigarette dangling from one’s hand was thought to convey some patina of toughness or glamour. Uncle Jack’s recent cancer diagnosis is a frightening reminder that smoking is anything but glamorous.

He is the second member of my father’s family to develop lung cancer related to smoking. My grandfather died of it when I was in fifth grade. He spent the last few months of his life with a tracheotomy incision in his throat and a nurse aide by his bedside in my parents’ house. He smoked right up until his last week of life.

My parents drove up to Gainesville the weekend of my CPR certification to speak to my uncle at the request of my aunt and cousins. Uncle Jack was refusing treatment for his cancer. My father went up there to convince him to give treatment a try. When I spoke with my mother, she said that my uncle’s mind had been changed.

My own father, who goes to the gym regularly to lift weights, still smokes several cigarettes a day. Like most of the family, he doesn’t like cardio much, but unlike yours truly, he refuses to get over his lack of enthusiasm and do it anyway, so I worry about his cardiovascular health. His gym habit has kept most health problems at bay except for a bout of high blood pressure a few years ago, but changes in my parents’ diet instigated by my mother as well as some medication for treating high bp have taken care of of that.

I just hope that his youngest brother’s health issues will convince him to quit smoking again and make it stick this time. Cigarettes obviously don’t agree with the Wang genetics.

As admirable is it may be to have a healthy looking exterior, I am sure Uncle Jack would take a set of boring old “Nice lungs” in lieu of ripped abs or a 16″ biceps in a heartbeat.

===========
Nutrition: SGX Non-Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

===========
Workout:
8:00 PM HIIT Cardio – Run (20 minutes)
8:20 PM LISS Cardio – Walk (3.5 mph / 10% incline / 25 minutes)

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Did not do planned Kenpo workout; went to bed early instead to get back on a normal sleep schedule.

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Used new Danskin bench and Powerblock dumbbells for upper body workout. Two thumbs up all around!
2. Cooked a ton of broccoli and cauliflower in oyster sauce.
3. Did the dishes.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Schedule hair cut.
2. File papers on drafting table.
3. Schedule eye exam.
4. Rearrange living room into efficient home mini-gym.
5. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
6. Work on paper doll body templates.
7. Vacuum the apartment.
8. Make appointment for oil/filter change, tire balance and rotation, and belt replacement for trusty Honda.
9. Clean bathroom.

SGX C2W3D1: Living With Critters

Friday morning I was awakened from my peaceful slumber by the sound of one of my two tabby cats frantically digging away at the pillow at the other side of my bed. Normally it is Neville Longbottom who pesters me in the morning, but this time around it was the normally laid-back Slinky who was driving me insane with his clawing. I told him to knock it off and tried to distract him by throwing one of the many tailless mouse toys in the apartment into the next room, but he ignored me.

Unfortunately, that action made Neville aware that I was awake, so he promptly hopped onto the bed, too, walked his 14 lb self over my torso, and settled down for a cuddle, which was NOT appreciated at all because he purrs like a lawnmower engine, won’t hold still, and um…did I mention he weighs 14 pounds? 14 pounds of loudly purring fur on one’s ribs is not exactly conducive to restful sleep on a warm Florida morning.

I woke up mildly annoyed at my feline roommates and even wondered for a split second what life would be like without having the fuzzy twins around.

(No worries–I tossed that idea aside immediately. I looooove my boys.)

That night, I learned that I had horribly maligned poor Slinky for no reason, because as I was tidying up my bedroom, I saw one of these fellas wall-walking in a stately manner on the wall just above my pillow.

Spider

The body itself was around 5/8″ long, but the legs extended out at least three inches.

Yeah. That was not a pleasant thing to see indoors, especially since it wasn’t even scuttling. That bastard was on a leisurely promenade through my room like it ruled the place.

Grr.

After watching it for a few seconds in disbelief, I looked around for something appropriate for oversize arachnid extermination. My preferred implement of pest eradication, the common Boyfriend’s Shoe, was not available, so I settled for a big wad of Kleenex which was quite handily sitting on the nightstand within easy reach. I could have gone for the Raid can in the kitchen, but prior experience with the mutant bugs of Florida had taught me that bigger insects and spiders tended to not die immediately, choosing instead to haul ass either directly toward me, or into some hard to reach crevice that I’d never be able to clean out.

Besides, I didn’t want to bring the cats into the fight. Neville would probably try to catch the thing in his mouth so he could transport it to the living room carpet where there is more space to torture and batter the little critters he snags, Slinky would no doubt join in the fun, and I’d have two poisoned cats on my hands. As the spider bore a distinct resemblance to any number of recluse varieties, I chose to do the efficient Kleenex Crush.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a very juicy spider. I hate fatso bugs like moths and roaches because they always leave a splotch on the wall or ceiling. :yuck:

This one didn’t even leave a speck.

Once Mr. Spider was taking the Whirlpool of Glory down the toilet, I went back to the living room and made a huge fuss over my would-be savior, Slinky the cat. He wasn’t trying to wake me up that morning; he was trying to save my life.

😉

===========
Nutrition: SGX Training Day Menu
(Details omitted by request of trainer)

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D, 1 T. flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter, 1 t. GNC Creastack
Water: 16 cups minimum

===========
Workout:
12:00 PM SGX Upper Body/Chest workout
8:00 PM P90X Kenpo workout

===========
The Awful Truth:
1. Got to bed around 2 am. V. groggy this morning.

===========
Brownie Points:
1. Worked out at the Winter Springs Gold’s Gym Saturday.
2. Finally used my Universal Studios annual pass to check out The Mummy ride.

===========
Short-term Goals:
1. Do the laundry.
2. File papers on drafting table.
3. Start Freehand 10 tutorials and finish by 8/11.
4. Rearrange living room into efficient home mini-gym.
5. Get through next three chapters of NASM manual.
6. Cook cabbage, zucchini, and other misc. veggies in fridge.
7. Return due library books.
8. Work on paper doll body templates.
9. Vacuum the apartment.