Sunday, January 27, 2008

January was Suck Month

I don't know what it was about January, but it just sucked royally. I should be a little careful though, the month isn't quite over. Better look out for saws dropping from the ceiling or the like.

Right now, the kids are sick - they are coughing a great deal, first hitting Alex and then moving through to Zoe. The doctor ruled out strep throat and is testing for whooping cough, but it's still pretty inconclusive. One night was so bad that he'd cough and wake up crying, leaving my poor wife to stay up with him most of the night, sitting in the rocking chair consoling him. She definitely earned a Mother of the Year award for that one. I slept mostly because I knew I couldn't do any less than 5 and a half hours of sleep. I would implode or have some structural failure if I tried.

So now Zoe has it, but we're laying on the cough medicine, which he hates, to at least let them have some rest at night. Being sick and sleep deprived makes for a very cranky and irritable kid. They're on the mend, but we're kinda trying to take it easy, stay indoors, and watch Daddy waste away his weekend with PS3 goodness.

Work was hard. I'm on my feet for the 10 hour day, walking back and forth, doing lifting and sorting and the like, and holding in repressed anger at my co-workers for redefining the personification of "Lameass". In addition to that, we had a few 58 hour weeks, and either one or two days off. I don't care who you are, but after you work that much, you really start to lose sight of everything else, like who you are and people around you. I was dreaming about work, it was so bad. My coworkers and I got into a high tension discussion about my supervisor taking roll call in the morning, and marking people up for tardies and ultimately firing the repeat offenders with as little as one warning.

Their argument was that it was just a few minutes, and that shouldn't matter. I argued that if it was a big deal for them, then just show up on time. Work starts at the same time everyday. My co-worker accused me of living too closely to work (7 minute drive), and that some people had to commute on the freeway and traffic was what it was. I said again, work starts the same time everyday, and a lot of people show up on time or early. Then I put it to him this way, if the supervisor came to him and said, I'm going to take a few minutes from your lunch today, how would he feel, since we were practically stealing time when we show up late but still filled in the timecard as 40 hours. He said it doesn't matter, since we leave work a few minutes early anyway.

At that point, I do this thing when I'm done talking to him, which is to say, "I don't know." repeatedly until he leaves me alone, then I just put on my earphones and walk away. It's much like aruguing with children when I'm at work. They want it their way, have no logic to back it up, and can't see more than 2 seconds ahead of what the consequences will be.

One of my other projects in the new future, in addition to finishing the wedding, planning the trip to California, and all the other daily crap that I ignore, will be to go through some emails from my wife and pull up excerpts of kid adventures. I've neglected to report a lot of their shennigans and so I'm trying to remedy that.

My Foray into Next Gen Gaming

(Or, how I was an Xbox360 owner for about six hours.)

So, part of my twisted bargaining process was to convince my wife, you know, I've been working like 106 hours for the past two weeks, a bit of next gen gaming might cheer me up (or something.) So I told her I was going to sell that video camera I never use to front the money for an Xbox 360. Well, when Friday rolled around, I had reached a fever pitch obsession so I asked my wife if I could get an advance on the system, and she said yes. So off I went to get the somewhat reasonably (but ultimately lackluster) Xbox360 Arcade, which was $279.

Unboxing the 360 was a little comical - Everything was just oversized. The console itself is bulky, which is fine and all, but the power AC brick was ridiculous. The plugs itself was also crazy big. But I made the space for it, elevated some shelves, and fit the 360 in the entertainment center.

To shorten the story, what I was impressed with was this: The arcade games are fun. Boom Boom Rocket is a fun game. I ordered three games online for pickup, excited to get some decent gaming in. However, my 360 had a different opinion.

I've heard of the 33% failure rates of the 360s, and the many many comments about people who are on their 2nd and 3rd console. But since some time had lapsed and the Arcade is a newer incarnation, maybe they had sorted it out. Boy, was I wrong. For the rest of the evening, I had the 360 freeze on me in the middle of gameplay off a brand new disc, during server connections, online, and once after I booted it up during the intro screen. It seriously froze like 5-6 times in one night. No error code, no official looking screen that gave any indication of a problem, just froze. Googled "xbox freeze" and the comments were overwhelming. This isn't just a fluke, it's a dangerous trend. By the end of the night, I had went from ecstatic gamer to disappointed consumer.

So the next day I returned the damn thing, and got a PS3. Now, the price tag is way heftier, about 400 bones for the 40 Gig, but now I see that it was certainly a much better way to go. Sure, no Bioshock, Halo 3 or Gears of War, but not frozen screen or dealing with tech support in another country either. Having owned both for short periods of time, I would highly recommend the PS3 over the Xbox anyday.

The Arcade version of Xbox is no frills, which was what I thought I needed, but consider this - there is no hard drive, and the included memory unit is only 256 mb, which isn't really all that much. The save files for these games are huge. To buy an addition memory unit, it would be 50 bucks. And by that time, you're already at $329, which is only 20 bucks away from actually getting the Xbox Premium, which comes with a 20GB Hard drive, headset, and HDMI cable. And without more memory, forget about music storage, trailer or demo downloads, or anything. You would have to be a really casual gamer who has it for visitors or really enjoy deleting save files right after you complete the game.

Now the next thing would be to endorse the Premium 360, right? Actually, no. At $349, the Premium sports a 20GB hard drive, but for 50 bucks more, a PS3 will see the 20 and raise it another 20, for a whopping 40GB drive. In addition, you get a Blu-Ray player. 50 bucks for 20 Gigs and a Blu Ray player, I think that's reason enough.

So, I'm enjoying my PS3, albeit full of guilt because it cost more than I started out with, but so far it's just awesome. Burnout Paradise is lots of fun in it, and I got Orange Box and Portal is one of the few puzzle games that I'll actually enjoy. Downloaded more demos and have yet to try it yet, but I'm sure this console will last me quite some time, like my PS2 has.

And no, it hasn't frozen once.